Hockey Headlines

Monday, 21 July 2014

Another Russian Split

You won't see this face at Washington Capitals games anymore. That's Maria Kirilenko, the former fiancée of Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin and star tennis player, sitting in the crowd. You probably caught the word "former" in the previous sentence. While Russia tries to recapture or whatever it's trying to do with Ukraine, the Ovechkin-Kirilenko engagement is now off and the two athletes have parted ways. There reportedly were some incidents over the last few months that pushed these two apart, and it came to an end with Kirilenko announcing that she had called off the engagement and the two are no longer together.

Kirilenko gave a statement to R-Sport who tweeted the information out, and was retweeted by Kirilenko herself. Translated from Russian, the statement reads,
"I have made a decision to break up our engagement. There are a lot of reasons, but I wouldn't want to go in detail. I'll say just that our relationship is over, but I respect Sasha as a person and an athlete and sincerely wish him athletic success in the future.

"I'm currently concentrating on preparing for my tennis tournaments and I hope that soon I'll be able to please my fans with news about my success as an athlete and not just in my personal life."
I'll admit that I'm not for reporting on a player's personal life because it's that player's life outside of the microscope of sports. I'm not comfortable talking about a player's foibles when it comes to his personal relationships or behavior unless it becomes a black mark on the city and its fans that he or she is representing. This news about Alexander Ovechkin and Maria Kirilenko is sad as they were often seen together in pictures and at events, but it seems that Miss Kirilenko and Mr. Ovechkin started drifting apart based on Miss Kirilenko's comments.

I'm not going to assume anything because that's irresponsible of me. Miss Kirilenko has decided to keep the reasons she feels this relationship ended under wraps, and I respect that privacy. No one wants to see laundry aired when it comes to a failed relationship. Things can be said that can offend the other party, and that will only lead to increased hostility. Miss Kirilenko has done an admirable job at respecting the privacy of both herself and Alexander Ovechkin, and she deserves some credit for showing tact in light of a difficult time.

As for Alexander Ovechkin, last season was a bad one statistically and professionally when it comes to expectations. He scored a pile of goals, but he certainly didn't help his cause on the defensive side of the puck. While I'm loathe to suggest that his relationship was a distraction, he should have but one focus this season at this point: helping the Washington Capitals get back to the playoffs and beyond.

While players deserve to have personal lives as well, the expectations that are carried by Alexander Ovechkin are huge. We saw how poorly Mike Ribeiro played and acted in Glendale last season, and it was revealed during the press conference in Nashville that he was having personal family problems that led to some of that erratic behavior. I'm not sure if this is the case for Mr. Ovechkin's poor defensive play last year, but there is one certainty for this upcoming season: he won't be able to use that as an excuse if he doesn't improve his defensive game.

I wish nothing but the best of luck for Miss Kirilenko on the pro tennis circuit, and I expect a big year out of Alexander Ovechkin. While his personal relationship didn't end up in a good place, his relationship with the fans in Washington can be repaired by a deep playoff run.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Ever Since I've Been The Champ!

There's a lot of work that goes into a successful radio bit. Working in radio has given me an appreciation for the preparation and work that goes into a show, let alone a successful daily bit. One bit that worked extremely well is The Champ, a funny clip from a former boxing champ who mistakes what people say. "Brother" Jake Edwards, who works for The Team 1040 in Vancouver, is the man behind The Champ, and I have to say that I've missed The Champ on local airwaves. I don't know what the syndication charges are, but some radio station near you should be picking up this hilarious bit.

Because he's a former boxer, he doesn't chat about hockey very often, but there's one clip floating around the internet that's pretty funny. I warn you in advance that this clip is PG-rated at best thanks to the joke Edwards makes, but it's still pretty darn funny for three minutes of your time. Enjoy!
Yeah, I'm not sure if that joke can be told around the kids, but the adults will get it. But that's the whole schtick with the Champ - he hears something that's quite innocent, but misinterprets what was actually said. I have a couple of his CDs, and some of the episodes are quite funny.

If you want to hear other episodes, there's a great archive found on The Team 1040's website. The Champ covers lots of topics and mishears a lot of statements, and it ends with laughter as he snaps and loses it on someone.

Kudos to Jake Edwards for creating this awesome radio bit and letting it ride for the last fifteen years! That kind of longevity is proof that if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

From Goalie To Kitchen Guru

I have to admit that recent events in my life have caused me to evaluate my dreams and goals. Sometimes things don't turn out as one has planned, and re-evaluation is needed when looking at long-term ideals. While my re-evaluation doesn't necessarily change my day-to-day life, it does have an effect on the immediate future and potential long-term future. I discovered another person who went through this evaluation by tuning into The Food Network of all places!

Chef JohnRoss Woodland, pictured to the right, is a chef at a Mississauga, Ontario restaurant called Tu Casa Fine Dining. Chef Woodland was also a contestant on a recent episode of Chopped Canada, pitting him against three other chefs' culinary skills as they work with the mystery ingredients in the baskets. With each round seeing one chef eliminated after the judges' evaluations of the dishes made, the pressure to make a delicious dish in each round grows as the number of chefs dwindles. It's kind of like the pressure of hockey playoffs where the pressure to perform at one's best grows each time one advances further.

So you're probably asking why I'm writing about a food creation competition on a hockey blog. It's a valid question considering the topic I normally write about, so here's why I'm talking about JohnRoss Woodland: he was an NCAA goaltender who traded in his dreams of playing in the NHL to become a chef!

JohnRoss Woodland, born in Picton, Ontario, played three seasons for NCAA Division III school Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Woodford was a goaltender for the Wildcats, posting a GAA of 4.34 and a save percentage of .889 in his three years at the private American university. One of the faculties at JWU is a Culinary Arts school. The university is actualy the largest food service educator in the world, so you have a quick background on how JohnRoss Woodland found his second calling.

They have a number of notable alumni in the culinary world, including:
  • Anna Olson - celebrity chef, Food Network Canada personality, and Home Hardware culinary spokesperson.
  • Sam Talbot - Season 2's winner of Top Chef.
  • Aarón Sanchez - celebrity chef and judge on Chopped.
Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse have also both received honorary doctorates from JWU, so there's a little more naming-names about the university. Needless to say, JohnRoss Woodland graduated from a highly-respected culinary program from one of the most-respected universities on the planet.

He gave up on his NHL dream after realizing his college hockey career wouldn't lead him to the NHL as he had hoped. He went to school, learned from some of the best in his chosen field, and has now appeared on national TV as a certified chef in a competition that has eaten up and spit out some excellent chefs.

So how did the 25 year-old do? Well, you'll have watch to find out. I'm not going to give away the ending, the middle, or any of the rounds in which Chef JohnRoss participated. Some of the ingredients he was forced to use in his challenges included mussels, instant coffee, orange drink crystals, and spruce tips! A challenge indeed!

Congratulations to Chef JohnRoss Woodland on his success as a chef, and for not letting one set of unfortunate circumstances ruin his goal of being successful!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 18 July 2014

What Would You Say You Do Here?

It occurred to me yesterday that there are a number of hours in the day that I use for menial tasks. Things like eating, using the washroom, reading articles on the internet, and general socialization could be better spent learning a new language, finding a(nother) new hobby, or a number of other things. It dawned on me that I'm not sure what an NHL General Manager does all day in the off-season when he has nothing going on. It's like a void when it comes to accounting for the work done during the day from my point of view, so there must be more than just sitting at a desk reading blogs like this and laughing at rumors conjured up by internet fantasy GMs, right?

I'm sure there are different levels of work put in based on the number of free agents a team has, whether or not there are holes in a lineup that need patching, and the job of finding players who can build up the minor-league affiliates so there's a capable player who is ready when called upon to fill an injury. However, let's say that your GM was astute and had a solid minor-league affiliation who needed no holes patched in its lineup. And let's also assume that your GM took care of the free agents and holes in the NHL lineup that needed to be signed or re-signed. It leads me back to the question: what does that GM do all day?

The one thing I know happens is that general managers, like the players, tend to get away from the game after the free agency frenzy dies down. They vacation with their families, they engage in hobbies and activities they enjoy such as golf, and they do some charitable work. In other words, they get away from hockey as much as they can for a few short weeks in the summer as much as they can before the looming season starts again. However, if your team was eliminated in April and training camps don't open until September, that's a long five-month break for the guy who is responsible for the on-ice product.

Granted, there are now development camps that engage the GMs in assessing the talent in their systems that run over the summer. The rookie tournaments usually kick up at the beginning of September. In looking at the calendar, though, there is approximately three to six weeks of time where there isn't a lot of activity for GMs whose teams didn't advance past the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. What exactly do these guys do with all that extra time of not running a team?

If you're looking for examples, I can provide a couple. The first guy I have to ask about is Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. The Jets have yet to make the playoffs since arriving in Winnipeg, and look like they are going to miss the playoffs again this season. Yes, I can boldly make that prediction in July because I'm not sure what Cheveldayoff is being paid to do on a daily basis. He made one free agent signing, he let a couple of players walk, and he's currently negotiating with restricted free agents and the one guy who is going to arbitration. He's probably spent more time diffusing the Evander Kane situation than he has working the phones and drawing up contracts. Sure, he was at the Jets' development camp where he saw potential future Jets playing hard, but he could have sent his head scout to do the same work.

Therefore, since the Jets have not been a playoff team since April and the only player transactions made were the signing of Mathieu Perreault and couple of AHL players, Kevin Cheveldayoff, what would you say you do here?

Another GM who done relatively little in terms of improving his team in this offseason is Florida's Dale Tallon. Oh sure, he dumped trucks of money on free agents who needed the lure of the greenback to wander down to Sunrise, but he hasn't improved his team a whole bunch. They also drafted Aaron Ekblad first-overall at this year's draft, but I could have trained a chimp to do that. Ekblad was clearly the best player coming into the draft, and the Panthers made sure they claimed him. Heck, my dog knew Ekblad was going first-overall. It's not like Tallon had a lot of work to do in researching this kid.

So after unloading a pile of money on second- and third-line players on July 1 and 2 that will make these players virtually untradeable in the future based on their production and after drafting the consensus best player in this year's draft, the Panthers have gone silent. While the players they've add will make them a marginally better team, they are still going to miss the playoffs in a competitive Atlantic Division. So Dale Tallon, what would you say you do here?

I'm willing to sit in with a GM for a few days and see what he actually does all day. Since my local NHL team's GM was mentioned in this article, he would be the ideal candidate for this experiment. I am, though, extremely curious what these two men do now that the craziness of free agency and development camps are over.

Anyone want someone to sit with them for a week as a shadow?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Hockey Show - Episode Ninety-Seven

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, is nearing 100 shows on our beloved UMFM. It's quite amazing to think we've been at this a couple of years, have produced nearly 100 shows, and have yet to be sued for anything. Of course, that's a joke and we're not looking for lawsuits to be thrown at us, but we've been having a pretty good run. Of course, we'll be giving a few things away on Show #100, so you'll want to tune in August 7. That means you have to be listening!

Speaking of tuning in, we'll welcome back Columbus as she calls in with an update on her summer vacation! She was reportedly back in Winnipeg last week for the Folk Fest, so we'll get an update on what bands she saw and who she recommends for your summer music choices. We'll find out when she's coming back to take over the show once more, and we'll talk about how the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul feel about the Thomas Vanek signings and the chances for the Wild this season in the Central Division. Of course, we'll probably end up not talking much hockey with her, but Beans and I do have some topics to discuss on which we'll get her two-cents.

Tonight's edition of 3 Rounds Deep will plunk Beans and I into the Winnipeg Jets' GM chair as we dig through the remaining free agents to see who we'd sign if we were the GM. There are still some quality guys on the market that could make the Jets better if they were willing to drop a few dollars in the water, so we'll take a shot at who we want to see compete for a job here in Winnipeg. This is one where we could start some serious arguments!

If you wanna be a part of 3 Rounds Deep tonight, give us a call during the segment at 204-269-8636 (269-UMFM) and we'll put you on the air! Same rules as always as we can't repeat picks made by others and neither can you, so it will get a little tougher as people start participating. We'll start it off, then open up the phone lines and hit Twitter for everyone else to participate. If you want to toss some names in electronically, the Twitter link is below where you can go 3 Rounds Deep!

Going 3 ROUNDS DEEP tonight: who would you sign if you were the Jets' General Manager? You know what to do!

It's been pretty quiet over the last couple of weeks in the hockey world, especially with the Jets lying low this summer once again. We will discuss the signings of Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy in Nashville as Winnipeg continues to fall further behind the horses in the Central Division. We'll chat about the hiring of Tom Renney as Hockey Canada's new president and CEO and what that might mean for Hockey Canada going forward. The Leafs re-signed Peter Holland while Carter Ashton accepted his qualifying offer, meaning the Leafs will still miss the playoffs this season. The Buffalo Sabres re-signed Tyler Ennis, meaning they'll probably miss the playoffs again. And we'll toss around some chatter about how the Toronto Maple Leafs were the only NHL team to make the Forbes list of the fifty most-valuable franchises.

I have recently - read: since yesterday - been overly occupied with Weird Al Yankovic's newest video from his upcoming album, Mandatory Fun. I'm not going to get into the Robin Thicke discussion about his music and the messages within it, but Weird Al's take on Blurred Lines is absolutely hilarious. For those of you who write or enjoy writing, this one should speak volumes to you. Here's the video.
Absolutely classic! It's like an advanced English class in three minutes! Kudos to Weird Al for this song!

You'll want to give us a listen tonight as we debut a brand-new song from a great Canadian band as well. These guys are hockey-loving musicians, so tune in at 5:30pm to catch the new tune! Hit us up at 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! We'll be available via phone at (204) 269-8636 (269-UMFM), so give us a call and play 3 Rounds Deep or share your thoughts on any of the topics we cover! You can tweet us anytime you like by hitting us up at @TeebzHBIC on the Twitter machine. 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. Hit me up on Twitter, give Facebook a follow, and/or call us tonight to weigh in on anything in the hockey world!

PODCAST: JULY 10, 2014: Episode 97

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!