Brad Marchand sings, Patrice Bergeron recites poetry for NHL 15

Rory Boylen
Patrice Bergeron

At the NHL Awards, Patrice Bergeron was announced as the winner of the EA cover vote and now he’s reciting poetry for the game he’s representing.

With the release of NHL 15 around the corner, the marketing for it is in full gear. Today, EA released two video promotions for the game. In one, Bergeron snaps romantic poetry and in another, teammate Brad Marchand sings about his love for the game.

Both are pretty funny. Bravo. Read more

Check out this glass-shattering bodycheck by Markus Kojo

Rory Boylen

The 2014 Junior Club World Cup is currently ongoing in Ufa, Russia. The 10-team tournament includes junior clubs from nine different countries around the world.

Out of this tournament comes the bodycheck of the hockey year so far. OK, so the “hockey year” has barely even started yet, with NHL training camps just around the corner. But this early contender is straight out of a video game.

One of the teams in the tournament are the Sioux City Musketeers, representing the USHL. And one of the Musketeers players, Markus Kojo, threw a glass-shattering check against a member of the Red Bull Salzburg squad from Austria. Look out! Read more

Don Cherry dumps ice water on his head in most stylish ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yet

Rory Boylen
Don Cherry

As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge rolls on, raising awareness of and money to combat the terrible disease, we’ve shared with you some of our favorite highlights. Ex-Maple Leafs Mikhail Grabovski and Nik Kulemin made a funny one, Paul Bissonnette made one of the more creative ones, while NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and resident curmudgeon Jeremy Jacobs did a couple must-sees, but we can’t share every single hockey-related video with you.

What we can do is continue to share our favourites. Today, we present another one of those.

Don Cherry, who is either your favorite or least favorite first intermission entertainment, was challenged by partner Ron MacLean and he accepted it. In true Grapes form, his is the most fashionable video. The flowery suit he’s wearing in the video is like a camouflage with the garden behind him. But he really did it folks. He dumped a bucket of ice water on his head while wearing one of his patently excessive suits. Read more

Josh Ho-Sang is brash and cocky – is that so bad?

Rory Boylen
Josh Ho-Sang was drafted 28th overall by the New York Islanders. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Josh Ho-Sang has been a drafted member of the NHL for less than two months, but he’s quickly making a name for himself as an outspoken, opinionated, brash player.

What a wonderful thing.

“If I was a general manager and had first pick in the draft, I’d pick me No. 1,” Ho-Sang said in an interview with the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons just before the draft. “In three years, I’ll be the best player in this draft. And I have no doubt about that. I know myself. I know the other players. I believe in my ability. There are guys ranked ahead of me who are nowhere near me.”

Those kind of words and that kind of confidence will earn a player a lot of detractors. Read more

NHL 15 releases overhead game play footage – what do you think?

Rory Boylen
NHL 15

We’ve been tracking the information released about EA’s NHL 15, which is coming up for release in a little less than a month. All the while, we’ve been asking to get an idea of how the game actually plays. The ratings, the graphics and the neat little gimmicks like fans with face paint are nice and everything, but the meat of this game comes on the ice.

EA has released two videos showing an overhead view of actual game play. They include game introductions, which have live action Doc Emrick and Ed Olczyk inside the virtual arena. It will probably be a part of the game people push through after a couple weeks, but I wonder how the intros hold up over a season or career. Read more

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: Gary Bettman dumps bucket of ice water on his head

Rory Boylen

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge rolls on.

We’ve seen Mikhail Grabovski and Nik Kulemin challenge old coach Randy Carlyle in hilarious fashion. We watched Paul Bissonnette pull off the best, and worst, looking water dump. Those are among many, many more.

Today, we got the one all hockey fans were probably looking forward to: Commissioner Gary Bettman stepped up and accepted his many challengers. Although, he did kind of wuss out with the rest of that ice. Do-over?

An honourable mention from Wednesday, and perhaps more enjoyable for the hockey fan who prefers an 82-game season, is Jeremy Jacobs accepting the challenge. And I kind of like this one more.

When Jacobs finishes talking about who he is challenging next, it starts to feel like he’s putting together a how-to video about dumping ice cold water on your head – in a way only an elder could.

“Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna take this bag and I’m gonna put it in here like this. Oh that’s a lot of ice. What a waste of good ice. Where’s the vodka?”

He then instructs us how to stir the ice up in the bucket. Probably because he thinks everyone else has a Smithers who usually stirs their ice for them, too.

But then it crescendos when Jacobs dumps the icy water on himself and needs to get bleeped out.

But, kudos to Jacobs for not wimping out on his ice. C’mon Gary, do it again. It’s for a good cause.

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Paul Bissonnette’s epic Ice Bucket Challenge video will leave you breathless

Adam Proteau
Paul Bissonnette

As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge picks up steam with more entertaining videos every day, free agent winger Paul Bissonnette just set the standard by which all other submissions will be judged.

After being challenged by his former Phoenix (and now Arizona) Coyotes teammate Keith Yandle, Bissonnette responded with a helicopter trip to the top of a majestic (unidentified) mountain, and – clad in what can only be described as something that shouldn’t be described – he was doused in genuine glacier icewater: Read more

Photos: Quebec City arena goes up, but no guarantee NHL will return

Rory Boylen
Quebec Arena

In September of 2012, Quebec City’s hope for the return of an NHL team was renewed when ground was broken on construction of a new arena. There’s absolutely no guarantee from the NHL that a team, through expansion or relocation, would sprout from this effort, but the chance of a return certainly increases with a new, 18,000-seat rink in place. Part of the reason Winnipeg was able to land the relocated Atlanta Thrashers was they had an arena ready for the team to move into.

Earlier this year, David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail wrote about the NHL’s exploration of expansion, which favored Las Vegas and Seattle, two western teams that would even the current 16-14 imbalance between the two conferences. He reported NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had met with two prospective ownership groups out of Las Vegas.

From Shoalts:

Bettman had this to say Tuesday, in an e-mail message, when asked about the meetings:

“At this point, there is no ‘structure’ to any of this. We just continue to listen to unsolicited expressions of interest (which have come from a number of parties) and sometimes those expressions of interest come in meetings that the interested parties have requested! To suggest a timetable or anything else at this point is pure speculation.”

As reported earlier in this space, Seattle, Las Vegas and Quebec City are the cities in play when it comes to NHL expansion.

Markham, Ont., taxpayers please note: a second team for the Greater Toronto Area is not even part of the conversation.

Right now, Quebec City and Las Vegas (which broke ground in May) are constructing new arenas. A potential new building in Seattle has long been tied to an NBA team returning to the city. Chris Hansen, who holds the rights to build a new arena in Seattle, had his bid to relocate the Sacramento Kings rejected by the NBA in 2013 as that team stayed in California. Steve Ballmer was a part of Hansen’s investment team, but he is now on the verge of purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers for $2.2 billion.

Hansen, who would welcome an NHL franchise as a tenant in his arena, has in the past said he’s not interested in being the principal owner of a hockey team. He reiterated that point to the Seattle Times in April of this year:

(You’ve said hockey isn’t your passion. Has that changed?) “No. That’s not the type of thing that’s going to change. You’re passionate about something or you’re not. I think every once in a while we can find new things that we’re passionate about. I would just say this is too big of a thing. You’re basically being responsible for something that means a lot to a lot of other people. We can all see success and failures in pro sports franchises and what they mean to the city and to their fans. I would rather not get involved in something I would put a half-hearted effort into. I think that’s the same for the rest of our group. I don’t dislike hockey. It’s not that. I actually watch playoff hockey. I think watching hockey in person is an incredible live-action sport. Until you’ve seen it in person, it’s a lot different. But that doesn’t mean that I’m passionate enough about it to take this on as a real responsibility.”

And in July, Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote that Wayne Gretzky was now part of a group trying to bring the NHL to Seattle.

As the dance goes on, Quebec’s new arena goes up. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in September of 2015, is a beacon of hope for ravenous hockey fans in Quebec City that the NHL will one day return, even without any guarantees from the league.

Below are some recent pictures from the arena site, showing the progress that has been made so far. There are three outside shots and one from the inside, followed by a video of the construction. All photos courtesy of Ville de Québec/City of Québec. Read more