Monday, April 30, 2007

Terry Frei: So Right and So Wrong

The Right Terry Frei has this to say (from

This is one of the great traditions in sports ...

No matter what has happened during the series, generally speaking, they line up and shake hands. Tradition and history suggest that even if opposing players have a mutual hatred that dates back to major junior, or had a falling-out as Binghamton teammates, they shake.

Do it if you want to do it. It remains understood that if you do take part, you're not surrendering or gloating, you're paying homage to tradition. All you have to do is turn on the television, look online or read the paper the next morning to understand that, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't all that important.

Don't do it if you don't want to. No recriminations. No criticism. You're not being a "bad loser" or spitting into the Stanley Cup if you don't.

We live in a world of scrutiny and opportunistic sensitivity. I'd hate it if the handshake tradition becomes infected by it.

The Wrong Terry Frei also has this to say (from the Denver Post):

After three weeks of the NHL playoffs, some observations:

* The league probably wishes the Avalanche had caught Calgary and made the postseason.


Because the Flames' ridiculous, bush-league actions in the series against Detroit - mostly in the Game 5 that was carried on NBC - was a black eye.

Three years ago, the overachieving Flames came within one victory of winning the Stanley Cup, so it would be folly to say that the mind-set represented by general manager Darryl Sutter - who gave up the coaching reins this season - hasn't "worked" for Calgary in the past.

But this "sending-a-message" mind-set in the late stages of blowouts re-enforces the mistaken view that the NHL is just this side of a pro wrestling ring in terms of legitimacy. One of the league's problems has been the traditional tendency to simply say that image is inaccurate, so those who believe it don't matter.

In other words, denial.

The sort of denial that has helped the NHL remain No. 4.

And on the pragmatic level, when he puts his mind to it and stops trying to be the toughest winger in the league, believing that the "C" stands for "combatant," the Flames' Jarome Iginla - otherwise a class act - is the best player in the NHL.

Sorry Terry. But I can’t help but point out the hypocrisy of your statements. Please note the bolded portion of your Right statements about ignoring NHL tradition by not partaking in the post-game/series handshake.

Then please re-read your Wrong statements about sending messages late in games in attempt to set a tone for the next game. I’m sorry Terry; but jumping on the Jamie McClellan incident is as opportunistic as one can get. And to write that the NHL probably wishes Colorado would have caught Calgary late in the season because of this incident is downright absurd.

Can anyone else smell the envy fermenting from Terry’s writing?

And between you and me, sending messages late in games have been part of hockey tradition as long as the traditional handshake. You really can’t choose to give and take from hockey tradition Terry.

Some just might (correctly) view that as opportunistic.

Nap Time and Conspiracy Theories; Round 2 of the NHL Playoffs

Has anyone else lost interest in the NHL playoffs? Newsflash… ratings are down. And the Devils and the Red Wings (Hockeytown) can’t even sell out home games anymore. And never mind that the NHL’s prime carrier of games is doing a better job with pre and post-game highlights and commentary.

That means very little when Versus only reaches 35% of viewing households in the United States.

As teams progress deeper in the playoffs, the focus understandably narrows to one thing… do anything to win. Physical contact takes a back seat, players turn their cheeks to draw penalties, and more and more players conveniently forget how to skate whenever a stick touches the smallest of fibers on their jersey.

The agitators are out in full force too. Sean Avery, the most hated player in the NHL as voted by his peers, has become non-existent in Round 2. The fact of the matter is, players are used to his antics… they simply aren’t as effective against Buffalo. And why retaliate against a player only dropped his gloves four times this year?

Couple that with my thought that every player has become a bit braver in the playoffs and you get this vibe that players have become numb to anything emotional. I mean, when exactly did Danius Zubrus become Cam Neely? And who exactly is doing anything about the fact that he is running around destroying every Rangers’ star with bonecrsuhing hits? No one. That’s the playoffs in the second round folks. Too much at stake to glove punch a player that is going to let you do it.

And with the current “turn the cheek” and “dive like Greg Louganis” mentality, it’s no wonder that minor penalties have skyrocketed in the playoffs as well. I hope the referees have been double-coating with deodorant; because it seems like they are raising their arm every two minutes to call yet another obstruction-like penalty.

Could it be, as Gary Bettman will tell you, that NHL players are simply adjusting to the new rules? I doubt it. I mean, it’s only been two years since some of these emotion killing rules have been implemented. Some players might be a bit slow though… who knows?

Or could it be the current playoff mentality… dive at all costs? Don’t protect your teammate no matter what!

Or maybe, quite possibly, it could be referees are controlling games to make them more exciting? Maybe to control who moves on? Ah... the conspiracy theories. You gotta love em.

And it’s not just me folks. Others have claimed that the NHL needs the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup because of the viewership that only New York can bring. I don’t doubt it. Although I prefer to think that referees make calls to increase the number of odd man opportunities, thus increasing the opportunities for goals. As I’ve said before, the NHL brass’ key to bringing back fans to the game is more scoring.

And as I’ve also said before, it’s the wrong mentality. That is why the second round of the 2007 NHL playoffs have been dreadfully boring. They are a far cry from the first round when the Rangers/Thrashers and Predators/Sharks series brought about some real hate-filled and very exciting games.

Hmm… that bring up yet another conspiracy theory. Boy this is fun. Maybe that is why the Devils and Red Wings don’t sell out. Maybe that is why watching the two teams that define playoff excellence (which of course means do anything that destroys image of a tough, exciting hockey team) is a recipe for a mid-afternoon nap.

Which, of course, leads to my final conspiracy theory. Will/have the referees been extra tight on the Anaheim Ducks? You know, the Ducks that led the league in fighting majors by some 20+? You know, the Ducks that are led by the refreshingly outspoken Brian Burke? After watching George Parros take two very questionable first period penalties last week, I have my thoughts.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to catch some NHL highlights. That is the only way I can get my dose of “action” without falling asleep in five minutes.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ranking NHL Enforcers...

It’s playoff time. And that means that most enforcers around the league are watching games from the press box. And as much I hate to say it, some deserve to be sitting there. And believe it or not, some probably deserve worse. But beyond the pugilistic values that a player brings to the table, there are quite a few tough guys that are good with their sticks too. And no, I’m not about Chris Simon.

In looking at a player’s plus/minus rating, points totals, and fights totals, I was able to come up with a few categories to toss players into. To start with, I’ll call players with 10 or more fights “enforcers.” Players with 5 to 9 fights are called “tough guys.” Within each of these two categories, I further color coded players into four categories based on their plus/minus (I wanted to know if players were a liability on the ice) and points totals (I wanted to know if these players could actually put the biscuit in the basket on occasion). As you can see, the spectrum ranges from top notch enforcers/tough guys (e.g. Ben Eager, Donald Brashear) to enforcers/tough guys that need a one-way ticket to the minors (e.g. Josh Gratton, Ryan Hollweg).

The final list of players is reserved for “wanna-be tough thugs.” These are players that take a lot of penalties, but rarely drop the gloves. Needless to say, some of the names are not surprising.

Note – Apologies for the format of the tables. I tried… trust me… I tried.
Enforcers (10 or more fights)     
Top notch enforcer
Second tier enforcer
Needs to work on their game
One way ticket to the minors

Name GP G A Pts +/- PIM Total
George Parros 34 1 0 1 -3 102 18
Andrew Peters 58 1 1 2 -1 125 17

Ian Laperriere 81 8 21 29 5 133 17
Ben Eager 63 6 5 11 -13 233 16

Josh Gratton 52 1 1 2 -9 188 16
Cam Janssen 48 1 0 1 -2 114 16
Colton Orr 53 2 1 3 -2 126 16
Raitis Ivanans 66 4 4 8 -12 140 14

Shane O'Brien 80 2 14 16 -3 176 14
Donald Brashear 77 4 9 13 1 156 14

Ryan Hollweg 78 1 2 3 -11 131 13
Jody Shelley 72 1 1 2 -6 125 13
Krys Barch 26 3 2 5 2 107 13
Jordin Tootoo 65 3 6 9 -11 116 12
Andre Roy 56 1 2 3 -4 128 12

Shawn Thornton 48 2 7 9 3 88 12
Jeff Cowan 63 7 5 12 3 125 11
Matthew Barnaby 39 1 6 7 5 127 11
Todd Fedoruk 58 3 11 14 -9 120 10
Nick Tarnasky 77 5 4 9 -6 80 10
Darcy Hordichuk 53 1 3 4 -2 90 10
Brian McGrattan 45 0 2 2 -1 100 10

Derek Boogaard 48 0 1 1 0 120 10
Matt Walker 48 0 5 5 7 72 10

Tough Guys (5-9 fights)
Top notch tough guy
Second tier tough guy
Needs to work on their game
One way ticket to the minors

Name GP G A Pts +/- PIM Total
O.K. Tollefsen 70 2 3 5 2 123 9
Steve Montador 72 1 8 9 1 119 9
Chris Thorburn 39 3 2 5 1 69 9
Tom Kostopoulos 76 7 15 22 -2 73 9
Travis Moen 82 11 10 21 -4 101 9
Wade Belak 65 0 3 3 -8 110 9
Mark Bell 71 11 10 21 -9 83 9
Jeremy Reich 32 0 1 1 -10 63 9
Jamal Mayers 80 8 14 22 -19 89 9
Matt Greene 78 1 9 10 -22 109 9
Chris Neil 82 12 16 28 6 177 8
Ryane Clowe 58 16 18 34 4 78 8
Georges Laraque 73 5 19 24 4 70 8
Adam Mair 82 2 9 11 -1 128 8
D.J. King 27 1 1 2 -3 52 8

Darren McCarty 32 0 0 0 -3 58 8
Brad Winchester 59 4 5 9 -10 86 8
Michael Rupp 76 6 3 9 -10 92 8
Nick Boynton 59 2 9 11 -13 138 8

David Koci 9 0 0 0 -3 88 7
Zack Stortini 29 1 0 1 -7 105 7

Kevin Bieksa 81 12 30 42 1 134 6
Eric Godard 19 0 1 1 0 50 6
Danny Richmond 22 0 2 2 -1 48 6
Craig Adams 82 7 7 14 -9 54 6
A. Svitov 76 7 11 18 -10 145 6
Martin Lapointe 82 13 11 24 -14 98 6

Chris Simon 67 10 17 27 17 75 5
Brendan Witt 81 1 13 14 14 131 5
Arron Asham 80 11 12 23 3 63 5

Eric Boulton 45 3 4 7 2 49 5
M. Commodore 82 7 22 29 0 113 5
Reed Low 6 0 0 0 -1 31 5
Maxime Talbot 75 13 11 24 -2 53 5
Matt Bradley 57 4 9 13 -5 47 5
Tim Gleason 57 2 4 6 -10 57 5

Darcy Tucker 56 24 19 43 -11 81 5
Ryan Craig 72 14 13 27 -11 55 5
J.F. Jacques 37 0 0 0 -11 33 5
Jason Smith 82 2 9 11 -13 103 5
John Erskine 29 1 6 7 -13 69 5
Andrew Alberts 76 0 10 10 -15 124 5
Sean O'Donnell 79 2 15 17 9 92 4
Sean Avery 84 18 30 48 1 174 4
Daniel Carcillo 18 4 3 7 -7 74 4

Wanna Be Thugs - Players with 90+ Pims and less than 2 fights

Name GP G A Pts +/- PIM
Keith Tkachuk 79 27 31 58 11 126
Bryan McCabe 82 15 42 57 3 115
Bryan Allen 82 4 21 25 7 112
Sean Hill 81 1 24 25 6 110
S. Morrisonn 78 3 10 13 3 106
R. Klesla 75 9 13 22 -13 105
P. Boucher 76 19 32 51 2 104
Brent Seabrook 81 4 20 24 -6 104
Ruslan Salei 82 6 26 32 -13 102
Andrej Meszaros 82 7 28 35 -15 102
Zdeno Chara 80 11 32 43 -21 100
Dion Phaneuf 79 17 33 50 10 98
Steve Staios 58 2 15 17 -5 97
Andrew Ference 80 3 12 15 5 97
Scott Hartnell 64 22 17 39 19 96
Mike Komisarek 82 4 15 19 7 96
Marc Savard 82 22 74 96 -19 96
Tuomo Ruutu 71 17 21 38 4 95
Chris Gratton 81 13 22 35 1 94
Alex Burrows 81 3 6 9 -7 93
Alexei Zhitnik 79 7 31 38 1 92
Jason Chimera 82 15 21 36 2 91
Hal Gill 82 6 14 20 11 91
Alexander Semin 77 38 35 73 -7 90

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Play a Hockey Video Game at Work

Having some fun here. You can too! Hope this works.

Random Thoughts on VTU

Cho Seung-Hui. A name that will forever evoke thoughts of sickening terror. It’s difficult to even find a place to begin with all of this. Have you read Cho’s plays? Sick. The majority of the comments left about his blog are spot on. The plays are flooded with warning signs. How exactly does a young man that display all of these warning signs slip through the cracks? That is one social psychology study that is worth investigating. Maybe it is the notion that someone else will report him? Maybe it is the notion that he will do something small scale (e.g. theft, assault) before he actually goes off the deep end and does something to harm a lot of people? Maybe people were afraid to report him? And as his classmate said, there isn’t exactly a system in place to report people that you think are crazy and might be harmful to society… at least not without some sort of concrete evidence. And the psyche isn’t exactly concrete. So what exactly could have been done? It was reported that Cho had spoken of suicide and spent a night or two inpatient. It was also reported that he was being investigated for stalking a female student. But when someone is not acting out in a physical manner, what can you do? While Cho’s personality was bursting with awkwardness and rage, he was contained on the outside... disturbingly quiet. The say the ones to watch are the quiet ones. Cho’s writings were an outlet for his rage. But without real life threats of violence in those writings, what are the authorities to do? Can you simply hold a young man because someone else thinks they are disturbed?

Other questions come to mind as well. Although not a popular question, I can’t help but think about it. How can a small young man with two hand guns shoot close to 50 individuals without being confronted? How can he do all of this and chain doors and windows without someone attempting to stop him? It’s an easy question to ask; but not an easy one to answer. Fight or flight. What would you do? What would I do? Fight or flight? If someone came into your office and started going from office to office and shooting people, would you hit the floor, run, or fight? I’d like to think I would fight. I’m a big guy and can handle myself. If Cho came by my office, I’d like to think I would have attempted to reach for his arm or stabbed him with a pair of scissors. A colleague of mine said that heroes don’t really have heroic tendencies; they simply have this ability to recognize situations for what they are. Those that flight typically revert to a state of shock; they don’t believe that what is happening is truly happening. That makes sense. That is why I am not really sure I would be a hero. It’s likes telling someone who has a unique problem that you know how they feel when you truly don’t. Simply put, you don’t know how you would react until you are in that situation; nothing can simulate something like this.

So how do you profile a mass killer? A student killer? And does it matter? Can you really report a profile and expect action to be taken? Can you do this in a work setting without fear of a lawsuit? The answer, most likely, and sadly enough, is no.

Enough about Cho. The only good thing I can truly say about him is he saved the U.S. taxpayers a dump truck of money by putting that 20 cent piece of lead through his brain… thank you Cho. The only way I would trade that for a live Cho is if I knew the trial would be quick and the family members of each of the victims got to throw a bucket of water on him before they flipped the switch and sent him to the depths of hell.

On to the University’s response. It was inadequate. If two people are murdered in a campus dorm and you only have a “person of interest” in hand, you cancel classes for the day until the situation can be resolved. The question is, if the University thinks it was so right in its response, would it respond the same way if a similar circumstance were to present itself in the future? I seriously doubt it. The instant the University President was notified that two students had been murdered in a University dorm, he should have sent an email to students canceling classes. The response was insensitive and inadequate.

That being said, let’s all just wait a few weeks before America starts pointing fingers. Let’s remember. Let’s grieve. Let’s console those affected. America has this culture of finger pointing that has become truly sickening. America has become the friend that is not truly happy unless they are upset about something. Otherwise, God forbid, it is a day without news.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ryan Hollweg is Safe to Dance

And all along I thought the Chris Simon slash left him with a little cut on chin... seems I was wrong. This one is blazing its way around the net. I didn't know Planters was making athletic supporters these days.

Dear "Hockey is clean in the playoffs" Bloggers

I can't help but grin when I think of all the times I have read columnists and bloggers point toward the NHL playoffs as an example of great hockey that is played without fights.

While I can agree that the NHL playoffs have been very exciting thus far, I have to point out that they have been characterized by countless cheap hits and a number of fights that have boiled over from extremely chippy play.

And can you please name the two series that have captured the most attention on major sports news channels? That's correct... the Penguins/Senators and Predators/Sharks series.

And, my sincere apologies, but it ain't because of Sid the Kid and Joe Thornton.

Legal Hits to the Head Aren't the Problem

Yuppie alert. Roy MacGregor, from the Globe and Mail, is the latest to step up and save the NHL from the physical contact that has defined the game for decades. Get in line Damian Cox disciple. You have a long journey in front of you... one that leads you to Nowhereville.

Some drivel:
At 9 minutes 4 seconds of the second period, 22-year-old Patrick Eaves of Calgary rounded the back of the Pittsburgh net with the puck not quite under control, his head slightly bowed as he looked to see who was trying to catch him from behind. As Eaves came past the post, the shoulder of 24-year-old Colby Armstrong of Lloydminster, Sask., arrived at exactly the same time. The hard pad of the taller Pittsburgh forward slammed into the head of Eaves, who went down as if he had been dropped from the rafters.

But no, no one but a concerned referee, a team captain and the team doctor seemed much interested in whether Eaves was in trouble.

There was something far more important going on: a fistfight.

Ottawa's Dean McAmmond and Pittsburgh's Maxim Talbot were busy in the dance that, some say, is the entertainment potential fans wish to see in this game and others argue is the funeral dirge professional hockey is increasingly marching toward. They danced and then, for a while, they slugged away. And then, as always happens, one slipped and went down and the other claimed his meaningless victory.

There was no penalty on the play for Armstrong, who delivered the hit. Under today's hockey rules, there probably should not have been.

But what is to say today's hockey rules are right?

Yes, accidental hits to the head will happen. Obviously they will in such a fast and physical game as hockey. "And what are you going to do about it, then?" someone in the press box asks.

Simple, you still penalize the player who delivers the hit. If I accidentally shoot the puck over the boards in my own end, I get a penalty. If I accidentally clip you and cut you with my stick, I get a penalty.

So it needs to be with head hits.
A couple of things stand out from MacGregor's words. To start with, Roy refers to the McAmmond/Talbot fight as meaningless. What Roy doesn't "get" is that there are two options for the NHL in policing hits to the head... penalties/suspensions or players policing these types of hits. McAmmond stuck up for his fallen teammate and went after Armstrong, only to find a more willing combatant in Talbot. What McAmmond did actually couldn't have been any more meaningful. And while Roy will complain about hits to the head not being penalized, he also wants to remove the only true deterrent to these hits as well.

Another thing Roy fails to mention is that Eaves was skating with his head down, instead referring to Eaves' head as "slightly bowed." What is rule #1 Roy? That's right... keep your head up. Eave's head wasn't slightly bowed. It was down. And he paid the price. The hit was so clean that Senators coach, Brian Murray, said he was fine it. I guess that's not good enough, eh Roy?

And yet another point. Pointing out that other league's penalize hits to the head and not diving into the details of those penalties is all too convenient. And when Roy says "other leagues" let's get right to the point... the NFL. When you dive deeper, you will see that the NFL and NHL deal with hits to the head quite similarly. Both designate legal and illegal hits to the head. In the NHL, there were a number of major penalties that deal with hits to the head... charging, boarding, elbowing, high sticking, etc. In the NFL, illegal hits to the head garner an intentional foul penalty. In both leagues, it is the referees discretion as to whether or not the hit to the head was legal or illegal. In almost every play in the NFL, there is some sort of hit to the head... a linebacker hitting a running back for instance. Those are normal plays that happen frequently during the course of the game.

NFL referees typically reserve calling penalties involving hits to the head for occurrences in which a player jumps at another players head to cause injury or goes out of their way to hit another player. Sound familiar? The NHL calls their game the same way. The only real difference is that the NFL is trying to eliminate helmet to helmet hits, a problem the NHL doesn't have.

Roy MacGregor listen closely. Legal hits to the head are just that... legal. They are not going to be penalized. Fights, too, serve a higher purpose than how you characterize them. If you want someone to listen to you while atop your soap box, write an article about players keeping their heads up. Then... someone might take you seriously.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Penalty Minutes Playoff Challenge - Prizes Galore!

The Don Cherry news has got me buzzing. So let’s keep the momentum rolling. It seems that most every hockey blog out there is running some sort of playoff contest. And while some are generously offering up donations made on your behalf as a reward, I prefer self-gratification. YOU will actually get something from me! So my contest is as follows:

Pick the player that you think will accumulate the most PIMs in the playoffs. As a tie break, pick the number of PIMs he will amass.

The winner receives their pick of THREE hockey fight DVDs of their choice from my collection. I’ll send you a link when the competition is over. I will also toss in a “Fire Gary” hat as well. And UPDATE - Drew is VERY GENEROUSLY tossing in autographed cards of Terry O'Reilly, Andre Roy, Andrew Peters, Colton Orr, Chris Dingman, and Turner Stevenson for the winner.

Please choose a player and PIM totals and send your guess to twominutesforblogging at gmail dot com.

And feel free to leave your guess here as a comment so others don't pick your player. No need to leave your email address. Don't let the picture entice you!!!

Update - A couple of people have asked... you can submit entries up until Friday 7 pm ET. That should give you a chance to see each team in action once.

Don Cherry Comes to NBC for the Playoffs

Yuppies beware. Turn off the t.v. Cover your children’s ears. And if you are offended by colorful (what some would call distasteful) clothing, well then, shut your eyes too.

Don Cherry is coming to NBC for the 2006-2007 playoffs. And don’t think for a second that he is changing his tune.
"A lot of people have written that what I say up here I would never get away with it down in the States," said Cherry, the Bruins' coach from the 1974-75 season until the 1978-79 campaign. "I'll just go on and do what I have to do."
Cherry will team with Brett Hull, whom many have compared to Cherry for his outspoken comments about the state of hockey.

Adding Cherry is a great addition for NBC. As Hull stated, one thing that is missing from commentators is personality. Cherry will add that simply by showing up in his plaid outfits. And you’ll just have to tune in to see what he has to say. One thing I know for sure, there will be a few out there that won’t like the way he says it. My advice to those folks, turn off the t.v. You won’t be missed.

Momentum Turner or Misconception? A Closer Look Shultz versus Rolfe

It's become some type of urban legend that after Schultz/Rolfe the Rangers just rolled over against the Flyers in that 73/74 series. That whole 73-74 playoff series is completely blown out of proportion. Everyone seems to subscribe to this myth that the Flyers just pummeled the Rangers and they had no response. Truth is, the Rangers gave as good as they got in that series.

In Game 2 of that series, Kelly jumped Jerry Butler and put him out of the game. Ron Harris paid Kelly back in spades with an open ice hit that put Kelly out of the series. Harris was also put on the ice in place of Gilbert during a face-off when Schultz was looking to rough up Gilbert. Harris confronted Schultz and Schultz made some half-hearted attempts to get at him, but he somehow couldn't break free from the linesman. Additionally, both Ron Harris and Steve Vickers beat up Dornhoefer during that series.

That series was anything but a cakewalk for the Flyers. They won that series because of one guy, Bernie Parent. The most common misconception is that the Schultz/Rolfe fight took the heart out of the Rangers players. This seems to be one of those great myths that has multiplied over time. The Rangers ended up losing that game by 1 goal. Additionally, outside of a little blood and maybe some embarrassment, Rolfe was never the worse for wear after that fight; he never missed a shift and played just as effective after that fight as before. He wasn't hurt; he didn't need any help skating to the box.

Many have incorrectly brought up the notion that someone should have jumped in to save Rolfe from the Schultz mugging. However, you have to remember that this is Game 7 of the 73/74 playoffs and the Schultz/Rolfe fight takes place midway through the first period, with the scored tied at 1-1.

At the time of this fight, the Rangers had their number one line out there in Hadfield, Gilbert and Ratelle, with Park and Rolfe on defense. So the only toughness on the ice at the time was Park and Hadfield, two very skilled players that the Rangers could not afford to lose during a crucial Game 7 in exchange for a player of Schultz' caliber. As a fight fan, I wish someone would have jumped in too; but you have to look at this realistically. Who was going to jump in? Gilbert, Hadfield, Ratelle or Park, in game 7 of a tied series? That's exactly what Schultz was hoping for - take a skilled player off the ice with him. As for the fight taking the heart out of the Rangers and providing the spark for the Flyers, remember that this fight happened at around the 11:00 minute mark of the first period and neither team scored during the remaining 9:00 minutes in period one. So much for the Rangers folding their tent and the Flyers using this fight as any sort of momentum builder.

The Flyers did jump out to an early lead by scoring 2 goals in the second period and taking a 3-1 lead entering the third period. The Rangers come back and make it 3-2 on a goal by Vickers. Dornhoefer eventually scores to make it a 4-2 Flyers lead, but Pete Stemkowski scores with about 5 minutes to play in the third period to make it a one-goal game. The Rangers completely dominate the final 5 minutes as the Flyers are thoroughly disorganized and are just trying to hold on to this slim lead. But the Rangers are stonewalled by the outstanding goaltending of Bernie Parent and the Flyers barely hang-on and advance to the final round against the Bruins.

The Rangers also made one of the most bone-headed mistakes in their dreadful playoff history. With a minute to go in the third period of a one-goal game, the Rangers pull goalie Eddie Giacomin for an extra attacker. Immediately thereafter, they are whistled for a too many men on the ice penalty and Vic Hadfield serves the two-minute minor killing almost any chance the Rangers had at tying that game. This was also the end of the line for Hadfield as a Ranger as he was seen joking with fans while serving his minor penalty. He was traded to Pittsburgh in the off-season.

What the record books won’t show is that this was one of the most physical and well-played series in the history of the Stanley Cup. The series itself is often overshadowed by the Schultz/Rolfe altercation and the misconception that the Rangers failed to meet the physical challenge of the Flyers.

The difference in that series was Bernie Parent, not Schultz vs Rolfe. The Rangers didn't get run out of the building against the Flyers nor were they physically outplayed. Dornhoefer may have taken some runs at Giacomin, but both Ron Harris and Steve Vickers held him accountable. Ron Harris hit everything that moved that series and put Hound Kelly out of the series in Game 2 with a bone-jarring open ice hit. The Rangers lost to a better team that got outstanding goaltending from one of the game’s greatest, Bernie Parent.

Certainly the Rangers history is that of a soft team, especially those early 70s teams. But they matched the Flyers in 73/74 hit for hit and fight for fight. Now if you want to say that their lack of toughness cost them the Cup in 72 against the Bruins; I'd agree completely. Sanderson ran Giacomin with no accountability, Sanderson beat up Bobby Rousseau and Rod Gilbert and no one held him accountable. Ace Bailey ran everyone and everything and no one did a thing about it. Hodge and Cashman also had their way with the Rangers with no policeman to hold them accountable.

73/74 Rangers vs Flyers was a different story and the Rangers actually acquitted themselves quite well in the physical play. Much better than expected and much better than they've been given credit for.

Monday, April 9, 2007

And now, the fans have spoken!

Damien Cox, say what you will about believing internet polls when it comes to fans' support of fighting in hockey, but I have found a good one.

Once a year, the NHL Fan Association (NHLFA) conducts a poll of its 29,500 members. Questions range from the rule changes, to proposed rule changes, to how good of a job Gary Bettman is doing, whether the game is better now than before the lockout, thoughts on the current CBA, and of course, everyone's favorite, what place fighting has in the game of hockey. This year's Fan Survey consisted of 59 questions. Nine of those questions dealt with fighting in some way. Rather than give you the entire survey, here's a link, and now the nine fight-related questions.

Please choose a number from 1 to 7, indicate whether you agree (7) or disagree (1) with the institution of this rule. A player who instigates a fight in the final five minutes of a game will receive a game misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension would double for each additional incident and the player's coach will be fined $10,000 - a fine that will double for each such incident.
7 - 13%
6 - 7%
5 - 8%
4 - 10%
3 - 8%
2 - 11%
1 - 39%
Don't Know - 2%
In other words:
This rule is more bad than good: 58%
This rule is more good than bad: 28%
Fence-sitters: 12%

Do you think the NHL should consider dividing its television broadcasts into two distinct sports entertainment products? For example, one would contain a sanitized, non-violent version for family viewing. No coverage of fights, violent acts or arguments. The other version would be rated "R" and targeted to a fan base that enjoyed the violent side of the sport. The "R" version would provide fight analysis and ice-level audio of players' chatter.
9% Yes
81% No
4% Don't know
4% No opinion

What one action would most help the NHL increase its fan base in the U.S. market? (Note: other choices were removed for lack of space, you can see them all on the full survey)
1% remove fighting entirely
0% reduce fighting dramatically

Should fighting be banned from the NHL?
4% Yes
91% No
1% Don't know
2% No opinion

Do you think the NHL should take steps to reduce the number of fights in NHL games?
11% Yes
83% No
2% Don't know
2% No opinion

Do you think the NHL should take steps to reduce the players designated on each team that only fight and play less than six or seven minutes a game?
19% Yes
72% No
3% Don't know
3% No opinion

Do you think the NHL should explore ways of preventing a designated fighter?
23% Yes
70% No
2% Don't know
3% No opinion

Do you think the NHL should issue a two minute penalty to teams if they have a player who accumulates more penalty minutes in a regular season game than minutes played? For instance, if Donald Brashear had seven minutes in penalties in a game and at the end of regulation play he had played only six minutes, the team would go into the five minute overtime (if tied) with a two minute penalty kill.
13% Yes, I like this solution
3% Yes, this is on the right track, but there are better ways to penalize teams at the end of games than the aforementioned proposed format
77% No, teams should not be penalized for such transgressions
3% Don't know
3% No opinion

Regardless of your stance on fighting, do you think the NHL is limiting its growth in the United States because it contains fighting?
8% Yes
83% No
5% Don't know
2% No opinion

In the past month, we have learned the players overwhelmingly support fighting. Today we discover the fans support it as well. Commissioner Gary Bettman has come out in support of it.

So why does the media still insist it needs to go?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sig's 2006-2007 Hockey Fight Awards

Before we jump into my awards for the 2006-2007, let's first take a peak at the overall picture. The unnofficial number of fights for this year is at 495. That is up from 466 in 2005-2206 and down from 789 in 2003-2004. So beware when Uncle Gary tells you that fighting is actually up in the NHL... there is always a convenient comparison. Fighting is actually down some 37% from before the lockout... or pre-new NHL. And to put things into perspective, the chances that you'll see a fight in a game are 1 in 3 as a fight occurs, on average, in 40% of games. And now for the innaugural NHL Fight Awards for 2006-2007.

Disappointment of the Year:

Zdeno Chara - After commenting that he would be there to protect his teammates at the beginning of the season, Bruins fans were treated to NO Zdeno Chara fights this year. Some protection. After taking on the likes of Eric Cairns and Ratis Ivanans last year, Chara was non-existent in 06-07. Now I'm not a Bruins fan, but I am sure there are many Beantowners that are embarrassed with the giant's lack of toughness this year. A huge presence on the ice at 6'9"; an abolsute ghost in the fight department.

Close Second - Eric Boulton - While Boulton's fight totals have dropped every year while playing for Bob "my players are too pretty to fight" Hartley, five doesn't cut it. I personally watched Boulton turn down invitations from Donald Brashear on a few occasions. But not only did he turn him down, he hacked and whacked Brashear and then skated away on a few occasions. It was disgraceful to watch. And with the exception of Colton Orr twice (one a clear loss and one an edge for Orr) and Eric Godard (a clear loss), Jeremy Reich (another loss for Boulton) and Nick Tarnasky aren't exactly tough guys... which shows you exactly what opponents think of Boulton's toughness.

Newcomer of the Year:

Ben "Pycho Shifts" Eager - Yeah he really did Riley Cote "Let's have a psycho shift." Just listen to the clip. And that is exactly what Ben Eager did this year to all of his opponents. For a team that lacked a physical presence for most of the year, Eager was more than a pleasent surprise. The sophomore forward racked up 18 fights for the orange and black this year and led in the league in PIMs by a wide margin (233 for Eager; next closest was Sean Avery at 174). Some of the more well known guys on Eager's fight card include Brendan Witt, Garth Murray, Adam Mair, Ryan Hollweg, David Hale, Mike Commodore, and Colton Orr. And if you don't recall, Eager took on Orr after Orr KO'd his linemate Todd Fedorek. But not only did he step up to avenge the KO and take on a bigger tough guy, he actually edged him out.

Team of the Year:

Is there any doubt? The Anaheim Ducks. With 71 fighting majors this year, there was no messing with the Ducks. The next closest team was Phoenix with a mere 47. The Ducks were packed this year starting with George "Porn Stache" Parros (18 fights), Sean O'Donnell (12 fights), Shawn Thornton (12 fights), and Travis Moen (9 fights). Overall, the Ducks had 15 of their players accumulate at least one fighting major this year. And while the Ducks were tough on the ice, their GM was even tougher in the media. Let's get straight to it... Brian Burke SHOULD be the next NHL Commissioner. The guy is a straight shooter, both with his team and with fighting in the NHL. And while NHL lamoes hide behind their desks as a few fight nim wits ruffle some feathers, Burke hit the media with classic line after classic line. Take a peak:

"It's always the same pattern," Burke said. "You have a fight where someone gets knocked out. . . . Now, the media outlets that pay no attention to us lead with that story. We were on CNN. CNN, who doesn't give us any coverage. It's a flash point for non-hockey fans and non-traditional media venues. Now everyone weighs in on it. People who haven't been to a game in 10 years, don't support the game, aren't involved in the game, but they can go on [television] and say it's time to get rid of fighting."

"Within the game, there is no debate. The vast majority of the people in hockey, the vast majority of the players, the vast majority of the managers and coaches, want to keep fighting in."

Which leads to the Quote of the Year:

Brian Burke: "That's the way our team is built. If you're going to come into our barn you better be ready for a square dance."

Fight of the Year:

Eric Godard -vs- Derek Boogard

Derek "Boogeyman" Boogaard is a monster. And after watching Boogaard run Flame after Flame in the last game, Jim Playfair had seen enough. The next game, this time in Calgary, the Flames called up tough guy Eric Godard. And while Boogaard could probably beat Godard 8 out of 10 times, this time it was all Godard. The tough enforcer proceeded to drop the Boogeyman twice in front of the Calgary crowd. It was a major boost for the Calgary players and a clear message that the Flames were not going to be run anymore without some sort of response.

Fighter of the Year:

Jordin Tootoo. Probably not the most popular of choices. But I can't help be impressed with Tootoo. A fan favorites in Nashville where fans blow Tootoo whistles when he hits the ice, Tootoo certainly won me over this year. The 5'9", 182 lb wears his heart on his sleeve. He hits everthing in sight and routinley backs up his physical play by dropping the gloves. And while I can certainly understand questioning giving the Fighter of the Year trophy (well there is no trophy) to a guy that wears a visor, I will say that Tootoo does not hide behind his visor... he removes it when there is time. What was most impressive about Tootoo this year is that he routinely took on guys bigger than him and did well. Tootoo hung in with Reed Low (6'4", 220 lbs) and slapped around Shane O'Brien (6'2", 237 lbs) to name of a few of his biggest opponents. Tootoo racked up 12 fighting majors (6 wins, 2 losses, 6 draws) this year, good for sixth in the NHL. His only losses (Low, Boynton) both came in his first two fights as well. Tootoo proceeded racked up victories against Goertzen, Brewer, Seabrook, Mayers, O'Brien, and Regher. Toss in a KO of Robidas and you have 7 victories. Congrats to Jordan for becoming TMFB's first Fighter of Year Award winner!

Close second - Donald Brashear - With 14 fights, Brashear was fourth in the league in fights. And with the exception of some a tough matchup with Andre Roy and Andrew Peters (ate a good one and kept going), Brashear was a dominant heavyweight this year. Brashear scored victories over Colton Orr (three times), Vishnevski (bloodying him for Sutton's knee on Green), Danny Bois, George Parros, Andrew Peters (in the rematch), Shanahan (what a warrior Shanny is for even going), Downey (bloodied Downey badly) and Roy (in another rematch after a loss). Overall Brashear went 10-3-1 against opponents this year. Love him or hate him, Brashear is one of the most effective fighters in the NHL. He was also the best enforcer in the NHL this year as well.

2006-2007 NHL's Top Ten - I hate top tens because you can't help but think about the previous year as well. But I'll give it a go:

1) Donald Brashear - 10-3-1 this year; stepped up to the plate against many haters.
2) Georges Laraque - results aside, he doesn't fight enough; his fight with Brashear should have been two for slapping.
3) Derek Boogaard - has yet to beat Laraque; Brashear "slipped" before they could get going.
4) Andrew Peters - scored a great win against Brashear this year.
5) Brian McGratton - right below his rival.
6) George Parros - led the league in fights this year.
7) Colton Orr - take away his losses to Brashear and he gets ranked higher; KO'd the Fridge; beat Jannssen soundly.
8) D.J. King - beat Shelley badly, Barch, Parros, Hordichuk, and Parker. Look out NHL!
9) Jody Shelley - beat Parros, McGratton, and Ivanans.
10) Jordan Tootoo - for the reasons explained above; 6-2-6 this year. Reminds me off a raw Domi.

Feel free to leave a comment to disagree with any/all of this. I welcome the debate. Look out for Huard's 2006-2007 fight awards... coming soon!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

REAL Hockey Fans Like Fights

Kudos to TSN for writing this article up, as they tend to lend material that leans toward the small, but wiry, anti-fighting crowd. I can’t help but enjoy a good laugh when viewing the results. You see, the anti-fight crowd, especially some bloggers, have the gall to say that fight fans aren’t real fans of hockey. On the contrary, this poll indicates the exact opposite. Some quotables (read up Yuppie Hockey League fans):

The Decima survey found that a huge majority of people who call themselves avid fans - a whopping 76 per cent - oppose eliminating fights from NHL games.

"The issue of what to do about fighting in hockey is really not that controversial among hard-core fans of the game," said Bruce Anderson (Decima’s CEO).

Barely one-fifth of avid fans - 22 per cent - said they would support a total ban on fighting.

Those who follow the game occasionally are split more evenly, with 43 per cent saying they would support a ban and 52 per cent saying they would oppose it.

"The NHL needs to look at these numbers and understand the difference between fan opinion and public opinion," Anderson said.

"Fan opinion is decidedly of the view that current regulations are working well enough. . . And even though it's easy to find outrage over certain incidents from time to time, even public opinion is divided among those people who don't pay much attention to the game."

The Decima poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between March 30 and April 2, and has a 3.1 per cent margin of error.
Basically, yuppies like Bleatings from a Raw Ass and Damian Cox can suck an egg. All that's left now is for them to make patheticly discredit the poll as unscientfic. And any time you see these nitwits claim that you are not a real hockey fan because you enjoy a good fight, point them directly to this poll. Let them know that, in fact, if anyone is not a hockey fan, it's them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Inside The Heart: Home of the Tough Guy: CHAPTER 3 - Lake Placid Here I Come!

CHAPTER 3 - Lake Placid Here I Come!

What does it take to be a tough guy in hockey? When do you decide that you have reached the point in your playing career where you must make a choice? Or are you still unsure? Its not an easy decision. Growing up and as a kid, scoring goals was always what hockey was about. But there comes a time when you realize, you may still score goals, but other guys are scoring more than you, other guys are starting to get more ice time than you, you need a challenge, and you need to find out if its in you.

15 years old and going on 16, high school glory days right there, and what better than to try out as a rookie for your high school hockey team? 81 players attended training camp, most of them 16, 17 and 18 year olds. As a 15 year old, you really got to prove yourself, or you will be sent packing quick. I decided I would carry over my power forward style I had utilized last season. But I was playing with kids my age then, now its different. The guys are older, bigger, and stronger. I busted my ass in training camp, and I think it was my hard work and aggressiveness with the older kids that did me well. I realized I wasn't scoring goals in scrimmages, but I was throwing hits and making a name for myself. I remember in a pre-season game against the one high school who had a big tough dude gooning it up, so of course, I decided it would be best for me to line him up when he had his head down, and smoke him in open ice. So sure enough, I got my chance, and BOOM, I hit him with everything I had. The crowd was going crazy and my teammates were too! He gets up and chases me down, I remember how angry he was, and then one of our older "team leader" bigger tough guy stepped in and took up the cause. I wasn't sure if he liked me, but sticking up for me, brought a smile to my face. So they battled in a pretty epic fight. It was so good someone taped it in the crowd and they played it at our school dance that week. So I had a hand in how that fight started, and I think I earned my keep that night.

What you have to understand is, their is no greater feeling in the world than having a teammate stick up for you and take up your cause, no matter what. Its goosebumps all the way. I loved that feeling so much, I wanted to stick up for as many teammates as I could, because I knew how they would feel. No matter what, you always thank them, and make sure they know you are grateful, that's important. Its a valuable lesson in life too. In a way, its like war, and you are soldiers in a war fighting for a cause, but obviously to a lesser extent. But the same characteristics and feelings are there.

The high school hockey team was one year of extreme fun and bonding with teammates. Not only did you play hockey with these guys, you went to school with them all day as well. You got team uniforms, jersey's with your own number you picked out, and your name on the back. You were like a hero at school. I of course chose #32 (in honor of Rob Ray!). I was one of three rookies on the team of 25 players. Fighting was frowned upon in the high school ranks, and anyone engaging would get an automatic 3 game suspension. If you instigated a fight, you would get 6 games! So safe to say, I wasn't really fighting this year, atleast not yet!

Our big tournament was the annual 64 team Lake Placid classic in Lake Placid, NY. Imagine being in a tournament of this size, playing on the Olympic size ice rink! It was a true hockey experience. Well our team finished around 50th place, but we had a great time. I remember playing against one team from the Boston area, and they had this husky kid, short but built huge, and he had #28 DOMI on his helmet, and wore #28. So I of course lined up beside him and he looked at me and I said, "Hey Tie Domi, meet Rob Ray, nice to meet you, I am sure we will be seeing a lot of each other" He looked at me and had to laugh. (This was in around 1991, a year or so before the epic Domi-Ray fight rivalry in the NHL even started). I always remember that.

The biggest moments of that season would come in the playoffs. We had won our local championship, so we went on to the regional round. We played a team about 30 min away from us, in a best of 3 series. Boy was it rough! We won Game #1 at home, and then it was time for the epic Game #2 in their barn. A lot of our buddies and schoolmates made the ride up in a fan bus, and they had their fans out in full force. The tension was high, and the emotion was even higher. I remember getting hit the hardest I ever had been hit in open ice with a forearm, and I flipped right over onto my head. I heard a ringing sound for about 2 minutes as I got to the bench and had to rip my helmet off right away. It was a weird feeling. Anyway, our team was losing by a few goals late in the game now, we were frustrated and all of a sudden, one of their guys speared our best player and hurt him. The ref didn't see it. But we did. The final horn sounded, a melee broke out on the ice, but finally the officials and coaches were able to break it up without anything major happening since we had the 3rd and deciding game left to play. The teams got off the ice, and then that's when all hell broke loose. That's right, OFF THE ICE, in between the dressing rooms in the tunnel area. It started when our guy who got speared was in tears from pain, and their captain had made fun of him from down the hall near their room, well our guy FLIPPED, picked up his hockey stick and threw it like a spear about 40 feet and hit their guy in the neck. Then they started to come out of their room to see what happened, and we all charged out of our room and everyone met in the middle throwing punches, elbows and whatever! I remember diving in with a big right haymaker, hitting their biggest guy right in the head as he tried to fight a bunch of us. A lot of their guys were hesitant to fight, and we only had a few of our guys who stayed in the doorway area, I remember our one guy was deep into their dressing room, and I remember going in there after him looking around ready to punch anyone on their team, then I get pushed back into the pile, and more punches flying. I only got hit once or twice amazingly, and dished out some big shots. I wasn't a major player in the brawl, but definitely was involved. I remember going from pile to pile at one point, it was chaos! We beat up about 8 of their players, and only one of our guys was damaged pretty good. Finally security, coaches, and arena staff broke up the brawl. We all had to get out of our gear, showered, and out of the arena in like 10 minutes. We got on our bus and were hurried back to our school. By this time it was around 8:00pm or so at night (the game was at 4:00pm). I remember us all charged up on the bus, some with battle scars, and such, but we showed we were a team, a close knit group of guys who really weren't that close early in the season. We were thanking each other, and asking, "hey who had my back when I was in the room and had those two guys pulling on me", then someone would say "oh I grabbed that guy and gave him a shot", and someone else would say, "did you see what so and so did when he had me pinned!". Even our head coach had to smile and throw in his two cents, but said we were going to be in deep shit with out Principal (a woman), and the School board.

Got off the bus that night, and walked home just to calm down. I was charged up still, the adrenalin flow is something else I tell you. It was a cool rainy night, I made it home in about 30 minutes, and was still huffing and puffing adrenalin. Finally got to sleep, with a smile on my face and eagerly awaiting the next day at school.

What a nightmare!! We were all pulled out of our first class first thing in the morning and put into an empty room. We sat there for a while, then the Principal and Vice Principals came into the room with a school board trustee. Oh fuck were they PISSED! What was even worse, was them looking at some of our battles scars. They lashed us out for several minutes, saying how embarassed they were of us, and how we gave the school a bad image etc. How they don't condone fighting, and will not tolerate it. Called us animals, you get it. They left the room, and we started laughing!! Our coach got in shit too, and he told us they were contemplating forfeiting the game and we would lose the series. We were pissed. So our coach managed to pursuade the School board trustee who pursuaded our Principal and Vice's that let them play this final game with stipulations. Our Principal had talked to the other school's Principal, and they were saying they have 8 beaten up students, and a rally at the school of schoolmates looking for revenge. Of course, we already had 4 buses of schoolmates ready to come out in case any rumbles started between the two schools.

So they decided the game would be played, but at a NEUTRAL site rink that wouldn't be announced until both teams were on their buses. Of course it leaked out a bit before and we were able to get some of our fans to the location, but everything was calm in Game #3. We lost the game and the series, and our coach just pulled us away from anything that night. Kind of uneventful, but the hype and buildup of a blood bath on the ice and with the fans off the ice, was worth it!! Nothing like hockey fighting and brawling to get school spirit going!

A few weeks later, it was announced that our high school suspended the operations of its Boys Hockey Team indefinitely. A couple years later, I graduated, and the team was still suspended. Now about 14 years later, still my former high school never reinstated the Boys Hockey team. I remember each year asking around, then I had a couple friends end up being teachers at the school, and they said they inquired but it was still a touchy subject. Even some 2 principal's later. We had a nice team picture taken in Lake Placid that year back then. I remember it, right at center ice on the Olympic Rink where Team U.S.A. won Olympic gold in the early 80's in the Miracle game. I look at that picture every now and then, when it needs to have the dust blown off it, or when it needs to be pulled out of a storage box it sat in. I remembered what we fought for. We didn't fight for our school pride or for show. We fought for each other, and that's how we would want anyone to remember us. I played on the last team that would ever serve that school, and to me, and my teammates....we went out in style, we went out as brothers, we went down with a fight, and we went out with dignity....and that's what few people can understand. People who don't understand the game of hockey and what it means to us as a person. People who think they can write articles on why fighting in hockey is bad, when they don't have a clue what they are talking about. Its like the same people who write about how war is bad, and why is it necessary. Well, their is a reason, I am not about to tell you, but their is always a reason. We have our pride, we will always have that, if nothing else...

Monday, April 2, 2007

Slapshot Extra Remembers Great Memories

The Gazette ran a story on yours and my favorites sports movie, Slapshot. The story covers the memories of Bob O'Reilly. You remember Bob... he played "Heckey" of the Broome County Blades. Still don't remember? Okay.. he is the players that was sucker-punched and choked by Steve Carlson, who played Steve Hanson. Some quotables:

A madman on Slap Shot's Syracuse Bulldogs, Ogie is introduced by announcer Jim Carr thus: "This young man has had a very trying rookie season, what with the litigation, the notoriety, his subsequent deportation to Canada - and that country's refusal to accept him. That's more than most 21-year-olds could handle."

The character was fashioned after real-life minor-pro wildman Bill (Goldie) Goldthorpe of Thunder Bay, Ont., who earned a stunning 1,132 penalty minutes in only 194 pro games and once had a battle for the ages against O'Reilly.

(It ended when Goldthorpe, on the ice trying frantically to climb into O'Reilly's penalty box, blocked a steel chair with his skull. Goldie and O'Reilly wound up as teammates the next year, and Goldie shook his rival's hand, praising him "for being even crazier than me.")

Newman could barely skate, so he was doubled in action sequences by the Broome Dusters' Rod Bloomfield, a career minor-leaguer from Bracebridge, Ont., who was near enough to Newman's advertised 5-foot-9.

O'Reilly wisely took Ned Dowd's advice to try sneaking into scenes by creeping into faceoffs while watching for cameras. He's on screen six or seven times, as best he can tell.

"The best is with Steve Carlson," he said. "I break my balsa-wood stick over his back and he one-times me. I go down and he gets on top of me, supposedly choking me and banging my head on the ice, but I just kept laughing because I'd fought Carlson during the year. That probably cost me a good closeup.

"I took my parents and brothers to the movie in Montreal. My folks were bragging to everybody that I had a speaking part. Well, in one scene I'm skating down the ice and I'm speared by one of the Hansons and I go, 'Oof.' You can hear it as I go down face-first. I had my family pumped up for months.

"There was a guy from the (NAHL) Cape Cod Cubs I hated, and I had one scene when I was just supposed to miss him. But I whacked him with an elbow in the head and knocked him out. The director came over and said: 'It's not supposed to be that real,' but he was winking. He loved it.

"The best hits? They're real, because they happened after 3 o'clock when all the extras were hammered. It was boring, sitting around on the set from 7 a.m., just waiting to be called."