It was recently released by ESPN New York that Rangers' forward Sean Avery publicly voiced his support for marriage equality. Yeah, that's right. The ever-so-touchy subject of gay marriage.
As a fellow supporter of equal rights for all Americans and humans alike, naturally I am all for this. I have made it quite clear that I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, deserve the right to marry the person they love, regardless of gender.
My views of gender equality apply just about everywhere. Sports included. Genetics dictating one's gender should not dictate one's ability to play hockey or basketball or whatever. Just look at the NCAA's women's divisions. The WNBA. Canada's own women's hockey league. Athletics don't discriminate. American law shouldn't either.
It's no secret I've been pretty harsh on Sean Avery over the years, thanks to his actions on the ice. But, like with most players, that does not carry over to his life off the ice.
Avery is not the only professional athlete to speak out in support of equality.
Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo released a similar video for the same cause in Maryland.
Phoenix Suns players Jared Dudley and Grant Hill filmed public service announcements addressing homophobic language among teenagers that will be aired during the NBA conference finals.
So far, there have been no gay athletes in the four major professional sports, at least none that have come out yet. Though the NBA's Dennis Rodman announced at a point that he was bisexual. And let's not forget TNA Wrestling's Orlando Jordan.
And sexual orientation has always been something of a taboo subject in the sports world.
Usually, I think athletes should stay out of politics' way, and focus on their sport and communities. However, I think an exception can be made if the agenda at hand is one of correcting a civil injustice. In this case, promoting equal rights to LGBT couples wishing to marry.
With the help of Avery and his fellow athletes also in support of the fight for equal rights, we can only hope that eventually, homophobia in the locker rooms can be a thing of the past.
Thank you, Sean Avery.
(Note: information from ESPN New York was used in this blog)
Saturday, May 7, 2011
It was recently released by ESPN New York that Rangers' forward Sean Avery publicly voiced his support for marriage equality. Yeah, that's right. The ever-so-touchy subject of gay marriage.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Brace yourselves, citizens. It's been a while since I've written one of these, and I have some things I just want to get off my Ruskie-Polack chest!
It's no secret that the Blues have been doing terrible. 29 allowed goals in our last 5 games. Halak looks lost. Defence is no help. Some of our best forwards and defencemen are shelved.
What do we do? It depends on who you ask. Some say, trade somebody! Trade Brewer, trade Boyes, trade Mac, trade Halak, anyone!
I say, trade nobody. Like trading a vital piece of our puzzle for a short-term bandaid will help us.
Where shall I begin... how about Mr. Halak? Our savior! But look at him now. He looks lost out there. Never mind the fact that defence isn't doing much to take off some of the pressure around him. He's been performing pretty awful out there, hasn't he?
I hate to break it to you, but it had to come eventually. He has been doing phenomenal until our losing streak. He played in all but one game in our 7-game string of wins.
Every goalie goes through a rough patch. You can't expect them to stand on their heads night in and night out. Just like how you can't expect a forward to score every game. Goalies go through slumps just like skaters. It happens. And besides, it's not like he's alone. Conklin gave up 5 goals in Phoenix, if I remember correctly.
Halak is going to struggle. Every goalie does. He can't carry this team on his back.
It doesn't help matters that defence hasn't been doing a whimsical job of toning down some of the pressure on him. Shouldn't some of the blame should fall on defence? Keep in mind, some of our top players here are out. But the fill-ins have been doing okay. Even in the absense of Polak and Jackman, to an extent, we've been doing okay with what we have.
Brewer has been proving what I've been saying since the offseason. He's doing much better, he's doing his job. He may make some mistakes, but they are fewer. And he's shown he isn't afraid to block shots. He's high-ranking on the team in blocked shots, mind you.Oh, he also has the 2nd best +/- rating of all our defencemen.
He's been doing well at winning battles in the corners, in addition to blocking shots. He doesn't need to produce points to be a good defenceman. Just look at Mike Weaver. Now there was a good d-man.
And don't take his career -103 rating into consideration. It wasn't often that he was a part of a contending team.
Mind you, his Blues teammates voted him as captain. So he has influence there. Trading him wouldn't exactly help us there.
Lidstrom made three mistakes that I saw on wednesday. Should he be traded too? Oh, by the way, Brewer made very few mistakes, if any.
Erik Johnson, meanwhile, has been falling in the corner and holding the puck for too long.
But I won't hold individuals accountable. Some are doing better than others, and some are doing worse. But the entire defence as a whole has been allowing too much pressure on Halak and Conklin. Is any one player to blame for that?
Okay, let's shift gears to offence.
First off, Oshie and Perron are out. TJ is a guy who leads by example on the ice. Perron could spit in your direction and some of that talent might, just might, be bestowed upon whichever lucky soul happens to be within a metre of that magic loogey.
Keep in mind, we do have 12 goals in our last 5 games. Yeah that's not much, but it's better than nothing. McDonald, Steen, Backes, and D'Agostini have been doing their part.
Some disagree about the deal we made with Backes. Well, I DO agree. Backes may not be scoring much, but should we just expect him to put 30+ goals up, willy-nilly? I don't. How can you just overlook his overall game? Backes is a player who doesn't need to score goals to be a positive contribution. If you look at him when he doesn't have the puck, you'll see what I mean. There is more to him than just his scoring stats.
Going the more general route, the Blues have a tonne of injuries, in the toughest stretch of games the Blues will have all season. Take that into consideration. We were going to lose some games anyway. But with our best forwards and defencemen out, it's a lot of injuries to deal with at one time. If it was just one or two guys, maybe. But this is a lot. Not many teams would be able to cope with this much at one time.
I'm as upset about this losing streak as much as the next fan. But we can't keep going to red alert and calling for a trade every time we hit a bad slump like this.
We can win with the team we have, as we proved by winning 7 games. BUT, put a bunch of the best players on IR, and things might not go the way we'd like.
Want the team to improve? This is what must be done:
1. Better positioning by our goaltenders
2. Better puck support
3. Better positioning in the defensive zone
4. Just play smarter as well
5. Stay out of the penalty box
6. Win the puck battles we were winning before the columbus game
7. Be Mentally strong
I think the team got too hyped up after the start, and were too pressured by all the media attention they were receiving.
The goals will come. Better defence will come. When we get our starters back from the IR, you'll see. But until then, just take a deep breath and enjoy Blues hockey.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I've been a hockey fan for a long time. Yeah, I'm just a lowly Amerikan, but since I was a kid, hockey always interested me, and that interest grew as I got older. I watched more games, studied the stats, learned about the history, I wanted to know everything there was to know about the sport of hockey. I'd like to think I've come to know the sport quite well over the last decade. Am I knowledgeable? Do I really know the game as well as I think? Maybe, maybe not.
As much as I've learned, I always found it a little irritating to find out when the NHL makes a rule change. It's not something I'm used to, but I usually just suck it up and accept it. Even the ridiculous rules, like the goalie's trapezoid, or the over-the-glass delay-of-game penalty. I really hate those.
But now, I've been reading over the last several days that the NHL is tinkering with several more changes. The majority of them just sound like they were high when they thought of them. Alow me to break down the rule changes being considered:
1: Having three faceoff circles, one in each zone, down the centre of the rink:
- Are you serious? How long has the NHL, or any hockey league for that matter, had the usual complement of faceoff circles that have been around for over a century? When did this become a nusiance? I really hope the league has a good excuse for proposing this. Like they were high.
B: The whistle starts play in place of a puck drop:
- Again, are you out of your mind? That's like having players scramble for a basketball, XFL-style in place of a tip-off. Another part of hockey that has worked fine since organized hockey has been around, and that I can't possibly fathom leaving the game.
3: If a player has been deemed to commit a faceoff infraction, he would be required to move back and keep his skates behind a "penalty line" (one foot) to take the faceoff:
- This is getting outlandishly ridiculous already...
4: No-touch icing, in which a referee can blow the whistle as soon as the puck crosses the line:
- I'd prefer if this stays how it is. But I guess I wouldn't complain too much if it took effect.
5: Having the second referee located off the playing surface:
6: Not allowing a team to change lines after committing offsides:
- Ah, finally a rule change that does NOT sound like it was conceived in a drunken state.
7: Three minutes of 4-on-4 overtime, three minutes of 3-on-3, then 2-on-2:
- No way. No bleeping way. I've said it before, and I'm saying it again: overtime is FINE the way it is! Five minutes of overtime then a shootout is not that horrible. Some fans may hate the shootout, but I like it myself.
Shootout debates aside, this is suppsoed to be the National Hockey League. Professional hockey. Not arcade-style hockey, the likes of which you can find on PlayStation 1 arcade hockey games. Rock The Rink, this ain't. Hitz, nope. NHL hockey. There is no logic in continually removing players as overtime drags on. Hate on the shootouts if you will, but I don't understand how anyone canagree with this proposed overtime garbage.
8: Narrowing the shallowness of the net, allowing players more room behind it:
- Just another stupid proposal to increase scoring. Haven't there been enough rule changes in efforts to increase scoring? Several decades ago, a rule was changed (I don't remember which) to increase scoring. Years later, it was changed back to the way it was... in an effort to increase scoring. Why do we need so many rules to increase scoring? Hockey isn't always boring just becasue there aren't always many goals scored.
9: Increase the size of the crease in all directions by three inches.
- I don't get it. I really don't.
Most rule changes, depsite their retardedness, I was able to get over. But these new rule changes being considered, I have to ask why? Why make these ridiculous changes to a game that's fine and fun to watch as it is?
I hope none of these changes take place. Most of them would change the game significantly, and just make it not as fun as it has been. I enjoy hockey because it's fun to watch, it's action-packed, and it's just a joy. It doesn't need to be tainted just because the powers that be aren't happy with the number of goals scored during games. Safety reasons, I can understand. But don't change key parts of it and justify it by saying it'll produce more goals.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
A few weeks ago, my computer was out of commission. I had to resort to other things to occupy (and waste) my time. I was channel-surfing, and I stumbled across ESPN Classic. Up until this point, the only interesting thing I ever saw from this channel was a mini-documentary about how Wayne Gretzky's presence significantly influenced hockey interest in California, and all across the American south.
The second program I ever watched on ESPN Classic was a game I haven't watched since I was a boy. 1995. Chicago Bulls at the Dallas Mavericks. Michael Jordan vs Jason Kidd. But mostly, in my case, Michael Jordan, the man I idolized as a child. I loved MJ, I loved the Bulls, I just loved basketball period. Watching this game seriously brought back memories for me. I've had my nostalgic moments, but this one was one of the biggest. Watching the old Bulls crew again, Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Harper, Kukoc, and the rest, doing their thing. The only thing missing was the epic introductions that got me fired up before every home game.
I followed the Chicago Bulls as closely as a 6-year-old kid could, back in the day. I watched every piece of Bulls basketball I could. I had Jordan and Pippen jerseys. I watched Space Jam, a lot. I even followed the WNBA for a short time (which I continued just last year, but I'll get back to that). Basically my life was basketball.
Them Mr. Jordan left. The game was never the same. Basketball started getting phased out of my life, making way for other sports, like hockey, football, baseball, boxing, the Olympics. You know, sports I could follow more effectively since St. Louis had those teams. I became a fan of the Cardinals, Rams, and most of all, the Blues. Basketball, for the most part, no longer took up a part of my Ruskie-Polack heart.
Just before the 2009 WNBA season, I came across an article in Sports Illustrated, about then-ex-WNBA'er Chamique Holdsclaw. It mentioned she retired because of severe depression. I can relate, I've been known to get depressed a lot myself. She was making a return that year, so I decided to follow her and show some support. Next thing you know, I'm a fan of the WNBA, Atlanta Dream, Chamique Holdsclaw, and women's basketball. It's very underrated, and deserves way more respect and recogniton it gets now.
So after a little over a year of following and supporting WNBA and Atlanta Dream basketball, it hit me like a slippery fish: this is exactly what the city of St. Louis could use.
A WNBA franchise in St. Louis would mean the revival of professional basketball in the city. 1976 was the last time a pro game was played here, as the ABA's Spirits of St. Louis exited the 75-76 season without a playoff berth, and made plans to pack their bags to play in Salt Lake City, Utah.
There was also the NBA's St. louis Bombers, established in 1946, and folding in 1950.
I realize I just referenced two professional men's franchises in what's supposed to be about women's basketball. Well, the WNBA is professional too.
Attendance for the Bombers and Spirits weren't very impressive, but times have changed. The Scottrade Center holds 19,150 people, and could benefit from additional operation time during the WNBA season. Given the WNBA's attendance figures, not every seat would be likely to be filled. But basketball isn't exactly a forgotten gem in this city. The Mizzou and SLU basketball programs have their followers. And in high school, basketball is just a step below football in popularity. Missouri's poll numbers on ESPN.com are actually higher than some stated with NBA/WNBA franchises, such as Louisiana. A franchise in the Gateway city surely wouldn't be ignored.
The NBA doesn't appear ready to expand anytime soon, and if they were, I'm sure St. Louis wouldn't be very prominent on their radar, but I could be wrong. I am a lot. However, the WNBA might be a little friendlier.
Donna Orender, the next time a team is relocated, or you expand, St. Louis should be high-ranking on your list of possible markets. The Scottrade Center doesn't get much use during WNBA season, and it'd be much less of an issue than with the NBA, since their season clashes with the NHL frequently. The WNBA in St. Louis would indeed be a perfect fit.
I will shortly crate another blog, tracking basketball in St. Louis, including any opportunities that could arise for a professional basketball franchise to come to St. Louis.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Johan Franzen scores a mediocre goal against Evgeny Nabokov. Miroslav Satan scores on a breakaway. Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save he's made countless times. Kris Versteeg scores a game-winning goal. Mike Cammalleri bats the puck past Fleury. Little Joe comes up big.
All these semi-awesome moments happening in the NHL Playoffs, it's only right that the NHL take a really cool commercial concept and completely destroy it by churning out a new one every time something questionably cool happens in the playoffs, right? They finally do something I like, and just ruin it by overdoing it.
The History commercials were awesome because not only did they feature some of the greatest players to ever lace a pair of skates, but it made me think: what if there were no Greatness? What if Mario was not so Super? What if Patrick Roy really did play like a rookie? What if Bobby did not fly? The Blues could have had another chance to win the 'Cup, that's what!
But personal team-related feelings aside, the NHL really screwed up here. I know it's probably no big deal, but I'm just getting tired of seeing these new commercials. I realize there are more important things we should be worrying about. Like incompetent referees.
Maybe that should be their next commercial: "what if referees didn't take bets before games on who could botch the game the most? History will be made."
Now THAT would be a commercial worth watching!
But in all seriousness, the NHL really needs to stop making these commercials like it's a bodily function. It was cool at first, but I don't want to see another one just because Antti Niemi made a nice save.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
"Any player or goalkeeper wearing tape or any other material on his hands (below the wrist) who cuts or injures an opponent during an altercation will receive a match penalty in addition to any other penalties imposed including for fighting under this rule."
Does that or does it not make sense? What if you cut your opponent and you have nothing on your hand? No match penalty. But if you have tape below your wrist, then you get it? I would think that if you have anything above the wrist taped, and you cut the other guy, that would call for a match penalty.
In tonight's Blues-Canucks game, Rick Rypien had his wrist/thumb taped because acording to the announcers, he was nursing a minor thumb sprain. He bloodied Cam Janssen in their fight tonight. And he got a match penalty because of his tape. Except for his thumb, which I highly doubt would contribute to cutting your opponent.
Can someone explain to me why wrist tape (or in Rypien's case, thumb tape) is so dangerous in a fight that the NHL had to make a rule for it?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I find myself in a difficult position, regarding the schedule of the Mehlville High School hockey club.
Up until my senior year, I had no idea any school in the South STL County area even had a hockey program. A portion of Mehlville's halls are lined with trophy cases, crammed with trophies, ribbons, photos, plaques, and other objects to symbolize the accomplishments of our football/baseball/basketball/track/volleyball/swim teams. One floor below, is a smaller case tucked away in a corner that nobody can see, collecting dust for as long as it's been there. This would be the case belonging to the hockey club. That's how much we care about hockey here. As much as I liked it at MHS, the hockey nut in me was brokenhearted that it took me this long to realize we have a team.
Recently, I decided to take action and get our schedule down, and hope to attend some games. Thankfully, much of the games take place at the Kennedy Recreation Complex, very close to where I live. I was happy I'd get to see my old Panthers club play hockey, it would make me feel like I was back in school, cheering the football team on to victory. This was gonna rule!
Unfortunately, there is a situation that I have no control of whatsoever.
The powers that be have scheduled a large portion of Mehlville's games at the same time as (or close enough to) Blues games, the NHL team I follow and love with all my Ruskie-Polack heart. After tonight, there are no more Mehlville HC games until January, the final month of HS hockey. In that month, there are only two games that are not scheduled during Blues games. One on the 7th, the other on the 21st. Out of 9 games that month (five at Kennedy Rec.), there are only two I can attend without worrying about missing any Blues action.
As much as I'd like to attend those 5 games anyway, I don't want to miss any Blues action either. Simply put, I don't know what to do. If there weren't so many MHS games at the same time as Blues games, this wouldn't be as big of a problem.
What to do, what to do... this is where you come in (I hope). I welcome any and all suggestions on what I should do. Be sure to explain why I should do what you suggest. Thanks in advance!