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THE FAR SIDE OF THE POND: Summer Daze Doesn't Prevent Random Hockey Thoughts

09/15/2008 12:23 PM -

By Chad Huebner

“. . . Wake me up when September ends.”
-Green Day

Was it just three months ago when the hockey season ended?

(Answer: yes. But that was a rhetorical question, so why are you answering anyway?)

(That also was a rhetorical question. Try to keep up.)

It all seemed so long ago, and yet it wasn’t. It’s the same feeling when school lets out for the summer, and then only a few months later, we’re back to the grind. Except that hockey is a lot more exciting than school, isn’t it?

I’m not back in hockey mode just yet, because that’s what October is for. Not too much exciting stuff happens in September, unless you count the annual college football blowouts and whatever Britney does at the VMAs exciting (and if you do, you’re a very troubled soul).

So in the meantime, I’m going to give you all some random hockey thoughts. For those of you new to my column, trust me, it’s going to be good. Or at least those of you who’ve read me before can tell the newbies what’s going on.

(Cue the thoughtful piano music. . .)

. . . I’d like to welcome a new member to The Far Side of the Pond reading family, the Wightlink Raiders. As some of you know, the Raiders play in the English Premier Ice Hockey League, which also has the Romford Raiders. This goes way beyond the Twilight Zone aspect that the Canadian Football League had with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Ottawa Rough Riders (I can almost hear the pause between Rough and Riders). I’m sure the Raiders and the Raiders know who’s who, so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Plus, I’d rather not tick off the Wightlink people anymore than is necessary.

Wightlink is not the name of the city the Raiders play in, it’s the name of the company that owns them. The Raiders play on the Isle of Wight which is only five miles off the southern coast of England. Wikipedia says the Isle is “one of the richest fossil locations for dinosaurs in Europe.” So while visiting the Isle of Wight, take in a Raiders game (especially if they’re playing against. . . the other Raiders) and dig up a velociraptor. . .

. . . This has to be the best offseason for my beloved Chicago Blackhawks in my entire life. All 82 games on TV (I would’ve been happy with about 60 or so, but what the heck, why not all 82), the second Winter Classic at Wrigley Field (though I feel Soldier Field would be a better choice, in terms of bigger capacity and a better fit for the rink on the football field), overpaying Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet because we can and knowing that these are good deals in spite of some of the blunders the ‘Hawks made in the past (how much for Adrian Aucoin?), continuing the tradition of honoring past players (Amonte, Larmer, Probert and Hall. . . why not Roenick?), and the mere thought that both Johnny Toews and Patrick Kane are coming into their own in the sophomore years. It may not all add up to a Stanley Cup, but at least it’ll be for a playoff spot and a terrific regular season. . .

. . . And then Detroit goes out and “rents” Marian Hossa for a year, and I feel everything the ‘Hawks have done in the offseason is overshadowed. Like the Red Wings really needed the extra firepower? Looks like we might have our first repeat champs since. . . the Red Wings in ’97 and ’98. God, I hate them. . .

. . . But I still like “Chelly” (Chris Chelios, to you first-timers), figure that one out. Guy’s nearing 50 and he still wants to play. More important is that he can still play. What’s the secret, Chelly? Exercise? Eating right? Winning Championships? I think there’s something in his chili that demands a Congressional investigation. . .

. . . WARNING! CHAD MIGHT BE A HYPOCRITE, PART 1! Is Matt Sundin the Brett Favre of hockey? Maybe, if Sundin actually won something or actually contributed to the team, something like that. . .
. . . WARNING! CHAD MIGHT BE A HYPOCRITE, PART 2! But maybe it’s really time for Joe Sakic to hang it up. C’mon, man, if you really think you’re going to win one more Cup with the team (or lack thereof) they have in Colorado, you’ve been breathing in the thin air way too long. You’ve done all you can, Forsberg isn’t coming back to you (or to anyone else) anytime soon, and you’re not getting any younger. Chelly is, but you’re not. . .

. . . So we have Russia invading Georgia and McCain talking about hating the Russians, but it wasn’t until that rival league started luring NHL players that I wondered if Russia does really want a second Cold War. And why not? They were our best enemies in the past 50 years, or at least had the snazziest military uniforms. . .

. . . WARNING! PURE AMERICAN THOUGHT THAT MIGHT CONFUSE FOREIGN READERS! Speaking of snazzy unis, did I just see Patrick Sharp at a Chicago White Sox game in a White Sox hockey uni? Like the concept of crossing over two sports on a jersey like that, the only thing I would do is change the White Sox part to the Cubs. And yes, the White Sox do suck, now and forever. . .

. . . It seems that because of Bruce Boudreau’s success with the Caps last year, a few NHL teams are hiring rookie coaches to try and duplicate the feat. One important thing to remember: Boudreau had Alexander Ovechkin to help him! I can see new head coach John Anderson (formerly of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves) getting a lot of help from Ilya Kovalchuk, but who’s going to step it up in Long Island for Scott Gordon? Mike Sillinger? Puh-leeze. . .

. . . Iowa Chops: okay on the name, hate the logo. Logo looks too much like the Rockford Icehogs (who incidentally play in the same division as the Chops-sorta like having two teams with the same name in the same league. . . oops). As far as the name goes, do you really want your team named after a piece of food? Sports geek trivia note: there was an indoor football team named the Omaha Beef, but at least there the name could mean the team if “beefing up” as well. Anyway, could this be the start of a different form of corporate sponsorship? Could we have teams like the Boston (Dunkin’) Donuts? The Pittsburgh Burger Kings? My personal favorite: the Chicago Krispy Kremes. Their slogan: “Delicious on and off the ice”. Mmmmmm. . .

Remember, e-mail me at for anything on your mind. Best responses and/or questions will be answered publicly.

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