Thursday, January 04, 2007
If the IIHF hadn’t already done everything in their power to enrage hockey purists around the globe then they certainly have now. Anyone who watched yesterday’s Canada-USA semi final match up at the World Junior Championships already knows exactly what I’m eluding to. From no touch icings to mandatory visors for all players born after 1974, many of the IIHF’s unique rules are frowned upon by hockey purists but accepted nonetheless. However the IIHF’s new shootout format, which permits the same player to take multiple shots in a single shootout, has taken things too far.
In case deciding a game of immense magnitude in such an individualistic manner wasn’t already bad enough, now the IIHF has taken the very last semblances of team play out of the shootout. As one TSN broadcaster so aptly put it later in the evening “Towes beat Mueller 3-2 in the shootout as Canada beat the US 2-1 to advance to the gold medal game.”
Not only does this format kill any chance at a team effort (if you can even call it that) in the shootout, but it erases the chance of an unsung hero emerging and getting his 15 minutes of fame. Like the shootout or not, there is not a hockey fan in the world who witnessed Malik’s goal in the Caps-Rags marathon last season who doesn’t secretly hope for a similar occurrence every time a game is tied after regulation.
Mr. Fasel, if you’re reading this, for the sake of hockey please do something about this abhorrent way to decide games.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I’ve been searching around for some information on how to watch the IIHF World Juniors Championship here in the US.
Looking at tomorrow’s Center Ice schedule, I see the USA-Norway game is on at 1pm est.
Here are the scheduled games I’ve pulled from there:
Tuesday December 27
1:00PM USA at NORWAY
Thursday December 29
1:00PM USA at FINLAND
Saturday December 31
7:00PM USA at CANADA
I then decided to visit USA Hockey and found a complete television schedule for those who are interested. Besides Center Ice, you can catch the action on Fox Sports Net (and Fox Sports College) along with usahockey.com.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Jes made another post about visors today. If you read his site it should take you all of a second to realize he thinks all players should wear them.
I’ll add this personal note in before I get started: I’ve played in leagues where face protection is required. I tried visors. They were awful for the top reason being the sweat factor (wear glasses when it’s raining outside and tell me how clearly you can see). So what’d I do? I wore a cage. Yes, there are lines, but I didn’t feel they obstructed my vision nearly as much as sweat would warp it. NHLers don’t have that option though. Players may only wear full face guards like a cage with medical clearance.
Besides flying pucks (which are a good reason), high sticks are usually the other reason why a player would want to wear a visor. With or without visors, the league should start calling high sticks more. Sticks are being swung around too freely, even with the “new” rules in place. Most agree the NHL will eventually require players to wear visors.
Some will tell you that one of the reasons for this is the fact that players must wear shields in the juniors and the more protection one wears, the more invulnerable they feel (and the less think about also hurting someone else). While this could be one of the reasons, there’s no reason to let it slide anymore. The NHL should sit down with the major junior leagues and have a joint crack-down on high sticking. Don’t let players start swinging their sticks in juniors and hopefully they’ll keep them down for their whole careers. Do whatever it takes:
- Give double-minors for all high sticking calls
- Make a new “two minute major”, where a player sits the full penalty, whether or not the other team scores
- Attach a misconduct to all high sticking calls, so while it may not hurt the player’s team, he gets less playing time (I think this might be the way to go, especially at the junior level)
- Start attaching suspensions to certain amounts of high sticking penalties
Another reason sticks may be flying is because sticks are so light nowadays. Maybe having such lightweight sticks isn’t such a good thing? Is the weight really causing players to score more or less? I don’t think so. It may be easier for the players to carry around, but if it isn’t leading to better play, what’s the point? So players’ arms aren’t as tired? I’m not suggesting anyone skate around with a tree trunk, but a few more ounces on these sticks could go a long way to keeping them down some.
Make sticks have a minimum weight, call penalties tight. Keeping sticks down will help injuries no matter what level of protection players have.
For the fight fans: I’m not so sure fighting would be affected as much as one would think. Players take them off in the juniors, they can do the same in the NHL, and unlike what Tom Benjamin thinks, I still think that can be done in a spontaneous fight (at least sometimes). One thing I’d hope the NHL would change if visors become mandatory would be repealing the automatic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that’s given when a player receives an instigator penalty and is wearing a shield.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Florida already has the NHL and ECHL, and they’re attempting to at least host a Frozen Four, even if they won’t be sending any teams to it.
However, who would have thought that juniors hockey is doing well in Florida?
Organizers of the four-team league (Oldsmar, Ellenton Eels, Space Coast Hurricanes and Palm Beach Ice Hawks) plan to add two expansion teams for next season.
I’m sure it doesn’t have the talent level of the northern US juniors leagues yet, and we won’t bother comparing it to the big three in Canada, but solid growth in a juniors program since the NHL expanded into the state is a real sign of success for the sport, even if the teams themselves have faltered at times.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Matt Gassman, 19, left his Manitoba Junior Hockey League team and returned home to Littleton, CO, after receiving death threats.
“The nature of the threat was, ‘You bleeping American. Get out of here, or we’ll kill you,”’ Greg Gassman said. His son was too frightened to turn around and face the students, he said.
“Matt’s feeling was the group was not kidding. He was scared. Given where we live and what happened here, we couldn’t take a chance.”
Greg Gassman was referencing the 1999 Columbine tragedy, which happened close to the Gassman’s home, and affected the family.
Gassman was the backup goaltender for the Winnipeg South Blues, who are getting ready to start the league semifinals.