Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Holy Mackinaw!: A Little Respite from the Gloom

The end of August and the beginning of September are an interesting transition period. Some are going back to school after the summer break, and others back to work after the long weekend. But unlike many years in the past, no one has the certainty of the hockey season to look forward to. As of right now that means no training camp, no preseason, and no home opener (upside: no drawn out ceremony at the ACC). For reasons discussed ad nauseam, September 15th is growing rapidly closer as the date when hockey fans can the kiss regular scheduled start of this NHL season goodbye. Some will look to other sports to fill the void. Others to video games like the new NHL 13, or to recreational hockey such as shinny or men's league (both of which I greatly encourage). For me, it will be a mix of all of these things, but for now, it seems best to try not to get caught up in the drama of it all. And this brings me to the main topic of this blog. The other day, amongst satiating my need to watch hockey in some form, I stumbled across these videos (Part 1 & 2) and spent 20 minutes or so reliving some great Leaf memories, specifically from the 2001-2002 season. This will be best appreciated by Leaf fans, but enjoy regardless; my thoughts/commentary are below.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Victory Over a Familiar Foe - A Look Back at the Canada-Russia Challenge

Just over a week ago, a jubilant Ryan Strome could barely contain his excitement during his post game interview. "It means a lot to us; we really took it serious and I don't think we realized how big it was until we actually got involved..." The 19 year-old Senators' draft pick helped narrowly avoid what would be the latest of several recent international defeats for Canadian teams with his overtime/series winner. Two straight years of disappointment at both the World Juniors and World Championship, have left Canadian hockey fans hungry for international success at any level. While extremely satisfying, the win and the series' as a whole provided a glimpse into the increasingly interesting situation of Russian, and international players in general, being developed in Canada.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Rise and Fall of Optimus Reim: Will James Reimer Return as a True #1 Goalie?

It's a memory that remains all too vivid for many of Leafs Nation.

We remember watching the repeating replays of Brian Gionta's supposedly unintentional clip of James Reimer, our hopes for the season hanging in the balance. Wondering if this was the end to a young promising season, we watched as the trainer rushed out toward the Leaf goal and had insult added to injury as oft-obtuse colour commentator Glenn Healy suggested that Reimer was "putting on a show".

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Beginning...

For as long as I can remember hockey has been a part of my life.

Brought up to love the game, I can remember anxiously awaiting Saturday night when we as a family could watch Hockey Night in Canada on our cable-less T.V. In the farther reaches of my hockey related memory is Corey Cross's OT winner in '01 versus the eternally hated Senators, and Mario Lemieux letting the puck go between his legs to tie the '02 Olympic Gold medal game. As I grew to better understand and love the game (aided by Don Cherry Rock'em Sock'em VHS tapes and long hours playing pond hockey in the winter) I found myself spending more and more time thinking about the game and discussing it with my brothers who continually nurtured my love for hockey and particularly the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were to be the only NHL team I ever would cheer for and support. The purchase of cable in '07 provided the opportunity to watch 82 games a year plus preseason and playoffs (which I had already learned were going to be rare if not completely nonexistent for a suffering fan of the Blue and White). In this time I became an self-proclaimed expert on all things Leafs, but preferred to keep my opinions on most matters contained, choosing to read those of others online, or listen to callers on longtime AM640 radio mainstay show "Leaf Talk" with Andy Frost. This has continued to the present with, despite the likely end to the aforementioned Leaf Talk, myself maintaining a high level of current knowledge of the "buzz" surrounding the Leafs and the NHL in general.

And so after many years of observation, I have decided to begin to write about it all. Well, not all. Whatever comes to me as an interesting topic to explore, whenever that happens. I can't promise it will always be particularly riveting or intellectual. But I promise that I never will pretend to have sources or spread a rumor with an (eWhatever) rating, and that everything posted here will be my own opinion and research or something I found of interest.

So please enjoy!

 Regardless of any criticisms of the broadcast or certain commentators on it, HNIC will always have a special place in my heart.