Posted on: September 4, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2011 12:18 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Have you ever found yourself sitting at a hockey game and said to yourself, "man, I'd like to go and get a tattoo between periods?"
If so, and if you happen to be a fan of the New York Islanders, you're in luck because the club has reached an agreement with Tattoo Lou's to become the official tattoo shop of the Islanders, according to a team press release.
Not only will Tattoo Lou's been known as the official tattoo shop of the team, they will also be setting up a tattoo and body piercing station at 10 home games during the 2011-12 season, and will also sell Islanders-related jewelry and tattoo-inspired shirts. Keep in mind, this is also the same organization that signed a deal to have an official cupcake supplier last season. So they're definitely no strangers to unique corporate partnerships
Islanders Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, Justin Johnson, said the team is thrilled to bring another Long Island institution to the arena, and that “Tattoo Lou’s is an innovative brand with a creative vision. They’re a great fit with our energetic team on the ice and our youthful fan base around Long Island.”
Lou Rubino, the President of Tattoo Lou's, considers the partnership a victory for the Tattoo Industry.
"For a long time, tattoos were frowned upon," said Rubino. "But now, we’ve become more and more mainstream. One of the main things I love about this partnership is the history the Islanders have. My dad opened his first shop in 1958. We’re a part of Long Island history just like the Islanders.”
Tattoo's really aren't my cup of tea, mainly because I'm not sure I have the pain tolerance to sit through the entire process, and also because I would probably change my mind and want something different within a couple years of actually getting the thing. Still, I find the partnership to be, if nothing else, very interesting.
And it's not like hockey and tattoo's are an unheard of match, as a large percentage of the players across the league have had some tattoo work done at one time or another.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 10:25 am
By: Adam Gretz
Veteran goaltender Manny Legace is going to get an opportunity to return to the NHL during training camp, even if it seems liike a bit of a long shot.
Legace was invited to the Vancouver Canucks training camp on a tryout basis according to Chuck Pleiness of the Macomb Daily, where the goaltender was quoted as saying that he was set on looking for a club in Europe to join before getting the call from the Canucks while he was on the golf course this week.
The 38-year-old Legace has spent parts of 11 years in the NHL with the Kings, Red Wings, Blues and Hurricanes, getting the win in 187 games and recording a .907 save percentage. He last played in the NHL during the 2009-10 season with Carolina, joining the team in November and appearing in 28 games.
After getting a tryout with the New York Islanders in training camp last year -- where he was released -- Legace played in Germany with the Iserlohn Roosters and finished the season with a 17-22-0 record and a .917 save percentage.
His chances of making the Canucks seem small at this point, even as a backup, as Vancouver already has Roberto Luongo cemented in as the starter, and Cory Schneider seemingly locked in as his backup. In his first full season in the NHL last season Schneider finished with a .929 save percentage, and was even called on to start a couple of playoff games when Luongo and the Canucks were struggling in the early rounds.
Unless there's a significant roster move involving one of the two goalies already on the NHL roster (and that doesn't seem likely at this point) there simply isn't an opening with Vancouver. His best chance might be to impress another team's scouting department and front office enough with his Vancouver tryout that another team looks into acquiring him if things don't work out with the Canucks.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: September 2, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 4:46 pm
By: Adam Gretz
As a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates I know what it's like to follow a team that never wins (zero winning seasons since 1992. And counting!). By the end of the season the focus, as a fan, goes from winning games (that usually stops by early June) to securing a top draft pick. Because, hey, if you're going to lose and not contend for a playoff spot, you might as well lose a ton and get a potential franchise-changing player at the top of the draft. Not all fans want to see their teams tank it late in the season for draft pick positioning, but they do exist.
This line of thinking, of course, is fine for a fan.
For players, who are fighting for roster spots the following season, whether it be with the current team or a new team, they aren't going to (and shouldn't) care about a draft pick that might play for the team in two or three years when they may be playing for somebody else. A person in the front office with plenty of job security may not be opposed to trying to secure a top pick, but is unlikely to do anything to sabotage the team's season ... and if they are, they certainly aren't going to admit it.
On Thursday, Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster took part in a fan forum and answered some questions from Flames Fans. He was asked why the Flames haven't tried to model the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals by trying to build around high draft picks.
Here is Feaster's response, via Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald:
“I’m sorry — Edmonton finished where last year, caller? Want to wager on where we finish relative to Edmonton this year? I’m tired of this question, I’ll tell you very honestly. I’m getting a little sour. How many teams . . . every year, for the last 10 years, five years, eight years, have finished in the bottom five, bottom seven, bottom 10? They’ve had a pick anywhere from No. 1 to No. 10 year after year after year after year, and they still wander in the desert. And they’re no closer to getting out than they were 10 years ago.
Well, Feaster is right about one thing: It's a solid bet that Calgary is going to finish ahead of Edmonton in the standings this season, but if the Flames finish outside of the top-eight in the Western Conference, as they've done in each of the past two seasons, they will be in the same position as Edmonton when it comes to playing in the playoffs. I do, however, love the candid response, and have wondered how a general manager would react when presented with that scenario (losing to get a high draft pick) by a fan.Still, as exciting as it is for that one day of the NHL calender (draft day) to get the top pick in the draft, nobody wants to be picking in that spot every year because it means your team stinks and isn't winning many games.
Teams like Chicago (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews), Washington (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom) and Pittsburgh (Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury) had some high draft picks over the years and used them as key building blocks in turning their franchise from being a bottom feeder to a contender. Two of those teams (Chicago and Pittsburgh) have won the Stanley Cup over the past three years, while the other (Washington) has consistently been one of the top teams in the NHL in the regular season over the past four years.
But there's also been examples of teams like Florida and Atlanta (now the Winnipeg Jets) that have been picking in the top-10 on a rather consistent basis and haven't had anywhere near that level of success. They are, as Feaster put it, still wandering the desert.
In other news, Feaster was also asked whether or not goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff will be counted on to play 70 games again as he's done in each of the past six seasons. Feaster said, again via the Herald, that Kiprusoff will not be asked to carry such a heavy workload this season, and that 28-year-old back Henrik Karlsson will see more ice-time.
In 17 appearances last season Karlsson posted a 4-5-6 record along with a .908 save percentage.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: September 2, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 4:29 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The sudden death of Wade Belak rocked the hockey world this week and left everybody with more questions than answers.
On Friday, his mother, Lorraine Belak, spoke to CBC news and confirmed to them that her son had suffered from depression -- which had been reported earlier in the day by the Toronto Star, citing two sources that wished to remain anonymous -- though it remains unclear as to what sort of treatment he was receiving.
Lorraine Belak confirmed a Toronto Star report that her son had suffered from depression, but it is not clear what help he sought or how recently it was an issue.
It's just another example as to how complex an issue depression is, and that no matter what a person looks like on the outside it doesn't mean there isn't a deeper issue that troubles them below the surface. Belak, by all accounts, was a pleasure to be around as a person and a teammate, always smiling and one of the NHL's most quotable players and best interviews.Belak is the third NHL player to pass away this offseason, along with Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien. All three players shared the same role on the ice which has sent the discussion in the direction of what -- if any -- their role as fighters had on their off-ice problems.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: September 2, 2011 11:30 am
By: Adam Gretz
Teemu Selanne has yet to decide whether or not he's going to return to the Anaheim Ducks this season, saying last weekend that he still wants to test his knee before making a final decision. If he returns he'll once again be one of the oldest players in the NHL, and be relied on to be a top-scoring threat for a playoff contender in the Western Conference.
Last season, at the age of 40, Selanne was the fourth oldest player in the NHL (trailing only Mark Recchi, Nicklas Lidstrom and Mike Modano) and still managed to finish eighth in scoring and points per game. It was not only a fantastic season for any player, regardless of age, it was almost unheard of for a forward age 40-or-olrder.
Going back over every season dating back to 1979-80, there have been 34 cases of a forward playing in the NHL over the age of 40, and none of them came close to matching what Selanne produced for the Ducks last season. As a group, they appeared in an average of just 56 games and managed to score an average of 31 points.
Here's a look at the top-15 scoring seasons for forwards over the age of 40 dating back to 1979-80, a stretch of 31 seasons:
Nobody was even close to Selanne, as he managed to score 13 more points than the No. 2 player on the list, Mark Messier, despite playing in nine fewer games. He's also shown no signs of slowing down in recent years, having his point-per-game number increase in each of the past three seasons.
Mark Recchi's multiple appearances on this list are remarkable as well, especially since his career looked like it was over early in the 2007-08 season at the age of 39 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was eventually placed on waivers and landed with the Atlanta Thrashers, a move that proved to turn his career around. After turning 40 he missed only four of a possible 246 regular season games, continued to provide some offensive depth for the Boston Bruins, and was also a solid contributor in the playoffs as they ended their Stanley Cup drought this past season, recording 14 points in 25 playoff games.
Still, there is perhaps no name more impressive on the above list than the presence of 51-year-old Gordie Howe with the Hartford Whalers back in 1979-80. That was the year the Whalers joined the NHL (Howe had played for the team during its WHA days) and ended up finishing the season as the seventh-leading scorer on the team, and 148th out of the 585 players that played in the NHL that season. Granted, that was during an era where the average NHL game featured seven goals (the average NHL game in 2010-11 had 5.59 goals, for example) so he may not have had that many points at that age in any other era, but again ... 51 years old. The fact he even played a single game is mind blowing.
We already knew Selanne is a special talent, and the only thing standing between him and the Hockey Hall of Fame is his retirement, but what he's done at this age is just another example as to how incredible his career has been.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:09 am
By: Adam Gretz
NHL, NHLPA STATEMENT The NHL and the NHLPA released a joint statement on Thursday regarding the three recent deaths in the NHL. The statement reads as follows:
"Everyone at the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association is profoundly saddened by the loss, within a matter of a few weeks, of three young men, each of whom was in the prime of his life.
"While the circumstances of each case are unique, these tragic events cannot be ignored. We are committed to examining, in detail, the factors that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the likelihood of such events taking place. Our organizations are committed to a thorough evaluation of our existing assistance programs and practices and will make immediate modifications and improvements to the extent they are deemed warranted.
"It is important to ensure that every reasonable step and precaution is taken to make NHL Players, and all members of the NHL family, aware of the vast resources available to them when they are in need of assistance. We want individuals to feel comfortable seeking help when they need help.
"NHL Clubs and our fans should know that every avenue will be explored and every option pursued in the furtherance of this objective."
VANCOUVER RIOT INVESTIGATION CONCLUDES In case you were wondering why there was a massive riot in Vancouver following the Canucks Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins, an independent investigation has given us the answer, via Corey Masiak of NHL.com: "There were too many people -- not too many people for the police but too many people for the venue. ... They were too drunk. Alcohol sales that day were 68 percent higher than they were the year previous on the same Wednesday." Surely you're not surprised.
KRONWALL EXCITED TO BE PAIRED WITH STUART Veteran Red Wings defenseman talked about the upcoming season with Gregg Krupta of the Detroit News and talked about the potential of being paired with Brad Stuart again: Said Kronwall: "If that's the case, we've had some good runs in the past and I think we know each other very well and it would be a lot of fun to play with him again," Kronwall said. "He's one of those guys that makes it really easy for you."
Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:27 pm
By: Adam Gretz
The St. Louis Blues used the 16th overall pick in the 2010 draft on talented Russian forward Vladimir Tarasenko. He's already one of the top prospects in the Blues farm system -- as well as the entire NHL -- and has spent the past three seasons playing in the KHL, scoring 27 goals over that time period as a teenager (during his debut season in the KHL, for example, he scored seven goals as a 16-year-old) going up against grown men.
He's also excelled against players his own age, most recently leading Russia to a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Championships, recording 11 points in seven games.
On Thursday the Blues directed their Twitter followers to a video from Russia of their prized prospect showing off some of his goal-scoring talents.
Certainly not a new move, but after the spin-o-rama (which is almost unstoppable) that shot seems to be one of the most difficult plays for goaltenders to stop on penalty shots/shootouts.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:13 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien spent some time in a Minnesota jail on Wednesday night after being arrested on the suspicion of Boating While Intoxicated, according to the Star Tribune. He reportedly spent around three hours in jail before being released pending formal charges.
From the Tribune:
Byfuglien rents a home on Lake Minnetonka in the off-season, said Dale Smedsmo, his stepfather.According to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500, via Twitter, Byfuglien refused a BWI test.
There's pretty much nothing good that can come from driving (or boating) while intoxicated, so it's obviously not a good situation. What's also concerning is that Wolfson also reports that Byfuglien weighed in at 286 pounds, which is 41 pounds over his playing weight of 245 from last season.
Byfuglien was acquired by the Atlanta Thrashers prior to the 2010-11 season after spending parts of five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks. The Thrashers immediately moved him from forward to defense (the position he played prior to being drafted by the Blackhawks in 2003). He went on to have the best season of his career offensively, scoring 20 goals and adding 33 assists. His performance earned him a large contract extension, signing a five-year, $26 million deal.