Josh Harding’s Career of Adversity

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Jeff Gross-Getty Images

I have always been a huge fan of Josh Harding, not because of who he is or his hockey performance, but more so for what he has accomplished in the face of adversity. For those of you who don’t know, Josh Harding is a goaltender for the Minnesota Wild who has been with the organization since he was drafted by the team in the 2nd round in 2002. Along the way, he has dealt with many adversities: attempting to crack an NHL lineup, competing with other goaltenders for the Wild’s starting goaltender job, and dealing with season-ending injuries as he is approaching his prime. However, none of that compares to his battle with multiple sclerosis since his diagnosis in the infancy of the 2012-13 NHL season.

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A Closer Look At: Fan Favourites

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jackets hartnell ac 02

This past weekend saw the return of Scott Hartnell to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time.  During his time as a Flyer, he endeared himself to Flyers fans for his ability to score, hit, fight, and …fall.  (Hartnell sponsors a fan created charity that tracks the incidents in which Hartnell falls every game.)  In 7 years he had 326 regular season points for the Flyers, along with 908 penalty minutes.  Looking at those two statistics alone will likely give you some insight as to what made Hartnell so popular in Philly.  Well that and…

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NHL Weekly Summary: Week 6 (Sunday November 9th 2014 – Saturday November 15th 2014)

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nhl-wallpaper-15321-15794-hd-wallpapers

Here is this week’s top NHL news. This post is just meant to be a convenient way for some people out there who are busy during the week and need a nice condensed list of what has happened in the NHL each week. All headlines are linked to articles with further detail. Please let me know if there is any errors/anything that you think I should add to this list and I will fix it/deem if it is worthy.

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Four Fantasy Hockey Footnotes: Weeks 4-5

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Cover Photo by: NHL.com

5 weeks have gone by of the NHL and Fantasy Hockey season. By now in most fantasy hockey leagues it should be clear who has a solid team and who needs a little bit of work. The inconsistent chaos of the first couple weeks has passed and both NHL and Fantasy Hockey teams have come to show their true nature (for the most part). So whether you are at the top of your fantasy hockey league or near the bottom, here are some things to think about going forward in your quest for the ultimate bragging rights among your friends.

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Leafs Player Analysis: Leo ‘The Lion’ Komarov

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(Getty Images - Greg Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

Leo Komarov is off to a great start in his second stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 27 year old Finnish forward was born in Estonia and speaks 5 languages, he can also play classical piano despite having no formal training. While all that is interesting food for thought, the most fascinating thing about Leo Komarov is how he plays the game of hockey. It would not be an easy task to compile a list of players who possess more grit than Komarov. Komarov  has put up 9 assists and 1 goal in 15 games so far this season. Although eclipsing his point total from his first  NHL season (42 games) after just 15 games is impressive, what this Finnish missile brings to the team extends far beyond offense. He finishes virtually all of his checks, is great defensively and seems to have the character of a great leader.

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A Closer Look At: Sidney Crosby

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crosby

OK, I need to get something out of the way.  I’m a Sidney Crosby hater.  Well not really, but he is the Captain of the Philadelphia Flyers inter-state rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I respect everything that he has done and am impressed by it, but I can’t help it, every time I look at Sidney Crosby I see this:

Crosby vs. Giroux
Eric Hartline, US Presswire

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NHL Goalies: Arizona Coyotes

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0311-azc-wordmark

Hello everyone, back again for another week of Goalie Talk! We’re quite a bit into the regular season now in the NHL, and goaltending positions are starting to sort out now. Around this time teams should have figured out who their number one is (for the time being of course), as well as their number two. This year seems to be pretty steady and pretty predictable for goaltending, as most probable starters have their position locked up, with not many surprises. Last week I talked about the Anaheim Ducks and how their goaltending situation is, concluding that Frederik Andersen seems pretty secure for the starting position. As we reach the early-mid season of play, things should be getting very steady in terms of starting goalies, without accounting for any unfortunate injuries. The next team to be discussed is a team that has always had trouble with goaltending, but lately it hasn’t really been a question who has the number one spot.

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2014-15 NHL Weekly Summary: Week 5

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nhl-wallpaper-15321-15794-hd-wallpapers

NHL Weekly Summary: Week 5 (Sunday November 2nd 2014 – Saturday November 8th 2014)

Here is this week’s top NHL news as chosen by me. This post is just meant to be a convenient way for some people out there who are busy during the week and need a nice condensed list of what has happened in the NHL each week. All headlines are linked to articles with further detail. Please let me know if there is any errors/anything that you think I should add to this list and I will fix it/deem if it is worthy!

Connor McDavid watch: 49 points in 17 games played.

Injury Report

Suspensions

Sunday November 2nd 2014:

Monday November 3rd 2014:

Tuesday November 4th 2014:

Wednesday November 5th 2014:

Thursday November 6th 2014:

Friday November 7th 2014:

Saturday November 8th 2014:

 


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Cover Photo Credit: http://www.hdwallsource.com/nhl-wallpaper-15321.html

Around the Arena: Ice Rink Design

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Joe Louis Ice Rink

While watching the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Colorado avalanche game the other day, I began to think about many interesting aspects of the design of the modern day ice rink that were affecting the game. Much of this stemmed from the crazy happenings of overtime. As long as I can remember, I have never seen that much 3 vs. 3 playing time in a single game. It was exciting to say the least and even Matt Duchene said as such during his post-game interview. I would have to agree with his comments about the potential to end games before going to the shootout with 3 vs. 3 playing time instead of the current 4 vs. 4 and hopefully the league looks more closely at the excitement that was the 3 vs. 3 overtime of this game. Looking beyond the fact that overtime in this game was exciting because of 3 vs. 3 playing time, the modern day ice rink design has made overtime and the game in general more exciting. Or more correctly, overtime and the entirety of the game has taken advantage of some current  ice rink design and changed other aspects to make the game more exciting. This can be attributed to ice rink size, bench location, less deep nets, farther apart faceoff hashmarks, and a wider trapezoid of play for the goalies.

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Hockey, The Ultimate Family Heirloom

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Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Like many people around the world, I am, always have been, and always will be a hockey fan. For many, this is not choice but rather a fate sealed long before they existed.  Their parents, and parents’ parents, and parents’ parents’ parents would ensure that the culture of being a hockey fan was instilled upon their child from the moment they entered the world. I know that this was the case for me, and will also be the case for my children one day. I cannot speak for cultures around the world, but right here in Canada there is something special about not only being a hockey fan, but passing down the love of the game from generation to generation.  As a fourth generation Montreal Canadiens fan myself, I had no other choice but to love the game, and for me, it has truly been recognized as our family’s ultimate heirloom.

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Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Every year in late December, the Lavallée family assembles through the snowy weather from throughout Southern Ontario for a Christmas party. At one of these gatherings there are three things guaranteed. One, at some point hockey will be on the television. Two, several Montreal Canadiens items will be placed under the tree to be opened after dinner. Three, beer. I’m sure that many of you reading this now can tell a very similar story; hockey is not just a sport, it is a culture shared among all of us fans.

There are many ideals of the game which are passed down from parents to their son or daughter; a favourite team, a memory of a great hockey moment, an experience of meeting a player, the list goes on. As an example, one of my favourite hockey stories to tell is the time I found out that I might have been a bruins fan…stay with me here:

My French-Canadian grandfather was a very passionate Habs fan, so it’s no surprise to hear that my father and his siblings in turn, are also Habs Fans. There was however a brief period of time where my father was negatively influenced by a neighbour to cheer for the hated Boston Bruins; a period of time which could have shaped my entire outlook on the game of hockey. I cannot really blame him for this though. Growing up in St. Catharines, Ontario in the 70’s was a lot different than it is now. Back then, many professional hockey players dwelled in the Garden city, and it just so happened that Gerry Cheevers was one of them. This two-time Stanley Cup winning, Hall of Fame goalie was the neighbour of my father.  I couldn’t imagine the influence a neighbourhood professional would have on my hockey ideals, so I cannot blame my father whatsoever for turning to the dark side for a short period of time. Luckily my grandfather was eventually able bring my dad back to reality, or I could very well be a Bruins fan today. Yikes.

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Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

This story is just one of many stories which has made me realize the true importance of passing down hockey ideals from one generation to another. Hockey has an unmeasurable importance to my family. It is something we talk about together, it is something we get upset about together, and it is something that we love together. Hockey unites us as a family, but the best part is… it doesn’t stop there. Hockey unites countless other families watching their team from the living room. Hockey unites thousands of people cheering for their team at an NHL arena. Hockey unites an entire nation as their hearts simultaneously skip a beat when their countrymen step on the ice during the Olympics. Hockey unites every single one of us hockey fans, wherever we are in the world. That is something special. This passion, this culture, and these ideals were all passed down from generation to generation, and for that reason I truly believe that the love of the game is the ultimate family heirloom.