Newark, NJ -New Jersey Devils beat Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 on Sunday and in the last minute Flyers pulled their goalie in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal. Devils player Dainius Zubrus grabbed the loose puck and headed towards the empty net, and was pulled down (hooked/tripped) by a Flyers player, feet from the open net, and scored his second goal of the final.
The referee put his hand up to call a penalty while Zubrus of the Devils was pulled down, but was it an 'awarded goal' or a penalty the referee was going to call? If it was an 'awarded goal' why did the referee not blow his whistle?
In the last minute of the second period Zubrus almost got a head injury as Claude Giroux of the Flyers took a head shot to him which will be revieved by NHL VP disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan today.
Claude Giroux was out earlier in the season (Dec/2011) for himself receiving a head shot and suffered a concussion, which he fully recovered. Zubrus was not seriously injured and returned to the game.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - I have a lot of fond memories of NHL playoffs, but one that sticks in my mind, is when Philadelphia Flyers get past the post season and you know Kate Smith is going to sing God Bless America at their home games.
She's always been a lucky charm for them and gets the crowd going before the game, and although she died in 1986, she lives on, when the song is song by Lauren Hart, and she is beamed through the jumbo tron and sings along with Hart.
Over the years the visiting team would try to throw off the Flyers, by bringing flowers to Smith just after she sang the anthem, and sometimes it worked, most times not. But no matter what the game outcome, the fans loved Kate Smith.
United States Postal Service (USPS) unveiled a stamp comemorated Kate Smith May/2010 on a postage stamp and a monument was errected in her honor, outside the Spectrum in 1987.
Not sure if she sang at every Flyers games, but I understand it was just playoff games, where she had a record of 94 wins, 26 losses, and 4 ties as of April 26, 2011, whenever she sang.
She had a long professional singing career and died in 1986, but the Flyer fans have not forgotten her, as she sings along with Lauren Hart every playoff game at home, and it brings about goose bumps (shrils through your body) when the Kate Smith video starts on the jumbotron.
Boston, Massachusetts - Joel Ward, 31, of the Washington Capitals scored the winning goal in game 7 of the NHL playoff quarter finals, beating Boston Bruins 2-1, and racism has raised its ugly head again, since Ward is black.
Many have thought we have made it past this, however after the win for Washington this week, the tweets were flying using every racist slur ever spoken.
Ward was born in Canada, however his parents are from Barbados, and now resides in Toronto, but after the racists remarks surfaced he said, "I know it will always be there" the racist comments, he's had to deal with it all his life. He went on to say, ""Obviously this has been the biggest goal I ever scored and it felt good."
It's time to get over it America, black people are here to stay, and they have the same rights as whites. They can score touchdowns, score baskets, and do anything a white person thinks they can do.
The NHL made a statement, "The people responsible for these comments have no place associating themselves with our game," but will they be doing any more.
Boston Bruins downplayed the racism, and blamed it on a few knuckleheads, "these classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization."
Ward has had a rather weak season so far but tends to play better in playoffs, and is currently making $3 million a year. He was never drafted to the league, but played four years at the University of Prince Edward Island on Canada's east coast.
If he continues in the next series against New York Rangers, and he does well, we may hear more from these racists, but that will not affect Joel Ward, he'll keep scoring and do his very best. Daniel ... Toronto, Canada My take on everything @dandmb50
With the big clampdown from the NHL on head injuries, why are there so few players that wear proper ear protection and shields/visors on their helmets?
Is it the 'Old Boys Style,' thinking, 'macho men,' or a dangerous misguided and uninformed decision.
And then maybe it's the compliments Don Cherry, Comentator on Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) gives players as encouragement for being "real men, look no visor, he's not a suck."
How about holding a young boys hand, with his damaged eye, dripping from your hand, because he wasn't wearing a facemask. Or about telling an NHL player, "don't worry Johnny, the stick did not go into your eardrum too far."
Is that a stretch? Not at all, several NHL and other Professional Hockey Leagues from around the world have experienced these horrendous injuries, and some have been career ending, but Don Cherry goes on to say things such as, "Look at him, he's a real warrior, no mask," just the kind of players we need in the NHL, players losing eyes, and yet they are preventable, by wearing a face mask with ear protection.
I don't know if it is still a rule, but if you lose an eye, you cannot play in the NHL, is that worth taking the chance and losing your career?
And the NHL says their main focus and concern is 'player safety,' what a bunch of hogwash.
Since all minor leagues require all player to wear full masks/visors on helmets, why not make it a rule, that all players coming up into the NHL, don't have a choice, they must wear helmets with visors and hopefully smart enough to get a helmet with ear protection too.
Sadly back in the 60's-70's it was a 'badge of honor' to have a black eye or cut on your face, we have advanced from that, and learned that face and head injuries can end a career. It use to be goalies, did not wear masks of any kind, can we make it past that?
We've come a long way, to the days when goalies did not wear masks, when players did not wear helmets, let's make the next step, where players eyes must be protected across the board, (Not optional) and let's get ear protection on all helmets, for the safety of our idols and our children.
New York - Although not the biggest NHL suspension ever, Raffi Torres of Phoenix Coyotes gets a 25 game suspension for a late hit on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa. The most recent multiple game suspension in the NHL was, 30 games back in Dec/2007 to Chris Simon of the New York Islanders when he forced his skate into another players foot.
This was clearly the longest suspension handed down by NHL Vice-President disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan this year, since he has taken over all disciplinary actions for the league.
The incident occurred in Tuesday night in game 3 when Torres jumped into unsuspecting Hossa near center ice and he was taken off on a stretcher. Hossa has not played since the incident and it is still unknown if he will return this year.
Torres who is well known for his aggressive play has a lengthy suspension record and will lose $21,341.46 in salary for every game he misses this year and next. He will not be allowed to play in any exhibition games next season, and will not return until late fall 2013. Missing exhibition games does not count towards his 25 game suspension.
The NHL game between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia was a “Donnybrook” (182 penalty minutes) and it should never happen, but this is playoffs. Old time hockey is back, but is it what the public want?
The game Sunday afternoon in Philly was one of the most exciting games I have seen in NHL playoff history but was it good?
Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said after the game, “This is what playoff hockey is all about,” well, I tend to disagree. Will it be remembered as one of the best games ever, not likely, but was it exciting to watch? Absolutely, it’s the lead story on every newscast, and on the front page of nearly every paper, but it still stinks.
It almost turned into a UFC caged match, but that’s what the fans come for, but what about the kids watching all across North America?
Who would have thought that such a simple thing as pushing a players glove away (Jakub Voracek) with your stick, could turn into such an all out war, on the ice. And who started it all, the untouchable, Sidney Crosby. The whole situation started when Crosby claimed, he was “going for a loose puck” when he took three aggressive slashes at the puck in Ilya Bryzgalov’s glove. Then things just escalated into what we see here, see video.
Then of course the cheap “attempt to injure” match penalty to Penguins’s, Arron Asham, who was not willing to hold off and wait to see Brayden Schenn take a charging penalty wich would have given them a one man advantage.
But instead, he decided to attack Brayden Schenn with his raised stick and cross check him across his throat and then punch him in the face starting another near brawl.
After the game Crosby was asked what happened, and he said, “We just don’t like them” over and over and asked why he didn’t just skate away instead of pushing the players glove away, “Why am I suppose to pick it up for him.”
Oh yea, Philadelphia won the game 8-4, humiliating Pittsburgh and notching a 3-0 win in the best of seven quarter-final series.
Another for sure outcome, is Wednesday’s fourth game in the series, will probably be one of the most watched games this season, let’s just hope Sidney Crosby can come back, and act like a classy player, rather than an out of control hooligan and whiner.
If you watch closely when the players start to fight, it appears you can see them talking to each other, because if another ‘altercation’ is occurring in the same stoppage of play, the second combatants will receive Game Misconducts.
On CBC National TV (which is carried on USA networks as well) he made it a point to say Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is a "whiner" and just in the nick of time, as the NHL playoffs get underway Wednesday.
In a story today in the Toronto Star Crosby was a highlight of the Don Cherry commentary Saturday night on HNIC.
Cherry touched on another hot topic, the crackdown on 'head hits' by NHL players and how it has affected their play. No-one disputes that they should be eliminated but Cherry says he explained this months ago, that if you eliminate head hits, players will start to hit below the waist, which appears to be what has happened.
After all, Don himself says he's "been in the game for 400 years" and he knows what he's talking about.
There's no doubt he's correct about a lot of hockey issues, especially the 'touch icing' where players race for the puck to the end boards and many get seriously injured, or end their careers. The NHL has proposed a trail period next year to look at 'hybrid icing' which may eliminate the dangers, but I doubt it and I'm sure Cherry will concur.
If player safety is the concern of the NHL, they must change the icing rule to no touch icing, which makes the whistle go, as soon as the puck crosses the end boards goal line.
Maybe Cherry will be around for another 400 years, but only time will tell.
It looks like Philadelphia Flyers will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs, which should make for a great start on the trip to the Stanley Cup.
It looks like Philadelphia Flyers will meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round of the playoffs, which should make for a great start on the trip to the Stanley Cup.
MORE TIDBITS - Just found out from a great sports writer for the New York Rangers, New York Post’s Larry Brooks, says players that just enter the playoffs from other leagues, Colleges or Universities, do not get paid, they play for free.
Brooks is not a big fan of head coach John Tortorella, and Torts, confirms it’s mutual, but Rangers will meet Ottawa in the first round at Madison Square Garden. It’s been an ongoing thing for many years between the two.
Wonder how Tororella will react if the Rangers lose to the Senators in the first round?
Toronto, Canada - Many had lost hope weeks ago, Toronto Maple Leafs kept losing and were out of playoffs. Not now, they're on a winning streak, two straight wins, first time since early February. Ten games remaining in regular season.
With the season almost over with most teams having 10 games remaining of the 82, Maple Leafs still have a chance, with a possible 20 points to get before the end. The gap between eighth place, which allows them a playoff spot is less than ten points and although they lost recently, there is still a chance.
In Toronto's win last night in Ottawa, almost half the crowd was Maple Leaf fans, and they went home with the win beating the Senators 3-1, with the single goal coming with just 1:09 remaining. It was a hard fought game with several fights and midway through the game Mikhail Grabovski got into a fight in the same stoppage of play as another fight, and was given two misconducts and left the game. His sweater came off during the fight and received the misconduct for not 'tying down' his sweater, strange.
The General Managers had a meeting in Boca Raton, Florida last week and talked about possible change of the touch icing rule which is in effect now. Many players have ended their careers because of this rule, where players race for the puck at the end boards. The new rule being proposed by the General Managers is below, and expected to be a new rule next year, 'Hybrid icing' if at least 20 GM's okay it.
"With hybrid icing, the linesman is required to make a judgment call at the faceoff dots in the offensive zone. If the forechecker is leading the race for the puck at that point, then the play will continue. If the defenseman is leading the race for the puck, or if he is even with the forechecking forward, then the linesman calls icing. The goal is to keep the race for the puck in play, but cut down on the chances for an injury for the players competing for the puck." Like him or not Don Cherry of HNIC (Hockey Night in Canada) has been against touch icing for many years and in the clip below, which was done four years ago, he shows some serious injuries that have occured because of the current touch icing rule.
Nice try NHL, but you either eliminate the touch icing, or keep it. Trying to tweak it, the injuries are still going to occur. The change in the rule still needs a lot of work before it can be voted on by the NHL Board of Governors.
Last week commentator Don Cherry, 78, of HNIC (Hockey Night in Canada) had plenty to say about the Maple Leafs and how the biggest franchise in the NHL is run, and that is what he is suppose to do, give his opinion whether it is in agreement with the Leafs or not.
Whether you like Don Cherry or not, he does have an opinion on hockey, and people listen, even the NHL players themselves. If MLSE want to muzzle him, and not let him speak because they don't agree with him, that is wrong, and it will not silence him, or his views.
The video above is not even a week old and it has received over 200,000 views on YouTube, so the regular folks like him and watch, we must hear all viewpoints, not just the ones the Maple Leafs want to put out.
UPDATE: March 9/2012 - It is being reported by the Toronto Sun that Coaches Corner could be dropped by the NHL when negotiations get underway for renewal in two years.
Montreal, Canada - It all started as a comment about the Toronto Maple Leafs firing Ron Wilson as their coach after losing 11 straight games with the playoffs only 18 games away. It ended up leading to a rant between commentator Don Cherry of CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) HNIC (Hockey Night in Canada) and Brian Burke (Leafs President and General Manager.) They have had an ongoing feud since the beginning of the season, and Saturday, it hit the fan, with Cherry. He was throwing papers off the table and flustered throughout the Coaches Corner segment between periods. (ABOVE)
He made reference to the fact that Toronto has no Ontario-born players and yet nearly every team playing against Toronto, has about five Ontario-born players. (that's an average) Cherry shied away from saying Toronto has four European players. (Why did Cherry leave that out?) The rest are from Western Canada and the USA. Cherry said on Coaches Corner, “Every team in the National Hockey League has a guy from Ontario except one — it’s Ontario’s Toronto Maple Leafs.”
Here's a prime example of Cherrys' angst, Nazem Kadri who is currently one of the leading players on the Maple Leafs farm team in the AHL (American Hockey League,) Toronto Marlies, played for the Leafs several times this year but kept being sent back to the farm team. He was even selected to play in the AHL All-Star game, but was with the Leafs at the time, and declined, he has scored 17 goals, and 24 assists this year with the Marlies. The biggest thing holding him back from the big leagues, appears to be he is from the Toronto area, but born in London, Ontario.
He went on to say, “There’s 40,000 kids in the GTHL (Greater Toronto Hockey League) - Seguin, Skinner, Spezza — they all come from the GTHL. This guy (Burke) has none. He has all Americans, (actually eight Americans) he has American college guys who play for him right now and I could go on and on.”
Cherry figures that Burke went to his bosses at CBC, to try and have him fired, here's what he had to say, “Here’s what kills me — Burke goes to my bosses and says I’m a bad guy and I said something ‘vicious’ about his coach, two weeks later he fires him. Figure that one out, folks.”
Cherry has never been one to hide his feelings or his opinions and last night was no exception. He didn't even get enough time to really say what he meant, but his comments were well received by many Ontario players coming through the system and ones from Ontario, that are already in the NHL. Cherry has never understood why Ontario-born players don't make it to the Maple Leafs but many do graduate to the NHL and when they come to Toronto to play, they play extra hard to make an impression.
For instance, Boston and St. Louis have nine Ontario-born players on the roster, but GM Burke says, "I don't restrict the scouts to what area to pick the players from."
Maybe he could suggest that they do a little scouting from the Ontario area, because it seems other NHL teams are doing that right now, big time.