Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration that, for the first time since 1888, begins on Thanksgiving this year and runs until Thursday, Dec. 5.
The Jewish celebration involves lighting candles on a candelabra, or menorah, to commemorate the victory of the Jews over the Hellenistic Syrians in 165 B.C. Check out the highlights on YouTube.
Hakan Loob is the greatest name in hockey history. If you are looking for a name for your pond hockey, street hockey, fantasy hockey or any other hockey team, it's tough to beat Hakan and the Loobs. (DeKeyser Soze is also awesome.)
So, per tradition, we present our annual, slightly updated each year, "Happy Hakan-Hanukkah Song."
It must be sung to the tune of Adam Sandler's classic "The Chanukah Song." Refresh your memory or introduce yourself to that song before replacing Sandler's lyrics with mine. It will enhance your reading pleasure.
Put on some ABBA-kah
Here comes Hakan-Hanukkah!
So much Swedish-funukah,
To celebrate Hakan-Hanukkah!
Hakan-Hanukkah is a festival of ice
Instead of one day of hockey, we have eight crazy nights
When you feel like the only kid in town without a Synergy,
Here's a list of people who are Swedish, just like Alex Steen
ESPN's Stuart Scott likes to scream "booyah"
I hope one day he says it after a goal by Johnny Oduya
Eating crayfish in Malmo will really, really fill ya
Whether you are Carl Soderberg or Andreas Lilja
Toronto's Tie Domi once knocked Ulf Samuelsson on his fanny,
Tiger Woods is an ex-husband to Jesper Parnevik's ex-nanny
Nicklas Lidstrom's rookie card is something worth collectin'
So is Kent and Ulf Nilsson's and Pelle Eklund's
Swedish names are awesome, and Swedish names are fun,
There's a Nik Backstrom in Minny, and one in Washington!
Put on your ABBA-kah
It's time for Hakan-Hanukkah
The twins on the Vancouver Canuck-ukkahs celebrate Hakan-Hanukkah
Tuukka Rask ... not a Swede.
But guess who is? Hakan's older brother Pete (he scored one goal in nine NHL games)
So many Swedes are in the NHL
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson?
Now that's announcer hell!
Tell your friend Per-onica
It's time for Hakan-Hanukkah
I hope for new Graf-onikahs
On this lovely Hakan-Hanukkah
So drink your cold Fal-connika
And golf 18 with Annika
If you really, really wannakah
Have a happy, happy, happy, Hakan-Hanukkah!
@Buccigross if you could be one animal??????Devin Jarvi (@DevinJarvi) November 26, 2013
@Buccigross: Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames property) will undoubtedly find success as a professional. He is a joy to watch. Great skater, great hands, great vision. I highly recommend going to a Boston College hockey game in person and watching him play. He's thrilling to see in person.
The question is what will his impact be at the NHL level? At 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, the concern is if can he get to the areas to score in the NHL. He needs to gain 10 pounds for sure, and 15 would be ideal. He is in Martin St. Louis (5-8, 175) territory. Gaudreau will never have the quads and calves that will march St. Louis into the Hall of Fame someday, but Gaudreau's life should be running hills, doing squats and lunges. In fact, if I were Johnny Gaudreau, I would lunge to all of my classes at Boston College holding a chemistry book and a backpack full of deep dish pizza. "Hello, ladies!! Just lunging to my lab, thank you!"
One would also think that Gaudreau would need to be on the top two lines to play in the NHL, so he will need to be in the right place at the right time with the right people. My son Jackson is a late-blooming son of a late-blooming father, although Jack is really late. I always tell Jack, "When you're small, you have to aim to be the smartest, most passionate and most fearless player." Dustin Pedroia might be my favorite athlete to watch because he might be the smartest player in baseball right now. He appears to love it the most, and he is fearless (ultra-confidence equals fearlessness) at the plate and in the field. That's how little guys have to approach sports to make it to the highest level. Smarts, love, concentration, confidence/fearlessness. If John Ice Hockey has that, he will make it nicely in the NHL.
I think torey krug mighta just earned himself a USA roster spot #Sochi2014Grinnell22 (@Grinnell22) November 26, 2013
@Buccigross: I think Torey Krug definitely should be strongly considered for the U.S. Olympic team (Talk about being a smaller player in the right place at the right time on the right team). If you've seen Bruins games this year, you see the jolt he gives the team. Krug (Michigan State) plays with a joy that is infectious. He can run a power play, and his skating would certainly be a plus on the big sheet. NHL rinks are 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. The Sochi sheet is 200 by 100. It's a long shot for Krug to make the U.S. squad, and he would have to fit a defined role, but he will not be out of place if he is on the team. Krug is a top-three rookie of the year candidate right now.
@Buccigross: The Bruins are my favorite to reach the Stanley Cup finals again because they have great depth and a great goalie. In fact, if there was a leaguewide NHL draft for all players, I think the first Bruin taken would be Tuukka Rask. He is that good.
The Bruins' depth is improving as the year goes on, because Reilly Smith (Miami University Redhawks) and Carl Soderberg (Malmo Redhawks ... really!) keep improving. They have more combined points than Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand by a wide margin. They have good size and good instincts. Soderberg needs to at least use his size belligerently and try to play like Milan Lucic as much as possible in terms of effort and bellicosity. Smith has an excellent release and the chance to be a solid third-line finisher who can fit on any line in case of injury or line shuffling. The Bruins don't have any elite goal scorers, so they will have to do it as a team.
Miami University assistant Nick Petraglia says of Smith: "He will continue to get better because he does not chase points. He understands how to be a complete player. He wins puck battles. He is responsible. Patient player and is consistent because he doesn't cheat the game. ... Boston knew what they were getting when they included him in Seguin deal."
@Buccigross: An NHL GM told me last week that there is some low-level chirping on trying to add voices in favor of widening the NHL ice surface a smidge. Not the 200 by 100 Olympic sheet, but even if they can get to 90 feet wide, perhaps there will be a little more room and less congestion. A row of seats would be lost and it would have to be collectively bargained, but it may offer the great skaters more room to wheel and thrill. The current ice size and net size are not conducive to nightly athletic payoff from these amazing NHL athletes.
@Buccigross: I was bullish on the Red Wings in the Eastern Conference, but they are underachieving thus far. They are a pedestrian team. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have been outstanding, All-Stars if there was an All-Star Game. But there is a big drop-off from there. Daniel Alfredsson is on pace for 16 goals. Johan Franzen had a slow start, so his recent productive play has to continue. And Stephen Weiss has been an unmitigated disaster. Two goals and an assists in 19 games with a $4.9 million cap hit entering Wednesday night's game against the Bruins.
I thought Weiss was an excellent sign by the Red Wings, and maybe he still will be, but without two good offensive lines, Detroit is an average team.
@Buccigross: Boston is the class of the East but not by a wide margin. Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are just on their heels. But a couple of upsets, and the East is wide open.
The West is loaded. Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim, San Jose, L.A. are the big five. How do you bet against the Hawks? But if I had to bet the mortgage, I would go Boston/St. Louis right now.
@Buccigross: I have concerns. I thought Artem Anisimov would improve his productivity, but that hasn't happened yet. Marian Gaborik has to be one of the top goal scorers in the league for Columbus to have any chance, and he's not close to that.
Nathan Horton and Matt Calvert will help upgrade the Blue Jackets' forwards, which this team desperately needs. They seem to have good attitudes and a positive team feel about them, but they all have to play at a peak level in order to launch up the standings.
@Buccigross: I don't think the Flyers will make the playoffs this year. They are in a hole and they have a hard time scoring goals. Only the Rangers have been worse in the NHL this year when trailing after the first period.
@Buccigross: Building a team is about talent evaluation/accumulation and constructing a culture everyone can follow. In Boston, it was signing Zdeno Chara and hiring president Cam Neely that said We will be tough, together and play with rage. In Chicago, it appears Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook set a quiet, determined tone, and the skill guys just let it fly; the perfect combination of playing loose and playing with a purpose in an environment that isn't smothering.
This is what Pat LaFontaine must do. Draft, trade and sign the right players, and have a player and/or coach who sets a tone. Great goaltending is also a must, which is why I would try to persuade Ryan Miller to stay. The cap is going up. Good goaltending is not a given.
@Buccigross: Winner, winner, eggplant parm dinner? Good job telling that vendor to bring it back. Don't disrespect the chicken parm. #sticktap
The updated BucciMane Top 10 #cawlidgehawkey Power Rankings:
2. St. Cloud
6. Boston College
7. UMASS Lowell
8. Nebraska - Omaha
10. Ferris State