Your Announcers and Open Thread For Kings-Wild

Los Angeles vs. Minnesota, 8:00 PM ET, VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play:
Joe Beninati
Color: Darren Eliot
Reporter: Charissa Thompson

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Mike Milbury to Make Hockey Central Debut November 30th

One of NHL Television’s most polarizing figures will join the league’s American cable partner late this month.

Mike Milbury will be apart of the studio coverage for VERSUS’ telecast of Blues-Blackhawks on Tuesday, November 30th at 8:00 PM ET. Milbury will join host Bill Patrick and fellow analysts Keith Jones and Brian Engblom for intermission segments and the Hockey Central post-game show. It is unknown as of yet if there will be a pre-game episode of the show to lead-in, but you’d imagine VERSUS will want to milk the most out of Milbury’s quotability.

The NHL On VERSUS will bring in guests all month long, as they have been doing this season, to their studio show. In addition to Milbury, Dave Maloney (November 2nd), Eddie Olczyk (November 8th, 15th, and 16th), Aaron Ward (8th and 9th) and Darren McCarty (22nd and 24th) will be back to talk hockey on the network in November.

NHLPA to Release New Hockey Fights Cancer Book

NEW YORK / TORONTO (October 25, 2010) – The National Hockey League (NHL®) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced today that autographed copies of Best of the Decade: Reflections of Hockey’s Past Ten Years will be available for bidding through auction.nhl.com and nhlpa.com. The online auction, which will feature books signed by NHL team captains, will commence on October 26th at 6:00 p.m. ET and conclude on November 4th at 9:00 p.m. ET. All proceeds will benefit Hockey Fights Cancer™. Through Hockey Fights Cancer, the proceeds of this year’s auction will help a cause that is close to the players and the entire hockey family – the fight against prostate cancer. Proceeds will be divided evenly between Prostate Cancer Canada and ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer. Both organizations have been chosen this October as charitable partners of Hockey Fights Cancer. Best of the Decade: Reflections of Hockey’s Past Ten Years is the fourth of an annual visual celebration series published by the NHLPA and the NHL, together with Getty Images, NHL Images and Greystone Books. The book chronicles highlights from the first decade of the 21st century and provides candid, behind-the-scenes images. A complete list of signed books available in this auction is below. Additional books will be added at a later date. Boston Zdeno Chara Buffalo Craig Rivet Calgary Jarome Iginla Carolina Eric Staal Chicago Jonathan Toews Colorado Adam Foote Columbus Rick Nash Dallas Brenden Morrow Detroit Nicklas Lidstrom Edmonton Shawn Horcoff Florida Bryan McCabe Los Angeles Dustin Brown Minnesota Mikko Koivu Nashville Shea Weber New Jersey Jamie Langenbrunner NY Islanders Doug Weight NY Rangers Chris Drury Ottawa Daniel Alfredsson Philadelphia Mike Richards Pittsburgh Sidney Crosby St. Louis Eric Brewer San Jose Joe Thornton Tampa Bay Vincent Lecavalier Toronto Dion Phaneuf Washington Alex Ovechkin NHL, 1185 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS, NEW YORK, NY 10036 T 212-789-2000 F 212-789-2020 http://www.NHL.com NHL ENTERPRISES CANADA, L.P. 50 BAY STREET, 11TH FLOOR, TORONTO, ONTARIO CANADA M5J 2X8 T 416-981-2777 F 416-981-2759 NHLPA 20 BAY STREET, SUITE 1700, TORONTO, ONTARIO CANADA M5J 2N8 T 416-313-2300 F 416-313-2301 http://www.NHLPA.com About Hockey Fights Cancer™ Hockey Fights Cancer™ is a joint charitable initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association. It is supported by players, NHL member clubs, NHL alumni, the NHL Officials’ Association, professional hockey athletic trainers and equipment managers, corporate marketing partners, broadcast partners and fans throughout North America. The goal of Hockey Fights Cancer™ is to raise money and awareness for national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research. To date, Hockey Fights Cancer™ has raised more than $11 million. Hockey Fights Cancer™ is a component of The Biggest Assist Happens Off The Ice™, the National Hockey League’s® and National Hockey League Players’ Association’s social responsibility program that builds on hockey’s long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world. About the National Hockey League Players’ Association The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), established in 1967, is a labour organization whose members are the players in the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHLPA works on behalf of the players in varied disciplines such as labour relations, product licensing, marketing, international hockey and community relations, all in furtherance of its efforts to promote its members and the game of hockey. In 1999, the NHLPA launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. Over the past 10+ years, more than 50,000 deserving children in 22 countries have benefited from the players’ donations of hockey equipment. Goals & Dreams has donated more than $19-million to grassroots hockey programs, making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit http://www.nhlpa.com. About the NHL The National Hockey League, founded in 1917, is the second-oldest of the four major professional team sports leagues in North America. Today, the NHL consists of 30 Member Clubs, each reflecting the League’s international makeup, with players from more than 20 countries represented on team rosters. According to a Simmons Market Research study, NHL fans are younger, more educated, more affluent, and access content through digital means more than any other major professional sport. The NHL entertains more than 100 million fans each season in-arena and through its partners in national television (VERSUS, NBC, TSN, CBC, RDS, RIS, ESPN America, ASN and NHL Network™) and radio (NHL Radio™, Sirius XM Satellite Radio and XM Canada). Through the NHL Foundation, the League’s charitable arm, the NHL raises money and awareness for Hockey Fights Cancer™ and NHL Youth Development, and supports the charitable efforts of NHL players. For more information on the NHL, log on to NHL.com. ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer, is committed not only to reduce prostate cancer or alleviate the pain from the disease but to end it. They see a future where all men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer will be cured or manage their illness with good quality of life, with the support they need to minimize physical and emotional suffering and to cope effectively throughout their cancer journeys. To accomplish this goal, they provide comprehensive treatment information to patients, education to those at risk and conduct free prostate cancer testing throughout the country. They increase research funds from the federal government to find new treatments and they fund local grants to end the disease. – For more information or to donate, please visit prostatecancer.ca or call 1- 888-255-0333. Prostate Cancer Canada Prostate Cancer Canada raises funds for the development of programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of those affected and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer Canada’s vision is to be a global leader in the fight against prostate cancer, earning the enthusiasm and support of Canadians through integrity, compassion, and innovation. – For more information or to donate, please visit prostatecancer.ca or call PCC directly at (toll free) 888-255-0333. National Hockey League Players’ Association, NHLPA and the NHLPA Logo are registered trademarks of the NHLPA. All Rights Reserved. NHL, the NHL Shield and National Hockey League are registered trademarks and Hockey Fights Cancer and The Biggest Assist Happens Off The Ice are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

REVIEW: ‘The Ovechkin Project’ is All Bark, Occasional Bite

Few names in the hockey world spark more discussion, emotion and controversy than the otherworldly talented Alexander Ovechkin. Few names in the hockey writing world spark more controversy and debate, for better or worse, than Toronto Star writer Damien Cox. So, along with ESPN writer Gare Joyce, it makes sense for Cox – who last penned a fairly inoffensive, interesting, well-written biography of Martin Brodeur – to take his talents to writing about The Great 8.

Couple that with months of lead-up, including a furious, immature debate between Cox and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis about the contents of the book, and you have what could be the most controversial hockey book since … has there been one before? The fact is, most hockey biographies are either sold on compelling writing (The Game) or the personalities they cover (every other hockey bio ever). There hasn’t been one with this kind of lead-up in the genre. This is something that’s good for the game. Not every hockey book should be all sunshine and butterflies.

Where The Ovechkin Project disappoints is that it fails to provide much controversy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an ably written hockey book, chronicling one of the most exciting talents in the game at the biggest crossroads of his career. It’s a book that deserves to exist just as that. However, one can’t feel a little bit disappointed after all the dispute and name-calling between a billionaire owner and a well-off columnist and the person who comes off worst in the book is … Ovechkin’s mother.

Other than Tatiana Ovechkina, who is often portrayed as the ultimate stage mom, everyone is given a pretty fair shake, and as my dad points out, you’re not really a stage mom if your child is actually talented. While Ted Leonsis is noted for some of the mistakes he’s made, but well, those mistakes happened, and I’m sure Leonsis has made his peace with them now that he’s where he is now. As for Ovechkin, well … other than some disputes with his agent, he’s seen as the free-wheeling, fun-loving, benevolent millionaire you imagine him to be.

Let’s take a look at what the book does right. There is some well-written, insider info on the history of Russian hockey players making it to America that I’d certainly never read before. Learning about Ovechkin’s boyhood and tragic loss at a young age is a good story, and the re-telling of Jagrgate and the history of the Capitals is a fun one. These parts of the book are all well researched, well-written and certainly worth a look at.

However, the book often has trouble defining what it wants to be. Is it an intimate look at Ovechkin’s life? Sometimes. Is it a history of hockey in Washington? Sometimes. Is it a look back and look ahead at Russian-North American hockey relations? A little bit. Is it the look at the marketing of the modern NHL superstar? Not enough. These are all individual books that’d be a great read on their own, but when trying to tell the full story of Ovechkin, they tend to seem like padding. When The Ovechkin Project is on topic, it can be surprisingly candid and sharply written. However, the book is often like Ovie himself: skating around wildly with great success at times, but just not reaching the ultimate goal.