Monday, November 26, 2012

Reaching 100 Post, I Need More!

So Wilt was happy to reach 100 points in a game, and Phil Esposito set that standard in hockey (and 52 more in 70/71), plus we got 138 in one college game! Oh yeah, 100th Grey Cup!

But in all honesty, 100 posts on my blog, while it is a great milestone, I need more!

For the simple reason, I dawned on me the other day (okay, and several times before that) when looking at my blog, that I lacked any football, very little golf, and even not that much tennis.

Just from the time I was a little kid in the 1980s, when the explosion of sports on (cable) television dawned, when Magic and Larry returned basketball to front and center, sports has been prevalent to me.

And I don't see that changing.

The truth is that I always hungered for more. More knowledge. And perhaps had the Internet never come around, I could have realized that their is only so much you can do.

When I was at one of my favourite book stores the other day, I came across the book Rudy. Having seen the 90s movie with Sean Austin, I was tempted to buy it.

But then I realized I don't know jack about football.

And then I realized, my sports blog needs more football.

Irony is, ask me to name the most famous sports call ever, it's Joe Starkey, "The Play". Or how about the most lopsided score in any sport, gotta be Georgia Tech's 222-0 win over Cumberland in 1916.

But at 100 post, I can afford to wait.

Wait till I memorize!

Oh, by the way, I'm now officially at 101!

Take that Wilt!

I'll see you at the free throw line on that one!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Favourite Stanley Cup Finals

Well, there might not be any in 2012-13, but here are my All Time Top Ten

10) 1958: Montreal And Boston

This was the only Final Series that the 5 in a row gang played that went longer than 5 games. The Bruins stayed right in there, winning games 2 and 4 to keep the Series tied. Game 5 was also tied going into OT, but that's were YOU-KNOW-WHO scored his sixth career playoff OT goal. In game 6, back home, Boston trailed 4-1 going into the third, with Maurice Richard notching his 11th marker of the playoffs. But goals by Johnson and Regan got the Bruins to within one, before Harvey scored an empty netter with exactly 1 minute left.

9) 1965: Montreal And Chicago

This one was almost as good as 1971, but three of the games were blowouts. Actually, it was John Ferguson's drubbing of Eric Nestrenko in game 5, that stands out. Nesterenko actually got the extra two in this bout! The Habs won this game 6-0 to go up 3-2 in the Series, but the Hawks down 1-0 after two in game 6, scored twice to send this Series to the limit. But any hope a Chicago Stanley Cup were dashed when Jean Beliveau scored the game winning goal just 14 seconds into game 7. Less than 5 minutes later, he set up Dick Duff for another tally and the route was on. Beliveau was named the first winner of the Conn Smythe award, for the playoffs Most Valuable Player.

8) 1980: New York and Philadelphia

This one only went six games, but it ended with some controversy. The first game of the Series went to overtime and Dennis Potvin won it with a power play goal. Hey, they're not supposed to call penalties in OT, right? The next four games were actually quite one-sided, but game 6, will never be forgotten. First, there was Potvin's goal, that tied the game at 1. He batted the puck in on a waist high pass from Mike Bossy that the Flyers thought should have been a high stick. Then there was the game's very next goal, by Duane Sutter, was at least 1, but more like 3, feet offside. The Flyers tied the game at the end of the period, but were down 2 as they entered the third period down two. But Bob Dailey and John Paddock tied the game and sent it into OT, where John Tonelli fed Bob Nystrom a beaut of a pass that he redirected past Pete Peters for the Stanley Cup winning goal. This was the first of four straight Stanley Cups for the Islanders, and also the last NHL game broadcast by CBS.

7) 1954: Detroit and Montreal

The Habs looked ready to win this. But, in overtime in game 7, Tony Leswick took a harmless shot that Doug Harvey tried to swat away and it ended up going in off him. The Habs were so mad they skated off the ice without shaking hands. Marguerite Norris became the first woman to get her name on the Stanley Cup. And the two teams met again the next two years, each winning one. Detroit and Montreal, one fierce rivalry!

6) 1945: Toronto and Detroit

Detroit couldn't buy a goal in the first 3 games as rookie goalie Frank McCool, whose career lasted just two seasons, shut 'em out. Then, winning 5-3 in game 4, it was Detroit and goalie Harry Lumley (a future Leaf, might I add) added two shutouts of his own. The Leafs suddenly found themselves looking at a reverse of 1942: On the wrong end of a blown 3-0 Series lead. Babe Pratt would notch the winner in game 7 (on Detroit ice) to avoid that. McCool would never play another playoff game.

5) 2009: Pittsburgh and Detroit

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in the Series, only to have the Pens, with a young Crosby and Malkin, come back both times. In game 7, it was the Red Wings who were down 2-0 in the third, but then Ericsson got one, Crosby got hurt and the Wings, "Turned It On", and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Pens goalie Mark Andre Fleury. The Pens got 1 shot on goal in the entire third period. But, aided but a crossbar hitting shot, nothing more got into the Penguins cage, including Nick Lindstrom's last minute final flail!

4) 1964 Toronto and Detroit

The Leafs were down 3-2 in the Series, and down a man, as Bob Baun broke his anke. But he came back on the ice in OT to win the game for the Leafs. Johnny Bower then blanked the Red Wings 4-0 to deny his old fishing pal, Gordie Howe, his best chance to win a Cup in the 60s.

3) 1951: Toronto and Montreal

This one was an easy one to call, game goes into overtime all five games. Although the Habs won only one, it was the immortal Richard who notched the winner. The Habs looked like they were going to send it back to Montreal in game 5, but the Leafs pulled their goalie and Sid Smith tied it. An then, in the extra frame, Bill Barilko's dramatic goal gave the Leafs the Stanley Cup.

Four months later, Barilko would die in a plane crash.

2) 1994: New York and Vancouver

The Rangers, seeking their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, went up 3-1 and it all seemed over. But then Kirk McLean, who battled Mike Richter to a stand still in this series, took over and got Vancouver back to a 7th game. The Rangers then took a 2-0 lead, only to see Trevor Linden tally one shorthanded. A goal by Messier should have ended the tension, but Linden again answered the call. Vancouver kept coming, but then time, the only thing that could stop the Canucks, ran out!

1) 1971: Montreal and Chicago

Such a shame that little to no television exists of this finals. You had it all, great goaltending from Dryden and Esposito (who would both go on to represent Canada in 1972), amazing clutch goals, from Jimmy Pappin in OT in game one, to Henri Richard scoring the tying and winning goal in game 7. You had a penalty shot. And you had the final game of the peerless Jean Beliveau!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Things I'd Like To See (IF And) When The NHL Comes Back

So, nothing doing in November for the NHL. Like, you, I starve for a return, but with certain stipulations

1) A Lighter Schedule

Seriously, the season starts with such half heart into games, then just lags at the end, so it's time to put some life into it by shortening up the schedule. Here's my formula:

4 games against the 4 teams in your division for a total of 16
3 games against the other 10 teams in your conference for a total of 30
Finally, 2 games against the 15 teams in the other conference for another 30

So there you have it. A nice 76 game schedule. Don't worry, I've already got an idea to fill in the six missing action nights. BTW, the NHL had a 76 game schedule from 1967/68 to 1969/70.

2) Some Exhibition Games With The KHL

I actually kind of like that league, and I'd better love it now! So why not bring some teams over here for some exhibition games with NHL teams at various points in the schedule. It could replace the midseason all-star game, but don't worry, I got better spot for that!

3) All-Star Game Moved To The Start Of The Season

Again, this was something they used to do, prior to 1967. I think it would be a good way to kick of the season on a larger scale. Also, it would mean more to make the team. You make the All-Star Team (for the All-Star Game) for a half year's worth. Why not make it for a full season's worth? Plus, you could start the team (like they did before) with The First Team All-Stars starting 6 VS The Second All-Stars starting six. The rest could be voted in, thus giving some consolation (taking into effect the FULL previous season) to those who weren't name first or second!

4) Fix The Points Awarded For Wins And Losses

Look, I got no problem with the shootout, other than I'm no longer excited when a penalty shot is awarded because I see 15 times a set of 3 each season by each team. The problem I have is that there is a different between winning decisevly in a 60 minute game, and ducking it for 60 minutes plus 5 minutes of OT.

Why not 3 points for a win in 60- 65 minutes, but only 2 points for a win in a shootout. Or even only two points for a win in OT (Artificial situation 4 on 4 is, I saw!). Keep the 1 point for a OT or SO loss. But don't give a team that pulls it out in a SO the same amount for points another team would get for winning 6-0!

5) No Hitting Close To The Boards And More Charging Penalites

The NHL deserves some credit for clamping down on concussion problems, such as no head shots. They should also look more at rule 42 in hockey: charging! Honestly, I remember back in the day when it was two or three deliberate strides in the direction of a player and then contact, and you're in the box.

Really, that above would cut down on so many concussions. But they never call charging. Honest. I rarely if ever see that imposed. We'd see less head shots if it was illegal to take more than 1 stride in the direction of a skater, or goalie.

And while we're at it, lets stop with the hitting into the boards. Heck, this would not only greatly reduce concussions, it would also reduce injuries to the arms, legs, hips.

I mean, I aways shuttered when a player goes hard into the boards, even if it's not the head that hits it. A lot of broken arms and legs, we see this too much.

So I came up with an idea. Basically, there should be a red line that goes in a circle around the rink, seven feet out from the boards on either boards, then joining up with the goal line behind each of the cages. The deal is, no hitting in the direction of the boards when a player is inside this line. And that includes the end boards as well. You can hit the player parallel to the boards in this area, but not into the boards.

6) No Touch Icing

As with above, there would be less injuries, and that includes concussions. I mean, how many times have you seen a player chase for the puck, come up second best in the grand chase, and end up injured? And yes, I know it would slow down the pace of the game, but aren't we thinking about protecting the players here?

7) A team in Quebec

I mentioned this before in a previous blog!

8) Any More Suggestions YOU would like?

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