Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Team-by-Team Most and Least Favourite Players
Any other bloggers up for the challenge? Let's get a good look inside your heads :)
(Most Favourite/Least Favourite)
Anaheim: Keith Carney/Rob Niedermayer
Atlanta: Peter Bondra/Marc Savard
Boston: Jiri Slegr/Brad Isbister
Buffalo: Daniel Briere/Chris Drury
Calgary: Dion Phaneuf/Chris Simon
Carolina: Josef Vasicek/Jesse Boulerice
Chicago: Jaroslav Spacek/Nikolai Khabibulin
Colorado: Steve Konowalchuk/Brad May
Columbus: Gilbert Brule/Bryan Berard
Dallas: Stu Barnes/Mike Modano
Detroit: Steve Yzerman/Tomas Holmstrom
Edmonton: Ales Hemsky/Michael Peca
Florida: Roberto Luongo/Chris Gratton
Los Angeles: Pavol Demitra (duh)/Sean Avery
Minnesota: Marian Gaborik/Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Montreal: Tomas Plekanec, Richard Zednick(tie)/Sheldon Souray
Nashville: Martin Erat/Paul Kariya
New Jersey: Brian Gionta/Alexander Mogilny
New York Isles: Miroslav Satan/Alexei Yashin
New York Rangers: Marek Malik (no, really)/Tom Poti
Ottawa: Andrej Meszaros/Dominik Hasek
Philadelphia: Michal Handzus/Peter Forsberg
Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby/Mario Lemieux
Phoenix: Ladislav Nagy/Denis Gauthier
San Jose: Milan Michalek/Patrick Marleau
St. Louis: Petr Cajanek/Keith Tkachuk
Tampa Bay: Vaclav Prospal/Vincent Lecavalier
Toronto: Tomas Kaberle/Tie Domi
Vancouver: Trevor Linden/Jarkko Ruutu
Washington: Alexander Ovechkin/Jeff Friesen
* Tom L of Sabre Rattling weighs in with his picks here
* and Happy Birthday to Navi of Belle River Nation who adds in his picks, including Juraj Kolnik as his favourite NHL player. (Round of applause)
* Japers' Rink (now added to the blogroll) adds his list. Ryan Miller as the future saviour of USA Hockey? Sure, and Wade Brookbank is the future saviour of the Canucks' defensive woes. ;)
* Ben Wright of The Net Files adds his list.
Montreal: Jose Theodore (his dad loans me money) ;)
* The Battle of Alberta gives a kick at the can as well.
* James Mirtle gives his list, but he's too much of a mainsteam media wussy to pick his least favourites. :) Being an 'insider' doesn't have all of the advantages. I can tell Michael Peca to screw off with no fear whatsoever.
* Edited San Jose. Go figure that Stuart gets dealt the same night.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
CuJo for Canada?
How quickly people forget 1996 and the Canada Cup choke.
That said, I will give CuJo his props for his great play this season. If the season suddenly ended *now*, he would get my pick as the Vezina winner.
Dominik Hasek has been spectacular and rookie Henrik Lundquist is a pleasant surprise for Rangers fans. Still, CuJo plays behind an inferior squad and has put up incredible numbers early in the season. I know Wings fans don't miss him, but it wasn't quite time to kick this dog to the proverbial curb.
Ironic Picture of the Day: Jason Giambi
How The B.L.inch Stole Hockey
He slipped me a little story he wanted me to publish about owner Bill Laurie. I guess it is therapeutic for CT. Maybe in 10 years he'll be able to earn a 24-hour day pass or two.
How The B.L.inch Stole Hockey
By Dr. Sue-Us
Down in Bluu-ville
Liked hockey a lot...
But the B.L.inch,
Who lived just Southwest of Bluu-ville,
The B.L.inch hated hockey! The whole hockey season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head thought basketball was right.
It could be, perhaps, that his wife was a fright.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
may have been that his wallet was two sizes too small.
But, whatever the reason,
His wallet or Mizzou,
He stood there on hockey night, hating the Bluus,
Staring down from his box with a sour, B.L.inchy frown
At the goal lighted glow for the visiting town.
For he knew every Bluu down in Bluu-ville beneath
Was busy now, watching in sorry disbelief.
"And they're hanging their heads!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Detroit! They're practically here!"
Then he growled, with his B.L.inch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep hockey from coming!"
For, tomorrow, he knew...
...All the Bluu fans and the whole Bluu Team
Would wake up hungover. They'd root for Lalime!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!
Then the Bluus, young and old, after play quite murky.
They would drink! And they'd drink!
And they'd DRINK! DRINK! DRINK! DRINK!
They would start on Bluu-Bud-Lite, and rare Bluu-wild-turkey
Which was something the B.L.inch couldn't stand 'cos he's jerky!
They'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Bluu down in Bluu-ville, the large and the small,
Would stand close together, with goal sirens bleering.
They'd stand and high five. And the Bluus would start cheering!
They'd cheer! And they'd cheer!
AND THEY?D CHEER! CHEER! CHEER! CHEER!
And the more the B.L.inch thought of the Bluu-Scoring-Cheer
The more the B.L.inch thought, "I must stop this all year!
"Why for thirty-five years I've put up with it now!
I MUST stop goals from coming!
Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!
"I know just what to do!" The B.L.inch Laughed out with glee.
And he made a quick jot and signed up KT.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "Watch them all beat-ya!
"With this wave of my money, I'll let go Demitra!"
"All I need is a scapegoat..."
The B.L.inch looked around.
But since idiots are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old B.L.inch...?
No! The B.L.inch simply said,
"If I can't find a scapegoat, I'll make one instead!"
So he called his coach Mike. Then he took some red ink
And he tied both his hands making Mike sink.
He loaded some pockets
And he let them all strike
then he waived them away
And he hitched up old Mike.
Then the B.L.inch said, "Game ON!"
And the team started down
Toward the bottom where the Bluus
Lay a-hoping in town.
But their team was quite bad. Quiet play filled the air.
All the Bluus biggest man simply was no longer there
Seems in the off-season his food he wouldn't share.
"This is game number one," The old B.L.inchy man hissed
And his team ran around, the net always missed.
Then they slid down to last. In a budget tight pinch.
But if Wertz could do it, then so could the B.L.inch.
He got wins every once, for a moment or two.
Then the team went back to doing what they do.
There were little Bluu losses all strung in a row.
"These playoffs," he grinned, "are the first thing to go!"
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile gold filled,
Around the whole arena, and he took everyone skilled!
Prongers! And Hulls! Nagys! Choppers!
Mellanbys! Shooters! Checkers! And puck-stoppers!
And he shuffled them away. Then the B.L.inch, very nimbly,
loaded up on excuses, one by one, very Flimsbly!
Then he slunk to Columbia. He took the Bluus' joy!
He took the Bluu-pride! He left us towel boy!
He cleaned out that locker room as quick as a flash-a.
Why, that B.L.inch even took our last washed up Bluu-sasha!
Then he rebuffed all the fans with Sauer his voice box.
"And NOW!" grinned the B.L.inch, "I will sell off the whole schlock!"
And the B.L.inch grabbed him an agent, and he started to shill
When he heard a small bid from Checkett's large till.
He stopped taking bids, and he got a small room!
He put down the papers, but Dave saw the doom.
The B.L.inch had been caught by this little Bluus disaster
So he went back home with the art of the deal unmastered
a fan stared at the B.L.inch and said, "Owner man, why,
"Why are you killing our playoff team? WHY?"
But, you know, that old B.L.inch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little fan," the fake owner man lied,
"The city just won't let that entertainment tax slide.
"So I'm putting the team on the block, my dear.
"That'll fix it with the city. And the team will stay here."
And his fib fooled the fan. Then he patted his wallet
And he made a fan can night and he sent him to Wal-Mart.
And when Every-Man Bluu went to bed with no cup,
HE went to the Bettman and boxed the team up!
Then the last thing he took
Was the light for their lamp.
Then he went down the road himself, the old vamp.
On the arena he left nothing but banners, not a champ.
And the one speck of dream
The he left in the place
Was a dream that we would next year be in a real race.
Then, he did the same thing
To the other Bluu's dreams
Leaving hopes much too small
For the current Bluu?s teams!
It was quarter done season...
All the Bluus, still a-dread
All the Bluus, still a-coma
When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their hopes! Their support! Their good will!
The history! And the famers! The beginnings! The money till!
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Saskatoon,
He went to the place that?ll be a new home soon!
"Pooh-pooh to the Bluus!" he was B.L.inch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now that no cup is forthcoming!
"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
"The all the Bluus down in Bluu-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!"
"That's a noise," grinned the B.L.inch,
"That I simply must hear!"
So he paused. And the B.L.inch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the ice.
It started in low. But it sounded quite nice...
But the sound wasn't sad!
Why, this was a merry din!
Oft they would begin!
They sang as one "when the Bluu's go marching in! "
He stared down at Bluu-ville!
The B.L.inch popped his mind!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking find!
Every Bluu down in Bluu-ville, the large and the small,
Was singing! Without any scoring at all!
He HADN'T stopped hockey from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the B.L.inch, with his B.L.inch-feet ice-cold up there,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be fair?
It came without players! It came without bucks!
"It came without ESPN, Stanley's or pucks!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the B.L.inch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe hockey," he thought, "doesn't come from some dollars.
"Maybe hockey...perhaps...is just a bit more blue-collared!"
And what happened then...?
Well...in Bluu-ville they say
That the B.L.inch's small wallet
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart wanted a team very fancy,
He got cut off mid check by a woman named Nancy
And he was brought back to earth! And the fans he did ream!
The B.L.inch sold off the fan's team
Monday, November 28, 2005
Monday Musings: A Chilly Grey Cup Weekend
(and another lesson: never leave the game early!)
First things first, though...My jaw is still sore from dropping it on the floor after seeing the Acid Queen's favourite defenseman, Marek Malik, score the most beautiful shootout goal I have ever seen.
(Video Clip Link)
That goal is sweet...but MAREK MALIK?? Not only does he totally shock the hell out of the universe, but then he adds a rather "Yeah, I've done this before" celebration at the end.
Back to the Grey Cup, you know you are going to get more than a few bozo's when you pack a huge dome full of (mostly) male fans and allow them to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Some observations from the weekend...
Despite of all of this, the weekend was fun and quite successful for the fans, the league, and the Eskimos. It turned out much better than hosting the NHL All-Star game, which is very corporate in comparison and not nearly as much fun.
Friday, November 25, 2005
1UP/1DOWN: Sharks and Rangers
15-7-3? The New York Ranger$? Instead of a team full of overpaid and undermotivated veterans, we have the Czech mafia and some kids who are finally getting a chance and are showing some real work ethic.
Honestly, is there a more dangerous player with open ice than Jaromir Jagr? Methinks not. In the "New NHL", Jagr gets more PP time and more open ice. If you give Jagr an inch, he takes the proverbial mile and roofs a nasty wrister behind your favourite team's goalie.
Oh, and Michael Nylander...25 points in 25 games?? (jaw drops open)
The Czech Mafia (with the token Slovak, just like old times):
Jaromir Jagr RW 25 21-18-39 +6 22PIM
Martin Straka C 25 3-21-24 +4 14PIM
Martin Rucinsky LW 12 6 8 14 +4 6PIM
Marcel Hossa LW 24 5-6-11 +4 10PIM
Petr Prucha C 19 6-3-9 +2 6PIM
Michal Rozsival D 25 1-6-7 +8 32PIM
Marek Malik D 24 0-5-5 +6 28PIM
The New York Rangers seem to be a great place for Czechs to play. I mean, they managed to turn Jan Hlavac into a useful player.
As long as Jagr continues his torrid pace and stays injury-free, the Ranger$ seem to be in a good spot to get back to the playoffs. I know some people complained when Jagr refused the captaincy, but Jagr's also been an offensive on-ice leader. You don't want or need to saddle Jagr with any 'ra-ra' leadership stuff...just let him play his game.
San Jose - The Toothless Sharks
Did they get robbed in Vancouver last night? My girlfriend insists the game should have been tied at 3-3, but I didn't see (and I tried) the puck in the net and the video goal judge agreed. Did the puck slide perfectly under that white stripe-covering? Perhaps, but I won't complain :)
(She's also a Flyers fan and quite evil)
Sharks fans, however, are probably a bitchy lot these days. 8-10-4 and a nice long losing streak is not what this team was expected to do. In the "New NHL", I figured a speedy and aggressive team like the Sharks would do well. It seems that Evgeni Nabokov forgot how to play his position and the Sharks forgot how to score! Only 3 other teams in the entire league (St. Louis, Columbus, and Florida) have scored less goals and the Sharks lack of bonafide offensive snipers is really putting them in a hurt locker.
While I was impressed with their attention to defence (typical of a Ron Wilson team) against the Canucks last night, the Sharks really did seem like a team that has trouble generating offence at all. Alex Auld had a pretty easy night with just over 20 shots to stop.
Other than Patrick Marleau (22 points in 22 games), the Sharks are really lacking for some knockout-class offensive players. Nils Ekman? It seems he has come back to earth with just 4 points in 18 games. The same goes for Alyn McCauley who has just 5 points.
Scott Hannan? -15? You can kiss those Canadian Olympic Team hopes goodnight.
They are still within striking distance and they can recover, but I look at their offence and scratch my head. What did I see in them before? I know they are fast and speedy, but their roster really does like thin up front now. I guess the fairy godmother picked the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers and took her magical fairy dust back east.
Link of the Day: David Singer of The Ice Block takes a look at Sean Avery's little French moment :)
Thursday, November 24, 2005
2005 Canadian Blog Awards: Stuff the Box!
Voting is now underway and I ask my loyal (and unloyal) readers to go on over there and stuff the ballot box. You can vote once a day for Hockey Rants under the BEST SPORTS BLOG, and I encourage you to do so. If you do not, I will track down each and every one of you and force you to re-watch every minute of the Red Wings/Devils Stanley Cup finals. You wouldn't want that, would ya?
Looking at the results, it looks like James Mirtle is already cheating. He must be Swedish!
(Click Here to go to the voting site)
Home Ice Advantage: A by-product of the New NHL?
Since we can't measure psychological effects, we could easily assume that there are little or no psychological effects or the effect is very minimal. NHL teams are generally well prepared and well coached and simply being 'at home' shouldn't mean anything entirely special. Once the puck drops, occurances are so random and so fast that the player's natural instincts should kick in above some mindless cheering.
There are, however, some REAL advantages of playing on the home rink:
Why do I bring this up? Well, the Sportsnet crew (before a Canucks game) were talking about how teams in the "New NHL" (their words, not mine) were doing incredibly well at home.
As you can see by the table I whipped up, only a handful of teams have a below .500 record at home. The results are a small sample, but they seem even more distorted to the home team's side than in previous seasons.
The Sportsnet guys opined that road teams usually play conservative hockey on the road, and it is backfiring on them this season. They reckon that a conversative style will lead to sitting back and taking more penalties because the home teams are more aggressive with their skating and offence.
Fair enough. It's a logical theory, but I can't get NHL to give me road/home splits for team penalties. If the road teams were taking more penalties than home teams, it would stand to reason that the home teams would be getting a lot more Power Play chances.
(Conspiracy Theory #1: Gary Bettman is telling the refs to give home teams more PP chances to increase home wins and leave fans feeling happy after attending a game. Is this a warped way to increase attendance and satisfaction? hmmm)
How about travel? Road teams have to travel far less since we have had very little in the way of inter-conference play. I would have figured road teams would be less weary and more energetic.
The last chance in the shootout might also be having effect on the standings since this should give the home team a clear advantage. Again, I don't know where to find standings that include shootout wins.
If anyone knows where to find these type of stats, please let us know. As fun as the NHL.com stat base can be, it can also leave me wanting a lot more.
It's not easy being a referee
Check out the damning video evidence.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
An interesting Q&A with Sergei Fedorov
Some of the more interesting highlights...
Q: In 1989, Mogilny defected to the U.S. to play in the NHL. A year later, you followed. Tell us about that.
A: It was 1990 and I was in Portland, Ore., playing in an exhibition game. I had been in contact with the Red Wings for more than a year, so finally I decided it was time for me to try playing in the NHL. I was only 20 when I defected. I didn't know much about life cause all I did was practice hockey all the time. I wasn't scared when I left the Russian team, but I was really excited. Sometimes the less you know, the better. All I could think about was playing in big NHL arenas and that's why I wasn't scared 'cause I didn't know any better.
Q: What's the best thing about the relationship you had with Anna Kournikova?
A: The best thing was that we were both Russian. There was no romance for a long time. She was just a kid when we met the first time [she was 15]. Our families got along. We had a lot in common, we lived similar lives, we understood each other. So our friendship developed 'cause we were in the same position professionally and socially.
Q: How did the relationship with Anna go to being more than friends?
A: It was a turning point. We spent quite a few days together. Anna expressed that kind of [romantic] interest, I was kind of surprised because I was a little bit older and wilder than her and I was going in a different direction. But I looked at the situation and said she was a great person, so, why not? So, then we started dating. It was tough because her schedule had her based all over the world and I played games in so many different cities.
Q: How did you meet former girlfriend Tara Reid?
A: We met through mutual friends in Los Angeles. We met up again in Miami at the MTV Music Awards. We hung out for a while before we started dating. A lot of people come to Miami to relax and party a little bit.
Q: She is known as the ultimate "party girl." Is that a fair reputation?
A: I don't think so. She just got that rep. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time. She has fun, but that's all.
He doesn't think so? I guess he never watched "Taradise"!
Crosby vs. Ovechkin - Round One to Sid
How important is one game? In the scheme of the universe, very little. Last night, however, provided one of the more anticipated matchups as uber-rookies Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin finally matched their meats (or is that met their match?) against each other for the first time in the NHL.
Let's face it, the Calder race comes down to just Ovechkin versus Crosby. There are other fine rookies such as Dion Phaneuf, Jason LaBarbera, and Henrik Lundqvist, but they are all in a race for 3rd place as the league's top 2 stars battle for the hearts and minds of the sportswriters and capture the attention of the fans.
Last night, good triumped over evil as Crosby's Pens defeated the Crapitals 5-4
Sid, it is.
Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 18-year-old phenom got the better of his first NHL meeting with Alexander Ovechkin – Washington’s 20-year-old sensation. Crosby scored a goal and added an assist, while Ovechkin was limited to an assist in Pittsburgh’s 5-4 triumph Tuesday night at Mellon Arena.
Party pooper Phil Coffey of NHL.com thinks the head-to-head matchup is all hype and a load of tosh, but what's wrong with creating an exciting storyline between a game of crappy teams? Crosby's sweet backhand goal and spin-o-rama pass to Palffy were highlight reel plays that you won't get from most players.
Ovechkin - 25:17TOI, 1 assist, +1, 4 shots on goal,1 giveaway
Crosby - 19:16TOI, 1 goal, 1 assist, +1, 4 shots on goal, 1 giveaway
So, Crosby is better and more efficient!
Ovechkin - 21GP 15-7-22 -2 16PIM
Crosby - 22GP 11-16-27 -5 28PIM
See!! Ovechkin is the typical me-first Russian goalsuck while Crosby is the selfless Canadian who is helping his teammates before he helps himself.
(If you can't see the sarcasm in that sentence, please smack yourself)
If Ovechkin had quality linemates like El Sid, he'd probably be running away with the race, but likewise if Crosby was a year older like Alexander is.
Right now, it's an exciting 1-2 race and as someone who has both of these kids in his office pool, I'm pulling for both of them to keep piling on the points.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Foggy Thoughts on a Tuesday
Now, since they decided to stop the game and make it up at a later date, how would you go about doing it?
Predators General Manager David Poile says he expects to talk to the NHL today about trying to reschedule last night's game against Detroit...It's uncertain whether the game will be replayed in its entirety or resumed from the spot it stopped. Poile fully supported the decision to postpone last night's contest, but said it will be difficult to reschedule the game. "It won't be easy at all," Poile said. "Not only is it an Olympic year, which makes the schedule more condensed, but we've played the fewest games in the league. We've already had most of our days off. It's not going to fall into a good situation."Is there any precedent to this happening? Given the strange circumstances, I would just start a completely new game. Since the Predators also agreed to cancel the game when they had the lead, they essentially gave up that goal.
Now, do fans in attendance at last night's game get a free ticket to a future game? I hope so, since they paid good money to see less than a third of a game.
Umm... wouldn't YOU do anything possible to get out of Columbus?
"He was discussed at that time but he had a no-trade clause," Ducks GM Brian Burke said Monday.What the hell has happened to Brian Burke this offeason? First, he overpays for the Niedermayer brothers (Especially Rob), and now he actually takes on the salary of Todd Marchant?? If getting rid of Fedorov was a decent cost-cutting move, acquiring an expensive centerman who doesn't produce offence just negates that.
"And so there was never any agreement in any way that said Anaheim would take him if he went on waivers. The league doesn't allow understandings like that and there wasn't one here. As you can see, he cleared waivers once."
The rest of the league is probably laughing too hard to file any sort of legal action.
If that wasn't enough, she did a Behind the Blog feature on the Predators Den, and an extensive Behind the Jersey look at #19, Steve Yzerman. If I ever have a biography done, I'll have to hire her to do it :)
She does such a great job, so I won't try and coerce her to correct her blog's name to Behind the Sweater.
Monday, November 21, 2005
People, please, let's give Pavol some Props!!
As the founding member of the Pavol Demitra Worshippers Club, it seems I have to do some more PR for pool Pavol and get him his props. What is it going to take for this guy to get some respect? He's fast, he's slick, he scores pretty goals...I don't see Roenick scoring any pretty goals this year.
All Pavol has done since being signed by the Kings is recapture his A+ game and he's lead the team to the top of their division. Demitra and Alexander Frolov combine to give the LA Kings once of the more exciting and dynamic 1-2 punches in the NHL. I'm sure getting away from fat-ass Keith Tkachuk is also helping immensely!
2005-06: 21GP 11-18-29 +10 18PIM
It's not just the points Pavol is putting up, but also the completeness of his game that has been rediscovered. Pavol once killed penalties when Mike Keenan *shudder* ran the Blues, and now Pavol is back doing it once more after not killing penalties at all the past few seasons.
Pavol is actually 2nd on his entire team (behind Lubo Visnovsky and above all other DEFENDERS) in ice time per game with 21:19! Pavol's 2:49 of PK time per game is definitely a new career high, and he's doing everything in his power (other than throwing vicious bodychecks) to bring LA back into the land of the playoffs. Pavol has also scored at least a point in 15 of LA's 21 games so far. Pavol's greatest strengths in past seasons was his ability to be a part of the scoresheet on most nights. Pavol never seems to rack up huge 4 point nights often, but he'll get lots of 1's and 2's and consistently provide offence.
Thanks to an anonymous poster/commenter, I found this video of Pavol Demitra scoring a hat-trick against the Colorado Avalanche on "Hat Giveaway Night". The ice gets absolutely littered with black hats after Pavol pots #3. Poor Pavol looks terrified when he gets to the bench.
And then we have David Aebischer getting bombarded and skating through the carnage. Magnificent!
People, give Pavol some love!
On a housekeeping note, my home computer died a quiet and sudden death this past weekend. I believe the mother board is completely shot. Until I get it fixed, my access will be limited. For an internet addict such as myself, this is going to be a very tough time for me :(
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Golbez vs. Montgomery: NHL Goaltenders
Would you trust a guy that looks like this?? Seriously, he looks just peachy keen to be there and he looks like he kills kittens in his spare time. Would you trust someone that KILLS KITTENS? Would you trust a columnist that claims to be a Leafs fan?
Ted’s latest column: "Minding the nets with the NHL's best & most overrated"
Kids, let’s get the meaning of OVERRATED straightened out, mmkay?
To overestimate the merits of; rate too highly.
So, somehow Ted translates this to “The 10 starting goaltenders who will never lead their teams to a Stanley Cup”.
Folks, this is a common mistake I see ALL THE TIME. Overrated does not equal bad or mediocre. It is possible to overrate a bad player (like anyone who thinks Wade Belak should be in the NHL) and quite possible to underrate a good player (like Pierre Turgeon). I don’t see how listing 10 goalies who will never lead your team to the Stanley Cup equates them with them being ‘overrated’.
(On a side note, the Detroit Red Wings proved you can win with mediocre goaltending. Just ask Mr. Osgood)
Under his list of ‘best goaltenders’
Florida's Roberto Luongo: He is the NHL's next superstar goaltender, ready to take the reins from Martin Brodeur. Unfortunately, he is on an average team that too often leaves him exposed to quality scoring chances.Fair enough...
Martin Brodeur: The Devils have struggled a bit this year and Brodeur has had a couple of nagging injuries to overcome, but make no mistake about it, he is the best goaltender of his era.Umm...no. Let’s see here... Roberto plays well behind a poor defence and gets kudos yet the minute Brodeur is exposed with less-than-awesome defenders in front of him, it’s time to make excuses for him? Mmm hmm.
BTW, Hasek and Roy were always the #1 goalies of their eras, and Brodeur was never #1 at any time. Brodeur is not #1 now nor has he ever been. If Brodeur was such a great goalie, he would stop a lot more of those chances now that his defence isn’t as great. That 88.1 SV% is quite telling, isn’t it.
Minnesota's Manny Fernandez: Although Fernandez and Dwayne Roloson have shared the Wild's goaltending duties so far, Fernandez is the better goalie by a long shot. With the Wild being one of the only teams left that still employs some semblance of the trap, Fernandez can strut his stuff without having to face a lot of quality scoring chances. He'll never appear on lists of the NHL's all-time best, but I'd have no problem riding him throughout the season.!!!! D00d, I don’t want to hear about your sick sexual fantasies. Gag me with a spoon!
Is Manny Fernandez clearly better than Roloson??
02-03: 2.24GAA .923SV%
03-04: 2.49GAA .914SV%
05-06: 1.94GAA .936SV%
02-03: 1.99GAA .926SV%
03-04: 1.87GAA .932SV%
05-06: 2.45GAA .929SV%
So, Roloson has been the better goalie for 2 out of the past 3 seasons. Try again, Ted.
Nashville's Tomas Vokoun. He is a very streaky goaltender and can have long periods where he is virtually unbeatable, but can then turn around and let a couple of soft goals ruin his team's night. More often than not, he's as solid as they come.How can a very streaky goaltender be ‘as solid as they come’?? Isn’t very streaky basically the opposite of a solid goaltender?
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff: No one was wearing more "extra" equipment than Kiprusoff when last we saw the NHL, so the jury is still out on whether he can be a Stanley Cup-caliber goaltender with the new goalie-gear rulesJ-S Giguere and Dan Cloutier say ‘Hi’.
The Islanders' Rick DiPietro: The Isles have given up a lot of goals so far, and DiPietro should take some blame for that. That said, he is fundamentally sound and will only get better as he matures further. Plus, he's miles and miles ahead of Isles' backup goaltender Garth Snow in terms of pure talentSo just because DiPietro is miles better than a very crappy goaltender means that he’s one of the NHL’s best? Nice bit of logic. DiPietro’s stats the past few seasons would indicate he is anything but the NHL’s 9th best goalie as Ted seems to think. He may be young and have lots of natural talent, but he’s not a Top 10 in the real world.
Ok, and now the goalies who supposedly won’t backstop their team to the Stanley Cup
Detroit's Manny Legace: Legace is one of the finest backup goaltenders ever to play in the league (just check out his career stats), but historically when the Wings have asked him to be the No. 1 guy, he tuckers out and fades quickly and precipitously. He'll be great for 40 games, but after that, his performance tends to go downhill. It's unlikely the Wings will win a Cup with Legace as their starterThe Red Wings brought in both Dominik Hasek and Curtis Joseph to be the #1 goalie during Legace's tenure with the club. Was that giving Legace the chance to be a #1? If he had a chance last NHL season, it was quite brief and is no indicator he can’t do it over the long haul. How can Manny Fernandez be considered a top goalie when he plays a pretty easy schedule, yet Legace gets butchered for the same thing basically? *rolls eyes*
Toronto's Ed Belfour is a Hall of Fame shoo-in, but he's completely erratic between the pipes these days. The NHL took away one of his strengths — the ability to act as a third defenseman on the ice by deftly playing the puck — and his instincts and reaction time have taken a downturn.He is old and has a bad back, but hands up if you thought Belfour’s best attribute was his ability to deftly play the puck?
That’s what I thought !
Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin: Khabibulin must be rethinking his decision to sign with the Blackhawks by now. The team has neither the skill nor the defensive acumen to let Nik do what he does best: stop easy to moderately difficult scoring chances and wait for his team's superior talent to overwhelm the opponentHeh, kick save a beauty from Ted. I guess he isn’t totally hopeless.
Phoenix's Curtis Joseph: Nice guy, but CuJo's days as one of the NHL's top goaltenders are long past. He's been solid for a so-so team thus far, but he's playing out the string at this point.WHAT THE HELL??? CuJo has a 2.23GAA and a 92.7SV% playing behind the frickin’ Phoenix Coyotes!!! Playing out the string? Geez, tough crowd.
Colorado's David Aebischer: A good goaltender, Aebischer is haunted by the ghost of Patrick Roy,Damn, that Patrick Roy IS evil!! How dare he haunt his old team!
Philadelphia's Robert Esche: The Flyers are so talented all over the ice, that if any team can get away with not having a prototypical No. 1 goaltender, it's Philadelphia.The Flyers are 30th in PK and have a slower-than-molasses defence. I don’t think the ‘Rebound Machine’ is going to lead them to the cup. Why doesn’t Ted rank Esche higher? Unlike poor Legace, Esche has proven his suckiness.
Whomever is in net for Columbus: Take your pick. Despite the trade for Sergei Fedorov, no goaltender the Blue Jackets offer up as their next sacrificial lamb will be adequate enough to extricate the team from the mess they find themselves in.The Dinner Jackets score less than 2 goals a game and have two of their best players out with long term injuries (Nash and Klesla). How in the hell is that Marc Denis’ fault? Denis might not be any great shakes, but clearly the BJ’s have bigger problems than goaltending.
OK, I need to wash out my brain with Clorox.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Morning Skates: A Useless Practice?
ESPN's Terry Frei, however, brings this rather outdated practice into light and the reasons why it should be scrapped. (Story Link)
It's madness.He goes on a rather lengthy look into how the practice got into common usage (blame the 1972 Russians, again) and why it should be abolished.
It's the single stupidest thing in hockey -- except, perhaps, for Sean Avery's mouth.
It's outdated, unnecessary and counterproductive.
The first coach to have the pucks to junk the ridiculous ritual will give his team an immediate advantage.
The reason it will take such pucks is that it would provide one more outlet for second-guessing a coach if and when things don't go well. But it still would be the right thing to do.
It is the morning skate, the light workout on the ice the morning of the game. First the home team, then the visiting team.
It's nothing particularly strenuous, of course, and any strategic work touching on the night's opponent is cursory.
The evening's scratches and rehabilitating injured, plus the backup goalie, usually stay out longer than the rest. (In recent seasons, the shinny involving those players and assistant coaches could be more entertaining than the NHL game that night.)
But the point is: Though some veterans are allowed to consider the morning skates optional, most, and sometimes all, players have to waste energy on game day.
Some teams hold their morning skates at suburban practice facilities, usually cutting down travel time for the players.
Regardless of the location, though, the realities are the same. The players put on the equipment. They skate, they sweat, they shower, and then they either head home or back to the hotel, and before they know it, it's time to head to the arena for the game.
I agree 100% with Terry, which may be a first between me and any ESPN columnist not named Buccigross.
The players already have a thorough warm up before the game, so why go through the trouble of having a morning skate that does nothing but take up a lot of time and perhaps tire the players out even more? Given the monstrous travel schedule the Western teams (especially Vancouver) have to endure throughout the season, why don't coaches simply let their players relax the morning before the game? As Frei points out, today's players are in supreme condition already and aren't going to just use the extra time to party or recover from hangovers (a few might, but not many).
One of the biggest questions asked about the differences in the sport over the decades is the general conditioning level. It's not even close. The modern players win in a rout. They still know how to have a good time, but nowhere near as often, or with the vehemence, of their predecessors. Charter travel, which allows teams to depart from road cities right after the game, eliminates the opportunities for "winding down."
So there's no reason -- none -- to have morning skates. Even making them optional presents the problem of peer pressure or making marginal players think they have to show up to show their dedication. The ideal? If the scratches are predetermined, they can skate with the players who are rehabbing, whether at the practice facility or the arena.
Exactly. Those who don't take part in these morning skates can easily be labeled lazy even though 'smart' might be a better term.
Terry's article is definitely worth a read, and it's not often you see ESPN bring a minor issue out of the woodwork and make some real hay with it.
Brewer's Broken and Larry's Loony.
The last-place St. Louis Blues got more bad news Thursday when doctors diagnosed defenceman Eric Brewer with a right shoulder separation.
He was placed in injured reserve and will be out 4-to-8 weeks. Brewer, who had appeared in all 18 games this season, was injured after getting hit during the first period of a game Wednesday night at Columbus.
"I've been hit like that I don't know how many times," Brewer told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the game. "I just got hit the right way. It doesn't feel great. It hurts. I can't move my arm."
Sure, Brewer's play is blowing Chunks Ahoy this year, but now his ice time has to be replaced by the likes of Matt Walker and Dennis Wideman. *sigh*
and then GM Larry "Doughhead" Pleau badly answered some bad questions from the STL Dispatch
PD: How have you been sleeping lately?D00d, he asked you HOW YOU WERE SLEEPING lately. Wow, talk about 'auto-cliche'.
LP: "It's no fun what we're going through, but you've got to get stronger for going through something like this. The key thing here is keeping yourself together: management, coaches, players. You've got to keep yourself on the same side. Keep preparing, that's the key. You don't sleep well, that's for sure. Hey, it's a struggle, but we'll get through it. The only way you get through it is by sticking together. That's the key. It's got to happen in that room."
PD: Dean McAmmond is second on the team with five goals, but he was a healthy scratch last week. Scott Young has four goals. Patrick Lalime has been benched in favor of Curtis Sanford. How would you grade your offseason acquisitions?
LP: "I'm not going to get into individuals. That's what I'm telling you . . . the players can't get into individuals. Anything you're going to say, you've got to say it within yourself. When you're in a stretch like this, you can't pinpoint . . . hey this guy or that guy. This is a team. That's how we got here. There's only one way to get out of here."
Ahh, what great leadership. Pleau is afraid to grade the job he's done so far and afraid to call out the poor play to the press. To be fair, it's not Dean McAmmond's fault that the Blues suck, the blame falls squarely on Pleau and Keith Tkachuk's fat ass.
PD: There's a perception that your hands are tied right now until the team is sold. Are you able to make any trades or other moves while the Lauries maintain control of the franchise?D00d, your hands are tied because you signed Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight to expensive contracts and you have no cap room. Being able not to sign or trade is all because of the foolish moves you have made over your tenure!
LP: "For me, I'm operating the same way I did before. If I feel there's something there for the team that makes sense, if it fits in within our payroll budget, I would talk to (Blues President) Mark (Sauer). Then we'll take the next step from there. I don't feel that at all. We'll continue to search out and see if there are ways that we can improve ourselves through signing a free agent, or a trade . . . we'll continue to do that. We've said that right from the beginning. We said that in the end of June. We weren't going to be active as far as the free-agent market and as far as long-term contracts and taking on a lot of money. But that doesn't mean that we're not active trying to improve ourselves."
PD: Do you sympathize with Blues fans right now?You sympathize as an organization, Larry? How about you personally? I guess you don't give two shakes of a dog's tail about how the fans feel. Fine, we understand. You are just another corporate shill.
LP: "I sympathize as an organization, we know we can play better and we will play better. We want to do well for our fans because they've been tremendous fans and they've been supportive. We will get better. We'll be a better hockey team in the future."
Blues fans are also showing their love for Larry's product at the gate with ever dwindling attendance figures. As a Blues fan, I totally sympathize with poor Larry. As Jes, I don't care one way or another.
I'll say it again, the first move the new owner (whoever that may be) is to fire Larry Pleau. If the owner does this publicly at center ice before a Blues home game, he'll be a bigger hero in St. Louis than Mark McGwire.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Sidney Crosby = Jesus
What is the definition of a hero?
So, is Sidney Crosby a hero? Maybe under the 4th definition...but he's really just a very good hockey player.
Reuters, on the other hand, can't stop gushing over Kid Crosby...
With its bone-crunching violence, bulky armor and head-to-toe uniforms, ice hockey is an unlikely setting for a teen idol.Gretzky, Lemieux, and Peter Forsberg, yes... Bobby Orr? Since when did Sidney switch to defenseman and start making end to end rushes? Since when did Crosby revolutionize the way the game has been played?
Sidney Crosby is shattering that stereotype. The 18-year-old is the hottest thing on ice since Wayne Gretzky, generating a Beatles-like reception at appearances in his native Canada. Now, the buzz is spreading to the United States.
Just two months into his first National Hockey League (NHL) season, the rookie leads the Pittsburgh Penguins in points, drawing comparisons to Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr.
It is not just his swift, goal-scoring plays nor his ability to withstand punishing body checks that excite fans, managers and sponsors. It is also a potentially powerful commercial appeal at a time when the NHL is desperate for a hero.Is the NHL desperate for a hero? Does the NHL need to be saved?
If Crosby was a real hero, he'd find a way to get Gary Bettman replaced with a chimpanzee or someone with a higher IQ.
With heartthrob looks, his own brand of sports clothing and a contract worth $2.5 million with footwear manufacturers Reebok, Crosby is the sport's biggest goldmine in more than a decade.Heartthrob looks? Crosby isn't an ugly kid, but he is (and the ladies will agree) no Jiri Slegr in the looks department.
Inside Hockey editor-in-chief Kevin Greenstein compares Crosby to basketball prodigy LeBron James, who went from high school to the National Basketball Association (NBA) two seasons ago, displaying spectacular dunks, deft passes and a veteran's savvy on the court.
Please do not compare basketball to hockey. Ever!
The NBA and basketball in general is a very individualistic game where the roster depth doesn't mean nearly as much as in hockey. In hockey, you need a strong 15-22 players to be a contender. In basketball, you need basically 2 (Jordan and Pippen, Stockton and Malone, Magic and Abdul-Jabbar) awesome talents and a bunch of warm bodies. We have seen that one lone player cannot guarantee success in the NHL unless their name is Dominik Hasek. Basketball also does not have a real minor league system and it's either NCAA or NBA for any young and talented players. Sidney Crosby played against a much higher level of talent than LeBron James did before entering the big leagues.
"He's down to earth. He's mature for his young age. He comes across as someone people can relate to," said Reebok marketing executive Len Rhodes.
Oh yes, I can perfectly relate to a multi-millionaire hockey player who has more hockey talent in his pinky finger than I do in my whole body. I can perfectly relate to a kid who has been a huge media sensation for almost a third of his life. Yeah...he's just like one of us, eh!
The 30-team NHL desperately needs a new face to attract talent to the junior leagues, sell jerseys, pack stadiums and market goods.
How the hell does the NHL need a new face to attract talent to the junior leagues? The CHL has been expanding long before Sidney Crosby ever played in the QMJHL and it's not as if he'll suddenly cause an explosion anywhere outside of Pittsburgh.
Let's get a little perspective, people!
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Sergei Fedorov dons a new Dinner Jacket
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks have traded star centre Sergei Fedorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for gritty checker Tyler Wright and blueliner Francois Beauchemin.
The Blue Jackets also acquire a 2006 fifth-round pick in the deal.
I never thought I'd see the day that the great Sergei Fedorov would be traded for a slappy checking forward and a who-the-hell-is-he blueliner.
Of course, the Dinner Jackets have to take on most of Fedorov's US$ 6,080,000 salary this season. In typical organizational fashion, Columbus will overpay for an older talent.
Fiscal sanity? What's that??
These Blues Have No Clues
2-12-3?? Mon dieu!
I mean, the Blues can't even find an owner that doesn't totally suck me sideways. As mentioned before, Dave "Checkbook" Checketts didn't end up buying the team and now the Blues are stuck in limbo with a bad owner and a bad bad bad GM. (Hockey Nation does a fine job on the details of the non-sale)
Time for a little ramblin'
Petr Cajanek - My boy is finally showing the offensive assertiveness that earned him great stardom in Czechia with HC Zlin. After two rather quiet NHL seasons, Cajanek is using the increased Power Play time to dish some sweet passes and has 10 Power Play points this season. Cajanek sits with 2 goals and 14 assists in 17 games and has arrived.
Scott Young - For all the flak I gave the Blues for this desperation signing, it's turned out to be more than OK. Young also has 10 Power Play points and has 4 goals and 10 assists in 17 games. For the low cost of his signing and the expectations we had, Young has been one of the few things to turn out better than expected.
Eric Weinrich - For a 56-year old defenseman, he's still pretty good.
Lottery Time!!! The Blues will get a great shot at Phil Kessel or Michael Frolik. Let's hope the Blues don't blow their Top 2 pick.
THE BAD = EVERYTHING ELSE!!!
The Blues special teams are special in the way that Timmy and his Christmas Telethon are to mentally and/or physically challenged kids. The Blues are ranked 24th in Power Play% with 14.3% and 23rd in Penalty Kill% with 79.8%
Keith Tkachuk's fat and injured ass: 2 games, 0 pts, -2, and a severe groin strain that will hamper his efforts once he gets back from healing his cracked ribs. Spending almost a quarter on one player that is overweight and non-productive is turning out to be a complete nightmare for the Blues.
Defence - Eric Brewer was the big prize in the Chris Pronger trade, but he's been a big bust with a team worst -12 to go along with his 4 goals and (only) 2 assists. Brewer is whiffing so bad that Blues fans are pining for the days of Ricard Persson!! Trade-mate Jeff Woywitka is also struggling with no points, -5, and 14 PIM in 9 games. Brewer's partner in defensive crimes against humanity, Bryce Salvador, is struggling to adapt to the "New NHL" and he's got -11 and just 2 points in 16 games.
As a team, the Blues are a composite -97! The ONLY player with a plus rating is Peter Sejna. He's played only 2 games (and is +1) and doesn't really count. Every other player is either EVEN or a minus. If you want to teach your kid all about subtraction and the psychics of sucking, just look at the Blues' players statistics.
Goaltending - When I did a comparison of Dan Cloutier and Patrick Lalime a long time ago, we discovered that Lalime's numbers were not all that impressive. Take him away from a very talented and defensive-oriented Senators club and plunk him behind a bunch of junk and you expose him for a pretty crappy goalie. Lalime hasn't just been bad, he's been BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD. (He's bad, he's really really bad)
He's got a 2-9-3 record with a 4.00GAA and 86.7SV%!! Lalime hasn't been stealing any games for the Blues and he's let in more softies than Jim Carey once did.
His backup, Reinhard Divis, has been even worse with a 4.93GAA and 84.5 SV% in his 5 games.
Can we bring back Roman Turek?
The 'No-Name' Brand - You know it's bad when you have to dress names like Len Stempniak, Jeff Hoggan, Dennis Wideman, and Colin Hemingway. If you don't know who they are, well either do most Blues fans.
This season can't end fast enough for the Blues Nation. Fortunately, I also cheer for the Vancouver Canucks, who don't totally suck despite the fact that they try to suck by playing Dan Cloutier as a #1 instead of Alex Auld.
Monday, November 14, 2005
St. Louis Blues Sale Falls Through
A group led by David Checketts withdrew from negotiations to buy the St. Louis Blues and the Savvis Center operating lease Monday, putting the NHL club back on the open market.
Blues owners Bill and Nancy Laurie had signed a letter of intent with Sports Capital Partners, LLC, granting them exclusive rights to negotiate for 30 days.
That window is now closed and talks with other interested parties can begin, the club said in a release.
Would YOU want to buy a 2-12-3 club with a thin pool of good prospects?
Nuthin is going right for this club right now...
...but in other news, I just saved a bundle on my car insurance!!!
(well, not really. I'm just trying to make myself feel better)
How did they become the Dinner Jackets?
Anyhoo, I was perusing NHL.com and found this article on how the Columbus Blue Jackets got their name.
With help from the NHL, the Columbus franchise narrowed the 14,000 entries down to 10 names. Then with the information received from Mr. McConnell, the League and the franchise narrowed the list of potential names down to two - Blue Jackets and Justice.The 'JUSTICE'? Wow, lucky for us that we got the 'good' name. Let's not have the people of Columbus ever pick a name of anything again, mmkay?
The Blue Jackets name was selected because the name pays homage to Ohio's contributions to American history and the great pride and patriotism exhibited by its citizens, especially during the Civil War as both the state of Ohio and the city of Columbus were significantly influential on the Union Army. Ohio contributed more of its population to the Union Army than any other state, while many of the Blue Coats worn by the Union soldiers were manufactured in Columbus.Ahh, damn those Yankee bastards! :) I can see why certain southerners (*cough*CAROLINA*cough*) would not like this team or the team name. When can we see the Thrashers adapt the CONFEDERATE flag on their sweaters?
Stinger was introduced as the mascot, the "Bug with an Attitude." Stinger is a symbol to characterize the citizens of Columbus known for their hard work and pride for their team.What a great way to characterize the people of a town by comparing them to a 'Bug with an Attitude'. Perhaps the Canucks should have a logo of a sandal-wearing, latte-sipping fashionita talking on a cell phone. It would be only fitting.
With a name set and with a logo and mascot selected, it was time to make the official announcement. On Nov. 11, 1997, team officials announced the name of the team would be the Blue Jackets, celebrating patriotism, pride and the rich Civil War history in the state of Ohio and, more specifically, the city of Columbus.The North > Teh South. You know it ;)
And with that, the Columbus Blue Jackets came to life. From the initial application to the building of the arena to the naming of the team, the process took steps in building a final product, but it's a final product that will be a part of Columbus forever.You can dress up dog crap in a bowtie, but it's still dog crap.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
"I'm just a Laurie"
Childhood Trauma, however, was clinically insane long before N*Sync ever became bigger than Boney M. Here is his little...'poem' about Blues soon-to-ex-owner Bill Laurie.
Fan: Whew! You sure gotta pay
a lot of bucks to get into this
Saavis Arena here in St Louis. But I wonder who
that glad little snip of a man is?
Bill:I'm just a Laurie.
Yes, I'm Mr. Bill laurie.
And I'm peddling a team that is sorry.
Well, it's a bad bad team
dressing who the heck is it.
Its an a sad sad game
While I'm raking in Checkisetts,
But I know cash will fill my Lorry
At least I hope and pray that I will
But today I am still just a Laurie.
Boy: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.
Bill: Well, I got this far. When I started I wasn't even rich, I was just raised horses.
Some folks back home decided they wanted a new basketball court, so they called
me, and I said, "You're right, there oughta be new basketball court."
Then I sat down and wrote them out a check and named it after Paige. And It
became my team, and it'll remain my team above and beyond the hockey thing.
I'm just a laurie
Yes I'm mr bill laurie,
And I got rejected by the NBA.
now the team is stuck in limbo
And ownership is tba
While a basketball man asks his lender's okay
and sees how much they let he Borrwee.
How I hope and pray that it will make my day,
But today I am still just a Laurie.
Boy: Listen to those fans arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?
Bill: Yeah, I'm one of the unlucky ones. Most owners never do things this open. I hope they decide to report on me favorably, otherwise I may cry.
Bill: Yeah, cry in Columbia. Ooh, but it looks like I'm gonna make money!
Now I go to Gary Bettman, and he tells the owners what to vote on me.
Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?
Bill: Then the team is someone else's mess and the whole thing starts all over again.
Boy: Oh no!
Bill: Oh yes! I'm just a Laurie
Yes, I'm mr Bill Laurie
And if they vote for me on Bettman's advice
Well, then I'm off to Mizzou
Where I'll wait in no line
And my daughter will have
someone else's Lsat she will sign
And if she signs it, then she'll study law.
How I hope and pray that she will,
But today I am still just a Laurie.
Boy: You mean even if the whole city says you
shouldn't sell to someone or move, you still can?
Bill: Yes, that's called a money. If the people want they can complain to their congressman and he can call my laywer and.... , and by that time so much time...
Boy: By that time you are already in Boise. It's not easy to keep a team with a bad owner, is it?
But how I want to dump this train wreck,
But today I am still just a laurie.
Sauer: He signed the check!
Now you're a ex-owner!
Bill: Oh yes!!!
Blues to retire MacInnis' #2
It's been 14 years since the last time the St. Louis Blues have retired a uniform number (Bernie Federko), and now Al MacInnis will have his #2 raised to the rafters of the Savvis Center (aka Preppy Heaven).
Although "Chopper" played more seasons with the Calgary Flames than the St. Louis Blues, I will always think of MacInnis as a Blues player (I am a Blues fan, duh) and it seems fitting that his uniform number gets retired in St. Louis before it get retired in Calgary (if the Flames decide to do that).
Full story here.
The St. Louis Blues today announced that former defenseman Al MacInnis’ No. 2 jersey will be retired on April 9 during a special in-game ceremony versus the Edmonton Oilers. He officially announced his retirement from a stellar professional playing career on September 9 after spending 23 seasons in the National Hockey League with the St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames.
“We are extremely pleased to announce that Al MacInnis will be the last Blues player to ever wear No. 2,” said Blues President & CEO Mark Sauer. “The sight of Al’s jersey hanging from the rafters of Savvis Center will serve as permanent testimony to his tremendous career in St. Louis.”
MacInnis will become only the fifth Blues player in franchise history to have his jersey number retired. Other Blues include: Bob Gassoff (No. 3 on Oct. 1, 1977), Barclay Plager (No. 8 on March 9, 1982), Brian Sutter (No. 11 on Dec. 30, 1988) and Hall of Famer Bernie Federko (No. 24 on March 16, 1991).
“I am truly honored that the Blues have elected to retire my number, and I’m flattered to join the list of players who have been recognized before me,” said MacInnis. “I will always consider myself part of the Blues family and will look back on my playing days here with fond memories of my teammates, my coaches, the staff and, last but not least, the fans.”
Now, with Brett Hull retired recently, when can we expect to see Brett Hull's #16 join Al's #2? Arguably, Brett Hull did more for the Blues and hockey in St. Louis than even Al MacInnis. Even if Bratt left for the $$ and won a cup with Dallas, he'll always be remembered first and foremost as a Blues player.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
SI's Fight Gallery
A 'scrap' book. Get it? (ducks incoming tomatoes)
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Maybe Eklund should stick to making up BS trade rumours...
As it turned out, Brian Eklund just made a cameo appearance in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Eklund, called up Tuesday to start in place of John Grahame in the Lightning's 3-2 loss at Montreal, was reassigned today to Springfield of the American Hockey League, the team announced.
Eklund played poorly in the loss and now sports a lovely 3.09GAA and .842 SV% and a sparking 0-1 record.
...but I'm sure he got some hot 'insider' information. Shall we expect to hear about how he heard that Tampa Bay might be sending Martin St. Louis to the Washington Capitals for Brendan Witt to clear cap space and shore up the Bolts' defence?
(assist to Bolts Mag)
Peter Forsberg ain't no Holla-Back Boy
Philadelphia Flyers forward Peter Forsberg presents pop singer Gwen Stefani and her dancers with a personalized Flyers jersey prior to sold out show at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA, on November 6.
Now, if Peter Forsberg's face doesn't say UNSPEAKABLE EVIL to you, than nothing will.
(and where is his right hand? hmmm? 0_o)
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The Worst Types of NHL Fans
Maybe the most alarming development of the 21st century -- other than reality TV shows, Freddie Prinze Jr, bobble-head dolls and the fact that some females actually identify with the dysfunctional characters on "Sex and the City" -- has been the declining standards of etiquette in our society.Now, the fans that are bad at sports events are probably just as annoying in real life. Still, there seems to be something about public events that can bring out the worst in people, or just the simple fact that some people have no sense of manners and self-awareness.
The best ideas were meant to be borrowed, so I decided to pilfer his idea (and some of his picks) and apply this to make a list of the worst hockey fans.
The list, in no particular order...
Of course, she's dressed in one of those Britney Spears outfits, she's chewing gum and she looks easier than Lacey Underall, but that's beside the point. This guy does not want you looking at her. And even though she gets up every inning and takes her sweet time shaking her buns up and down the aisle, he's glancing around with one of those "DeNiro in Taxi Driver" glares on his face.This macho dude is usually dressed in a tight t-shirt to show off his muscles (and perhaps hide the lack of other assets) and never really seems to be enjoying the game. Buddy, tell your girl to wear some respectable clothing or don't come to the game just to show off your "prize".
AND to the girls wearing such revealing clothing: You look cheap and rather foolish. This is a hockey rink, so try and dress more appropriately.
AND to the "guy who thinks everyone's looking at his girlfriend", your girl may be nice to look at, but most of us really don't think she is more than that.
Some warning signs: 1.) he's usually a high school senior or college freshman who hasn't really figured out the whole drinking thing yet; 2.) he's usually the shortest guy in his group; 3.) every two innings he hops up for another round; 4.) he always returns to his seat carrying two beers and spilling them all over the place; 5.) he enters some sort of catatonic, glazed trance by the [2nd intermission]; 6.) he becomes a legitimate "Heads up, that dude looks like he might puke" candidate by the seventh inning stretch.So true, so true. I am amazed that anyone would want to spend $30-40 on crappy stadium beer. These kids seem to be at the game simply to drink as much beer as possible and are never any good at holding it in. Therefore, they can't be Slavic ;)
This happens a lot at GM Place with the "Corporate" crowd in the lower seats. These guys are just as annoying as...
Look, are you there to watch a game or do a business deal? If your business is that important, can you go into the concourse and do your stuff there so the rest of us can enjoy the game without your incessant yakking...and, yes, the guys on the cell phone always talk way too loudly.
First, the guy stands up and slowly takes his wallet out of his back pocket (apparently it's impossible to remove your wallet from your back pocket if you're sitting). And he remains standing, oblivious, until someone gives him the "SIDDOWN!" and causes him to perform the bizarre "I'm still pulling my wallet out, but I'm crouching like someone just fired a gunshot" routine. God, I hate this guy.
These guys (usually two or three of them) have front row seats for the one and only time in their lives. They feel the need to be part of the game by banging on the glass like apes when the action gets close. After the third or fourth time, it gets very annoying.
They could be related to the glass-bangers, but not always. There are always a group of young men who feel the need to shout out the most inane crap at any opportunity. Do they shout like morons during the day? Probably not...but at the game, they'll let it all out. Loud Morons never say anything really funny or intelligent...mostly crap like "WOOOO!!" and other lame heckles. These guys also tend to hold their alcohol poorly, but don't always need to be 'juiced' to act like fools.
Look, try something else original for once, OK? We don't need you holding up signs that block our view, especially those that aren't all original. Are you so desparate for attention that you need to bring a lame sign to the game that panders strictly to the network? ...and must the networks continually show these morons? Really, focus on the guy with the original sign that says "I CAME TO A FLYERS GAME AND ALL I GOT WAS A ROBERT ESCHE REBOUND".
Usually found with the cell phone talkers in the lower bowl. These fans seem to think that you should clap politely only when directed to by the scoreboard screen. These 'fans' are simply at the game because it is the 'in' thing to do and/or they want to flaunt their wealth. Look, you came to a sports arena so you should expect some noise.
I don't want to be "That Guy" who corrects people, but I do get irritated when I sit near a guy that is explaining rules or something else hockey-related to his pals and gets EVERYTHING wrong!! His buddies, who are even more clueless than he is, nod their heads and soak it all up as gospel. Ugh!
Very often related to the "Glass Banger Guys". It's not enough to annoy us with their glass-banging ways, but now they must annoy us by trying to start the wave. We aren't there to watch you, boys!
With the new netting in place, loose pucks are a lot harder to come by. Still, you always seem to get one or two guys diving for a puck like it's the last bit of water on earth. It's amazing what some people will do for a souvenir that you could buy for $5 if it is that important to you. If the puck is in your row or close to you, then you have a right to fight for it. If the puck is in another row, then back off.
We've all cheered our team in an enemy [arena], but there's a difference between supporting the visitors and antagonizing the home fans, isn't there?
I've cheered for the Blues and Panthers at GM Place and I am smart enough to know not to piss off the Canucks fans. I am in their house, so I will be respectful and not try to act like an ass. It's one thing to cheer for a goal, but it's another to stand up and try and pick a fight.
Canadiens and Leafs fans are definitely the worst for being this type of fan at GM Place (From personal experience). Until they come up with European-style sections for opposing fans, you better play it safe unless you want beer cups thrown at your head.
You know I'm right ;)
Monday, November 07, 2005
John LeClair: Just another Visorless Victim
Penguins left wing John "Chocolate" LeClair is out indefinitely after being hit near the right eye by a puck during Pittsburgh's practice on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
LeClair suffered multiple fractures to the "cheekbone region," team officials told the paper.
LeClair is to be re-examined in Pittsburgh (the Penguins were in Boston on Saturday, where they suffered a loss to the Bruins), but preliminary indications are that he will not require surgery for the injury.
Damien Cox, not usually known for having a functioning brain, wrote a decent writeup for ESPN.com on the whole visor issue.
Most players currently in the NHL wore visors or masks until they entered the league, but many then took them off. Why? Well, the most cited reason is that face masks, either clear or wire, somehow impair on-ice vision.
A more unstated reason is that players believe it is an issue of manhood, particularly those who prefer a physical style of play and thus, at least to some, must be prepared to drop their gloves and fight. Players who wear visors and try to fight are seen as having an unfair advantage.
That this is akin to calling Major League Baseball players chicken for wearing batting helmets is logic that doesn't penetrate those who embrace this notion. Indeed, Los Angeles forward Sean Avery, gunning for early recognition as the NHL's moron of the year, recently slandered both French-Canadians and players who wear visors as somehow lacking in courage after teammate Jeremy Roenick was flattened by a clean check delivered by Phoenix defenseman Denis Gauthier.
"Oh, but Jes, visors make it hard to see"
BS! I know that is not true and it's a pretty weak excuse unless you happen to never wipe off the visor (Yes, it requires wiping, but so does your ass after going to the washroom).
"There is no statistically significant difference for visual acuity, color vision and sensitivity to contrast with or without eye protection," wrote optometry researchers Sheila Laplante and Sophie Pilon.
"We wanted to know if [NHL players] were justified in complaining about this factor. Our conclusions are very clear; they are wrong."
I know the fogginess of visors is often cited as a reason not to wear them. It doesn't seem to prevent Markus Naslund or Paul Kariya from using them without complaint.
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," said former NHL goalie Ken Dryden, now a cabinet minister in the Canadian federal government.Exactly. Why doesn't Gary Bettman force the issue like he did with his 'Cost Certainty'. I have no sympathy for LeClair since this is/was an injury that is/was preventable.
"So, speed up the when."
Doing the Wa-Tuzzi
It's bad, but it's catchy like the Avian bird flu.
...and now he's writing a song about the other loser on the Canucks, Jarko Ruutu:
Ruutu, Ruutu rocks ’em like U2.*groan*
He’s gonna be a star, he plays the game hard.
Ruutu, Ruutu he knows what to do.
He’s gonna take us far.
Jarko Ruutu’s a feisty Finn.
He’s always getting under someone’s skin.
He’s not scared to throw open ice hits.
And he’s not afraid to drop his mitts.
Not afraid to drop his mitts? Don't tell that to Dion Phaneuf, who bailed Ruutu from a beating thanks to tripping over his own stick.
Anyway, here is Heavy Eric's website where you can listen to these songs.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Looking at Costs and Attendance
I mean, who buys 2 caps every time to go to a game?
Anyway, I got into spreadsheet mode and decided to compare ticket prices, beer prices (the 2nd most important price to most), and attendance.
I don't know how the NHL comes up with over 100% capacity for attendance, but we'll add in that number anyway.
New Jersey seems to gouge fans who want to attend hockey in the middle of the swamp. Go figure that their attendance is pretty low.
I was astonished to see that the Maple Leafs tickets are not in the Top 3. This team could sell out each and every game without trying. If there a fanbase that can be gouged, it would be Toronto. I was also surprised that the Rangers weren't higher...and yet I am not surprised the Canucks are way up there...lots of snobby yuppies with disposable income and Canucks games are the hot trend. >:(
The other New York team also charges relatively high prices and gets (not surprisingly) bad attendance. People talk about the 'Souther' franches as failures, but the Isles have had attendance problems for years and troubles getting a good facility in an area that doesn't suck.
Tampa Bay really rakes in the dough with their beer sales. $.50 an ounce and over 20,000 fans per game this year...and they were the team that once proposed a promotion for free beer. Hmmm..
San Jose - I am also surprised by the relatively cheap price of Sharks tickets as the neighbourhood is full of very rich young people (even after the tech crash).
Anaheim - Burkie, you may want to try lowing beer prices (like the Anaheim Angels baseball team did) to attract some more fans to come to the games.
Buffalo - It's hard to be a fan of any of Buffalo's team, but it must be easy when the ticket and beer prices are relatively cheap.
Carolina - Low prices and low attedance :(. Pick up the slack!
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Carnival of the NHL #12 is up
Go on over and check it out.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Q: What will be your first steps in your new position?Pavel and his brother Valeri were always very eager and supportive to play for Team Russia while others, especially Alexander Mogilny, refused to play for their country at all or didn't play with much heart.
P. Bure: I was assigned just an hour ago (laughing). But I will mention the important part. Only those players will go to Turin, who wants to play not for me, Steblin, or Krikunov, but for Russia. Players that are willing to defend the honor of their motherland, and win the Olympic Games. Only gold will be accepted. I’m not going to set any other goal for the team. And I’m not going to persuade anyone. I remember when I was a player and came to Olympics, I didn’t care who was a coach, and who was FHR’s president. I played for my country, and its fans.
You can read the full interview here.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
The Hurting Todd Bertuzzi
He is, to be certain, one big, enigmatic mass of a man. He is Todd Bertuzzi, who also happens to be one of the most dominant hockey players on the planet when he chooses to be.Sad, but true. It's cliché to say that an athlete can just simply score more if he wants to, but it really is the case for Todd Bertuzzi. There are times when he can take the game by the neck but he usually doesn't these days. With just 2 goals and 11 points in 13 games, Bertuzzi really hasn't re-established himself as the game's elite Power Forward that he once was.
It is not always easy to feel compassion for Bertuzzi. Even before "The Incident" he was a nasty piece of business for the inquiring minds. The majority of pro-hockey players understand the media's role, and view our inquisitions as a necessary evil.
Bertuzzi viewed us an unnecessary one, and that was on his good days. Trevor Linden can take a poorly framed question and provide a thoughtful answer, understanding that we are simply conduits from the players to the fans. Bertuzzi has chosen to ignore that link, opting instead, more often than not, to reveal little about himself or his craft.
One thing that doesn't help Bertuzzi is the image he has of a surly jerk and a very unfriendly guy to be around (and a cheap guy who doesn't like to foot the bill at the bars/restaurants for his teammates). Bertuzzi seems to have taken the "I don't care what they say route" and doesn't spend time fighting media fires. Todd doesn't want to play the villain that the media and many fans see in him.
Barry goes on to declare that the Steve Moore incident haunts Todd Bertuzzi.
He isn't have an easy time getting back to what he does best. I had suggested on numerous occasions the best thing for Bertuzzi would be to get back on the ice and rock someone with a clean hit at the very first opportunity.
But it just isn't that easy. You have to pick your spots to make that kind of check and those spots can be few and far between. More than anything however, you have to be mentally prepared to make such a physical statement, and as yet, I'm not convinced Bertuzzi is ready to do that. He has had moments, but until I see that sneer, that scowl and that arrogance that so defines him, I will maintain the Moore incident haunts him to some degree.
As if Bertuzzi wasn't an emotional enigma before the incident, now the big guy is afraid he'll get called for a penalty or chastised by the media for laying even a clean bodycheck on a guy. Apart from a very few flashes, Bertuzzi has been afraid to assert himself in any physical matter this season. It's frustrating to watch Bertuzzi loaf around the ice and coasting like Mark Messier was famous for after his first go-round with the Rangers.
I'm no sports psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, so I can't diagnose exactly what is wrong with Bertuzzi. I can just say that I believe he does feel the weight of the world on his shoulders and keeps everything bottled up. Bertuzzi is as closed to the media as you can get with a non-European NHL star. Kids and others who have met Bertuzzi have stated that he is a nice man, albeit quite shy and keeps to himself. Bertuzzi has admitted that he doesn't really like taking vacations and would rather just stay at home during the summer.
The attack on Moore seemed to be a release of emotions from a bunch of things that been building up for Bertuzzi (It was a very frustrating year for him in many respects up until that point).
It's important that Canuck fans keep this all in perspective. For Todd Bertuzzi, it's not as simple as just lacing them up anymore.It should be easy for non-Avalanche fans to just let it go. Why would Oilers fans be booing Bertuzzi? They should be saving their energy and booing their inept management.
It's one thing to be packing around those expectations that go with being one of the best players in the game. It's another to be saddled with a load of emotional baggage.
This isn't to suggest that you feel sorry for Bertuzzi ... it is to suggest you understand the road back might just be a little rocky.
As for Bertuzzi, he is getting paid a lot of money for his services and he's not delivering good value. I have a right to be angry at the fact that Bertuzzi is not asserting himself and seemingly doing nothing to correct his mental problems. If he is so afraid of bodychecking or throwing his heft around, then he needs to spend some quality time with a psychiatrist and he needs to take the bull by the horns.
Until I see Bertuzzi develop a "screw you" attitude and just knock defenders down like bowling pins, I, and the other Canucks fans, reserve the right to criticize his lackluster play. Why should we have to wait for Bertuzzi to "play angry"? Todd should play hard every game and deliver a performance in line with the heavy salary he has saddled the Canucks with.