A book makes for a great Christmas gift. It’s super easy to buy, doesn’t take long to wrap, and when the person’s finished with it you can read it too.
Here are four hockey books that people are talking about this holiday season:
Journeyman: The Many Triumphs (and Even More Numerous Defeats) of a Guy Who’s Seen Just About Everything in the Game of Hockey, by Sean Pronger (with Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy) – Perhaps best known as Chris’s brother, Sean never became a star. He played in the NHL, AHL, IHL, ECHL before finishing his career in Germany. He also once told Wayne Gretzky to not pass him the puck during practice because he was too hungover. The Great One then passed him the puck a lot. “If there is just one hockey book you buy this holiday season,” the Globe and Mail says Journeyman should be it. (PHT review: Haven’t read it.)
The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever by Jonathon Gatehouse – For those who can’t get enough of the lockout, here’s an in-depth look at the man who’s been commissioner for three work stoppages. The Winnipeg Free Press calls it “a crisply written, carefully researched and thought-provoking biography about a sports icon neither beloved nor athletic but who’s arguably the most powerful figure pro hockey has ever known.” (PHT review: Haven’t read it.)
J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey by Jeremy Roenick (with USA Today’s Kevin Allen) – One of the greatest American hockey players ever, Roenick is known for much more than scoring 1,216 points in 1,363 games. Patrick Marleau did not care for this book. (PHT review: Haven’t read it.)
The Best of Down Goes Brown by Sean McIndoe – Hockey’s most popular humorist besides Scott Howson has written his first book. With chapters like “A moment with the guy who has to go out and fix the glass when it breaks” and “An NHLer’s guide to never saying anything interesting,” Amazon commenter Christopher L Hoffman says, “If you love either Sean or hockey, you might kinda like this book.” The book also features forewords by TSN’s James Duthie and Bob McKenzie, but not Darren Dreger. (PHT review: Haven’t read it.)
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
From the NHL:
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.
Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse