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Written by ItO Staff | 13 October 2011

Let the alarm sound, raise the battle flag, and let the criticism begin! The New York Islanders are under attack - from their own fans.

In a move that has been in the works inside the Islanders front offices for months, it was confirmed late last night that the new Islanders 3rd jersey for the 2011-2012 season has officially been leaked. The source of the leak came from a River City Sports catalog that featured the Home, Away, and Alternate jerseys of all 30 NHL teams. Lo and behold, in the spot reserved for the New York Islanders, a distinct black and orange jersey peaked through the shadow of the current Islanders white away jersey. At first glance, it renders viewers speechless and many wonder if Owner & Governor of the Islanders organization, Charles Wang, enjoys practical jokes. Unfortunately, it seems as if he isn't the joking type.

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Written by ItO Staff | 12 October 2011

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With only a month left before the start of the 2011 Deutschland Cup, USA Hockey has finalized their coaching roster and announced the entire staff in a press release yesterday. Joining the Men's team in Germany will be Jim Johannson, who will serve as the GM, Don Waddell (Head Coach), Chris Chelios (Asst. Coach), and Bill Guerin (Asst. Coach). The support staff for the team is as follows:

Team Leader - Bob Webster
Equipment Manager - Scott Aldrich
Athletic Trainer - Stan Wong
Massage Therapist - Peewee Willmann
Team Doctor - Mike Shindle

The United States look to win the tournament after finishing second in both their 2007 and 2009 efforts. They have only won the tournament on two times which came in back to back years in 2003 and 2004. The team did not to participate in the 2010 tournament.

If you aren't familiar with the Deutschland Cup, it is an international hockey tournament that has been held every year since 1987. It is fairly small, as it only elects to have four participating countries every year that play in round-robin style. The 2011 participants include Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, and the United States. The dates for the tournament will be November 11th - 13th in Munich. The games will be played at the Olympia Park ice rink.

For more information on the event, there a complete schedule and downloadable flyer (ticket information/cost) for reading on the Deutschland Cup's website. Yes, the all the reading material is in German - so you might want to brush up on your language skills.

To get a run down on how the 2009 Deutschland Cup went, visit the IIHF stats webpage for results, rosters, and overall stats.

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Written by ItO Staff | 11 October 2011

When the tough get going, the going find new ways to maximize the tough's potential.

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On October 5th, the Coyotes' General Manager Don Maloney announced that the team had signed LW Paul "BizNasty" Bissonnette to a two-year contract extension. Terms of the contract were not released but according to cap geek, the total deal is somewhere around $1.4M with it breaking down to $725k & $750k in those two years. As a player on the ice, Bissonnette is most noted for his handy work in being an NHL enforcer. Considered a heavyweight in his prime, he stands on the same levels as other enforcers such as Cam Janssen, Colton Orr, and Steve MacIntyre. He averages around five plus minutes of ice time per game (5:15 in 2010-11, 5:52 in 09-10) and can chip in roughly 5-10 points per year. Simply put, Bissonnette is a fringe player that whose specialty is in an area that the NHL is trying to limit. From a statistics standpoint, there is a chance he might not be worth a roster spot or the cap hit.

However, off the ice, Bissonnette is on a completely different level. A quick change in a phone booth revels that Bissonnette operates under the nickname "BizNasty" - who is an easy going, down to earth guy who is one of the best NHL personalities out there. You could easily argue that he has the potential to reach the same stardom as Steven Stamkos and the Sedin brothers. His following grows by the day as he has over 144,700 followers on Twitter and has multiple fan pages dedicated to him on Facebook. In his time off, he has been known to stop by the TSN studios and endorse the relatively new Sauce Hockey clothing brand.

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Written by ItO Staff | 08 October 2011

Before the sun sets on the Phoenix Coyotes, there will be one last fight on and off the ice.

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In one final effort, Coyotes COO Mike Nealy has rallied the troops to unveil their new marketing campaign "Hockey the Hard Way" for the 2011-12 season. Despite the recent success on the ice, the organization is facing a whirlwind of rumors that have the team leaving town. This new campaign follows the "us against the world" mentality that is often seen in underdog situations.

In true marketing fashion, the new campaign is plastered everywhere, including a new introduction page to the team's website. But unlike in marketing fashion, the Coyotes organization developed a campaign with brutal honesty. And when your most popular player on a national scale is Paul Bissonnette, I suppose it fits. For once, I'm glad that BizNasty isn't the only one dropping the gloves in this situation.

Working with Fallon Advertising Agency in Minneapolis, the Coyotes have created phrases that work well with the new notion of this being the final battle. Phrases like "Nothing Easy About Squaring off against the Best athletes in the world 82 times a year" and "When hockey gets harder so do we" ring true to most hockey fans, let alone the ones in the desert. How ironic though, is their home opener matchup? Believe it or not, the newly formed Winnipeg Jets will be the visiting team. One would think that NHL schedulers did this on purpose to make as much noise the opener as possible.

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Written by ItO Staff | 07 October 2011

We didn't start the fire. No we didn't light it. But we tried to fight it.

Do those phrases sound familiar? For any hard core music fan, they'd quickly recognize that the above lyrics were taken from Billy Joel's song "We Didn't Start the Fire". They'd also know that the mishmash of references in the song were targeted at the social chaos between 1949 through 1989. And while the entire body of lyrics might not seem applicable today, the above portion can easily relate to the NHL's views on social media over the years. Thankfully, as the seasons go by, more teams are open to play with the fire rather than trying to fight it. Since the 2008-2009 season, the NHL has tiptoed its way into the fire making sure not to suffer any long-term burns.

This year should bring a record number of social media events held by individual teams as well as league offices in New York. While some began their social media journey sharing images of felines with citrus helmets, there were others who wasted no time at all. To officially kick off the 2011-2012 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins held an inaugural social media happy hour event. It took place at TGI Friday's, which if you're familiar with Consol Energy Center, is actually in the side of the arena. Given that Ice the Office is located within the Pittsburgh market, I decided to attended to see what the team had in store for the fans.

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Written by ItO Staff | 06 October 2011

Welcome to the 2011-2012 National Hockey League Season! Today marks the first day of the new season. After a tragic summer, the hockey world is more than ready to get the season going in full force.

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If you have a hard time waiting for the action to begin, tune in to the NHL Network at 3PM EST for four hours of coverage leading to the first puck drop at 7PM. Tonight we'll get the opportunity to watch three different games. The first two games (Montreal vs. Toronto, Philadelphia vs. Boston) will be at 7PM and the final game will be Pittsburgh vs. Vancouver at 10PM.

In the weeks leading up to today, it seems that all the media outlets have made their Stanley Cup predictions. The common matchup this year has turned out to be Chicago vs. Pittsburgh in the Finals. I tend to take all predictions with a grain of salt given the fact that nobody can account for the hot & cold streaks during the season as well as injuries to star players. Will Chicago and Pittsburgh meet in the finals? Sure, it's possible. But as we all know things can change rapidly. To bring this full circle, let's go through my own predictions for the year (remember: take this with a grain of salt).

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Written by ItO Staff | 08 September 2011

DucksKingsLondon

In 1964 through 1966, America was flooded with countless musicians that hailed from the United Kingdom. Many termed this period "the British Invasion". We were able to listen to the unique sounds of The Beatles, Chad & Jeremy,  and The Rolling Stones amongst others. You might say that the British Invasion shaped the American music culture permanently. Since that period, America hasn't really paid the favor back. Sure, we've sent over various artists but we've never had earth shattering results. I, for one, propose that after 45 years of waiting, we pay our UK brethren back - in the form of ice hockey. It is time for the NHL to invade the United Kingdom.

It is no secret that the NHL has their eyes set on Europe. Whispers behind closed doors have discussed team expansion into Europe. Although not viable at the moment, there will come a day where the commissioner will give the experiment the green light. But before the league even put its foot forward, they have to come to terms that the NHL game is not available to Europe's general public. Yes, we all know that Center Ice is available online, but until you drastically improve the schematics of it - it continues to be a limited option.

Enter BBC Radio.

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Written by ItO Staff | 07 September 2011

KHL_Lokomotive

Writing about tragedy is never easy. This offseason has been a constant reminder that we should cherish the time we have with those that we love. Today we're reminded yet again as misfortune has reigned down on the hockey world. This morning we learned that a plane carrying the Lokomotive Yarolsavi (Kontinental Hockey League) team crashed shortly after takeoff at around 4PM Moscow time. The team was traveling to Belarus to take on Dinamo Minsk for the their first game of the season. According to reports, the plane had trouble gaining altitude which led to a crash into a signal tower, thereby breaking the plane into pieces. The pieces were found in and around the Volga River.

Once emergency personnel had investigated the scene, it was estimated that 43 people died from this accident. There were two survivors in the incident, KHL player Alexander Galimov and a flight engineer. The rest of the flight staff, coaches, and players were pronounced dead. In the last report before sunset, emergency crews had retrieved 35 bodies. Amongst the fallen were former NHL players Pavel Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek, and Ruslan Salei. Former Red Wings assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, Red Wings prospect Stefan Liv, and Los Angeles Kings prospect Jan Marek were also among the people lost.

Despite the constant league battles between the KHL and the NHL, a tragedy of this magnitude has caused everyone to put aside their differences and mourn not only the loss of a hockey team but more importantly the loss of life. National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement on behalf of the entire NHL to affirm their support and sympathy to all those who lost loved ones:

"Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world -- including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our League. Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of all who perished."

In the next couple weeks, I'm sure the Russian Emergency Ministry officials will investigate the cause of this crash. There are a few speculations as to the nature of the crash but nothing concrete has been released to explain what occurred today. One can only hope that something like this may never happen again. For many Americans, this crash brings back memories of the 1970 Southern Airways Flight 932. Ice the Office would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to all those lost their lives today in addition to the families and friends who were deeply affected.

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Written by ItO Staff | 06 September 2011

True North Sports & Entertainment has officially let the rest of the NHL in on the secret of their new jerseys. Unlike the logo fiasco, the Jets had a formal announcement today at 17 Wing in Winnipeg in front of a Dash 8, CF-18, and Hercules airplanes.  If you weren't able to make it to the event, the team had a live feed on their website courtesy of CBC Manitoba.

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When you look at the new jersey, it comes pretty close to what people have been passing around on the web. One of the new additions to the jersey are the multiple stripes that are located at the elbow of each sleeve as well as the larger stripes on the bottom of the jersey.

As per the team, the authentic jerseys won't be available in stores until early October (followed by the replica 2-3 weeks later). You can pre-order jerseys today via the team website starting at 4:00PM. Given the delayed availability, one has to wonder how many counterfeit options will make their appearance until October. If you plan on ordering the jersey, please do so through the proper channels.

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Written by Ito_Staff | 13 August 2011

While I work out the bugs for the posting schedule before the season kicks off, I’ve decided to add a weekend spotlight post on Saturdays to give you a quick look as to what I’ve been reading during the week. The topics highlighted will range but will fall somewhere into business, finance, marketing, international hockey, design, or public relations. If you see an article during the week and think it would be a good piece for the weekend spotlight, tweet or email me the link!


Around the NHL:

Jon from Puckin’ Eh grabs a seat at Canada’s Red-White game from a week or so ago and breaks down all the action. He also sits down for a brief interview with prospect Greg McKegg [Puckin’ Eh]

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A big public relations headache scenario emerges from the KHL as former NHL player Alexei Kovalev has a few choice words for his former teams this past season. The 6th Sens tries to make sense of it all. A 101 on how to burn bridges perhaps? [The 6th Sens]

Although it is a bit dated, Bradley Field of Fang Faction argues that the Predators have finally made their way to establishing an identity by using gold in their identity branding. [Fang Faction]

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