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The Penalty Box: CTN a global sensation

by Shawn P. Roarke /

Crashing the Net is emerging as a global brand. Aside from the normal contributions from fans in the States and Canada, this week’s Penalty Box sees fans check in from Sweden, England and India.

So, CTN must be doing something right. The Penalty Box contingent seems to have gotten into the swing of the playoff spirit, cranking up both the quantity and quality of the contributions. Keep up the good work gang!

This week’s submissions cover a lot of ground, from reactions to the lyrical tour through the playoffs in last week’s Opening Faceoff, to CTN’s Stanley Cup picks, to a perceived lack of logic on CTN’s part in the great goalie-pad debate. Read on!

Hello CTN,

I am a first-time writer, long-time reader and only VERY
recently a fan. At first, to say I was annoyed by CTN would have been a bit of an understatement. Yet, much like listening to Howard Stern or when Calvin and Hobbes first appeared in newspapers, I continued to listen/read just to spite myself.
Of course, both eventually revealed a charm and wit that had originally gone unnoticed and soon I found myself not able to get enough of either. CTN was like that for me and is now eagerly awaited each week.

This week’s "Opening Faceoff" was the pinnacle (so far) of enjoyable reading. For every situation in life there is an appropriate song and hockey is no exception. Your choices and reasons for your song/team combinations were nothing short of insightful brilliance.

What comes next is a request from me for a list of songs that would seem to be written for individual players. For example ... Listen to "The Ace of Spades" by Motorhead while watching some Ovechkin highlights and I am sure you get the idea of what I am asking. I am supremely confident YOU are the MAN for this task and CTN is the perfect forum, No? Come on!!!  You know you wanna!

-- Jason Bobbitt, Leicester UK

Jason, CTN is chuffed to bits after reading your post. To be compared to both Howard Stern and Calvin and Hobbes is dumbfounding enough, but then to be accused of providing “insightful brilliance” is almost too much for CTN to take. Me mum has never even complemented me so. CTN is truly gobsmacked! CTN is also, in all seriousness, highly flattered. CTN was trying to capture the spirit of the thing and your feedback, and the feedback of others, tells CTN that goal was met resoundingly. CTN is one of those people that has a soundtrack that accompanies life. It only plays in CTN’s head, but it is constantly there, providing a score to all that happens. And because so much of CTN’s life is about hockey, it was easy to lay down a soundtrack for the playoffs. Now, the matching of individual players to appropriate songs is a little more challenging. But, CTN has never backed away from a challenge. It may be a summer project for CTN. Look for it.


Wild boys wonder where is glory
On the razors edge you trail
Because there's murder by the roadside
In a sore afraid new world
They tried to break us,
Looks like they'll try again
Wild boys never lose it
Wild boys never chose this way
Wild boys never close your eyes
Wild boys always shine

Wild Boys, Duran Duran
(in keeping with your 80's theme)

Dear Shawn,

I'm not an athlete, I'm a rock musician. And a huge hockey fan. I have often thought about the comparisons between hockey and rock. And I really enjoyed your article on the subject. I think if a hockey team were a band, the goalie would obviously be the drummer. The drums are the foundation that everything else is built on. If your drummer sucks, then your band will suck, as well. The center is the bass player; rarely getting much glory for playing perfectly. But make one mistake and it could prove to be disastrous. The defense is the rhythm section that supports the forwards. The wingers are the "spotlight" guys -- like the lead guitarist and the singer. They get most of the glory, but it would not be possible without the rest of the band backing them up.
Thanks for your story.

--Dan Bergstrom, Saint Paul, Minn.

Dan, that’s a fine analogy on the similarities between a hockey team and a rock and roll band. CTN, too, always identifies with the drummer when listening to music. Now, CTN, a former goalie, knows why that is. Also, your selection of Wild Boys by Duran Duran was spot on. CTN wasn’t a big fan of that band during its heyday, but has grown to see their merits in recent years. Simon Le Bon and the boys have a pretty solid catalog of songs and Wild Boys was one of their more rocking numbers. Mixed-martial arts fighter Marko Filipovic enters the ring to this tune, so you know it must be hardcore!

One of the playoff songs for the Minnesota Wild should be "Without a Fight" by Hoobastank.

The clock is counting down... The clock is counting down!
The seconds tick away... The seconds tick away!

This is our time! Without a doubt!
Time to ignite! We're not going down!
(Without a fight)

This is our time! Get up off the ground!
Take what is mine! We're not going down,
Without a fight!



We must pick up the pace! No time to play it safe!
Before you know it's much too late!

This is our time! Without a doubt!
Time to ignite! We're not going down!
(Without a fight)

After personally being at Games 1 and 2 of this first playoff round (and many during the regular season), you can clearly see that our Minnesota Wild are leaving their hearts out on the ice each and every game they've played up until this point. After being at both games, this song came on my MP3 player and it just stood out to me. Being that both playoff games for us have been taken to overtime, I think this song clearly depicts that every second counts in the playoffs. Our overtime win in Game 2 is a prime example of never giving up and continuing to "fight to the end"!! GO WILD!!

-- Alisa Berger, Glenville, MN

That’s a fine suggestion by you Alisha. Believe it or not, CTN is not all that familiar with Hoobastank. That is one of those bands that has just slipped the cracks for CTN, despite CTN’s love of hard rock and metal. Hoobastank has just never really caught CTN’s fancy. As for the Wild, they will play to the whistle every night. You can’t play for Jacques Lemaire unless you are willing to do just that. There are always three things you know about a Lemaire-coached team – no team will work harder, no team will be more prepared and no team will be better coached. With just a modicum of talent, which the Wild certainly have, and a few bounces, which the Wild are hoping to get, that can be a deadly combination in playoff-style hockey.

I don't know a specific team, but definitely the NHL in general and possibly Ovechkin himself could be related to this song..

You try and keep me down,
But, I’m going home!
You try and keep me down,
But, I’m going home!
You try and keep me down,
But, I’m going home!
My Life, 12 Stones

I could see it as reference to the Stanley Cup being home, and other teams being the ones to 'hold me down', me being whichever team you choose. And the “I'm gone” would be Ovie, because the opposition tries to keep him down but he's already gone. Just an idea.

--Josiah Hunter

And, a fine idea at that Josiah. CTN must admit to knowing very little about 12 Stones. But, that is the beauty of this little community here. CTN provides you with information and in turn, you, the readers, challenge me with your knowledge. It is a learning experience. And, if you don’t learn something every day, you aren’t living. Today, CTN learned that 12 Stones is a Christian Rock band from Louisiana and that My Life is included on the soundtrack to the movie The Scorpion King, starring The Rock. Also, vocalist Paul McCoy was the dude that sang the male part of Evanescence’s haunting song, “Bring Me to Life.”

Hello Mr. Roarke,
It was nice of you to give my letter top billing in the last Penalty Box. Thank You. I consider it an honor to be featured on Penalty Box. I was reading Manny Legace's insights on all the goalies and teams in playoffs and found his statement about the Habs of particular interest. Legace said that they are too much of a skills team and can be frustrated into faltering if teams grind them. That got me thinking as to which team has the perfect blend of skill and grit. My heart is screaming Detroit, but my mind says it's either Anaheim or New Jersey. But at the time of writing to you, both are facing a 0-2 hole and Anaheim is sitting ducks in penalty box (pardon the pun) and Henrik Lundqvist doesn't seem to be losing too much sleep. So, could you please tell me which team, according to you, has the skill, grit and character to survive the war of attrition?

-- Adi, India

The Dallas Stars can score goals in bunches and still play a sound defensive game. Watch Stars-Ducks playoff highlights
Adi, it’s CTN’s pleasure. CTN thinks it is a great honor that you took the time to write. As for your question, that is a tricky way to try to get CTN to predict the Stanley Cup winner. That duty, however, is not in CTN’s contractual obligations, so an opinion can not be offered. But, CTN will tell you this, you are right on to identify the two teams you did, before results became known. Each clearly has the grit to be a champion, but both have the same problem: an inability to score. The margin for error is too small in the postseason to make every game a dogfight and that’s what happens when you can’t blow teams away. For that reason, the Stars are starting to look intriguing. They can score goals in bunches and still play a sound defensive game. So, if they can put Anaheim away, they will be dangerous. CTN is also intrigued by Washington in the East. The Caps have a scary ability to stay in any game because of their ability to score goals, almost at will. But, an over-aggressiveness in the offensive zone may well doom them in the end.


From Sweden across the ocean,

I must really say I love the way you interpret hockey through song texts -- as close as you can come to describing hockey poetically. Wonderful! I check in every day to watch the chronicles and all the other material you guys put together. It is all written with good angles and is well researched. As a Swede, I am especially impressed by the way you can portray Swedish hockey for one thing. But I must say your writing is really fresh and vitalizing in respect to literary style and analysis.

Thank you,

-- Daniel

Hot diggity! Two laudatory letters in one week; what is this world coming to? CTN is blushing from all the props. Daniel, my friend, you are too kind. But, CTN is glad you still took the time to be too kind in print. It is much appreciated. CTN is also happy that you like all of the stuff on – it is all written with good angles and well-researched, as you said. The site has much over which to be proud. And, if you want to see a fine understanding of European hockey, check out our Across the Pond feature, which is done in stunning fashion by Bill Meltzer. This week’s edition deals with Thomas Vanek playing for Austria in the Div. 1 World Championships.

Now in darkness world stops turning. . . 
"The only change I would make in goalie equipment guidelines is to make it more proportional. There is no reason why Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas, who is four inches shorter, should wear the same size leg pads."
. . .  ashes where the bodies burning.
CTN was too busy working the Elf in Gauntlet when CTN should have been in logic class, I take it. Giving an equipment advantage to those already blessed with greater natural size in sports is wrong. More logical, but just as ridiculous as you're proportionally sized goal blockers is to allow your proportional padding, but then couple it with the Luongo and Thomas proportionally sized nets.  This equipment isn't for protection -- it's job security. Fat-heads can keep bigger helmets if that makes you happy. Hey man, I gotta get outa here man.

-- Mike Greco

Roberto Luongo's physical size can appear to give him an equipment advantage when compared to smaller goalies. Luongo video
CTN isn’t sure that your argument makes much sense, Mike. But, hey, you were right in that I should have paid attention in logic class. That and statistics almost proved to be my downfall in school. How can someone who can figure out goals-against and save percentage without a calculator take five times to pass an introductory stats class in college? CTN isn’t sure, but he is living proof that it can happen. In the end, though, CTN wasn’t trying to give advantage to bigger goalies like Luongo and Martin Brodeur at the expense of less-tall counterparts. In fact, CTN was trying to put everyone on a level playing field. CTN’s version, which may not have been adequately explained, would give all goalies the same parameters for equipment, specifically the leg pads. Each goalie would be allowed a predetermined height above his kneecap – say 4 inches – and nobody would be able to use an across-the-board height maximum to his advantage as is now possible in the scenario CTN presented last week. AS for your argument that this suggestion is tantamount to playing with different-sized nets for different-sized goalies, that is just plain rubbish. The net’s dimensions are a known and universal entity that all must abide by in order to play the Game. Goalie equipment, on the other hand, is adjustable and is legal as long as it falls within a set of parameters. CTN merely tried to further define those parameters. And, to be honest, CTN is not the only one. Martin Brodeur, among others, have made this same argument, only far more eloquently. Before CTN departs, though, CTN would be remiss not to issue a shutout for framing your letter in the lyrics from Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, one of the best songs ever recorded. Good work, my man!

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