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Hawks wave Olesz

The Hawks placed Rostislav Olesz on waivers today. NHL teams have 24 hours to claim Olesz and if he isn't picked up by another team could be headed to Rockford of the AHL. Olesz was aquired when the Hawks traded Campbell and his $7 million-plus salary per season to Florida. If Olesz heads to Rockford, the Hawks would still be on the hook for his salary of $3.4 million, but would gain $3,125,000 of cap room. This is important as I expect Bowman is looking for another D-Man to secure the blue line or another scorer (center) to help the power play. With Olesz waived, I expect Brandon Saad to join the team and fill the 23rd roster spot.

hokkeynutt

hokkeynutt

 

How do I become an NHL Player?

While coaching one day, an 12 year old player skated up to me and said, "Hey Coach, what can I do to make it to the NHL"? I was taken back at first because I saw the seriousness in his eyes and he was very sincere with his questions. At first I gave the typical "hard work" line that we've heard so many times, but after giving the question more thought I would have liked to, and should have said more than just work hard. So what does it take? First off, the most important thing for a young player is to keep up their grades! School work should be a top priority. The dream of making it to the NHL are slim, but no child wants to hear that. Parents we have a responsibility to prepare them for "Plan B" if they don't wear an NHL sweater which means they need to have decent grades for other options to open up. It takes more than just lacing up the skates every day and a work out regime to add muscle mass to increase your chances. There obviously needs to be some talent and a good understanding of the game, but what I really see making an average player into an effective player is heart and passion. Players who play with heart and a passion to be there always seem to win out with the coaches over a talented player who is lazy. It's like the old saying that we've seen hanging up in a locker room somewhere reminding us all the time to give it 100%: "Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard." Speaking of the coaches; listen to them! Ok, so we know that you have to have some talent, heart, a brain, and a passion. What else is there? To be honest, a little luck. There are eyes everywhere around the hockey rink. You never know who is watching you play and who that person is connected to. If you have "the right stuff" word will get out and you will be found. There are many places you can play to increase your visibility but if you are really that good, you will be found. I remember filling in for a coach who had been suspended and coached a game in Brick against some kid name James Van...something. When the puck hit his stick, it made a different sound. You could just tell that this kid was going to be found and he was. He didn't play AAA at 12 to be found. He was playing AA the time he was noticed (and probably was noticed a lot earlier than that). The point is, he wasn't traveling all over the country while his parents shelled out thousands of dollars to be recognized. He just played and someone heard about him. So what would I say now to that players question? It would probably sound something like this: "Johnny, if you want to play in the NHL then I support your dream 100%, but there is nothing I can say or do to help your chances. It's really up to you. I will guide you the best I can, but remember that this is just a game and your family and school should be the top priorities right now. Keep working hard in practice. When I ask you guys to skate to the blue line that means all the way to the blue line. Don't short yourself in any drill and always keep trying things that are outside your comfort zone. If you fall down, get right back up. If you lose the puck, go back and get it. At the end of the day, if you do everything in your power and do not make it to the NHL, just remember why you play this game to begin with. To have fun." I guess I'll have something to tell the next person who asks me that question.

pags569

pags569

 

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

This year we've already seen major ups and downs in Philadelphia. The powerplay is either at peak performance or barely a powerplay at all, Hartnell is either on his feet or on his rear, and our 9 million dollar man Bryzgalov at times has looked stellar and at others looked lost. However the one thing that we continually repeat is the ol' "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mistake. The Flyers came out of the gates strong and jumped to a 4-1 start which for some reason signaled to Flyers brass the need to toy with the lineup and recall Brayden Schenn from Adirondack. Making his Flyers debut against Washington in an embarrassing 5-2 loss that saw him play 11 minutes and go -3. Since then the Flyers have gone a pathetic 1-3 and have played very mediocre hockey. To be fair I do not blame Schenn's play for the poor results of the team but what I don't get was the reason for bringing him up in the first place. He was performing at a very high level in the AHL netting 4 goals and 4 assists in 4 games while the Flyers were having very little problems putting pucks in the net and winning games of their own. There seemed to me to be very little reason to make the move. The move though was made and Schenn has played very subpar hockey. In 4 games played he is averaging 14:52 TOI and produced zero points and has a -5 rating. In the loss to Washington he was on ice for 3 of the 5 goals surrendered and during stretches you wondered if it was nerves or if the kid just isn't ready. Schenn has talent, there is no doubting that but to me this is signs of a bigger problem in Philadelphia and that is mismanagement of young talent. The list goes on and on of players that have been called up too early or at the wrong time by the Flyers and have either disappeared from the game or gone on to bigger better things with other teams. Patrick Sharp and Justin Williams to name a few. The problem with Schenn is that he was obviously started at the AHL level to circumvent a 1.4 million dollar roster bonus he was due if he was on the Flyers opening night roster. When it was announced he was sent down to work out an injury nobody questioned it but what it did was create a situation where everyone knew Schenn belonged in the NHL but was being put in the AHL for suspicious reasons. Fast forward to the Capitals game and now your dealing with a player who should have been here all along and inserting him into the lineup somewhere juggling things around to get him playing time and you end up with the results you've seen since. A complete botch job by the Flyers management if you ask me. (Repost - Cessna|10/27/2011|http://www.centericenews.com/_/articles/ahl/if-it-aint-broke-dont-fix-it-r71)

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Mls Surpasses Nhl In Per-Game Attendance

During it's inaugural season 1996, Major League Soccer's (MLS) average attendance was about 17,406 but dropped off between 1999-2002. This year marked an all-time average high of 17,870 surpassing the NHL and NBA bringing it to the 3rd most attended major league in the United States. MLS's average game attendance numbers still pale in comparison to the country's top two sports -- the National Football League (66,960) and Major League Baseball (30,352). Observers of the the MLS attribute the growing interest in part to the construction of more fan-friendly soccer stadiums as well as the league's recognition of an established soccer culture in the Pacific Northwest. That region now has three MLS teams: the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps. The atmosphere in the newly built soccer specific stadiums, which usually hold 18k-20k fans, helps the fans feel more connected to their team while the average ticket price remains around $25. On the contrary, ticket prices for NHL games only seem to be going up, pricing the die-hard fans right out of their seats. The current league wide average ticket prices to see a NHL game is approximately $48.50 before you factor in parking, food and drinks. That means for a family of four to attend a NHL game, they would need to shell out between $200-$250 for 3 hours of entertainment. That's about $100 more than the same family attending a MLS game. Not helping the situation for the NHL is the "post-lockout" rules. The clutch and grab ways have since gone by leading to more speed in the game, but that also seemingly turned the NHL into a special teams contest due to the number of penalties called. It's safe to say that a free flowing NHL game is something to behold but when 5 on 5 play is hampered by power plays it changes the game. The lack of consistency in the penalty calls between games, even from one period to the next, frustrates even the casual fans. Add to that the southern expansion teams inability to even draw a half capacity crowd leading to inflated number of teams in the league thus causing the dilution of skill. What's next for the MLS? It's eyes are locked on the MLB but that might take another decade. As for the NHL, the ability to regain it's ranking at #3 is squarely in it's hands. Realignment, rule changes, lower ticket prices and even league down-sizing should all be in play. As with most situations, time will tell.

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I Am Rick Tocchet

“I am Rick Tocchet” “Oh yeah, well I am Mike Richter! Try and score on me” Those are the words of two small brothers in the 1980’s playing knee hockey in New Jersey suburbs. I often take a trip down memory lane to recall the greatest moments of my childhood and, more often than not, find that most of the really great memories revolve around hockey. From blocking off sewers so the ball would not get lost in the streets to bringing buckets of water outside in the winter to freeze the back patio just to pretend for a moment that I’m a Flyer. This so called “game” is much more than just something played. It’s something experienced, cherished, loved, and shared. My first introduction to this sport came in September of 1984. I was a young child and recall my father asking my brother and me if one of us wanted to go to see a hockey game. At the age of 5, my options were playing Atari or go and do something I knew nothing about. Naturally, the kid in me wanted to play video games, but my father told me we would have a great time and dragged me with him. Boy was he right. That first game I went to was vs. the Islanders and we sat in the front row! My mouth was open the entire night in awe of the speed, size, and of course, the big hits right in front of me! I was in complete amazement and have been officially addicted to hockey since that night. My father loved to see me smile. He would continue taking me to more and more games over the next few years, and while I don’t recall specifics to any of the actual games (expect when he put me on his shoulders when Ron Hextall scored his first NHL goal) I remember the bonding experience. I remember taking bets how far we though the Ben Franklin Bridge was once it came into view. I remember laughing. I remember being happy. A few years later in the fall of 1988, my father passed away suddenly and everything had felt like it came to a halt. I was old enough to understand what was happening and all those cherished moments we had together would now only exist in a memory. But that bond and energy we had from creating life long memories stemmed from a shared passion, Ice Hockey, and I was just getting started. I was still Rick Tocchet, my brother was still Mike Richter, and the rivalry was still very much alive. We played travel hockey together and here is where my true love of the game really broke out of its shell. I didn’t play because I wanted to be an NHL star or because I wanted to win every single game. I played because I loved to. The locker room banter, my grandparents making every game, and the lifelong friendships I would develop as a result of being part of a team. These 18 guys were like family. It wasn’t just Rick Tocchet and Mike Richter anymore. We had Brian Leech, Bruce Driver, Mark Messier, Pavel Bure, and many more on our side and were willing to do whatever it took for their hockey family. It didn’t matter if we won or lost the game. All we cared about was going out there and playing the best we could and have fun. After my playing days I did not want to hang up the skates so I did the next best thing I could think of. I went into coaching youth players. For over 10 years, and all different age groups/levels, my experiences and memories were being passed on. I was sharing a passion and joy with others who were once in my shoes. These players were here to create their own memories and I was lucky enough to be part of that. Now, the little boy who was once running his brother into a wall was seeing things come full circle….but I’m not there quite yet. I was blessed earlier this year with the arrival of my twin boys. Now, everyone in the world knows how much I love hockey and have already prepared me for the possibility they may not play that sport. While it may break my heart, it honestly does not matter. The only things that matter to me are being there for every single moment of their youth, to help them have their own experiences. To help them find something they cherish, love, and want to share like my dad with me. They don’t need to be Rick Tocchet….they can be whoever they want.

pags569

pags569

 

Sean Avery Might Have Magic Powers

More and more I wonder if Sean Avery has some kind of magical power. The Rangers traded for him in February 2007, helping to put Avery on a more prominent stage than he had in LA as a King. Avery’s antics and agitating suddenly seemed more noteworthy. Avery loved it in New York but couldn’t come to a contract agreement with the Rangers, so in the summer of 2008, Avery signed with the Dallas Stars. Avery had a four-year contract, but he wasn’t playing for the team he wanted to be. In Dallas, he made his infamous “sloppy seconds” comment and the Stars decided to part ways with Avery, whatever it took, whether it meant stashing him in the AHL for the rest of his four years, or simply paying him not to play for Dallas. But then, the Rangers decided they wanted Avery back and claimed him off of Dallas’ hands, with the Stars on the hook for half of Avery’s salary. Not only was Avery back in the NHL, he was back playing for the team he wanted to play for. Magical. And then, just a few weeks ago, Avery was once again sent to the AHL, told that the Rangers had no place for him. Avery’s NHL career seemed over. Again. Why would the Rangers ever recall him? What would they need Avery for? And yet, here we are. Avery is once again on his way back to the NHL. As a Ranger no less. Coach John Tortorella says Avery is needed because fourth-liner Mike Rupp is injured. There’s no guarantee Avery will even crack the lineup. Except you know he will. Because Avery is some kind of wizard who is magically keeping himself in the NHL. How many other NHL vets manage to get recalled to their team by a coach that seems to pretty actively hate them? Just like horror movies have taught us the importance of the double tap, Sean Avery’s career has taught us never to count him out. The man is a boomerang. Every time he’s tossed out of the NHL, he returns right back to where he was. And when he’s done with the NHL (if that ever actually happens), my guess is Avery will coach at Hogwarts. Maybe he’ll show them the spell to screen a keeper. (11.02.2011 | Author: Steven Ovadia | puckupdate.com)

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