Archives for posts with tag: hockey

To be a goaltender in the National Hockey League is tough.

One must have not only the physical abilities, quickness, lateral movement, reflexes, conditioning to withstand playing upwards of 70-games a season, but also the mental capacity to withstand playing the only position in hockey that is individual. When a team wins it’s a team win, most of the time, but when a team loses it’s the goaltenders fault.

The worst part of a goaltenders job is the traffic he has to battle through to make saves. How would you like it if you had someone like Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom parking his backend in your face, and you had to fight through that to make a save? How about Dustin Byfuglien?

There is no doubt that goaltenders have the toughest job in hockey. However, I have a problem with them.

Goaltenders expect to be protected to the max, they’re like quarterbacks in football, lay of finger on them and expect to get a penalty. Yet, goaltenders stand in their crease and hack at the players standing in front of the net.

Steve Downie was hacked in the back of the legs by Penguins goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury in a game earlier this month. Downie responded by turning around and giving Fleury a cross-check. Downie was then given a shot by a Penguins defenceman for touching the goalie. If that had been a defencman who had originally slashed Downie there wouldn’t have been a problem, the two might have dropped the gloves and settled their differences, but since a goalie slashed him, Downie is seen as a bad guy for retaliating. Why though? Fleury should be seen like every other player on the ice is. If he doesn’t want to be touched then don’t slash the player, who wasn’t in the crease, in the back of the legs. Downie had every right to turn around and give Fleury a little shot back.

Another example of this is from last seasons Stanley Cup Final, when Tim Thomas body checked Daniel Sedin. Thomas was credited with making a smart play, but if Sedin can’t hit him, why should Thomas be allowed to contact and hit Sedin.

Another problem I have with goaltenders is how much they complain about getting bumped when they come outside their crease.

Now, I’m not talking about what Milan Lucic did to Ryan Miller, that play should’ve resulted in a suspension for Lucic. What I’m talking about is when a goalie comes out to challenge a shot, but comes a foot-and-a-half outside his crease to do it. A player has every right to screen the goalie, as long as he isn’t in the crease, and has just as much right to that ice as a goalie does. Why does the goaltender automatically get the right to that ice if he comes out to challenge the shot. If the player is already standing there screening, why should he be given a penalty for goalie interference, if the goaltender makes contact with him.

Finally, the last, and biggest problem I have with goaltenders is how much they flop, and how they are credited for being crafty and smart for drawing penalties when they flop.

A prime example of this happened this past weekend in the Penguins Senators game. Senators goalie Ben Bishop maybe had his skate brushed be Matt Cooke’s skate, and I mean the steel might have just barely brushed, but Cooke received a penalty.

Now, on that play, Cooke probably got a penalty for being Matt Cooke, even though he’s cleaned up his act considerably this season, only 34 PIMS this season, but he received a penalty for the most part because of the acting job Bishop did.

Bishop went down like he had just be shot, arms flying, head snapping back, and when a goaltender who is 6′ 7″ falls down like he’s been shot, a referee is going to notice that.

That is the part that bothers me the most, Bishop was applauded by the CBC’s Greg Millen as being clever for drawing the penalty on the play. Millen is a former NHL goalie, by the way.

Why should Bishop be applauded though. If he had been someone like Max Lapierre, or Alex Burrows, of the Vancouver Canucks, who flopped they would’ve been roasted by all forms of media, but because a goalie did it to draw a penalty, it’s a smart play. I just don’t understand.

In my opinion, the worst offender in the goalie profession is Tampa’s Dwayne Roloson. He complains the most and flops the most, yet is rarely called out on it, but rather applauded for being a crafty veteran for his ability to draw a penalty.

The NHL needs to start giving these goalies diving penalties for flopping all over the ice, and the referees need to talk with the goalies and tell them to lay off the hacking and stick work with guys standing in front of their net, and if they don’t, then maybe the goalies can come to expect a few more hacks and slashes on their gloves after the whistle go uncalled.

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Road trips are sort of like rights of passages for guys, and road trips that involve sports are even that much more better. There is

Crossing the B.C./Alberta boarder, near Jasper on Thursday, February 23.

nothing like getting together with a couple of good buddies, getting in a car, driving a long way just to watch a sporting event.

Recently, I went on a road trip with two good friends from high school to Edmonton and Calgary to catch the Philadelphia Flyers play the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. We had been planning this trip for a couple of months, so the there was a lot of build up to the trip. I would’ve blogged about it during the actual trip itself, but I wanted my posts to be more than just a place to complain about having a hangover.

Firstly, the three of us went on this road trip because my one friend, Jordan, is a die-hard Philadelphia Flyers fan, and since the Flyers didn’t come to Vancouver this season, this seemed like more than a good enough reason to hit the road.

Jordan and I left on Wednesday afternoon to drive up to Kelowna to pick up our other friend, Bryan. I didn’t know quite what to expect on the drive, my parents were adamant that the Coquihalla highway was going to be quite treacherous, and that we were making this drive at our own peril. Parents can be so over-dramatic, right? Anyways, the roads heading up to Kelowna were quite good.

After staying the right in Kelowna on Wednesday, we were up before the crack of dawn, 5 a.m. to make the 12 hour drive from Kelowna to Edmonton.

Now, anyone who has gone on a road trip before knows that the drive is all part of the fun of the trip. The drive to Edmonton and was no different. Between chirping all the bad drivers on the road, to the gas station attendant in Avola, B.C., who told us the Scott Hartnell’s parents and Joffery Lupel’s parents had stopped in Avola once, to the beautiful Rockies driving through Jasper, to the pure agony that was the drive from Jasper National Park to Edmonton, (it’s flatter than you even expect it to be,) to Jordan getting so rattled because the traffic lights in Edmonton were hanging horizontal instead of vertical like they do it B.C., and almost rear-ending a truck coming off the highway right before Edmonton, it was an eventful drive to Alberta to say to least.

A road trip tip: it is always useful and helpful to have someone you know in the place you are planning to travel to. For us, that was my sister. My sister attends the University of Alberta in Edmonton, and she bravely let three 21-year-old guys crash at the house she leases with her roommates, for a couple of days. Luckily for her she was on reading break, so we wouldn’t bother her too much by staying out late.

We got to place in Edmonton around 6 p.m., which gave us just enough time to get some dinner, and have some beers before puck drop.

We got to Rexall Place and found our seats a couple minutes after puck drop. A couple things about Rexall.

The actual arena is a hole. It is old, out-dated and a terrible arena. It reminded me of the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. However, the history of that building is incredible, it was the building that the Gretzky played in and those Oilers teams dominated the NHL in the ’80’s in. As well, the sight lines are amazing, and the building is electric. Like the MTS Centre is Winnipeg, Rexall Place is steep, so as a fan you’re right on top of the players, and this leads to a loud building. The game was on a Thursday night and the atmosphere and energy in the building was better than some Canucks games that are on Saturday night. This might’ve had something to do with the fact that the Flyers were in town, but never the less, it was an amazing atmosphere. Fans were constantly chanting “let’s go Oilers” and the the Flyers fans in the building, and there were a lot of them, would chant back “let’s go Flyers”, there was a constant buzz and the building erupted when the Oilers scored.

A note for Canuck fans who complain about beer prices at Rogers Arena: the price for a beer at Rexall Place was $8.50 too.

Unfortunately for Jordan, the Flyers lost, and they were shut out in the process 2-0, but for Bryan and I we got to see two of the three young guns for Edmonton, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle score, and I love Jordan Eberle, so that was a plus. The game featured a good fight between Jody Shelley and Darcy Hordichuk and enough scoring chances to make the game exciting.

After the game we heading back to my sister’s place, she lives two blocks away from Whyte Ave in Edmonton, which is the prime party place, and headed out the drink for the night.

The thing I don’t understand about Edmonton, the hockey rink is a 20 minute drive, or 20 minute LRT, Edmonton’s version of the sky train, ride away from the party block. I just don’t understand why.

Anyways, after the game we headed over to Whyte Ave, to a place called the Black Dog. The Black Dog was an interesting place, but the thing I liked the most about this place was that they had Steam Whistle, a great beer, on tap, with many other beers on tap, and double high-balls were only $4.75. The bar was great, and you didn’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to drink. Another good thing, last call was at 3 a.m., on a Thursday. Last call at the Delta Lion on a Thursday night is 12:30 a.m, so needless to say we drank a lot. The only problem with bars in Edmonton, which we found out isn’t exclusive to just the Black Dog, is that because most of the buildings are tall and narrow, you have to walk down steep stairs to go to the washroom. This becomes more, and more, of a problem the longer you drink.

After last call, we walked back to my sister’s place, dressed like we would be for a night out in Vancouver, even though it was Edmonton in February and crashed, ending our first night on the road trip.