We’re back, and we’re brining you the years of experience and expertise that we’ve gained over many years as seasoned hockey pro’s…..yeah ok, in all honesty we’re three, sometimes four, hockey fans that have opinions, and most of the time – you can liken our knowledge base to that of Ralph Wiggum – means well, but comes up short a lot of the time!
This time around, we’re discussing the ‘potential’ incident this weekend involving Matt Nickerson (spoiler: Fake News!), Jagr’s departure from the NHL, The NHL Ass-Star Weekend, Olympics, Mascots and even retro gaming!
As always, we like to start by bringing you the most up to date tables from the EIHL and the NHL and highlights from recent Belfast Giants games, so here goes!
Since last time, the Giants have had weekends of swings in performance.
The 19th and 20th of January saw the home team see off the visiting Coventry Blaze in rousing fashion, with 7-4 and 7-2 results respectively, handing the Giants a four point weekend before they had even jumped across the Irish channel to face Guildford on the 21st, where a far tighter game would see the Giants see off the Flames in a close 3-2 game. Six points, what a result from three games in three days!
That couldn’t have been farther from the weekend just passed however, as the Giants headed to England to face two of their stiffest Erhardt Conference rivals; the Nottingham Panthers on the 27th and the Sheffield Steelers on the 28th. A hard fought game in Nottingham, where the Giants just seemed to skip a few gears, ended with the home team taking the win 4-2, but worse was to come, as the Giants would be subjected to what can be described as abject humiliation in Sheffield where the Steelers romped away with a five goal first period, adding three more before the end of the game to stonewall the Belfast Giants 8-0 in the Giants’ worst loss in almost a decade….
All game highlights are from Giants Live TV, Flames Ice Hockey, Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers TV.
This weekend saw a potentially huge error in judgement from former Fife Flyer, Belfast Giant and current MK Lightning player Matt Nickerson….or is it all just social media ‘fake news’…..we had our say on the podcast, but you decide for yourself!
There was some more questionable conduct in the lower leagues this last week, but this time it was in the north, as the Moray Typhoons and Aberdeen Lynx faced off, leading to Lynx forward Ross McIntosh being suspended 15 games for violent conduct leaving Typhoon Mauris Saultis with a broken noze and a serious concussion.
Meanwhile, closer to home, Belfast’s own head coach Adam Keefe secured some off-season work as Team GB’s new assistant coach, taking the place of Tommy Watkins, who steps down for family reasons. Good luck Keefer!
The NHL All-Star Weekend finally arrived, and the fan favourite skills competition was, well – a bit of a damp squib…at least that is until the goalies took centre stage, and Pekka Rinne and Marc-Andre Fleury put on a show!
It finally happened this week. Jaromir Jagr’s illustrious NHL career came to an end with a whimper rather than the bang that he so deserved. Having cleared waivers with the Flames, he now heads to the Czech Republic and to the team he part owns and sits as president HC Kladno.
The New York Islanders have agreed to split their home games between the Barclays Centre (with its weird seats) and their old home, the Nassau Colosseum until their new home is ready at Belmont Park.
After what feels like months of talking about it, we’re nearly upon the 2018 Winter Olympics, and finally we know who will represent the hockey playing nations in the mens event. We chatted about our predictions, and the lads all chose their picks for the gold medal: Marty: ‘Russia’ (or whatever they call themselves), John: Germany and Dave: Sweden. What do you think after looking over the rosters, did we get it right? (Admittedly John may have suggested Japan to start with…who don’t appear!)
The Hockey News had some fun ranking the 29 mascots of the NHL…yes 29…apparently Philly and the Rangers don’t do fan interaction and fun! Where did your team’s mascot come, and do you agree with their rankings? John certainly did (Go Knash!!!).
After the last couple weeks, all three guys found it hard to pick their stars this time around. Dave decided to give his start (although we’re pretty sure it’s not in the spirit of the segment) to award it to the NY Islanders, for going back to Nassau for the next few seasons. John, who actually put some thought into it before the podcast, went for Marc-Andre Fleury for his 14 save-streak at the All-Star Weekend skills competition, even though he really wanted to give it to Pekka Rinne, and Marty…well he just point blank refused to give out any stars this time around!
As the EIHL are still to announce the incidents they will be looking at from the last week, it’s a fairly quiet penalty box this time around, with only two incidents of note; one in the Elite League, and one in the NHL.
In the EIHL, Cardiff Devils player Gleason Fournier was handed a two game suspension for an avoidable and forceful check into the boards which led to the injury of a Coventry Blaze player.
Meanwhile in the NHL, Bruins player Brad Marchand was handed a five game suspension for elbowing as a repeat offender…but is it really enough for a player like him? Have a look at the hit below.
To wrap things up, the guys got nostalgic as the 30th anniversary of the original NHL game on the NES approaches and we discussed the impact that game, and others have had on us, as well as trying to pick out a favourite from all the hockey games we’ve played over the years! Did you play Ice Hockey on the NES? Was NHL ’94 as important to you as it has been to so many others, or are you a child of the modern era games and prefer to make your own player…or like Dave, play as those disgusting Devils and take them to the Champions Hockey League?! Let us know!!