Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Tuesday's Thoughts

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is looking at jumping on the shootout bandwagon.

There are strong opinions on both sides of the argument for and against shootouts. Some say penalty shots provide the most exciting moments in hockey and a series of them to decide a game ups the thrill quotient. Others say it is a cheap way to decide a game.

Put me in the latter category. I hate seeing a (team) hockey game decided by a 5-person shootout. Penalty shots are one thing, shootouts are another. Why spent 65 hard fought minutes to have a game decided by a mini skills competition? Why not have a fastest-skating competition to give a further bonus point?

It’s also funny that another dissenting view comes from Boris Valabik, the Slovak-born defenseman who grew up where shootouts are ‘old hat’

Many European leagues use the shootout, yet (Kitchener) Rangers defenceman Boris Valabik, who is from Slovakia, has reservations about it.

"It's not a new thing for me," he said. "I don't really think it's a good idea to bring it to North American hockey. It works good in Europe, but they're different kinds of players. They play a different style.

"I don't know if people enjoy it more than seeing a full period of hockey."
Valabik said the shootout is the great equalizer in that a weak team can beat a better team by trapping the opposition for three periods and overtime and not bothering to even attempt scoring, and then taking its chances in the shootout.

"I was part of a shootout in an under-18 tournament against Russia and we won and to be honest we didn't have a better team than Russia," he said.
Another incentive for defensive teams like the Everett Silvertips to keep the score at 0-0 for the entire game?

Quick-Fix solutions: They are so late 90’s!

Sidney Crosby is now officially the face of Reebok Hockey

It looks like Reebok has finally confirmed that Crosby will be their official NHL endorsement whore. It’s strange, however, that Reebok’s official site doesn’t have anything to mention about Crosby.

Sportsnet has learned Crosby and Reebok have agreed to a five-year, multi-million dollar endorsement deal with an option for a sixth year.

While, this partnership will be announced Tuesday in Toronto, sources say, financially this deal tops the scales, and exceeds any previous arrangements some of the game's greats like Gretzky and Lemieux would have signed at the height of their careers.
I said before that this is a good thing for the NHL. Any mainstream exposure and adversiting campaigns that outside parites want to run with NHL players can only be a good thing. It’s amazing that anyone is even considering such a campaign given the NHL’s product and labour problems.

I just hope Crosby is a much better actor than Wayne Gretzky.

Extraleague Playoff Update

Pardubice 4 – Kladno 1 (Series 2-0 for Pardubice)

Jan “Boo-Boo” Bulis had a hat-trick and scoring champ Michal Mikeska had 3 assists as Pardubice won Game 2 by an identical score to their Game 1 Triumph. Jan Hrdina had the lone goal for Kladno.

Slavia Prague 3 – Liberec 1 (Series 2-0 for Slavia)
Zigmund Palffy may have had a rather pedestrian 2nd half to the regular season, but he’s been firing on all cylinders in these playoffs. Palffy had 2 goals in Slavia’s Game 2 triumph and has 5 points in 2 games so far. Tomas Kloucek (Liberec) took himself out of the game in the 2nd period with a rather stupid 5+game penalty.

Trencin 4 – Zilina 3
(Series tied at 1)
Trencin has had a brutally hard time against Zilina so far as they needed overtime just to squeak out their first playoff victory. Ex-Coyotes farmhand Peter Fabus carried Trencin with a hat-trick while Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra each chipped in with 2 assists apiece. Meanwhile, Marian Hossa missed his second straight game.

Kosice 3 (SO) – Nitra 2 (Series 2-0 for Kosice)
After 10 minutes of overtime, this game went to the dreaded shootout and Kosice won on a goal by Arne Krotak (who holds the current Slovak Extraleague record for career goals scored). Jiri Bicek chipped in with 1 goal while Martin Cibak was held pointless.

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