Tuesday, September 13, 2011

RYAN MILLER CATCHES HIMSELF A HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS




We at Stop Da Puck consider ourselves tough, he-man shot-blockers. But not always. Because if we have one soft spot it is for weddings -- especially ones involving goalies.

Our pal, Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, and Hollywood actress Noureen DeWulf got hitched at the Sunset Tower hotel in West Hollywood over Labor Day weekend. I like to see fellow goalies happy, especially ones who are great guys like Ryan, and you can tell from the pics it was an amazing day for him. (For those of you fashionistas, Noureen scored in Carolina Herrera and Ryan saved the day in a Varvatos tux.)

Guests included NHL'ers John Michael Liles, Tim Connolly, Adam Hall, Paul Gaustad, Pat Kaleta, Derek Roy and Ryan’s agent, former NHL great Mike Liut (yes, a goalie!). Longtime Miller family friend, actor/director Tim Busfield, didn’t dress up like his character Poindexter from the ‘80s classic Revenge of the Nerds, but the fact that he set up Ryan and Noureen a few years back was enough of a contribution to the night.

I can’t wait to see the happy couple again in my hometown of Buffalo on December 4th when I help host Ryan’s annual Catwalk for Charity soiree.

We at Stop Da Puck are told by sources that marriage can sometimes feel like the equivalent of a grueling pro hockey season — only without summers off. But if anyone can make his marriage a winning one, we think it’s superstar Ryan Miller.

Monday, September 5, 2011

POLL: RON HEXTALL IS HOCKEY'S ALL-TIME TOUGHEST GOALIE



Stop Da Puck readers have voted former Philadelphia Flyers monster Ron Hextall hockey's all-time toughest goalie.

Hextall nabbed 47% of votes, followed a very distant second by hacker Billy Smith (17%), old-timer Gump Worsley (14%). Patrick Roy and Glenn Hall tied with 9% of votes each.

When I first showed my Mite son a video of Hextall - scoring goals, checking players into the side boards, slashing away at shins like they were cherry trees - he was blown away. "I didn't know goalies could check other guys!" he exclaimed, which was followed by a series of simple yet profound questions: Would he skate with the puck? ... Did other players hit him? ... When he got a fighting penalty, who played goal? ... Where is he now?

My son was fascinated to find out that Hexy now works at the ice rink a few miles down the street, at the training center for the L.A. Kings, for whom he works in the front office. Yes, Hexy works in a non-descript two-story building in an industrial neighborhood within earshot of LAX and nose-shot of a stinky oil refinery in the city of El Segundo.

But Hextall, who revolutionized the position with his ability to shoot and pass like a forward (not to mention beat the snot out of opposing teams' goons), enjoyed a playing career that was anything but ordinary.