Ronnie Shuker

Ronnie Shuker is an associate editor with The Hockey News. He brought his philosophy and journalism graduate degrees to THN in 2011 and has been living the dream since. By day he mans his desk, crushing copy and weaving yarns for the magazine. By night he’s either at home or in the press box watching dump-truck loads of hockey.

Why the New York Rangers will beat the Los Angeles Kings

Ronnie Shuker
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport)

Good thing the NHL is still going to play the games. Given what appears to be near unanimity in the hockey world that the winner of the Western Conference final would be de facto Stanley Cup champion, it seems the only reason to play the actual final is to see which city will have the most celebrity sightings.

From coast-to-coast, fans and pundits are so sure Los Angeles will win this series over New York that they’re predicting the Kings to sweep the Rangers in three games. And that’s only if the NHL doesn’t step in after two and apply the mercy rule.

Heck, even at The Hockey News only a lone egghead editor, along with a graphic designer, is picking the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup. The others have all caught L.A. fever, too. Read more

Team success and individual instability for Mike Richards

(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHL)

Take a look at Mike Richards’ résumé:

Memorial Cup, Kitchener Rangers, 2003
World Junior Championship gold, Team Canada, 2005
Calder Cup, Philadelphia Phantoms, 2005
Winter Olympics gold, Team Canada, 2010
Prince of Wales Trophy, Philadelphia Flyers, 2010
Clarence Campbell Bowl, Los Angeles Kings, 2012
Stanley Cup, Los Angeles Kings, 2012

There’s more:

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Why it’s not cool to wear the jersey of a player who’s younger

Ronnie Shuker
(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHL)

It’s this editor’s proudest moment in three years at The Hockey News.

The email was in response to his “Fan Faux Pas” article in the May 26, 2014 edition of the magazine:

Ronnie Shuker writes that “wearing the jersey of a player who is younger than you” is the No. 1 hockey fan fashion faux pas (Inside Hockey, May 26). So fans over the age of 45 should not wear a jersey with a current player’s name on the back? How moronically ageist is that? A senior Blackhawks fan who grew up watching Stan Mikita and Pierre Pilote shouldn’t rock Jonathan Toews’ No. 19? I wonder if that young punk whippersnapper Shuker will feel the same way when he gets up there in age?
Hart Stoffman, Lake Echo, N.S.

“Whippersnapper”? That’s all kinds of awesome.

Stoffman wasn’t the only fan that took issue with the list, particularly No. 1. Many voiced their views via Twitter, so much so that the debate calls for context and rationale.

First, a disclaimer (from the original article): “fans can do, wear, say, shout, scream or yell whatever the heck they want, short of verbal or physical violence. They’ve paid their money, and the M.O. of any sports zealot should be to cut loose and have fun.”

Now the claim: it’s not that fans can’t wear a jersey of a player that’s younger – it’s just not cool to do so.

Yeah, not at all cool, in any way whatsoever, for a middle-aged fan to wear, say, a Jonathan Toews jersey. (Players’ parents are exempt.) When it comes to being a fan, there’s a fine line between support and idolatry. Wearing the jersey of a team is support, wearing the jersey of a player 20 years younger is idolatry.

It’s not that idols are a bad thing. It’s that they’re child’s play.

Really, idols are for children.

As a kid, said editor’s were Steve Yzerman and Wendel Clark. As he grew older, however, he grew out of them. Case in point: he rode an elevator up to the press box at the Air Canada Centre with Yzerman once last season. Twenty-five years ago he would have been wide-eyed and tongue-tied at the sight of ‘Stevie Y.’ Now Yzerman is just the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

So what are fans in their mid-40s and older supposed to do? It’s a fair question, but there’s an easy answer: wear their team’s jersey without a player’s name on the back. That’s where allegiances should lie anyway. Players move on, through trades, free agency and retirement, but real fans stick with their team. Recall that well-worn hockey cliché: “play for the crest on the front, not the name on the back.” Substitute “cheer” for “play” and the same goes for fans.

That said, if a fan really must have a name on the back, at least wear the jersey of a player who’s older. If that means wearing one of a retired player, so be it. To Stoffman’s point above, legends like Stan Mikita and Pierre Pilote would be fine names for Chicago fans to have on a Blackhawks jersey.

After all, it’s not about fashion, it’s about coolness.

As offered to fans in the original article, “Feel free to tweet your agreement, disagreement or hair-raising hostility to this list at @THNRonnieShuker.”

Study: rising visor usage varies heavily based on age and birthplace

Ronnie Shuker
Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bryan Berard, Al MacInnis, Ian Laperriere, Manny Malhotra, Chris Pronger, Marc Staal. See a thread? All of them suffered severe eye injuries, some of which wound up as career-enders. No one in the group was wearing a visor.

Follow the thread further: each was born in North America.

That’s no mere coincidence. According to a recent study in the Journal of Sports Medicine, evidence suggests there’s a strong cultural undercurrent that determines whether or not a player is likely to wear a visor.

In their article, “Factors influencing visor use among players in the NHL,” co-authors Robert Micieli, a biomedical student at York University, and brother Jonathan, an ophthalmology resident at the University of Toronto, found that 88.4 percent of European-born NHLers wear visors, compared to 75.7 for American-born and 68.6 for Canadian-born players. Swedes (90.5) were tops, followed by Russians (89.5), Finns (86.7) and Czechs (84.6). Read more

Why the New York Rangers should thank the Vancouver Canucks

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty)

Imagine if Francesco Aquilini had chosen the other guy. He would have saved himself millions and avoided a huge public relations headache. Oh yeah, and the New York Rangers wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are today, three wins away from the Stanley Cup final.

Funny how a dumb move by one team can turn out so brilliantly for another.

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Why dinosaurs and dweebs love the Los Angeles Kings

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty)

The beauty of the Los Angeles Kings is that they bring together two opposing parts of the hockey world. These two factions have spent the better part of the past three years bantering back and forth, mostly via Twitter, about the merit and demerit of advanced statistics. Now they have a case study they can agree upon.

The dyed-in-the-wool geriatrics embrace the Kings for their throwback, defense-first, physical style of play backed by brilliant goaltending. They’re big, mean, nasty, iron-willed and brass-cojoned, and the old guard loves them for it.

The four-eyed number-needling geeks adore them, too, and rightfully so. After all, the Kings are the poster boys for the advanced stats revolution, particularly Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams who, along with Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, are the only players to be top 10 in Corsi close each of the past three seasons.

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What boxers can teach Milan Lucic

Ronnie Shuker
(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHL)

Boxing and hockey are No. 1 and 2, respectively, on my list of favorite sports. What I love most about both is the honor among competitors. They beat the heck out of each other for 12 rounds or a seven-game series and then shake hands or embrace afterward. Boxers and hockey players win with honor and lose with dignity.

Well, most of the time anyway.

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Who the playoffs are missing and why we don’t care

(Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty)

Notice any players missing in the playoffs? Don’t sweat it if you don’t, because no one else has either. They disappear around this time every year, and few fans seem to care because they’re too busy watching the real season when only the real players are left playing.

Heck, even the barbarian blowhards have hardly made a headline about the absence of the sledgehammered, stone-handed, slower-than-sludge fighters that (regrettably) make their appearance in the regular season, only to disappear (thankfully) in the playoffs.

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