Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer

Cam Davie
July 25 2012 09:57AM


I really love being a Hockey Dad. Since I didn’t play hockey as a kid, I relish the experiences of life at the rink as I watch my oldest daughter plays her favourite sport (and mine). There are some crazy hours and early mornings and there can be a lot of driving, but it’s all worth it. I don't suppose that makes me different at all from any of the other hockey parents. We all love watching our kids play and are proud to help them do so.

What does make me have a different perspective on watching my kid play hockey is that my 10-year-old hockey playing daughter is a cancer survivor, who lost her kidney to cancer surgery one week after her fifth birthday.

Luckily for us, our daughter fought back and conquered her cancer. Now, our family does what we can to raise money to help the fight against cancer. So when I first learned about Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, a dawn-to-dusk fundraising event centred on a massive road hockey game, I jumped at the chance to volunteer and fundraise.

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A gruelling assessment of the 2012 Columbus Blue Jackets

Cam Charron
July 25 2012 08:54AM

So where on earth do the Columbus Blue Jackets go from here?

Why, it seems like only a year ago we were looking at the prospects of a new future in Columbus. The team were spending money on good players. They got James Wisniewski and Radek Martinek, two solid defencemen, along with Vinny Prospal, to complement a new core bolstered by the acquired Jeff Carter.

For once, the Blue Jackets were going into the year with a bit of hope. They still had their captain Rick Nash and with Carter, had two franchise players up front for once. They had two good checking centres in Antoine Vermette and Samuel Pahlsson, along with a couple of home-grown defencemen in Marc Methot and Fedor Tyutin. All in all, this was a roster that had some good pieces, and a couple of stars to bring it together.

What followed was not pretty, and general manager Scott Howson dismantled their entire group before it even got started.

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Dion Phaneuf and Jake Gardiner, comparing matchups

Cam Charron
July 24 2012 08:12AM

I might need to preface everything I say about Jake Gardiner thusly: I think he's a talented, exciting defenceman who will be a good Top Four option in the NHL one day. The other thing I need to say is that it just won't be now.

Young defencemen, particularly those who score a few pretty goals (such as the one after the jump), have a way of making us dream. The harsh reality is that defencemen develop a little slower than forwards and their actual impact on an NHL team won't be felt for some time.

Again, here are Gardiner's advanced numbers for this last season via Behind the Net:

  TOI/GP Corsi ON Rel QoC Ozone%
Jake Gardiner
(Team rank out of 7)

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On the Toronto Maple Leafs spending habits

Cam Charron
July 23 2012 02:31PM

And so Rick Nash will be a New York Ranger next season. We've known for quite some time, probably, that Nash would go there and not to, say, Toronto, but a lot of minds in the Greater Toronto Area may have needed the closure.

Not sharp minds, but the way that things have panned out in Toronto in the seven years since the last NHL lockout, the Leafs have time and time again missed out on the big-name NHL player. Sure, Brian Burke worked trades that brought Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel to Toronto, but neither have proved to be the stumbling difference between the current Leafs and a playoff spot.

It's a fallacy, however. No one player, goaltender aside, can influence a team that heavily in the standings. You'd need a generational talent, but even Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin couldn't bridge the chasm for their perpetual out-of-playoff teams in their respective dominant rookie seasons. It takes a supporting cast and it takes a lot of good players. The Leafs really have neither.

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Minor-league shuffle: What Keith Aucoin brings the organization

Cam Charron
July 23 2012 05:17AM

Over the weekend, there's been some fairly decent Leafs player movement. On Friday, of course, Nikolai Kulemin was re-signed a two-year deal. Leafs brass again negotiated a pretty stellar restricted free agency contract for a defensive winger coming off a dud season offensively.

Also Friday, Marcel Müller, one of the Marlies' high-scoring forwards last season, is heading to MoDo in Sweden next season. In haste to replace his third highest scorer with the minor-league affiliate, the Leafs went out Saturday and signed not-quite-a-journeyman veteran Keith Aucoin to a two-way deal that will pay Aucoin a league-minimum $650K at the NHL-level and a respectable $350K in the AHL. 

Let's get one thing straight here: Aucoin isn't intended to solve any of the Leafs major problems. I do believe he was signed as an option to provide a replacement to Müller's 14 goal, 47 point season out at Ricoh. Aucoin has never really been in danger of being an NHL regular. His career-high in games is 38, and he scored 5 goals and 13 points.

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