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We celebrate the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey Team and one of its stars, Jonny "The Mouse" Mikkelson, who once told me "Our team was so good the varsity wouldn't play us." When asked why he didn't play varsity Mouse said, "Too little." Cutest ever. So, we salute the greatest Club Hockey Team ever, a squad so vaunted even Jim Craig's Miracle team wanted nothing to do with it. Trottier, Bossy, Gretzky, Messier ... dead! Long live the 1983 Wayzata Club Hockey team!
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“If respect for the guy between you and the boards isn’t enough to stop you from running him, maybe what will be is the fear of the retribution that is sure to follow.” –Bobby Orr
This is an excerpt from the great Bobby Orr’s book, the chapter on fighting in hockey. I am not writing about actual fighting in hockey, but violence in hockey. If your worst enemy was standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, would you push him over the edge?
No. Even if you hate somebody, you more than likely respect them enough as a human being not to push them down a cliff. I am disappointed in the lack of respect of players in hockey, mainly the NHL. There have been some recent cheap-shots in the NHL resulting in fines and suspensions. Even though it didn’t result in an injury (or so we think right now, who knows if it will re-surface), but the one that pisses me off the most is the James Neal kneeing incident at Boston against Brad Marchand. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/james-neal-gets-nhl-phone-hearing-bit-joke-211433123--nhl.html Neal’s quote was “I haven’t seen the replay of anything. I hit him in the head with my leg or my knee or my shin. He’s already going down. I guess I need to try to avoid him,” said Neal.
This is bush league. James Neal is a very good hockey player, but should have gotten 20 games for this, not 5. (I say this even though he’s on my fantasy hockey team) In the same game, Bruin thug Shawn Thornton slew-footed Penguins Brooks Orpik, then kept beating his head into the ice causing the stretcher to come out.
There are other incidents being looked at by the league, but these d-bags need to start respecting their opponents. You can hate them all you want, but you NEED to respect them. They are your peers. I recently heard Doc Emrick talking about player respect, and hope this message gets through. With the newer equipment technology, players are feeling invincible. In a sport that sometimes needs to be policed by the players, the police need to know what they’re doing. Even in the wake of the nationally known tragedy of the Jack Jablonski hit, you still see players hitting players from behind into the boards. I remember when I was young, the normal penalties were tripping, hooking, elbowing, charging……etc… The one penalty that you rarely saw, and when you did it was a major penalty, was boarding. I reffed hockey for 8 years, and “boarding” was the cardinal sin. A major penalty. Now, boarding is a 2-minute minor. WHY?
I will also say on the other side, players need to do a better job avoiding these hits. Don’t stand 3 feet from the boards with your head down. When you ride a motorcycle on the freeway, you have to expect every car to potentially cut you off. You need to ride defensively. Same as being on the ice. You have to keep your head up, be aware of what’s going on, be aware that anybody at any time can run you into the boards. Play aggressive but play defensive.
Watch Zach Parise play. When he’s near the boards, he’s ready to be hit. He prepares for it. These cheap, near the boards incidents occur not only in the NHL, but at the youth level as well. Kids don’t start checking until the bantam level, which I think is too late. Junior High-aged kids get to check for the first time? Trouble!
I have gone in many directions here, but the bottom line is the players need to respect other players. There’s a reason why players shake hands after games, it’s to show respect. Players need to quit playing and acting so reckless and respect the great game of hockey. I HATE having to write negative things about my favorite sport, but felt a need to at this time.
Was today the final penalty box presentation of the season for your beloved 9-to-Noon show? If they come home for game six it's on a Saturday, which means the next opportunity would be in round two. After seeing what I saw today I desperately hope we are not done with this unique vibe, these Sounds of Hockey. I have done a bunch from the X this year and have loved every minute of it -- even last week when I ignited the "horn" and almost killed somebody working near the ceiling at said Puck Palace.
The Speedy 'Hawks are minus $180 to win tonite, which means they are a big favorites despite losing twice here this year. That's you putting up $180 to win the 702's $100 for a scoop of $280. Yep, it has come to that -- we were big underdogs into the series and are again tonite at the Puck Palace against an intense, talented team all my Elite Hockey Minds privately are predicting will play their best game of the series. So, LET'S PLAY!
I saw the final five minutes of game three, and they cannot tilt the ice anymore their way than during that span. They got a goal largely due to a faulty line change by us and tied a game they would lose in OT. Save the bogus change we staved that challenge quite nicely, and may have a chance to win tonite with JASON POMINVILLE, who went through a rigorous morning skate that included NATE PROSSER mashing him into the glass in front of the radio show, and the shoves were almost game-like.
Seriously, Pominville went hard this morning, and I hope he plays tonite. Even if he helps on the PP and skates a little with the fourth line it would be a boost to our chances against these supposed '27 Yankees and the crowd would love it. Shoot, we gave up a ton to watch him operate this time of the year and it would be a treat to get it tonite. And he's a good PP guy and we are the only playoff teamssans a power-play tally.
The rest of the guys were very loose and focused and the morning skate was professional and effective. RYAN SUTER acts like a machine not a human and really stuck out to me this morning with the jump he had in his step. The guy plays at least half the game these days and just never stops trying. His work on JONATHAN TOEWS all series has been a thing of beauty.
I am attending this evening's game -- I know, YOU ARE HAPPY FOR ME! -- and the team has won eight consecutive over the last three years with me in the building. I plan on bringing that Love Covenant Karma the way of the X tonite and am expecting the squad to play very well. Win this thing and it's anybody's series because the favorites might start tripping a bit and remembering first-round exits from days gone by and massaging the ego of a goalie who is becoming as wobbly as my Derby predictions.