Kevin Smith discusses his hockey movie 'Hit Somebody,' choosing to film in Hockeytown

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kevinsmithjersey.jpgAs a hockey fan, it’s easy to have a soft spot for writer-director Kevin Smith. Both his best and worst work features the sports prominently. From rooftop hockey in “Clerks” to a reference to “The Whale” and hockey video games in “Mallrats,” Smith has been eager to show off his puck love.

Smith’s career seems to have hit a wall with “Zach and Miri make a porno” and “Cop Out,” but perhaps he’s using his difficulties as motivation to create a true labor of love. The often-witty filmmaker is deep into the writing process for a movie called “Hit Somebody” and the Detroit Free Press discussed his decision to film in Detroit, aka “Hockeytown.” Apparently the movie is at least partially based on a Warren Zevon song by the same title, which includes lyrics written by Detroit-area writer Mitch Albom.

Here’s what Smith had to say about Albom and his decision to shoot in Detroit.

So by the end of it, he was like, “You’re the guy.” He goes: “I got two requests. One, you can’t make fun of the sport. The sport is too easy to make fun of, and we need all the help we can get.” I was like, “I’m the last guy in the world to make fun of the sport!” And then he was like, “Two, you gotta film it in Detroit.” And I was like, “That ain’t hard — that’s Hockeytown.” He’s like: “I’m from Detroit. We could use the help.” I said, “Dude, done and done.”

[snip]

A lot of (the film) is going to take place in the ’70s. Detroit looks like it stopped in the ’70s, so we literally don’t have to set-decorate or set-design. We just turn on the camera and there’s an old building. It’s a great place and hopefully we’ll do it justice.

Some might be turned off by the fact that Sean William Scott (aka “Stifler” from the “American Pie” series) will be the lead actor, but I have to admit that Scott earned my tolerance – dare I say admiration – for his work in “Role Models.” It’s unlikely that Jay and Silent Bob or any characters from the “View Askeniverse” will make appearances, though there’s a solid chance one or more of those actors will find a part.

One interesting note is that Smith says the script will probably earn a PG-13 rating and features “no cursing.” Considering the fact that his most famous work spans deep into the realm of vulgarity, it will be interesting to see a “cleaner” comedy from Smith.

He hasn’t made a particularly relevant movie (even from a “mass consumption” standpoint, as even his money makers often draw critical poison) in many years, but it will be interesting to see if he could produce something worthwhile. It doesn’t have to be a classic like “Slap Shot,” either. Personally, I just hope it’s not as bad as “The Love Guru.” That movie was the 2004-05 lockout of hockey flicks.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.