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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.
This time next week I fully expect Our Favorite Football Team to be 1-and-0. That's not from the Purple-loving heart, that's from the head. I know it's a road game and I know they love their new toy REGGIE BUSH, but I truly expect our passing game to be eye-popping and our defense punishing.
When I compose in this spot next Sunday I am expecting to write about two ADRIAN PETERSON long-ass runs (one for a TD) and two TDs from the arm of CHRISTIAN PONDER. One of the scores will go to KYLE RUDOLPH -- his first of a predicted 12 this year -- and one to JEROME SIMPSON, which will be his first in our colors. Add a BLAIR WALSH FG into the mix and we will win something like 31-20. Seriously, I ain't joking. We will win this game and finish 11-and-5 this year.
I already am loving the JARED ALLEN-REILLY REIFF matchup. I know Bush and MEGATRON will be difficult to slow, but I cannot remmeber the last time Calvin scored against us. LESLIE has done really well versus Calvin Johnson over the years, and next week should be no different.
How freaking great is this? We are a week from a Vikings game and what I hope is a very prosperous season. I love that we supposedly claimed cut OT J'MARCUS WEBB, a Bear who started 44 games. He at times was a liability for Chicago but as a back-up for us will do just fine. I have mentiioned repeatedly the last month how badly we need a back-up OT and got one. Well done by the GM.
No real surprises to me with the cuts. I nailed the LB depth chart with my predictions, and that was the toughest grouping to peg. We have good depth there and I am excited to see GREENWAY splash more and for DESMOND BISHOP to blow up the adversary.
I preached here, on the radio and via Twitter I didn't think it made sense for a run-first team to keep six receivers, and we didn't given STEPHEN BURTON was cut (signed with the Jags today). JOE WEBB beat hom out of that spot because Joe has more upside and was markedly better on special teams. Joe and MIKE MAUTI were huge reasons MARCUS SHERELS got loose on that 109-yard KR TD. Good for Joe, one of the good guys.
Defensively, JOSH ROBINSON will have to improve to hold the third-CB spot. His angles and tackling this preseason were shoddy at times, but I think he'll be okay in pass coverage. Not sure if they made a play for WINFIELD, who was cut by the Seahawks and subsequently retired. My guess is the GM was cool with what we have.
Need to get the rookie punter squared away for the holds on FGs. Blair Walsh already may be the best overall K in the NFL. Those things were a tad pear-shaped this preseason, and we will be in a bunch of close games.
Vikings season has arrived and for many of us it's a terrific diversion for everyday life. Enjoy the ride!