breaking now: teemu selänne ei pitänyt valmentaja bruce boudreau

teemuTeemu isn’t published in Finland until tomorrow, and Ari Mennander’s biography of the legendary Selanne won’t be out in English until some time in 2015. That doesn’t mean there isn’t news today to fill Helsinki newspapers and the Twittershire alike, most of it regarding what the affable, accomplished and not-long retired Flash has to say about his coach in Anaheim, Bruce Boudreau. If you’re an elder and high-achieving Finnish right winger, Mennander is your go-to biographer, I guess: he is, at least, the man behind Jari Kurri 17 (2001), which you can get in English. A quick browse of those pages — in particular the ones devoted to Edmonton coach Glen Sather — suggest that it’s safe reading for all the family.

Not having seen (much less being able to understand) what Selanne has to say in the original Finnish, I’m not in no position to confirm that he “demolishes” or “blasts” Boudreau, who took over as coach of the Ducks in November of 2011. Those are typical of the verbs that are headlining North American reports about the book today, at Yahoo Sports’ Puck Daddy and the Los Angeles Times respectively. According to what Juha Hiitela (@jhiitela) has been (helpfully) translating and tweeting throughout the day, Selanne does mention that “there’s nothing wrong with my relationship with Boudreau. In fact, he’s a nice man.” But Hiitela, who writes for the Helsinki sports magazine Urheilusanomat, also notes that Selanne wasn’t always happy with his ice-time under the coach (“He didn’t keep his promises”). And: during the first intermission of Anaheim’s seventh-game loss to Los Angeles on May 16, Selanne sent out a text from the Ducks’ dressing room to his wife and a couple of friends, writing (in English): “fucking joke.”

Ari Mennander’s Teemu is available to order (in Finnish) here. If savouring a headline (multilingually) is all you need at this point, this is from the Helsinki tabloid Ilta-Sanomat today:

selanne joke

this week: honestly, the ice don’t have much give

Advil® is the new Official Pain Reliever of the National Hockey League and the 30 Team Athletic Trainers, Pfizer announced this week. I can’t tell you whether there was an old Official Pain Reliever, before, but according to a Simmons Market Research study (says Pfizer), NHL fans are younger, more educated, more affluent, and access content through digital means more than any other sport.

“The NHL deal provides a terrific platform for driving the launch of our new, fast acting Advil® line,” said Brian Groves, U.S. Chief Marketing Officer at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. “Advil® is built to be as fast as it is tough. We see the players and the League as embodying the fast acting Advil® promise of fast recovery from tough pain.”

The news on Wednesday, from The Globe and Mail: “Newest Supreme Court judge Marc Nadon skates through nomination hearing.”

So that was a relief.

The new NHL season had started on Tuesday. The commissioner, Gary Bettman, told Peter Mansbridge from the CBC that if fighting were a light-switch, it was broken, you couldn’t just turn it off. Or … no. He said it isn’t a light-switch because what would be the point of a light-switch that doesn’t turn off? Or … even if electricians found a way to put a light-switch on fighting, in Bettman’s NHL, no-one would be allowed to touch it, other than to turn it on. Once it was on, it would be staying on.

The Chicago Blackhawks got their Stanley Cup rings this week. Each one weighs 93.0 grams, with diamonds and gemstones numbering 260 for a total of some 14.68 carats.

“Wow,” tweeted Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul on Tuesday, as Toronto went to Montreal. “Even the US government is shutting things down to watch Leafs/Habs on opening night. What a spectacle!”

From Canadiens’ owners Geoff Molson that same afternoon: “Ce soir, on va demander aux partisans de chanter l’hymme national … tonight, we will ask our fans to sing the national anthem …”

Toronto won. There were five fights, and no light-switches. Throwing a punch at Toronto’s Colton Orr, George Parros of the Canadiens fell and hit the ice face-first. He was knocked out. And went to hospital.

 “You never want to see a guy get hurt like that,” Orr said. “I just hope he’s all right. It happened fast. I slipped and he came on top of me. The ice isn’t going to give.”

“It was unfortunate,” said Toronto’s coach, Randy Carlyle. “Those are tough things.”

Nazem Kadri: “Honestly, the ice don’t have much give.”

“I see more players get hurt from hits, collisions, from pucks, than I do from fights,” said Josh Gorges.  “I don’t think saying because a player got hurt in a fight that now we have to talk about taking fighting away. And I bet if you ask George, he’ll be the first to agree with me on that one, too.” Continue reading

this week: I’ve never been a goalie

abel's in“I don’t know why something happened,” Edmonton rookie Nail Yakupov said this week.

Asked a question, Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said, “You don’t ask questions.” He’d played a lot of minutes in a loss to the New York Rangers, more than 30, and people were wondering: too much? “As a player, you go out when you’re told to go out,” said Phaneuf.

His teammate, Mike Komisarek, talked to TSN about what happened in practice when he got frustrated by missing the net with slapshots, which is when he swung his stick, from which bits of graphite flew into his face, which is why the doctor had to stitch his eyeball. “It’s not the stick’s fault,” he allowed.

Why so much punching in the NHL since the start of the season? Calgary’s Tim Jackman was asked that and here’s what he thought: “I guess you could say a lot of the fights are from pent-up energy that guys have been holding onto longer than they’re used to.”  Continue reading

losing the room

Rudy Pilous was the winningmost coach the Chicago Black Hawks had ever had in 1963, not to mention he’d steered the team to Stanley Cup victory two years earlier. But as the season ended that year, the team not only fell out of first place, but followed up in the playoffs by losing to Detroit. A month later, when the coach’s hometown paper in St. Catharines, Ontario, declared that Pilous was going to be fired within two days, he was calm. “If it is true, then all I can say is that coaches have been fired since the first time a dollar bill got stuck to a puck.”

Had he lost the room? Was that the trouble? It sounds like something that might afflict an absent-minded architect, but no, it’s not. It’s what happens to a hockey coach just before he no longer had the job he had the night before. If you look it up in The Complete Hockey Dictionary (2007) … lose —the battle, — a draw, — the handle … okay, so it’s not in hockey’s dictionary. Should be. To lose the room is to get to a point where players once heeded your counsel and responded to your exhortations (i.e. in the dressing the room), now they’re jaded and hard of hearing, and don’t. As then-New York Islanders general manager Mike Milbury said when he’d waxed* Peter Laviolette in 2003: “The line of communication between players and coach snapped.” Continue reading