Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blues vs. Stars - Kansas City's Brief Date with the NHL in 2014

Have you heard the news? It was reported a couple of days ago that the St. Louis Blues will face the Dallas Stars in a pre-season exhibition at the Sprint Center on Sept. 27, 2014.

While the Blues and Stars aren't exactly my cup of tea, I'm thrilled about the NHL making a return to Kansas City. My guess is it won't match the record attendance from the last exhibition game back in 2011, but that's fine by me. There were only a few hundred people, including Flubber and I, at the Kings/Islanders fight on ice skates game in 2009 and it was a great time. Of course now that we know record attendance isn't going to bring an NHL team this way, we can all kind of sit back and wait to be entertained rather than speculating in the coming months whether or not the city will show the league that there is a market here.

Tickets are on sale now using the presale code ICE. Presale ends and normal sale begins Friday (02/14) at 10am. I don't know what the difference is, but there you go. Makes for a great Valentine's Day gift! Right?


NHL preseason hockey returns to Kansas City — Dallas Stars v. St. Louis Blues September 27

Blues, Stars to play NHL preseason game at the Sprint Center

St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars Face-Off on Sept. 27

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

USA Hockey Adult Pond Hockey National Championships Happened This Past Weekend: A Kansas Citians's Review

via @usahockey

Kansas City hockey fans, I'd like to introduce myself. I am Nutbush. I've been an author on this blog for... a year and a half, I think?... and have fended off enormous pressure from Flubber to actually write something. NO MORE. You will all now be subjected to my long-winded tangents (ahem) and generally awful writing. JOKE'S ON YOU, FLUBBER.

Anyway, let's get to the point of this post: Hockey. Specifically, pond hockey. Even more specifically, getting completely destroyed playing pond hockey.

The USA Hockey Adult Pond Hockey National Championships have been held in Eagle River, Wisconsin, for the last nine years. The event has grown every year and was featured by NBC during Hockey Day in America:

I was presented the chance to participate in this year's tournament and jumped at the chance. I had spent the majority of my life wishing I could play hockey up until last year when I joined a D-League team, so of course I wasn't going to miss being able to play the game in its purest form. On top of that, it is difficult to get a team registered - this year's pool was filled up completely in just two days - so if you get the chance, you'd better take it.

One thing that I was told about Northern Wisconsin (I'd never been there) was that it was cold in the winter (duh). But I'd be fine, hockey gear is thick and stuff.

I was also told not to expect to win any games and that getting blown out was a near-certainty. Pond hockey games tend to have scores in the 30s and 40s for at least three reasons:
  1. There are no goalies
  2. The playing surface is small
  3. Holy crap, the other team is good
Number 3 in that list applied to us a lot. We were in a division a bit above our skill level because of how quickly registration filled up. Oh well, low expectations means more fun.

First game result: like, 35-0. I honestly lost count. We scored a few goals in the last two games and your guess on our opponents' scores are as good as mine. Suffice it to say they won quite comfortably.

The ice was great for the first game, but the surfaces quickly started developing huge cracks in them. I would find it hard to believe if the amount of torn knee ligaments among all participants wasn't greater than zero. I ate it a number of times and my already (very) poor hockey skills were even further diminished by the conditions. I'm sure this is something pond hockey veterans are used to, but I usually play on indoor surfaces and I'M A LITTLE GIRL, DARNIT.
click to embiggen
In the end, the losing really didn't matter. Playing on a frozen lake was a freaking blast and everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime. If losing does matter to you, keep in mind that this event is sponsored by Labatt. You get something like six 12-packs of beer just for playing, so there's that. Nothing says "I'm totally ready to skate a bunch in sub-zero temperatures and not vomit" than ingesting lots of free beer.

A lot of Kansas City teams made the trip, so if you are on a team and haven't done this yet, I encourage you to get your players together and (try to) register next year and go. It's a great time and representing KC hockey definitely can't hurt, even if your team gets outscored somewhere-close-to-100 to 7.

Here is some more info on this year's tournament, if you're interested:

Photo Gallery

2014 Labatt Blue/USA Pond Hockey Championship Notebook - 19 Winners Crowned in Eagle River

If you've made it this far, congratulations on reading an entire Nutbush post. Few have done so and lived to tell the tale. You're probably wondering where the last few minutes of your life have gone. Sorry.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Congrats, Henrik Ødegaard: Norwegian Olympic Hero

Missouri Mavericks defensemen Henrik Ødegaard is headed to Sochi to play for his native Norway's Olympic hockey team.  He last played for Team Norway in the 2013 IIHF World Championships where they went 3-4, missing the medal round.

Here he is with the Mavs beating the hell out of some dude:

Read Vahe Gregorian's article on Ødegaard, and his response to the outpouring of fan support he has received in just a few months here in town.  He is the only Olympian with any ties to the Kansas City area, even in his short stay here.  What that says about winter sports in Kansas City is probably notable, but not surprising.

(ed. note: Puckchaser reminds us that former Blades coach Vasily Tikhonov's son, Viktor, is playing for Team Russia).

On the flip side, it's wild to think that Norway values hockey less than, like, cross-country skiing.  I suppose it's a lot like how Americans look at bobsledders.  Name three bobsledders.  YOU CAN'T.  Therefore, let me personally invite every player from Team Norway to sign a contract with the Mavericks so they can be properly appreciated.  I mean, everyone playing for the Mavericks is great, but Mats Trygg and Anders Bastiansen is so much more fun to say.  Oh, and Mats Zuccarello should play for the Mavericks too.

Norway is in Group B with Canada, Finland, and Austria.  Norway is currently ranked ninth in the IIHF rankings, facing the fifth, second, and fifteenth ranked teams, respectively.  Here is their schedule:

All games will be broadcast here in the states.
vs Canada on USA Network
vs Finland on MSNBC
vs Austria vs USA Network

And if you don't think Norway has a chance to medal in Sochi, just remember:
Here is a video from the Mavericks's YouTube page with Henrik and Mavs head coach Scott Hillman discussing the Olympic nod.
TURN UP!!!!!  #slå #opp

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Semi-Counterpoint: KC Area Ice Rinks Moving Outdoors

While I agree with Puckchaser's assessment on the lack of outdoor ice skating options in Kansas City, I would like to provide a brief counterpoint.  Yes, the Kansas City area still struggles to open outdoor rinks or lakes/ponds for hockey, and yes, the city of Kansas City hardly contributes any money or facilities towards growing ice recreation besides Line Creek (even though KC is not specifically listed in Puckchaser's post).  But, I would argue that the area is moving in the right direction to making outdoor ice skating and ice hockey a more viable option around town.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A List of Team Names to Prepare for the NHL's Expansion

It was reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie that the NHL might be willing – and getting closer – to taking a chance on putting an expansion franchise in Las Vegas.  How fun.  This, of course, arouses the since dormant talk about placing another team in Seattle or Quebec City – two cities that will have NHL ready arenas in the next few years – in order to bring the number of NHL teams to the nice even number of 32.  But, as the report also suggests, the NHL may not be content with 32 teams.  This includes placing a franchise in any of those cities, plus a second franchise in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Saskatoon, Prince Edward Island, etc.

Well, we here at LCOB have read the report and we know what this means: It's a forgone conclusion that Kansas City will be getting an NHL expansion franchise within the next year.  It's the only logical conclusion.

Seeing as this is a 100% guarantee, as these expansion stories have been in the past and will continue to be in the future, we have come up with a list of the top 5 possible team names and jersey designs for the next great Kansas City sports franchise.  Follow the jump to enjoy (and dream!!!)…