NHL’s Greatest Moments

retiring-kariya-had-rocket-speed-and-focus-vj6qb9j-x-largeWith the NHL season now in the distant past (relatively speaking), but next season still months away, as hockey fans we find ourselves mired in the most boring part of the season, the offseason. To help kill time during the offseason, we will bring you some classic NHL moments that we are taking a look back on, just because we are fans of the game. With such a great sport, played by great people over the course of a century, we certainly will not be short of great moments. Let’s get to it.

“Off The Floor, On The Board”

The Set Up:
​It was Game 6 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals which pitted the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim against the New Jersey Devils. As the teams took to the ice, the Mighty Ducks were in a must-win situation, as they trailed 3-2 in the series. A concern from Mighty Ducks fans heading into the game was “we need more scoring from Paul Kariya.” The Mighty Ducks captain was struggling to score, but in a pregame interview, noted the fact that he himself would like to see more goals go in. With 13:44 left in the second period, and the Mighty Ducks leading 3-1, Kariya made a pass through the neutral zone, and a second later, was absolutely leveled by Devils captain Scott Stevens. Stevens was an easy selection to the Hall of Fame, and at this point in his career, had made a living DESTROYING those who chose to skate through the open ice with their heads down, and Kariya was no exception. The hit left Kariya unconscious at center ice, and he appeared to not be breathing for a moment. After lying motionless on the ice for a few seconds, it was as if his body snapped back into it and Kariya let out a big exhale which you could see hit his visor. The doctors attended to Kariya and helped him slowly off the ice and into the locker room and presumably to the hospital.

​If you have ever watched a hockey game in your life, you know how tough every player is and the warrior mentality that they all possess, but the scene at center seemed to all that Kariya’s season was over. To the surprise of everyone, most notably Stevens, just minutes later Kariya returned from the runway to the locker room and took a quick skate during a stoppage with 9:13 left in the second period. Many a NHL player have played through an excruciating injury in the playoffs or the Final, but minutes after being knocked out cold to the point of not breathing, Kariya returning was a moment in and of itself, until…

The Moment:
​After returning to play, with just under three minutes left in that second period, Kariya took a neutral zone pass, skated over the very spot where only a few minutes ago he was lying unconscious, crossed the blue line and wound up for a slap shot. From a good distance away, Kariya absolutely blasted a perfect slap shot and blew it by future first ballot Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, and the crowd erupted. With one of the best calls of his career, all-time great ESPN commentator Gary Thorne called the play: “SCOREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! OFF THE FLOOR, ON THE BOARD! Paul Kariya!!!”.

​The Mighty Ducks went on to force game seven, but ultimately lost in New Jersey in that seventh game. However, to any lifelong hockey fan, this was still one of those moments that epitomizes the sport of hockey and the players that play it.

Big Ten Seeing Green with Expansion

At least Dr. Wallace Loh, the President of the University of Maryland, was honest when explaining why his university was jumping from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten.

“We’re still living paycheck to paycheck [in the ACC],” Loh said during a press conference that announced the Terrapins’ move to the Big Ten.

Loh is right. This is all about money for both parties. Maryland, which will begin Big Ten play in 2014-15, and Rutgers, whose entry in the Big Ten will be reportedly finalized in the coming days, offer very little in the Big Ten’s cash crop (football).

Make no mistake about it. Rutgers and Maryland will be interchangeable with the likes of Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and the other bottom-feeders that have seemingly made the Big Ten into a bottom-heavy conference.

But what they bring to the table is eyeballs. Since the Big Ten Network launched in 2007, it has become a financial windfall for the 11 original members. Now, the conference gets to add two enormous television markets and make even more revenue.

According to a Big Ten athletic department employee, the Big Ten charges $0.12 per customer a month for those living in a state without a Big Ten team. For those living in the middle of the Big Ten footprint, the Big Ten Network receives $0.36.

While the details of the television agreements have yet to be announced, it’s only logical for the Big Ten to mandate New York City and the DMV area be included as part of the Big Ten footprint.

Does this make any of the parties better?

Sure, the Big Ten Network is able to charge more per customer in two critical media markets, but now that money is getting split up among 14 teams instead of 12 (and just two years ago, 11). The addition of Rutgers and Maryland would seem to open up the possibility of Big Ten championship games to escape god forsaken Indianapolis. Perhaps the conference could alternate the basketball championship between Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center and the Verizon Center.

Considering the conference’s fascination with Indianapolis — both the basketball and football championships are held there — I’ll hold my breath on that happening.

The only gain for the Big Ten is money. Is there any for the two teams coming?

Rutgers is a top-25 football team this year, but it plays in the Big East, so it doesn’t really count. Maryland is an unmitigated disaster. In Randy Edsall’s two years as the coach at Maryland, the program is gutted. Of course they’ve had bad luck this year — all of the Terps’ scholarship quarterbacks are for the season and the team starts a former linebacker who wears No. 31 —but Under Armour has to be running low on patience for its flagship university.

Both Rutgers and Maryland will get increased exposure for playing in the second-most recognizable conference in the country (behind the SEC of course) but it’s not going to matter. New Jersey and Maryland were already fertile grounds for one Big Ten team — Penn State — now add 11 more competitors for in-state talent.

There was legitimate excitement among people with vested interest in the Big Ten when Nebraska joined. Yes, I know the financial implications of adding Maryland and Rutgers but Big Ten expansion rumors used to be about adding Notre Dame or bringing in Pitt to revive a dormant rivalry.

Today, the only reaction is mild disappointment.

Brendan Shorts

The Cover 4 Featured Sports Writer


It’s Good! It’s All Good!!

The rumors are true.

I’m back to sports blogging! Watch out all you super fans, you’re about to be schooled!

Let me start by being frank.. I KNOW SPORTS BETTER THAN YOU DO. It is simple really.

I can give you a 24 year synopses in just a few moments… thanks for your time.

When I was young I watched sports center from dusk till dawn, attempted to read the sports section front to back, memorized every player on every NFL team and even made my own sports trivia questionnaire in the second grade. I was the only kid in class that didnt dream of catching the game winning touchdown pass for the Super Bowl. Why? Because I always imaged that I was the coach on the sideline or the General Manager in the press box.

Being from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania I have sports engrained in my blood; sports mean everything to the city of Pittsburgh. If you aren’t from a die hard sports city, you’ll just never understand the sense of pride and community we have in our teams. We say WE and US because thats how we grow up. Sundays are for church, brunch and 1 pm kickoffs; it is even acceptable to wear your Steeler jersey to church on Sunday!

I can remember being the only kid that cared more about 40 times, bench press reps and where someone was going to be drafted then pokemon cards or the new Batman or Spider man movie (I really did like Batman though). I waited for every madden to arrive at midnight and stayed up till 7 am memorizing each players ratings. My grade school notebooks are full of trivia questions, fantasy drafts and player rankings! I literally created mock NFL  teams with a fantasy draft process in the third grade. I AM THE SOLE REASON WHY YOU CAN ONLY HAVE THREE FANTASY TEAMS PER ACCOUNT! I believe I had 27 teams on yahoo at one point; I love drafting!

Before the NFL draft became a prime time sensation, I watched all 7 rounds every single year and didnt miss a pick! In the 9th grade I could predict who was going to be drafted better than the guys on tv! I watched every second of the combine when it was on NFL Network.

As life moved forward, I drifted a little farther from my sports bank but I always knew more than most; I swear I could be a sports anchor because I predict what they are going to say more times than not. I’m a student of the game!

I wish I had more playing experience but I’m grateful for the years of coaching and developing young athletes. Football has allowed me to travel the country, meet plenty of good men and create friendships that will last forever.

Why do I keep rambling about my past? Because history is the reason we are here today; without the necessary steps of the past, one would not be in the current situation.

I bring my blog to life because I feel I have a wealth of knowledge to share. Do I say things because I read them in ESPN or do I really watch games and know whats going on? You can be the judge.

Currently, I cant sit down and have intense sports talk with many people; my lifestyle doesn’t really allow it. Thus, blogging is back.

I will attempt to cover a number of issues in hopes of comments and respondents from those who know sports just as well, if not better, than I do. I love healthy debate so get at me!

There is nothing worse than trying to talk sports with someone who is so blinded by their own fandom or ignorance to the real facts of the sport; I SPEAK THE TRUTH!

Special thanks to my friends who encouraged me to get back to writing/blogging. Although my football website is retired, WordPress is allowing everyone to read my sports rants!

Get ready because I have a lot on my mind…..

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