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The Gearhead: An Interview With TPS Hockey’s Goalie Guru

By George James Malik

My day at TPS Hockey’s headquarters in Wallaceburg, ON included a teleconference with TPS’s goalie pad design guru, Dave Wilcox.  He and I spoke at length about goaltending equipment and design until everybody left the room, and then we really talked about how goaltenders are smarter, better, and saner than everybody else.

Okay, okay, so not all of that is true, but those pesky skaters did leave the room because there’s one truth that’s undeniable: goalies are definitely the pickiest, most finicky hockey players in terms of their equipment preferences. 

As such, I’d like to introduce myself as a goalie with a dirty little secret.  I actually started out playing hockey as a late-blooming 13-year-old forward.  I loved scoring goals and making deft passes in traffic, but a 13-year-old who’s built like Shawn Burr tends to find himself pigeonholed into a particular role—pushing people around.  When big guys start to analyze how to push people around more effectively, and how to intimidate with a slash here and a cross-check there, the forwards and defencemen who tire of welts and bruises tell that big, vicious guy, “Would you mind filling in for our goalie, please?”

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High Praise

from Scott Burnside at ESPN,

We are all about giving praise when praise is due, and that includes the NHL’s improved ad campaign.
And after last season’s Art of War ad campaign, which seemed more like a men’s cologne ad gone bad, this season’s television campaign featuring stars like Joe Thornton, Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier and Alexander Ovechkin are must-sees by comparison. And we’re not the only ones who think so.

read on.. plus teams dealing with injuries…

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The Gearhead: TPS Hockey And The Art Of Stick-Making

By George James Malik

Charlie had the Chocolate Factory, and Ralphie had his Red Ryder bb gun.  Me, I’m a hockey gearhead.  I’ve handled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sticks, gloves, skates, pads, and goalie gear over the last fifteen years, and I was recently given my Gearhead Experience of a Lifetime as TPS Hockey opened the doors of its Wallaceburg, ON factory to me.  TPS graciously opened its doors and gave me an all-access pass to their stick-making facility, and there’s only one word to describe it—AWESOME!

When I parked my Pacifica in a suburban business park in Oakland County and shook hands with Mr. Graham Watson, TPS’s tremendous TPS Sales Representative for the Detroit area, I was almost immediately given a piece of advice that I must emphasize from the get go: “These days, everybody makes good gear.”

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A Big-Picture Assessment

from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet:

Through the years the National Hockey League (particularly the NHL commissioners) has always had a catch phrase, the hockey equivalent to a politician’s stump speech.

Gary Bettman, who appears destined to outlast them all, is fond of buying time with the tried and true: “Don’t take a snapshot, look at the big picture,” a device that has bought more time than the legend of Santa Claus.
We here at Sportsnet.ca have our own favorite phrase, it’s “bullspit”, or a word to that effect. We find it remarkably effective at cutting through the various spin cycles so common to hockey as a business. With that particular word in mind, we take a hard and clear look at the NHL at the halfway point of the season and even beyond.
To do so we break things down into three parts: the league as a business; the teams themselves; and a handful of key individuals. The goal is to give you a state of the NHL on and off the ice and despite what you hear, see and are told by a variety of spin masters. In many cases it’s simply somewhere in between.

much more


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Conspiracy Theory- All Star Edition

from James Mirtle,

In case you’ve missed the news, there’s just a wee bit of controversy over the final ballot totals in the case of the Rory Fitzpatrick business. As in, some appear to be missing.


The comment from snafu in the Mirtle post is perfect…

Who fudged the numbers here? If there are a few fans smart enough to figure out how to set up bots to cast repeated votes, and to tie up the interface so others can’t get in, who’s fudging here?

added 10:22am, The Ice Block- How To Prevent This From Happening Again…

added 3:41pm, from the Globe and Mail,

National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said via email this afternoon that measures were taken in the beginning to ensure against tampering with the all-star balloting system:
“There were no changes made to the vote counting process at any point in time from the start of the voting to the end,” Daly said. “But there were procedures and safeguards in place from the start to prevent automated or other fraudulent voting methods.”

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Sabres Have Holes

fromm Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,

The Sabres have played the game on and off the ice almost perfectly. But in an environment in which it appears difficult to make deals, Regier has to make something happen this year before the deadline.
Maybe it means finally moving Biron, last night’s losing netminder who wears an unpainted mask as though he’s awaiting new team colours elsewhere.
But standing still, Connolly or no Connolly, just doesn’t seem a viable option for a team that seems so very, very close. Again.


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Here’s A First

Brett Hull appearing on “Today” this morning, promoting the game…
Hull in goal, ha!!!


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Trade Talk

Make sure to check out Spector today- Forsberg talk and Rangers looking for offense…

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Classless Flyer Fans

via the Montreal Gazette,

Eric Desjardins, who retired at the end of last season, was honoured in a brief ceremony before last night’s game.
Desjardins, who was part of the Canadiens’ last Stanley Cup-winning team in 1993, included the Canadiens in the celebration. He thanked former general manager Serge Savard for having faith in him and drafting him in 1988, and also thanked former head coaches Jacques Demers and Pat Burns, along with longtime defence coach Jacques Laperriere. When it came time to talk about his former teammates, he described Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau and Patrick Roy as “great leaders.”...
The only discordant note was supplied by the Philadelphia fans, whose bad manners are legendary. The folks who once booed Santa Claus, showered Desjardins with catcalls when he mentioned the Canadiens and again when he acknowledged his years in Montreal with a short message in French.


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Where Are The Nashville Fans

from the Tennessean,

...And Leipold would have to exercise an option that would activate the 14,000 Or Bust provision for next season before there would be any real chance of moving the team.
“That’s not anywhere on our radar right now,” Leipold said.
Let’s be clear here: Far be it from me to tell the Average Joe how to spend his disposable income. If hockey factors in, fine. If not, hey, it’s your money.
Likewise, I’ll keep my nose out of the budgets of area businesspeople. The boss knows whether purchasing tickets is good for the bottom line.
But we no longer can ignore the fact that empty seats equal an empty feeling about the future of the NHL in Nashville.


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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com


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