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Why I No Longer Write About Hockey

I can't fool long time readers. has been pretty static for the last few years. It stands, albeit in pieces, as an archive for those willing to search for one of the 3000+ player biographies to be found here. But new content has been sporadic, at best.

Why is that?
I lost the passion for it.
2017 was a great year for me. I was working for the Canadian Museum of History as a hockey researcher. I worked on Wayne Gretzky's book 99 Stories. And I was this close to a deal to start working for the National Hockey League. 
Essentially, my collection of profiles was going to be part of the NHL's centennial project to upgrade content. I would be part of a team supplying biographical information on every player who ever had played a single game in the league - my dream come true - and, after years of giving away content for free, be paid for it. I was even prepared to quit my long time day job to do it.
Turned out, I was being strung along, and then…
Recent posts

Ted Lindsay Passes Away At Age 93

No man on skates was ever too big or too tough for Ted Lindsay to challenge. At 5'8" and 160lbs he used his big stick and his fists to cut down some of the biggest meanest men in National Hockey League history.

He was known as Scarface or Terrible Ted. The scars on his rugged face represented his courage in his many on ice battles. How many scars he can't tell you, because he lost count after 400 stitches. The nickname "Terrible" only referred to his reputation, because his play was magnificent.

The son of NHL goaltender Bert Lindsay, Ted Lindsay broke into the league in 1944 making the big jump to the NHL at age 19. Lindsay was a celebrated junior player with the St. Michael's Majors in Toronto, but somehow escaped the talent scouts of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Renfrew-born, Kirkland Lake raised Lindsay was property of the Detroit Red Wings, much to the chagrin of Leafs boss Conn Smythe.

Lindsay stepped in as a rookie and played on a line with the great Syd…

Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla played hockey hard and honest, skillfully and physically. He was the complete package, a modern day Gordie Howe if you will. Despite going to war night in and night out, he never made an enemy.

In 21 seasons and 1554 NHL games, Iginla did it all in his career, except win the Stanley Cup. Twice he won the Rocket Richard trophies as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader, and was once the NHL scoring champion with the Art Ross trophy. He won the Ted Lindsay award as the best player in the league as chosen by his peers.

Despite never winning hockey's coveted silver chalice, Iginla's lasting legacy will be golden. He was a significant contributor to two Canadian Olympic gold medal victories.

 In 2002, Canada ended a 50-year gold medal drought in men’s hockey, thanks in large part to the line combination of Iginla, Joe Sakic and Simon Gagne. The trio combined for eight points in the gold-medal final, a 5-2 victory over the United States.

Eight years later, at Canada’s home Ol…

Devante Smith-Pelly and the NHL's Waiver Wire

Devante Smith-Pelly cleared waivers on Thursday. Within 30 minutes of that the Washington Capitals announced that they had acquired Carl Hagelin from Los Angeles to take Smith-Pelly's roster spot, and Smith-Pelly was demoted to the minor leagues.

Less than a year ago Smith-Pelly was a strong member of the Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup championship even if from a bottom six role. While he has never emerged as much of an offensive threat like he was in junior, he really impressed as a strong forechecking winger who crashed the net. It paid off, too, scoring seven post-season goals including goals in each of games 3, 4 and 5 in the Stanley Cup final vs. the Vegas Golden Knights.

Fast forward to today and Smith-Pelly isn't even in the league any more. But I'm betting not for long.

There must be a contender out there that would like to add the grizzled playoff veteran before the trade deadline on Monday. Or maybe the Capitals make another move, or god forbid suffer an injury elsewh…

Charlie Coyle Traded to Boston

Charlie Coyle always reminded me of Jim Sandlak.

For those who do not recall Sandlak, he was the 1985 World Juniors star who became a top pick of the Vancouver Canucks. So big they nicknamed him "House," Sandlak never lived up to expectations. But Vancouver refused to trade him. Why? Because they made arguably the biggest blunder in franchise history when they rushed a similar prospect out the door named Cam Neely. The Canucks always feared Sandlak would blossom somewhere else, making them look foolish again.

Coyle has long been a puzzle in Minnesota. In seven seasons the giant winger has been a solid player, but somehow always left you wanting more. It probably didn't help that the Wild traded Brent Burns to San Jose for a package including Coyle, who at that time was still a top amateur prospect.

I suspect Minnesota hung on to Coyle longer than they could have/should have simply because of Burns explosive success with the Sharks. Coyle had - and continues to have - so …

Questioning Bobby Orr's Status As Greatest Defenseman Of All Time

Hockey fans love to debate about pretty much anything. One of the most contentious debates is who is the greatest hockey player of all time? General consensus has Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux as the top four, in varying orders.
But one order that almost never varies is the ranking of the greatest defensemen. It is not open for debate at all, actually. Bobby Orr outdistances everyone else - Raymond Bourque, Nicklas Lidstrom, Doug Harvey, etc - by such a wide margin that to question it is not only sacrilegious but gets you dismissed in the hockey community almost immediately.
Unless you are Stan Fischler that is. 
In 1983 Fischler wrote his epic hockey book Hockey's 100: A Personal Ranking of the Best Players In Hockey History. Many refer to this text as the original attempt to list hockey's absolute best in order. Bobby Orr ranks 13th, behind defensemen Eddie Shore (2nd), Red Kelly (3rd - he did play the 2nd half of his career as a centre), and Doug …

Ivan Was Not Terrible

There was an old-time New York Ranger press agent by the name of Herb Goren. It was his job to get the Rangers in the newspapers and capture a part of the entertainment pie in Manhattan. He would often hype up players in attempts to make them household names in the Big Apple.

Goren quickly dubbed Ivan Irwin as Ivan the Terrible. However it was never quite determined whether Goren was referring to his short temper and rugged style of play, or his lack of talent!

When Irwin was on the top of his game, the tall, balding defenseman was a sensational bodychecker, and played with a meanstreak that made other coaches envious. But when he wasn't on his game, Irwin was exploited by his poor skating abilities. Faster players would take their chances on getting creamed, knowing that if they could get the extra step on the less-than-mobile Irwin they could be in home free on the Rangers net.

Irwin was originally property of the Montreal Canadiens. After playing just 4 games in Montreal, he w…