Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Colin Campbell's video explanation of the Matt Cooke/Marc Savard decision

New NHL discipline boss Brendan Shanahan has been making headlines all week, handing out several lengthy suspensions to players such as Jody Shelley and James Wisniewski. Most observers are heralding the decisions, and the video explanations that go with them, as a sign of a bold new way of doing things.

But while Shanahan certainly deserves credit for coming down hard on offenders, I'm a little perplexed by all the excitement over his videos. After all, he's just borrowed the idea from his predecessor, Colin Campbell, who had his own series of videos explaining his decisions.

For example, who could forget this video explaining his decision in the Matt Cooke/Marc Savard game?

It all makes so much sense now...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tips for dominating your fantasy hockey draft

With the start of the regular season just nine days away, hockey fans will be gathering in basements, pubs and boardrooms across North America this week for their annual fantasy hockey drafts.

No doubt thousands of fans are tweaking their cheat sheets at this very moment, most likely while they're supposed to be working. But while a spreadsheet full of stats and projections may be nice, it won't help you take home the winner's prize money unless you back it up with a top-notch draft night strategy.

If your fantasy league is drafting this week, here are some tips to keep in mind to help you come away with your best roster ever:

  • When forecasting year-end point totals, don't forget to factor in that every player in the league is expected to miss at least 20 games this season due to suspensions from Brendan Shanahan.

  • Just because a player has never had more than 25 points in a season is no reason not to draft him just as highly as players who regularly score twice that, according to Kyle Turris's agent.

  • Make sure you understand your league's structure and are clear on terminology. A head-to-head league is a lot of fun and is run by fans who enjoy direct competition with fellow owners. An elbow-to-head league is less fun and is run by Matt Cooke.

  • When it's time to collect everyone's $20 for the prize pool, ask Terry Pegula if he'd be willing to kick in an extra $10 million up front for no reason. He usually agrees to that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If NHL fans had their own training camp

His impression of the scout who suggested
signing Redden was uncanny.
OK, folks, can I get everyone’s attention? Quiet in the back, please. Don’t make me blow this whistle gain. As you know, NHL team training camps have opened. And we thought this year it would be a good idea to do the same for all of you, the fans. So everyone take a knee and listen up.

Today we’re going to go over some strategy for the coming season, diagram a few plays, and run a couple of drills. We may also have to send a few of you home. I know, I know, it won’t be fun for me either, but what’s a training camp without a few cuts? Everyone do you best and I’m sure you’ll stick around.

OK, let’s get started. First up is special teams. Now imagine your favourite team is on the powerplay. What are you fans going to be doing? Yes, that’s right, you’ll be yelling "SHOOOOT" for the entire two minutes. Let’s all practice that right now. Hey, good job! The Jets fans are a little rusty, but the rest of you guys are in mid-season form!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An in-depth review of NHL 12

Steven Stamkos was one when the NHL
series debuted. Also, you now feel old.
There may not be much happening on the NHL calendar this week, but today is actually a big day for plenty of hockey fans around the world. That's because it marks the release of the latest version of EA Sports' long-running NHL series, the most popular hockey video game in the world.

But while gaming fans can find NHL 12 in stores today, DGB spies were able to slip me a beta copy weeks ago. So if you're still on the fence about adding it to your collection, here's an in-depth review of the game's pros and cons.

Everyone wants to know about the latest and greatest features. NHL 12 has plenty, although the results are mixed.

  • "Be a Pro" mode returns and is more realistic than ever. When you return to the bench after an extra-long shift while playing as a member of the Senators, you'll need to take a moment to introduce yourself to whichever new coach Bryan Murray hired while you were gone.

  • In a nice bit of realism, the "Make an offer to another team's restricted free agent" feature is permanently greyed out.

  • As always, the game is extremely customizable. Gamers can control the volume of sound effects and crowd noise, although when playing as Toronto the volume of the music can only be adjusted by Dion Phaneuf.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gary Bettman's Labor Day BBQ

They actually just repackaged the same
tools that Leaf fans got tired of two years ago.
Scene: A spacious backyard. Various hockey personalities are milling around, enjoying one final summer BBQ. The host wearing a "Kiss The Commissioner" apron, and greeting the guests as they arrive.

Gary Bettman: Colie, it's great to see you. Glad you could make it.

Colin Campbell: Oh, you know I'd never miss a Gary Bettman party. How's it going so far?

Bettman: Not bad. My world famous potato salad is a big hit.

Campbell: That's great. But shouldn't somebody have laid out all the paper plates and cutlery by now?

Bettman: Yeah, one of the players said they would do it.

Campbell: Well, whoever it was, they got started and then only finished about two-thirds of the job.

Bettman: They did what... uh oh. Sigh. Um, Brad?

Brad Richards (casually wandering by): Yeah Gary?