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About this blog

A look at the history of the world's greatest sport.

Entries in this blog

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hockey!

Floral, Saskatchewan, is listed as a ghost town on Wikipedia. A local farmer maintains what is left of the town, which consists of now defunct church and school buildings. Much of the cemetery consists of unmarked graves, and it would surprise many to learn that many of the bodies in said graves bear a famous name. That name is one that is near and dear to all of us who call ourselves hockey fans. For, you see, although no one could have known it at the time, on this very date 88 years ago, the

ScottM

ScottM

 

The Battle of the World

In the southern United States, where I live, football reigns supreme. In SEC country, you could make a strong argument that college football is THE sport. People down here eat, breathe, and sleep football. Thus, when a couple of teams from the region have a dominating run, it is a very big deal. When those two teams are bitter rivals, it is an even bigger deal.  That is exactly what has happened in my neighboring state of Alabama recently. Either the Alabama Crimson Tide (Roll Tide!) or the Aubu

ScottM

ScottM

 

1972 Under the Microscope

The 1972 Summit Series between the Canadian and Soviet national teams was one of the most monumental events in hockey history.  On top of that, the game-winning goal by Paul Henderson to complete the Canadian comeback is now considered one of the most iconic moments in the sport's history. Despite the fact that the Soviet team had already begun its impressive Olypmic gold medal run, it was still a coming out party of sorts for the "Big Red Machine." The Summit Series left no doubt that the best

ScottM

ScottM

 

Away With You!

The NHL traces its origin back to the 1917-18 season. Nearly universally, that season is considered to be the beginning of the league, and any league prior to that is considered to be an entirely separate entity. That idea is not entirely based in fact, however. While the legal entity known as the NHL did come into being that season, its roots go back farther, to the NHA -- to a league that was, for all intents and purposes, rebranded as the NHL, simply to get rid of one man. That man was Toront

ScottM

ScottM

 

Hall of Snubs

All fans love to see their favorite teams find a diamond in the rough. Sometimes, it happens in the form of a guy who was chosen in a late round of the draft and then defies all projections to become a star. Other times, a guy who went undrafted leaves us all to scratch our heads as to how he was overlooked when he strings together a long, respectable career. In this post, I want to look at the rarest of these players -- those who went from undrafted free agent to Hall

ScottM

ScottM

 

On the Edge of Life and Death

We all know that hockey can be a dangerous game. Anyone who has watched the sport for any significant amount of time has no doubt witnessed at least one fairly significant injury. Those injuries can sideline a player for weeks or months, and can sometimes even end a career. In 1989, an injury nearly cost Clint Malarchuk his life. This is his story and the story of the miracle workers that saved his life.   Malarchuk was

ScottM

ScottM

 

Have a Hart

It is rare that a defenseman is nominated as a Hart Trophy finalist, and even rarer that the trophy is awarded to a blueliner. Chris Pronger was the last d-man to win the Hart, and before that, you have to go back to Bobby Orr. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Babe Pratt in 1944, 11 years before the introduction of the Norris trophy.   That was not always the case. Nine of the first 21 Hart Trophies were

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ScottM

 

Lest We Forget

November 11 is a holiday in many nations around the world, including the United States and Canada. It is not a holiday celebrated by the exchange of gifts or a cookout and meal as so many others are, but is one in which we are asked to reflect upon the sacrifices of others. Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada trace their roots back to the armistice of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 when hostilities on the

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Performing at Peak Production

In today's NHL, pairs of high-scoring teammates are celebrated by media and fans alike. Combinations such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, or the Sedin twins are plastered on TV screens, magazine covers, websites, and anything else you can imagine. It is easy to understand why. Goals are exciting, and players than score or set them up in bunches are fun to watch.   Today's best one-two p

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ScottM

 

Moneypuck

Of all the cities that are called home by an NHL franchise, Winnipeg, Manitoba, with its metro population of about 730,000 people is the smallest. If it were not for the fact that the city is so hockey-crazed, it seems highly unlikely that a team could survive there. While it is true that the much smaller Green Bay is able to support the Packers, Green Bay has a luxury that Winnipeg does not have: a nearby city the size of Milwaukee.   &#

ScottM

ScottM

 

Pucks and Politics

On Monday, Canadians will go to the polls to elect the nation's 42nd Parliament. As a result, it is impossible to watch a Canadian broadcast of an NHL game without being exposed to a barrage of related ads. In honor of the upcoming election, I thought it might be appropriate to take a look at five former NHL stars who ended up (nearly) entering politics in the Great White North.   The most recent member of this club is

ScottM

ScottM

 

Singing the Blues in Saskatoon

No place in the world exports more potash and uranium as the Canadian province Saskatchewan. Minerals, however, are not the only product that comes from the land of “Easy to Draw, Hard to Spell,” as the center Prairie province also leads the world in the production of NHL players per capita.   Despite the number of players that come from Saskatchewan, the province has never been home to an NHL team. While its population

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ScottM

 

Back from the Brink

Some drafts have one player that stands out above all others. In those years, the advantage of a poor season is obvious, and teams that have bad records down the stretch are often criticized for tanking. Regardless of how one feels about the subject, it is impossible not to recognize that the "strategy" sometimes has its advantages. In the 1983-84 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins lost 12 of their last 14 games -- including their last six -- just bad enough to finish thr

ScottM

ScottM

 

The Darkest of Days

None of us will ever forget where we were on this date 14 years ago. Nearly 3,000 people dies in the largest act of terrorism in United States history. Despite being the direct victim of the attacks, the United States was not the only nation affected, as the dead came from 61 distinct nationalities. Though the targets of the attack were financial, military, and political (assuming Flight 93 was intended to strike the White House or Capital as many believe), no segment

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Farewell, Coach Arbour

Some players and coaches become fan favorites despite not being the most successful or skilled. Others do have the success and skills, but a poor attitude or a dirty streak prevent them from becoming as beloved as their talent might otherwise dictate. When you find someone that faultlessly bridges the gap between a fan favorite and a high level of success, you know you have found someone special. The hockey world lost such a person last week with the passing of long-ti

ScottM

ScottM

 

Takin' It to the Streets

Human nature seems to dictate that when two cultures try to coexist, there will be clashes. No matter how strong the similarities may be, the differences always seem to rise to the top at some point or another. For instance, despite over a century of being a part of Canada, the primarily French-speaking province of Quebec nearly voted for independence in 1995, and from 1993 through 2008, the separatist Bloc Quebecois won a sizable percentage of the vote and a majotiry

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ScottM

 

Public Enemy Number One

Hard feelings from a fan base toward a player that leaves a team on bad terms is not rare in hockey or in sports generally speaking. What is somewhat uncommon is when said player's new team's fan base soon feels animosity toward said player. One such case is that of Alexei Yashin, whose contract holdout poisoned his relationship with the fans of the Ottawa Senators, and whose later lack of production and eventual buyout embittered New York Islanders' fans. Before we ge

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ScottM

 

From Russia with Love

The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s created a seismic shift in international politics. The Cold War ended, and the United States was the world’s only surviving superpower. The post-1991 world was a far different place than the pre-1991 world. The threat of nuclear war subsided, maps looked different, and the world of sports changed as well. Athletes that were previously forced to defect or get permission from communist governments to play in the West we

ScottM

ScottM

 

How Low Can You Go?

The 1974-75 NHL season was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The Philadelphia Flyers, who were the only expansion team to have won the Stanley Cup at the time, hoisted the coveted trophy for the second consecutive season. Their star center, Bobby Clarke, won the second of three Hart Trophies of his career, and their goaltender, Bernie Parent capped off one of the best two-year runs of any goalie in NHL history. Phil Esposito, who was the only player in NHL

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Missed It by THAT Much

Anytime there is a discussion about the greatest players in history, or the greatest player at this or that position, the conversation always starts with and is dominated by the guys with the most awards in their trophy cases. It makes sense. After all, the awards demonstrate the level of excellence that they have managed to attain. Sometimes, though, a guy who has performed well enough to merit recognition is overlooked, simply because someone else played at a level t

ScottM

ScottM

 

The Man from H.A.N.N.A.

With a population of less than 3,000, Hanna, Alberta is not a town one would expect to produce a large amount of famous residents. This small town on the Canadian prairies proves just how wrong first impressions can be. Hanna can lay claim to being the birthplace of the multi-platinum recording artists Nickleback. Of greater interest to hockey fans, however, is the fact that hockey hall-of-famer Lanny McDonald is among the town’s natives.  

ScottM

ScottM

 

We're All Human

Today’s edition of Annals of the Ice is different. Everything in hockey history is not positive. I think we do ourselves, the sport, and those who participate in it no favors if we ignore the sadder moments. The events I write about in this post may be the saddest events in the history of the NHL, but I hope it will make us all think about the human side of the game we love so much.   It seemed like a routine play. Colu

ScottM

ScottM

 

Bullying Their Way to the Top

The St. Louis Blues made three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup Finals from 1968-1970, making them the first post-Original Six era expansion team to make it to the Finals. While the feat is impressive, it seems a little less so when considering that the six expansion teams were put into their own division, and one of them had to make the Finals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Blues’ combined record in those three series was 0-12. Prior to the 1970-71 season, there was

ScottM

ScottM

 

Westward Ho!

From the 1942-43 season through the 1966-67 season, the NHL was an extremely elite club, comprised only of the so-called “Original Six.” While somewhat of a misnomer since only two of the six were founding members of the NHL and the league had previously had as many as ten teams, the name was still appropriate since they were the only surviving franchises from the league’s early years. The league long proved resistant to the idea of change and expansion until a series

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ScottM

 

No Cup for You!

Last night, the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted the Stanley Cup. Even though it was the Blackhawks’ third title in six seasons, it was the first time in 77 years that Chicago won the Cup on home ice. The events of this week make a look back at the 1938 Finals seem very appropriate. To say the least, that series was one of the most unusual in history.   The 1937-38 Black Hawks posted a dismal 14-25-9 record in the regular sea

ScottM

ScottM

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