Friday, March 01, 2002

When a talentless puke suddenly forgets what he is here for: Gino Odjick has been suspended by the Montreal Canadians. (Montreal Gazette)
Thank God the NHL has no relegation: Mario Lemieux is so injured, he is done for the season. But ESPN asserts he will be able to play next season. Meanwhile, with Straka reinjured as well, the Penguins have no prayer to reach the playoffs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Lang gets it: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review asked Penguin Robert Lang if the NHL should expand ice rinks to Olympic size.

"It wouldn't help because the guys (referees) don't call anything here, that's how it is," Lang said. "I don't think it would make any difference. And somebody would study enough film to create something stupid to defend."

Lang offered a simpler remedy than tearing out high-buck seats to expand the playing area.

"You don't have to have a bigger surface if they called hooking and interference," he said. "You would have the same tempo in the NHL."
Rico Fata's road from fame to famine: Let's face it, the sixth overall pick by Calgary in the 1998 draft has sucked big time. Hockey's Future chronicles his pathetic story.

Panic time in the Big Smoke: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph broke his left hand Tuesday night and will be out 6-to-8 weeks. The number one netminder becomes Corey Schwab, whose last spin as a number one lasted only a few games in Tampa Bay, where he did a horrible job replacing an injured Darren Puppa. Look for the Leafs to make a deal for a goalie ASAP.
Theo, please go away: Happy-go-lucky days long past, Theo Fleury has become a real pain in the ass, and not just to play against. Now, he threatens to retire unless he gets more sympathy and respect from the referees (AP, Feb. 26).

Theo, please shut up before you embarass the rest of us along with yourself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Parallel hockey lives: Canada and Sweden:
For evidence of how one hockey game can alter the perception of a nation's hockey program, you need look no further than Sweden and Canada.

A little more than a week ago, after beating Canada 5-2 in the first game of the Olympics, Sweden was the toast of the international hockey community and Swedish journalists couldn't find adequate superlatives to describe their country's team.

Three games later, after a 4-3 loss to Belarus in the quarterfinals, Sweden's hockey program was under vicious scrutiny, and the players -- several of whom helped the country win a gold medal only eight years before -- were being so vilified in the national media that they were afraid to show their faces.

... Only four years ago, after Canada finished out of the medals in Nagano, there was coast-to-coast teeth-gnashing about the state of Canadian hockey.

Hockey summits were convened. Editorials thundered about the need for changes, and the management of the 1998 team, especially Bob Clarke and Pierre Gauthier, was being criticized as much as the Swedes are being criticized today.

One game changed that. (The Ottawa Citizen)

One plucky Swede plays on:
It appears the worry-free Salo has come through it OK, though you get the impression he may feel a bit less honour-bound the next time the call to duty comes. Like, for instance, if the Swedes were to invite him this spring to wear the Three Crowns for his fifth turn at a World Championship.

"Honestly, we'll see what happens," is all he said, offering hope that the Edmonton Oilers would still be playing and he wouldn't have to choose. (The Edmonton Journal)
Svehla to retire at 33 yrs of age! Chock up another disenchanted hockey player to the floundering Florida teams and to Iron Mike Keenan.

"I want to be honest with the Panthers because they've given me the chance to play in the NHL," Svehla said. "They brought me here without even seeing me play. I've loved playing here, so that's why my decision is to retire a Panther. I don't want to go anywhere else. This was my first team and it will be my last." The Florida Panthers' Svehla is calling it quits at the end of the season.
The la-dee-dah kum-bah-yah Olympics: "I am always amazed when I hear people saying that sport creates goodwill between nations, and that if only the common peoples of the world could meet one another at football or cricket, they would have no inclination to meet on the battlefield. Even if they didn't know from concrete examples (the 1936 Olympics, for instance) that international sporting contests lead to orgies of hatred, one could deduce it from general principles. . . . At the international level sport is frankly mimic warfare." - George Orwell, "The Sporting Spirit" (14 December 1945)

(Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan.)
Gretzky shoots his mouth off, again: This time, arguing in favor of NHL replication of some Olympic rules. The hurry-up faceoffs makes perfect sense and should be instituted next season. But making automatic icing would kill part of the game's excitement - the race for the puck.

Monday, February 25, 2002

Caption: Canada wins the Olympic men's hockey gold medal. Ain't it sweet?

Sunday, February 24, 2002

Today in hockey history: 1982 - Edmonton Oiler Wayne Gretzky scores his 77th goal of the season vs. Buffalo, surpassing Phil Esposito's record for most goals in a single season.