Oh, this isn’t fair.
Your husband’s grandfather played for the 1937-38 Chicago Black Hawks, and won the Stanley Cup, and hung onto the jersey, and passed it down in the family, and it’s in great condition, and now you’re on Antiques Roadshow, and the appraiser has never seen an NHL jersey from that era before?
Sigh. I’ll give you $100 for the jersey.
Another pro-fighting gauntlet was laid today by an active NHL enforcer. I figured his argument was worth examining. Maybe he would cover some new ground in this era of Rule 48 videos and a heightened cultural sensitivity toward concussions.
We here at AllPuck like to dignify the experience of playing hockey with complete sentences and words of praise. (Usually.) In reality, tough love and four-letter words are a more common linguistic currency in the locker room. Occasionally that tough love spills onto the practice rink. And, even more rarely, there’s a camera rolling to capture all that tough love in its crude glory.
So it was at Minnesota Wild practice today. Here’s head coach Mike Yeo:
When Cal Ripken Jr. played his 2,131st consecutive baseball game for the Baltimore Orioles in 1995, the sitting President and Vice President of the United States were on hand to watch. Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis performed the National Anthem. Drop the number “2131” in Baltimore and many Orioles fans still understand the reference.
When Doug Jarvis played his 915th consecutive hockey game for the Hartford Whalers in 1986, he received a standing ovation from the fans at the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum. There could not have been more than 15,126 fans cheering, because the building could not accommodate more than 15,126 fans. Drop the number “915” in Hartford and it might accurately reference the number of Whalers fans still living in Hartford, since the team hasn’t existed in 17 years.
Doug Jarvis? Who’s that?
The headline of an article published on Boston.com today asks, “Why Are We So Mum On The NHL’s Response To Domestic Violence?”
The question grabbed me a bit more than usual. Just last night I took 15 minutes out of my evening to discuss the NHL’s response to domestic violence with Norm Rumack on SiriusXM Canada.
But hey, maybe I was missing something.
Turns out I was not.
To begin with, it’s a flawed question. Some of us are discussing the topic — on a radio station with more than 1.8 million subscribers at last count.
That might be a smaller audience than most Ray Rice-related dialogue, and the second paragraph of the story asks, “why aren’t we talking more about this”?
Editor’s Note: This is the second of two pieces hypothesizing what might have happened if the 2004-05 season hadn’t been cancelled.
It is September 2004. NHL training camps have opened for business. The surprising Tampa Bay Lightning are the defending champions. Hope springs eternal across Canada, where the national Stanley Cup drought has reached a seemingly interminable ten seasons. Across the Detroit river, the Red Wings are looking strong. That’s been the case most years of late — every year from 1996 to 2000 the Wings either won the Cup or were eliminated by the Avalanche — but no, this season is special.
A miraculous 11th-hour bargaining session allowed the NHL to avoid a work stoppage, ensuring a full 82-game season. The miracle was in the details. The players’ union agreed to an unprecedented salary-cap structure, taking a small step toward achieving competitive balance among markets large and small. The owners agreed to tweak the rules to improve the style and speed of the game. The era of so-called “clutch and grab” hockey is dead. Speedy skaters can speed without fear of mutilation at the hands of gargantuan defenders. The game is faster and more exciting. More scoring could be in store.
What transpires is only partly predictable.
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Greetings from Anaheim. It’s a new day here.
Literally, it just turned midnight. Figuratively, there was an important shift in the hockey-in-California narrative just now.
For the seventh time in the last nine years, a team from California will play in the Western Conference finals. The Kings are in for the third straight year, a streak that began with their 2012 run to the Cup. The Sharks came up on the short end of the conference finals in 2010 and 2011. The Ducks lost to Edmonton in five games in 2006, then beat the Detroit Red Wings in six games in 2007 en route to their first and only Cup.
Seven out of nine ain’t bad for a state that can never claim to be home to an Original Six franchise. Consider this: The last time a team from California wasn’t in the conference final, Rob Ford was a city councillor from Etobicoke and “The Hangover” was a few weeks away from its big-screen release.1
So, back to the shifting narratives.
In case you missed it, the Kings eliminated the Ducks in a 6-2 Game 7 victory. Here’s how the final seconds of that game played out:
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I was talking to a former NHL executive Wednesday afternoon about mascots. We tossed around the question of where to draw the line between a mascot and a character. What separates the woman dressed up as Snow White at Disneyworld from the Leprechaun at Notre Dame? Are they mascots or characters? What about the Atlanta Braves’ Chief Noc-A-Homa?
Somehow the Spanish word for “pets,” mascotas, entered the discussion, and that rekindled my gut feeling about what a mascot should be: Furry and non-human. But that’s just my opinion. A team doesn’t need a mascot, though they are always popular with the kids. I once covered a minor-league hockey team that had three mascots, turning each game into a Disneyland-type experience and proving that a team can have too many. In the NHL, the Stars, Oilers, Rangers and Flyers have zero mascots. That might be too few.
At the bare minimum a team could use a nickname, which brings us to the curious case of the University of North Dakota. Officially, UND is just UND. No nickname. Its logo is an interlocking ND, similar to the more famous University of Notre Dame logo. In 2005 the NCAA decided the nickname in use at UND since 1930 — the Sioux (since the 1960s, the “Fighting Sioux”) — was “hostile and abusive.” In June 2012, state voters collectively banned the nickname, and the accompanying mascot and logo, at the polls. A few days later, the state’s Board of Higher Education officially banished the Sioux nickname to the history books. The university is prohibited from adopting a new team name until 2015.
There is such a thing as the Paralympic Torch. Like most things concerning the Paralympics, you probably didn’t know that.
That’s OK. The flame symbolizes something bigger, and that’s something you should know about.
Fame and corporate sponsorships and Wheaties box covers are hard to come by for Paralympians. Bob Costas will not summarize their exploits every night on network television. A Paralympian’s flame – his internal, burning passion for sport and country – isn’t on display throughout the months leading up to the Games, which will be renewed today in Sochi, Russia.
Yet the flame is there, literally and figuratively, which makes it a story worth telling.
For Taylor Lipsett, the flame was lit at a grapefruit store in Mesquite, Texas.
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