The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins rivalry is…heated you might say. It’s one that dates back to the early days of the NHL, of course, and it’s never really let up.
The two teams have met in four of the past seven post-seasons, with each winning two series. But the styles of these two couldn’t be much different. Boston is a team that always tries to play on the edge and gets the most out of its players when they’re physical and able to get a retaliatory rise out of their opponents. The Habs, a smaller team, didn’t let the Bruins get to them in their second round series this past spring and ended up winning in seven games that were still all very heated contests.
You’ll remember the series ended with Milan Lucic’s epic meltdown in the handshake line, where he apparently threatened to kill Dale Weise and inspired an incredible T-shirt, to say nothing of the backlash to his offenses on twitter and other social media platforms. Lucic may have been a cheap crotch-seeker too often last season, but I find entertainment in the kind of over-the-top explosiveness he showed at the end of the series.
And it appears those hateful feelings still linger amongst Bruins agitators.
At the Phoenix House Champions for Change dinner in Halifax on Tuesday, American League president Dave Andrews asked Brad Marchand which NHL player irritated him the most. Which is ironic, considering Marchand would probably top the list of most other NHLers if they faced the question.
“Tomas Plekanec from Montreal…I hate him. I can’t stand him. No, I probably shouldn’t say that. I dislike him very much. Somebody is going to call and get mad at me tomorrow.”
This is fun. Ann Frazier of the San Jose-centric Fear the Fin blog has posted a video that details every team in the NHL by season, with the logo changing based on the year. Not only does it bring short-lived teams such as the Quebec Bulldogs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Quakers and St. Louis Eagles to the fore, but it’s also interesting to look at the map and see just how long Los Angeles was marooned out in the Southwest before a flood of teams (Sharks, Ducks and Coyotes) joined them. Plus, the video is set to the classic Hartford Whalers anthem “Brass Bonanza,” which you now have stuck in your head:
Endorsing products has been a part of being a top talent in the NHL for nearly as long as the league has been in existence. Advertisers want the star power of hockey players, even if the low-key personalities of those players don’t make them natural public pitchmen.
Although some players do well in the role, more often than not, NHL players hawking products on TV is an exercise in embarrassment. In reverse order, here are the five most embarrassing TV ads featuring NHLers of the modern era:
5. Adam Oates goes dating for the NHL. When he was a member of the Boston Bruins, Oates inexplicably said yes to this commercial, which paints him as a lovelorn hockey star wearing his equipment in a restaurant, as as lovelorn hockey stars are wont to do. From the unfortunately-phrased “loose rebounds” comment to Oates’ weirdly shame-ridden “It wouldn’t be the first time” answer to getting shot down, this ad doesn’t make you want to buy an NHL ticket. It makes you want to sign him up for eharmony.com.
If you’re a hardcore fan of EA Sports’ NHL video game series, you remember the transition from button deking to joystick deking vividly. It was like taking the training wheels off. It felt weird and wobbly at first, but once you got the hang of it, there was nothing holding you back anymore.
The Skill Stick, popularized in NHL 07, turned the right analog portion of a controller into your hockey stick, with the left analog functioning as your body. You could deke and improvise like never before. You could shame your friends by undressing their goalies on breakaways and there was a new degree of “ownership” to your goals, as they reflected your ability to maneuver the stick.
Flash forward to the upcoming NHL 15, which launches on PlayStation 4 and XBox One Sept. 9 (Xbox 360 and PS3 as well, but the hype is all about how the game will look in a new generation of consoles). Early footage of the game suggests new leaps in graphics, facial detail, hitting and general gameplay. The latest teaser trailer unveils the Superstar Skill Stick, which takes dangling to a whole new level. Check it out:
Have you ever watched a professional sports mascot do his thing and think “well I could do better than that”?
Have you ever heard a rendition of the national anthem that you didn’t particularly like, laughed at a singer for flubbing the lyrics, or slipping and falling to the ice?
(Feel bad for the lady; still going to watch the video.)
Well, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
The Calgary Flames have a couple job openings within the organization. First, the team is looking for someone to sing the Canadian and American national anthems at Calgary Flames, Hitmen and lacrosse’s Roughneck games (plus other performances as requested) for the upcoming season.
From the job posting on Workopolis: Read more
Just last week, we looked at an NHL 15 trailer that showed off the “Next Generation Player” and how layers would be built into the creation of each individual. Before that, we got a trailer designed to show off the visuals of the game, which will be hockey’s first on the next-generation platforms of Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Now we catch a glimpse of the physics that will make up the NHL 15 world. Not only does this video explore the impact these physics will have on each individual player on or away from the puck, but it also looks at how the puck itself will react. Now it rolls!
Prepare to get incredibly frustrated when the rubber disc jumps over your stick and spoils your breakaway. (Although I thought the pucks already bounced in the corner of NHL 14.) Read more
I can’t vouch for the state of hockey in Australia. Its men’s program is, after all, ranked 34th by the International Ice Hockey Federation, tucked just behind powerhouses Mexico and Israel.
But there are signs of shinny positivity emanating from the land down under.
A couple weeks ago, an Aussie-bred player was drafted by an NHL team for the first time ever when the Capitals spent the 98th overall selection on Nathan Walker. The 5-foot-10, 20-year-old left winger was actually born in Wales, but grew up in Sydney.