The Popsicle Brothers: Report No. 2

By Michael-Louis Ingram and Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporters
Updated: October 15, 2009

Penalties: Gray (boarding) 10:13; Ingram 15:30 (misconduct); McClean (slashing) 17:45.

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — We want to clarify a few things in our past article opening the season. We at BASN always strive to get the story correct – and our readers and loyal fans appreciate this. We’re pretty much on it here at BASN, but given the human factor, we may miss something.

In our haste to get information before the season’s start, we suffered a couple of mea culpas, so we will Zamboni the ice on those and start the next period fresh…

So let us march on with the 2009-10 season.

What an opening for the National Hockey League! This past week the Chicago Blackhawks slipped pass the Calgary Flames, 6-5. The Flames scored five goals in the first period and everybody in the building thought this game was over.

Not so the Blackhawks, who came all the way back from that 0-5 deficit and pushed the game into overtime, where they scored to win the game. This was among some of the greatest comebacks in modern hockey history.

It happened before in 2008 when the St. Louis Blues trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0 in the third period, and the New York Rangers came back on the Montreal Canadians trailing 5-0 in the third period.

The likely collapse of the Phoenix Coyotes this summer did not happen and last Monday night they held the San Jose Sharks offense to zero and won the game in a shootout 1-0 in the Shark Tank. Like the name of the town this team maybe rising out of the ashes of a lost summer.

This team almost left the desert for the northlands of Canada .

The rise of the Columbus Blue Jackets (just as we stated) finished a great Western road trip winning two of three games. The Jackets beat the Calgary Flames 2-1 Tuesday night with the great goaltending of Steve Mason.

The Jackets have a 4-1 record and play the Los Angeles Kings Friday night.

Ray Emery of the Philadelphia Flyers locked into the starting position in nets at Wachovia Center and has gotten off to a great start (as we predicted, we might add).

As to the corrections:

– Dany Heatley was traded for Milan Michaelek not Michael; hey typos happen.

– New Jersey Goaltender Martin Brodeur was injured last year, but prior to last year, had played 10 straight seasons of 70+ games. So why should playing 50 games now be a miracle? This would not be a miracle; but it would make sense to give Brodeur some breaks when possible if the New Jersey Devils plan on being in the Stanley Cup mix.

Brodeur is a year older and a bit slower. Last years’ injury could cut his number of games down from the previous record breaking years. Martin Brodeur will be the first goalie to play 50 games + 14 years – an outstanding mark since no other goalie has accomplished this feat.

— Brian Boucher was not Philadelphia ‘s No. 1 goaltender last year he was on the left coast with San Jose Shark organization. Boucher did play for the Philly AHL team, the Phantoms. In San Jose he was the number two goalie behind Nabokov. Boucher signed as a free agent on July 1, 2009 with the Flyers. Antero Niittymaki and Martin Biron shared the duties behind the net and that’s why they had problems at the end of last season. The Flyers could not decide who would be in the nets for the playoffs. After the untimely death of Pelle Lindbergh, this has been the Flyers Achilles heel for decades.

– Don’t know how Mr. Gray could have missed that one being in the Bay Area. This year we all know who will be the in the nets this year Goal Brother Ray Emery for the New Broad Street Bullies with a fantastic start to the 2009-2010 season: 3-1-1 with an opening day shutout to boot! Emery fits right in with this Orange and Black clad bunch with his feisty attitude.

– Cristobel Huet is a rising star with the Chicago Blackhawks; and if he isn’t, Hawks fans are gonna find out real quick. Last year playing 41 games splitting time with the “Bulin Wall”, Nikolai Khabibulin. Cristobal Huet played outstanding in the nets last year allowed the Blackhawks to trade or release the veteran goalie. Chicago had salary cap issues. Khabibulin has moved on and stars with the Edmonton Oilers.

– We had Rob Blake retiring from the San Jose Sharks, when in fact he was named team captain.

Mr. Blake did talk about retirement many times this summer with a number of local interviews. It was always the topic of discussion in the Bay Area who would replace him. After the Popsicle report was printed Blake was made team captain.

— The Los Angeles Kings veteran defenseman Sean O’Donnell was placed as a Left Winger.

– The last issue was the Division and Conference in the West.

Many loyal hockey fans know the Western Conference or Western Division the NHL has changed the name many times since 1968.

The first expansion of the National Hockey league created the Western Division with the Los Angeles Kings, the Minnesota North Stars, the California Golden Seals which later became the Oakland Seals, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Saint Louis Blues.

The St. Louis Blues dominated this weak division winning the conference crown the first three years. Then the league expanded again and moved the Montreal Canadiens into the conference and promptly won nine in a row.

In 1972, The Western Division became the Campbell Conference in honor of Clarence S. Campbell former President of the League and then President of the Western Division.

In 1974-75, The Philadelphia Flyers were the First expansion team to win Stanley Cup champions from the Western Division.

From 1974-1982 The Western Conference was made up of the Smythe and Patrick Divisions

In 1981-82 The Prince of Wales Conference became The Campbell Conference divided into two divisions the infamous Norris-later Adams (mid-west teams) and Smythe (west coast teams), this was changed when the Norris and the East-Division Adams switched conferences from east to west.

he four letter network made the Norris Division famous because of the numerous hard core historic hockey fights and great divisional races each year. The Norris Division was equated to the National Football League’s Central Division with its blue collar work ethic mentality.

These teams also played hard core football and beat each other to death in the middle of winter. Detroit , Chicago , Minneapolis-St. Paul, and St. Louis . A fifth team would be added through the years 1974-93, Montreal , Toronto , Tampa Bay , and the Winnipeg Jets.

In 1993-94 once again the conferences and divisions were changed by new commissioner Gary Bettman who wanted to simplify each conference for the average American.

He changed the Campbell Conference it would become the Western Conference. This conference and their teams would also be geographically correct, unlike past years when they had eastern teams in their Divisions.

In 1991-92 The San Jose Sharks joined the Pacific Division of the Western Conference

In 2008 The Detroit Red Wings were the last Champion from the Western Conference with a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins the two teams would meet again in 2009 with the Penguins victorious.

We look to bring out the outstanding talent of Black hockey players in the league and it so happens the American press currently ignore. Many Americans do not know that the game of hockey changed after the Black Hockey League at the turn of the century, putting speed, power and the hard slap shot on net into this game of grace and speed.

The slap shot did not return to the NHL until the late 1950′s. One again the Black athlete changed a major sport and once again history passes them by.

If you are a real hockey fan read the book “Black Ice” about the first Black Hockey League by George and Darril Fosty “The Lost History of the Colored Hockey Leagues of the Maritimes 1895-1925″.

The American press ignores this league and its outstanding players the American press do not want people to know about – the talented Brothers before the National Hockey League.

Would like to thank the many readers for reading the new section of Black Athlete Sports Network, the Popsicle Bros. columns and we always welcome your constructive input.

But one aside – to that stupid muthafucka who wants to imply we listed the L.A. Kings’ Wayne Simmonds as a goalie: the term “Goal Brothas” is in reference – and deference – to all the Black players in the league.

Jarome Iginla is Goal Brotha Number One for lots of reasons – strong skater, great leader, accomplished scorer and all – around ambassador for the game. And we will include our Honorary Goal Brothas with each column, recognizing their on-ice contributions to their respective teams success.

Mr. Gray’s three stars of the week

# 1 Brother Ray Emery goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers

# 2 The Chicago Blackhawks for the outstanding comeback

# 3 The Phoenix Coyotes defense holding the San Jose Sharks

Mr. Ingram’s three stars

#3 Alex Ovechkin (picking up right where he left off in the Washington Capitals’ opening day victory).

#2 Dany Heatley (scoring twice in the San Jose Sharks opener).

#1 Ray Emery (an opening – day shutout; and outlasting Ovechkin and the Caps in a 6-5 overtime shootout).

And our Honorary Goal Brotha for this column is Eric Nystrom of the Calgary Flames. Nystrom rocked the Saddledome with spirited play and a hat trick in the 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Nystrom, a five goal scorer all last year, is, to put it mildly, ahead of the curve in his present scoring pace!