The lack of self-discipline in the NHL lately is starting to make me consider getting my hockey fix by taking in atom level and girls games at Twin Rinks. At least the rules governing their play keeps the game rolling along. I hate to sound like that fatherly figure living in the hockey past, but I dont quite know what happened to the NHL I grew up watching. In todays NHL, it seems, another player cant deliver a legal body check against an opposing player without that player or his linemate(s) retaliating. Dont get me wrong, I love a good scrap as much as the next fan. But only for a good reason. Like a tilt between rival heavyweights that can spark a team to a comeback or at the very least energize a listless crowd. It can be, when integrated correctly and for the right reasons, a key component of a game. But retaliation for legitimate, non-punishable hits? Comon man. Take the latest offender, the Flyers Dan Carcillo. Saturday night in Washington, the Capitals Matt Bradley puts a perfectly legal hit on him along the boards and Carcillo responds with a cross check and a sucker punch. Thankfully Carcillo will have four games to think about his transgressions. But its foolish to believe his behaviour and subsequent punishment will impede any further senseless retribution from taking place throughout the league. I have to wonder how long it is before we start seeing this childish stuff emulated at the amateur level. Heck, maybe we already are. * * * * * Ive started my world junior countdown clock. T-minus 20 days, four hours and 12 minutes to go. Its too long to wait. Depending on who makes the Stanley Cup final any given year, chances are the world juniors are the best hockey youll see this year. Especially if Canadas got a good team. Im doubly amped about this years tourney because we have a good chance of seeing a Newfoundlander don the red and white for the first time since Michael Ryder did in 2000 a pithy bronze medal year. Luke Adam, who is third overall in Quebec major junior league scoring, is among 36 invitees to the camp. But the former St. Johns Fog Devil and 2009 second round Buffalo Sabres draft pick is in tough for a spot at centre, even without Steven Stamkos, John Tavares of Matt Duchene available to play. A pair of returnees from last years gold medal winning squad, the Brampton Battalion Cody Hodgson and the Rimouski Oceanics Patrice Cormier are in the mix. While Hodgson hasnt played a game yet this season due to lingering back problems, Cormier is pretty well a lock to make the team. The WHLs Brandon Wheat Kings Brayden Schenn and the Swift Current Broncos Cody Eakin are off to solid starts this season and should have a legitimate shot. Then theres Leafs 2009 first round draft pick Nazem Kadri and the Windsor Spitfires Adam Henrique a player with an impresive two-way game like Adams who are also serious contenders. While its hard to knock Canadas depth at centre, one has to hope Adam gets an opportunity to show why he deserves to be part of a run at six straight gold. Maybe he should gently remind the coaching staff of fellow Newfoundlanders Dwayne Norris and John Slaney and the impact they had for Canadas at the world juniors.
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