Monday, April 30, 2007
It's so Awesome to (not) be Sidney Crosby
(I am not Sidney Crosby or officially affiliated with Sidney Crosby, just so you know)
... it doesn't seem to stop people from sending me emails, somehow thinking that I am Sidney Crosby, himself.
I mean, other than the fact that I have no endorsement deals, hockey skills, horse teeth, longish hair, millions of dollars, and a big nose, we're pretty much similar, no?
Just a sample of emails I've had in the past month ...
" Your so hot dont change =p"
Ok, I won't.
"Hey sidney i heard that u want to learn french. I have a sister who is 18 that speaks very well in french and is willing to teach you. i also heard that you were were looking for a girl who will go with your hockey schule, we have a brother who plays hockey and we go to every game so we are really big hockey fans so my sister go's good with hockey schule and she would love life on the road.
to contact me email me at email@example.com"
We know puckbunnies aren't exactly MIT graduates, but the level of grammar and spelling in some of these emails is downright scary. Sidney's bunnies are pretty hungry for some tutoring. Would Sidney accept any French tutoring from somebody who's family clearly lacks in writing skills?
And from some Swedish guy ...
"I am a big fan of Sidney Crosby, and i would be werry happy if i could get you autogarf.
I am living in sweden so i need to stay up late evry evning when pitsburgh
plays to see you do goals!
IF i could get you autogarf, you can send it too [Address withheld out of mercy]"
Oh, and random scary comment of the day:
"hey sidney my ex-boyfriend is obsessed with you his name is preston rogers!!!"
Ahh, the benefits of blogging... Now, excuse me while I go sign some autogarfs for Preston Rogers.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The Truth About Jan Bulis
Jan Bulis: Penalty Killer Extraordinaire, Master of the Hip-Check, Pavol Demitra wanna-be.
Bulis doesn't get a whole lot of love and respect from Canucks' fan and media, because these people just don't know the REAL Jan Bulis.
Things about Jan Bulis you didn't know ...
... and know you know!
Labels: Jan Bulis
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Vancouver's Daily Double
Just one look, and I knew ...
You would make everything clear ...
Make all the clouds disappear.
Put all your fears to rest.
Who do I love the best?"
Ahhh... I love it when the Giants and Canucks both win in the same night.
Yep, lost in the Canucks double-OT win was the fact that the Vancouver Giants beat up on the Prince George Cougars to advance to the WHL finals. Go figure that they did it in 5 games, just as they did to Seattle and Chilliwack. They are off to Medicine Hat to face the Tigers, giving them a fourth chance to make an animal extinct (Bruins, Thunderbirds, Cougars... go Giants!)
Racey Wacey Rabbit was on frickin fire in this series, scoring six times and adding two assists in the five games. Is he gonna make the NHL? probably not, but that doesn't mean he isn't kickin some butt in the junior ranks.
Most of the other Canucks bloggers (and that drunken Duck blogger) have had their say on last night's win over the Ducks, so I don't need to ramble on too long. Most of what I had to say is over at The NHL Fanhouse. If you don't visit that site thrice a day, you better start, lest I get Jan Bulis on your ass.
(Bonus points if anyone gets that reference)
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wayne Gretzky's Blonde Bimbo Cries to Chatelaine
As you can find out in the article on their website, Wayne's trophy wife is having such a rough go at it, having to be away from her breadwinner so often. It's enough to bring a tear to one's eye, really...
Though the couple is seldom apart for more than 10 days at a time, it's still a long-distance relationship that leaves Janet a weekday parent to Paulina, Tristan, Emma and 14-year-old Trevor. (Sixteen-year-old Ty Gretzky goes to prep school in Minnesota.) "We've done this for a couple of years now, but I don't think we're going to be able to do it next year," says Janet. "This travelling back and forth is kind of getting to us."Oh, how could the kids possibly MOVE to another city! *GASP* They might be scarred for life!! Such anguish, pain, and misery... a 50 minute plane ride on a private plane? That must be so hard for you. Shall I crack open a bottle of Cristal to ease your suffering?
Moments later, however, Janet sounds resigned. Moving to Phoenix would cause too much upheaval for her older kids, who enjoy life in L.A. Besides, she adds, Phoenix is only 50 minutes away by plane and it's never hard when she has her children with her. "It's when I have to leave my children that I don't like."
After drinking enough coffee to wake the dead, I actually managed to finish this terribly boring article, which sort of (very lightly) addresses that pesky gambling scandal:
"They were trying to paint something that just wasn't true," she adds. "It's unfair that Wayne and I have had a great marriage for 20 years and a nice family, and the people in the media could care less if they are trying to cause friction in your marriage, trouble in your family, and make your kids feel a certain way. That was a little hurtful because it was like, 'Why? What have we ever done to you?' "Well, you did steal Gretzky away from Canada and take him to LA. *cough*
Loan Sharking, which was part of the allegations, and illegal betting, are criminal acts, babe. The media certainly made a bigger-than-it-should-have fuss about it, but your fingerprints are on the gun, so you ought to expect questions.
Overall, just a spoiled bunch of people.
I was watching last night's 'Nucks/Ducks game and noticed a lot of Anaheim fans dressed in ORANGE...I don't get it; I mean orange is not one of the Ducks' colors. Furthermore:
In America, only prisoners wear orange
1. Orange is usually worn by hunters, the enemy of ducks
2. Wouldn't orange be better for the opposing fans?
Maybe there are just a lot of Dutch people in Anaheim?
I don't have much more to say about last night's debacle other than what I wrote at The NHL Fanhouse.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Video of the Day: Slovak Silliness
Words escape me right now ...
Thanks to 'aquietgirl'
Greg's Second Round Picks
(for Jes's picks, click here.)
Anaheim vs. Vancouver - Canucks in 7
I think they're pretty evenly matched, in the end. Edge goes to Vancouver because it would be unseemly for me to pick against them so soon after I jumped on their bandwagon.
Detroit vs. San Jose - Red Wings in 6
I feel pretty unclean making that pick, but as I've mentioned before, nothing about this Sharks team really thrills me. (Of course, they don't need to thrill me -- just win -- but I don't think they'll do that, either.)
New Jersey vs. Ottawa - Devils in 7
I've got some sort of mental block -- I just really don't think that it's possible for the Senators to win in the playoffs. If they were going up against some other team, and not the Robot Overlords of New Jersey, I might feel better, but...
Buffalo vs. NY Rangers - Sabres in 6
I have a feeling I'll regret this one, actually. Before round one I questioned the Rangers' heart and goaltending -- both were great against the poor, beleaguered Thrashers. They might have enough to beat the Sabres. But since my gut instincts are almost unfailingly wrong -- I'll go with my head here.
It's Time for Duck L'Anaheim: Canuck Style!
Now that the Canucks are set to meet the Ducks and do a little Duck Hunting, it's time for a new recipe.
Here is how the Canucks will make Duck L'Anaheim.
1. Devise strategy to locate and trap Duck (Vigneault)
2. Trip the Duck (Morrison)
3. Shoot Duck (Salo)
4. Beat Duck (Bieksa)
5. Catch Duck (Luongo)
6. Accidentally drop duck (Bulis)
7. Chop it's legs off (Burrows)
8. Start Cooke-ing the duck
9. Slowly turn the duck round and round and round (Sedins)
10. Add some spice (Cowan)
11. Finish Cooke-ing the Duck, and serve with a glass of Brian Burke Whine
12. Don't forget to wash your dishes afterward with a bit of Sopel
13. Save some room for spicey Red Wings or Shark Fin soup.
I have a much more extensive preview of the Canucks/Ducks series over at The NHL Fanhouse. BE sure to check out that and the other good previews there.
I also get a bet going with Earl Sleek of the Battle of California. When the Ducks are cooked, he gets to embarrass himself for my pleasure.
2nd Round Predictions:
Anaheim vs. Vancouver - Ducks in 6.
Canucks won't be able to score enough against a tough, goonish Anaheim team.
Detroit vs. San Jose - Wings in 7
Red Wings can stop Thornton/Cheechoo like the Predators couldn't.
New Jersey vs. Ottawa - Senators in 6
Senators have much more offensive depth and seem much more prepared to pay the price needed to win playoff hockey games.
Buffalo vs. New York Rangers - Sabres in 5
Sabres will have their way with the Rangers D in a very high-scoring series.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Now Who Do I Support?
Earlier than I hoped or expected, I've got the sad choice most hockey fans have to face at some point: with my teams all on the golf course, who do I support going forward?
Even beyond my normal teams (the Thrashers and the Avalanche, if you forgot -- I haven't been around much lately) my secondary teams are gone as well. St. Louis never made it, Nashville (my pre-season Stanley Cup pick) is gone, all the Southeastern Division teams are out.
So I've got to pick from a group that's none-too-appealing, if I want this season to have any meaning for me.
A look at the candidates:
Detroit Red Wings
Pros: Absolutely none.
Cons: My least favorite team. Amazing collection of jackasses.
The verdict: I'm not rooting for them to do anything except collectively get STDs.
Pros: Dropped the "Mighty" and the eggplant uniforms. I'm a Chris Pronger fan. A SoCal Stanley Cup winner would be kind of cool.
Cons: Brad May, who really should be an honorary Red Wing. And did they scrap Wild Wing this year?
The verdict: A definite possibility.
Pros: Having divested themselves of Bertuzzi and May, they're a lot easier to root for. I have a Vancouver Canucks Christmas ornament (from a relative who figured all hockey teams are basically equal). Roberto Luongo is a pleasure to watch. They've been around as long as the Sabres, and don't whine as much about not having a Cup. Vancouver is, by all accounts, a pleasant city.
Cons: My rooting for the Canucks would make Jes and Alanah smug and insufferable.
The verdict: They're a contender.
San Jose Sharks
Pros: Nothing offensive about this team.
Cons: Nothing interesting about this team.
The verdict: If it gets to the point where it's only the Sharks and a team I hate, I likely will have lost all interest in hockey. And, perhaps, life.
Pros: If you haven't heard, Buffalo is the city without championships, and good God they deserve one. I like Drury -- and in fact, a lot of their players. I've got friends from the area (well, Rochester) and they're all fine people.
Cons: If I have to hear any more whining about how the city of Buffalo has been wronged over the years, I'll vomit out my spine. Actually, a theoretical end to the whining would be a reason to cheer them on.
The verdict: Maybe if they end up against the Red Wings.
New Jersey Devils
Pros: There's something coldly impressive about their one-track-mind commitment to winning. And I know Jes thinks poorly of him, but Brodeur is pretty impressive.
Cons: Who wants to root for Lou Lamoriello? Also, there's something relentlessly dull and robotic about the Devils, even if they're scoring 18 goals.
The verdict: See Buffalo.
Pros: They've often filled this void for me in the past. There's good karma in rooting for Canadian teams. I still like Heatley, and several other players.
Cons: They always end up falling short.
The verdict: Quite possible. I'm fond of them.
New York Rangers
Pros: Lots of Czechs. I admire the way they've built their team (after years of doing it the wrong way). I sort of half-assedly buy into the theory that a New York win spurs interest in the States. Brendan Shanahan was my favorite player in the early-mid '90s.
Cons: The Thrashers loss made me accustomed to spitting venom at them. Shanahan sure ain't my favorite player NOW.
The verdict: Maybe in another round. The pain's still too fresh.
So, all that taken into account -- as well as all sorts of esoteric calculations that I won't begin to explain -- the winner is:
The Vancouver Canucks.
I feel a little queasy about this, I'll admit. I still remember the Steve Moore hit. There's plenty of bad blood.
But all things being equal -- a Canucks win would be most pleasurable to see. A team that's been around a while, a good fan base.
Runner-up would be the Senators. Actually, all I want is for the Red Wings to fall short. That's all I ask.
The Hockey Rants Hockey & Sex Quiz
A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste, according to some adult magazine I read in my teen years.
So, what do my girlfriend and I come up with when there's nothing good on TV? How about the Hockey Rants Hockey & Sex Quiz?
What kind of stick do you prefer?
1. Long, like Stephane Richer's
2. Short, like Geoff Sanderson's
3. Fat, like Marty Turco's
4. Bright Yellow, like Mario Lemieux's
5. Illegal, like Marty McSorely's
6. Bright, shiny, and metallic - Wayne Gretzky
7. A classic woody, like Al MacInnis
What is your favourite penalty?
3. Checking from behind
5. Too Many Men
What kind of 'look' do you prefer?
1. Girly - Valeri Bure
2. Boyish - Sidney Crosby
3. Freaky Foreigner - Alex Ovechkin
4. Rugged Country Boy - Brendan Witt
5. Party Animal - Darren McCarty
6. Metro/Pretty - Taylor Pyatt
7. Professional - Igor Larionov
8. F'Ugly - Mike Ricci
9. Adonis - Jiri Slegr
1. Forward - Like to score!
2. Goalie - Always taking shots
3. Defense - Prevening others from scoring
4. Goon - You like it rough!
5. Benchwarmer - You enjoy watching from the sidelines
Your sex life resembles ...
1. Blackhawks - You don't even bother trying
2. Anaheim - Lots of banging and crashing
3. Senators - Can't come through when it counts
4. Predators/Thrashers - Done quickly
5. Stars - Boring and methodical
6. Canucks - Lots of foreplay and lots of overtime
7. Maple Leafs - Lots of trying, but no scoring
Your uniform of choice?
1. Red and seductive - Red Wings
2. Sultry Black - Penguins
3. Christmas colours - Wild...unwrap that gift!
4. Boring and generic - Ducks
5. Not tonight, honey! - Sabres
6. Break out the lube - Oilers
7. Leaves you howling - Coyotes
Your favourite hockey blogger ...
1. Greg - Depressed Thrashers fan who is a great cook.
2. Jes - Tall, dark, and handsome Slovak. You'll have to compete with Pavol, though.
3. Alanah - Crazy Canucks fan who loves to drink and tattoos the name of goalies on her ass.
4. Mirtle - Popular, Big name blogger with the big black book.
5. Tom Benjamin - Cranky old man who needs a good hug.
6. Kukla - He posts so often...more than anyone else. None of us could ever keep up!
7. Odd Man Rush - He likes to post video...quite the voyeur!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Some people like extreme skiing, cocaine, or cliff jumping. For my adrenaline rush, I'll take NHL playoff hockey for $400, Alex.
Canucks 4 - Stars 1... Canucks finally got some Power Play tallies, showed hunger in the final two periods, and ultimately won the frickin game.
Trevor Linden = True Playoff Warrior (tm)
I got a shorts and T-shirt on, and I'm DRENCHED in sweat...and now I gotta keep this itchy facial hair going...*scratches*
My g/f: "The Canucks are true to form - all year they have been winning games at the last minute and by one goal... now they did it again in the playoffs!"
I got an email from Brandon, a Stars fan, prior to tonight's game:
Allow me to giggle at the Canucks expense for a second as I was a Stars fan that wrote them off after game 4.
There were also huge questions about the Turco factor (which he has now finally answered)...many here felt they should've stepped in and traded Turco for Roberto
(that dude is freakin' awesome) before Florida delt him to Vancouver...but Armstrong had married Turco and that feeling appears to be well founded. Anyway, I hope Burrows breaks his ankle in pregame tonight and you are very depressed and the Canucks are off ice fishing or some such on Tuesday.
Well, the Canucks responded on my behalf ;)
Bring on the mallards!
Picture of the Day: The Fellowship of the Wings
An Open Letter to the Hockey Gods
Dear Hockey Gods,
We know that you are mean, spiteful, cruel, and evil deities. From moving franchises from Canada to the USA, giving the Stanley Cup to markets such as Detroit, Dallas, Colorado, and Tampa Bay, to installing your minion Gary Bettman as commissioner, you've proven that you want to hurt the game and make it hard on us Canadian fans (or fans near the Canadian border, such as Buffalo). Yes, you've done quite a great job torturing us up here in Canada by giving our franchises token appearances in the cup finals.
Having the DEVILS win the Stanley Cup THREE times pretty much proves your divine evilness.
So, I'm not going to bother praying to you, since you'll just laugh in my face as my boss did when I asked for a wage readjustment.
Instead, I'm going to 'suggest' that you let the Canucks win Game Seven against the Stars tonight, and then perhaps the Stanley Cup later this spring.
You heard me. I'm giving YOU advice.
Because, giving the series win to the Dallas Stars, as would giving the Cup to a team such as Detroit, would be just so ... predictable! You've done it before, and it's getting kind of old now.
Do you want to be know as complacent, boring gods? Can you truly be a good deity if you are predictable? Hmm?
Remember how weird it was when the Carolina Hurricanes, of all teams, won the cup last year? Wouldn't it just throw people into more chaos if the Vancouver Canucks or Ottawa Senators captured the Stanley Cup?
So, please take my suggestion to heart and try something different for a change. Remember, Canadians invented the game and the reason for your very existence.
PS: Keep torturing Leafs fans. That never gets old!
PPS: Please give Greg Millen a heart attack. Even you guys can't like the guy!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Canucks Whine: Vintage 2007
I know I'm not the only Canucks fan in a complete panic now, given how the Canucks score less than Bill Gates during his Harvard years.
This team is choosing the worst time to be an offensive black hole. No goals in two games??? Ugh... I post some of the nasty stats over at The NHL Fanhouse.
My girlfriend, too, is sharing my pain. Here are her thoughts:
Well, this series is an exercise in frustration. Often it seems like the Canucks have gotten used to the idea of getting a goal at the last minute (just how many one-goal wins have we seen with the winning goal scored in the dying minutes of the third or in OT?), so seem to spend great periods of time just meandering around on the ice like a bunch of zombies. Only Luongo seems to be alive out there for the Canucks side, but being a goalie, we can't expect him to stand on his head and score goals too.
Will someone FREAKING score already? The Sedins have been shut down and didn't even register a SHOT in the sixth game. So why isn't someone standing up, getting their butt in front of Marty Turkey and and at least making his saves harder? It isn't hard to figure out people!
Anyways... this team wasn't even expected to make the playoffs this year, much less be the divisional leader and take the Cup. But now that we have had a taste of a good Canucks team in the latter half of the year, we wanna CUP! And we don't want to see these pre-Christmas idiots anymore.
I'm not the only one in whine mode...
Alluring Alanah over at Canucks and Beyond:
It is NOT okay. From the time the puck dropped, that was a team full of so much disinterest, aside from a couple players (Luongo, Burrows...? someone else maybe? oh, who cares… Burrows comes to mind because he hit someone, and I approve; and Luongo was, well, Luongo) that it’s surprising the crowd didn’t start throwing vegetables at them.
Zanstorm at Waiting for Stanley:
Vancouver stabbed themselves in the foot early in the game by taking 2 consecutive penalties, allowing Dallas to score a PP goal (Modano) with the 2-man advantage. Mattias Ohlund coughed the puck up in the 3rd leading to a Jeff Halpern killer goal.
Chalk it up as an off night for Vancouver. An off-night that may cost them the series.
For now, we can console ourselves with the fact that we still have home-ice advantage, and that you KNOW the Canucks will come out better in Game 7. They have to. As well, there is a small chance that both Sergei Zubov and Brendan Morrow may not play in Game 7. God, that would be sweet.
What is concerning me is that it seems like an eternity since they scored their last goal. It seems that none of the lines are clicking, due mostly to the fact that Dallas is shutting them down.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Photo of the Day: Alfredsson is Smokin', Too!
Goddamn $*!&%^@ STARS!!!
Last night was a reminder of how just much I hate the Dallas Stars, and now we have to put up with another heart-attack inducing, low-scoring game against these dweebs.
Note to the Power Play: YOU SUCK!!! 1-for-24 is pathetic!! Everyone and their dog knows that Henrik is going to try and slap-pass the puck to Daniel after they cycle the puck in the corner for half an hour. Vigneault needs to send Josh Green or Jeff Cowan out there to create some traffic in front of the net. Nobody is getting in front of Turco, and he can see the puck clearly.
Having your team lose 1-0 in OT is doubly-frustrating: No goals and no win!! Picking the Sedins in my pool is working out about as well as David Caruso's post-ER-before-CSI career.
The look on the Canucks and their fans' faces told the story. Now reality stares us in the face. The Dallas Stars, their fans, and the Dallas media-who gave the Stars no hope in this series- are going to change their tune now, and we will have to bear it all until Saturday.
When you lose 1-0 in such a close game you can over-analyze what the Canucks did wrong. But I'm not going to do that. I can bag on Smolinski, Dan Sedin and Hansen for missing their golden opportunities, but I won't.
Well, I will bag on Smolinski and Daniel, because they've been missing far too many opportunities this series. Smolinski, in particular, has contracted Tommi Santala disease, where he'll miss a wide open net if given the chance.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Turn Out the Lights
The Thrashers end with at least one distinction -- the first team bounced from the playoffs. Hooray?
On a hungover morning, there really isn't much to say about the game. The Thrashers looked pretty good at times -- the Rangers just were a better team. The Thrashers seemed to be working hard. They.... just weren't that good.
So after a playoff debacle, what next? In instant messages yesterday I suggested fire Waddell, fire Hartley, trade Kovalchuk, who knows what else. Now, with a bit of sleep and sanity injected, that seems like a bit much. But what next? Atlanta blows everything out to make the playoffs, dumps picks and prospects, and they're still out in a not-too-competitive four games.
Waddell should be gone. Seven seasons, four playoff games. It's not so much that he's done a lot wrong (aside from the Alex Bourret for Pascal Dupuis trade, which was pretty foolish). But the team seems stuck in neutral -- they should have made the playoffs before now, they should have been battle-tested before now. Time for someone new. (note: this all gets reversed if the Thrashers think about Doug MacLean as an option.)
Hartley? The "Stanley Cup winner" label shouldn't mean much any more -- he won that with Sakic, Forsberg, Hejduk, Drury, Bourque, Blake, Foote, and Roy. I'm a fan of the guy, I've rooted for his teams in Colorado and Atlanta, but the team fell apart down the stretch, he clashed with Kovalchuk, and he was thoroughly outcoached in the playoffs. Bring in someone new. (note: Waddell has already said it's 100% certain Hartley will be back next year, though.)
The rest of the team? Nine players are under contract for next year -- Kovalchuk, Hossa, Holik, Havelid, Rucchin, Lehtonen, Slater, Hedberg, and Zhitnik. I'm ok with all of those -- though Holik is really overpaid for his level of contribution.
The rest of the guys? Tkachuk definitely shouldn't be back, though he played well after coming over. He's going to increasingly be an albatross, and a heartless one. Andy Sutton, for the love of all that's holy, shouldn't be back -- if they really need someone to take bad penalties and turn the puck over in front of the net, they can doubtless find someone cheaper. I love Greg deVries but he's too expensive. Slava Kozlov vanished down the stretch and is starting to head downhill. Scott Mellanby will probably retire.
I'd like to see Eric Belanger back, like to see Jon Sim back, like to see a few other guys back. But I think the key change is gonna have to come from outside. As much as terms like "heart" and "intangibles" make me roll my eyes, the Thrashers are a pretty heartless team. They're chippy, but when things get tough they fold like crazy. Aside from Mellanby and Garnet Exelby -- neither of which are core players -- and in his weird quiet way, Niclas Havelid, no one seems to be a chips-are-down type guy. Watching Brendan "Human Garbage" Shanahan snarl and sneer and hiss (and score goals) throughout the series, it really struck me that Atlanta didn't have anyone equivalent. The closest thing was Ilya K throwing his temper tantrums, which didn't really stack up.
So now, the offseason begins. In a few days, I'll decide who to cheer for going forward (hint: not the Rangers), and commence dreaming of Chris Drury in a Thrashers uniform. Then prepare for a summer where the Thrashers give Waddell a six-year extension, sign Tkachuk and Sutton, and trade for Derian Hatcher. Really, after a series like we just saw, I wonder if I'm better off giving all this up and starting a blog based on soccer or something. Feh.
Just Call Him "Mac The Knifed"
The Blue Jackets, about 3 years too late, fired President/GM Doug MacLean and have made the first step to not sucking. I just hope they don't hire away Steve Tambellini from the Canucks.
As always, you can find more details and analysis over at The Fanhouse.
While I'll always hold a special place in my heart for MacLean, who coached the Florida Panthers (my old favourite non-Canucks team), he is, without a doube, one of the worst executives in NHL history.
I guess the only ones who are sad at this news, outside of the MacLean family, are the NHL agents, who managed to soak the Jackets out of millions for their overpaid clients. Was there an easier rube than MacLean, other than Neil Smith during his tenure at GM of the Rangers?
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
If You Can't Say Anything Nice
I got an e-mail from Jes this afternoon, expressing shock that I hadn't weighed in on last night's foolishness. The reasons were twofold:
1) I missed the game. Incredibly busy at work for most of the night, and by the time things tapered off a bit to where I could conceivably watch it on television, I'd had enough less-busy co-workers tell me "4-0," "5-0," "6-0" that I didn't feel any compelling reason to turn it on. Wakes aren't my idea of entertainment.
2) It's just too ridiculous to even acknowledge. 4-0 or 6-1 would be worth the anger, but why even draw attention to the fact that a team I root for lost 7-0? I don't go out of my way to make people aware of embarrassing things. And if I talk about the game, someone might tell me how Ilya Kovalchuk's "fighting major" looked, and I probably do not want to know.
Instead, a couple fun facts from the series:
* Thrashers' leading scorer: Pascal Dupuis!
* Ilya Kovalchuk: as many fighting majors as goals
* Marian Hossa: no points
* Leading shot-taker: Bobby Holik
* Belanger, Hossa, Kozlov: combined -15
And so on. I also note that everything I said about this series beforehand (most of it, thankfully, I was smart enough not to write here) has turned out to be wrong -- the Rangers aren't soft, Lundqvist isn't falling apart, and so on. That in mind, I'll predict a 4-1 Thrashers win tonight -- I can't imagine them coming back to win the series at this point, but one last gasp sounds about right.
Are NHL Goal Judges Being Downsized?
Reader "Progressive Rocker" sent me a quick email this morning...
I was watching the Wild/Ducks game last Friday night (yes, I am VERY lonely), and heard something strange from the announcers doing the game (I think they were from the CBC): Anaheim is no longer stationing the goal judges directly behind the goal; in fact, they're selling the seats directly behind the goal and stashed the judges way up in the rafters!
I wouldn't put it past an NHL owner for greed, but have any other teams started this practice?
If I recall correctly, Don Cherry recently ranted about the Leafs (I think it was them) planting a goal judge above the seats in the lower bowl!!
Umm, just how is a goal judge supposed to do their job when they are farther away from the play than half of the people in attendance? It is silly, and I'm amazed that the NHL has actually allowed this. Technically, the teams are breaking the rules by not having following the standard officiating configuration.
Do the owners want the extra ticket revenue? of course they do, but the goal judge is supposed to be a working official, and it's just a disgrace to have them sitting far away from the game. What is the point of even having them, then?
Are teams trying to press the issue with the NHL? If so, I wish they'd do it in less disgraceful means. The poor goal judge (from Cherry's clip) looked like he was depressed and embarressed to be there. Can you imagine the ribbing he got from the fans around him? It was bad enough that the goal judges lost their nice little glass box, but now they have to sit behind some drunk yahoo screaming "Sorry, am I blocking your view? Didn't you see that go in? Hahahaha! WOOOO!!!"
Look, with today's technology, there is no real need for goal judges in the NHL. In the other leagues? Yes, but not the NHL.
Has anyone else seen goal judges in weird places?
Photo of the Day: Cryin' Bryan
Don't believe me? Then, what is he doing here?
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Own a Piece of Playoff History!
You knew it had to happen... Brent Sopel missed Game One of the Stars-Canucks playoffs, due to all things... a cracker-based injury.
Now you can be the proud owner of said cracker, now on sale on Ebay.
Yeah, my girlfriend was surfing around Ebay and found this strange auction right here.
Yeah, some enterprising profiteer managed to snag up the snack treat that caused Sopel so much pain.
It happened last week, on a day not unlike this one..
Brent, who was feeling fatigued and weary from hard practice before playoffs, decided to unwind and indulge in some delicious crackers. It was at that exact moment of vulnerability that that cracker struck, sending shocks of pain throughout his back, and side-lining him for the first games of the playoff series.
While I was barely able to fend off the cracker long enough to place it inside a ziplock bag, I was around its evil long enough to speculate that its place of origin is undoubtably Dallas, Texas.
While I wish from the bottom of my heart that Sopel makes a speedy return, I can do my part by taking this evil curse as far away from Vancouver as possible.
Boy, you can find anything on Ebay! (Except for Tommy Seebach merchandise. Trust me, I've looked!)
It is also interesting to note that this is a Stoned Wheat Thin. Damn things always get stuck in my teeth. I always knew they were evil ... say, aren't they made by a Swedish company?
PS: I'm officially growing a playoff moustache.
Tuesday's Tender Thoughts
Just a few random thoughts floating around in my head ...
Monday, April 16, 2007
Why Hockey is Better than Sex
Women prefer chocolate to sex, right? Well, some men prefer hockey to sex, and here's why ...
Top 15 Reasons Why Hockey is Better than Sex
1) It's legal to earn money playing hockey
2) Many people play hockey even after they're married
3) The puck's always hard.
4) The protective equipment is reusable
5) It lasts at least an hour
6) A two-on-one or a three-on-one is not uncommon
7) You always know how big the stick is
8.) You can clean your stick in public without anyone minding
9) You can change players on the fly
10) You don't have to be embarrassed if you don't get the puck up
11) Everyone is finished when the buzzer sounds
12) Your parents cheer when you score
13) Periods only last 20 minutes
14) You're sure to get it at least twice a week
15) You can tell your friends about it afterwards
(thanks to Aurian for forwarding this)
Yet Another Reason to Hate Sean Avery
It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of the guy, and I'm not really enjoying the fact that he's doing so well in the Big Rotten Apple.
Go figure that a guy like Avery would score a goal like this ...
You know, Johan Hedberg was otherwise pretty good in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Rangers as he made 37 saves and allowed his team a chance to win it. Still, how can you ever live down a goal like that? It's amazing that he was able to suck it up and just forget it happened.
As for Avery, what a beast he's become. He finished with 1 goal, 1 assist, and 9(!!!) shots on goal in that game.
As a Ranger, Avery had 20 points in 29 regular season games, and now 2 points in 2 playoff games. I guess we're finally seeing what he can do when he shuts up a little and starts using his brain for more than just empty yapping and hitting on dumb Hollywood blondes.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Photo of the Day: "You Suck, Turco!"
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Video of the Day: Leafs Lemmings Are a Special Breed
And people wonder why the rest of Canada laughs at Leafs Nation ...
"Ranger" Without the R is "Anger"
Well, hmm, I'm feverishly looking for some good signs after two games. Um, Johan Hedberg looked pretty good out there tonight. Beyond that... everyone was wearing the right uniform. No one accidentally put on the road jersey. Good job, there.
Beyond that? Well, the Rangers have really thoroughly outclassed the Thrashers in the first two games. Atlanta's scoring chances are rare. And while they're outhitting the Rangers, they're laying hits on the Matt Cullens and Michal Rozsivals of the world -- the Rangers, by contrast, are deeply under Ilya Kovalchuk's skin.
How bad is it? For the first time ever, this afternoon, I found myself thinking "You know, we could really use Sean Avery." Chilling.
So, nothing to do but bitch and moan 'til Tuesday. Crap. Good thing I drink.
Playoff Fever in Vancouver
Lost in all of the Canucks hoopla is the fact that the Vancouver Giants have now cruised into the 3rd round of the WHL playoffs after dispatching both the Chilliwack Bruins and Seattle Thunderbirds in 5 games apiece.
As much as I enjoy watching the Canucks, there is no way I'm going to get tickets at GM Place for $20 or less. The NHL playoffs also have as much fighting as a chess match and as much scoring as a comic book convention. zzzz...
The best player, by far, has been Kendall McArdle. After a pretty 'blah' post-trade regular season (22 points in 37 games), McArdle leads the Giants in playoff scoring with 13 points in 10 games.
The Canucks, on the other hand, sucked popsicles last night. Sure, they had 35 shots on Turco, but most of them were floaters from 40 feet away. Without Cooke and Burrows, many Canucks simply weren't driving to the net hard enough.
I was quite impressed with this Jannick Hansen fellow, however. He showed good speed and some drive to the net. Trevor Linden ought to take notes.
The refs also sucked ass, calling some of the most questionable penalties I've seen since the last time I watched a soccer mathc. Bring back Kerry Fraser!
More on the Stars/Canucks at the NHL Fanhouse.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Top 10 Signs That You Are a Leafs Fan
Ok, so I stole this from a fantasy hockey cohort (KrisP) who probably stole it from someone else ...
Top 10 Signs that YOU are a Leafs Fan
1. You spend more time defending the Leafs than cheering them on.
2. You find yourself getting more and more depressed as the season goes on.
3. The words "refs" and "unfair" comes out of your mouth more often than the word "the"...
4. John Pohl is now "da man" because Mats Sundin has gone downhill.
5. You can not stop yourself from being loud and annoying.
6. You think that CBC is not just another one of the Leafs sports channels.
7. You think Don Cherry is a legitimate unbiased hockey analyst.
8. You tend to embarrass yourself at hockey games.
9. You go on other teams fan forums just to bash that team.
10. You go to Sabres games because you can't afford tickets to the ACC.
11. When you look at the photo below, you sincerely think that Andrew Raycroft is going to stop the puck...
Seeing Starszzzzz in Vancouver
I'm going to be far from the only dead-tired hockey fan in this city after last night's 4OT marathon. Sprawled out on my couch, the first thought that entered my mind after Henrikbot scored was 'Finally, I can get to sleep!'
I like my hot dogs long and my OT's short. Vancouver companies can expect a 30% reduction in productivity today, either due to fatigue or absenteeism. I'd be tempted to call in sick, but my boss would see through that one too easily.
I posted a nicer recap at The Fanhouse.
Now, where's my coffee?
So (as you may have heard) the playoffs have started, and along with the actual on-ice action, Mike Chen is running the second annual (I think it's second annual, at least) Rawk the Puck tournament.
This year, I'm one of the panelists, providing smart-ass comments on musical selections assigned to each team. Western Conference first-round voting is now under way -- check it out over there.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Wayne Gretzky Goes on a Firing Spree!
According to TSN.ca, the Phoenix Coyotes have already begun the process of gutting their management team and starting from scratch (again) after a woeful season which saw the Coyotes finish dead last in the Western Conference with 67 points.
Although not many will be surprised at the front-office shakeup, it's hard to imagine that Wayne Gretzky, who is unfailingly loyal, will simply kick good buddies Barnett and Fletcher out the door altogether ... at least not without a cushy payout pillow to fall on.
General manager Mike Barnett, assistant general manager Laurence Gilman, and Senior Executive and Vice President of Hockey Operations, Cliff Fletcher have been let go.
Barnett joined the Coyotes as Vice President and GM in 2001, leaving behind a successful career as a player agent with Wayne Gretzky as his marquee client.
Under the management of Gretzky and Friends (or "Friends of Wayne", as Mirtle might call them), the Coyotes have made a number of bad decisions that have left the club with dim prospects for the present and future. Signing over-the-hill veterans such as Curtis Joseph, Jeremy Roenick, and Owen Nolan only blocked the younger players from getting more ice time while eating a large chunk of salary cap space at the same time.
The Gretzky Era has seen The Great One hire good friends for important positions, rather than hire based on merit. Claude Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Ulf Samuelsson, Grant Fuhr, Keith Gretzky, and Tom Kurvers were all brought on board because they just happened to be part of Wayne's nice entourage.
The scouting staff, in turn, made a pile of questionable picks (Hello, Blake Wheeler) that have left the Coyotes with a fairly meager pool of prospects from which to draw from. With poor attendance and a weak market, the Coyotes' franchise is going to need somebody with some exceptional talent to turn that club into a success. Will Gretzky finally do the right thing and hire the best candidate, even if he's not a good friend?
(Cross-posted at The Fanhouse)
Greg's 1st Round Playoff Predictions
Scroll down or click here for Jes's picks.
#1 Buffalo vs #8 NY Islanders - Buffalo in 4 games
Nice rally there at the end, Isles, but no chance. Hard to imagine this one being terribly competitive.
#2 New Jersey vs #7 Tampa Bay - New Jersey in 5 games
I thought the Lightning would present a first-round threat to the Thrashers -- I don't think they have a chance against the Devils, though. Not with Denis/Holmqvist.
#3 Atlanta vs #6 NY Rangers - Atlanta in 7 games
This is a lot less fun when Jes and I are agreeing on everything. Not much impresses me about this Rangers team, but they should have enough to stretch out the Thrashers.
#4 Ottawa vs #5 Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh in 6 games
Finally! Some disagreement. Ottawa seems to have holes and questions everywhere you look, Pittsburgh is on the way up. By the end of this series I'll have overdosed on Sidney C. highlight packages.
#1 Detroit vs #8 Calgary - Calgary in 6 games
A bizarre situation here, where it seems to have become common wisdom that Calgary will beat the top seed. Is anyone picking Detroit? That sort of groupthink sorta makes me wonder if I should jump ship and pick the Wings, but I'm just not very impressed by them, and Kiprusoff > Hasek/Osgood.
#2 Anaheim vs #7 Minnesota - Anaheim in 4 games
Trials and travails largely behind them, if I were to pick a Cup winner at this point, it might be Anaheim.
#3 Vancouver vs #6 Dallas - Vancouver in 7 games
This should be a fun one to watch, eh? Hopefully the Food Channel has something good on at the same time.
#4 Nashville vs #5 San Jose - Nashville in 7 games
Nashville was my preseason Cup pick, and I'm not ready to give up on them yet -- especially with the addition of Forsberg. San Jose strikes me as a team where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Though that could also be applied to Nashville. Or, for that matter, most of the teams in the playoffs this year.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Jes's 1st Round Playoff Predictions
#1 Buffalo vs. NYI. - Buffalo in 4 games
Buffalo will rip apart the tattered Isles defense and score plenty against W-vich or a concussed Rick DiPietro (should they try and play him)
#2 New Jersey vs. #7 Tampa Bay - NJ in 6 games
Tampa can score goals, but their goaltending sucks. New Jersey is a well-oiled machine and Martin Brodeur is playing the best hockey of his career.
#3 Atlanta vs. #6 NYR - Thrashers in 6 games
Kari Lehtonen is better than some people might think, and King Henrik is too busy abusing Ice Girls to spend time stopping the puck. The top-heavy Rangers offense got a boost with Brendan Shanahan, but the Thrashers should be able to win the day with their offensive firepower and defensive forwards like Bobby Holik should be able to container Jagr and company.
#4 Ottawa vs. #5 Pittsburgh - Senators in 5 games
Penguins lack of goaltending and experience will ultimately do them in. The Sens won't choke just yet. Look for Sidney to do some damage, but he'll have to control his emotions.
#1 Detroit vs. #8 Calgary - Calgary in 7 games
Wings have become a very tight-checking team, but look for Hasek and a weaker-than-expected PP to let them down. Miikka Kiprusoff and an improved Flames offense will be the difference in an upset.
I posted a complete preview over at The Fanhouse.
#2 Anaheim vs. #7 Minnesota - Anaheim in 6 games
Anaheim's youngsters have continued their improvement, their goaltending rocks, and they have 2 Norris-worthy defensemen. Potatohead and Pavol rock the house, but the lack of offense from the Minnesota D hurts them greatly.
#3 Vancouver vs. #6 Dallas - Canucks in 6 games
The two lowest scoring teams face off in a very evenly matched series. Look for Luongo to win the goaltending battle as Turco chokes again and the weak Stars offense is shut down by the league's best PK unit.
I posted a complete preview over at The NHL Fanhouse.
#4 Nashville vs. #5 San Jose - Sharks in 6 games
Nashville's D is either too small or too inexperienced for my liking and Peter Forsberg has been a walking injury. Joe Thornton has a spotty playoff history, but I expect him and Cheech to do some damage. The Sharks are scarier than their 4th place finish would indicate, and their goaltending matches up fine with Vokoun/Mason.
Party Pics: Jordan Staal <3 Evgeni Malkin
Monday, April 09, 2007
Party Pics: Ed Belfour, Professional Drunk
So, it appears Ed Belfour is at it again: getting drunk, fighting police, and dragging some poor teammate into the fray as well.
In honour of another dubious arrest, here are some classic pictures of Ed Belfour getting drunk at some frat house with Tie Domi and Mats Sundin. Good times, eh?
$1 billion says Ed Belfour lost this match...
Sunday, April 08, 2007
What's Old is New Again in Canuckland
In light of last night's relief-inducing win over the Sharks to clinch the NW Division, comes a bit of bad news...
From the desk of 'Skeletor':
While many of the Vancouver faithful are in love with the Johnny Canuck logo, the Canucks are intending to keep the old Orca Bay free willy stylized 'C' logo pretty much intact when they formally display their new uniforms. And frankly, it's for all the right reasons. They're not interested in a jersey money grab.So, the new owners won't bring in truly new uniforms and scrap the stupid-looking whale-taking-a-dump corporate tribute to the old Orca Bay owners *Sigh*.
"We felt continuity was important, particularly for our young fans," said Aquilini. "For many of them, that is the only logo they've ever known and we don't want to be changing all the time just for change sake. It's not fair. You can't have a classic uniform if you keep changing and with all the fans we have we'd like to start building toward that.
Doesn't look like I'll be buying a Canucks sweater any year soon... anyway, I'm in too much of a good news to rip Gallagher a new asshole (although he might enjoy that...).
The Avalanche are Dead. Long Live the Avalanche.
So after I wrote them off innumerable times down the stretch, naturally Colorado made believers of me, only to break my heart into thousands of little shards last night.
Ok, it's not that bad. The whole ridiculous run was too improbable to ever seem totally realistic, and really served to get me excited for next season -- earlier this year I figured the Avalanche were about to enter a ten-year deep freeze, and now with the cast of young guys like Budaj, Stastny, and Wolski; Milan Hejduk enjoying an Easter-appropriate resurrection; and Joe Sakic apparently dead set on being awesome until he's 72 years old, I feel pretty good about what lies ahead. Plus, lots of cap space next year! Hurrah!
I'll admit that I was secretly looking forward to the possibility of a Colorado-Detroit first round series, and I'm a little sad that won't happen. But on the bright side, I no longer have to back my trash talk up with reality, so I can say with full confidence that had such a series taken place, the Avalanche would have won 4-0, scoring 82 goals to the Wings' three, and Scott Parker would have eaten Todd Bertuzzi's liver. So take that, Detroit.
* * *
Speaking of the Avs and Easter, Tapeleg at Jerseys and Hockey Love has been on fire lately -- if you haven't seen his marshmallow game recaps, you're really missing out.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Celebrating the Best of the NHL's Worst
The NHL's best and brightest stars get lots of press, adoration, and their share of the league's awards.
How about the worst of the lot? How about a little bit of attention for these poor folks? I'm sure, after having such poor seasons, that these d00d's need a little love, too.
So, here are the 'best' of the worst:
R.J. Umberger -30
Joffrey Lupul -28
Patrice Bergeron -27
Kyle Calder -27
Stephane Robidas 0% (104 shots)
Niklas Kronvall 0% (104 shots
Martin Skoula 0% (90 shots)
Steve Montador 1.1% (87 shots
Simon Gagne 174
Alexander Ovechkin 145
Ilya Kovalchuk 135
Olli Jokinen 134
Brian Rolston 134
Marc Denis 88.3%
Mikael Tellqvist 88.5%
Alexander Auld 88.8%
Curtis Sanford 88.9%
Brent Johnson 88.9%
Average Time on Ice (40+ games)
Andrew Peters 3:41
Brian McGrattan 3:51
Cam Janssen 4:05
Andre Roy 4:25
Derek Boogaard 4:33
Evgeni Malkin 43.1%
Olli Jokinen 44.1%
Maxime Talbot 44.5%
Eric Staal 44.8%
Jeff Carter 45.2%
Jaromir Jagr 123
Jason Smith 108
Bryan McCabe 104
Robert Lang 103
Joe Thornton 100
Cross-Posted on The Fanhouse
Friday, April 06, 2007
Trouble in Paradise
As a hockey fan, theoretically, I'm excited about the Friday and Saturday setup in the Southeast Division -- the Thrashers and Lightning separated by one point for the division championship, both playing division foes Friday night, then meeting up themselves Saturday for a game that will almost certainly decide who takes third. (If I've done the math right, the only way it can be decided tonight is if the Thrashers beat Carolina and the Lightning lose in regulation to the Panthers.)
As a Thrashers fan, I'm considerably less so. The Lightning are on a mini-roll, having won three straight, and have a bit more experience in this sort of thing. The Thrashers are doing their familiar win-one lose-one, waddling into the playoffs, marveling at the novelty of it all -- and have a sulky superstar who doesn't like his coach. (Registration possibly required -- bugmenot.com passwords here.)
Hurrah! Just the recipe for success, just what you want to be seeing. Kovalchuk's petulant display at the end of the loss to the Capitals (and good job a) blowing a lead, and b) blowing a 6-on-3 power play at the end, guys) was noticeable, and his comments afterwards haven't been really encouraging. Sure, conflict can nurture greatness, as in the case of the 1970s Oakland A's .... and, uh, I can't think of any other examples. I'd like to think that this will all end with the anger motivating Kovalchuk to amazing, lights out displays in the coming weeks, but he's never been noted for his maturity.
But, hey, anyway. It's a great weekend for hockey -- and regardless of the outcome, it looks like the Thrashers-Lightning have a great chance of falling into the 3rd and 6th spots in some manner or another, so we're likely to see a lot of these two teams battling in coming days.
Random note: the Stanley Cup made an appearance in Atlanta the other day, so I got to go up, take a crappy cell phone photo, verify that it does indeed have "Sucks" etched in on every Red Wings appearance, verify that the bowl does indeed say "Do Not Deliver to Vancouver." Last time I saw the Cup up close was in '96, when it made an appearance in Colorado, during the Avs' playoff run. Does this sighting hold similar good tidings for the Thrashers?
Yeah, probably not.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
NHL: Martin Brodeur Sets Wins Record for Goalies*
(c) Getty Images
Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils had a record-setting night against the worst team in the NHL.What is on the note? "YOUR RECORD IS TAINTED" ??
Brodeur surpassed Bernie Parent, Philadelphia's stalwart Stanley Cup-winning goalie, for wins in a season with 48 and the Devils clinched the Atlantic Division title with a 3-2 win over the Flyers on Thursday night.
"I think with him being an icon as far as goalies for the Flyers, to go into Philly and do it here, I couldn't write it a lot better than that," Brodeur said.
Brodeur stopped 34 shots, including a breakaway in the second, to break the 33-year-old record in the city where Parent led the Broad Street Bullies to two Stanley Cup championships. While some retired stars want to see their records stand forever, Parent said before the game he was rooting for Brodeur.
"This is his year," said Parent, his retired No. 1 hanging from the rafters. "He's played fantastic hockey. It couldn't have happened to a more fantastic individual."
Parent sent a personal note that Brodeur said he would read at home.
Look, anyone with some semblance of individual thought knows that Brodeur's record is a sham. Parent, classy as he is, has a right, if he wishes, to be pissed off that he's lost his record thanks to the advent of the shootout.
Over at The Fanhouse, JP offers his take:
Brodeur has won a League-high 10 of those games in shootouts. Bernie Parent won, well, none of his games in shootouts, but did tie a dozen games that year -- games that would have gone to the shootout had they existed. It's a safe bet that Parent, that year's Vezina Trophy winner as the League's best goalie, would have won enough of those shootouts that we wouldn't even be talking about Brodeur closing in on his record right now, much less tying or breaking it.
... is the record legitimate or does it deserve the dreaded asterisk?
An asterisk? No, I don't believe that's quite right. The record is tainted, yes, but not because of Brodeur's doing.
You know how baseball has 'modern' records and 'old time' records? Perhaps the NHL should adopt a classification for New NHL records, such as Brodeur's wins record. The New NHL has added a whole new whack of oddities to the mix, and manipulated the standings. Having a team achieve 100 points in a season isn't quite the achievement it used to be. Instead of a bunch of *****, just have a New NHL set of records for some categories, and another for traditional records.
Anyone got a better idea?
Henrik Lundqvist Hates Ice Girls
Those who read this blog during the lockout will remember a little feature of the Czech Extraliga that was eventually imported to the NHL: ICE GIRLS!!
Yes, HC Pardubice was hiring hot Czech models to clear the ice during breaks.
Why? Well, it used to be little kids doing the deed, but the drunken fans would boo the poor kids and hurl abusive insults at them. To placate the crowd, the team hired scantily clad women to distract the men in the crowd. Why the hell not, eh?
So, like any good idea, the NHL (more spefically, the New York Islanders), stole the idea and brought it overseas.
Unfortunately, as Eric McErlain discovered, not everyone is thrilled with the idea, especially NY Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
During commercial breaks, teams of three Ice Girls clean loose ice known as "snow" in the goal and the blue-painted goaltender's crease in front of the goal line. But Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist declined to move and used his stick to whack the squeegee Kelli Higgins, 23, was using to push the snow into a pile during the first TV timeout, knocking the butt end of the squeegee stick into her stomach.
"I said 'Excuse me' maybe two or three times," Higgins said Wednesday. "He didn't move and didn't say anything, so I gave up and went around him. "The tip of my squeegee kind of hit the tip of his stick. I don't know if he thought I did that on purpose or whatever, but he took a big windup and slashed the squeegee pretty good. It startled me a little bit. It didn't feel great, but I wouldn't say I was injured or in a ton of pain. I was shocked."
Reading some of the comments on Eric's post, I am shocked at how negative the reaction has been to this innovation.
Look, what else is there to do during the TV timeouts? Watch some stupid crowd giveaway? Listen to some idiot get the wrong answer in an in-house contest? Get hit in the head by a t-shirt fired from a cannon? Listen to sub-standard music?
The girls quietly do their job and give a little eye candy to the masses in the process. The ones in Vancouver are not at all scantily clad like the ones over in Czechia, nor are they cheerleaders of any sort. In fact, you could go an entire game and pretty much not notice them at all.
Henrik and all of you other folks ought to just chill out a little. If you don't like the Ice Girls, turn your attention to the fat guy sitting in the row behind you with the painted chest.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Good News for Zamboni Drivers
You know that the guys who drive the Zamboni machines (yes, we know the NHL uses Olympia-branded machines, but so what?) look like they chug back a few before the game and during the action.
Fortunately, the law has their backs...
Judge rules ice rink groomer can't be charged with DUI at wheel of Zamboni
NEWARK, N.J — It's not drunken driving in New Jersey if it involves a Zamboni.
A judge ruled the four-ton ice rink-grooming machines aren't motor vehicles because they aren't useable on highways and can't carry passengers.
Zamboni operator John Peragallo had been charged with drunken driving in 2005 after a fellow employee at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown told police the machine was speeding and nearly crashed into the boards.
Police said Peragallo's blood alcohol level was 0.12 percent. A level of 0.08 is considered legally drunk in New Jersey.
Peragallo appealed, and Superior Court Judge Joseph Falcone on Monday overturned his license revocation and penalties.
"It's a vindication for my client," Peragallo attorney James Porfido said after the hearing. "It's the right decision."
Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph D'Onofrio said no decision had been made on whether to appeal.
Peragallo, 64, testified at his trial that he did drink beer and vodka, but not until after he had groomed the ice. However, he told police he had a shot of Sambuca with his breakfast coffee and two Valium-pills before work.
Sambuca with coffee? I'll have to try that some time!
(Thanks to Aurian for the story hook-up)
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Live Game Recap: Canucks 4 - Kings 2
Thanks to the generousity of my girlfriend's father, I got to attend tonight's Kings/Canucks game with them at the Garage as the Canucks inched closer to the division title. With a 4-2 win over the Kings, the Canucks are now just 1 win away from clinching the division and keeping such glory away from the evil hands of the Minnesota Wild Slovaks.
Like many games against weaker opponents, the Canucks played down to the level of the LA Kings and were making more mistakes than Bob Cole calling a non-Leafs game. Do the Canucks have an NBA Jam Rubber-Band AI setting? They play great against great teams, and crap against crap teams. It's quite frustrating watching the Canucks handle the puck like a grenade and fall asleep like they are watching an episode of Survivor.
Don't let the shot clock fool you (31-17 for Vancouver), the Canucks were as clumsy and uncoordinated as "Sleep Country" Bryant Reeves. It was thanks to the cycling Sedinbots and the suckiness of the Kings that the Canucks even got a win.
This game was certainly an experience unlike my previous jaunts this year, given that I was sitting with the riff-raff in the upper bowl, and not the posh folks in the Siemens Club. I just happened to be in the Drunken Loudmouth section, where people paid $50 to swear and yell "WOO!" all frickin' night. I like crowd noise as much as the next Ruthenian, but "YOU FUCKING SUCK, REF" is far from original, as true as the statement might be. Come up something new, eh?
Of course, with the g/f's daddy around, I had to be on fairly good behaviour. Yeah, no telling Jan Bulis where he could stick it, nor any bra-tossing from my girlfriend should Jeff Cowan happened to have scored a goal.
And to all a good night!
Photo of the Day: A True Hockey Sniper
Labels: photo of the day
Confessions of a Sean Avery Hater
The fun has really started over at the NHL Fanhouse, with JP coming out of the closet as a Sean Avery fan. It seems more and more of these Avery lovers are coming out of the woodwork.
Sean F’in AVERY?
Sure, I’m an open-minded fellow... different strokes for different folks and all that, but have some frickin’ standards, would ya? Yes, I *would* kick Paris Hilton out of my bed if she ever leaped onto it. I prefer my crabs on a plate with some butter, green beans and potatoes, kthx.
Yeah, I not afraid to admit that I HATE SEAN AVERY, with a frickin' passion!
Sure, there are garden-variety reasons to hate the guy: His racist and ignorant comments, his cockiness, his cheap shots, his two-faced personality, his annoying smirk, and his bagging of Hollywood hotties. That's just part of the equation, however.
Why can't I stand the guy? Because, he just does not EVER ... SHUT ... THE ... HELL ... UP!
Any time I think of Avery, I go back to a Kings/Canucks game I attended at GM Place last season. Avery was at the end of the bench, talking non-stop to the officials, ice girls, opposing players, teammates, the water bottles, camera crew, etc ... blah blah blah blah blah! You could tell that his own teammates wanted nothing to do with the guy, and all that was missing was a mirror for Avery to admire himself with.
How can any sane person not want Sean Avery to get smashed in the face by a Zdeno Chara elbow?
I'm sorry, but I cannot stand people who love the sound of their own voice and feel the need to talk non-stop. Knowing Avery's level of intelligence, it would only add to the annoyance factor to hear his drivel 9 out of every 10 seconds of the night.
There is a reason why a majority of NHLers picked Sean Avery as the most hated among their peers, and I'm sure many of them were his former and current teammates. I know that if I were ever on the same team as Avery, I'd end up going postal on the guy during a practice, and send him to the hospital with a third grade concussion.
You know it as well as I do, Avery was the cocky prick who bullied you at high school and dated all the hot chicks you fantasized about.
That said, it's great to have the guy in the league. Every story needs a good villain, right? It will be lot more satisfying to see the Rangers choke in the playoffs (and they will) with Avery on the team.
(Cross-posted to the NHL Fanhouse)
Monday, April 02, 2007
Report: Claude Julien Fired by the Devils
What the hell is going on in Joisey? (Besides mob activity, that is...)
From the What The Hell Files comes word that Devils coach Claude Julien was canned this morning.
Lou Lamoriello is back behind the bench in New Jersey.Is leading the division not good enough for some people? Hell, I figured NJ would be fighting for a playoff spot, not the division title.
The playoff-bound Devils have fired head coach Claude Julien with less than a week to go in the regular season with the veteran GM Lamoriello taking over for the second straight season.
Lamoriello also stepped behind the bench last season after Larry Robinson stepped down as coach in December.
The surprising move Monday comes with the Devils second in the Eastern Conference with a 47-24-8 record and 102 points. The Devils have won four of their last five games, including Sunday's 3-1 win over Boston. They went 6-6-2 in March while battling key injuries to Brian Gionta, John Madden and Patrik Elias.
And this isn't the first time that Uncle Lou has done something weird like this...
Monday's firing isn't the only time Lamoriello made a late-season coaching move. He fired Robby Ftorek late in the 2002-2003 season and Robinson eventually led the team to its third Stanley Cup since 1995.Uncle Lou has run his team like a cult before, and I do feel for Julien. The Devils have played well this season, and what makes Lou think he can do a better job? Is there another story that isn't being told here?
Now, would you want to coach the Devils, given this history of weird behaviour by management?
Sunday, April 01, 2007
NHL Says "Nein!" to Todd Simpson
Yeah, it seems that the New York Islanders were desperate enough to try and sign Todd Simpson to save their flailing playoff hopes.
Unfortunately, the NHL decided to deny the transfer, but not because of timing issues...
A suspension given to New York Islanders defenceman Todd Simpson when he was in the German Ice Hockey League was upheld by the NHL on last night, preventing him from making his debut with the Islanders.
Simpson, signed Thursday by the Islanders for the final week of the regular season, was suspended indefinitely after receiving a penalty for abuse of an official while playing in the Hannover Scorpions' last post-season game.
The International Ice Hockey told the NHL that the German league will hold a hearing tomorrow and asked that the suspension be upheld. The NHL honoured the request and said it will review the decision following the hearing and then determine Simpson's status in North America.
think that it's great that the NHL is upholding Simpson's German suspension. Why should Simpson be allowed to run away from the bad deeds he did, just because they were done overseas? If the IIHF and the NHL are going to have a good relationship, the various leagues need to respect each other and back each other up in cases like this.
(Cross-Posted to The Fanhouse)
Forget Strip Poker, How About Strip Shootouts?
From a poster on the St. Louis Today forums, the Blues have a very unique and innovative way to practice shootouts.
Enter a bit of stripping to the equation... ORLY?
The Blues have been OK in shootouts this season at 6-6. But on the heels of two bad losses, Blues coach Andy Murray wanted to put some smiles on his players, so he called for the R-rated drill at the end of Wednesday’s practice. Actually, it was PG-13, but it was pretty funny.
As you can imagine, here’s how it works: If you miss a shootout attempt, you take a piece of equipment off. When your equipment is gone, your threads are next.
Most of the players missed a shot or two and skated down the ice without a helmet or glove on the third attempt, finally putting the biscuit in the basket.
Not Eric Brewer or Matt Walker. The two Blues’ defensemen were the last two players not to make it. As their teammates bellowed in laughter, Brewer and Walker broke in on goalies Jason Bacashihua and Curtis Sanford wearing only their skates and a pair of spandex bikers shorts. Thank God, Murray wouldn’t let them go any further.
The players prohibited FSN Midwest from taping the drill, but they loved it.
Yeah, I'm quite thankful that the contest was ended. Do we really need Walker and Brewer skating down the ice with their schlongs flapping in the breeze? Remember, the cold of the arena would really create some shrinkage... O_o