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Women's pro hockey saga
For years women's pro hockey has had two professional leagues. The CWHL, and the NWHL. You would be absolutely hard-pressed to find anyone who thought that was a good idea. Coaches, players, even commissioners all agreed, in order for the game to grow you needed one league with all the best female players in the world in it. Then on March 31st the bomb dropped. The CWHL, announced that they were seizing operations. Saying that their business model is "economically unsustainable". But that turned out to be nothing compared to what happened next. More than 200 women from the now defunct CWHL and the one remaining league the NWHL banded together and released a statement. "We will not play in ANY professional leagues in North America this season until we get the resources that professional hockey demands and deserves? It's time for a long-term viable professional league that will showcase the greatest product of women's professional hockey in the world." #ForTheGame Then another twist to the story. Anya Battaglino the current director of the NWHL Players' Association joined the podcast and divulged some new information. The NWHL is in the process of offering it's players a new contract, the highlight would be a 50/50 revenue split. Battaglino is on record saying she doesn't believe in the boycott and thinks it sets the game backwards. Sarah Nurse is one of the 200 players who are part of the "for the Game" movement. Sarah shares how the movement got started and how terrifying the process has been. She also reveals the abuse she has taken on social media for taking this stance.
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Remembering the best Game 7s of all time
Are there two better words in the hockey dictionary than Game 7s? And when 60 minutes isn't enough time to decide the winner you have the three best words in hockey? Game 7 overtime! We saw three Game 7s in the first round, two of them went to overtime. The Sharks comeback against the Golden Knights and the Hurricanes rallying to beat the defending champs marked the first time in NHL history that we saw two Game 7s with multi-goal comebacks in the same post season. Since the league introduced Game 7s in 1939, 134 of them have been played with the home team winning 102 of them. On this week's episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast we look back at the best Game 7s of all time. One of the greatest Game 7s to be played was the 1987 Easter Epic between the NY Islanders and Washington Capitals. That game was decided in the 4th overtime period and took an astonishing 6 hours and 18 minutes to play. The man who scored the winner Pat LaFontaine will join us as he looks back on the game 32 years later. He shares some interesting facts about the game that the average fan wouldn't know. What's it like to call a six hour game? We have a conversation with the man who called the game for ESPN Mike "Doc" Emrick.. Doc who has called 44 game seven's and has fond memories about the Easter Epic. And on this week's edition of Ice Level Sophia Jurksztowicz goes into the Hockey Night In Canada podcast archives to reprise an interview we did earlier this year with former NY Ranger Stephane Matteau. Matteau talks about his overtime winner vs the Devils in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference final. 25 years later its still one of the biggest goals in Rangers history.
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Round 1 recap with Jeremy Roenick
The first round of the NHL playoffs is one of the most exciting times in sports. You just don't know what's going to happen. This year is no exception as many NHL brackets have been shredded to pieces. It's been one of the craziest first round's in NHL history. The Tampa Lightning who won a historic 62 games were swept away by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The best team in the west the Calgary Flames lost in five to the Colorado Avalanche. The Pittsburgh Penguins who have won the Cup two of the last three seasons were swept by the upstart NY Islanders. The San Jose Sharks rallied from a 3-1 series deficit and down 3-0 in the 3rd period of game seven to stun the Vegas Golden Knights. To help breakdown this madness we enlisted former NHL player and current NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick. Roenick played 18 seasons in the NHL and is one of the most colourful personalities in the game. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz catches up with NBC sports host Kathryn Tappen to talk about the playoffs and the grind of covering one of sports longest events.
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20th anniversary of Gretzky's last game
April 18, 1999 is a day many hockey fans have etched in their memories. On that day, Wayne Gretzky played is his final game in the NHL. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since his last game. Believe it or not, there is a generation of hockey fans that have never seen Gretzky play before. On this week's episode, we look back on that day as the Great One joins the Hockey Night In Canada podcast. Wayne takes a look back with host Rob Pizzo about his memories from that day - from his father Walter driving him to the game, to the stars and former players that were in attendance. Rob also chats with John Shannon, who was the executive producer of Hockey Night In Canada at that time. Shannon talks about the challenges of turning a Sunday afternoon game that wasn't planned to be broadcast into one of the most watched games in Hockey Night history. On Ice Level, Sophia Jurksztowicz has a conversation with Manny Maholtra who played with Gretzky in his final game. Malhotra was an 18 year old rookie for the NY Rangers.
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Top storylines heading into the NHL playoffs
It's the time of the year that NHL fans have been waiting for, the Stanley Cup playoffs are finally upon us. 16 teams. Eight best-of-seven series in the first round No disrespect to Christmas but "It's the most wonderful time of the year." Every year, there are so many more storylines than simply "who will win each series and in how many games?" and this year is no different! Will 62 wins mean ANYTHING to lightning fans if they don't win the Cup? Can a Canadian team win the cup for the first time since 1993? We can't forget about OV and the Caps going for a repeat. We also have sentimental favourites, goaltending question marks, and dark horses. We are going to try and hit every one of these topics. Justin Bourne from The Athletic joins Rob in studio to go over these topics, and on Ice Level Sophia Jurksztowicz chats with Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell. The "Bunch of Jerks" as coined by Don Cherry were the feel good story of the 2019 regular season.
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Top story lines of the season
It's the final week of the NHL regular season. The Stanley Cup playoffs begin next Wednesday. But before we look ahead let's look back on some of the major story lines from this past season. The Tampa Bay Lightning became the 3rd team ever to hit the 60 win mark joining the 1996 Detroit Red Wings and the 1977 Montreal Canadiens. They are almost 20 points better than the second place team and they have 3 players with 90 plus points (Kucherov-Stamkos-Point). It really has been an historical season for the Bolts. For the first time since the 2005-06 season the NHL will average over 6 goals per game. As of April 3rd five players this season will finish with 100 points or more. That's the highest total since the 2006-07 season when seven players reached that mark. As of March 29th there have been 497 comeback wins this season. That is the seventh most in a campaign in NHL history. Former NHL GM Craig Button and current TSN director of scouting drops by to discuss these story lines and gives us his take on why scoring is up in the NHL. Another major story line was Alexander Ovechkin. For the 8th time in his career "the Great 8" hit the 50 goal plateau. For the 8th time in his career he will lead the NHL in goals breaking a tie with Bobby Hull. Ovechkin now has 658 career goals. Is it possible Ovechkin can pass Wayne Gretzky's mark of 894 goals? Dom Luszczyszyn of the Athletic joins host Rob Pizzo. Dom wrote a fascinating article on why he thinks Ovechkin becoming the all-time leading goal scorer is a very attainable feat.
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The NHL awards explained
It's not quite the American Electoral system, but the NHL awards still mystify fans who try to figure out how the ballots, candidates, votes and all the rest of the process, actually work. On this week's Hockey Night in Canada podcast, Rob Pizzo and Sophia Jurksztowicz deserve a public service award themselves for shining light on the opaque business of picking the five most deserving players (and coach) of the regular hockey season. Maybe the most interesting thing we learn this week is who gets to vote. Sophia Jurksztowicz talks with Mark Spector, president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, who takes care to explain that every effort is made to spread out the ballots as fairly as possible. Northern towns like Boston, Toronto, New York etc, have a great number of long-serving pro hockey journalists who would love to get in on the voting? but that would likely skew the attention and awards unfairly away from deserving, smaller hockey markets in the South and West. Host Rob Pizzo gets very efficient this week, talking to one man for three perspectives on the awards experience. Former NHL great (and until John Tavares- the highest scoring Leaf rookie in history) Ed Olczyk, talks as player, coach, and commentator, about behind the scenes considerations at awards decision time. Olcyzk also discloses his own votes for the top five honours this year. See? The process is getting more open and understandable by the minute.
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Remembering Ted Lindsay
On March 4th 2019 the hockey world lost a legend when the great Ted Lindsay passed away at the age of 93. Lindsay was one of the most talented yet feared players on the ice and garnered the nickname "Terrible Ted". He was part of the famed "Production Line" which featured Red Wing greats Gordie Howe and Sid Abel. He won the Art Ross trophy in 1950 and won four Stanley Cups with Detroit. In 2017 he was voted one of the NHL's 100 greatest players. Despite all the on ice accolades his greatest achievement was something he did off the ice. He was the driving force behind the creation of the NHLPA. NHL players past and present owe a debt of gratitude to Lindsay for the battles he endured getting the NHLPA established. On this week's episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast we celebrate the life and legacy of Ted Lindsay. Dave Stubbs has been a sports columnist for more than 40 years. Dave had the good fortune of getting to know Ted Lindsay in his final years and joins Rob to give insight on who Ted Lindsay the person was and share some fascinating stories. Ken Daniels has been the voice of the Detroit Red Wings since 1997. He's had the pleasure of knowing Ted Lindsay for more than 20 years. Ken fills us in on what Lindsay meant to the city of Detroit, the Red Wings franchise and how he resonated with the fans. And on Ice Level Sophia Jurksztowicz catches up with Mathieu Schneider Special Assistant to the Executive Director of the NHLPA, As a former player Schneider hasn't forgotten the personal sacrifices Ted went through so future players could have a prosperous life.
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Racism in hockey
Despite being an open and inclusive game racism in hockey like in society unfortunately still exists. Recently there have been several alarming incidents involving fans and minor hockey teams that have garnered national media attention in the U.S. and Canada. In December, Divyne Apollon II, a 13 year old member of the Maryland-based Metro Maple Leafs youth hockey team, faced racial taunts during a game against a team from Pennsylvania. In February, Jonathan Diaby, a 24-year-old defenseman playing in an independent league in Quebec endured racial abuse while sitting in the penalty box. Diaby's father and girlfriend were harrassed by fans in the stands. On this episode of the Hockey Night In Canada Podcast we discuss racism in hockey and how to educate people so incidents like the ones mentioned above don't happen again. We speak to Karl Subban, the father of PK, Malcom and Jordan. He's dealt with racism several times throughout his life. He provides an interesting take on how to deal with racism and how he has instilled positive values in his kids. Peter Worrell has been the victim of bigotry on more than one occasion including in the NHL. He opens up about an ugly incident he endured while playing for the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL. And on Ice Level Sophia Jurksztowicz has an in depth conversation with Diaby about the ugly incident he and his family went through in Saint-Jerome, Quebec and how he is dealing with the emotional aftermath.
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Celebrating International Women's Day
It has been 110 years since the first official International Women's day. 18 years later the first documented all-women's hockey game took place. Women's hockey has seen some remarkable growth since that first game. Manon Rheaume became the first women to compete in an NHL exhibition game playing in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992. Women's hockey made it's Olympic debut in Nagano in 1998 as the United States defeated Canada for the gold medal. There are now two professional women's hockey leagues. The National Women's Hockey League and the Canadian Women's Hockey League both pay women to play hockey. Despite all the advancement's there is still room to grow. In this episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast, we celebrate women's hockey. All our guests this week have left a significant mark on the game. Margot Page has done it all: played, coached, mentored and is still a huge part of the hockey community. She is also an important piece of the women's hockey historical puzzle. Natalie Spooner is a World and Olympic Champion and is a current member of the Toronto Furies. At this year's All-Star game Kendall Coyne Schofield made history becoming the first woman ever to compete in the NHL All-Star skills competition. She joins Rob to discuss the weekend and how her life has changed since then. And on this week's edition of Ice Level with Sophia Jurksztowicz we revisit a piece she did on a previous episode where she spoke to trailblazer Manon Rheaume.
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Top 5 Stanley Cup contenders after trade deadline
Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, it's time to turn our focus back to the ice. The Tampa Bay Lightning are without question the best team in the league right now. They are on pace for 130 points this season, which would be the most by any team in the salary cap era. Only the 1977 Montreal Canadiens (132) and the 1996 Detroit Red Wings (131) had more. After that, though, it's kind of a crap shoot. There's arguably a group of six or seven other teams with a legitimate shot at the Cup. The parity this season is crazy. In this episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast, we discuss the top five teams after the trade deadline. ESPN's Greg Wyshynki drops by to chat with host Rob Pizzo to help answer this question. Spoiler alert: Their top five are pretty similar. And on this week's edition of Ice Level. Sophia Jurksztowicz is joined by Jamie McLennan, who was part of TSN's trade deadline coverage. The two take a closer look at the Mark Stone trade and the quiet deadline from the Calgary Flames.
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Trade deadline day
We are less than a week away from one of the most anticipated days on the NHL calendar, trade deadline day. The one day that can put a team over the hump and get them one step closer to hoisting Lord Stanley, or handicap them for years to come. That's the uniqueness of this day, it can make or break a team's fortune. This year four Canadian teams have a legitimate shot at winning the Stanley cup which makes the next few days all the more intriguing. Another interesting aspect to this day is the media coverage. Specifically the wall to wall television reporting as sports networks go all out to out duel each other for the highest ratings. Our 3 guests this week all had significant impacts on trade deadline day. Craig Button was the general manager of the Calgary Flames for 3 years from 2000-2003. His acquisitions played an integral role in the Flames Stanley Cup run in 2004. He joins Rob to discuss his deadline moves as well as his being an analyst on TSN's trade deadline coverage. Stephane Matteau was acquired by the Rangers on Deadline Day in 1994 and went on to score one of the biggest goals in New York Rangers history. He talks about his trade to the Big Apple and subsequently winning the Stanley Cup. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz catches up with former NHLer and current Washington Capitals studio analyst Alan May who was traded a whopping 4 times on Deadline Day.
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Russian evolution in the NHL
When Canadians were introduced to Russian hockey at the Summit series in 1972 many in the hockey world were surprised at the skill and grace the Soviet's exuded. They rarely retaliated when they were met with physical adversity. There stoic nature was amazing to watch but they were labelled as "soft". Many experts thought you couldn't win a Stanley Cup with Russians on the roster. Boy things have changed. This summer Alex Ovechkin became the first Russian player to captain his team to the Stanley Cup. He also won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. On this episode of the Hockey Night in Canada podcast we are talking about the evolution of the Russian hockey player in the NHL. Alexander Mogilny became the first Russian player to defect to North America. We spoke to Former Sabres GM Gerry Meehan who was involved in a James Bond like mission to bring Mogilny to the United States. We also caught up with Ken Holland who has been with the Red Wings for 36 years as a scout and GM. He was directly involved in scouting and drafting Russians who played an integral part in the Red Wings championships in 97, 98 and 2002. -- The national anthem of Russia performed by the Presidential Orchestra of the Russian Federation.
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Dreading the Stanley Cup drought
The Dreaded Drought blows through the Hockey Night In Canada Podcast this week. Rob Pizzo talks to Former Leafs GM Gord Stellick about the 52 (and counting) dry years for the Leafs, and broadcaster Sam Rosen is happy to reminisce about how his beloved New York Rangers escaped their 54 seasons in the doghouse. Any Canadian can list ten reasons to dislike Toronto, but if you want some sympathy for HogTown? just say 1967. The Maple Leaf's long drought turns hockey lovers maroon with pain in Toronto, but what can we learn from the lean times? And is there a glimmer of hope in that five year horizon presented by the Auston Matthews signing?
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Voices of the game
For many people hockey has a voice. It's the narrative that makes it come to life. The sound track for the story of so many great games, glorious moments and achievements. Too many to remember. This week former Hockey Night In Canada reporter Scott Russell fills in for host Rob Pizzo. Scott talks to three legendary voices of the game. Foster Hewitt was the pioneer?and the three people on this show have all been honoured by the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Foster Hewitt Award because of the voice they lovingly gave to hockey. Jim Robson made everyone feel welcome as he brought us close to the Canucks way out west. Dick Irvin delivered a sense of history and we couldn't help but be impressed by the glory of the Montreal Canadiens. Joe Bowen is all about spirit. An unrepentant fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. His passion is rarely rivalled and many of us have been caught up in his outright devotion to his team.
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The All-star game
It's All-Star weekend on this week's episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast. The first official All-Star game was held in 1947 and became an annual tradition where the defending Stanley Cup Champions took on a group of All-Stars. Since then there have been various format changes and some memorable moments. Gordie Howe returning to Detroit in 1980 to a very long standing ovation. Wayne Gretzky scoring 4 goals in the 3rd period of the 1983 All-Star game and Owen Nolan calling his goal vs Dominik Hasek in the 1997 All-Star game. Former Hockey Night In Canada host Scott Russell who was part of 10 All-Star game joins us to discuss his favourite moments. Scott was the ice level reporter for many of those games. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz talks to San Jose Sharks president John Tortora about hosting their second All-Star game and what it means to their fan base.
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The art of chirping
In this week's episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast we are talking chirping. The good, bad and ugly of it. Some people call it trash talking or smack talk. Call it what you will but its been a big part of the game for some time now. If there was a Mount Rushmore of "chirping" Matthew Barnaby would be all four faces! He was one of the all-time great trash talkers and agitators of the game. Barnaby talks candidly about his days of chirping including getting under the skin of one Eric Lindros. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz has a conversation with another great chirper former Maple Leaf Darcy Tucker. Tucker opens up about a time he crossed the line with a player.
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Women in hockey
In this week's episode of the Hockey Night In Canada podcast we focus on women and the impact they have made in hockey. Women's hockey has come a long way in the last 30 years. It made its debut at the Olympics in 1998 and the gold medal game is must see TV, and because of that there are multiple professional leagues. Women are coaching, scouting, broadcasting and being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. But more can be done. Why not a women referee, head coach or GM in the NHL? 5-time Olympian and 4-time gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser joins host Rob Pizzo. Wickenheiser is now the Assistant Director of Player Development for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite the change, she feels a lot still needs to be done. Cheryl Pounder is a 2-time Gold medalist, and traded in her stick for a microphone at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Rob talks to her about the transition into broadcasting. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz has a conversation with one of the pioneers of women's hockey Manon Rheaume. She was the first woman to play in any of the major North American pro sports leagues suiting up in net for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992.
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The highs and lows at the midway point of the NHL season
With the halfway point of the NHL season upon us it's time to take a look at the highs and lows of the year so far. There's been plenty to talk about since the start of the season in October. Who better to break down what's transpired than former Stanley Cup champion Glenn Healy. Rob and Glenn discuss a myriad of topics including goal scoring, Alexander Ovechkin and the favourites to win the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Also one of the biggest surprises in the NHL season has been the Buffalo Sabres. They've gone from being the worst team in the NHL to a potential playoff team. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz caught up with Sabres head coach Phil Housley to find out what's been the difference this season in Buffalo.
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The best of Hockey Night in Canada
In this week's episode of the Hockey Night in Canada podcast, we take a look back at the best interviews of 2018 including Daniel Carcillo opening up about the hazing he experienced while a member of the Sarnia Sting.
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Hockey books for the holidays
The focus of this week's Hockey Night In Canada podcast is hockey books! With Christmas just around the corner, they make for the perfect stocking stuffer. Actor and comedian Jay Baruchel is a die-hard Canadiens fan. Rob Pizzo had the chance to chat with Baruchel about his new book Born Into It: A Fan's Life, in which Baruchel opens up about his love affair with the Habs and his relationship with his father. Rob also chats with Sportsnet broadcaster Ken Reid about his second book on hockey cards - Hockey Card Stories 2. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz chats with TSN broadcaster James Duthie, who has written three books in his career, including one on legendary coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Kilrea.
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Why hockey will work in Seattle
This month the NHL confirmed the worst kept secret in hockey that the city of Seattle will get a NHL franchise. When the 2021-22 season begins, there will be 32 teams in the NHL. On this episode we will take a closer look at Seattle's expansion bid, the history of expansion as well as the future of expansion. Is 32 teams too much? Former player and head coach Dave Tippett joins Rob Pizzo. Tippett is the senior adviser for the Seattle franchise. Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz chats with Doug Bentz VP of marketing and digital for the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have become one of the strongest franchises in the NHL since joining the league in 1991.
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When coaches get fired
Last season in the NHL no coaches were fired in the regular season for the first time since 1968. This season has been a completely different story. The axe has fallen on four coaches and one general manager but we sometimes forget that coaches are human and have families. Host Rob Pizzo is joined by legendary NHL personality and former player and coach Barry Melrose to break down what life is like for coaches after they get let go and Ice Level reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz chats with former GM Doug Maclean who has been on both sides of the firing table.
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Daniel Carcillo opens up about hazing
Hazing has been an accepted part of the hockey culture for decades now. But recently some disturbing stories have come into the public eye. Stories that involved abuse and bullying all disguised as hazing. Former NHL tough guy Daniel Carcillo opened up about his own hazing experiences while playing in the OHL. Host Rob Pizzo had a chance to talk with Carcillo about what he went through and why he decided to go public with his experiences and what needs to be done to stop the abuse.
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Goalies, why are they so different?
In this week's episode of the Hockey Night in Canada podcast, we take a look at the keepers of the crease and what makes them so different from their teammates. Rob Pizzo is joined by Stanley Cup champion Ilya Bryzgalov, who gives his unique take on the topic, as well as John Garrett, who has some interesting stories to share on his playing days in the WHA and the NHL.
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