Sunday, March 9, 2014

Puckpourri for Sunday, March 8: Prayers, playoffs and a whole lotta pride

This is a drive-by entry filled with links to stories that have caught my eye, gathered in one spot for you. I don't have time lately to write long and thoughtful posts, but still want to share what's making my brain hum and heart sing. Think of it as a many-course meal that's chock-full of flavor but doesn't fill you up and leaves room for that wafer-thin mint at the end...

First: Prayers (positive thoughts, healing energy, chants or whatever means through which you express yourselves):
1. Tim Bozon from the Kootenay Ice (WHL), who is in critical condition at a Saskatoon hospital, fighting a nasty bout of bacterial meningitis. We understand his parents have flown from Switzerland to be with him and that all players who came in contact with him are being treated with antibiotics and booster shots. Our thoughts are with Tim, his family, friends and teammates. If you live in a city with a WHL team, see if your team has a get well card on hand for fans to sign. The regular season ends this weekend, so hurry. If you don't live in a city with a WHL team, you can send your get well wishes to Tim via Twitter: @WHLKootenayIce - use the hashtag #GetWellTim

(Tim Bozon #20/Photo: Kootenay Ice)

2. Ryan Fischer from Grandville High School, Michigan, who passed away Friday, on the eve of the state semi-finals. According to reports, Ryan was found "unresponsive" in his bed Friday morning. It was later determined he died from hyperthotic cardiomyopathy. His parents met with his teammates and urged them to go ahead and play. You can read the full account written by Chris Peters (@ChrisMPeters) on The United States of Hockey blog.

(Ryan Fischer/Photo: Jenn Bellgraph Photography)

(NOTE: Those of you who follow CCPT Hockey Show will notice this part of the post reads exactly like the one I wrote for the show's website. It's called "streamlining" (aka, I'm too busy/lazy to write different posts about the same subjects today)

NHL Trades:
1. Martin St. Louis - it was widely known that there were issues between Marty and the powers-that-be in Tampa Bay. I'd heard trade request rumors since Team Canada's hockey team roster was announced and his name wasn't on it. But... in chatting with Clark Brooks and my co-host Cassie McClellan on this weekend's CCPT Hockey Show, I learned those trade rumors have been swirling since 2009, making for some very unhappy fans who showed their displeasure in a myriad of ways, from canceling season tickets to more visual displays, like this photo, submitted to Puck Daddy's "Jersey Fouls" column.

(Marty's new gig/Photo: New York Rangers)

2. Roberto Luongo - Confession time. I knew nothing of Roberto's NHL history prior to him joining the Canucks. I thought he had sprung, fully-formed and in uniform, ready to play from Day One. A little on-air lesson from my CCPT Hockey Show co-host Cassie McClellan and a visit to revealed Luongo's full history - from his junior days in the Q, to being drafted #4 overall to the Islanders, then his stint in Florida before making that cross-country trip to Vancouver, BC during the 2006-2007 season. The return to Miami seems to have done Roberto a bit of good as he's off to a good start. However, veteran commentator (and flashy fashion guru) Don Cherry is all hot under the collar about a snarky comment tweeted out under his @Strombone1 account. 

(Roberto's new gig/Photo: Florida Panthers)

3. Michael Del Zotto - This story lit up my "feel good" radar, not because of his trade from the Rangers to Predators (back in January), but what happened last week. Seems Michael befriended a young fan with cerebral palsy several years ago. The two texted and talked daily, as well as spending time together when they could, playing video games and chatting. Young Liam didn't take the trade news too well, and Michael was also a bit bereft at leaving his little buddy. What happened next has been beautifully captured by James Murphy on

(Michael Del Zotto & his pal Liam)

We're heading into the final week of regular season play across the WHL and a number of teams have already clinched playoff spots (more so in the Western Conference than in the East):

Eastern Conference teams that have clinched playoff spots:
Edmonton Oil Kings
Regina Pats
Calgary Hitmen
Medicine Hat Tigers
Kootenay Ice

Western Conference teams that have clinched playoff spots:
Kelowna Rockets
Portland Winterhawks
Victoria Royals
Seattle Thunderbirds
Spokane Chiefs
Everett Silvertips
Vancouver Giants

Stay tuned for playoff brackets....

Those of you who know me know I attended the University of Alabama Huntsville in the early 90's and developed my love of hockey by cheering on the Chargers (and serving as the school's "official" national anthem singer). If you follow college hockey, you may also be aware of the rocky road the Chargers hockey program has traversed over the past few years, as well as being cancelled, resurrected (following a tidal wave of backlash) and finding a home with the WCHA. UAH wrapped up its current season yesterday with a 2-35-1 record, which may look dismal. Okay, it is dismal. Hopefully, the coaching staff can recruit some great talent and move on from here on firmer footing. 

On a positive note, the Chargers were featured in the New York Times, in a story about the team traveling to play teams in Alaska for the first time since I was at UAH. 

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