I have successfully returned from a much needed vacation. I headed out camping and sightseeing throughout Alberta and northern British Columbia and had a great time. I even managed to hit a number of used bookstores and I found a dozen or so additions to my library. Hopefully one day this well help to improve this website.
Now that I'm back I'm going to be returning to regular content updates and new biography additions. That being said, it is summer and I still haven't pulled out my golf clubs. Off-season mode should see 3-4 new posts every week.
Speaking of hitting the links, a lot has happened in the past two-plus weeks I've been away. I'll offer a quick summary for now, with links to articles for you to read up on should you choose. I may have more comments later this week on certain issues.
The biggest news from this blog's perspective has to be the passing away of John Ferguson.
Not surprisingly, Eyes On The Prize had a great run down on the life and death of hockey's most feared tough guy, and of course Red Fisher's column is mandatory reading. Attending the funeral of Fergie was a who's who list of NHL greats: Jean Beliveau, Serge Savard, Jean Guy Talbot, Guy Lapointe, Brian Burke, Glen Sather and Doug Wilson.
Former Canucks forward Gary Lupul also passed away. Alanah at Canucks and Beyond has this story covered nicely. Former Detroit coach Jimmy Skinner died at the age of 90. He had a 42 year career with the Red Wings organization. It should also be noted that the dean of Washington hockey journalists Dave Fay also passed away. Boy, I better not go on vacation again any time soon. Too many of hockey's good guys leave us when I'm gone.
I guess the other big news is the Nashville Predators now seem destined to relocate to Kansas City instead of Hamilton. KC (which isn't even in the state of Kansas) does have an 80 year history of hockey, but c'mon!
Brent Sutter left his Red Deer Rebels to join the New Jersey Devils. Ironically, I was in Red Deer when this story was breaking. Meanwhile the Pittsburgh Penguins slotted former NHLers Tom Fitzgerald and Jason Botterill into important front office positions. The Bruins did the same with Jim Benning and Don Sweeney.
In other news, Jeremy Roenick retired, (or does he?) and speculation has Eric Lindros doing the same. Alexei Yashin and Petr Nedved have gone home, but hey, Al Arbour is coming back!
One of hockey's greatest little men, Stan Mikita, had some good advice for 1st overall draft pick Patrick Kane.
David Beckham has taken Hollywood and the soccer world by storm. This has drawn parallels to Wayne Gretzky's arrival in Tinseltown in 1988. Speaking of soccer, bonus points to anyone who knows who Rudi Bata is. He, along with Josef Kompalla, was one of two referees in game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series. Nowadays the 79 year old heads the Czech Republic's delegation to the FIFA 2007 Under-20 World Cup of soccer.
Ever wonder what happened to Clarke Wilm or Pierre Dagenais? James Mirtle takes a look at some long forgotten NHLers still playing over in Europe. I wonder if Lonny Bohonos is still lighting it up over there?
Some other stories I've noted as interesting personally, but not altogether related to the focus of this blog, include: Alan Muir of SI.com naming Canada Cup 87 game 3 as the best game he ever saw. I have to agree; Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is keeping an online journal of his travels to Africa with "Right To Play" while NHL.com's Bill Meltzer writes about Israel hosting the first ever World Jewish Hockey Championships; Darcy Tucker is playing himself on Little Mosque On The Prairie; Raleigh, NC is curiously becoming a destination of choice for retired NHLers.