Puck Podcast – January 31st, 2009

In this mini-episode of the Puck Podcast we talk about Peter Forsberg's decision on whether or not to play in the NHL this season, we review of the NHL's All-Star skills competition, an honor for Devils announcer Mike Emrick, the future of Dany Sabourin with the Oilers, a curious suspension for Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk, whether or not the Panthers will trade Jay Bouwmeester and a whole lot more.

MP3 File

About Doug Stolhand 27106 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.


  1. I think fighting is part of the game, though being a Red Wings fan and primarily watching their games, I wouldn’t miss it if it were gone. The Wings just don’t fight. However, I think it’s ridiculous for the NHL to keep looking at fighting when all these injuries are happening outside the league. And that’s the only reason – injuries. Fights are usually cleaner than all the after-whistle scrums in front of the net, but they’re not even penalizing those except to move the faceoff if a defenseman joins in. Like Barry Melrose says, the guys that want fighting out of the game have probably never had a fight in their lives. As for the All-Star suspensions, it’s silly. You make a great point, it’s giving the players another day off. I think the thought Bettman has in his mind is that players want to play in games that matter, but not exhibitions. Most veterans skip preseason games, too. So to Bettman, he’s not letting a player play through injury in a game that matters and that’s a punishment. Though next season, it will be interesting to see if they can suspend without pay.

  2. Doug – Thanks for doing the show solo this week. As always, I enjoyed it and would like to respond to your call for comments about fighting.

    The gratuitous violence of the NHL detracts from the beauty of the game. Until hockey seeks to shed the “cagefighting on skates” image that haunts it in many non-traditional markets, it will always be a sideshow to the more established sports. If the NHL truly does need fighting to survive outside of Canada and the original 6, then it is on life support already. The prognosis is potentially dire because the game is not being promoted properly. What is truly the greatest spectator sport is buried under a pool of blood and a barrage of fists.

    Certainly fighting has fans and we have all heard that everyone stands up and takes notice when the game descends to such depravity. If the NHL is really more about entertainment than integrity, then why not take an unpopular player and put him in the rink with wild animals or let him face, gang style, 5 or 6 opposing goons. Many would lift up out of their seats for that as well.

    Admittedly, the NHL is somewhat more refined than that; the violence consists of supervised one on one bare knuckle boxing. Though refined, the fighting is nonetheless barbaric, and, given the quality of today’s athletes, extraordinarily dangerous. If things don’t change, it won’t be long before we are mourning another fighting related death.

    Talking about the instigator rule or wearing helmets as a way to change things is no different from changing the weapons in a duel or the number of paces before firing. Yes, dueling had some chivalry and a “code” associated with it, yet we have somehow managed to maintain civility in our society without regularly spilling blood in the streets. Indeed, unlike the NHL, we discourage it. What is considered indispensable “entertainment” on the ice would be felonious assault on the concourse. Tightening the chinstraps may alter the mechanics of fighting, but it does nothing to negate its Neanderthal spirit.

    It took a lost season for the NHL to finally rid itself of obstruction; wasn’t hooking once considered “part of the game?” I pray it doesn’t take another lost life for the NHL to finally grow up and rid itself of fighting.

  3. Greeting boys,

    After a little break from the computer I am back,

    Eddie and Doug

    Did you see the candy striper butt ugly jerseys the Habs wore Monday.

    Where do the morons that design jerseys come up with this crap.

    What I though of first off was the Ref jerseys from the movie slap shot.


    As we are getting into the second half of the season and we can start smelling the playoffs in the air. I have my draft preview for 09 ready to go for you guys and I will be better and more prepared this season. I have been up to Seattle 4 times and Portland 3 for many junior games and make my annual trip to Ontario for OHL games in early March

    Look forward to it

    Thanks guys

    Draft Mike Murangi
    Diamond Bar Cali

  4. I have some dates on when different leagues end their regular season ends, most of these are NA Leagues. I’m working on getting the euro leagues on when they start they playoffs.

    Major Junior:
    WHL: March 15
    OHL: March 15
    QMJHL: March 15

    Canadaian Junior A
    British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL): Feb. 22
    Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL): Feb. 24
    Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL): Feb 18
    Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL): Feb. 24
    Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL): March 8
    Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL): March 4
    Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) Feb. 13
    Central Junior Hockey League (CJHL) March 6
    Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA Du Quebec (LHJAAQ): Feb. 28
    Maritime Junior Hockey League (MJAHL): Feb. 28

    USA Juniors:
    United States Hockey League (USHL): April 5
    North American Hockey League (NAHL): March 29

    Minor Leagues:
    American Hockey League (AHL): April 2
    East Coast Hockey League (ECHL): April 4
    Central Hockey League (CHL): March 21

  5. Tom– Your points on fighting in the NHL is well put; but I simply do not agree.

    I think one of the problems regarding the discussion of fighting is contained in your first paragraph. You seemed concerned with the face of the league in non- traditional markets to non-fans. The problem I continue to see with NHL brass is their insistence on caring about what people WHO DON’T LIKE HOCKEY want to see instead of what existing fans -who LOVE HOCKEY- want. I’m a fan. I don’t want 12-9 games every nite. But it seems the NHL keeps telling me that what everyone ELSE wants. So, next season, defense will be illegal.

    That said, I understand that there are fans that want fighting out of the game. And there are those that scream not to touch it. Is it some sense of bloodlust? Yes! I think it’s tough and not exactly correct to say so; but let’s just admit it, stop feeling guilty about it and move on. There’s a REASON that the popularity of MMA exploded so quickly. There’s a REASON we get together for boxing matches. There’s a REASON the NFL has a billion dollar TV deal.

    We like watching people hit and get hit. We like it when “our guy” beats the hell outta “their guy.” Hitting is a part of hockey. Checking, open ice hits, shattered glass and watching a player getting tossed into a team’s bench head over ass is part of the game. And watching the Avs’ Chris Stewart demolish the Blues’ Lee Stempniak is a part of the game. The idea of obstruction being a “part of the game” and removed is comparing apples and oranges; in the sense that it was done to improve the game. I cannot see eliminating fighting improving the game.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about it. I’m not saying maybe we shouldn’t tweak it. But remove it? Richard Zednick nearly died last year. Do we remove the skates? Maybe we can find a way to make it safer. Alexei Cherepanov lost his life during a game. Do we stop playing?We find ways to screen players and take care of their medical issues better.

    Hockey is entertainment. And enough people are entertained by the one on one fisticuffs that it’s not going anywhere.


  6. comment on the clock for the all-star speed challenge, the first skater ran over the wires for the clock haha, so they had to use the stopwatches

  7. My opinion on fighting is like smoking. Its bad for you, its dangerous, everyone knows this. But its their decision as professional adults to “yes I want to fight” or “No I do not” and that should be it. If there is a movement to take fighting out of the game it should come from the NHLPA, in the form of a majority of the players saying they no longer want it in the sport. That being said there should not be fighting unless it is a in a professional league(AHL or similiar league/NHL). The crap where you see kids in the various levels of juniors, peewee, college, and other young leagues is garbage. Fighting is the work of men, not boys.

  8. I think fighting is the NHL’s biggest dilemma. The league management is scared that somebody will get killed or paralyzed after hitting their head on the ice, like what happened in the OHL.

    That said, make sure helmets stay on at ALL times and chinstraps are not so loose that the helmet can come of easily (Chelios comes to mind). Make it a penalty just like the tie-downs on the jerseys. If guys still want to fight and possibly break a hand or finger on another guys helmet, then so be it. I think this would limit some unnecessary fighting that is simply to “send a message” at the end of a 10-1 blowout.

    Fighting is part of the game. I think if some of the cheap-shot artist didn’t have even the threat of physical consequence for their actions, we would see more slashing, spearing and charging. The old-timers always say that high-sticking is more prevalent now that the players have helmets and visors.

  9. Sorry if this is repeating, but I say fighting is just part of the game. And, for the most part, I don’t agree that it’s gratuitous. You want gratuitous/pointless fighting – go see a CHL game when one team gets a 2-goal lead – I am tired of that kind of fighting. But I think the NHL is a great balance of gentlemanly, good sportsmanship and physical pride. Intimidation is a facet of the game.

    I have never played, but it seems inevitable that tempers will flare in such a physical sport. And maybe fighting is a way for the refs to keep some control of the game by letting players vent some pressure.

    Maybe some folks want to see fighting banned so they don’t have to see Crosby try it again….

  10. The 1st day of the Final Olympic Qualfiying just wrapped up today.

    Group E (In Hannover Germany)

    Slovenia 3 Austria 4 (OT) (0-0, 3-2, 0-1, 0-1)

    Germany 7 Japan 1 (3-1, 3-0, 1-0)

    This should be realtivly easy of the Germans, on how the Austria Slovenia game went out, they don’t seem have to talent to over come them. Germany should qualify from here. Japan won’t be competive at all.

    Group F (In Riga, Latvia)

    Italy 2 Ukraine 3 (0-1, 0-0, 2-2)

    Latvia 7 Hungary 3 (1-1, 3-2, 3-0)

    For Latvia, this group is tougher then it looks. Hungary gave them a very tough game through the 2nd period, including scoring the opening goal of the game 7 minutes into the game. HUN Games against Italy and Ukraine should be intresting to watch. for Italy, their defense and goaltending are very good but their have a pretty weak offense and have problems with penalties. For Ukraine a surprize win today, but they won’t go much further then this, since the late 90s Ukraine national team is not that good and their younger players can’t be trusted that much.

    Group G (in Olso, Norway)

    Denmark 1 France 2 (OT) (1-0, 0-0, 0-1, 0-1)

    Norway 2 Kazakhtsan 1 (0-0, 2-1, 0-0)

    A big upset win for France will be a big boost to their hopes. Both France and Kazakhstan have strong goaltending that will keep them in the games against the much stronger Denmark and Norway. A very disappointing game for Denmark today just stung. For Norway, the top line for them will need to be strong as the forwards have some great shots but the speed isn’t their. This will defently be the most competitive of the 3 groups.

    My Predicitions to Qualfiy
    Germany, Latvia and Norway

  11. Just 1 group in action today for the Final Round Olympic Qualfication.

    Group E
    Off Day

    Group F
    Italy 4 Hungary 1 (2-0, 1-0, 1-1)

    Italy had a good comeback after a close loss to Ukraine on Thursday. A 4-1 win could have them in contention if they can beat Latvia on Sunday. They have the goaltending, but the offense may be their shortcomming in their group finale against the Latvains. For Hungary, they couldn’t comeback after a strong game against Latvia and have been elinmated from Olympic Contention.

    Ukraine 2 Latvia 4 (1-0, 0-2, 1-2)

    After a pretty good start for Ukraine, the Latvian team took over the 2nd period with a strong PP and their speed. Ukraine will have revenge on the mind as they play Hungary in their final game after the HUN beat them to promote for this year’s IHWC Comming up in May. For Latvia, a single point will clinch them an Olympic Spot.

    Group G
    Off Day

    Saturday Schedule

    Group E
    Slovenia VS. Japan
    Austria VS. Germany

    Group F
    Off Day

    Group G
    Denmark VS. Kazakhstan
    France VS. Norway

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