Hockey Headlines

Friday, 30 January 2015

Boo-nier

I'll admit that I'm a fan of Jonathan Bernier. I think the kid has some exceptional battle in him, especially playing in Toronto. He's a solid goalie playing on a less-than-stellar team, but even he's human. The image to the left is one that is all too familiar this season as we normally see Bernier hanging his head after the red light has been lit behind him. Last night, his humanity was on display as he allowed one of the worst goals this season and, perhaps, one of the worst of his career. It will probably rank as the longest goal he's ever given up.

With the Leafs leading 1-0 to open the third period against the Arizona Coyotes, there was a glimmer of hope that the long losing streak that Leafs have been mired in would end. And then this happened.
That may have been the easiest goal that Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in his career. 114 feet of space was between Ekman-Larsson and Bernier, and the game was tied five seconds later. Hang your head, Jonathan, because that one hurts.

"I didn't see it," Bernier told reporters. "I lost it in the stands and it just dipped in front of me. It's tough to stay in, especially when I thought I was playing pretty good and the fans get on you. It gets frustrating."

I will say that Bernier experienced, according to his comments, something that happens when I play outdoors. Because it's dark when we play night games, occasionally our goaltender loses sight of the puck if it rises above the white boards. I can empathize with Bernier on this one, but it still hurts. Especially when you consider that he gave up another soft goal minutes later.

I feel bad immortalizing this goal with this post, but the truth of the matter remains that Bernier has to be at his best to give the Leafs a shot at winning. He wasn't last night, and the Leafs dropped a 3-1 result to the Coyotes. Will the losing ever end?

Maybe the better question is when does the season end?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Hockey Show - Episode 124

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is back tonight with a show that will feature you, the listener! We are opening up the phones tonight, and we want to hear your thoughts on all things hockey! Any topic and any league are open for discussion tonight as we come back from the All-Star breaks in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL to the stretch drives in those respective leagues! We're talking your calls tonight for the entire hour we're on the airwaves!

Tonight, we want to hear from you. We know you listen. We know you have opinions. We know you may agree or disagree with us. Tonight is your opportunity to jump on with a question, a comment, or anything else on your mind that you'd like to share with us. As long as it's about hockey, we'll take the call and discuss with you whatever may be on your mind! We also have a few things to discuss, but we want to hear from you tonight, so get that dialing finger ready!

Give us a call tonight at (204) 269-8636 (UMFM) so we can get you on the air! As always, you can hear what we're up to on 101.5 UMFM on your radio dial in the Winnipeg region or you can listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! You can tweet me anytime you like by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show. There are lots of ways for you to interact with The Hockey Show, but we want to hear from you tonight! Give us a call!

PODCAST: JANUARY 29, 2015: Episode 124

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The First

Mike Smith is still a darn good goalie. He has struggled this season, but the Coyotes have struggled as well. He was an Olympian, and he has shown flashes of brilliance this season. The image to the left is one that opposing teams should still be wary of when Mike Smith is tending the net because he's a pretty decent goal-scorer. In saying that, Smith actually holds a pretty distinctive record in the ECHL that will be tough to match. It involves a goal and some goaltending stats that, when mixed together, are a pretty impressive feat!

We have to go all the way back to October 26th, 2002 for this record. Mike Smith was playing in the ECHL for the Lexington Men O'War, and was starting his first ECHL game on the date in question. The opposition that day was the Dayton Bombers, and the game was a closely-contested affair!

Lexington was leading 1-0 late in the third period when the puck was sent behind Smith's net. Dayton pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker. Smith retrieved the puck, flipped the puck high over the players on the ice where it landed near center ice, and continued to slide the length of the ice where it came to rest in the Dayton net.

So what records did Smith set with that goal? He became the youngest goaltender to score a goal in a professional game with that goal as he was just 20 years of age. He became the first goaltender in history to score a goal, record a shutout, and earn his first professional win in his first professional game. In other words, that was a pretty significant goal that Smith scored on October 26th, 2002 as he set a number of firsts!

Smith has scored other goals, but this one will go down in history. And it happened with one of the best-named teams in hockey history with the Lexington Men O'War!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Hockey FUNdamentals

I consider myself pretty lucky when it comes to some of the relationships I've been able to foster through this blog and the radio show. It has led to some incredible experiences, and I'm happy to report that I was invited to participate in another fun experience tonight as I went down to Canlan Ice Sports to take in a session of the Hockey Fundamentals course they are running. I wasn't on skates, but I did get to witness a lively class of women willing to be put through the paces by the instructors in order to improve their games. As far as I could tell, this group of women will undoubtedly be a solid graduating class once they make it through their classes, and I have no doubt that they'll be suiting up for a team at Canlan Ice Sports in the near future!

The range of ages for these women went from ladies in the thirties right through to those nearing retirement. Each and every woman I spoke to tonight really seemed to be enjoying their times on the ice, and all of them wore beaming smiles as they skated over to speak with yours truly. You could tell that they were enjoying themselves, and all of them had incredible things to say about the program.

Trish #1: "This is my first session with Canlan. Last year, I was somewhere else, but it's great! Really great!"

Vicky: "It's alright! I like it! This is my third session, and I have lots of fun. I used to play ringette when I was young and haven't been on the ice in, like, 20 years, so it's awesome!"

Liz: "Oh it's a lot of fun! This beats going to a treadmill in a gym some place!"

Liz, you'll be interested to know, didn't start playing hockey until she was 52! As stated above, this Hockey Fundamentals program is for players of all skills and ages, and the ladies I spoke with all had excellent things to say about instructors Sean, Kyle, and Kayla. It sounds as though half the fun is created by the instructors, and, as they say, a lesson taught with humor is a lesson retained!

Trish #2: "Very competent. (Sean)'s good at modifying things for different levels. He's good at tailoring it for everyone in the class."

That's key in all of this, isn't it? Good instructors who can reach players at their levels and help them improve their skills. Canlan Ice Sports has gone through a number of instructors as they search for great people who are excellent teachers in the sport of hockey. Kyle and Kayla assisted Sean Fisher on the ice, and Mr. Fisher is well-known to those following the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey program. Sean is an assistant coach with the program, so he knows how to run drills and get the most out of his students. Sean, Kyle, and Kayla ran the ladies through a pile of drills to continue their growth as players, and you could see the confidence in their smiles as they mastered the fundamentals!

Sean: "I think a lot of the participants we have out here tonight are returning clients who come back on a regular basis - session by session - and I've seen a huge improvement in those players."

I have to hand it to Canlan Ice Sports and Program Director Tyler Stewart for success of the Hockey Fundamentals program. They have had a number of the graduates from past years move on to play adult hockey in leagues at Canlan Ice Sports, and they appear to be close to having very competent, very capable players getting ready to graduate in this year's program as well.

The five players I spoke with all look like veteran players on their skates. While I wasn't there at the beginning of the sessions, hearing these ladies speak of their significant improvements and seeing the smiles on their faces as they talk about improving their hockey skills is proof enough that the Hockey Fundamentals program at Canlan Ice Sports works.

And most of all, you can't spell "fundamentals" without the word "fun"!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Whose Reality Is This?

Corus Entertainment is a pretty big player in Canadian entertainment companies. They usually do pretty go work, but they officially fall below "infomercial" network with their new "reality" show. Being that you're a reader of HBIC, you know I have little-to-no appreciation for these so-called reality-based television shows. Honestly, it's not reality for anyone but those participating in the show. So it is with great regret that I must announce that Corus Entertainment is kicking off a brand-new reality TV series called Hockey Wives.

I admit that the picture is small, but we're going to follow the lives of ten hockey wives as we get a glimpse inside their lives as the ladies behind the men who take to the ice. Included in the series as we go left to right on the image above is:
  • Wendy Tippett (wife of Arizona coach Dave Tippett).
  • Emilie Blum (wife of Iowa Wild defenceman Jonathan Blum).
  • Kodette LaBarbera (wife of Anaheim goalie Jason LaBarbera).
  • Nicole Brown (wife of LA forward Dustin Brown).
  • Tiffany Parros (wife of retired forward George Parros).
  • Noureen DeWulf (wife of Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller).
  • Maripier Morin (girlfriend of Montreal forward Brandon Prust).
  • Brijet Whitney (wife of retired forward Ray Whitney).
  • Martine Forget (finacĂ©e of Toronto goalie Jonathan Bernier).
  • Jenny Scrivens (wife of Edmonton goalie Ben Scrivens).
I have no doubt that these women do their absolute best in managing their lives, the lives of their significant others, and the households in which they play a major part. But why is it on TV? I can tell you right now that I'll never be a hockey wife nor do I want to pry into the lives of men who have hockey wives. I just want them to be happy in their relationships and all the best in their chosen careers.

I dove into their individual biographies on the W Network page to see if I could piece together the relationships. Quite frankly, unless you're interested in Kodette LaBarbera' or Jenny Scrivens' relationships with the other women - they have four each - you might be a little disappointed. Noureen, Maripier, Wendy, and Emilie each have one direct link to another woman in their bios, but they may know the others as well. However, it seems the W Network isn't divulging that information, so do these women know each other or will we see them trying to forge relationships amongst themselves Survivor-style?

For the 800 or so hockey wives and girlfriends in the NHL, this is their life. This is what they experience on a day-to-day basis, but that's the life they have chosen to be a part of with their NHL significant other. For the millions of hockey fans across this country and continent, this isn't something we consider because it's not our reality nor will it ever be.

I appreciate what Corus Entertainment is trying to do here, but it's not a reality show in any format. If it were a documentary, that would be more informative. I hope that Corus Entertainment won't vilify any of the women in their portrayal of their relationships. After all, look at the abuse April Reimer takes for simply being the wife of a Toronto Maple Leaf. But in this being a reality show, I'm sure that the editors will take some liberty in the shots they use. That's what reality TV is all about, right?

To the ten women above who support their NHL husbands, maintain the household, and carry on with a normal life, I have no doubt that you're all incredible women. Besides being beautiful, you're the rocks that your significant others lean on, and they wouldn't be as successful as they are without you. The last thing you need is a reality TV show to support that statement.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!