Every time Stranges gets the puck he looks like a dog that found the best stick in the world =)

Really like watching him playing for the Knights, hope he’ll be called up next season.

A fun fact: the notorious “they are a fucking disgrace” Hanson brothers were based on and played by the Carlson brothers, who were a trio of professional hockey players and even have some NHL experience on their resume!

Accidentally, bought and read a book of anecdotes told by hockey referees, “Tough Calls”. The book came out in middle-90s, so mostly those stories took place in 60s or 70s. I’m not especially familiar with hockey from that period, for obvious reasons, only know a couple of most famous names, so it was fascinating to read what the games were like back then. All the refs say that all the players were super tough. Even the stars like Bobby Orr, Maurice Richard, Ted Lindsay would jump in a fight without giving it a second thought. That some particularly talented individuals would fight 2 or 3 guys in a row. The games in general were more fiery — when was the last time we saw a bench-cleaning brawl in the NHL? They describe how officials should be ready to non-stop abuse from players, coaches, owners and fans. To be fair, sometimes this abuse would transform into something pretty funny, like one of the referees described how once he received a wrapped package from a team and inside that package was the season’s schedule but in Braille. A similar story was when a player saw the ref’s kids sitting close to the ice, skated to them and asked whether their father’s new glasses were okay.

“- But he doesn’t wear glasses…”

“-Well, tell him that probably that he should”

Sometimes things would get physical — yeah, like with The Rocket knocking out a linesman. Honestly, I kind of understand why officials on the ice aren’t eager to try to break up a fight immediately =)

Anyway, this turned out to be a good book and a reason for me to start watching old games with players I’ve heard of but never seen myself.

(And of course all this is a good chance to once again link a video showing “The Good Friday Massacre” =))

If it’s true it’s a perfect example of the notorious “we must do something!” approach. I can’t come up with any reasonable explanation for this decision, because even if we forget for a moment that the players in the OHL belong to the group with the lowest risk regarding the virus… there are still face-offs, plays in the corners, players are going to spend hours and hours on buses moving between cities. But yeah, body-checking is the only possible way to transmit and catch the virus. In addition the kids will waste a year adjusting to the game that will be completely different on the pro level.

The NHL draft has finished and I’m happy for the Jets, who got Perfetti. This lad was playing here in the OHL and was terrorizing any team he played against. That’s the main take from this event =)

I’m curious though what’s going to happen with the next season. Unlikely the owners can afford to play for the empty stands, hockey doesn’t have such great TV deals as football or basketball do, and the situation with the US-Canada border is still unclear. It’s going to be sad if Canadian teams will have to play in the States, like the Blue Jays and local MLS teams do.

Must admit that I’m happy that hockey is back, despite the Jets’ abysmal performance in the play-in round. Some teams play surprisingly well, some are fighting teeth and nails (Columbus with our London Knight Foudy is an example!) and, in general, it does feel like playoffs. I was also pleasantly surprised by the work of video crews there, I didn’t have an impression of an empty barn watching games and all that without those terrible virtual crowds I saw other leagues made an attempt to use.

Just three words about the NHL draft lottery — poor Red Wings. I don’t care much about this team and I kind of hoped that Ottawa would win the lottery but going from the first to the fourth position — it’s brutal. They were legitimately bad the entire season and I wouldn’t even say they were tanking — they played just really terribly. Lafreniere, if he’s actually the player everyone thinks he is, would help them tremendously.

The idea that a good team will get a star player is also ridiculous. I’ve always thought that the lottery system is better than simply assigning picks in the reverse order but c’mon! We should draw a line somewhere. Any team that has made it to this round is pretty solid. Yeah, there are some outcasts, like Montreal, Columbus or even Rangers — but even these teams are virtually composed of all-stars comparing to the Red Wings or Sens.