Recent FiveForBoarding Post on ThePensNation.com

fiveforboardingIt is finally October and the NHL season has officially begun. The first games of the 2013-2014 NHL season took place yesterday and hockey news is already creating a buzz. So while I watch the Detroit vs. Buffalo game, I will fill you in if you got a late start on watching hockey (don’t lie – I know I was the only one watching hockey during the Buccos’ playoff game).

Parros vs. Orr: Even if you did not watch one second of the Toronto vs. Montreal game on 10/1/13, you still probably saw the fight between Colton Orr and George Parros. Both players are known enforcers, and the fight ended up getting a bit out of hand when Parros smacked his head off the ice. Ouch. Long story short, Parros was escorted off the ice on a stretcher and is out indefinitely.

The interesting part of this whole fighting/concussion debacle is how media sources are deciding to respond. ESPN wrote an article about how Parros’ concussion reignited the fighting debate, while Sports Illustrated took the completely opposite viewpoint saying that the Parros’ injury would not affect NHL rules at all. The best coverage of the injury and what it does or does not mean for the NHL rulebook came from Hockey Night in Canada (no surprise there). HNIC actually had the argument between analysts. See that video here.

READ MORE OF THIS ARTICLE HERE: http://bit.ly/1g5Fkia 

 

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Pittsburgh Hockey Boom of the 90s: How I Became a Fan

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Teacher: “What were the names of the three ships Columbus lead to America in 1492?”

Elementary School Me: “The Nina, the Pinta, and the Civic Arena”

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If that doesn’t explain my connection to hockey, I don’t know what does. And yes, that really happened. For all of you who didn’t pay attention in elementary school history class, the third ship was the Santa Maria. Easy mistake, right? That being said, I’d like to delve into my love for hockey and how I became a part of the Lemieux-induced Pittsburgh hockey boom of the early 90s.

On February 8, 1997, I went to my first NHL hockey game. I was six and by the end of overtime my life had changed forever. You would have thought the game, a regular season match up between the Penguins and the Red Wings, was the Stanley Cup Final. I was so excited. I finally got to join my Canadian father at a hockey game. If that isn’t something every child of a Canadian father dreams about, the father should be ashamed (see also my cousin Josh who’s daughter got her first personalized Leafs jersey before age 2- because why limit your endless years of disappointment?).

Anyway, back to the game in 1997- I don’t really remember much, other than seeing Mario Lemieux’s face on the jumbotron, a lot. It turns out the game was actually pretty epic. Red Wings superstar, recent NHL Hall of Famer, and league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan scored a hat trick. Pens legend, number 1 draft pick, and current owner Mario Lemieux recorded two goals. The game went into overtime. And although the Red Wings won 6-5, I knew I had to get my Dad to keep bringing me back to the Igloo. As we left the arena, my Dad informed me the game was Scotty Bowman’s 1000th win. “Oh” I thought. “That’s cool, I guess. 1000 seems like a big number.” I didn’t even really notice the coaches on the benches, how was I supposed to realize I was watching Scotty Bowman make history? For the record, Scotty Bowman is still the winningest coach in NHL history with a grand total of 1,244 wins.

As the years continued and I got older, I started to read hockey books, especially the Hockey News Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time.  I couldn’t believe some of the stories in that book, especially the ones about Terry Sawchuk. I quickly became the little girl with a lot of obscure hockey knowledge. Yes, I was the kid who left American Girl dolls locked in the closet while making collages from my IceTime game programs and begging my Mom to buy me hockey cards.

Hockey just kept getting more and more fun. I got to see Matthew Barnaby dance around and make fun of Lyle Odelein for looking like Cornelius from Planet of the Apes, which was particularly hilarious when I was 8 years old.

I got to meet Joey Mullen, in a hideous sweatshirt (only to be outdone by his 90s Cosby-esque sweater).

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I also went to the game at Mellon Arena when the power went out, twice. Fans chanted “New A-Re-Na” and my Canadian cousins who were there with me, enthusiastically reminded me that “this never happens in Toronto”.

I remember hearing about Evgeni Malkin for the first time. No one really knew exactly when he was coming (or how to pronounce his name), but everyone was really excited for the new Russian superstar.

I remember when Scuderi informed the press that he was “The Piece“. I could go on with my fondest/funniest Pens memories forever, but that isn’t the point. The point is my love affair with hockey continues as I write this hockey blog, but I want to hear about everyone else.

How did you become a hockey fan? What are some of your earliest memories of NHL hockey? Feel free to comment or tweet me @AndiPerelman!

The PensNation has a new writer: Me

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For those of you who aren’t following my Twitter or my Facebook religiously, you might have missed some exciting news. Hakuna matata to all you non-stalkers, I will update you on what you’ve missed. I recently started writing NHL News for www.thepensnation.com. The PensNation is a blog and radio broadcast that is credentialed at Penguins games.

Here are the links to the three articles I have written so far:

This is my debut on the PensNation Radio Show, 4/24/13: http://bit.ly/11nCX0I. You can download and subscribe to the Radio Show on iTunes here.

NHL 2014 Stadium Series Evokes Extreme Backlash on Twitter

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If you are a hockey fan, you have probably heard the NHL’s recent announcement about their plans to have five additional outdoor games (in addition to the Winter Classic) during the 2014 season. See below for the tentative schedule:

Stadium Series Schedule

This announcement has been met with mixed reactions from agents, media, and fans. While some fans (like me) are thrilled to attend more outdoor games, others are against it. People against the “Stadium Series” argue one of a couple things:

1. The additional Stadium Series games will take away from the spectacle of the Winter Classic
2. More outdoor games=less special
3. The games are a ploy for the NHL to make more money from larger stadium capacity, increased viewing on TV, and sales of specialized merchandise

Other naysaying fans are simply hung up on how ice will be maintained in the Los Angeles climate.

Sporting News writer, Sean Gentille, wrote NHL Stadium Series a Gamble on Moneymaking Power of Outdoor Games, a blog post that discusses how additional outdoor games dilute the market. The article begins, “At some point in young adulthood, you figure out that, theoretically, you could eat birthday cake at every meal. Most people don’t.” While I see what Gentille is saying, the additional outdoor games are not under the label “Winter Classic”. The Winter Classic is still unique with the New Year’s Date, pre-game 24/7 episodes on HBO, intrigue for casual fans, and other festivities like the alumni games. I don’t know about everyone else, but I love cake all the freaking time.

Stadium Series games will be played both before and after February’s 2014 Sochi Olympics. While it is not confirmed that NHL players will be allowed to play in the Olympics, it is conceivable that these Stadium Series games provide a buffer for fans in case negotiations between the IOC, NHL, NHLPA, and IIHF head south (although I doubt that will be the case).

At this point, the Stadium Series is an experiment for the league. Employees know that one outdoor game works, so now it is time to try out more. The league is a business, remember? I am sure NHL bigwigs are hoping the games will bring in more hockey fans, create increased support after the lockout, and yes, rake in additional revenue. If the league can gain fans and increase TV viewing numbers after a horribly long lockout, why wouldn’t the Stadium Series work?

Everyone loves a little more hockey in their lives. And according to John Collins, the COO of the NHL, “No one would be more concerned about not screwing up a good thing than we would be”. Give JC a chance! (You see what I did there?)

Here are some of the best tweets I’ve seen from hockey agents and media discussing the Winter Classic and Stadium Series:

Allan Walsh, Octagon Hockey Agent Tweet

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Sidenote: I just joined the Pens Nation team at http://www.thepensnation.com. Be sure to keep an eye out for this banner on the website to see my posts!

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NHL Trade Deadline Lacks Excitement

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Yesterday was the NHL’s trade deadline. I was excited and ready for something crazy to happen. As expected there was tons of talk about Rick Nash and his desire to be traded (Blue Jackets GM, Howson, even came out and said Nash asked to be traded- see update comment on Rick Nash article). But nothing really happened.

Yes, trades were made, but was anything really substantial? No, probably not. In fact, the trade deadline ended up being so boring compared to other years, the people tweeting trades had to discuss trades that were being turned down rather than accepted. I don’t know how many times I had to hear that the Sharks were not willing to offer up Couture for the Nash trade, or the Rangers didn’t want to dissipate their young core of players by paying too much for another forward. And then their were the players reactions on twitter. These ranged from thanking the city they played in, welcoming new teammates, to tweets from players not being traded at all.

Maple Leaf’s Joffrey Lupul tweeted this:

It seemed that everyone was trying to buy star players, but no one was willing to sell. Some teams (the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames…etc.) did not make any splash in the trade-realm at all. No one was traded or added. The overall count for trade-deadline Monday was 32 players involved with 11 draft picks and 16 trades.

The team with the biggest moves seemed to be the Nashville Predators. They traded draft picks and prospects for winger Andre Kostitsyn, center Paul Gaustad, and a 4th round pick (not to mention their acquisition of the amazon-of-a-defenseman Hal Gill last week). The Preds are making moves because they want the cup now. With some of their best players’ contracts ending in the next year or two (including Shea Weber and Ryan Suter), they need to make their cup push as soon as possible. It is hard to say if the choices were really worth the price though. What happens if Weber and Suter leave and the Preds have no young prospects? This years trades were definitely fueled by short-term rather than long-term goals for Nashville.

At this point, it is also hard to tell who the winners really were this year. The consensus around the NHL is that the Canucks made some nice trades and really lucked out with their trade for Pahlsson. This was another short-term push for the Canucks who are itching for the Stanley Cup. They ended up trading off one of their best prospects, rookie Cody Hodgson to the Sabres. I am just left to wonder what will happen to these teams in the upcoming years with all these short-term goals. Are the acquired players for the Canucks and Preds good enough to take them to the Stanley Cup? To be honest, the Canucks probably have a better chance than the Preds.

Do you think any deadline day trades will be particularly successful? Were you disappointed with the lack of big moves made?

To see the other trades that took place, feel free to check out my twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/fiveforboarding where I was tweeting the trades on Monday as they were happening.