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On Jagr, goalie pads, Avery and uniforms

Friday, 11.23.2007 / 9:00 AM / Ice Age

By Phil Coffey - NHL.com Sr. Editorial Director

Former Penguin and Current Ranger Jaromir Jagr has scored goals in many
arenas, none more than Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh where he spent eleven seasons
In keeping with the season, Ice Age has a cornucopia of things to talk about this week.

***

I was impressed by the stat that Jaromir Jagr has scored a goal in 53 NHL arenas (By The Numbers, Nov. 16). I assume that the 30 arenas in use today are included, so we're left with arenas which have been replaced. Are there any arenas that he played in but never scored? What about arenas that he didn't play in, but could have if he'd been on a different (Western) team? And where do exhibition games played in non-NHL cities fit into this stat?

-- James Edmunds

Among current arenas, Jaromir Jagr has no goals in three games at Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center. The Rangers play there on Dec. 20, however, so he has a shot.

There are four other arenas where Jagr played but did not score a goal: St. Louis Arena, The Omni (Atlanta), Expo Hall (Tampa Bay) and Saitama Super Arena (Japan).

These are all regular-season stats. No pre-season games are included.

***

OK, the NHL cracks down on the size of pads and gloves, but what about chest protectors. I’m not a fan of these composite sticks, but chests have gotten ridiculous. A goaltender is just becoming a wall. The arms are ginormous, the shoulder wings are not for protection, just area coverage. I don’t want to strip goaltenders of protection, but come on!

Take Marc-Andre Fleury for example. If you put him up against a wall with his long johns on and did a chalk outline, then put on his chest protector and did the same thing, you can’t tell me he is only one inch bigger all around.

And for knee protection, this Giguere/Luongo knee is utterly a farce. They are basically extending the pant width straight down to their knees. Genetically a human does not have the same width at their knees as their thighs. This is plain and simply cheating.

They want a better game so they crack down on player infractions, but goalies can cheat? Look what happened when they all wore XXL pants for extra girth.

-- Tom

Hey Tom. Love the term “ginormous,” by the way.

The NHL does check all the equipment before it goes from the manufacturer to the goaltender, not just pads and gloves. And also there are periodic spot checks over the course of the season.

I agree that certain guys still look big, but since no one has been fined or suspended for playing with illegal gear, you have to think they are on the up-and-up.

***

Some comments in "Quoteworthy" this week inspired me to write. As a San Jose Sharks fan, I was quite relieved when Sean Avery was traded to the Rangers. It meant a much-needed reprieve from having to watch him, listen to him or hear about him. But I just had to go find out what happened between him and Darcy Tucker last week. As usual, I was appalled by Mr. Avery's attitude and performance. I am sick of players like him giving this sport a bad name. To begin a shoving match during warm-ups is just pathetic. If he were truly a good player, he wouldn't be so dependent on his mouth to get him through a game. Whatever skills he may have are completely overshadowed by his shallow, narcissistic, unnecessarily aggressive demeanor. Anyone who drops to the ice to perform push ups after scoring a goal (which I've seen him do) belongs in football, not hockey.

All I can say is, thank goodness he's no longer in my division. I could die a happy woman if I never hear anything about him again.

Thanks for listening to me rant!

-- Sydney

Hi Sydney. Listening to your rants and all the others that come in is part of the job. For the most part I enjoy listening, although there are days.

As for Avery, I understand your feelings completely. Hockey has had a long line of “disturbers” over the course of history who always are beloved by the teams they play for and hated by everyone else.

No doubt Sean Avery’s act is an acquired taste. I have yet to acquire it myself.

***

What is happening to the Pittsburgh Penguins? Crosby and Malkin are playing well. Why are they below .500? Can Michel Therrien and the Penguins turn their season around?

-- Stephen Davis

Ah, Steven, if I only had the answer! It’s been a combination of things from what I have seen so far. Veterans like Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts haven’t gotten on track so far. Kids like Jordan Staal and Colby Armstrong aren’t playing and Marc-Andre Fleury’s hasn’t played well in goal yet. All big-time factors in the team’s slow start.

Can they turn things around? Absolutely. Any team with this much young talent has the ability. Of course, that’s easy for me to say. It’s up to the players to turn things around and right now is as good a time as any.

***

Hello Phil,

With the Coyotes claiming Ilja Bryzgalov from Anaheim, I was just wondering what would happen if two teams wanted to claim the same player.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

-- Dominic

Hi Dominic. It’s pretty simple, really. The team with the fewest points is awarded the waiver claim. If there is a tie, a series of tie-breakers (fewest wins, etc.) break the tie.

***

When, oh when is the NHL going to get rid of this idiotic fashion statement of theirs and go back to normal? By that I mean, when will they get back to the NORMALITY of WHITE home jerseys and DARK road jerseys? I'm sick and tired of the current dark=home, white=road shtick.

White home jerseys were good enough for Gordie Hull, Bobby Orr, Rocket Richard and Wayne Gretzky, so why aren't they good enough for Sidney Crosby, et al? If the NHL insists on keeping this piece of buffoonery, then teams should be forced to dye their home ice the color of their "home" jerseys. I'm probably in the minority on this, and, quite frankly, I don't really care. I just want some sanity in this league.

-- Ron Caldwell, Asheville, NC

Teams like the Montreal Canadiens, an
original-six club, were happy to return
to wearing the classic colored jersey
they had worn at home until the 1970's.

OK, deep breath Ron. Deep breath.

If the color of the jerseys is your biggest gripe, then things are going pretty well.

As a bit of history, it used to be that teams wore their dark jersey at home, and that would include Rocket Richard, Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull. One of the reasons why the New York Rangers were called the “Broadway Blueshirts” was because they wore their dark uniforms at home.

I grew up with the teams wearing their white uniforms at home and I must confess, I like it that way, too. Even three years into wearing the dark jerseys at home I still need a second to get oriented. I thought that was just old age creeping up on me, so it’s good to hear I’m not the only one.

Things are cyclical in sports, so I’m sure things will revert at some point, too.

***

I'm a hockey fan and always have been, but somewhere along the way I missed an explanation for the reason why home teams stopped wearing their white jerseys and changed to dark jerseys. I still don't know why. Can you tell me?

-- Lance Wright

Hi Lance. Basically, it was to give “home” fans the chance to see their team play in the “road” uniform. Nothing nefarious.

***

Hi Phil,

Die hard Bruins fan here.

That said, how about this? I think the Bruins should put Chara on the trade block. Maybe package him with another player (Fernandez). I thought Chara was an excellent defenseman when he played for the Islanders and the Senators. However, now that I have the opportunity to see him on a nightly basis, I think he is horrible. He has no ability to pass from his own zone, no skating ability and little "hockey sense." He is horribly overpaid and his lone ability is the poke check.

Yes, there are other players that are underperformers and should be traded, but he is clearly the most obvious. The next most obvious is Fernandez. Thomas is the clear No. 1 goalie. He deserves it and has earned it, on and off the ice.

That's it in a nut shell. Thanks for the time.

-- Harry, Boston, Mass.

Hi Harry. Let’s deal with this from a practical standpoint first. Where are you going to trade Chara and another player, in this case you mentioned Manny Fernandez? From a salary cap standpoint it may be a near impossible deal to pull off. And from an identity standpoint, I can’t imagine the Bruins entertaining the idea.

I don’t agree that Chara is the disaster you’ve painted in your note. Plus, Fernandez was brought in with an eye toward being the team’s No. 1 goalie. Injuries have messed up that plan for now, but it would seem to me that at this stage of the season, with the Bruins still in the thick of it, to be a major panic move. Not going to happen.

 


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