Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dundas skates into the face-off circle as Hockeyville 2010

The last two days has seen the community of Dundas, Ontario taking to the centre of the hockey world as they celebrate their status as Kraft Hockeyville 2010.

The southern Ontario community near Hamilton had a full schedule of events on Sunday and Monday, with Tuesday bringing the highlight of the weekend's activities, that of the pre season match between the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres taking to the ice tonight at the 980 seat JL Grightmire Arena.

Dundas takes over the title of Hockeyville from Terrace BC, last years winner of the annual competition, representatives from the Terrace committee are in Dundas to hand over the Hockeyville Cup and provided this retrospective from their year as title holder.

NHL.com also took a look back, reviewing all of the participants in the national obsession since the Kraft Hockeyville competitions first began in 2006. Since then the quest for the title has become the focus of communities large and small across the nation, featuring fund raising events, parades and a variety of other community led ideas to put their community over the top in the national voting.

The Dundas effort took on many forms, like many communities that seek the title much of their work was highlighted on You Tube, the Dundas submissions on that portal can be found here.

The game will be broadcast on TSN tonight starting at 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT

The CBC has been hosting a Kraft Hockeyville blog this week as well and you can catch up on all of the Kraft Hockeyville events here.

The arrival of the two NHL teams tonight will bring to an end the official celebrations as Dundas takes on the Kraft Hockeyville 2010, reviews of the preparations for and events of this three day party can be found below.

Sept 28-- Hamilton Spectator-- 50 Hockeyville tickets up for grabs
Sept 28-- Hamilton Spectator-- Lights, Camera, action
Sept 28-- Terrace Standard-- Terrace hands off Hockeyville Cup to Dundas
Sept 27-- Terrace Standard-- They're in Hockeyville 2010
Sept 27-- Hamilton Spectator-- Dundas Hockeyville hoopla underway
Sept 27-- NHL.com-- NHL alunni make kids smile at Kraft Hockeyville
Sept 27-- NHL.com-- Andreychuk happy to get Foundation involved in Hockeyville
Sept 27-- NHL.com-- Alumni giving back at Hockeyville
Sept 24-- Hamilton Spectator-- Hockeyville Schedule
Sept 24-- Hamilton Spectator-- Dundas gears up for big league fun
Sept 21-- Terrace Standard-- Carol Fielding, Hockeyville title passed on

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Price pays the price for Halak exile

Wednesday brought the first opportunity for the fans of the Canadiens to publicly proclaim their opinion on the off season move to trade Jaroslav Halak, and the returns were in early and they were loud.

Carey Price took to the Montreal ice in the team's pre season home opener and by about the one and half minute he probably was wishing he had been the guy on the plane out of town.

Montreal's fans turned on Price early with the first of Boston's four goals of the night arriving behind Price at the 1.23 mark of the first period, the Habs goaltender played the first thirty minutes of the game, allowing 4 goals in total, all of the Bruin's scoring on the night in a 4-2 victory.

Montreal fans are notorious for their expressions of euphoria and then despair depending on the current tide of events, holding perhaps the most mercurial of temperaments of all NHL cities.  When you're on the good side of the Habs faithful life can be very, very good, when they turn on you however, there is no season that is too short.

For Price it would seem that one game into the home cycle of games the season may already be too long.

The Habs clearly identified him as their goaltender of now when they moved the popular Halak off to St. Louis after his remarkable Stanley Cup run, still without the backing of the fans or at least their patience,  the prospect of Price finding the time to take hold of the position seems short.

While one can understand the fans confusion over the Habs priorities during the off season, taking their anger out on the one player that could make the difference between playoff success and failure next spring seems rather strange.

Then again, this is Montreal, where controversy and conspiracy seems to be the ever present undercurrent of the game, Carey Price may just be the latest player to get caught in the middle, how he handles the oncoming pressure could very well set the stage for the rest of his career whether in a the rouge, blanc or bleu or eventually (perhaps inevitably) in other colours.

National Post-- Boos rain down as Price falls short
Globe and Mail-- The Price isn't Right
Globe and Mail-- Bruins walk over Price
CBC-- Hab's Price rusty in loss to Bruins
Toronto Sun-- Price drawing jeers from Habs fans

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Patience is dwindling when it comes to the follies in Phoenix

“At some point, just like if you think back to Quebec and Winnipeg (relocating to Denver and Phoenix, respectively), you run out of options and you don’t have a choice. We fight as hard as we can to avoid being in that situation, but at some point, you deal with the realities.”-- Commissioner Gary Bettman responding to the ongoing thread of commentary on the current status of the Phoenix Coyotes.

He isn't exactly telling Winnipeg residents to start picking out seats, but Gary Bettman certainly seems to be growing weary of the never ending storyline of the Phoenix Coyotes.

In Ottawa to announce that the Canadian capital will be host of the 2012 All Star game, the Commissioner addressed the ever required update on the status of the Coyotes and their financial follies. An ongoing soap opera that now is threatening to run into its second year. For those looking for a speed read on that never ending story, Ken Warren offered up the Reader's Digest version of events on September 9.

The league much we imagine to their chagrin, still is owner/operator of the desert dogs, and while the Ice Edge group continues to suggest that they will somehow be a player when it comes to putting a team on the ice in Phoenix, the longer this saga drags on the less likely it seems that they will no have no further involvement than watching the occasional game on TV.

For the Commissioner however it seems that hope springs eternal that somehow the fate of the Coyotes will still involve Arizona, his comments in Ottawa, as reported by Ken Warren in the National Post outline how he is still hopeful that at the end of the day there will be no relocation required.

“We hope it should get done. I believe Phoenix can support an NHL team, but there are a lot of moving pieces that we’re dealing with.”

While the Commissioner is saying all the right things to back up his never ending quest for success in the desert, for those fans in Winnipeg and others that are anxious to see more Canadian cities back in the club, not to mention one or two or three NHL owners still paying out the cost of the Phoenix adventure, there is but one question.

How many times must these coyotes have things go wrong, before the futility of the quest is realized.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Captain resigns his commission

Barring a decision to give back up goaltender Cory Schneider leadership credentials, the Vancouver Canuck's will most likely no longer walk down the path of the unexpected when it comes to an on ice captain for the squad.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, resigned his position as captain of the team on Monday, bringing an end to  concerns that Mike Gillis' unorthodox choice of two years ago couldn't handle the pressure of the leadership role on the team.

When Gillis selected his goaltender as the team captain there was no shortage of suggestions that it was a project destined to prove to be too large a distraction for both Luongo and the team, as they strived to their goal of a Stanley Cup playoff spot in the final round.

As last season moved along it seemed that perhaps those concerns had been rather correct in the foreshadowing of disappointment, by the end of the Canucks playoff run in the spring of 2010, Luongo's captain duties seemed to be more of an anchor on him than they were of a positive nature.

Despite his scaled down activities as captain by that time, the position still seemed to take away from his focus between the pipes a popular topic with Vancouver's ever vociferous fan base and media commentators.

As the Canucks head into their training camp period and pre season games to come, Gillis decided to start things off with a fresh start in the leadership category, accepting Luongo's decision, leaving the decision on a new captain to come later on in camp if not into the start of the regular season.

The selection of a captain will be a tricky proposition for the team, trying to find that one candidate who best exemplifies the direction the team is hoping to go in and reflective of how they approach each and every game.

One of the key names that could be on the short list include is that of Henrik Sedin, who seemingly has gone to the front of the could be list rather quickly. Luongo's decision to relinquish his duties and the office pool as to who will succeed him has made for the majority of the news files from the Canucks camp this week.

Henrik has the qualities of a captain
Henrik Sedin says 'C' would be an honour
Sedin deserves to wear Canucks 'C'
Luongo's position was the only barrier to successful captaincy
Canucks will C that Henrik Sedin replaces Roberto Luongo as captain
Canucks won't rush on naming new captain as Roberto Luongo relinquishes the ‘C’
Luongo relinquishes Canucks' captaincy
Roberto Luongo: ‘It was my decision’ to surrender Canucks’ captaincy

When Sports Action and your office hockey pool just aren't enough!

For those that have wider ambitions than just winning their hockey pool or scoring big on Sports Action comes word of your chance to pony up some seed money to buy your very own Junior A hockey franchise.

Alan Kasperski, the man behind the idea of an internet based project to attract on line investors into a ownership pool for a junior hockey team is getting ready to roll out his plans, his version of an internet based investment pool that is based  on a similar creation in England.

That project called MyFootballclub.co.uk saw some 27,000 investors pony up 35 pounds each to purchase a lower tier football club Ebbsfleet United. The website in England features a wide range of items of note for investors and lurking voyeurs, including a blog, an adopt a player feature and an explanation of how it all works.

For their investment, investors will be able to weigh in on a number of team issues, such as trades, player selection and ticket prices to name a few.

The proposed investment fee for the Canadian version is anticipated to be around 50 dollars, with the giant pool of money then allocated towards the quest of a Junior A team, one rung below the CHL's partners of the OHL, WHL and QMJHL.

Kasperski apparently hopes to bring the CBC on board with his plans perhaps with a launch tied into the networks annual Hockey Day in Canada, though one imagines that network pooh bahs might be more inclined to steer him towards the Dragon's Den for his ambitious venture.

The idea has caught the attention of more than a few in the media, The Puck Daddy blog had an interesting look at the proposed plans to bring hockey ownership to the masses.

Prime Time Sports host Bob McCown chatted with Kasperski last week to try and discover more about his idea and how he envisions it playing out over the course of the season.

And Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star fleshed out some of the details on the project, including the background of Kasperski and what is motivating him to try and transplant the British model to Canada.

If nothing else when Ksperski has finalized his plans and compiled his list of investors it could prove to be a valuable document.

After all, considering the never ending woes of the Phoenix Coyotes, Gary Bettman might be inclined to pay a princely sum for a valuable list of would be hockey investors!

Monday, September 13, 2010

And you get a rink, and you get a rink and everybody gets a rink!

Perhaps they spent too much time watching summer re-runs of Oprah, (or maybe they had a sneak preview of this final season) but Canada's current government, the Conservatives have gone Oprah it seems when it comes to the idea of funding shinny palaces and football shrines.

In a position that could bring on a wee bit of a backlash for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Conservatives it seems have come on board with the idea of helping out with the funding for a proposed hockey house in Quebec City.

The photo op featuring Quebec based politicians decked out in Nordiques jerseys has any number of Canadian cities no doubt placing their orders for similar attire for their own press conferences which will outline plans for their own development plans.

Interestingly enough, one Quebec based MP, Maxime Bernier took a pass on the photo session, a long time critic of expansive spending by government, Bernier held true to his personal (or perhaps political) agenda and once again decried the prospect of wheel barrows of cash for sports facilities in Canada.

Already, with the visual of federal MP's smiling and doing their Don Cherry imitations still fresh in the mind, Moncton has advised that this bodes well for their plans to build a new home for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL.

Mayor George LeBlanc also may find that the federal government's ability to back itself into a political corner may be helpful in the bid to  attract a CFL franchise to the Maritime city. Moncton is hoping to snare the much discussed but seldom delivered Maritime franchise, taking on rival Halifax for the chance to add to the CFL's roster of cities.

Standing in line beside Mayor Leblanc no doubt are the Mayors of in no particular order, Regina, Hamilton, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax and any other burg that might like a new shinny palace or football field for current or potential tenants.

Federal contributions to sports infrastructure has a long legacy in Canada, sometimes good (think Calgary Olympics) sometimes not so much a good thing (think the endless woes of Montreal's Big O), so there is a precedent in place for an infusion of cash to Canadian cities.

What seems to be setting alarm bells off for more fiscally Conservative types (who no doubt are wondering if perhaps the Conservatives may want to change their name) is the prospect of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a facility that may sit empty until a whim from Gary Bettman offers up a tenant.

Evidence of the dangers of building it and hoping that they come always points to Kansas City, which built a state of the art arena a number of years ago and still features no major league sport tenant for their real estate, despite frequent mentions from the NHL as a potential home, usually when things are not going so well with one of the current franchise holders negotiations with whatever city he or she is in.

An earlier version of this "Fields of dreams approach" of course can be found in Hamilton where the Copps coliseum arose with dreams of an NHL tenant and now would need millions of dollars of refurbishment just to get on the Commissioner's short list (and as we have seen in recent times, Mr. Bettman's radar sometimes jams up when it gets near Hamilton Mountain)

What could be even more damaging outside of Quebec for the Conservatives and Prime Minister Harper  is the prospect that a federally assisted arena could bring the NHL back to Ville de Quebec leaving hopeful attempts from Winnipeg and Hamilton in the dust.

In a perfect political universe, the NHL would announce plans to return to Winnipeg, grant Hamilton their long cherished franchise AND renew the intra Quebec rivalry that once reigned between montreal and Quebec City.

Attaching Federal MP's  to those photo ops would surely bring the PM his much cherished, but seemingly growing distant dream of a majority government in Canada's Parliament.

Should the recent attention to Quebec City prove to bring the NHL back there alone, well  such are the things that political suicide are made of.

As L Ian MacDonald framed it in the Montreal Gazette today, the optics of the photo op were all wrong, by dressing up as their favourite Nords the Quebec politicians localized the issue too much, rather than approach the arena funding project on a more national scale, that of Quebec's hopeful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

In the competitive world of federal funding, it seems that you need to know how to dress for success.

Globe and Mail-- Quebec City NHL bid scores support from federal Tories
Globe and Mail-- $400-million hockey arena in Quebec City skates closer to reality
Globe and Mail-- Province promises funding for new Quebec City arena
National Post-- Don Martin: Harper prepares to buy off Quebec
Winnipeg Free Press-- Tories nuts if they fund Quebec arena
TSN-- COC head calls for West to support proposed Quebec arena
Toronto Star-- H├ębert: New chief-of-staff must stand up to PM, end Conservatives’ missteps

Update September 14, 2010: It would seem that the Prime Minister has had some second thoughts  here and here on the potential visuals of his over exuberant Quebec MP's and the quest for a hockey arena for Quebec City

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's been a long time between shifts!

Long time readers and valuable followers of HockeyNation have made note of our extended absence from the digital archive of all things hockey.

As the 2009-10 season came to an end with the Hawks hoisting up Lord Stanley's Mug, there had been a sharp reduction in our efforts to chronicle those items of interest from the NHL and beyond.

Part of that was just the general weariness that occasionally comes with blogging on a regular basis, another part was an over commitment from your faithful correspondent to other adventures in blogging with other sites.

All of this was put into the blender this summer as we looked over our past blogging commitments and began the process of deciding which path to follow on the blogosphere.

With the extended break from the daily requirements of blogging, we ended some of those commitments, modified others and have reduced some of that load that resulted in our reduced output on this site.

Since HockeyNation was our very first entry into the world of blogging, it has always remained our favourite of the bunch, so with our moves in other locales, we feel that we can dedicate more time towards this entry into this portal to the blogosphere.

As hockey gears up for the 2010-11 season, we're hoping to rejuvenate our efforts, add some new features, eliminate those items that didn't seem to work last season and hopefully become a more reliable spot to find out items of interest from our favourite game.

As regular readers may have noticed we have redesigned our look for this season, adopting a new layout which we will tweak as we work with it to provide a more enjoyable read for those who stop by our little corner of the rink.

We begin our exploits this season with a re-introduction to our Pre-Game skate, a page with links to individual teams, offering up their home page, schedule, blog links, podcast options and other items of interest to fans of each of the league's 30 teams. It will always be found at the top of the right hand corner of the blog.

Our Daily headline feature begins anew today as well, it will highlight the main story of the day from hockey and will be found directly below the Pre Game Skate.

We have archived all of our features from the 2009-10 season as well, clearing up some space on the page and creating room for this years version of much of the same, from our Hired to be fired feature which tracks the happenings behind the benches and in the front office to the Trading block feature which will catalogue all of the trades during the course of the 2010-11 season.

As we go along in the season other items of note that are of interest on a season long basis will be found on the right hand column.

Thanks to those that dropped a note on the off season expressing their thoughts on the blog over the past few years and inquiring as to the return of current content. It's always nice to get some constructive criticism and/or complaints about things that may or not be working.

Part of the success and enjoyment of blogging is that contact between author and reader, feel free to drop a line either below each individual post or at HockeyNation001@yahoo.ca

If there are things that are working let us know, likewise if you have a thought on things that may not be interesting or working for you let us know about those as well. We don't guarantee that we'll change things up, but we certainly will listen and examine the options.

At any rate, that's enough of the housekeeping for now, the prospects are in the camps, the full training season is almost upon us and the regular season is but a few weeks away.

And with all of that cleared up, it's time for the Hockey Nation to hit the ice!


HockeyNation Headline Archive 2010-11

Our listing of HockeyNation headlines for 2010-11

August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010

Hockey Nation Headlines September 2010

Our Archive of headline stories for September 2010

September 30-- Quebec City mayor wants NHL arena construction to begin next year
September 29-- Canadiens didn't take captaincy decision lightly
September 28-- NHL returns to its roots, at least for a night
September 27-- Blackhawks send G Cristobal Huet to Swiss team
September 26-- Khabibulin finally ready for pre-season debut
September 25-- Lecavalier improving
September 24-- Hawks' Boynton suspended for gesture
September 23-- NHL wanted in Winnipeg, Quebec, poll suggests
September 22-- Boos rain down as Price falls short
September 21-- Souray trade just a matter of time
September 20-- Shero to remain Penguins GM through 2015-16
September 19-- Senators’ Kuba out 5-6 weeks with broken leg
September 18-- Penguins put focus on their new home
September 17-- Pat Burns dispels rumours of his death
September 16-- Blackhawks give Quenneville contract extension
September 15-- Agent rips Capitals on Belanger deal
September 14-- Oilers tell Souray to stay away from camp
September 13-- Devils fined $3 million, lose two draft picks as NHL penalizes club for first Kovalchuk deal
September 12-- Cane's Brind'Amour moves to front office