tenacious d

Barc The Spark: Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, on a Wednesday of this date in 1941, Barclay Plager was the eldest of the St. Louis Blues Plagers, joining the team with brother Bob for the team’s first season in 1967. (Bill arrived in 1968.) “I have never, ever had a player who was such a fierce competitor,” coach Scotty Bowman said of Barclay, “who wouldn’t accept a defeat no matter what the score was.” He patrolled the Blues line for nine seasons, six of those as captain, and when he retired the team showed its esteem by retiring the number 8 he’d worn on his sweater. He coached the team for a year after his retirement, and later served as an assistant. Barclay Plager died of cancer in 1988 at the age of 46. That’s him here getting down to block a shot during the Blues’ 1971-72 campaign in front of goaltender Jacques Caron. Looking on is Wayne Carleton of the California Golden Seals.

this week: ig-gy and the oilsands, chicken parm and forensic doctors

jarome iToronto defenceman Mark Fraser told Jonas Siegel from TSN.ca about shot-blocking. “In the moment,” he said, “it’s just a reaction, you just do it. It’s hard to explain why, it’s just the ingrained craziness of a hockey player. Honestly. Some kinds literally do it with their face.”

Scotty Bowman talked this week about Gordie Howe, who turns 85 tomorrow. “He was a terrific player — size, strength, offence, defence, toughness, ability to score, ability to make plays. If you were going to make a model of a hockey player for every category, you wouldn’t be able to get a model better than him.”

On Sunday, Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman fired his coach, Guy Boucher. “Guy is a good man,” said Yzerman. “He’s a good hockey coach. He’s an intelligent guy. He’s a hard worker. It just isn’t working.”

“It was a bit shocking,” said Lightning forward Teddy Purcell, “but we have to have a short memory and move forward. This was a good character test for us.”

Mark Streit of the New York Islanders told reporters this week that his team would try to take “time and space” away from Sidney Crosby — leaving him, I guess, no dimensions in which to operate.

Turns out Alexei Kovalev didn’t retire so much as the Florida Panthers retired him. Having signed up with the Panthers in January, Kovalev, who’s 40, played 14 games for them. He scored two goals, assisted on three others. Then in February the team told him to stay home. “They never really explained to me.” At a Montreal Canadiens alumni game, he told reporters he hopes to play in Europe next season. “I’m not ready for this kind of event. I feel that I can still play the real game.”

On Monday, the media in Calgary waited to talk to Flames’ captain Jarome Iginla to ask him are you being traded?/where to?/how do you feel?/sad?/is it Los Angeles?/any anger, at all?/do you wish you’d won the Stanley Cup?/probably Chicago, then?/why didn’t you win the Stanley Cup?/are you bitter?/does it sting?/will you miss us?/Boston?/what will you miss the most?/Pittsburgh isn’t out of the question, is it?

“Iginla declines to talk with media after Flames’ morning skate,” tweeted Scott Burnside from ESPN.

Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero traded for Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray. “Analytics doesn’t come in to this for me. You can’t measure the heart, the character, the fit on your team you’re looking for.”

“Sad to see Crank go,” San Jose’s Logan Couture twittered about Murray’s departure.

“The more you watch Jake Gardiner,” said former Leafs’ assistant general manager Bill Watters, “the more you see a young Red Kelly.” Continue reading