Stockton Hockey purchases ECHL Boardwalk Bullies franchise and will relocate to the East Bay for the 2005-06 ECHL hockey season

Breaking news from Boardwalkbullies.com:

Stockton Hockey Acquires Boardwalk Bullies; Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies To Relocate To Stockton, California For 2005-06 ECHL Season

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Atlantic City Hockey LLC, the parent company of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies of the ECHL, have announced the sale of the Atlantic City ECHL membership to the Stockton Hockey Franchise Group, which is owned and operated by Michael Reinsdorf. Atlantic City will relocate to Stockton, California upon conclusion of the 2004-05 ECHL season and remain a member of the ECHL in 2005-06.

"This was simply a business decision made in the best interests of all involved, and in the best interest of our league partners and the ECHL," said Boardwalk Bullies Vice President and General Manager Dan Belisle. "The Boardwalk Bullies have remained in the Atlantic City market for four years because of our confidence we had in the market potential, but in those four years the organization has contributed almost $12 million to the local economy and has sustained losses in excess of $5 million."

The team name "Boardwalk Bullies" has been retained by owner George Shinn.

"I am deeply saddened by todays events because Atlantic City is one of my favorite places to visit," said Shinn. "Yet despite our continued success year in and year out on the ice, we were not successful in creating a large enough fan base to sustain operations. I do wish to thank Boardwalk Hall and all of the loyal fans within the community who continually supported us despite the obstacles that we faced."

Currently in their fourth season in Atlantic City since relocating from Birmingham, Alabama in 2001, the Boardwalk Bullies have perennially been one of the ECHLs strongest members on the ice. Atlantic City finished the 2003-04 season with a 14-year club-best record of 47-19-6 and became just the 14th team in ECHL history to reach the 100-point plateau. In four years, the Bullies have compiled an impressive overall record of 152-72-32 while capturing the 2003 Northeast Division title, the 2003 Northern Conference Championship, and the 2003 ECHL Kelly Cup Championship. During their inaugural season of 2001-02, the Bullies advanced to the Northern Conference Finals.

The Boardwalk Bullies franchise name has been retained? [see note at end of post] The name works, but it would probably not draw large numbers of casual fans out to attend a game. The Boardwalk name could work well with Stockton's new arena and waterfront development plans.

The Sharks franchise name was a marketing coup because it embraced a local icon, and had an old school Pacific design to go along with it.

I am not sure about the rights involved, but if the new ECHL franchise decided to try a new franchise name, I would have to recommend the Stockton Seals. It is a throwback to the NHL history in the East Bay, it embraces a local icon, and it sounds like a jersey I would want to own. If they went with the green and yellow of the Oakland Seals, it would tie in even more to the past. It would also be similar to the color scheme of the Oakland Athletics.

Then again, the ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings, and the Japanese baseball Hokkaido Ham Fighters are a little more entertaining. The new Washington Nationals MLB franchise missed out on a golden opportunity to embrace the Greys franchise name from its Negro league roots.

[Update] Dan Chapman Named President of Two New Stockton Sports Franchises - stocktongov.com.

Michael Reinsdorf, CEO of both Stockton Hockey Franchise Group, Inc., and Stockton Football Franchise Group, Inc. announced today the hiring of Dan Chapman as President of both the ECHL and af2 [arena football?] teams which will play in the Stockton Events Center. The new 10,000-seat Stockton Events Center will open in October 2005.

Good luck with the franchises Dan. I would market the hockey team at the final two Stanford-Cal Big Freeze games of the season, the SJSU-USC double header to end their regular season, and at the 4 team Pac-8 tournament being held in Berkeley just to have a jump on getting the Stockton name out there to local hockey fans.

[Update2] Three Professional Sports To Play In Stockton - KCRA Channel 3.

[Update3] Stockton hockey tickets will be available for fans to purchase next week according to Record staff writer Scott Linesburgh. Season tickets will range from $325-$900. It also looks like there will be a franchise naming decision that will take place in March, with fan input. After adding Stockton to make 9 teams in the West, a 10th team will probably be added to the Conference this week.

[Update4] Reader Ed Early adds a few notes to my post on Stockton Hockey. Note that I am colorblind green and yellow.

Just a thought in regards to the Boardwalk Bullies' relocation to Stockton - according to the press release, the name "Boardwalk Bullies" was retained by Shinn and not the incoming ownership group (which I'm sure would want to choose their own name).

As for a new name, I wouldn't oppose the use of "Seals" - I grew up in the Bay Area when the Seals were still around. In fact, I have a pennant from the 1974-75 Seals. I don't know about the Charlie O. color scheme, though - the Seals' original colors (kelly green, royal blue and white) were also distinctive, and I liked the abstract seal logo.

It must be noted that there's currently a team in the Southern Pro Hockey League called the Florida (formerly Orlando) Seals, but their colors are red, white and blue.

Sharkspage in the Zone

BYU hockey newspaper

Last week the BYU Daily Universe ran a hockey special on page 4 of their Wednesday issue. In addition to a thumbnail on the front, they used 4 of my photos along with 3 of their articles on the BYU hockey team's swing out West. The Ice Cats picked up an 8-0 win against Cal, and two third period comebacks gave them a 5-5 tie, and a 5-4 win over San Jose.

Unfortunately 2 days later one of their young forwards, #11 Jaxon Logan, was hit in the chest after he went down to block a slapshot against Northern Colorado. He collapsed as he tried to skate off the ice, and died after suffering a heart attack.

This was my post after it happened.

BYU Jaxon Logan

I am mailing a DVD of the pictures to BYU coach Matt Beaudry. I wish the team well for the rest of the season, and his family all the best during what has to be a difficult time.


Hockey sur Glace photos from France

Hockey photos France

Photographer Laurent sent me a link to a few galleries of hockey photos taken of Grenoble in France. I would buy a copy of the photo above, but some of the others are cool because they have even more ads than a German hockey jersey. Visit Laurent's hockey galleries and vote for them at the bottom of the page. Click all galleries on the top to see all of his pictures.

Laurent uses a Nikon d70, a 70-300mm sigma 4-5.6 lens, with 800 ISO. Someone needs to get him a 70-200VR lens, and ship him to Germany for the DEL hockey playoffs.

I have been using 800 ISO for my photos at Logitech, with mixed results. 1600 might be better for such a poorly lit rink. I am in the process of switching from a Nikon d100 to a d70.

[Note: Picasa2 is out and at a very good price, free. Noise Ninja has a beta noise reduction Photoshop plug-in that is free for a few weeks. Give it a try, especially if you use a high ISO at Logitech.]

[Update] From Laurent: The photos above are from Ligue Magnus, the top hockey league in France.


Open questions for the NHL and NHLPA

Hockey season outlook is fuzzy

Before the 2004-05 NHL season was scheduled to begin, I polled both sides of the hockey blogosphere for questions they would like to ask the NHL and NHLPA. 15 questions were asked of the NHL, and 15 questions were asked of the NHLPA from members of 6 different hockey websites.

All questions were sent in to the NHL and NHLPA. Click here for the complete list. NHL Executive VP and Chief Legal Officer Bill Daly answered one of my questions on NHLcbanews.com about what fans will get out of a new CBA agreement. 1 out of 30 is better than 0 out of 30 I guess.

I am posting these here to take a look back before I try to write a lockout post that I have been working on for awhile.

Local hockey notes

Just a quick note about the local Bay Area club hockey teams as the 2004-05 season comes to a close. Berkeley is on the road this weekend at UCLA and Long Beach State. Friday February 4th is the last Cal home game of the year against Stanford. The Big Freeze series is split at 1-1. Both teams play again Saturday night at Stanford. Berkeley also hosts the 4-team Pac 8 tournament from Feb 18-19th.

After putting an 8-0 hurting on 3rd-ranked USU, San Jose State traveled to Colorado this weekend to play the first and second ranked Colorado State and Colorado hockey teams. The top 4 teams in each Conference will travel to Detroit for the ACHA D2 tournament.

From SJSUhockey.com:

Spartans Win in Colorado!

The San Jose State hockey team solidified their claim to a spot in the ACHA National Tournament with a 3-2 overtime win over the No. 2 Colorado Buffalos Friday night in Boulder. The winning goal was scored by senior center Chris Lee, assisted by freshman forward Jeff Mattern. Freshman forwards Sean Scarbrough and Kelly Spain had the other goals for the Spartans. Sophomore goaltender Ryan Lowe turned away 52 of 54 Colorado shots.

The Spartans take on No. 1 ranked Colorado State Saturday night in Ft. Collins. They return home Feb. 4 and 5 to finish the regular season against USC. The win in Colorado almost assures SJSU of a spot in the National Tournament held March 2-5 in Detroit.

From SJSU captain #4 Ray Kellam, a recap of the OT period in SJSU's 3-2 win over Colorado Friday night:

OT: one minute in, Lovins chips the puck past a CU player to Jeff Mattern. The Cu player finished his hit on Lovins and took both of them out of the play. Mattern turned on the after burners and scorched past a CU defender, slid the puck across to the high slot where Chris Lee promptly smoked a frozen rope past the CU tender. The CU tender may have been screened by his own defender. The shot was epic. A rowdy celebration huddle insued.

[Update] A. Sheldon writes up the 8-0 SJSU win over USU last weekend.

Panek said the rookies were finding their roles and the veterans were really stepping it up in the leadership position.

“This is my third year on the team and this is the best I’ve ever seen a State team play,” Panek said. “Everyone was contributing the way they had to.”

Panek said the huge win was exactly what the team needed heading into a two game road trip to Wyoming and Colorado to go up against the top two teams in the west - Colorado State and University of Colorado.

“To carry this much momentum into Colorado is huge - the best thing to happen to our team,” Panek said.

[Update2] Local sports update: The San Jose Stealth play the Colorado Mammoth tonight in a NLL lacrosse matchup at the HP Pavilion. The game time has been changed from 7:30 to 8. The San Jose Spiders NWBL womens basketball team faces Birmingham tomorrow at 4PM. Soccer Silicon Valley is preparing for the upcoming Earthquakes MLS season. Mavericks Surf Ventures announced that the Mavericks Big Wave surfing contest will be the subject of a first-of-its-kind live Internet webcast this season. The contest is on 24hr-notice for weather conditions until March 31st. There, that is all the press releases I have recieved in the last few days.

[Update3] SJSU lost to first-ranked Colorado State 3-1 on Saturday night. Adam Dekeyral picked up the goal for San Jose. If you are a parent or a player, drop me an email to the right and let me know about the game and the fans.

ESPN 360 free broadband video preview - Farjestad vs Modo

Last week I mentioned a QMJHL game being streamed online for free on Fridays by Eastlink.ca.

This weekend ESPN 360 is having a free preview weekend January 29th and 30th. I am searching the listings right now, but it looks like a hockey game or two might be on the slate.

Friday Night showcased Farjestad vs Modo of the Swedish Elite League. Modo has Tommy Salo, Peter Forsberg [injured], Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and Markus Naslund in the lineup. Farjestad has Martin Gerber, Marian Gaborik, Zdeno Chara, Sheldon Souray and Mike Comrie on the roster. Farjestad also has English translations of their articles and interviews on their website.

I am still a little annoyed with the ESPN motion download for web videos. There is no option to turn off automatic update notification. If you want to watch the ESPN 360 preview without downloading another ESPN application for broadband video, click on this lite version.

ESPN 360 has very high video quality, this might be an interesting option for the SEL playoffs. Here is a link to my post on the free ESPNbroadband.com preview of the 2004 World Cup hockey games. Those games were indistinguishable from watching a game on TV.

[Update] Palt translated another Swedish article: HV 71 has found its new offensive weapons. San Jose Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo is playing for HV-71 of the Swedish Elite League. Cheechoo has 4 goals in 10 games played so far this season. Daniel from HV-71 posted a link to this highlight goal [wmv file] against Linkoping.

[Update2] NHL.com has a video feed of the 2005 CHL All-Star Game as seen on the NHL network. There is no article or permalink to point to, so I am going to link to the direct video here. Thanks to Melissa for the link.

[Update3] Another note on the SEL, Sharks forward Nils Ekman [16G,23A,39GP] is tied for 3rd overall in scoring with Henrik Zetterberg and Peter Forsberg.

[Update4] Modo won the game in the final minute with a goal by Hans Jonsson. Martin Gerber was definately not happy as Jonsson was tossed into him after the goal. The referees forgot how to use a whistle late in the game as 6,8 Zdeno Chara sat on a few forwards in front of the crease. Hard to miss that call when the player is 7 foot tall on skates. Naslund scored an empty net for a 3-1 final score.

[Update5] Check back with NHL.com to see streaming video of the ECHL allstar game from Jan 26th. The National Conference defeated the American Conference 6-2 in Reading, Pennsylvania [wmv]. It looks like the NHL is showcasing the Canadian-based digitial channel NHL Network. Sandor Roberts wrote a recap of this allstar game for Hockeys Future.

[Note] Images will be down for a few hours on this website while PBASE upgrades their servers. Hopefully this will fix a lot of the image problems they have been having for a few weeks.


Whatever you do, do not read this hockey MP3 post

Stanford Hockey Film School

A fine example of Stanford's vaunted hockey film school [.mov file]. Come on Stanford, that is the best you can do? If any of you are on the hockey team I am going to make fun of you at the Big Freeze games against Berkeley. Thanks to James Mirtle for the link.

I am sick of reading about the work stoppage. Instead of writing about the latest negotiations that will fail miserably, how the lockout is affecting players, or what Gary Bettman had for breakfast, I am going to write about something more important... Hockey MP3s.

Hockey MP3s? I understand your surprise. They are few and far between. The NY punk band 2 Man Advantage got a little run from the press last year. Thematically I can identify with their hockey and beer message, but the actual music sounds like they dropped a microphone in the toilet and flushed. Although I have to admit the distorted fuzz guitar in almost every song is cool.

Stompin Tom Conners, a hockey arena staple, is disqualified for his blatant anti-Californian bias.

Another hopeful entrant comes from a band aptly called The Zambonis. Again, I have to applaud their support of all things Hartford Whalers. Their latest "album" More Songs About Hockey...and Buildings and Food has a few interesting song titles: Bob Marley & The Hartford Whalers, Great Zamboni Of Devotion, Andy Moog Meets Robert Moog. But the one reason I would buy this CD is the song Hockey Monkey [windows media file]. Good song, an 80's throwback similar to Devo or Men Without Hats. But I am looking for the best Hockey Song and this falls just short.

The last hope for a hockey MP3 comes from an unlikely source, comedian Tom Green. I know he is another Canadian [surprise!], and his humor inspires a love/hate response from fans. But before he was a comedian, he was a member of the Juno-nominated rap group Organized Rhyme.

Hockey Song by Organized Rhyme almost hits the mark as a hockey MP3. Given the state of the field, that is high praise. And who would have guessed that the best MP3 about hockey is a rap song? Good luck finding a copy.

Buy Band-in-a-box and create your own hockey MP3.

[Update] From the Zambonis website:

"The most insidious threat to Canadian hockey hegemony is…a quirky power pop band called The Zambonis."
--The National Post

Christian Ehrhoff Cleveland Barons

[Update2] Sharks defensive prospect Christian Ehrhoff was named to the AHL allstar team today. Ehrhoff has 9 goals and 12 assists in 44 games played this season for the AHL Cleveland Barons.


San Jose Spiders lose at home to the Dallas Fury

San Jose Spiders NWBL basketball

San Jose Spiders NWBL basketball

The San Jose Spiders have been dealing with injuries and illness, and Sunday night they came up against a very physical Dallas Fury team at DeAnza College in Cupertino. Dallas power forward Cheryl Ford [6,4] and center Lello Gebisa [6,7] made it difficult for the Spiders inside the paint.

Amisha Carter, Amanda Lassiter, and Cricket Williams did not suit up for San Jose. After keeping it close in the first, Dallas pulled away in the second half, winning by a final score of 72-50.

Anna DeForge led Dallas in scoring with 27 points, Erica Glover led the Spiders with 12. Cheryl Ford led the Fury on defense with 4 blocked shots.

Visit the San Jose Spiders website, or NWBL.com for more information about the team or the league. Click here for the photo gallery from the game.

From the Spiders website:

The SAN JOSE SPIDERS is an expansion team of the NWBL, a professional women´s basketball league that plays its season in the spring from January to April each year and features some of America´s best professional women athletes.

The NWBL is a six-team league that features more than 25 active WNBA players. Other teams in the league include the Birmingham Power (Birmingham, Ala.); Dallas Fury (Dallas, Texas); Chicago Blaze (Naperville, Ill.); Lubbock Hawks (Lubbock, Texas); and San Jose Spiders (San Jose, Calif.)

[Update] The San Jose Spiders added 6,4 WNBA center Tera Bjorklund to the lineup over the weekend. Tera played for the Charolette Sting last year in the WNBA. In her final season at the University of Colorado, she averaged almost 20 points a game.

[Update2] Hungry Heart - SJ Mercury.

SJSU downed 3rd ranked Utah State Aggies 8-0

Jon Barney SJSU hockey

Jon Barney SJSU hockey

After a convincing 8-2 win in Berkeley on Thursday, and a 7-2 Friday Night win against Palmer, the 4th-ranked San Jose State Spartans put an 8-0 hurting on the 3rd-ranked Utah State Aggies Saturday night. USU only dressed 19 players, not including team captain #14 Nick Haase. The game began on a solemn note, with a minute of silence to honor fallen BYU forward Jaxon Logan.

San Jose forward #11 Mason Nave led the point totals with 3 assists. Adam Dekeyral and Sean Scarbrough scored 2 goals for SJSU. Zachary Glasow, Jeff Mattern, Logan Martinez, and Skyler Yu each scored 1 goal.

SJSU goaltender Ryan Lowe made 23 saves on 23 shots for a shutout, including one point blank save after his stick was knocked to the side of the rink. USU goaltender Adam Lain made 21 saves on 29 shots. Visit the ACHA box score for more stats from the game.

Visit SJSUhockey.com for more on the San Jose State Spartans hockey team, and make sure to visit Don Hoekwater's photo gallery.

The Western Conference rankings looked to be in flux with 5th-ranked BYU picking up a win and a tie in San Jose last weekend. Unfortunately, BYU cancelled their game Friday night against Northern Colorado after the 2nd period incident. BYU also cancelled their game Saturday Night, and scheduled a memorial for Jaxon Logan in Provo today.

Minnesota Swarm lacrosse

San Jose Stealth lacrosse

Before the SJSU-USU game, I stopped by the HP Pavilion to take a few photos of the San Jose Stealth professional Lacrosse team before their game with the expansion Minnesota Swarm. I wanted take a portrait of one of the Stealth goalies before the game, but a Swarm goalie will do.

The expansion Minnesota Swarm held off a late Stealth rally to win 9-8. San Jose pulled off a comeback the night before against the Arizona Sting 14-13. More notes from the Stealth's Ryan Stenn:

STEALTH NOTES: Once again, San Jose split their back-to-back set of games. Last night, the Stealth won in Arizona, 14-13. San Jose split their home-and-home against the defending National Lacrosse League Champion Calgary Roughnecks on Jan. 7-8, winning at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The next back-to-back games comes in a home-and-home series March 11-12 vs. Arizona... The nine goals allowed by the Stealth is the fewest the franchise has surrendered at home in its one-plus year history. On the other hand, the eight goals scored by San Jose is also the fewest they've ever scored at home... Tonight's game was also the first of two straight at HP Pavilion for the Stealth. San Jose returns to action next Saturday against the Colorado Mammoth at 7:30 p.m.

[Update] A. Sheldon writes up the SJSU 7-2 Friday night win over Palmer College. At the end of the article is an interview with netminder Martin Moody, who got his first start of the season against Palmer.

Moody made is first save of the 2004-2005 season at 2:02 of the first period, stoning a Palmer forward with a great kick save.

The Spartan netminder had to wait nearly seven minutes before he was forced to drop and close the five-hole on the Pride’s second shot of the opening period.

Moody said it was fun getting the opportunity to play, though he didn’t face many shots.

“The guys did a good job of keeping everything wide and not giving them a lot of scoring chances,” Moody said.

[Update2] The ACHA created a website for the 2005 ACHA Division II National Championship Tournament. Only the top 4 teams in each of the 4 conferences will make Nationals. The last D2 conference rankings cover games held before December 19th. The next batch of rankings will cover games held before January 30th.


BYU hockey player Jaxon Logan dies after being hit by a slapshot

Jaxon Logan BYU hockey

According to the BYU Icecats website:

Jaxon Logan, our teammate, friend, and brother passed away Friday night. While blocking a slap shot, Jaxon was struck in the chest by the puck which led to cardiac arrest and ultimately his death. Jaxon was a great man, talented athlete, and fierce competitor. A memorial service will be held at the LDS church on 85 south 900 East Provo, Monday @ 6 pm. All are invited.

My heart goes out to his family, his coach and his teammates. BYU played two spirited games here in San Jose last weekend, and the BYU team and fans could not have been more friendly.

There have been many search requests on this website today looking for BYU hockey photos, here were the ones I took from Friday night, here are the ones from Saturday night. I will go back and try to find photos of #11 and pass them along to the team. Once again, my condolences.

[Update] BYU Icecats return home - BYU Newsnet.

[Update2] Freak Accident Kills Hockey Player - KSLTV.

[Update3] Ice hockey player hit by puck in chest dies, The Provo Icecats forward dreamed of becoming a pilot - Salt Lake Tribune.

[Update4] Tragedy on ice, Cat dies Friday night - BYU Daily Universe.

With about 20 seconds remaining in the period forward Jaxon Logan, 18, of Palmer, Alaska, dove in front of a Colorado slap shot that hit him just below the shoulder pads. Doctors said the blow caused cardiac arrest and ultimately his death.

“I saw him go down to block the shot and he struggled to get back up,” said Julie Fox, a 20-year-old Canadian student who watched the game from the stands. “He just really slowly started leaving, trying to make it to the bench. He made it a little over the wall and then just nosedived over.”

[Note] The team has set up a memorial fund in his honor. Donations may be sent to:

IceCat Hockey, Jaxon Logan
Memorial Fund c/o Robert Clarke
431 Idaho Avenue
Provo, Utah 84606

[Update5] More links coming via email: A fan sent me a link to blogger zachv who was at the scene. A BYU student sent in more links here and here.


SJSU downs Cal 8-2, sweeps season series

Jon Barney SJSU hockey

Jon Barney SJSU hockey

SJSU defeated Cal 8-2 at Berkeley Iceland last night, sweeping the 4 game season series between the two teams. Adam Dekeyral and Sean Scarbrough led the scoring for SJSU with 2 goals each. Francois Pellerin and Sean Haq scored for Berkeley.

Spartan head coach Ron Glasow said this game was a lot different than the December 4th championship match for the Gold Rush Tournament title, which SJSU won 7-5 in a closely contested battle in San Jose.

“The (Berkeley Iceland) ice has a lot to do with it - and Andy Whiteside,” Glasow said. “The last game we played (Whiteside) was hurt with a shoulder injury so he didn’t play – he makes a big difference. And the ice here is wavy and hilly and tough to play on, but I think our speed is much better than theirs and a bigger ice surface works to our advantage.”

SJSU Captain Ray Kellam said the team was still fired up after their big two-game weekend against the 5th ranked Brigham Young University Icecats.

The Spartans lost their lead to BYU within the final minutes of play on both nights – the first producing a 5-5 tie, the latter a heartbreaking 5-4 loss.

“We played well against BYU – we were just kind of upset,” Kellam said. “We played up to BYU’s level and then just stayed at that level to play Cal. We didn’t stoop down to Cal’s level.”

In the opening period of Thursday night’s match-up, for nearly 15 minutes both netminders remained perfect in the paint as Cal’s Brad Buss and SJSU’s Joe Best kept the puck at bay.

SJSU Win Big in Berkeley, 8-2 Over Cal, Spartans sweep the four game series - A. Sheldon.

[Update] SJSU [ranked 4th] faces Utah State [ranked 3rd] Saturday night at Logitech. Ag hockey team set for San Jose State U - The Utah Statesman.


Hockey Notes - hockey smorgasbord edition

local bay area college hockey weekend

- This weekend is a busy one for 2 local college hockey teams. San Jose State plays at Berkeley Thursday night [8:30PM], against Palmer at home Friday [7:45PM], and against 3rd ranked Utah State at home on Saturday [8:15PM]. Cal plays SJSU as mentioned, and Utah State at home on Friday [10:45PM].

- The NHL and NHLPA are meeting for a second day today in Toronto, after almost 5 hours of discussion yesterday in Chicago. All I can say is get it done.

- A few of my photos from the BYU-SJSU game made a Wednesday hockey special in the BYU Daily Universe newspaper. 1 made the front page of the website, 4 are supposedly in a hockey insert.

Two articles from BYU's roadtrip to the Bay Area: On the road with the IceCats, and IceCats conquer in California.

- This was a very interesting column by David Pollak in the SJ Mercury News: NHL's draft not on tap, no players will be taken if lockout continues. What jumped out at me was this NHL playoff suggestion at the end of the column:

Forget the regular season. Come back with an expanded playoff tournament for all 30 teams. Give Tampa Bay and Calgary a first-round bye based on their appearance in the 2004 finals. Five rounds of intense hockey later, the surviving team skates around the ice with the Stanley Cup.

- Sharks resigned to missing season - Ross McKeon in the SF Chronicle. One word description of this article: bleak. Two words: sinking bleakness.

- One piece of positive news coming from NHL.com after the Tsunami disaster and the ongoing NHL lockout: NHL donates $32,500 in Thailand's charity hockey event.

BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand's hockey players scored for tsunami survivors raising tens of thousands of dollars at the "Canada vs. The World" charity game in front of a raucous crowd in Bangkok.

The National Hockey League donated $2,500 per goal for a total of $32,500 as the World team - comprising players from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Japan and Thailand - outgunned the Canadians, 7-6.

The star of Sunday's game was Thailand's Vanchalerm "Top" Rattapong who netted a hat-trick for the World team and his compatriots in need, in front of the standing-room-only crowd of 700 at Bangkok's Central World Plaza.

"I heard the NHL was going to donate cash for goals, and I knew what I had to do for my people in southern Thailand," said Rattapong, one of the country's premier skaters.

Please dont sue me for linking to that NHL, thanks. FYI, the link to the "Office Bar Thai World Hockey League" at the bottom of the article is not working. Here is the correct link. There are lots of ways you can help by searching that webpage.

- Spector asks the big question in his latest Prince of Pucks column for Fox Sports: Will fans come back when NHL does?... Yes. Will they watch... No.

- The Hockey News is cutting back publication to once every other week. Not good.

- New blog added to the blogroll: Redline Sports by Brett Mirtle. Thanks to Offwing for the link. The hockey blogosphere is small, but day-by-day it is being filled by more intelligent and entertaining people. My first stop for hockey news in the morning is not TSN, not ESPN, but this blog newspage.

- Not sure how I missed this article late last year, but HockeyFights.com did an interview with 989 sports SR producer Dave Perkinson on the Gretzky NHL 2005 video game for PS2.

- Eastlink.ca is streaming 1 QMJHL hockey game a week each Friday night. Click on eastlink.ca>sports>webcast to find the game. In a future post I am going to try to combine all the video/radio/streaming hockey links and then add them to the links page. Please submit any links you have and I will add them.

- Sharks goaltending prospect Patrick Ehelechner [Sudbury Wolves] was named to the East all-star team [PDF file] of the Ontario Hockey League.

- TSN.ca, hacked by Lyoko? Thanks to Puckupdate for the info.

Puck Update was also blurbed on NY Newsday. You are famous dude. FAMOUS! Just an FYI, I recently got 14 hits from being mentioned in a newspaper, and 16,000 in one day from a site talking about goalie equipment. There is a marketing lesson in there somewhere.

- Thanks to the fans and hockey parents who donated to this website last week. Every donation helps.

- PS, if you want an off-the-beaten-path look at what it is like to drive through central California, go see the new independent movie Sideways. Here is the official movie website, and a PDF highlight of the Miles and Jack wine tour. Not sure what this has to do with hockey, but you can stock up on adult beverages for that next Oilers game on ESPN classic.

[Update] Jes Golbez is covering the CHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver. Hometown Vancouver Giant Gilbert Brule performed well, with 3 goals and an assist in his first game.

oakland athletics outfielder Eric Byrnes

[Update2] Baseball in the Dominican: Capitan America, A's outfielder Byrnes is beloved in Dominican Republic - SF Chronicle.

"After we won the (Dominican League) championship two years ago, I was in a restaurant in Santo Domingo, and I heard all this commotion, so I stood up to look, and I see this parade of people, total chaos -- and the next thing I know, there's Eric, bobbing up and down on top," said the Dominican-born Peña, who was briefly Byrnes' teammate in Oakland in 2002 and now plays first base for Detroit. "There are thousands of people, he's being thrown up and down, and he's loving it."

This morning, Byrnes is off to NYC. This afternoon, Byrnes is staying in Oakland? Thanks to his agent, and my brother Mike Sasson for the last two links.

If the A's do not sign the biggest personality in the locker room in addition to losing 2/3rds of the big 3, what reason will there be for fans to show up next year? I am just bitter about game 5 loss two years ago, and all the game 5 losses before that.

Sign Byrnes, and get at least one big name free agent so fans can pretend to have a chance against New York or Boston next season.

Also see these articles for more of the great SF Chronicle Dominican Baseball series: A's, Giants providing their prospects with a second home, Licey vs. Aguilas is every bit as big as Yankees vs. Red Sox, A's may have found starter in Juan Cruz.


Vesa Toskala translated interview, after signing with Swedish club HV71

Vesa Toskala signs with SEL club HV71

Shortly after San Jose Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo signed with defending Swedish Elite League champion HV-71, goaltender Vesa Toskala also agreed to play with the club. HV71's Daniel Gustafsson sent in a link to the interview they did with Vesa, and Thefeeder.com member Palt kindly did a quick translation.

Vesa Toskala interview

Vesa Toskala has arrived in Jonkoping, but is not allowed to play until the transfer window re-opens on January 24. Today, he attended his first practice with HV-71.

Q: Who is Vesa Toskala?
A: I'm a 27 year old goaltender from Finland who has played in the San Jose organization the past 4 years. Before that I played for Färjestad (Swedish Elite League) for one season.

Q: How was your year in Färjestad?
A: I liked it. It is actually one of the reasons that I'm happy to play in Sweden again. It was a great experience for me and my first year away from Finland.

Q: What do you expect from the Swedish elite league?
A: Due to the lockout there are a lot of great players here. It is possibly the best league there is at the moment, so I have pretty high expectations. I just need to get back in shape after my hip operation, so I won't be in game-shape for another 2-4 weeks. It'll be interesting.

Q: How come you're playing for HV-71?
A: They made contact with me. There were some other teams in the mix, but it felt right coming here. Also I heard Cheechoo was playing here, we've actually played together since I came to North America. There's no specific reason why I chose HV, but I'm very happy to be here.

Q: Do you know any other players on the squad?
A: I've played with Pasi Maatinen in Ilves. I know of many of the other players, but haven't met them until now.

Q: What is your goal, playing with HV-71?
A: To get back in shape, play a little hockey and to help the team get as far as possible this season. You have to play somewhere if you don't want to take the whole year off, but it's been a hard year for me due to my injury.

Q: Have you trained during the lockout?
A: I have rehabbed my hip and trained with the juniors twice last week.

Q: Last time you were in Jonkoping you played in Roslundahallen (old arena). It's a little bit different now. Have you been to the new arena for a look.
A: Yes I have. It's bigger and nicer than before. Dag Larsson told me all games are sold out, so it'll be fun to play here.

Q: Do you remember the fans in Jonkoping?
A: I do indeed. I remember they stood really close to the ice and made a lot of noise.

Q: Do you have any family?
A: I have a girlfriend in Finland.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Hang out with my friends. I think I'm the only hockey player who doesn't like golf. I have no special hobbies.

Q: Tell us about your playing style.
A: I hate that question, since I don't have a good answer for it. I'm neither "butterfly" or "stand-up". I'm probably somewhere in between.

Q: How were your years in San Jose?
A: I played with the "farm team" for 2 1/2 years and the last two seasons I've been a back-up in San Jose. This past season was a great experience, since I played in 28 games and did pretty well.

Thank you and welcome to HV-71

Did pretty well? I guess it would sound odd if he started praising himself profusely, but after Evgeni Nabokov went down with injury last season [11/21], Toskala was the hottest goalie in the league for a stretch [6-2-1 record, full game log]. He finished with a 12-8-4 record, 2.06 GAA, and a .930 save percentage.

[Update] Sharks power forward Scott Thornton also reportedly agreed to play with the Swedish Elite League team Sodertalje SK. Thanks to Ecco from Germany for being the first one to send that info in.

[Update2] Palt translates another article, this time a short one from Aftobladet on the Scott Thornton signing. Thanks Palt!


SJSU earns tie and a loss in back-to-back games against BYU, Davis wins over Palmer, Berkeley splits weekend series with USC

SJSU hockey BYU

BYU won the second game of the back-to-back 5-4 Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at the Logitech Ice Center. After taking a 1-0 SJSU lead into the first intermission, the two teams traded goals for the next two periods. A called off SJSU goal, and a key short-handed BYU goal in the third set the stage for the game winner.

Before this series SJSU was ranked 4th in the ACHA D2 West, and BYU was ranked 5th. The top four teams in the West make it to Nationals March 2-5th in Michigan.

From SJSU captain #4 Ray Kellam:

As far as Nationals goes, we have dug ourselves a small hole to dig out of. BYU was the only major threat to leap up for the fourth and final seed to go to Detroit. They are the 5 seed as of right now.

Against BYU this season, our record is 1-1-1, 11 goals against, 11 goals for, as even as it gets on paper. The part that gives BYU the slight advantage is that they have beaten and tied us at home. Meaning we were unable to defeat them in our own house, showing that they are a strong team. They have also upset Utah State once (the 3 seed) and the ranking commit looks at second semester games with a more sensitive eye, as it is a better representation of what kind of team they will be selecting to go to Nationals. We have no higher seed upsets yet this year.

In order for us to go to Nationals, we MUST win all of our games against lower seeded teams [USC, Cal, and Palmer], and pull off at LEAST one upset [Utah State, Colorado or Colorado State]. Two upsets would most likely slip us in for sure. If we did not upset anyone, we would need BYU to self destruct and lose to a weak opponent or two. Obvioulsy, we would rather control our own destiny and beat Utah State at home next Saturday night than to wait for BYU to slip up.

From BYU Ice Cats head coach Matt Beaudry:

The Spartans are a tough team and Utah State will have their hands full this weekend - although I hope that the Aggies win since that would clarify the picture for Nationals a little for us.

The overall factor for us on both nights was that we never let down or stopped believing - as evidenced by the tying goal with 9 seconds left on Friday, and the winning goal coming with about a minute left on Saturday. To clinch the deal, we need Utah St to sweep San Jose this weekend or we need a few more wins from USU in our remaining three meetings than San Jose does.

About the fans. BYU is a private institution which is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Via the local church members in San Jose, we were able to publicize our games versus SJSU well before Christmas through the local membership, in hopes that we might glean a few fans to go along with about 6-8 parents that were going to come from the southern parts of the state to watch their sons play that weekend. Obviously the word got out and we had a pretty good turnout.

Now, may I say one thing about the San Jose fans? They were awesome! The details of what went on in the stands was lost on me as I focused on the game, but the contesting chants, the noisemakers, the claxon, the fog.....it all added up to a great event! I heard only compliments for the enthusiasm and sportsmanship that was exhibited by the Spartan faithful! We do not usually enjoy that pleasant rivalry at the other away venues that we play at.

Click here for the photo gallery. Visit sjsuhockey.com or icecathockey.com for more information on each team.

SJSU hockey BYU

In front of another large crowd Friday night, SJSU and BYU skated to a 5-5 tie.

A. Sheldon with game notes from the first game:

BYU kills off an early 5-3 Spartan advantage in the first. BYU didn't register their first shot on goal till 9:13. SJSU notched 15 shots before the second. BYU just 4. At 9:14 in the 2nd Panek blasted a shot from the point for the Spartans third goal. 1:18 remaining in the 3rd and BYU connects with another power play goal to tie the game 3-3 going into the third. SOG, 25-19. Then, BYU answered back...8:40 left to play and #19 Beau Adams banked the loose change on the power play with Barney in the box. At 11:44 in the 3rd there's a huge pile up in the BYU crease and the ref signals a Spartan goal, credited to Lovins 4-3. Less than a minute later, BYU evens the score.

13:21 and the Spartans top line notches the second go-ahead goal with Kellam passing to Nave rushing up the left side boards. Nave feeds the puck to Scarbrough with a perfect pass for the one-timer. Up 5-4. Whiteside in the box for roughing with 1:33 left in the game. 58.7 seconds left and it's now four-on-four. 33.2 and BYU pulls the goalie. 9.4 seconds left and BYU nets the equalizer to push it to OT. - ouch. Shots: 39-34. OT, couple more infractions dished out. BYU with a last second shot right at the buzzer. Final score: 5-5.

Click here for the photo gallery.

Palmer University West hockey UC Davis

Palmer Chiropractic West came back from an 8-2 deficit to make the game close at 8-5 in the final two periods against UC Davis Friday night. The Aggies scored several times late to earn an 11-7 win.

Click here for the photo gallery.

[Update] A. Sheldon with an update on Cal.

Berkeley played back-to-back games against USC this weekend. Friday night: USC scored on a PP, Sean Haq got DQ'd along with two USC skaters, just 8 minutes into the game. Chris Moulton scored for Berkeley to tie the game 1-1. Justin Edwards was the lone goal scorer in the second, providing Cal with their first lead, 2-1. In the 3rd, another DQ given to the Trojans, and USC scored twice more to win the game 3-2.

Cal won the second game 4-1 over USC without #55 in the lineup because of the DQ the night before.

[Update2] With no NHL season in sight, some fans turn to college games - Insidebayarea.com.

[Update3] A. Sheldon writes up the Thursday night BYU 8-0 win over Berkeley: The Icecats Out Claw the Golden Bears 8-0.

Cal head coach Cyril Allen said his team needs to work harder and not get so preoccupied with playing offense when they're on defense.

Dont think breakout when you're playing defensive zone coverage, Allen said. Focus on playing your man, not chasing the puck. Support when theres an opportunity to make a play, but if you chase after the puck you're going to find yourself behind - just following the play.

Coach Allen said his team needed to reduce the number of breakdowns so they could then focus on capitalizing on the other team's mistakes.

The problem is any 30, ten and five seconds worth of breakdown results in a scoring chance and those have to be eliminated, Allen said. Like any other sport its a game of mistakes. Those who make the fewest win the most.

[Update4 from Ray Kellam] On the Santa Clara Blackhawks squirt B team:

The Santa Clara Blackhawks squirt B team is currently 6-1 and tied for first place in NORCAL hockey with the undefeated Tri-Valley Blue Devils [5-0]. The top 4 teams go to Norcal squirt B playoffs where they will battle for the top 2 spots to be sent to the State Championships which happen to be located at Logitech Ice in San Jose this year. For any Santa Clara Blackhawk squirt B info or any NORCAl youth hockey info visit norcalyouthhockey.com.


Future hockey fans?

hockey fans

Future NHL fans? I did not get a chance to ask them. This photo was taken in San Jose, not Canada.


FSNBA to broadcast Cleveland Barons AHL game Wednesday

Cleveland Barons AHL hockey

Fox Sports Net Bay Area will broadcast an AHL game between the Cleveland Barons and Syracuse Crunch Wednesday at 4PM. The game will be held at the NHL home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Nationwide Arena. The Barons are the AHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, the Crunch are the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Cleveland Barons lost to the Edmonton Roadrunners 2-0 on November 9th at the HP Pavilion. Click here for the photo gallery.

All eyes on them, game broadcast on both coasts - ClevelandBarons.com.

Cleveland is 1 point ahead of Syracuse for 6th place in the North Division. Ryan Clowe leads the Barons with 8 goals and 20 assists in 38 games played. Cleveland's Christian Ehrhoff [7G, 12A], Marcel Goc [8G, 10A], and Jim Fahey [2G, 10A] all spent time on the San Jose Sharks roster last season.

[Update] David Pollak of the SJ Mercury News has a great article on hockey that appeared over the weekend in the travel section, Hockey Eh? Pollak wrote a 3-team WHL feature which included information about the history, lodgings, restaurants, setting, and Sharks connections of each team [Kelowna Rockets, Vancouver Giants, Kamloops Blazers]. The online article is a watered down version of the detailed print column.

The Portland Winterhawks are also part of the WHL, and are only a 9 hour drive north through very picturesque countryside. Portland is renown for its breweries, hosting Mactarnahan's, Widmer, and Full Sail to name a few. Visit the official City of Portland History of Beer webpage for more.

[Update2] There has been an announcement that the SJ Grand Prix will be held July 29-31, 2005 on the streets of San Jose. Visit sanjosegrandprix.com, or Canary Fund for more information.


San Jose Stealth lose home opener 14-10, split weekend home-at-home series with Calgary

San Jose Stealth

The San Jose Stealth lost their first home game 14-10 against the defending National Lacrosse League [NLL] champion Calgary Roughnecks. The lead changed hands several times in the first three quarters, but Calgary pulled ahead for good in the fourth.

Stealth Fall To Roughnecks 14-10 In Home Opener - SJstealth.com.

San Jose defeated the Roughnecks 12-10 on Friday night to open the season in Calgary.

San Jose Stealth

Tracey Kelusky scored 5 goals last night for the Roughnecks. Ryan Boyle and Kevin Fines each scored twice for the Stealth, with 6 SJ players registering a single goal. Gary Rosyski had 5 assists for the home team.

From the official program, a few National Lacrosse League rules:

ROSTERS: 23-man roster, each team dresses 16 players and 2 goalies per game. 6 players are on the turf during play.

TIME FORMAT: 4, 15-minute quarters.

OVERTIME: Games ending in a tie during regulation will be determined by 15 minute overtime periods until a goal is scored.

SHOT CLOCK: A 30-second shot clock begins when a team assumes possession of the ball. A shot must be put on goal during that time or they will lose possession. A shot on goal resets the shot clock.

Visit the photo gallery from the game, sjstealth.com or nll.com for more information on the team and the league. San Jose plays the Minnesota Swarm expansion franchise at home January 22nd [7:30PM], and the Colorado Mammoth January 29th [7:30PM].

Game Notes:

The Calgary Roughnecks knocked the San Jose Stealth out of the 2003-04 playoffs, rookie forward Ryan Boyle was drafted 3rd overall in the first round, the SJ goaltending trio of Blasdell/Miller/Cosmo is nicknamed the "three-headed monster", SJ forward/defender Kevin Fines was a goaltender last year in the Central League according to the SJ Mercury News, SJ GM and head coach Johnny Mouradian was named GM of the year last season with the Stealth registering an 11-5 record [7-1 at home], forward Gary Rosyski from Toronto is a San Jose State alumni, the Stealth traded for Curt [VAN, 44 PTS, 10 GP] and Derek Malawsky [ROC, 78 PTS, 16 GP] who made their debut for SJ Saturday night.

San Jose Stealth

San Jose Stealth

The 7,000+ in attendance filled the lower bowl of the HP Pavilion, and the Stealth opened the turf for fans to get autographs from the players after the game.

[Update] From the Stealth's Ryan Stenn:

Collects Rookie Of The Week Award After Two Strong Games

SAN JOSE - San Jose Stealth forward Ryan Boyle was chosen as the National Lacrosse League's Rookie Of The Week for the second week of the season. The Weekly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the General Managers & Head Coaches of the league's ten member clubs.

In two games against Calgary, Boyle scored nine points (three goals and six assists) and also snatched 12 loose balls. His nine points ties him for seventh in the league.

Stealth General Manager and Head Coach Johnny Mouradian is very impressed with Boyle.

"He fits in real well with his teammates because he has the learning ability to sit back and take in what happens and assess it all," Mouradian said.

"Here's a kid averaging 4.5 points a game," Mouradian said. "Even though the season is still young, to be tied in points with a guy the caliber of Kaleb Toth from Calgary, who's a NLL veteran, speaks well of Ryan and where he's going to be in this league. We are looking for him to show some great leadership."

Boyle was pleased with his first weekend in the NLL, but won't just sit back and relax.

"I think it went well overall," he said. "I'm not afraid to admit I still have a lot to learn and while there's always room for improvement, I'm happy I was at least able to help my team in both games. At least I didn't put up goose eggs, right?"

Boyle will be back in action next week as the Stealth travel to Arizona to take on the Sting, Friday Jan, 21 at 6:30 (PST). The following night, the team returns to HP Pavilion at San Jose to play host to the Minnesota Swarm. Tickets are still available at all ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com, by calling 408-999-5700 or at the HP Pavilion box office.



Berkeley starts second half with a 5-3 win over Davis

Berkeley vs Davis hockey

Berkeley defeated Davis 5-3 to start the second half of their season last night, with one empty net goal coming in the final minutes. The crowd was sparse, but more students should be on hand for the January 20th SJSU game at CAL because school will be in session.

Click here for the Cal-Davis photo gallery.

My first impression of Berkeley Iceland is that it is huge. Both inside the building, and the larger than Olympic ice surface, are bigger than any other arena I have been in this year [it is also the only arena I have been to this year].

Berkeley plays at Davis's home rink in Vacaville tonight at 5:15. Visit calicehockey.com and ucdavis.edu/icehockey for more information on each team.

[Update] Davis center Andrew Le emails about the second Cal-Davis game in Vacaville:

Like the game in Berkeley, this one was a good game. We had a solid start but couldn't capitalize on the power play opportunities, including a 5 on 3. Cal scored the first 2 goals of the game, but we came back to score 3 straight in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Cal tied the game in the middle of the 3rd, but Berk Nelson came up clutch to answer the Cal goal just 2 minutes later. We added 2 more to seal the game (including an empty netter).

Davis plays Palmer at Logitech Friday 1/14/05 in San Jose [9:45PM], after the first SJSU vs BYU game.

One of the strengths of the Davis netminder is his cool, calm, collected demeanor in net. Nice photo.

Berkeley vs Davis hockey

Berkeley vs Davis hockey

Visit pac8hockey.com for more information and stats on the Pac 8 hockey conference. The Pac 8 championship tournament will be held in Berkeley February 18th and 19th, with CAL, USC, UCLA, and Oregon competing.

According to the stats on the Pac 8 hockey website, Cal has 3 of the top 4 individual point leaders [Amir Moazeni, Sean Haq, Christopher Moulton].

[Update] A. Sheldon writes up the Cal-Davis games over the weekend, UC Davis and Cal Berkeley Split Home-and-Home Series.

One team was hoping to assert their dominance over their Gold Rush rival this past weekend, but once again the UC Davis Aggies and Cal Golden Bears traded victories and remain tied in their season series with 2 wins apiece.


Hockey Notes - New Years edition

- The post and photos of Esa Tikannen playing for the Korean team Halla Winia will have to wait a few days. I have two more people to contact thanks to the Korean Hockey Association's General Secretary, Sean S.Y. Cheon.

- A note for readers:

This weekend I am going to try to write the second installment of As the CBA turns. It should include two color charts of the financials as referenced by the NHL and NHLPA in their most recent counterproposals. There will also be links to the problems both sides referenced with the numbers, and as usual, links to the Forbes/Levitt/Moag figures for further review. I will explain how I am leaning more towards the middle than my previous heavy lean towards the owners, and try to explain why each side has taken their current inflexible positions. I will also try to explain why the SCORE system dispels the myth that the owners are solely responsible for this impasse because of their overspending.

My goal before what many expect to be the cancellation of the season, is to post a simple offer next week that splits the NHL and NHLPA proposals down the middle. Many of the issues are far beyond my limited economic skills, but I will try to take concerns from both sides and write what compromises I would make. No one seems to be even attempting a solution, so applaud the attempt if not the solution.

I will try to get the two people I know with experience in this area, my brother who worked on economic models for Adobe and Macromedia, and Rob Black of robblack.com, and a number of hockey bloggers to comment. If the NHL, NHLPA, or any players or owners would like to comment, please do so. This blog is more like a conversation than one lone fan lecturing.

- The NHL has cancelled the January 14th Board of Governors meeting because "the league has nothing new to report in the stagnant collective bargaining process". Great. You know you are in a bad position when they cancel the meeting that many believed would cancel the season. That almost sounds positive, except for the fact that...

"There's not going to be a drop-dead date. We believe the only important thing is a negotiated agreement that will work for the sport and the industry long term. When we're past the point of no return, I think an appropriate announcement will be made. But we're not going to give that announcement in advance." - NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly

Bill Daly answered my question on NHLcbanews.com:

[Q] What are fans specifically going to get out of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement?

[Bill Daly] A new economic system will produce a more stable and competitive League, which should mean that each fan's favorite franchise will operate in an environment of economic stability and will be able to compete for championships on the same basis as all other teams in the League.

We believe that an economic system that is more equitable, and which provides all Clubs with relative equal abilities to compete for championships, will also produce more compelling competition and a more attractive product. The style of play can and should be improved simply by the fact of improved parity throughout the league as lower-payroll teams with lower-salaried players with have to depend less on defensive systems and defensive tactics to compete on a nightly basis.

Finally, we believe that in a more certain cost environment, Clubs will be less dependent on ticket price increases to finance competitive payrolls, leading to a more consistently affordable product in many markets.

- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman makes an appearance on the Business Week Best and Worst manager list. There is more than enough blame to go around to pin this on one person.

- Speculation of a new CBA proposal by Spector seems at this point like wishful thinking.

- From Hockey-humor.com, a case of one player's wishful thinking come true:

This is from Wild rookie Stephane Veilleux who was called up from the AHL for his NHL debut vs. Detroit. "I look out there during the warmups and I see Brett Hull and Niklas Lidstrom and Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov," Veilleux said. "I'm used to playing these guys in video games and here I am about to play against them for real. It was a dream come true."

- According to Russian Prospects, San Jose Sharks forward Alexander Korolyuk has 13 goals and 17 assists in 20 games played for Vityaz Podolsk of the Russian High League [one division below the Russian Superleague].

Evgeny Belashchenko of Russian Prospects emails about the San Jose Sharks playing in the Russian leagues:

Korolyuk - ripping up the High League. Without him, Vityaz would not likely be anywhere, as he is carrying the team on his back. He is in the High League - so it's not as competitive as the Super Leauge. But I understand Vityaz has substancial funds.

Nabokov - just started to shake some of the rust off. He skated for Metallurg for the first time in the Spengler Cup, where he wasn't all that impressive, but has been getting steadily better. He played his first game yesterday and won 3:2. Look for the box scores on RP in the coming days.

Alexander Korolyuk was a big part of the San Jose Sharks run to the Conference Finals. Many times during last season, Korolyuk-McCauley-Ekman was the top line.

- From UC Davis center Andrew Le:

UC Davis plays Cal for our home and home January 7th and 8th. 1/7/05 will be @ Cal 10:45 PM. 1/8/05 will be @ Vacaville 5 PM.

Visit calicehockey.com or ucdavis.edu/icehockey for more information about the local college hockey teams.

- I have to link to this, Stanford has redesigned their hockey website. The pictures from the photos section was the first game last year at Logitech I went to. Every other shot was green, blue or grey because of the overhead lighting was firing at a different speed than the camera. The photos this year are much better [gallery1, gallery2].

- If you notice missing thumbnails at Pbase, their servers are going through major problems. If you see a red x, click on the original link below each photo to see the full size image. Here is the new list of all the hockey photo galleries.

- Thanks to all of the people shopping with the store links on the right, I will fix that up soon. This is the month where I pay the bills for Sharkspage, so feel free make a small donation via paypal or Amazon [scroll down on the right] if you find this website useful.


San Jose Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo signs with HV71 of the Swedish Elite League, Malhotra also signs

Jonathan Cheechoo HV71

Jonathan Cheechoo Manny Malhotra HV71

Jonathan Cheechoo HV71

San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo joined Swedish Elitserien champion HV71 over the holiday break along with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Manny Malhotra. HV71 plays in the 7,000-seat Kinnarps Arena in the Swedish city of Jonkoping.

With 33 games played so far in the 2004-05 season, HV71 is 12-5-16 in 8th place. They are currently in position for the last playoff spot, 1 point ahead of Sodertalje.

Fredrik Olausson leads HV71 with 6 goals and 19 assists in 33 games played. Jonathan Cheechoo has 2 goals and 0 assists in 3 games, Manny Malhotra has 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 games played. In Cheechoo's second season with the San Jose Sharks in the NHL last year, the Moose Factory native scored 28 goals and 19 assists for 47 points in 81 games played.

The above photos of Jonathan Cheechoo and Manny Malhotra's first practice are courtesy of HV71's Daniel Gustafsson. A complete gallery of the practice photos is available here.

Visit hvfantasten.com for a fan website covering HV71, they are going set up a thread in English for local fans to discuss the team.

A great thread on this signing can be found over at the Sharks fan website Feeder.com. A number of Swedish HV71 fans are letting San Jose fans know a little about their home team.

According to HV71 fan TobbeA:

HV71 is an abbreviation of Huskvarna and Vätterstad and was founded 1971. HV´s hometown or maybe towns is the two twin cities of Jonkoping and Huskvarna. They were Swedish champions 1995 and 2004 and also won the league 2003-2004. As someone said before HV´s been a huge disappointment so far this season and trail behind in the league. Their home arena is Kinnarps Arena and have a capacity of 7038 with approx 1000 standing (Standing is pretty common in Sweden.). And the arena is almost always sold out for games.

Also from TobbeA:

HV will participate in the IIHF European Champions Cup Supersix championship in St Petersburg, Russia in January (13-16/05). The reigning champions from Sweden (HV71), Finland (Karpat Oulu), Russia (Avangard Omsk), Germany (Frankfurt lions), Czezh Republik (HC Hame Zlin) and Slovakia (Dukla Trencin) will be there. This is the first years the championship takes place so I really dont know what to expect.

Another HV71 fan Thomping mentions that Cheechoo started out on a line with: Mathias Tjarnqvist (left) Andreas Karlsson (center) Jonathan Cheechoo (right). Malhotra started on a second line with: Manny Malhotra (left) Johan Davidsson (center) Anders Huusko (right).

Here is a link to a video interview with Jonathan Cheechoo after his first game.

The NHL may be inching towards cancellation January 14th, but the number of Swedish and German fans giving information about Sharks abroad has been refreshing. Tomorrow comes a report on hockey in Korea and Esa Tikannen from a Canadian.

[Update] Ecco from Germany emails in Sunday an update on Sharks playing in the Deutscher Eishockey Liga:

ERC Ingolstadt-Hamburg Freezers 3:1
Marco Sturm scored the 1:0 and assisted on the 3:1!

Kölner Haie-Krefelder Pinguine 3:1
Thomas Preissing with an assist (1:1) on the powerplay!

[Update2] More from Ecco:

ERC Ingolstadt (5th in the league):
M. Sturm - 28gp 12g 10a 22p 46pim fo7:8 fo%46.67 93sog 3ppg 1shg 0gwg 24+ 12- +12

Kölner Haie (2nd in the League):
K. Hospelt - 6gp 0g 0a 0p 2pim fo32:15 fo%68.09 7sog 0ppg 0shg 0gwg 0+ 1- -1

T. Greiss - 5gp 279:72min 141sog 12ga 2.58gaa 129saves 91.49sp 0so

Krefelder Pinguine (9th in the league (one point behind a playoff spot):
T. Preissing - 14gp 1g 1a 2p 8pim 27sog 1ppg 0shg 0gwg 10+ 6- +4

Kai Hospelt is the league leader in faceoffs.

Last day of the WJC :: USA loses to Czech Republic 3-2 in OT, Canada defeats Russia 6-1 in the Gold Medal game

It looks like the Canada vs Russia, or Crosby vs Ovechkin/Malkin gold medal WJC game will not be seen on ESPN or ESPN2 in the US. In Canada, the games will be broadcast on TSN and RDS at 7:30 [ET] according to Hockey Canada. The puck drops at 5:08 PT.

While the games will be broadcast on TSN, it looks like no audio or webcast feeds are available online. Visit here for TSN WJC coverage, and click on the AV page for a thorough video wrapup after the final.

The US team lost to the Czech Republic in OT. Audio from the game was broadcast on USAhockey.com. Make sure to check back with that website for a box score, recap, and photos from the game. USAhockey deserves a thumbs up for their wall-to-wall WJC coverage during the NHL lockout.

[Update] A fan from Toronto mentioned that TheFan 590 will broadcast audio of the Canada-Russia game live at 7:30PM ET. The audio broadcast starts with a half pre-game show [for hockey? unheard of], with Mr Great Hockey One in the studio.

A. Sheldon says Team 1040AM out of Ontario is also broadcasting audio of the gold medal game live.

[Update2] It looks like the game will also not be broadcast in Russia live, but it will be available on NTV [which is the Russian equivalent of Dish network or Direct TV].

[Update3] I listened to the pre-game show, but the audio feed from TheFan 590 is dropping out regularly. Given the lack of coverage anywhere but Canada, I have a feeling this is a bandwidth issue.

Patrice Bergeron scored seconds after I tuned in to make the score 4-1 Canada halfway through the 2nd period. There is not alot for the Russians to taunt about in this game. Stewart scores, 5-1.

Canada wins their 11th World Junior Championship gold medal. The 6-1 win was cathartic for USA fans who watched Russia taunt their way to a 7-1 win on Sunday. The fans in North Dakota [I am going out on a limb suggesting a few were Canadian] chanted "Sha-na-na-na, hey hey hey, goodbye" over and over again in the final minutes of the game.

Ontario radio announcers said Ovechkin finished the game in a sling after suffering a shoulder injury in the second. Ovechkin gets a team award, but he is showered with boos from the crowd. Patrice Bergeron was named Tournament MVP.

Wayne Gretzky is handing out the gold medals to Team Canada. Wow.

[Update4] 2005 WJC Tournament Awards, from USAhockey.com:

Most Valuable Player: Patrice Bergeron, Canada
(selected by host organizer)
Best Goaltender: Marek Schwarz, Czech Republic
(selected by directorate)
Best Defenseman: Dion Phaneuf, Canada
(selected by directorate)
Best Forward: Alexander Ovechkin, Russia
(selected by directorate)

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM (selected by media panel)

Goaltender: Marek Schwarz, Czech Republic
Defense: Dion Phaneuf, Canada
Defense: Ryan Suter, United States
Forward: Alexander Ovechkin
Forward: Patrice Bergeron, Canada
Forward: Jeff Carter, Canada


San Jose Stealth Lacrosse trying to woo San Jose Sharks fans

San Jose Stealth National Lacross League

Andrew F. Hamm writes about the San Jose Stealth Lacrosse team's goal of marketing to San Jose Sharks fans. From today's San Jose Business Journal:

"We're definitely going to see more Sharks fans at the Stealth games," says Jon Swenson, operator of the Sharks fan Web site www.Sharkspage.com. "I went to a couple of games last year and was really impressed with all the hard hitting."

The hits are huge in the National Lacrosse League. At my first game last season I sat back in my seat trying to figure out the rules of the game until two players crashed into the boards in front of me. Later a particularly ill-tempered Stealth forward dropped the gloves and passive Sharks fans in attendence up until that point stood up and cheered.

The San Jose Stealth opened at home last year with a 13-12 comeback win over the Colorado Mammoth. The Stealth open this season January 7th at Calgary, January 8th against Calgary in San Jose. Visit the official website at sanjosestealth.com for more information.

[Update] A New Years email sent out to members of Soccer Silicon Valley:

Dear SSV member --

It's been a long, significant year for soccer in the Bay Area. We've gone from the highest high -- last year's incredible MLS Cup championship -- to the lowest low: the possibility that the Quakes would be sold and moved to Texas. The good news is that the Quakes are still here and the soccer community is stronger than ever. Thanks to your participation in SSV, soccer supporters speak with a louder voice than ever before. That means a lot to us and it means a lot to the investors and municipalities that we are working with as we continue to work towards finding new owners and a new stadium for the Earthquakes...

We have one New Year's resolution here at SSV and that's to find new owners and a new stadium for the Quakes. We'd like you to continue helping us with that goal by supporting the team as well as by continuing to contact your elected officials to remind them that there is still work to do on keeping the team here.

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2005.

Yours in soccer,
Colin McCarthy
President, Soccer Silicon Valley

[Update2] Berkeley skating rink may face closure - Oakland Tribune.


Liveblogging USA-Russia in the World Jr Championship semifinal, Russia wins 7-2

[USA-RUS game in progress] Score: Rus 3 - USA 2 with 13 minutes left in the 2nd period. The Americans gave up 2 powerplay goals to Russia early, Russia answered giving a powerplay goal back to the USA side. Patrick O'Sullivan rockets a shot from the boards up over Khudobin's shoulder, the game is tied 2-2 with yet another PP goal.

Evgeni Malkin rushed the puck out of his zone, crossed the blue line, dished the puck to a teammate and put a body on a USA defenseman. His teammate crisscrossed with Sergei Shirokov, and dropped a pass to him that was shot low for a goal. Russia leads 3-2 to start the 2nd period.

It is weird seeing John Buccigross and Barry Melrose host the WJC intermission update show. Melrose bans Buccigross from giving any Bruin-related updates and then flubs Patrice Brisebois's name. Buccigross - "I love all 700 NHL players equally". Hard not to laugh. Why was this show cancelled again?

Turnover in the neutral zone, Evgeni Malkin scores over the right pad of Al Montoya. Russia leads 4-2 with under 10 minutes left in the third. Malkin has a goal and an assist tonight, and is well on his way to earning a Sharkspage player-of-the-game award.

USA not only kills off a 4 minute penalty to O'Sullivan, but creates a few solid scoring chances in the process. Khudobin nails his own defenseman trying to clear the puck, but unlike Fleury in the gold medal game last year, this puck did not bounce into his own net.

USA pulls their goaltender with 2:58 left to play, they need two goals to tie the game. Alexander Ovechkin scores an empty net goal. No miracle tonight for Team USA.

Evgeni Malkin scores a second empty net goal, and mocks the crowd in North Dakota. First Shirokov does the Hulk Hogan "I cant hear you" move after his goal, then Ovechkin mocks the crowd, now Malkin. I am losing respect for this Russian squad by the second.

Russia scores another empty net goal, at this point I do not care which player. Final score of the game is 7-2 Russia. USA does not repeat their 2004 WJC gold medal performance. I now bestow upon myself honorary Canadian citizenship for the Canada-Russia WJC final.

Russian rub in 7-2 win over US - TSN.

RUS 7 - USA 2 box score - USAhockey.com.

WJC: Canada-Russia Or Bust - McKeens Hockey.

Hometown WJC coverage available from the Grand Forks Herald.

[Update] Canada makes its way to the World Jr Championship final with a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic. Jeff Carter, Nigel Dawes and Patrice Bergeron scored for Team Canada. Rostislav Olesz picked up a shorthanded goal for the Czech Republic. Canadian goaltender Jeff Glass made 11 saves on only 12 shots for the game. Czech goaltender Marek Schwarz made 41 saves on 44 shots.

[Update2] Once again, Russianprospects.com has more on Team USA's semifinal opponent.

[Update3] In sad news, after 5 years Eliteprospects.com is closing down shop. Thanks go out to Johan Nilsson and all of his contributors for provinding some of the best Swedish hockey coverage on the web. More on Swedish hockey coming tomorrow.

USA WJC team downs Sweden 8-2, faces Russia tonight in the Semifinals

In quarterfinal World Junior Championship action, the USA answered the two prior losses to the Czech Republic and Belarus with an 8-2 drubbing of Sweden. The youngest member of the Team USA, 17 year old Phil Kessel, scored a hat trick to help his team advance to the semifinals tonight against Russia [5:30PM, ESPN2, live USAhockey audiocast].

Starting goaltender Al Montoya made 29 saves on 31 shots, allowing only two goals by Sweden's Loui Eriksson. The Americans pulled away early in the third period, a Kessel goal making the score 4-2.

The coach of the USA squad Scott Sandelin told ESPN:

I thought we got better as the game went on. Thank God for Phil Kessel. He was definitely the difference for us tonight.

In the other quarterfinal matchup, Czech Republic goaltender made 21 saves in a 3-0 shutout over Finland. The Czech squad will face Canada today in the other semifinal game of the day. Petr Vrana, Rostislav Olesz [SH] and Roman Cervenka scored for Team CZE. In relegation play on Saturday, Switzerland blanked Germany 5-0 with Michael Tobler making 19 saves. German goaltender Youri Ziffzer made 41 saves on 46 shots in the loss.

From the official game notes prior to the USA-Sweden quarterfinal game, from USAhockey.com:

USA Hockey, REA Help South Asia Relief Efforts.

USA Hockey, Inc., together with Ralph Engelstad Arena will conduct a special Chuck-A-Puck intermission game following the second period of tomorrow evening’s (Jan. 2) semifinal contest. All proceeds from the game, which will be matched up to $2,500 by USA Hockey, Inc., will go to the American Red Cross International Response Fund to be used to help those affected by the recent disaster in South Asia. The pucks for Chuck-A-Puck, which will be sold for a minimum $5 donation, will be available both on the main concourse, behind the Sioux Shop and near the southwest entrance. The winner of the Chuck-A-Puck game will receive an authentic USA Hockey jersey signed by the entire U.S. National Junior Team.


USA WJC team loses to Czech Republic 3-1, begins medal round play tonight against Sweden

WJC hockey tournament

Sharks prospect Lukas Kaspar scored the game winning goal 57 seconds into the second period for the Czech Republic. The Czech team defeated the Americans 3-1 in the final game of round robin play, with the last goal coming on an empty net in the final minute of the third period.

While most hockey pundits lauded the Czech offensive firepower, goaltender Vladislav Koutsky made 38 saves on 39 shots to lock down the win. Coach Alois Hadamczik started Koutsky in place of Marek Schwarz, the third goalie chosen overall in this years NHL draft [1st round, 17th overall - STL]. USA goaltender Al Montoya was the first goalie selected [1st round, 6th overall - NYR]. Schwarz started the three previous games for the Czech Republic, registering 2 wins and 1 loss.

Koutsky commented on the CZE-USA game through an interpreter:

This is the first time I've played in front of a big crowd like this. I think it helped out a bit [that I faced so many shots]. You know when a goalie faces a lot of shots it helps him stay in the zone.

More on the USA loss from the official World Junior Championships website, Czech Republic defeats United States 3-1

USA forward Chris Bourque suffered a tournament-ending knee injury during the 5-3 loss to Belarus. Bourque had a goal and an assist in three games played.

Russia [Group A] and Canada [Group B] earned a bye into the semifinals for winning their respective divisions.

A few media reports expressed concern with the injury situation facing Team Canada [Cam Barker out for the tournament, Brent Seabrook and Jeremy Colliton injured], but James Mirtle disagrees.

According to the official USAhockey.com website:
The crossover games in medal-round play are set for Jan. 1: the Czech Republic faces Finland at 3:38 p.m. (all times CST), with the winner to meet Canada at 3:38 p.m. Sunday, while Sweden plays the United States at 7:38 p.m., with the winner to meet Russia at 7:38 p.m. Sunday.

The bronze- (3:08 p.m.) and gold-medal (7:08 p.m.) games are set for Jan. 4. The losing teams in the two crossover games will battle for fifth place on Jan. 3 at 7:38 p.m.

USA will face Sweden in quarterfinal play broadcast live at 5:30PM [PT] on ESPN2. [Note: USA-SWE game listed on ESPN2 at 5:30]

For more on the WJC hockey tournament:

Official WJC website


Hockey Canada

TSN World Jrs