100 Best NHL Players

            Given that the panel had to segregate selections into the first 50 years, and then decade-by-decade from the 70s on, I think they did a pretty good job and I agree with 93% of the selections. But the panel should simply have chosen the 100 best without regard to when they played. The breakdown by “era” would be fine had they been ranking the players; but they weren’t. Now, the 7% I disagree with.

             I would not have voted for Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden, Grant Fuhr, and Jacques Lemaire. Instead, I would have voted for Ed Belfour, Gump Worsley, Norm Ullman, and Dale Hawerchuk. I base this on their respective records, their longevity, and having watched these eight players throughout their entire careers.

             The artificial “era” requirement necessitated including active players, and this is where the panel made three truly egregious selections. I have no problem with Ovechkin and Crosby being on the list, but how could they possibly include Toews, Kane, and Keith, who simply haven’t yet earned the right to be included, while omitting Malkin, Chara, and Iginla, who clearly have? Did they think they were choosing the best Black Hawks?

             As a numbers guy at heart, I noticed that the selection breakdown was 15% goalies, 18% defensemen, and 67% forwards (I’m not sufficiently pedantic to break it down into left wing, right wing, and center). Assuming the percentage of players considered would have been around 16% goalies, 34% defensemen, and 50% forwards, some might say that, on average, forwards are over-represented, defensemen are under-represented, and goalies are bang on. I don’t think so for two reasons: first, I’m not that pedantic either; and secondly, averages don’t always hold true. For example, if you put your head in a furnace and your feet on a cake of ice, pedantically speaking, on average you should feel pretty good.

 The All-Star Weekend

            Let me first get three relatively minor complaints out of the way.

            The four-line shooting competition was farcical and should never be seen again. Whoever thought that using the “ref-cam” on face-offs was a good idea must have been one of the people who voted for Toews, Kane and Keith; you don’t have to be a genius to know that the referee is going to be quickly moving his head, along with the rest of his body, the second he drops the puck.

            And, whoever thought it appropriate to allow Ryan Kesler’s son to take part in the skills competition must also have voted for Toews, Kane, and Keith; endearing as it might have been, it demeaned the competition. These complaints notwithstanding, I thought that, overall, it was a great week-end.

            The TV coverage was superb, especially how it captured the inter-play among the players.

            The commentators were insightfully interesting; except Don Cherry, but then he isn’t expected to be. And speaking of TV commentary, P.K. Subban, Sidney Crosby, and Carey Price were fabulous.

            Although the first two three-on-three games were lacklustre and disappointing, the championship game was great; Ovechkin even blocked a shot! And how could anyone not revel in the performances of young stars Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Bo Horvat, and Johnny Gaudreau?

             The only way to judge an event like this is whether people had a good time. They did.

 Compromised Credit Card

             I check my credit card statement online every day.

             Last Tuesday there was a $346 charge at an auto parts store in a town that I haven`t even driven through in the last fifty years. So I called the credit card company.

            Their security guy said the charge was made via an actual card, not just a number, and that my PIN was used. How the perpetrator managed to have a duplicate card and know my PIN is a question about which the security guy chose not to speculate; seems to me, though, that this security breach may have initiated with the credit card company itself.

             This experience reinforces three points about credit card use: check online statements every day; report any irregularities immediately; and, always shield your hand when entering your PIN.

             In well over fifty years of using credit cards this is the first time I’ve had one compromised. Now it remains to be seen how I get along for a week or so without a one.