Enough of Toronto Already

Here are the NHL headlines on the front of the TSN.ca webpage. Seriously, is there nothing else going on in the NHL other than the things that revolve around Toronto? Just in case you’re wondering why the 2nd headline is about the Hurricanes, it’s because they are playing the Laughs tonight.

* Leafs recall Kadri, Lashoff; sign Gardiner to entry-level deal
* Hurricanes blank Sabres to move within two points of eighth
* NHL Standings: Leafs six points out of playoffs
* Ice Chips: All the latest roster news
* Power Rankings: Hurricanes #24, Maple Leafs #25
* Leafs’ Nonis to be named Team Canada’s GM for Worlds

The Sister

Everyone that last September thought Henrik Sedin would be leading the NHL in points 43 games into the season, raise your hand. Yeah, I thought so.

I’ve liked the Sedin sisters every since they joined the NHL. First, it’s always been a pleasure to refer to them as the sisters. Secondly, they’ve made steady progress every year since they started. Thirdly, they are two of the toughest players in the game. By this I mean that I appreciate that they never back away from a play to avoid a hit, they never embellish a hit, and they take a lot of hits without missing a shift. If Henrik keeps this up, he’ll be in contention for not only the scoring lead but also the Hart Trophy.

Don Cherry’s Hockey Stories and Stuff

Don Cherry's Hockey Stories and Stuff Don Cherry’s Hockey Stories and Stuff by Don Cherry

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Don Cherry’s Hockey Stories and Stuff was a pleasant surprise. I’ve always enjoyed Cherry’s commentary on Hockey Night In Canada, but I’ve also thought that he was a bit of a meathead. He’s funny, somewhat insightful, a full-on Canadian redneck that loves being a redneck. When you look at the cover of the book, you get the feeling that it will somehow be the print version of his Rock ’em Sock ’em Greatest Hits video series. Instead, what you find inside is something completely different and the cover is very misleading and doesn’t do the book justice.

The book is simply an unordered compilations of stories from Cherry, written exactly how he would tell it. There is no attempt to “correct” the grammar that Cherry uses. This turns out to be a brilliant idea, because Cherry is one of hockey’s greatest story tellers and there’s no better way to hear the story being told. The stories encompass all aspects of Cherry’s life in hockey: his AHL career, NHL coaching career, life on tv and the CBC, his dog, his dad. While reading the book it is obvious that Cherry loves the hard hitting and brutal side of hockey, but what really struck me was just how much of a humanist Cherry is. The book is in perfect sync with the fallen soldier memorials that Cherry has at the end of his show on HNIC. There are many great stories in the book, such as coaching a Bruins team with Bobby Orr and Brad park, or getting in a fight and almost having his thumb bit off. What really sets the book apart though is how it shows Cherry’s understanding of compassion and kindness.

View all my reviews.

Grady vs. Sid the Kid

Who is better? Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby? Bobby Orr or Mario Lemieux? People far more knowledgeable than I have attempted to answer this question. This of course begs the question, “Don’t you have something better to do with your spare time?” But I digress. Perhaps it’s the proud parent in me or maybe it’s simply recognizing talent when I see it, but as the video below shows, Grady is well on his way to great things on ice.

NHL MVP for 2005-06

Okay, maybe it’s a bit dorky to be writing about this but I’m going to do it anyways. Here are my top picks for this year’s mvp.
1. Joe Thornton
2. Mikka Kiprusoff
3. Jaromir Jagr

The New York Rangers have surprised a lot of people this year, and it’s not hard to imagine the importance of Jagr in this. He’s had a bit of a renaissance this year and it looked like he was going to walk away with the scoring title this year. It’s hard to tell what would have happened with the Rangers this year if he wasn’t around.

There cannot be any doubt that Kiprusoff is the key to the Calgary Flames’ success. The Flames get their results for three reasons: their teamwork, their work ethic and Kiprusoff. Kiprusoff is the premier goalie in the NHL right now and his stats are impressive. He leads the league with 10 shutouts, .207 goals against average, 74 games played, and 42 wins. I think Kiprusoff is top 4 in all of the other important stats. Interestingly, Cristobal Huet (Montreal Canadians) has 7 shutouts in only 35 games.

It looks like Joe Thornton will win the goal scoring race. Even more telling of his importance is San Jose’s record since aquiring Thornton. The Sharks were having a horrible year and it looked certain that they would not make the playoffs. Along comes Thornton and next thing you know the Sharks wrap up 5th position in the West. That’s pretty impressive.

To me it looks like this year’s MVP is a toss up between Thornton or Kiprusoff.

Doping in the NHL

On a recent Coaches Corner, Don Cherry interviewed Dick Pound. Don apparently is still upset over Dick’s guess that 1/3 of NHL players are using illegal drugs. If you want to see the video: click here. (btw, this coaches corners shows that Cherry isn’t as dumb as he usually appears to be).

Despite Don’s attempt to take Dick to task on this issue, I would say that they both agree to the same things in principle. Dick wants to see the NHL use in-competition and out-of-competition random testing, along with testing before and after games. For anyone that has followed doping in other sports such as cycling, this is obvious if they want testing to be valid. As well, Dick says a third party needs to do the testing. Again, this is completely valid and accepted as being the proper way to carry out testing.

I bet Don would be heart-broken to find out the real numbers of dopers in the NHL. Although 1/3 of all players may be a bit high, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised by that. Picture this: 18 year guy, whole life devoted to hockey, no fallback position (work, education), 20lbs and not quite strong enough for the NHL. Hello steroids, where have you been all his life? Add to that a physically demanding and high-energy game with an 80 game schedule and you’re asking for trouble.

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