Monday, October 27, 2008

Invade the bookstores tomorrow!!!

Because a new book by Don Cherry will be out!

book cover

  • Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
  • On Sale: October 28, 2008
  • Price: $29.95
  • ISBN: 978-0-385-66674-9 (0-385-66674-8)

about this book

"Never one to mix words, [Don] Cherry provides an analysis that transcends the reporting found in printed dailies, websites, and typical television broadcasts. That is what he is most often criticized for: not being like everyone else. Cherry provides poignant analysis about the game of hockey that escapes most other commentators. He endeavours to elucidate the small moments within a game that may appear inconsequential, but are integral to the outcome: a failure to clear the zone, a player shying away from a check, a poor line change. This is where Cherry is most valuable as a commentator. As a former coach, one who found great success, he is able to give viewers insights unlike anyone else."
—Ian Smart,

Don Cherry has been named a National Hockey League Coach of the Year with a winning percentage of over .600 and also received Coach of the Year honours in the American Hockey League. His comments on Hockey Night in Canada’s "Coach's Corner" routinely make headlines as they entertain, educate, and often upset some fans throughout North America. He may be controversial, but no one can deny the popularity he enjoys; popularity that was reflected in his top 10 ranking in the competition to determine "The Greatest Canadian."

Now from Grapes himself comes the book that hockey fans of all ages have been waiting for. Written with veteran sports journalist Al Strachan, here are Don Cherry's favourite stories from his career in hockey. And you can imagine the stories he has to tell.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Wallop in Fort Wayne

From the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:
The only thing the Fort Wayne Komets' home-opening, pre-game ceremonies lacked Saturday night were fireworks. The players took care of that during the game.

The Komets delighted a Memorial Coliseum sell-out crowd of 10,511 by making the Flint Generals look like the Washington Generals in an 11-3 pounding. The game was so out of control at times that the Generals looked like they were trying to avoid a full-court press while wearing mittens as Fort Wayne dominated the shots on goal 53-21.

The Komets scored eight times on 17 shots during the third period, a couple of times missing open nets, or it could have been worse.

"I think their goalie played real well to keep it at three as long as he did," Komets coach Al Sims said. "When we finally broke through, he got a little demoralized after five, six and seven. It was tough on him. A lot of people were questioning our offense this year. I don't know if it's been answered yet, but so far it has been."

(read on in the link above)

Oh, in just in case you want to know: 
"You never intentionally want to embarrass anyone," [Fort Wayne player Colin] Chaulk said.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Adam Burish & some funny commercials

I love this.  During the home games, Comcast SportsNet Chicago mic's up a player and plays some of the things they say on the air.  I had laughed when I heard what Adam Burish called Greg de Vries of the Preds (towards the end of the video).

If you didn't catch it, de Vries asked Burish if he was mic'ed up.  Burish told de Vries "Is the dinosaur talking? Let the kids play, dinosaur."  Wow.  Looked up de Vries' age (35): in 5 years I will be a dinosaur too!

The Blackhawks have some "One Goal" commercial spots playing.  There is one I can't seem to find on the 'Hawks website that was a little cute.  Kane and a little boy skates up to the mic, I think his one goal is to inspire others, and the little kid says "We're almost the same age."  Priceless.  The second one of this batch of two featuring Kane & Toews is pretty good:

So, since I'm at work at the beginning of the 'Hawks vs. Blues game, I went out, bought a VHS tape (yes, they still make those things) and re-learn how to program the VCR.  Yes, let me repeat that, VCR.  Not DVR.  I'm still in the technological dark ages, but not really by choice. :)


Big nod to Bethany for posting up the new Blue Jackets Intro:

I really love this new intro.  It is very nicely done, very tasteful and yet very exciting.  Compared to the Blackhawks intro, much better.  

There are two of the Blackhawks I saw, mostly on TV.  The first one below they play I think before games that feature an appearance of the past greats like Stan Mikita & Tony Esposito.  

The next one is an older variation of the one I saw at the preseason game.  I think now it's redone to feature some of the new 'Hawks and erasing the older ones like Marty Lapointe & Robert Lang.  I'm just not a big fan of having them skating through the streets of Chicago shooting the puck.

Oh the humanity!

This is freakin' scary man.

I'm gonna have nightmares tonight for sure!

Nash, Filatov, & Voracek goals (vs. Preds, 10/17/08)

via YouTube: (note - I'm not sure if the videos are really showing up or not. I'm at work and am using Chrome, so it will have to wait till I get home and check on Firefox)

Rick Nash Goal:

Nikita Filatov & Jakub Voracek Goals:

Friday, October 17, 2008

LaCosta called up

LaCosta got the win just recently in Syracuse, and he should be on his way to Columbus, or actually, Nashville eventually, to back up Freddy tomorrow.

With the new rules we may not know specifically Pazzy's injury (we may get just the general location of the injury), but I really hope it is not too bad and he will be back soon.

Facebook Group

For fellow Blue Jackets fan bloggers: I created a new Facebook group called "Blogging the Blue Jackets." Join up if you are on Facebook (let me know who you are and I will approve you) & spread the word.

Live Blog - Blue Jackets vs. Preds 10/17/08 (third period)

I posted a question for the radio but it wasn't answered :(

Key is defense. Columbus need to get that feeling again.

3rd period begins.

9:08: Nashville scores again. Come on defense!!!!!

9:17: I'm getting sleepy. I'm glad I don't have to be on the road four's bad enough driving two hours home late at night from Chicago. Usually in the last 30-60 minutes it's autopilot, partly because it is pretty unpopulated (for the Midwest) down that stretch of I-65. It can put you to sleep easily.

9:18: Picard vs. Smithson; Picard won! :)

9:20: Power Play!!

9:21: Chimera scores!!!! 5-3 Jackets!

9:32: penalty kill time. penalty killed off again.

9:34: Great save by Pazzy, but he seems to be injured :(. Freddy is in. Sounds like a hand injury for Pazzy.

Final seconds of the game....and Columbus did it!! 5-3!!

It came with a cost if Pazzy is injured though.

Other Scores:
USHL: Waterloo 1, Indiana 5 (final score)
IHL: Fort Wayne 6, Port Huron 2 (final score)
Vancouver 2, Buffalo 5 (final score) - Buffalo has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. I like Patrick Lalime and was sad to see him leave Chicago, but commentators on HNIC Radio seemed to indicate he may play more in Buffalo to relieve Ryan Miller, which is great to hear.
Toronto 0, NY Rangers 1 (final SO score) - Toronto is kind of impressive to me also, especially ruining Detroit's night :)
Phoenix 3, Ottawa 6 (final score) - Alfredsson back in the line up and gained 2 A's in the game
Other games going on (too late for me): The Battle of Alberta, The Battle of California (Anaheim @ San Jose), and the East Coast/West Coast Battle (Carolina @ LA).

Syracuse got 18th consecutive victories, a new AHL record. Congrats Crunch, way to go!

Live Blog - Blue Jackets vs. Preds 10/17/08 (second period)

OK, they really need to cut out that burrito lady song. It's freaking annoying. And really, until I googled it to find out who's trying to sell me a burrito (should have known it was Chipotle), I didn't know where to get that said burrito, but since it is Chipotle, never mind (I'm a Qdoba fan myself, and Moe's).

And other games I'm following:
Indiana Ice 1, Waterloo Black Hawks 0 at the end of the first. This was the game I was going to go see tonight (before deciding to pay for the Jackets ticket and then changing my mind). Playing for Waterloo is Eddie Olczyk, the son, not the father (Ed Olczyk does color commentary for Comcast SportsNet Chicago & NBC Sports)

Fort Wayne Komets 3, Port Huron IceHawks 1 at the end of the first period. Fort Wayne are defending champs from last season, and this is their season opener. Season home opener is tomorrow.

Ottawa 4, Phoenix 0, midway through the second period.
Toronto-NY Rangers, null through midway in the second period.
Vancouver 0, Buffalo 3, at the end of the first.

8:16: Nash score again, 23 seconds into the 2nd period.

8:28: Preds scored two quick goals. Come on defence! 4-2 Jackets.

8:31: 2nd power play.

8:35: 3rd power play. Tootoo goes to the sin bin.

8:40: The airing of my favorite commercial: The Klesla/Boll smooth jazz commercial. :) This makes staying home worth it (I don't think I will be hearing that at Nationwide Arena).

8:41: another penalty kill. Let's go Jackets! And penalty killed off.

8:49: End of second period.

The Jackets need to get back into the game; they need to play like they did in most of the first period.

Live Blog - Blue Jackets vs. Preds 10/17/08 (first period)

From the comfort of my home, via streaming radio online &'s boxscore. Hopefully by me staying home this should guarantee a win (like if I went it's a good chance the Jackets will lose because that's my luck :). )

Spent around 20-30 minutes trying to get the stream up. Stupid computer.

7:30ish: Nash score the first goal in the game, assisted by Commodore & Huselius!

7:32: Dorsett vs. Tootoo. Sounded like Tootoo "won." Actually, looking at the penalty minutes, it looks like it was more of a scrub than a fight, each getting two minutes.

7:40: Looks like Columbus has its first penalty kill. Dorsett 2 minutes for high sticking. Let's get a SH goal men!

7:44: Penalty Killed Baby!

7:46: FILATOV SCORED!! Dang, now I'm regretting staying home.

8 seconds later....Voracek scored!!! And there goes Pekke Rinne.

7:52: Second penalty kill (Modin for hooking) - Penalty Killed

7:57: First power play of the game.

7:58: end of First period.

That was a great first period. Kicking myself for not taking the chance and go, but it's a regret I can live with (as opposed to the other possibilities....).

If they can play like this in the next two periods, I'll be VERY happy.

Next time, Columbus

So, I made my final decision. After a restless night's sleep, worry, internal debates, I've decided it's better for me to stay home and listen to the game online than to make the 4 hour both ways trek to see the game. I had thought buying the ticket would finalize my decision, but it did not. So what happened to the days I bravely traveled alone to Minnesota & South Dakota?

Marriage. It's not that he wouldn't let me go if he was here. I think he would, considering the sacrifices I make to get him to his heavy metal concerts. It's the fact he is so far away right now, and if something were to happen to me, he would have no way of knowing, and I could never forgive myself for something like that.

That, and I realized I don't have as much money as I thought I did (and I know it would probably take two tanks of gas for this whole trip). And considering I would get home around 2am and I have to go to work at 1pm, I want to make sure I am still awake by the time I close up shop at 9pm, because a Saturday night in a college town working in the same block as the bars.....not fun. I need to be fully alert to fight off any drunken dude that comes near me :)

I have no qualms about driving the hour to Indianapolis, obviously (since I am planning to go after I eat breakfast), because it's not a strange town, I know where to avoid and usually hit my usual haunts. So it's also a comfort level there.

Anyways, I'll be wearing my Leclaire jersey today (gotta support the team!) and will tune in to 1460 The Fan online tonight and following the boxscore through For those going, enjoy yourselves, have fun, be safe and get on the Preds nerves. I'll be doing my screaming at home (because it's not as bad as the neighbor downstairs who plays that old Nelson song, "More Than Words" obsessively & loud.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kris Versteeg photos

A little late (this is from the first preseason game in Chicago against the Jackets), but there was a request for Kris Versteeg photos. Unfortunately, it was in the pre-game warm up. He's #32.

And it's always nice to see young fans (especially girls) get excited & creative about hockey (the sign says "Patrick Kane Drives Goalies Insane!")

Columbus, Here I Come

Tomorrow. And I have a big knot in my stomach. I mean, it's a four hour drive to see a game and I am nervous. But I guess it is worth it: cheap ticket, cheap gas, tribute to McConnell, free hat, Nikita Filatov.

I just pray for a blowout win on the Columbus end & no overtime, because it is a long drive home.

I just hope I am not making a big mistake on this.

For some reason, I have this bad feeling about going to Columbus, so I am not. But I will be listening to it online. Even though I did buy the ticket, I'm only out $26. That just means I can't buy a book or two this pay cycle. That's the sacrifice I can make.
So Columbus, I won't be coming. Sorry.

Yeh, so actually I'm still undecided about going. I think this bad feeling is more paranoia than anything else. It's funny, when I was in my first-round undergrad years, I had absolutely no qualms about driving 8 hours to Minnesota, even when I drive at night and sleep in rest areas. However, now, 10-12 years later, I'm freaked out about a four-hour drive. This is something I'm gonna have to sleep on and decided tomorrow, probably before 2pm.

Denis Savard Fired

Via Yahoo Sports
CHICAGO (AP)—The Chicago Blackhawks fired coach Denis Savard on Thursday after a 1-2-1 start and replaced him with Joel Quenneville.

The dismissal came hours after the team won its first game by beating Phoenix 4-1. The Blackhawks are now run by owner Rocky Wirtz, and the combination of a slow start and a big public relations push may have led to Savard’s abrupt ouster.

“This was an extremely hard day for this organization and for me personally,” general manager Dale Tallon said in a statement. “Denis is forever a part of our organization. We made a tough decision that we strongly feel is the right one as we continue to evaluate our team and create a championship caliber organization that can sustain success.”

The team canceled its Thursday practice and scheduled an afternoon news conference.

Quenneville has coached the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche. His first game as coach of the Blackhawks is Saturday at St. Louis. He has a 438-283-118 record in parts of 11 seasons. He was signed by the Blackhawks as a pro scout in September.

“Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact,” Tallon said.

Savard, a Hall of Fame player, became coach in November 2006 and finished that season with a record of 24-30-7 in 61 games. Last season, Savard led Chicago to its first 40-win season since 2001-02. The Blackhawks went 40-34-8 but still missed the playoffs.

The 45-year-old Savard retired after a 17-year career in 1997. He played with the Blackhawks, Montreal and Tampa Bay, scoring 473 goals with 865 assists. He was Chicago’s first-round pick in the 1980 NHL entry draft.

He started the 1997-98 season as the Blackhawks’ developmental coach before joining the Blackhawks coaching staff as an assistant coach under Craig Hartsburg on Dec. 3, 1997.

Wirtz took over the team following the death of his father, Bill Wirtz, a little more than a year ago. Since then he has hired former Chicago Cubs president and marketing guru John McDonough as president. The team has mended fences with former stars like Bobby Hull, made sure that home games are televised—something Bill Wirtz was opposed to—and allowed Tallon to spend in the free-agent market.

The Blackhawks also have two young stars in last year’s rookie of the year Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Decision Time

Payday is tomorrow, I will have a little extra money to work with, I have the day off and won't have to work till Saturday afternoon, gas prices are low and it seems like the cheap tickets are still available. Should I make the trip to Columbus for the season home opener? It's either that or definitely going to see another Indiana Ice game. This is my dilemma at the moment, and I will probably have to decide by tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend Hockey Roundup (Late, Late Edition)

First stop, the Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL. Last week were the preseason games, and they went 3-0-0, defeating the Bloomington (Illinois) PrairieThunder (awesome name!) and the Kalamazoo (Michigan) Wings. Regular seasons play begins Friday in Port Huron (Michigan) against the IceHawks and coming back home on Saturday to play against the Flint (Michigan) Generals.

There has to been some complaints about the overzealous advertising at the home ice of the Komets. Blake Sebring writes about the advertising on the new scoreboard while icethetics posted a picture of the Nascar erm...I mean rink of the Komets.

The Indiana Ice of the USHL swept the two-game homestand against the new expansion team the Fargo Force.

The Columbus Blue Jackets won a great game (except for the lost of Michael Peca, with a potential 10+ game suspension for allegedly hitting a ref with his stick) against Dallas but lost against Phoenix. Tonight they play in San Jose.

The Chicago Blackhawks lost all three games they played this weekend, against the Rangers, the Caps, and the at-home shoot-out lost against the Predators. Is it really bad that I am starting to root against the Blackhawks because I am so sick of the media hype on their end? Has anyone seen the Patrick Sharp commercials for some electronics place in the Chicago area? He's one of the better looking 'Hawks, but he is definitely not a great actor. I can't stand those commercials now.

Right now I am listening to the Wild @ Thrashers game online. This is my excuse to post this funny commmercial for the Wild:


First, of to the right is my tribute to the two passings in the hockey world, one a little late, one very recent: John H. McConnell, who brought the Jackets to Columbus, and Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov. They will be dearly missed.

I read about Alexei Cherepanov yesterday online, but it didn't really hit me till I was driving to the library after work and listening to Hockey Night in Canada Radio, and Jeff Marek & Cassie Campbell plus their guests were talking about it. I typically do not show emotion & rarely cry, but I felt the tears welling up while I was driving. But I held it back. Even writing this I am on the verge. Nineteen is so young. My sympathies go to his family, friends, and teammates, especially Jaromir Jagr, who seemed to have taken Alexei under his wing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hockey Rant, Komets starts training camp, and a great big hit

  • Let's start with the hockey rant.  It's about the unfairness of calls when a player takes a dive that seemed to be happening lately in junior & minor league hockey.  This could be a big part of the problem at Saturday night's Indiana Ice game vs. the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders with penalties galore.
  • The hockey season is about to gear up for the closest thing Indiana has to a hockey town: Fort Wayne.  It is the start of training camp.  Read about it here, here, here, and here (and check out the photo montage here)
  • Of course, who can forget this (It would be really cool of it makes it on the Don Cherry dvd next year):

Sunday, October 5, 2008

John Carlson interview

Former Ice Defenseman & Washington Capitals first round pick John Carlson answered the media's questions about his experience after the Caps rookie game. He is a guy to watch in the future.

Indiana Ice Season (and Home) Opener

There is something about watching junior level hockey. They are still working on their skills. They have a bit of reckless control over the game. It is action-pack and fast moving. It may not be the NHL, but they are still a blast to watch.

Last night's season and home opener of the Indiana Ice featured the Cedar Rapid Rough Riders. The crowd were crazy and rowdy. The hockey was great, though the Ice did lose (4-2). They did draw a lot of penalties (15 times, a few where there were a 5 on 3 for a minute or so) and were outshot. But their penalty-kill units were fantastic (12 for 15 is really not bad) and their goalie, Brett Bennett, held up rather well against the onslaught. The Ice is a team what only has four members from last year; everyone else is new to the team. There still has to be a lot of chemistry building, but I think they will gel together soon enough. Considering it could have been far worse last night, the Ice held up very well and never ever gave up, even in the final seconds of the game.

Two players stuck out at me at the game: one from Cedar Rapids by name recognition, the other from the Ice by mere physical presence.

For Cedar Rapids: Dean Chelios. Yes, Chris Chelios's son. I think I read somewhere before that he had a son playing in the USHL, but I had completely forgot about it till I saw the name on his jersey. He is a forward for the Rough Riders. And according to the Indianapolis Star, Chris Chelios was in attendance too (If it was announced over the loudspeakers, I couldn't hear it; everything was muffled at ice level).

For Indiana: Mikael Owilli. This guy was HUGE for a league full of 16-20 year olds. 6'4, 208 pounds. There was only one other player that had a similar height (fellow Ice defensemen Joe Hartman, 6'4, 200 pounds). Owilli has a nice, physical presence on the ice and I thought played fairly well. He will be interesting to watch in the future.