Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Evening before the Draft...

The NHL Draft is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, and with all of the rounds scheduled for that day, there will be much in the way of moves being made, as this year's draft is deep.  The teams to watch include the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets, both of whom have three picks in the first round, as well as the Boston Bruins, who would like to move back into the first round after losing their pick to Dallas by virtue of making the Stanley Cup Finals as part of the condition for acquiring Jaromir Jagr.  Pittsburgh does not make their first pick until number 77, which means the third round, and given that they were exposed by a tougher Boston team despite having the superior talent (the Canucks know that all too well), the Pens will need to either make do with what they do have or try to trade back into the top 45, which will be hard to so, since they don't have a lot other than defensemen.  The Pens need goaltending, and there is no guarantee that Eric Comrie will be around by the time they make their first pick (Zachary Fucale is a certainty to be off the board by the end of the first round), and goaltending isn't particularly a strong suit in this year's draft.

As for what else could happen, the Ottawa Senators are rumored to be moving up and the Edmonton Oilers are rumored to be wanting to move down.  I don't get into rumors, but if there's a player that the Senators covet (perhaps Elias Lindholm or Darnell Nurse, depending on who's available), the Sens do have considerable talent in the pipeline to move (I'm looking at either Mark Stone, Matt Puempel, or Stefan Noesen) and the Sens are better than people think, particularly in goal.

The NHL Draft this year is definitely going to be a wild ride, and with considerable talent coming in this year, next year, and in 2015 (Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters is a kid to watch), the NHL should be in good hands for the next few years in terms of overall talent.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Critical Thinking about Religion

Today's movie review is Leon Morin, Priest, and since it is a Criterion release, there is a pretty good reason why it sees the light of day for State-side folks: it is a movie that is conducive to critical thinking.

The synopsis, according to IMDb:

In World War II, the widow Barny sees the Italian soldiers arriving in occupied Saint Bernard while walking to her job. Barny lives with her daughter and works correcting tests and feels a great attraction toward her boss Sabine. When the Germans arrive, Barny sends her half-Jewish daughter to live in a farm in the countryside and finds that Sabine's brother has been arrested and sent to a concentration camp. The atheist Barny decides to baptize her daughter to protect her and chooses priest Léon Morin to discuss with him themes related to religion and Catholicism and Léon lends books to her. Barny converts to the Catholicism and becomes closer to Léon, feeling an unrequited desire for him.
The theme of the movie is one of religion with World War II as a backdrop, and though religion is often a tricky line to walk in movies, Leon Morin, Priest does a great job of not only walking that line, but also putting Catholicism in a good light.  While the movie will undoubtedly raise questions about the religion (director Jean-Pierre Melville is not religious), it does try to put its best foot forward and shows an evolution, and ultimately conversion, of Barny (Emmanuelle Riva) from Atheist to Catholic.  The road there is not an easy one, and the movie captures that route as well as it can, all the while showing Leon Morin (Jean-Paul Belmondo) as the priest who despite being faced with much temptation, as more attractive females seek him out for guidance in light of the war's effect on the number of males their age available, remains as strong in his beliefs and ultimately comes out on top.

The main focus of the movie is on Barny's interactions with Morin, and whether you are religious or not, the movie is sure to raise questions, though most of them are well suited to a critical thinking session.  If you're willing to think, then Leon Morin, Priest is a movie that will stimulate such ideas.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NHL (Mock) Draft: Picks 26-30

With the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup last night, that means the order in which the teams will pick is all set.  I will get to the thrilling manner in which the Blackhawks won later, but for now, let's finish the mock draft, and the real version will happen this Sunday.

26. Anaheim Ducks: Curtis Lazar, Edmonton Oil Kings

A steal this late in the round, the Ducks need secondary scoring, and Lazar provides that.  Where Lazar will really help though, is in the character department, particularly if either Saku Koivu or Teemu Selanne (or both) decide to retire.

27. Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles): Ian McCoshen, Waterloo Black Hawks

Having taken forwards in Hunter Shinkaruk and Kerby Rychel with their first two picks, and in the process, addressing their needs at forwards, McCoshen is the best defenseman available and the Blue Jackets fortify an already strong blue line.  They won't need to rush him, since he is committed to Boston College and the Jackets already have Ryan Murray in line to break with the team come next season.

28. Calgary Flames (from Pittsburgh): Morgan Klimchuk, Regina Pats

With considerable depth in the draft on the blue line, the Flames opt to wait until the second round (pick 36) to go after a defenseman.  Instead, they go with another scorer in the vein of Sven Baertschi, as Klimchuk is similarly built and put up great numbers on a bad Pats team.

29. Dallas Stars (from Boston): Ryan Hartman, Plymouth Whalers

The Stars lost a lot of grit and toughness in recent years, and having addressed a thin blue line earlier in the draft, they decide to address the toughness category with Hartman, who can score, yet is also unafraid to drop the mitts when needed.  He has played a little center in addition to his natural right wing spot.

30. Chicago Blackhawks: Josh Morrissey, Prince Albert Raiders

The Blackhawks have had luck in finding defensemen from the WHL (see: Keith, Duncan and Seabrook, Brent), and while Morrissey lacks the prototypical size for a defenseman, he is also skilled offensively, and has a high ceiling as far as where his talent level will ultimately be in the NHL.

Monday, June 24, 2013

NHL (Mock) Draft: Picks 21-25

21. Toronto Maple Leafs: Bo Horvat, London Knights

The Leafs have had recent success with drafting a center from London (see: Kadri, Nazem), and Horvat fills a need down the middle while offering the Leafs a hard worker that can win faceoffs and score goals.  Oh, and he scores when it counts the most (see: Game 7 against Barrie in the OHL Finals).

22. Calgary Flames (from St. Louis): Zachary Fucale, Halifax Mooseheads

The Flames also need a defenseman here, but with an additional pick later in this round, combined with a plethora of defensemen available, the Flames can afford to wait on that option.  Here, I have them going with a future replacement for Miikka Kiprusoff in Fucale, who was lights out in the major junior tournaments this season.  Yes, Laurent Brossoit and Kari Ramo are options, but neither are proven at the NHL level, and the Flames need all the help they can find in replacing Kiprusoff soon.

23. Washington Capitals: Valentin Zykov, Baie-Comeau Drakkar

The Caps need to restock the blue line and need immediate help in the middle, but they also need top-end talent, and that is where Zykov will come in.  40 goals with a Baie-Comeau team that made the QMJHL Finals (and handed Halifax their only loss of the QMJHL playoffs in the process) is nothing to sneeze at, and his size is a plus for his style of play.

24. Vancouver Canucks: Adam Erne, Quebec Remparts

Like Washington, Vancouver needs top end talent in the pipeline, and Erne put up good numbers in Quebec, with 28 goals and 44 assists.  A Ryan Kesler clone, only less flashy.

25. Montreal Canadiens: Samuel Morin, Rimouski Oceanic

The Canadiens need size in their pipeline, and with Jarred Tinordi likely to stick with the Canadiens next year, that means the Canadiens can take their time with Morin.  Morin provides more offense from the blue line, which will play well when P.K. Subban is not on the ice and the Canadiens need some offense in that time.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another (Short-Term) Fix

BREAKING NEWS (details as per

In a move that has been a long time coming, the Los Angeles Kings have finally traded backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier.  The Toronto Maple Leafs are still a team in need of a true number one goaltender, and in giving up capable backup goaltender Ben Scrivens, forward Matt Frattin, and a second round pick in either 2014 or 2015, the Maple Leafs have picked up a potential starting goaltender in Bernier.

The cost for the Leafs isn't that much when you consider that incumbent James Reimer played pretty well down the stretch en route to leading the Leafs to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.  While Bernier isn't guaranteed a starting job, he can at worst, give the Leafs a peace of mind in goal that they haven't had since the Ed Belfour days.  Scrivens had been a starter for a time, and Frattin is more of a third or fourth liner at this stage in his career, and given that Jonathan Quick is entrenched as the Kings' starter, the Kings didn't come away too badly, either.  The wild card is the second round pick, which will depend on how things shake out next season.

NHL (Mock) Draft: Picks 16-20

16. Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota): Robert Hagg, Modo (Swe)

Buffalo's defense is in need, and having filled a need at forward with Valeri Nichushkin with the earlier pick, the Sabres go blue line here and pick the best European defenseman available in Hagg.  His play in the World Jr. Championships showcased his defensive abilities, but there is also some offensive ability, as well.

17. Ottawa Senators: Alexander Wennberg, Djurgarden (Swe)

The Sens didn't quite have their scoring punch last season, and though defense needs some youth, the Sens go with the best remaining player available in Wennberg.  He has the ability to light up scoresheets nightly, and he could learn the ins and outs of NHL life from fellow Swede Erik Karlsson.

18. Detroit Red Wings: Mirco Mueller, Everett Silvertips

The Red Wings need defensemen, and Mueller is the safest pick here.  He became a top defenseman on the Silvertips team that didn't have Ryan Murray for much of the season due to injury, and since Detroit likes to let prospects develop for a few years, Mueller will most likely get better with an improving Silvertips team that now has Kevin Constantine returning to the bench as coach.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets (from NY Rangers): Kerby Rychel, Windsor Spitfires

The Blue Jackets need as many forwards as they can, and Hunter Shinkaruk was a step in the right direction.  Rychel will provide offense, but his calling card is a nasty streak that also sees him fight on some occasions, giving the Blue Jackets some sandpaper on the top two lines.  Best offensive option on a Spitfires team that struggled mightily last season.

20. San Jose Sharks: Shea Theodore, Seattle Thunderbirds

The Sharks are noticeably older on the blue line, and it is possible that Brent Burns' future is up front.  Theodore was a good player on an often overmatched Thunderbirds team that played fairly well down the stretch.  It will be interesting as to how much better he gets with a Thunderbirds team that will have a little more talent.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

NHL (Mock) Draft: Picks 11-15

11. Philadelphia Flyers: Nikita Zadorov, London Knights

The Flyers are woefully thin on defensive prospects, and while Zadorov is a project at this point in time, he is also an intriguing player that has size and could in time, fill the hole left by Chris Pronger.  After all, the Flyers can't be relying on stop gaps such as Mark Streit forever.

12. Phoenix Coyotes: Anthony Mantha, Val D'Or Foreurs

Phoenix needs scoring, and fast.  Mantha was one of three players in major junior to have scored 50 goals last season, and with the possibility of filling out a 6'4" frame, Mantha could very well give the Coyotes the power forward that they have not had since Keith Tkachuk.

13. Winnipeg Jets: Elias Lindholm, Brynas (Swe)

The best (and safest) player available at this point in the draft, the Jets have some good prospects right now and can afford to take the best player available.  Lindholm will be a good two-way forward that the Jets can afford to let develop, particularly if fellow center Mark Schiefele sticks with the Jets full time next season.

14. Columbus Blue Jackets: Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat Tigers

The Blue Jackets need NHL-caliber forwards, and Shinkaruk is the best goal scorer left on the board.  While he lacks size and could stand to develop more away from the puck, the Blue Jackets can live with his deficiencies, as he could end up being to the Blue Jackets what Patrick Kane was to the Blackhawks in 2007.

15. New York Islanders: Frederik Gauthier, Rimouski Oceanic

The Islanders have plenty in terms of defensive prospects, and with John Tavares, Matt Moulson, and Michael Grabner entrenched as the offensive stalwarts, the Islanders need secondary scoring and two-way play down the middle.  Gauthier would solve both, and with his size, it would be too good for the Islanders to pass up, and if the Isles are patient with him (as they have been with both Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart), they'll have their third-line center for the forseeable future (after Tavares and Strome, if the latter makes the jump to the NHL).

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Book Review...Right Here on Pucks and Rocks *cheers*

That cheap pop out of the way, you likely guessed that this is a book review, and the book in question is by a guy that makes a living out of cheap pops, Mick Foley.  The follow-up to the wildly popular Have a Nice Day is Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker than Wrestling, which doesn't feel as long to read as the first book, simply because it only covers the time period from when he won his first WWF title in December 1998 through 2001.  That said, Foley maintains what made Have a Nice Day on the follow-up and even has some candid moments where he talks about how the Royal Rumble match from 1999 with The Rock led to a strained friendship for a time, as well as the attacks from parent watchdog groups out to put pro wrestling out of business.  If you enjoyed Have a Nice Day, then you will definitely enjoy Foley is Good.

NHL (Mock) Draft: Picks 6-10

Today is about the teams picking 6 through 10, and considering this is a deep draft, anything can happen.

6. Calgary Flames: Sean Monahan, Ottawa 67's

With three picks in the first round, the Flames can fill some serious needs at center, defense, and goal.  The first of the three is likely going to a skilled center, and that is where Monahan comes in.  Yes, the 67's struggled mightily, but it wasn't because of Monahan, who can be the new face of the franchise for years to come thanks to his offensive ability and willingness to play through pain.

7. Edmonton Oilers: Rasmus Ristolainen, TPS Turku (FIN)

While Edmonton needs offensively skilled defensemen, Ristolainen's size and willingness to clear the path in front of his goaltender are intriguing, and he can provide a little offense.  His play in his own end will also shore up a defense that hasn't been the best at stopping people lately.

8. Buffalo Sabres: Valeri Nichushkin, Chelyabinsk

Buffalo needs dynamic players, and they should be thrilled that Nichushkin fell to this point in the draft.  The potential is there for offense, and his size and speed are a big plus.  If he fills out, he could be a steal here.

9. New Jersey Devils: Max Domi, London Knights

Offense is a major need, whether it's from the forwards or from the blue line.  Hunter Shinkaruk would be an intriguing option here, but Domi put together a pretty impressive showing during the post-season.  He has the mentality of his father Tie, but is also a point producer, which will play well with the offensively starved Devils.

10. Dallas Stars: Ryan Pulock, Brandon Wheat Kings

The Stars need offense from the blue line, and while Pulock is a question mark in terms of health (he missed some time this past season), his shot from the blue line is not, and that is something the Stars missed when they let Sheldon Souray walk after the 2011-12 season.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NHL Mock Draft: Picks 1-5

Seeing as the NHL Draft is 10 days away, I will be coming out with who I think will be going where, and most likely, seeing much of that fall flat.  Since I do need to allow for explanations, I'll be breaking it into sections of five, so today will be about the first five picks.  So, here we go.

1. Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax Mooseheads

With recent rumblings that the Avs are going to not pick Seth Jones with the first overall pick, that leaves any of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin, and Nathan MacKinnon as the possibilities.  MacKinnon is the safest of the three, and though the Avs could also take Drouin (they need help on the wings), MacKinnon is the surest bet to contribute right away.

2. Florida Panthers: Seth Jones, Portland Winterhawks

The Panthers need as much young talent as possible, and without a defenseman that can play the big minutes and contribute on both ends of the ice (sorry, Brian Campbell), Jones has the potential to fill that role.  Defensemen like Jones don't come along very often, and certainly, coaching is less of an issue here than in either Colorado or Tampa Bay, as Kevin Dineen will be entering his third year as coach (Patrick Roy will be a first timer in the NHL and Tampa Bay has Jon Cooper, who is still an interim coach as of this time).

3. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin, Halifax Mooseheads

Tampa Bay needs to get younger at forward, and though Aleksander Barkov would give the Lightning a viable second option at center, the wings need a little more help, and Drouin can step in on the first line right away and take some attention away from Steven Stamkos while learning from Martin St. Louis.

4. Nashville Predators: Aleksander Barkov, Tappara (FIN)

Nashville needs scoring, and lots of it.  Barkov is the best player remaining, while he is a scoring threat, he is also good in his own end, something that Nashville would love.

5. Carolina Hurricanes: Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Carolina desperately needs defense, and certainly, they could be eyeing a trade up to get Seth Jones.  If they choose to stay here, Nurse would be a very good pick here.  The Hurricanes were regularly torched in their own end, and while Cam Ward's injury didn't help matters, the blue line as a whole needs some help, and Nurse is the best defenseman left at this point in the draft.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

NHL Draft

With the NHL Draft scheduled for June 30, this is a chance for teams to stock up on young players.  Here is the current draft order, with the final two spots to be determined after the Stanley Cup Finals.

1. Colorado
2. Florida
3. Tampa Bay
4. Nashville
5. Carolina
6. Calgary
7. Edmonton
8. Buffalo
9. New Jersey
10. Dallas
11. Philadelphia
12. Phoenix
13. Winnipeg
14. Columbus
15. NY Islanders
16. Buffalo (from Minnesota)
17. Ottawa
18. Detroit
19. Columbus (from NY Rangers)
20. San Jose
21. Toronto
22. Calgary (from St. Louis)
23. Washington
24. Vancouver
25. Montreal
26. Anaheim
27. Columbus (from Los Angeles)
28. Calgary (from Pittsburgh)
29. Dallas (from Boston)
30. Chicago

I will come up with my own predictions of who will be picking whom and why some time before the Draft.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Another Hurricane Rebranding

With the news that the Lethbridge Hurricanes had to change their logo due to it being too similar to the Washington Capitals' logo, the Hurricanes have unveiled their new logo.  Unfortunately, it's not the one that most were hoping for, as they went with what you see above.  In case you're wondering what most were hoping for, here it is:

That was the logo on the alternate jersey, and many, myself included, hoped that the Hurricanes would go with this as a full time logo.

Back to what Lethbridge unveiled, it is what so many of the other logos they've gone through have failed to do, and that is immediately say, "This is the Lethbridge Hurricanes."  The template is still a duplicate of the Washington Capitals, which shouldn't be much of a surprise, as they've copied their template in the early 90's and more recently.  The shoulder patches, while they aren't shown clearly, also do little to really give the Hurricanes the brand identity that they've sought since their inception.

Overall, while it isn't horrible, the Hurricanes really missed a golden opportunity to give themselves a brand identity that has eluded them, and the logo from the alternate jersey would have gone a long way in doing that.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Familiar 'Tip

The Everett Silvertips have announced their new head coach, and it's the same coach that led the Silvertips in the first four years of their existence.  Kevin Constantine, who was behind the bench for the team's most successful years, returns to lead a team that has been near the bottom of the Western Conference.  Despite making the playoffs in every year they've been in existence, the Silvertips have often had to come in as the eighth seed, and considering the gap between the sixth seed and the seventh seed this year, that's not exactly good.  Constantine's return is good news for goaltender Austin Lotz, as he is a potential star on a team that needs them, and defenseman Mirco Mueller is another player that could see his game taken to another level.

Streit to Philly

In a move that underscores the Philadelphia Flyers' desperation for a number one defenseman, the Flyers traded a draft pick (2014 fourth round pick) and a lower-level prospect (Shane Harper) to the New York Islanders to obtain the negotiating rights to impending free agent defenseman Mark Streit.  It is believed that the asking price that Streit set for the Islanders was too high for the Islanders and instead of letting him walk for nothing, got something in return.

As for the Flyers, they have been beset by injuries to their blue line the last few years, with Chris Pronger (likely to retire, if he hasn't already), Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, and Nicklas Grossmann all missing time to injuries.  As for what the 35-year old defenseman from Switzerland can bring, he is an offensive force from the blue line, amassing six goals and 21 assists this past season.  However, he also has a reputation as a liability in his own zone, something that the Flyers should be able to compensate for, as the Flyers are known for having a better than average defense, and Streit could be paired with someone like Luke Schenn.

This also highlights a bigger problem for the Flyers in recent years, as they've been unable to develop a top-flight defenseman.  Their best young defensemen?  Erik Gustafsson, Oliver Lauridsen, and Brandon Manning, all of whom are on the current Flyers roster (updated as of today), yet none of the three are anyone's idea of a number one (or number two, for that matter) defenseman.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stanley Cup Prediction Time!

I inadvertently missed putting up the predictions for the Conference Finals (odd because I remembered to turn in the picks for the playoff pool I'm in, which bombed, by the way).  Today, I will put up predictions for the Stanley Cup Finals (while hopefully remembering to send in predictions to the playoff pool, even though I'm mathematically eliminated from winning anything at this point).

(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (4) Boston Bruins

Both teams have had their share of adversity in the playoffs, yet both had relatively easy times in their respective Conference Finals matchups.  Offensive edge goes to Chicago, yet don't underestimate the Bruins and their knack for clutch goals, while defensively, the Bruins are ahead here, but it's closer than you think because Chicago has a pretty good defense, as well.  Goaltending edge goes to Boston, as Tuukka Rask has proven that he can be a great starter, but Chicago has a pretty good starter, too in Corey Crawford.

Prediction: Boston in 7

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Oil

This past weekend, the Edmonton Oilers relieved Ralph Kreuger of his head coaching duties.  It didn't take them long to find a new man, as Dallas Eakins, the hot name in first-time NHL coaches, was given the job of turning a young, talented team into a playoff contender.  Eakins was a journeyman player who found success as coach in the AHL, as he led the Toronto Marlies to a Calder Cup final appearance in 2012, and was responsible for the development of the likes of James Reimer and Nazem Kadri.  The hire is seen as an outside-the-box move by the Oilers, who have traditionally hired people with some kind of tie to the organization.  Eakins' biggest challenge will be identifying a number one defenseman, as the Oilers are sorely lacking in that catagory.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Boston Rangers

In yesterday's post-game conference, there was a notable piece of clothing that Patrice Bergeron wore, and it looks a lot like what is in the picture.  As most teams do with various articles of clothing, be it a hard hat (Calgary did it during their 2004 Finals run), gold colored jacket (Boston did it in their run in 2011), or a hat with the Wonder bread logo (San Jose did it when Ron Wilson was coach), the player that does the most to help their team win wears that piece of clothing during their time in front of the media.  As for why the army jacket is the article of choice, much of that can be credited to Andrew Ference, who made a visit to the Army Rangers' training school in Georgia.  From the Bruins' website about the jacket:

"They live by a slogan, 'Rangers Lead the Way'," said Andrew Ference, on the meaning of the jacket, a specialized Bruins' one given to him by the Army Rangers, with customized Bruins and Rangers logos. "So I think it's fitting to give this to a player that led the way for us in a game. A lot less important than what [the Rangers] are doing, but for us, it's important to have guys step up. So they get to wear this for the night."
 In many respects, this kind of "trophy" is something that can build team unity in a hurry, and with the playoffs in full swing, it takes on a whole new meaning.  It's a nice thing the Bruins are doing, and it also honors in a way the men and women who serve this country.  There's no question the Bruins are hot right now, and they do so while shouldering the burden of being a rallying point for a city that needs all the good news they can get after a rather eventful past two months.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making Over the NHL

Yesterday was a big day for makeovers, as the Carolina Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars both decided to change their looks.  The first happened at 11 AM CT, and the Carolina Hurricanes.  Here is their home looks for the upcoming season:

And the away uniform:

Most astute hockey fans have panned this overall look as ripping off the Team Canada design (sans numbering).  As for what I think of them, I have to say the home reds do absolutely nothing for me.  While it is simple looking, it (along with the road whites) relegates the warning flags striping that went around the waist to inside the collar.  I personally never get why teams (or Reebok, depending on who's responsible for this pointless endeavor) put things on the inside of the collar, as no one will see it on television or in live games.  The lace collar also makes very little sense, since it doesn't add anything to what is essentially a monochromatic jersey (a few spots of black notwithstanding).

The road whites are actually better looking, though that's truthfully not saying very much at this point.   There's a little better distribution with the reds and blacks, but like the home reds, there is very little, if any, silver, and that is something that besides the warning flag striping, denies the set of any real character.

As I have said on various pieces that have covered this change, the numbering and lettering resembles what the NBA's Portland Trailblazers use (the technical term is sans serif font), which may very well lead to an identity crisis, as for all intents and purposes, the Hurricanes' set has the template of Team Canada with the Trailblazers' font.

Later that evening, the Dallas Stars had their own rebranding, but they made it an hour-long event, and Icethetics was there to cover it.  As for what happened leading up to the event, that full report will be made and I will direct you to Icethetics as it comes up, but the basics you need to know are that there will be a number retirement ceremony on March 8, 2014 for Mike Modano, as his number 9 will be going up to the rafters on the same day the Stars are to face the Minnesota Wild, and of course, the Stars had their new look revealed.

photo by Icethetics
In looking at each of the jerseys, my initial reaction was they were alright, but nothing great.  However, as I look at them more and more, I really begin to appreciate them.  The logo itself is rather simplistic, but is also an easy way to represent Dallas, as the city is sometimes called, "Big D."  The numbering and lettering isn't too special, and certainly, the exclusion of yellow in the team's color scheme doesn't do it a great favor, but the green, silver, and black color scheme works just as well and firmly entrenches the Stars as a team from Dallas and not a team relocated from Minnesota.  The shade of green used is dominant and to this point, the Stars are now the only team to use the shade of pure green in any way, shape, or form.  While not a home run look, the Stars did well and I would give it a passing grade all around.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Returning to the WHL

Today is a big day for NHL teams getting makeovers, with Carolina set to unveil their new threads at 11 AM CT while the Dallas Stars will unveil at 5:30 PM CT.  Chris from Icethetics will be covering the Dallas Stars' unveiling in person and if you want to follow on Twitter, you can follow Icethetics there.  However, if you are like me and don't have Twitter, you can still follow all of the happenings and adventures on the Icethetics site.

Both will be talked about tomorrow, but today is about a coaching hire that is curious, to say the least.  The Prince Albert Raiders announced that Cory Clouston will be behind the bench for the Raiders starting next season.  The move comes after the Raiders had recently let go of Steve Young as coach and the Raiders underwent a rebranding that sees them emphasizing the green more.  Clouston has coaching experience, most notably with the Ottawa Senators from 2009 until 2011.  Prior to that, he had been head coach at Kootenay of the WHL, leading them to a Western Conference finals berth in 2005, and was coach at Binghamton of the AHL from 2007 until his promotion to head coach in February 2009.  After being canned in Ottawa, he was head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings for the 2011-12 season, where he led them to a Conference semi-final.  Now, as Raiders coach, he will have to find some goaltending, but will likely have their two best players in Josh Morrissey and Leon Draisaitl back.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Wonderful (and Wacky) World of Oz

Before I get to the subject of today's piece, I'd like to apologize for not putting in my preview for the NHL Conference Finals (though I did file one for a playoff pool I compete in annually).  For those interested in knowing who I picked, I have Kings in 7 and Penguins in 6.

Now, today is a book review by L. Frank Baum, who is most famous for writing the book that was made into the movie The Wizard of Oz.  The book, which is actually titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, would end up being the first of a 14-part series that Baum would write in his lifetime.

If you know the movie version, then you pretty much know what to expect from the book.  However, there are parts that aren't in the movie that are in the book, most notably the foursome's travel to the southern part of the magical land.  The book isn't anything truly special (read: not as engaging), but it is an easy read, so reading this book to children is something that you can do (if you have any).  Recommended more as a story to read to kids than on your own.