Dwight Howard, Lakers meet the Stanley Cup; Metta World Peace eats almonds out of it (PHOTOS)

22 Oct

LA Kings on Who Say

This is comedian JB Smoove Dwight Howard, moments after someone told him the Los Angeles Lakers had gifted him this pimp cup in honor of his first game with the franchise on Sunday. Alas, the Stanley Cup actually belongs to Staples Center mates the Los Angeles Kings, who brought the Chalice by the Lakers' locker room.

Howard had an immediate kinship with the Cup, seeing as they both inexplicably landed in Los Angeles after flirting heavily with the New York area, and have both been in Justin Bieber's delicate hands.

Here's Howard, wondering how the Carolina Hurricanes ended up on the Cup, much like we all have at one point or another:

The Lakers had different reactions to hockey's Holy Grail. Reserve center Robert Sacre's eyes "immediately lit up" when he saw it because he's Canadian. Beto Duran of ESPN Radio in LA reports that "Kobe glanced at Stanley Cup. Steve Nash didn't stop because he has previous pics with the trophy."

Then there's Metta World Peace, who also inspected it ... and in the process became the second most ridiculous name to ever touch the Stanley Cup, right behind Håkan Loob.

Here's video of Metta eating almonds out of the Stanley Cup. Seriously:

Alas, by touching the Cup, the former Ron Artest is jinxed from ever winning one in the NHL. Also, he's now eligible for disciplinary action from Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety, should the need arise.

So there you go: The Stanley Cup in the hands of an NBA team.

#EndTheLockout …

Second Howard photo via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation; Metta World Peace photo by Arash Markazi.

Tags: , , , , Metta, , photo
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The Vent: Thanking Gary Bettman; if Drake rapped about the lockout

21 Oct

THE VENT is a forum for rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at .)

Reader Martin Devon would like to thank the commissioner for, ahem, readjusting the popularity of the NHL:

I'm a long time hockey fan who would like to thank Gary Bettman for his contribution to the game of hockey.

When I was 8 years old, my dad made a deal with me: If I did well in school, he would take me to see a real live hockey game at the Montreal Forum. I held up my end of the bargain, so my dad got tickets for us to see the Game 2 semi-final game against the Flyers. Back then (this was 40 years ago), getting a ticket to a Habs game at the Forum was impossible. God knows what he had to pay for the nosebleed seats we got.

I grew up, moved to Los Angeles and became an LA Kings fan, a totally different experience. Sure, the team didn't win, but there were compensations. I could actually see the game live without the aid of binoculars. Wow. I never realized how fast NHL'ers were. Or the how intense it is when a two players crash into the boards.

For my birthday, my wife got center ice, third row seats to see the Kings play the Habs. I thanked her profusely and she looked at me quizzically -- "what's the big deal?"  You could buy tickets on the glass for less than my dad paid for tickets in the rafters in Montreal. Finally I could enjoy great hockey in affordable seats. You didn't have noisy crowds to deal with. You could get a beer and a hot dog without waiting in a long line. You could get out of the parking lot quickly. What a joy!

But then Bruce McNall bought the team and brought that Gretzky fellow to play here. Oy!  Now it started to get crowded. You could get seats but it became much more expensive. It got worse when those party poopers Tim Leiweke and Dean Lombardi got involved. They had to move the team into a fancy new area. Then the SOB's crossed the line -- they built a strong team. Worse yet, the team put it all together and the Kings won the cup. Now LA is starting to have the same problems we used to have in Montreal.

The damn rink is so crowded. We have stupid parades down Figueroa street. People who never heard of hockey are starting to take an interest. "Hey what's that parade for?"  "What's that shiny silver cup for?" Shut up! Nothing to see here. Move along.

I had to wait 3 hours to get my damn picture taken with the cup. They even sold out season tickets this year! What the hell?

The Kings organization is ruining hockey for me. Hockey was supposed to be my private thing.

Enter my hero Gary Bettman to the rescue. He recognized that hockey is getting too popular and came up with the perfect solution -- the LOCKOUT!  Sure, it hasn't slowed down the popularity of hockey in Canada yet, but you have to give Gary time. It is already starting to work over here.

Did you know that there are only 4 more preseason basketball games before the NBA season starts? That first month where the Kings could market to fans before basketball starts? Gone. Meanwhile, the Lakers picked up Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to play with Kobe Bryant (Canadians, think Parise and Suter signing with Philly). Genius!  That's all you hear about anywhere. Sure, the sports radio guys were lamenting the lockout a bit this summer:

"Bummer about the Kings. I was just starting to learn about the sport. Seems like fun...oh well. After the break, we'll talk about how Lakers practice went. Stay tuned on ESPN710."

Hockey is fading away. If Gary can stretch the lockout to take out the whole year before you know it all those crowds will be gone, I can get my cheap glass seats again and enjoy hockey in peace and quiet as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Thank you Gary. I appreciate all your efforts. Don't think that they go unnoticed.

Kyle Allen wants you to run to your windows, open them up, stick your heads out and scream a now-cliché line from a classic 1975 Sidney Lumet film:

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a recession. Everybody's out of work and scared of losing their hockey. The dollar buys a nickel's worth of players, teams are going bust, fans wear a football jersey in public. Basketball fans are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

We know the players make too much and their contracts are too long, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that CBA talks have ended without a deal, as if that's the way it's supposed to be! We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy! It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my Playstation and my TV and my NHL 13 and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone!'

Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone! I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to the Board of Governors because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the Southern Expansion and the unrestricted free agency and the KHL and the cheap shots along the boards. All I know is that first you've got to get mad! You've got to say, "I'm a hockey fan, goddammit! My life has value!"

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Reader Laurie Owens isn't pleased with the NHL's owners, and is wondering why the commish would dare court the rage of one Sidney Crosby:

Angry? Sad? Disappointed? Oh, all of effing above.

Who was throwing money around like Albert Haynesworth in a Vegas strip club? Um, quite a few NHL owners. So by paring down HRR (learning to hate those letters) and essentially adding a buyer's remorse clause, they are behaving like the arrogant a-holes that Gary Bettman really is. They have the power and control, but seem truly intent on using it for evil.

While it is their choice to play, the players are on the ice taking the risk. They don't know if tomorrow could be their last game or not.

How much did the pay Frank Luntz anyway? Was it worth the cost of a season? An entire fan base? I love hockey and will miss it greatly, but I am not willing to put a dime (US or Canadian) into the pockets of the owners while they carry out Gary's pricey ego trip gone terribly wrong.


PS -- Gary has angered Sid. Really?? You want to piss off the face of your league?? It's only a matter of time before he goes to Russia to join Geno.

Via Jeanshorts and Bagged Milk ... this is dramatic. (One NSFW word in text.)

Reader Dallas King has a message for Gary Bettman on how the lockout really affects families and those who love the sport:

Dear Commissioner Gary Bettman:

My name is Dallas King, I live in west central Alberta and I am a DIE HARD OILERS fan! I am writing a detailed letter to vent my frustration with the NHL lockout.

I want to start with a little background. I am the oldest of 3 boys in my family, my father is a huge Oilers fan and he was so lucky to have 3 boys on the dates that he did. I was born in 1985, my middle brother Morgan born in 1988, and my youngest brother Graham born in 1990. Yes all three of those years were Edmonton Oiler Stanley Cup years. So to say the least we didn't have a chance who we were cheering for. So having grown up with such an influence from my father, it took the last lockout to realize where this came from and it broke my heart.

During the last lockout in 2004-2005 I came to notice something that I took for granted so many years before. A few years before the last lockout, my father's mom had passed away, so my grandfather was all alone. He was one of the biggest hockey fans I ever knew, and it was that tradition that he passed on to my dad who eventually passed on to me and my brothers. After my grandma passed away my grandpa just watched hockey, at night, during the day, on weekdays, on weekends, whenever he could he just watched any game that was on, it was like a getaway for him. On that 2004-2005 lockout year it all changed. The one thing that was a comfort to him, his passion was gone. He was lost, he could not watch the NHL that year. I noticed that he wasn't the same, he was getting old and couldn't do much, he moped around and I could tell it just killed him that there was no hockey. It broke my heart to see that, because this affects EVERYONE.

Fast forward to this year, and this lockout has brought a familiar situation. My mom's dad.

My mom's mom passed away 3 years ago, leaving my other grandpa all alone. I know that he is a hockey fan, maybe not to the extent of my grandpa I just previously talked about but I can't believe this is happening again!

This NHL lockout hits close to home just like the last one, as it becomes personal. I want to keep the tradition alive of being able to watch hockey with my grandpa as you never know how long you will have with that person.

So Gary Bettman, you see, this affects all people, all over the world. Not just the owners, or the players, or the people that work for the teams, or the players families, or the workers families, but the fans, and the tradition those fans are trying to keep alive. In the name of the fans please end this lockout.


Dallas King

Finally, reader Bryan Vickroy of The Sports Bank was inspired by our own Harrison Mooney's "Lockout Man":

Being inspired by Harrison's splendid rendition of "Lockout Man" I have created my own lockout music. The following is an ode to the commish's desires of the current lockout. Enjoy "Garys Room", a hip check/R&B in the tune of "Marvins Room" by Drake. Enjoy.

And here you go:

Drake … GOOD CANADIAN BOY. (/DonCherry'd!)

Tags: , , , , , Reader, street
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Ben Eager of Oilers charged with assault after Toronto pub fight

21 Oct

The most disturbing thing about Edmonton Oilers winger Ben Eager getting charged with assault early Saturday morning in Toronto? The repeated use of "doorman" in the media coverage.

While technically correct, the preferred nomenclature is likely "bouncer" or "entrance manager." In fact, Leslie Mann used "doorman" as a pejorative in "Knocked Up" after Craig Robinson refused her entry into a club. ("I can't let you in cause you're old … for this club, not, you know, for the Earth.")

OK, perhaps the above is the second most-disturbing thing, ranking right behind a professional athlete getting himself (and his brother) charged in a bar-related altercation.

From the Edmonton Journal:

According to CityTV in Toronto, a fight broke out inside The Quail Pub in the Rosedale area and carried on outside, where Eager and his brother were charged with assault, assault causing bodily harm, and assault with a weapon against a doorman at the bar.

The doorman suffered cuts to his face and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

"Assault with a weapon"? Oh dear, please tell us Eager didn't mistake the bouncer for an HD camera:

Details on the incident are rolling in ...

More details from City News:

Jennine Lombardo, general manager at The Quail and Firkin Pub, told CityNews the fight began inside the bar and then moved outdoors. The doorman allegedly had to hold up a patio chair to shield himself from the attack.

"We are used to dealing with young professionals. Last night stopped staff dead in their tracks and is not typical of what happens at our establishment. Once the fight started, service ended immediately. Our staff was in shock. And we are concerned for our door man who was brutally attacked and hurt," said Lombardo.

Eager signed a 3-year deal with the Oilers last summer, playing 63 games of truculent hockey with them last season. He joins such luminaries as Joe Thornton in the 'NHLers involved in bar fights' club. (Although not Eric Lindros; thanks, Snopes!)

No word on any possible jail time for Eager; although we might know someone that wouldn't mind being face-to-face with only a pane of glass separating them on visitation day ...

Tags: assault causing bodily harm, Ben Eager, bouncer, Craig Robinson, , , Leslie Mann, , , , , pub, ,
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Donald Fehr on NHL honoring full contracts, perception of fans that players are ‘greedy’

20 Oct

How contentious is the relationship between Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman at this point in the lockout?

Two weeks ago, the answer was that there was mutual animosity but nothing resembling the decade-long blood feud between Bettman and Bob Goodenow that manifested in the last work stoppage.

But after this week's failed negotiations in Toronto, it's getting a little nasty. To wit, Donald Fehr to the Ottawa Sun in their Q&A this morning:

"I don't go in for the very dramatic 'I am very disappointed' press conferences that other people engage in."

He's right: This was a tad dramatic. Maybe it was the creepy black backdrop.

The full details on the NHLPA's offer have been leaked to the media, and you can read them on USA Today's site. Please remember that the NHL was slammed by the players for making theirs public. Silly League: leak it next time. Here's Fehr's memo on the third option from the players:

Wrote Fehr: "This means that an individual player under an existing contract would receive the 13% segregated, plus a normal payment, subject to escrow, of 87% of his salary. A player with a new contract would have 100% of his salary subject to the 50-50 split. However, since the 13% of existing contracts are off the cap, this should create more cap space, which will be important as the cap will be squeezed. Over time, the existing contracts expire, and the share will fall towards 50%."

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had publicly objected to this proposal, saying players would get a 56% to 57% share in the first year and he doubted that the split would ever reach 50-50.

Fehr and Bruce Garrioch had a conversation on Friday that you can read here, and there are a few reactions to it, beginning with:

• Stop with the history lessons. Just stop. Yes, the NHL's owners are likely influenced by the concessions won by their NBA brethren. Yes, their first offer to the players in July was a joke wrapped in a farce wrapped in a 24-percent rollback that set these talks back months due to its ridiculous demands. Yes, the basis for the owners' claims for contractual restrictions and suppression of salaries can be hypocritical and downright nonsensical.

But you know what? Their motivations aren't the issue.

You're not going to shame them into a resolution by repeatedly pointing out that the lockout is built on a shaky premise or that basketball did it first. We all know it is, and most of the owners know it to.

But on Oct. 20, we should be past the "why?" and deal with the "how?"

[Related: NHL and NHLPA wasting time with scare tactics and PR stunts]

• Two questions of note from the Garrioch interview, including this one that's frankly leading the witness a bit:

QMI: Why does the league not want to honour the deals that were signed?

FEHR: "They want to pay less money. That's all. It's really very simple: 'We've agreed to pay to the dollar all the contracts we've signed.' We've now decided that's more money than we'd like to pay.' The reason we made the last proposal the way we did was simply because they want to move toward 50-50. The players have already indicated they are willing to do that over time. The question is: Should you agree to honour the contracts you signed between now and then? Players think that's a straight-forward thing to do and not an unusual thing to do. It's sort of the way everybody does business."

The "make whole" provision the NHL proposed tries to give the owners what they want (an immediate reduction in player costs) and the players what they want (the full value of their contracts, through deferred payment). No one can blame the players for being suspicious or mistrustful about the League's proposal, because the NHL has done little to earn that trust in this negotiation or through its actions back in 2005.

That said, Nick Cotsonika nailed it: This was a path for the NHLPA to achieve its primary objective, and "they could have proposed that it come out of the owners' share instead. They didn't."

The players deserve the full value of their contracts, and any NHL proposal that doesn't achieve that is garbage. But there's no question the League's latest salvo showed a desire to fulfill that obligation through some creative accounting; it's just a matter of whether the numbers add up and who pays for it. Which is why the NHLPA should build off that idea. It has potential.

• This was also interesting, regarding the PR victory for the League this week in gaining major sympathy from the fans:

QMI: What's your message to fans who have spent the past couple of days calling players "greedy" after the 50-50 offer from the league?

FEHR: "It's pretty hard to treat seriously the notion that the athletes, who are the only people who anybody comes to watch, that they would be greedy in the face of a 24% reduction in their pay last time; billions of dollars went to the owners, not the players; seven years of record revenues that was more than anybody thought. The result of all that success is for the owners to say, 'OK, now we want to renegotiate all the contracts again and we want to lower them.' My message to the fans is: I don't think that characterization hits the facts very well. Hockey players are pretty down-to-earth people. That's why fans like and identify with them. They want to do the right thing. The right thing here happens to be proceeding in a way which is not merely, 'Oh the owners asked for billions of dollars I guess we have to give it to them because who are we? Hockey players.' "

Fehr is completely right here.

It's been stunning to witness fans and media turn off their brains and swallow up the NHL's talking points out of an insatiable desire to have an 82-game schedule. There's been way too much "oh, they went 50/50, take the deal boys!"; it's a sentiment that exists without regard for the contractual concessions the players would have to make, the revenue sharing system and other considerations that make "50/50" an unbalanced deal.

We ask these men to sacrifice their bodies on a nightly basis. We ask them to sweat and fight and bleed, to show resolve that many of us couldn't imagine having in pressure situations.

And then we expect them to fold like origami when the League finally makes a mature, quasi-equitable proposal?

Again, it's a credit to Bettman and the NHL (and Frank Luntz) that the proposal and the PR blitz worked this week. But like Fehr said: If you're a "greedy players" person, that characterization doesn't hit the facts very well.

Fantasy football advice on Yahoo! Sports:

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Tags: cap, , Donald Fehr, , , , , NHLPA, payment,
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Kalamazoo Wings’ new scoreboard is a bit ostentatious, possible puck magnet (PHOTO)

20 Oct

The ECHL Kalamazoo Wings opened up their 2012-13 home schedule on Friday night with a 1-0 win over the Fort Wayne Komets — a game played under the shadow of the mothership from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Oh, sorry, our mistake: That's actually the new scoreboard at Wings Stadium, part of a $2 million renovation. (Click here for a larger image of this monstrosity.)

According to MLive.com, it's "40 feet by 12.5 feet by 12 feet and [weighs] more than 12,000 pounds." In other words, the scoreboard covers 20 percent of the ECHL team's rink.

We don't want to say that the K-Wings are proudly flaunting their new scoreboard, but this video is the equivalent of Michael Fassbender in skinny jeans:

But here's the thing about the new toy: It's a little too large to be that low to the ice.

Justin Cohn of the Journal Gazette, one of our favorite minor league scribes, checks in from the game last night:

You have to realize, this is a really small building. The only thing I can equate this thing to is the Cowboys Stadium one, because it's proportionally so big, but more because it's so close to the ice.

The first game tonight, the puck didn't hit it, but it came close. I could see potential for hitting the scoreboard five times a game, any really high lifts into the air.

In other words, don't expect to see any Kopitar-ish rainbow passes. Or flip dumps on the penalty kill. Or Zdeno Chara ever being able to skate through center ice without ducking. You know, should he ever end up in the ECHL for some reason …

Congrats to the K-Wings on their new scoreboard. We always wanted to know what it would look like if every HDTV in Best Buy was glued together and all tuned to the Kiss-Cam at the same time.

s/t Justin Cohn for the image.

Tags: ECHL, ECHL Kalamazoo Wings, Fort Wayne Komets, , , image, Kalamazoo Wings, Komets, Michael Fassbender, , scoreboard, Wings Stadium
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NHL CBA blame games; USA hockey will never catch Canada (Puck Headlines)

19 Oct

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• Nicklas Backstrom joins hands with teammate Alex Ovechkin in celebration of having well-compensating jobs. [@plysenkov via alexovetjkin]

• Great stuff from professor James Mirtle on the NHLPA offers and how they attempt to approach 50/50. (Note: His post doesn't contain the third offer, which may or may not have been written on a cocktail napkin.) [Globe & Mail]

• Mark Spector drops the hammer on Gary Bettman: "Bettman, however, has reached critical mass as the owners' emissary. It was under him that the pendulum swung so far to the players' side that a year-long lockout was required. And even with a step that drastic, it's taking a third consecutive stoppage to get that pendulum back to 50/50. That's why he looks so tired. Why Bettman couldn't even muster up the stage presence to entertain the NHLPA offer over night before countering." [Sportsnet]

• Frank Seravalli on the lockout: "I can get behind the players' wanting every dollar of signed deals to be honored. Otherwise, owners who signed players to mega-deals this summer would not have been bargaining in good faith, knowing that they would be asking for a reduction in revenue sharing." [Philly.com]

• Shawn Horcoff doesn't believe the owners were negotiating in good faith: "There was no talk whatsoever, not even any communication among their own people in the room, among the owners. It was that quick. It didn't really matter what we had to say. Unless we totally accepted their deal, they weren't going to take it. Right away you could tell they're not serious."  [QMI]

• Check out the awesome check from Pat Sieloff in the OHL last night. [Buzzing The Net]

• The AHL is feeling pretty good about the lockout, with attendance up 5 percent. Said President Dave Andrews: "Clearly, we've had far more exposure than we normally have from the main-stream hockey media and, if the quality of your league in enhanced, more people attend the games," said Andrews. "There's about 100 players in our league now who would have been on an NHL roster at the start of the season." [Canada.com]

• Stack.com presents six reasons why USA Hockey will never catch Canada, including "Passion and Pressure": "Canada is expected to win at hockey, no matter whom they play. At the World Junior Championships in Buffalo in 2010, Canadians were lined up for miles to cross the border to watch their country play. During the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, an estimated 80 percent of the Canadian population watched the Gold medal game between Canada and the U.S. In America, the two biggest games in USA hockey history—the 2010 Gold medal game against Canada and the 1980 semi-final game against the Soviet Union—were not even aired live on a major TV network. In 2010,  NBC showed ice dancing over hockey." [Stack]

• Ellen Etchingham's feeling the expansion blues: "… if you're in one of those fortunate places where tickets are cheap and plentiful and you can't imagine life without going to NHL games multiple times a week, if you believe that NHL hockey should be brought to more people even if the product is barely worthy of the name, then riddle me this: where does it end? If two more teams is good, would not four more teams be better? If we want to keep the NHL in Phoenix and Nashville and Sunrise and Columbus, and have it also in Markham and Quebec, why not Hamilton and Seattle and Kansas City? Why not Tulsa? Hell, think big my friends, why not Honolulu? Why not just absorb the AHL in its entirety and have NHL hockey everywhere? If talent dilution is not a problem at 30 teams, and not at 32 teams, then when does it become one?" [Backhand Shelf]

• Kudos to the NHL for going purple on Spirit Day. [NHL.com]

• Connor McDavid is pretty good. [Hockey Primetime]

• The KHL is good hockey and bad business, which we believe automatically qualifies them for NHL revenue sharing. [National Post]

• Another good one from Backhand Shelf as 67Sound proposes a "make-whole" salary cap. [BS]

• Craig Conroy will get his number retired by Clarkson University. [Flames]

• Congrats to Scott Niedermayer for getting into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Now, name-check Tom Kurvers in the acceptance speech … [NHL.com]

• Finally, we give to you this Montreal hockey brawl, and at one point turns into a crazy pile-on. As opposed to a crazy pylon, which is Dion Phaneuf:

Tags: , , faith, , , , , , Stack, USA hockey
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As father fights terminal cancer, NHL fan slams lockout in jarring clip (VIDEO)

19 Oct

There are provocative videos about the NHL, made by angry fans with a message for both owners and players.

And then there's this video by "eamu99" on YouTube: stunning, jarring minute-long clip in which a son laments the lockout at the bedside of his father, whom he says is fighting terminal cancer:

"I hope that the doctors and nurses that keep my dad alive get a raise. And that you get your asses back on the ice before it's too late." Man …

Here's a bit more from "eamu99":

Just wanna catch a game with my dad. There is a deal for the players within the NHL. But there is a contract with the communities that these players come from as well. When you are mentally strong enough to become an elite athlete you are a special human being (in most cases anyways) . A human being that can lead and inspire the people around them and their communities. The NHL take these extraordinary people and display them so their effect is amplified. Because of this lockout we have displaced inspiration and it is sad. I am sure that whoever misses out on their little piece of inspiration wont be refunded. Seems there is no deal for the fans in the NHL.

The video was put together by Canada native John Dick, 31, who studied journalism at the University of Queensland in Australia. While attending school, his father Bruce was diagnosed with cancer back in Canada.

"My dad wouldn't allow me to come back. He made me finish university," said John Dick.

The last time John saw his father was several years ago; i.e. the last time the NHL locked out its players. He traveled to see him again because Bruce was given just weeks to live.

Knowing that his son was a filmmaker, Bruce suggested they do a project together. "You're not going to be picking up any chicks the way you're looking," quipped John at the time.

The two finally settled on a mutual animosity for the NHL, the NHLPA and the lockout as their subject. John played hockey growing up and remains a fan; Bruce was an Edmonton Oilers dynasty fan that continued to follow the game.

John's premise was simple: Delivering a gut-punch of a message, underscored by his father's condition.

"How many tickets have me and my dad bought? How many times have we seen [the NHL]?" he asked. "You don't play hockey for other hockey players. You don't play for the owners. You play for the fans."

John said he hopes the NHL's top brass, including Gary Bettman, sees the video. And that maybe, just maybe, it has an impact on their desire to lock out the players.

As for his father, John said he's spending as much time as he can with him. Instead of the NHL, they'll watch CFL football games in the hospital.

Admittedly, it's difficult to hear his father talk about watching the NHL upon conclusion of the football game, knowing that the League won't be playing any time soon.

"He forgets. He's on a lot of pain killers," said John.

Tags: being, clip, , eamu, , John Dick, , , terminal cancer
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Marek Vs. Wyshynski Radio: Truth and lies in the NHL lockout, with John Shannon of Sportsnet

19 Oct

It's a (gettin' down on) Friday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

Special Guest Stars: Marek and Wysh talk with John Shannon of Sportsnet to get an insider's perspective on the NHL and NHLPA proposals to end the lockout.

• Getting the two sides to 50/50.

• Why Marek is a positive Pete about all of this.

• Roberto Luongo and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

• News and notes from about the hockey world.

Question of the Day: Assign percentages of blame to the NHLPA and the NHL for the lockout, and why.

Email your answers to or tweet them with the hashtag #MvsW to @jeffmarek.

Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above! Click here to download podcasts from the show each day Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Feedburner.

Tags: , gettin, John Shannon, Marek, , , Roberto Luongo, Sportsnet, , , truth
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Roberto Luongo to the Maple Leafs: Denials, details and his probable destination

19 Oct

The Vancouver Canucks trading their backup goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers never really made sense, outside of Luongo's possession of a no-movement clause and willingness to go to there.

Why would the Panthers want a goaltender when they've been grooming Jacob Markstrom for several seasons, and are fairly happy with their veteran tandem anyway? Why would they ante up anything close to what the Canucks want for Luongo, who won't simply be a salary dump? Why would the Panthers want that salary on their cap? (Oh, that's right: Because when he retires, it'll be the Canucks' salary again.)

[Nick Cotsonika: Enough with the grudges and greed, get down to business and solve the CBA]

The Toronto Maple Leafs, on the other hand, could use Roberto Luongo. (All due respect to James Reimer, a nice young goalie transformed into Hockey Jesus in some desperate Toronton media circles.)

Roberto Luongo would make them a playoff team. Yes, seriously, that's the impact: Putting him between the pipes means the Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference top eight. At the very least, their team GAA won't be 29th overall next season.

So how do we make this happen?

From Damien Cox of the Toronto Star:

Yes, the Leafs remain very much interested in securing the services of Luongo, and the talks are very much alive. It's believed Leaf GM Brian Burke and his Vancouver counterpart Mike Gillis spoke as recently as two weeks ago, at which time the Canucks demands were reduced from the bounty they requested at the draft, but not enough for the Leafs to agree to anything.

At the draft, reports indicated Vancouver asked for centre Tyler Bozak, defenceman Jake Gardiner, a first-round pick and winger Matt Frattin in exchange for the 33-year-old Luongo. The Leafs had no interest in paying that kind of price, largely because there is no significant market for the services of the veteran goaltender.

Gardiner might be a deal-killer, as close to untouchable as a player on this sickly roster can come.

Chemmy from Pension Plan Puppets offers an alternative:

Ditto to young talent. Jake Gardiner should hopefully contribute value to the Leafs for a lot longer than three or four years. Toronto doesn't have enough talent to give up young potential for a few years of an old goaltender.

My Deal: I'd offer Vancouver Tyler Bozak, Cody Franson and our 2nd round pick in 2013. There's some value there for Vancouver. It's not a king's ransom but I don't think the Leafs should be moving important pieces to bring in a 33 year old. If that's not enough I'm more than happy to not have Luongo.

Bump that up to a first-round pick, and there might be a deal here. Swap out one of the two (or both) for Joe Colborne, and there's probably a deal there.

[Trending Topics: NHL's negotiating tactics aren't helping to end the lockout]

The Luongo-to-the-Leafs talk was kicked up again by a report by John Shannon of Sportsnet that the two sides had an agreement in principle to make a deal after the lockout ends. The Canucks issued a "non-denial denial" on the trade, which is expected when GM Mike Gillis is still trying to add irons to the fire. But he doubled down by saying the Leafs rumor was "untrue" on Friday.

The Leafs have some assets the Canucks might desire, and ones with which they'd be willing to part. The Canucks need to remedy the Luongo situation in order to pass the torch to Cory Schneider.

It all comes down to Luongo's desire to play for the Leafs, which comes down to a probability for championship success (low) and his comfort in the market.

Florida would have finally been a respite from the annual piling-on that Luongo faces when he and/or the Canucks fall short of a championship. Toronto offers a different kind of pressure — that of a franchise savior — but it also offers Luongo a different set of expectations than the ones he currently faces in Vancouver.

It's one pressure cooker to another, but Luongo would undoubtedly get a smoother ride in Toronto because the bar is significantly lower: "Carry us to the Cup" vs. "Get us the Eight Seed."

Tags: backup goaltender Roberto Luongo, , Kind, , Luongo, Maple Leafs, , , Roberto Luongo, talent, , Vancouver, vancouver canucks
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