Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dangerously Low Levels Of Mustache Hair Avoided

Brian Murray has been hard at work since firing Cory Clouston from his position of Head Coach. Murray has been looking hard at the history of those privileged to hold the position of Head Coach for the Ottawa Senators, and after much deliberation has determined that the principle failing has been a failure to commit.

Thus enters the mustache.

Wearing a mustache in today's world is an act which required dedication and persistence in the face of a blizzard of Gillette and Phillishave advertising, all with one message: if you ain't in the playoffs, you must be shaving.

Similarly, a head coach must be dedicated to his system and persistent in espousing it to a young team suffering in the face of a blizzard of hockey media types who are keen on finding a scapegoat to hang the latest loss on.

Looking back through Murray's history of head coaches, it is clear that this has been a deficiency that has until now been steadfastly avoided:
  • John Paddock? The man obviously owns shares in Schtick.
  • Craig Hartsburg? Smoother cheeks than Mr. Clean.
  • Cory Clouston? Was he even capable of growing facial hair?
Thus, Murray's search for a head coach has ended with the hiring of this mustache. Former Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean has agreed to wear the mustache for the foreseeable future, and speak for it when necessary.

Murray can rest assured that this highly qualified Head Coach can set a road forward on the ice for the franchise. However he must be aware that should the mustache prove insufficient to the challenge facing it, he will be forced to seek out a beard as a fill-in.


(Seriously, Mr. MacLean, welcome to Ottawa. We're lucky to have you, and I hope that Mr. Murray can give you the pieces needed to build a foundation for future success.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Finishing Your Check

Ken Dryden:
Finishing your check" is so familiar a phrase it seems it must have been part of the original game. It wasn't. It means, as a checker, going after the puck carrier so that even if he makes a pass, you keep going and run into him, too late to stop the pass, but not too late to stop him from continuing up the ice with the play. This is allowed. Indeed, it's a strategy coaches insist upon. Yet if a player is hit before a pass gets to him, this is interference, and everyone agrees. Worse, "finishing your check" rewards the player who is too slow to reach the puck carrier in time, and penalizes the puck carrier who is quick enough to make the pass ahead of the checker. Worse, it puts in physical danger the puck carrier who has to deal with a checker coming at him at high speed, and the checker who has to deal with a puck carrier with his stick up to protect himself. Or worse, it encourages teammates of the puck carrier to take protection into their own hands and "obstruct." All this happened because coaches decided it was a good thing for players to go hard at a puck carrier, and referees got tired of reminding them it wasn't.

What would happen if "finishing your check" was understood as interference? If a checker faced the challenge of getting to the puck carrier in time, or risking a penalty? If a checker was made responsible for his speed, if he had to have it under control, able to go in fast enough to make the hit but slow enough to stop or veer off? To depend on the legality of personal choice, not on the illegality of "obstruction?"

We need to see hits from behind and hits to the head for what they really are. We need to see finishing a check for what it really is. These and other plays are not traditions of the game worthy of protection. They have brought danger to the game. They have hurt the game.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


The NHL cracks down on the most serious issue of the playoffs thus far.

...and they wonder why nobody takes them seriously.