Quick Fact of the Day

Howie Morenz

There would have been no NHL in New York if it wasn’t for one man.

His name is Howie Morenz.

The Babe Ruth of hockey was one of the greatest players of his time and he deserves way more recognition then he currently receives. King Clancy, who played against Morenz, once said this about him.

“Morenz was the greatest I ever saw. He was as fast as a bullet and had a shot to match. He could stop on a dime and give you five cents change. The first time I played against him he sifted right through the Ottawa defense and scored. I said to him, ‘Kid, you do that again and I’ll cut your legs off.’ He said to me, ‘Clancy, I’ll be right back.’ Seconds later, there he was again, cutting right between my partner and me and scoring again. I couldn’t believe the little bugger could move that fast.” (Brian McFarlane)

The story of New York accepting hockey happened in the twenties when the Big Apple was North America’s sporting capital. However, neither hockey nor its biggest stars had any part to do with that recognition.

Madison Square Garden was being built at the time by promoter Tex Rickard, who had no reason to install machinery for making artificial ice. Then along came entrepreneur and hockey fanatic Tom Duggan. Duggan knew that having an NHL franchise in New York would do wonders for success of hockey in the States, but he had to convince Rickard that.

MSG

Duggan persuaded Rickard to go with him to Montreal, where Morenz was playing. Rickard, who was accompanied by famous columnist Damon Runyon, made the trip to Canada and both of them were thrilled by the showing Morenz and his Canadiens put forth.

Rickard quickly returned to New York and ordered his architects to add an ice-making facility to the new arena.

When the New York Americans made their NHL debut at the new Madison Square Garden in 1925, they hosted none other then the Montreal Canadiens. The home team, decked out in their star-spangled jerseys, and its fans were overwhelmed by the speed and finesse of these hockey players, most notably the superstar Howie Morenz.

If Morenz was not as equally spectacular a few months earlier when Rickard and Runyon came to watch him play, then it would have been a game that might never have happened in New York.

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Quick Fact of the Day

If the Canucks are able to pick up a win against the red hot Hurricanes, it will be their fourth straight road win of the season, leaving them undefeated away from the Garage.

The last time the Canucks won their first four road games of the year was back in the 1993-94 season.

We all know what happened in ’94.

Bure for Prez.

Quick Fact of the Day

Why is the world’s most popular sports drink called Gatorade? Simple.

Try playing Divison 1A NCAA football in Gainesville, Florida, one of the hottest places on earth where football is actually played.

When playing in the extreme heat, water isn’t good enough, so the University of Florida got it’s scientists to create a drink that was better than water, something to help their beloved Gators gain an advantage over their water-drinking opponents.

And Gatorade was born.

Tiger Woods now owes his new contract to some scientists in Florida.

Quick Fact of the Day

Ace VenturaDoes the name ‘Ray Finkle’ sound familiar to you? Well it should if you’ve watched Jim Carrey’s classic comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

In the movie, Finkle is the former kicker for the Miami Dolphins. He misses the winning field goal in the closing seconds of Super Bowl XVII and blames the holder, and quarterback, Dan Marino for not facing the laces OUT during the kick. He becomes a wreck and is put in an institution. Years later, he takes the name Lois Einhorn, gets a sex change and becomes the head detective of the city. Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey), who was originally hired to find the kidnapped dolphin mascot, pieces together the puzzle and busts him (or her), just in time to save both the dolphin and Marino in time for the Superbowl.

So how much of this movie is true?

They mention the “Kick Heard ‘Round The World” in the movie, and it’s authentic. The clip was actually Uwe von Schamann’s (one of the league’s best kicker at the time) missed field goal in Super Bowl XVII. However, the whole idea for having Finkle screw up on a field goal was based on Buffalo Bills’ kicker Scott Norwood, who missed a field goal in Super Bowl XXV. In reality, the Dolphins did play in Super Bowl XVII and they did lose to the Washington Redskins.

The difference though is this: The game was not decided on the final field goal kick, as the Redskins won by ten points. Also, David Woodley was the Dolphins’ quarterback in that game, not Marino, who was later drafted as Woodley’s replacement.

Of course, this comedy wasn’t based on real events, but it’s still some good random trivia to know. So next time you watch this movie with your friends, you can look sports smart. Alll-righty then.

Quick Fact of the Day

Eric LindrosRecently, the Florida Panthers came out and stated that the Bertuzzi-Luongo trade was the worst deal in franchise history. No kidding, but what was the worst trade in NHL history?

How about one that included the ‘next’ great hockey player? The Quebec Nordiques traded away first overall draft pick Eric Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers. This deal was a big part in helping the later-known Colorado Avalanche capture two Stanley Cups.

Here’s what the Nordiques got in return for the under-achieving hyped forward: Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st round pick, which turned out to be Jocelyn Thibault in 1993, a 1st round selection, which was later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, later traded to the Washington Capitals, and it became Nolan Baumgartner, in 1994, and also $15,000,000.

Yes, all that for Eric Lindros.

If that wasn’t enough, an earlier deal between Quebec and the New York Rangers was rejected by an arbitrator. Lucky for NY because they would have been ripped off. Here was their offer: Doug Weight, Tony Amonte, Alexei Kovalev, John Vanbiesbrouck and three first round draft picks in 1993, 1994 and 1995 for Lindros.

Oh how we laugh now.

Quick Fact of the Day

Ever wondered where fantasy football came from?

In 1963 the first league, the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League, included mainly people involved with the Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Tribune newspaper. Bill Winkenbach, Bill Tunnell, Scotty Stirling, George Ross, and Philip Carmona are credited with forming said league while on an eastern road-trip with the Raiders.

In 1968 a fantasy GM from that league named Andrew Mousalimas opened a sports bar in Oakland called Kings X and began holding annual fantasy drafts there (the Kings X Draft). The league grew steadily into the mid seventies and spread across the United States faster than one would expect in an age with no internet.

Today we know fantasy football in a variety of forms.

Whether it be your online league with one of the many .com’s or your office pool that contributes significantly to water-cooler talk, if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you have a team (or you’re my family member and you pity me).

Next time you win your league don’t thank Frank Gore or Willis McGahee, instead think of the people who made it possible for you to hold fantasy football supremacy over your peers.

Quick Fact of the Day

Mike Ditka is the only person in NFL history to be drafted in the first round, and win the Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and a head coach.

Diiiiiiitka!