On the Prowl: Week of 8/4

Unrelated in anyway to NHL hockey, Happy Birthday to Mama O'Donnell, who turns 25 again, as she has for the past couple of years.

Usually, I have about a paragraph where I give short little snippets of my opinion on a topic that's going to come up in the OTP, but seeing as it's my mother's birthday (and I'm getting a little lazy as the offseason drags on) I'd like to take this space to wish my mom the happiest birthday possible, which she will need, seeing as she returns to work (she's a teacher) after having the entire summer off. Happy Birthday Mommy!

(I'm getting lazy on the headings, too.)


  • More players are suing the NHL for medical damage due to repeated hits to the head. I don't really see this as being anything but good for the game. I've always been a fan of fast paced, skilled hockey. I think that thugs, brutes, and people who are in the league simply to beat the crap out of other players have no right being in the game. Why is it that the 5'9", 170 lb player who can score and put up points doesn't make it in the pros, but the hulking 6'6 250 pound pylon who can barely skate suits up for 300+ games? The concept is simply absurd. The game is fun to watch when it's played skillfully. Watch this:

TSN Top 10 - Top 10 NHL Goals From This Season. (2013 - 2014) (HD) (via Captain Canada)

Is much more exciting than watching this:

Top Ten NHL Hockey Fights of 2013-2014 Season (via BeakIncV2)

  • On that note, Trevor Linden made some valid points on where fighting in hockey stands, and I think much of what he said makes sense. In most any other sport, fights aren't too common, and when they occur, they're usually big news stories that highlight ESPN the next day. There's also the bit with fighting being coached into hockey, which I can agree with even more. I played defense the majority of the time my last season of travel hockey, and one thing I was consistently reminded by one of the coaches was to clear out the area in front of my goalie after he caught the puck. This was to prevent him from getting poked, or sprayed, or molested in some other shape or form. I always found it ridiculous; if I make a grab at an opposing player as he passes my net, it's going to spark some type of shoving match, which will bring other players over, and soon the refs have lost control of the situation. At the same time, I can't let my goalie get hit over and over again. I think the NHL really has to look into making more calls like the one made in the 2014 playoff on Marchand for spraying the goalie. Which is better; deterring a guy from potentially injuring a goalie, or letting simple stoppages in play result in full blown line brawls?
  • NHL general managers have long had an obsession with size at the NHL Draft. More often than not, the players taken are draft busts, that never amount to their potential and simply populate second rate hockey leagues until they eventually call it quits, and bow out of the professional game. Team's looking to find themselves the next "Zdeno Chara" (a massive defenseman who helps his team dominate play) have found themselves incredibly lacking on the draft boards, especially in the earlier rounds. This ties back into my earlier points. I want speed and skill in a hockey game. I don't care about who can beat the crap out of who; I want the guy who's going to put the puck in the back of the opposition's net the most. If I could pick out a 6-man blue line I would want from the NHL, I would have Doughty-Karlsson, Subban-McDonagh, and Campbell-Timmonen. All of those guys are fast, skilled, and push the pace of the game. Who cares if my team would get scored on 3 (or more) goals a game? They would average more goals per game than that, especially if the had skilled forwards to play with them. With the league looking to move away from the fighting and brutality, look for skill and speed to become more prominent. And as speed and skill become more prominent, the smaller point scorers will be worth more than the big, lumbering enforcers. Hopefully Tallon catches onto the trend before the rest of the NHL does, and starts using the Panthers picks on skill, instead of size./