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September 26, 2006

Comments

Here's an assessment that is bound to create people talking.

In my opinion, Dwight Helminen is NOT an NHL player and probably never will be. That's not the part that will cause talk, here it is.

I am so tired of people getting "brave" when they are sitting behind a keyboard talking trash against a kid that is working his tail off to try and accomplish something that virtually none of us are even remotely capable of doing or being. He is pursuing a career as a professional athlete. How many of us can say that we've ever reached the level that he has? Certainly Sam Weinman hasn't. It just bothers me to no end that people decide to get witty, nasty, rude and disrespectful of others virtually EVERY SPLIT SECOND on billions of blogs and message boards all over the world because they can hide in anonymity behind screen names and such. Now in Sam's case he's putting his name out there and that's honest, but is it really necessary to slight Dewey like he was trash because he's got to go to the Wolf Pack...still as a paid professional at a level that almost none of us could ever hope to attain...because he's not good enough for the NHL? What does that also say about the rest of the Wolf Pack players? What about people like me who believe in them and support them with our money and time? Are we wasting it on a, pardon the pun, pack of incompetents? Personally, I don't think so. Is Jess out of his mind for wanting to watch players that aren't in the NHL yet because they're not good enough? When Marc Staahl gets sent down to juniors again...a league lower than the Wolf Pack, I know it's his age so you don't have to point that out to me) should he be ashamed?

This general disregard for other people is in more than just sports. Every sight people get into arguments and start name calling and getting pretty vicious, and certainly I'm not perfect and apologized for the time I did this here, but what does that say about us as a people? is civil discord dead? is our general lack of regard and respect for others so hopelessly lost that maybe the example we have set for the rest of the world might be just be a whole lot tainted?

This is probably too deep and philosophical for a posting here, but I just wish as that great orator Rodney King once said so eloquently, "can't we all just get along?"

Dewey, if you're reading this, and there's always a chance he is, congratulations for trying your best and hopefully you'll work hard this season and have a shot next year when the team continues to rebuild.

BTW, don’t forget about the upcoming Blueshirt Bulletin 4 on 4 taking place October 4th. We've added an extra hour to this edition because it's out first Annual Rangers Season Preview. The hours will be from 7-10pm Eastern Time. Now since we have so many guests, which I'll get to in a second, you can start submitting your questions now because we are expecting a big turn out so if it's important to you to get your thoughts and questions heard, send them now. On to the guests which are as of right now going to be Hockey Rodent, Hockey Bird, Bob Crawford (The Voice of the Hartford Wolf Pack) Jay Wells from the 94 Cup team and we have been promised a player from the WP. I am hoping to get a player from Charlotte to join us as well...by the way, Dubi will also be around to answer questions and I'll be there with the smart aleck comments that will make me out to be the hypocrite of the world after this past posting...In any event we hope to see you there...

Someone call a WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-MBULANCE!! If these professional athletes (who get paid an extraordinary amount of money to play a sport) can't take criticism (or abuse) from fans/the media, they're in the wrong line of business. Right or wrong, it comes with the territory...but if we should stop doing it for sports, should we stop doing it for politics, too? How about our workplaces, or our families? Just because you support them with "your money and your time" doesn't insulate them from reality, or make them some kind of immune higher being. They're still pro athletes, they work under the (sometimes terribly unfair) eye of John Q. Public, that's how it goes.

That is the +/- (if I may use a hockey term) of blogs...they are a great forum for information but 99% of the people think they are the absolute authority and pretty much vilify everyone who disagrees. Completely agree, Mitch, althought yes it's probably a subject that is far more broad that just hockey prospects.

Orr impressed me last night, I guess he can stay as an
extra forward

Hossa is probably the best 13th forward in the
league--he can play both wings, on any line, kill
penalties, hits, great along the boards, good puck
posession, etc.

J. Ward is a nice player, only wish he threw more big
hits.

Hall was a big surprise in terms of skating and
hitting, I expected him to be slower and much less
physical(last season was credited for only 35 hits in
75 games)

Nylander is one of the top stick/puckhandlers in the
game only wish he would try some longer setup passes,
not just short give and go's

Prucha looks amazing

Shanahan looks much better than Messier at that age
and also seems to be more interested than Messier in
helping young guys, but it is allerting that he hasn't
scored a goal yet.

Cullen is a nice player, kind or surprising he never
scored 50 points with his skills and skating.

Betts is one Ranger I am dying to trade (BTW he was
brutal on faceoffs last night going 21%) Renney seems
to be so in love with him he likely doesn't see a flaw
in him and will play him as a 3rd line center again.
Betts has no offensive ability, he creates half the
offensive chances than stonehands Ortmeyer does, and
at least Ortmeyer is a great physical presence, while
Betts throws very few hits and most of them are soft.
And on top of that Betts is taking up a spot of one of
the brighter young players. And his faceoffs winning
is overrated as he often played with quick wingers
like Prucha and Ward who helped with the faceoffs and
he isn't much better than Dubinsky or Immonen who are
known to be great faceoff men as well.

Straka is another player I would like to trade, last
season most of his points were a direct result of
riding shotgun to Jagr and getting tons of icetime and
PP time. I think the likes of Dawes while not as good
a skater, can do more because he is a much better
finisher and is more physical.

Tyutin I want to see a lot more hitting than what he
did last season

Malik same thing

Rachunek is fun to watch, but not if you have heart
problems, also want him to throw more hits.

prospects that are ready now:

Moore--very solid overall, kind of similar to Adam
Hall, but maybe more solid and polished

Dawes--excellent little player, solid defensively and
physically

Dubinsky--a bit young, but very solid overall

Immonen--lacks flash or great wheeles, but plays a
smart steady game

Falardeau--nothing special though, likely will never
get a chance

Korpikoski--he can play in NHL, but he should play top
minutes in AHL or else he will totally forget how to
score

Weller--big, underrated player that can play wing or
defense, very physical, can fight and has soft hands
and offensive ability.

Helminen--defensive forward, lacks size, but brings
speed and some offensive ability that is missing in
the likes of Betts, yes he missed the net couple of
times in one game in preseason, big deal how many
empty nets have the likes of Nylander and Straka miss
last season? Funny how people condemn a player based
on 1 game instead of point out that he played really
well last night and that the likes of Betts would
never even be in that position to receive a pass.

Montoya--I bet at this point he is better than Weekes

Richter--obviously he didn't sign here to play in AHL

Pock--decent player, but nothing too special

Taylor--injury problems, but skates and handles the
puck well and looks poised, could be excellent player
if stays healthy and starts hitting more

Lampman--enigmatic player with injury problems, lacks
physical game, but is pretty good overall defenseman

Baranka--can't wait for him to make the team, actually
I think at this point he might be a better player than
Pock who is more than 3 years older


I don't understand:

1. Why is Girardi still up, he looked invisible to me
in 2 games.

2. Why didn't Degon(who has produced on every level),
Bahensky, Callahan, Potter, Kozak and Petruzalek
didn't get a chance to show what they can do, while
the likes of Hoffman did get to play?

3. Why is Staal still with the team when he looks like
he is nowhere near NHL ready and looks like he didn't
make much progress since last preseason?

4. Why is Valiquette still here and Montoya sent down?

Mitch, if we have questions for the Oct-4 shindig, where should we post them? Should it be private e-mail to you or a public posting on this thread or someplace else?
Thanks Bob

I think Montoya is being sent down because he is expected to be "the man" in Hartford this year, play a lot of games. Valiquette is a veteran, more suited for a backup role if Weekes stays injured.

Same thing with Hossa. Dubinsky played last year in juniors, and Dawes is one year removed from juniors. I don't think some time in Hartford for them is a bad thing. They'll be Rangers for a long time.

Weinman's crack at Helminen is unprofessional, in my professional opinion as a journalist of 22 years. Missing two shots in one game does not lead one to the overly harsh conclusion that the kid looked like he never skated before, or that he can't finish. (The second chance was not as easy as it first looked. He was all alone but the goalie was sliding and he had to hit the top corner, no easy feat from such close range.) Hell, Jagr misses most of his opportunities. And there are a hundred players in Helminen's situation across the league -- are they all going to play for the Wolfpack? Why is it unfortunate Helimnen will play in Hartford? Sloppy, thoughtless writing, even if the writer thinks he is clever.

Mitch, the difference between Sam and most other bloggers or bulletin board chatters is that he covers the Rangers semi-full time -- he attends every practice, every home game, every road game he can drive to; he interviews players, coaches, and management; he exchanges ideas with the other reporters covering the team; and he has years of experience doing exactly this. And most importantly, he provides a service to the Rangers -- promotion -- that th Rangers do not have to pay him for. That is why he is given access to the team and allowed to share his observations with his readers -- it's his job.

So his observations are not uneducated, even if he cannot play the game at Helminen's level. His lack of playing experience at that level did not elicit any criticism for his praise for Greg Moore, so why should it be a factor when he criticizes a player? Few can play at Helminen's level, and those that can are so good at it, they're not blogging or reporting. There is no prerequisite to play the game at any level to be a reporter -- or a fan, knowledgable, opinionated, or otherwise. Few of us can write or report as well as Sam or the other journalists, yet that doesn't give them immunity from criticism by readers, as you just did. Everyone has a right to their opinion -- you're allowed to disagree with their opinion, you have a right to say that, and you can choose to not read them if you don't like their style.

Sam is not the first reporter to inject humor into his observations, and he won't be the last. Mike Lupica has reached the top of his profession writing like that -- you may or may not like him, but enough people like him for him to have risen to where he stands now.

What Sam wrote was the humorous equivalent of what you wrote -- "Dwight Helminen is NOT an NHL player and probably never will be." In fact, he left out the "probably never will be" part, leaving open the possibility that he can ben an NHL player if he can learn to bury the chances that Sam praised him for getting. You're a comedy writer, you know what he was trying to do, even if you feel he failed. As a comedy writer, do you believe his criticism is more hurtful than your straightforward criticism?

And is his humor any more or less of a put down of the AHL or lower levels of hockey than your straightforward criticism? One could argue, if Dwight Helminen is not capable of playing in the NHL, isn't that an indictment of the AHL level of play? Is the AHL worthless because it is full of guys who failed to make the show? Of course not -- you know what you're getting at any level. I enjoy watching the Division 1 recreational players play at Sky Rink, even though there's no checking and a lot of errors -- I'm not expecting NHL or even AHL or CHL hockey, yet it's still fun.

Other bloggers, maybe you have a good point. Guys like Eklund who pretend to be knowledgable when they aren't are certainly open season. You like Rodent, and today he throws a ton of criticism toward Lou Lamoriello and Gary Bettman, some of it scathingly humorous, some of it straightforward -- why aren't you calling him out on the carpet for what he's saying about a GM and a commissioner he can never hope to equal as a hockey person?

Fans who support the team, I don't know if you have a case against them either, at least not a case that they shouldn't be allowed to state their opinion, although you are of course welcome to shoot their opinions down if you disagree with them.

Some observations:

1) It was good to see a team stacked with all the youth we have been reading about for a few seasons. It was also very good to see them basically hold their own against some veteran NHL talent.

2) One of these young guys is going to force his way onto this team at some point this season. Hossa may be here for now, but I bet he is not here by X-mas. It would not surprise me if Dawes, Dubinski, or Immonen (if they are not here already) take Hossa's minutes once Marcel's 2-game 'inspired play' goes away. There is just something about Dawes that makes me feel he will play in NY this season.

3) I missed the 1st and 2nd period. But I have liked what I've seen from Hollweg. IMO, he was one of the only players who raised his game in the Playoffs last year. And it looks like he improved again over the summer. I love those quick feet.

4) Next year's camp is going to be real tough. There is a nice group that is very close to NHL ready now. There will be even more next year. Guys like Korpikoski, Montoya, Barnaka, and maybe even Jessiman are really going to be pushing next season.

Dubi and the rest of you for that matter,

I happen to read Sam in the Journal just about every day and read Andrew Gross, a BB contributor before him. Both are truly gifted writers and I am not questioning his talent or ability in any manner shape or form.

What I'm writing about and maybe after I explain this it will make a bit more sense, is what has become a way of life in our society towards getting nasty or maybe nasty isn't the right word but just a general disregard for other people and other people’s feelings. Having been the brunt of more than my share of public ass whoopings and knowing what it feels like to be trashed in public, I can definitely say that it isn’t fun. There’s a difference, and I grant you not much of one, but there is a slight difference, between being made fun of in a comedy forum versus getting blasted or taken to task by someone who is not a comedian but using comedy as a device.

Maybe I’ve opened a can of worms that are best discussed in a group setting rather than being written about. I don’t know why it got to me. Maybe because I know seen first hand how hard Dewey works to improve his game versus my own wish to be able to do something as simple as skate without falling down every 15 feet. I respect these guys and what they’ve accomplished just to get to that level. I just think the world is getting to be a really harsh and unfriendly place.

You mentioned Rodent and not calling him out. Sometimes I think he writes tough stuff but I have never read anything that is flat out nasty or hurtful. Biting (pardon the pun) sarcasm? Sure, but not nasty. Please understand that I didn't mean to vent all of this on Sam, I think the point is that we're all guilty of falling into that and I think it's sad.

There were many other points that you made and I think you made some great and valid points. I did want to say that of course people are entitled to their opinions and of course they should be free to express them. I never meant any indictment of people’s rights.
What I am referring to is just the general way that we talk to, write about and just the way we treat each other in general. The sad part about this new technology is that it just invites people to vent and bash each other mercilessly knowing it's safe that there are usually no repercussions. That was my basic point. Hopefully it’s a little clearer. If not well, get some freakin glasses you….oh maybe that was a bit much… :)

By the way. you can email Dubi with your questions for the chat and he'll start positng them that night...

I couldn't disagree with Mitch any more than I already do.

For one, what Sam said wasn't a problem. He didn't say Dwight had no talent, in fact he went out of his way to say Dwight had talent in order to get where he was. He just said Dwight didn't currently have the talented needed to finish on an NHL level and therefore had no place on the team.

He didn't even say it obnoxiously.

But I think that people have every right to criticize, constructive or otherwise, the performance of professional entertainers. Regardless of whether they're better themselves or not. While I think people should keep it decent and fair unless the professional's activity demands otherwise, I still think we're perfectly just in assessing them as is.
We're their lifeline. We're their support. When Uwe Boll kicks out a terrible movie, are our complaints not valid because he's doing something we can't?

Sure, Dwight is just a kid, not an ego, and doesn't deserve overly harsh criticism at this moment. He's not mouthing off, he's not being obnoxious, he's just not being good enough. But the comment wasn't unreasonable.

Now, had this been an elimination game and Dwight missed those open net shots, I'd say he deserves many the comments coming to him. Not all, as Ozo didn't deserve all, but we're paying fans, when we're upset we have an obligation to make it known. Better here, on the internet, after the fact then at the game, in person, too, completely blowing the professionals mind out of a comeback.

I get frustrated too when people post things without thinking about what they're saying, how they're saying it, etc. On one hand, the technology has opened up a whole can of worms. On the other hand, I really don't see people writing stuff that they weren't already saying (also without thinking, in too many cases), so I guess I'm just happy to see people communicating in new ways, especially via writing, which is sadly a lost art. So for me, it becomes a challenge to set people straight (as those who've sparred with me certainly know all too well), and I'd rather take them on than shut them off.

By the way, Rodent's article today is dripping with scathing sarcasm and comments that call Lamoriello duplicitous, hypocritical, and a cheat, and suggests that Sather would do the same for his team. I don't mind -- I happen to agree with him and have used some, maybe all, of those same words about Lou's handling of the cap. But let's be honest, it's far more critical and scathing than Sam's comments on Helminen, in which Sam was really just trying to be funny.

Dubi, did you ever heard about playing ice hockey in Australia ?

In fact, just today I was talking with a friend of mine on a rival team who we're playing tonight, and he said he got a good player who is from Australia, recommended to him by Bill Torrey's nephew, who is now on the rival team but who was on my team for a short time, but who had to be let go because he took too many penalties being a hothead. How's that for a run-on sentence?

Dubi you are nice but you have misunderstand me !!! I really can imagine that there are people from Australia playing hockey for fun in the U.S. No I want to know if you have heard about playing hockey in Australia, or if there is a league in downunder ?????

I really can´t imagine that koalas have the physical abilites to play this kind of sport but maybe they have some crazy aussies to do it in Sydney, Melbourne, or Adelaide...:)

Dubi I am so tired now because I am not living at your timezone so you have a couple of hours to give me another response and I know you like koals so you do it....:)

Sorry, that's all I know about Aussie hockey. I know there's a rink in Singapore, so I would guess there's one in Australia too, but that's the extent of my down under hockey knowledge.

Such a good conversation, and everyone has good points.

20 years ago, as an undergraduate, I covered the Columbia football team, who were mired in a record-setting 40-game losing streak. My editor at the time was from a very prominent family in journalism and was very faithful to the truth. The truth was, the team was horrible, they lost most games by 4 or 5 touchdowns, and some humor was sorely needed in order to keep us going. Most of the time, it was at the players' expense. And I remember personally trying not to go there, particularly about any one individual, and I know that many of the jokes produced in the student newspaper never saw the light of day because we just at the end of it all didn't have the heart. And we also knew this - no matter how many times or by how much those guys lost, they just weren't losers. They were proud Ivy League students who left everything on the field every week and came off the field practically in tears after losses, especially the few heartbreaking ones. Matt Fox, the star of Lost, was on that team, as were many other men who are now wildly successful (Matt's just the most famous). Those teams were more a product of an incompetent athletic department than anything else.

So how does this relate? Yes, obviously, the Rangers are a professional team. Players are paid to play a game, which gives everyone a bit more license to bash them when they don't play it well. Sam's a great writer, and I think his jokes about Helminen are funny. That said, in this particular case, he's making said jokes at Helminen's expense in a way that is somewhat gratuitous and unnecessary. Thank goodness we no longer have the Valeri kamenskys and Theo Fleurys around to bash, but when we did, they deserved every bit of our scorn, derision, and attempts at humor. No joke was at their expense - they were the real joke at our expense, literally and figuratively. Helminen, by contrast, does not. He's a young kid who nobody expects anything from, working hard and trying to make the team. He converts on those 2 opportunities, he probably gets called up for a shot at some point this year. That's how close he is.

If you want to make jokes, Hossa's a better target. The guy really does appear to turn it on and turn it off. And I think that's another thing - players, especially ones that don't leave it all on the field, and particularly when they're paid, are free game. So the question as to why he gets a pass is a very valid one, one that reallyt infuriates me more than anything else in camp this year.

As far as hiding behind anonymity, well, I agree with Mitch on that as well. Its one thing to disagree, but my personal policy when writing something is if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, dont blog it or post it. That's different when you're a beat writer, obviously, and so speaks to a different point. But I do agree there especially.

Folks, I think nobody really understands the point that I was trying to make very well.

What my entire case is about is that in my opinion "civil discord," the way that we talk to each other and treat each other is deteriorating at an exponential rate and that it’s pretty sad. I feel like all columnists these days have strayed off too far and have traded in constructive commentary and straight forward reporting and are trying to make their bones by using viciousness, course and callous commentary as opposed to constructive criticism. I’m not even referring to Sam here. It’s reporting on the whole and society in general.

I want to make it crystal clear that I am fully for freedom of speech, don’t get me wrong. I just think there’s a better way to express oneself than the way he handled it.

It was brought up that I make sarcastic comments in my jokes etc. I do there is no doubt about it. The difference is that I am primarily a comedian who moonlights as a writer and other than my one unfortunate slip, I just don’t attack people. I don’t think it’s necessary to do it and that there’s just a better way to do it. I don’t for one second feel that fans don't have the right to scream and yell and boo and do whatever. Of course they do. I've said my fair share of goofs on players over the years but usually in private. I just think that decorum has gone on some extended vacation. That’s all.

I think that I'm being viewed by some as self-righteous and that is not my intent at all. Pghas explains it far better than I do. This is just a hard working kid trying to make it to the biggest stage in the world. He's got a shot that none of us do and I think a certain percentage of the words and repressed anger come from a jealousy of sorts. Like I said I've been on the receiving end where Dewey sits right now, and I can tell you first hand that no matter how thick your skin may be, you're still human and it hurts. Trust me on that one.

Dubi wrote that in effect I'm advocating the shutting down of people's voices. That's not true at all. What I am saying is make the criticism constructive and don't make it personal. There's a very big difference and like I said, it has nothing to do with Sam personally and I think he's a very good writer as well my point is simply he didn't need to go there in order to make his point. I felt he was too hard on Dewey, that's all.

Lastly, the anonymity of being on the internet and blasting away at whatever the topic happens to be, most of the time from people who haven't thought out a single thing they are writing incidentally, but that away from the internet are usually otherwise normal and polite people turns them into A-holes because they get brave and I think that's a shame...

Those are my points and I hope they are clear to everyone now.

OK my turn

Dubi has some valid points and if anything I believe that Sam'a attempt at humor fell flat. Sorry BUT this is his first year at covering the Rangers full time and from my own experience I know that humor online has this bad habit of not being real clear.

That being said as someone who does cover Ranger prospects and Ranger events in my book I would do a lot of damage to my own credibility with the prospects IF I poked fun at them in a public forum.

I am also currently taking a college journalism class so I am going to ask my instructor about the ethical issues of this and If he responds to my question I will post his response.

Now for some views on things.

Those of you who know my coverage of the prospects I think will agree that I have been proven right more often than wrong soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo:

Renney is wrong if he thinks that Dubinsky or Dawes would be better off in Hartford instead of playing limited minutes as a Ranger 4th liner. HELLO COACH when those 2 eventually do make it to the Rangers I doubt they will jump right in and be first liners as they will be weaned into the lineup from (GASP) the 4th line.

Second the protypical way of developing at the NHL level is in fact starting the kid on the 4th line and weaning him more and more responsibility. Heck current MVP Joe Thornton spent half of his first season as a 4th liner.

Now here is reality time:

I know all 3 of these players extremely well as I have followed them since their days in the WHL even before I started writing for the BB and this is what I do:

Hossa-IMO the biggest mistake that anyone who has coached him has made is that they keep thinking he will one day get it. NO HE WILL NOT UNLESS HE GETS SENT A MESSAGE and here is my message.

I send him down to Hartford and I tell him that he is there until he plays every shift like it is his last, one bad shift and he starts all over again. The Habs used to recall him everytime he had a good game and that is the bigger mistake. Make him stay in the AHL making 30G a season and see how badly he wants back the good life. When he returns make sure he knows that the paperwork to send him back is all typed up and ready to be sent in.

Dubinsky-This is a kid who is not afraid of challenges, I know I pissed him off last year right before his playoffs by telling him he was the 5th best center prospect the Ranger's had (boy did his dad and I have a great laugh over it) abd Dubi responded. He can and will elevate his game but more importantly he would center the Rangers the second coming of the HMO line with these extras: He will drop his gloves unlike Dom Moore, he will create his own offense unlike Moore and he will totally drive other teams insane with his mouth (if you liked Barnaby you will just LOVE THIS KID as he won "the one player nobody wants to play against" award.

A line of Dawes/Dubinsky/Hollweg (or I will call them the HDD line) will fire up the MSG crowd with their hard work and ethic. Hollweg and Dubi alone with their "Take No Prisoners" attitude and Dawes btw will not back down either.

Nigel Dawes has been hearing his entire life that he will never make it, all he does is prove people wrong. He is perhaps the best possible PP QB the Rangers will have as his pinpoint passing skills are even better than his goal scoring skills.

He too elevates his game when he has to, just as Team Canada who the star of the Gold Medal game was when they won the goal medal in 03-04. Dawes is a money game player.

And the last word is I just checked to see how people are reacting to the Dwight jokes and it appears that the blog entry in question is no longer there.

Koala:

Yes, there is Ice Hockey being played in Australia: we have a National League with teams from Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Newcastle (and others who escape me right now), former NHL players Steve McKenna and Rob Zamuner play or have played in the national competition, and there are obviously feeder leagues in each city with a rink. Whilst you can't say that Hockey is a major sport here, it has a dedicated following of players and fans. There's a reasonable amount of InLine Hockey being played as well.

Cheers

Thanks for your information Mike....

But Dubi you are funny and you make me laugh with the response..
"I know there's a rink in Singapore, so I would guess there's one in Australia too" Singapore is so far away from Australia then LA to NY and that would mean in translation "Mingle with your friends in downunder and let the hockey play over here !!!

No I am kidding but I think it is necessary to repeat it because guys sometimes don´t understand it like the above discussion clearly showed..:)

Koala:

Here's an article on the state of Australian Ice Hcokey at nhl.com:

http://www.nhl.com/features/pond/australia091406.html

Cheers

Thanks a lot for giving me this link Mike D !

Shame that I will be in Australia in the summer of January.. I would really like to see them playing, but I will spent some time in Melbourne and in Brisbane to see the venues..:)

Even a former Ranger Steve McKenna played in Australia and will become coach of the Australian national team…it is just unbelievable :)

Jess, there is a reason why the team is more reluctant to send Hossa to Hartford than other kids, and it is that he would have to be waived first. Maybe you think it would be no big loss to lose him, but it makes the decision much more complicated than just choosing players.

Dubi, I have no problem with criticism, but it has to make sense. Weinman said: "Dwight Helminen ... looked like it was his first time on skates..." Huh? That might be an appropriate joke if he fell down a few times, but for shooting wide? What does skating have to do with shooting?

He also said: " Unfortunately, there’s a name for guys who have that skill but still can’t finish: your 2006-07 Hartford Wolf Pack." Again, as written, the sentence is illogical. There are guys who can't finish (like Betts) that play in New York. Some will play in Charlotte. There is nothing unfortunate about playing in Hartford ... Poor writing is poor writing, don't encourage it.

Hossa needs a season in Hartford. Needs it. At least a few months. He could probably tear it up on the first line. But, if we send him there, we probably lose him. So we'll wait until we're certain we have a replacement.

And Mitch, I know where you're coming from, but I think what you went through is different than what Sam is doing to Dwight. Very different. It's not out of nowhere. It's coming from fans. And it wasn't over the line.
Dwight, being a developing prospect quietly doing his best, deserves to be judged but not too harshly. And Sam did that.
Other players, such as Theo, Kevin Stevens, Mark on his second tour of duty, deserved to be judged harshly for causing more harm than good, and for underperforming based on ability (not potential) and money.
And other players still, such as Daigl, deserved to be bashed for attitude.

Dwight doesn't deserve to be bashed, but criticism is fair, and that's all Sam really did. Dwight does not have NHL finishing skills right now. This is not bashing him, it's saying the truth. He's an AHL player.

my opiniun on the starting line up

jagr-nylander-straka malik-rozival
shanahan-cullen-prucha kasparaitis-tyutin
dawes-immonen-hall rachunek-ward
hollweg-betts-ward

lundqvist-valiquette

paul -- Helminen did fall on his first attempt, missing the pass from Orr I think it was, which is probably where Sam got the inspiration for that line. The other line was clearly an attempt to be humorous. As far as Hossa, we all understand the limitations placed by the waiver rule, but many of us seem to think that in Hossa's case, it's not enough to justify carrying an inferior player over someone who deserves a chance.

Koala -- I've been to both Singapore and Australia, so I know where they are relative to each other. My point was that if they have a rink on the equator in Singapore, it would make sense they'd have them in Australia too despite the warm weather climate there.

Beamer:

I think you are missing my point. My point isn't that athletes are above reproach and can't be critized. On the contrary. That is never going to cease. What my point has been is more about the way we talk, treat and write about each other. I think constructive criticism was certainly warranted. I thought the crack about first time on skates was totally unjustified and I don't think being sent to Hartford to work on his game should be seen as punishment. It also demeans the rest of those players that are there, or in Charlotte etc. it's quite a feat to have made it to professional sports in general and there is no shame in not being able to get past that last hurdle. It's 100% how you choose to look at it.

One last thought in relation to that and I think people really will need to read this carefully or this will explode into something crazy, is I don't boo or make nasty comments towards the players on any of the teams that I root for. Why? Because I don't think it does any good. It certainly doesn't motivate the athlete, Coach, GM in a positive way. Again, I don't care how thick you think your skin is, it still hurts and I think it shuts them down. Now, do fans have the "right" to do, 100% YES. Is it the "right" thing to do? That's a different story and for whatever it's worth, my opinion is "no."

It's really the same argument just restated. I think if we talked and wrote and treated each other more civilly I think the world would be a better place. I think people are angry about any number of things and this, meaning the internet, is a great place to "vent that anger or frustration" in the total safety of complete anonymity. Again, does it make it right? In my opinion "no."

Before I come off like I'm Mr. Self-Righteous, it's just my opinion that we don't treat each other with the human dignity that we all deserve...

Just my opinion now folks...let's keep it civil :)

Sam's comments weren't bad for anyone but himself. Once word gets around the locker room that he bashes the young guys for minor whiffs, he's going to find himself very quickly on the outside looking in. Regardless, I somehow doubt a guy like Helminen is scanning blogs and the rags for comments about himself. More likely, the kid is probably just trying to focus on making the NHL. And the comment about the Pack should have read either the 2004-05 or 2005-06 Pack. Then it would have made perfect sense, as both of those teams went far during the regular season but just couldn't finish.

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