The Empty Net

A blog for all things hockey.

Hockey in Heaven

 

Please take a moment today to remember the lives lost exactly one year ago in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash. There is hockey in heaven, and we will never forget you. RIP. Love for Lokomotiv. ♥

Vitaly Anikeyenko
Yury Bakhvalov
Aleksandr Belyayev
Mikhail Balandin
Aleksandr Vasyunov
Josef Vasicek
Aleksandr Vyukhin
Aleksandr Galimov 
Robert Dietrich
Pavol Demitra
Andrei Zimin
Marat Kalimulin
Aleksandr Karpovtsev
Aleksandr Kalyanin
Andrei Kiryukhin
Nikita Klyukin
Igor Korolyov
Nikolai Krivonosov
Yevgeny Kunnov
Vyacheslav Kuznetsov
Stefan Liv
Jan Marek
Brad McCrimmon
Sergey Ostapchuk
Vladimir Piskunov
Karel Rachunek
Evgeny Sidorov
Karlis Skrastins
Ruslan Saley
Pavel Snurnitsyn
Daniil Sobchenko
Ivan Tkachenko
Pavel Trakhanov
Igor Urychev
Gennady Churilov
Maksim Shuvalov
Artyom Yarchuk

Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement today after 20 seasons in the NHL. The seven time Norris Trophy winner also announced that he plans to move back to Sweden, but would somehow like to remain with the Red Wings Organization.  I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Lidstrom at the NHL awards last year and his class and the manner in which he spoke to ever individual, taking the time to pose for pictures with his fans is to be admired. So today, as a legend hangs up his skates, I say thank you for your dedication and commitment to the beautiful game of hockey.  

Nicklas Lidstrom announced his retirement today after 20 seasons in the NHL. The seven time Norris Trophy winner also announced that he plans to move back to Sweden, but would somehow like to remain with the Red Wings Organization.  I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Lidstrom at the NHL awards last year and his class and the manner in which he spoke to ever individual, taking the time to pose for pictures with his fans is to be admired. So today, as a legend hangs up his skates, I say thank you for your dedication and commitment to the beautiful game of hockey.  

Change is good.

After missing the playoffs for the third straight year, the Calgary Flames have some serious decisions to make. There are two huge questions on everyone’s mind: Is it time to trade Jarome Iginla? Should the team rebuild?

Fans need to look at the game of hockey as a business, and trades as business transactions.  No matter how amazing a player is as a person, if their ability to produce on the ice is not up to par the team needs to make an informed business decision. 

Because the Flames don’t have a solid foundation of draft picks, trading core players may be the answer. Core players will generate higher draft picks, and those long term benefits will improve this team tremendously.  Iginla’s contract is up at the end of the 2013 season, so trading him before the start of this coming season could beneficial in two ways.  The first being that the players coming in would have the time to find chemistry with their teammates beforehand. Second, any draft picks that the Flames would get would have the opportunity to showcase their talent and would give the organization an in depth look as to how

these young players will fit in the future of the hockey club.

Finding young talented goalies, with some valuable NHL experience is something the Flames should be looking at.  It may be time to trade the ‘core’, starting with Iginla, Jay Boumeester, and eventually even Miikka Kiprusoff, and start building around the younger guys like Sven Baertschi, Akim Aliu, with added depth from veterans like Michael Cammalleri and Alex Tanguay. 

The youth of the team have shown outstanding ability, and no doubt in the future will become valuable assets.  It is time to take these young players and turn them into our new core.  NHL leaders didn’t become leaders overnight.  Their clubs took a chance on them, and they proved that they deserved not only to be there, but to lead.  Giving the opportunity to these young players is something the organization needs to be open to, and with that comes the inevitable.

In terms of a rebuild, fans tend to look at the Oilers, wondering how long their rebuild will take.  What they should be looking at are teams like Philadelphia, who at one point were the worst team in the league.  By changing their core (ie Simon Gagne, Peter Forsberg), adding young depth players, and jumping into the free agent market by signing Danny Briere, Philadelphia is one of the best in the league today.

Rebuilding is a positive thing.  Not all rebuilds take years, and with smart moves it may only take a couple more seasons of heartbreak for the team to become a contender again.  Starting fresh may be the answer to a new and improved Calgary Flames team. 

Let the new era begin.


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This is one of the best playoff opening videos I have seen.  Happy Playoffs! 

The Project

The You Can Play Project is a movement initiated by Patrick Burke, in honor of his late brother Brendan.  Brendan, son of GM Brian Burke, first came out to his family in 2007, and subsequently to his teammates at Miami University in 2009.  Although he delayed coming out to his hockey team, the Miami Redhawks, because of fears of being rejected, they accepted him with open arms. 

  In an interview with TSN in 2009, Brendan raised the issue of homophobia in hockey, and the need for acceptance. He remained committed to the fight for tolerance in the game, and for the fight to encourage other closeted players to accept who they are without fear.  

Tragically on February 5th 2010, Brendan was killed in a motor vehicle accident. He was 21. 

This project is inspiring in that it encourages any individual to partake in the sport of their choice regardless of their sexuality.  It is up to the individual who has talent to be praised for that and that alone.  Public Service Announcements primarily focus on NHL superstars such as Steven Stamkos, Zdeno Chara, and James van Riemsdyk encouraging other athletes to show respect for their counterparts by sticking up for their teammates on and off the ice.  There will always be people who disagree with homosexuality, regardless of whether it is in sport or in everyday life, but the fact that the sporting world is taking on such an issue with the support of many of it’s athletes is something that should be admired.  The You Can Play Project aims to move away from negative stereotypes and focuses on judging players by their character and their talent.  If you think that this project is aimed to influence the religious beliefs of some, it is not.  The project aims to be a catalyst to teach respect, hoping that the locker room can be a place of acceptance and friendship through each team member’s journey as a person and a teammate.   As this fast growing movement spreads, one can only hope that more athletes will take a stand against homophobia in sports and support their teammates. 

The You Can Play Project is primarily focused on hockey world for now, but also aims to reach across various borders in the hope to treat every athlete with the respect they so rightly deserve. Surely Patrick Burke has taken the right steps to ensure that Brendan’s legacy live on in the hopes that the hockey world can live in a more tolerable society in the years to come. In other words: If you can play, you can play. 

You can visit the website at www.youcanplayproject.org, or on Twitter @youcanplay. 

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Welcome

Hi everyone, 

I would like to start off by welcoming you to my blog. This blog is mainly about the NHL, but also focuses on other major hockey related tournaments throughout the year.   Hockey has always been an important part of my life.  Although I never played, I grew up idolizing Theoren Fleury, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Orr. As I got older, my academic goals focused more on how I could get as involved with the game as possible.  I began to think about becoming a sports broadcaster, and had the amazing opportunity to take part in  job shadow with CTV.  After an incredible day, I realized this is where I wanted to be; in the middle of all the chaos. As a die hard hockey fan, I found that starting a blog was a way to share my passion for the game with others. I hope you enjoy my thoughts and opinions, and I look forward to hearing some of yours. You can also follow me on Twitter @nabeeladamji, or ask me a question right here.  Enjoy! 

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