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28 Jul 2010 CHL Teams Getting Busy, Busy, Busy
Landon Ferraro

BabyParm waiting for the puck to drop circa 2008.

So, it’s just about one month before most CHL teams, will be starting their training camps; and my boys are no exception, as they will be getting started on the 25th of August. Along with the normal activities that will go on during this camp for both invitees, draft picks, rookies and vets to get ready for the season the boys in green and grey will also be preparing for their annual Labor Day tournament that they host every year. For a hockey junkie it’s like being let loose on a buffet when you’ve been drinking Slim Fast for four months. It is three full days of games, made up of nine games, with the WHL’s US division teams and usually one from the BC division like last year with Dion Phaneuf’s baby brother and his Prince George Cougars; however this year, we get a treat. Since all of the BC teams had better things to do other commitments, Coach Craig Hartsburg put in a phone call to his old team, aka the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. It’s the very first time that the Tips have played anyone outside of the WHL, my seat is two rows behind the bench; and I am very excited about this.

Also making me pretty damn excited is that in the past 36 hours, our GM Doug Soetart has pulled off two deals that make me want to know if maybe he’s been taking lessons from Ray Shero or Kenny Holland. Yesterday, the Tips traded for Landon Ferraro and today, they signed former Minnesota Golden Gopher Josh Birkholz. Both of these deals are, to me anyway, complete surprises; but I think they’re going to make our team a bit tougher and a bit stronger if they can live up to the hype especially Mr. Ferraro.

Landon, aka Baby Parm, is the son of former NHL center Ray Ferraro and the stepson of USA gold medalist and Hockey Hall of Fame electee member Cammi Granato. He was drafted and had previously been part of the Red Deer Rebels as well as being chosen by the Detroit Red Wings last summer. I actually got to see him play both up in Alberta when he was a rookie and two years ago here in Everett; and the boys can score. I just hope he has worked on his fighting skills… he got his clocked cleaned by former Silvertip and current baby Blackhawk Kyle Beach when he was here last. We got Landon in exchange for center Byron Froese, who is also a baby Blackhawk chosen in last year’s draft; and I’ll miss Byron. He’s a good kid and a great player too.

Josh B schmoozing with the Kitties' brass last summer.

Mr. Birkholz, on the other hand, is a complete unknown to me. He was also drafted last year as a third-round pick by the Florida Panthers; but played last year in Minnesota. When I saw the announcement that he was committing to play here this season, my first thought was “Buh!? Who is this guy?” Well, it appears that the Tips had his junior rights; but as an American kid who was planning to go to college, he decided to play in the USHL instead as a 17 year old before moving over to the Gophers’ program last season. We’ll see what happens with this kid as part of the reason for him leaving UM after one year is for team rules violations; but the Tips brass seem confident that this isn’t going to be an issue. So I guess that I’ll have to trust them since they don’t give a monkey what my opinion is; I’m just a season ticket holder. ;)

And before I forget, the next two weeks we will have two members of our team spending some time with Team USA. California boy Tyler Maxwell will be spending some time at National Junior Evaluation Camp and I hope he makes it this year. We need more WHL wearing Stars and Stripes. Also with USA Hockey is our Associate Head Coach Jay Varady, who after winning a gold medal this last year as video coach for the U-20 team, will be the assistant coach for the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Good luck to them!

Anyway… that’s what’s happening in Hooterville this week. I am not sure if I’m going to be able to wait four weeks to smell that ice again; but I guess I have to.

Photos: Landon Ferraro by Goddess Amy, and Josh Birholz from Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.

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21 Jul 2010 I Said “Ha-Ha!” (Sorry Kovy)

Ilya Kovalchuk

Is Ilya Kovalchuk's future once again hazy? Looks like it.

Much like Nelson Muntz (of “The Simpsons” fame), I had to let out a tiny giggle at the NHL bringing down the banhammer on Ilya Kovalchuk’s new contract. I know that there have been a few others like this in the last few season; but I asked the same question of them that I did of this one … Does our pal Kovalchoo really need a deal that would last until his oldest child graduates college and would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of the Gross National Product of a small African nation? (For more puzzling questions, see fellow Goddess Kaatiya’s piece: Kovy’s Contact Rejected — Why?)

To be honest, I am not a Devils fan in the least. Not only am I a Pens fan and still have a bit of a grudge against Scott Stevens for laying out my boy Paulie K in Game 6 of the 2003 Finals; but the beating of my Ducks in that series make them not too friendly around these parts.

However, Ilya has always fascinated me; and after he was traded to New Jersey, I was actually kind of happy for him. Things in Atlanta have never quite gotten off the ground, so with Los Diablos, Mr. Kovalchoo was finally going to a club that had the same level of talent to match his own. And that is a problem with this contract; they might not be able to keep all of it for as long as they would like and at the price tags that talent would be asking for.

Anyway, I thought I would leave you with a few pictures from today’s press conference in New Jersey.

A greeting from one of his alternate captains (Patrik Elias)...

and one from his goalie (Martin Brodeur)...

The posse sits in support or in wait to speak to Lou Lamoriello about this huge-ass deal that THEY would like to have as well; or maybe a bit of both...

Little do these guys know what lies ahead in the next few hours?

Kovalchuk poses outside the Devils' arena this afternoon; but will he still be there if they cut down his deal?

Photos:  Ilya Kovalchuk by Getty Images and The Associated Press.



07 Jul 2010 My Baloney Has a First Name….

The arena formerly known as 'The Garage.'

Actually, an NHL arena has a new name; and it’s the rink formerly known as GM Place. As of yesterday, GM Place will now be known as Rogers Arena; and will be for at least the next 10 years.

General Motors was the first sponsor of the arena when it opened as the brand new and gorgeous home of the Vancouver Canucks in 1995. It was to be a 20 year deal extending to 2015; but as we all know, times have been tough all over and especially in the auto industry. So, GM will still be a sponsor, but will be moving to in-arena activities. Rogers is Canada’s largest wireless company that also owns radio and television stations, magazines; and they also own the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto’s Rogers Centre, which used to be the SkyDome. That means they have lots and lots of money; so I’m very interested to see what, if any, changes will be made to the arena over the summer as they re-brand.

And the workers are going to have to work around a bunch of the players as Canucks Prospects Camp opened yesterday. 36 players, including draft picks, invited players and two of my boys: former Tip Taylor Ellington and current Tip Kellan Tochkin. As with most camps, they will spend this week doing the normal things like strength training and on-ice work but they also do yoga to build strength and flexibility as well as the Canucks said that they will be getting to do some dragon boating on False Creek.

The final activity will be the annual trek up the Grouse Grind, a very popular hiking trail, located at Grouse Mountain which is north of the city. It is an extremely steep and mountainous trail that takes you up 2,800 ft over a distance of 2 miles and the grade goes up 30 degrees. Most people reach the top in about 90 minutes although some who are very fit can finish in under 30 minutes; and even though the boys hate it, they love it too. I know that the last couple of years the Nuck prospects have been split up into teams and each hike up together with a mini plastic Stanley Cup that they try to steal from each other then deliver them to the coaches who meet each group at the top.

Once the hike is over and they’ve ensured that no one is dead or missing, the boys also receive an actual Canuck jersey with their names and number on them; and the smiles on their faces when they slip those on is just amazing to see. Even though some of them got one on draft day, it’s something different when it’s your name and you receive it from the GM.

Vancouver Canucks prospects.

The 2009 Vancouver Canucks prospects proudly don their new sweaters.

The appearance of prospect camps makes me all kinds of happy because not only does that mean that the new hockey year has started; but it’s just about a month or so before WHL camps open up and that is a glorious thing. Life without hockey is like peanut butter without jelly… just not right. :)

Photos:  From Wikipedia commons and Canucks.com.

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22 Jun 2010 NHL Award Winners and Losers

Well, they aren’t losers in my book, but “shoulda been winners.”  Making my fearless predictions — who will win the award and who I think should win.

NHL Foundation Player Award
Who should win:  Dustin Brown because didn’t get it last year.
Who will win:  Ryan Miller, since he’s Captain America. :-)

Mark Messier Leadership Award
Who should win:  Ryan Miller, see above and he would so be the captain of the Sabres if he wasn’t a goalie.
Who will win:  Sidney Crosby, because he’s Sidney Crosby.

King Clancy Memorial Trophy
Who should win:  A tie since I love them both for very different reasons
Who will win:  Sidney Crosby, since they don’t usually have a tie and he’s Sidney Crosby.

Frank J. Selke Trophy
Who should win:  Ryan Kesler because I love him. Also, he had a great year and was a big part of the USA silver medal.
Who will win:  Pavel Datsyuk, because people suck and always vote for him.

Jack Adams Award
Who should win:  Dave Tippett who did such an amazing job amidst all the chaos in Phoenix.
Who will win:  Dave Tippett, same reason.

Ted Lindsay Award
Who should win:  Hank Sedin because I love him and he deserves it.
Who will win:  Alexander Ovechkin because no one stays up late enough to watch Vancouver Canucks games and because he’s Ovie.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
Who should win:  All three because they all deserve it.
Who will win:  Jose Theodore just because.

James Norris Memorial Trophy
Who should win:  Duncan Keith. He had a great season and those seven teeth that he gave up against the Sharks should count for something.
Who will win:  Mike Green because some writers are stupid.

Calder Memorial Trophy
Who should win:  Tyler Myers because he is a WHL boy. :)
Who will win:  Tyler Myers, he had a really great season especially as a rookie and a defenseman.

Vezina Trophy
Who should win:  Ryan Miller. Hello? … “Millercles”?
Who will win: Ryan Miller.  It better be Captain America better win or heads will roll.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Who should win:  Marty St. Louis. He’s cool and cute and it’s about time he gets one.
Who will win:  Datsyuk, for the reason above.

Hart Memorial Trophy
Who should win:  Henrik Sedin for reasons above.
Who will win:  Oh, probably Ovechkin also for reasons above.

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05 Jun 2010 Surely You’re Joking. No, and Don’t Call me Shirley!

Chris Pronger

Flyers D-man Chris Pronger works his magic in a room full of lights, cameras and stupid questions.

Not only am I a big supporter of the boys of the junior ranks; but for the last 30+ years I’ve been a fangirl of the big boys too. For the most part, I’ve leaned towards the good guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, Teemu Selanne and of course my beloved Captain Canuck aka Trevor Linden. But once in a while I would go for someone who didn’t fit that mold … he did what he damn well felt like and f*@% you if you don’t like it. For a long time, that was Mark Messier … well until he went to New York and started a reign of terror over my Trevor, but that is another story for another day. The last couple of years, though, someone piqued my interest. Someone whom I never ever thought I’d find interesting — until he became a member of one of my teams. That man is Chris Pronger.

Christopher Robert Pronger has been on the radar for quite some time but as we came more and more into the Internet age; things that you wouldn’t read about other than in local papers or see on ESPN/TSN for 30 seconds would cross the globe (especially for those of us in the Pacific Time Zone). What kept my attention on him was the whole “Pronger wants to be traded” thing that got started in Edmonton after the Oilers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. There were all sorts of stories concocted from the actual reason that was given by the man himself which was “personal reasons,” to his getting a local celebrity knocked up; and the one that most of the media ran with, which was that his wife hated life there. I’ve been to Edmonton. Sure, it’s not the mecca that St. Louis is; but it’s not that bad. You just have to like miles and miles of flat land and build your kids’ Halloween costumes around snow suits that look like the little brother in “A Christmas Story.” Other than that, it seems like a very lovely town.

Once the Oilers found a buyer for their disgruntled boy, he went to a place that might possibly be the photo negative of Edmonton and that is Southern California. I wasn’t sure what to think when he was traded to the Ducks. I was happy to have a player of his caliber on my team; but I wasn’t sure what sort of mischief he was going to get himself into. What we found out is that, yeah, he’s really good at what he does but part of what he does is knock people around. He is also kind of an ass sometimes. Sometimes, though, you are willing to accept the “con” of his being an ass, for the “pro” of what else he can bring to the team. Namely, he is a player who is not only skilled at what he does, but he was willing to step into a leadership role, taking over the captaincy of the Ducks while Scottie Nieds made up his mind about retirement.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, and may get rotten fruit thrown at me for saying it, is that Chris Pronger doesn’t owe anything to anyone; and least of all the media. As a professional, he has missed the post season only four times; and one of those was because no one else in the league was working. During those playoff runs, three separate teams in the last five years went to the Stanley Cup Finals, with one winning it all — and the team he’s on this year has a good chance.

And for a very large defenseman, he’s scored a fairly respectable 661 points in a little more than 1,100 games, as well as being a six-time All-Star and owning one of those cute little copies of the Hart and the Norris Trophies. On top of that, he’s helped Team Canada win a World Championship and two Olympic gold medals. What more do you want from the man?

It amuses me reading different blogs and watching various sports shows. It appears that the media, both here and on the northern side of the 49th parallel, expect that since he’s a veteran and a Stanley Cup champion that he’s in the same vein of interview as Sidney Crosby or Johnny Toews. Well, kids, he ain’t. He never has, never will be; and for God’s sake stop having the nerve to look so surprised.

Photo: Chris Pronger from The Associated Press/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz

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25 May 2010 Deja Vu All Over Again!

The Windsor Spitfires

Members of the Windsor Spitfires celebrate their second consecutive Memorial Cup victory.


The Canadian Hockey League crowned its champion on Sunday and the trophy doesn’t have to go very far. Bob Boughner and his Windsor Spitfires successfully defended their Memorial Cup championship with a 9-1 thrashing of the host Brandon Wheat Kings.

It was a really good tournament with Windsor going undefeated in four games, which included an OT tilt with Calgary. Calgary and Brandon both won twice; but poor Moncton went home with an 0-fer for the tournament. Oh well, at least they’ll have a shiny new QMJHL banner for their barn in the fall.

Also repeating is rumored No. 1 draft pick Taylor Hall as the MVP of the tournament. Master Hall is not only the first player to repeat as the most valuable player; but he scored nine points with five goals and four assists including three of those points in the championship game.

Speaking of the draft, the next thing on the junior hockey docket is the NHL Draft Combine that is being held this week in Toronto. The combine, which will run May 24-29, is an opportunity for teams to meet and interview prospects, which are the top 100 available in the world, as well as see them tested in an off-ice setting. And my boys have an attendee there: Goalie Kent Simpson who is ranked 83 on the list from NHL.com.

After the combine, we look to June and the draft, which will be in Los Angeles at the Staples Center; and I’m hoping I can somehow get there to see it. It’s so much fun to be there with a whole building of friends, families and fans to see these young men be chosen for a chance to play the greatest game in the world in the greatest league in the world.

So that is your update from the world of junior hockey … stay tuned for more.

Here are the awards from the Memorial Cup tournament:

2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup Awards:
Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player) – Taylor Hall, Windsor Spitfires
Ed Chynoweth Trophy (Top Scorer) – Taylor Hall, Windsor Spitfires
George Parsons Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player) – Toni Rajala, Brandon Wheat Kings
Hap Emms Memorial Trophy (Outstanding Goaltender) – Martin Jones, Calgary Hitmen

2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup All-Stars:
Goaltender – Martin Jones, Calgary Hitmen
Defence – Travis Hamonic, Brandon Wheat Kings
Defence – Cam Fowler, Windsor Spitfires
Forward – Taylor Hall, Windsor Spitfires
Forward – Jimmy Bubnick, Calgary Hitmen
Forward – Matt Calvert, Brandon Wheat Kings

Photo: The Memorial Cup winning team by Getty Images via daylife.com.

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13 May 2010 Bring It On!

Memorial Cup

The Memorial Cup.

It’s that time of the year again where the pitter-patter of hearts that belong to junior hockey players and fans go into overdrive as the Memorial Cup tournament begins. The Memorial Cup is the Canadian Hockey League’s version of the Stanley Cup and is not too far behind Lord Stanley’s bowl in the respect it garners in the hockey world.

It began in 1919 when it was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association to be awarded to the junior champion of Canada. The name Memorial Cup was to honor the fallen Canadian hockey players who had been killed in World War I, and there were several who were Canadian stars that had given their lives in service to His Majesty’s Forces. From its inception until 1971, the Memorial Cup was open to all Junior A teams in the country and was awarded following a series of league, provincial and regional playoffs. In 1972 it changed to a three-league tournament with the champions of the WHL, OHL and the QMJHL; and finally in 1983, the CHL included the host team to make it a four-team round-robin event.

The first American team to win it was the Portland Winterhawks in 1983, which was also the first year that the Hawks hosted it as well. That was a really great team that included Mike Vernon, Cam Neely, the Sutter twins and one of my personal favorites, “Chicken Parm: (aka Ray Ferraro). Quite a few NHL players have competed for the Memorial Cup over the years; and there have been a number of guys that have gone on to win the big bowl too like Scott Niedermayer, Brad Luckowich and Ray Whitney.

This year, the tournament is being hosted in Brandon, Manitoba by the hometown team, the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League. The Wheaties beat out both the Kelowna Rockets and my own Everett Silvertips for the honor of being the hosts after promising a whole bunch of money to upgrade their barn. Whatever … we have a nice new beautiful place that’s already hosted Skate America and an NHL exhibition game. It’s too bad, too, because since my boys were out after the first round, it would have been nice to see them playing again especially on such a grand stage. Besides Brandon there are the Calgary Hitmen from the Dub, the defending champions from Windsor called the Spitfires, who are from the OHL; and the Moncton Wildcats who are the Quebec League champs but play in New Brunswick.

It should be a good tournament and even though I think that Windsor has a really good chance to repeat; I won’t be surprised if they don’t. Only three teams have repeated in the last 30 years: Dougie Gilmour and Dale Hawerchuk were part of the Cornwall Royals in 1980 and 1981, the 1987 and 1988 Medicine Hat Tigers, who had my beloved Trevor Linden on board; and the Kamloops Blazers in 1994 and 1995, with Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and (Goddess Kaatiya fave) Darcy Tucker.

If you would like to see this tournament and don’t live in Canada; never fear … it is being shown on the NHL network. Yay! It begins tomorrow afternoon and the final game is next weekend. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, 5/14: Windsor vs. Brandon, 5p PDT/8p EDT
Saturday, 5/15: Calgary vs. Moncton, 12p PDT/3p EDT
Sunday, 5/16: Brandon vs. Moncton, 12p PDT/3p EDT
Monday, 5/17: Calgary vs. Windsor, 5 pm/8p EDT
Tuesday, 5/18: Moncton vs. Windsor, 5 pm/8p EDT
Wednesday, 5/19: Brandon vs. Calgary, 5 pm/8p EDT
Thursday, 5/20: Tiebreaker (if necessary), 5 pm/8p EDT
Friday, 5/21: Semifinal, 5 pm/8p EDT
Sunday, 5:23: Championship final, 12 pm/3p EDT

Photo: The Memorial Cup from The Hockey Hall of Fame website.

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04 Mar 2010 Mr. Mueller Goes to Denver

Peter Mueller poses for a picture at the NHL YoungStars Game in 2008.

As Goddess Sasha mentioned yesterday, our good pal Peter Mueller was traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Colorado Avalanche with some other guy for Wotek Wol… Wole… Something Polish. As a long time fan of #88, I was a bit shocked that Don Maloney would ship him out; but to be honest, I think it is a very good thing for him and his development.

I first got to know Peter as a rookie in the WHL as a member of my hometown Everett Silvertips.  The fact that he came to play here in Hooterville was a bit of  a shock to most folks who follow junior hockey; and it was a really big shock to the folks at the University of Minnesota as he had already committed to play there and had a scholarship. However, once he got a little older, he changed his mind and felt that major junior would be a better road to The Show than college.

So, he came to town and proceeded to not only have a great rookie year with 58 points in 52 games, but he went home to Bloomington with the WHL Rookie of the Year award and WHL Top Draft Prospect award as well as several other team awards during the season.  For an encore, he scored 78 points in 51 games during the 2006-2007 season and helped Team USA’s U-20 squad to a bronze medal at the World Juniors after being selected 8th in the 2006 draft.  It helped that he was alongside Zach Hamill, who now is Boston Bruins property; and that the Tips had a phenomenal season on the way to winning the WHL version of the President’s Trophy. Unfortunately the playoffs weren’t as good as they could have been thanks to one Mr. Devin Setoguchi and the Prince George Cougars, but I digress.

There was a lot of talk in the late summer of 2007 about whether Peter would make the Coyotes squad or would he come back to the Tips for another season, as he had two more years of eligibility. I would have liked for him to come back, partly because he’s a good kid and would have helped the team out tremendously; but you could see at the end of the season that the WHL pond was getting to be a bit too small for our boy from the land of 10,000 lakes.

However, I don’t know if dear Pete really realized just what being a full time NHL player would be like. Yes, he had youth and a whole bundle of talent; but without a taskmaster coach like Kevin Constantine, I can see how hard it might have been to stay the course with all the goodies an NHL contract brings with it.  Yes, he had a very good rookie season and was even voted for a few times for the Calder; but a rookie season does not a career make, nor does it guarantee even a good second season and #88 in your program was proof of this. True he had some issues with injuries; but I think if he had been with a different team with a different coach and more stability, things might have been a little better.

However I try to be optimistic and I really think if last night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks is any indication, things are looking up for our good pal Pete. He scored a goal, tripped a Duck and generally looked happy, which makes my little black heart happy too.

Photo: NHL



22 Jan 2010 Hello Canada and Fans from the U.S. and Newfoundland

Good afternoon campers!  You don’t know me but my name is Amy and I am a new member of the Hockey Goddesses. The lovely Goddess Kaatiya invited me several months ago to join this lovely group of ladies; and finally now that the dust has settled from the holidays and my real life, I thought I’d come by to  say hello.

I am very happy to be coming to you from the lovely town of Hooterville which is out here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest; and I have been a hockey fan just about all of my life. It was started not only by a hockey loving mother; but being so close to the Canadian border, we were blessed with being able to have the CBC on our television every Saturday.

These days, I am not only a huge fan of the NHL; but a lot of my time and some of my money goes to one of the newest teams of the Western Hockey League aka the Everett Silvertips. I’ve only been a fan for about five of the seven years that the team has been around; but it’s something that I love so much. It’s been fun to watch these players come in to the league as boys and grow into young men, especially when you get to know them off the ice. The Tips are part of the five team US Division that also includes the Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds, TriCity Americans and the Spokane Chiefs; and their division is one of four that are a part of the WHL, which itself is under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League along with the Ontario Hockey League and la LHJMQ or the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

So, that’s a little about me; and hopefully in the next few weeks and months I can give you not only this fan’s view of the Tips but also the WHL and other junior hockey goodies. And thanks again to the lovely Goddesses for bringing me on board. Hopefully Kaatiya and Sasha make it back from Russia with lots of tales of the KHL and not too much frostbite!

Oh, and the Tips go for win #11 in a row in Portland tonight…Good luck boys and GO TIPS!

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