The United States of Hockey

Her name was Jessica Ghawi, but most hockey fans and bloggers knew her has Jessica Redfield. She was an aspiring sportscaster and appeared to have a very bright future in that field. Sadly, Jessica was among those killed in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., early Friday morning.

The reaction to this news has been widespread and overwhelmingly heartfelt.

Jessica made her presence known in the hockey community, starting out as an intern for the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage and later working with the You Can Play Project, networking with professionals from all angles of the hockey profession and blogging for her own site as well as Busted Coverage.

One of the wonderful things about social media is that, while somewhat impersonal, there is a sense of connection that it brings. The hockey community’s already strong bond has only intensified via outlets like Twitter, where the sharing…

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Brett's Blog

I sit here at my desk at the ballpark, getting ready for another game, and feeling blessed that I get to spend another day doing what I love to do.  Today, I sit here with a heavy heart, as I mourn the loss of someone who had the same passion of sports and sportscasting as myself.  As many have found out, Jessica Ghawi Redfield was one of those who tragically lost their lives in the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting.

I wish I could say that I knew Jessica the way that many others did, but I don’t.  Our interactions were strictly Twitter and Facebook, but I was blessed to just even cross paths with her in that way.  I started following Jessica after the NHL retweeted her during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  She followed me back, and we started talking about the one thing that we really had…

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Yotesgurl Presents.....

When big tragic events happen, you watch them on TV and are horrified.  It’s tough stuff.  It is so difficult to fathom how such terrible things can happen.  But you never know the people in them, right?  That happens on CNN and MSBNC and the people that have their pictures put up on the screen are ones you don’t recognize.  It’s very sad, but the loss is always for someone else.  Until it isn’t.

She wasn’t my best friend.  We didn’t hang out.  We never even met in person.  But I know this girl.  We tweeted and DM’d quite a bit.  She started chasing her dream of working in the world of the NHL in San Antonio, working with the then-Coyotes AHL team, the San Antonio Rampage.  With my love of the prospects and the very small pool of people with keen interest in San Antonio hockey, we started following…

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Of Grief and Twitter

I shouldn’t be writing this. I know that. It’s still too raw. I’m processing what this is, how this came to be, why it was allowed, why we’ll all have our ‘moment of silence’ and go right back to the way things were. People are already making political hay out of this.  Let’s put that aside for a moment and discuss why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because an aspiring hockey journalist, Jessica Redfield, was killed. I didn’t know her. That’s apparently a shame as she was a wonderful person who impacted many people I consider friends. I saw an outpouring of emotion the likes of which I cannot accurately put into words. Jessica, her mom says, was a big fan of twitter. I can attest to why, even if some people don’t get it. It’s pretty amazing to be at or watching a game and see your timeline fill up with exactly what you were thinking. Yelling at the coach for sending out THAT guy and seeing your peers simultaneously thinking “WHAT THE EFF IS HE DOING OUT THERE?”. It’s a kinship. The hockey community is especially tight knit, probably because hockey always feels marginalized, at least here in the states. There’s a almost familial bond that develops. I’ve met several good friends through writing about and reading their writings about this sport. That exchange began on twitter. Jessica touched a lot of lives through her work, and was working on a non-for-profit she set up to get young hockey players who lost all their gear in the CO. Wildfires replaced. That’s something someone needs to carry on in her name. She was also an intern for YouCanPlay, which is something we should all be behind.

I’m going to include a few links here about her work and update when I can on statements from relevant parties on what and where to donate. Firstly, if you are near Aurora, go donate blood. They need it.

Please donate to http://www.youcanplayproject.org/ if you’re interested in supporting the work she was involved in. I’m in the process of finding out information on that fund for the Wildfire victims she started, and will update as I do.

A memorial article of sorts from Yahoo is here: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/colorado-movie-theater-shooting-claims-life-hockey-blogger-151130034–nhl.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter  and a touching story from her friend, Jesse Spector is here: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2012-07-20/colorado-shooting-dark-knight-rises-jessica-redfield-ghawi-jesse-spector

 

The politics of this are something we are unsure how to place, given how raw the events are. Some people say ‘grieve first’. I understand that. I do, genuinely.  However, I’m not good at grieving. I have two reactions at these times. In a situation like this, it’s anger, which I’ll deal with in a second. Also, if the person was especially close to me, I tend to react with gallows humor, regaling some of their more comedic escapades. There’s a lot of reminiscing now, and that’s what her friends are doing at #RIPJessica. I urge you to check that out. That other reaction, the visceral anger, is where I’m at now.

I’m going to say this getting on my soapbox with apologies, because I don’t know how to let it pass. It’s chewing me up. I get the second amendment. I get the right to carry a handgun for personal protection. I get the right to hunt and a single shot rifle. I understand and have made peace with the reasons to own these things. I do not, cannot, will never understand the need to sell and own high-powered assault or sniper rifles. I understand the infatuation with the power of these firearms. I watch ‘Son of Guns’, too. I also understand competition. Oddly enough, dutiful marksmen aren’t usually the ones who go on these rampages, because they know what these firearms can do. These firearms of this capability shouldn’t be for sale to the general public. There’s no justification for needing an AK-47. If you want to permit owners for various contests and events, I understand, but the general public able to by these in large quantities is disturbing. The AK-47 is a killing machine. It has been since World War II. It is efficiency and reliability. That is why it is the gun of choice for a myriad of criminals.  There’s no reason for these weapons to be available to the general public.

My father, a retired and distinguished captain with the New York City Department of Corrections AND BY NO MEANS as ideologically left as his son, also made a point while I was sitting down to write this: Why is military grade body armor available to the public? Surely, people with these diabolical intentions feel additionally emboldened knowing that nobody can actually hurt them? A fair point, one I hadn’t considered.

Additionally, I cannot fathom the abandonment of the mentally ill in this country. As a society, we avoid them, knowing full well that clinics in the 80s and 90s were defunded and shuttered forcing these people out into the streets. They are left feeling abandoned and helpless, often with nothing but their anger. This is not to excuse that piece of subhuman filth that shot up this theatre, but rather an attempt to prevent similar tragedies.  Nor is this an accusation he suffered from a particular mental illness. I’m aware that not  all mentally ill people are violent, and are more often, because of their limited ability to defend themselves, victims of heinous acts themselves. I’m saying that it’s easier to get a gun then to get a mentally ill person consistent and proper care. That’s a distinctly American problem that needs a solution, yesterday.

Hey Isles fans! F**k you.

Its Friday the 13th and there’s a demonic haze in the sky over Isles country. Don’t go out tonight, it’s bound to take your life, for there’s a bad moon on the rise.

Just strap your helmet on, duck into your foxhole and don’t peep your beady little eyes out into no mans land tonight, Im not in the freaking mood.

I don’t know if it was ANOTHER Mangano-Jacobs pissing match killing another Arena idea before it even dried on the paper it was printed on or Arthur Staple’s “This is your opening night lineup” dreadful news or “Wow, I really hope it was us that went all in on Shane Doan” only to be piled on be Isles Diehards… but im pissed. I’m supremely pissed off. I’m in the mood for a fight.

So lets get at it.

This team sucks. I don’t care if that hurts your feelings. I don’t care if that bothers you. Stop telling me about how special this core is.

26th.

30th.

27th

26th

27th

Those are our finishes in the NHL the last 5 years. Very freaking special.  So special, NO TEAM IN THE LOCKOUT ERA has done it. We stand alone. Congrats, Charles, you penny-pinching criminal. Yet the fans give him excuse after excuse! The Building! The Rebuilding! The Off-ice uncertainty. HE IS THE OFF ICE UNCERTAINTY.

This fanbase insists every UFA isn’t worth it. That’s because this fanbase isn’t very smart. 100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in. TAKE SOME FREAKING SHOTS. Don’t insist on growth and promoting from within! Demand better! STOP GOING TO GAMES. STOP IT. STOP SUPPORTING A LUNATIC. Stop giving him an excuse to say “To Hell with it, let them eat draft picks.”

I became An Islander fan in 2000, when we sucked. It is now 2012, we still suck. In the interim, I’ve seen 7 playoff wins. Not series…. GAMES. 7 playoff games. Never even a second round appearance.

And to some this rebuild is fine. Some are perfectly content with a payroll that circumvents the cap floor in a division with 4 cap ceiling perennial powerhouse teams. Why? Because this fanbase has been cowed into submission AND IT MAKES ME SICK.

They’ve accepted mediocrity. Worse, they’ve embraced failure. This fanbase has NO fight left in them.

They fall around the ground defending Wang as a savior, when he is the worst owner in the big 4 North American Sports at the moment. The man is a fraud.

“Think of the longterm implications” of overspending on players to get this team back to the playoffs? I have. There are no implications beyond 2015. Why? Because there is no guarantee we exist in 2016. If we continue to be an AWFUL organization, we will not. So go in, WIN NOW. Overpay. Your core, with 2 notable acceptions (47 and The Hammer) are all locked up. Bring in a win now player. The time is right now… and time is very much fleeting.

“what about lockerroom chemistry?”TO HELL WITH THIS LOCKERROOM and it’s chemistry. This lockerroom has the chemistry to fold like a tent in the face of adversity. Mark Eaton gets boarded HEAD HIGH by Volchenkov. Nobody does anything. Al Montoya gets knocked out by Evander Kane. Nobody says boo. Frans Nielsen gets TAKEN OUT on a dirty hit by Marian Gaborik, nobody gets a piece. Some chemistry. The team loses game after game, nobody takes it upon themselves to stop the slide that spirals out of control AND KILLS THE SEASON BEFORE THANKSGIVING.

Some Chemistry. Some heart.

Stop telling me how SPECIAL the guys in that room are, and start SHOWING me.

Demand better, Islander country, stop embracing failure.

Here and Gone: The UFA Macho Madness, day one.

2 Randy Savage references in the post title. I rule.

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the cream of the crop!

Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. Let’s get the Goodbyes out of the way first so we can end on a high note.

 

P.A. Parenteau 4yrs / 4m Per, Colorado Avalanche:

Pap was a good Isle, good teammate. Great story. I wish him well. The Cap hit I could care less about, but the term, the term leaves me uncomfortable. His production will suffer as Duchene is clearly inferior to Tavares.

 

Dylan Reese, Vet Minimum, Pitt: Good for Reeser, Kid goes to his hometown team. Depth signing, no big loss, good luck, D-reese.

Mike Haley, Vet Minimum, NYR: Ouch. Not that losing thew player hurts, but him going to NYR smarts. Ouch. We replaced his “skills” though.

Additions:

Eric Boulton : Lessens the Haley sting, better hockey player.

Brad Boyes: 1m in the can to throw him top 6 minutes and see if he can revive himself. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained.

Matt Carkner: Nailed this one, years and term to a T. Love it. Bottom pair D with mean disposition and propensity to crack NYR skulls.

 

On to Day 2!