Tuesday, August 30, 2016
The NHL and World Cup of Hockey previews are rolling in, most trying to sound notes of optimism and pessimism, just to keep you honest. I decided to fire up a little Reignwolf to provide a soundtrack to the dying days of August, giving me the right chill to move into September and the start of hockey in North America.
The Western Hockey League begin exhibition play tonight, with Swift Current facing Moose Jaw. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League began exhibition action on Aug. 18 and the Ontario Hockey League will open the preseason on Friday with two games. Opening night for the regular season is Sept. 21 in the OHL, Sept. 22 in the QMJHL and Sept. 23 in the WHL. For those of you keeping score, the United States Hockey League also opens on Sept. 23.
NCAA regular-season action starts Oct. 1. And the boys of winter begin Minnesota High School League action on Nov. 22.
Reignwolf, by the way, is the sound you get from Jordan Cook, a native of Saskatoon who has found his place in the Seattle sound garden. Maybe he grew up listening to the WHL's Blades. Maybe he just doesn't care. But if he does, he can answer the next question any time he wants: Everett Silvertips or Seattle Thunderbirds?
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Keeping with the theme of the little games that get everyone ready for the games that count during the season, the Lounge has the Web on the big screen watching the Biosteel Cup 4-on-4 tournament, which is being streamed live on Sportsnet.ca.
Plenty of NHLers as well as NHL hopefuls taking part in this event, which is a little more established than the much loved Da Beauty League (above), which took place in Minnesota.
As the late Tom Snyder might have said, grab a stool, order a Colortini and enjoy hockey in the dog days of summer.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
There is nothing like the end of August to get me out of the funk that summer brings.
I've said it before and will continue to state this, summer is nothing but an endless serving of warm, stale beer. The city reeks of piss, sweat, rotting food and overperfumed tourists. And if that isn't enough to make you crawl into a hole for awhile, here comes two weeks of swimming, gymnastics complete with body glitter and basketball routs. Yes, the Summer Olympics make this little slice of hell even more intolerable.
But thankfully, this is pretty much all behind us now. The first sign of relief was the World Junior evaluation camp games in Plymouth, Mich., to start the month. I was in Colorado attending to matters concerning my parents. I walked into their ice cold basement and fired up the NHL Network to watch the United States play Canada.
Yep, Charlie McAvoy pretty much had me ready for the season with that legal hit. The United States would beat Canada and finish with a 2-1 record in the four-nation event (Sweden and Finland juniors also took part). Canada went without a victory.
And then Canada went without a medal at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic, which prompted a number of Canadian sites to predict doom for that hockey loving nation. That the United States won the silver medal at the Under-18 event only added to the stinging, warm beer feeling that some in Canada experienced.
Now, it's late in the month and the CHL junior teams across Canada, as well as the CHL teams in Washington State, Oregon, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are heading to camp, the college kids are getting ready to head to campus and the World Cup of Hockey is on the horizon. First, though, it's the return of the KHL in Europe and and Asia, with Kunlun Red Star of Beijing joining the league. The KHL opened the regular season Aug. 22 with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the defending Gagarin Cup champion, defeating CSKA Moscow (that's the old Red Army, to you and me), 3-2.
Still waiting for Red Star's fancy promo video, but it will have to go a long way to top the one produced for SKA St. Petersburg, at the top, which has Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup this season.
I'm back in the Lounge and the beer is chilling nicely. It's hockey time again.