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Every major sport in North America has stubborn traditionalists in its media ranks. ESPN’s Joe Morgan seems to honestly believe that the Golden Age of Baseball ended the day he retired, and much of what has come since is an insult to the game or “not the way the game is supposed to be played.” In both his MLB and NFL coverage, Joe Buck often engages in embarrassing, maudlin displays of orthodoxy, most famously his ridiculous overreaction to the Randy Moss touchdown celebration against the Green Bay Packers in the 2005 playoffs.
While these traditionalists can be infuriating, you never get the sense that they are indicting a specific group of people, but rather the natural (or, in their eyes, unnatural) progression of the sport. In other words, Joe Morgan doesn’t think baseball has become tarnished due to, say, the influx of Latin and Asian players; he’s just an egotistical jerk who thinks his generation was the greatest and will not accept otherwise. Joe Buck’s issue with the Randy Moss touchdown dance wasn’t that Moss represents the black, urban “gansterization” of football; he’s just an easily offended prude who probably gets uncomfortable around nude sculptures in art museums.
But much of the traditionalism, if you can call it that, emanating from the Canadian hockey media lately carries with it a not-so-subtle implication—that Europeans are not only what’s wrong with the sport, but they are, by nature of their place of birth, inferior to Canadians.
What’s truly shocking is not so much that this undercurrent of xenophobia exists in the Canadian media—because it has for a long time now—but that so many people seem to think it’s a legitimate, defensible position or, at the very least, chalk it up to simply being a lovable quirk of Canadian culture or a byproduct of their passion for the game.
I suppose it would be even more troubling if it wasn’t so pathetically transparent. One need only look at the top five scoring leaders or the three Hart finalists this year to understand the root of this growing anti-European sentiment. Since gaining a foothold in the league, there’s a reason the treatment of European players in Canada has gone from leery non-acceptance to near outright hostility. And it doesn’t have anything to do with “heart” or “toughness” or whatever easily leveled, stereotypical charge you can throw at them. Anyone who understands the psychology of fear can see those charges for the red herrings they are.
The real reason behind this growing hostility, of course, is that Canadians can see their death grip on worldwide hockey dominance slipping away. In truth, it might be already gone. If you look at the probable rosters for Vancouver in 2010…well…let’s just say Canada likely won’t be the favorite on paper.
So remember how good the Wings’ hockey DJ used to be with player name tunes? Shanahan’s Jig. Wooley’s Wooley Bully tune; Now all I know is Cleary’s ‘I can see clearly now,’ Sunshiny Day tune, nice try but having lost a few players we need more.
Sure we have the “Hold Me” song for holding, “Get over it” when we’re trying to get over a bad goal, but I’m talking player-specific tunes.
I’m calling out the Kuklas Korner readership, soliciting clever ideas for future theme songs our trusty Wings DJ (Paul: Got his name?) should play for whenever a certain active player on our roster is worth noting for a goal, fight, over otherwise.
I’ll open the bidding:
Why aren’t they playing the Hossa Hossa Hossa Hossa! song?
Chris Chelios: “Old Man” by Neal Young : http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/neilyoung/oldman.html
Enver Lisin, a 2nd round pick of the Coyotes back in 2004, is supposed to be a part of the team’s future. He’s got a lot of speed, that’s for sure.
The problem? he’s been hurting his team in the present, a LOT.
Over the course of his short career, Lisin has played a season’s worth of games and has an atrocious +/- stat.
I know +/- can be a flawed stat for many reasons, but when it’s a rather large number in any direction, it generally says something about the player. In this case, it is obvious that Lisin is on the ice for many goals scored against, and it isn’t a one-season fluke.
One has to wonder just how much better off the Coyotes would have been if they had not played Lisin at all. He doesn’t put up a lot of points, and has obviously cost the Coyotes quite a few goals against with his inattention to his own end. It’s not like Lisin is going up against top lines like Samuel Pahlsson.
Checking out Behind the Net’s advanced stats, Lisin is right down near the bottom, with only Rod “The Bod” Brind’Amour and his awful season below him.
I’d have to say, without digging too deep, that Lisin is the worst defensive forward in the league, and would be better off in the AHL until he isn’t such a negative nelly.
There has been a lot of talk over the past few months about removing fighting from hockey. Let’s be honest, there are a few in the media who continuously bring this up at every opportunity that they can get. Unfortunately this season there have been two incidents in particular (the tragic death of Don Sanderson the result of a fight in the OHA and shortly thereafter a fight in the AHL that resulted in Garrett Klotz being taken off of the ice on a stretcher). This was fodder for the anti-fighting proponents in the media and in the NHL. Ever since it seems like you can’t go to TSN.ca without having to read an article that is anti-fighting or listening to a Versus/NBC telecast where one commentator completely rips a part the idea of fighting in hockey.
Despite what some might like you to believe—for example TSN continues to have headlines on their main page that would have you thinking that most fans want to get fighting out of the game. For example, a headline a few weeks back that indicated that “Majority Want Fighting Eliminated!”—However, when you read the article you see that the survey was conducted not just of hockey fans but amongst the general population of Canada. In fact the article even specified “68 per cent of NHL fans who follow the NHL closely say the gloves should continue to drop.” How can you run an article on the front of your website with such a misleading title? Why would anyone care what a typical Canadian thinks of fighting in hockey? Wouldn’t it seem obvious that the people who actually watch hockey, pay for season tickets, pay for individual games, pay for NHL apparel would be the one’s whose opinion would count? If 68% of NHL Fans are in favor if fighting—why is this even an issue?
Dear KK Readers,
My name is Jeremy Pellek and am a Senior at Bowling Green State University. In light of the current tough economic times, and lack of state funding, BGSU will experience a $6-10 million budget shortfall for this coming fiscal year. As it stands now, many part-time employees will be let go after the school year ends, but further cuts need to be made to negate this substantial loss of money. Recently, it has surfaced that one possible cut may come in the form of the varsity hockey program. While the hockey program has struggled on the ice the past decade, it remains rich in history and tradition, and provided the school with it’s only NCAA National Championship in 1984.
Bowling Green competes in the CCHA against the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, etc. It’s arena is considered one of the oldest and run down buildings in all of college hockey. As programs like Miami OH and Notre Dame have built new facilities, Bowling Green has fallen behind in terms of recruiting and winning teams. The university originally allotted money for arena renovations, but unfortunately this money has been taken off the table, while alumni donations for the Stroh Center, a new facility for the basketball programs have been collected.
Bowling Green’s hockey tradition includes current NHLers Rob Blake, Ken Klee, Kevin Bieksa, coaches Jerry York of Boston College, Ron Mason, former AD at Michigan State, and current coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins Dan Bylsma. Other notable alumni include Capitals GM George McPhee, play-by-play announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick, and Ken Morrow and Mark Wells from the Miracle on Ice team.
If you are on Facebook, we urge you to join the group created to save BGSU hockey.
Also, you are welcome to join the discussion on the BGSU fan board.
The loss of a national champion in college hockey will have very negative consequences for the sport. We encourage any and all hockey fans to help us keep college hockey alive at Bowling Green.
It’s been said for quite a while that the success of the Detroit Red Wings in the regular season is due to their beating-up of divisional opponents. While it’s historically been a weaker division, it’s actually become quite a bit stronger in recent seasons. As late as last year’s playoffs, we’d heard many broadcasters bring up the idea that the Wings pad their regular season points totals due to playing a weak division all season long, despite the fact that their record against their own division last season was far worse than their records against other divisions.
When the Wings won the Stanley Cup last year, it seemed to silence most about the subject. Still, a lot of writers’ season previews still had most Central teams missing the playoffs and staying in the bottom of the conference standings. However, what we’ve seen play out this year has been a drastic difference from years past: the Central division is arguably one of the, if not THE, strongest in the NHL. Here’s some data to support my thesis (as of the standings the morning of Saturday, March 7, 2009).
The following is a summary of all games played against divisons, with points earned, points earned per game, and percentage of possible points earned against the divisions. Note: all data includes only the records of OTHER divisions against the named division (e.g. the “Points Earned Against Central” are for the five other divisions, and do not include the Central division itself). To read this chart in plain English, take the column heading, append the division name and total, and prepend “For all other divisions combined”, to get something like this: “For all other divisions combined, their points earned against the Central division is a total of 242”.
Mats Sundin is coming back to town tomorrow. I have appreciated watching him play for the past 13 years here in Toronto, but I’m still booing the guy. As his final gesture to Toronto, he left, when he could have been the gift that kept on giving. Sundin could have brought in a boatload during last year’s trade deadline, but declined his waive his no-trade clause, knowing he was not going to return to TO. Had he waived his NTC, it could have sparked a wave of waving NTC’s from Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe, which would have brought in a number of players, including Jeff Carter. So rather than Sundin leaving on a good note, he left on a sour note, and that is the note that I would be singing to tomorrow night.
OK, so that’s not an option like firing the head coach is. I just wanted to feel like I belonged here, since the previous two blog posts were about firing someone.
However, there definitely is a problem in net for the Red Wings, as yesterday’s miserable performance showed once and for all. And it’s not going away. While the Red Wings have now finally stopped giving up quite so many shots a game, the Goal Against have stayed steady. And that points the finger then squarely at the goalies.
So what is Osgood’s problem? (I’m focusing on Osgood because Conklin, while not stellar, hasn’t been so terrible either).
#1, Osgood is not controlling rebounds.
We’ve seen some goals scored on him lately that involve crazy bounces, including a terrible one yesterday against Colorado. Ozzy is not playing it as safe as he needs to and is still trying to force things, that’s clear. He still needs to simplify his game some more and control those rebounds. He not a Hasek-twitch-reflex goalie and never has been, and it almost looks like that’s what he’s playing like as of late.
#2, Osgood is not 100% square on shots.
I’m not sure why this hasn’t been mentioned more, but he’s not getting good positioning on some of the shots. This is sometimes leading to the rebounds mentioned above, if not the puck just blowing by him outright. Again, simplicity… just get square. Going back to some fundamentals would help him immensely.
#3, Osgood, despite everything he says, is NOT relaxed out there.
Osgood’s best trait is his relaxed demeanor. Last season during the Cup run he never panicked, never looked frantic in net. This year, he looks both, and the rest of the team is feeding off it negatively. If he can get back to basics, the calmness will likely follow. But until then, he’s going to play and look like a wounded duck out there.
So what to do?
I’m not sure. Conklin is not the answer, that much is still clear. He’s a good backup… but not going to take the starting load and not consistent enough himself. Howard and Larsson aren’t ready for Cup runs either. With that in mind, as well as DET’s lack of cap space, I think at this point it’s safe to say that the Wings are going to ride Osgood, for better or worse, and hope that he can straighten himself out.
In the meantime, if you’re a Wings fan reach for the Pepto. You’re going to need it for at least a while yet….
Seriously, how long will it be till we see Michel Therrien fired? How many more excuses will we see? I saw the meltdown begin during Stanley Cup Finals calling the Wings cheaters with obstruction, diving, acting, and so on.
Yes he did coach the Pens to the SC Finals but now this is a different team with different players and you have to adjust. The excuses continued this season but last season it obviously worked. Michel has called out plenty of players and there were more excuses in interviews. Come on, when will you start coaching instead of making excuses and calling out your players.
After watching last night’s game against Toronto, I feel he needs to go. No more excuses after leading 2-0 and giving up 6 unanswered goals. If the playoffs started today; Therrien = FAIL. Hmmm maybe I need to make an excuse for writing this blog….
After the Canadiens’ fourth consecutive loss against the Oilers yesterday, it is clear that the Canadiens players don’t want to play for their coach anymore. They have lost nine of their past 11 games, during which they scored only 25 goals (2.27 GF per game) and surrendered an astounding 48 goals (4.36 GA per game).
The Habs have lost their last seven road games and have still four road games to go before returning home on Feb. 21 against Ottawa.
Carbonneau keeps juggling his lines like a Cirque du Soleil juggler, trying to find some chemistry among his players, but since they don’t play together for more than a few shifts, it’s hard to build chemistry.
Carbonneau doesn’t have a game plan. The Canadiens don’t fore-check, can’t make a good first pass, are unable to clear the front of the net, don’t finish their checks, and don’t win one-on-one battles. They clearly need to go back to basics; however, they don’t practice. Carbonneau prefers sending them to a bowling alley to hone their shooting skills.
The Canadiens are lucky to have registered that many points this season, because they’ve been sloppy most of the season, but they have been able to win some games because of their talent. The problem is that the farther we get into the season, the harder it is to win games without working, and the Canadiens don’t work. As soon as they get scored on, they stop hustling and playing hard; they simply give up.
When you give up, it means you don’t care, and that’s the job of the coach to make the players care, which is not happening right now.
I know that Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau are close friends, but it’s time to put an end to their working relationship, especially since Gainey can’t find a trading partner just yet because of the salary cap. We are still three weeks away from the deadline, and the Canadiens can’t afford to wait that long to make changes.
The Senators waited way too long before canning Craig Hartsburg, as I had predicted on Jan. 7, 2009 here > Hartsburg to be fired (Hartsburg was fired at the beginning of February).
GM Bob Gainey must make his move NOW! Time to put a veteran coach behind the bench—someone with extensive experience like Larry Robinson, Bob Hartley, or John Tortorella.
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