Another Blog Says Exactly What John Said Last Month

If you remember our Too Drunk for Television episode, you'll remember a little thing called "predict something unpredictable" for this upcoming season. Dave said someone would beat Gretzky's record of 50 goals in 39 games, and it would be someone unexpected. I said something a little less crazy: the LA Kings will make the playoffs.

In conversation, I've stood by this prediction, and it has cemented itself in my head, much like my prediction that the Pens would win the '09 cup way back in '01. I've expanded upon that, saying that they will upset someone in the first round, coming as a total surprise, before getting swept. Though this hasn't been on Hockey Week yet (yes, I know, there hasn't been an episode in a while, and I'm slacking on concepts, but how much has their been to talk about recently?), I am holding to that prediction. Rob will be happy if he ever reads this/watches that.

This is not just a post to feed my ego, but rather to say that I'm not the only crazy one. The Sporting News' Craig Custance has just written about which non-playoff teams are the most likely to make it this year. His #1: Los Angeles.

Definitely something to check out, considering that I said it a while ago.


Second Outdoor Game...Still?

There's been a lot of rumor about the Montreal Canadiens hosting the Washington Capitals on November 28th outside in the open air of Olympic Stadium. The game is indeed on the schedule, but there has been nothing official saying that it won't be held at Centre Bell. This would be a celebration of the Canadiens 100th Anniversary as a franchise, which would be wrapping up right around then (it's for all of the calendar year 2009).

Now there's a couple things that can be said about this, which I'm sure we'll cover in our next episode of Hockey Week. The issue I want to discuss here, perhaps to begin some talk, perhaps because it won't get enough talk on the show, is the matchup. The Washington Capitals?! Really?! Sure, it'll be a good game, and Ovechkin will make it fun to watch, but what do the Capitals have to do with the 100th Anniversary? Have they ever been considered a real opponent? A team that Habs fans love to hate? A team that Habs fans even notice?! I really question things here.

There are two possible reasons, that I can think of right now, anyway, as to why the Washington Capitals would be chosen for this special outdoor game: Guaranteed NHL Approval and as a Cash Grab.

The two perhaps go hand in hand, the Canadiens want their outdoor game, they want something special for their anniversary. So instead of waiting for another Winter Classic, which probably wouldn't be held in their territory, they are going to hold their own. To do this, they take the team that NBC snubbed, and that the NHL wanted for this year's game at Fenway, and display them outdoors anyways. How could Bettman refuse?

This ties in directly to the other idea: Cash Grab. How many Capitals fans started saving money to see their team play at Fenway? I bet more than you'd expect. Why spend that money somewhere else? The Habs will welcome Caps fans north of the border for an outdoor game where they can spend money. How many other casual hockey fans will go to see Ovechkin play? Combine those people with those who want to see an outdoor game, and you can't go wrong, they'll pack the house, probably more than they would against a rival that makes more sense.

But wouldn't other teams make more sense? Montreal and Ottawa would be amazing, especially with the throwback sweaters they could use (see concepts for what I think the matchup could be, using Montreal's already announced 100th Anniv sweaters for this season), and with Kovalev in Ottawa now, now it has more clout, as if it didn't already! Seriously, how great could it be?
Not only that, these two sweaters (well, close to them, anyways) saw each other way back in the NHA, before the NHL, I'm a huge fan of "accurate to a certain year" jersey matchups.

How about Toronto? Give them an Arenas throwback to 1917, the first year of the NHL and a year they won the cup. They already used St. Pats jerseys for a game in recent history, that was completely random, now do something like that again. Think of the marketing! Think of how much money the Leafs bring in, now expand that arena to Olympic Stadium. Incredible! Maybe Montreal is scared of being outsold at their home game, but I think that risk would be worth it. Have a game that has some history to it, Canadiens, don't just go for the finances.

It might be too late for any kind of matchup change, but it wouldn't be impossible. The game after the 11/28 game is December 1st, Leafs at Canadiens. The Senators would be a bit tougher, with the closest possibilities being January 16th and October 17th, but the Habs play in Ottawa on December 8th. How tough could it be to get that game moved to Montreal? Make it happen, Habs, have a game against a team that MEANS something.


Flyers-Bruins Winter Classic is Official

The next Winter Classic is official: Philadelphia at Boston at Fenway Park!
Link Here, from the Boston Globe

I'm sure we'll cover this in-depth in the show, as we have been for quite some time, but the part we won't get to in the show is the part I want to discuss here: what will the jerseys be?

Part of this is a repost, some is new.

The Winter Classic is THE place for the NHL to introduce new throwback jerseys. The Pittsburgh Penguins adopted their throwback as a 3rd jersey because it sold so well, even though they only bothered to wear it 10 of the allowed 15 times this season because they played so horribly in it...just like the actual team that wore it. Buffalo brought back an updated version of their throwback logo for copyright reasons. Chicago is adopting their Winter Classic jersey (with the addition of shoulder patches), and Detroit wore their Winter Classic jersey for their last game against Chicago last season, leading me to believe that it might remain an unofficial 3rd jersey for the Wings - which would be a first for them.

The matchup will almost certainly be the Boston Bruins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers after the push NBC made to see them, so the teams are depicted as such. Considering that the Flyers are wearing their orange throwback 3rd jersey as their home jersey this season (something the Islanders weren't allowed to do), this would be the perfect opportunity for them to unveil the white throwback, which could be adopted as their away jersey next season. The big question is what the Bruins will wear. My hypothesis is that they will use a jersey already marketed as a sweater in the CCM Vintage collection just like the Red Wings, Penguins, and Sabres did previously. This jersey was seen from 1949-1955.

What I would love to see, however, is this matchup:

Those sweaters saw each other in 1929, The Philadelphia Quakers were a team that only lasted one season after moving from Pittsburgh; it was wiped out by the Great Depression. This first NHL team in Philly would be perfect outside on the ice at Fenway. On the other side, the sweater worn by greats such as Eddie Shore and Tiny Thompson when the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in 1929. Since the Bruins have acknowledged that this horrible logo exists with their new updated secondary logo (which is awesome), what better time to use it? I really do hope the Bruins don the brown and gold, but I fear it's just a pipe dream.

What I wouldn't mind seeing, not because it is something good for hockey, or a good idea for Reebok and Bettman to even consider, but because it would be something very different and downright nifty, would be the Bruins jerseys from 1940-48, better known as "the football sweaters". Would it not be interesting to see something completely different without them being radical RBK designs? Will it happen? No. What would the Flyers wear? It wouldn't be worth the effort, but it's an interesting, rather forgotten sweater from a great era in Bruins hockey (after all, Milt Schmidt wore these things!)

Keeping Things Rolling

I hope to put numerous concepts out right away to establish this new section of Hockey Week, and hopefully lead to more hits. If you're reading this, please, leave a comment, let us know what you think, even if it's to say that the whole idea for a jersey concepts section is dumb.

This one was posted on Icethetics some time ago, but was edited quite a bit and forgotten with that website's hiatus. Based on the new popularity of the Penguins 3rd jersey, I created a more conservative look based on those sweaters, primarily because I am completely against the Penguins returning to blue/blue and abandoning black and gold. The idea is to use the large logo on the home sweaters, and the name-ring logo on the away sweaters, similar to how Boston has the BRUINS secondary logo text on the home jerseys and BOSTON on the away. With gold being relegated back to a trim color, it can return to being metallic gold and not the khaki seen on the RBK Edge jerseys. However, following historical precedent, the Pens should definitely not change jerseys after winning the Stanley Cup...that typically is a bad omen for a franchise (See 1992-93).

Without further adieu...

The Times They are a'Changin'

You might notice a bunch of new things here on, starting with the link at the top of the posts. It is the first of many changes to this blog, aimed at giving the online arm of the Hockey Week in Review more of a role. You'll also notice that every post now has labels or tags. By clicking one of them at the bottom of a post, you'll find all the other posts in that category. For instance, if you click "rant man" at the bottom of a post, you'll be taken to every post that the rant man is featured in. If you click "written posts", you can read all of our typed ramblings on one page, etc. All of the categories are available in the lower right column of the page.

First off, nothing is leaving the blog. You'll still see all the episodes posted on here shortly after their airing, watchable and downloadable for your viewing pleasure/pain. There'll be plenty of new stuff in all of the categories you're already used to seeing.

But there are some new things, oh yes, there will be new things.
First off, I'd like to formally introduce Christopher Covert to the Hockey Week family. He made an appearance in what was originally a blog-only special, but I figure he needs a full introduction here. He's a Penguins fan, a Junior at Mercyhurst, and a major jersey fanatic like myself. After this year, he will be replacing me in the studio on this show (but I'm sure I'll stay involved in some way). So he is heir apparent to the Hockey Week throne.
This year, he will have a unique role. I have wanted to do this for a while, and finally he is the perfect man for the job. Chris will be paying close attention to the show, laptop in hand, checking all of our facts as we say them, at the end, he will come on camera to correct our errors and maybe throw his two cents in. He will be our "Corrections Officer" (clever, eh?).

There is a reason why I am introducing him now, however. This blog is adding an entire new section. For over a year, I have been posting on Hockey Jersey Concept pages under the name HockeyWeek. After working to gain a respected though often different opinion, I feel it is time to throw our hat into that ring. will contain hockey jersey concept art along with everything you've seen previously.

Some of the competition and inspiration: has been a constant bulwark in this niche, but owner Paul Lukas has always been about jersey news, and he's a baseball fan, so I'll tip my hat to him and stay out of his way., the former NHL Tournament of Logos that went so far as to be quoted on, was the front runner in all things hockey art related for quite some time. Recently, owner Chris has strayed from his roots, adding tournament after tournament, never finishing those, moving towards news rather than concepts, adding unrelated things such as a free-agency tracker, and even shutting down for the entire playoffs. They are slowly returning to the forefront, but not without problems already. I wish them luck, but I fully plan on Hockey Week jumping into that category. has picked up a lot of icethetics' slack. Owner Johnny Griswold has done a great job of keeping abreast of all things new, and has started some fantastic projects of historical jersey concept art (check out his WWII concepts, they're very nice). However, I have disagreed with most everything he says, especially on the topic of powder blue and traditionalism, and instead of being a constant dissenting opinion over there, I will post things here instead.
What separates me from the previous two websites other than my opinion, is their focus. Both Icethetics and PuckDrawn are run by graphic designers (or at least users of Adobe Illustrator), and therefore focus a lot more on logos. I have never been a logo nut, as fascinating as they may be, rarely do I come up with something completely original for a logo. Instead, I am a jersey man, and as I have said very often, the jersey/sweater is what represents the team, and should be as recognizable as any logo. So these concepts will all be very jersey-oriented.

I want to start out right, so I'm posting two concepts that I think everyone can grasp: The Winter Classic.

First Concepts Post!

The Winter Classic is THE place for the NHL to introduce new throwback jerseys. The Pittsburgh Penguins adopted their throwback as a 3rd jersey because it sold so well, even though they only bothered to wear it 10 of the allowed 15 times this season because they played so horribly in it...just like the actual team that wore it. Buffalo brought back an updated version of their throwback logo for copyright reasons. Chicago is adopting their Winter Classic jersey (with the addition of shoulder patches), and Detroit wore their Winter Classic jersey for their last game against Chicago last season, leading me to believe that it might remain an unofficial 3rd jersey for the Wings - which would be a first for them.

The matchup will almost certainly be the Boston Bruins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers after the push NBC made to see them, so the teams are depicted as such. Considering that the Flyers are wearing their orange throwback 3rd jersey as their home jersey this season (something the Islanders weren't allowed to do), this would be the perfect opportunity for them to unveil the white throwback, which could be adopted as their away jersey next season. The big question is what the Bruins will wear. My hypothesis is that they will use a jersey already marketed as a sweater in the CCM Vintage collection just like the Red Wings, Penguins, and Sabres did previously. This jersey was seen from 1949-1955.

What I would love to see, however, is this matchup:

Those sweaters saw each other in 1929, The Philadelphia Quakers were a team that only lasted one season after moving from Pittsburgh; it was wiped out by the Great Depression. This first NHL team in Philly would be perfect outside on the ice at Fenway. On the other side, the sweater worn by greats such as Eddie Shore and Tiny Thompson when the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup in 1929. Since the Bruins have acknowledged that this horrible logo exists with their new updated secondary logo (which is awesome), what better time to use it? I really do hope the Bruins don the brown and gold, but I fear it's just a pipe dream.

So that starts it off, my biggest post in a while, and hopefully the first of many. You'll see a lot of concepts from Chris Covert as well in the near future. Keep checking back, and you'll have plenty to see.


Steve "Kirby" Faber has done some work with us in the past and was actually in our Season 2 Finale, and he has come through with a nice article for this blog. One of the biggest Pens fans I know, I'm sure he won't disappoint, though I don't know if I agree with him about the smart phones (I'm still in the 20th Century with that). Without further adieu, here's Kirby.

Thoughts on Surviving a Championship Season
By Steve Faber for

As I write this article, I am watching the last march of the 2009 Champion Penguins. As I am no slouch in the fan department, I feel it is my duty to help those who didn't grow up eating, sleeping, and breathing sports that I did, so that if by some odd chance we don't repeat(though unlikely), they can survive the long road of the regular season and the even longer road of the playoffs.

The first thing I must stress is: COMPASSION. There is no reason to expect that you aren't going to get booed when you go into another team's arena wearing the away colors. Just like your team probably won't get as many calls on the ice, if you escalate confrontations, you may only get one phone the bail bondsman. So, be nice about the fact that your team will clean the glass with their players' faces.

The next thing to survive is: HYDRATION. Whether it be Pop or Port, Water or Whisky, there is no way that you can survive the season without being hydrated. You can't cheer if you can't breathe, so save up and get that extra $4 for the beer so you can lung-hurl your team to the top.

Bringing me to the next thing, which is: ECONOMIZATION. In the current state of the nation, this is nothing new. There are times when your cheers and jeers just aren't going to be heard, so let the other fans have their fun, and then show them how one voice can shudder the nerves of ten thousand! Usually after whistles, if you get them going early, or when the players come out of the tunnel, if you're close to it.

Fourth and fourthmost is: PERSPIRATION. Your team sweats off a large lake of water so you can get enjoyment. It's only fair that you put forth a little effort as well. Whether that means taking the extra night shift on game 1 so you can buy tickets for game seven, or keeping your AC up in the house so you can freeze the garage for the annual start of the playoffs ice skate and date(a wonderful idea, no?), there is no reason not to work at it.

Moving along, a very important thing is: INFORMATION. If you don't know what you're talking about, sit the hell down until you look it up on your computer or your smartphone (PS-you don't have a smartphone? FTW?) As a fan of some of the best and also some of the worst teams in all of professional sports, I know my history. I also know, because of a certain Sunday where I ran the entire box for the Beer League, it's not that hard to keep hockey stats, or to remember them fondly when the time comes to show up the competition.

Finally, the best thing I can say is: DEDICATION. When everyone says you can't, you must. Whenever anyone says you won't, you do. When people ask you why the hell your beard isn't off, even though you're graduating and should be clean-shaven, just tell them what you tell everyone who looks at you season. They'll understand. And if they don't, just check 'em into the nearest lightpole, they don't warrant an uber-fan like you spending time teaching them.

Summer Audio Vault: Rant Man and the Free Agents

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Summer Show Episode 3: Too Drunk for Television

Seriously, I was kidding about the Hurricanes being owned by a tobacco company.

Plus, Rant Man gets aggravated toward the end...sorry, but I thought it made sense (says the Rant Man himself).

Download Summer Show 3

Season 3: Show 2: The NHL Awards Party in DC w/special guests

Apologies on scratchiness on audio in the duration of the show. See explanation and plea below.

NHL Awards party at Bailey's Pub and Grille hosted by Puck Daddy and Japers' Rink. We had a chance to interview Puck Daddy himself, Greg Wyshynski. Also, we were in conversation with Brian Schrembs from

Anybody that has any ideas on how to clean up this audio, please help. Plus, can anyone recommend a good portable device that would be appropriate to record interviews and prevent this crap audio from happened again? I mean, the sound, not what is being said. Haha.

Download Summer Show 2
-Right click the link, and 'Save As' or 'Save Target As' (depending on your browser, of course), save it where you can find, enjoy when it finishes.

Season 3: Summer Edition: Show 1 (06/06/09)

We apologize for the quality and appearance of this show. It looks, well, I'm not going to say it. This may be one of the scrapiest shows we've ever done next to last year's post game done in John's apartment in Erie, PA.

Sorry about showing the [hairy] legs, and yes, that jersey I (the Rant Man) am wearing is, in fact, a little tight.

Enjoy...I think.

~The Rant Man~

Download Summer Show 1
-Right click the link, and 'Save As' or 'Save Target As' (depending on your browser, of course), save it where you can find, enjoy when it finishes. Almost like making pie in the oven, except we made it and you're just eating it. Mooches.

Post Game Analysis and More...

Tomorrow night, an hour long session of Hockey Week in Review to be released.

Various topics including the Post Game Report of Game 5. We apologize, but we had some technical difficulties with our Pre Game Report.

John and I, the Rant Man, went to The Pour Hour in Washington, DC, for the game. A Pittsburgh bar that was welcoming to John and his Pens jersey, and somewhat hostile to me and my Red Wings attire.

Stay tuned. The show will be here on the blog tomorrow evening.

~The Rant Man~

Game 5: Someone Will Take the Lead

Don't you love obvious headlines? They make me smile.

My HP notebook is currently on life support. Apparently the wireless drivers in some HP notebooks are known to suddenly disappear. It's covered by warranty, but I do not feel like shipping out this thing with the risk of it getting lost, damaged beyond recognition, etc.

OK, so Game #5 at Joe Louis Arena, 8pm (EST) on Network of Bullying Cowards (NBC). I have to stay on task here. Key factors in tonight's game:

~Datsyuk is finally back in the lineup.
~Last change on the ice, Zetts to Crosby, clutch (and possibly grab).
~Them boards, them boards, them funny bouncy boards.
~Osgood, home ice, decent.
~Obvious: Home Ice/Home Crowd.
~A full healthy roster (if you're not looking at age).
~Mike Babcock, possibly dawning a fedora.

~Line combinations are finally clicking.
~Secondary scoring is now in the mix.
~Power Play opportunities have been favorable.
~Jordan Staal woke up from his coma!
~Bylsma can keep everyone calm. I mean look at those glasses!
~Fleury is finally focused...on trying to convince everyone to give him a break.

John Baranowski (The Penguins guy) and I, the Rant Man (Red Wings/Sabres hybrid mixed with a poodle) will in the DC area somewhere catching the game. Follow me on Twitter for the latest:

Rant Man's W.T.F. Video Find

Wow. Darude, you know, the guy with the club song "Sandstorm", yeah. Interesting.

Post-Game: Game 3 to the Penguins

So, there you have it. The Penguins are using home ice to their advantage, and from what I've seen, this series is possibly far from done! I did say that the Red Wings would have this in 6 games, but that would mean winning at least one on Pittsburgh ice. Can the Red Wings rebound in Game 4 to take one in the Steel City?

Well, tonight, the secondary scoring showed up for the Penguins in the form of Maxim Talbot. The first and last goals of the game come off Talbot's stick and it didn't come easy. The fact that Osgood only face 21 shots may hinder the idea that he is a viable Conn Smythe Playoff MVP if the Red Wings pull this off. It will have to be a rock solid performance for him here on out. I think that Malkin's behind the scenes three assists was key to this game. His performance after the fight at the end of Game 2 proved who was the bigger impact winner from the emotional factors that be. If you want to see what Game 4 will be like, mix the emotions of both Game 2 and 3, and you'll have a charged up Red Wings squad versus a confident Penguins unit. Things could be very physical in Game 4 considering how well that worked in the first half of this game in favor of the Red Wings. If the physical play keeps up, and the defensive melt-downs are addressed, Detroit will take Game 4. If the tone is consistent through to Game 4 with echoing sentiments of tonight's performance on both sides, then Pittsburgh can expect a huge momentum swing in this series.

After all is said and done, the Red Wings have to win Game 4 if they want to ensure winning this series. The Penguins having the second change definitely went in their favor. I hate saying this, but the referees were also in the Penguins favor. I am not one of those that will harp on some conspiracy theories that the league is pulling for the Penguins, but some of the calls made tonight were soft. It just so happens that the Penguins nail two powerplay goals in the end. If the Red Wings can play "Mister Nice Guy" but still deliver a physical game in Game 4 while staying out of the box, they're bound to win. The question now surrounds the defensive pairings against Pittsburgh's top line, and the force that control the front of the net. Do the Red Wings' forwards need to step back a bit to support the defense, or push forward for more scoring opportunities by putting more traffic in front of Fleury? The Video Coaching staff now have their work cut out for them.

Good night, everybody! Talk to you all real soon.

~The Rant Man~

After 2 periods of play...

A nice physical game played by both sides, but like I've always said, the smarter defense and body playing game belongs to the Western Conference. No matter what team we're talking about, the Western Conference has always had a more physical dynamic. With the physical game and finished checks, the opportunities opened wide for the Detroit Red Wings who had 14 shots in that period alone. So, compare that to the 4 shots by the Pittsburgh Penguins, and you have a completely different set of philosophies when it comes to scoring opportunities. Detroit is thriving off their physical game and aggressive fore-check to grab up the puck.

Conversely, Fleury is playing a lot better when you look at the numbers. No silly bounces have his rattled (just yet). So, there is a positive that the Pittsburgh angle can take away from that period. Crosby and Malkin aren't creating as many opportunities as they should, but considering their skill, they should be able to find their way around these roadblocks. The defensive core of the Red Wings have the Penguins pinned, and Pittsburgh needs to find their way around it here in the third period to break loose from this tie. I'm willing to bet that somebody will score before the half-way mark of the third. Something is bound to break. But, overall, great game thus far.

~The Rant Man~

After 1 period of play...

If you're not doing so already, follow me on Twitter. (

After one period of play in Game 3...

Quite a different series if this continues. The home-ice factor seems to make a difference in some regard. When we look at the last change made by the home team, Pittsburgh definitely has an advantage as to keeping Crosby from matching up with Zetterberg. So far, Babcock has found so good opportunities in the action have Zetterberg change on the fly. But, with all of that juggling going on, can a coach lose sight of other things happening in the game if he becomes too focused on changes and lineup matches? This could prove to be exhausting, but the new formulation of Malkin, Crosby, and Kunitz seems to alleviate some pressure as to when Zetterberg and his crew join the ice. Rafalski and Lidstrom are the favorited defensive pairing to get sent to battle against the Crosby line. They're proving to be moderately effective, but can they handle double the threat with Crosby and Malkin playing a line together? The second and third period least.

Osgood allows 2 goals on 7 shots? Ouch. Fleury allows 2 goals on 12 shots? Ok. So, now it's a war of talent. Zetterberg already has a goal and an assist. Letang already has a goal and an assist. Now, the waiting game. Will it be Abdelkader for Detroit or Adams for Pittsburgh to get the next goal? Truth is, the next goal could come from anybody, but the offensive pressure by Pittsburgh has seen a lot of improvement compared to Games 1 & 2.

This all coming from a Red Wings fan of 14 years. Taking it from my birth heritage of being a Sabres fan (if I weren't an overall hockey fan), I should be caring less at this point. Just kidding, of course.

Enjoy the second period!

~The Rant Man~

Stanley Cup Finals 2009: The Fast-Food Version

This year's Stanley Cup Finals are going to be remembered (by me, at least) as the Fast Food Stanley Cup Finals. It's going to be hot (teams are still sweating from their last series played), fast (possibly done in less than a week), cheap (whatever works for NBC, NBA, and AA), and convenient (to Gary Bettman and his agenda).

Ok, so the schedule came out, and everybody is not thrilled. Seriously, I am not happy either, and usually I am a happy-go-lucky guy (sarcasm). What really bugs me even more is that the NHL is waiting on the N(freakin')BA in order to schedule a time for Sunday's Game 2. ...Hold on, let me get this straight. The NHL is waiting on the NBA in order to decide when the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins will play that day? First off, you put Game 1 & 2 back-to-back, and now you're waiting to see what is going on in the NBA that day before announcing a game time?!?

You know what, I can't even blog this one. I'll be audio podcasting this one. I'm very disappointed in the professionalism of a certain pointy eared fiend, also known as Gary Bettman. This guy still doesn't get it even after 16 years. You would think he'd have it down to a science.

Audio podcast will be online within the next five hours.

Love Always,

The Rant Man

Follow the Rant Man on Twitter

Follow the Rant Man on Twitter. Yes, he's going to try something new.

Post Series, Intro Conference Finals: Wings vs. Hawks, Pens vs. Canes

Time to look forward to the Conference Finals!

Download Rant Man's Chattering

Rant Man's Post Series Report: Pens vs. Caps

I would have done this face to face, but I've got this 5 o'clock shadow going on.

Rant man strikes again.

Download Rant Man's Musings of the Pens Caps Series Finish

Hockey Week show 13B: The Podcast Show

This show was meant for the podcast only, exclusive of television (though it might end up there anyways), and because Rob wasn't available, heir apparent to the Hockey Week legacy Christopher Covert joins us in the studio for some discussions about Jim Balsille, contracting teams, and NHL Website Cover Pages.

Download Show 13B

Show 13

Lucky 13! Lucky because we don't have Dave on this show. Nah, I'm just kidding. This episode, we cover all our 2nd round picks, the trophy candidates, and of course, all the news and happenings from around the league in the previous round. Enjoy!

Download Show 13

Merciad Article

The Merciad is the school newspaper here at Mercyhurst College, and I've been asked to write a column here, and have been doing so for a few weeks. I referenced this column on the air, and I wanted to make it accessible to everyone here.

Let’s Clear the Playoff Air

This column is purely to end some arguments before they happen with respect to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and specifically my Pittsburgh Penguins.
I would first like to apologize to NHL fans everywhere. We did not make Sidney Crosby the league posterboy. It is not the Penguins,’ nor is it their fans’ fault that he is shoved down your throats by the media. I will not refute the talk of his complaining, because he does do that, but the NHL is a very superstar-oriented league, and every star gets special treatment (yes, even Daniel Briere), and Wayne Gretzky was worse than Crosby in this. Now can we please shut up about him? I am sick and tired of people complaining about his complaining. That’s hypocrisy. Get a grip people.
Second, many people have a problem with Penguins fans. A great many of them are not Penguins fans, but merely bandwagoners. If a person claiming to be a Penguins fan cannot tell you 3 people from the X Generation (I’ll even include X Force), or have no idea what you are talking about, they are not Pens fans. They are bandwagoners, and they make us all look bad.
Let me clear some things up. If you cannot name anybody from the X Generation, you are a bandwagoner. If Ramzi Abid, Dick Tarnstrom, Konstantin Koltsov, Sebastian Caron, and Alexei Morozov mean nothing to you, you are a bandwagoner, or a sorely uninformed fan. If you cannot name when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup, you are a bandwagoner. If you didn’t follow the team for years because they weren’t very good, no matter how big of a fan you were as a kid, you ARE a bandwagoner!
But there is hope if you are new to the Penguins fandom: do not claim to be a super fan, listen to facts and stories, never claim that this team is our best team (see: 1992-93), never think that Crosby is better than Lemieux, and never, ever, consider yourself a bigger fan than those who cheered through the horrible losing seasons.
It happens with all teams. My freshman year, I learned to hate the Buffalo Sabres because of their fans, when in fact, it was only a bandwagon which has since dissipated.
So do not hate all Pens fans, look a little deeper and better direct your hatred; everyone will be a lot happier.

John Baranowski

Tears for Columbus

Emotion. A word that encompasses everything that makes us human by presence. For all of those present at Nationwide Arena this evening, emotion was the driving force behind the relentless push by the Columbus Blue Jackets to remain in the playoffs.

The crowd grew anxious as the Jackets were down to the Red Wings 3-1 at the end of the 1st period.

Hope was restored as the Jackets came back and brought it within one with Nash netting his first playoff goal under two minutes into the second period. The crowd is curious as to what will happen next. R.J. Umburger gives the fans revived hope by scoring, not even four minutes later, and the now the reset button has been hit, the game is tied, 3-3. The crowd is ecstatic, but only for a moment as under a minute and a half later Marion Hossa throws in back-to-back goals to regain the two goal lead for the Red Wings; 5-3. The crowd becomes somber, yet hopeful, again.

The Blue Jackets, making the playoffs amidst tough competition, vowed never to give up. The last five minutes of the second period is where renewed hope was given to Columbus, OH and fans across the globe. Kris Russell guns home his first goal for the Jackets in the playoffs, Columbus within one, 5-4, then minutes later, a team franchise presence, Fredrik Modin buries the tying marker that sets the crowd through the roof. The noise factor, the emotion, the drive by a team seeing the playoffs for the first time in their 8 seasons in the NHL, it was clear in a desperate situation, a do-or-die game. The intermission comes, the fans are anxious and excited.

Third period, the most intense physical game I've seen by far in the playoffs, the Columbus Blue Jackets fought for a fifth game. The intensity, the electricity, fans on their feet for close to almost the entire period. This is hockey. This city found its passion, as 18,889 fans threw their voices, wore down their heels, and cheered their hearts out. Though probably 2,000 Red Wings fans found their ways of paying a high $$ to buy their way into the attendance, the Blue Jackets faithful definitely overpowered and remained passionate throughout. The hush moments, totaling a mere 10 minutes of playing time, are nothing compared to the 50 minutes of pure chaos beaming from the hearts and souls of hockey fans supporting their boys on the ice.

Dead-locked at a score of 5-5 with under 2:00 minutes to go, the Blue Jackets come face to face with something nobody could have possibly seen coming; a particularly unusual penalty against the home-team with under 1:40 to go in the 3rd period of a tied game that could spell out the fate of their post-season. The penalty, the must call, too many men on the ice...

Johan Franzen scores the game winner on the power-play with :47 seconds left in the 3rd period. Detroit goes on to win a tightly disputed contest 6-5 on a Franzen power-play goal on a penalty call for too many men on the ice.

Blue Jackets fans, I will give you three words to live by for next year, and I heard these words over the public address right after the penalty was called. "Don't Stop Believing."

No team should ever have to remember the termination of their playoff run due to a too many men on the ice penalty. Yes, if you see the replay, the change being made was right at the point where the Jackets connected with the puck as the player was one foot and a half from the bench. It's unfortunate, close, but strangely necessary. In a playoff season where players get punched in the head off the face-off, crosschecked in the head, and checked from behind face first into the boards, you would think that in the dying seconds of a situation that spells out the fate of your team, too many men on the ice is the last penalty you would think could potentially end your season.

Columbus, you deserved to be in the playoffs. It was a great season. Steve Mason will win the Calder Trophy, and I believe that without a doubt in my mind.

Before I close this out, I want to clarify why I titled this article 'Tears for Columbus'. Fans, and players of the Blue Jackets, the passion you showed tonight from start to finish, even though you knew this game could potentially be the end of the line for your team, it moved me. The disappointment of seeing your team lose with :47 seconds left in regulation time because of a too many men on the ice penalty? I felt the same hurt you all felt. Here's the kicker: Even though I'm a Red Wings fan, I still feel proud of the display you all put on for your team in a very difficult situation. All I have to say is, I want to see this same kind of emotion next year because that is what pumps the heart of teams like these.

~Rant Man~

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 12: Rob is Out, Stearns vs. Baranowski In

Rob isn't here, and because of that, what originally was thought to be a slow news day devolves into our most heated show yet. See if you can follow along with the arguments!

As always, comments are very welcome, so go ahead and post 'em!

*Apologies from the Rant Man. This was one of my worst shows. I was not making any valid points. I am having some personal issues. I should be in the clear in the next two weeks.
~Rant Man~

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Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 11 (04/15/09): Rant Man in Studio for Playoff Predictions

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Stearns comes back to the studio one more time, and with it we have our playoff picks, which is always our biggest show of the year. Enjoy!

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 10 (04/08/09): Stearns is Special Guest

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We have a special guest in the studio to take us through the standings, our early picks, and the latest on Sean Avery.

Edit: Mike Babcock, not Dave Babcock, I always get the coach's name mixed up with an old hockey buddy's first name. ~Rant Man~

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 9 (04/02/09): Rants, Raves, Gerber, Stearns and Aneurysms

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Dave is absent for another show, but sends in a clip that sends John on a total rant. Aside from that, Gerber's tribulations, idiotic fans, the Islanders' doom, and lots o' fun go into this episode. click the above link to watch.

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 8 (03/25/09): Bickering, Goalie Demonstration, Over 18 Night?

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Stearns is back and more bicker-happy than ever, bandwagoning ever moreso to the Vancouver Canucks. We discuss the damage butterfly goaltending does to the body, which includes a great demonstration from Rob. discussion of Las Vegas Wranglers' Over-18-Night goes overboard, arguments over the Phantoms moving, and of course, standings debates. (not to mention, my favorite commercials, some real great ones you've never seen here!)

John's Outlandish Claims and My Defense

So, we're playing battleship now? My move...

Ottawa is in the playoff race again. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Why? Because they're 13-5-2 in their last 20 games. Since Hartsburg's firing and Clouston's hiring, the Senators became the biggest turn-around team in the NHL this year. Yes, last year they did the same thing, but in the opposite direction. Think about it, 13 wins, 2 OT/SO losses = 28 pts. That's a lot of points for a team to grab up in 20 games. Shooting up the standings? Not so much considering that the slots are being filled at this point as there are merely 10 games left per team. BUT, ponder this! The Senators have 74 points, standing in 11th place, 7 points back of 8th place. Mathematically, if all things stay equal, all they need to do is win 9 out of the ten games remaining (or win 8 and lose 2 in OT/SO). My point in all of this, speaking of points, is that the Ottawa Senators are the hottest team in the NHL on task with the Detroit Red Wings (who in fact have the same record in the last 20 games)!

Did I lead you on yet? Of course I did, and guess what? John, yes you can trash them all you want, but face the facts, Vancouver is the best team in the NHL right now (just ignore the scoring into their own empty net on a delayed Phoenix penalty). I should just put you in the box, John. 15-4-1 in the last 20 games is something you shouldn't brush aside! When a team is this hot, paying attention is important. These aren't one goal games either! Majority of them are two goal differences! With the game changing dynamic of their play, Vancouver can grow so far in their remaining 11 games to overtake the Northwest Division as Calgary's flame seems to have fizzled out. John would say something like, "Oh, well just because Calgary is 5-5-0 in their last ten, doesn't mean they're going to fall out of the top spot in the Northwest!" Their next three games are against Pittsburgh, Columbus, and Minnesota, then San Jose, Dallas, and Minnesota...Look at this month's scores: Loss to Carolina 6-1, Loss to Atlanta 5-2, Loss to Toronto 8-6, Loss to St. Louis 3-2. It's laughable. Since the trade deadline (where everyone raved and raved that the Flames did amazing), they are 4-5-0. Where's the impact from all those amazing moves? Bottom line, Vancouver has a strong change of taking the Northwest by numbers at this point in the season. John, last show (along with Rob) you said the top three in the Western Conference aren't going anywhere, well...see above. Vancouver has a strong shot.

Ok, now to quickly clarify that quote John used. I fibbed a little in that quote because Mr. Baranowski lectured me to "Not mention detailed standings or anything specific about the standings". So, what did I do? I generalized and mentioned nothing in particular just to cover ourselves going into the break. If I had my way, I would have spoke up and said "Montreal will continue to spiral downhill through the next couple weeks and past the trade deadline." I wanted to say it, I was hurting to say it, but John told me to keep in vague. I did! He got his wish. Personally, I wanted to virtually strangle him for censoring me, but, oh well. End result, G.C. is fired and B.G. takes over. Carey Price, I argued last year, was showing that he's a bit shaky and shouldn't be put in the position to carry the team on his shoulders following the Huet to Washington move. Halak has seen much more ice time lately, has he not? Go figure. Don't ever censor me on standings, John, because I'll puppet to your request and leave a general quote for you to use against me. I spoke those lines to please you because you threatened by life if I mentioned anything specific. Along those lines, the standings haven't shifted too dramatically aside from Pittsburgh's rise to a battle of the bottom four, and Detroit's rise to toggle with San Jose at the top. (Great game on Sunday between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, by the way). Pittsburgh 29 points in their last 20 games, Philadelphia 25 points in their last 20 games, these are two teams on the rise, and I'm willing to bet these two see each other first round and go 7 games.

Bottom line of all that was said above: The top 5 teams going into the playoffs are Vancouver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and New Jersey (Yeah, 14-6-0, Brodeur breaking the Wins record and closing in on the shutout Honorable mention if they do not make the playoffs...Ottawa.

To close out this ranting, I'd like to apologize for not appearing in the last show. I had very important matters to tend, too. My family means a lot to me. Though you all are like a family to me, I chose to focus my efforts on my parents and family. Oh, and I got a new car! But, my family was the primary reason why I was tied up.

Also, I'd like to apologize for John's saying "regardless". I lost count at 43.

~Rant Man~

P.S.- I ignored enough of John's posting because it point-blank (and pointlessly) cheaply went after Buffalo, and had no real flow to it. I'm allowed to type and ramble all over the place. I deserved that right. Just wait until my Stanley Cup Playoff picks. I'm having fun calculating in my mind all of the scenarios. The cat will be let out of the bag real soon.

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 7 (3/15/09): Brodeur, Fighting, Trade Reactions

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Stearns sat this episode out, so Rob and John have an excellent argument concerning the possible upcoming changes to the penalties related to fighting and our top 5 goalies of all time. This episode had some of the best discussion yet. Enjoy, as we recap everything we missed because of spring break.

Fight Rants with Rants, How Hockey Week Works

I was contemplating a blog post, until I saw Mr. Stearns call me out on the blog. Yes, I check the blog, and you should too.

At the time the last episode was filmed, nobody HAD shot up the standings. Only two teams had more than 6 wins or 6 losses in the past 10 games. 60% is no barn-burner, and realistically will be cancelled out just 10 games later. If you recall, the last episode was filmed on the 18th, and therefore anything based on the whole of the month of February would be a lie. BUT WAIT, the show Dave is referencing is from the 10th of February, showing just how much changes in 18 days, proving my point further: the L10 statistic is very misleading, and not something one should rely on.

The L10 doesn’t tell you the real story, and at times, nor do the statistics until long after the fact. The L10 doesn’t tell you about Martin Brodeur’s triumphant return, in fact, the 8-2-0 that the Devils have currently shows that they haven’t missed a beat, meanwhile the Devils have hit a whole new level of domination and are scary enough to be discussed on ESPN’s Around the Horn. It can’t possibly indicate the effects of the Rangers’ coaching change, or lack thereof. Even a 3-5-2 doesn’t show just how much the loss of Ryan Miller damages the Sabres.

Can I also point out that David Stearns, the Rant Man himself, said on February 18th’s episode, and I quote, “As far as the standings go? Yeah, they’re tight. They’re not going anywhere for a while. A lot of teams have been fluctuating here and there. You really can’t make any specific movements, or any discussions about specific movements because in the next few weeks, one team is going to be all the way up here and the other one is going to be way down here…The top four teams are locked in and the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th seeds are fluctuating.” This means, if I am not misrepresenting the Rant Man, that statistics only account for so much.

Aside from that, the Vancouver Canucks are a team that has garnered more undeserved media hype than any other team. Calculating wins, losses, and ties over the history of the franchise, it is the farthest under .500 of any franchise. In two Stanley cup finals appearances, it has come up with nothing. This team has wasted chances with many good, and some I dare say great, players. Markus Naslund was poised as the greatest thing since sliced bread. He dominated in a western conference shared by Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic. Matthias Ohlund was touted as this great defenseman, There were teams that made Dan Cloutier look good! Now they have Roberto Luongo, supergoalie extraordinaire, and bring in Mats Sundin with a boatload of money and more media coverage than I care to handle.

Yes, they’ve had a wonderful February, but how about June? Does anybody honestly expect them to be in the Stanley Cup Finals? I haven’t heard a single prediction that includes them, and I’m not about to give one. I hate wasting time on Vancouver, and I shan’t even put them in the Best Teams to Never Win the Cup, because these Canucks teams don’t belong anywhere near the early-70s Sabres, the early-00s Senators or even the late-70s Kings. Quite frankly, the Canucks are one of those teams who are good year in and year out, but have never had what it takes to make it over the hump, they are another San Jose, another Calgary (though I give the Flames credit for at least going to the finals in 2004), but they will never be a league superpower.

Promise? Only the promise of looking good and failing miserably when it counts. They can take a seat next to Patrick Lalime and the Philadelphia Flyers in the “not accomplishing diddly” section.

Teams get hot, teams go cold, and some teams just don’t have it in the Playoffs. When the Canucks can do something substantial in the postseason, I’ll talk about them. In the meantime, I’ll let all the other analysts do that job.

What I would like to talk about is the status of some other things in the NHL. Knowing our viewers, all 5 of you, I’d like to address the falling Buffalo Sabres. Unless Buffalo makes some sort of trade for a goaltender, or finds that diamond in the rough Cinderella goaltender in their own minor leagues, or through some miracle Ryan Miller comes back, their playoff hopes are over. This is a team that has what it needs to make an impact in the playoffs.

In a depth chart full of “who?”s, “huh?”s and “he’s ok”s beats the heart of a team. …and I do mean TEAM. This phenomenon is rare, shown a handful of times in history, the most recent great example being the undamphousse’d San Jose Sharks, but it is one that must be celebrated. Who are the superstars on this team? If you’re a Sabres fan, I’m sure you shouted a few players at your screen just now. If you’re a simple enjoyer of hockey who is not well versed with every team’s rosters, you’re probably thinking pretty hard, and the answers you came up with are injured. Somehow, this team prevails in the face of such adversity. That is something to be admired, and is darn impressive.

That brings me to my next theory, one that the Rant Man has disagreed vehemently with me about: teams cannot win championships with a terrible goaltender. Chris Osgood, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Nikolai Khabibulin, Martin Brodeur, Dominik Hasek, Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Mike Richter, Tom Barrasso, Bill Ranford, Mike Vernon, Grant Fuhr, Billy Smith, Ken Dryden are the Stanley Cup winning goalies of the past 30+ years. No terrible goalies. You could make arguments about Ranford, Vernon, and Fuhr…but you’d be hard-pressed to call them terrible for the season in which they won a championship. Let’s face it, a goaltender is an essential part of any successful team. Patrick Lalime is not good enough to excel in the playoffs. He showed that while playing for an excellent Senators team, one of the aforementioned best-to-never-win-the-cup. Let’s face it, Roger Crozier and Rogatien Vachon weren’t spectacular either, no matter how fond our memories of them are. Buffalo NEEDS a goaltender if they plan for any kind of success beyond April 12th.

Aside from that, the Penguins have swept into that playoff vacuum left by the Sabres, with Marc-Andre Fleury winning his 100th game, moving him into 3rd on the most-wins-by-a-Penguins-Goaltender list behind only Tom Barrasso and Ken Wregget. Has this become the evidence to silence Fleury critics? If you consider that Rick Kehoe is the Penguins’ 3rd leading scorer, you can see that if you fight long enough, you can gain accolades. You cannot call him less than OK, but he has still yet to show that he is great, something that will only come with a Stanley Cup win. Those who doubt this, think about where Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perrault, Rod Gilbert, and Adam Oates fall on the list of greatest players. Ask a football fan about the greatest players, and see how Dan Marino takes a huge hit because of his lack of Super Bowl victories.

Back on-topic, the Penguins have battled their way back into the playoffs…for now. They need to achieve 7th or preferably 6th place to have a chance at making it past the first round. A rather difficult schedule will settle only one thing: If the Penguins make it to the playoffs, they have earned it.

Chris Kunitz will help that. The Penguins gave away a good puck-moving defenseman, but they have no shortage of those. They needed a scorer to augment Crosby, Malkin, and Sykora (the team’s only 20-goal scorers). Sure, they lost a good player to gain a player of lesser skill, but they filled a need by trading someone who wasn’t essential. Adding Tangradi, a fantastic scorer who should develop into a player the Penguins will need in the future, makes this deal completely worthwhile, and has already showed that it might pay off. Those complaining are bandwagoners who don’t remember that Paul Coffey got traded in February 1992 for far less, before we brought home our second consecutive Cup.

It has been far too quiet in the NHL, I’m still waiting and hoping for those big deals to happen.

Ok, I’ve talked enough…or should I say, “ranted” for long enough. You’re up, Rantman.


An Observation and Not a Put Down: There's a hot team out there

John grilled me about this, and I think that it was unjust that he did so. Does everyone just look at the "Last 10 Games" column when it comes to figuring out how well a team is truly doing? That's wrong, pathetic, and doesn't tell the whole story behind a team. The reason I bring this up is because John hates the netminder for the team I am eluding to.

The Vancouver Canucks are a lesser talked about team who practically won every game they played in the month of February. Why didn't anyone notice this? Well, it's probably because of the "post-Sundin deal hangover". Well, Vancouver deserves more credit because Sundin is doing things for this team, and they're seemingly inspired. Did you not see the Sundin shoot-out winner against Toronto in T.O.? Seriously, that was awesome. But look at the way things are shaping up for these Canucks. Last month, this team was horrible and they went with the plan of action I always talk about during this time of year. That plan of action is the All-Star Break Breakout. A team or two will be playing amazing and burning up the standings up to the All-Star game, then fizzle out. A mediocre team will just barely make it to the break, and then after the All-Star festivities are over, this team (or these teams) will jet-pack through the rest of the season with an almost perfect resurgence. Will it go noticed? No! Of course not! John didn't studious point out that the Canucks, in the month of JANUARY only WON 2 and LOST 10, and in FEBRUARY only LOST 2 and WON 9. That's a pretty big turn around if you ask me. So when John Baranowski badgered me to death with his tirade of "There's no team that is truly standing out and playing amazing hockey!"

He says, paraphrasing, that there's nobody who is shooting up the standings...

The Canucks are in rare form, meaning they are not the team from last month and through the beginning of the season in a horrible standing position throughout. This team shows promise.

Hockey Week's Video Pick: Black History Month

Last year, we covered Willie O'Ree and his efforts in spreading the word about hockey, along with making it more accessible to minorities. This year, I've selected The Hockey Show's round-table discussion. NHL Network hosts a Black History Month roundtable with Tony McKegney (former Sabres player whose son played a number of years on my brother's travel team in Buffalo), Jamal Mayers, PK Subban, and former Hartford Whaler and Winnipeg Jet Ray Neufeld.

~Rant Man~

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 6 (02/22/09)

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Good luck on Finals to everyone at Mercyhurst.

Good luck on waiting out winter in Erie, PA.

Good luck on dealing with the trades coming up in just over a week to everyone out there in the NHL world.

We have a little fun in this episode, and the next show due out will be after the trade deadline has passed. Expect us back during the second week of March. I, the Rant Man, David Stearns, will try my best to keep this thing going in the meantime with some updates. Stay tuned, but enjoy this most random show.

Ovechkin's Amazing Goal vs. Montreal

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 5 (02/18/09): Firing, Standing, and Averying?

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Why do we keep talking about Avery? Seriously. We need to get away from this loonatic, but that's just me, the Rant Man, talking. We battle in this one. Opinions change on the Penguins, and the standings are tightening up more than the pressure on Venus.

Get ready, get set, go ahead and download kids.

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 4 (02/10/09): All Heated Up on Change

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We battle in this one, hardcore. Dave almost has a heart-attack from his ranting (hence, Rant Man), and John is the devil('s advocate). Rob, is calm, cool, collective. Tune in, enjoy, give feedback...or the devil('s advocate) is coming to get you.

Questions, comments, concerns, and, of course, complaints can be sent to

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 3 (02/01/09): The All-Star Game Wrap Up

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Questions, comments, concerns, and, of course, complaints can be sent to

Two Issues: What Grinds a Rant Man's Gears

Ok, it is NOT about the All-Star Skills competition, so you are all spared that torture. Two huge issues came up this week that may change the perception of the sport of hockey, well, possibly forever. Lets go in the order of importance:

1) (AP article) PHILADELPHIA -- A Philadelphia Flyers minor league enforcer was discharged from a hospital Saturday, a day after having a seizure following a bloody fight -- and weeks after the death of an amateur player who hit his head on the ice while fighting.

Garrett Klotz, a hulking 20-year-old right wing in his first season with the American Hockey League's Philadelphia Phantoms, was taken off the ice on a stretcher Friday night in the opening seconds of a 2-1 victory over Manchester.

Phantoms spokesman Brian Smith said Friday night that Klotz was alert and responsive on the way to the hospital and watched the rest of the game on television.

"It was a scary incident," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told Comcast SportsNet. "But we just got word from our doctor that he's clear. There's no facial fracture. They're stitching him up. His jaw is fine and there's no tooth fracture or anything. It's a scary ordeal, but he's going to be fine."

Klotz and Kevin Westgarth -- both 6-foot-5 and Westgarth 12 pounds heavier at 247 -- removed their helmets and squared off immediately after the opening faceoff, with Klotz possibly retaliating for Westgarth's Nov. 7 fight with the Phantoms' Jeff Szwez.

The long fight ended when Westgarth hit Klotz with an uppercut and two more hard punches, dropping him to the ice -- and possibly knocking him out. Klotz appeared to land awkwardly on the boards -- but didn't hit his head -- and convulsed for 30 to 40 seconds. He was on the ice for about 10 minutes before being lifted onto the stretcher.

Klotz, from Regina, Saskatchewan, has one assist and 54 penalty minutes in 30 games for the Phantoms this season. After the Flyers drafted him 66th overall in 2007, he had a goal, three assists and 97 penalty minutes in 52 games last season for Saskatoon in the junior Western Hockey League. In 150 WHL games in three seasons with Red Deer and Saskatoon, he had five goals, five assists and 229 penalty minutes.

Westgarth has a goal, four assists and 109 penalty minutes in 38 games this season for Manchester. The former Princeton forward also played two penalty- and point-free games this season for the Los Angeles Kings.

The seizure followed the Jan. 2 death of Don Anderson, the 21-year-old Whitby Dunlops defenseman who hit his head on the ice after his helmet fell while fighting Dec. 12 in an Ontario Hockey Association game.

Answer from the Rant Man [RM]) Ok, now we have back-to-back incidents where someone has either died or experienced near deadly force causing some head trauma induced seizures. What do you think the message of the sport is becoming now if it weren't already such? "Hockey is a violent sport in all aspects". Yes, this is true in two ways; the playing aspect and the physical toughness aspect. Body checking, scrums in the corner, squaring up at center ice to get the crowd and bench charged up or to come to the defense of a teammate...there are many reasons why hockey is physical. Granted the NHL is trying to appeal to the masses, so Bettman's Funland for kids is becoming a reality with all the subtle changes being made every year. But, if he and the board of governors dare touch fighting in the NHL in anyway (again...see instigator rule), I will watch another tier of the hockey professionalism ladder. Maybe I will go so far as watching some Russian KHL action and retool my Russian language skills again (Sorry Father Simon, I didn't keep up with the vocab like you consistently suggested).

My issue is that two incidents don't make a mandate for change. Last year, the league didn't react to the Richard Zednik corroded artery incident with sudden change for neck guards. It was the second time such an incident occurred with a skate (but I will say, there have been hundreds of close calls). I think that unless it becomes an epidemic, don't change anything with the fighting. This has come up numerous times in the past decade, but fighting is a piece of hockey tradition. If you're removing it because of the possible lethal consequences, then show me statistics on how often and likely it is going to end up deadly. Maybe after that I'll understand and accept it. But so long as there is UFC/MMA, bare knuckle fighting (and then some), if those guys (and gals) can go at it with minimum protection on their bodies, then fighting in hockey should remain. It seems laughable to remove fighting in hockey with the continuing existence of Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Fighting Competitions. Think of what all the followers on that side would think if fighting were removed. Certain words come to mind, and I will not publish them here.

2) NHL Moves Awards Ceremony to Las Vegas (Scott Burnside - ESPN) The NHL will indeed be taking their annual awards ceremony from downtown Toronto to the Las Vegas Strip.

A league source tells that plans are now coming into focus for the awards show to make its first visit to Las Vegas on June 18, shortly after the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs and before the NHL draft in Montreal.

The ceremony is expected to be hosted by the Palms Casino and Resort.

Along with the show itself, former NHL greats Pat LaFontaine and Luc Robitaille will put together teams for a celebrity charity hockey game.

The NHL Players' Association will also hold its annual North American summer meetings in Las Vegas around the awards show as the league tries to turn it into a marquee event.

The NHL has long been rumored to be interested in exploring the idea of a franchise in the gambling mecca. Perhaps moving the awards show there will give a sense of what draw the sport might have in Vegas.

One NHL executive told there is no downside to moving the show to the gaming center. "It's all up-side," he said.

Answer from RM) What the hell? Are you serious? Did Bettman just figuratively flip off Canada? Is Rick Tocchet going to revisit his gambling problems during the awards ceremony? Are people delusional in the idea that sand and ice mix perfectly well (ie. Phoenix Coyotes and now the awards ceremony)?

Those were all questions, and not answers, I know. This topic will receive my full, uh attention and effort, for the next show coming up this week. Don't miss it.

~Rant Man~

The 2nd Annual Hockey Weekend Across America

To better get the word out about hockey in the United States, the second annual 'Hockey Weekend Across America' is on. February 13-15 is the weekend this year. Watch the video below for more details.

Hockey Week Season 2: Episode 2 (01/21/09): All Star Talk and Recent Headlines

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It's a discussion on the All-Star Game, helmets in fights at the OHA level, and various player issues.

Check it out!

Questions, comments, concerns, and, of course, complaints can be sent to