Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Greatest Days Hockey: Epic Endings" premieres November 30th on MSG Network

Usually one would think this kind of sports program would air during the summer months to help ease hockey withdrawal between the night the Stanley Cup champion is crowned to when training camp begins to prepare for the following season. That is what Fans' Most Wanted: Rangers did for New York Rangers fans last summer on MSG Network.

Another such series on MSG Network is set to debut on November 30th (this coming Sunday) at 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Titled as Greatest Days Hockey: Epic Endings, it covers the memorable New York City metropolitan area hockey teams and games they played which many local National Hockey League fans will remember forever.

The first installment of this series focuses on the Rangers' epic battle and triumph over the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. For a very quick sneak peek, take a look at a video clip by clicking on the hyperlink below.

MSG Network (November 27):
Matteau's Goal Wins It

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

latest article on alternate jerseys

I read a feature article posted earlier today by Dan Rosen on the National Hockey League's official web site ( and he tells us how much fans seem to be more embracing to throwbacks of yesteryears these days. Some teams have listened.

For example, given just a subtle change or two from originals, the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks gave that nod to the past with their new alternate jerseys they began wearing this season.

This evening the Philadelphia Flyers will join this group of teams as they will unveil to season ticket holders at the Meet The Team! event at the Wachovia Center a new alternate 1970s retro orange jersey.

The Chicago Blackhawks just brought back their popular black version to the primary home and away jersey design we've seen for many years, only in this case it was fit into the jersey template that is now in its second season of use. Along with the Detroit Red Wings, they each will wear for one-time only a very retro jersey during the upcoming Winter Classic in Chicago on New Year's Day. Here, both teams will show fans what they once wore during the early years of their franchise's existence.

However, the Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues went in a different direction with new looks and even new alternate crest logos. About to be unveiled are the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning where like the Stars and Thrashers, they will simply have a glorified wordmark across the front of their jerseys. The Anaheim Ducks were the first to start this trend two years ago when they broke away from the original Disney-themed look, including the familiar duck mask crest logo.

Icethetics site founder and blog author Chris Smith was asked by Rosen to weigh in on what fans seem to prefer nowadays in jersey designs.

"Overwhelmingly fans seem to love the throwback third jerseys. They don't sound happy about the new-style jerseys we're seeing with Atlanta and Ottawa (what's been leaked anyway) though fewer complaints for Tampa Bay's," Smith said. "They love what the Oilers, Islanders, Canucks, Penguins and Sabres are doing and I can't say I disagree."

I can truly say I enjoy the amount of work Smith has dedicated to giving fans a destination where they can talk about team logos, uniform designs and anything in between. In recent months, his site has become a popular place to find out the latest scoop on new NHL team logos and alternate jerseys. From the NHL Tournament of Logos blog to the Icethetics blog to now the new Icethetics web site, we have been able to find the latest news updates on such items.

Smith posted a new entry on his web site about Rosen's article.

After taking a vacation for the 2007-2008 campaign as Reebok Hockey took care of meeting production demand of the primary home and away jersey sets for the 30 teams, the third jersey program is back. How well the other alternate jerseys to be unveiled in the immediate future will be received by the fans remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, there will be plenty of opinions to be said.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lightning fire head coach Barry Melrose

With the Tampa Bay Lightning overhauling their roster from last season's failure and the drafting of a potential superstar in Steven Stamkos, management thought the hiring of Barry Melrose as their new head coach would help turn the franchise fortunes around.

But 16 games into this 2008-2009 season, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton pulled the trigger in relieving Melrose of his duties. First-year associate coach Rick Tocchet takes over on an interim basis. This comes on the heels of the Lightning's 4-3 home loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings last night.

A pure indicator of Tampa Bay's slow start would be how Melrose was unable to get more production from Stamkos, a player with high expectations that had just 4 points in his 16 NHL games. Both goals he scored were in Tampa Bay's 5-2 road victory over the Buffalo Sabres on October 30th.

"This was a tough decision to make," Lawton stated in the team news release. "Barry is a good man and we have a great deal of respect for him. We wish him nothing but success. However, the results were unacceptable and the players have to understand that we need to be better. Hopefully this change helps push them."

This will be Tocchet's first head coaching job in the National Hockey League. Following an 18-year playing career and being an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix Coyotes over a five-year period, he was hired by the Lightning on July 9th to be a part of Melrose's coaching staff.

But Tampa Bay's 5-11 start (that is identically matched by the Dallas Stars) appeared to signal at least to the front office that Melrose wasn't the right fit at this point in time to help right their season. Lawton believes now is Tocchet's proving ground.

"As for Rick Tocchet, we think this is a great opportunity for him and we believe he's the type of coach who can take the team to the next level. Our players have a great deal of respect for him."

Melrose had led the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, but wasn't able to duplicate that success before he was fired two years later. He would not return to the coaching ranks until this past summer when the Lightning brought him into the fold. For the 13 years in between, he was the lead NHL analyst on ESPN and ESPN 2, including the successful NHL 2Night show.

Tocchet's head coaching debut will be on Sunday when the Lightning visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Michelle and Dave's wedding featured on Capitals web site

Back on July 10th, I wrote a very special blog entry about an Arlington, Virginia couple that tied the knot earlier this year. But it was not your average wedding.

Michelle and Dave are two very dedicated Washington Capitals fans who wanted to make their special day a spectacular one. They pulled out all the stops to have the wedding tailored to a theme that was all Capitals. This included their wedding cake made into a life size mold of the Stanley Cup as created by Duff Goldman. The cake itself was featured on the August 28th episode of Ace of Cakes on Food Network.

As I had mentioned in my original blog entry, the Washington Capitals organization had a production crew film the festivities. I am now giving you a heads up that the fruits of their labor is now complete and was posted today on their official web site.

Gustafsson at On Frozen Blog also made mention with a blog post about the video posting.

The video is beyond worth checking out. I got goosebumps and held back tears from seeing this. It inspired me then and it sure does now. Undoubtedly, Michelle and Dave have got to be one proud couple today to see what their team has put together for them and Capitals fans everywhere.

video courtesy: Washington Capitals

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sad news about a Minnesota Wild fan

When read this today on the Star Tribune's web site, I was heartbroken to hear this about a dedicated Minnesota Wild fan who also loves the Phoenix Coyotes (love that fan combination!).

Wild beat writer Michael Russo wrote on his Russo's Rants blog about a woman named Lori Luoma he recently met at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub in St. Paul. But now Russo informed us that he received an e-mail from one of Lori's friends telling him that Lori suffered a major brain hemorrhage and won't survive.

It is truly heartbreaking to hear of this. If Lori is unable to make it, I do wonder and hope the Wild are able to acknowledge her in some way.

Star Tribune's Russo's Rants blog (November 11):
Sad news about a Wild fan