It’s been some time since I posted a collection of random hockey thoughts. Through the summer I mostly hung out and talked hockey on twitter conversing with the fantastic, and I mean fantastic, hockey community there.
With not much to speak of in the hockey world over the summer, with the exception of a couple of snafusby the Chicago Blackhawks and the neverending Coyotes debacle, the twitter hockey community was a great place to get my hockey fix.
I even tried to help out NHL.com correspondent and hockey blogger Paul Kukla with his NHL column this summer. However, even on the slow hockey news days of August, he still didn’t like my advice…check out what he wrote:
Tyler of NHL Digestsuggested a few topics — “Free agents taking pay cuts; older Russians heading home; and goalies left unsigned. If all else fails — Avery, Emery or Burkie!” Some great topics without a doubt, Tyler, but some of them would take some deep research on my part, and I need sleep.
Paul hit the nail on the head in that column with regard to how fans are just itching to get some hockey news from “on the ice”. Well, fellow fans, that time has come!
Over the past week it has sure been nice to get some actual hockey news. The rookies are back on the ice and the veterans are back in their respective communities and getting ready for another season of hockey goodness.
Too Much Time On Our Hands
Prior to this past week I was itching for anything hockey related. So deprived of the game that I set out to make an NHL player birthday calendar consisting of the birthday and birthplace of every hockey player to play in the National Hockey League.
Am I obsessed? Maybe. But, I take solace in the fact that I am not alone in my hockey pursuits.
In fact, Dirk over at On The Forecheck created an even more complex tool this summer. Upon the release of the 2009-2010 NHL schedule, Dirk created a spreadsheet that details the amount of travel that each team logs during the season. This data is not frivolous. Travel and fatigue can seriously play a role in the performance of players and, therefore, can influence the outcome of a game.
Yes, this is the time of year when we hockey fanatics start to get excited. Between praying that the acquisitions our favortie team made over the summer will finally put us over the top, to poring over stats in the quest to create the ultimate fantasy hockey team…Indeed, this is a great time of year!
UPDATE: With the recent hoopla surrounding Martin Havlat and the Chicago Blackhawks, I thought it appropriate to show some evidence as to why the Blackhawks might have opted to sign Marian Hossa instead of Havlat. Havlat has a history of injuries and this concussion received from Niklas Kronwall could have future consequences. In fact, while both players are relatively 1pt/game producers – Hossa has played 380 games over the past four seasons and havlat has played jut 190.
Niklas Kronwall laid a huge hit on Martin Havlat in Game 3 of the Western Conference final. Havlat was knocked unconscious momentarily as Kronwall stepped up from his blueline position to hit Havlat as he turned to exit the zone on the wing. Havlat did not return to the game.
Watching the review several times, you can see that Havlat did have the puck in his skates, did have his head down and Kronwall did, as all defensemen are taught from day 1 – stepped up and hit the winger exiting the zone with his head down.
Here is the video evidence.
The officials initially made no call on the play, but after consultation with the linesmen issued Kronwall a 2 minute minor, 5 minute major and a game misconduct for…interference.
Here is the portion of Rule 59 interference that refers to possession of the puck, which is the only way that this play could have been called under this section of the official rules.
Rule 59 – Interference- Possession of the Puck:
The last player to touch the puck, other than the goalkeeper, shall be considered the player in possession. The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered immediately following his loss of possession.
Some folks may argue that this could be considered charging. By the working definition, charging is usually called when the attacking player leaves his feet, but the official defintion in the rule book leaves the officals wide open to call a charge on almost any hit!
Here is the “official” definition of Rule 43- Charging:
Charging shall mean the actions of a player or goalkeeper who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.
Now if that doesn’t leave the interpretation of a call wide open for the officials, I don’t know what does! I’m not suggesting removing the rule from the book, but it certainly needs to be more well defined.
The NHL officiating saga in the playoffs continues as the inconsistencies abound from both on and off ice officials.
You know that you’ve made an impression when your name becomes a verb.
It’s possible that Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Martin Havlat in the Western Conference final of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs may have turned Kronwall’s name into a verb.