Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some Saturday stuff . . .

D Ben Clymer (Seattle, 1998-99) signed a one-year contract with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). Clymer missed all of this season with a knee injury while under contract with Lugano (Switzerland NL A). In 2009-2010, Clymer had eight goals and 24 assists with Ingolstadt. . . . Ingolstadt GM Jim Boni: "We are very happy to welcome Ben back in Ingolstadt. His knee injury creates some risk, of course. With him, it's a risk that we will be happy with because he is worth it. He is currently on the ice three times a week and the knee feels good and is holding up."
There is concern in the household from which The MacBeth Report eminates. The man’s wife is from Finland; her parents are visiting.
He writes: “Big game (Sunday) — Finland v. Sweden for the World Championship. With my wife's parents here from Finland, we were all excited to watch the game. Versus has been carrying every game . . . EXCEPT THE FINAL! The final is nowhere to be found on any U.S. network. Go figure that one out . . .”
Kris Knoblauch of the Kootenay Ice isn’t the first head coach to win a WHL championship in his first season at the controls.
I don’t know how many times it has been done, but the Medicine Hat Tigers won the 1986-87 WHL title with Bryan Maxwell in his first season as head coach.
While Knoblauch spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Ice (preceded by one season with the Prince Albert Raiders), Maxwell worked for one season as a Tigers’ assistant before taking over from Doug Sauter.
In 1986-87, the Tigers went 48-19-5 in the regular season, before going on a 12-8 run to the championship. They then went on to win the Memorial Cup.
The Ice, under Knoblauch, went 46-21-5 in the regular season and 16-3 in the playoffs.
The Medicine Hat lineup in 1986-87 included a second-year defenceman named Dean Chynoweth, whose brother, Jeff, is the president and general manager of the Ice.
The BCHL announced some rather startling changes the other day, changes that didn’t get nearly their due.
In fact, in a sports world that is bloated with too many teams playing too many games that featured a product that is too watered down, what the BCHL did was beyond startling. It was shocking!
For starters, it has moved the start and finish lines for its regular season.
The 2011-12 regular season will open on Sept. 23; the 2010-11 season began on Sept. 10. It will end on March 11; the most-recent regular season ended on Feb. 20.
Among other things, this will allow the league to have more of its games played after Christmas, when teams traditionally have drawn more fans.
The BCHL also says it will work harder to take advantage of geographical rivalries where possible and that visiting teams will, on occasion, stay over and play doubleheaders in some cities.
More telling, however, is a move to cut the number of teams qualifying for the playoffs from 14 to eight.
In an age where some leagues, including Major League Baseball, are working to get more teams into the postseason, the BCHL has gone the other way.
By cutting the number of qualifiers, the BCHL will lose one complete round of games, thus giving itself more time to complete its playoffs. That should mean no incidents of playoff teams having to play four games in five nights.
Making the playoffs less of a grind should allow teams to stay healthier and be better rested, which should result in better competition on the ice.
All of this should mean the entertainment value is raised, thus providing the fans with a better product.
And, at the end of the day, isn’t that the name of the game.
If the Boston Bruins are going to play from behind against the Tampa Bay Lightning, it would seem that Guy Boucher’s bunch will end up in the Stanley Cup final.
Giving the Lightning the lead, as the Bruins did in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final on Saturday night, allows Tampa Bay to play that 1-3-1 defensive formation that looks as though it could have stopped Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls during their heyday.
While you are watching it from the comfort of your living room — YAWN! — just be thankful that you’re not paying $200 a ticket to see it in person.
But, as then-New York Jets head coach Herman Edwards, once famously ranted:
"This is what's great about sports. This is what the greatest thing about sports is. You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game. You don't play it to just play it. That's the great thing about sports: you play to win, and I don't care if you don't have any wins. You go play to win. When you start tellin' me it doesn't matter, then retire. Get out! 'Cause it matters."
John Branch of The New York Times has today’s good read, and it’s right here. It has to do with nicknames, or lack of same, in the sporting world. Give it a read and it’ll leave you longing for the days of the Chicoutimi Cucumber, the Golden Jet, the Rocket, the Pocket Rocket et al.
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