Quick Bites

My apologies for disappearing for awhile there. I finished finals, headed home and have found myself being completely relaxed and lazy during winter break. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. That said, here are some bits and pieces I wanted to touch on:

+ I made it home in time to see Ryan Whitney's one-game conditioning stint in Wilkes-Barre. He was a non-factor in the game against Albany (WBS ended up winning 4-3). Whit had one assist and was a -1 on the night. He had quite a bit of ice time, but you could tell he hadn't played in awhile. The high expectations come with his name, and frankly he could have done better. Pittsburgh snatched him back after the Albany game, but I think he could have used another in the A. Even he admitted he was tired after the first ten minutes. Oh well. That game was fun for me as there were three BU alums on the ice: Whitney, John Curry and Ryan Weston.

+ The Casey Classic is an annual tournament for the Northeast PA high school hockey league. The teams get to play at the Wachovia Arena which is a pretty cool experience for them. My younger brother was in the tourney this year, and his team, the Crestwood Comets, made it to the final. Boy was I glad I went to that game. Naturally youth hockey is much slower than what I'm used to, but this game was unbelievable. Crestwood had a 4-2 lead with 2:17 left in the third period. They took a silly penalty, and Wyoming Valley West used this to their advantage. They were fired up. They not only scored a power play goal, but they also notched another to tie the game up 4-4 with 37 seconds left. Everyone was getting ready for OT, but with 1.1 seconds left, Crestwood scored to win the game. 1.1 seconds. Are you kidding me?! It was awesome. Congrats to the Comets who have now won four out of the seven years.

+ The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins had a huge weekend. They played Bridgeport on Saturday in what was probably one of the top ten games I've seen at that rink. The entire game was fast-paced and evenly played. Mainly thanks to the Pens' two quick goals in the third, they were able to pull out a 5-4 win. Sunday night was a match-up against the Binghamton Senators. The Baby Pens fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the second to win 6-3. WBS now sits at 3rd in the division, nipping at Bridgeport's heels.

Mark Letestu had a four point night against the Sens. This is a guy who always seems to do well, but earlier in the year he saw very little ice time. I don't understand it. Every game he's out there he makes things happen. Maybe now he will continue to receive the ice time he deserves.

Also: Denis Hamel is STILL in the AHL. I swear this guy has played for Binghamton for what seems like 10 years now. (Note: That's an exaggeration.) He's always been good for them too. Get him up to Ottawa too please.



Boston Daily's Paul Flannery took a jab (no pun intended) at fighting in hockey today. It got under my skin a little bit. He states right away that he's a basketball person, and most of his argument goes from there. He wants to know why basketball players aren't allowed to fight, but hockey players can. Flannery uses Todd Fedoruk's fight injuries to further back up his opinion. I have to disagree with him on this issue. I'm sure a lot of hockey fans are with me.

A quick little lesson on fighting: it's been formally part of hockey since 1922 when Rule 56 regulated "fisticuffs." It's currently under Rule 47. Fighting was never unpunished; players have always been handed five minute penalties for it. There are more rules to keep things from getting way out of hand. For example, if another player cuts in on a fight that's already happening, the third-man-in rule automatically results in his ejection from the game.

Now for my quick defense:

+ Fighting in hockey isn't just "fighting" for fighting's sake. It really is a part of the game. Players fight to get their teams going. If you're down 3-0 early in the game, you can have a little dance to get the team and the crowd back into it. It's a great source of energy that sends a jolt of electricity throughout the whole building.

Fighting is also used to stick up for teammates. If an opponent takes a cheap shot at one of your guys, it's time to send a message. The Sidney Crosbys and Pat Kanes of the world would be constant targets if no one was there to protect them.

+ Money, money, money. Fighting is a huge drawing factor. There are plenty of people out there who don't know much about hockey, but they go to a game to see a fight. Is this something to be proud of? Depends who you ask. But it works. Especially in the United States where hockey isn't the first sport on everyone's minds.

+ It's not just a bunch of animals going at it. Hockey players have a mutual understanding of how to fight. Fair and clean. Very rarely do you see something completely ridiculous happen in a fight. It's not two guys out there swinging away in hopes of seriously hurting the other one. The Fedoruk/Colton Orr situation does not happen every day. Usually the most guys come away with are loose teeth and black eyes.

Hockey is and always will be a physical sport. Hockey players are some of the toughest athletes out there. They play through broken bones and bruised ribs. Sitting out is not an option. This isn't baseball where a guy breaks a thumb and sits out five games. This is hockey. Taking fighting out of the game is like taking Big Macs off a McDonald's menu or taking Santa Claus away from Christmas.You just don't do it. It's tradition.

And come on. Without fighting, a great movie like Slapshot would have never been made. Now THAT would be a sin.


Quote Me

To be perfectly honest I wouldn't want to have to explain to my 12-year-old daughter what he said.
- Gary Bettman on Sean Avery's 'sloppy seconds' remarks

Oh, PLEASE. I wouldn't want to have to explain to her how a lot of people feel about you.


Study Break

Happy Sunday everyone. I'm stuck studying for finals all day, but there's nothing wrong with a little procrastination in the form of a blog post. Here are some bits and pieces from the past few days:

+ I made it to the BU/U-Mass Lowell game this past Friday. UML is always that team who will sneak up on you and beat you if you're slacking off. They were no different on Friday. They battled, but BU came out on top 3-2. Here's a stat for you: BU has killed off 17 penalties in a row or something like that. While that's a great stat to have, they continue to take too many penalties. A little more discipline will only help them. It also appears that Kieran Millan has taken over the number one spot. I said awhile back I thought he was the better of the two freshman (not by much but enough to notice), and it seems Jack Parker agrees with me.

The game also marked the end of the first semester for the Terriers. They finish off the first half with a record of 11-4-1. Talk about an improvement from this time last season when they were 4-10-2. I'll take it.

+ Sean Avery will not be returning to the Dallas Stars. This is not surprising at all. It'll be interesting to see where he ends up. If hockey doesn't work out anymore he can always go back to sitting at fashion shows and dating celebs. Seeeee ya.

+ It seems like players on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have been playing musical chairs between the WB and Pittsburgh. Here are the transactions beginning on December 4:
- 12/4: Recalled Janne Pesonen and Chris Minard.
- 12/7: Recall Ben Lovejoy
- 12/9: Demoted Pesonen, recalled Tim Wallace and Jeff Taffe
- 12/11: Demoted Lovejoy
- 12/12: Demoted John Curry and Minard
- 12/13: Recalled James and demoted him after the game along with Taffe.

+ The Boston Bruins are on fire. They won their 11th home game in a row last night. Slowly but surely they're creeping back into the hearts of Beantown fans. Gotta love it.


In Other News ...

The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled Jeff Taffe and Tim Wallace from Wilkes-Barre. That means there is now zero offense in the WB (I lied. They did get Janne Pesonen back), and they also lost the one guy on the team who seemed to actually check his opponents.

We'll see what happens.

Congrats to Ben Lovejoy who made his NHL debut last night with the Pens. I didn't get to see it, but apparently he had a solid game. I'd love for him to stay up there as long as he can; you can tell he's a guy who just genuinely loves playing hockey.


Quote Me

"I think the first period was a poor period for everybody, but being the youngest, I guess you sometimes take the brunt of that. The second period didn't start off the way I wanted to, but when you're young you don't get many chances, I guess. I found the middle of the bench pretty quickly." - Bobby Ryan

No, there's nothing thrilling or amusing about this quote. I just wanted to use it to point out how Bobby Ryan can't just say, 'Hey, listen. I didn't play that well, and I paid for it. I gotta get out there and work harder.' If you start paying attention, you'll see this in a lot of his quotes. He always has to attribute poor play to other things. I think it reflects poorly on him. Even if he feels he's getting jipped, acting like a baby is no way to get people on your side. Swallow your pride, bud. The whole hockey world knows you got screwed when you got demoted for salary cap issues. Guess what? Everyone is over it. You're in the show now, so they really could care less to hear you whine. You're part of a team. Act like it.

I'll dig around to find similar boo-hoo quotes from him.

Photo Credit: Flickr



Talk about a great game. The 243rd match-up between BC and BU proved to be just as exciting as always. The final score was a 1-1 tie, but there's more to it then that. Coming into this game, everyone knew it was going to be interesting. BU was 9-4-0, and BC was 9-4-1. BU ranked 3rd in the nation in goals scored per game, and BC was right behind them in 4th. Could it be more evenly paired? Here are some game points:

+ Except for a few spots in the first and third period, BU controlled this game. They out-shot the Eagles 36-22. BC had 10 of those come in the first; they were held to a mere 4 shots in the second. The second period was frustrating to watch as a BU fan because almost the entire period was played in the offensive zone, and no one could bury one home. It happens, but wow it's annoying. The Terriers battled harder than I've seen them all year. I wish there was more to show for it.

+ John Muse was unreal for BC as usual, and without him, I'm not sure the score would have been that close. This kid is going places. He's calm, and he controls his rebounds extremely well. Muse and Brock Bradford are probably the only two BC players I like.

+ I was walking out when they were announcing the three stars, but I'm pretty sure I heard them give BU goaltender Kieran Millan the second star. I'm a big Millan fan, but I don't know about the second star. He came up with a HUGE save at the ten minute mark of the third, but I bet he wishes he had that first period BC goal back. Literally about ten seconds after BU scored the first goal of the game, BC came down on a breakaway and basically walked the puck in. It's a save that Millan makes more times than not. I think he should've had it. Is it all his fault? Of course not. His teammates should've never left him alone like that. But it happens, and he could have made that save to post a shut-out.

+ Nick Petrecki. It was the first time I was able to see him play, and I was excited too since he was picked 28th overall in the 2007 entry draft. I'm not sure if he was a bit off tonight or what. He had three penalties -- two of which were a completely unnecessary boarding call and a roughing penalty in OT. I'm not sure if he did it to get Colin Wilson off the ice (which he succeeded in doing) or what, but I did not like the game he had tonight.

+ BU's Dave Warsofsky is really growing on me. He's only a 5-9 (and that might be generous) freshman, but he has some of the best puck control I've ever seen. He looks like a senior out there. Very impressive.

+ Brandon Yip had a great game for the Terriers tonight. He had a ton of energy and helped set up BU's goal. Noticeable and very deserving of the number three star.

Tomorrow is another night. Both teams are going to be sleeping like babies tonight that's for sure. I was exhausted just watching them. I believe the game is on TV again, so check it out if you get a chance. It's great hockey.

It's That Time of Year Again

The Boston University and Boston College home-and-home series has arrived. I get butterflies thinking about it. The two teams battle it out at Agganis Arena tonight then head to the Conte down the road tomorrow. It's going to be a great series. Both BC & BU are unbelievably talented teams that have suffered patches of inconsistency. It's anyone's game.

If you get CN8, make sure to tune in at 7:30 to see one of the most heated rivalries ever (and I mean EVER).

Check out the New York Times piece on the rivalry.


The Beat Goes On ...

I just had Fox News Morning on, and what is their next story? SEAN AVERY.

What is the background music? WOMANIZER by Britney Spears. Okay, that's kind of funny.

But this story is on NATIONAL news???? They really have LAWYERS commenting on this? They're seriously wondering if his career in jeopardy because he said this thing. Clearly the majority of people do not know hockey players. This is TAME compared to some of the things they say.

I'm going to lose my mind.


More on Sean Avery's Mouth

I just feel the need to comment on this whole Sean Avery 'sloppy seconds' issue because apparently people really do think he deserved being suspended for it. SportsCentre warned people that it was 'vulgar', and other bloggers are calling the remarks 'an offensive assault on women.' I watched the clip again because I figured I must've missed something. I honestly don't see much vulgarity in his comments at all. He could have been vulgar and tossed in some f-bombs and truly derogatory terms, but he didn't. He said, and I repeat, SLOPPY SECONDS. WOW I know I am just so offended by that. Um, not.

Another thing is that Elisha Cuthbert is a CELEBRITY. A public figure. I can guarantee you there have been way worse things publicly said about her than the fact that she's sloppy seconds. Avery was clearly referring to her (and possibly another one of his celebrity ex-girlfriends who is now dating another NHLer). And let's face it, she has become notorious for dating hockey players, so she brings it on herself.

You can argue that athlete's significant others should not be subjected to ridicule or any of these 'sloppy seconds' comments, but I disagree. They know when they marry/date their SO that they will see times in the spotlight as well. It can be good, bad, jealousy, etc. It's just how it is. If you don't want to risk being mentioned, then don't marry a professional athlete.

Should he have kept his mouth shut? Of course. But he's Sean Avery. He doesn't ever keep his mouth shut. He went out of his way to make the comment which was unnecessary. But an indefinite suspension is CRAZY. Yes, Avery is cocky, arrogant, annoying, (insert other similar adjectives here) ... but there is no way there should be a suspension for this. Absolutely no way. Way worse things happen throughout games, and they go unpunished.

Get over it, NHL. You made yourselves look silly. I'm so rattled about this.



Okay, I hate Sean Avery just as much as the next person, but for him to be suspended for commenting on Dion Phaneuf's significant other is RIDICULOUS. Here's what Avery said:

I am really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about. Enjoy the game tonight.

And that resulted in a suspension? You've got to be kidding me. If something THAT innocent got him sitting out, then God knows how many games guys would get for what they say ON the ice.

I'm seriously blown away by this. It has to be some kind of joke. Does anyone even like Elisha Cuthbert anyway??? Didn't think so.

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