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ReggieLeach

Reggie Leach’s 19 goals during the 1975-76 playoffs is a record that still stands today. (Image courtesy Shoot To Score Hockey)

Reggie Leach has the statistics and the hardware, but a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame still eludes him. That could change on July 9.

Leach, now 62 and far from his playing days, said he doesn’t think about induction into the Hall of Fame, but his son Jamie believes otherwise.

“I think it would mean the world to him,” said the younger Leach. “I know [the Hall] is probably one of his goals he set for himself. He’s spoken openly that it has been a goal of his, and, I think, if he could do it all again, he would do some things differently.”

Jamie, 43 and a former NHLer in his own right, is referring to Reggie’s past of alcohol abuse, which is a topic Reggie speaks to youth about at his Shoot To Score hockey camps.

“I like to talk to the kids about life choices,” said Reggie. “I’m not an expert, but I tell the kids what I think is important, and I think talking to them about choices they make is important.”

Reggie, a Stanley Cup champion and winner of the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP, may have gone unrecognized by the Hall of Fame’s selection committee thus far, but Winnipeg singer-songwriter John K. Samson is trying to see his hometown hero have his name called.

Samson, who was not available for comment, released a song on his latest album Provincial dedicated to Leach. In fact, the song’s title is a link to an online petition – the very petition that Samson submitted on Feb. 23 in hopes of the Hall recognizing a boyhood idol.

“We’ve received a few petitions this year,” said the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Kelly Masse. “[Samson’s] submission – the singing outside the Hall of Fame – was interesting and unique.”

Leach said he first became aware of the song during CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada, when Samson performed it on stage in Whitehorse, YT.

“I didn’t even know who he was,” said Leach. “There was a big concert, and he sang the song and talked about the people in Riverton. He came down the stairs (after his performance) and I saw him. He researched everything. The song is really, really good.”

As the song touches on, Reggie comes from a lower class upbringing. One of the more powerful lines in the song comes when Samson explains how Leach played on borrowed skates until the age of 14.

“I think telling people about my background is important,” said Reggie. “It doesn’t matter how big a community is, all it takes is hard work. You don’t have to be rich to make it.”

Whether or not Reggie makes it into the Hall of Fame come July 9, he said he’s prouder of the work he’s doing now than he is of any statistic or award he received during his playing days. However, he still shows his appreciation for Samson and the over 3,000 people who’ve signed the petition.

“There have been a few groups trying to get me in,” said Reggie. “These people doing that, those who have signed the petitions, those are the people who are my Hall of Famers.”

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For trade’s sake

April 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

Gone and passed is another iteration of the NHL’s Trade Deadline, and what started as an absolute snore ended with a windfall of deals coming in the last hour leading up to the deadline.

Marian Gaborik moved from the New York Rangers to the Columbus Blue Jackets in one of the biggest deals of Deadline Day.

Big names — I’d reckon we can still call Marian Gaborik a big name — were on the move, while the minor deals will go largely unheralded as the future effect will be little more than a blip or a fun fact years down the road.

Fans in Minnesota lauded the move of Minnesota Wild GM landing former Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville, albeit coming at quite the cost. Philadelphia Flyers fans screamed at their phones and televisions as Steve Mason moved from Columbus to the City of Brotherly Love. Completing the spectrum, armchair GMs are left scratching their head on what exactly went on to get Washington Capitals GM George McPhee to give up Filip Forsberg less than a year after he drafted the Swede in the first round of the entry draft.

While nearly every team added at the deadline — either in the way of future picks, prospects, or roster players — there are a few which stood pat. On deadline day, the Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders, and Montreal Canadiens made nary a roster change.

Granted, pre-deadline the Wings added sought after defense prospect Danny DeKeyser, and the Canadiens sealed a deal with Los Angeles for Davis Drewiske. In addition, it’s not as if the Islanders didn’t try to improve as, come deadline day, they reportedly kicked the tires on Brandon Saad because apparently Garth Snow thinks Chicago Blackhawks’ GM Stan Bowman can’t tell his head from a hole in the ground.

But with the lack of moves, some fans threw their hands in the air in outrage. A large sampling of Twitter action would probably be quite profanity-laced, as fans derided their favourite team’s management for not doing anything. But what is the sake of trading for trading’s sake?

If GMs made deals at the behest of fans who cheer for the club they run, it’s safe to say that franchise’s would be run into the ground.

Red Wings fans wanted to see Johan Franzen on the outs.

A litany of Red Wings fans have cried for Johan Franzen to be moved or outright waived without a thought as to the implications for the team going forward. If the Wings could have found a suitor for Franzen — if he was on the block, he would have had several, of that you can be sure — the return they would have gotten could have been slim. Fair market value for a proven playoff performer is something these fans aren’t even taking into consideration.

Fans who are making snap decisions just want to see something happen. They want something to happen so they can be apart of the flurry without careful consideration as to the implications of a deal. Making a deal, just any old deal, doesn’t necessarily provide anything to the team.

When addressing the media as the buzzer sounded on deadline day, the aforementioned Bowman told the press the management team had, “to ask ourselves the question, does it make us better? And to make a move just to make a move, we don’t believe in that.”

And as should be the case.

Sometimes staying the course is better than making a decision you’ll later regret. The GMs are doing what they believe is best for the team they’re trying to build. Whether it’s the right move or not, that’s to be seen. But there’s a careful calculation to be made.

Sometimes doing nothing is the best move to be made.