Logan Couture is ready to play NHL hockey again.
So ready in fact, that he left the European club he had been playing with early to return home to North American preparation and anticipation of once again donning a San Jose Sharks jersey and taking NHL ice.
The only problem is that the NHL still isn’t ready for him, nor anyone else.
In the meantime, Couture will settle for suiting up along side Steven Stamkos, PK Subban, Dion Phaneuf, Phil Kessel, and 34 other locked out NHL players on December 19th at Maple Leaf Garde—err, the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens in Toronto, for the 2012 RBC Play Hockey Charity Challenge, in support of the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams Fund.
I caught up with Logan via telephone for an interview just prior to the event, and he graciously chatted with me about everything from his experience in Europe, to his thoughts on the lockout, the owners, and where he’ll be skating until the NHL finally calls.
************* Read the rest of this entry »
(Note: the following post originally ran in July 2011, and has been re-purposed today in honour of the 20 year anniversary of a pretty famous fight. Thanks to Check The Ticker for alerting us that today marks 20.)
If you’re the type of person who reads hockey blogs in late July, you’re likely the type of person who’s also aware of Sean McIndoe AKA “Down Goes Brown.” Sean is what we in the writing business call “hilarious,” which you can see for yourself on his website, downgoesbrown.com, or on The National Post’s site, orGrantland.com, or on some random off-beat blog called Backhand Shelf.
What you may not know, is that his online identity stems from the fight below, in which Sylvain Lefebvre liberally applies his fist to Rob Brown’s jaw (0:10): Read the rest of this entry »
(Goin’ Backhand is a new segment at Backhand Shelf where I profile NHL Alumni)
You ought to save the best for last — or so the old adage goes. It’s only after the hardships that you fully grasp an appreciation of how fleeting a moment of greatness can be.
The lesson applies across all phases of life for all people, regardless of how you phrase the platitude; struggle yields satisfaction. Skip the trial and you lose perspective of how difficult or big those accomplishments were. You don’t want to run out your days feeling as though you’ve left something in the proverbial room.
While this may be true for the most part, some people have a knack for getting it right the first time. For Don Beaupre, in 17 NHL seasons and now 14 years as an businessman, he got it right off the hop. Twice. And there shouldn’t be any doubt over whether or not he has left anything in that room.
Read the rest of this entry »
(UPDATE: Mike Danton signed with Kramfors-Alliansen of the Swedish elite league earlier in the week. For more, here’s Danton’s personal website.)
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that no one in the game of hockey has a stigma around them the way that Mike Danton does. Now trying to resume his professional hockey career inEurope, the ex-NHLer and ex-con deals with all sorts of prejudice and ignorance directed towards him on a daily basis – not to mention all the life roadblocks that a convicted felon could expect on the outside, because of his nearly decade-old crime – despite serving his sentence.
In our interview, Mike talked very candidly and at length about everything from hockey, his time in jail, how he’s turned his life around for the better, his thoughts on other ex-con pro athletes, his feelings on being denied entry to the UK to play, his family, and what the future holds for him. Without a doubt, the responses that he gives will at least make you reconsider the opinion you’ve come to form about him. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »
(Follow Dave Cunning’s blog “Serenity Now,” and follow him on Twitter here)
While the NHL lockout rolls on, fans may forget there is a group of personnel that is not aligned with either the NHLPA or team owners in CBA negotiations, yet is directly affected by the league’s labor stall – NHL coaches.
Nearly a year after taking over as head coach of the St. Louis Blues, guiding his team to a second round playoff appearance, and winning the Jack Adams Award for the NHL’s Coach of the Year, Ken Hitchcock is just as busy preparing for a season with an unknown start date as he would be if it were already underway.
I had a chance to interview Hitchcock and he gave me his thoughts on his coaching philosophy, on replacing Davis Payne in St. Louis during last season, and other topics.
Read the rest of this entry »
Hey friends, I’ll be over at Reddit Hockey today doing an “Ask Me Anything,” at 1 P.M. EST. From the days growing up in an Islanders family (and marrying back into it), to my own junior, college and pro experience (more Islanders stuff!), to my time as a writer and beyond (cats!) I’ll be taking your questions about, specifically, “anything.”
You can join us, ask questions or just read my responses to others here. (There’s also a promo code offered that there that gets you 50% off a ticket to Blogs with Balls.)
Thanks, looking forward to chatting!
UPDATE: That was a ton of fun. We talked tips for aspiring writers, stories about hazing and college, who’s a jerk in the NHL, the best looking pro scout (thanks, Patrick Burke) and a lot more. Check it out here.
(Graig Abel, Getty Images)
P.K. Subban has a lot he could be worrying about right now. Still a restricted free agent, his contract negotiations with the Montreal Canadiens have stretched into September with seemingly no resolution in sight. The two sides are reportedly at odds over contract length, with Subban seeking a long-term deal similar to those signed recently by young stars like Jeff Skinner, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle and the Canadiens aiming for a two-year deal similar to the second contracts signed by Carey Price and Max Pacioretty.
Adding to that stress is the potential of the new CBA changing the rules on restricted free agency, which might make it even more imperative that he get a long-term deal done now before those new rules kick in. Of course, that might be some time given the state of the ongoing CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA. Subban might not need to sit out training camp like Drew Doughty did last season while awaiting a contract extension, as training camp might end up cancelled.
Instead of worrying about all of that, however, Subban is focusing his attention on a much more worthwhile endeavour: lending his time and support to a new initiative to equip and pay registration fees for over 1000 young hockey players who might otherwise face difficult financial barriers to playing the game they love.
“I haven’t been worried about it [negotiations] all summer,” said Subban when I spoke to him yesteday. “I’ve been focusing on this program launching and I’m just happy that it’s here now. We can talk about the lockout all we want, but this program really is about the kids that are being locked out of opportunities to participate in hockey because of their financial situation.”
Read the rest of this entry »