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Sports Then and Now



Goaltender Tips From Pro Stock Hockey 1

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Adam Rosenbaum

shutterstock_376358287 (1)Being a goaltender is a difficult task. You are who people will be pointing to when the game gets out of hand, but also when the game is saved. Pro Stock Hockey outlined some important tips featured in their goalie e-book. Here’s just some of what you’ll find in this e-book:

Wraparounds

Timing

The most difficult part of facing a wrap around is timing. Timing of when to drop down to the ice, timing the arrival to the post when tracking the puck below the goal line, timing of when to cut off passes or be more aggressive with the stick, etc. Timing is not only relative to what is going on with the puck below the goal line, but it is also directly linked to what is occurring above the goal line. Therefore, there’s a lot to consider for goaltenders. But how does timing affect our overall ability to stop and control the flow of the game?

Control

Ensuring that goalies are capable of controlling the flow of the game is essential so that they are keeping up with the speed of the puck even when it’s below the goal line. Neutralizing passing zones which cause goaltenders to move cross-crease help in this area so that they are limiting the amount of movement and lower the risk of falling behind in their positioning. Read the rest of this entry →

Clowns, Dumps, and Mike Milbury 2

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Victor Uhlman

Joe-Louis-arenaI grew up in the Joe Louis Arena. Some of the best moments of my childhood were spent shuffling around clumsily on the ice of the Joe, strapped up in goalie pads that weighed twice as much as I did. Even at a young age, I felt honored to, in one way or another, share the ice with the Detroit Red Wings. As I grew up, I had the absolute honor of watching one of the greatest dynasties of hockey in their prime. I sat rinkside and watched Yzerman, Lidstrom, and the Russian five change the entire game right in front of my eyes. And when we couldn’t make it to the game, my entire extended family would crowd around our tiny television as if we were practicing some archaic religion, cheering and crying with every goal scored and every shot missed. The Joe hosted its last heartbreaking, yet cathartic game on April 9th, laying to rest one of the most legendary and charismatic ice hockey venues in the history of the sport. This is why I and many others were dumbfounded, yet not surprised, when NBC’s Mike Milbury called the Joe Louis Arena “a dump” in need of retiring.

Milbury is in the news again this week for referring to P.K. Subban, arguably one of the leagues most talented and lovable players, as “a clown” who needed to get a “rap on the head” from head coach Peter Laviolette. Ignoring just how asinine and problematic this statement is, it points to both a dangerous trend for Mike Milbury, and an even more dangerous one for NBC and the league itself. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Video: Remembering Gordie Howe “Mr. Hockey” 2

Posted on June 12, 2016 by Dean Hybl
Mr. Hockey earned NHL All-Star honors in five decades.

Mr. Hockey earned NHL All-Star honors in five decades.

Before there was the “Great One” (Wayne Gretzky), the king of the hockey world was “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe. During a 32-year career that spanned parts of five decades, Howe, who passed away Friday at age 88, was a dominating performer and skilled performer who was able to compete at a high level even past the age of 50.

Howe joined the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL as an 18-year old rookie in 1946. During his 25 seasons in Detroit he led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup titles while winning six scoring titles and six Hart Memorial Trophies as the league MVP.

During the 1968-69 season, at the age of 40, Howe scored a career-high 103 points (the NHL expanded from a 70 game to 76 game season in 1967-68).  He was named an All-Star in 22 of his 25 seasons with the Red Wings.

After retiring in 1971, Howe returned to the spot in 1973 as a member of the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. There he played with his sons Mark and Marty and soon proved that he was still among the best hockey players in the world. He was named league MVP in 1974 (an award renamed the next year as the Gordie Howe Award). He also led the Aeros to two WHA championships.

He moved to the New England Whalers in 1977 and after the WHA folded the renamed Hartford Whalers joined the NHL in 1979. Howe, at the age of 51, played in all 80 games of the 1979-80 season while helping the Whalers make the playoffs.

In a fitting tribute, Howe was named to the All-Star team with the game being played at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Howe completed his career having been selected to NHL All-Star teams in five decades. Also appearing in that game was 19-year-old Wayne Gretzky.

Below are links to some of the great highlights of Howe’s career available on YouTube.

 

Read the rest of this entry →

The Zamboni: Baddest Maintenance Vehicle in Sports! 4

Posted on November 30, 2015 by Mike Raffone

The ZamboniMy guess is that the look and speed of the sports world’s most famous maintenance vehicle is the same now as it was back then, making it a perfect entry for today’s Sports Then and Now blog.

Driving this clunky ice resurfacing machine on wheels would satisfy nearly every hockey fan’s fantasy.

Who hasn’t yearned to climb behind the wheel of this giant tractor and take charge on the ice?

Perhaps the baddest maintenance vehicle in all of sports, whose top speed runs at just a mere 9 miles per hour, the Zamboni cruises in

The boxy Zamboni tractor scrapes, collects, washes, resurfaces and smooths the ice for hockey games and skating competitions.

In addition, the monster machine sprays and then squeegees 140 degree water and transforms once rutted and scarred ice into a shimmering surface that mirrors polished glass.

Founded by Frank J. Zamboni in Southern California in 1949, the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine has become the standard throughout arenas around the world. Approximately 200 custom made machines, at a price of $75,000 each, are manufactured each year.

The Zamboni’s iconic fame has extended beyond the boards of the hockey rinks it resurfaces. In the classic sitcom Cheers, Carla’s husband Eddie supposedly got run over by a Zamboni.

And, in a Peanuts comic strip, a fictional miniature Zamboni once cleaned the ice in a birdbath for Snoopi’s pal Woodstock

This heavy duty “bad to the boni” machine is dear to all who have watched it perfectly restore chunks and grooves in previously pock marked ice during intermissions at NHL, NCAA an biddy league games.

All the while these same hockey fans were dreaming they were ones behind the wheel of the Zamboni chugging down the ice at a speed most people walk…backward.

Now what fan could possibly argue that the Zamboni ranks as one of the best things about sports?

MIKE on sports!

Teaching Future NHL Players 0

Posted on October 11, 2015 by Jeremy Biberdorf

Youth HockeyTracing the growth of elite hockey players is more difficult in some ways than following their counterparts in football or basketball. Unlike the other two sports, hockey does not have a major college following in much of the United States, so it can be difficult to find the best up and coming players and track their development. In fact, the top NHL players come from many different places, not just elite hockey schools. Some play professionally overseas before joining the NHL, and others are recruited from semi-pro and varsity leagues.

However, those who prefer to follow players from college to the pros could do worse than the Canadian hockey school the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. This boarding school for boys and girls provides general education, but also has a top-notch hockey program that lures players from all over the world. The college has produced countless professional players over the years, including some of the biggest names in the NHL. Read the rest of this entry →

World Cup of Hockey 3

Posted on October 05, 2015 by Michael Ramos

hockey skatesAt this point it’s going to be something that they’re doing for the first time in 12 years and a lot isn’t known about it. There are several details that have been brought out by the NHL and a lot of fan and player reaction. In this article we’ll cover what it means for the regular season, what’s known about it at the time of writing and whether or not anyone’s going to tune in.

Fan Reaction

So here’s the thing: fans simply love hockey. They love to watch it, support it, talk about it, buy up popular merchandise, and remember all the best times that have happened in the history of the game. That’s precisely why this whole affair is going to be a bit of a mixed bag for the fans of the game. Part of the reason that they may love it: it’s hockey. But seriously, it’s going to be a whole bunch of the best players in the world competing at an extremely high level for country and for respect.

Here’s the problem though, the timing will cause it to coincide with pre-season. Although that doesn’t necessarily sound like a bad thing to the casual fan, as most people who follow the game know, there’s a huge amount of subtle teamwork that makes or breaks a season. Without the level of teamwork and cooperation that is engendered by gelling together during the pre-season (at the very least) players are going to be missing cues and making mistakes.

I mean just take a look at the Russian International team from the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was all the same guys. They were inarguably great players but they were made significantly better because they knew each other. They were able to read each other’s intentions and movements in ways that their opposition couldn’t. This allowed them to run circles around teams of talented people who didn’t know each other. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bulldog Turner: Two-Way Star
      November 12, 2017 | 8:52 am
      Bulldog Turner

      Bulldog Turner

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a two-way star for the dominant Chicago Bears teams of the 1940s.

      Though Hardin-Simmons College in Abilene, Texas was not known as a football power, legendary head coach George Halas could find great players anywhere and chose Clyde “Bulldog” Turner with the seventh pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.

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