LCS Hockey Tribute - world domination update #1

A few weeks ago, an email came in from LCS Hockey alumni Jim Iovino. He passed along a compliment for writing about hockey after a year of nothing but NHL CBA squabbling.

For those of you unware, LCShockey.com, aka "Le coq sportif", was one of the earliest hockey news websites online. It started in June 1994 as a weekly email news report, and eventually became league-wide with a few dozen contributors. All that remains now are the internet archives.

Before the media, NHL, and NHLPA start gearing up for a CBA deal, I wanted to post a few quotes from LCS articles that give you a taste of how they covered the sport. There has been nothing like it before or since.

From LCShockey's about page:

It all started back in May of 1994, when four young lads decided it was time to change the way hockey news was reported. No longer would they sit idly by and allow the vast hockey loving masses to be rendered sleepy from the never ending stream of boring and uncreative hockey reporting. They set forth to try and create a hockey publication that would not only inform their readers, but also entertain...50/50, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Led by the inspiration of their hockey reportin' hero, Al Morganti, they worked tirelessly to release the first issue of LCS Guide to Hockey on June 15th, 1994. The world of hockey reporting was changed forever.

The San Jose Sharks were one of the first teams to create a website online in 1995. ESPN.sportszone.com also came online in 1995. Prior to the internet explosion in 1994, Gopherspace and dial-in BBS bulletin boards were the only online options to follow the sport if your local newspaper did not.

From December 30, 1994.
On the 1994-95 lockout:

With still no definitive date set for the cancellation of the NHL season, the lockout continues to drag on worse than a game between the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning. The only differences being that the Lightning only make people suffer from boredom in sixty minute increments, and Gary Bettman no longer wears lightning bolts on the sides of his pants.

From April 21, 1996: A tribute to the Hartford Whalers.

LCS' Save the Whale Telethon
By Michael Dell, editor-in-chief

For those of you that read Issue 42 of LCS, you know about our efforts in order to try and Save the Whale. In hoping to raise money to help the cause, we bought ourselves some time at a local cable-access TV station located in Monroeville, Pennsylvania in order to broadcast a Save the Whale telethon.

Station WSCK-TV fills the air waves with experimental, and often odd, programming that caters to the discriminating tastes of the modern television audience. For fifty bucks you too can have your own half hour of programming each week. But the fine folks at WSCK don't just accept anyone off the street. No siree, Chester! You've gotta have talent, you've gotta have drive, you've gotta have... well, really you just have to have the fifty bucks in cash.

From Issue 86, Feb. 9, 1998. A tribute to Sweden:

Common Swedish Phrases
by LCS Hockey

In case you, our valued readers, ever travel to Sweden, we've tried to piece together some common Swedish phrases using a Swedish-English dictionary. The syntax may not be the best, but the point should get across.

Lang bor de Val! - Long live the Whale!

Sicken det finns? - What it is?

Han finns de action? - Where is the action?

Har du sedd min kaslonger? - Have you seen my pants?

Langa de vin. - Pass the wine.

Jag var i Cleveland den vecka, officer. - I was in Cleveland that week, officer.

Du ar a illa skona kvinnor. - You are a very beautiful woman.

Skulle du lik att se de hem av a ensam, ensam man? - Would you like to see the home of a lonely, lonely man?

Forlat, Jag tanke den var min ben. - Sorry, I thought that was my leg.

Behagar skaffa ej slag mig om. - Please do not slap me again.

Nej, nej, ej de paprika sprej! - No, no, not the pepper spray!

Jasa Gud, min ogon! - Oh God, my eyes!

From Issue 116, March 24, 1999:

Scott Stevens Chat
by Michael Dell

See, here's how it works. The NHL provides us with transcripts of conference calls and then I usually craft a hilariously funny feature article around the quotes, employing a vast array of obscure television references and other comedic devices.

One of the featured players this time around is New Jersey's Scott Stevens. Unfortunately, I'm quite burnt at the moment and just don't feel like writing anything. I got nothin'. So instead I'm just going to rerun the transcript in its original question-and-answer form. The only difference being that I have supplied new questions. Stevens' answers are the same, but the questions have been changed or altered to make things confusing and difficult to understand. Good night and god bless.

LCS: Hello, Mr. Stevens. Let me start by asking the obvious question. Have you ever been bitten by a monkey?

SCOTT STEVENS: Well, it seems like that happens every year, but it is a gamble. I guess the teams that really feel they are there and they have a great chance of winning the Cup will tend to do it. Other than that, I think usually you are going to give up some pretty good players for some picks that could hurt you later on down the line. But if you feel you are right there and you feel you have an excellent chance of winning, a lot of teams will do that...

LCS: Have you ever read "Catcher in the Rye"? Because I just read it a couple weeks ago and I was extremely disappointed.

SCOTT STEVENS: Yes, especially the first half, but now guys are being creative and we had some time off to relax. I can see now he is starting to get more intense. He believes now, which is true, is the time to bear down; work a little harder at different things and really come together and get ready for the playoffs because it is the most important time of the year.

LCS: After French painter Paul Gaugin abandoned his family and moved to Tahiti, he had a string of affairs with several young teenage girls and contracted such a severe case of Syphilis that many of the other island inhabitants thought he was a Leper. Do you think Al MacInnis has a chance to win the Norris this year?

SCOTT STEVENS: Well, there is no question, he has really improved a lot ever since he has come into the league. He seems to be getting better and better. He is very potent on the power play and playing a lot of minutes and he is playing more defensively, which was always a knock, but now, obviously, seems like he is doing much better in that area. To be playing the minutes you are playing, you have to play well defensively at the same time...

LCS: Thank you very much for your time, Scott.

SCOTT STEVENS: Okay, no problem.

Another highlight was the tribute to Darcy Tucker, his interview, and the pictures drawn of him by first and second graders from the St. Aquinas Academy in Greensburg.

From an interview with Seth Lerman:

Asked how he felt on being the centerpiece of a tribute issue, Tucker replied: "It's very nice, especially for me. I came a long way to get to where I am today. It's been a long hard road. I'm a small guy that never really was given a chance to fulfill my dream when I was younger. At every level they said I was not good enough to play at the next level. It's really gratifying for me to feel that people recognized how hard I work out there. I love the game and it's something that's never going to diminish."

From The kids love Darcy Tucker:

Darcy Tucker

Darcy Tucker

Darcy Tucker

Editor Michael Dell wrote a thank you to all the readers and contributors after 5 years of publishing hockey news for the masses. Here is to version 3.0!

[Update] Where should the NHL look for financial salvation? - Jon Swenson/LCS Hockey.

[Update2] nhl94.com.


Larry Brooks reports that a NHL collective bargaining agreement may be reached Thursday

This article by Larry Brooks in the NY Post is a must read, Owners, Players inching closer.

Starting May 3rd you have to register to read NY Post columns, but this article is worth it. Larry Brooks talks about his sources claiming the NHL and NHLPA might come to an agreement Thursday, a mini financial review Wednesday, speculation about the contents of a new CBA [salary rollback, arbitration, qualifying offers], the players currently under contract for the Rangers, Devils and Islanders, and the bumper crop of expected free agents [including Martin St. Louis, Markus Naslund, Peter Forsberg, Eric Lindros, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski, Mike Rathje and Nikolai Khabibulin].

The sticking point still seems to be a definition of revenue, which was not wholly unexpected. The financial arrangements vary so much from team to team, it will be hard to negotiate an agreement among owners, not to mention between the NHL and NHLPA.

The final LB rumor claims that the 2005 draft [otherwise known as the Sidney Crosby lottery] might be held in New York on June 26th. If that is the case, I might be able to time my trip to NYC to coincide with the draft. Thanks to Hockeybird for the above link.

[Update] Sharks better positioned than many for 2005-06 - SJ Mercury News.

[Update2] Teams, prospects could lose out in draft chaos - ESPN.com.


ESPN declines $60 million NHL option, and 3 ESPN executives take shots at the league

The big news of the week was ESPN's announcement not to renew its $60 million dollar option to carry the NHL. After an initial year at $60 million, ESPN also had 2 more option years at $70 million each. The AP newswire quotes ESPN director of communications Mike Soltys saying there will be further comment next week.

ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said the network would have further comment next week. The option deadline is Wednesday.

While ESPN will not pick up the option on the deal it agreed to in May 2004, the longtime NHL broadcaster could try to retain the rights for less money.

It remains to be seen if the network will offer an ad revenue split with no upfront money, similar to the deal signed with NBC. CBS Marketwatch notes the details of the NHL deal with NBC:

However, instead of hitting the billion-dollar TV jackpot, the NHL got no money upfront from NBC. The network and the league will instead split advertising revenue. And NBC will pay no fee for the right to show seven regular-season and six playoff games, as well as games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup finals. NBC also has the option to renew the deal for two years.

The ESPN story was first reported on the blogosphere Friday by Mike Chen and Eric McErlain, with Sportsnet.ca and TSN as their sources. The AP Newswire credits Sportsnet.ca and the Los Angeles times for breaking the story. I missed that LA Times article, but Chris Foster of the Times filled in a few of the gaps with regards to the history of the NHL on ESPN:

ESPN showed some games in 1979 and was awarded the national broadcasting rights in 1984. It lost the rights to SportsChannel in 1988 but regained them in 1992.

But ESPN gradually has reduced its coverage of the NHL in recent seasons. It showed 70 games in 2003-04 and was scheduled to show 40, all on ESPN2, had the option been picked up.

Two weeks prior I wrote a post about the media piling on the sport after ESPN turned down broadcasting the World Championship of Hockey for free. Tim Panaccio reported the full cost of that "free" offer, but also noted that ESPN could have worked with TSN to defray that if they just picked up the phone.

At the time, three ESPN executives made interesting comments to the media that foreshadowed this weekends announcement. ESPN's senior VP of programming John Wildhack noted to USA Today:

We've been able to replace the NHL with high-quality programming that resonates with our viewers.

Bowling night, Battle of the Gridiron Stars, Stump the Schwab, Teammates, and college softball, oh how they resonate. In the same article, ESPN senior VP Artie Bulgrin also said:

We've had episodes of Battle of the Gridiron Stars that have done double (what hockey does) among 18-34 males.

Gridiron Stars? Actually Artie Bulgrin has a point. An athlete half jogging around an obstacle course is much more representative of current ESPN programming than watching a team fight through a grueling 82 game schedule and 4 playoff rounds to raise the 113 year old Stanley Cup.

One question for ESPN executives, could how you broadcast hockey be in part responsible for low ratings instead of the sport itself? The NY Post also quoted ESPN VP Mark Shapiro saying:

We fully grasp we cannot acquire every property out there. We are putting our stock in the NFL and we are getting behind that horse. Other horses won't be able to run because of our deal with the NFL. That is the decision we made... We believe that any rebuilding of that property would benefit from having ESPN behind it. We would like to do a deal, but that deal needs to be on our terms.

Either ESPN offers a similar deal as NBC made with the NHL, a split of advertising revenues after they recoup broadcast costs, or they pull the games off of the network altogether. Judging by the shots taken by three ESPN execs earlier this month, I would put it at 60-40 for the latter.

Not good, for ESPN or the NHL.

[Update] I wanted to take a look back at the questions I asked ESPN's John Buccigross, and see if I asked him anything about the upcoming NHL contract. I didn't. But he did touch on a couple of related areas:

[Q] The loss of a season, or a portion of the season is tough enough, but the loss of NHL2nite just makes it worse. Will any of the segments from your show become a regular on SportsCenter or ESPNnews?

[JB] Don't expect hockey to get any coverage on Sportscenter. ESPNEWS does a good job covering hockey in the afternoon. With Brian Kenney, and hockey experts, they provide good highlights and box scores at night. I will still be writing my hockey column on ESPN.com.

ESPN was also planning on rolling out hockey in High Definition last season.

[Update2] The New York Times has even more, with yet another spokesman for ESPN: ESPN Declines N.H.L. Option, but New Agreement Is Possible. The NYT quotes ESPN spokesman Chris LaPlaca:

We want to re-evaluate where we are... It's tough to pick up an option when you don't know what the product is.

True enough. It is also tough to renegotiate an option when a plethora of ESPN execs are mooning the NHL through a news-starved media.

[Update3] Washington Post's George Solomon named ESPN ombudsman - Poynter Online.

[Update4] Report: ESPN ends negotiations with NHL - Seattle PI.


Formal Hockey attire

hockey tux

Saw this roller hockey photo on a messageboard and it was too good not to post. I am currently taking bets on the first NHL team that adopts this for a third jersey.

16 National Roller Hockey teams will face off against each other August 6-13th during the Hardball Roller Hockey World Championships at the San Jose Event Center. Visit 2005rhwc.com for more information.


New Stockton ECHL franchise has a new name... the Stockton Thunder

ECHL Stockton Thunder

A press release from Stocktonprohockey.com:


Name and logo for Stockton ECHL team released to public

STOCKTON, CA - The Stockton Hockey Franchise Group, Inc. of the ECHL is now officially the Stockton Thunder. The team announced its name and unveiled the team logo and colors to the public in a press conference at Valley Brewing Company on Monday, May 23, 2005.

"We feel the name Thunder represents power, strength and that it can be intimidating," said Thunder Owner Michael Reinsdorf. "That is exactly what we expect from our team...to be powerful, strong and to scare the opponent."

The team received over 2,000 entries in a team naming contest sponsored by the Record that ran from February 14, 2005 to March 1, 2005. Of the names submitted, six finalists were chosen including: Brawlers, Fog, Skate, Spears, Stallions, and Thunder. The grand prize winner of the "Name the Team" contest was 11-year-old Michelle Costa of Tracy. Costa will receive an authentic, team-signed jersey and a pair of season tickets. Six first prize winners who also submitted the name Thunder will each receive a pair of season tickets. They are: Joey Rurup of Woodbridge, Nick Hunter of Lathrop, Billy Hutto of Travis, and Megan Brodie, Gina Antonini, and Rudy Banuelos of Stockton.

The name announcement marks the second major announcement by the team in the past few weeks, following the announcement of Head Coach Chris Cichocki on May 11, 2005.

"With the naming of our head coach two weeks ago and the announcement of Thunder today, we truly feel our identity is starting to become fully developed," said Thunder Team President Dan Chapman. "Now fans throughout San Joaquin County know that the Thunder is coming and getting ready to make some noise in the Stockton Arena."

The team began selling merchandise bearing the new logo and team colors of black, gold, and silver immediately following the press conference. Currently, t-shirts in adult and youth sizes are available at $18 for adult sizes, and $15 for youth sizes. Additional merchandise will be made available in the upcoming weeks.

Season tickets for the upcoming Thunder season are on sale now. As of mid-May the team has sold almost 1,400 season tickets for its 2005-2006 inaugural season, including over 80 club level seats. For season tickets, merchandise, or other information, please call the Stockton Thunder at (209) 948-3322 or visit www.stocktonprohockey.com.

From the ECHL.com:

STOCKTON, Calif. – The Stockton Hockey Franchise Group, Inc. on Monday announced that the team is now officially the Stockton Thunder.

The team logo features Thor, who is a thunder god in Norse mythology, holding a hockey stick rather than his famous hammer. Thor sits above the verbiage "Stockton Thunder" which has a lightning bolt for the letter "N". The team colors are gold, silver and black.

"We feel that that name Thunder represents power and strength and that it can be intimidating," said Thunder owner Michael Reinsdorf. "That is exactly what we expect from our team … to be powerful, strong and to intimidate the opponent."

The team received more than 2,000 entries in a "Name The Team" contest which was sponsored by the Stockton newspaper The Record, narrowing the list to six finalists - Brawlers, Fog, Skate, Spears, Stallions, and Thunder.

The grand prize winner in the "Name The Team" contest was 11-year-old Michelle Costa of Tracy, Calif., who will receive a signed jersey from the team and a pair of season tickets.

Welcome to the Bay Area/Central Valley/Northern California. A tip of the goblet to yee.

In another press release to the public, the Stockton Thunder announced the hiring of their first head coach Chris Cichocki. He started as an assistant coach in the IHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones, and Cichocki has compiled a 127-122-39 record as an ECHL head coach with the Arkansas RiverBlades. As a player, he has stints with the NHL Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils, the IHL Cincinnati Cyclones, the AHL Binghamton Rangers, Utica Devils, Maine Mariners and the Adirondack Red Wings, and 3 years in college with Michigan Tech.

[Update] 11-year-old helps Thunder strike Stockton - Stockton Record. According to the Record, the announcement was made at the Valley Brewing Company in Stockton.

[Update2] Stockton Arena Already Paying Off As Hockey Ticket Sales Soar - FOX40 KTXL.

Julio Cesar Chavez farewell tour continues

Julio Cesar Chavez

Julio Cesar Chavez sparred for 4 rounds with 2 different boxers Monday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Saturday on Showtime PPV live from the Staples Center, Julio Cesar Chavez (107-5-2) will face off against Ivan Robinson (32-9-2) as part of his farewell tour. His son Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and top ranked Bantamweight Rafael Marquez are also on the card.

From the Showtime press release:


Los Angeles - The legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, universally regarded as the greatest fighter in the history of Mexico, and his undefeated teenage son J.C. Chavez, Jr. will box on Top Rank's 'Adios' championship boxing card at the STAPLES Center on Saturday, May 28, 2005.

Chavez, who battled in 37 championship bouts, will headline the Top Rank event which will include a fierce eliminator between super featherweights Carlos 'Famoso' Hernandez and Jesus 'El Matador' Chavez plus a world title defense by world bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez.

'Adios' will be televised and distributed by Showtime Pay Per View and produced by Top Rank. The telecast will begin at 9 pm eastern/6 pm pacific.

'El Grande Campeon Mexicano' Chavez of Culiacan, Mexico is a three-time world champion. He fought the best of his generation including Meldrick Taylor, Tony Lopez, Frankie Randall, Pernell Whitaker, Greg Haugen, Hector Camacho, Lonnie Smith, Sammy Fuentes, Roger Mayweather, Jose Luis Ramirez, Bazooka Limon, Edwin Rosario, Juan LaPorte, Rocky Lockridge, Kostya Tzyzu, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Joey Gamache and Giovanni Parisi.

Chavez, 106-5-2 with 88 knockouts, made his pro debut at the age of 17 in 1980. He has a record of 37-4-2 with 21 knockouts in world championship bouts. He had 25 straight successful world title defenses.

On May 28, Chavez will take on Ivan Robinson, 32-9-2 with 12 knockouts, of Philadelphia in a 10-round bout. Just before Chavez steps into the ring, teenage son Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will box in a six round fight.

Also appearing will be former world champions Carlos 'Famoso' Hernandez of West Covina, Calif. and Jesus 'El Matador' Chavez of Austin, Texas. They will box 12 rounds in a world super featherweight eliminator.

Rafael Marquez, the world bantamweight champion from Mexico, will defend his world title against Ricardo 'Chapo' Vargas.

Click here for a full gallery of Chavez training photos.

[Update] Kawakami: Chavez 'adios' tour tries to give back - SJ Mercury.


Hockey Notes - NHL mouthpiece edition

- ESPN is following all the details of the latest NHL and NHLPA CBA negotiating minutae, see here, and here for more.

The whole process should have begun with the formation of an independent audit committee to review the financials for each team. THEN haggling over a cap or revenue sharing could start in earnest. Why this is just happening now is beyond me.

- The NHL may impose a drop-dead date on the 2005-06 season if no deal is made by June 15th.

- Spector reported on the lockout talks last Friday:

The good news is the NHL and NHLPA staged a lengthy 14-hour negotiation session on Thursday that ran well into the night.

The bad news is, as usual, there is little progress to report.

- Eric McErlain at Offwing has a lengthy post on Bain Capital LLC's repeated efforts to buy the NHL, the newest offer of $4 billion, and a detailed breakdown of what a single entity owner would mean for the league.

- Everyone's favorite NHLPA mouthpiece and NY Post writer Larry Brooks girds his loins and steels his troops for upcoming CBA battle:

It means that Bob Goodenow remains in firm control of the PA despite league attempts to create friction and doubt within the rank-and-file through its floated messages to media and blogging mouthpieces.

The NHL and NHLPA failed to respond to several blogger's questions before the cancellation of the 2004-05 season [save one] when I tried to contact them. But both sides have taken steps to inform and influence fans on their websites, and smart fans can weigh the information provided and make their own decisions without Larry Brooks or any blogger making it for them. Fans who need to be spoonfed positive news can always read Eklund.

Thanks to Dukes of Hazard mouthpiece Puckupdate for the link.

- Lots of San Jose nuggets in this article by David Pollak, Sharks better positioned than many for '05-06. The accompanying chart emphasizes the biggest team question mark, free agent defenseman Mike Rathje.

Awhile back someone asked me if the Sharks players or owners were more at fault for the current labor situation. I replied neither. The owners made the tough choice of letting go of higher priced veterans [Nolan, Selanne, Marchment], rebuilding instead with youth and the draft. The players in San Jose have provided some of the best value talent in the league. The 7 million stated loss after 3 playoff series concerns me [mostly attributed to attendance], but for the most part the players and owners in SJ have been bystanders to the major problems facing the league.

- Remember Milan Michalek? Remember the NHL?

- According to Chris Foster in the LA Times, the Mighty Ducks have narrowed down their GM short list to Neil Smith, Brian Burke, Al Coates and possibly Mike Smith. Former Sharks GM Dean Lombardi is no longer being considered. On a side note, LA Times writer Helene Elliott was awarded the HHOF's 2005 Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for distinguished hockey writing. She is the only reason I pick up the LA Times.

- 67's score double OT win, Ottawa edges Kelowna 3-2 - SLAM.

- 67's counting on Kaspar and Petruzalek to produce at Memorial Cup - SLAM.

- A fan from Toronto emailed me about a new documentary following minor league hockey in Canada, Les Chiefs. The synopsis from the website:

"The Chiefs" is a 75-minutes documentary film that digs its fingernails into a truly bizarre sub-section of Canada's National Sport. The LHSPQ is the NHL's perverted little cousin. Here you may see 10 fights in a single period, or a bench-clearing brawl in the warm up. Coaches beat on each other. Goalies go at it. And players hike through the stands to slug it out with fans. Welcome to Laval, Quebec, home of The Chiefs de Laval, the toughest team in the Quebec Semi-Pro Hockey League.

The story begins underneath the bleachers in the back of an old arena. Once a ramshackle storage area, it is now a ramshackle apartment, home to several of the team's tough guys. Although it is cold, noisy, and a fire exit on game days, it is rent free and the players don't seem to mind scaling the fire escape, or climbing through second-story windows to get in and out of their home.

Throughout the season, the arena dwellers fight their way to celebrity status but when the playoffs begin, the Chiefs find themselves in a viable position to win it all and the goons end up watching from the bench. As the team progresses closer to the championship game, the battles once fought on the ice become battles within themselves. Am I a hockey player or a circus clown? The plot turns even more on end, when an underground boxing promoter surfaces with an offer that seems too good to be true.

With characters like a crazed ex-military strong man, a six foot seven, 320-pounds giant, and a French Canadian superfan who believes that hockey is religion and The Chiefs are gods, "The Chiefs" has all the makings of a cult classic.

The movie is available on Amazon.ca here.

- Welcome to the blogroll: The Unofficial Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Blog, and Mike Chen. Welcome to the broadcastroll: Fox Sports Net Plus.

- The latest Red Line Report from USA Today lists Sidney Crosby, Gilbert Brule and Benoit Pouliot as the top 3 draft-eligible prospects for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. If there is a draft, what kind it will be, and the draft order is still up in the air.

- For the new visitors to this site, there will be lite posting at least once a week until the end of August, with a few friday posts focusing on boxing. This friday I will take a look at the Fight Night May 27th in Sacramento. Not sure if I am going to make the drive, or watch it live on Telefutura.


Friday Night is Fight Night on Sharkspage

With no NHL, I am anointing Friday as the day to discussing boxing on Sharkspage.

Friday Night Fights

Last Friday, ESPN2 and the Marquez Brothers showcased 4 local fighters at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. The #10 ranked IBF Welterweight Jose Celaya of Salinas [26-2, 15KOs] faced off in the main event against a tough former marine in James "Spider" Webb. Undefeated at 6-0, Featherweight Jose "The Punisher" Perez Jr [Fremont] fought Abraham Verdugo. Nonito "Flash" Donaire of San Leandro fought 33 year old Paulino Villalobos, and Alejandro Perez [Salinas] aimed for his third professional win.

Renowned trainer Emanuel Steward [in Celaya's corner], and former trainer/current ESPN2 announcer Teddy Atlas were in the house, along with local fighters Robert Guerrero [#6 WBC, #10 IBF] and 2004 gold medal winner Andre Ward.

Nonito Donair opened with the second best bout of the evening, an 8 round bantamweight fight that foreshadowed what would come later that evening. Donaire displayed movement, excellent hand speed and punishing combinations. After a large gash opened up over Villalobos right eye in the fourth, Villalobos gamely held on until the referee stopped the fight in the sixth round.

Jose Perez Jr

Featherweight Jose "The Punisher" Perez Jr entered the ring with a large contingent of fans chanting in support at rinkside. According to secondsout.com, Perez's opponent Abraham Verdugo took the fight on one days notice, and it showed. The Punisher earned a unanimous decision, but rarely was challenged during the 4 rounds.

The main event was greeted with a loud and growing buzz inside the San Jose Civic Auditorium. Sitting 4 feet behind the ESPN2 commentators, I noticed a significant change in their tone and volume as they had to compete with the crowd to be heard. The morning of the fight, the Monterey Herald noted that Jose Celaya had to drop an extra pound and a half at the weigh-in. Celaya was also trying to step up the quality of his opponents to regain his #1 position [WBO], after he suffered a brutal technical knockout a year earlier at the hands of Eddie Sanchez.

Friday Night Fights

Celaya outboxed his opponent in the first few rounds, trying to turn and counter Webb's relentless advance. James Webb put up staggering punch stat figures, throwing over 200 in the first alone. He also put up a formidable defense with his elbows far out in front of him, making Celaya work to land clean punches.

Jose "El Cuate" Ceyala was steadily gaining steam, becoming more successful as he became more active. Then a looping right from Webb dropped him with 1 second remaining in the 4th round. The knockdown sucked the wind out of the heavily partisan crowd. The back and forth came quickly as Webb tried to press in the fifth, but both fighters landed often. A large and profusely bleeding cut over the right eye of Webb seemed to swing things in Ceylaya's favor.

It was a shock that such a large cut did not stop the fight, but his cutman earned his paycheck as the sixth started and both boxers semi-abandoned their game plans to stand toe-to-toe. Jose Celaya was moving backwards or standing still to counter instead of moving side-to-side. Webb was using his face to block punches instead of his arms. Celaya landed a few heavy combinations, but emerged with a cut above his eye after being staggered again by a punch late in the round.

Fans were standing and shouting at the start of the 7th. Celaya dominated early in the round, with short heavy counter punches and a particularly vicious straight left. With his energy waning throughout the night, it was now or never for the Salinas fighter. Towards the end of the round, Celaya pressed hard trying to knock out Webb and came within a punch or two of dropping the heavily tatooed ex-Marine. With 10 second left, again moving backwards, Celaya was nailed with a big right followed by a few more before the round ended.

Friday Night Fights

Celaya never recovered for the 8th round. After Webb scored a quick knock down early, he cornered Ceyala against the ropes and landed blow after blow as Jose was eventually trapped and unable to defend himself. The ref stopped the fight shortly after a left crumpled Jose Ceyala to the canvas a second time. James Webb earned a brutal 8 round TKO over a nationally ranked fighter on a nationally televised fight.

Boxing Notes:

- Saturday at 6:45PM [PT] on HBO: Heavyweights Andrew Golota vs Lamon Brewster. Click here for the live HBO web event during the fight. A replay of last weeks Trinidad vs Wright fight will be aired prior to the main event.

- Celaya dogged by questions - Monterey Herald.

- After a Corrales vs Castillo fight that many are calling one of the best ever [Corrales came back with a TKO after being knocked down twice in the same round], the Sacramento Bee's excellent boxing writer Jim Jenkins has more on the post-fight maneuverings: Corrales-Castillo fight to be reviewed by WBC.

Even more interesting to me, was some of the background information about Deigo Corrales and Sacramento. It is a loss for the whole area if he never comes back to fight in his hometown.

- NABF featherweight champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, will be making a personal appearance Sunday May 22nd at the South San Francisco Elks Club. Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero will be honored as Northern California's most outstanding professional boxer for the year 2004. Attendance is open to the public. Beverages and Hors d'oeuvres at 5:00, Dinner at 6:00. Cost $25. For reservations call Spider Joe Burke, 415-456-4287.

- A press release from the HP Pavilion:

A quick invitation to all fight fans who are interested. The great Julio Cesar Chavez (107-5-2, 87 KO's) will be holding an open workout for the public at the HP Pavilion at San Jose on Monday, May 23rd @ 3pm. Entrance to this event is free, as is parking! Also on hand, and his sparing partner, will be his son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Both fighters are set to appear on a pay-per-view event the following Friday, May 28th and this may be Chavez Sr.'s last fight.

Doors will open at: 2:00 pm
Sparring/General workout: 3:00-4:00 pm
Post workout autograph session: 4:00-4:30 pm

- The Riot at the Hyatt in Monterey is now the Collision at the Conference Center. On the card for July 2nd, 7PM at the Monterey Convention Center are 6 fights: Carina Moreno vs Julie Rubalcava, George Garcia vs Shaun Ross, Sadot Vazquz vs Joel Santiago, plus Salinas's Alejandro Perez, Enrique Gutierrez, and former Riot boxer Richard Paige. Visit 12sportsonline.com for more information, or call 831-688-1604 for tickets.

[Update] What to say about the Golota-Brewster fight? Minutes after mentioning Brewster's switch to trainer Jessie Reed to help with motivation, Lamon Brewster came roaring out of the corner. After a quick flurry with several heavy shots, Brewster connected with a left hook to the body followed by a left hook to the head that dropped Golota. A few seconds later Brewster landed another left that sent Golota sprawling through the ropes and partially on top of a cameraman. The third knockdown was a formality, but the left to the head that dropped Golota to end the fight was a painful exclamation point. The above is about as much as I can describe a 53 second 1st round TKO.


Local fighters Jose Celaya and Jose "The Punisher" Perez JR will be on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights at the San Jose Civic Auditorium

Two local fighters will appear on the ESPN2 Friday Night Fight Card tonight at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. Jose Celaya from Salinas faces off against undefeated James "Spider" Webb [17-0]. Celaya is ranked as the #10 Welterweight by the IBF. The broadcast starts on ESPN2 at 7PM [PT].

Jose Celaya boxing San Jose

2003 US Men's National Champion Jose "The Punisher" Perez Jr [6-0, 4 KO's] from Fremont, and Alejandro Perez (2-0-1, 1 KO) from Salinas are also on the card for Friday Night.

A press release on the fight:



Jose “El Cuate” Celaya to face undefeated James “Spider” Webb

Salinas Boxing Phenom to headline card at San Jose’s Civic Auditorium on May 13th

San Jose, California: Latin Sports Group, Clark Entertainment and Marquez Brothers Entertainment have announced a high-profile boxing match featuring local favorite Jose “El Cuate” Celaya vs James “Spider” Webb. The bout will headline Friday Night Fights, May 13th at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.

Despite his youth, Jose Celaya has already had an outstanding career. He was currently ranked #10 in the world by the IBF and has a 26-2 record with 15 knockouts. Jose has won his last 4 fights by KO and by facing the likes of the undefeated James Webb, is stepping up his competition. Born and raised in Salinas, California, Jose had a distinguished amateur career and was favored to go the 2000 Olympics before losing a controversial decision to Ricardo Williams at the Olympic Trials.

James “Spider” Webb is 32 years-old, and is from Tennessee. His resume includes an impressive 17-0 pro record (with 14 knockouts). Webb brings to the ring a stellar amateur career that included three World Armed Forces Championships as well as advancement to the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Gustavo Marquez, President of Marquez Brothers International declared, “We are proud to have Marquez Brothers represent Jose Celaya in his championship quest. Jose is a quality fighter and his association with El Mexicano products reinforces our commitment to providing quality events to the community.”

Doors open at 6PM, boxing starts at 6:30PM and the Main Event is at 8PM. “Friday Night Fights” is presented by El Mexicano products, Entrega Inmediata, La Preciosa 92.3FM and WYLD 94.9FM.

Celebrity DJ Alex “El Genio” Lucas will make a special appearance at the event. Tickets will go on sale this Saturday through all Ticketmaster outlets. Tune into La Preciosa ($9.23) and WYLD ($9.49) to find out how to buy discounted tickets.

MB Entertainment is regarded as an industry leader in organizing and promoting high-profile concerts, festivals, dances, rodeos and international sporting events throughout the United States and Latin America. Marquez Brothers International is the manufacturer of “El Mexicano” brand products, featuring a diversified line of cheeses, yogurts, jalapenos, sausages, spices and distributes over a thousand other food products.

Date: 5/13/2005

Civic Auditorium
Doors open at 6:00pm
Main event starts 8:00pm
Tickets on sale at Ticketmaster 408-998-TIXS

For more information, please visit www.promocionesmarquez.com or 408-960-2700

This Friday's ESPN2 Friday Night Fights from the San Jose Civic Auditorium in San Jose, CA features Jose "El Cuate" Celaya (26-2, 15 KO's) from nearby Salinas, CA versus undefeated James "Spider" Webb (17-0, 14 KO's) from Columbia, TN. Appearing on the undercard is San Leandro's own Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire (9-1, 6 KO's), Emanuel Steward-trained Dominic Salcido (7-0, 4 KO's), and former 2003 US Men's National Champion, from Fremont, CA, Jose "The Punisher" Perez Jr., (6-0, 4 KO's). Also scheduled to appear is Alejandro Perez (2-0-1, 1 KO) from Salinas, CA.

Doors open at 6pm with the first bout scheduled for 6:30pm. Tickets are available at the door and at Ticketmaster locations.

Visit Jose Celaya's website at josecelaya.net, and Jose Perez Jr's website at josethepunisherperezjr.com. Doghouseboxing has a pre-fight interview with Jose Celaya and Talkingboxing has one with Jose Perez Jr.

[Update] Celaya forced to cut weight - Monterey Herald.

[Update2] Celaya Moves On - Steve Kim.


More hockey broadcast notes - mainstream media pile on edition

After posting about streaming hockey online here, and commenting on the networks pass on broadcasting the World Championship games for free, a fan emailed me a little more from the NY Post. As with any column I link to from Larry Brooks, consider the source.

NHL gets turn on D.C. hot seat - NY Post.

MSG Network, we've learned, is investigating whether it can televise select games from the World Championships now that ESPN has once again given the cold shoulder to hockey that has left U.S. viewers in the dark.

But it doesn't look good. We're told that Fox Sports looked into the matter but backed off after being told by the governing IIHF that it would only sell the complete tournament package to the network, and at a fee that was judged exorbitant.

ESPN is claiming scheduling conflicts as an explanation for why it wussed out. Right. Games involving the U.S. and Canada are being played at 10:15 in the morning and 2:15 in the afternoon (EDT). Can't have a seventh showing of the previous night's Sports Center bumped for Martin Brodeur, can we?

Although I agree that the games can be successfully broadcast taped-delayed at any time, his contention of "exorbitant" fees was directly contradicted by statements made later from IIHF president Rene Fasel. Time to quote his comments on this blog for a third time [via Sportsnet]:

Rene Fasel (IIHF President) also said the IIHF offered games from the world championships to American television networks for free and there were no takers.

"For free and we could not succeed," said Fasel. "It is a difficult market in U.S. television for ice hockey. We will continue trying."

Free and exorbitant are different, no? The Morning Buzz attributed this bit of info to the Philadelphia Inquirer. I should have guessed that Tim Panaccio was all over this story.

On Hockey | U.S. networks ice World Championships - Tim Panaccio

According to a source at TSN who asked not to be identified, the big cost of televising the tournament wasn't in the rights fees but in the ancillary fees associated with each broadcast. For instance, the production costs can run up to $20,000 a day.

Each network is required to pay for its "box" or location at the games, and that costs $100,000. The satellite feed is $12,000 an hour. Including pregame activity, TSN allows for a four-hour production, which means it is paying $48,000 per game. All of this quickly adds up over the two-week period into millions of dollars.

"But if any of the American networks had asked TSN if they could share the feed [of the games], I'm sure we would have accommodated them," the TSN source said.

Now I think you have all the information, but no. The mainstream press could not resist one last jab at an already flattened entity. Time to pile on? Absolutely.

NHL's meltdown gives other sports TV opportunity - USA Today.

Cue the gloating at ESPN. John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president/programming, says the NHL implosion "amounted to an opportunity," and ESPN "has shown we've been able to replace the NHL with high-quality programming that resonates with our viewers."

Examples of sports programming referenced in the article that "resonate" with ESPN viewers: bowling night, Battle of the Gridiron Stars, Stump the Schwab, Teammates, and college softball. ESPN, the sports leader.

Full disclosure: I actually did watch part of one Stump the Schwab episode. While the program itself was horrible, I was transfixed by Schwab's black-and-yellow Vancouver V jersey. Probably the ugliest jersey known to mankind.

[Update] A press release received today from the ECHL:

The ECHL and B2 Networks announced that Game 6 of the American Conference Finals and Game 6 of the National Conference Finals will be broadcast live online.

The games cost $6 and require a cable or DSL internet connection and Windows Media Player 9.

The American Conference game between Florida and Charlotte begins at 7:05 p.m. ET while the National Conference game between Trenton and Alaska begins at 11:05 p.m. ET. Florida and Trenton both have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Fans can access the broadcast from the home page and the broadcast page of the ECHL web site at echl.com and also from the home pages of Alaska (alaskaaces.com), Charlotte (gocheckers.com), Florida (floridaeverblades.com) and Trenton (trentontitans.com).

Eighteen teams in the ECHL had their games available on B2 Networks in 2004-05 and over 15,000 subscribers around the world watched the Premier “AA” Hockey League on B2 Networks during the regular season. The first hockey game ever broadcast by B2 Networks was a Las Vegas Wranglers game in February 2004 and the first hockey championship broadcast by B2 Networks was the 2004 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

B2 Networks is a premier provider of reliable and secure international television and video broadcasting systems, pay-per-view and billing systems. The network of arenas, stadiums and venues combined with billing systems and data centers allows B2 Networks to distribute live events to computer and television screens around the world. B2 Networks manages and owns the digital distribution rights to distinct areas of entertainment, sports and television and has established itself as the leader in innovative broadcasting. For more information about B2 Networks, visit b2now.com.

[Update2] Because there are a lot of media people checking the site today, I am shooting the first round of the NCAA Womens Tennis tournament at Stanford [Amber Liu is trying for 3 straight singles titles], shooting the favorite 3-year-old Lost in the Fog run his home track for the $150,000 Golden Bear Breeders' Cup Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, and shooting/running/walking the 2005 Bay-to-Breakers race Sunday in San Francisco. Feel free to contact me if your organization needs a photo or a quote from either of these events, or if you have an extra Elvis wig/jumpsuit for Sunday.

[Update3] Pre-game quote by Athletics head coach Ken Macha about outfielder Eric Byrnes:

They're feeding him a lot of breaking balls and he's not making the adjustment. In 60 ab's against right handers he has 1 RBI. Do you see anything in that?

Byrnes hit a 2-run homer to put the A's up 5-4 in the 9th inning, only to see a 2-run game winning homer by Kevin Millar give the Boston Red Sox a 6-5 win Wednesday night.

Brynes statistics Wednesday night: 2H, 1R, 1HR, 4AB.
Brynes statistics for the last week: 8H, 4R, 2HR, 6BB, 2HBP, 25AB.

Do I see anything in those stats? Yes. Do I see anything in a head coach publicly calling out a player who is producing? Yes. Frustration.

There was a rumor recently that the A's might replace the batting coach after a team-wide slump at the plate. The last two games have obviously shown a light on the Athletics relief pitching woes, and starting pitching entered the rebuilding phase after losing Hudson and Mulder. If there is one move that the Oakland Athletics could make to wipe the slate clean and give the team a fresh start at the rest of the season, replace the head coach.


NHL and NHLPA meet in New York, agree to more talks this week

The NHL and the NHLPA continued negotiations in New York yesterday and agreed to have more talks this week. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow were both in attendance.

NHLcbanews.com quoted a statement by Bill Daly:

"The Union has agreed, at our request, to remain in New York to continue meeting in smaller groups over the next several days on a variety of sub-issues that need to be addressed in connection with a new CBA."

NHLPA spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon also released a statement:

"The parties met today in New York City and at the conclusion of the meeting they agreed to set aside time for additional meetings tomorrow and Thursday.

The NHLPA will not comment on the status of the negotiations until after this series of meetings concludes later this week."

Just what the NHL needs, to stay out of the spotlight even more. If there are not going to be any playoff hockey games, put both sides on Crossfire and let them have at each other.

The fact that they agreed to further talks may seem like positive news, but not so fast. Let us step back to last Thursday's comments by NHL executive VP Bill Daly on how the NHLPA characterized the negotiations to its members [via Sportsnet.ca]:

"Its clear that the Union spent Thursday night inventing an 'analysis' that was not intended to meaningfully assess the impact of our proposal, but rather to create a worst case impact scenario that could never happen in the real world. Their so-called 'analysis' was sheer fiction, and internally inconsistent in its assumptions and conclusions. It was absolute garbage. Its sole purpose to mislead the players couldn't have been more evident,"

And NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin's retort [also courtesy of Sportsnet.ca]:

"I am not surprised that Bill would be embarrassed by what Gary and the league proposed to us on Thursday," Saskin said. "I am surprised that Bill would be upset at us having informed the players. We did note that Gary withdrew part of their tax proposal after it became clear how ill conceived it was. I challenge Bill to release their proposal to the public if they believe it is not being fairly analyzed. We are totally confident that anyone who reviews the league's May 5th 'floating payroll tax' proposal would be equally puzzled by its intentions and would also see just how unworkable it was."

I take it back. Maybe it is better that we do not hear anything from either side until they have an agreement.

[Update] NHL labour talks continue Wednesday - TSN. Bettman and Goodenow are going to forgeo attending the World Championships in Austria and sit down for furthur negotiations Wednesday and Thursday.

[Update2] NHL's new offer goes nowhere - SF Chronicle.


AHL Quick Hits - May 10, 2005

From AHL's Quick Hits for May 10th:

Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia take center stage as the only action on the AHL schedule tonight. Game 4 of the East Division Final faces off at 7:05 p.m. ET, and you can watch it live on the AHL's video cybercast from the Wachovia Arena. Or, follow all the action live on the AHL's real-time scoreboard, or listen in to our teams audio cybercasts from your own computer.



Jeff Heerema scored 10:22 into overtime last night, capping a Manitoba rally and giving the Moose a 5-4 win over Rochester in Game 3 of the North Division Final… Manitoba trailed by scores of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before finding the net twice in the final 9:55 of regulation to tie the game… Lee Goren (2g, 1a), Josh Green (1g, 2a) and Peter Sarno (3a) had three points each for the Moose, who now own a 2-1 series lead… Manitoba had a 21-6 edge in shots during the third period and OT, and survived an Amerks power play over the final 4:59 of regulation… Attendance was 7,140 at the MTS Centre, where the Moose have now won six in a row.

Chicago took a commanding 3-0 lead in the West Division Final with a 5-2 win in Cincinnati last night… Cory Larose led the attack with three goals, each assisted by Brad Larsen… Michael Garnett made his second straight start in the Wolves net and made 32 saves, including 28 over the final two periods… J.P. Vigier added a goal and an assist for Chicago, which snapped the Mighty Ducks’ 10-game home winning streak… Ilya Bryzgalov allowed three goals on five shots and was relieved by Frederic Cassivi, who finished with 16 saves… The Wolves have won six games in a row and seven of their first eight in the playoffs.

The East Division Final resumes tonight as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hosts Philadelphia in a crucial Game 4 at the Wachovia Arena (7:05 ET, live video webcast)… The Phantoms own a 2-1 series edge, but the Penguins are looking to keep the momentum after Saturday’s Game 3 win… Wilkes-Barre is 4-0 on home ice this postseason, with Andy Chiodo stopping 114 of 118 shots in the four wins (0.82, .966)… Philadelphia’s Jon Sim leads all scorers with four points (2g, 2a) in the series… The Phantoms are 5-for-12 (41.7%) on the power play in the series after going 4-for-37 (10.8%) in the first round against Norfolk… The Penguins have been outscored 7-1 in the first period of their nine playoff games, and each of their five goals against Philadelphia has come in the third period.

Tonight's AHL game:
Game 4 – Philadelphia at Wilkes-Barre, 7:05 PM [ET]

Visit Phantomshockey.com or WBSpenguins.com for more information on the East Division finalists.

[Update] Tonight's ECHL games:
Charlotte at Florida 7:30 PM [ET]
Alaska at Trenton 7:00 PM [ET]

ECHL Today game notes for May 10th. Visit ECHL.com for links to audio broadcasts of the games, and video cybercasts are available from B2 Networks.


San Jose blogs, national blogs, sports blogs, what ever happened to websites?

Another San Jose blog was launched this morning, Good Morning Silicon Valley. GMSV is a spin-off of the SJ Mercury News column that focused on technology, and the resuscitation of a tech blog that started in 1996. Today also saw the launch of the Huffington Post celeb-blog. The HP has an interesting design and has a scary list of talented contributors.

San Jose has one of its own celeb-blogs, sanjoseinside.com. With more of a political bent, SJ Inside lists former San Jose mayor Tom McEnery as a contributor, and Alec Baldwin, Gary Hart, Joe Trippi and CNN's Carlos Watson as guest bloggers.

Left off of this website for far too long is a link to baseballsanjose.com, a website devoted to bringing the Oakland Athletics to San Jose. With 5000 members and a long list of supporters in the business community, the movement is going strong.

[Update] Another quote from my brother Chris on the proposed merger of Adobe and Macromedia: Go Live going away?

"The most compelling reason to let Adobe enjoy additional 'monopoly rents,' would be to allow the company to compete more effectively against Microsoft," Chris Swenson wrote. "Currently, the two companies compete at the margins. But if the acquisition were approved, Adobe would have an application platform that over the long term could allow it to compete against Microsoft in the rich client development space, a Web conferencing solution that could go head-to-head for enterprise deals against Microsoft Office Live Meeting, and a platform for deploying rich media and applications on mobile phones that could slow Microsoft's ascent in the mobile world. Regulatory approval would, in effect, allow a more viable competitor to exist in these broader markets."

Interesting stuff. I would still like to see a NPD/ChrisSwenson analysis of the NHL's financials, with guest analysis from investment guru and hockey fan Rob Black.


Week in Review - first 9 days of the 2005 IIHF World Championships

With no televised broadcast of the 2005 IIHF World Championship Tournament in the USA, here are some news and notes from the first week of games in Austria. The official WC website can be found at ihwc.net, cybercasts and video archives of the games can be found at mediazone.

Visit USAhockey.com or Hockeycanada.com for more national team and 2005 World Championship coverage. USA Today has an excellent flash photo gallery from the World Championships, thanks to Offwing for the link.

[DAY9 - May 8th]

Liveblogging Sweden-USA:

Stastny scores on a wicked deke to the right. Props to goaltender Rick DiPietro for the breakout pass. USA leads 2-0 early in the second period. Eric Cole scores on a wrist shot high over the right shoulder. USA 3, Sweden 0 going into the second intermission. Sweden having trouble even gaining the US zone going into the third. Modano and Gionta score to make it an official 5-0 blowout. Johan Franzen puts one in for Team Sweden to avoid the dreaded bagel.

Team USA Downs Previously Unbeaten Sweden, 5-1; Ukraine Up Next For Team USA Tomorrow - USAhockey.com.

Canada-Finland: Final score tied at 3.

How Swede It Isn't: Evil Triumphs Again! - Jes Golbez.


Denmark 4, Austria 3
Slovakia 3, Switzerland 1
Canada 3, Finland 3
Russia 2, Czech Republic 1
USA 5, Sweden 1

[DAY8 - May 7th]


Belarus 2, Kazakhstan 0
Latvia 3, Ukraine 0
Czech Republic 5, Slovakia 1
Sweden 5, Canada 4

[DAY7 - May 6th]

Liveblogging the Finland-USA game:

Finland is tied with USA 1-1 after 2 periods. Niklas Hagman scores making it 2-1 Finland early in the 3rd. Today is the first day of the Qualifying Round for the IIHF World Championships. More.

Finland gets another goal by Jokinen off a rebound in front of Ty Conklin. The goals by Jokinen and Hagman help Finland come back from 3-1 to tie the game at 3-3 with 6 minutes left. Ruutu uncorks a slapshot just inside the blueline for 3 straight goals by Finland. Finland 4, USA 3. Time left: 4 and a half minutes.

A shot bounced off Finnish goalie Niklas Backstrom, the puck dropped down in front of the crease and deflected off Mark Parrish's skate into the net. The refs are reviewing the play, Richard Park very animated while arguing the call. This Scandinavian announcer is cracking me up. Goal Counts! Finland 4, USA 4. 15 seconds left. Parrish's 4th goal of the World Championships.

Final Score: Finland 4, USA 4. A Conklin save on a Timo Parssinen breakway late in the third saved the point for Team USA. Jussi Jokinen player of the game for Finland, Doug Weight player of the game for USA. Finland goals: Parssinen (PP), Hagman, Jokinen O, Ruutu. USA goals: Park (PP), Hauer, Modano, Miller. Goaltender Ty Conklin made 27 saves on 31 shots for Team USA. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 22 saves on 26 shots for Team Finland.

Finns humbled by Sweden at Ice Hockey World Championships, Team USA are tonight's opponents - Helsingin Sanomat.

Team USA, Finland Battle To 4-4 Draw; Sweden Up Next For Team USA After Day Off - USAhockey.com.

World Championships: Doing the Monster Nash!!! - Jes Golbez.


Germany 2, Austria 2
Slovenia 4, Denmark 3
Russia 3, Switzerland 3
USA 4, Finland 4

[DAY6 - May 5th]

Rick Nash scored the first two goals for Team Canada, with Joe Thornton adding a PP goal in the middle of the third period. Mike Knuble scored a PP goal for Team USA. Martin Brodeur made 34 saves on 35 shots to pick up the win for Team Canada, Rick DiPietro made 22 saves on 25 shots for Team USA.

U.S. Outshoots Canada 34-25, But Falls, 3-1; Finland Is Next Up For Team USA As Qualification Round Begins - USAhockey.com.

Happy birthday from Team Slovakia Ziggy Palffy, here is some pie in your face.


Czech Republic 1, Kazakhstan 0
Latvia 3, Slovenia 1
Switzerland 5, Germany 1
Canada 3, USA 1

[DAY5 - May 4th]

Beware of falling cameras [in this case, a single Canon camera]: Yahoo photo, Aftonbladet photo.

Russia edges Belarus in a one sided match - Russianprospects.com.


Russia 2, Belarus 0
Ukraine 2, Denmark 1
Slovakia 8, Austria 1
Sweden 5, Finland 1

[DAY4 - May 3rd]

Janis Sprukts notched the first goal of the game for Latvia on the power play, but after that it was all Team USA on the score sheet. Doug Weight, and Mark Parrish [PP, EN] combined for 3 goals in the 3-1 USA win over Latvia. Arturs "Like wall" Irbe made 27 saves on 30 shots for Latvia, goaltender Ty Conklin made 16 saves on 17 shots for USA.

2005 U.S. Men's National Team Downs Latvia, 3-1; Team USA Win Assures Spot In Qualification Round - USAhockey.com.

World Championships: Russland ist ein Schönest Land - Jes Golbez.


Switzerland 2, Kazakhstan 1
Canada 8, Slovenia 0
Czech Republic 2, Germany 0
USA 3, Latvia 1

[DAY3 - May 2nd]

Swedens Crush on Ice - Copenhagen Post.

Danes have many things in common with their Swedish cousins. A tradition of ice hockey, however, is not one of them.

Sweden reinforced this point last Monday, routing Denmark 7-0 in a preliminary match in Austria at the World Ice Hockey Championship.

Denmark was recovering from a close 2-1 loss to Finland in its opening match, and the team was hoping that it could hang in against a Swedish side that needed three periods to beat Ukraine in its first match.

Russia comes back to tie former gold medal foe Slovakia - Russianprospects.com.


Slovakia 3, Russia 3
Finland 4, Ukraine 1
Belarus 5, Austria 0
Sweden 7, Denmark 0

[DAY2 - May 1st]

Mike Knuble put in 2 goals for Team USA against Slovenia. Adam Hall, Mark Parrish, Jeff Halpern, Yan Stastny, and Brian Gionta also scored in the 7-0 shutout win. Slovenian goaltender Robert Kristan made 33 saves on 40 shots. Rick DiPietro made 16 saves for the shutout victory.

2005 U.S. Men’s National Team Wins, 7-0, Over Slovenia; Team USA To Face Latvia Next In IIHF World Championship - USAhockey.com.


Czech Republic 3, Switzerland 1
USA 7, Slovenia 0
Kazakhstan 2, Germany 1
Sweden 3, Ukraine 2

[DAY1 - April 30th]

2005 IIHF World Championships

From Asst Media Director Harry Miltner:

Austria unlucky to lose against Russia Canada gets opening win.

Russia – Austria 4-2

Austria was close to its first draw against Russia in hockey history in the opening match of the 2005 IIHF World Championship Saturday. However, two late goals from the famous "Sbornaja" saved the day for new coach Vladimir Krikunov in a 4-2 (1-1/1-0/2-1) victory.

Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Kharitonov, Alexey Kovalev and Illya Kovalchuk scored for the Russians to secure their first two points on their "mission gold", as Krikunov put it.

"We had a good start into the match, but failed to close it. But we won and to win gold we must defeat everyone in our way," the Russian coach said.

Ovechkin's opener was leveled by a power play goal from Oliver Setzinger, before Kharitonov put his team ahead again. Early in the third, Raimund Divis surprised netminder Russian Maxim Sokolov making it 2-2. Four minutes from time Kovalev gave Russia the lead again and Kovalchuk added an empty-netter in the dying seconds.

Loser Austria received standing ovations from a sellout crowd and head coach Herbert Poeck was content: "It always looks unlucky to miss a tie if you come so close. But the Russians dominated the first half of the game and so I was very happy with the way my team came back."

Canada vs. Latvia 6-4

Defending champion Canada had to score six times to win the edge over Latvia in their opener at the 2005 IIHF World Championship in Innsbruck.

In front of 5,500 fans Brendan Morrison netted the puck in a power play after three minutes, but Semjonovs leveled a minute later.

In the second period the Canadians opened a 5-2 gap and although Latvia came back scoring two goals without reply, Rick Nash scored his third goal of the match to close the game 6-4.

What the coaches said:

Marc Habscheid (Head-Coach-Canada): "It was nearly a home game for Latvia, but they could not take advantage of it. We made too many mistakes though, but in the early phases of the tournament it’s not that dramatic. My team is young, but if all players blossom like Rick Nash did today, I am very confident."

Leonids Veresnevs (Head-Coach-Latvia): "I have to congratulate my team. They looked great against the reigning champions. It was a huge step ahead for Latvian hockey, but Canada is still too big a team for us."

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Harry Miltner
Ass. Media Officer


Russia 4, Austria 2
Canada 6, Latvia 4
Slovakia 2, Belarus 1
Finland 2, Denmark 1

[Note] Hockey rule deja vu - Sportsnet.ca. A quote from this column floored me.

Rene Fasel (IIHF President) also said the IIHF offered games from the world championships to American television networks for free and there were no takers.

"For free and we could not succeed," said Fasel. "It is a difficult market in U.S. television for ice hockey. We will continue trying."

Team USA team downs Sweden 5-1, Team Canada comes back in the third and ties Finland 3-3, these games were offered for free and they were not accepted? If showing virtual allstar teams compete on a world stage with no NHL does not entice the networks, then the sport is in much more trouble than I previously thought.


Update on Cal Berkeley's #55 Sean Haq

Cal Berkeley Sean Haq

A. Sheldon caught up with Berkeley forward #55 Sean Haq yesterday.

[AS] What have you been up since the season ended?

[SH] I've been practicing - hitting the gym. I ordered new skates. I used them for the first time the other day and they're pretty good. The old ones I had for a year and a half. They get beat up so quick. I get hacked everywhere so the blade gets chipped up – they were falling apart and the front toe plastic was exposed.

[AS] Where did you purchase the skates?

[SH] I got these on EBAY for $375. In stores it’s normally $480. They're brand new. Hopefully they'll be the last skates I have to buy myself and the rest the team I play for will cover the cost.

[AS] You plan to take another trip to Niagara Falls this summer?

[SH] I applied and paid my fee for the summer free agent camp again in Niagara Falls, which I paid for with my online poker winnings - for my plane ticket. I had been thinking about going again because I don't want to be a complete stranger after next year. I don't want them to not know who I am – I want to keep my name out there. Obviously it's good hockey there and I want to get better – the best opportunity I have in the summer.

[AS] Tell me about the Robby Glantz power skating camp you recently attended.

[SH] It's mites to adults. It was a few days and I worked with kids, teaching them minor techniques like stride. It was a good experience because it also reinforces techniques for yourself.

[AS] What else have you been working on?

[SH] I want to have the style the pros have when they shoot – my release and accuracy has improved a lot. (Linemate) Chris Moulton helped me with my technique and form a while ago and I have been practicing ever since and now I'm really confident in my shot.

[Update] The March 2005 Hockey and Skating Magazine feature on Cal's Sean Haq was only available in print until now. Thats right, it is online, it is free, and it is here.

Haq believes he's probably one of the more hated players in the league, not only for his ability to put the puck in the net, but for being outspoken as a way to infiltrate the minds of his rivals.

"It's not serious. It's only on the ice," Haq said. "In my head I think if my opponent doesn't have a problem with me, then I'm doing something wrong."


Hockey Notes - Sixth of May edition

[WIRE] NHL includes stiff luxury tax in latest proposal - Sportsnet.ca.

- First week recap of the 2005 IIHF World Championship tournament coming up today after lunch.

- Three AHL playoff games are on tap for tonight; Providence Bruins at Lowell Lock Monsters (game 1), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Philadelphia Phantoms (PHI leads 1-0), Manitoba Moose at Rochester Americans (ROC leads 1-0). Audio broadcasts of the game can be found here, video available from B2 networks is available here.

- SVO experiences VERY controlled anticipation for tonight's Providence Bruins game.

- AHL Playoffs: As far as playoffs go, it's not Fleury time - Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Please do not confuse Fluery time, with Hammertime or Miller Time.

- From the AHL quick hits:


Rochester and Manitoba go back at it in Game 2 tonight (7:35 ET) after the Americans’ 4-2 victory in Wednesday’s opener… The Moose held a 2-0 lead until the Amerks scored four times in the last 12:26 of the third period, completing their fifth straight come-from-behind win… Derek Roy had two goals and an assist for Rochester, which was 3-for-4 on the power play after going 3-for-20 in the first round against Hamilton… David Cullen and Daniel Paille scored 11 seconds apart early in the third to tie the score… Ryan Miller made 24 saves to go to 22-3-1 on home ice since Dec. 17… Wade Flaherty, who faced just 10 shots through two periods, finished with 20 saves on the night for Manitoba… Jeff Heerema and Ryan Kesler scored for the Moose, who were 26-1-1-2 in the regular season when leading at the second intermission.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton looks to bounce back from a Game 1 loss and even up the East Division Final at Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center tonight (7:05 ET)… A pair of 20-year-olds took center stage for the Phantoms on Wednesday, with Jeff Carter picking up two points – including his team-high fifth goal of the postseason – and Mike Richards getting the game-winning goal in his pro debut… Carter and Richards, both first-round picks by the Flyers in 2003, helped Canada to a gold medal at the 2005 World Junior Championships… Jon Sim added a goal and two assists after being held to two points in six first-round games against Norfolk… Rookie defenseman Ryan Whitney scored the only Penguins goal, giving him 16 points (1g, 15a) in 17 career games against Philadelphia.

Game 1 in the Atlantic Division is tonight (7:00 ET) as Lowell hosts Providence in the rivals’ first postseason meeting since 2000… The Bruins were 6-2-0-2 against the Lock Monsters in the regular season… Lowell outlasted Hartford in a first-round battle of 100-point teams, while Providence is coming off an upset of Manchester, which had finished with the second-best record in the AHL… The Bruins’ Andy Hilbert tied for the AHL lead with 10 points in the division semifinals, including a pair of four-point nights… Patrice Bergeron has recorded a point in five straight games for the B’s… Mike Zigomanis tied for the Lock Monsters team lead in goals (3) and points (6) in their first-round series.

- Take a look at this map of the ECHL Kelly Cup Final Four. North (Trenton Titans), South (Florida Everblades), East (Chalotte Checkers), and West (Anchorage Aces) are all represented. The Alaska-Trenton and Florida-Charlotte series are tied at 1 game each.

- Florida plays in Charlotte today at 7:05 p.m. Charlotte's rookies deliver in postseason, Checkers' top 5 playoff scorers 1st-year players - Charlotte Observer.

- Sharks 2004 1st round draft pick Lukas Kaspar is in the OHL finals with the Ottawa 67’s facing the London Knights for the Memorial Cup. Kaspar In OHL Finals - SJsharks.com.

- The NHL met with the NHLPA yesterday. Notice how far down this appears on the list of news links. From the NHL, a Collective Bargaining update:

TORONTO (May 5, 2005) - Representatives of the NHL and NHL Players' Association met for 3-1/2 hours today in Toronto and will reconvene tomorrow morning. Accordingly, there will be no general statement to the media today. It is expected that a statement will be issued following tomorrow's session.

And a verbose statement from the NHLPA. The talks are to resume Friday morning.

- NFL sits alone in peace, prosperity - St Petersburg Times.

- Open Letter to Hockey Fans Everywhere from the WHA - worldhockeyassociation.net (May 4th, 2005).

- No pucks, sticks: A year melts away - Mitch Albom. It was hard to resist reading his latest column. Albom always was a love him or hate him personality, but the last few weeks of all-Albom outrage all the time was like watching a car wreck in slow motion.

- WHL: 2004-05 Award Winners - McKeens Hockey.

Blogs offered up good coverage of the WHL award winners during the regular season, with James Mirtle posting his interview with Bob Clarke Trophy (top scorer) and Four Broncos Memorial Trophy winner (Player of the Year) Eric Fehr. Jes Golbez posted regular updates about the Vancouver Giants Seaman Trophy (Scholastic Player of the Year) winner Gilbert Brule.

I did not get a chance to check out the WHL Portland Winterhawks this season, or do some furthur research on the city of Portland. Next year.

A few Portland updates were available from the Chicago Blackhawks FANnetwork. Chicago has one of the most innovative sports websites online. Every time I take a look at the Chicago website, there is a new feature or an interesting article that is worth my time.

- I finished designing a second sports-related website this week, so regular hockey updates on this website should resume shortly. A link to the second website will be posted here after a quick Sharkspage redesign in the next week or two.

[Update] Mike Milbury spent part of his extended offseason teaching hockey and evaluating ALIH teams in China. Hockey Days in China - ESPN2.

My mission was to evaluate the hockey teams of Harbin and QiQihar. Each city has a team that plays in the Asian Hockey League (AHL), an entity with clubs in Japan, Korea and China. The Chinese teams have struggled in AHL play and I have been sent to consider ways that we might help them. Since the Chinese national team consists entirely of players from these two teams, it might be indirectly helped as well. The thinking is that if these two teams and the national team can achieve some success, hockey in China can regain some needed attention and perhaps some private and governmental sponsorship.


SJSU's Ryan Lowe, Sean Scarbrough, and Ron Glasow earn ACHA D2 West honors

San Jose State Hockey

San Jose State goaltender Ryan Lowe, forward Sean Scarbrough, and coach Ron Glasow earned ACHA D2 West honors for the 2004-05 season. ACHA D2 West All-Region Honors - A. Sheldon.

"Everything went really well for us this year and we won some really close games against USC, the University of Colorado, BYU and the postseason Penn State game - all won in overtime or with a minute left. When you win games you don’t think you’re suppose to win it really changes the whole complexion of the season." - SJSU head coach Ron Glasow

SJSU will open the 2005-06 season against USC October 7th at the Logitech Ice Center in San Jose.

[Update] All of the ACHA D2 West All Region selections:

ACHA DII All Region - West

1st Team:

Forward - Aaron Burrell, Utah State
Forward - Ryan Lewis, Colorado State
Forward - Jeremy Weiss, BYU

Defense - Sean Slack, Colorado
Defense - Chris Hau, Colorado State

Goalie - Ryan Lowe, San Jose State


2nd Team:

Foward - Mike Pasczak, Colorado
Forward - Amir Moazeni, Cal-Berkeley
Forward - Sean Scarbrough, San Jose State

Defense - Mike Roley, Oregon
Defense - Travis Popp, Eastern Washington

Goalie - Schuyler Hoversten, Colorado


Coach - Ron Glasow, San Jose State

Region MVP - Aaron Burrell, Utah State