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RIP Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe, the most legendary name in the history of professional hockey, died on Friday morning. He was 88. Known simply as “Mr. Hockey,” Howe played 26 seasons in the NHL and six seasons in the World Hockey Association. He’s the all-time leader in games played in the NHL with 1,767. He’s second in career goals (801) and fourth in career points (1,850). He won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, and was a 23-time All-Star selection. Howe suffered a serious stroke in October 2014. The hockey legend later underwent stem cell treatment in Mexico and his family saw significant improvement in him – enough that he was well enough to attend a dinner in his honor back in his hometown Sasktoon in February 2015. But he battled dementia, according to his son, Murray Howe.

Making his NHL debut for Detroit on Oct. 16, 1946, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Howe played 32 professional hockey seasons, more than any other man. Howe was famous for his brute strength and toughness, combined with an unparalleled goal-scoring ability. He was also famous for his longevity, having played for the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80 at age 52 – the only NHL player to have played in five different decades. Another part of that longevity: Having the most points by a father/son combo in NHL history, scoring 2,592 with son Mark Howe. He won the Hart Trophy six times as NHL MVP, and won six Art Ross trophies as its leading scorer. Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Howe spent most of his career with the Detroit Red Wings, winning the Stanley Cup four times. He was in the top 10 of scorers for 21 consecutive years and was named Most Valuable Player six times, before finally retiring in 1980. He made his debut in 1946, played 26 NHL and six World Hockey Association seasons and held many of the scoring records until the rise of fellow Canadian-born legend Wayne Gretzky. Howe retired in 1971 but made a comeback with the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80 before finally quitting at 52, making him the only player whose career spanned five decades. When the NHL launched its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, Howe was the first recipient. Some recalled Howe’s tremendous physical presence. But although he was said to have inaugurated the “Gordie Howe hat trick” – a goal, an assist and a penalty for fighting in the same game – he only did it himself once. And after a particularly bruising treatment of opponent Lou Fontinato in 1959, most chose not to challenge him.

Howe was in the crowd with other hockey heroes like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier when Canada defeated the United States to win the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He also carried the Olympic flame in the Games torch relay. Howe met his wife, Colleen, at a bowling alley when she was 17 years old, and they were married four years later on April 15, 1953. Colleen Howe was one of the founders of the Detroit Junior Red Wings and represented both Gordie and Mark financially during their careers. She died in 2009 at age 76 after a long battle with Pick’s disease.

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Canada Wins World Ice Hockey Championship

Connor McDavid’s first goal of the world hockey championship proved to be golden. McDavid’s goal in the first period stood as the winner as Canada successfully defended its world championship title with a 2-0 win over Finland in the tournament final. The 19-year-old Edmonton Oilers centre had registered eight assists in the first nine games of the tournament, but was one of just two Canadian forwards not to have recorded a goal coming into the gold-medal game. McDavid ended his drought at the 11:24 mark of the first period, driving to the net and deking out sprawling Finnish netminder Mikko Koskinen. Matt Duchene added an empty-net goal with one second left on the clock to seal the win.

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Khaira Pride of Punjabi-Canadian Hockey Fans

Jujhar “J. J.” Khaira (born August 13, 1994) is a Canadian professional ice hockey Center currently playing for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Khaira was drafted 63rd overall by the Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Khaira is just the third Punjabi player to appear in the NHL, after making his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 28, 2015, he also became the third player of South Asian descent to play in the NHL, after Robin Bawa, and Manny Malhotra.

After two seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Prince George Spruce Kings Khaira and after he was drafted by the Oilers, Khaira committed to play collegiate hockey with Michigan Tech of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. At the completion of his freshman season in 2012–13 with Huskies, Khaira left college to pursue a major junior career closer to home in the Western Hockey League with the Everett Silvertips. On August 7, 2013, he was signed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. In the following 2013–14 season, Khaira posted 43 points in 59 games with the Silvertips. At the elimination in first-round of the post-season, Khaira then made his professional debut with the Oilers AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, joining the club for their post-season run.

He suited up for the Oilers playing on a line with Anton Lander and Matt Hendricks. Robin Bawa and Manny Malhotra are the other two Punjabi players to have played in the NHL. Bawa played 61 games in four seasons, including 42 with the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks. Malhotra had a storied 991-game career and is currently a free agent.

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Dupuis Unable To Play Hockey Due To Blood Clots

Sad news to restart posting about hockey after such a long gap.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis will no longer play hockey because of a medical condition related to blood clots, Dupuis and the Penguins announced Tuesday. Dupuis felt pain in his chest during a Dec. 1 game against the San Jose Sharks, one of several games he either left early or did not play this season for precautionary reasons. He was cleared and returned to play on back-to-back nights against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks last weekend but said he was already considering retirement. Dupuis was playing this season taking blood thinners. He was diagnosed with blood clots in January 2014 shortly after sustaining torn ligaments in his knee and missed the remainder of the 2014-15 season after a blood clot in his lung was discovered in November. He was cleared to work out and take contact in June 2015.

Dupuis spoke about the aftermath of coming out of the game against the Sharks and the mental toll the health concerns took. The Penguins will place Dupuis, 36, on long-term injured reserve and continue to pay his salary. He is in the third year of a four-year contract with an average annual salary of $3.75 million. Dupuis made the NHL as an undrafted player, scoring a goal in his first game for the Minnesota Wild on April 2, 2001. He became a regular with the Wild over the following four-plus seasons, scoring 20 goals and 48 points during the 2002-03 season, when Minnesota reached the Western Conference Final. Dupuis was traded twice during the 2006-07 season, from the Wild to the New York Rangers, and after six games from the Rangers to the Atlanta Thrashers.

Dupuis played 79 games with the Thrashers before he was dealt again prior to the 2008 NHL Trade Deadline, this time to the Penguins in a trade that also involved forward Marian Hossa. Dupuis helped Pittsburgh reach the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, where it lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings, and win the Stanley Cup in 2009 in a seven-game series against Detroit. A frequent linemate of Sidney Crosby during his time with the Penguins, Dupuis set NHL career highs in 2011-12 with 25 goals and 59 points. He averaged 18 goals and 40 points in his first five full seasons in Pittsburgh before his final three seasons were curtailed by injuries and the blood clots. Dupuis finishes with 190 goals and 409 points in 871 regular-season games, and 19 goals and 44 points in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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Marty St.Louis Retires From Active Hockey

One of my favourite players just hung up his skates for the final time. Martin St. Louis on Thursday announced his retirement from the NHL after 16 season. St. Louis, who turned 40 on June 18, had 21 goals and 54 points in 74 games with the New York Rangers last season. “I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride,” St. Louis said in a statement released by the Rangers. “I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. “I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents.”

St. Louis had 391 goals and 1,033 points in 1,134 regular-season games. Prior to spending the past season-plus with the Rangers, St. Louis played parts of 13 seasons with the Lightning (2000-2014) and 69 games with the Calgary Flames (1998-2000). The Flames took a chance on the 5-foot-8, 180-pound sniper by signing him to a contract on Feb. 18, 1998. He quickly became an inspiration to undersized and undrafted players looking to one day make an impact in the NHL. St. Louis came to the Rangers in a midseason trade with the Lightning in March 2014. The move made sense since he lives in Connecticut and had always relished the opportunity to play for the Rangers. After finishing the 2014-15 regular season with his lowest point total since 2001-02, St. Louis had a goal and seven points in 19 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He became an unrestricted free agent July 1. The New York Post reported last month that the Rangers didn’t intend to bring him back for his expected salary-cap charge for 2015-16; St. Louis had just finished a four-year contract with an average cap charge of $5.625 million, according to war-on-ice.com. St. Louis averaged 16:30 of ice time during the playoffs. The Rangers lost to the Lightning in seven games in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final. St. Louis helped the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and scored his 1,000th NHL point last season. One of the more memorable moments of the 2014 playoffs took place when St. Louis scored in a 3-1 Game 6 victory in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden three days day after his mother, France, died of a heart attack at the age of 63. As replays of the goal were shown on the center-ice scoreboard, the MSG crowd began chanting, “Marty! Marty!” The emotional moment occurred on Mother’s Day, and served as a springboard for the Rangers to reach the Stanley Cup.

St. Louis played in seven NHL All-Star Games and was named All NHL First Team once and Second Team four times. He won the Art Ross Trophy as the League’s leading scorer (2003-04 and 2012-13) twice (2004, 2013) and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly play combined with a high standard of playing ability, on three occasions (2010, 2011, 2013).

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What Game/Sport Would You Like To Redesign?

What Game/Sport Would You Like to Redesign?

I know the original prompt says just game but I am adding sport to it. Alright, so currently there are only sports that I watch and care for ; football and ice hockey (or soccer & hockey as N.Americans call it). I still have a passing interest in tennis but not enough to sit and watch games being played either recorded or live. I just don’t feel like I have the time or patience to do so.

So football : I’d like to being a change in how substitutes are done. 1) no restrictions on how many substitutes are allowed per game and b) players can have multiple shifts like they have in hockey. I feel that this way top players won’t get too tired or exhausted and can still contribute to the end and critical moments of the game without the fear of being overplayed & exhausted. And also make it mandatory to review contentious goal lines, penalties & penalties in the matches. So many games we have a team being robbed of points or even losing because the referee and/or linesman got the decision wrong or did not see it properly. They are human, bring technology to help them make the right call.

Right, now onto hockey :  fighting – get rid of it. Seriously how is this nonsense still tolerated in a classy sport like hockey? It is ridiculous! Also bad hits that can cause serious damage to a player who gets badly injured and even have terrible concussions which can end his career way too early. Make it safer for the talents to shine. Also increase the size of the ice rink and add a player or two. I could be more fun. I would also make the goal size bigger but I might be hunted down by Mounties and thrown in a jail to rot for the rest of my life.

So that’s my two cents worth of opinions on the two sports that I love.

Prompt from The Learning Network from The New York Times

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The 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Begins

Or rather it starts on the 15th of April with the 16 teams who have qualified looking for the ultimate glory on ice. Thi season 5 Canadian teams have made it to the playoffs, finally having enough teams to account for the game usually dominated in numbers by Canadian players. Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa qualified for the playoffs while Edmonton & Toronto sit on the sidelines.

As usual I will be supporting my team the Ottawa Senators and if they get beaten and the Jets are still in it I will be screaming for Winnipeg. Canadian teams all the way. I haven’t watched any live games since 2013 and haven’t even followed the league games this season at all but I will be keeping an eye on the playoffs. GO SENS GO!

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RIP Steve Montador

I Former NHL player Steven Montador was found dead inside his Mississauga home early Sunday morning, according to Peel Regional Police. Police said a female friend woke up at 2 a.m. to find Montador deceased. She contacted police and he was pronounced dead just after 2:30 a.m. at his residence. “Foul play is not suspected, pending the outcome of an autopsy,” said Const. Fiona Thivierge, a Peel police spokesperson. At this time, Thivierge said, the incident is being treated as a sudden death investigation, not a criminal investigation.

Born in Vancouver, the 35-year-old began his NHL career with the Calgary Flames in 2001-02. He went on to play defence for a number of NHL teams including the Carolina Panthers, Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks. He last played in the NHL during 2011-12 season for Chicago and suffered a season-ending concussion. He went on to play for the American Hockey League’s Rockford Icedogs the next year before moving to the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2013-14 season. On June 28, 2013, the Blackhawks announced Montador would be bought out making him a free agent during the off season.

He won the 2000–01 AHL Calder Cup with the Saint John Flames. In 10 NHL seasons, Montador compiled 33 goals and 98 assists for 131 points and 807 penalty minutes.

RIP Steve Montador (December 21, 1979 – February 15, 2015)

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RIP Jean Beliveau

Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Bealiveau has passed away at the age of 83. The Canadian professional ice hockey player who played parts of 20 seasons with the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens. As a player, he won the Stanley Cup 10 times, and as an executive he was part of another seven championship teams, the most Stanley Cup victories by an individual to date. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. Jean Béliveau was born in 1931 to Arthur and Laurette Béliveau, the oldest of eight children, in Trois Rivières, Quebec.A star at an early age, he was spotted by Canadiens general manager Frank Selke at the age of 15. By the time he went to play for the junior Quebec Citadels in the late 1940s, he was a 6-foot-3-inch man-child with the grace and deftness of a much smaller player.

The first memories Béliveau had of the team he would eventually lead to 10 Stanley Cups were from sitting beside the family radio listening to games. In 1950, he was called to Montreal for a two-game tryout and returned for another trial stint in 1952. The club thought enough of Béliveau to make him the first rookie in Canadiens history to be offered a multiyear contract – worth a total of $105,000, an unheard-of sum in the day – and inserted him in the lineup that very night. After his playing days were over, in 1971, Béliveau remained with the Canadiens team as an executive and goodwill ambassador. Béliveau’s name appears on the Stanley Cup a record seventeen times, including seven times as an executive for the Canadiens: 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1993.

Béliveau met his future wife, Elise Couture, in 1950 in Quebec City. They were married on June 27, 1953 at St. Patrick’s Church in Quebec City. They had one child together, daughter Hélène. Béliveau was given many awards including several honorary doctorates from Canadian universities, plus the Loyola Medal in 1995. He was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1988, promoted to Officer in 2006 and Grand Officer in 2010. On May 6, 1998 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian award. In 2001, his name was added to Canada’s Walk of Fame, the same year he was honoured with his portrait on a Canadian postage stamp.

Joseph Jean Arthur “Le Gros Bill” Béliveau, CC GOQ (August 31, 1931 – December 2, 2014)

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Senators Calling For Football Style Cheering Section

According to news reports from the Canadian capital, the Ottawa Senators are looking to create a soccer (football)-style atmosphere at the Canadian Tire Centre this season. In order to boost the team and regular fans who haven’t had much to cheer in the last few seasons, the Sens are hoping this boisterous loud support will work to their advantage. Section 319 will be cordoned off for the Red Scarf Union – the team’s official fan group – for 10 games this season, according to Chris Hofley of the Ottawa Sun.

The “official supporters section” will allow standing, chanting, signage and supporters will be encouraged to generate as much noise (and maybe a little hatred toward the opposing team) as possible. Ottawa may be tip-toeing into the idea, but creativity appears necessary for the Senators; they are the only Canadian franchise that has experienced attendance issues over the past few seasons.

Well we do need something. With owner Eugene Melnyk unable to pump in enough money to buy or trade for top players who can score goals and letting go of some of our marquee names, the fans need something. Lean years are ahead!

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2014 Stanley Cup Champions – LA Kings

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings who mounted yet another comeback to defeat the New York Rangers 3-2 and claim their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. Defenceman Alec Martinez scored at 14:43 of double overtime Friday night wristing home a rebound of a Tyler Toffoli shot to seal the Cup. The Kings squandered 3-0 series leads both times en route to hoisting the Cup. But they got the job done in five games — three wins coming via overtime — this time compared to six against New Jersey in 2012.

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2014 Stanley Cup Finals

Not the final I wanted to see. It’s Broadway vs LA or Broadway vs Hollywood! I had hoped for a Chicago vs Montreal final with the Habs winning their first Cup since 1993. Even a Blackhawks win would have been fine with me if Montreal had not lost to New York. But there its, the two big cities of the United States (yes I know that Chicago is the second biggest city) – Los Angeles vs New York City. Who’s gonna win?

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2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs : Conference Finals

Whoa! Surprise in the East with Montreal’s heroics. I’m all support for the Habs and hope they can fin the Cup. Rangers can be tricky and it looks like going the full distance. LA Kings vs Chicago – I see that going to game 7 too and I hope it’s a Chicago vs Montreal final. But…. Go Habs Go!

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2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs : Semifinal Matchups

I’m a little late to the news but not having been online for 3 days (reason given in the previous post below) I only just got up to date on the playoffs. So the semifinals stage is here and wow big surprises. I did not expect LA to win against San Jose and I did not expect the Minnesotta Wild to get victory over Colorado. This is huge!

So who am I gonna pick to face off the conference finals? Hmm let’s see now; I pick Chicago to face off against Anaheim in the West and Montreal to face off against Pittsburg in the East. That oughta be good!

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2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs : Quaterfinal Matchups

Well the Stanley Cup playoffs are upon us and the toughest competition to win the ultimate prize of any team sport begins. Wednesday night sees 3 quarter-finals lineups playing the first of a best of 7 series and it looks like a long playoff. I don’t see any outright favorites for the cup but I guess Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh & Boston will be the teams to looks out for.

For Canadian dominating the league in terms of number of players, there’s only 1 team from Canada in the playoffs – the Montreal Canadians. 4 teams in the West – Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary & Edmonton – were the last 4 in that conference. In the East, Ottawa & Toronto failed to progress finishing 11th & 12th respectively out of 16. That’s terrible for the goald medal winners of the last 2 Olympics. My support is for the Canadiens of Montreal for this campaign but I doubt that they will win more than 1 series. Look for the cup to be won by one of those four I mentioned.

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#94 Says Goodbye In Style And As Captain

On an emotional night in Edmonton for the players, staff and fans as the Oilers celebrated veteran forward Ryan Smyth’s final game in style, coming away with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The fans, however, were more interested in seeing Smyth go out on a win after a career that saw him total 386 goals, 456 assists and 842 points in 1,270 career games. Smyth, was unable to get the power-play goal that would have given him the franchise record, remaining in a tie with Glenn Anderson at 126 for his career. Smyth was loudly cheered all night and no show of respect could have been bigger than the Canucks players coming back out on the ice to shake his hand after the final whistle, before the sobbing Alberta native said goodbye to his coaches and teammates. Smyth concluded his NHL career after spending 15 of his 20 seasons in the league for the Oilers, ranking second on the franchise’s all-time list with 971 games played. He was given the Oilers captain’s ‘C’ for the game.