Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hang Up The Skates

Some people just don’t know when to quit. Athletes are extremely good at staying in the game too long. Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Franco Harris, Joe Montana, and many others tried to continue to do what they did very well, sometimes years after their skill diminished. Others tried to move in different directions within the same sport without success. This is one of them.

It is no secret that Wayne Gretzky was hockey’s greatest player, so far. Passing, shooting, puck handling, you name it, and he did it well, great in many cases. He owns or shares 61 NHL records (40 for regular season, 15 for Stanley Cup playoffs and 6 for All-Star Game). He was ranked No. 5 among North American athletes by SportsCentury's distinguished 48-person panel. Only Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown rated higher than Gretzky. Not many players can hope to achieve anything close to what he did. And yet he wanted more.

So he took the challenge of being Managing Partner in charge of all hockey operations, Alternate Governor & Head Coach of the Phoenix Coyotes on February 15, 2001. In his first full season, the 2001-2002 season, the Coyotes went 40-27-9-6, finished second in their division and made the playoffs. The next year they finished next to last in the division with a 31-35-11-5 record. They bottomed out in 03-04 with only 22 wins and started their three-year stay with Cinderella in the basement.

In the early stages of this season, Phoenix is 3-6 and doesn’t look like it’s going to turn it around anytime soon. What can be done to get into “Wayne’s World” and let him know he just doesn’t seem to have the skills required for coaching? Or management decisions for that matter? He was criticized for some of his choices of players in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Wayne gave the nickname of “The Next One” to Sidney Crosby, stated that Sid would probably break a few of his own records, and then didn’t put him on the Canadian team. Why? Objecting to his own critique?

The sad part of this all is no one has the stones to tell him or fire him. Would you want to be the person to call Wayne Gretzky into your office and tell him he sucks? But, Wayne should know. He is a very smart person and we all are not great at everything we do. He should realize that what he’s done, what the organization has done, isn’t working.

It’s time for Wayne Gretzky to put away his ego, accept that he is human, and take this failure as something that happens to all of us.

It just took longer for it to happen to him.

~ ogre1kanobe

Monday, October 29, 2007

The New Boss

The NHLPA hired a new leader this week in Paul Kelly. His appointment has come with mixed reviews of course coming from opposite sides. The players feel they have the right guy, which makes sense, or why would have they hired him? On the other side of the fence some members of the NHL have said the NHLPA has found another Bob Goodenow. The thought of the players causing another labor issue at the end of the 08-09 season has even been brought up on some of the mainstream media's web sites. The players union can opt out of the CBA two years early if they wish. For now though Kelly is saying all the right things. He wants to have a positive relationship with the league. He wants to focus on the game, bring back old fans and develop new ones. He wants hockey to get more coverage in the United States. He wants to have a open and forthright relationship with Gary Bettman. Again, all the right things to say when talking to the media on your first day on the job.

But what does this all mean for the NHL?

In reading some of the players comments about Kelly being hired, it sure sounds to me that there are still some sour grapes from the last labor fight. After all Saskin got punted for being to "chummy" with the NHL. What's really disturbing is that this new CBA has put more money in players pockets then ever before because with the salary cap, came a salary floor. The players where also given shorter paths to Free Agency, which of course if your any good at this game, means more money. Yet that subtle feeling that the NHLPA isn't happy still simmers in the background.

I'll say it right now, if the NHLPA decides to bring down the current CBA and play hardball with the league anytime soon, it will destroy the NHL. Lets hope this Paul Kelly fellow is telling the truth when he says he wants to work with the NHL to make hockey better and that he will be able to make the players agree that needs to be the plan. After all they are supposed to be working for the same company.

Then again, this is just a damned opinion.

~ damned


Arena Hot Topics

Randy Jones Suspended

Officials Out For Boorgard?

Kipper Locked Up

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The End Brings A New Beginning

After nearly 25 years of play, the Devils move into a new place to dwell. Aptly named The Rock which symbolizes how the Devils have played during this long run of excellence...the new arena will opened last night amid a lot of fanfare and a little controversy. As always, have to have a little spice to go with the sugar. Now we'll throw the spice off a little to the side for now. Last night meant a ton to someone like me...someone who remembers the history of the franchise well.

There were the downtrodden times when the Devils couldn't buy a win....all those games when they were on a little tiny station (WWOR- Channel 9) out of Secaucus, New Jersey. However, even then, they were still our team...we stuck by them win or lose. I remember my father taking me to games and I was amazed at how fast it all was and yet I felt I could almost compartmentalize it. I understood the game and as my love for the game grew (it didn't hurt that I played hockey on some level for the better part of 20 years +), I learned to appreciate the finer subtleties and just to be thankful to be a fan. The Lloyd Lyndsay-Young hellos to all the Devil fans out there....when Gary Thorne took over the play by play from Peter McNab and called the Johnny Mac gamewinner that put us in the playoffs for the first time. When we moved to Sportschannel...we were usually relegated to the upstart NewSport or eventually FSNY2 for awhile but that wouldn't last all that long.

Then there was Lou Lamoriello who turned this franchise around...when he came aboard almost 20 years ago....the Devils were kind of a doormat if you will. Three Cups later, he is still widely considered one of the best GM's in sports. The marketing may be a bit of a sore spot but talk to any Devils fans and they will tell you how much they appreciate Lou....especially this one. Lou orchestrated the compensation when the Blues tampered to get Shanny and everyone knows who we got as that compensation...#4 Scott Stevens. The draft brought us Niedermayer and Brodeur and the rest is well forever ingrained in Devils lore. Madden, Pandolfo, Elias and a cast of characters came later. But without Lou and scouting director, David Conte, who knows if the Devils would still be in New Jersey. After years of playing hard ball with the state of New Jersey which for anyone who knows, can be a worse of a pain than divorce, child birth, or death....the Devils would finally get their new arena in Newark.

The arena has not been without its share of hiccups...there was the oringinal attempt after the near move in 95...and then after the 2nd cup in 2000...I got to the point where I started to wonder if there was ever going to be a new arena. Finally, ground was broken during the lockout and when they said The Rock would be open for the 2007-08 season...a smile came to my face almost as wide as when they won the first Stanley Cup over Detroit. Then when the schedule came out for this season...I saw the date October 27th and penned it in...I knew some way somehow (even 2900 miles away), I would see this game. So yes I am using the Tivo for it but it shall never be erased. Bon Jovi played to a packed out Rock the other night and the people that I have talked to that went said the music was great but the arena stole the show. Now it is the Devils turn to get the party and black style.

My brother got tickets for the game during the week and bought an extra one for the one person that got us all started on this crazy fandom as my mother still calls it. Hockey was the one sport we all agreed upon as a family and it was my dad who guided us that way. So yes, my niece sat in that seat but in a way my father was it a hunch. This is our day.....our Christmas!

A Devils Christmas That Is!

~ stevens8204

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Money Can't Buy Me Cups

Money. The root of all evil. The world revolves around it. Can’t live without it. Hard to live with a lot of it. Lottery winners, millions all at once, broke in two to three years. And what about sports teams? The “haves” spend a lot to get the best players; the “have-nots” struggle to get by with those they can afford.

The New York Yankees have not had great success spending billions over the last 15 years. Well, that’s what George thinks. Multiple playoff appearances and a couple of World Series rings isn’t enough when you have tons of money.

What about his hockey partner, the Rangers? Not nearly as “unsuccessful” as the Yankees, with only two Stanley Cup Championships since 1939-40, with their last one coming in the 1993-94 season. Having talent on your roster such as Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, Brendan Shanahan, Petr Prucha and they young goalie Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t enough for this team. Feeling the need for offensive production, management went out on “Free Agent Frenzy Day” and acquired the likes of Chris Drury of the Sabres and Scott Gomez from the Devils for around $80 million dollars.

So how’s that working out for you?

They are in last place in the Atlantic division with a 2-4-1 overall record, and yes I know it’s early. But what is more disturbing is the other numbers. Although Lundqvist has kept them in many games with giving more than three goals only once, the pathetic offense has scored only 13 goals in those seven games. Using superior math skills, that works out to about 1.85 goals per game, and if memory serves me, that’s under two goals a game. Lundqvist would have to be a four-foot by six-foot load of blob to win more games.

The other sad stat, is they have scored only six power play goals. And most of those goals came recently. They went, 0 for 16 at last recollection, and this with “Mr. Feed-it-to-me-in-the-slot” Jagr on the power play. Jagr has only one goal but he has assisted on seven others, leading his team in points, that being eight.

And how are the new guys doing? Gomez “leads” the team with two goals and only one assist and Drury has one goal and five assists. Offensive fireworks for sure!! Will these Rangers turn it around? Odds are they will. Don’t bet all your money, though.

Money can but you a lot of things. Houses, yachts, fancy cars and yes, even love, for a little while. But money can’t buy me rings and cups. You have to earn those.

~ ogre1kanobe


Arena Hot Topics

Kaberle For Hossa?

Lidstrom Close To Extension

Possible Drama Between Vigneault and Naslund?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

That Extra Edge

So Tory Weber, an Alberta resident, figures he has the next product that will revolutionize hockey. The man has created a heated hockey blade. The idea behind it being that the heated blade will provide a players skates with less friction between the blade and the ice surface. Of course this means the player should be able to skate faster and in the end also be less tired. They, being the creators, also suggest that the product might cause less injuries. The question I asked myself after reading about these heated blades was this.

Do we really have to revolutionize hockey?

Has it really come to that? Was Joe Malone, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Orr really that boring in hockey jerseys that weren't aero dynamic? Did Wayne Gretzky and Super Mario provide that bad of a show with wooden hockey sticks? Are Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin really at such a big disadvantage they need heated hockey skates? I think the answer is a simple no across the board. Players in the NHL are going to be the best in the world no matter what equipment we give them. Sometimes I wish we would keep things simpler so we could celebrate just how good these guys really are instead of being told "It must be the skates".

Then again, this is just a damned opinion.

~ damned


Arena Hot Topics

On Ovechkin's Nerves

Will Volchenkov Be Suspended?

The Beauty Pageant Submission Thread

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lucky 13

As the Arrogant Worms used to say..."Me Like Hockey". Tonight me really like hockey as there are 13 games including well for us left coasters...
a 1PM matinee with the Rangers @ Boston to face the Bruins. The Devils play the Islanders in the never ending road trip that now is just a few bus rides...and HNIC has Hawks-Leafs and Oilers-Flames tonight for its should be glorious. Even Captain Caveman would have been proud.

So...what to watch? With so many choices....Carolina @ Philly is our Game Of The Week. I am not sure of Center Ice's blackout rules so I am more likely to get the Canes' Fox Sports South feed than Comcast. That being said expect a tight tussle between an angry Canes team who lost their composure for 3:00 last night and it cost them dearly...and a Philly team who is reversing last year's horrible showing in a big way with their consistent play. Biron Vs. Ward I am guessing and for the record Biron will not get a shutout tonight....too much forward talent in Carolina but you never do quite know what to expect. Both teams will come out
hungry but I do think the Flyers will pull this one out 4-2.

Onward to Long Island to see if Martin Brodeur can regain last year's form against the team he loves to play against...the New York Islanders. Didn't it feel
like Brodeur had at least 10 shutouts against the Isles last year? Well Isle fans certainly felt that way and I am sure Rick Dipietro felt the same considering in 5 of the Isles losses, he only allowed 11 goals....not too shabby. When will Sheldon Brookbank play? When will the Devils stop being the worst on the Penalty Kill? Where is the old Devils people are used to seeing? Better yet, are the Isles better than last year (post-Yashin)? Hopefully most of these questions will at least be answered and you can catch it all on FSNY.

Finally I do want to check out The Battle Of Alberta tonight in Calgary. As usual I am sure the bloggers with the same name will have some interesting insight
on the rivalry that is truly their own. Can Mikka Kiprusoff start playing like he did the last couple season? It just seems weird that a lot of big name goalies are off to very slow starts (Roberto Luongo included). Iginla and company and ready to take on Rolosson, Hemsky, Souray and all the Oil has to dish out. This has the makings of a nice little late night game to kick back, enjoy a 6 pack and salute some good Hockey Nite In Canada.

Now really really Saturday's blog will be a little I preview my upcoming road trip to San Diego in my quest to find hockey there and relax and all that good stuff....till then, enjoy and ME LIKE HOCKEY!!!!

~ stevens8204

Easy Come, Easy Go

If you haven't heard by now, Bob Hartley has been fired. After taking the Atlanta Thrashers to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, as well as clinching their first Southeast Division title, his thanks for a dry spell at the beginning of the season is a pink slip.

Granted, the Thrashers are 0-6. Their power play ranks 28th, and their penalty kill 29th. To add to their misery, they average a league worst 1.5 goals a game, and allow 4.5, also a league worst. It could be simply that the team isn't clicking as well as it should. It could be that they might have a playoff hangover, even though they went 4 and gone in the playoffs.

But for whatever reason, Bob Hartley is to blame for this travesty. It is easier to blame the coach, than the players or the GM. Don Waddell is a genius, so obviously it isn't his fault. Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk can divide by zero and stop the world from rotating by just thinking about it. Keri Lethonen is the final solution to cancer. There's nothing wrong with the team, and by all rights they should've been 6-0. Because Bob Hartley was behind the bench, they aren't.

The above paragraph sounds harsh, and it is. From the sounds of things, it's probably what some people are thinking.

Coaches have the worst job in the league. They aren't given the proper due when their teams are doing spectacular, and they're discarded when their team stinks up the joint. In the meanwhile, they're responsible for dealing with the possibility of locker room drama, making players happy with adequate ice time, and motivating their troops when they need it. The best thing that happens to them is a simple trophy that the media votes on called the Jack Adams trophy. Kinda makes you wonder why they're in it at all, doesn't it?

So this is an ode to whom I feel is still a good coach, Mr. Hartley. Good luck with your future endeavors, and I hope your next team treats you better than the last one. People soon forget you have banners in two cities, and rings from one.

That's something Mr. Waddell can't claim over you.

~ Atma


Arena Hot Topics

Trade Feelings

Rangers Searching For Offense

Goal Of The Year!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


The ’07-’08 hockey season has begun with a bang, lots of surprises and excitement for almost everyone. For some, such as Jesse Boulerice and Steve Downie, this year got off to a rocky start. The NHL has suspended both Philadelphia Flyers for illegal checks. The 29-year-old Boulerice was suspended 25 games by the NHL for cross-checking the Canucks' Ryan Kesler in the face, and earlier Downie, 20, was suspended for 20 games for his pre-season hit on Dean McAmmond.

Downie was demoted to the Flyers AHL affiliate where he was additionally suspended until November 3rd, from participating in any games there. Moreover, the demotion to the AHL cost him $63,101.60 US in salary. AND, if ever he is recalled, he will still have to sit the 20 games before he can begin play. Boulerice, on the other hand, was placed on waivers by the Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren who said the decision to waive Boulerice was “based on the team's need for more roster space while dealing with injuries.”

Both of these players face a long and maybe impossible trek’s back to the NHL. But, isn’t that what we want? Players who abuse the system, intentionally hurt other players and have no respect for each other don’t belong in the NHL. Has Holmgren found the solution to the growing problem of out-of-control players?

Not likely.

Not many general managers have the chutzpa to waive players because they know some other manager will pick them up. With thirty teams, the talent pool isn’t as deep as it used to be and few teams have the luxury to rid themselves of players once thought to be worthy of NHL status. Demoting players is a solution for some, but players have limits to the number of times they can be sent down and others have one-way contracts, not affecting them financially. This would work best for younger players, looking to make it to the big boys league and works almost like a “time-out” for hockey players. “Drink your milk and sit for awhile, daddy will let you go in thirty days.”

In reality, there is no “finite” solution for this problem. One-time offenders should be treated as such and repeaters need to learn the hard way it won’t be tolerated.

Cutting off their allowance? Time-outs? Grounding them?

Yeah, sounds like parenting a bunch of babies. Well, it’s close.

~ ogre1kanobe
The NHL Arena


Arena Hot Topics

Bettman Recovering From Surgery

Lehtonen Forced To Leave Game

Kovalev Blames Media

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hurry Up And Wait

The Ottawa Senators have once again rattled off an impressive start to their season, which is something they are beginning to make a habit of doing. (3 out of four years is not bad at all) Playing 7 games in the first 11 days of the season has taken its toll on the team, who are looking forward to a rest before continuing action Thursday. But wait. The schedule they see for the rest of the month only shows them playing a total of three more games in the month of October.

Forget about Martin Gerber's hot streak. Forget about the big three getting into a groove, and forget about Kelly and Vermette playing as though they have the same brain. Rewind a little bit to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Ducks. Sure, the talent on the Anaheim squad helped to quiet the team's hyper advancement towards the Cup, but that was not the only factor. After making short work of Buffalo in the conference finals, Ottawa sat around and waited, which I personally attribute heavily to their fast exit from the finals. Arguably the best in the East coming into their little break, Ottawa will have to reformulate their style to regain composure, and they will have to do it slowly.

This inevitably takes us to the structure of the NHL scheduling. Sure, I'm a little less than embarrassed that I sat in front of the television as though I was unable to move during the first week of the season, but this isn't baseball. Hockey teams will only wear down during these major periods of time where they are forced to play night after night, and they will get 'soggy' during the times that they are not playing enough. It is a delicate process, but I have a feeling someone will be able to get it right.

Players and coaches are not the only ones who suffer during these times. As a fan, it doesn't get much worse than a layoff of your favorite team. Sure, there is plenty to watch, but it doesn't have the same spine tingling excitement as compared to your 'home' team. Again this can go both ways. When the teams are playing every night, it makes it a lot harder to plan around so a fan can watch each game. Having that two or three days break between games really makes a difference.

They plan to work out the 'kinks' in the schedule and hopefully take away a couple of the divisional games in the next year or so. I propose that this is also something they consider. Don't wear teams down when it is not necessary. In the Senators case, I really don't think it is unheard of to remove one game from the first 11 days, and setting it inside the major layoff they are dealing with right now. At least that would add another game and get them placing twice a week.

~ srotaneS
The NHL Arena


Arena Hot Topics

Kovalev For Tanguay?

Could Quinn Take Over?

Markov To The Bruins?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Nite Live

From the home office in Yucca Valley.... it is time for another Saturday Nite full of hockey.

There are 13 games...yes 13 big ones. Once again, there is the dilemma of what to watch and why. Oh wait, I almost forgot..... there is The NHL Arena's Game Of The Week! Everyone should check it out...

This week the Ottawa Senators face the New York Rangers in what might just be an early season playoff preview. Making it even better... the game will be at the world's most obnoxious arena, MSG. Gomez, Drury, Jagr, Lundqvist, and company versus Alfredsson, Heatley, Spezza, and crew... what a better way to crown off a Saturday Nite full of the Coolest Game On Earth!

I will be taping the Devils game... I don't know why I am bothering....since we tend not to fare too well against Atlanta... but I am a glutton for punishment, so why not. Maybe tonight the team will get it going... but I really think the Devils won't get it together till next month. Too many players are pressing and ironically they need some home cooking and humble pie to get it back on the right track. Hopefully Parise and Zajac can carry this team till the rest figure out what monkey crawled on its back and shake that crap off!

Pittsburgh travels to Toronto tonight.... now that should be fun. Both teams aren't exactly setting the world on fire just yet, which makes for an exciting, defense
optional type of game. Fleury and Toskala are not playing their greatest right now... and Sidney Crosby and company are drooling at a chance to play Toronto especially after last year's thrilling 6-5 OT win in Toronto. Sundin and Stajan did farely well in that game as well.... so I am sure there will be tons of chances
and plenty of offensive fireworks to go around.... a game I am definitely looking forward to see.

Another strangely intriguing battle is the first meeting between the Isles and Flyers at Wachovia or whatever you want to call it now Center. The Flyers are a much improved team and the Isles are turning heads with their usual gritty, competitive play. Better yet for the Flyers and their fans... they are coming in once again like the most hated team in the NHL.... the Battle of Pennsylvania has their take on it. So the Isles better watch out... but something tells me that Ted
Nolan will have this team more than ready for anything the Flyers dish out. I do want to see Sutton go at it with anyone and everyone... always a priceless
thing to see... beer, sandwiches, and hockey fights all on a Saturday Nite.

Finally, replies are coming in for Hockey Around The Horn.... so look for the first episode to be posted late Monday or at the very latest early Tuesday... as always, the opinions will be brash but come straight from the gut.... just as everything that does from The NHL Arena.

Have a great weekend and enjoy all the hockey!!

~ stevens8204
The NHL Arena


Tonights top links:

NHL Unfair?

Anyone Missing Julien Yet?

Ottawa Interested In Robitaille

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Real Lowe Down

When Brian Burke took the soother out of his mouth and once again whined about Kevin Lowe and the Edmonton Oilers last week, the debate about salaries and who is responsible for them sky rocketing was once again a topic of discussion in many forms of media. No one can deny that the Lowe and the Oilers overpaid for Dustin Penner. But keep in mind that if they didn't overpay the kid then Burke would have just matched the offer and Penner would have still been a Duck. But the argument that Kevin Lowe is the sole reason for salaries inflating in the years to come holds no water.

With a few quick searches on a good search engine you can find some interesting results.

For instance, Scott Gomez (10 Million), Patrick Elias (7.5 Million), Ryan Smyth (7.5 Million), and Chris Drury (7.1 Million) are players that have career point averages of 60-70 at best. Yet all of them will make more money then Jarome Iginla, Joe Thornton, and Marian Hossa this season. Did you know that Bryan McCabe (7.15 Million), Ed Jovanovski (7.0 Million), and Kimmo Timonen (8.0 Million) will make more then Chris Pronger in the 07-08 season? Oddly enough,that contract that Brian Burke has Pronger locked up under, was tabled by that two headed, league wrecking, bastard Kevin Lowe. For further thought also consider that Jose Theodore (6.0 Million), Thomas Vokoun (5.3 Million), Nikolai Khabibulin (6.75 Million), and Olaf Kolzig (5.45 Million) will all make more then Martin Brodeur for the year.

Oh, one more, Todd Bertuzzi is collecting 4 Million a season from the Ducks. A contract signed and delivered by none other then Brian Burke. Brutal.

Players will always be overpaid by GM's in the NHL so that player will come play for their respective team. Kevin Lowe just used a path less taken to do so. It's also possible to argue, and I have, that Lowe's move will bring down UFA salaries. Now that Lowe has opened "Pandora's Box" teams will have to pay their younger talent more, sooner or risk losing them by Offer Sheets. In a cap system, that means if more dollars are being paid to younger players there will be less dollars for the UFA market at the end of the day.

Then again, this is just a damned opinion.

~ damned
The NHL Arena

Time To Man Up

Part-time players have been a part of some sports for a few years now. Roger Clemens makes it a habit to only play roughly half a season for whatever team that is dumb enough to treat him like someone special, someone who need not abide by the rules everyone else has to follow. In his defense, he told teams up front what he was going to do and let them make the decision.

This is not the case most recently in the hockey world. Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, after helping their team win the Stanley Cup, announced they were unsure of their intentions for the coming season. Niedermayer has thoughts of retiring from the game and Selanne may want to return home to Finland. And both are certainly entitled to do just that.

But what they are doing is holding their team and their fans hostage by delaying their decision well after the season has started. This is very selfish and puts the team in a bad position. Roster spots need filled, line combinations worked out, and an overall team system needs to be designed. What happens to those players who earned a place on the team only to learn Niedermayer and Selanne decide in December to come back? “Thanks for keeping our seats warm boys, goodbye!” Very Selfish.

Then there are the Rob Blake, Saku Koivu, and Mario Lemieux’s of the hockey world. Blake recently found out he has a rare form of leukemia, a slow-growing cancer of the white blood cells. This disease is highly treatable and presents no immediate danger. Notice that it is treatable, not curable. He plans on staying with the team and working towards a preset goal.

"My goal has not changed since I heard this news," Blake said. "And that's come to Toronto, bring another piece of the puzzle and hopefully win a Stanley Cup here."

Koivu, the captain of the Montreal Canadiens recovered from abdominal cancer, missing most of the 2001-02 season, but returned for the playoffs, and Lemieux’s Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes, caused him to miss a part of the 1993 season. Both received treatments and resumed the game they love.

My point is this: these players have had to face incredible obstacles in their life and hockey career, and yet they felt it best for their family, team and themselves to make a decision, theirs to continue to play through the hardships. They made an unselfish decision.

Quite unlike Scotty and Teemu who have no sickness or treatments to weaken them or slow them down.

Time to make a decision, time to man up.

~ ogre1kanobe
The NHL Arena

Monday, October 8, 2007

Want Your Voice Heard?

You may have noticed over the last couple of weeks that I have a few new faces here at The War Room. A handpicked crew of some of my hard hitting members back at The NHL Arena to keep things interesting and a reason for you all to not be forced to listen to my 2 cents each and every day.

With ogre1kanobe, srotaneS, Atma, damned and Stevens8204, we basically have you covered on all the recent events and on going controversial opinions based around the NHL.

However, there are spots still open in which I am offering to all of you readers. Simply submit an article to me, and have a chance to voice your opinion to our thousands of readers.

Keep things hard hitting and creative. Think outside the box on current events and you just might see your name in NHL Arena lights.

Rattle the boards, people!



In other news...

Tonight marks the end of our Roll Call Cup Semi finals and when the clock strikes 12 PM EST, only two teams will move on to fight for the greatest NHL team according to

In the West, the Ducks will be hard-pressed to catch up to the dominant Sharks in a battle of California, but nothing is impossible. So get your votes in.

And in the East we have a real nail-biter going on. Will the resurging Flyers be able to squeak past the mighty Sabres and restore the pride of the fans? Only time will tell and only you can make the difference.

For the West,

Saturday, October 6, 2007

So much hockey....only so many DVR's

What happens when there are so many games on that you can't possibly watch them all? This is indeed an interesting dilemma....sorta like getting too much of a good thing. There are 14 games on with the free Center Ice preview, there is absolutely no reason to catch some of the coolest game on Earth. Now what to do you do if you're the unfortunate schmuck that has to work on a Saturday....well you get the DVR and Tivo working some serious OT. My plan....since I can tape off two tv's is to tape 2 early games (including the Devs of course). Then I will look at the best two late games and tape those. By the time I get home....I will be able to sit there with cider and pizza in hand and watch the Reader's Digest version of four games and not feel like I missed a thing.

Now for those who don't have such backup plans in place but can just sit home. Enjoy all the games and relax! Center Ice this year offers on one channel the ability to surf four games at once. Its like a kid in a candy store. I had to admit it was a very nice touch to see...and am looking forward to it as the season goes on. They also still have the scoreboard on the package with recaps so no worries sport fans...that did not disappear. So with that in mind....these are the four games I am taping and a little blurb why.

Montreal @ Toronto (Just for the HNIC Pre-Show really)

Devils @ Panthers (This is self explanatory)

Canucks @ Flames (Luongo vs. Kiprusoff...a must see)

Blues @ Kings (I want to see what the Blues look like)

Obviously I'll watch the Devils game first....gotta see how the hometown boys are doing...then the Leafs game....maybe I'll get to hear Saku Koivu's name once. Listening to the RDS guys say his name actually makes a Finnish name sound French....weird but true. Then it will be onward to the Blues-Kings game for a quick thirty minute rewind and finally the Canucks-Flames tilt. I am sure I can hear Erin, Andrew, and Sharon going at it already and to think it is only Week 2 of the
hockey season and already they are in top form. Needless to say I will be up very late but for NHL Hockey, it is always worth it. Thank you Center Ice for making that

Finally, I wanted to thank everyone that is making Hockey Around The Horn a reality. On October 15th, it will be on The NHL Arena for all to see. The questions will be going out sometime next week. The judges will need to be ready....these folks know their hockey. Have a good night everyone...loosen the belt buckle a bit
and enjoy the show!!

~ Stevens8204
The NHL Arena

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Breaking The Barrier

Hockey in most parts of the United States has become more of a fouled joke than a cult following, but for some hockey fans, that is what drives them. Sure, Buffalo and New York are fan crazy for all sports teams. Sure, the Philly fan cheers just as negatively at the Mets fan as he does the Rangers fan, but where does that leave those in between?

Being a Cincinnati based hockey fan isn't as exciting as it sounds. Bengals fans are ever reminding me of their inability to grasp the English language (who dey), and Reds fans are beating a 'Rose' bush that never fully blossomed in my backyard. The pathetic attempt to embrace two or three sports has forced this city to cheer for College teams they have never seen in person. So why does the Ohio State fan in Cincinnati neglect the Blue Jackets? Why does the Michigan fan in Cincinnati fan neglect the Red Wings?


Time Warner, not unlike Cingular, have their market convinced they see and know everything about everything. Versus, who has yet to sign a contract with Time Warner out of Cincinnati, causes even the fans who purchase Center Ice to tear their hair out as the playoffs begin and Versus games are blacked out. At first I blamed the local youth programs, but then I realized hockey is really not dead at all in Cincinnati. The inline leagues and ice hockey leagues for youths around here are ever increasing. Hell, they are easily triple the size of the adult leagues. Could it be that parents are too set in their ways to realize how great the sport of hockey is? Of course, because when their kid is scoring the tying goal in the championship game Sunday afternoon at 2.37pm, dad is busy in the bar staring down yet another school OSU is planning to obliterate.

One thing is for sure. Hockey does have its place in every market. Around here, the Indiana Pacers can easily be ignored, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are only mildly more interesting than the Cleveland Browns, who are a perennial favourite among those who like to swear. There is an entire block of there year where professional sports are basically stagnant in this region. Here is the perfect chance to come in and steal interest.

The one thing Cincinnati needs for hockey to grow is success. They aren't going to drive five hours to Pittsburgh to watch Sid because they don't know who he is. They aren't going to drive 4 hours to the Joe, because they don't know WHAT that is. They will, however drive to Nationwide. Not only does this arena have a fantastic district, it is a young and growing franchise. FSN Ohio is indeed broadcasted here, and fans can be treated to plenty of games each year if they can turn on a television.

So where am I going with this? It's simple. Columbus needs to get better. Guys like Howson who are putting a personal cap on a team who can not breech the post season are a disease to this league. It doesn't cost that much for success. Cut ties with the cash cows like Foote and Federov, and throw another seven million into the pot for a decent squad and let the prospects fill in the spots. This isn't rocket science, it is hockey. Hockey people want to see.

~ srotaneS
The NHL Arena

Game On!!!

As of this past weekend, the 2007-2008 hockey season began and gets into full swing today with games being played all around the NHL.

Expectations for the coming season and bitterness of what happened last year for some teams add fuel to a fire burning deep in the belly of hockey players, coaches and fans. The Senators want to take the last step in their long continuing journey to win the Stanley Cup, falling in the finals to a Ducks team that was not to be denied. Teams like the Red wings, Canucks, Sharks, and Devils want to make a return to the playoffs, again. Others, including the Penguins and Thrashers, want to erase the bitterness that was a very short run last year.

But last year is last year. A new year brings excitement and hope for a better result no matter how your team played or what transpired over the off season. The Flyers, Avalanche, Kings, and Bruins all made strides to improve their team and position in the standings. Stanley Cup finalists? Maybe. Who knows? That’s what is so special about the start of the season. All teams are equal as far as record goes, and all fans are equally excited.

The majority of the experts are picking the Red Wings, Sharks or Penguins to win it all this year. But it doesn’t matter what the “experts” think. It matters what the fans think. And we all think OUR team is the best.

So sit back tonight, get the friends and snacks together, and watch your Stanley Cup contending team play their first games of this new season.


~ ogre1kanobe
The NHL Arena

Monday, October 1, 2007

Dryden For Office

As the NHLPA takes their sweet time finding just the right man to lead their union, I am throwing out a name here. Ken Dryden.

Now my nomination might be said tongue in cheek, as it has not been brought about due to his legal resume. But what better person than a guy who could possibly represent the one group most hit hard by the latest collective bargaining agreement.

The goaltender.

Two years in and we have begun to see many patterns that can be directly tied in with the salary cap and other rule changes. But perhaps no more than the effect on the philosophy dealing with the men that happen to play the most important position on the ice. Between the pipes.

Gone are the days of the goaltending tandem. With cost saving measures brought to the forefront, general managers around the league seem unwilling to spend upward to a million dollars for second stringer. And the only teams that do happen to have two recognizable names on their rosters, prove to be the unfortunate ones that have previously locked into deals that went bad. Really bad.

Two seasons ago you might remember the joke that was the Atlanta Thrasher's goaltending situation. Going into a season with all their eggs in one basket, only to have the rookie Kari Lehtonen fall to injury in the preseason with little to back him up with.

Last season, it was the Los Angeles Kings debacle with Dan Cloutier, and the unwillingness of putting Jason LaBarbera through the waiver wire for recall.

Others such as Theodore, Gerber, Denis, Khabibulin and Raycroft have also hamstrung their teams with cap space and contracts.

This past offseason, we saw the San Jose Sharks trade away Vesa Toskala due to a new contract on the horizon. And now they are passing off a Cup contending team with ole'"what's his name" behind Nabokov. A theme mirrored by the Flames.

... and if one of the big men go down...?

There seem to be no teams willing to give the Belfours, Josephs, and Esches the light of day, nowadays. And yet 18 and 19 year old rookies are given the red carpet treatment, just prior to being fed to the wolves. Which used to be the #1 rule of what not to do.

It will be very interesting to see what unfolds for this third 'new' NHL season. Whether or not Jonathan Bernier in LA can handle the load. Or if Carey Price in Montreal will be able to perform with suitable playing time, so as not to rust on the bench. If Ward will bounce back from a sophomore hangover, while Lehtonen and Fluery respond from post seasons that exposed them for exactly what they were. Kids. And now with Toskala, Mason, Biron, Aebischer and Backstrom all being handed the baton for a complete season, the pressure cooker has never been greater.

Goaltending has always been a tough position to play, but now it seems it has become a tough career choice as well.

~ LS
The NHL Arena


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