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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.
The ballad "Just Be My Lady" is sung by today's in-studio guest and my dear friend LARRY GRAHAM. He used to be the bass player for Sly and the Family Stone and still tours worldwide at age 67. He's the funkiest person you'll ever meet and revolutionized bass playing for all genres of music.
It was back in the late '60s when he was performing with Sly he started "slapping" his bass. The bass-slapping machinations used since by all bass players was invented by Larry. He invented a style of music; trip on that. No Casio, no covers, no videos about which to worry, just raw funk at its finest.
He is as spiritually sound as you will meet and has been instrumental to my personal life in terms of finding peace on a daily basis. I love that man and his family and what they stand for, and it will be the newest treat of a lifetime Monday night at Daktoa Jazz Club in Minneapolis to introduce him and his band Graham Central Station.
PRINCE most likely will be there and this could be an opportunity to meet one of my all-time favorite artists. I am excited for the opportunity and blessed to have Larry and his family in my life.
To sports ... the Indiana Pacers could not have botched that game-losing play end of game one of the ECF last night any worse. What a shame -- lead the heavily favored Heat the majority of the game, put D. WADE on a decent-not-great performance and lose because you freak out with the dinero on the line.
Two seconds and change remaining, Heat ball. LEBRON, the best in the game, gets open, surges to the basket and wins the sucker with a left-handed layup. It was a walk-off winner. This after THEGREAT PAUL GEORGE nails a threebie from 32 feet end of regulation to tie it. Then in OT PG hoists one up from three and is fouled. He makes all three with two seconds remaining to give Indiana a one-point lead.
Then the meltdown. The guy guarding the in-bounds pass didn't do well enough to divert a pass to James. George went to running at LBJ, who darted left and won the game. The weakside help from SAM YOUNG was non-existent, but he shouldn't have been in the game anyway. He subbed for C ROY HIBBERT, who inexplicibly was on the bench with the game on the line. Roy protects the rim with the best of them and should have been in the contest. Awful, awful coaching move by FRANK VOGEL, who is very good at what he does.
Frank's explanation was he (paraphrasing) wanted guys who were better switching off picks and stuff like that in at the end of the game. My Lord, Frank, there are two seconds left; there is not time for pick or picks. Roy is one of your best players and maybe the best center in the game. He needs to be on the floor with the game on the line.
Vogel also had Hibbert on the bench nearing the end of regulation and, funny, LBJ scooted to the hoop for a free basket then, too. Vogel did not learn from his mistake and I believe it cost Indiana the upset win.
Shoot, right when the ball comes in bounds to LBJ have Hibbert run from BOSH to LBJ and make him hit an off-balance jumper. Let Chris Bosh try to beat you from 20 with a wide-open jumper. Anything but single coverage on a man who is developing into the greatest player in NBA lore. Miami was beatable and will be beatable again. Next time the hope is the coach of the 'dog doesn't bleep it up like he did last night.