Ball Hockey

This will be the first post on the Sports Corner that has to do with grass-roots sports, and with developing young children.

Before You read anything, read this quote by Wayne Gretzky.

“If sport has a high point of the year, it must be the first week of spring.” “…When I was growing up, I used to love this time of year. It was when I put my hockey equipment away and I was absolutely ecstatic to see the end of the hockey season. One of the worst things to happen to the game, in my opinion, has been year-round hockey and, in particular, summer hockey.”All it does for kids, as far as I can tell, is keep them out of sports they should be doing in warmer weather. I could hardly wait to get my lacrosse stick out and start throwing the ball around. It didn’t matter how cold or rainy it would be, we’d be out firing the ball against walls and working on our moves as we played the lacrosse equivalent to road hockey.” “All the good hockey players seemed to play lacrosse in those days and every one of them learned something from the game to carry over to the other – things athletes can only learn by mixing up games they play when they are young.”

Yes, while hockey will almost always come first in my life, every day I go to the rink for my lacrosse floor-times, and every day I see a new breed, albeit a lesser breed, of athletes. Ball hockey players.

A non-contact game where hockey players wear soccer shin-pads and socks.

This annoys me to no avail. Hockey is just not a summer sport, and trying to use the lacrosse box to try and integrate hockey into the summer is the worst excuse and failed attempt at any form of hockey.

If parents want their children to develop as hockey players, they need to keep them on the ice. Keep them playing spring hockey. Not some lolly-gagging sport that doesn’t have the same dynamics as the real thing.

And the absolute worst of these parents are the ones that put their goaltending children in ball hockey.

Goalies for the last decade have been tought to slide in the butterfly style from side to side. One problem, you can’t do that on concrete.

Now, in my hometown, I play Junior B Lacrosse, and get one practice time and one home game time a week. At the senior level where players such as myself are trying to get to the next level and develop skills and conditioning, one practice a week is just not enough. The only solution to getting more floortime, is no ball hockey.

Every city in B.C will have spring hockey. That’s all there is to it.

Keep the summer sports in summer, and the winter sports in winter.

 

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Forsberg a Bust

The Colorado Avalanche  were knocked out of the playoffs last night at the hands of Johan Franzen and the Detroit Red Wings and, surprise surprise, Peter Forsberg was no where in sight.

He was injured.  Again.  In a series against the most lethal offence in the league, Forsberg was in the press box with a back injury.  He was plagued with a groin injury and a back injury in the playoffs, and as a result, missed almost the entire series against Detroit.

Now, having him in the line up wouldn’t have made much of a difference.  The Wings were going to win.  They have a more potent attack, they control the puck in every area of the rink and their defence are by far the best team in the NHL when it comes to making that first pass out of the zone.  Their goaltending is better too.  And yes, Chris Osgood is better than Dominik Hasek.

What is most troublesome about this whole situation with Forsberg is that the Avs put all their eggs in one basket.  They signed a guy with a long history of injuries that keep him in and out of the line up every three or four days, something that disrupts the evenflow of a team.

What was Avs general manager Francois Giguere thinking when he signed Forsberg for $1 million to play the last third of the regular season and only seven of 10 playoff games.  Why sign a guy who is the furthest thing from durable for that kind of money? 

Was the fact that he spent almost 10 months in his home country of Sweden while nursing a foot injury not a sign that his time as an NHL player has passed by?

Simply put, Forsberg was a bust.  His acquisition was stupid in the first place.  It was ill-advised, and there are more players out there who could’ve come into the Avalanche for less money and no one would have to worry about their durability.  Forsberg, in 16 total games with the Avs this year, racked up 19 points.  That’s not bad, but no one remembers how many points you get when you’re in and out of the press box because your constantly injured and aren’t in the line up when it matters the most.

Canucks former general manager Dave Nonis was canned for his lack of signing Peter Forsberg just days before the trade deadline and his lack of trading Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, Alex Edler and a first, second and third round draft pick in this year’s draft.  He got fired for sticking to his guns and not relying on a plan that has as much chance to blow up in your face as it does to succeed.  Giguere should get canned today for his taking a risk on a player that can’t get into the elevator to go to the press box without tweaking a groin or hurting his back.

Bringing Forsberg back was the stupidest decision made this year by a general manager.  It was pointless.  It was a waste of money and a roster spot that could’ve been better spent. 

New Canucks general manager Mike Gillis.  Don’t sign Forsberg.

Gillis was right

Before Nonis got canned, it did feel nice to hear him say how close the Canucks were to being an elite contender in the league, as long as everyone was healthy. And I believed him, too.

Last season they did look like a contender, winning the division, winning a tight series against Dallas and amounting the most points in team history. But then, they faced a real contender, and got killed.

So when the new boss Mike Gillis said they weren’t even close to being an elite team, it sounded shocking. But why?

Well, watch a playoff game. Watch the intensity. Watch the grit, the speed, the talent. None of which the Canucks have right now.

It would actually be humorous watching the twins coast in through the blue line playing they’re usual game oh hot potato with the puck, and getting punished by the D-man.

Sure, there were the hopes of Luongo catching fire if the Canucks could maybe squeak in to eighth place and maybe stealing a couple games. But seriously, there ain’t no off and on switch that Bobby was gonna turn on for a playoff game.

If anything, the playoffs would of messed with his head even more.

So hopefully Gillis can keep his word and pick up some hard-nosed, skilled players that are clearly needed on this team. Especially since he’s got the money to do so.

 

Wide Receivers finally come off the board in Round 2

So the first round was entirely devoid of wide receivers, the second round should be filled with them. 

With the 33rd pick, the St. Louis Rams took:

Donnie Avery, Wide Receiver, Houston.

Avery is 5’11” 192 lbs. and ran a 4.45 40-yard dash. 

This might be a reach, I like DeSean Jackson better but the Rams need WR help however they can get it and he’ll definitely give Torry Holt some help. 

With the 34th pick the Washington Redskins took:

Devin Thomas, Wide Receiver, Michigan State University.

Thomas is 6’1” 216 lbs. and ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. 

They needed a big physical WR to go along with their undersized deep threats and Thomas is the perfect fit. 

With the 36th pick in the draft the Green Bay Packers took:

Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver, Kansas State

Nelson is 6’2” 217 lbs. and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash. 

The Packers are getting a special player here. Aaron Rodgers will love the game speed Nelson has.

With the 41st pick in the draft the Buffalo Bills took:

James Hardy, WR, Indiana.

Hardy is 6’5” 217 lbs. and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash.

They needed a tall receiver to complement Price and that’s what they got. If they can motivate Hardy to play he’ll be a difficult matchup for any corner in goal line situations. 

With the 42nd pick in the draft, the Denver Broncos took:

Eddie Royal, WR, Virginia Tech.

Royal is 5’9” 184 lbs. and ran a 4.39 40-yard dash.

Jay Cutler has a speed demon to unload his arm on. You could see a lot of balls lofted his way this season.

Phillips to the Giants with the last pick of the 1st round

With the 31st pick in the draft

The New York Giants select…

Kenny Phillips, Safety, Miami

Phillips is 6’2” 212 lbs. and ran a 4.55 40-yard dash.

I like how the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock described him, “He won’t be Ed Reed or Sean Taylor those are unfair comparisons but he will be a good safety.”

Phillips is going to be all over the field for the Giants. He immediately improves their secondary and in a few years he could be a pro-bowler. Phillips is ball hawk, I think he can be a special player but like Mayock said, don’t expect this guy to be Ed Reed right out of the shoot. 

The first round came and went without a wide receiver. 

Jets trade back into 1st round to get Dustin Keller

With the 30th overall pick

The New York Jets select…

Dustin Keller, Tight End, Purdue

Keller is 6’2 242 lbs. and ran a 4.55 40-yard dash.

I’m not sure about this. He’s very athletic and will give whoever’s playing QB for the Jets another option on the outside but if the Jets ever want to run the football they’re going to need some blocking help from the tight end position and Keller doesn’t offer that. The Jets don’t have the weapons to be a passing team and should be trying to improve the WR position. The value available at WR right now is amazing. This is the first time in history a WR hasn’t been taken in the first 30 picks. I disagree with the Jets pick and trading up was a terrible idea.

Trade details… to come.

Balmer to the 49er’s at 29

WIth the 29th overall pick

The San Francisco 49er’s select…

Kentwan Balmer, Defensive Tackle, North Carolina

Balmer is 6’4” 308 lbs. and ran a 5.28 40-yard dash.

The 49’ers continue to improve defensively, but they really need help on offense. They’ll never make the playoffs until they sort things out on the offensive side of the ball. Is Alex Smith the guy? Who’s he throwing to anyways? They have too many holes.