30 November 2017

Squire Report, Vol 4: Futures

Another crazy month as the team continues to surprise the hockey world...


It’s mind-boggling how unlucky the Knights have been with their goalie situation. Marc-AndrĂ© Fleury was specifically chosen in the Expansion Draft to be the starter in net and face of the franchise, while Malcolm Subban was singled out by goalie coach Dave Prior to be the future in goal. On July 1, GM George McPhee signed two free agent goalies, Oscar Dansk and Maxime Lagace, but both were supposed to spend the season in the AHL. Then the unthinkable happened.

Injuries to both Fleury and Subban forced the Knights to recall Dansk and Lagace, and fire up a mountain of trade speculation from media and fans around the league - this would only grow worse when Dansk got hurt as well, and the Knights had to call up 19-year-old Dylan Ferguson from the WHL. Though it was strictly an “emergency recall” in case Lagace got hurt (thankfully, he didn’t), Ferguson still got to travel and practice with the team - and even managed to take the ice in the final minutes of a blowout loss in Edmonton:

It’s easy to chastise McPhee for not bringing in another goalie, but I think he played the situation perfectly. This season is not about wins & losses so much as it is about evaluation. There is no reason for McPhee to give up assets to acquire a goalie who would have no place on the roster once the injured players returned. Furthermore, this rash of injuries gave McPhee and Prior the best chance to get an up-close look at each of the goalies in the system during NHL game action, rather than just seeing them in practice or the AHL.

22 November 2017

Hockey Road Trip: Northwest Holiday

After years of anticipation, I finally made my first trip to Canada in 2015 - and just as I had feared, I was eager to return almost immediately. At this point, I was just over halfway finished with my tour of all of the NHL arenas, but I still had six more Canadian cities to visit. The next trip would be the result of a scheduling quirk involving an American icon.

I’ve been a fan of Madonna and her music for as long as I could remember, a period spanning more than 30 years. I can vividly remember seeing her videos on MTV constantly, hearing her music on the radio, and just being kept updated on her whereabouts throughout my entire life - I even got to proudly cheer on my older sister as she finished second place in a talent show by lip-synching "Lucky Star"!

In the fall of 2015, Madonna embarked on a worldwide tour to celebrate the release of her latest album, Rebel Heart.  I quickly found Los Angeles on the tour schedule once the dates were announced, but was astonished by the exorbitant price of the tickets.  My travel companion Chad, who was also interested in witnessing this concert, suggested we check the rest of the tour schedule to see if Madonna would be performing in a city that was home to an NHL arena we had yet to visit.  But would we be in luck?

As it turned out, she'd be playing in Vancouver just after the hockey season started, and both the Canucks and the WHL's Vancouver Giants were in town during the same week.  As I continue to tour the continent to see these NHL arenas, I've made my best effort to see older arenas that hosted NHL teams in the past: thankfully for me, the Vancouver Giants play their home games in the Pacific Coliseum, the longtime home of the Canucks.  It was too perfect!

Quick backstory: my father served in the United States Navy for 25 years.  He travelled all over the world, and told me that THE most beautiful city he'd ever been to was Vancouver (he was there for Expo 86).  In fact, when I told him of my mission to see a game in every NHL arena, he was very excited about the idea of my visit to the beautiful surroundings in British Columbia.  I couldn't wait, so Chad and I quickly made our reservations and set off to the Great White North once again!

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