Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hey... While We're Looking At Changing Rules...

A discussion of potential NHL rule changes to provide a hockey fix, and get us through the...

Yes, this is a real dog... he really does look like this.

So, the NHL recently wrapped up its Research, Development and Orientation Camp, in which the NHL's "Ministry Of Silly Rules" experiments with little rules changes and tweaks to determine whether those adjustments could fly in the NHL. Some of the proposals this year were really good, and others were just flat-out, Monty Python silly.

It looks like a couple good ones have a shot at moving forward, though -- the spring-loaded, curved glass near the benches and the "Verification Line." Seriously, I'd be tempted to start Facebook fan pages for them because I like them so much.

Wait... I just did... click here for the Verification Line page and here for the Spring-Loaded Curved Glass. And please suggest it to your friends, or else this is going to look really silly.

For the glass, I like any idea of making the "stanchion/turnbuckle/whatever-the-hell-it's-called" area safer. Anything that avoids another incident like Max Pacioretty fracturing vertabrae on that corner gets my vote. 'Nuff said.

And a big "Hell, Yes" on the Verification Line -- a green line three inches or so behind the goal line that will help determine whether a puck has completely crossed the line. It's a no-brainer. Any Blue Jackets fan will tell you... anything that helps the "War Room" in Toronto not screw up a goal call is a plus, since the idiots obviously can't do it for themselves.

I mildly like the "shallower nets" idea... it would help scoring all-around, which is good for the game overall. I would also support a five-round shootout.

Now, that "bear hug" rule -- being able to wrap up an opponent to minimize boarding injuries or something -- being tossed around/endorsed by Brian Burke... well, I'm not sure the guy who gave Todd Bertuzzi a job after his reinstatement should be talking to anybody about preventing injury.

But while the NHL is tweaking rules, I have a suggestion... can we please stop screwing around with the All-Star Game format, and go back to the good old fashioned East-West game?

Don't get me wrong... I get the whole idea of choosing teams the old-school, "pond hockey" way and all that. It does add a little intrigue to the game. It's just that something seems to be missing there, competitively.

It's not a lack of qualification... it just feels like less incentive to win.

Look at the All Star Games in the other leagues of the "Big Four." The NFL's Pro Bowl pits AFC against NFC, Major League Baseball has AL vs. NL, and the NBA has East vs. West.

See what they do there? Incentive to win. Prove that your conference is the better conference. You want to not only win, you also want to dominate a bit, you know? Maybe even hit (or at least try to get in the way of) somebody.

True... the NHL and NBA All Star Games aren't exactly known for their defense. However, you can bet they're at least trying to do enough. Because they want to beat the other team. I don't mean destroy the other team or pull a Matt Cooke on somebody, but just have that additional drive to win.

I think you lose a little of that when you potentially have a teammate on the opposite end of the ice, such as in this "Fantasy Draft" format and in that old "North America vs. World" format (I was also not a fan). It was a cute idea for the two Olympic years in 1998 and 2002, and I don't think hockey is a place for "cute" ideas.

When I watch the All Star Game, I'm for the Western Conference all the way... although I'm sure this will change if/when the Jackets move East next year (please, Hockey Gods).

"Team Lidstrom"? "Team Staal"? And didn't the official boxscore on have ASB as in "blue team" and ASR as in "red team"? Yikes.

I will openly admit that I can't remember which All Star team Rick Nash played for last year. And splitting up Nasher and Jeff Carter (because the days of just one CBJ in the All Star Games may be numbered) in this year's All Star Game...? Oh, hell no.

The rosters weren't even balanced between the conferences. Five out of six goaltenders from the East? I know you want a high-scoring game, but that was just scraping, man. You mean to tell me there wasn't even one more worthy goaltender from the West?!?!? Sure, Roberto Luongo had a couple godawful weeks in June (Woohoo! Go Bruins!)... but he was possibly THE best goaltender in the NHL last season. Sorry, someone in charge of selection needed to hit the bottle a little less there.

Anyway, that's just my take on the All Star Game format... whether you think it's a sound argument or a silly argument....

However, I certainly welcome anyone else's opinions/comments, for or against. So how about it? There's a poll over on the right margin.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Farewell, Chris Drury...

Retirement is breaking up the old gang.

Well, actually Pierre Lacroix broke up the gang years ago, but still... Peter Forsberg (again) and Adam Foote (good riddance -- it's a Columbus thing) retired this season.

Just a few weeks after a buyout from the New York Rangers, NHL great Chris Drury has joined his fellow Avs legends... too soon.

That's not to say I wanted him still playing. Let's face it, if the knee is no good, the knee is no good. It just bums me out, is all.

Drury was one of those guys you knew could and would do good things on the ice. Watching him during his rookie campaign, in which we saw both Drury and fellow rookie Milan Hejduk as legitimate scoring threats in the NHL, you could see a player who was fast, worked his ass off, and put points on the board. Plus, off the ice... he just seemed like a good dude.

I think that I – and probably a lot of other Avalanche fans at the time – pretty much lived under the assumption that one day Drury would wear the "C" when Joe Sakic retired.

Sadly, that was not to be. Lacroix eventually traded Drury to Calgary. Drury's career also took him through Buffalo – where he and Danny Briere led Buffalo to some good times – and, unfortunately, to New York. Nothing personal, of course. I just hate the Rangers. Talent like Drury's was wasted there.

Still, those first few years of Drury's career were great to watch. Watching him and Hejduk quickly emerge as stars in the NHL – even going head-to-head for the Calder trophy as rookies – and seeing him play alongside hockey legend Ray Bourque 2000 and 2001, will always be etched in my pre-Columbus Blue Jackets memory bank.

Best goal ever? Game 6 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals.

Drury takes a pass from Adam Foote and comes streaking down the left side. Drury stops to let one Devil go by him, then dekes to his right to let another defender blow past. He lets loose a wrister from the slot, right past Martin Brodeur.

I tell you, it was pure art.

Well done, and farewell, sir... you will be missed.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Can The NHL Afford To Cultivate A Thug Culture?

I wouldn't so much call this "part [insert number here]" of my discussion of discipline in the NHL... but it is a continuation of the discussion as we work our way through the...

I was reading a piece a few weeks back in which Travis Hughes of SB Nation referred to something known as the "Matt Cooke culture."

Now, of course, I like to think that there is still a prevailing attitude that hockey can still consists of great offense, sound defense, hard-hitting, and just to touch of style, while still contributing to the overall concept that sportsmanship is still a focal point of the sport.

Now, obviously there are exceptions to this overall idealistic attitude… guys like Matt Cooke... Danny Carcillo... Todd Bertuzzi... Trevor Gillies... an Islanders watch party... the list goes on. Unfortunately, those are examples of demons that the NHL can't quite exorcise just yet. Hell, Carcillo's already picking targets for his move back to the Western Conference.

But, are these demons a sign of things to come? I would not have thought so. Surely, you don't hear kids say stuff like, "I want to be just like the guy who attacked Steve Moore from behind, put him face-first into the ice and ended his career."

Or, "Hey, remember when Marc Savard was punched in the back of the head by Dan Carcillo for no reason at all after the whistle, right after he returned from a concussion? That was awesome!"

Yeah, you never hear kids saying anything like that.

Until I read Hughes' piece about Danick Paquette (hell of a piece, I might add). For those who really care about the game of hockey and its future, the words "Cooke culture" in the headline are disturbing enough.

Wow. So, this little piece of work made a dirty hit on one of his fellow Capitals prospects in development camp a few weeks ago. Thankfully, the other guy got up, and was apparently fine.

Sure I know the guy's trying to make the team. I'm all for competition. But this was a scrimmage with someone who is essentially a teammate. But that's not even the best part. In speaking to the media afterwards, Paquette told a Washington Times reporter, "I'm a pretty dirty player. I did my job, like Matt Cooke."

Ummmm, no, Danick... I don't think the Penguins specifically pay Matt Cooke to go out and try to injure people. He's expected to contribute something on offense and help the Pens win their division, which is hard to do when the NHL suspends him, which is why Cooke's last offense likely pissed off a few of his teammates... not that any of them went on-record with it.

However, this isn't about Matt Cooke's past and present... this is about hockey's future.

Is Paquette the only player to be concerned about in the NHL's next generation? I wish.

Remember this hit?

Hint: The guy on the receiving end (the one convulsing on the ice) didn't. This was former New Jersey draft pick Patrice Cormier's hit on Mikael Tam during a QMJHL game in 2010. He was suspended the rest of the season for the hit. Tam was hospitalized. The Devils dumped Cormier to Atlanta in the package that sent Kovalchuk to Jersey. Not sure that playing for the Jets is punishment enough, but... neither here nor there.

Thankfully, Tam returned to play for the Quebec Remparts the next year. Looked good statistically, too. Cormier got some time with the "big club" (if you could ever have called the Thrashers that), and tallied a couple points in 21 games. Well... if he can't establish a scoring touch, he's still got elbows, eh? Maybe that's his role.

But that hit... with all the current talk about hits to the head and the potential long-term after-effects -- physically, mentally and emotionally. Paul Kariya's retirement... Marc Savard's continued shutdown....

The deaths of Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien.

Is this what the targets of this kind of play have to look forward to later in life?

Even if the NHL's enforcement of hits to the head improves...

...can it save hockey's next generation from hockey's next generation?

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Robbery? Travesty? Meh....

Twitter is probably bound to light up with profanity in Columbus right now, with the news that with the NHL's grand new ten-year, $2 billion TV deal, with more games, more hits, more coverage, more attention to the NHL (finally!) has yielded...

...a whopping two Columbus Blue Jackets games before a national television audience.

Okay, so actually, as of "press" time, there's only one comment of "horse$#!+" so far, but... you know, wait for it....

It has been 11 seasons now, counting this upcoming one, and you know what? I'm not losing sleep over this.

The reasons are clear. Columbus is on that outer fringe in the collective NHL fan consciousness. We all know it. It's what happens when you only make the Playoffs once in ten seasons.

Have faith, CBJ fans (we should come up with a catchy collective name)... the exposure will come with wins.

Make the Playoffs this year... maybe three or four games. Do it consistently... maybe even make NBC. Win the Cup -- and I still say it will happen during Nasher's current contract -- and the sky's the limit.

As far as this season, look at it this way: Two games in the last two weeks of the season. The Playoff Push. The Jackets could clinch on either one of these -- Detroit on March 28 or Colorado on April 5. Playoff previews for the rest of the NHL audience? Perhaps.

And... let's not forget that little bit in the TV deal that all Playoff games will be on one NBC-owned channel or another. So... we may have to turn Bravo to see the CBJ Playoff games...

...but wouldn't it be awesome to have Blue Jackets hockey trump Real Housewives of [city name here] in April?

See? Silver lining.

Go Jackets!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

CANNONFEST: Hockey Lives in Columbus

A couple months ago, I was rather chagrined to pass by electronic billboards around Columbus discussing, what else... the Columbus Dispatch's Buckeye football coverage.

Like any fan of any other team besides the Ohio State Buckeyes here in Columbus, I know Buckeye football trumps everything else in this town. But with the scandal, the tattoos, the forced-ouster-turned-retirement of Jim Tressel and all that... well, it gets old.

Scott Howson trades for Jeff Carter... no change on the billboard to hype the Dispatch's Blue Jackets coverage.

Howson trades for James Wisniewski's rights, then signs him... nothing.

Juice rips a pec, and Howson snags Prospal!

Same. Freaking. Billboard.

"Where do the Buckeyes go from here?"

Oh my God, what'll we do... blah, blah... yadda, yadda...
Whose butt do you have to check into the Blue Jackets' bench to get some love for the home NHL team?

And to be clear, I'm not bashing the Dispatch's coverage. Just... well, why not brag about your NHL coverage a bit?

In the Columbus sports media coverage pecking order, Buckeye football is... well, the football team. The Jackets sometimes feel like the chess club.

But you know what? If CannonFest is any indication... the CBJ are the coolest chess club ever.

CBJ Communications Director Todd Sharrock talks with bloggers about what's coming up for the Blue Jackets this year

First clue? Well, the reserved room at the Grandview B-Dubs was difficult to maneuver through even before the promoted start time of 2PM. And it was a sea of Union Blue, with a couple exceptions... apparently I must now find Mrs. Martini a Ryan Johansen Winterhawks alternate jersey, and a dress that will coordinate with a Blue Jackets sweater.

This year's crowd easily doubled, and then some. Fans, bloggers and media alike had the chance to talk pucks, enjoy wings and beer, buy raffle tickets to win cool CBJ swag via the Jacket Backers, hang out with the Arch City Army and Reclaim Our Barn, and share stories of our favorite moments of the year.

Speaking of moments, our resident (sort of) Keeper of Moments, Tom Larrow (a.k.a, Skraut) made the trip from Cleveland again this year to introduce not one, but two new videos to the CBJ faithful. I can't do justice with words, so I'll just link to them here:

The only thing as cool as watching his videos on big screens all over the restaurant, is seeing everyone else glued to it, hearing the cheers for big goals and occasional cringes for big hits, and hearing the murmurs of people marveling at his work.

The dude's an artist, man.

The really standout thing about CannonFest is that it was born and has grown via social media. As such, for a guy like me who blogs and uses social media, it has been an awesome way to meet, in-person, people whom I only knew from our dozens of nights "together" tweeting during hockey games. I personally enjoyed hanging out with the other bloggers, meeting a couple I'd never met before, and being able to meet some of the local sports media, like Steph Greegor from The Other Paper, and catching up with fellow Ohio Bobcat Lori Schmidt from 97.1 The Fan.

And two TV news stations made it, too! Not a lick of paid advertising for this event, though there were some on-air mentions beforehand and obviously some coverage afterwards. See? Social media for the win!

Speaking of "for the win," those raffles raised almost $1,000 to go to Hockey Beats Down, and their fundraising efforts to fight cancer. If you didn't make it to CannonFest (or if you did), they're doing a fundraising hockey tournament August 25-28 at Chiller Easton.

(Pssst... they're looking for volunteers to help too, so click on the link above to find out more.)
Honestly, the only thing I'd do to change it would be that we need to do this a hell of a lot more often.

So, that's another CannonFest in the books. Huge thanks to Greg May (Full Mental Jacket) for hosting, Tom Fellrath (Dark Blue Jacket) and Matt Wagner (The Cannon) for putting it together, and Rick Gethin for emceeing and hosting the Pre-CannonFest celebration. Most of all, thanks to everyone who was there in body and spirit to support this event and the team.

On that topic, I should also point out that my perspective on this event is only one of the many from bloggers and "old school" media who were here, so I'd invite you to check out what some of the other members of the CBJ "family" (thanks, Steph) had to say about it (and I hope I have them all here so far, and please yell at me if I missed anyone):

Alison at Heart of a Jacket: "Did You Ever Believe? Well I Sure Do!"
Jeff Little at Ten Minute Misconduct: "CannonFest 2011 - It's All About The Passion"
Light The Lamp: "Vids Of The Day - Digital Dynamo"
Tom at Dark Blue Jacket: "CannonFest 2011 - Coming Of Age"
Matt at The Cannon: "CannonFest 2011 - Speechless"
Steph at Jacket Racket for The Other Paper: "A Call To Arms"
Lori at Fear The Hat: "Fired Up At CannonFest"
Stacy at Fire That Cannon: "Boom!"
DerDrache: "Part Of Something Special"
Andy at CBJ Blog: "A Blue Jackets Call To Arms"

In closing... if the Blue Jackets are Columbus' chess club, fine.

Keep the Buckeyes. This is our Chess Club. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


And Go Jackets!

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Countdown To CannonFest

My friends and fellow hockey fans… I see a light.

It is a colorful light. It glows red... it glows white... it glows a brilliant, beautiful blue.

My friends, this light glows for freedom! It glows for opportunity!

My friends, this light is a BEACON to gather us all together in the spirit of fandom, friendship and fellowship…

"Ooooooooh... ahhhhhhhhh...."
… and beer.

And let's face it folks... it'll look freaking awesome in your hockey cave.

And if you follow this beacon to gather with your friends and fellow Blue Jackets fans on Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Grandview, and buy raffle tickets from the Jacket Backers, you just might walk out the door with this light... and then it really will look freaking awesome in your hockey cave.

Of course, there is a bunch of other really cool stuff walking out the door with people who buy tickets to the raffle, which is presented by the Jacket Backers. The proceeds from this raffle will go to Hockey Beats Down, which raises funds for various charitable organizations.

Like B-Dubs' wings? They're on special. Like tall cans of Labatt's? You're covered (and you're not paying arena prices, either).

Arch City Army, Jacket Backers, Reclaim Our Barn, bloggers, fans and other complete loonies who are still talking about hockey, even though we're smack-dab in the middle of the offseason? Bingo.

See? A bunch of your favorite people will be there. Now you have to come.

See you Sunday...

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dude... Where's My CBJ Swag?

Another post of random rumblings to provide a hockey fix for the

Mrs. Martini and I were making a trip up to one of Columbus' fine retail spaces. To keep my Man Card firmly in place, I won't refer to it by its full name. So... we'll just call it "Polaris."

Anyway, Mrs. Martini was making a trip to get some Mrs. Martini stuff (it's none of my business what she gets, folks... strictly "smile-and-nod" territory). So, I figured I'd check things out at a sports establishment to see if there was any cool new swag to pick up before CannonFest on Sunday.

In a few words... well... there wasn't much.

Now, to be fair, it is the offseason. NHL stuff is pretty much exiled to a small corner next to the NBA stuff. That much I can understand.

But this...

Dude! Where's MY team's stuff?!?!?
Three arms of Pittsburgh Penguins shirts?!?!?

Oh, and to the right of this picture... a bunch of Detroit stuff. So, if you're buying something for the WalMart WingNut in your life, you're also in good shape.

I suppose I should be happy that CBJ hats at least outnumber those of our less-desirable neighbors, but wow. By the way, the hockey hats are on racks mixed in among hats for the English Premier league, or some other Euro soccer thing. Guess hockey is not a priority in general.

Oh, and the circular rack next to me was all kid-size stuff. Again, CBJ stuff outnumbered by Pens and Wings stuff.

Now, maybe... just maybe... the CBJ stuff is selling well. Cool. So... what's wrong with re-stocking? It's not like there's a competing Blueline store in the mall.

However, there's a mannequin all decked out in Michael Vick $#!+ in the front window. There's Vick stuff in kids' sizes, too. Yeah, huge role model there, people.

Yeah... sadly, not much of a bandwagon here in Columbus. Plenty of stuff for those who hate the Buckeyes, though (the Michigan selection is quite impressive... since there is a Buckeye Corner nearby for OSU stuff).

Entirely the retailer's fault? Nah. Jackets fans will be the first to admit the team's past is spotty, and it's not like anyone can predict whether the Blue Jackets' offseason moves will mean a run into the Playoffs for any length of time, regardless of what I or any other CBJ bloggers tell you.

It's just that... well, that's a LOT of Wings and Pens crap for a store in Columbus.

Central Division in the house... just no CBJ...
Hell, there was an Islanders jersey on the wall. I'm guessing the supplier just threw that in the box for free... for all I know, it has been there for years. Shaking it for dust seemed like it would be rude.

I was tempted, though....

But you know where you can find some CBJ swag? CannonFest, baby.

Your fellow Blue Jackets fans will converge at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Grandview on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., so you have no excuse to miss an opportunity to get yourself some food and drink specials and wear some Union Blue. You'll get to meet (or re-acquaint yourself with) a bunch of really great people and get a hockey fix to tide you over until training camp.

Plus, the Jacket Backers will be there, and they're doing a raffle, which is great on two fronts. One... all proceeds go to Hockey Beats Down, a not-for-profit organization that raises money for various charitable organizations.

Second... you just might walk out of B-Dubs with some really cool swag... such as the sign you see here.

"You want this... don't you..."

There is also a large Antoine Vermette third jersey up for grabs, courtesy of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Good food, good company, and for a good cause.

We'll see you Sunday.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Is Shanny the Answer for Discipline in the NHL?

Here we are... it's August... there's not a whole lot going on in the NHL, which means guys like me try to think of ideas for stuff to write about, to make sure readers like you are still thinking and talking about hockey. Still, for die-hards like us, there's a name for these next several weeks before training camps begin. Thusly, this series of topical hockey posts shall be known as...

...or at least that's the name I'm going with. So... on to the topic:Max Pacioretty is making a play on the puck along the boards, where he is met by Zdeno Chara. After the initial contact, Chara is pushing against Pacioretty before skating away, an instant before Pacioretty's head hits the stanchion of the glass between the benches.

Ryan McDonagh chips in the puck from center ice, just inside the redline, when Matt Cooke's elbow comes up and plows him across the face.

Ryan Johnson makes a clearing play on the puck, right before Todd Bertuzzi backs into him, putting an elbow to his head.

Jan Hejda collides with Marc Kruger, and in the process elbows Kruger in the head.

Aaron Rome blind sides Nathan Horton. Et cetera, et cetera.…

No, I'm not trying to bring back horrific memories for the players and fans who experienced or saw these plays. And God knows that headshots have been discussed in this space a bit over the last four or five months.

However, I am trying to make a point. All of these were head shots that were investigated by the NHL after the NHL was said it would crackdown on head shots… except for the Chara hit, which happened a few weeks before. The league finally got around to doing something after an outcry from fans, and even the threat by Air Canada to pull its sponsorship.

However, the league's enforcement since the NHL promised this crackdown has been inconsistent at best. Chara, as we all know, was not suspended… but the hit helped start the conversation. Cooke missed the rest of the season, and should have played his last game in Penguins uniform, if not for Mario Lemieux's hippocrisy. Bertuzzi walked. Hejda was suspended for two games. Aaron Rome missed the rest of the Stanley Cup Final.

No, Bertuzzi was not the only guy that got away with a head hit. Mike Richards pushed Tim Connolly's head into the boards from behind in the first round of the Playoffs this year, and got nothing. Raffi Torres laid a shoulder-to-head hit on Brent Seabrook in the first round as well, and also got nothing.

As a realist, I will tell you this: I guarantee that incidents like this will continue to happen in the NHL. And it will piss you off greatly.

More importantly, it could end someone's career prematurely. Look at Paul Kariya, who announced his retirement in late June.

I'll say it up front. I had never been much of a Kariya fan. Dude always struck me as kind of soft. Great finesse and the dude could pot some serious highlight-reel goals, but for the most part, not really what one would call a "tough" hockey player... like the hockey equivalent of "Glass Joe" in Punch-Out (seriously dating myself, I know).

A Stanley Cup Final game changed my mind. You remember... the one in which he got taken out by then-Devils captain Scott Stevens (waaay dirty hit, by the way), but then returned and scored another one of those great goals, roofing a slapper over Martin Brodeur.

Whether or not he should have been allowed to take the ice again that night (can't help but wonder, in hindsight), you can't disrespect a guy who can pull off something like that. Kariya was a hellaciously talented hockey player. And sadly, his career was cut short because the NHL hasn't done enough to crack down on bullshit like what we've been seeing lately.

In explaining his retirement, Kariya noted the glaring inconsistency in the enforcement of illegal hits, noting that for the first concussion he received in 1996, the offender got a two-game suspension. For the last one he received in 2010, the offender got nothing. Kariya also noted the NHL hasn't dished out punishments that are enough of a deterrent to change player styles.

Case in point... Matt Cooke, who -- just a few games back from a four-game suspension for boarding Fedor Tyutin, and just days after the NHL announced changes to Rule 48 -- planted his elbow in McDonagh's head. Will missing the rest of the season be a deterrent in his future?

If Mario keeps insisting on keeping Cooke's sorry ass, he'll be benched again for pulling the same crap. My venom on Cooke, Bertuzzi, Danny Carcillo and other NHL Thug-Stars can wait for another time, though.

The tentatively good news... maybe there is hope for the NHL in the fact that there is a new proverbial "sheriff" in town, in Brendan Shanahan. It makes sense... Shanny's only two years removed from the NHL. He has been on the "front lines," so to speak. He knows what the game has been looking like in recent years. I would argue that Shanahan is a hell of a lot more in-touch with what's happening on the ice than Campbell was. Shanahan has been on the receiving end of some nasty, even illegal, hits as well.

Now I can't speak to Campbell's NHL experience because I wasn't watching hockey back then, but a look at his stats seems to show a certain... oh, I don't know... non-descript quality about him as a player. For every point he registered, he had approximately 10 PIMs. Something tells me he dished it out more. I'm not here to bash Campbell, though... lousy, inconsistent disciplinarian or not.

I just think Shanahan could bring the NHL some much-needed perspective in dealing with discipline for illegal hits to the head (and obviously, other issues as well). He's a fresh presence in the front office, in that he has been there on the ice and understands the culture of the game better than Gary Bettman, or any of the other mindless suits in the front office.

But only time will tell.

I think it's safe to say that we can expect headshots to be the first major test.

Thank you for reading.

Now... while you're here, let me also mention that CannonFest is coming up in less than two weeks. That's right, our annual gathering of CBJ fans, friends and bloggers is returning to the BW3's in Grandview on Sunday, August 14th. Food and drink specials will be there. Bloggers will be there. Great hockey talk will be there. The video artistry of Tom Larrow will be there.

Thus... YOU should be there.

So, no excuses. See you there. Cheers.

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