Category: Columns

Out of Town Notebook: Remembering Pat Burns, My Dad and Thoughts on Oilers Defense (or lack thereof)

Out of Town Notebook: Remembering Pat Burns, My Dad and Thoughts on Oilers Defense (or lack thereof)

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] Photo credit: Toronto Star My father’s only experience playing hockey was on outdoor rinks around Toronto, with Sears catalogues for shin pads. Yet, his lack of experience never stopped him from loving the game. Or specifically, the Toronto Maple Leafs. By the time I came around, it had been a long time since the Leafs had reciprocated his love. In fact, the first decade of my life (the 1980s) was spent suffering through one of the worst eras...

Out of Town Notebook: Team Quebec, Kadri and Aulie, and Worst 3rd Jerseys Ever

Out of Town Notebook: Team Quebec, Kadri and Aulie, and Worst 3rd Jerseys Ever

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] Photo credit: Montreal Gazette Rarely under Bob Nicholson’s leadership has Hockey Canada ever courted controversy. This makes their decision to support an international tournament that features a Quebec team all the more puzzling. As Hockey Canada rightly points out, provincial and regional teams regularly play against national teams from other countries. But it’s hard to believe Hockey Canada were naive enough to think this would be just another hockey tournament. The notion of a Team Quebec filled with...

Out of Town Notebook: The Gauntlet and How It Relates to Head Shots

Out of Town Notebook: The Gauntlet and How It Relates to Head Shots

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] They called it “the Gauntlet.” I had first heard about it in my final days of Atom hockey in Ontario. It was whispered about in hushed, nervous tones, like people standing in the room with Mike Tyson during the ’80s. Next year was the start of Peewee hockey (ages 11-12). To play Peewee hockey meant running the Gauntlet. What was the Gauntlet? Near the start of the season a team would line up, single file, from the blueline...

Out of Town Notebook: Early Returns and Exit Polls

Out of Town Notebook: Early Returns and Exit Polls

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] As many of you know… As a few of you know (given voter turn out rates lately), it’s election season in North America. The US 2010 midterm elections are on November 2nd, while here in Canada several municipalities (including Toronto and Calgary recently) are going to the polls. Early returns and exit polls are a huge part of the horse-race nature of election news coverage. After almost a month of hockey, the early returns are starting to trickle...

Out of Town Notebook: Blueline Blues, A Katy Perry Reference, and Are the Stars for Real?

Out of Town Notebook: Blueline Blues, A Katy Perry Reference, and Are the Stars for Real?

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] In honour of Katy Perry’s recent “cleavage-gate” on Sesame Street, let’s play a game of “One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong Here.” The Chicago Blackhawks. The New York Islanders. The Dallas Stars. The Pittsburgh Penguins. Behold the top four teams in NHL standings. Which one doesn’t belong? If you guessed the New York Islanders, you’d be wrong. Sure they’re probably not a playoff team, but their youngsters have taken a step forward and coach Scott Gordon has...

Out of Town Notebook: Salary Cap Woes, Long Shifts and Worried Fanbases

Out of Town Notebook: Salary Cap Woes, Long Shifts and Worried Fanbases

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] Photo credit: nj.com Steve Simmons wrote earlier this week that the salary cap was hurting the league’s best players by forcing them play with AHL-level grinders. Noting how the cap has forced the New Jersey Devils to play with 15, 16 players, Dave Hodge argues in his latest Hodgemail that the salary cap should be abolished. Even before the season started, hockey writers were using the salary cap to suggest dynasties aren’t possible in today’s era. Just so...

Out of Town Notebook: Gretzky vs. Lemieux and Early Rookie Chatter

Out of Town Notebook: Gretzky vs. Lemieux and Early Rookie Chatter

[Every weekend, Canucks Hockey Blog goes out of town as Tom Wakefield (@tomwakefield88) posts his thoughts on what’s happening around the NHL.] Photo credit: Pesonen and the Pens Growing up in the `80s there were two camps: Wayne Gretzky vs. Mario Lemieux. The Great One vs. Mario “Le Magnifique.” To idolize one was to idolize a “great Canadian” – a small-town Ontario boy who grew up playing on a backyard rink. Wayne? He was humble, hardworking and personified brains over brawn. To idolize the other was, at least in my neighbourhood, almost traitorous. Mario? He was arrogant and aloof. He...

Out-of-Town Notebook: 2010/2011 Season Predictions and Prognostications

Out-of-Town Notebook: 2010/2011 Season Predictions and Prognostications

Western Conference Standings: 1. Vancouver – 100-115 pts 2. Chicago – 100-115 pts 3. LA – 90-100 pts 4. Detroit 100-110 pts 5. Phoenix – 85-95 pts 6 San Jose – 85-95 pts 7. Calgary – 85-92 pts 8. Nashville – 85-92 pts 9. Anaheim – 85-92 pts 10. Colorado – 85-92 pts 11. St. Louis – 85-92 pts 12. Columbus – 50-70 pts 13. Edmonton – 50-70 pts 14. Minnesota – 50-70 pts 15. Dallas – 50-60 pts Notes on the above: Chicago is the better team, but Vancouver plays in the weakest division in the West. I have...

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