Was Youth Team Westwood Warriors’ Decision to Lose Game Unethical?

A controversy in a Winnipeg High School hockey league last week that resulted in two coaches being suspended has captured people’s attention. The Westwood Warriors were leading 3-2 against the Collège Jeanne-Sauvé Olympiens on Thursday when they decided to pull their goalie to allow the Olympiens to win.

Several games were being played at the same time and the coaches had learned that if they won, they’d have to face the Oak Park Raiders in the semifinals. The Raiders had the league’s best record in the regular season so they understandably wanted to avoid having to face them. They pulled their goalie and lost 4-3, setting up a rematch in the semis against College Jeanne-Sauve.

The controversial decision created a buzz around the area and sparked concern amongst league officials and fans. The players on the Warriors didn’t like losing on purpose and actually volunteered to play the Raiders on Friday in a play-in game that they lost 4-1 — eliminating themselves from the playoffs.

The choice to lose was met with widespread criticism because it goes against the ethics of the league and spirit of the game. In a poll on SI Hot Clicks, where I first learned about the story, 71% of voters said they didn’t like the move. I was one of the people in the minority who said they were fine with the decision.

Here’s why.

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Rate the New Jonathan Toews ‘History Will Be Made’ Stanley Cup Commerical (Video)

The NHL is certainly not the most popular sport in the U.S., but they aren’t going down without a fight. The “History Will Be Made” advertising campaign for the Stanley Cup that was launched last March may have inspired a parody or two, but if you ask me it’s getting the job done.  The newest edition of the campaign, which features Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, is a home run.  Check out the Jonathan Toews “History Will Be Made” Stanley Cup commercial, as pointed out by The Big Lead:

If you don’t appreciate that commercial you either really, really, really hate hockey or you really, really, really, hate kids.  Forget about the fact that some of those little tykes grow up and drink themselves silly.  The Toews commercial has set the bar high, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else the NHL will come up with as we approach the postseason. Your move, Where Amazing Happens.

Jim Jorgenson vs. Judd Blackwater Hockey Fight (Video)

If you are a big hockey fan, you probably know that leagues like the AHL and ACHL are known for having some pretty sick hockey fights.  Players tend to play like they have more to prove than NHL guys, and that can lead to tempers flaring and an abundance of dust-ups.  Rarely do we get to see a knockout like the one that occurred during Wednesday night’s game between the ACHL’s Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs and the Allen Americans.  Check out the Jim Jorgenson vs. Judd Blackwater fight video, courtesy of Barstool Sports:

If Mick were in Jorgenson’s corner for that one we would have heard “Down, kid! Stay down!” The difference between Jim and Balboa is Jorgenson should have stayed down. That, and Rocky was a movie. Those punches actually hurt.

Florida Panthers TV Ratings Lower than Infomercials

We’ve noted that hockey ratings have improved on a national level, but that doesn’t mean there is a trickle down effect to all local levels. In Florida, where attractions include hot women and hotter beaches, the competition is the Miami Heat, and the Panthers are struggling to find an audience on TV.

The Panthers have averaged a .19 local TV rating, placing them last of the 22 teams studied by the Sports Business Daily. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald took things a step farther and learned that the Panthers, who average around 3,000 viewers per game, are watched less than infomercials for the AbCoaster, and Ninja Professional Blender, Chopper and Ice Crusher. Now that’s sad.

I could go a few different ways here. We could easily blame the NHL for expanding to an area it doesn’t belong, but that is only a part of the problem. The real blame goes to the Panthers for putting out a poor product.

The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since 2000, and haven’t finished higher than third in the division since then. With a playoff push or a winning team, I’m sure they’d have more people attending games and watching them on TV.

Look, South Florida has trouble getting fans to watch and attend Marlins, Hurricanes, and Panthers games, but the teams need to help. If you’re not winning, you’re not going to get viewers who have hundreds of other more appealing options both on TV and around the city. Fact.

Picture: James Wisniewski’s Face Cut up After Getting Hit by Puck

Two weeks ago we shared with you the picture of Darryl Boyce’s nose after he got cut crashing into the glass. Now, we bring you a picture of Canadiens defenseman James Wisniewski who was hit in the face by a Taylor Hall shot on Thursday night. Here’s a video of Wisniewski getting hit, with a picture of the nasty cut below.

The Canadiens have already been hurt by injuries so losing Wisniewski would be a blow. There’s no word on the severity of the injury, the by the look of the picture below, his orbital bone could be broken:

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Mike Rupp Proves Hockey Players are Still the Best

We’ve already established that hockey players are the toughest athletes in sports, but now we’re learning that they’re also the most fan-friendly. SI Hot Clicks pointed my attention to the story of Penguins forward Mike Rupp, who hooked up a fan recently.

Rupp slammed into the boards during warmups before a game and knocked over a fan’s beer that was on the railing. The conscientious Rupp “felt terrible about it, so he asked the trainer to grab $10 out of Rupp’s wallet,” says Rupp’s agent Allan Walsh.

“He then wrote an apology on a puck, signed it and taped the $10 bill around it. He went over to the glass, got the guy’s attention and tossed the puck over to him.”

It would be awesome if we had a photo to confirm the story but we’ll take it. Besides, last time we heard about a sports figure handing an autograph to a fan we got this, so no doubt this was a step up.

Mike Rupp: the working man’s friend.

Tim Thomas Carey Price Goalie Fight Video is More or Less the Standard

Goalie fight!  It wasn’t exactly Rick DiPietro getting knocked out by Brent Johnson with one punch, but the fight between Tim Thomas and Carey Price wasn’t half bad.  Hey, a goalie fight is a goalie fight.  We all know they’re rare, so two in a one-week span is a special treat no matter how you look at it.  When a melee broke out between the rival Bruins and Canadiens on Wednesday night, the goalkeepers decided to give the fans a show.  Check out the Tim Thomas vs. Carey Price goalie fight video:

Obviously no big punches were landed and it should be noted that both Price and Thomas were seen smiling afterword, but we’ll take them any way they come.  Bravo, fellas.