Saturday, December 16, 2006

New England Hockey Journal Radio Show: State of the Game and Voice of the Bruins

Every Saturday morning, I face a dilemma: What topic do I want to address on the New England Hockey Journal Radio Show? With commentary from regular hosts Matt Kalman, Mick Cologeo, and Kevin Paul Dupont; interviews with guests; and commercials to pay the bills, I’m grateful the show takes my calls every week. That said, it’s a struggle for me to decide what to say, whether it’s something I’ve been thinking about all week or something mentioned on the air. So many options.

I figured I’d use this site to not only expand upon what I may have said on the air but also to provide a few highlights, at least as I heard them, from the show.

State of the Game

Fighting: Kevin Paul Dupont confessed that with every passing year he feels more like Don Cherry because, like Grapes, KP feels like there isn’t enough fighting.

More often than not, I tend to agree with both Grapes and Dupes. Not this time. I’m not in total agreement anyway. Fighting is overrated in the game, especially when you consider that fisticuffs are all but forgotten in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Plus, a lot of fighting in hockey these days is predictable. One team is down three goals with five minutes left in the game; so a player on the team that’s about to lose wants to deliver a statement: You can’t beat us without a fight! I don’t think fighting is evil or should be banned from the game. No, it is already a penalty. Fine with me. I do like the spontaneous bouts that break out and wish there were more of them. Trouble is, a good percentage of fighting used to erupt after the whistle, when defensemen were permitted to take umbrage at an aggressive forward poking his nose or his stick where it didn’t belong. In the new NHL, defenders are reluctant to do so for fear of having to serve time in the sin bin.

Player Update

P.J. Axelsson has a hairline fracture in the arch of his left foot and does not have a timetable for returning. Despite the success the Bruins have had without the team’s best defensive forward (who, by the way, is putting more points on the board this season), linemates Marc Savard and Glen Murray have continued to produce. P.J.’s replacement on the first line, Petr Tenkrat, has been doing well, but P.J. is missed on the PK.

Weekly Trivia

I’ve botched even the easy questions (from about three years ago: how many teams are in the NHL? I’m surprised the show’s producers have put me on the air again after I missed that one). I knew the answer to this week’s question: Who was the goalie that took the Florida Panthers to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. Someone beat me to the phones. John Vanbiesbrouck.

Guest

Fred Cusick, the voice you hear on NESN’s delivery of classic Bruins games, was on the air to promote his book about his sixty-year connection with Boston’s sport scene, namely as a broadcaster for the Bruins.

Someone tell Santa to add this to my wish list. I’ve been a good boy this year as a defenseman on the Capitals. Only four penalty minutes athis season (if you believe the AMHL Web site).
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