November 20 2012 09:46AM
We really should have seen this more times than we actually have by this point of their careers.
There are many people who have felt the collateral damage stemming from the NHL lockout. The thing about this entire process is that it doesn't pick and choose who it leaves in its wake. Players who have essentially been left without a job. Arena workers and employees who have literally been left without a job. Writers who can only write so many times about the AHL, and prospects. And the fans, who just want to watch some professional hockey.
But another casualty that may not necessarily be in the forefront is the bigger picture for certain players. I'm specifically referring to the legacies that they leave behind as professional athletes; how will they be remembered, years after their playing days have come to an end? There's many things that factor into this, including word of mouth (the memories people have of watching them in their primes, that are passed down to younger generations), hardware accumulated (which encompasses both individual and team accomplishments), and statistics that allow them to put their own personal stamp into the record books.
What we generally fail to consider is how short a time frame they have to get all of that done, at least relatively speaking. According to recent studies, the average length of career for an NHL player is 5.5 years, which is an insanely low figure.
And that's why missing two full years - in 2004-05, and potentially this current one - is substantial. There are numerous great players around the league whose legacies will have conceivably been altered due to the two seasons that they never got a chance to perform in. Two of those guys just so happen to play in Vancouver.
Read Past the Jump for More.
November 17 2012 09:40PM
Wolves skaters check out one of the few noteworthy moments - a Guillaume Desbiens fight - on the jumbotron.
Anyone that knows me will tell you all about how fond I am of word play, and let me tell you, the title above was not accidental. There's some things that you just can't unsee, and unfortunately, I get the feeling that this Saturday night tilt between the Wolves and the Peoria Rivermen is one of them.
After two lackluster periods, there seemed to be a potentially exciting finish to the game brewing, as the result was still in question. Those sentiments were quickly erased once the Rivermen locked the game down after netting the go-ahead goal with roughly 10 minutes left.
The Wolves - who lost to this same Peoria team by a 3-2 score in overtime last night - lost for the first time in regulation at the Allstate Arena. As you can tell, I won't sugarcoat things; this game was incredibly choppy, and poorly played all the way around. But some things did happen, and I'll do my best to fill you in on them.
Read Past the Jump for Notes on the Game.
November 16 2012 10:16AM
Billy Sweatt has wheels, on wheels, on wheels.
Having watched my share of Chicago Wolves games this season, the main takeaway for me has been the speed that the team plays the game with. They are quite impressive in their ability to counter-attack, getting the play going in the right direction before the opposition knows what hit them.
The best of the bunch in that regard is Billy Sweatt, who bears a remarkable set of wheels. There have been numerous occasions when he has created a scoring opportunity for either himself or his team, by simply outskating the opposing defenders. He has spent a big chunk of the season next to Jordan Schroeder, whom he has developed a good rapport with dating back to their time together last year.
With the Wolves having a full week off - and Billy having time to kill as his tires get changed - I figured I'd check in with him. In case you had forgotten and would like to refresh your memory, or simply had a plethora of better things to do with your summer and missed it, I chatted with Billy for the first time back in July. Don't worry, the following chat is completely new material.
Read Past the Jump to See What Billy Sweatt Has to Say This Time Around.
November 13 2012 01:13PM
Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, things just don't work out. Those words have never rang truer to me than right now. On Saturday night, I was in Abbotsford to see the Heat take on the visiting
Edmonton Oilers Oklahoma City Barons. Another person who happened to be in attendance was Daniel Wagner, who fancies himself a connoisseur in the art of 'giving Bulis'.
We decided to record a podcast in the media lounge during the second intermission. It was busy, and rather loud, but I figured that this was what people who live life on the edge do. So we went ahead with it. The result was a rather unforgettable amount of fun for Daniel and I, and an audio track that was a jumbled mess. It turns out that there's a valid reason why people usually record in studios designated for podcasting.
But I'm not one to go quietly into the night. And I certainly won't pretend that this never happened. So instead, I've gone ahead and transcribed the discussion for you. In case you were wondering, Daniel's voice is as sweet as his writing is eloquent. I will make sure to have him on again in the near future, to make amends.
Read Past the Jump Once You Have Finally Stopped Shaking Your Head.
November 13 2012 07:27AM
A past-his-prime Scott Gomez. Tom Pyatt. Michael Busto. An over-the-hill Olli Jokinen. Brandon Prust. Evan Oberg. A third round draft pick. Those are all of the assets that Chris Higgins was traded for over the span of two years, as he transitioned from being a former lottery pick to a journeyman who couldn't find a place to stick.
As the story goes, the Canucks weren't even all that interested in Higgins in February of 2011, when they acquired him from the Panthers at the trade deadline. They had their sights set on another player, but wound up making a deal for Higgins - who was on the shelf with a hand injury at the time - in the final minutes before the deadline in an attempt to bolster themselves on the wing for a long playoff run.
Once he arrived in Vancouver, Higgins was able to lay claim to something that not many others could: he had called five different cities "home" over the course of the previous 20 months. Since then, he has proven to be an exceptionally valuable commodity for the Canucks, and a darling of the advanced stats community. But still, I feel that there are far too many hockey fans out there who don't appreciate what he brings to the table, and it's time that we change that.
Read Past the Jump for More on Chris Higgins.