this week: out there at twilight with a big machete, chopping up a beaver dam

maclean's room

As the Toronto Maple Leafs approach their centennial, the team is thinking of maybe updating, altering, or otherwise rejigging their logo — possibly. That was the news today, from the website sportslogos.net, quoting “sources” and hinting at plans for new sweaters, some of which may or may not be St. Patricks-green.

“Centennial plans will be announced in the New Year,” Dave Haggith, senior director of communications for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, was telling Kevin McGran, from The Toronto Star. “We won’t be commenting until that time. There’s some fun stuff planned.”

Erik Karlsson is the most game-changing defenceman since Bobby Orr, said Adam Gretz this week at CBS Sports. And he is only getting better. (Italics his.)

The city of Edmonton commissioned artist Slavo Cech to fashion a small steel sculpture of a bison to present to former Oilers coach and GM and dynasty-builder Glen Sather this week. Cech, an Oilers fan, was honoured. “It’s not hockey-related,” he said, “but he’s more than hockey, right?”

“It’s difficult for me to put in my words the gratitude I feel for this honour,” Sather said on Friday night as a banner bearing his name lifted to the rafters of Rexall Place. “My sincere wish is that every one of you in this building gets to experience something, anything in your life that makes you feel like I’m feeling right now: the luckiest person on earth.”

New-Look Leafs: A Globe and Mail correspondent browsed the aisles at a Jordanian refugee camp earlier this week.

Brand New: A Globe and Mail correspondent browsed the aisles at a Jordanian refugee camp earlier this week.

“I say,” tweeted Don Cherry, “what kind of a world would we live in without the police?”

Everyone who paid attention to the New York Rangers’ advanced stats saw their struggles coming, said someone, on social media, somewhere.

On the ice in Boston a week or two back, it’s possible that a Bruin winger, Brad Marchand, may have kneed a Ranger goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, in the head. Boston coach Claude Julien said that Lundqvist was acting.

“Who would you rather have as a son,” said his New York counterpart, Alain Vigneault, “Henrik or Brad Marchand?”

David Akin of The Toronto Sun reported this week that hockey historian Stephen J. Harper has been sighted just twice in the House of Commons in Ottawa since he lost his day-job as prime minister of Canada in October. Akin writes:

His front-row seat is immediately to the left of the Speaker. That location lets the former prime minister enter and exit the House with little fanfare and without having to go near the press.

Paul Martin used the same seat after his Liberals lost the 2006 election.

To pass the albeit brief time he’s spent in the Commons, Harper arrived last time with a book: A just published biography by Eric Zweig of Art Ross, the Hockey Hall of Famer, NHL founding father, and long-time member of the Boston Bruins. Harper is a big hockey history buff.

Speaking of the Speaker, there’s a new one, Harperside: Nova Scotia Liberal MP Geoff Regan. He was on CTV’s Question Period today comparing the House of Commons to a hockey game.

“Only certain people get to play and it’s shaped in a lot of ways like an arena, with the two sides,” said Regan.

“And the people who aren’t actually in the game, they’d like to be in the game, and sometimes want to react to something, want to say something, the way you’d see at a game. But we’re not in a rink. We’re in the House of Commons.”

“I just love anything Michael Keaton is in,” Don Cherry told Jim Slotek of Postmedia.

Sather was a master psychologist: that’s what a defenceman who worked his blueline, Steve Smith, told Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal. “You can take Roger Neilson, maybe the best Xs and Os guy, but he didn’t win, maybe because he didn’t have the players elsewhere. But Glen managed all these personalities in Edmonton. That’s a special art to manage all those guys and keep them happy. It’s like Phil Jackson in basketball. He understood his players in Chicago and what buttons to push.”

“It was the managing of people that made Glen really good.”

No Logo: Leaf fans weighed in at The Toronto Star earlier today, hours after word of a possible new logo emerged online.

No Logo: Leaf fans weighed in at The Toronto Star earlier today, hours after word of a possible new logo emerged online.

Fighting is on its way out of the NHL, mostly everybody agreed this week — as they have been agreeing, more or less, since the season started in early October.

A kinder, gentler NHL is taking shape, said Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star:

Given the rise in concern about the permanent nature of head injuries, there is also, in some eyes, a growing mutual awareness of the ultimate fragility of the human condition.

“Back in the day it used to be pretty malicious,” said Nazem Kadri, the only Leafs player who’s been penalized for fighting this season. “I think guys now respect the game and respect each other’s bodies and hope nobody gets seriously injured. I mean, anytime you see someone go down, it’s a frightening feeling because you know it could be you.”

Back in October, The Globe and Mail ran an editorial at that time to bid farewell to the age of the goon, noting that the NHL might even be showing signs of getting serious about dealing with its concussion problem. And yet:

… if players are still allowed to punch each other in the head during prolonged, staged fights, what’s the point? It is hypocritical to express concern for concussions on the one hand, and allow fighting on the other.

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN was wondering the same thing this week. “Shouldn’t we be asking why the NHL still allows bare-knuckle fighting?” he wrote in a piece you’re advised to read for yourself. “I’ve said this before, but it just seems so hypocritical to have introduced Rule 48 (illegal hit to the head) in 2010 but still allow bare-knuckle punches.”

More required reading: writing at Vice Sports, Dave Bidini’s take on the complicated cultural significance of fighting is a smart, counterintuitive view you haven’t heard before.

“My big heroes,” continued Don Cherry, “are Sir Francis Drake, Horatio Nelson, and Lawrence of Arabia. I really loved Seven Pillars of Wisdom.”

A latterday Oiler, Taylor Hall, on Sather:

“He was a guy who brought everyone together; he seemed like a great button-pusher. Having that much skill and that much talent on your team isn’t an easy thing.”

Blackhawks preternatural confidence rubs off on new players

was a recent headline on a Mark Lazerus feature in Chicago’s Sun-Times in which the coach praised his captain, Jonathan Toews:

Joel Quenneville calls it a “competitive” nature, that the Hawks, perhaps more than any team he’s ever played for or coached, are better physically prepared and better mentally equipped to handle any situation. And he said it starts at the top, with the captain.

“As a coaching staff, you’re in a good spot knowing that the message is always there [about] doing things the right way,” Quenneville said. “Guys definitely notice Jonny’s intensity and professionalism right off the bat.”

 Don Cherry gave another Postmedia interview, this one to Michael Traikos:

Q: Is it OK that enforcers have been run out of the league?

A: I never ever believed in guys that should sit there for two periods and then get thrown out there for a minute and fight. I never believed in that. I call that ‘Mad Dog Thinking.’ I remember with my Boston Bruins, we had more tough guys than any team and every one of them got 20 goals. That’s what they have now. Every one of them can play the game. And that’s the way it should be. You should never have a guy sitting on the bench like a mad dog.

A Nashville rookie named Viktor Arvidsson used his stick to neck-check a Buffalo defenceman, Carlo Colaiacovo. The former left the game with a five-minute major and a game misconduct on his record; the latter departed with what the Sabres at first classed, inevitably, as an upper body injury.

His coach, Dan Bylsma, had an update following the game: “Carlo is doing OK. He got the cross check to the throat. He did go to the hospital; he’s there now. I guess they’re saying he has a dented trachea.”

Bryan Trottier wrote a letter to his youthful self and posted it at The Player’s Tribune for himself to read, along with everybody.

When you tell people how you learned to skate later in life, they’ll think you’re messing with them. They’re not going to believe how your handyman father would clear off the frozen creek across from your house after a snowstorm. You know how he walks out there at twilight with a big machete and floods the creek by chopping up a beaver dam? That’s not a normal thing. Other kids’ dads have Zambonis, or at least a hose. Your dad has a machete and some Canadian know-how. Thanks, Mr. Beaver.

Sometimes you just have to go out to the beaver dam with a machete and start chopping wood.

Brandon Prust of the Vancouver Canucks paid $5,000 last week to spear Boston’s Brad Marchand in the groin.

“Best money I’ve ever spent,” Prust told reporters.

Why did he do it? “It was frustrations,” Prust explained. “It happens out there. I wasn’t trying to injure him. I was just coming back as the puck was coming back up the boards. On my swing by, I got my stick active.”

 “It wasn’t that hard,” he said. “He sold it pretty good. I saw him laughing on the bench afterwards.

Marchand, for his part, was only too glad to talk about what happened to Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe. “I think it was Prust,” he said. “I didn’t really see who did it when it happened, but just kind of gave me a jab, got me in the fun spot.”

Assuming it was who it may have been, Marchand understood. “Honestly,” he continued, “even if he wasn’t fined, I wouldn’t have been upset. It’s fine that he is, but I wouldn’t want to see him lose that much money over what happened. I think suspensions are worthy when guys get hurt or it’s a really bad shot. Like I said, I’ve done that before, lots of guys do that all the time. It is what it is. It’s part of the game.”

On he went, and on:

“It clearly doesn’t feel good,” Marchand said. “It hurts, so whether you’re upset at someone or you want to take a shot, it’s an easy place to target. You know it’s going to hurt. I think that’s why a lot of guys do it.

“A lot of guys take cheap shots, when there’s that much emotion in the game and it happens all the time. If you’re down by a few goals, if you’re having a bad game, someone takes a shot at you, someone says the wrong thing, guys get upset and they take shots at guys. I think it’s just human nature.

“There’s a lot of good players that take jabs at guys. People can say whatever they want. I’m not overly upset about what happened. It’s part of the game. I’ve done it. I’m sure he’s done it before. I’m sure it won’t be the last. It won’t be the last time I do it. It is what it is. It’s part of hockey.”

prust fine

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bruce bennett: have to get up in the morning, shoot a hockey game each day

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He’s been called, inevitably, the Wayne Gretzky of hockey photography, as well as the Einstein. Both are meant to measure and honour Bruce Bennett’s rinkside genius with a camera, of course; the latter pays additional tribute to his grey head of mad-scientist hair.

Whichever way you want to label him, there’s no disputing that Bennett, who turned 60 this year, is hockey’s pre-eminent modern-day photographer. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he got his first assignment for The Hockey News in 1974. By the end of last hockey season, he’d photographed 4,678 NHL games, along with dozens of Olympic, international, junior and college games. If you’re a hockey fan, it’s no exaggeration to say that most of the best hockey images you’ve seen over the past 40 years were formed and frozen in Bennett’s camera.

After 30 years in the business, Bennett sold his business to Getty Images, for whom he continues to shoot and oversee hockey coverage. For Hockey Greatest Photos, he’s chosen 246 images from an archive surpassing two million — “a monumental task,” he writes in his Backword here — to assemble what is a stunning scrapbook of hockey history.

As is usual for him at this time of year, Bruce Bennett has his camera in hand this fall and his eye on hockey players. When Puckstruck caught up to him late last week, he was en route from New York to Toronto for the weekend’s Hockey Hall of Fame ceremonies. Via e-mail, we questioned and he answered:

I won’t ask you outright what your favourite image is in the book (though you’re free to mention it), but what about this: is there one, to you, that best captures the essence of the game?

Wow. Good question and since there are 246 favorite images in the book, your twist works well. And at least I have a few minutes to page through and pick one. The logical conclusion of any sporting event is that there is a winner, and a loser. That is summed up with my photograph of Henrik Lundqvist, alone in the crease as the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their Cup victory around him. The essence of the perfect sports photo that captured jubilation and dejection. And number two, if you would allow me, is an image from last season as Alex Ovechkin dives to hit the puck past Lundqvist. To me the image summarizes the dedication, perseverance and tenacity that it takes to be successful in this sport. And seeing Ovechkin’s eyes following the puck is a bonus.

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Did you admire particular hockey photographers as a boy and/or as a young photographer? Your forebears behind a camera at the rink include many great names, from Turofsky to Bier to Brodeur. Is there one whom you especially admire? Is that a hockey photograph of someone else’s that’s a favourite of yours?

I was an Ansel Adams fan growing up and as I started my hockey career I became more aware of the hockey photographers around me. Among them was another Long Island native Joe DiMaggio who mentored me and I learned so much from him about photography and life in general. Then there was Mel DiGiacomo who was, and still is, a creative genius. He moved from hockey to tennis and then on to photojournalism and is the epitome of an “old master” shooting black-and-white images that tug at the heartstrings. And yes David Bier and Denis Brodeur were two guys who I admired as much for their willingness to share techniques and knowledge as I did for their immense talent.

How does hockey rate on the chart of hard-to-photograph sports? What’s the biggest challenge?

It would be easy for me to say it’s the hardest but I’m probably not one to judge since my experience with other sports is limited. But many other photographers have said that the combination of playing in low light venues, the speed of the game, its unpredictable nature and the poor photo positions certainly make this a real challenge.

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Have advances in photographic equipment made your job easier over the years? Anything that’s been lost along the way, or is it altogether better to be shooting now than in the 1970s?

I really can’t think of anything about photography that was better when I started. The natural evolution of the equipment, along with the entrance into the digital age has changed the profession in countless ways. Improvements in equipment included moving from manual focus to autofocus and then the continual improvements in autofocus, sharper lenses, and faster motor drives have been great advances. As for the digital cameras, the use of digital cards with the ability to shoot thousands of images before reloading, seeing instantly what you’ve captured (or missed!), and being enable to shoot high-quality images in lower light situations have all improved the craft of sports photography.

Is there a shot you didn’t get that haunts you?

Countless images lost — in fact a game doesn’t go by that I regret something I missed. I do remember one specific one maybe ten years ago but don’t even remember the teams. It is always important to fill the frame and get in tight. On this image I was filling the frame as two guys stood in front of the net. A floating shot towards the net came in very high and both guys lifted off like basketball players going to the net. And there they were maybe three feet off the ice … and I cut their heads off! But like a goaltender you need to clear your head when you miss one or you won’t be prepared for the next shot. Have to just shake it off!!

Do you play?

Nope. I played through high school and college and a few times a year for many years after that until I was about 40. Then at one pickup game after I miraculously moved around some guy, he dove and slashed me on my high school style shinguards. I realized then that I wasn’t that interested in playing anymore. Have to get up in the morning and be physically able to shoot a hockey game each day!!

Hockey’s Greatest Photos: The Bruce Bennett Collection
The Hockey News, Photographs by Bruce Bennett
(Juniper/ Simon & Schuster, 256 pp., C$39.95/US$34.95)

 

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this week: a dog like a robot and the guy who’s not god

Ace de Québec: Boy with stick and skates on the street of the provincial capital, circa the latter 1950s. (Photo: Rosemary Gilliat Eaton, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada)

Ace de Québec: Boy with stick and skates on the street of the provincial capital, circa the latter 1950s. (Photo: Rosemary Gilliat Eaton, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada)

Drew Doughty’s 2014 playoff motto was “The heart doesn’t get tired.” That’s not news, I guess, unless you hadn’t heard it before. It’s etched in his Stanley Ring, so that he at least will never forget: #HeartDoesn’tGetTired it says there.

Colorado went to Montreal on the weekend, with their coach Patrick Roy, but without winger Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, who was already there. He’d played for the Avalanche for two seasons before a trade in the summer made him a Canadien. Reminded by reporters that Roy had said that he wasn’t a top-six forward for the Avalanche, Parenteau responded.

“He’s entitled to his opinion, and that’s not to say that I respect it,” he told The Gazette. “His opinion, it’s not the truth. This guy is not God, it’s not him who invented hockey, either.”

Buffalo lost 5-1 to Anaheim. “That,” said Buffalo coach Ted Nolan when it was all over, “was like an NHL team playing a pewee team.”

Toronto, meanwhile, lost 4-1 to Detroit on Friday night. Said, Leafs’ defenceman Jake Gardiner afterwards: “It seemed like they had more players on the ice than we did.”

Not a lot of South Floridians went to see the Panthers play at their rink this last week, which made for a sorry sight for cameras panning across empty seats. Announced attendance for the game against Ottawa Monday night was 7,311, the smallest in the team’s 21-year history. @FlaPanthers had a message afterwards for the few, the loyal, the lonely:

Loyalty is best earned on the back of virtue, honor and integrity. Together, we climb. Thanks to all who came. #FlaPanthers

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston revealed that Toronto defenceman Cody Franson is, quote, unafraid to use his body and possesses a booming shot. He also has excellent on-ice vision.

Carolina called up 23-year-old centre Brody Sutter this week, Duane’s son, making him the ninth Sutter to play in the NHL. “There will be more,” Uncle Darryl warned from Los Angeles.

In that Detroit loss, it was widely agreed, the Leafs were outplayed from the moment the puck dropped. Towards the end of the game — and for the second time in this young season— a less-than-gruntled fan threw a Leafs’ sweater to the ice. From the broadcast booth, former goaltender Greg Millen said it was tough to watch. “The ultimate insult for a player is that. For a lot of them. For sure.” Continue reading

could be just what #habs need (3)

New York 3, Montreal 1. Twitter couldn’t look away.

Bruce Arthur ‏@bruce_arthur
Tokarski stones Marty St. Louis in close. And we’re off.

New York Rangers ‏@NYRangers
GOAL!!!! @RMcDonagh27 shot beats Tokarski just 17 seconds later, may have been deflected, but #NYR tie it 1-1 #NYRPlayoffs

Katie Strang ‏@KatieStrangESPN
#NYR #MTL Flukey goal against the rookie Tokarski. We’ll see how he responds

cathalkelly ‏@cathalkelly
Dustin Tokarski may not be the answer here.

Dan Rosen ‏@drosennhl
Kreider to Nash, one-timer from the right circle goes in over Tokarski’s glove. It even got a piece of the glove, but not enough to stop it.

Andrew Coyne ‏@acoyne
Tokarski could have had that, and should have.

Bruce Arthur ‏@bruce_arthur
Tokarski didn’t make himself big there: he looked hunched. Boy, the Habs are gonna regret not coming out of this period with a lead.

Habs News And Talk ‏@HabsNewsAndTalk
Tokarski is keeping the #Habs alive in the third. #GoHabsGo

Bruce Arthur ‏@bruce_arthur
I’d kind of respect Peter Budaj if he was just chain-smoking on the Habs bench right now.

Gerald Butts ‏@gmbutts
This game is like the crappy, lifeless game I hate on a Tuesday in mid-November. Don’t blame the fricking goalie. #Habs #Habs

Dan Rosen ‏@drosennhl
Remember how bad Lundqvist was at Bell Centre. Old news now. He turned aside 60 of 63 shots in Games 1 and 2. NYR take 2-0 series lead.

Stan Fischler ‏@StanFischler
The sweep is on. It’s only a matter of which team the @NYRangers face in the Final round. Either #Chicago or #Kings can be taken.

Stan Fischler ‏@StanFischler
#Habs blew it in the opening period because #HenrikLundqvist was too much.
And the Habs rookie blew a pair. A Canyon of Champions parade??

Alexander Panetta ‏@Alex_Panetta
Meh. Hockey takes up too much of our time, anyway.

could be just what #habs need

priceThe Montreal Canadiens took to the ice this morning at about 11 a.m. ET for a skate, game-day. Twitter was watching.

Ryan Rishaug @TSNRyanRishaug
Budaj and Tokarski on the ice at skate. No sign of Price yet.

Arpon Basu @ArponBasu
I should remind everyone that Carey Price has skipped several morning skates in the playoffs. This is not an indication of his status. #Habs

Sean Gordon @MrSeanGordon
So Dustin Tokarski is in the net usually occupied by Price. Just saying. #Habs

Gerald Butts @gmbutts
More head games from Therrien. If he’s going tonight, Price still wouldn’t be out there. #Habs

Chris Johnston @reporterchris
Based on morning skate, it looks like Dustin Tokarski is in the #habs starting net.

Tony Marinaro @TonyMarinaro
Just received a text message minutes ago it read: Price underwent tests this morning, he’s about 75% & wants 2play. Looks like he’ll start.

Sean Gordon @MrSeanGordon
Hey entrail readers, @TonyMarinaro is reporting that Price should start tonight, citing a source. He’s been right before on health stuff.

Sean Gordon @MrSeanGordon
As Therrien likes to say “anything’s possible”. Have no idea, truthfully.

Sean Gordon @MrSeanGordon
Aha, Tokarski is still on the ice, Budaj was first off. So what does that mean? I have no clue.

Sean Gordon @MrSeanGordon
Now Waite is spending some extra time with Tokarski. And I’m going to stop tweeting now.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter
THIS JUST IN: Canadiens G Carey Price will miss remainder of series after Game 1 collision w/ Rangers Chris Kreider.

Tony Marinaro @TonyMarinaro
Michel Therrien says Carey Price is done for the series. Devastating. Carey Price really wanted 2play. He wanted to wear a brace rest of way

Arpon Basu @ArponBasu
Therrien says he’s already decided who his goalie will be tonight. He’s just not saying.

The Goalie Guild @TheGoalieGuild
As I said yesterday, I’d go Tokarski.

Tony Marinaro @TonyMarinaro
Montreal Canadiens obviously felt that if Price played and did more damage to his knee he could be out for a very long time……

Elliotte Friedman @FriedgeHNIC
The one thing about Tokarski is Therrien went to him on March 16 instead of Budaj. He won 2-0 in BUF. Would certainly be ballsy

Sean Gordon @MrSeanGordon
As @reporterchris just pointed out, Tokarski has won the Mem Cup, World Junior, and Calder Cup. So he has stick time in big games. #Habs

Mike Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL
Dustin Tokarski career vs NYR: 1 game, 0-0-0, 7.50 GAA, .727 save%; Career playoffs – 0 games.

Patricia Teter @Artful_Puck
I can’t believe people are suggesting Dubnyk over Tokarski.

Chris Johnston @reporterchris
Michel Therrien has no choice. He must turn to Dustin Tokarski in the Eastern Conference final now

Kevin vanSteendelaar @KvanSteendelaar
Though he will comment on it or threaten it, #Habs Therrien never takes the “eye for an eye” mentality into his game plan.

Adam Proteau @Proteautype
No Carey Price for the rest of the series. Drinking hours in Montreal have been extended 24/7 until next season.

Dave Bidini @hockeyesque
shot to the gut for habs.

Michael Winter @michaelwinter34
could be just what habs need.

Dave Bidini @hockeyesque
u crazy dreamer

Toronto Sun @TheTorontoSun
“It’s a reckless play and that’s the truth.” #Habs coach announces Price out for series.

Katie Strang @KatieStrangESPN
#NYR #MTL Lundqvist on whether he expects retaliation from Habs tonight: “I hope not.” Said he feels for Price but defends Kreider on play

Michael Farber @MichaelFarber3
Nothing to do about Price now. But CH can work at owning the neutral zone, which would make Emelin look infinitely quicker than in Game 1.

Naila-Jean Meyers @ NailaJeanMeyers
Most important people in the Rangers run: 1. France St. Louis. 1a. Chris Kreider.

Michael Farber @MichaelFarber3
In Montreal people like to say, in French, they can smell the Cup. Now Therrien, regarding Kreider, smells a rat.

Chris Johnston @reporterchris
Chris Kreider was asked if he would do anything different on the Carey Price collision. “I wish I would’ve put it in the net.”

Jeff Z. Klein @jzdklein
HAGELIN on potential Habs retaliation: “We can’t skate around thinking about them trying to hurt our goalie.”

Dan Rosen @drosennhl
Kreider reax to Therrien calling his play on Price reckless: “I’m worried about what my coach thinks and what the guys on our team thinks.”

Jeff Z. Klein @jzdklein
Lundqvist not thinking about being targeted 2nite: “I have to focus on my game. Kreids did not take a run at Price. It was an accident.”

Mike Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL
Peter Budaj career vs. NYR: 4 gms, 3-1-0, 2.18 GAA, .920 save%, 1 shutout

New York Rangers @NYRangers
“It’s very unfortunate what happened to him, but for us its business as usual.” —AV on injured Habs goalie Carey Price. #NYRPlayoffs

Go Habs Go !!! @derek_djs
#Habs fans gotta relax!!! The gang refocused, and will come out stronger tonight!! Budaj is a solid starter. #GoHabsGo #Budaj

Justin Ling @Justin_Ling
I, for one, have faith in Budaj.

[sob]

Ryan @A_Charlatan
They should starts Tokarski with Fucale backing up IMO. No confidence in Budaj at all.

Cathal Kelly @cathalkelly
By Tuesday: ‘War crime’ @Zeisberger: #Habs said incident was ‘accidental’ on Sat; ‘accidental on purpose’ Sun; ‘reckless’ on Monday.

John Lu @JohnLuTSNMtl
#Habs Therrien said to his players that he wants them to give Price a chance to play again in these playoffs.

Daniel Friedman @DFriedmanOnNYI
Not writing the #Habs off, but they have certainly become the underdogs now that Price is out.

Craig Simpson @hnicsimmer
Tokarski won Memorial Cup in 08, WJ Gold in 09, Calder Cup in 12. Better shot at creating a magical run to the Cup than Budaj in my opinion

(Photo: CCM Hockey)

this week: king mackerel, amberjack, bonito, barracuda

 On A Cold Road: Writer and rocker Dave Bidini strips down for a fantastic cause, the just-released Bare It For Books 2014 Calendar. Bidini — he’s April — has himself just published Keon And Me: My Search For The Lost Soul of the Leafs (Viking). Other writers joining him to pass the time in near-nudity include Yann Martel, Miranda Hill, and Steven Heighton. Proceeds from the calendar go to PEN Canada. For more information, visit www.bareitforbooks.ca. (Photo: Shelagh Howard for Bare It For Books, www.shelaghhoward.com)


On A Cold Road: Writer and rocker Dave Bidini strips down for a fantastic cause, the just-released Bare It For Books 2014 Calendar. Bidini — he’s April — has himself just published the sly and incisive Keon And Me: My Search For The Lost Soul of the Leafs (Viking). Other writers joining him to pass the time in near-nudity include Yann Martel, Miranda Hill, and Steven Heighton. Proceeds from the calendar go to PEN Canada. For more information, visit http://www.bareitforbooks.ca. (Photo: Shelagh Howard for Bare It For Books, http://www.shelaghhoward.com)

Henrik Lundqvist, the goalie for the New York Rangers, had a minor issue this week, and missed practice. The New York Daily News said it was a “minor issue.”

Kelly Chase, the former fighter who now broadcasts games for the St. Louis Blues, made the case that not enough fighting is causing mayhem in this year’s NHL. In his words (@Chasenpucks39): “Hits from behind UP! Injuries UP! Stretchers on ice UP! Number of suspensions at this of the year UP! Fighting DOWN! Hmmm”

Vanity Fair revealed its list of most stylish NHLers this — actually it was last week. “Arguably the most down-to-earth and least tabloid-friendly players, as a group, in professional sports, the men of the National Hockey League are usually lost under loose jerseys and protective masks during games,” gabbled the magazine. “Off the ice, their style may be noticeably more reserved than their football- or basketball-playing peers’, but they still know how to keep things cool, with looks that range from Power Broker to Nordic Gentleman.”

Henrik Lundqvist — “shows no fear of experimenting with color and pattern”— ranked at the top. Philadelphia’s Vincent Lecavalier ranked second (“tasteful use of open collars and V-neck shirts”) while Ottawa Senators Erik Karlsson (“defies the thuggish-defenseman cliché during his off hours in Ottawa with Euro-cut slim suits and button-downs that pop with color”) and Jason Spezza (“accessorizes his classically cut suits with polka-dot ties, candy-stripe shirts, and Don Draperian pocket squares”) rated seventh and ninth, respectively.

The goalie who stopped the pucks in 1980 that helped the USA’s “Miracle On Ice” team win Olympic gold was blogging this week for the Russian newspaper RIA Novosti. “As we get ever closer to the Olympic Games in Sochi in February,” wrote Jim Craig, “I want you to stop for a moment and think about your family.”

Sidney Crosby continued to lead the NHL in scoring this week and as he arrived in Toronto to play the Leafs, Damien Cox from The Toronto Star said that he was at the peak of his powers, now that all the concussion-related uncertainty that clouded the air just two-and-half years again has passed.

For his part, Crosby wanted to talk about Pittsburgh’s goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, who wasn’t one of those invited to Canada’s Olympic orientation camp in August. “He’s played really well,” Crosby said. “He’s definitely earned the right to be considered.”

Asked about the struggles of the New York Rangers, the team he used to coach, John Tortorella said, “I don’t work there anymore. I’m certainly not going to criticize. That’s not fair.”

Earlier in the week, the Rangers had waived their back-up goalie, the 16-year veteran Martin Biron, with an idea of sending him to minor-league Hartford. Biron: “This is not a fun feeling.” Continue reading