The Michigan Gray Wolves have been one of the SHL’s best teams over the first two weeks of the season. But not everyone is a fan of Michigan’s success.
New York Night coach Preston Rivers complained about the Grey Wolves’ aggressive physical play after it cost him a player. The Night played the Gray Wolves to a draw last week, but New York wound up losing LW Pascal Royal for 5 games after Michigan D Frank Mudrick crushed him into the boards and caused a lower-body injury.
Rivers said that the Grey Wolves should be renamed the “Michigan Goons” and added that if the Gray Wolves win the SHL championship, it will be “terrible for hockey. We’ll be right back to the ‘70s, when hockey was one big bar fight on skates and all the players had three teeth.” Rivers also alleged that Michigan’s physical approach was designed to conceal a lack of talent. “They don’t have anybody who can score goals,” said Rivers, “so instead they try to beat up the other team so they can’t score either. It’s almost cheating, really.”
Michigan coach Martin Delorme angrily defended his team’s approach. “We don’t play dirty, we play hard,” Delorme said. “I know all [the Night] care about is looking pretty and signing autographs, but hockey is hard work, and I train my players to outwork everybody. We play hard and gritty, but that is how you win games.”
Gray Wolves C Hunter Bailes agreed with his coach. “Hockey’s a physical game,” said Bailes. “If you want to win, you can’t be afraid to get in and bang bodies and do what you need to control the puck. We’re not going to apologize for that.”
Rivers said that if New York suffers another injury the next time they play Michigan, he will petition the Commissioner’s office to demand a suspension. “Typical,” sneered Michgan LW Vladimir Beruschko. “If he doesn’t like it, he should tell his players to go after us. But he can’t, because they’re weak and afraid to mess their hair.”
The SHL selected Michigan Grey Wolves G Dirk “The Bear” Lundquist as its Player of the Week. For the week, Lundquist posted a 4-0-2 record with a 1.30 GAA and a .952 save percentage, and he has led the Grey Wolves to the league’s best record.
“We are all about the old-time heavy hockey,” said Michigan coach Martin Delorme. “Dirk is a hard-nosed player, and nothing fazes him. He is a stone wall in the crease.”
In addition to his goaltending prowess, Lundquist is widely praised around the league for his amazing beard. “I don’t think he needs pads or shinguards,” said Grey Wolves C Hunter Bailes. “If the league would allow it, I’m pretty sure he could just swallow up shots in his beard. That thing is incredible.”
SHL Digest: How do you feel about the losing streak that has happened this past week?
Myron Beasley: I am not too happy, but there is still plenty of time for us to catch back up. This is only the beginning of the season. We just had a rough start.
SHLD: Do you have any plans of how you will get back into the rankings?
MB: We really need to focus on the basics before trying to get too fancy with it. The basic plan is to keep it simple with the things we already know before getting more complicated.
SHLD: You have already lost the first 6 games. Do you still think there is time to make it up?
MB: I do, we just had a rough start. Now that the boys have had time on the ice, they will be ready for the rest of the season ahead. I am confident that we will be able to come back. So the rest of the teams better watch out, because the Shockers will be giving their all for the rest of the season.
SHLD: You heard it here first: the underdog Shockers will make a comeback starting next week. Well, good luck during the rest of the season! As you said, the other teams better watch out. Thank you for your time.
MB: No problem, thank you for talking to me. Go Shockers!
Hockey is a rough-and-tumble game. For a lot of fans, the hard checks and fights are an important part of the sport’s appeal. Others would prefer to see fighting legislated out of the game altogether. Dakota Rapids C Harvey Bellmore, though, proposed a creative compromise this week.
Bellmore was interviewed be reporters after the Rapids’ 2-1 loss to Michigan, a game marred by chippy play (largely instigated by the famously aggressive Grey Wolves) and a fight between Michigan LW Vladimir Beruschko and Dakota RW Elliott Pepper. Bellmore said that he does not like fighting, but understands that it’s a part of the game’s culture. Then he proposed his novel alternative.
“What if, instead of punching each other, guys got into pillow fights?” said Bellmore. “We could keep pillows over by the benches, and when two guys decided to go at it, we could just toss ‘em a pillow. It would let guys get the aggression out, nobody gets hurt, and the fans would love it.”
The idea was met with skepticism by Bellmore’s teammates. D Doron Lidjya said that “some teams would probably fill the pillows with rocks or something.” Rapids coach Harold Engellund, informed of Bellmore’s idea, paused for a while and shook his head before saying, “Well, that’s… something.” Engellund, a scrappy defenseman who earned the nickname “Harry the Hit Man” during his playing days, is reportedly concerned that his team lets itself get pushed around by tougher squads like Michigan.
Translation: don’t expect to see pillows on the Dakota bench any time soon.
One week into the SHL’s inaugural season, and we already have a fan-favorite line. Fans of the Hershey Bliss are swooning over their first-line forward grouping: LW Lance Sweet, C Justin Valentine, and RW Christopher Hart. The trio have been dubbed the “Love Line,” and their on-ice chemistry is likely to be key to Hershey’s chances of savoring postseason success.
The three players have known each other since attending high school together in Toronto, and they’ve played together so long that they can always find each other on the ice. “They’ve got such a great feel for each other,” said Bliss coach “Chocolate Chip” Barber. “One of them will bring the puck up, and he’ll just know where the other two are on the ice. They’re like those twins that can communicate telepathically.”
But it’s not just their silky-smooth game that makes the Love Line so popular. The three are all young, handsome, and unattached, which has made them popular with female Bliss fans. Signs that have been spotted at Bliss games include: “Justin, I’ll Be Your Valentine”; “Hershey Is the SWEETest Place On Earth!”; and “Chris Stole My Hart”. Barber described his top line as “a boy band in skates, basically.”
All three players seem flattered but a bit puzzled by the adulation. “I mean, we haven’t even done anything yet,” said Valentine. “We could be serial killers for all they know.” If the wins keep coming, though, they might become the most eligible bachelors in Central Pennsylvania.