Managing The Rink – Gimme A Break


Minor hockey has ended for the season (thank god!) but MM has already been asked to coach another team next year. 

Thanks for letting us get over our shitty season this year! 

Yes, we barely finished our last game of the home tournament when MM received a text message begging him to coach with a friend. 

And so began a conversation I never thought I’d actually have. 

MM told our friend that he’s exhausted from coaching this season and doesn’t even know if he wants to coach next year. (Let the rumours fly!)

So MM and I sat down and talked about it. 

He admitted there’s a part of him that doesn’t want to coach anymore. He’s tired of the parents who blame everything on the coaches. He’s tired of being questioned by league heads when coaches aren’t doing their jobs properly. He’s tired of being the middle-man in almost every situation. And he’s really tired of coaching with head coaches who make really bad decisions about benching players and yelling at kids. This is minor house league hockey, for cryin’ out loud. Every kid should be able to play and have fun. 

On the other hand, I explained to him what it’s like in the stands. I said he probably couldn’t handle the stands if he can’t handle the politics of minor hockey because at least he has the protection of the bench when he’s coaching. In the stands, the questions, the assumptions, the rumours, and the gossip never end. They’re always there, lingering in the background, bubbling to the surface at every moment. Someone is always bitching about something. I’m always on the defensive. In the stands, I’m surrounded by people who all have an opinion, yet they haven’t once volunteered or coached a day in their lives. I’m a patient person when it involves kids. But even my patience is tried most days while sitting in the stands of the arenas. 

My own belief is that there’s no way MM could handle not being a coach. And he agreed with me. So he’s decided to go back to coaching again next season. But no one needs to know that right now because we all need a break. 

Managing The Rink – Flames @ Panthers Recap, Feb 24, 2017


The Calgary Flames visited the Florida Panthers tonight and all was well coming off a two-night run in the south. 

To start, Dennis Wideman, Freddie Hamilton, and Jyrki Jokipakka were scratched and Brian Elliott also sat as Chad Johnson took the net.

The game started out rough for Sam Bennett who can’t seem to catch a break lately. He lost an edge in the offensive zone and took out Luongo. Soon after, the Panthers scored first with a goal by Bjugstad to put the home team up 1-0.

But Bennett would not go quietly into that good night. Nine minutes into the opening frame, Sam broke his drought by batting the puck past Luongo to tie the game 1-1.

Matthew Tkachuk made a sweet pass to Mikael Backlund soon after, who buried the puck and put the Flames up 2-1. Another goal by Deryk Engelland widened the gap and the visitors were up 3-1 in spite of the review for goalie interference.

Panthers Barkov would slide one past Johnson to make the score 3-2 going into the second period.

Three minutes into the middle frame, Mark Giordano took a hooking penalty and the Flames were on the kill.

After the penalty expired, the Flames countered with another goal, putting them up 4-2 with a goal by Troy Brouwer, helpers to Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan.

Tkachuk made more friends in front of the net all night long and I’ll never get tired of watching him show his love for the other teams. The visitors looked strong offensively and defensively while the home team seemed to lag behind.

At the end of the period, Florida seemed to find their second wind and put more pressure on the Flames goaltender, but Calgary fought back with grit and even more pressure. T.J. Brodie and Trochek took penalties for…playing hockey, I assume, and we had ourselves some 4 on 4 to end the frame.

The score remained 4-2 after 40 minutes.

4 on 4 solved nothing to start the final 20 minutes of play. Both teams had good chances, but the Flames looked tired to start the period. With even more pressure put on by the Panthers, I didn’t think Calgary would make it out of the period alive. Especially when Brouwer took a delay of game penalty. Jaromir Jagr evened things out with a hooking penalty, but no goals were scored.

The game ended with a Flames win 4-2 in Florida.

Let’s face it, after watching Jagr through the years, I’m guessing that most of the younger generation of players would kill to move like Jagr. He’s stood the test of time and he’s still going. He’s breaking records and doesn’t seem to quit. I wonder if he’ll ever retire.

One last thing, how does Florida manage to keep an NHL team with all those empty seats?? Seriously, give that team to someone who will appreciate the team! I’d love to see the old Quebec Nordiques rivalries reinstated. And I hated the Nordiques!

The Flames have a record of 4-0-1 in their last five outings. Pretty impressive for a team that started out terribly this season. Could this be the playoff push we’ve all wanted?? Maybe.