Friday, December 31, 2004

Desert Dogs on the block!

Some more ammunition about troubled times for Gary Bettman and the NHL owners club, as the Phoenix Coyotes have apparently very quietly been put up on the for sale market. Despite moving into a brand new home, the lack of hockey and some cash crunches with the current owners have the Desert Dogs looking for someone else to hold the leash.

A remote location for the new rink, a lack of development of the area and the absence of a product have all seemingly taken their toll on the team that used to call Winnipeg its home.

While it's doubtful that the team will be leaving the Desert, it would be a great sense of irony if the only location that would welcome the Dogs is their old home of Winnipeg, a place with a brand new downtown arena that by all accounts has been far better received by the population than the Desert ice palace has.

They're not smug people on the flatlands, but we'd forgive them a wee smile today at the travails of the team that once called the Peg home!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Glad tidings to you, (not so fast there Bob!)

We can safely assume that there were no Christmas cards mailed to Bob Goodenow from the Robert Clarke residence this year. For December 31st, Goodenow had best just go to bed early on New Year's Eve as it's doubtful that there will be a call of good wishes for a New Year either. And if this mess drags on into mid February, well let's just say Cupid is going to be taking a pass on this fun couple as well.

Bobby Clarke unloads on Bob Goodenow, and as Shania would say, "That don't impress me much"!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Show him some money!

Rob Ray is used to some bare knuckle fights, so it’s not surprising that he’s decided to take on his own union leadership over a held back payment from the strike fund. Ray made some headlines a few weeks ago when he suggested that he just might be willing to cross a picket line to go back to work should the current impasse lead to that situation.

Needless to say over at Players association central that was as brazen an act as dropping the gloves and wheeling away at another player. The Player’s association is not commenting on the situation, but for the moment Ray’s lawyer is doing enough talking for everyone.

Besides looking for a quick resolution (not to mention a quick deposit) to the financial troubles, David H. Elibol related a wish from Ray that the players themselves question the leadership of Bob Goodenow and the state of the labour impasse.

It will be interesting to see how this situation is resolved. While wanting to control its players, Goodenow and his partners may find that by playing hardball with the membership their overall position is weakened. No doubt Gary Bettman and the owners will be watching to see if this is a thin wedge in the membership. One which could turn into a huge crack should things carry on through the next year!

Going for a skate! The Juniors run a clinic for the B Pool!

The massive power of the Canadian Junior Team is beginning to resemble the touring days of the Harlem Globetrotters. With fancy passing, laser like shots and a crushing physical game the Juniors seem to be focused completely on the mission at hand. With a team that showcases a complete game night after night, one wonders if anyone is going to step up and make a game of it soon.

Not meaning to be cocky, which is a decidedly un-Canadian outlook on life, but this group of Sutter cowhands are making the game look oh so easy. Beside the magic of Crosby and Bergeron (and if you’re the NHL you had best get busy making sure you have a place for Sidney to play next year!) this is a team that has bought into the much vaunted Sutter work ethic. Every period, every shift seems to provide a complete effort. Even the few mistakes that have been made have been quickly corrected; they already have meshed into a complete unit that can provide scoring from line number one down to the grinders’ line. The back end has held up its own and the goaltending has been quite fine thank you very much. While the competition thus far hasn’t been of an intense nature, you sense that this Junior team may be one of our better assembled units of recent history.

Granted the Germans, the Swedes in this tournament and the Swiss in their exhibition game haven’t really tested the Juniors yet, there haven’t been many things to cause worry above the frozen plains of the North Dakota/Manitoba border. We await with interest the challenges of the United States and the Russian squads should we meet up later on. For now the focus is on Finland the last block on the way to clinching the first place spot in the B pool of the World Junior Championships.

With Brent Sutter running the show you can rest assured that the team will not lose its focus as they ponder the road ahead. A one game at a time approach is the Sutter way and his charges won’t be allowed to forget it. Finland on Thursday will be just as important as any potential gold medal game down the line. For Sutter though it must be a satisfying sight to see his players buying into the system, playing it full tilt and correcting their own errors while still in the play.

With a runaway score of 9-0 on Tuesday, the Canadians did not take the bait of the cheap shots administered by a star struck but much frustrated German squad. Sidney Crosby once again the focus of attention time and time again, as the German defenders tried their best to corral him by whatever means necessary, to their credit the Canadians did not get involved in the post whistle shoving and spearing and such. The showcased much restraint and maturity beyond their ages. There were no settling of scores and such just a knowledge that there was another game in two days and all hands were required on the ice. The only slowing nature of this competition will be that of injuries, which are beyond a player and coach’s control. But should one fall, there is no doubt someone ready to step up and fill in the spot.

It may not be nail biting hockey, but that’s ok. The sheer skill level on the ice and the complete effort as a team more than makes up for the edge of your seat expectations. Like those Globetrotter games, the show itself is the skill on display and the wait to see if the Generals might sneak one by them. So far for Canada it’s a marvellous display of our game, played our way. There doesn’t seem to be any danger of the “Generals” ruining the outcome in the near future!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Canada at the Spengler Cup

Follow the Canadian entry at the Spengler Cup as they prepare to defend their claim to the Spengler Cup. With the competition stacked up with free lance NHLers biding their time in Europe, the Canadian squad should have a more challenging struggle than in the past few years.

December 26, 2004--Team Canada 5, Metallurg Magnitogorsk 2
December 27, 2004--Team Canada 3, HC Davos 2
December 29, 2004--Sparta Prague 4, Team Canada 2
December 30, 2004--Team Canada 3, IFK Helsinki 2
December 30, 2004--Canada's Spengler bid ends!
December 31, 2004--Davos wins the Cup, Davos wins the Cup!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bert prepares to receive justice

Vancouver Canuck forward Todd Bertuzzi entered a guilty plea in BC Provincial court today. It's expected that the Crown will seek a conditional discharge, which will leave him without a criminal record for his on ice assault on Steve Moore earlier this year.

A small crowd of fans were outside the Vancouver court house to observe the proceedings and lend their support to Mr. Bertuzzi. Lawyers for Mr. Moore were still attempting to have their client be allowed to present a victim impact statement prior to Mr. Bertuzzi's sentencing.

It is unknown at this time whether that will be allowed prior to sentencing, which is expected to involve some form of community service for Bertuzzi.

Drop Dead?

January 14, 2005. The New Year may not be very happy very long, Gary Bettman has called a board meeting for January 14th, 2005 when it is expected that the NHL will cancel the entire season, making it the first time since the Spanish Flu that the Stanley Cup will not be competed for!

With no new talks planned and neither side apparently working very hard on the matter over the Christmas period, it would appear that once the hangovers of New Years Eve clear on January 2nd, the NHL hangover will continue on for twelve more days!

Monday, December 20, 2004

World Junior Championships 2005

Follow along as we track the developments of the World Junior Championship for 2005.

December 20 2004--Canada tunes up in exhibition against the Finns
December 20 2004--Canada/Finland exhibition summary
December 21, 2004--About those uniforms
December 21, 2004--Peggers love their Juniors
December 21, 2004--So far, so Good!
December 22, 2004--Canada glide by Swiss
December 22, 2004--Canada/Switzerland exhibition summary
December 25, 2004--Canada tops Slovakia
December 25, 2004--Canada/Slovakia summary
December 27, 2004--Canada rolls over Sweden
December 27, 2004--Canada/Sweden summary
December 28, 2004--Cruise control!
December 28. 2004--Canada/Germany summary
December 29, 2004--The view from Uwe
December 30, 2004--MacArthur makes an impact
December 30, 2004--Charting the future of Sidney
December 30, 2004--Sending the Finns for a Sauna
December 30, 2004--Canada/Finland summary
December 30, 2004--Off to the semis
December 31, 2004--Tourney is a winner for TSN!
December 31, 2004--A team of attrition
December 31, 2004--Perry breaks his drought
December 31, 2004--The easy part is over
December 21, 2004--Hat trick Carter
December 31, 2004--Such nice things that they say
January 1, 2005--No worries on the bench
January 1, 2005--Ringing that Belle
January 1, 2005--USA's Montoya to feel some heat
January 1, 2005--All for one and one for all
January 1, 2005--Czechs advance to face Canada
January 1, 2005--Canada prepares to face the Czechs in semi
January 1, 2005--Still some life in the USA
January 1, 2005--The name is Kessel
January 2, 2005--Canada dominates the Czech Republic, advances to Gold Medal game
January 2, 2005--Canada/Czech Republic summary
January 2, 2005--Third Period explosion propels Russians to Gold Medal game
January 3, 2005--Ovechkin talkin' tough!

Hockey May not be back, but I am!

Well I took a couple of weeks off to recharge my batteries, refocus my eyes and re-educate myself on all matters of collective bargaining. Well okay, no I didn't do that last one, since there doesn't seem to be any imminent danger of the two warring parties coming to a resolution of their dispute and it doesn't resemble collective bargaining anyways, so why waste valuable reading time on something that isn't going to happen!

But a hockey fan must find ways to keep engaged to the game and so we're back and ready to find some stories, add some comment and hopefully spread some good news in the near future.

Of course we also planned our re-emergence from the bunker just in time for the annual Canadian Christmas ritual, the World Junior Hockey Championships. Probably the only worthwhile hockey we're going to see in the near future.

We may take the odd day off in the future, but HockeyNation followers stay close, we'll update regularly and find those items that may have slipped into the cracks in the ice!