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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.
Hate placing a must-win tag on any team this early in the season, but if the Vikings don't win the home opener Sunday against Cleveland the whole thing might get ugly. Fans already are frustrated with the starting QB, the offensive approach, the perceived bad defensive calls at the end of the Chicago game and the fact the December of dominance it enjoyed last year is slow to go this season.
The Browns are averaging eight points a game and have scored one TD this year. Stud running back TRENT RICHARDSON is off to a non-descript start and averaged 3.2 YPC last game. They have gone against a couple of quality defenses in Miami and Baltimore and must look at the Vikings as a chance to break out. After all and for myriad reasons the Vikings are allowing 32 1/2 PPG and 440 YPG.
Too, their best WR JOSH GORDON debuts off suspension, and he had a quality preseason (nine catches, 23 YPR). These Browns might be looking at us as a chance to right the proverbial ship, and we absoliutely cannot permit that to happen.
Shoot, the Browns most likely will be sans their starting QB, too, and JASON CAMPBELL or BRIAN HOYER will get the call. This absolutely is a win, right? Our passing game clicked pretty well at Chicago (especially in the second half), and ADRIAN is coming off a 100-yard game. Peterson found the century mark on 26 carries, and my feeling is when he totes the ball 26 times that should be a 175-yard game or better. In fairness, Adrian slipped a couple of times I genuinely believe he was set to pop one, so that number could be a ton higher.
MVP has more yards through two games this year than he did last year and went for more than 2,000 yards in 2012. He absolutely still can bust ERIC DICKERSON'S single-season record, and I am curious to see what changes with the approach when Pro Bowl FB JEROME FELTON returns for the London game. They might go back to more run-heavy sets and just ride MVP to win after win. I hope that's not the case because JENNINGS and RUDOLPH are getting open plenty of times, and JEROME SIMPSON is off to a fast start.
From a running back standpoint we obviously have to do a better job Sunday against Richardson than we have the first two games. From REGGIE BUSH to JOIQUE BELL to MATT FORTE we have permitted 463 total yards to halfbacks, and that's just an awful number. Forte entered Sunday's game averaging 69 RYPG versus Minnesota and left almost cracking 100.
Bush beat us for almost 200 rushing and passing and came back last week at Arizona and amassed 69 total yards. The Cardinals placed a major focus on him, allowed MEGATRON to score two TDs and still found a way to win. We did a great job versus Johnson, but last game Forte had 161 total yards and BRANDON MARSHALL got loose for more than 100 yards and one. Tight end MARTELLUS BENNETT scored twice on us and Cleveland's TE JORDAN CAMERON is off to a wonderful start, averaging 102 YPG and has scored Cleveland's only TD.
This needs to be a total team effort to bounce back Sunday. The QB cannot miss guys wide open for big gains, Adrian needs to push the 150-yard rushing mark, rookie WR CORDARRELLE PATTERSON needs to play more than six plays, the defense needs to shut down Richardson and the coverage teams need to throttle Clevelands kick-return game. This just has to happen. Cleveland has some nice players on defense in PAUL KRUGER and JOE HADEN and is a tough, physical team.
I don't care if we grind out a 24-10 win or whatever, just win. The fan base desperately needs it because it is hurting and upset we already are 0-and-2 in the division. They want to leave a game feeling good about the team, kind of like it did last year after killing Houston and scoring the "win-and-in" against Green Bay. Copyright the lategreat AL DAVIS "Just win, baby!" No more of this "Just win, maybe?"