Archives For October 2011

If I told you in July that, at the quarter mark of the season, we would be looking at a division leading Florida Panthers squad, you would probably laugh me out of the room.  But that’s exactly what we have.

And should we really be surprised?  In 2005-06, Dale Tallon took over as the General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, a team toiling on the verge of obscurity.  In 2009-10, the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup.  He wasn’t on the ice, he wasn’t in the press box, he wasn’t even in the arena.  No, the architect of the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks — their first such victory since 1961 and the days of Mikita and Hull — was watching from his new post in South Florida.  Dale Tallon was the new General Manager of the Florida Panthers.

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I’m a Winnipegger. Born there, raised there, and, until recently, had lived there my entire life. The only live NHL game I have ever been to was around Christmas in 1996 — the visiting Chicago Blackhawks losing to the Jets. I was, and still am, a Blackhawks fan and when the first brand of Jets went south to Phoenix, it didn’t hit me that hard. I was seven-years-old, far more concerned with figuring out mathematics and when I could bring out the toboggan. With fifteen years of support for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose after the Jets departed, I grew up knowing that Winnipeg is a hockey city — not by being told, but from experiencing it first hand.

I’ve written about this before on this blog, but I woke up late the day they came back. In a move that is very uncharacteristic of myself, I called in sick to work — a lie — and headed down to the Portage and Main, followed by a walk to the Forks. The NHL was back. The city was absolutely buzzing; it still is. It was something I had never experienced in Winnipeg.

Lost within the buzz was the reality of what was coming to Winnipeg.

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It was a scary sight on Monday night: an errant high stick, the agonizing yell of a grown man, and his immediate rush of hands to grasp his face.

In a matter of seconds, an injury that could have been avoided sidelined Philadelphia Flyers Captain and defensive stalwart Chris Pronger for what GM Paul Holmgren has said will be a period of two to three weeks.

And then, it began.  The old debate, reopened.  No, not fighting, something that was covered just last week.  This is the visor debate.  However, this debate is much simpler than tackling what has become a very touchy subject in fighting.

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