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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 Vikings found a way today to win the take-give battle (3-2), score a kick-return TD (CORDARRELLE PATTERSON from 105 to open the game) and a defensive TD (BRIAN ROBISON'S first of his career on a FR following a JARED ALLEN strip sack) and lose the game. I am guessing that might be the first time in NFL history that happened. We'll investigate with a chance for a listener to win a prize tomorrow.
The team is 0-and-2 and I feel will win its next three (Cleveland, Pitt. in London, Carolina at MOA Field) to improve to 3-and-2. I saw some things today versus an undefeated team that are enouraging, even if the winless bunch still has tons of work to do to become a playoff team. Plenty to dissect tomorrow #92Noon but here are some starters:
THE GOOD: I loved CHRISTIAN PONDER'S second half. He went 10-for-16 for 146 yards, ran in confident fashion and used RUDOLPH and JENNINGS for big-spot plays. His INT TD in the first half to TIM JENNINGS changed the game, and I am not sure what to feel about that. Christian took full blame after the game but I was hearing WR JEROME SIMPSON ran the wrong route and was supposed to stop and come back. Not sure what to believe but my sources for the intel are pretty credible.
Ponder needs to parlay his second half of positivity into a complete game Sunday against Cleveland. I truly believe he performed very well during the second half of the loss, and after the game CHARLES "PEANUT" TILLMAN told SEAN JENSEN of the Pioneer Press: "My respect level has gone up tremendously for Ponder," Bears Pro Bowl cornerback Tillman said. "He did some great things out there. He made some plays with his feet."
There's more to share tomorrow.
WHAT BUGGED ME: Our choice of plays/approach with three minutes and change to go in the game, up three and first and goal from Chicago's six. We ran for two, passed to Rudolph in the end zone and missed and ran for zero. Then we kicked a FG for a six-point lead.
During the span Chicago used two of its three timeouts and I said during the call I was hoping the team would go for it on fourth and goal from the four. If we nab a TD we most likely win the game, if we get stopped the Bears would have to march like 70 for a potential game-tying FG or like 96 yards to win it and would have to do sans time outs.
We were 2-for-2 on fourth-down conversions and very much wanted us to impose our will on Chicago in a place we never win (1-and-10 the last 11 at Soldeir Field). Instead, we nailed the FG and opened a six-point lead then lost after CUTLER led the team on a game-winning drive.
They closed it on a Cutler to MARTELLUS BENNETT TD, and the TE beat CB CHRIS COOK front left of the end zone. Cook also let BRANDON MARSHALL get behind him for a long first-half score and now has allowed three TDs through two games. Chris still has zero interceptions, FFs or FRs in his career and as our most experienced CB has to play better.
Teams who start 0-and-2 are 12 percent to make the postseason over like the last 15 years and none have done it in five years. The 2008 Vikings were the last team to do it, so let's hope history repeats itself. I still believe it will.