For all the negative stuff, it's a good time be a hockey fan.
Watching it - both the NHL Playoffs and the WHL Playoffs where the Kamloops Blazers keep coming back from the brink and have now forced a game seven against the Portland Winterhawks. As have the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans - has been a treat.
Maybe not so much if you're an NHL star as the target - usually on the back of such prey - is now planted right on your head.
Seven, and soon to be eight, suspensions have been handed out in the first round of the NHL Playoffs and most, if not all, of the intent to injure variety.
The latest, Mr. Torres leaving his feet late on Marian Hossa - here's the video - could be the straw that finally fells the camel. Torres, an easy example to be made if there was one given his history and repeat offender status, could find himself out of the playoffs and continuing into next season.
Is it time for the NHL to say enough? If you contact the head, it's a minimum 20 and go from there. If you intend to injury, it's a minimum 20, without pay. If you're a repeat offender it gets worse.
It's a position that I think the league, and the game, has to take. Sure, you can say it's part of the game and the penalties and suspensions suffice but predatory hits have not left the game and are now overshadowing it. Scott Burnside of ESPN - yes, it's still important what the Americans perceive of the Great Canadian Game - is calling it Welcome to the goon show. There's a list of the shenanigans from the last week - Weber getting a $2500 for that WWF move is a bit of joke - for all to see.
Listen, before anyone accuses me of being a tea-drinking, liberal - to quote Mr. Cherry - I like the rough stuff, like the odd tussle or two and even played a little dirty in my time - but there's more at stake here. Not only the stars of the game, the ones people tune into see, but also players' future and concussions are front and centre in today's sporting world and something's gotta be done.
Okay, rant over.
If you were wondering where a couple of former Ice players are these days, look no further than Lloydminster, SK where the Border Kings are hosting the Allan Cup. Former Ice forward Steve DaSilva leads the host squad and G Bryan Bridges is a back-up goaltender with the team. G Jeff Harvey and C Casey Lee are with the Rosetown, Sk squad in the annual championship for AAA Senior Hockey in Canada.
Sam Reinhart and the U18 Team Canada squad face the Russians in the U18 World Championship Quarterfinal Thursday at 11AM Mountain time on TSN.
His brother Max notched two goals in the Abbotsford Heat last regular season game against Toronto on Sunday. The Heat will open the AHL Playoffs on the road in Milwaukee against the Admirals Friday. The club's season awards were handed out Sunday and C Dustin Sylvester, who didn't play, was named the team rookie of the year with 35 points (15g, 20a, 64GP) and Kimberley (Marysville, actually) product Carter Bancks was named the club's community player of the year "recognized for outstanding contributions to the community for his many appearances including playing floor hockey with Special Olympians, reading to students in local schools and signing autographs." (from Abbotsford Times). Anyone who knows the 22-year-old son of Ice assistant coach Jerry Bancks isn't really surprised, just par for the course.
Ice Season tickets went on sale this past week with the Early Bird prices on until June 1st. Adults are $449 til then and still a bargain, though prices have gone up this year for the first time in three years. Though they're the same price as they were in 2008-09. Got an opinion on that? Leave a comment.
Lastly the Ice are in the market for an assistant coach as Todd Johnson left to coach the University of Regina Rams hockey club. And on that note we'll end today with the news yesterday that Dean Chynoweth, former head coach of Swift Current and Seattle, was let go from the New York Islanders staff as an assistant coach along with another assistant, Scott Allen. Before we think that Dean would join the Ice' staff, I don't think that'll happen. Dean, older brother and Ice GM Jeff,along with the rest of Chynoweth Family own the Kootenay Ice but I think it's doubtful Dean will be out of work long. He'll definitely stay in the family business but probably stay at the pro level.