Monthly Archives: February 2009

N.H.L.’s Secrecy Is Hurting The Game

“Upper body injury”, a teammate shouts from the other side of the locker room as blood drips from the finger of number nine. Jeers and laughs can be heard in amateur rinks all over the nation as fans, media, and even the players give there mixed reviews regarding the labeling of any injury as either an upper or lower body injury. If you have been living on the planet Venus for the past few months I’ll understand if you don’t know about the N.H.L.’s newest and most controversial rule. The ruling gives teams the right to withhold the specifics of player injuries from the fans and media. Three quarters of the way through the season and mixed reviews along with heavy criticism is finding its way back to the desk of N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman and the N.H.L.’s 30 general managers who voted unanimously in favor of the new rule back in November. Did you get the memo Gary Bettman? Fans aren’t happy.

In an information savvy business like the media, it has Journalists up in arms since they are unable to properly inform hockey fans about there favorite stars off-ice status. If a fan is thinking about buying a mini-season game pack to watch Sydney Crosby play the Oilers, Canucks, and the Flames, then that fan has a right to know if Crosby will actually be playing. The growing consensus with Journalists is that the lack of information will lead to further speculation when reporting player injuries or they will face the iron fist of an angry fan base. Credibility with its fans should be a concern as the N.H.L. moves towards the completion of its first season with the implementation of this new rule.

Some tight lipped organizations like the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins will not disclose any information about player’s injuries while some clubs are opting to call it either an upper or lower body injury. After watching two of his players targeted during last seasons playoff run, Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland says he had enough and went to the N.H.L.’s governing body. Holland first suggested the rule for just during playoff time where he doesn’t think it’s necessary for the fans to know about every injury. That escalated into a full season selective secrecy at every team’s discretion. Johan Franzen came back during last season’s playoff run after suffering a head injury or what is now called an “upper body injury.” It was released to the public that Franzen was suffering from post concussion symptoms. Players from the opposition started taking extra liberties, and as a result the N.H.L. believes its new rule will protect players like Franzen from being targeted.

Should Johan Franzen have been on the ice if he was in that rough of shape? It’s a rough game out there and many of today’s athletes learn the mantra of, “winning at all cost.” Isn’t that what the N.H.L. uses to sell fans on the Stanley Cup each year. There is a reason why the Stanley cup is considered by many the most difficult trophy to win in pro sports. It’s a battle out there and players will take every advantage they can get to gain an edge on the competition.

In winters past there was no clear cut guide for teams to follow when reporting injuries to the public. This lead to bluffing, downright lying, and disclosures resembling complete honesty at times, but nobody really believed it anyways. The rule states that NHL clubs are prohibited from providing untruthful representation of the player or the status of his injury. Now it seems that N.H.L. teams are acting with more ethical respect towards each other, but it’s not right that the fans in the stands who pay for these players salaries are getting the short end of the stick.

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Are the Oilers buyers or sellers?

It’s once again that time of year for Edmonton Oiler fans. Fighting tooth and nail for a chance to sneak into the post season. Injuries, softmore slumps and under performing players have plagued the Oilers season. Devastating injuries to Captain Ethan Moreau, stalwart penalty killing specialist Fernando Pisani, and swift puck moving defencemen Lubomir Visnovsky has made it difficult for the Oilers to climb the western conference standings.

A bright spot for the Edmonton Oilers has been the emergence of Ales Hemsky into a budding superstar in the N.H.L. Chants from Rexall place and the fans watching on there television sets back home were, “Shoot, common, shoot the puck Hemmer.” It would seem the Oilers assistant captain is finally listening to his fans. Hemsky is bringing some joy to fans during an otherwise gloomy season with 50 points and a plus 2 rating after 47 games.

Sam Gagne and Robert Nilson struggled out of the gate but seem to be catching there stride now. Despite working hard every shift, Erik Cole can’t buy a goal and may be headed out the door as the NHL nears its March 4th trade deadline. The salary of players who may be available is likely to be too high  risk for general managers to gamble on.

The Edmonton oilers are a skilled young team who are experiencing growing pains and are a team of the future. General manager Steve Tambellini is unlikely to make any big moves but may want to add a secondary scorer.

Billion dollar food industry, trying to avoid being stung

There is cause for concern as Canada’s bee population is being put to the test. Bees in Canada have been dropping like flies. Bees are the driving force behind the production of over a third of Canada’s food source, and are directly responsible for over $1 billion dollars in revenue.

Crops, vegetables, canola, and even part of the oxygen we breathe correlates from the trees and plants pollinated by our stinging friends. Bees pollinate the crops that produce the fruit that goes into the wine we drink on special occasions. So, having no bees will put a real sting in your love life.

Bees are vital to our food chain and may become the cause of a missing link in our ecosystem. Something we can’t live without. The bees have been hit catastrophically with losses of 45 per cent over the last 15 years. Alberta is home to Canada’s largest bee population, which dropped 36 per cent in the last year.

The bees are facing several obstacles that must be overcome to ensure their survival and ultimately, ours. The loss of bees to our food chain is a price we don’t want to pay.

Since its arrival from Asia in 1989, the Varroa Deconstructor has been a thorn in the side of bees across the nation. Since that time, the external parasitic mite has been directly responsible for mortality rates of 15-18 per cent … Until now. The mite has grown in strength and has developed a resistance to all the methods that beekeepers have thrown at them, leaving experts puzzled about what to do. In November of 2006, beekeepers started to notice an abnormal behavior where most of the worker bees would leave the hive to pollinate and didn’t return. This led to the collapse of the bee colony in less than a week. This condition is called CCD or Colony Collapse disorder, and has raised major concerns with scientists not only in Canada, but around the globe.

The most troubling fact is that scientists and bee experts have no idea how the ladder problems can be solved. Including a government that doesn’t seem to understand how grave the crisis is.

What would happen if Canada lost over a third of its food production?

For many, that’s a terrifying thought.

Take a hike!

There really are some places you will want to see with both eyes and legs. My top three spots to take a hike starts with a 75 km trek along Canada’s West coast trail. The trail, named the best hike in the world by Besthike.com since 1999, takes you on a journey along a rugged, picturesque coastline that requires a high level of fitness to complete. The trail takes you through dense forest, exposed shelves, and bogs with thick patches of deep mud. Whether ascending or descending wooden ladders or using logs to cross over rivers, the West Coast Trail will capture your spirit for adventure. Bears, sea lions, cougars, orcas, gray whales, eagles, and baby seals catching some rays on the beach are some of the wildlife that can be seen. Hikers must conquer their fear of heights as cable car suspensions must be used to cross over some rivers and streams. Sand and pebble beaches, headlands, old growth trees, streams, and waterfalls are some of the pleasures that can be experienced in your quest of Canada’s West Coast Trail.

Next stop … Milford Track, New Zealand.

The trail attracts over 14,000 visitors to complete the 54 km trek each year. Deep valleys created by glacier run-offs and alpine flowers can be seen while walking along un-even ground through alpine passes. Wade through flood water up to a meter deep or pass through deep beach forest while taking in panoramic mountain views and breathtaking wildlife on your way to Sutherland Falls. At 580 meters in 3 leaps, it’s the world’s third largest waterfall. Take a good raincoat and don’t expect a Sunday stroll in the park, and what you will end up with is a lasting memory of one of the few remaining natural wilderness areas. Milford Track is pure wilderness with wild weather. It is described by many who take on the challenge as, “the finest walk in the world.” It truly shows the raw beauty of New Zealand.

I’m thinking Arby’s … Actually my next hike takes us out of touch with fast food restaurants. Borneo is a land rich in rainforests with its extensive cave systems and clear sky views. Headhunters and exotic wildlife will at times make you feel like a prisoner on the third largest island in the world.

Journey through Clearwater cave … Home to three million bats and the world’s longest underground river.

It’s all part of taking in the most biologically diverse place on Earth. See Macaques, Gibbons, and venture into the only remaining natural habitat for the Orangutan. You won’t need a jacket as the temperature stays at 27 degrees Celsius all year long. Though, you may want to bring a rain coat as the ground fills up with 2900 millimeters each year. Borneo is the place to experience true peace and tranquility. You won’t have to look for trailheads … Just pick a direction and start walking.

Kyle Yamada named an All-Star

Lethbridge college student Kyle Yamada, has been named to the All-Canadian soccer team by the Canadian colleges athletic association. It is an honour to be recognized as one of the top 10 soccer players in Canada, says Yamada.

This was Yamada’s second year playing for the Kodiaks after he blew out his knee three years ago in his debut for the Kodiak soccer program.

Yamada is a Calgary native who drives home twice a week to play professional indoor soccer for Calgary United in the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League. The CMISL is affiliated with the Professional Arena Soccer League in the United States.

Known for playing as a forward, if he does not see much of the ball early on, his competitive nature has him dropping back into the centre of the mid-field to help out his teammates. “I like to score goals,” says Yamada.

He scored six goals in 11 games in helping the Kodiaks to a first round playoff loss to N.A.I.T. Kyle Yamada hopes the Kodiaks can draw from this years experiences and take its game to nationals next year.

Kyle Yamada, 25, has been playing soccer since the age of four and has always had a competitive spirit about everything he does.

Yamada was also one of the five finalists for the CCAA player of the year award.