Celebrity overtime: Five questions with Hercules portrayer Kevin Sorbo

Amber Dowling
Kevin Sorbo (Investigation Discovery/Chris Leschinsky)

Stars like hockey too, and everyone once in a while they’re more interested in chatting up last night’s game than they are in pontificating about their latest TV or film projects. In our weekly “Celebrity Overtime” feature, we take five minutes with various celebrities to discuss their love of the good old-fashioned game.

Kevin Sorbo is a well-travelled guy; he’s been in a handful of sitcoms like Dharma & Greg and Just Shoot Me, made the soapy teen rounds on The O.C., and did the sci-fi circuit with Andromeda. Aside from a dozen upcoming film roles, Sorbo’s latest TV venture is the “Charming Bigamist” character in Investigation Discovery’s Heartbreakers. The mini-series reunited “Hollywood Hunks” of the ‘80s and ‘90s like Rob Estes and Jack Wagner to play good-looking dudes in real life who turned slightly … murderous.

Of course to most of us, Sorbo will always be the one and only Herc thanks to his role on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Turns out, hockey was a part of his workout to get the Greek hero physique in his younger days.

Q: We understand you used to play hockey.

A: Yeah, at the varsity level, but I also played basketball and eventually I had to pick. So, I picked basketball because I hate cold weather. Now I haven’t played in years.

Q: Since you’re originally from Minnesota, is it safe to say you’re a Wilds fan?

A: Oh heck yeah. I’m still a Minnesota guy through and throughout and I’m a big Wild fan. I was also completely bummed out when my North Stars moved to Dallas and a few years later they won the Cup. I was so upset about that. But I grew up with the Minnesota North Stars, certainly, but I still follow the Vikings and the Wild. The hockey arena there is beautiful.

Q: Could you pick a favourite player?

A: I gotta go back to my days as a kid growing up, and back then and I guess to me still, the best player was still Lou Nanne, a Canadian guy. And Brett Hull is a very good buddy of mine as well, so I should probably at least mention him.

Q: Now that you live in L.A. are the Kings your backup team?

A: Oh yeah. I go to games. I was pumped last year because I got to go to three of the playoff games, which was fun.

Q: Who do you typically go to games with?

A: I take my boys. My 12-year-old loves it. When I first moved out here nobody went to the Kings games. When they got Gretzky it was the smartest thing they’d ever done because it filled the place up and it was always busy. But when I first went, there were maybe 6,000 people there. Back then, I took a buddy of mine who had never been to a hockey game and I was explaining the rules to him and everything. It was one of those unbelievable, crazy games, back in the late ‘80s when they still used to fight a lot. Three fights, 13 goals. 8-5. It was like an insane game. I said, ‘Wait, it’s not always like this! You get a lot of 4-2 or 5-3 games, or it can be more like soccer, where games are 2-1.’ Unless it was the Germany semi-final in that World Cup. Now that was unbelievable!

Amber Dowling is a freelance lifestyle/entertainment writer, yoga and wine enthusiast and all-around player of sports. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Television Critics Association and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across North America. An advocate for Canadian Television and a lover of the medium in general, Amber founded TheTVJunkies.com as a spot for fellow enthusiasts to connect and collaborate. She previously spent almost eight years as the EIC for TV Guide Canada.

Help Jack Jablonski create the world’s largest stick-tap

Jared Clinton

It’s a sign of respect, appreciation, and a cheer for those who get back up from injury. In leading the world’s largest stick-tap, Jack Jablonski hopes to capture one of hockey’s greatest traditions to lead the charge in support and awareness for those looking to recover from spinal cord injuries.

Jablonski, who turned 19 on Oct. 25, was left without the use of his arms and legs by a hit during a high school hockey game when he was only 16. After the diagnosis came, the outpouring began. From Wayne Gretzky to Pavel Datsyuk, the well wishes rolled in. All the while, the young Minnesota native believed he could, if he truly worked for it, get back on the ice. Read more

NHL suspends Rangers’ John Moore five games for headshot

Adam Proteau
Erik Haula and John Moore (Getty Images)

The NHL’s department of player safety suspended New York Rangers defenseman John Moore five games for his headshot on Minnesota Wild center Erik Haula Monday. Moore will lose $51,859.75 in salary for the hit, which occurred in the second period of Monday’s game. But really, he should be thankful he plays in a league and in a culture that doesn’t take harsher measures to curb concussions.

When Moore barrelled into Haula, who had just finished shooting the puck, he clearly had no fear of the consequences for what at best can be termed a borderline hit. But imagine if he did. Imagine if he knew that, as the repeat offender that he was, he could be suspended for a minimum of 20 games. Having that knowledge in the back of his head might not have stopped him from making the same split-second decision, but who’s to say it would have no effect? Players (and their families) would be acutely aware of the significant financial penalty they would pay, and there’s every possibility their behavior would be modified and the likelihood of a repeat offense would decrease. Read more

Pair of Rangers could be in line for suspensions after questionable hits

Adam Proteau
Chris Kreider (Getty Images)

NHL chief disciplinarian Stephane Quintal and the rest of the NHL department of player safety will have a busy Tuesday after a pair of questionable incidents and ejections took place Monday night in the same game between the Rangers and Wild.

The first took place late in the first period, when Rangers winger Chris Kreider drilled Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin into the end boards with a hit from behind that left Brodin in a heap on the ice:

Kreider received a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct; Brodin had to be helped off, but returned to play in the second period. However, the nastiness only got worse from there, because for some inexplicable reason midway through the second, Blueshirts defenseman John Moore decided to throw an elbow at the head of Wild center Erik Haula: Read more

Wild sign Charlie Coyle, Jonas Brodin to extensions; Mikael Granlund, you’re next

Adam Proteau
Charlie Coyle (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild locked up another young talent Wednesday, signing right winger Charlie Coyle to a five-year, $16-million contract extension with an average annual value of $3.2 million. The deal is the second major extension handed out this month by GM Chuck Fletcher to a pending restricted free agent: on Oct. 12, he signed defenseman Jonas Brodin to a six-year, $25-million deal – and that leaves 22-year-old center Mikael Granlund as the organization’s biggest RFA concern this season.

As is the case with Brodin, Fletcher’s investment in the 22-year-old Coyle, who in his first full NHL season posted 12 goals and 30 points in 70 games, is not outrageous. He has slowly and steadily grown his game, and his 6-foot-3 size, skill and resolve – remember, this is someone who played with two separated shoulders in last year’s post-season – bode well for his employer’s future. A less than maximum-term-length contract also encourages Coyle to be motivated to cash in on another big-bucks pact in his prime. Fletcher has limited his risk with the new deal and put the team in a good position to reap a lot of value out of Coyle if he continues to improve.

Now comes the biggest challenge of all: signing Granlund, Minnesota’s long-touted Finnish sensation who scored eight goals and 41 points in his sophomore NHL campaign. Read more

Wild’s Jason Zucker narrowly avoids having his throat cut by skate blade

Adam Proteau
Jason Zucker (Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL has finally put to rest its debate about visors, but as we all know, there are still potentially life-threatening risks associated with playing hockey. Minnesota Wild left winger Jason Zucker got a scare in that regard Sunday when he narrowly avoided serious injury after L.A. Kings left winger Kyle Clifford accidentally kicked him in the face and had his skate blade graze Zucker’s throat.

Zucker tripped Clifford during L.A.’s 2-1 win over the Wild, but as Clifford fell, his right leg kicked behind him and struck Zucker around the head and neck with his skate blade: Read more

Senators’ Lehner absolutely robs Blue Jackets’ Wennberg with stunning stick save

Robin Lehner (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been the weekend of the stick save.

Last night, it was Minnesota Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper keeping the score knotted at one-apiece with a diving, swatting stick save on a puck that was redirected on goal by teammate Jonas Brodin’s skate.

Robin Lehner must have caught the clip because he tried his hand at one of his own.

In Saturday’s contest against Columbus, the Blue Jackets moved the puck around behind the net and right winger Jack Skille moved the puck to defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Savard let a shot go that deflected off of a Senator and landed right on the waiting stick of Alexander Wennberg.

Wennberg is going to want that one back.

The save was Lehner’s sixth of the game and kept the score at even at zeroes. For the remainder of the game, the Senators backup goaltender would remain stellar. He finished the game with 38 stops in the Senators 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.

Top 5 early season surprises

Gustav Nyqvist (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The year has just begun, but already we’ve seen more than our fair share of surprises. Here’s your top-five before we enter the second Saturday of the season:

5. Gustav Nyquist continues to shoot out the lights

After the summer of Advanced Statistics, it would have been fitting if Red Wings’ sophomore forward Gustav Nyquist’s shooting percentage fell off.

In 2013-14, Nyquist shot an outrageous 18.3 percent and proprietors of so-called fancy stats said he was due for regression. You wouldn’t have gotten much disagreement from anyone about that, either. Extrapolated over an entire year, that would have been nearly 40 goals for the Swede.

So far – and yes, it has only been four games – Nyquist has already potted four goals on 11 shots, good for a 36.4 shooting percentage. Certainly, he’s due to regress to somewhere near the league average of somewhere between 8.5 to 9 per cent, but when? If he keeps this up, he might be throwing his name into the ring for the Rocket Richard. Read more