Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 002

TEAM MARYLAND (1-2-1) VS. PHILADELPHIA JR. FLYERS

Last Weekend-ish: A four-game in seven-day set for Team Maryland yielded only one win, but a much better improvement from last season, staying in many of the games– unlike last year when things were not so great. Against the Philadelphia Revolution, they dropped two closely contested games, with Sam Sheppard showing off his playing making skills and Bobby Geier finding the net once during the set. Jay de Ruiter was held off the scoresheet after he ravaged Connecticut’s defense mid-week.

What To Look For: The Jr. Flyers haven’t allowed a goal in either of their games this season, so it’ll be a test for the Team Maryland offense to see if they’ll be able to get a tally on the board. With nine different goal scorers on the season in four games, the wealth has been spread just a bit. They obviously can’t expect de Ruiter to pot four every game, so it’ll be up to the lights of Sheppard, Geier, and Rory Gresham to take the heat off of de Ruiter.

Bold Prediction: Team Maryland has out shot their coverage so far and I think it’ll continue. Whether it will yield two wins remains to be seen, however; I do expect at least one goal to be scored in each game, as that trend can’t go forever. Goalie Armand Charland will be tested and will hopefully keep TM in the games for the weekend.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN (1-0-1) at RIT (Friday); at MERCYHURST (Saturday)

Last Weekend: Though the updates were kind of there, the scoresheets aren’t– but Navy was quick to clarify why. In any case, they did split in Morgantown against the Mountaineers; losing in overtime Friday night 3-2, while winning Saturday’s game 3-2.

What To Look For: With output from their younger players, like Nathan Hyden and Daniel Schoenemen, as well as their returnees in Joe Kelly and Conner Hyden; the Middies will be looking forward to start spreading the offensive joy around. The blue line was quite active last year thanks to John Scaccia and Brendan Reynolds, which they will hope will carry them going forward. A travel day between these games, it’s all hands on deck for the Midshipmen this weekend.

Bold Prediction: For some reason, with the travel in there, I sense a split happening. Maybe with RIT being the loss and Mercyhurst being the win. Though, I can definitely see a trend in who will be the top offensive guys on the team– like we saw last year with Derek Golembrosky, Luke Turk, and Alex Vandenberg.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (0-0-0) at WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS

Last Season: It was a bit of year to forget for the Towson Tigers going 7-21-3 on the season, a far cry from their 17-17-3 record from 2017-18. Luckily, the three top scorers from last year in Ryan Dieter, Costa Pizanis, and Collin Mercier are all back. Dieter has 18 goals and 30 points on the year, bringing his total for his career to 85 points in 83 career games. Jake Snyder played a big role in net for Towson with 1297 saves and had a .905 save percentage despite a 5.16 GAA.

What To Look For: We’ll see what kind of team Towson is this year and how much support– both in goals and within the zone– they can give to Snyder and how much offensive output they’ll be able to have. West Virginia is a solid task for the Tigers, especially since they can use Navy as a measuring stick to what they can expect.

Bold Prediction: Towson went 2-1-0 against West Virginia last year, with their only loss coming in the consolation game of the Crab Pot Tournament at the end of the year. Towson split their opener last season, but I think good fortune could shine on them and they start the season hot with two wins on the road.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS (0-0-0) at GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY PATRIOTS (Friday); VS. WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY GOLDEN RAMS

Last Season: In their second season in club hockey, the Mustangs got better from their 1-win season in their first year. However, a 6-17-0 record was great for Coach Urgo and the “Green Horses” for their second season. With only 14 skaters, they took a toll on themselves, but spread the wealth for scoring with Gary Matyok, Thomas Foschini, Joshua Watterson, and Brandon Scholze were all in double-digits in goals and at a point-per-game or better on the year. Pat Schena was solid in net with a .910 save percentage, but a 4.61 GAA for his troubles.

What To Look For: With a bigger roster and key returning players, Coach Urgo could very well get a solid performance out of his team this season. The bigger roster will definitely help the team as they get deeper in the season, as well as not tire out some of the scoring lines– and maybe even distribute the scoring a little more. With Schena leaving, David Shahady might be the defacto starter, but time will tell if there’s someone behind him to take over those reigns.

Bold Prediction: Personally, I believe they’ll be able to win their opener at George Mason, but they did lose to a deep West Chester team last year and with a quick turnaround from a later evening game to an afternoon game– it could prove a little tough on the legs at the start of the season. However, I fully expect the Green Horses to get one win on the weekend.

Clutch N’ Crab Preview: NAHL Showcase Edition

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

It’s the time of year where Blaine, Minnesota becomes the mecca for hockey, even if only for a weekend. All 26 NAHL teams will be in action across four days in a clash of divisions that’ll stay that way until the Robertson Cup Final Four.

Last year, the Maryland Black Bears got their first win in franchise history against the Springfield Jr. Blues and went 2-1-1 in their four games. They’ll be heading back to the Schwan Super Rink to get their first win of the season

Last Weekend: It was one of firewagon hockey against the New Jersey Titans, as they got outscored 15-10 over the two games, with Wilmer Skoog proving to be a great off-season pick-up for the Black Bears, as well as putting himself 2nd in league scoring after the first weekend. While the Titans had their top guns on full display, the Black Bears held their ground as much as they could and if not for the second period in each game– it could have been a different outcome for the team. The defense was able to pick-up some offense, as well, with two goals and nine assists coming from the blue line, Aidan McDowell and Bryden Sinclair leading the way with a goal and three assists a piece.

This Weekend: The Black Bears will face a three teams from the Midwest Division and one from the Central Division. They’ll start off with the Minnesota Magicians being first, a team that finished second in the Midwest and lost in the division finals. On Thursday, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs will be the opponent, the league runners-up from last season and one of five teams to score over 200 goals on the season. Friday has the Janesville Jets, who got the last spot in the Midwest playoff run, as they lost to Fairbanks in the first round. Finally on Saturday morning, the Minot Minotauros– Skoog’s last team and 2nd in the regular season in the Central Division in 2018-19 before losing in the division finals.

What To Look For: Obviously, the biggest thing is to see how the Black Bears play in the second period. Giving up eight goals in the second frame, including five in Saturday’s game, is not a good look and something that the team needs to buckle down on. Also, how sustainable is the offense for Maryland and what other players can breakout to compliment Skoog’s offensive touch; which we’ve seen some glimpses from Brayden Stannard, Jackson Sterrett, and Ethan Heidepriem; not to mention Luke Mountain– who had two assists this past weekend and is trying to build off his great second half last season.

Bold Prediction: I expect the Black Bears to get at least two wins, like last season; but I fully expect them to be a bit more stingy on defense. Defensive zone coverage plagued the team last year and a little bit of that showed last weekend. Both Andrew Takacs and Gavin Abric will be tested and hopefully they can get some more support with the first weekend jitters out of the way.

How to Solve Lapped Cars in Your Lane?? Shrink the Field

There’s one way to fix the issue Kyle Busch had Sunday at Las Vegas– shrink the field for races. Even 40 is too much for races, what’s the issue with shrinking it to even 32??

If you hadn’t seen– Kyle Busch wrecked his car when he ran into Garrett Smithley’s bumper during Stage 3 of Sunday’s Cup race. Honestly, you can debate if Kyle should have gone high or low, but the point is that they knew he was running the middle line and Smithley’s spotter assured the 18 team they would move to let him go…and it didn’t happen. I’ll say that I don’t care if Kyle had space high or low– lead-lap cars have preference of line over lapped cars, especially ones like Smithley– WHO BASICALLY STOPPED TO A HALT IN ONE AND TWO— in which Kyle ran into him, ruining his run from two-laps down and possibly salvaging a good finish despite early blunders. After the race, Kyle said some things and here we are.

Now, don’t get it twisted– I dislike Kyle Busch. He has talent, but he’s not my cup of tea thinking that he’s owed anything from everyone. That said, Smithley shouldn’t have been in a spot where he’s in the prime racing line for a lead-lap car. While I enjoyed the Honest Abe Roofing scheme, the fact he was out there just cruising around is indicative of the state of NASCAR in that they don’t care your talent level, you have the money to race– we’ll let you race– shoutout Gray Gaulding and BK Racing.

So what’s the big issues with shrinking the field maximum from 40 to 32?? This way, you actually have some kind of competition for qualifying, you can weed out the teams who are running the Cup series just for the extra money it brings into their pockets because the monetary system in the Xfinity Series is broken (as is the Cup drivers running in those races, but that’s another post for another time), and you can also not have also-rans out there getting in the way of playoff contenders and ruining their day because they didn’t understand what was being said on the radio or just ignoring their spotters altogether.

Plus, this will also make teams more competitive and actually try to make the race rather than falling back on the fact there hasn’t been many maximum entry races and the charter system– which in and of itself is a farce. All these smaller teams that are serious about improving– like Rick Ware Racing– will actually have to improve if they want to make the field rather than just getting because of no one else being around.

Smithley said he was running his line and what-have-you, which is true; but when you’re that far down that late in the race, some kind of decorum is needed for guys who are actually racing for something more than seat time in a Cup car and a bigger paycheck.

Who’s Identity is it Anyway??

Infograph by 16Wins.com

Okay, so the Winnipeg Jets are paying homage to the WHA’s Jets for their blue Heritage Classic. Kind of a cop-out to just change the color of the jerseys from 2016 and not really pay heritage to say the Falcons that won an Olympic gold, but whatever sells merch, right??

But it brings up an interesting point about the lineage of hockey. Twitter pal Mitch brings up a good point in that– doesn’t all the original Jets’ identity– including the WHA– belong to the Coyotes?? I mean, the Jets as we know them now started off as the Atlanta Thrashers and as far as I know ( I found out in research of this– the Thrashers name and logo are still owned by the people in Atlanta for some ungodly reason); it’s not like the Cleveland Browns in that when they left for Baltimore they got a settlement to keep the original Cleveland Browns stats and history, leaving the Ravens with a clean sheet.

Yet, it also goes to show how little teams care about their actual lineage. The Coyotes used to do a lot of things with Winnipeg Jets’ legends and legacy, but they rarely do that anymore with a new Winnipeg Jets in the league. The Avalanche left all of the Nordiques’ records and such in Quebec City, while the Devils sometimes give a nod to the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies through Easter Eggs in their jersey– but it’s nothing outward. The Hurricanes are finally starting to rekindle their heritage with their Whalers’ nights– which is a nice thing to see.

So, who owns the rights to teams identities when they leave for another market?? The Coyotes have Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk, and Thomas Steen’s jerseys retired; so they must own the records, right?? Rick Ley and John McKenzie’s numbers have been used by the Hurricanes (which Jack Edwards will let you know about), though the #2 of Ley is retired under Glen Wesley’s name.

To the victors go the spoils and they can do with it what they want. The sad fact is that most teams don’t utilize this enough. People clamor for nostalgia, people want the merch that comes with those old gaudy logos and jerseys (read: St. Louis Blues’ new throwback/alternative), and if you’re going to know where you’re going as a hockey fans– you’ve got to know where you’ve been. Not enough teams realize that with their old guards moving forward into the next realm of being, their stories and history goes with them if it’s not properly preserved or used. It’ll be a faded memory of another time.

While the Surviving….errr….”Original” Six teams do a decent job at honoring them– it needs to be more widespread through the league. While it’s great to make new memories and great that we’re seeing probably the best caliber of players in the history of the game…it’s best not to forget those that were before it– whether it was great or not. More over, teams need to remember where they came from– not in a get-famous-and-forget-your-roots movie tropes; but literally need to hash out where their heritage lies. If they moved and they’re not going to recognize where they moved from– give those records back to the NHL or the city they came from and move on. If they’re going to use that history of where they moved from– then use it and don’t let it rot.

Though, I will say I haven’t seen an area be this hungry for their former glory that Winnipeg and the Jets. I don’t remember this kind of uproar about the Minnesota Wild coming back and the fans wanting the North Stars records and logos and such. That either makes them really hardcore or just overly fanatical.

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 001

This is a new thing to bring you a preview of the teams we cover on Chesapeake Hockey Week. The weekly review will be on there, but you can get the bigger previews on here in the written word.

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (0-0-0, T-1st in East Division) VS. NEW JERSEY TITANS (0-0-0, T-1st in East Division)

Last Weekend: It was an exhibition weekend for the Black Bears, as they took on the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms and the Titans. They lost both match-ups, but showed plenty of upside on their game– especially from newcomer Wilmer Skoog, who was acquired from Minot this summer. Luke Mountain also looked to build off his solid second-half of the season with a spirited fight against Youngstown. Against New Jersey, local product Finn McLain and returning defenseman Logan Kons got the goals in the loss.

What To Look For: One of the biggest things to see is how comfortable the team will look in a regular season game. Practice can only do so much and with only two exhibition games; it’s hard to tell which guys will click with each other on the ice. On top of that, the defense was a big concern towards the end of last year, but with the additions of Bryden Sinclair, Jack Hillman, and Hampus Rydqvist; the skill on the blue line has went up immensely from what we last saw. Another point to watch for is the power play– as it only worked at 12.8% last season. With more skilled added to the team, it will be interesting to see how much they improve off of last year’s trouble spot. Finally, it’s Andrew Takacs’ crease this year, as he looks to be the rock between the pipes in his first full season as starter.

Bold Prediction: It’s easy to be a homer and say the Black Bears will sweep. I won’t be that homer…yet. I fully expect a split at home for the Black Bears, while I can definitely see Skoog being a major offensive factor in the games. The Black Bears will take Friday’s game trying to make up for the loss last weekend and while feeding off the great crowd at The Den, but I think they may come up just short on Saturday’s game after an emotional opening night.

Photo via @NavyHockey

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN (0-0-0) at WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS (0-0-0)

Last Season: The Midshipmen went 25-6-1(SOW)-3 last season and ended up one game short of winning the conference title, but lost out to West Chester University. Despite a strong record, many thought Navy had a lesser schedule than most and that’s what held them back from getting a sniff at the ACHA National Championships with an at-large bid. However, they won the Crab Pot Tournament, which might have been a little consolation.

What To Look For: The Middies had a high powered offense last season, which they hope to continue into this season; but they also gave up a ton of goals, as well. One of the keys for Navy will to balance the scoring a defense, while helping out their goaltending every once and a while. We’ll have to see where this weekend takes them and what it could prove against a Mountaineers team, who Navy defeated 7-2 in their only match-up last last year.

Bold Prediction: Navy got off to a solid start last season against Slippery Rock, sweeping those games– which is why I think they’ll sweep West Virginia. Starting off the season out west seems to do the Middies very well.

Photo via @UMCP_Hockey

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (0-0-0) vs. GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY HOYAS (0-0-0)

Last Season: The Terps were on and off our radar, as the record keeping was shotty at best. Finishin 8-13-1, the Terps are looking to rebound from a down season. However, they did have two MACH all-stars on their squad in forwards Chris Bouchard and Evan Yamaguchi.

What To Look For: After some tough matches last year, the defense could be the main focus for the Terps; who could run into some big trouble against some high-offensive teams in their schedule, like Liberty University, Drexel University, and University of Delaware. Georgetown will be a great team, as they are a balanced team, but will be enough for the Terps to start their lockdown approach.

Bold Prediction: With three weeks between games, the Terps should go out there and really leave it out on the ice to make an impression in their first game. Though Georgetown had a better record last season, Maryland took the season series sweep with two wins at the beginning and end of the season.

Photo via @TeamMarylandEHL

TEAM MARYLAND (1-1-0) vs. PHILADELPHIA REVOLUTION (0-1-0)

Last Week: Well, it was earlier this week, but Team Maryland split with the Connecticut Roughriders, dropping the first game 7-5, but taking the second 5-4. This is a much better offensive Team Maryland team from last year, as Jamie de Ruiter had FIVE GOALS in two games, including four of Team Maryland’s five in game one– two of which were short-handed.

What To Look For: Team Maryland will be facing their former goalie in Anthony Del Tufo in at least one of the games. We’ll have to see how Del Tufo can track Team Maryland’s shot– while Team Maryland needs to limit the shots against, as Connecticut had 78 shots in two games. The defense will need to be much tighter as the season rolls along.

Bold Prediction: Team Maryland will be able to fend off Del Tufo and take at least one of two on Sunday and Monday– with my bet being on the Sunday game, while both teams will be trying to wake up for a 10:30 am Monday morning start time– but the Revolution could very well come out on top.

It Should Have Been the Battle of Atlanta

Though I know it was a long-shot because it would have been funny, the NHL Media website pretty much shuts down the official idea of having the Battle of Atlanta, as they revealed the logos for the Heritage Classic in an email for accreditation. The logos of the Jets looks like one they had for the Heritage Classic in 2016, while the Flames look like a take of their original uniforms as the moved from Atlanta. Of course, we got a hint of what the Jets were doing when Connor Hellebuyck donned a retro mask for pre-training camp in Winnipeg.

What could have been with the Atlanta Thrashers and Atlanta Flames coming back to life again in, of all places, Regina, Saskatchewan.

While we won’t know the actual Jets uniforms until September 13th when they’ll officially unveil their duds for the event, you look at the Jets jersey history– even with the original team; the pickings are very slim. When you look at the Flames, who have yet to set a date for their jersey reveal, the pickings are as slim– though plenty gaudy. Hell, the Flames needed to make up a jersey for their outdoor game in 2011 from a Calgary team few knew about.

Thus is the issue with teams that are in these games and want to do something special for their jerseys– but have a limited palette to choose from when it comes time. The Blackhawks ran out of idea, the Canadiens only have limited options, as do many of the “Original” Six teams. Then you have teams that don’t have a lot of old jerseys– like the Jets, Flames, and Capitals– and have to model some kind of faux-retro to go along with the idea of the game. Which is what’s going to make the Winter Classic jerseys interesting with Dallas and Nashville not being known for their jersey history.

Part of that is the reason why I suggested it becoming the Battle of Atlanta. I mean, sure– it helps that both teams defected from Georgia to move to Canada, but at the same time– it’d be a different jersey take than we may have expected. Plus, it would annoy Canadians who believe they are gatekeepers to hockey and all that it means to people. Plus, it’s about fun, right?? What’s more fun than to bring back two old teams and their jerseys for a night?? People want all kinds of old jerseys back– so here’s a perfect chance to do it.

But the NHL botched it. The teams botched. Now, we have to be subjected to recycled jersey concepts and act like we are happy about seeing something we’ve seen before– like the Blackhawks in an outdoor game.

Hockey Blowhard Creates Fake Controversy of Hockey Star in Major Market

Leave it to Brian Burke angling for Don Cherry’s seat to create a controversy no one knew they needed.

Burke said on Toronto’s Fan590 that he’s confident that Auston Matthews will leave the Maple Leafs FIVE YEARS FROM NOW WHEN HIS CONTRACT IS UP. The fact that Burke is talking about this situation is peak Toronto sports fear mongering. Hell, the Leafs should be more worried about trying to get Mitch Marner signed than having to deal with these kinds of questions and “what-if” scenarios that a former executive has to say.

Yet, so it goes for this hockey media culture at this time. Clickbait titles, super-hot takes, wild future state scenarios all in vain to get eyes and ears onto their product. It’s a fast-paced world with a lot of content and something like this gets people to stop scrolling and read– which helps ad revenue, creates totally level-headed discussion about it on social media, and gets writers/hosts/whomever high praise from some and cyberbullying from others.

(For the record– I enjoy this kind of chaos, especially with a fan-base like the Leafs. This is second only to the whole Connor McDavid wanting to leave the Edmonton Oilers trope that has been out there in the past– which always triggers the Oilers fan-base. Also, in both cases I could see it being plausible– with Matthews and the Leafs going to need to a lot of more cap space to fit Matthews, Tavares, and maybe Marner or whatever other wunderkind they have signed to a huge deal. That could mean Matthews would get a better offer in the better spot elsewhere. When it comes to McDavid– it’s really all about the team around him that could make him want to stay or leave Edmonton, which maybe Ken Holland can fix in the short time he has to work with. That said, McDavid still has seven years on his deal and has no modifiers on his contract– which could be fun and interesting though nothing will happen and he’ll play it out because he’s a good Canadian boy.)

Back to the matter at hand– the way the Burke presented this and how people picked up on it is why hockey fans get aggravated about how the media puts things out there. It creates a buzz at first, but then they realize it’s just bullshit. Plus, a lot of these click-bait titles provide no detail in the meat of the story– TSN’s Bardown is very notorious for that whole thing where they put a click-baity title and there’s nothing in the actual article pertaining to the title; but it gets views and revenue so why not, huh??

At the end of the day, this is the way hockey (and really most of the) media goes these days– buzzworthy titles of articles with no real substance in said article, talking heads just saying anything to get people to listen to them and create fake debate, all the while– fans are going to believe what fits to their own personal beliefs about the players or teams regardless of what anyone is logically saying in the reality of the situation.

The NWHL, Twitch, and You

It was announced today that the NWHL will stream their games on Twitch, the streaming video platform, mainly for gaming. However, as times have changed, the platform has become a very wide array of everything on that platform.

First, the good part of it– it’s great exposure for the league. It’s going to be able to reach all people without many hurdles for people in other countries from watching the games. Second, it’s much more interactive than traditional television deals and will definitely allow fans to connect more to the people who are presenting the game. Third, all the games will be there. That’s something you want to have for a section of sport that goes underappreciated and underrecognized for the skill and talent the players bring to the sport. With Twitch teaming up with the NBA’s G-League and the NFL, it could mean good things– so long as they hire the right production people.

Now, the bad part– the most known players haven’t committed to playing in the league yet. The players are sitting out in the hopes the sanity prevails and the league can find a way to provide a living wage for the players. The formation of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association stated that 200 players strong will NOT play a professional game in North America until they get a living wage of being a professional hockey player. The games seems to be going on as planned for the five-team league, but many people may not know the names, which could deter them from watching. That, or the viewers will support those who are on strike to support them in making a living wage, thus hindering the exposure that this deal will give.

Also, I don’t know if this is the best platform for the game. There’s been an issue with porn being streamed on channels (and then becoming the highest viewed channels), harassment of streamers— mainly women– on the platform, as well as abuse of animals and spouses during streams that have been widely public. Not to mention streamers selling their bath water for their viewers.

It’s basically seems like the Wild West out there.

While this is a step in the right direction for women’s hockey in the mainstream, I don’t think it’s necessary now. I’ve plotted out a while ago a plan that should be done in order to make a professional women’s hockey league viable and none of it includes the NWHL as it is now. However, part of it is being done with the PWHPA’s Dream Gap tour. The big name players need to be out there, touring North America to get people more familiar with them as players and people. Do that for a year and keep women’s hockey out there, while you wait for the NWHL to cave and sell their assets to the NHL and let the NHL run the women’s league to start in 2020-21 with all their marketing, production, and footprint on the landscape.

When NHL teams supported NWHL or CWHL teams, it was more noticeable in the mainstream and it helped those teams a lot to have the synergy of the NHL clubs doing promotion for them. It only makes sense for the NHL to step up, buy the assets of the NWHL, get a living wage for the players so they can actually focus at their task at hand, and we’re all enjoying women’s hockey in a bigger form and on a bigger scale than what’s out there now.

A streaming TV deal is all well and good, especially for three-years and money being put into their pocket; but I doubt it’s good enough to lure the top names out of a strike and to create a living wage for players who have committed this season.

On the Topic Of Jersey Sales

The bane of existence for the sports merchandising industry– Fanatics— put out the highest selling jerseys for the 2018-19 season. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise when you look at who’s at the top of the list, but there are a couple of interesting trends when you look deeper into the whole thing.

Compared to last season, there’s some shuffling: Sidney Crosby went from second to first, Alex Ovechkin vaulted from sixth to second, while Auston Matthews fell from first to third. M-A Fleury held steady at fourth, while Henrik Lundqvist left the top-15 altogether. Connor McDavid went from fourth to 10th with playoff darling Jordan Binnington jumping up to the seventh spot on the year.

Now, Fanatics doesn’t break things down– which I’m shocked at since their apparel breaks down very quickly. There’s not a date range for it all if it’s the actual season or if it includes playoffs. One can assume that people rebought jerseys because the Fanatics stitching is horrific at best. Plus, it doesn’t mention if this is just Fanatics brand or if it includes Adidas authentic. Nor does it mention the sale of alternate jerseys at all– just the players.

The alternates are something to really put the Crosby clan over the top with the alternate yellow and Stadium Series black the Pens had this season, on top of the ASG jerseys that probably should have boosted more players on this list.

In any case, it’s always odd to me that the same players keep ending up on the top players list for jerseys. You’d think that it’d be a little more interchangeable with the amount of hot rookies that come through. The hype on them alone should drive sales. But, again, if Fanatics is only going on their personal sales– arena sales won’t count, nor will local shops. We’ll have to see if the Jack Hughes Effect will put a Devils’ jersey on the list next season.

Onward, Upward, and Season Plans

If you haven’t seen the “Better Know An Affiliate” series– and judging by the numbers, you haven’t– it’s dead now. I lost interest in it, it didn’t put the hit out I thought it would, and here we are as a people. If I didn’t get to your team…deal with it or do it yourself.

Plus, as I’m wont to do, the lovely existential dread that comes with thinking about the populous when it comes to getting views and hits and all that shit that makes the internet world go ’round. I mean, hell– I’m 36 and I’m sure if I hadn’t made it to a higher level by now– odds are it won’t happen for one reason or another. I don’t network well with others, which is probably the main reason so I don’t get a lead on things opening up.

But moving forward– what can you expect??

First, I think more open with opinionated pieces. I’m not going to try and censor myself when writing things out, but I’m not going to go overboard on it. When you start to cater things to what other sites will pick up on, then you write a certain way that they’ll think is best for the reflection of what they link….I think. Whatever. But I’m just going to let things flow more and have a stream of thought– so expect it not to make sense at times like a Randy Savage promo.

Second, I’ll be doing game stories from North Dakota again this year, but I’ll try what I can to give a weekend review of the Maryland Black Bears games since we promote them with the Chesapeake Hockey Week and the photos by Jonny P on a weekly basis– why not more coverage?? Maybe the NAHL can love us.

Third, possibly more coverage that’s non-hockey. Music, NASCAR, bowling, personal things– whatever I think I can write about– I’ll do it. I’ve got to realize that this is MY blog and I’ll put things I want on it. If people want input on what I write– pay your boy.

Overall, I just need to get back to my roots and what got me what little notoriety that I’ve carried over now. Just be me rather than what I think this industry wants out of me. Like I said, if I haven’t made it big with a bigger corporation by now– probably won’t happen so why not just go all out??