Last night, Jean Béliveau ("le Gros Bill"), former Montreal Canadiens captain and winner of 10 Stanley Cups, passed away at age 83. Noted for both his skill on the ice and his gentlemanly conduct off it, he had 507 goals and 712 assists over a 20 year career, all with Montreal. Rare is the talent so great that a sports franchise would buy an entire league to secure his services. Jean Béliveau of the Montreal Canadiens was such a talent. [more inside]
Ex-Maple Leaf coach Pat Quinn dead at 71 [Toronto Star]
"Former Toronto Maple Leaf coach and general manager Pat Quinn has died at the age of 71. Quinn died Sunday night in Vancouver after a lengthy illness, the Hockey Hall of Fame and Vancouver Giants said Monday. Quinn, who was co-owner of the WHL’s Giants, was 71.
You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy [more inside]
The Worst NHL Hockey Jerseys Dave Delisle, designer of Geeky Jerseys, excoriates the NHL designers for such monstrosities as the Buffaslug and the Islanders Fishsticks (it really is an uncanny resemblance).
Tonight is the 35th Anniversary of one the most famous chants in American Sports. On Feb 25, 1979, Denis Potvin, NHL Hall-of-Famer, 5 time Stanley Cup Champion, and Captain of the New York Islanders laid a hard check on New York Rangers forward Ulf Nilsson. That hit effectively ended Nilsson's career, and made Potvin the target of unending abuse from Ranger fans. Rangers fans have never forgotten nor forgiven Potvin. To this day, regardless of which team the Rangers are playing that night, if someone whistle's the first few bars of "Let's Go Band," all of Madison Square Garden will erupt in a chant of "Potvin Sucks!"
How much do hockey players love Christmas? A lot. They love trying and failing to name Santa's reindeer. They love trying to define what is and is not a carol versus a song. They love reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to small children. They even love singing original Christmas songs that rhyme "take for granted" with "less-advantaged" (or at least holding signs while Igor Larionov's daughters sing).
However, what they love more than anything is singing a whole album's worth of hockey-themed Christmas carols like the 2011 Chicago Blackhawks.
However, what they love more than anything is singing a whole album's worth of hockey-themed Christmas carols like the 2011 Chicago Blackhawks.
In a deal worth $5.2-billion, Canadian media conglomerate Rogers has obtained broadcasting rights to NHL games across Canada for the next 12 years. While the NHL and its players appear to come out winners, the deal is a blow to Canada's other media conglomerate Bell, whose sports network TSN has lost all national NHL programming just five years after winning the rights to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song from public broadcaster CBC, home to HNIC for over 60 years. As for the CBC, they will retain rights to broadcast games for four years in what president Hubert Lacroix described as a "partnership" where they will pay nothing, make nothing, and have no control over content. Considering HNIC is the only CBC English-language programming that consistently places in Canada's top 25 English TV shows and allegedly brings in up to 50% of its ad revenue and 30% of its audience, speculation regarding the future of a hockey-free CBC, last brought up during last year's NHL lock-up, abounds, with many characterizing it as a crisitunity for a clueless and complacent corporation.
Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth discusses poorly designed sports team logos throughout history.
Kings and Sharks Dance Offs started when both teams first met in the playoffs. It took over the series talk thread and Game Day Threads until it got it's own thread. Since then, it has become a tradition.
The National Hockey League Players' Association and the National Hockey League recently advanced their commitment to make the NHL the most inclusive professional sports league in the world by teaming up with the You Can Play Project (previously), an advocacy organization fighting homophobia in sports. The organization was created by Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke in memory of his brother, Brendan Burke. Less than a year after it was created, You Can Play has addressed some recent instances of homophobic comments from professional athletes in the US. They also have put together a number of videos, presented on their YouTube channel, or on the You Can Play website.
The You Can Play project was created by GForce sports, former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, and his son Patrick Burke to ensure that LGBT athletes have equal opportunity in professional hockey. [more inside]
Torontoist has named their 2012 Advocacy heroes, including Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke for his work supporting GLBT rights in memory of his son Brendan (Previously) and the AHL's Toronto Marlies, the first professional sports team to pledge their support for teammates, coaches, and fans of all orientations.
Yesterday was Day 80 of the NHL lockout, with the situation looking pretty grim after a failed intervention by US federal mediators. Then on Monday, WBZ-TV Boston's Steve Burton surprised everyone by leading off his segment with this bombshell. Tuesday, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Union Director Don Fehr took the unusual tactic of stepping back to allow owners and players to negotiate directly. With the annual Board of Governors meeting happening Wednesday and a press conference scheduled afterwards, NHL insiders across twitter are expressing cautious optimism that the puck will soon be dropped.
With the NHL locked out for the foreseeable future, the Montreal Gazette has decided to cover Canadiens games simulated on EA Sports NHL '13 as if they were real games.
"When global warming was recast as "climate change," that was Frank Luntz. When the estate tax became a "death tax," that was Frank Luntz. When the Affordable Health Care for America Act was held up as "a government takeover," that was Frank Luntz, too." How A Top GOP Strategist Is Helping Hockey Owners Craft Their Lockout Propaganda [more inside]
"Another cold steel summer for Brian Gionta, freelance solution to some of his government's more pressing problems."
Now that the NHL Lockout is fully upon us, some have wondered what NHL fans should do with their unmoored fandom. They have missed a greater conundrum: what are the listless captains of the NHL going to do with their pent-up energies? The Classical's Chris Collision has delved into the lockout activities of every NHL captain, from Jonathan Toews's train nightmares to Shane Doan's fedora delivery service and Joetho Rnton's abdication of his rule of the Gatlatian Smatet: Part 1, Part 2.
From Paul Lukas of Uni Watch, a list of the 25 best uniforms in the four major North American professional sports. [more inside]
The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup on Monday night. This morning, a local radio station (KSPN 710 AM) had on the team's hall-of-fame announcer Bob Miller to be interviewed and take calls. A certain special caller turned out to be another hall-of-famer -- long-time Los Angeles Dodgers baseball announcer, Vin Scully, who has been with his team for over 60 years. The audio is special. [more inside]
Wil Wheaton celebrates the LA Kings first ever Stanley Cup victory (SLYT). There is kazoo.
I've been dreading this day since I became manager in 1997," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. This day, today, Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the game of professional hockey after 20 NHL seasons. Lidstrom is considered to be one of the best defenseman ever to play the game. [more inside]
One of only two American players on the 2010/2011 Boston Bruins team, goaltender Tim Thomas skipped a White House event to honor the team's Stanley Cup championship victory for political reasons. Reactions have been numerous and mixed.
Jarome Iginla, the first black captain of an NHL hockey team, has scored his 500th career goal during a game against the Minnesota Wild.
The NYT has published a three-part series on the life of late hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died earlier this year at age 28 of a drug and alcohol overdose. [more inside]
A charter plane carrying the entirety of the KHL Lokomotiv hockey team crashed upon takeoff, killing 43. Several of the players were former NHLers, including the coach, Canadian-born Brad McCrimmon (formerly a Red Wings player and assistant coach), Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Karls Skrastins, and Olympic Gold-winning goalie Stephan Liv of Sweden. This tragedy further mars an offseason where 3 current or retired NHL players died suddenly. [more inside]
Heritage Documentation Programs is part of the National Park service and administers the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) - the United States government's oldest historic preservation program - Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) and Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) [more inside]
The search for the puck that scored the Stanley Cup winning goal last year (previously) finds new hard evidence that linesman Steve Miller picked it up. The hall of fame is calling for changes to ensure this doesn't happen again. And as two storied franchises fight for their first Cups in quit a while, Steve Miller is on the ice again, a linesman for games 1 and 3 of the finals so far.
In 1995, the NHL's Winnipeg Jets were officially sold to an investment group in Pheonix, Arizona, despite community outrage and a last minute fan rally. [more inside]
Brian Burke is tormented by how much terror you can squeeze into ten seconds. Ten seconds in a car careening into oncoming traffic on a stretch of Indiana highway just shy of the Ohio border. Ten seconds sailing sideways through sheets of falling snow, straight at a reinforced truck. Ten seconds with the same unthinkable ending every time. [more inside]
100 million just doesn't get what it used to... Ilya Kovalchuk becomes the poster boy for irony in the NHL. [more inside]
The NHL, the way it was meant to be seen: "Relive the Pittsburgh Penguins 1991 Stanley Cup Finals clinching game 6 victory in a dramatic reenactment through a pixelated prism. All the goals, the calls by Mike Lange, and the Stanley Cup celebration are replicated in this 18 minute video of game play action. The broadcast audio is of the actual game, synchronized to the heroics of sprite based hall of famers like Mario Lemieux, Joe Mullen, Paul Coffey, Bryan Trottier, and the rest of the full team rosters." (Takes a minute or so for the action to really get started.)
Sports Business Journal has a detailed look behind the buzz over "The Emperor’s New Clothes: How ESPN’s Multi-Platform Strategy Hasn’t Improved Ratings," a sharply critical PowerPoint presentation making the rounds of sports league offices and advertising buyers in recent months. A good read for folks interested in the business of sports, decreasing TV ratings for many leagues, the blurriness of the ad/news line and the difficulty of measuring eyeballs across media. [via Romenesko]
Goalie Masks of the NHL - A series of photos showing an amazing amount of personal self-expression and art on these professional athletes.
When Sports Fans Go Mad. Just in time for your NCAA Final Four weekend: a celebration of sports fans' best and worst pranks, taunts, and hijinks. This ain't no Brady Bunch episode. Some require the skills of a tattoo artist. Some are confusing. Some are about public humiliation. This one, however, really takes the cake.
One of the worst and best hockey plays you will ever see - all within fourteen seconds. Former first overall pick, Patrik Stefan of the NHL's Dallas Stars, gets an open shot at an empty net with fourteen seconds left in the game...and misses. The Edmonton Oilers regain control of the puck, make a long pass down the length of the ice and score to tie the game with two seconds left!
NHL Academy. Become an NHL star at home, at your own pace. [flash + sound ]
Welcome back NHL. Today marks the first day since June 7th, 2004 that an NHL hockey game has been played. Much has changed since then: team lineups, goalie equipment, even the painted lines on the ice. There is plenty of hype this year with phenom Sydney Crosby on the ice, The Great One behind the bench, and SHOOTOUTS!. Will the fans come back, and can the NHL live up to the hype?
Lightning begin their Stanley Cup Defense During the lockout and cancelled season, a Tampa Tribune sports writer has been using a popular hockey simulation game to play out the 2004-2005 season, and has been covering each game as if it were real. Yesterday the SimBolts took a 2-0 lead in their first round match, on the strength of Ruslan Fedotenko's hat trick. Final standings and league leaders. ¶ The Virtual Ottawa Senators have a 2-0 lead over the SimLeafs. I'll be checking back to see faux Ottawa choke.
Bill Barilko immortalized by The Hip in the song Fifty Mission Cap won the cup for the leafs in 1951. Later that summer, he disappeared in a plane crash north of Cochrane, Ontario. In an ironic twist of fate, the Maple Leafs did not win another Stanley Cup until 1962, the same year that his remains were finally found. Now, The body of a former NHL first-round draft pick who disappeared in Austria almost 14 years ago has been found frozen in the Alps. Someone tell Gord, maybe he can get a new song out of this.
Oh Yes! Hockey season is here again. Came across a few good Blogs with a hockey theme. The Hockey Pundits, Goalie Girl, Puck Hog, Off Wing, Puck Update
The Best Investigative Reporter You've Never Heard Of died Wednesday from a rare blood disease he picked up reporting in the slums of Bombay. Robert Friedman was beaten by religious zealots after writing about Rabbi Meir Kahane, had a contract taken out on his life after writing about "The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World" and got a Valentine's card threatening rape and murder after writing about Russian organized crime links to the NHL. This December article about the Israel/Palestine situation, which may be the last piece he wrote, is detailed, balanced and yet pulls no punches -- a good example of his hard-hitting style. His death leaves a gaping hole in journalism.
The Stanley Cup finals -- a perfect time to reflect on what we know about the extortion of former Eastern bloc players in the NHL by Russian organized crime groups. A 1999 Frontline/Fifth Estate joint investigation lays it out nicely, including an eye-opening interview with a U.S. sports marketer who was run out of the Russian hockey world by mob greed. Also check the story of investigative reporter Robert I. Friedman, author of the alarming (some say alarmist) book Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America, the subject of a detailed eXile review here.
13-year-old girl dies after being hit by puck at Blue Jackets' game: A 13-year-old girl died after being hit in the head by a puck that was shot over the glass and caromed off another fan at an NHL game. Brittanie Cecil died Monday night, two days after she was hurt at the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames, Children's Hospital said. It was believed to be the first death of a fan hit by a puck at an NHL game.