Month: March 2011

WHAT’S IN A NAME? (guest blogger Kerry Huffman)

I came across this blog from my peer blogger and former NHL defenseman, Kerry Huffman. (

) I thought it was cute and funny. Enjoy…

What’s in a Name?
“Hey coach, keep it clean!!!!!”
That’s what a ref yelled at me when a few weeks ago while I was coaching my mite team. Couldn’t figure out what I did wrong until I heard myself yell out the next line combination again, “Knipple, Buts, Godown….you’re up, Godown, Knipple, Buts….you’re up!!!!!” That’s right, I have three little players with the last names, Knipple, Godown and Butler…..Ooops. Not a good idea to have them on the same line.
So it got me thinking about great hockey names and some strange names that I played against over the years. I played against a Tom Sawyer, Paul Macartney, Phillip Collins, Jesse James, Jack Nickelson and Walt Kronkite… joke.
We decided to get together a list of some of the all time great hockey names. I have commented on some, but for some, nothing really needs to be said.
Here goes.
The All Spice Team
Herb Brooks
Basil McRae
Ryan Pepperall
Bob Dill
Bill Root
Brian Lavender
John Sorrel
Floyd Curry
Moose Sage

The All Exclamation Team
Brian Bellows
Kevin Haller
Harry Howell
Douf Mohns
Stephane Yelle

Some other dandies.
Jeff BeukeBOOM!!!!! (god he could hit!)
Miroslav Satan (Devilish)
Zdeno Ciger (smoking shot!)
Jim Carey (funny guy)
John Madden (loves football)
Jim Playfair (rarely did…)
Valerie Zelepukin ……say no more.
Darren Puppa……
Ron Tugnut (groin injury)
Steve Passmore (uh he was a goalie…)
Steve Lyon (had a huge red afro…)
Rich Parent (never paid for anything…)
Steve Heinz (wore #57)
Zarley Zalapski (just like that name)
Al Iafrate ( I was Iafrate of his slap shot!!!)
Adam Deadmarsh
Larry ‘Izzie’ Goodenough (obviously one of my favourites)
Martin St. Louis (of course plays in Tampa….)
Bruce Shoebottom (I would have felt like a heel if I forgot that one….)
Hakan Loob (yuck!)
Frank Pieterangelo (the Apostle….I actually scored on him….)
Paul Tittman?
Jim Tittmore??
and finally…
Artem Chubarov
Johnny SanViagra
Paul Dyck
Harry Dyck
Dick Cockburn
Dick Duff
Cory Pecker ( a female commentator in Toronto actually used the line, “Pecker pokes it thru the five hole!!!” when doing highlights)

My two favorites, Bob Beers and former Canuck draft pick John Labatt.:)
If you have any other ones let me know!

The good news concerning my mite team is that next season we have two new players signing up. They are brothers, 5 yrs old and 6 years old, last name Johnson. That’s right, our team will now have a big Johnson and a little Johnson…..Let’s see how they fit in….:)


Phil Myre ( Blogs Tuesdays and Fridays


Hard hitting Chara

 1. I was surprised at the uproar in Montreal about the Zdeno Chara incident. I sympathize with Max Pacioretti who sustained serious injuries and will be missed by the Montreal Canadiens. However, I agree with the league‘s stance that no suspensions were warranted. Chara is a big player who must play a physical game. That’s one reason why he won the Norris Trophy in 08-09, given to the best defenseman in the NHL. The play was simply a “hockey play” that went wrong. If it had happened anywhere else on the ice, there would have been no issues.

2. The races to the playoffs are really heating up. The resurgence of the New Jersey Devils, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes have created a new race in the East Conference. The West Conference is certainly a shamble and promises to be exciting. It looks like the Columbus Blue Jackets, the St-Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche have dropped out of the race with only a handful of games left. With only 9 points separating 3rd from 11th place, it’s a tossup as to who will participate in the post season competition.

3. Early in the season, I picked the Boston Bruins and the San Jose Sharks to compete in the NHL Final. I stand by my prediction but Vancouver, Detroit in the West and Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (assuming that Sydney Crosby returns to form) certainly have a legitimate chance to be there. I don’t believe that Washington will make it to the Final Series.

4. How important is coaching in the NHL? Jacques Lemaire proves that the right coach can really make a difference. In my blog of January 28 “Jacques Lemaire Checking In Again” I predicted that the team would do much better and would mix the cards in the East. He did even better, actually bringing the team in contention to make the Playoffs. He’ll undoubtedly be able to write his own ticket if he decides to come back next season.

5. Speaking of coaching, Dan Bylsma has done a great job staying in contention for top spot in the East Conference regardless of injuries to Crosby. Jacques Martin and his staff have also contended with many injuries and kept the Canadiens in the race. Perry Pearn, the Canadiens’ Assistant Coach should be a candidate for a Head Coaching position in the NHL when one opens up. I worked with Jacques and Perry in Ottawa for several years and I have a lot of respect for Perry’s knowledge, practice development and teaching ability.

6. Ray is back…I’m happy to see Ray Emery make a triumphant return with the Anaheim Ducks. I was the goalie coach in Ottawa when Ray was drafted by the Senators. He played great under my tutelage and eventually made his way in the NHL. I wish him the best…

7. What about the Toronto Maple Leafs!!! A lot of credit goes to Ron Wilson and Brian Burke. This is not a very good team right now and Ron has them overachieving and fighting for a playoff spot. Brian Burke made some excellent moves at the trade Deadline which will give him some Cap room and some assets to move the next season. I expect him to be very busy this summer…


Phil Myre ( (blogs every Tuesdays and Fridays)


This season, I spent a lot of time working with young hockey players as an assistant coach with an under 14 AAA team. It really has been a joy and a great experience for me to watch those young men grow and improve their hockey skills. And I do mean GROW as in height as well as in maturity. I know for certain that several of our players have grown at least 2 inches during the hockey season.

It has been fun but also an eye opener in dealing with young boys and their parents. It took a while, but once the ground rules were laid out, the boys behaved and learned to focus and pay attention…as much a 14-year-old can. The parents have been great and very cooperative for the most part.

When a young hockey player graduates to AAA hockey, he is often faced with the reality that he is no longer the best player on the team and that he has to fight for ice time. It is a much more competitive level and often separates the boy from the child. He is forced to face more adversity and suddenly he is not just a participant but is required to produce and to be accountable. More emphasis is put on winning and the coach will often shorten his bench in crucial situations. Playing for the team and learning to play a role becomes more clear. Sometimes, you have to “suck it up” for the team.

Two incidents happened this week-end that I had never experienced before since I was a youth hockey player myself. . That’s about 50 years of hockey, but who’s counting?

The first incident happened when one of our younger players didn’t show up for the Semi-final game of the State Championship. I received an e-mail from the father on the eve of the game saying that his son would not be playing because his ice time was shortened in the previous game which we won to propel us to the Semi’s. He claimed that his son received an unfair treatment by the head coach. He stated that his son’s dream of playing in the NHL has been shattered because of the inconsistent ice time that the coach has granted him. The players on the team were very upset because they felt that they were betrayed by the player for not showing up for an important game. The coaches were also disappointed because the game plan was changed and would have to be adjusted.


The second incident was the most upsetting to me. In the middle of the second period in the Semi Final game, we are playing a team who is visibly stronger than us. We’re losing the game 2-1 but we’re holding our own and we are frustrating the better and bigger opponent. One of our top 2 defenseman breaks a blade and cannot skate. We quickly send the skate to get repaired but the arena site is not equipped to make that repair or change the blade before the end of the game. One player on the team who wears the same size skates offers to give up his skates to the better player because the game is so important. The deed is done quickly on the bench and the better defenseman resumes his play to finish the period. In between period, we try to find a solution to the problem so that we could use both players without success. The Good Samaritan player insists that the team has a better chance to win with the other player than we do with him and sacrifices himself for the team. Subsequently, one of his parents comes into the dressing room and orders his son to put his skates back on and play. The better defenseman couldn’t play the third period. After the loss, the players applauded our Good Samaritan and made him the “player of the game”. What he did was the most selfless act I have ever seen in a team concept.


Players, parents and coaches make many decisions through the course of a season, sometimes in the heat of the moment.

Young players just want to play and win. They are taught that the team comes first and work through adversity to improve their own performance and help the team win.

Parents always want to protect their children. They want to teach them to stand up for their rights and make good decisions.

Coaches are responsible to improve each player and to mold each of them into a team. He must define roles and make them accountable.

WHO IS RIGHT AND WHO IS WRONG often depends on whose point of view we are looking at.

By the way, our Good Samaritan’s name is Justin and I’m very proud of him, right or wrong…


Phil Myre (

(blogs every Tuesdays and Fridays)


When I talk to young hockey players in hockey schools or at other events, I often ask them the following question: “How many of you would like to play in the NHL someday?” Invariably, most of the boys raise their hand. And who would blame them. Playing in the NHL is a goal that most young hockey players dream about at some time in their childhood.

My next question is often the following: “How many of you believe that, if you really work hard, you could make it to the NHL”? Some hands stay down on this one but many of them keep their hand up with excitement and energy.

I never want to discourage players from aspiring to play in the NHL. However, the reality is that many young boys have the dream but very few of them do come true. The NHL is not a career that we choose but one where you are chosen. One can decide to become an engineer or a lawyer or a fireman or policeman. Becoming a professional athlete is quite a bit different.

The statistics are pretty astounding: The NHL Entry Draft is held every year for teams to select players who are the very best in the world. They must be 18 years old by September 15th of the draft year. The draft is almost World Wide now because approximately 40% of NHL players come from Europe, the other 60% come from North America.

The “bench mark” to be considered a legitimate NHL player is 250 games, or about 3 seasons. In the ten years going from the 1998 draft to the 2007 draft, 2640 players were selected by NHL teams. From that total, only 256 players played 250 games in the NHL or 9.7%. If we round up, 10% of the best prospects in the world become NHL players.

The percentage increases if a player is drafted in the early rounds. In the same time period, 295 players were first round selections, 117 played 250 games or 39.7%. If a player was drafted in the top three rounds, the percentage drops by half to 19.6%.

Does it mean that young hockey players shouldn’t dream of playing in the NHL? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Competing and being part of a team is a great development path. However, I encourage kids to search within themselves to find something else that they love to do or that they have a passion for. IWhatever it is that you eventually do in life, if you have a passion for it, the dream of being a professional athlete will fade away.

It’s so important to have fun, to compete and to strive to be the best that you can be. The only thing you can do is to prepare yourself physically, mentally and compete hard so that you give yourself a chance to be CHOSEN.

In a futute blog, I’ll tell you how I became a professional goalie in the NHL. It’s a good story…stay tuned


Phil Myre ( (every Tuesday and Friday)


James Neal

The last day of February was the Trad e Deadline in the NHL. Starting March 1st, there will be 40 days left in the regular season. Teams had a chance to improve their team to make a run at the playoffs, others were selling assets to give themselves a chance for the next season.  Here is my assessment of the teams who successfuly addressed their most pressing needs. I base my choices on the value obtained, price paid and the need fulfilled. 

PITTSBURGH      Ray Shero did it again! Their need was to get better on the wings. James Neal is a young power forward with skill who will fit in with the Penguins for a long time. Alex Kovalev will give short term help offensively. He loves Pittsburgh. Matt Niskanen is a decent defenseman who can eat up some ice time. They lose Golikoski who is a good defenseman but they have some depth on defense. 

BOSTON               PeterChiarelli paid a high price to acquire Tomas Kaberle but he addressed a need to help his power play with a top player. Getting Rich Peverley is a smart move which will replace the loss of Marc Savard. He provides offense and can play any position. Chris Kelly is a great role player. Those moves will help them make a run at the Stanley Cup. 

 TORONTO           Brian Burke knows that his team isn’t going anywhere this season. They were short on draft picks. He received two first and one 3rd for this coming draft and others in future years. How many times have we seen a team acquire 2 first round picks at the trade deadline? Toronto now has liquid assets that can be used to add players for next year’s team or build through the draft.  Knowing Brian, he will be busy at the Entry Draft in Minnesota.  

 COLUMBUS        The Blue Jackets were near the bottom in point production by defensemen. They addressed that need by obtaining Craig Rivet and Sami Lepisto. Scottie Upshall will help their floundering  offense.   

CHICAGO             Michael Frolik is a good young prospect with offensive flair and skills. Chris Campoli will fill in a void on defense and has a bit of an upside. 

 TAMPA BAY        Eric Brewer  brings experience, size and leadership. They gave up a good young prospect and a draft pick but it may be worth it if they win a playoff round or two.  

 BUFFALO             It’s great to see that Darcy Regier can spend a little money. He acquired Brad Boyes to help boost the Sabres offense which needs to improve if they are to make it. 

 NASHVILLE          Mike Fisher hasn’t really made a difference yet but he will. It was a very good acquisition by David Poile. He paid a high price but he receives a character player who will be with the Predators for a while. 

 DALLAS                 I was surprised that they would be willing to part with James Neal but they received a very good defenseman in Alex Goligoski who will fill a need for their power play. 

PHILADELPHIA  Paul Holgrem got what he wanted. A speedy winger who can score. He paid a hefty price for Kris Versteeg. It will pay dividends in the short run. I don’t think that he’ll be the player they hope he will be in the long run.


 Talk about blowing up the ship to start over. Both teams acquired CAP SPACE  and DRAFT PICKS for next season. Dale Tallon is considered a genius for doing it but the word on the street is that Bryan Murray may not be  around to rebuild the Senators. It all has to do with EXPECTATIONS…   

HAVE A GREAT HOCKEY DAY!  (Read my Blog every Tuesday and Friday by noon)

Phil Myre (