RICK MERCER | WINNIPEG
You know the city is small when you recognize just about everyone in the video. Look at Mike Flaman go.
You know the city is small when you recognize just about everyone in the video. Look at Mike Flaman go.
This winter has been an awkward one of sorts here in Manitoba. For those of us who like to put in some time at the lake, enjoying the winter activities, it has been a bit of a sad winter so far. It has continually gone from freezing cold to pushing record highs, with next to no snow. I’m not mad at the warmer than average weather, but as a result the sleds have yet to feel me loving yank their pull cord and the pond awaits the chiseling of my hammer to secure the big red net, that no matter how hard I try, I can’t hit. So, with no snow, the options are some what limited. If it’s warm, we fire up the ping pong table for a few hours in the garage or toss some darts. If it’s freezing we post up inside wreaking havoc on the PS2 playing Madden ’04, NBA Jam or Tiger Woods ’10. I realized it had been a few months (actually more like a year) since I had picked up a book and read it cover to cover. So this weekend I hit Indigo to rifle through some print. I was about to call it quits, headed for the door that led back to the frosty empty evening, when this title caught my eye. The Day I Almost Killed Two Gretzkys. Upon further inspection I realized the book was written by one of my favourite TSN personalities, James Duthie. Considering this book came out in 2010, just goes to show that I haven’t done much reading lately. I had no clue James had penned a book, and this is coming from the guy who has taken a strong liking to TSN sports radio. Now I can’t stand those reviews where people are like, … Continue reading
“I grew up playing hockey, right wing, Western Lions” – Drake Hip-hop and hockey. It’s been too long.
Now that December 17th has come and gone and Winnipeg’s hero has made his much anticipated and welcomed return. We thought we would give it the Top 10 treatment from the weekends festivities and stories surrounding The Finnish Flash’s return. 10.) Listening to 1290 all week there seemed to be mixed reaction as to whether to boo or cheer the Finnish Flash upon his return. The fact that this was a five day talking topic was kind of ridiculous. How could this be discussed and how could anyone boo the man who arguably put Winnipeg on the map and could be accredited with this passion for hockey we have in the city? It was clear from the get go that Winnipeg’s hero had returned home. It began with 30-40 fans gathered outside the Fairmont Hotel to greet Teemu at 3 a.m. Chanting his name as the bus arrived, the Flash stuck it out in the brisk a.m. to ensure that each and every person gathered had their hockey card, jersey and t-shirt signed. Side note – TSN1290 step up your game, it’s embarrassing. 9.) Best sign of the night goes to whomever had this gem: “Teemu Selanne, at your age, you need a Kane and a Wheeler to keep up, come back to Winnipeg”. Though it is Selanne’s last year, and rumors have begun to swirl that he could finish the season a Jet in some big ole trade scenario, I have my doubts. Selanne is so loyal that the Fin would never leave the fans in Anaheim high and dry. He has potted 900+ points with the team and brought home Lord Stanley. Although it’s always fun to dream. 8.) The first TV time out video tribute. Classy move by Winnipeg although I will still take watching the New Boss … Continue reading
We are now almost ten games deep into the Winnipeg Jets inaugural season. Not the start that Winnipeggers had hoped but we are not totally in the basement which is a good sign. And to be honest who actually thought we would actually be on this roller coaster ride this season. After winning tonight, in ridiculous fashion, there do seem to be quite a few bright spots and reasons to be excited. Bright spots, in my humble opinion, have included Kyle Wellwood (whether or not he has a tough time eluding the blue line), Andrew Ladd, Tobias Enstrom, and Nik Antropov. However one lone Jet has really grabbed our attention. Twenty year old Russian born, Alexander Burmistrov. Burmistrov was drafted in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in the 1st round 8th overall by the Atlanta Thrashers. Last season Burmistrov had more of a defensive role with the Thrashers. Suiting up for 74 games, Burmistrov potted 6 goals and 14 assists. After 9 games this season, and undergoing a bit of a role change with the Jets, the 6’1″ center has tallied a point a game (3 goals / 6 assists) and has the highest +/- rating with +3. Not only is he a quarter of the way to last year’s points total but he is one of the strongest skaters, possess bar none the most captivating puck-handling skills and has arguable some of the best on ice vision in the NHL. Yes, arguably. What does not need to be argued is the fact he has quickly become a hometown favourite. We first had a chance to watch Burmistrov play at the 2010 World Juniors in Saskatoon. In 6 games he had 3 goals and an assist. Now I don’t want to get ahead of myself and knock on wood, but according … Continue reading
Over the course of ‘The Great Ones’ career I imagine Wayne felt pretty good for games played on October 26th. On October 26th, 1990 (in a 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets) Gretzky becomes the first NHL player to reach 2,000 points. Seven years later, as a Ranger, Wayne would assist on a goal by Niklas Sundstrum at 12:14 of the 2nd period to notch his 1,850th career assist, equalling Gordie Howe’s record. Shortly after, at the 32 second mark of the third period, he would set up Ulf Samuelsson to break the record at 1,851. Wayne would go on to set the record at 1,963 career assists, 894 goals for a total of 2,857 points.
This summer the NHL lost a very talented and hard working 27 year old. Rick Rypien got his professional start here in Manitoba during the 2004-2005 after his career with the Regina Pats came to conclusion. Jets assistant GM Craig Heisinger saw the potential in the young man and signed the 5-foot-11, 194-pounder, forward to a contract with the Moose. Over the course of his career, Rick made appearances in 119 games in the show with the Vancouver Canucks tallying nine goals, seven assists and 226 penalty minutes. This summer Rypien became a free agent and it was only fitting that he was snatched up on July 1 by the Winnipeg Jets, set to return to the same rink he spent 116 games with the Moose. Over the course of his career Rypien would over come adversity and personal challenges. Rypien went undrafted in the WHL Bantam draft but carved out a spot on the Regina Pats roster where he would spend 3 seasons racking up 114 points, dawn the ‘C’ and be the reciepiant of the Bill Hicke Award as the most popular player. Rick would go undrafted out of junior but make the most of an Amateur tryout contract with the Moose which in turn led to a contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Rick would score his first National League goal on December 21, 2005 on his first shot in the first period. Over the course of his career Rypien would also battle severe depression. In August Rypien would take his own life at the hands of the disorder. The Jets organization and Canucks orginization honored the centremen at the start of this season with the above tribute. You will be missed Rick.
Without a doubt it was a big night for Winnipeg, in fact 15 years in the making. With half the roster on the road in Columbus and the other half at home, Winnipeg was a buzz. In front of 15,004 ballistic Jets fans the home team got their first taste of playing in front of, what will be, the first of three years of sellouts. Among those hitting the ice here at home last night, local Winnipeg boys Kevin Clark, Jason Gregoire: two young guns who both played junior for the Winnipeg South Blues and whom both took the WCHA route on their race to the show. Alongside them was Brandon product Shayne Wiebe and Portage la Prairie native Troy Bodie. As we sat, eyes glued to the TV, we witnessed history unfold. The tone was set early by Dustin Byfuglien, who despite a full plate of legal concerns is sure to become a fan favourite. Shortly after, Paul Postma blew the lid of the MTS Centre when he potted the first goal of the game and started a new chapter in Winnipeg Jets history. All this while 7th round draft pick, Mark Scheifele, made a strong argument for why he should have a roster spot, capping off the evening with four points. Not too shabby at all. But the highlight for us was seeing our boy Kevin Clark take the ice. We were all pretty stoked to see him suit up. Though no one said it, I think we all remembered how Kev’s first pro game in the AHL unfolded. If I recall it was his first game, first shift, first shot, resulting in his first goal. Tonight Clarky looked like he was in his element as he once again rose to the occasion. Late in the second, off a … Continue reading
I’ve been to a lot of shows over the last few years from Kanye to Girl Talk, Drake to U2 but I can, without a doubt, say that the Shad’s stop over in Winnipeg for the 2011 Jazz Festival ranks right up top. It was one of those “You had me at hello” type moments. Shad cruised out on stage, rather punctual, rocking an NBA Jam inspired tee that read “He’s On Fire, Boom Shaka Laka”. I’ve been suiting up as the Mavericks in NBA Jam 2003 for years now, so much so that when I hit the hot spot the game freezes for a solid minute while the announcers tries to spit out “Sweet as momma’s milk” while Steve Nash levitates 10 ft off the ground. So not only is he on time, wearing a really rad shirt, but he’s jumping off stage into the crowd only to have his head carassed and rubbed by adoring fans. Unphased by the groping he just continues compiling lyrical brilliance verse after verse. Not even the constant firing of my flash, directly in his eyes, distract him. The Pyramid is packed, and I mean packed, wall to wall. It’s hot as heck and you can tell that Shad is pouring every ounce of energy into entertaining the already jaw dropped crowd. Sweating buckets he gives us 12 rounds of rap. Working Winnipeg references in at every corner he makes a Jets comment and the room erupts, and when you think it can’t get any louder…well…it does. With the first overall selection in this years draft, the Winnipeg Jets select, from London, Ontario, Shadrach Kabango. Show ends around 1, he humbly thanks everyone for coming out and then sets up beside the stage talking and posing for photos with, well everyone. It’s not … Continue reading
I was watching a PVR’d episode of E:60 last night. If you have watched any Canucks games over the course of the last few years chances are you have taken note of these two fellas. Going by Scully and Force, these two jornalism grads have become a fixture in NHL folklore as quite possibly two of the most entertaining fans to be a part of the game. I wonder if these two guys had been around during the 1994 Stanley Cup run if the outcome might have been a bit different. Though game 7 was played at Madison square, the Rangers did take 4 penalties in the game, one of which was Mark Messier who scored the game winner in the third. Might have been a different outcome for Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden and company. The Stanley Cup Finals begin June 1 with Vancouver hosting game 1.