Archive for the ‘Of Note’ Category

Smile. It's Breezy.

It wasn’t exactly a particularly fun start to the season for Ilya Bryzgalov. I mean, sure he was plenty quotable in his memorable stint on HBO with the Flyers for 24/7, but he wasn’t playing particularly well. In fact, the Flyers, if anything, were winning in spite of him, not because of him.

That’s allll beginning to change for the Flyers as Bryzgalov has kicked his game into a new level much more reminiscent of his time in Anaheim and Phoenix, for those of you who actually watched him play in those places. I know plenty probably didn’t so let me just say: it was impressive. The guy has a career .914 save percentage and 27 shutouts.

Tonight he is starting his 11th straight game of the season in Toronto. OH and by the way – the streak is going really, really well for him as Bob Mitchell informs us. Read the rest of this entry »

I had the opportunity to chat with Philadelphia Flyers’ scout Patrick Burke today. He’s on a bit of a whirlwind tour in New York right now discussing their family project inspired by his brother Brendan called “If you can play, You Can Play.”

For those of you who don’t know my connection to Brendan Burke’s story, a quick background:

A couple years ago I wrote a simple post for USA Today called “It’s time to end the use of gay slurs in hockey.” I was writing about hockey’s dressing room culture in general, and observing that it’s likely that many gay players in many dressing rooms aren’t comfortable coming out because of the lazy, “casual homophobia” that exists throughout our game. I figured it was time to stop that.

Brendan wrote me after reading my piece and told me his story. I asked if I could write it. He said yes (upon the approval of two people: his Dad Brian, and Miami of Ohio’s head coach Enrico Blasi. He was student manager there at the time. Both men gave him the green light).

Once they decided to bring his story to the public, they figured they might as well do it right and go big. John Buccigross wrote the story for ESPN, and here we are today.

Read the rest of this entry »

If you can play, You Can Play

Just terrific. More on this Monday.

"Pay attention to me"

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a guy toiling away in Phoenix who has been scoring a lot of goals. In fact, you probably haven’t but that’s okay, not many people have. If you head over and sort the NHL’s goal scoring leaders from the top down you’ll notice a strange name slotted in a tie for fourth. That’s Radim Vrbata of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Vrbata has already set a career high in goals this season with 30, surpassing his previous career high of 27. He has 52 points in 60 games. Most impressive of all? TEN OF HIS GOALS HAVE BEEN GAME WINNERS. Read the rest of this entry »

As a guy who played minor league hockey, I can assure you of one thing: the constant uncertainty sucks.

I left the University of Alaska Anchorage after playing out my four seasons there, locked in with guys I had played with for years, and promptly wore five jerseys in three years (and that’s if you discount the tryouts with the Isles and the Hershey Bears, which would run the total to seven). The fear of having your life uprooted at any moment is something you try to get used to, but you never really get there. It can wear you down.

From the sounds of things, the Colorado Avalanche’s dressing room feels a bit too much like a minor league team these days.

Here’s a quote from Kyle Quincey, now of the Detroit Red Wings, courtesy one Craig Custance:

Well thaaaat oughtta help them gobble up the two points they need to vault into eighth.

The good news for you Avalanche fans right now: every team goes through something comparable at this time of the year. Maybe the Avs are more aware of the coming shake-ups (tends to happen with bubble teams versus the top end ones), but it shouldn’t affect their play on the ice, as much as their stress levels off it.

And if it does affect their play (sure didn’t last night), this roller coaster is almost over. On Tuesday the 28th, every player in Denver can take a deep breath, exhale, and sleep like a baby that night.