Thursday, December 29, 2011

Former NHLer Tocchet Arrested In Bahamas

Rick Tocchet was arrested recently after arriving in the Bahamas with $18,752 in cash that he failed to declare to US Customs agents. That money was surrendered "to the Crown" meaning it was seized by the government.

He plead guilty to declaring false statements and was released.

You may remember the name Tocchet. He ran an illegal sports gambling ring out of New Jersey and was indited while serving as an assistant coach in Phoenix. He avoided jail time (2 years probation), but it appears he may still have a bit of a gambling problem. Just a hunch.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Objects on Ice

During the San Jose / Anaheim game on Monday, a fan tossed a dead duck onto the ice during the third period.



This adds to the long list of things tossed on the ice during games. Hats, octopi, rats, snakes, salmon, catfish, beef, sharks... they have all been tossed from the cheering crowd onto NHL ice.

I don't like the idea of tossing things beyond hats on NHL ice, but accept some of them as a traditional part of the game with known and accepted consequences. Kinda like fighting, though I am much more accepting of fights on the ice than dead animals on the ice. I absolutely do not accept any of the new variations of the "celebration" or "intimidation" tosses as part of the game and even want the old traditions to fade away, though I know full well they never will. That's why I have to learn to accept the old while I shun the new.

A dead animal used for nothing but a few cheers or boos (nothing useful such as food) is a discusting act. And forget the humane aspect: it's a sanitation issue.

Unfortunately, some think this will start a new trend. I hope not. San Jose visits Anaheim on January 4. Will we see another shark on the ice? Will the NHL step in? If so, how would they police it? Should the NHL step in? What if it spreads?

Back in 1996, Florida fans were making a playoff run and began tossing plastic rats on the ice. The NHL decided enough is enough and sent out a warning to the Panthers and created Rule 63.4 for everyone: Objects thrown on the ice can result in a bench minor penalty to the home team. Exceptions are in place for special events, like hat tricks.

Arenas realize that the practice of fans tossing things is dangerous and self-monitor the situation. With Florida's success this year, the Panthers have started selling plastic rats in the team store. But they also have a warning in every cup holder in the arena.



Don't throw any rats and "rat out" anyone that does. With a hellfire rat logo.

I won't be surprised if the NHL banned the sell of these "toys" or even fined the organization if there's a mass rain of rats during the season. Mainly because they are selling the items to be tossed.

I'm not so sure the NHL will step in and make any more rules to put a definate end to tossing anytime soon. It would take a lot more things being tossed in arenas, an injury to someone in the stands or on the ice, or a mass event.

I really don't think much will come of these events in and of themselves. It happens from time to time and the NHL just lets the arenas handle it for the most part. Just thought I'd throw the stories up there.

Oh, back to the duck tossed in San Jose.

If it was meant to intimidate the Ducks, it didn't work.

Anaheim won the game 3-2.

Another Wild Player Hit From Behind (Suspension?)

This time, it's Colorado's Cody McLeod hitting Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon.



Will this get Brendan Shanahan's attention to issue a suspension?

Wild fans are already up in arms over two hits that they think should have gotten suspensions. Now this.

The first hit was one I felt could have and probably should have gotten a suspension to Winnipeg's Bogosian. It didn't happen. It was a hockey play that many felt didn't deserve additional discipline because the victim, Bouchard, put himself in a vulnerable position just before the hit.

Again, Wild fans greatly disagree. One even broke down the hit frame-by-frame. I stand by my opinion that Bogosian acted recklessly and should have been suspended under Rule 41.1. "The onus is on the player applying the check to make sure his opponent is not in a defenseless position..."

This more recent hit looked very similar to the play when Oiler Lennart Petrell shoved Wild Marek Zidlicky into the corner boards.



Both saw game misconducts. Petrell didn't see a suspension and I don't think McLeod will see one either.

Here's why.

Under Rule 41.6, any player that gets two game-misconduct penalties in a season for boarding or hitting from behind will automatically be suspended one game and an additional game for any additional violations of those rules. They also already recieved an automatic $100 fine (assuming Rule 41.6 was applied which clearly states that a major penalty results in the fine). No, it's not a lot of money, but the harsh warning is already built into the rules with the automatic suspension looming over the player.

Just so you know, the Boarding Rule 41 doesn't gauge of the viciousness of the attack on a victim to assess major, minor, or game misconduct penalties. It is the "degree of violence of the impact with the boards". So a little shove, like Petrell's or McLeod's, still result in big penalties because of big injuries. And Rule 41.5 states that if a major penalty is assessed (meaning the impact to the boards was great), then a game misconduct must be applied if the injury was to the head or face.

Bogosian recieved the same punishment (5 minute major and a game misconduct) because of the head injury as a result of a violent collision into the boards. I still feel his actions in the way he cross-checked a player on the back into the boards warranted further punishment, but he didn't get away clean regardless of this potential punishment pass. If he hits again from the back or boards someone in a way that causes a head impact, he's getting suspended then for at least one game. Same with Petrell or McLeod (whose plays seem more like hockey plays gone bad than Bogosian's intentional attack).

In light of the knowledge of Rule 41.6, it is a lot easier to see why Bogosian didn't get a suspension. The hit itself was borderline at best as a "suspension-worthy" hit because of the odd position Bouchard was in, the fact he may have turned into it just prior to the collision, and the fact that Bogosian didn't skate clear across ice to deliver the blow.

Wild fans are not going to be happy if this results in another "pass" by Shanahan, but I feel it is completely justifiable given the built in safeguards to automatically hold players involved in creating head injuries to a higher standard of discipline moving forward from dangerous (intentional or accidental) hits to the boards or from behind.

Goalie Cam Ward Credited With Goal

It's the first time since Winnipeg tender Chris Mason did it in 2006 with the Predators, but a goalie was credited with a goal. Specifically, Carolina netminder Cam Ward.

The video is below. Don't get too excited, it's not quite as exciting as you might originally think. But this is the first goal by a tender in franchise history. A franchise which dates back to 1979 in Hartford, so it is certainly an outstanding stat.

How did he do it? Well, he didn't take a shot on net. No. Rather the Canes were playing the Devils with a 3-2 score in favor of Carolina. It was the final minute of play and New Jersey had an extra attacker leaving an empty net. Ward made a save and the Devils collected the rebound. Ilya Kovalchuk made a bad pass that skipped past his teammate and into the open net all the way down the ice. Since it was put in the net by the team that was suppose to defend that net, rules state the last player of the opposition that touched the puck gets credit for an unassisted goal.

The bounce off Cam Ward on the save was good enough to say he touched the puck giving him the ellusive goal.

How rare is this?

Only 12 goals have been credited as being scored by goalies in the NHL (by ten total tenders).

The first was in 1979 by Billy Smith of the Islanders. Ron Hextall of the Flyers had two in his career. Both were actual shots on goal, one was in the playoffs AND was shorthanded. Chris Osgood, Damian Rhodes and Mika Noronen (all retired from the NHL) all had goals as well, but only Osgood's was a legit shot on goal. Jose Theodre had puck go in the net because of an intentional shot on goal too; however, Evgeni Nabokov remains the last goaltender to have scored by actually taking a shot on goal, having fired the puck into the Vancouver Canucks' empty net on March 10, 2002 as a member of the San Jose Sharks. Martin Bordeur has a pair of goals: one shot, the other one accidently scored by the opponent. That "own goal" turned out to be the game winning goal while the other scored by a shot on net was done during the playoffs.

All goals have been scored with an empty net.

Realistically, goaltenders can only score with an empty net because of Rule 27.7 where a goalie is not allowed to touch the puck past the center red line. It would have to be an incredible blunder on the part of the one tender essentially missing the puck after a clear by the goalie at the other end of the ice.

Another interesting note restricting goaltenders: they are not suppose to leave the crease during altercations. That's right. They are suppose to stay put. That's one reason goalie fights are so rare. Rule 27.6 actually imposes an automatic fine if they leave the crease in addition to being immediately referred to the Commission for supplimentary discipline. Of course there's exceptions to the rule (if the altercation is in or near the crease or if he legitimately left the crease and then became involved in some altercation, ect.) So next time there's some sort of brew-ha-ha on the ice, watch the tenders. They quitely wait in their little blue creases, often drinking water.

Here's the video of the 12th NHL goal by a goalie.


Link to video.

It reminds me of an event I've thought about and I would love LOVE to see in the NHL Superskills Competition during the All Star Weekend. I want to see a switching of positions. I want to see the goaltenders take a penalty shot. Take the puck at center ice, skate down, and take a shot on goal.

Who do you put in the nets? You can either suit up one of the skaters not used to playing the position, or you can put basically a goalie cut out in between the pipes to limit the target size. (I'd prefer to see the skater go between the pipes, but the time to suit them up might be too long). You can't have one of the other goalies minding net because I'd have to imagine the skills of the "shooter goalie" aren't anywhere close to being great making it just too unfair of a fight.

I just think that would be hilarliously awesome. Almost as good as the addition of the goalie race in last year's Superskill Competition. And who raced in that inaugural awesomeness? None other than Vezina Trophy Winner Tim Thomas (the award given to the best tender in the League) and the first netminder to score a goal in five years, Cam Ward.


Link to video.

You'd think the best goalie in the League could, I don't know, skate. But if this hockey thing doesn't work out, he can fall back on his acting.

Peggy...peggy! Hilarious! I like that commercial a lot. And yes, I know, he can skate and just lost his edge. It still would have been a funny race even if Thomas stayed on his feet.

Way to go Cam Ward. On both that race-win and the goal. Congrats. I hope you got to keep that puck.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Who Should One Root For in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic?

One of my favorite traditions is the NHL Winter Classic. It's a new tradition to be sure, but I have seen everyone while eating appetizer foods. And loving every minute of the indulgence.



For Christmas, I got an awesome puck from my buddy Loosetoon from Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia. A very nice, thoughtful, and meaningful gift.



I have a small collection of hockey pucks, but most of them are from events or games I have gone to or worked at. So it was shocking to say the least when I saw the puck, but I immediately fell in love with it because of my love for the Winter Classic. And the "excuse" to eat junk food.



But the question I always have to ask myself is "Should I root for someone? If so, then who?" I imagine many people have a similar problem.

We have to compare the New York Rangers to the Philadelphia Flyers to see who one should pull for if they don't have a particular reason to be pulling for either city to begin with. But anyone can look at goals or save percentages, powerplay numbers and points in the standings. That is kinda boring. I thought it might be more fun to look at some things most people probably won't consider when trying to choose a team.



1. Founded

Rangers: 1926

Flyers: 1967

When did they join the NHL? The Rangers are an Original Six team whereas the Flyers joined as an expansion in 1967. You have to go with an original here.

Advantage: New York Rangers



2. Stanley Cup Championships



Rangers: 4 - 1928, 1933, 1940, 1994

Flyers: 2 - 1974, 1975

It would be easy to say the one with the most is the clear victor, but that might be too simple. The Flyers were the first expansion team to win the Cup beyond the Original Six. But who could forget perhaps the most famous Stanley Cup victory of all time with Messier and the 1994 victory? I say it comes does to whichever team won the most since they have both been competing for it. That is a 2-1 margin.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



3. Division Champsionships

Rangers: 5

Flyers: 16

Perhaps this comparision will make it a little bit more clear which team is consistantly at the top of its game consistantly. Well, one team has been around for a little over 40 years with 16 division victories (about 4 a decade) versus a team that's been around for over 85 years with just 5 division banners (less than one a decade). Clear winner here.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



4. Arena


Rangers: Madison Square Garden


Flyers: Wells Fargo Center

Basically, do you go with the World's Most Famous Arena or another arena that's named for a bank?

Advantage: New York Rangers



5. Team Colors


Flyers: Orange, Black and White


Rangers: Red, White and Blue

One of my favorite things about hockey: the look of it. The logos. The uniforms. This one is pretty tough. You've got the patriotic red, white, and blue on the one hand. It's hard to go against that. But on the other you have the strikingly different orange and black scheme. Orange is so rarely used in the NHL and the Flyers have been using it since the begining. It reminds me of my favorite holiday too, Halloween. If the red, white and blue wasn't so overused, it's probably win out. But as it stands...

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



6. Who'd Win In A Fight?

And by that, I mean which nickname personafied would win in a fight? You have a Ranger versus a Flyer. I think you have to go with the one gifted with flight here. The Ranger might, but it's hard to argue against flying warriors.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



7. Best Goalie


Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist


Flyers: Ilya Bryzgalov

The Swed versus the Russian. Remember, we aren't looking at stats to determine this, so we have look at something else. On the one hand, we have Bryzgalov who contemplates everything about the universe and how "humangeous big" it is. A real philopher. And he has an awesome tiger on his helmet. Then you have Lundqvist with a ho-hum logo. Oh, and he spits on ice girls. If there was a way to deduct points, I would.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



8. Cutest Ice Girls


Flyers


Rangers

No brainer. The Flyers have some really nice ladies on the ice while the Rangers are more traditional (ie boring) with no ice girls. While some might say this is a sign of their true hockey roots, I'd argue that ice girls are becoming more and more a part of the game. New York can get away with the lack of girls (like Montreal), and Philly could too. But just because you don't need them doesn't mean they aren't fun.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



9. Most Notable Public Statue


New York: Statue of Liberty


Philadelphia: William Penn

We all know about Lady Liberty. Gift from France. Beloved symbol of America. She is portrayed in movies, on pieces or art, everywhere. Stamps. But what about the bronze statue of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania? Should he even be considered? He's been on top of City Hall for some time (before skyscrapers). And it's easy to see that he wasn't designed to be seen from tall buildings...



Advantage: New York Rangers



10. Famous Food


New York: Pizza


Philadelphia: Cheesesteak

So which is better? I eat a couple of slices of New York style pizza every Wednesday and love it. But nothing beats a good cheesesteak (hold the onions). Let me present it another way. Both have bread. Both have cheese. But one has tomato paste and the other has steak.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



11. City Nickname

New York: "Big Apple"

Philadelphia" "Brotherly Love"

Do we go a little sappy on this one? I think so. Sappy (like syrup) or fruit (healthy, not as good tasting). Syrup-y.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



12. Sister Cities

New York: Tokyo, Beijing, Cairo, Madrid, Budapest, Jerusalm, Rome, many more...

Philadelphia: Tel Aviv, Florence, some others I've never heard of...

No brainer. For every city Philly can call a sister, New York has the more attractive sister from that country.

Advantage: New York Rangers



13. Oddest Fictious Paranomial Experience


New York: Gozer the Gozerian - terror dogs not pictured


Philadelphia: Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947 - with book stacking similar to that pictured here.

Advantage: New York Rangers



14. Oddest Real NHL Experience


Rangers: Fight in Stands at MSG in 1979


Flyers: Fog Game of 1975

This is a tough call. We have one event happening at the Rangers arena, though the Rangers really didn't instigate it nor did they participate. The Flyers actually took part in their odd game, and it was an odd game that lasted for the duration. Players actually had to skate around between whistles to try and lift the fog. While the MSG Bruin fight was bad, the length and oddity which the Flyers participated in gives them a slight edge in oddity.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



15. Best Song

Rangers: Rangers Victory Song

Flyers: God Bless America

Here's another tough one. The Victory Song is specifically for the Rangers. It was written in 1940 by J. Fred Coots, a nationally-known songwriter who authored more than 700 songs. His most famous works included "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "Love Letters in the Sand." The song is played after each New York victory giving it a long history. However, the song God Bless America holds significant meaning for the Flyers because it is played BEFORE the game as a way to help motivate the team. And it works. The recording debuted in 1969 and was done by Kate Smith. It is a tradition carried on today, but only for important games. The Flyers have a record of 89–25–4 when God Bless America is sung prior to Flyers home games.

Like I said: a tough call. A victory song specific for a team or a non-victory song used to motivate. I think I have to go with the song that motivates and is not just used to cap a victory.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



16. Famous City Street

Philadelphia: Broad Street

New York: Broadway

Some art and orange subway cars can't compare to perhaps the most famous street in America. I have to give the tip to the haven of theatre (which I am a fan).

Advantage: New York Rangers



17. NFL Team

Philadelphia: Eagles

New York: None (technically, the New York Jets and New York Giants both play in New Jersey)

Yeah, you'd think that the advantage would be to Philly since New York doesn't really have a team, but putting your NFL franchise tag on Michael Vick puts you low on my list. Yes, he paid his time. Yes, I believe in second chances. But the dogfighting was not the first thing on the list. A car under his name was busted for having pot in it. Not just a little pot, but enough that the driver was charged with distributing. Vick gave Sonya Elliot an STD, and didn't tell her even though he knew he had it because he was getting treatment for it under the name "Ron Mexico". He flicked off fans and he was caught by airport security not once, but TWICE doing something he shouldn't have. Once stealing from a TSA agent, the other for having a bottle with a secret compartment. His past use of steroids has also been mentioned as recently as 2010. So while New York is automatically disqualified for not having a team actually play in the city; Philly is also disqualified for making Michael Vick their poster child.

Advantage: None



18. MLB Team Mascot



New York: Mr. Met (Yankees do not have a mascot)

Philadelphia: Phillie Phanatic

Tough call here. Mr. Met is older than the Phanatic. Mr. Met debuted in 1962 but took a 20 year break starting in the mid 70's until being resurrected by Lois Kaufmann of Queens, New York and Nickelodeon. He's appeared in a lot commercials and is featured in signage and on team logos. He was also elected to the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2007. He's been copied many times (Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves), and is the original MLB mascot.

But the Phanatic is arguably the greatest mascot in all of sports, not just MLB. At least that's what Forbes Magazine said in 2008. He was part of the inaugural class in the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005 (along with the San Diego Chicken and Phoenix Suns Gorilla). He revolutionized the mascot position. He's also been sued more than any other mascot. And he is one of three mascots at the National Baseball Hall of Fame (along with the Chicken and Youppi! - current mascot of the Montreal Canadiens).

One has to go with the best, not simply the first.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



19. Violent Crime Rate (per 100,000 people)

New York: 580.3

Philadelphia: 1475

Hockey Cop has to look at cop-ish things I suppose. New York City has a really bad reputation for such a violent crime rate, but the truth is that they have been going down and down on violent crime since 2005. Philadelphia: holding somewhat steady.

Advantage: New York Rangers



20. State Nickname


New York: Empire State


Pennsylvania: Quaker State

Gotta go with the state that conjures up images of Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, and Tie Fighters. Not a big fan of oatmeal or changing motor oil.

Advantage: New York Rangers



21. State Animal


New York: Beaver


Pennsylvania: White Tailed Deer

Beavers are funny. Funny looking. Funny in jokes. They are kinda Canadian. Deer are the things I try to avoid while driving at night, make me cry when "Man" enters the forest, and who's mounted head I've grown to associate with unintelligent rednecks.

Advantage: New York Rangers



22. State Insect


New York: Ladybug


Pennsylvania: Firefly

Shiny!

I'm a Browncoat (a noob-Browncoat, but a Browncoat nonetheless), so you can tell who is going to win here. Plus, I hate ladybugs. Hand to God, one of my biggest fears in life is ladybugs. I have a very uneasy, unrealistic phoebia about them. I'm not keen on spiders or snakes either or heights or onions, but to a far lesser degree than ladybugs. Seriously, I almost didn't put a picture of that scary creature, but figured I had to if I wanted to include a picture of the Firefly cast (including the very attractive Jewel Staite). But forgetting my pre-disposition, you have a bug that lights up versus one with spots.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



23. State Beverage


New York: Milk


Pennsylvania: Milk

Seriously? They both have the same drink as a state beverage? The stuff that makes my Golden Grahams soggy and is inexplicably drunk after victoriously driving 500 miles in Indy? The stuff that helps me grow up big and strong and is somehow involved in making one of life's greatest things, cheese? (The other would be bacon.)

Advantage: None



24. State Cookies & Toys

New York: None and None

Pennsylvania: Chocolate Chip and Slinky

Okay, I'm not a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies and Slinkys are kinda boring in today's modern age, but at least one state has a treat to go with the state beverage. And a Slinky for stair-related fun.

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



25. Is Sean Avery On The Team Depth Chart?





Philadelphia: No

New York: Yes

Advantage: Philadelphia Flyers



So, let's total things up here.

New York Rangers: 10
Philadelphia Flyers: 13

I guess I'll be rooting for the Flyers.



PS: I have decided that I will continue doing entries like this on Hockey Cop (fun, not totally related to hockey rules) from time to time as long as they have a strong foundation in hockey. But totally off topics will go on Empire Sports Blog.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Hockey Cop and the AHL Milwaukee Admirals



I hope Santa was good to you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Carolina Hurricanes Save Christmas

This is a great story out of North Carolina.

I'll sum it up.

A military family has all of their gifts stolen (in addition to lots of other things in the house) before the husband re-deploys to Afghanistan. A local news organization does a story when Aaron Ward (retired Hurricane) saw it.

He called upon his fellow Carolina Alum and they visited the family with the Carolina mascot and others to bring everything they could to replace the missing gifts. Others from around the state also donated.

And the family really aren't hockey fans (though I think that might change). They didn't know who Aaron Ward was when he called them, mistaking him for current tender Cam Ward.

Great story.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Magic Puck

Where'd the puck go?


Link to video.

This is one of those situations where the rules don't specifically lay out what to do. Yeah, yeah. They do say when the Referee loses sight of the puck to blow the whistle and that a player cannot use their equipment to intentionally stop the puck (except a goalie).

Just goes to show that the rules cannot account for everything that might happen on the ice. I know, it should go without saying, but this is just a pretty good example of it.

Famous Canadian Called for Protests During NHL Game



Raffi.

That's who called for a silent protest during a game last week.

Raffi (last name Cavoukian) called for everyone to mute Don Cherry during the first intermission of the Canucks/Maple Leafs game last Saturday night. Cherry is a famous hockey sports persona who has a very brash demeanor on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

Raffi said he hopes people tuned out Cherry's segment during the Leafs-Canucks tilt as a statement to try to stop the current rash of concussions and eliminate fighting from the game.

"He was a colourful guy, he was a great coach — there's much to say about what he gave the game," Raffi told The Vancouver Sun. "But today you got head concussions, you got fights that the referees* don't even step in to [break up]."

Word of the protest was spread by Raffi via Twitter. He concedes he’s having fun with the campaign, but that there is also a real need to enlighten hockey commentary like Cherry’s and set a better example for the children.

"Do we have a responsibility to set a good example from our kids?" Raffi asked. "His professional style is loud, dismissive, bordering on boorish - this is not the way to be in public."

Raffi is a hockey fan (actually a Canucks fan to be exact). But he is concerned about the amount of violence in the game and doesn't like how Cherry uses an "outdoor voice".

The Canucks won the game 5-3. Here's a recap.


Link to video

Here's the irony. The game Raffi ended up choosing to funnel his message for less brutality turned out to be one of the cleanest games you will ever see in the NHL. Each team only had one powerplay apiece, both in the first period with coincidental penalties occuring in the second. There were no penalties called in the third. Was this fate or Raffi-influence?

The penalty summary:

1st Period
03:17 VAN Keith Ballard : Holding - 2 min
12:57 TOR Keith Aulie : Boarding - 2 min

2nd Period
05:43 TOR Tim Connolly : Roughing - 2 min
05:43 VAN Dale Weise : Roughing - 2 min

3rd Period
NONE

Yep. A penalty to Vancouver. A penalty to Toronto. Then coincidental penalties. That sounds like maybe an average period in the NHL, not the entire game.

There were no fights. Some roughing, but no fights. No concussions. And both teams shoke their sillies out during the third period (possibly not true). But in seriousness, the number of penalties during this game was ridiculously low.

Let's compare this 4 total penalties night against the other games in the NHL that night, Saturday December 17:

NJD @ MTL - 9 penalties by both teams combined
BUF @ PIT - 7 penalties combined
ANA @ WPG - 10 total
LAK @ DET - 7
TBL @ CLB - 8
STL @ NSH - 7 (including one in OT)
NYR @ PHX - 10
WSH @ COL - 8
EDM @ SJS - 8

In the Boston/Philadelphia game there were 26 penalties. 14 in the first period alone! They were naughty. Some were so naughty (Lucic), that Mr. Shanahan had to suspend them. Doubt they used a banana phone for the conference call to discuss the issue.

But the Raffi game of Toronto versus Vancouver wasn't the least penalized game of the night. The New York Islanders were on the road and played in a game where only 3 penalties were committed by both teams, all in the second period. The home team that hosted such a disciplined game?

The Wild.

Not so wild in Minnesota that night with regards to breaking rules.

I'm a little shocked to find out that Raffi is a hockey fan (who knew?), but not at all surprised he isn't keen on fighting. Or yelling by commentators.

He's Raffi.

If I'm at a game and a fight breaks out, I'm going to get up and yell. If they guy next to me is Raffi screaming "Kick him down by the bay!", I will give up on all hope for humanity. Not just on hockey. Not just on sports. But on all of humanity.

*Merry Christmas everyone! You too Raffi. As a special holiday treat for you sir, I won't correct you by pointing out that referees never break up fights in hockey. Linesmen do.

Play us out Raffi! (said with my indoor voice)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Almost an Awarded Goal in Colorado



Everyone keeps quoting Rule 78.4 which essentially states that the net has to be at least on the moorings and the moorings have to be in the holes (though they can be bent) for a goal to be scored. While true, this situation is more unique in that the net was displaced by the defense and the puck clearly would have been a good goal except for the net coming off. Rule 78 is generally used when there is a scrum in front of the net and the puck goes in around the time the net comes off. I think everyone is forgetting another rule that actually makes better sense in this case.

This could have been an example of Rule 63.6 and the goal might have been awarded (though it was not actually ruled that way). The officials were looking at whether or not the goal was dislodged (the 78 rule) by the net coming off its moorings before the puck crossed the goal line. Even if the net was up, but still on the posts, it is considered "in place". I wish it had been ruled to have been dislodged, because then we would have likely seen an ellusive "awarded goal" in the NHL.

Rule 63.6 essentially states that if the defending players intentionally or accidently displace the net after the puck is shot and the puck would have gone into the net, the goal can be awarded (and probably should be).

For the record, there was no call on the ice that we can see in the video. The signal for goal is pointing to the net. The signal for no goal is waving ones hands out. The signal to stop play is holdings one's hands up in front of the chest (like the official did). Don't get dupped into thinking the original call on the ice was no goal based solely on that video. We didn't see in the video any call regarding a goal versus no-goal.

It can be confusing here and one might be thinking that the call on the ice was no goal and the official or situation room misspoke in saying the original call was "goal". It probably was "goal", we just didn't see it in that video. But even it was a call of "no goal" originally, the official and Situation Room Blog may have just misspoke. It's okay to overturn the original call. That's the point of replay.

My point is this: either way, that should be a goal. Either it should have been awarded or it was legit and crossed before the net dislodged. For the record, the Situation Room said the puck crossed the line BEFORE dislodge.

Apparently it was a lengthy review, which doesn't make sense to me because, like I said, either way it's a goal. Just make a call and then give the Avalanche the goal. I suppose they still wanted to get the call right, even if the results would be the same, which is good policy.

Deryk Engelland Suspended 3 Games


Link to video

That seems about right. I thought maybe two games (unofficially), but didn't know about the concussion or I might have guessed three, which is what Engelland got. Hindsight is always easier.

I did note, as Shanahan did, that there appeared to be a sweeping movement up making contact with the head completely expected. This video does show Engelland leaving his feet much more clearly than the original video did. The commentators noted it, but I just didn't see it all that well until this video (which slowed it down, stopped it, and was of a higher quality), but I took them at their word. It still seems like a more minut amount of leaping than some other leaping checks this season.

Engelland will forfeit $9,189.18.

Still waiting to hear what happens with the Ott / Laviolette situation. No word on any hearings, fines, suspensions, or anything else.

I'll let you know if I hear something.

There is Still Time To Order Your Hockey Holiday Gifts

Thanks to the San Jose Sharks.



I hate that dummy at the end. Not on my Christmas list.

But where can one find things on my Christmas list?


link to video

Two things I noticed in the commercial. First, that is a Bridgestone tire, official tire provider of the NHL and title sponsor of the Winter Classic. (Wonder how they feel about being in this commercial as a gift that's "not as good".)

Second: this is an old commerical. You can tell because of all the products flashing around at the end. Old logos (like the old Tampa one) or teams that, sadly, don't exist anymore.

Catch that Thrashers' jersey?

Makes me sad.

...I was thinking about putting in a song here, like "I'll Have A Blue Christmas, Without You". But you know what? My Christmas won't be blue at all because there is no more Blueland.

I need something to cheer me up.

How about a dancing goalie?



That worked.

The Return of Campbell Discipline / Bourque Not Happy

Do you remember Colin Campbell? He is a VP in the NHL and former head of the Department of Player Safety, a job Brendan Shanahan holds today.

Campbell was highly critizied for his handling of discipline. From his lack of action to his "why'd he suspend for that?" Players, coaches, commmentators, fans, and reporters were all confused by the message.

Down Goes Brown actually had a chart explaining the Campbell system of punishment.



That was made in 2009, so it is not (at least should not) be reflective of the current NHL discipline system.

Needless to say, Campbell's style of discipline and suspensions was a game of chance. I know many think that the suspensions and fines are not consistant from Shanahan, but it is head and shoulders above Campbell. Why certain hits are not subject to extra discipline may remain a mystery in the current system; the thought process for actions getting suspensions is fully explained. In video. So while one may disagree with the reasoning behind certain suspensions, one cannot argue there wasn't thought put into it and a willingness to create a more transparent way of explaining supplimental discipline.

So why would Campbell be called upon to make a discipline call? Because Shanahan is in charge of PLAYER safety.

Watch what happened between Philadelphia Coach Laviolette and Dallas player Ott. Both coaches use the one exit to get back to the dressing rooms and apparently, Ott was in the way.



Yep. Shoved out of the way. Players and coaches from both teams use this walkway all the time. And there are quotes that say this has never happened before. On ice officials made the Flyers leave out the Zamboni tunnel at the end of the 2nd period to avoid another incident.

I have no idea what to expect out of this one. We'll just wait and see. I can't imagine it gets no attention whatsoever. But it is Campbell that would have to make the call.

You might as well ask...



In other suspension news, Rene Bourque is unhappy that he got two games for his hit on Seabrook. Felt it was a little harsh.

He respected Shanahan and the League's decision, but felt the referee played a big part in causing the dangerous situation.

See for yourself in the suspension video.

I don't think the Referee really added a significant element to the hit. I will say that Bourque's actions after being tossed on a game misconduct were very sportsmanlike. He actually snuck into the Blackhawk's lockerroom during the third period to check on Seabrook and offer his apology.

“I went and talked to him during the third period just to make sure he was all right and to say sorry. He accepted my apology now I’ve just got to move on and get ready for Friday night at Vancouver.”

A very classy gesture. And I don't think the hit looked all that bad. Yes, I would say it deserves a suspension since it is a dangerous one from behind that drove the head into the glass, but not two games (especially considering this is his first suspension in seven seasons and there was no long-term injury on the play). The hit should be removed from the game, but considering Lucic got one game for a hit driving the guy's head into the boards coupled with Lucic's repeated warnings and history, I would think Bourque should have only gotten one game as well. The hits themselves were fairly similiar. Not identical, but similar.

If you read the article, Bourque seems like a good guy that made an error.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Engelland Hearing for Head Hit, Downie Fined

Pittsburgh's Deryk Engelland faces a supplemental discipline hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Thursday morning.

Engelland delivered a blow to the head of Chicago forward Marcus Kruger during Pittsburgh's 3-2 victory at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.

The video:



I'm not going to guess what the punishment might be, but it certainly seems like a suspendable offense, doesn't it?

Player hit in the head and the head was clearly targeted. In fact, it almost looks likie Engelland swept up the body making the head hit completely expected. The victim didn't make any sudden movements. The check was not minimized or avoided. The commentator said that he left his feet, but it was a minimum amount. This isn't like the other hits this season where players have checked into the glass, but the intention and such is certainly much more apparent here.

Engelland has not been fined or suspended since joinging the NHL in 2009, so there is no repeat status or history to consider.

I don't know. 2 games? That's not an official guess, but if I had to, that would be it.

One more thing to note: Downie was not suspended for leaving the bench to start a fight, but was fined $2500. He was declared to be on the ice as part of a legal line change, which is something we examined here in early December. The NHL said the fine was "for leaving the bench on a legal line change to become involved in an altercation in NHL Game No. 408 in New York on Thursday, Dec. 8".

To me, it still looked like he wasn't on the ice legally. But the powers that be say he was, and frankly I can see their point upon further investigation.

Rule 74.1 states that a player can be on the ice if the retiring player is within five feet of the bench. Now, while most of this rule applies to when a player can be on the ice, it doesn't necessarily address delayed "on ice". It was obvious that Downie was going to substitute for the retiring Callahan, he just didn't get the opportunity to before the goal. I was only looking at when the player actually went on the ice as the indicator of making a legal line change and not the intent nor window of legality, which could be what the NHL looked at.

The interpretation of the rule might have been that it would have been legal for Downie to be on the ice at that time. Whether or not he actually was is debateable. The official play-by-play record didn't have him on the ice. We never see him on the ice. But it was clear that he could have been by rule and actions and most likely would have been if it had not been for the goal. He may have actually stepped on the ice for a second, goal was scored, and Downie jumped up on the wall. The play-by-play didn't record him because the retiring player is listed as being the one "on the ice" until they completely leave (which had not happened). If that's true, it completely blows my argument out of the water.

He still should not have gotten involved with a fight clear across the ice though he legally made the line change. That was made clear with a $2500 fine.

I'm still learning. I have a great knowledge of this sport (at least I think I do), but I'm still grasping all these little details and odd situations.

Game of Inches and Seconds

I present just a couple of videos to show how a puck must be completely over the goal line in time. The first, we've seen before.



No goal. Didn't cross the line before time elapsed.

Now, two from this week.

Turn your attention to Phoenix for a video posted on December 17. This is why you play hard till the horn sounds.


Link to video.

The difference between the two shots in the videos is tenth's of a second, but the results are so different. Goal versus non-goal. Hockey really is the only one of the four major sports with such a strict time limit. Forget about baseball. In football, you can play the last hail mary and scramble as long as you want as long as the snap was before time runs out. Same with basketball. As long as the ball's in the air. Not hockey. Not only do your actions have to be done, but the results have to be there as well.

Time is a much bigger factor in hockey than the others. A much greater challenge. You have to change lines on the fly. The general punishment is playing shorthanded for a set amount of time. And you only get one timeout per game. The clock is perhaps a greater enemy in hockey than any other of the major four pro-sports.

Let's forget about the clock though. This final video is from last night in Florida. The net is intentionally dislodged by the Coyotes in the final seconds of the game. You can't do that. So what happens? Penalty shot.

Don't forget, the puck must completely cross the goal line. Take a look.


Link to video.

No goal. Close enough is not good enough.

This is somewhat true in the other sports where close enough is not a goal. But even in baseball, you can get a ground rule double. You can have a sacrifice fly. You can earn a run by WALK or BALK. That's not really earning it, that's benefiting from the other team's mistake. To be clear, it's not capitalizing on a mistake, but just being gifted points. Big difference between the two.

In basketball, the ball must go through the basket. That's how you earn points. But all the free throws? The closest thing hockey has is the shootout or penalty shot. And you still have to earn a goal by beating the tender. Come one. There's even a penalty in basketball called goaltending.

In hockey, goaltending isn't a penalty. It's a position.

Football? If any part of the ball touches or crosses their goal line, it's a touchdown. Not hockey. You have to get it all in. Oh, and none of this "going for three" nonsense. You have one mission in hockey; one way to earn points. Get the puck in the net. That's it.* You want points? That's the only way to get them. And you can't run out of bounds to stop the clock. There's a glass wall there.

The best game you can name...

*ignore Rule 25, Awarded Goals. When does that ever happen?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hockey Justice (Flash-Back Moments)

Here at Hockey Cop, I'm all for justice. I want the calls on the ice or by the Shanahan-hammer to be fair in all aspects.

I want it by the rules. I want the rules to be fair. I want the same level of judgment used by all Referees or by the Office of Player Safety. Equal punishment for equal crimes.

But sometimes, things happen that offer a different kind of justice that choose a different path than the normal means (such as a penalty box, retalitory fight or sublimental fine and suspension).

I offer you this example of a player/fan exchange that, well, is the absolute definition of equal justice. An eye for an eye (so to speak).


Link to Video.

I love hockey.

Speaking of Shanahan justice, did you know he used to play in the NHL? It's true. The man on the videos that tells us why there was no apparent injury, no sudden movement, and no attempt to avoid or minimize hits was a Red Wing. And he found himself in the penalty box from time to time.


Link to video.

That guy is now in charge of dishing out suspensions.

But you know one thing that Shanahan hasn't dealt with yet this season (at least in published video form)? Stick theft.

Look at this video of a fan trying to make a fast getaway. And giving up just before a real hockey cop walks over. Oh, and make note of one of the dumbest rules the League had before getting rid of it: two-line pass. I'm thankful those days are over. Anyway...


Link to video.

Apparently, this type of stick larceny was not uncommon in the NHL.


Link to video.

They even mention another incident in that video about a fan grabbing a stick from the glass. And it wasn't the same one we saw earlier because it mentioned a delay.

These are things we don't get to see in today's NHL because there are stantions in place between the panes of glass. I don't think that's the reason they are there, but they do prevent (if not eliminate) this type of thing from happening now.

One last thing. Perhaps the most annoying thing in the world for me to see when watching any sporting event is an idiot standing up with his cell phone to his ear and waving at the camera for his buddy at home on the sofa. These are the kinds of people I hate.

This last clip reminds me of that kind of idiot, though the parties involved aren't acting dumb on their own. The person at home is saying via cellphone "The TV told me to tell you something..."


Link to video.

And the guy's a lawyer. Perfect way to justify it being on the Hockey Cop blog (see how I went back to the begining there with the word justice? Book ending it.)

Final thought: how boring was that game that the tv broadcasters are playing with a specific family and missing some of the on ice action (you can hear the puck hitting the sticks)?

It had to be pretty boring. I'm guessing this is the 1996 game at home against Detroit based on the other guy in the crowd with the Red Wings jersey on and the 25 year patch on Rosenberg. Yes, fans can and do wear old jerseys, but the footage looks 1996ish, doesn't it?

The clothes, the quality of the film, the jogging suits are all very 1996. And the fact that the Islanders lost that game 7-1. That means the producers figured folks at home would probably be more entertained by this old fan wiggling his fingers with his thumbs in his ear than anything the Islanders were doing on the ice.

They were probably right.

I know this is more of a Empire Sports type entry, but even the cop-ish parts of hockey are fun from time to time making it acceptable for the Hockey Cop Blog

Lost Its Flavor...

I had to share.


Link to Video

The announcer is totally right. They don't just want to spit it on the ice. You can't pocket it. But maybe ask for a napkin? Or wait for the intermission? It was a TV timeout (that's what the redlight means), so I had to think there was time to do something more than that.

And why mash it on the glass like that? You're only making it harder on everyone.

Lucic Gets 1, Bourque Gets 2

No time for analysis.


Link to video


Link to Video

BTW: Zach Bogosian was not suspended, fined. Anything. So I was totally wrong.

Oops.

As an act of penance, here's the first episode from the HBO Special about the Winter Classic and the teams that make it up.

The HBO 24/7 Special Here.

You need to watch it.

Not only will you see the Rangers' Captain Callahan's salty grandma, but you'll get some Russian view on the solar system that is "so humangeous big, right?"



Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Will Bogosian Be Suspended?

I would think so.

Here's the hit last night in Minnesota.



The hit came from behind, there was no sudden movement, the hit caused serious injury (a trail of blood to the locker room), the head of the victim was driven into the boards (actually the dasher), and there was a game misconduct called on the play.

Zach Bogosian should sit for at least 3 games.

No hearing has been announced yet. Next game for the Jets is Thursday.

A Solid, Clean Hit

This hit came from an unlikely source.


Link to video.

I know that it appears that the Referees call some unfair penalties. They sometimes seem to favor one team over another. But very rarely do they actually lay out a hit on the players.

It was an obvious accident, but still pretty hilarious. Lucky for him, he took out the visiting team. It would have been potentially a lot worse for them if they hit the home team.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Marchand and Desjardins Both Fined $2500

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has been fined $2,500 for slew-footing Penguins' defenseman Matt Niskanen in Pittsburgh on Monday, Dec. 5.

San Jose Sharks forward Andrew Desjardins has been fined $2,500 for boarding Blackhawks' defenseman Sami Lepisto in Chicago on Sunday, Dec. 11.

I had no idea there was a slew-footing incident the League was looking at. But see for yourself if this was a fine-worth incident.



The incident alone is probably not fine-worthy, yet I think the fine is appropriate because the call was wrong on the ice. Marchand was clearly guilty of slew-footing, defined by the Rule 52 as "the act of a player using his leg or foot to knock or kick an opponent's feet from under him...causing him to fall violently to the ice." That very clearly happened.

By rule, the only punishment a Referee can give if a player is guilty of slew-footing is a match penalty. No fines or suspentions are specified, but are mentioned in the rule as possible after a review by the Commissioner.

But the call on the ice was for tripping (a minor penalty). I think, as the commentator thought in the clip, that it was a slew-foot penalty. If the call had been slew-footing at the time, I don't think a further fine would have necessarily been warranted.

In the case of Desjardins: this is exactly the outcome I expected. Good call.

NHL Debuts Video Rulebook

My job just got a lot easier. The NHL stole my idea and something I started doing last night!

They have a Video Rulebook online now.

This is a great great great resource. And essentially what I was doing.

I spent a good amount of time gathering resources to demonstrate the different rules of the game. This included research for such posts as the entry from last night where I talked about the video review system and what is a goal, what is not a goal.

Now, you can just go to that part of the Video Rulebook. I can't believe it! They even used one of the same videos that I did. The puck off official in the Thrashers game.

This is a great thing for the NHL. Especially for a rules nerd like me. This will save me a lot time previously devoted to research. It almost puts me out of a job.

Not completely. First of all, I don't get paid for this, so it's not like this was actually a job to begin with. Second, there will still be plenty of things to discuss regarding the interpretation of the rules, the suspensions, the off-ice activities that have some legal ramifications, etc. I can also go a bit more indepth than the Video Rulebook does and focus attention to particular rules when needed.

I love the NHL for constantly improving their transparency and willingness to show actual examples of rule violations against "good" plays for the benefit of the players and us the fans.

On a side note: Today was the first day I saw the Video Rulebook. I hope it debuted today or I am deeply embarrassed that I've missed it this long.

And, just so there is no confusion, I don't actually believe the NHL stole my idea. It's just so ironic that their Video Rulebook debuts the day after my post where I included videos on almost all of the ways a goal can be disallowed! I thought I had such a good idea, and then there it is. And very well done. It's one of those excited disappointments. Excited that it's out there, but disappointing that I didn't get to do it.

Hearing Today for Desjardins

San Jose's Desjardin will get a hearing today to discuss the hit against the Chicago Blackhawk's Sami Lepisto.

The hit:



He should get a fine. It is very similar to the hit Mats Zuccarello delivered in Stockholm against the Kings.



Zuccarello got a $2500 fine, but no suspension. Both were hits from behind driving the opponent into the boards causing a pretty dangerous impact.

We'll know soon. The next Sharks' game will be in Colorado Tuesday night.

Hockey Good Guys versus Basketball "Good Guys"

A recent article made me think about one of the greatest stories in all of sports, and it came out of the NHL in 2001. The genesis of my thought process was spawned by this quote:

“I’m tired of being viewed as the good guy. After a while, you just kind of get taken advantage of in these situations. I’ve been known as a leader, and I am a leader, but a leader can be as disruptive as he can be productive, especially when you carry a strong voice and people rally around you. This is about me now. This is about me, and teams should know that right now.”



That quote was by Chauncey Billups. As he prepares to have his name entered into the NBA’s amnesty waiver wire, he has a message for teams considering putting in a bid to secure him for the rest of the season: You’ll regret it.

It goes without saying that quote is one of the most self-centered, egotistical things a professional athlete can say. He is hopeful that if he goes unclaimed(since the Knicks recently put him on waivers), he will be picked up as a free agent. And for what?

“I just don’t deserve the treatment that I’ve continually gotten,” Billups said. “Historically, these things never happen to the supposed great players and good guys. They continually happen to me, and it gets old. Listen, I feel I’ve been blessed in the game, and I’ve been given back, but these things start to wear on you. But there’s not another guy in history who keeps dealing with this, getting thrown into these things to make the money right. I really believe it’s because people take my kindness and professionalism for weakness. They think I’ll be OK with this. I won’t be OK with this. I’ve saved my money. I may just retire if I don’t get my freedom here.

“I want my freedom. My goal is to control my own destiny. And as you’ve seen in my career, I’ve never been in a position to do that. I know some teams out there are saying, ‘Oh, Chauncey will be great in mentoring’ and I’m tired of that. I’ve got a few good years left to play, and I’m not trying to come in and sit on the bench, or be a mentor. I’m not going to be that guy. I want to go somewhere and win. I want to choose.”

So to be fair, he just wants the chance to win. And he may have gotten some raw deals in the past. He may even be the greatest player in the NBA. Admittedly, I don't keep up with that sport. But this just seems like the wrong way to try and go out on top, or at least petition for a good free agency deal. It seems so selfish and ungrateful, it really doesn't make me want to root for the guy. No like Ray Bourque who basically wanted the same things. Bourque played with the Bruins for his entire career, but asked to be traded to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. And he did shortly after a trade to the Avalanche.



For anyone unfamiliar, Captain Joe Sakic broke tradition by giving up the Cup before doing a victory lap himself.

With Bourque, you know that he really regreted not winning the Cup in Boston and that the decision on asking for a trade was hard. You also got the understanding from the Bruins that they loved this man so much, they were willing to give up their star player, a career Bruin, so he could have his chance at hockey immortality. And not just give him up, but put him in a position to thrive and be a champion. That says a lot about the Bruins and a testiment to Bourque that a team would do what was in his best interests, particularly to the extent they did.

Initially, Bourque requested a trade to a team on the east coast such as the Philadelphia Flyers, and Flyers' general manager Bobby Clarke offered the Bruins Andy Delmore and Daymond Langkow for Bourque. In reality, Bruins general manager Harry Sinden was finalizing a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, under the condition that it could not be leaked to the press. Sinden badly wanted Bourque to have a chance to close out his career with a Cup win, and told Bourque, "This may not be your first choice, but this is the team I feel is best." On March 6, 2000, Bourque was traded to Colorado with fellow veteran Dave Andreychuk for Brian Rolston, Martin Grenier, Samuel PĂ„hlsson and a first round draft pick.

"That was all done for him. It was a thank you," said Sinden, who drafted Bourque with the eighth pick in 1979 and then helped broker the deal that sent him to Colorado. When the opportunity arose to join the Colorado Avalanche at the trading deadline in March 2000, Bourque deliberated, then decided to join the Stanley Cup contenders.

The Avalanche fell short in 2000 and Bourque made a decision. His decision lead to one of the greatest moments in NHL history.



On June 12, 2001, three days after the Cup victory, Bourque exercised his right as a player to bring the Cup back to Boston for an emotional rally in Boston's City Hall Plaza, attended by some 20,000 fans. Can you imagine a player who was traded away coming back for a victory rally in his former city?

Better yet, can you imagine if Chancey Phillips gets the deal he wants, wins the NBA championship, then tries to host a celebration with his former team? After statements like his, I don't see that happening.

“I just don’t deserve the treatment that I’ve continually gotten,” Billups said. “Historically, these things never happen to the supposed great players and good guys. They continually happen to me, and it gets old. Listen, I feel I’ve been blessed in the game, and I’ve been given back, but these things start to wear on you. But there’s not another guy in history who keeps dealing with this, getting thrown into these things to make the money right. I really believe it’s because people take my kindness and professionalism for weakness. They think I’ll be OK with this. I won’t be OK with this. I’ve saved my money. I may just retire if I don’t get my freedom here."

That statement versus this statement:

"It's not so much what I accomplished personally," Bourque said. "It's just some of the special guys that you played with over the course of your career. Playing in Boston. Just learning what it was to be a Bruin from guys like Terry O'Reilly and Rick Middleton. The whole history of the players and the team. It was a phenomenal experience for me."

He was such a credit to the hockey community that his number was retired. Obviously by the Bruins where he played 20 years, but also by the Avalanche where he played just a season and a half.

I know this is a little bit off subject from my normal talks about the NHL and its rules and what not, but it bares saying.

This hockey good guy is better than that basketball "good guy".