Monday, December 30, 2013

A look back on Christmas wishes 2013 from Hockey Players

Whether they spent the holidays at home with family or with their hockey teams, your favorite NHLer’s took some time to wish you Happy Holidays. So, while the halls are still decked with boughs of holly, let’s take a look at some of the good, the bad and the hilarious holiday wishes:

Vancouver Canucks: Netminder Eddie Lack @Eddielack wanted to make sure he wished his friends, family and fans a Merry Christmas. He did it with this slightly frightening smile:

Ottawa Senators: Erik Karlsson @Erikkarlsson65 might have been drinking too much Christmas spirits with the guys. First he tweets a warm and fuzzy photo in some Christmas onsies followed by a creepy photo of himself posing with what I hope is a present. Merry Christmas?

Phoenix Coyotes: Paul Bissonette @BizNasty2point0 who is known for his "creativity/humor" on twitter sent out a tweet about his Christmas present. This guy is a handful, what a comedian!

New York Rangers: Ryan McDonagh @RMcDonagh27 took to twitter with a photo of some old time boot hockey and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

The Boston Bruins made a video for Christmas, proving that Hockey players doing anything besides hockey is funny.

Anaheim Ducks: Dustin Penner @Dustinpenner25, named the number one player to follow on twitter by Bleacher Report, wished his fans Merry Christmas a few times. First by making the Ducks #1 in the league and then with a picture of a frosty the snowman sand sculpture.


Buffalo Sabres: Luke Adams @LukeJAdams wished fans a Merry Christmas from Switzerland.

Chicago Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw @Shaw15er, celebrated Christmas numerous times. He built a gingerbread house and he brought out a hump day joke for Christmas which fell on a Wednesday this year. Creative Shaw, we tip our hats!


Columbus Blue Jackets: Cam Atkinson @CamAtkinson13 enjoyed sometime in his home sweet home posting a picture to Instagram from the air.

Minnesota Wild: Zenon Konopka @zenonKonopka a real comedian on social media is always posting pictures of his bunny rabbit Hop. So out of the numnerous Christmas photo’s that he posted over the holiday I bring you “Look at this little gift under the Xmas tree #hoppylife #waitingforsanta”

Montreal Canadiens: We’ve seen hockey players singing and that is pretty funny. We’ve seen hockey players looking fairly frightening over the holidays but one thing that is forever adorable is hockey players with babies or in this case little kids in their dads’ team jersey and number. From George Parros @GeorgeParros, we bring you: “I know u got tree envy @maydayhockey #12footer”

Toronto Maple Leafs: John-Michael Liles @hoosierjm26 showed us some traditional family hockey. Nothing brings family together like pond hockey, especially when you have an NHLer in the family, I wonder how they split the teams up?

Washington Capitals: Brooks Laich @brookslaich is a very proud uncle to a niece and nephews, he is always telling us that through twitter. So, it only makes sense that his Christmas photo involves his niece and nephews who gave him, his favorite Christmas gift this year:

While some NHLers posted photos and tweets, some just enjoyed the much needed time off with their friends and families. If your favorite NHLer didn't make the list click HERE to check out more NHL players tweets.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

My Three Favorite Things this week

Where is the puck? Is it in the net? In a bizarre play during the overtime game between the Coyotes and Sabres the puck landed perfectly on the back of the Coyote goaltender’s pants right before he slide deep into the net. As he crossed the goal line he scored for the Sabers. The puck was perched perfectly on back of his pants and it was deemed a good goal, sparking celebration for the winning Sabres.

There are 6 outdoor games scheduled for this year and one in a quite unconventional hockey venue: Dodger Stadium in California on January 25 between the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings. With historical temperatures averaging at a high of 68 and low of 48 degrees the fans will not have to bundle up that much, but some are wondering how successful this game will be. Let’s go into the archives circa 1991, Las Vegas hosted an exhibition game outdoors at Caesars Palace between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings in September where temps were in the 80s during the game.

And, brought to you by Lunis Klasen from Sweden. A goal that could be deemed the best shootout goal ever.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Washington Capitals give the Phildelphia Flyers the go ahead during a 5-minute power play

The revolving door between the Washington Capitals and their AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears is still spinning as they called up winger Casey Wellman for last night’s game.  The Capitals faced the Philadelphia Flyers again after just rallying a 3rd period come back to beat them in their contest on Sunday. Although Wellman jumped right into the action with contributions early in the game, not even the “Great 8” Alex Ovechkin could rally the Capitals for a victory as the Flyers trumped the Caps for the first time this season.

Frequently, the Capitals have been reaching down into the American Hockey League to add more depth to their roster, filling in the blanks from illness or injury. Taking the 130 mile drive from the sweetest place on earth to the nation’s capital recently has been: Michael Latta, Philipp Grubauer, Nate Schmidt, Patrick Wey and Dmitry Orlov. Along with a list of other players, no strangers to the Hershey to Washington and visa-versa trip, relying on the American Hockey League teams for depth has become a part of the game.

“It was a pretty even game. Both teams had their moments,” said Head Coach Adam Oates.

Ovechkin said that the Capitals played a normal game last night.  With a game changer coming in the 2nd period, the hard hit on Brayden Schenn by Tom Wilson, put the Capitals in the red as the Flyers netted 2 power play goals. The Flyers, not uncommon to a 3-point lead on the Capitals as they claimed a 3 goal lead for the 2nd time in 3 days, managed to hold on last night.

The big win by the Flyers wasn’t enough to put the controversial hit on Schenn to rest. This hit, seen by the Capitals as a clean hit not even deserving of a penalty has drawn quite the controversy. Of course, the Flyers have a different opinion on what they call the reckless and endangering hit a 2-3 feet away from the boards on one of their top players. These are the types of hits that the league is trying to eliminate from the game, with good reason as there has been a lot of them this season. B. Schenn left the game last night with a mysterious upper body injury.

The young Wilson, 19 years old, has no record with the NHL but could be the next player to receive a suspension.  Dangerous hits are getting out of hand in the NHL and that is reflective in the suspensions being handed out by player safety, recently with Shawn Thornton appealing his 15 game suspension.  This being Wilson’s first offense, hopefully he will not receive anything outrageous if anything. Wilson, not seeming to have any ill intentions yesterday, announced his arrival in Philadelphia with this tweet:


The Capitals and the Flyers certainly have budded quite the rivalry. With the November 1st line brawl including a goaltender fight and back-to-back home-and-home games with a controversial hit on a top Flyers player, things are definitely heating up. The Capitals and Flyers will take a break from seeing each other but will square off again in back-to-back games March 2nd and 5th. Although Brendan Shanahan will have the final official say about the Wilson hit, the Flyers might have more to add to that when they see the Capitals in March.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Washington Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers to the net during shootout

After last night’s rapid turn of events, the Philadelphia Flyers now have 2 dramatic losses to the Washington Capitals. The first loss being back on November 1st, when the frustration of a 0-7 game sparked a line brawl and a beating from Goaltender Ray Emery to Caps Goaltender Braden Holtby that he will never forget.  Now the teams are set to face off again on Tuesday, this time on Philadelphia home ice, but will there be a different outcome?

Yesterday the two teams took the ice, and were looking a little different than they did back on November 1st.  Both teams had different goaltenders in net.  Steve “magic mitts” Mason, who has been exceptional, was in between the pipes for the Flyers.  And, fresh out of the American Hockey League the rookie Philipp Grubauer, who’s sprawling saves have been wooing Caps fans everywhere, was posted up in goal. Although the goaltender fight from last month’s game might have been in the back of their minds, I don’t think that there was much fear of Mason skating the length of the ice to fight the rookie Grubauer.

With the constant changes happening in the Capitals organization there was a surprise appearance from Michael Latta last night. This isn’t his first appearance in Washington, the young centerman has been back and forth between Hershey and Washington several times this season. Less than 24 hours before the Capitals faced the Flyers, Latta was in Hershey suiting up against the Binghamton Senators.  Latta had a knock out fight during that game in Hershey than packed up and headed to Washington, where troublemaker Zac Rinaldo dropped the gloves and went a round with the young scrapper.

Two guys that helped keep the Capitals on top last night were Grubauer and lethal number 8, Alex Ovechkin. Grubauer once again dazzled and impressed in goal for the Capitals as he was calm and composed in the net, appearing to be more of a veteran than a rookie.  But, that could be because he has already guarded the Capitals goal through 3 shootouts in his short tenure with the Capitals this season. Late, in the third period the Capitals took Grubauer out to add an extra player, that extra player was Ovechkin who is always a dangerous force on the ice.  With less than a minute left in the game Ovechkin sprung off the bench, netting the equalizer and taking this game into overtime. Ovechkin, who is always dangerous when out on the ice broke through his scoring drought last night and lead the Capitals to victory during the shootout.

The Philadelphia Flyers put in a partial effort last night, as they controlled 2 ½ periods of the contest. Claude Giroux came through with a goal, only his 7th of the season and their rookie, who has been hot on the ice for the Flyers, Michael Raffl was on hand to make plays and score goals. Raffl has been a great addition to the top line, a play maker great at helping out linemates Giroux and Voracek where it counts. He is showing great offensive skills, his progress and growth is promising.

The Flyers earned a much needed extra point for their record during overtime last night.  But, the Washington Capitals aren’t done with them just yet. In less than 36 hours they will be facing the Washington Capitals again. Things that they need to learn from yesterday are: Ovechkin is a lethal weapon, even with only 60 seconds to play.  Try to stay out of the penalty box because the Washington power play is lethal. The Flyers will have to skate hard, play a 60-minute hockey game, because not even a 3 point lead will keep them safe from the force of the Washington Capitals.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Neither snow nor freezing rain kept the fans from watching the Hershey Bears sweet victory last night

It’s always special when your AHL goaltender gets their chance in the NHL and that’s how it has been for Hershey Bears fans watching Phillip Grubauer’s sprawling saves between the pipes for their NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals. But, it doesn’t just end there for the sweetest place on earth, who was treated to receiving their ’09 & ’10 Calder Cup Champion Goaltender, Michal Neuvirth, Friday on a conditioning loan from the Capitals.

“I thought [Neuvirth] got better as the game went on, I really did.  I thought he made some really big saves in the 3rd,” said Head Coach Mike Haviland. “He needs to play, he needs to play games. He even said to me right after, 'I got better as the game went on,' and I said 'you did'.”

The fans don’t mind having Neuvirth in town for a while either. With all of the movement throughout the Capitals organization this season, the fans are visually seeing the affiliations between the teams, as a player is on Hershey ice one night and on their TV screen the next.  That might be due to Capitals Head Coach Adam Oates’ team-first attitude, and the fans can definitely get behind that.

For some, seeing Grubauer between the pipes for the Capitals is like seeing into the future of the organization. An organization with great goaltending from top to bottom, which will develop great goaltending for seasons to come.  The fans are getting in on the goaltender love as well, Dave Null said: "To have three goalies in the system that can step between the pipes on any given night will boost the confidence of the Caps and Bears players."

Last night, through the blizzard a few thousand faithful Bears fans trekked to the Giant Center to watch their Hershey Bears suit up against the Binghamton Senators for the 5th time in 3 weeks. It was the faithful that trekked through the snow but this encouraging tweet from the Broadcaster/Dir. Of Media Relations of the Hershey Bears could have helped put the spring in their steps:

It was the kind of over the hills and through the woods drive on white snowy roads to a hockey game that set the night up to be a memorable one. The kind that had fans commiserating about their drive to the Giant Center with jokes like: “The car hydroplaned three times. I had a whistle with me though and every time the car slid, I blew it and yelled icing.” The fans were in good spirits and the few thousand that attended could still make that arena roar.

“It shows the loyalty and it shows the passion that our fans have and they are the best fans in the American Hockey League. They showed it tonight. It’s a great feeling to come out there even on a winter storm and you get thousands of people that come,” said Haviland. “It’s a great feeling to have fans like we do.”

The game could have gone either way last night.  Half-way through the Sens and the Bears were tied up but due to the offensive contributions from the Bears, they were able to spring ahead and run away with the 3rd period. And, although the icy conditions continued to worsen outside, announcements were made to fans but the faithful Bears fans stayed till the end to cheer on their team to this sweet victory.  

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Friday, December 13, 2013

A big W for the Philadelphia Flyers at home

The loved and adored Danny Briere returned to Philadelphia, a place that he calls home, for the first time last night after the Flyers had bought out the remaining 2 years on the veteran’s contract last summer. The Flyers, who had the most expensive payroll in the NHL last season and missed playoffs, were looking to shred in order to get under the salary cap. Numerous Briere Flyers jerseys were being worn around the arena last night as a tribute video was shown, honoring Briere’s 6 seasons in Philadelphia. The fans gave Briere a standing ovation, displaying the love to Briere, who gave a wave but all the love in the world did not mean the Flyers would let Danny’s new team win.

“We were trying to come out hard and play in their end,” said Michael Raffl who put the Flyers on top early in the game.

And that they did, as they nearly shutout the Montreal Canadiens last night during their return to home ice. The Canadiens couldn’t score on the Flyers at even strength and they couldn’t score on the Flyers during their power plays. It took pulling their goaltender and playing 6 on 5 during the last minute of the 3rd period for the Canadiens to racket one to the back of the net, cutting the Flyers lead in half.

“We are pretty excited to play at home again. To play in front of our fans is always a little boost,” said team captain Claude Giroux who scored last night for his 6th goal of the season. “We learned the hard way in Chicago, I don’t know how many power plays they had, to stay outta the box.  Momentum stays on our side and when we did have a penalty kill we did a good job.”

The Flyers have been good during the 1st period and last night was no exception although they usually let off the gas after that. But last night, the Flyers played a complete game, pedal to the metal, with great goaltending. Only thanks to Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was the score kept low, as he came through with the big saves to keep his team in the contest. The Flyers had plenty of opportunities to run up the score board but they could not convert their power plays, after the Emelin/Downie incident that gave the Flyers 5 minutes of advantage that was left unanswered.

“I think there’s a lot of character in the room. They certainly weren’t happy about that loss in Chicago because they wanted to show that they could compete with that team and it didn’t work out,” said Head Coach Craig Berube.

It took the Canadiens 59 minutes to find the back of the net and then they had mere seconds to find their equalizer. That equalizer never came for the Canadiens but this game could have been too close for comfort if an earlier goal for the Canadiens was not waived off. After 2 big loses on the road, this was a big win for the Flyers, over a team that has been steam rolling on the road.

“Good win tonight. They showed up and played a good team game,” were the final words of a satisfied coach.

This was the 6th consecutive win for the Philadelphia Flyers on home ice…but wait a minute Steve Mason sparked a brawl after the game as he shoved an opposing player out of his crease.  Is Ray Emery rubbing off on him? Finally the initiation Mason needed to become a true Flyer, as he sported a small gash and stream of blood under his right eye during his post-game interview. That a boy Mas!

With high hopes that the winning habit is catching on in Philadelphia, hopefully these boys can take the habit on the road with them as they head to Washington – their fathers in tow.  Fathers who seemed to have been a good luck charm last night because no one wants to disappoint their father.
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

The game that got away: The Philadelphia Flyers fall to the Chicago Blackhawks 2-7

The game that got away, the Philadelphia Flyers have been having a few of those lately.  First the runaway Dallas Stars game (1-5) on Saturday and last night Chicago Blackhawks (2-7). The Blackhawks dominated this game from the second period on, with 7 different goal scorers from the Blackhawks, the Flyers could not capitalize on any of their chances after the first period.

The one thing Craig Berube definitely understands is what games are important to players on an individual level. First Vinny Lecavalier in Tampa and now Goaltender Ray Emery, as he got the start last night, facing the Blackhawks for the first time since he helped win the Stanley Cup last season. Although, after giving up his 6th goal at the start of the 3rd period, Steve Mason replaced Emery in net to finish the night. Not the brightest moment for Emery as he took a seat on the bench, and although he didn’t have a chance at preventing some of the goals, he couldn’t have felt good about being benched.

Earning the first power play, scoring first and winning the first period did not help the Flyers, instead seemingly energized the Blackhawks as they came back, boosting their lead to 5-2 during the 2nd period. This is the second time this season that the Flyers have given up 5 goals in one period.

“Stay calm and stay with it,” head coach Craig Berube encouraged the Flyers to maintain composure during a 2nd period timeout.

A composure that slowly slipped away as the Blackhawks increased their lead to 7-2 and the Flyers increased their penalty minutes. The Flyers had solid opportunities during the 3rd period. There were breakaways that could have turned into goals giving the Flyers a hope at a comeback, but that didn’t happen.  The Blackhawks achieved the upper hand by capitalizing on their speed and took control of this game.

A 4-day game break lapsed between falling to the Dallas Stars and then again to the Chicago Blackhawks.  A break that did not help the Flyers, as the opposing teams both took advantage of the leeway the Flyers left for them.  This time not even a 24 hour rest awaits the Flyers as they will suit up and face the Montral Canadiens tonight at 7pm.  Danny Briere will be back in town for the first time since his departure, how will the Philadelphia fan reach? I am thinking the boo-birds will be out to greet him.

Follow Erica on twitter @TheAmateurFan

Hershey Bears rally a 3rd period comeback and beat the Binghamton Senators in a shootout

Despite a long list of injured/sick players, the alibied bodies of the Hershey Bears took to the ice last night in Binghamton against the Senators. It’s been a roller coaster season thus far for the Bears that are 9-8-2-3, and as they faced a team 5th in the league for shots per game, they knew the pressure the Sens could bring.  This would be the 5th time the Bears faced them this season, going 2 for 2 against the Sens with 3 more games on the schedule for later this season.

So far the Bears and the Sens have split their record each with two loses and two wins against each other, it can only be imagined how head coach Mike Haviland prepped the team for the contest last night. He probably used the common Havilandisms that we are accustomed to hearing time and time again as takes his well-mannered, positive and optimistic approach to the hockey game. With a coach like Haviland, evening being down going into the 3rd period he probably still has that twinkle in his eye as he is telling the Bears to bear down and apply more offensive pressure.

Whatever Haviland said paid off in the first period as the Bears were electric, bring the heat and pressure against a very good Binghamton Senators team. The Bears got it going early with a goal by Patrick Wellar, finding the back the net for the first time this season and boosting the Bears to a first period win.

The Senators orchestrated a 2nd period come back as they scored twice to take the lead.  As the pressure from the Bears had declined leaving room for the comeback the Sens took full advantage. Things looked bleak for the Bears heading into the 3rd period as the Sens soon advanced their lead to 3-1, the Bears would need to apply offensive pressure and take more shots on goal quickly in order to turn this game around. The Bears rallied to take a 360 and were able win an important faceoff and netting goal number 2, the go ahead goal that re-energized this team.  Latta and Wellman rushed the net, tying this hockey game, as the Bears made an astonishing comeback.  

David Leggio was between the pipes last night, blocking 37 shots in regulation, defending the den during over time and finally shutting the Senators out during the shootout to win the game. He definitely earned his star of the game, as he was a key element to the Bears ability to come back late in the game last night.

Hershey started of this road trip with a win in Binghamton and there must be some luck in that arena as the Bears rocked a 3rd period comeback against the team last night to boost them to 11th place in the conference. The Bears will wrap up their road trip not far from home, in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as they hope to pick up another 2 points against the baby Pens. Then it’s time for the Bears to head home and relish a home town crowd as they to face the Binghamton Senators again.  

Follow Erica on Twitter @TheAmateurFan

Sunday, December 8, 2013

High Heels on Ice: The Tale of a Female Hockey Writer

Guest Blogger: Annie Erling Gofus

If this was Cosmo or Glamour, I’d start my profile of Erica Koup by describing what she wore to our interview. I’d write about her glamorous retro-style sunglasses and how effortlessly beautiful her long, curled locks were. I’d gush about how sweet and down-to-earth she was as we chatted candidly over salads at a Hummelstown gastropub. And, of course, I’d really focus on the salads, because what woman isn’t just wild about salads?

But this isn’t Cosmo. In fact, this might be the exact opposite of trashy websites that cover celebrity break-ups and bikini bod diet tips. This is a hockey blog, and Erica Koup is its stylishly sweet and whip-smart writer.

On any given weekend night in Hershey, Pennsylvania, you can spot a lone woman in the Bears’ pressbox. Where the NHL scouts end and the bloggers begin sits the founder and author of The Amateur Fan—a blog that focuses on some of Pennsylvania’s finest professional hockey teams. Eyes intently on the ice, scribbling notes and taking breaks only to inform the scout to her left exactly what’s wrong with the Philadelphia Flyers this season, anyone would be shocked to learn this isn’t Erica’s day job.

“I wanted to run for office and be a politician,” the former political science student admits. “I learned about hockey from my full-time job. I worked Hershey Bears games (as a college recruiter). The first game I went to I was like, I can’t believe you’re making me go to this… I had no idea what was going on.”

What began as an annoying job assignment morphed into The Amateur Fan, where Erica has been posting game analysis and opinions for over nine months now. And while falling in love with hockey was easy, finding her place in hockey media wasn’t as simple. As a hockey rookie and a female sports writer, it can be a struggle to gain credibility.

“I think you have to have a lot of guts (to break into the hockey writing field). You need to put yourself out there. And It’s so hard to. Especially as a female,” Erica said. “Because the guys are always thinking they know more than us, because why not? It must come with their genetics that they know more about hockey than females.”

Unfortunately, Erica’s struggle for respect isn’t unique.

Just 50 miles from Hershey, PA is Santander Arena, home to the ECHL’s Reading Royals. Among the standard male media members is Candice Monhollan who is entering her third season covering Royals hockey for various news outlets. With a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Candice is a professional sports writer who still faces dubious stares.

“It's a constant battle being a woman in this field. Just when you think you've proved yourself, someone else comes out of the woodwork to attack your credibility,” Candice admitted. “The downside, to be honest, is being a female in such a male-dominated career. In certain leagues, I can't go into the locker room and even some places (have) to change protocol because I'm around and that shouldn't be the case.”

Any hockey player will tell you that thick skin is vital in succeeding in this sport. Sometimes you need to let a clean hit roll off your shoulders while on the ice, you need to keep your head up and focus on the game. This is advice a female hockey writer can also learn from.

“The first few times (I published an article), I asked my buddy, can you read this and make sure it makes sense,” Erica recalled. “I’m just nervous to put it out there and be judged by people who maybe know a little more about hockey than me.”

“No one’s ever said you don’t understand hockey, just the English language,” Erica laughed. After posting an article on Reddit, “someone said I used the word ironic wrong.” Thick skin is useful when dealing with critics, but love of the game is far more effective.

To be honest, I invited Erica Koup to lunch in the hopes of delving deep into the painful struggles of a female hockey writer. Instead, I discovered over the course of our three-hour-long meal that Erica has happily embraced the challenges of being a woman in this field, and her hockey obsession may have something to do with it.

“I don’t know anyone else who sparks up a conversation about hockey at the eye doctors,” Erica said with a smile.

Up to three times a week, Erica settles into her assigned seat in the Hershey Bears’ pressbox and takes in her surroundings—the Giant Center’s lively crowd, the banter of fellow writers and the swish of skates on ice. When I asked what her favorite part of the job is, Erica simply replied, “I really like watching the games.” Love of hockey makes sitting in cold arenas for hours so easy, and it makes a career in the sport so desirable.

“I really want to work in the front office somewhere. Maybe community relations for a hockey team,” Erica explained. “If I can still write, I would love to continue writing. I sort of fell into writing. I never saw myself in the media or press category.”

Despite facing occasional negativity, Candice also finds that the pros out-weigh the cons as a female sports writer. “I love being able to get paid to watch sports. It's one of those jobs where you wake up in the morning and don't regret having to go to work. I love having the ability to travel and meet so many people and I enjoy above all else getting to write and share with others the unique story of an athlete.”

With The Amateur Fan’s first birthday just around the corner, Erica has plans for her second year of hockey writing—expansion, promotion and maybe a trip up North to hockey’s motherland…?

“Yea, I really do think that Canadians are perfect. I love it,” Erica joked as she described a recent trip to Toronto. “I thought I was going to cross the border and it was going to be like Celine Dion and hockey players everywhere.”

Erica Koup: Fashionista, hockey writer, Canada’s number one. Obviously.

Five Girlie Questions for a Girl About Hockey:

1. Do you love or hate hockey players’ mustaches during the month of Movember?
“I love them. I admire them from the pressbox. I really want to know who has the best mustache on the Bears team. Jeff Taffe can’t grow hair on his head, but he’s pretty solid in the mustache category. I like the handlebars, I think it’s a flashback to the 70s.

2. What’s your favorite hockey jersey?
“I really like the Reading Royals’ jerseys. I like purple and the lion with the crown. The throwback jersey the Hershey Bears wore—that was a really cool jersey. And I like the Avs’ jersey, I think they have nice colors.”

3. Who is your hockey player crush?
“The reason I became a Flyers fan was not because I knew anything about the Flyers, but because of Zac Rinaldo. Gabriel Landeskog comes in a close second.”

4. Would you rather your boyfriend have Brent Burns no-teeth smile or Steve Downie’s scary red post-Washington Capitals line brawl eyeball?
“Steve Downie. I didn’t see the red eyeball, but I’ve seen the developing black eye. It’s tough.”

5. What are your secrets to staying warm and looking cute at hockey games?
“Pants, nice sweater and heels. I stay pretty warm, but throughout the game it always gets colder.”

6. Puck Bunnies, thoughts?
“I don’t think I’ve run into any puck bunnies. It has to be real, because I hear it’s real, but I don’t have any thoughts on that… If you look cute going to the game, does that qualify you as a puck bunny?”

Annie Erling Gofus also writes for Olympus Athletics. Follow Annie on Twitter (@AnnieErGo) or email her at

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A rare turnaround and win for the Philadelphia Flyers in Detroit

A 3rd period come back like we have yet to see from the Philadelphia Flyers this season, as they flipped the tables from trailing the Detroit Red Wings by 2-points to taking a 3-point lead. The comeback kids were on the ice last night during the 3rd period, as they recovered and recorded a rare win in Detroit.

“They just keep plugging along and doing the right things,” said head coach Craig Breube. “They keep back-checking and that puts them in the right position for offense.”

The Red Wings were down both of their star centers, Pavel Datsyuk and captain Henrik Zetterberg and were taking advantage of their 5-on-3 power play opportunities that the Flyers were frequently and freely giving. It did not take long for the Wings to control the pace of the game, putting the Flyers on their heels for much for the 1st and 2nd period.

"We just had to stop taking penalties, be disciplined within our systems and believe in ourselves" said Sean Couturier.

During the 1st and 2nd period the Flyers were taking too many penalties and spending too much time in the penalty box, they needed discipline and that is what they brought to the 3rd period. The Flyers had a complete turnaround in the third period and took control of their power plays.

“Stay out of the penalty box,” was the message Berube sent during the second intermission.

Time to give a little credit to head coach Craig Berube, as he has taken this team from last in the league with the worst season start since only Coatesy knows when, to tie for 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division. The comeback last night was a full team effort as five different Flyers scored to boost the team to a 6-3 victory.

The Flyers have not exited the roller coaster just yet, they will need to start stringing together many more wins if they intend to make the playoffs. A team who can obviously play and is deep with talent, winning even without goal scorer Vincent Lecavalier, needs to pull it together. The Flyers often get away from their systems and take their foot off the gas leaving room for their opponent to take control of the game. The Flyers have two days off, hopefully they will rest up and prepare to play 60-minutes of hockey against the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

Follow Erica on twitter @TheAmateurFan

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hershey Bears miss the mark but get 3 out of 4 points this weekend

Netting the first goal of the game and of his season, Matt Watkins opened the flood gates and the teddy bears rained onto the ice last night during the Hershey Bears game against the Providence Bruins. It was an eventful afternoon yesterday, not only did the team collect a record 12,890 teddy bears for local charities, they also honored a few of their own alumni during the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 inductions.

“It kind of gives you some chills, for me at least,” Head Coach Mike Haviland reflected on listening to the inductees.

Coming off of a win Saturday night, the Bears were looking to start a winning streak during this home stand. David Leggio was between the pipes making great saves to keep the score low as the game was back and forth between the Bears and the Bruins.

“I think it started and ended okay,” said Haviland, “but I didn’t like the middle frame at all.”

The Bruins found the equalizer with one minute of play remaining in the 2nd period and then put the Bears on their heel in the 3rd period, as they found the back on the net again. The Bears worked hard to battle back, fighting for a chance to win this game in front of a packed house on an already eventful night.

“Three out of four points this weekend after really having a long chat, after St. John’s [loss], about how we needed to play. I thought we played really good for these two games,” said Haviland. “Three out of four points, I told them ‘it’s a positive thing and we need to keep building off of this now.’”

The Bears kept the game alive through the end of regulation time, tying the score and sending the teams into a hard fought overtime battle. The game ended in a skills competition, where the Bruins out skilled the Bears, scoring 3 to their 1 goal winning the game 3-2.

Hitting the road for the next week and a half, the Bears are looking to string together wins. More then capable of winning all four of their road games before returning home, the Bears will need to be aggressive on the fore-check, stop turning over the puck on the blue line and continue to help clear pucks at the net. The Bears win most often when they play a full 60-minute game, chipping away at their opponent shift by shift and winning each period. The Bears will return home Saturday, December 14th to face the Binghamton Senators.

For more follow Erica on twitter @TheAmateurFan

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hershey Bears send the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins packing

Its consistent wins that Head coach Mike Haviland is looking for from this Hershey Bears team, a group that has only been able to put together a 2 game winning streak so far this season. The Bears took no prisoners last night, as they won in overtime sending the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins packing for the first time this season.

“We've got to go back to work tomorrow,” Head coach Mike Haviland said. “We've got to start stringing some wins together here. You can be happy a little bit and enjoy it, but your mindset's got to move on for tomorrow.”

The team meeting and intense practice on Friday was reflected in the Bears style of play last night. Joel Rechlicz got the Bears emotionally invested as he dropped the gloves less than two minutes into the game with heavy weight Pierre- Luc Letorneau- Leblond. It was the first of many scraps between the teams.

“It’s a process, it’s a consistency thing. I think we got our point across the other day, we really did,” Haviland said of the Friday team meeting following the Thanksgiving eve loss to the St. John’s IceCaps. “We talked about our identity as a team, how to be and how we have to play. It’s everybody across the board, it was everybody and I thought the guys brought it tonight.”

The Bears played another complete 60-minute game on home ice, they have played some great games at home and Haviland is now looking for them to string those successes together. With all of their penalties, the Bears did not have much of a choice but to make this game a full team effort. Although they have a habit of losing leads and letting teams come back to compete late in the game, the Bears managed to clinch the win in overtime.

“Monday’s a day off, not tomorrow,” Haviland seemingly already preparing his motivational speech for guys in order to get them in the mind frame for a battle on the ice Sunday afternoon.

The Bears laid the foundation last night and will look to build off of that as they face the Providence Bruins tonight at the Giant Center.

Follow Erica on twitter @TheAmateurFan