Dave Lozo

Dave Lozo

Recent Posts

USPW_647836

Colton Orr is a professional hockey player. In his fifth season with the Toronto Maple Leafs and 10th in the NHL, Orr’s best season was in 2009-10 when he registered a career-high 4 goals and 6 points in 82 games. While he is best-known for the damage he does with his fists, Orr was kind enough to use his hands to type his diary for Backhand Shelf. These are Orr’s entries for the first week of the NHL season.

Monday, September 30

Rents do. I hate payig rent. dave Nonis gave me a two-year contract for $1.8 million in the summer but you’d be surprised how quikly you can blow it all on fruity pebbles and ultimate fighting lessons. I also give money to the homeless in exchange for letting me fight them. You’d be surprised how tough homeless people can be but I never lose a fight to the homeless lol

The season starts tomorrow and I am EXCITANT!!!!!1 We play the Canadians and they are all really small and I can’t wait to hit them. It’s as close as I wil ever come to hitting children. Randi Carlily says they have George Parros now. He’s a good friend. I like him a lot. I really hope I get to punch him in the face. Read the rest of this entry »

USPW_932634

Bill Maher – yes, I’m opening a piece about why fighting does not need to exist in hockey by referencing something Bill Maher said, but bear with me – once was discussing what it would take to get equal rights in America for the gay community. He quoted a statistic that showed how people who are against gay marriage are very old while people who are for it are very young.

His hypothesis was that eventually gay marriage would be legal in all 50 states, but we would have to wait for all of the old voters and their long-held ignorant beliefs to die first. Once you get past the harshness of the idea, it makes sense. For change to occur, people in power need must be replaced by people who aren’t burdened by the notions of “that’s how it’s always been” in the world.

Before we get to hockey, let’s talk about the NFL. I know, but I assure you this all builds to a point.

On Sunday, the New York Giants were playing a football game against the Carolina Panthers. The Giants were thoroughly dismantled, 38-0, in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. The contest ceased to be in doubt by, at the latest if you’re an optimist, the middle of the third quarter. It was a woodshed beating in which Giants quarterback Eli Manning was sacked seven times.

There was a play that occurred earlier in the game before it got out of hand. Giants defensive back Ryan Mundy delivered a devastating – and legal, although a flag was thrown at first – hit to Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell that jarred the ball loose, resulting in an incomplete pass. LaFell was about as defenseless as it gets. It was an extremely violent collision in an extremely violent sport.

At the conclusion of the third-down play, no one on the Panthers ran over to Mundy to challenge him to a fight. Heck, no one on the Panthers had anything to say Mundy in the aftermath of the hit. No one on the Panthers felt the need to “stick up for a teammate” because of the hit. In a game that was over with about 20 minutes left, Panthers coach Ron Rivera did not send out his toughest player to fight Mundy or exact revenge by having a linebacker engage in a fight with a Giants wide receiver.

Suffering one of the more embarrassing losses in team history, no one on the Giants felt the need to “set the tone” for the following week’s game by fighting someone on the Panthers. No one on the Giants felt the need to “fire up the boys” while down 10-0 by starting a fight.

What’s the difference between the NFL and NHL, two extremely violent sports whose players pride themselves on toughness? Quite simply, fighting has always been part of the NHL culture while the NFL does not tolerate it. Fighting in hockey gets you five minutes in the penalty box and the admiration of your teammates and coach. Fighting in the NFL gets you a minimum fine of $26,250 for a first offense and is doubled for a second offense.

If the NHL adopted that policy, Brandon Prust would be filing for bankruptcy by January. Or, more likely, fighting in the NHL would eventually disappear and, after a while, no one would miss it. Read the rest of this entry »

David Perron meets with the Edmonton media two weeks after his trade from the St. Louis Blues to the Oilers. (Photo by EdmontonOilers.com)

David Perron meets with the Edmonton media two weeks after his trade to the Oilers.  (Photo by EdmontonOilers.com)

Hotel life isn’t out of the ordinary for David Perron. After six seasons in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, bunking with a teammate in different cities during a road trip is simply part of the job and hardly even a hassle.

But this isn’t the usual hotel stay for Perron. He’s not sharing space with a teammate as they prepare to play a game the following night. Instead, his roommates are his girlfriend, two dogs and a cat. There’s no game the next day or the day after that. All that awaits Perron in Edmonton, two weeks before the Oilers start training camp on Sept. 11, is a day with an informal practice with new his teammates and another extended search for a place to live in his new city.

Perron and his family would share that hotel room for 10 days before they finally found a suitable home in Edmonton with owners willing to rent to a couple with three pets.

“Oh what a mess that was,” Perron said. “I was with two dogs, one cat and my girlfriend in a hotel room for a week and a half. It’s tough to get the dogs some exercise. They don’t know where they are, so every time someone walks in the hallway, they’re barking.

“After a couple days there, they kind of settled down and got used to it. But the first couple days, were, well, different.”

The NHL lifestyle has its perks to be sure, but there are pockets of stress around every corner when you’ve been traded. It was especially true for Perron, whose first NHL trade sent him to an unfamiliar city to join unfamiliar teammates, none of whom he could lean on for help during the summer.

It also left him with the unenviable task of having to move twice in about two months. Read the rest of this entry »

REU_583642

For a few years now, like clockwork, someone writes about how 3-on-3 in overtime would be the greatest advancement in NHL history, like a pill that simultaneously cures impotence and baldness and tastes like waffles. “It would lead to more scoring, which means fewer games would be decided by a shootout, the worst thing to happen in the world since that pill that simultaneously causes impotence and baldness and tastes like feet.”

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has been a strong proponent for using 3-on-3 overtime for quite some time, and he put it on display at his prospect tournament in Traverse City, Mich., this past weekend. Other GMs in attendance raved about the fast-paced 3-on-3 action, despite the fact that no one actually scored a goal.

This isn’t the first time 3-on-3 hockey has been examined; it was featured at the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation camps in 2010 and 2011. The NHL wanted to be proactive and tested all kinds of rules in Toronto, but clearly everyone wants fewer games to be decided by a breakaway contest.

Here’s my problem with the entire concept of instituting 3-on-3 hockey in overtime in an effort to trim the number of games that go to shootouts – if everyone is aware that deciding games via a shootout is a bad idea, why isn’t the NHL and its GMs just, you know, abolishing the shootout altogether? Read the rest of this entry »

k-bigpic

As you’re no doubt well aware by now, I am an amazing writer devoid of flaws or shortcomings. I have nearly 37,000 followers on the social networking site Twitter and have earned several writing awards that I gave to myself in elaborate ceremonies attended by pets and posters of 1990s swimsuit models.

This may come as a shock so strong that you will lose the use of your legs for 15 minutes, but I wasn’t always this way. Oh no. There was a time where I made these things called “mistakes” and committed these other things people refer to as “errors.” I haven’t said that second word in a long time and I no longer know how to pronounce it. It prevents me from reporting on baseball.

That’s why today I will be sharing with you all of my gaffes, missteps, foibles and errors (pronounced ayeroars in my head) to show that no one is perfect – not even myself. So here are some embarrassing and dumb things* I have done during my illustrious career as a hockey reporter.

*This entry not included. Read the rest of this entry »

REU_1830131

Corey Crawford is 28 years old. He has one year at $2.66 million remaining on his current contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. When that deal expires, his newly signed six-year, $36 million extension will go into effect. When it expires in 2020, Crawford will be 35 years old.

It’s hard not to question Crawford’s massive extension. As a matter of fact, it’s incredibly easy to raise concerns about it. In a league that more and more is shelling out large quantities of money based more on potential than on past performance, it says a lot that Crawford’s new contract is this suspect. It’s especially true when the point of lengthy contracts on small sample sizes is to buy UFA years and save money in the long run, and this one pays a premium on a player who is a year away from UFA status.

Crawford’s first two seasons as a starter were uneven. He made 57 appearances in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, with the first year proving to be above average while the second year was decidedly disappointing. In 2010-11, Crawford was 33-18-6 with a 2.30/.917 split. Including only goaltenders to start at least half their team’s games, Crawford’s save percentage ranked 13th. In even-strength save percentage, Crawford was 16th in the league at .924. That’s perfectly fine for a first-year starter in the NHL.

Crawford then signed a three-year contract extension that ends after this season, and he spent 2011-12 looking like he wasn’t worth $2.66 million, never mind $6 million.

His win-loss totals were very similar in 2011-12, but if you’re the type of person that screams about wins and rings when defending a goaltender’s play, perhaps hockey isn’t your game. Maybe cheering on your child as he or she plays duck-duck-goose is more your speed. Or perhaps musical chairs would be easier for you to follow. But if you can’t see past the wins statistic, we shouldn’t be having this conversation.

Even with a 30-17-7 mark in Year 2, his other numbers fell off a cliff. Using the same criteria as earlier, his 2.72 GAA ranked him 25th in the NHL. His .903 save percentage ranked 27th. His .915 even-strength save percentage also ranked 27th. He was pulled from a start for ineffectiveness seven times. In a six-game first-round playoff loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, Crawford had a measly .893 save percentage and lost three games in overtime, the last two losses coming on goals that could be described as either terrible or really terrible. Read the rest of this entry »

cupsilo

A new season is quickly advancing on us. There are new divisions. There is a new format for deciding playoff teams. There is a new team in Seattle renewed sense of hope in Phoenix.

With a new season comes new predictions, a new chance for people like myself to make wild prognostications that will be somewhere between 3 and 5 percent correct (at best) at season’s end. Yes, it’s a gigantic waste of time. But it’s *fun* and pointless, like a book club or voting in America.

What follows is a hybrid preview/predictions for the upcoming season. The teams are ranked from 30 to 1, with the idea that this is how they will set up for the 2014 NHL Draft (traded and forfeited picks aside) before the lottery. So the teams that are ranked 1-2 here are the Stanley Cup champion and runner-up. Teams 3-4 are your conference final losers. Teams 5-16 are reverse order of the final standings based on overall points. Teams 17-30…you guessed it…failed to make the postseason.

So kick back, put your feet up on the coffee table, get angry or happy and enjoy one man’s opinion on what’s going to happen in the NHL this season along with some useful information about players who have changed teams this offseason. Read the rest of this entry »