St. Louis Blues Alumni Could Mean Any Number of Things

After this past season's Mizzou-Kansas Border War hockey "game" – a shared dream some of us had where we thought the University of Kansas had a hockey team, but then we woke up and all was right with the world again – one could only imagine what kind of exciting hockey events could be on the horizon for our metro area.  Well, here ya go.

Friday, January 18th, 2013, at Independence Events Center, the University of Missouri hockey club will play against members of the St. Louis Blues Alumni.  Who is on that team?  Who knows!  Could be any number of players!  Phil Housley!  Derek Armstrong!  Tommy Barrasso!  Charlie Huddy!  Wayne Gretzky!!!  What an amazing lineup, I can't see why none of those guys won't play!  Anyway, there's probably more info coming on this event, so keep a look out.

Remember when Mizzou and Kansas were supposed to play on January 17th of next month?  Yeah, I don't know if that's going to happen now, but this other thing is, so yay!

UPDATE:  Oh, I guess some of the players include Jon Casey, Tony Twist, and Darren Pang.  Oh well.

My Announcer Could Beat Up Your Announcer

Bob Miller, Stanley Cup Champion
In case you need a delightful hockey tale about the "good ol' days" in your life right now, here you have it (link below).

Bob Miller, the play-by-play announcer of the Los Angeles Kings' since 1973, wrote a story a few weeks ago over at the LA Kings Insider site about a trip the Kings made to face the Scouts at Kemper Arena.  It's a delightful tale of the Scouts losing, but also has everything you want in a story about Kansas City: people throwing crap on a playing surface, lazy security guards, imposing jerks, and empty threats.

Anyway, it's a good story, if for no other reason because there are few people out there with a Scouts story.  By the way, both the Kings and Scouts played in something called the NHL, which I'm told is a former North American pro hockey league.

LA Kings Insider – There Used to be an Arena - Kemper Arena

Not Hockey, Just Thought You Should Know

The Kansas City Brigade/Command, the American Football League franchise that played in Sprint Center, ceased operations in September.  But don't fret, local indoor football fan!  Kansas City has a new team – the Renegades – playing in the regional Champions Professional Indoor Football League.  And they are going to play in Kemper Arena!  Oh wow.

The ten or twelve game season is set to begin in February, so Kemper Arena has events for about five or six days over the course of the next year.  Could this signal a rebirth of the arena, a new era, a Renaissance d'Kemper?  Eh, probably not.  But, hey, it's being used for sports again.  As for the Sprint Center, well, it loses its only permanent tenant.  The narrative writes itself.

Here is the team's official stance on using Kemper Arena:
Kansas City is a football town. We know that football is about more than just hard hits and great plays. It's about the atmosphere, and Kemper Arena provides Kansas City fans with best possible atmosphere for professional indoor football. Starting in the 2013 season, fans will be able to come to a KC Indoor Football game and tailgate with friends, family, and football fans. Then they will enter into the largest arena CPIFL, with over 17,000 seats. There will be loud crowds, live music and smash mouth professional indoor football.

Videos for Your Viewing Pleasure

Here are a couple Ice Breaker Tourney videos courtesy of College Hockey Inc.  The first video features all goals from all of the games.  The second video are highlights of the Notre Dame–Nebraska-Omaha championship game.  Enjoy!

Question: At about :52 seconds of the above video, why do the college officials have to go ALL THE WAY into the timekeepers' bench to watch a video replay?  That's terribly inconvenient.

Since the tournament:
Army 2-3-1 overall, 4th in Atlantic Hockey
Notre Dame 6-2 overall, 1st in CCHA
Nebraska-Omaha 4-3-1 overall, 3rd in WCHA
Maine 1-8 overall, last in Hockey East.  Only victory against Army in Consolation Game.

The Ice Breaker Tournament: A Superficial Review

You are winner.
Disappointment was my initial feeling.  Then sleepy.  Then apathetic.  Then...meh.  Go hockey.
I hope this isn't true, but there were only 2,254 at the Sprint Center (according to the box score) last weekend for the Ice Breaker tournament.  That can't be right, can it?  Last year, on a college campus of a school in the finals, 9,000+ people attended.  Surely KC could have gotten half of that number to show up.  Either way, bully for those of you who got to see the games in person.

Before we freak out too much, it's worth a look at the attendance numbers when the Ice Breaker was in St. Louis, a neutral site, two years ago.  The final featured Boston University and Notre Dame, and only had just over 2,000 people attend (again, according to the box score).  The tournament was also in an NHL-sized arena -- Scottrade Center -- so, yeah.  Don't feel too bad, Kansas City hockey fans.  We beat the average!

But, I for one hoped more people would attend, especially for a televised event.  But, we can't always get what we want.  That didn't take away from the good times had by those in attendance, I'm sure.  Alas, there are other things to do on a Friday and Saturday night in Kansas City, despite popular belief.  The only real issue with people not showing up to the Ice Breaker is that hockey folks around town assumed people would pack the house for the Rangers-Avalanche game scheduled for the Saturday before.  Of course, the NHL is different than the NCAA for a variety of reasons, so fans found something else to do or went on living their lives instead of exchanging their tickets.

Here's a theory: It is my experience that people do not like the band Creed, much like the whole Internet has a problem with the band Nickelback.  I would argue that people do not like Creed mainly because the lead singer Scott Stapp has a history of being a huge douche.  That makes sense.  Those people suck.  But, one shouldn't be so quick to ignore that Mark Tremonti is a great alt-rock guitraist (thus, I would suggest one listen to Alter Bridge or Tremonti's band, two other sources of similar entertainment without the nuisance of having to support Stapp -- but alt-rock may not be your thing, so whatever). 

The NCAA is kind of like Scott Stapp.  Millions of people around the country are devoted fans to a particular college, but it's just not the same as rooting for professionals.  The NCAA isn't the highest level of athletics in the world, and in fact can be fairly annoying at times (as an institution), so fans may not have an inclination to just go to a particular event.  They go watch the Mavericks instead (Tremonti, in this analogy).  Just a theory.

Anyway, a packed lower bowl would have surprised me, but it would have been awesome to see.  Oh well.  I guess all of the incredibly informed people around the hockey-internet-o-sphere will point at this as a reason Kansas City is a vast wasteland not fit for life, let alone hockey.

The attendance issue -- which really isn't that much of an issue in hindsight -- aside, here are a few other problems I had with the presentation of the game.  Just some intangibles that could have made the experience better.

This one is tough, obviously, because the bands either had something else to do, or they couldn't travel logistically or financially.  It would have been cool, though, had Nebraska-Omaha brought a band or something since they don't have football and are only a couple hours away (more on that later).  The fight songs after a goal was a nice touch in their absence, though.

National Anthem
I don't know if there is some kind of rule in college forbidding anthem singers, so forgive me, but there seriously wasn't one, two, or four people around town that could have sang the National Anthem before each game?  Instead we get the pre-recorded anthem.  And I don't even think it was the one they use for the Olympics.  C'mon, where is the glee club, or the 25 year old Mariah Carey wannabe when you need them?

No merch tables?  What the hell?  There I was, with a fistfull of dollars, ready and willing to buy a Maine shirt or Notre Dame crap or whatever, but there was nothing.  What kind of capitalist country is this?  Even the MO Mavericks table was giving away free stuff.  Bummer, man.

Public Address Announcer
No argument here.  Steve Garrett is awesome and should PA announce for every sport in the city for the rest of forever.  I miss "KAAAAAAAANSAAAAS CIIIIITTTTYYYYY GOOOOAAALLLLLLLLLLLL" so hard you don't even know.

UNO Cheering Section
Fine the first night.  Actually funny at times.  The second many times can you chant "U-N-O Mavericks" before it gets repetitive.  Three.  The answer is three times.  Though the exasperated "GOOOO WIZARDSSSSS" chant every now and then was a nice change of pace.

I have no problem with these people.  They let us sit wherever we wanted.  Good on them.  I take umbrage with the three ushers who removed us from the upper deck like we were going to start a riot.  As if at any time a three-on-three Mortal Kombat death match could occur.  Well, maybe so of I wasn't in a hoodie, but next time bring it on. I'll be ready for ya then.

Introducing the Unscientific, Arbitrary, Favorite College Hockey Team Deciding Flowchart


Click to embiggen, just like it says above, or click here and use the zoom in tool you resourceful Internet user.  Or click here.  Or perhaps here.  CLICK HERRRREEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Do you not have a favorite college hockey team?  Well, you came to the right place, champ.  All 59 NCAA Division 1 hockey programs represented in the preceding flowchart.  SCIENCE was not used in determining this chart.  EMOTION was though, so that's good.  College sports fandom is based on EMOTION.  The green arrows are 'yes' answers to the questions presented.  The red arrows are 'no' responses.  Yes, the flowchart looks like Africa and southwestern Asian continent.  Yes, that is a coincidence.


The schedule is as follows:

All games will be televised on NBC Sports Network.

Check out each school's primer for the Ice Breaker while you are here:

Nebraska-Omaha doesn't not have a story on the tournament

Check out PucKChaser's much more detailed preview of each squad.

Once again, click here to check out the flowchart's full size.

Oh, also, look at that post below.  Nutbush's first post.  Welcome, Nutbush.

Something Called the NHL Cancels Entire Preseason

Seattle Still Not Getting An NHL Team, Media Hangs On To Every Word Willy Wonka Says

lol labor disputes
Via ABC News, AP Photo/ The Seattle Times,  John Lok
Insert something thoughtful about the Oilers-to-Seattle mess currently in the news here. 

It's all already been said.  It was said way before it was even officially said.  Oilers to Seattle: not going to happen.  Any team, at this present moment, and over the course of the next two years, to Seattle: not going to happen.  Very few people in the media understand this, apparently, or just need something to write about.  PucKChaser gets it.  I'm sure a good chunk of you Kansas Citians out there get it.

Why is this so hard to understand?

As similar as Seattle's situation with the Oilers is to KC's situation with the Penguins was, they differ in one major regard.  The Sprint Center wanted (still wants...?) a tenant, any tenant.  NBA, NHL, the exclusive home of Grave Digger.  Anything.  Seattle just wants the NBA.  After the Sonics/Thunder divorced Seattle, Seattle has been trying to get back a team that kind of looks like the Sonics, but without the bitchy in-laws, and maybe a little more blonde than brunette this time.  They also would prefer nice teeth, but it's certainly not a deal breaker.  An NHL team – after an NBA team, mind you – would be bully for them.  Certainly not enough to build an arena around, though, not matter how much potential she has or how many rings she owns.

This is all I can say to Daryl Katz – owner of the Oilers and the least impressive Martin Short rug I have ever seen: At least make sure the city you are using as leverage actually wants a hockey team before you indeed use them as leverage.

There are some smart thinkers in the ranks of the owners, boy howdy.  Theorists, really.

Since it doesn't get much more black and white as that,  here is one of my early forays into .gif making.  It's Dave Tippett swearing after an LA Kings goal in the Western Conference final.  Because it's never not funny to capture someone swearing on live television:
Also, check out that Grave Digger link.  Lesson number one out there for all you kids thinking about becoming a blogger: there is never a bad time to link to YouTube videos of Grave Digger within a blog post.

True story, I actually went to see Monster Jam or whatever the hell they call it at Kemper about eight years ago, and I was so stoked for the Grave Digger portion of the show which was the finale or something, and the damn thing came out for thirty seconds, hit a ramp wrong, and flipped over.  Sure, it was awesome, but not as awesome as it could have been.

Always Tip Your Busboy

This can't be true...

Kansas City is the smallest market for AEG, and its presence here was prompted by unique circumstances. 
Phil Anschutz, the Denver billionaire owner of Anschutz Co., is a University of Kansas alumnus and native of Russell, Kan. 
He met former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes at KU when he was a bus boy at her sorority house. That acquaintance helped encourage Anschutz’s later interest in backing the Sprint Center.
Small world.

Read more here:

Calling All Kansas City Billionaires: AEG Up For Sale

AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group), the owner and operator of our own Sprint Center, is for sale.  It's not exactly known what will come from this, or if our good friend Tim Leiweke will be kicked to the curb and forced to be an organ grinder just to make a living, but it will mean a change in the management if all of AEG's properties.

The AP article goes on to say that everything is just fine for LA's futile prospects of courting an NFL franchise, what will this mean for Kansas City.  Will we continue to see an exhibition game each year, or even have tournaments like Ice Breaker or any other hockey events?  Coupled with the NHL lockout, and the real possibility that the Rangers-Avs game will be cancelled, has the Sprint Center peaked too soon, and sealed its fate as a decent concert venue for the next thirty years?  The pessimist in us all wants to say 'yes,' and we wouldn't be wrong.  But – and bear with me here – what if this new company, whoever it is, demands more out of a world class venue like the Sprint Center despite owning and operation showpieces around the globe?  What if Kansas City becomes a testing ground, or the crown jewel of the Midwest?  Maybe they won't lure an NHL or NBA franchise (if anything, the NHL is headed for contraction...hopefully not of all thirty teams...), but bring in more sporting events.  Not even just hockey.  A Frozen Four, a March Madness regional, the Big XII, the SEC, youth events, exhibition games, etc.  They can make it happen.  Please do, whoever you are, for the sake of our city's sports sanity.

Independence Events Center Hosts Local College Hockey Tournament September 21-22

Ready for college hockey to come to the Sprint Center?!?!  Forget you know anything about that because the Independence Events Center is about to BLOW YOUR MIND.

Next weekend, Friday and Saturday the 21st and 22nd (respectively), the IEC is hosting a FREE Kickoff College Hockey Tournament featuring three local college hockey clubs from Kansas, Mizzou, and Missouri State.  As stated before, these are club teams that play in the MACHA (click the link for more info).  Remember, this event is FREE.  Yes, FREE.  Of course, the IEC is collecting $5 donations for their youth skating programs.

So, c'mon, support your local ice facilities, ya jerks.

The Schedule (all games at IEC)
Mizzou vs Kansas, 8pm
Mizzou vs MO State, 11am
Kansas vs MO State, 8pm

Ice Breaker Tournament Games To Be Televised on NBCSN

Are you going to the Ice Breaker Tournament games at the Sprint Center on October 12th and 13th?  Well, you should, because aside from the Mavericks, that may be the only non-rec league hockey we get to see in our fair metropolitan area this fall/winter.  But, if you can't make it out, don't worry because NBC Sports Network has you covered.

Three of the tournament games – including the tournament championship – will be shown on NBCSN.  Here is the schedule, via SBNation:
So, this is nice.  Every team gets at least one game on television.  For Army, this will be their only NBCSN televised game.

This will not only give Kansas City hockey fans a nice change of pace from the NHL exhibition games every year, but also expose the Sprint Center ice its first television audience.  The barn may not be completely full for these games, but this will give a section of the national hockey-loving public a taste of what Kansas City has to offer as a hockey town.

To the best of my research, other than Mavs and Blades games that have been televised locally on MetroSports, I cannot find the last actual nationally televised hockey game in Kansas City history.  Has there been one?  My knowledge of the 1970s is a bit fuzzy, but television coverage for the Scouts may have been minimal, if not nonexistent (just ask Aaron over at the NHL in KC).  Please correct me if I'm wrong, though.

Go be a part of Kansas City hockey history and sit in the stands, or watch, the first (maybe) nationally televised hockey game in Kansas City history!

NBCSN channels in KC:
Time Warner: 55, 323, 1323
U-Verse: 640, 1640
Dish: 159
DirecTV: 603

NBCSN channel page

Construction Update: Burlington Creek Ice Rink Still to Open in November

Above is a not-so-good photo of the new outdoor ice rink coming soon to the Burlington Creek shopping district in the Northland.  As mentioned, this is a really, really small rink.  Like, think of a really small ice rink, and then picture it about half that size.  Yeah, muy pequeño.  Muy muy muy.

Basically, to the far left of the photo is the tower-thing (pictured below), which represents one far side of the rink.  If you click on the photo and make it larger, you will see the edge of the businesses on the far right, which is the other end of the rink.  I assume that tree isn't going anywhere, so the rink will shimmy into that space up against Em Chamas et al.  It's essentially going to be an ice covered patio.

But don't fret, Kansas City area ice sport enthusiast!  It is still an ice rink.  Plus, the KC ICE site – not updated since its creation – still boasts it is in some way supposed to support Russell Stover hockey.  Also, it's still going to open this winter, so says the banner on the tower-thing built (I assume) just to hold the banner stating when the rink will open.  So, that's good. 

Glendale Episode MMLXVII: A New Hope

The City of Glendale extended the arena management agreement with the NHL from now until infinity.  Have you ever been to the fourth dimension?  The city of Glendale has.  And it made an agreement with the NHL there too, so don't you try taking their arena away.

The Phoenix Coyotes exist within the Matrix.  Remember, always take the red pill.

Mizzou–Kansas Border War in Independence Tentatively Set for January 17th

The Mizzou–Kansas Border War hockey showdown – one of the few places you can still see Mizzou and Kansas play each other – will take place in Independence once again on January 17th, 2013.  It's true.  No official word yet, of course.

The January 17th meeting will be the third and final meeting between the two rivals this upcoming season.  Mizzou is the defending Mid-America Collegiate Hockey Association Division II champion.  MACHA is a collection of college level club hockey teams throughout the United States.

Remember last year's game?  What a mess.

Vintage Fight: Dody Wood Fights Because Dody Wood Was Awesome

For your viewing pleasure – shot on NOT a cell phone camera but a real camera instead – here is a fight between Dody Wood of YOOOOOUUURRRRRR Kansas City Blades and some guy named Mick Vukota who played a few seasons in the NHL and fizzled out of existence shortly after this game.  Wood, meanwhile, went on to greatness in the British Ice Hockey Superleague, and retired as the most popular Blade of all-time.

This fight comes from a regular season game in 1999 – two years before the Blades' demise – and although this fight leaves something to be desired, the best part of the clip is the Kemper Arena crowd reaction.  You can't see how many fans were at the game, but you sure could hear them.  Ah, the old Kemper stands, the cool respite from the bitter cold outside.  The scores of intoxicated hockey fans, constantly screaming for blood even during the intermission break.  The thrill of a Blades goal, you could feel it from the other couple of thousand of your closest friends around you, and the despair of an opponents victory, how everything got quieter in the concourse despite the increased volume of people.  Kind of like a Mavericks game now.  If you go to a Mavs game, it sucks you in, and for that night you live and die with the team.  But, that's not the best part of the clip.  That would be the guy wearing the full Western gear, cowboy hat and everything, losing it over a hockey fight.  I'm sure he's seen some crazy scraps out on the range, or gun shop, or wherever he came from.  Props to you, Mr. Cowboy-Hat-Wearing-Hockey-Fan-Guy, we miss you.  That, in essence, is Kansas City hockey.  Those who love it, love it, and they love to see it.  Those who are indifferent – when giving it a chance and with enough hockey saturation within the city – will grow to enjoy it.  Remember when you were a burgeoning hockey fan in the middle of America (or wherever), what experiences did you have that brought you back to the sport?  Maybe you didn't fall in love with it at first, but now you can't get enough.  This city does not satiate your appetite, not by a long a shot.  But you won't let your hockey fandom just disappear.  Nope.  Something keeps bringing you back.  Back to the Sprint Center.  Or the IEC.

 So, as we approach the Greatest Month of Hockey in the History of Kansas City Since 1976™(debatable), and you go out to the Ice Breaker Tourney, or a Mavs game, or (possibly) the NHL exhibition game, remember to take someone along who may not enjoy the game as much as you do.  Show them what they are missing.

Or, just go to a Mavs game whenever.  Watching minor league hockey fights might be the best fights you see all season...
* * *
Thanks to the random people that upload old IHL clips to YouTube.  You really don't know how cool it is to have your existence validated because something you care about meant something to someone else enough for them to take the time to upload it online.  Or something like that.

The real issue here: Who brings a late 1990s camcorder to a hockey game?

ICYMI: Tickets Selling For Preseason Game Despite Lockout Worries, McGannon Hopeful for KC-Friendly CBA

What was the deal with the bow?
An article early last week in the Kansas City Business Journal took a look into ticket sales for October's preseason game at the Sprint Center.  And, hey, sales are good despite the looming storm clouds of a lockout.  Sooo, bully for that!

Of course, NHL21's own Paul McGannon was interviewed on the issue, and the most surprising thing about that is NHL21 still apparently exists despite not really still existing.  You may remember early this summer the formation of KCIce, spearheaded by McGannon and former KC Blade Ken Morrow, McGannon's foray into youth ice sports and ice rink management.  Perhaps NHL21 still does exist, it's just McGannon with a plaque above his bathroom door (or whatever) that says NHL21.  Anyway, he had something to say about the new CBA, and let me tell you, he's siding with the players on this one:
“We’re hopeful that the new collective bargaining agreement will be Kansas City-friendly, meaning we’d like to see some revenue sharing in there, like baseball and football, that would help a city like ours flourish in the NHL,” McGannon said.
Kansas City friendly?  Well, that depends on the owner.  David Glass takes the MLB's shared revenue and does with it what he pleases.  And Clark Hunt benefits as much as any other NFL owner in the league, but, again, that money does not have to go towards team salaries or stadium repairs, etc.  Obviously.

But, to be fair to the situation, McGannon is referring to the desire of the players and poorer owners to have revenue sharing – along with the current hard salary cap.  This, in turn, would disperse a portion of all league revenues to every team, instead of allowing the rich to get richer.  Sure, this would be great for a small market like Kansas City...if there were a team.  What McGannon is implying is that he hopes to see an NHL team in KC over the course of (let's say) the next six to eight years – the likely duration of a CBA.  And why shouldn't he?  As little influence as he may have over NHL ownership in Kansas City (which should be pretty obvious by now), he, like us all, expected to have a team shortly after the construction of the Sprint Center.

Is a team in the next six years realistic?  Well, the Coyotes are in an odd position with Greg Jamison right now as he keeps gaining and losing possible investors.  Plus, there is no guarantee that things will go smoothly with new ownership in Glendale.  A franchise like New Jersey is financially struggling.  Florida is always in a bad place because they are Florida.  There is always talk of expansion, but there's just as much talk of contraction.  Anything is possible, but it's not like McGannon is doing much to help the situation.  So, really, he's just like the rest of us.  Hopeful.  For now, let's just hope we have a preseason game to go to this season and just go from there.

So don't be afraid to buy tickets, because you will get a refund anyway.

Stop Asking Henrik Lundqvist Frivolous Questions

The other day the New York Rangers twitter folks did a Twitter Tuesday question and answer thingy with All-Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist.  Basically, you tweet a question to the @thenyrangers account with the hashtag #askhank and Henrik makes a video responding to your question.  Simple enough, right?

Nope.  People had to go ask outdated questions about nothing.  Good job, people!  As you can see in the photo above, someone asked Hank his favorite Blink 182 song.  Yep, that Blink 182.  It doesn't really matter if he listens to Blink 182 before games or whatever the hell he does concerning Blink 182 because, seriously, that's the best question you have?

Anyway, I have no idea what he responded because the accompanying video was deleted for reasons undetermined.  Oh well.  Let's all just assume it was some popular song like All the Small Things (because he's a pro athlete...what else would it be?), or something obscure to show his zany hipster side.  Really, who cares.  Let this be a lesson that you should never rely on people to do anything.  That's exactly what this teaches us.

And that's the point, because, in contrast, the Sprint Center's official twitter account (@sprintcenter) went out of its way to ask Hank – the guy who will probably-maybe-hopefully-okay-definitely-not be playing an exhibition game in this city in October, and coming here for the first time in his life – if he has ever had world famous KC style barbecue.  Alas, Hank and the Rangers shrugged off this pressing question for some crap about a '90s punk rock band – who is fine in their own right, don't get me wrong.  Good show, Rangers.  That's strike one.  First to three loses out on my affection for that one cool night in October (psst...that's supposed to make you sad and beg for my forgiveness because you wouldn't like the Internet when it's angry...).

Experiment: Internet Determines the NHL's Pending Work Stoppage

Are you worried about a possible NHL lockout?  Upset you may not get to see your beloved Rangers or Avs play at the Sprint Center this season.  Well, you have come to the right place.
To soothe your shaken nerves, I decided to do a scientific test using the Internet to determine whether or not the NHL and NHLPA will agree on a new collective bargaining agreement before the end of the summer. Why the Internet, you ask? Well, because the Internet knows everything. That is not an opinion – that is science – amazing device quite frankly. So let's see if it can help us to see into the future.

The methodology of this experiment relies on both the randomness and wealth of knowledge one will find when on the Internet. By putting my trust in some computer programmers somewhere, the intention is to see if sites using artificial intelligence algorithms to generate automatic responses to human users can come to a common consensus on one particular issue. The question presented in each case is "Will the NHL and NHLPA agree on a new collective bargaining agreement before the end of the summer." Here are the results.
First Test
The first site I visited trumpeted "Ask the Magic Eight Ball." So, I did. Basically, you input a question, and the Magic Eight Ball graphic will dispense an eight-ball-esque answer. It's first reply to my question was, "Reply hazy, ask again later." So, I waited a minute, got impatient, did something else for a while, remembered what I was doing, and asked again. This time it replied, "It's decidedly so." So according to the Magic Eight Ball, no lockout. Yay. Result: No lockout (more or less)
Second Test
I then went over to an old friend, Cleverbot. With Cleverbot, human users can have conversations with the AI. After our in-depth, yet disjointed, conversation on the proper diet of a ferret, I asked about the possibility for a new CBA. It replied by saying, "Interesting." My further attempts to elicit a useable response led to Cleverbot dancing around the question like the NHL danced around "Clockgate." Result: Inconclusive
Third Test
For the final test, I simplified things a bit by just flipping a coin. Not my own coin, of course, a virtual coin. The rules were easy. Heads, no lockout. Tails, lockout. Pretty simple. Much to my amazement, I could choose from various different coins. So, I flipped a Canadian $2 Toonie, because, well, Canada seems to like hockey. So, Elizabeth II, no lockout. Polar bear, lockout. The result....ELIZABETH II BITCHES!!!!!!!! AWWWWW YEEEEAAAAAAAA HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN FOR THE WIN!!!! Result: No lockout
Overall, through this experiment, the Internet ruled the possibility of no lockout at about 66%. And the Internet is smart. Like, it killed encyclopedias it's so smart.
Yet, it's reckless to say the Internet knows exactly what will happen. I mean, Cleverbot couldn't even give a straight answer. That's not very encouraging. And that Eight Ball had a bad attitude. Plus, lest we forget, the Internet harbors people like Lenny Palumbo. Oy. In hindsight, that's not a good track record. Maybe this wasn't a good idea.
I guess we will all have to be patient and wait to see what happens. Goooooo no lockout!

Getting to Know U: Comparing and Contrasting NCAA Football and Hockey

Remember, the NCAA Hockey Ice Breaker Tournament is this October 12-13 at the Sprint Center.  Yay!  It's a two day tourney to – more or less – open the NCAA Hockey regular season featuring four teams from four different conferences (cool!).  We should be so honored to host this here in our fair city, so don't take it for granted.  Heck, the NHL season might not get under way for a while (please play please play please play), so you may not get a chance to go to a preseason game this year at the Crystal Kool-Aid Bowl.  There is a host of reasons why a lockout might be detrimental to KC hosting a preseason game in the future, but let's not get into that right now, 'k?

Here's the schedule of the tournament, by the way:
I think Saturday's schedule means any one of those teams could play any of the other teams at any given time.
Anyway, this tournament is sure to get lost in the shuffle among KC sports fans more interested in the world of college football that will be well underway once the Ice Breaker rolls around (even though, y'know, Kansas...).  Since no area schools have an NCAA hockey program (although club teams abound – look to the links on the right), it may take more of an understanding to help get you emotionally invested in something you don't understand but totally should because I said so.  So, let's compare the two sports, shall we?  Oh, we shan't?  No no, that won't do, for you see, knowledge is power. Open your mind, mofo.

Jump for learning.

NCAA Football and NCAA Hockey are the same.  They are also different. (Best. Thesis. Ever.)

Football – NCAA Football has three divisions, with two subdivisions in Division 1.  Division 1 Bowl Subdivision has Mizzou, Kansas, K-State, Michigan, USC, etc.  Division 1 Championship Subdivision has Missouri State, Northern Iowa, etc.  Division 2 features NW Missouri State, Pitt State, etc.  Division 3 features Mount Union, UW-Whitewater, Washington University in StL, etc.  For further discussion, we will only refer to D1 FBS.

Hockey – NCAA Hockey has three divisions, but D2 only has six teams and does not sponsor a championship.  D1 features all of the teams in the Ice Breaker tourney – Maine, Nebraska-Omaha, Army, and Notre Dame.  D3's closest school is Lake Forest College in Illinois.  There are 138 member schools for men, and 86 for women.  For further discussion, we will only refer to D1.

Football – NCAA Football has...hold on... (*checks) eleven conferences – still? – with four independent schools.  In total, there are 124 member schools in D1 FBS.  But remember, with all of the conference instability, this could still happen one day.
Hockey – There are five conferences in D1 hockey, and six beginning next year.  There are two independent programs.  59 member schools in total.  There is no Sun Beast.

Football – haha almost.  Four teams starting next year decided by a committee that everyone will soon hate because they are old and white and from Texas.

Hockey – The Frozen Four, a sixteen team tournament, also selected by a committee.  Resembles playoff format of D1 FCS, D2, and D3 football, with regions and all of that good stuff.  Conference tournament champions get automatic bids, with at-larges filling in the rest.  Sixteen spots for 59 schools is pretty good, eh?

Football – Yes.

Hockey – No.

Championship Trophy:
Football – AFCA National Championship Trophy
Now with detachable crystal ball!
Hockey – Generic NCAA trophy with hockey guy on it
Football – Heisman Memorial Trophy, won by such greats like not-Reggie Bush.

Hockey – Hobey Baker Memorial Award, known best for its mention during Pittsburgh Penguins telecasts.

Via – eh...that's most of the schools, I think.
Via (not pictured: Penn State – that's not a joke, see below)
Penn State:
Football – What, you don't know?

Hockey – Former club team, beginning its first year of play at the Division 1 level as an independent.  Will be a part of the newly formed Big Ten (Hockey) Conference next season.

Football – Usually a twelve team schedule, plus one bowl game.  Possibly with a conference championship game unless you are the Big XII.

Hockey – Most teams play about forty games, playing multiple games at a location and typically over the course of a weekend.  Teams will then play in the conference tournament at the end of the season, which could see a best of three series throughout the tournament.  However, the Frozen Four is a one and done tournament.  The season runs about 25 weeks.

College to Professional:
Football – The NCAA is the minor league of the NFL, for all intents and purpose.  Players from colleges at every level literally make up the entire NFL.  Rarely does a player from another country or league (i.e. NAIA or CIS) find work in the NFL.

Hockey – Typically, NCAA players are not as attractive to NHL clubs as amateur players in the Canadian Hockey League or those in Europe or Russia.  About thirty percent of the NHL is made up of players with an NCAA background, which is a growing number.  Though many do get drafted – as this chart will show – they are not the centerpiece of the draft by any means.  Take, for example, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, a Hobey Baker Award recipient in 1999 and Team USA goalie, was drafted 138th overall.  More recently, the last two Hobey Baker winners have gone undrafted.

Football – Fighting is illegal in college football.
Hockey – Fighting is illegal in college hockey.

Football – Each offense starts at the 25 yard line and attempts to score more than the other team.  Works like an inning system in baseball.  Must go for two point conversion after second OT.

Hockey – Five minutes of OT.  After that, TIES!!!

Native American Mascots
Football – Allowed


Now you should be able to talk about NCAA Hockey around the water cooler or to your friends with confidence!  Stay tuned for more posts in the "Getting to Know U" series to become somewhat invested in NCAA Hockey.  It's really more like NCAA Basketball in that you don't have to know everything to act like you care.

As always, visit USCHO for ALL relevant NCAA Hockey info.

Page-by-Page Breakdown of the NHL's 76,000 Page Financial Report

Via Kevin Westgarth on Twitter @KWesty19
If you haven't heard, the NHL turned over a 76,000(!) page financial report to the NHLPA earlier this week. It's easy to speculate what actually went into the report, but then again, the NHLPA's Donald Fehr said this is just part of the financial information the players' association requested. It is the hope that with this information, the NHLPA will be able to form a counter-proposal to the NHL's proposal early in July.
Well, lucky for you, I called around, and asked nicely, and did some things I'm not proud of, and I have obtained a copy of that report. You can see the page-by-page breakdown after the jump. Are you ready? Prepare to set your mind to blown.

Page 1: Title page
Pages 2-4: Copyright pages
Pages 5-120: Table of contents
Pages 121-509: A very special message from Gary Bettman
Pages 510-903: Introduction by Scott Howson
Pages 904-1,102: The definition of "labor", as described by William H. Sylvis, leader of the National Labor Union of 1866-1873.
Page 1,103: Another title page
Pages 1,104-1,672: Rundown of basic league financials
Pages 1,673-2,109: Charts and graphs
Pages 2,110-2,459: Breakdown of expenses of last six years, team by team.
Pages 2,460-2,598: A chapter simply titled "The Coyotes".
Pages 2,599-3,978: Important stuff
Pages 3,979-6,003: Eh...I don't know, I just skimmed over this stuff.
Pages 6,004-6,201: Expense report on food purchased and consumed by Kyle Wellwood each year of his career (because, you see, he is fat. Harf harf harf).
Pages 6,202-6,204: Some hidden insults about Donald Fehr's mother.
Pages 6,205-6,509: Sidney Crosby's concussion hospital costs.
Pages 6,510-6,608: Report on money – including ad revenue – lost by the league due to Crosby's injury.
Pages 6,609-7,000: Expense report on the construction of a bionic brain and its placement in Crosby's skull.
Pages 7,001-8,489: Charts and graphs of ad revenue
Page 8,490: Cost to cut down the Dustin Penner National Forest (also known as his playoff beard).
Pages 8,491-8,879: Something about Hockey Related Revenue. I don't gets awful preachy.
Pages 8,880-10,012: Blank pages
Pages 10,013-13,003: Copies of senior NHL administrators dinner receipts from company meetings. Expensive dinner receipts.
Pages 13,004-13,503: Advertisement section and listing of bands coming to Toronto
Page 13,504: Full page ad congratulating the Los Angeles Kings on winning the Stanley Cup! WOO!
Pages 13,505-13,903: A plea from New York Islanders' owner Charles Wang titled, "Please Play for Less Money or I'll Move You to Kansas City."
Pages 13,904-15,549: Pages appear to be torn out by Bigfoot.
Pages 15,550-15,979: The NHL's stance on contract structuring.
Pages 15,980-17,150: The entire text of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, used as a metaphor to explain the crux of the NHL's issue with front-loaded contracts.
Pages 17,151-17,670: Conclusion of contract structure stance.
Pages 17,671-19,101: Flip book of Bill Daly's butt on a copier.
Pages 19,102-21,993: Blank pages
Pages 21,994-22,302: NHL's agreement with NBC to tape-delay NHL games starting in 2012-13 since tape-delay's use has been so positive with the public during the Olympics
Pages 22,303-22,304: Magic Eye photo that if you squint real hard you can see a penguin
Pages 22,305-22,909: Expense report on getting Will Ferrell to show up at the Hockey Hall of Fame (he's not cheap, folks)
Pages 22,910-24,600: Report of financial damage caused to other NHL cities based on the clock stopping during Kings–Blue Jackets game.
Pages 24,601-27,309: Report on financial damage caused to City of Vancouver after successful completion of multiple conspiracies over the past twenty years (Take my word, this is an excellent read!).
Pages 27,310-27,311: Two page photo of Bettman and Darth Vader high-fiving members of the Illuminati.
Pages 27,312-46,999: Classified information
Pages 47,000-49,230: Afterword
Pages 49,231-53,789: Annotated bibliography
Pages 53,790-61,324: Index
Pages 61,343-68,009: French index
Pages 68,010-74,342: Spanish index
74,343-76,000: About the authors
Back cover: Book review from Zombie Franz Kafka
"This text has the most disorienting prose I've ever seen in a novel this size. I can't believe I didn't write it!"

Mavs Home Opener November 3rd

The Mavs held a press conference earlier today.  You can read about all of the announcements here.  Of the big announcements, we have:
  1. The Mavs home opener will be November 3rd at the Independence Events Center, narrowly missing the greatest month of hockey in Kansas City in over forty years.  Oh well.  But, yay, home opener!  The opponent is TBA, and the rest of the schedule has yet to be released.  The CHL has ten teams this year, losing Fort Wayne and Evansville to the CHL, and Rio Grande Valley and Dayton to operations cessation.  The Denver Cutthroats are the only new member.  Still a solid core of teams, though, and it would be interesting to know if the Mavs are biding their time for a move to the ECHL in the future.
  2. All of the Mavs 66 games this season will be broadcast on KUDL 1660.  1660 is currently the radio home of the Kansas City T-Bones.  Good to have games on the radio, as any media saturation can only mean more exposure leading to even more sell-outs.  No word on if MetroSports will carry any games like they did two years ago.
  3. The Mavs are having a FanFest September 8th at IEC.  Cool stuff.  You should go.
  4. The Mavs have signed two players, Brian Bicek and Blake Forsyth.  Bicek had 33 goals last season for the Evansville IceMen, while Forsyth – a former Mav – returns after a year.  He tied Cole Ruwe for the league lead in plus/minus for defensemen with a +26 rating in 2010-11.  
Also, some guy named Gio Flamminio exists.  He doesn't play for the Mavs, but who cares.  What a name!

Oh yeah, and the Mavs are going very 'former Florida Panthers alternate jersey meets Denver Broncos logo' with their new design:
Eh, it's a pass, because why not.  It's fairly simple, even if there's a giant horse head on everything.

Greg Jamison is a Diabolical Genius or Has No Idea What He's Doing

Per Mike Sunnucks at the Phoenix Business Journal, prospective Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison may not have the funds or investors to purchase the Coyotes.  Per the NHL, and I paraphrase, "f*ck you, Mike Sunnucks."

From Phoenix Business Journal:
Several sources in Arizona familiar with the Coyotes machinations and supportive of Jamison’s bid are asking with concern why a deal hasn’t been finalized, where Jamison’s money is coming from and who his partners are.

Hanging over all of this is the fact that the $300 million Coyotes-friendly arena deal approved by the city of Glendale can’t be signed by Jamison until he buys the team.
Free agent Coyotes captain Shane Doan has given Jamison until Friday to show some significant progress or finality in buying the league-owned franchise. Otherwise, Doan will sign with another team as soon as next week, according to his agent Terry Bross. Doan has been waiting for the Coyotes’ three-year ownership saga to resolve itself.

Don't be fooled, Jamison's bid to buy the team is still happening despite the city of Glendale's best efforts to destroy itself into oblivion like the house from Poltergeist.  We will see, of course, but the demands of Shane Doan will definitely not speed the process since I don't think Jamison gives two chocolate starfishes what Shane Doan wants.  But, Coyotes fan are beginning to wonder what's up, as well, so it's not like Doan is just being a douche (this time).

One thing that has intrigued me, and apparently members of the media, is the identity of Jamison's "investors."  When asked, he nor the NHL will disclose the parties involved.  They are just people (maybe) with money.  It doesn't really matter, but then again it would be nice to have some kind of transparency or clarity and a sense that someone knows what the hell they are doing in all of this mess.  Sigh.....I guess we can't ask for miracles.

Anyway, I've gathered as much information available on the topic (none), so here's a list of Greg Jamison's top possible investors:

  • Wayne Gretzky's brothers Brent and Keith
  • Shea Weber
  • Shane Doan's children – Awww you should have seen them with their little piggy banks.  Too cute.  It's a shame they'll have to starve.
  • Bary Gettman
  • Mike Tyson
  • Owen Nolan – because what the hell else is he doing these days
  • Matthew Hulsizer's left nut
  • Dustin Brown's Screw You Fund
  • Dan and Pam DeVos (hahaha terrible people)
  • Pete Rose
  • Totally not Pierre-Karl Péladeau, CEO of Québecor
  • The Maloof brothers
  • Charlie Sheen
  • David Gla-hahahhah ahah haha I'm sorry I couldn't say it! hahahahaha haha haha

Puckin' Links: Coyotes Still Exist, Gretzky Wants the NHL in Seattle and So Should You

Deal with it.
The Globe and Mail, your Canadian source for all things Phoenix, keeps you up to date on the Phoenix ownership saga.  We'll do a rundown.  Try to keep up.

First: Glendale approve arena lease and tax for Jamison – or anyone else (lol) – paving the way for Greg Jamison's ownership of the Coyotes franchise and Arena.
Second: Citizens attempt referendum to put lease to public vote.
Third: A bunch of nonsense happens.
Fourth: City rejects voter referendum because...well, various reasons...
Fourth-B: The sheriff down there...I just wished he'd smile more.  Life's not that bad.
Fifth: Citizens won't take decision to court because they have no money and blame the Goldwater Institute.
Sixth: The Goldwater Institute is like, 'do wut?' and waffles on whether or not they want to make a case against something I don't even know anymore.
Seventh: We will know next week if there will be a vote for the sales-tax hike, which...well...hold on...

From the Globe and Mail:

One obstacle, aside from Jamison’s attempts to finance the purchase, remains on July 30. That is the date of a court hearing to decide if a petition calling to put a sales-tax increase for Glendale to a public vote is valid. Glendale officials have said if they cannot get the sales-tax increase they may not be able to pay the $17-million to the Coyotes called for in the first year of a $324-million, 20-year lease for Arena. 
...yeah, what they said.  That's where we are at.  More to come next Monday, I guess.  Either way, the more obstacles in the way, the longer this process drags on.  How long is Jamison willing to wait for everything to get settled?  Will everything ever get settled?  Sadly, Gary Bettman has been the voice of reason through this whole mess.  Good job, Glendale.

Umm...what else...

Oh, Wayne Gretzky going to Seattle now constitutes as news, as it does when he sets foot in any city, foreign or domestic.  Ah, but he has his reasons.

From MyNorthwest:

Dave Mahler of KJR reports that Gretzky is meeting with Bellevue officials to talk about the possibility of bringing the NHL to the area. 
Chris Hansen has said that he and his investment group would bring in an NBA team if his arena plan is approved by Seattle City and King County councils. As for the investment opportunity for a professional hockey team, Hansen has left that open for other interested investors.

First worth noting, Chris Hansen isn't going to bust his ass to get an NHL team.  I'm glad he learned something from his terrible experience.

As for Gretzky, well, he does fit the profile of an "investor."  Gretz has infinity dollars to do with as he sees fit.  He's also Wayne freakin' Gretzky.  Sooo...there's not much we can do about that.

I'm still trying to figure out his connection to Seattle, other than he just wants the NHL there to fulfill some kind of sexual thrill.  Kinky hall of famer.  I'm not sure it matters.  Let's just use this time as an excuse to post a picture of Paulina Gretzky, and wonder how much of Mr. Gretzky's time was spent parenting.  (i'm sorry master gretzky i didn't mean anything by that remark please forgive me you make my dreams come true ooo-oooo ooo-ooo wooo-ooo)
Boy, it's a good thing Captain America was there. Things could've gotten dangerous.

Grainy Pictures of Dirt – KC Ice Center Pavilion Construction Photos

Click to embiggen
Here is the progress today on the KC Ice Center's new outdoor ice rink – also known as the Ice Pavilion.  It looks pretty smooth, and there is a lot of dirt.  So, yeah, construction hasn't actually started yet, other than the leveling process.  Hey, here's another photo!
Again, this project is reported to be done by this November, giving Shawnee's KC Ice Center a second sheet of ice.  The ONLY ice center in the KC area with a second sheet.

Meanwhile, Nutbush corroborates reports from Puckchaer that the Burlington Creek outdoor rink is small.  Like, much smaller than a standard size ice rink.  Which is strange, because that rink is supposed to somehow support the Russell Stover hockey program.

From KC Ice's official site:
The rink will help support and grow ice based sports, competition and activities in Kansas City, such as the nationally recognized Tier 1 United States travel hockey program, Russell Stover Hockey 
Really?  How?  Maybe for practices?  Broom ball?  Impressing the opposite sex on a date?  We will see.

Stay updated on the new outdoor rink on the Kansas side with KC Ice Center's Ice Pavilion updates page.  Though the progress on the rink is going a lot better than the progress on the updates page...