Saturday, August 27, 2011

Distractions To Pass The Time Away

This weekend it does not matter which hockey team you support New York Rangers or New York Islander. Please do not take any chances and if they ask you to leave please obey that order.

When people choose to disobey the order to leave it not only endangers themselves but they put at risk those police, fire and rescue who have to risk their lives to save them. Call me selfish but I have many a friend who wears a badge, runs into buildings or provides first responder medical and I do not want them to get hurt just because you wanted to ride the storm out.

It remains a slow time for CHL teams as with training camps opening up each day so hopefully you can find a few minutes of distraction with some of the stuff we have to offer.

The "Have Nots" of the WCHA have invited the "Have Nots" of the CCHA to join them in the WCHA in 2013-2014 when the Big Ten Conference (Dumb to call a 6 team conference this) and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference begin play.

The WCHA teams are St. Cloud State University, University of Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State University, Michigan Technological University and Minnesota State University-Mankato. Northern Michigan who was in the CCHA had already agreed to join the WCHA.

The CCHA teams who were invited were University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Bowling Green State University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University and Western Michigan University. It took less than a day but already 3 of the schools (Alaska-Fairbanks, Lake Superior State and Ferris State have agreed to join.

Western Michigan issued a statement which looked more like they were going to stop waiting for an invite to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference as well as waiting to see what Notre Dame was going to do. Friendly advice Broncos; it is better to be the big dog in the smaller pack then the smaller dog in the big pack.

And once again Notre Dame has people falling all over themselves trying to get them to join their league. We will watch this with interest because Ranger 2011 3rd round pick Steve Fogarty as of now plans on attending Notre Dame starting with the 2012-2013 season.

Fogarty who is 18 will be playing for Penticton Vees of the BCHL this season and how Notre Dame chooses might have an impact on whether or not he too backs out of a letter of intent and plays next year in the WHL (Edmonton holds his WHL rights).

As for Notre Dame, given a choice of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, Hockey East or going back to being an independent; we would take Hockey East as the best place for them.

Whoever lands Notre Dame is going to be the hockey conference which will land the TV deal with Versus (soon to be renamed as the NBC Sports Network on Jan 1). With NBC already holding the Notre Dame Football TV rights, then it would be a nice addition to the NBCSN and a feather in the cap for Hockey East.

Speaking of the Hockey East, they sent out a press release saying they would be holding a outdoor doubleheader at Fenway Park on January 7th. UMass (NYR 2007 7th Danny Hobbs), the Maine Black Bears, the Vermont Catamounts and the University Of New Hampshire will all take part.

Here is something that Ranger and Islander fans can truly identify with which is a list of Canadian Junior teams that have endured long stretches of time without recent playoff success from our friend Neate Sager over at Buzzing the Net.

Our other friends from Coming Down the Pipe offered up some possible match ups that would be interesting to see but because of pride and ego will never happen.  The Memorial Cup winner vs the NCAA winner sounds interesting and I would not hand the win to the NCAA champs despite their being older in age.

That Saint Johns Sea Dog team of last season would put up one heck of a fight against Minnesota Duluth. The difference would be under which rules would this game be played under as if it is CHL rules then that would be a bigger difference maker than people might think.

Game Action

The only prospect currently playing is New York Ranger 2011 5th round pick Samuel Noreau a defenseman with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Noreau actually played a pretty good game despite the Drakkar losing 3-2 to the Rimouski Oceanic.

Noreau stayed out of the penalty box for the 2nd time in the exhibition season and was credited with a +1 on 2 shots and 1 good hit. What did the Drakkar in was the first 13 minutes of the game where Rimouski scored all of their goals as well as an 0 for 5 on the power play.

But the difference this year from last year is once the Drakkar were down 3-0 they did not fold up and hand the game over. Instead they fought back with a goal 3 minutes after the Oceanic's 3rd goal.

The Drakkar scored in the second and while they did not score in the 3rd period we take heart from a defensive effort that held the Oceanic to just 2 shots for the period. Seeing the Drakkar fighting for the tie in the 3rd was a new look for the team that only won 12 games last season.

The bigger test will come tonight when they travel to Rimouski for the 2nd half of this "home and home." Last season the 2nd game was typically the disaster game for the Drakkar so we shall see.

Before we run off we got this from the QMJHL who issued this statement regarding "hits to the head":

During the Board of Governors meeting held just prior to the start of the 2011 Molson Export Quebec Hockey Summit in Montreal, the Governors took a proactive stance regarding hits to the head, mandating the League to come up with new protocols to educate teams and players in order to eliminate hits to the head.

“The Board of Govenors made it very clear that player safety must be at the forefront of the discussions,” said QMJHL Commissioner, Gilles Courteau. “I am extremely pleased with the proactive stance adopted by our clubs regarding player safety in our great game. Player safety will be one of the key topics discussed at the Summit and I certainly look forward sharing ideas with our partners.”

Moreover, the Board of Governors today voted in favour of the implementation of having four officials on the ice for 100% of regular season and playoff games starting this season.

“This is a great initiative, especially in regards to player safety,” said the Director of Officiating, Richard Trottier. “The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is the best development league in the world and with the speed of today’s game we needed to adapt. This is excellent news for our teams, our players and our fans.”

No offense to the QMJHL but to use a "proactive" stance would have been addressing hits to the head back in May or June with definitive rule changes addressing the issue.

Saying that you "mandating that the League to come up with new protocols to educate teams and players in order to eliminate hits to the head" with less than a month before the 2011-2012 season means little. What were you doing during the off-season as you could have had discussed as well as come up with new rules that could have been looked at during the exhibition season.

That in our eyes is what being proactive really means.

Stay safe please folks but most of all look out for your neighbors and those who can not help themselves.

(Carl Hagelin courtesy of the Michigan Wolverines)

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