Fri Mar 14 10:39am EDT
To work in professional sports, you have to be smart, passionate, competitive, and lucky. All the major leagues have a huge talent pool to choose from for a small number of positions. Making yourself standout among the rest is hard enough; getting your foot in the door is nearly impossible.
The Los Angeles Kings are offering a seminar series and networking opportunity to fans in order to give them a glimpse inside the business of hockey.
"This was a creative initiative conceived by our Fan Development Department," said Kelly Cheeseman, COO of AEG Sports, "to provide an insight into the behind the scenes workings of our business for students and other business executives that may have interest."
Cheeseman continues, "We have a number of special speaker series and college alumni events annually as group sales networking events. This will be more similar to other business and trade panel events, but dedicated to the business of our sport. Networking with top local executives and recruiting young talent to our business can all be a benefit to the series."
Another important part about working in sports is who you know. The panelists attending offer a unique networking opportunity in a non-traditional hockey market. If treated seriously (i.e. don't show up and be a fanboy), this is the opportunity to make a positive impression on those that matter.
To get the most out of the seminar, Cheeseman recommends that one "choose the panel that interests you, study the participants and be prepared with the questions about the business in advance that you may want to know."
The deadline to sign up to is March 14th. More information can be found at LAKings.com/Business.
Fri Mar 14 09:50am EDT
Mike Greenlay of Fox Sports North is one of those “between the benches” reporters, which means he deserves the combat pay he receives. Although, in all honesty, the risk of standing there like a target for pucks and sticks is balanced out by getting to hear every single colorful chirp originating at the benches.
But still – risky job, that one. Witness Greenie on Thursday night as the Wild faced the New York Rangers. Norwegian Hobbit Wizard Mats Zuccarello checked Matt Cooke of the Wild near the benches and … well, Greenlay took the damage.
Please be careful when you’re all rushing to the comments to be the first to say “should have been you, Pierre…”
As the broadcasters noted, it’s important for a player to be in control of his stick at all times. It’s also important to note that other spectators watch the game behind glass and puck-catching netting for a reason.
Last night's MVP? Greenlay's mom, who sent along this email to him after the game:
The NHL simply must begin issuing TIDE TO GO pens to all between-the-benches reporters.
(Ed. Note: Headline originally had Matt Cooke's as the offending stick.)
Check out what's buzzing on the Yahoo Sports Minute:
Fri Mar 14 01:22am EDT
We don't talk enough about how terrifying Stinger is. I mean, seriously, how is Alex Stalock supposed to focus with this chartreuse hell hornet in his periphery?
No. 1 Star: Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis Blues
In his return to the lineup after breaking his kneecap on January 31, Sobotka made a major impact for the Blues, scoring once and adding an assist on two others in a 6-2 rout of the Edmonton Oilers. Here's his lovely goal, courtesy Vladimir Tarasenko, T.J. Oshie, and the brutal Oiler defence:
No. 2 Star: Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks
Marleau scored twice as the Sharks edged the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-3, in a shootout.
Thu Mar 13 06:36pm EDT
Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Create-a-Caption: "Head Coach Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames instructs his players during a stoppage in play."
• • • • •
Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: San Jose Sharks at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET
Preview: Edmonton Oilers at St. Louis Blues, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: New York Rangers at Minnesota Wild, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs at Los Angeles Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET
• • • • •
Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...
1) Will stripping relax the Lightning? Tampa has dropped five in a row, and they're in danger of missing the playoffs if they don't turn it around. In an effort to loosen the players up, they participated in a strip shootout at their most recent practice. Will getting naked relax the group? It always works for me.
2) Bruins looking to finish on top. Hot. That describes both the bold sentence preceding this one and the Bruins themselves, who have won six in a row. A seventh would not only be their longest winning streak in two years, it would leave them atop the East at the end of the day.
3) Carolina goes for two. It's a great more often associated with the other Carolina team, the Panthers, but the Hurricanes are looking to convert versus Buffalo. They haven't won consecutive games since January, and with their playoff hopes flickering, building on their recent victory over the Rangers is paramount.
4) Rangers also hoping to draw motivation from Carolina. Alain Vigneault isn't happy that his club lost to the Hurricanes and he's expecting them to play better versus Minnesota. "I don't want to give credit to Carolina because they played a good game, but we (gave) away two points because we didn't work."
5) Kings after ninth in a row. LA has won eight straight! That's pretty impressive, especially when you consider that they led up to this run by losing 9 of 10. Hockey is weird.
Bold prediction: The Lightning win, and strip shootouts catch on around the NHL.
Thu Mar 13 05:28pm EDT
The changes the NHL's general managers debated in Boca Raton were not earth-shattering. None of the discussed issues would have significantly impacted the game as we know it. Leave it to the old boys club to not want to upset the status quo.
I came up with a list of rule changes that would add some spice to the NHL. Most are written with creating more offense in mind; a few of the others address debated issues around the league.
Before you start commenting and/or emailing/tweeting to Wysh about the logical implications of my changes, I remind you this is a piece of satire. My sense of humor and imagination just aren't as profound as yours. Don't waste your time.
However, if any of my proposed changes come to fruition we can assume Vince McMahon is commissioner and this is now the XHL.
New rule: Scoring a short-handed goal ends the other team's power play - for minor penalties only.
This is pretty self explanatory. The team that's killing a penalty gets their player in the box back when they score a shorty. Instead of just clearing their zone while on the PK, teams are incentivized to create offense at the same time.
The rule only applies to two-minute and four-minute minor penalties. Major penalties are excluded because usually something really bad has happened to warrant the major.
New rule: Puck hits the netting around the rink and comes back on the ice, it is still a live puck.
- The netting wraps around the entire rink, just like the glass does.
- Instead of allowing slack in the net, it would be pulled taught to make a trampoline-like surface.
This brings a completely new element to the game due to the inconsistency of where the puck is going to end up. It might hit a dead spot in the netting and roll back down to the playing surface. Or the puck could hit the net and ricochet all the way back down to the other end of the ice.
Icing would not change. If you hit the puck in the netting in your zone and it flings to the other side of the rink, icing remains a possibility (depending on who wins the theoretical race).
The rule would not totally eliminate the delay of game penalty for the puck over the glass; instead of the glass, it's a two minute delay of game penalty when the puck clears the top of the netting. Considering the top of the netting is near the highest tier of seats in most arenas, a player would have to really shank the puck to earn the penalty.
(S/T to Chris Kober from Anaheim Calling for the general idea)
New Rule: If a goalie commits a penalty, they have to serve it.
No! It wouldn't be all empty-net goals. Coaches can get creative when this happens.
There can only be six players on the ice for a team in a regular shift, five players for a standard power play. Coaches can take the chance of keeping all five non-goalie players on the ice with an open net for the penalty, or they can put the backup goalie in and take one of their five skaters off.
Can you imagine Henrik Lundqvist coming out of the penalty box, intercepting a pass, and going on the slowest breakaway ever?! What if he actually scored?! What if the backup can't get off the ice and a team has to play with two goalies, one in net and the other joins the rush.
Once the goalie exits his defensive zone, he can be hit or deliver hits.
New Rule: Stanley Cup champions receive perks in the following regular season.
- To counter the 'Stanley Cup hangover', the champs play zero back-to-back games for the first half of the season. (What about the SCF losers? They get nothing!)
- Home or away, they always get the last change.
- In 20 regular season games of their choosing, they can dress one extra player. Only limitation is that the designated 'extra player' must have been on the Cup team roster.
- At all away games, the PA announcer must refer to them as the Stanley Cup Champion (TEAM) when making announcements. (Example: Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks goal scored by Patrick Kane, unassisted, at 15:01.)
- Team changes the logo on the front of the jersey to the Stanley Cup, or changes the word-mark to 'CUP CHAMPION'. Any new players to the roster not on the Cup team stick with the normal logo or word-mark on the jersey. (S/T to the MvsW listener who suggested the uni changes.)
Once the playoffs start, they revert to regular rules and jerseys.
New Rule: Changes point structure and overtime/shootouts. (I combined these two issues because my solution impacts the other.)
The NHL will go to a five-point structure:
- If a team wins in regulation, they receive five points.
- If a team wins in a four-minute, four-on-four sudden death overtime, they receive four points.
- If a team wins in a three-minute, three-on-three sudden death overtime, they receive three points.
- If a team wins in a two-minute, two-on-two sudden death overtime, they receive two points. (NOTE: each pairing must be one forward and one defenseman)
- If they make it to the shoot-out: still the best of three, but it will be a modified version of the Olympic rules. Teams can have the same player shoot all three times (or more, when necessary) or switch players in and out like they do now. Winner gets one point.
- NO LOSER POINT!
In-between each OT round, there is a 90 second television time-out for the ice girls to shovel snow. The zamboni will only scrape the ice for the shoot-out. Teams will switch ends after each OT period.
Actual game play is extended by nine minutes plus the length of the shoot-out. Factor in the TV time outs and we're looking at around 30 additional minutes tacked on at the end of a game should it go all the way to a shoot-out.
Worried about the physical toll it takes on the players? Half of them won't see the ice in the overtime(s). Oh no, Sidney Crosby might be tired from all the extra minutes? Suck it up. He makes $8.7-million a season. This is his job. He can take an extra long nap the next day.
If a coach doesn't want to put the extra stress on his top players, then they should win in regulation.
There are complaints now about going to the Olympic rules because it would cause teams to seek out a 'shoot-out specialist'.
And? If a team wants to waste cap space and a seat on the bench for a guy who may or may not be useful in a game is the team's risk to bear. They already do it with enforcers anyway.
Thu Mar 13 04:07pm EDT
Defenseman Richie Regehr is the 31-year-old brother of Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr, and has been kicking around European leagues since he had a cup of coffee with the Calgary Flames from 2005-2007.
He’s with MODO of the Swedish Hockey League, which faced Linkoping in a playoff play-in game this week. In the third period, there was a loose puck in the neutral zone during a MODO power play. Sebastian Karlsson of Linkoping raced after it shorthanded; Regehr sought to cut him off from the puck.
Well, and cut him off from consciousness, too.
Regehr angled his body and nailed Karlsson in the head with his shoulder, dropping him face-first to the ice. A streak of blood followed his head as his body glided around the zone, finally settling into a pool of blood dripping from his face and collecting in the ice.
Karlsson was eventually helped from the ice, a towel soaking the blood on his face. He was taken to the hospital, where teammate Mike Helber later tweeted a photo showing fans that Karlsson was OK:
Regehr was given a match penalty for charging. Karlsson was diagnosed with a concussion.
The hit became big news in Sweden, with the kind of “WE MUST MAKE THE GAME SAFER!” proclaimations we usually see in the NHL preceding a Brendan Shanahan video release. As Expressen’s Henrik Leman suggested, the SHL might look into “prohibition of tackling above the waist if you do not come directly from the front, or maybe even then.”
Thu Mar 13 03:28pm EDT
Last week, Warrior debuted an ad for their new Dynasty hockey stick, starring Zdeno Chara. In the ad, Chara, using the slick new piece of lumber, blasts a snapshot at a goalie so hard that it causes an atomic explosion. Presumably, the goalie perishes in the blast.
It made for a pretty aggressive commercial, but as it turns out, that was the censored version. In this version of the ad, which Warrior claims was banned by the NHL, not only does Chara's snapshot produce an explosion -- IT SLICES THE GOALIE'S HEAD CLEAN OFF HIS BODY.
More NHL commercials need to utilize grind house aesthetics. Note that the time on the clock is 6:66. This is thing is a gun-legged Rose McGowan away from being an obvious Robert Rodriguez joint.
Let this be a lesson to goalies everywhere: Zdeno Chara will end you, and then ruthlessly celebrate your demise.
Jimmy Howard knows it, too. "That mother****** is crazy," he says. A fine performance, and kudos to him for going along with an ad that holds up a divisional rival as a goalie murderer.
Finally, I love the schink sound the puck makes as it cuts clean through the goalie's brain stem like a samurai sword, although Canadiens fans probably don't. One imagines they see this commercial as more evidence that Chara really is a headhunter.
Thu Mar 13 03:17pm EDT
Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.
So the Calgary Flames are supposed to be losing and the Vancouver Canucks are supposed to be winning. Yet the Flames are 10-6-0 in the last 16 and the Canucks are 4-11-1. If only the Canucks had Mark Giordano.
Giordano has been absolutely on fire with 17 points in his last 19 contests (plus-5). And as a bonus for fantasy owners, he has 27 penalty minutes in that span. It's enough to place him second among all skaters since January 12, when you total up the six main rotisserie categories. Courtesy of Frozen Pool:
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (3-4-5-9, plus-3, 0 PIM, 15 SOG, and 4 PPPts) - Seguin is tied with Alex Ovechkin for fourth in league scoring. One of the three players he trails is Phil Kessel - that guy the Leafs got for picks that turned into Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight. He's also six points ahead of Taylor Hall - that guy who was the other side of the Taylor vs. Tyler debate of yesteryear.
Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators (2-3-3-6, plus-3, 2 PIM, 7 SOG, and 2 PPPts) - It's funny how after a miserable season, just two games make it actually look pretty decent statistically. So just to recap - Spezza does not click with Bobby Ryan, but he does click with Ales Hemsky. Got it. Not really.
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche (6-1-7-8, plus-3, 2 PIM, 14 SOG) - Johnson went on a run of 15 games in which he had points in only two of them. Then he was suspended for lumberjacking Frans Nielsen. Then he returns from the Olympic-break-slash-suspension and does this. Perhaps all he needed was a vacation.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings (6-0-0, 0.99 GAA, 0.957 SV%) - After Quick got off to a weak start and then suffered a serious groin injury, fickle fantasy owners were quick to knock him out of their personal Top 10 goalies to own. But it's a long season, as you can see. Goalies not named Rick who sign decade-long contracts are generally safe bets to be solid fantasy options for a long, long time.
Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Alex Steen, St. Louis Blues (13-2-3-5, minus-6, 10 PIM, 32 SOG) - With 17 games left, Steen is already one point shy of his career high 51 (2010-11). But his pace has slowed significantly from the Ovechkin-like rate he was on back in December.
Kyle Turris, Ottawa Senators (11-3-1-4, minus-4, 10 PIM, 19 SOG) - It's been a breakthrough season for Turris and at 24 the best is yet to come. He's had a slump like this before - with three points in 11 games back in late November - so don't assume he's winding things down.
Mike Green, Washington Capitals (4-0-0-0, minus-4, 0 PIM, 7 SOG) - After giving us hope that the Mike Green of old is back with five points in two games, he's brought us back to reality with the latest slump. He's seen at least 23 minutes of ice time in five of his last six games.
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils (0-2-0, 5.59 GAA, 0.800 SV%) - I for one thought the days of Martin Brodeur outplaying Schneider were long gone. But Brodeur has won four straight as he looks to show the world that he has another season in him. Meanwhile, Schneider has just three wins in his last nine starts.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Travis Zajac, New Jersey Devils (2-2-2-4, plus-1, 0 PIM, 5 SOG) – Zajac has made it clear that without Zach Parise, he's just a 45-point player. But get in early on what could be a pretty lengthy hot streak as he's showing great chemistry with newcomer Tuomo Ruutu and oldcomer Jaromir Jagr.
Tuomo Ruutu, New Jersey Devils (2-1-3-4, plus-4, 6 PIM, 8 SOG) – Injuries have destroyed what would have been a real solid 65-point, 120 PIM roto stud. But Ruutu plays that style of game and over the years it's taken its toll. Now seeing time with Jagr, he's not only putting up points but he seems to have that edge back.
Anders Lee, New York Islanders (7-5-2-7, plus-2, 2 PIM, 18 SOG) – The 6-3, 227-pound former Notre Dame star has been on a tear for Bridgeport (AHL). Some see him as a potential left winger for John Tavares next year. He's got the size and the hands, and judging by his 83 PIM in 54 AHL games, he plays with an edge. So far, the audition without Tavares is going well.
Lee Stempniak, Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-2-2, plus-3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG) – Instead of "Lee Stempniak, Pittsburgh Penguins" I could have put "Hot Dog Vendor, Pittsburgh Penguins" if he played with Sidney Crosby. Stempniak is going to have a fantastic final 17 games. Mark it!
Carl Soderberg, Boston Bruins (28-8-14-22, plus-9, 14 PIM, 53 SOG) – The former Swedish Elite League Superstar has been brought into the NHL slowly but steadily - and clearly he is responding. Despite averaging just under 14 minutes per game of ice time, Soderberg is likely going to end up with 50 points, but his second-half pace will be closer to 65. And he still has another year on his contract that will see him getting paid just over a million bucks.
Alex Martinez, Los Angeles Kings (5-3-2-5, plus-2, 0 PIM, 6 SOG and 3 PPPts) – Fans were wondering why Coach Sutter constantly gave Martinez all this power-play time (averages 1:44 per game). But now we're starting to see results. He's always been a decent puck mover, we just never saw the results until now.
Danny DeKeyser, Detroit Red Wings (8-1-5-6, plus-4, 2 PIM, 14 SOG) – Back in November, DeKeyser had eight points during a 10-game run before he suffered an injury that took him out of the lineup until Christmas. He's known as more of a defensive rearguard so the offense caught fantasy owners off-guard. Here he is again, on another hot streak and now he's really piqued our interest.
Here's where I'll fire off a few names of players who may be at the very beginning of a nice little run. Just a gut feeling, but worth looking into and/or taking a chance on:
Alexandre Burrows, Vancouver Canucks; TJ Brodie, Calgary Flames; Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets; Brandon Pirri, Florida Panthers; Colton Sceviour, Dallas Stars; Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild; Tommy Wingels, San Jose Sharks
Thu Mar 13 02:51pm EDT
Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.
• Looking more and more like a marshmallow that fell on the ground with each passing day, Phil Kessel takes in an L.A. Clippers basketball game.
• Islanders fans are mad about everything, and this protest they're planning sounds like quite the operation. [Isles Nation]
• Jarmo Kekelainen on Blake Comeau's suspension: "It was a hard hit and they said he was tracking the target for a while. I heard their logic. As much as I want to support our players, we have to suffer the consequences." [Blue Jackets Xtra]
• And, speaking of the Jackets, they're forging a formidable identity at just the right time. [ESPN]
• The Blue Jackets/Stars makeup game may not be played until April 14th, two days after the season is supposed to end. [Aaron Portzline]
• Teammates of late OHLer Terry Trafford remember a prankster, and a player that always had their backs. [Yahoo]
• And in case that didn't make you sad enough, hear from Trafford's father, Roy, who is heart-broken. [Toronto Sun]
• The Canucks got Alex Burrows back, as the winger scored his first two goals of the season, but his curse moved immediately to Ryan Kesler, who could out for a long time after a knee-on-knee hit Wednesday night in Winnipeg. [CBC]
• In an effort to lighten the mood in Tampa Bay, the Lightning played strip shootout. Score or strip. These are your only two options. Poor Alex Killorn nearly got naked. [Tampa Bay Tribune]
• A hockey dad has been banned from his kid's minor-league games after putting a linesman in a headlock. Can't do that. [The Spec]
Thu Mar 13 02:13pm EDT
Attending prom is a rite of passage experienced by millions of teens each year. For Jack Jablonski, his prom, or more specifically, his prom date will trump them all.
Jablonski co-hosts a weekly radio segment "Hockey Night in Minnesota", and ESPN personality Michelle Beadle was scheduled to make her second appearance on the show. Knowing the teen's soft spot for Beadle, Jablonski's co-hosts playfully teased him about his crush before she came on air.
Little did listeners know the guys had something bigger planned.
A few minutes into the segment, Jablonski asked Beadle if she would be his date to prom, and she enthusiastically accepted the invite.
This isn't big news only because of Beadle's celebrity status. Jablonski is just three years removed from a check into the boards that left him paralyzed from the chest down. The sports community wrapped their arms around Jack and his family after the accident and haven't let go.
Later in an email to Larry Brown Sports, Beadle reflected on the day's events:
“I know that [Jack's] a badass and someone I look up to immensely ... I was shocked when he asked today. And I adore him for doing it live on the radio. I’m honored to squeeze my 38 year old behind into a formal gown for a great night!”
Many guys have difficulty mustering up the courage to ask the cute girl in their biology class to be their date. Jack asked a celebrity on live radio. That is pretty badass.