A New Style Episode of The Rink Podcast: Tweetcast

I don’t do a lot of promotion of new episodes of my podcast, The Rink, on this blog. Maybe that is a mistake, but I wanted to keep the content here more about the writing, and less about the podcast.

This is a bit of an exception.

Late last night, I posted Episode 45, what I’m calling a tweetcast. On the spur of the moment, I went on Twitter and asked people if they had five minutes to talk about hockey, and what was on their hockey minds. I got some good responses, and rolled them into one podcast. You can find that podcast here:

The Rink Episode 45 – Tweetcast

I plan on doing more of these, and would love to have some of you come on the show. The best way to find out when the next one is going to happen is to follow either of my twitter feeds. The one at twitter.com/rinkpodcast is specific to the podcast, and only deals with the podcast. My twitter feed, twitter.com/tapeleg, has hockey but a whole lot more. If you don’t want the extra stuff that is my life and thoughts and all that, best to stay away. It isn’t for everyone.

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If You Thought The Refs Were Good / Bad Before: Walkom to Step Down

Darren Dreger just dropped a minor bomb on twitter a little bit ago:

Stephen Walkom is stepping down as NHL dir of officiating and will attempt an on-ice comeback.

I think that sound I heard was a large vein in my head exploding. I had to rush over to TSN to find out more:

The 46-year old recently informed the league of his decision after several months of contemplating the move.

Walkom will physically prove he can return and will participate in the NHL officials training camp which opens on Sept 7.

I guess with the gapping void left by Mick McGeough and Kerry Fraser, we needed someone to direct our anger at.

While this is still in the “Sources tell TSN” stage, this has the potential of being a big move. If there was a number two face of the post lockout “new” NHL, Walkom was it, defending his refs, setting policies, and creating the checks and balances systems to keep an eye on his officials that many people felt failed miserably. He was the public face of the new rules, and was applauded for cleaning up the game, and vilified for ruining it at the same time. Calling everything seemed like such a good idea at the time. Will it hold up with a change at the top? Will the owners and GMs take this opportunity to review what they have wrought?

In any situation of massive overhaul, someone is going to be the fall guy, or take blame that isn’t deserved, and I’m sure Walkom has his share. But while the defenders of Gary Bettman will quickly point out that he is just a puppet for the owners, it’s fairly obvious he has massive sway and influence. I’m sure Walkom was in the same boat. The post-lockout era so far has been defined in a large part by the rules he had to oversee, and the refs he was in charge of. Without the rule changes, we wouldn’t have the parades to the penalty box, the uptempo game, and consequently, the shortening of some NHL careers. Walkom was the man who tried to keep all this in line. Combine that with the salary cap, and you have fundamental changes to the game that couldn’t have happened separately.

And if you don’t think this will have any influence on the league, name the directors of officiating for the other three major sports. Don’t look it up. Tell me when the last time you say said director get interviewed on a national broadcast. If you can do it, you are a bigger sports fan than I can imagine.

Who will replace Walkom (should this report pan out?). Make me happy, TSN:

Sources say the league is currently searching for Walkom’s successor, but will likely start the 2009-2010 season without his replacement in place.

Well, that’s comforting.
Good luck on the ice, Walkom. I’m sure everyone will be happy to see you back.

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Does Balsillie Want to Lose?

I just saw this in my feed reader:

Canadian billionaire Balsillie sets Sept. 14 deadline for Coyotes deal

Um, does this seem smart?

PHOENIX — Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has submitted an amended proposed agreement to buy the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes for US$212.5 million and immediately move them to Hamilton, with or without the NHL’s consent.

The document filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court says Balsillie can walk away from the deal if the contentious issues in the complex case have not been resolved in his favour by Sept. 14. That’s four days after the scheduled auction of the team and one day before the Coyotes are to play their first pre-season game.

So, let me get this straight. Jim Balsillie is going to pull his deal if he doesn’t get his way by a certain date? Doesn’t that just give the NHL another timeframe to drag their feet and force him out? Why does Balsillie keep giving the NHL ammo?

And this may be the more obvious question. Why not keep the team in Phoenix for one year, reduce your bid a little to offset that cost, and move them next year, when it makes more sense? Am I the only one who thinks that way? What am I missing?

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Is There a Problem with the New Team Canada Jerseys?

Nike, we have a problem.

There was plenty of hoopla and fanfare surrounding the release of the new Team Canada Olympic hockey jerseys. As you may know, the IOC decided that the actual logos of the team’s governing bodies would not be allowed on team jerseys (this was also behind the changes made to the USA Hockey jerseys). The jerseys themselves we released to the public this Monday.

My girlfriend and I are rarely ones to pass up a new jersey, and once she saw the new crest on the front, she was more than happy to get one. So now, we own a red Team Canada jersey (despite the fact that it looks a little like a Red Wings jersey). We even took it to the Women’s National Team vs. U-22 Women’s game that night.

Thursday was the first time we washed the jersey (cold water, Tide Free, Bounce Free dryer sheet), but what we saw afterwards was disturbing:
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You can click any of the images to make them bigger (and I think you may want to, for better detail of the damage)

See those white parts in the crest? They aren’t supposed to be there. Our first thought was soap residue, but that isn’t the case (liquid soap free of dyes and perfumes). It appears whatever was used to create the pattern on the crest has come off. You can see it in more detail here:

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Notice the weave is still intact and visible where the pattern is missing:

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The dimes in this picture are placed there for scale (one from the USA and one from Canada so we all know what we are talking about here):

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This is a major problem. While I am trying not to be inflammatory or spout off with accusations without any further investigation or correspondence with the manufacturer or Hockey Canada (obviously not their fault, but since they are here in Calgary, I may wind up talking to them), but this doesn’t bode well. Is a jersey that costs $120 CAD ($109.90 US from my last exchange rate check) not able to stand up to one single washing machine cycle?

I want to be clear. I have not yet contacted anyone about this. I have not talked to anyone at Nike, or Hockey Canada, or the place we bought it at (in Banff). I am not yet a dissatisfied customer (other than inconvenience) because I haven’t had any interaction with anyone responsible for the jersey.

But this is an issue. And I will be pursuing it until satisfied.

Has anyone else had problems with their jerseys? Please contact me or let people know in the comments.

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