Thursday, November 29, 2007


Wanna Own a Hockey Club?

by Jes

Let's face it, we're not going to be wealthy enough to own a professional hockey club. The pittance I make at my real job plus the Google ads isn't even enough to afford me the luxury of seasons tickets.

Well, I suppose if you are really damn keen on owning a hockey club, then the venture might be for you ...

MyOwnHockeyTeam is setting out to create the first fan owned and managed Professional Ice Hockey Team. Web technology allows a collective thinking and decision making process, making active fan participation a reality.

The concept is simple. Every hockey fan has dreamed of owning a hockey team. We all believe that we have what it takes to lead a team to victory. Each member is entitled to ONE vote in MyOwnHockeyTeam. The funds collected are put into a Toronto based trust, and when we meet the membership goal, we will negotiate and purchase a professional hockey team.

All the decisions are made by the MyOwnHockeyTeam members online. Members will decide what league to join, what team to buy, who makes the team and all the other important tasks of the General Manager.

"We studied modern web applications to see where there was a need in the market." said Robert Battye, one of the two founders. "This model has been successfully applied to stock market groups, so why not apply the same model to ice hockey?"

The first membership goal is 25,000. At that point the members will vote on whether to continue raising memberships or to purchase one then.

"I love hockey and I've always dreamed of owning a team" comments Vlad Heger, the other founder. "I've been so frustrated watching owners make decisions based on finances rather than my team winning. Now I want to do something about that"
Poking around the site, the owners admit that owning an NHL club is a pipe dream, and instead want to focus on a minor-pro team or even a Canadian Hockey League team.

To me, it seems like a wild flight of fancy, given how it takes a group of wealthy NHLers just to purchase a CHL club these days. Hockey teams require a lot of funds to run the activities.

If the venture uses $45 per membership towards a team, and somehow gets 25,000 memberships, it will have $1,125,000 in the kitty to purchase a club. I suppose that could get you an ECHL club, but I'm not entirely sure.

It'll be interesting if this idea picks up steam. I'll give them full marks for creativity. I can just imagine the weird and wacky decisions that would come out of 25,000 people voting on which coach to hire.

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Photo of the Day: Havlat, The Ho

by Jes

I can't be the only one who thinks this photo is pornographic...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007


2010 Olympics Mascots Are Teh Sux0rz

by Jes

The 2010 Winter Olympics here in Vancouver have already cost us BC taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars. Besides throwing away a lot of money to throw a 2-week sporting party for the benefit of corporate asswipes, the real estate market has gone insane, and many people cannot afford more than a postage-sized stamp condo around here.

For all of the $$ we're shelling out, you'd figure we'd at least get a logo that DOESN'T SUCK!

For some time, the 2010 Official Logo has been the Inukshuk, an Inuit statue that is not actually native to BC, and looks like something that would come out of my ass after eating a whole box of stale Froot Loops.

For some reason, The Powers That Be seem to think that any logo that represents BC or Vancouver has to be 'native', despite the fact that about only about 4.3% of Canada's population is 'native'. If we wanted a logo that truly represented this province, it would be an empty Starbucks latte cup, or a generic 20-storie condo. The only thing 'native' in this city is the token totem pole put up for tourists to take photos of.

Yesterday, there was the big unveiling of the new 2010 mascots, and, as expected, they really suck. Instead of using something good, like the Spirit Bear, we get this shit ...

Miga is a mythical First Nations sea bear that is part killer whale and part Kermode spirit bear. Miga was based on the legends of the Pacific Northwest First Nations of orca whales that transform into bears when they arrive on land, but is also a snowboarder.

Quatchi is a sasquatch, but a shy and gentle giant, that loves all winter sports, and is especially fond of hockey and dreams of becoming a world-famous goalie.

The third mascot, Sumi, is an animal-guardian spirit who wears the hat of the orca whale, flies with the wings of the mighty Thunderbird and runs on the furry legs of the black bear.

C'mon! These things don't look at all like the animals they are supposed to be. If I had a kid, I certainly wouldn't waste a dime buying him/her anything with one of these 'animals' on it.

Besides being over-the-top cute, the whole design of the mascots just looks childish and far too Japanese. Yes, Japanese. This is Vancouver, not Tokyo, so why not a design that reflects a North American look? It's as if Vancouverites are ashamed to have their own 'real' culture, and have to pilfer ideas from elsewhere.

The Atlanta Spring-thing now has competition for the worst Olympic logo ever. Puke!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The NHL vs. The Internet

The Jiri Tlusty naked photo mess has highlighted just how damaging the Internet can be to a player's reputation when the players aren't careful about their activities. Like it or not, there are those who want to take advantage of an athlete's name and use it for nefarious purposes.

As Chuck Gormley of The Sporting News reports, the NHL wants to make its players aware of a world that many of them know little about. Unbeknownst to many players, they are posers pretending to be an NHL player, and often getting away with it.

"Go on MySpace and type in anybody in this (locker) room and there will be someone posing," said Carter, who is single. "I have a friend who said she sent pictures to my MySpace and I don't even have a MySpace. She said, 'Oh, I've been talking to you for the past month and a half.'"

Umberger, who is married, went online and discovered there were four people posing as him on their own web pages. When he found that some were soliciting women, he had all four accounts canceled.

I've seen a few such sites, and they range from harmless 'role playing' (a game where people make no bones about playing the role of a player, and disclose that they are not the actual athlete) to actual identity theft, where many are duped into believing that Jason Smith actually spends six hours a day on his Facebook account.

Unfortunately, it will take a combined effort between the NHL and its clubs to ensure that their athletes are protected.

My solution would be for each club to have one of its employees act as an IT watchdog for their players. Between the clubs and the NHL, these people would scour the internet, ensuring that any MySpace-like accounts are legitimate, and make sure that any false accounts are deleted. It's so incredibly simple for someone to set up an account and pretend that they are an athlete, and an amazing amount of people seem to fall for it.

Since ye olde newspapers are hardly the force they used to be, teams need to focus more of their energy on the media that most fans use, which is definitely the Internet. What goes on TV and Newspapers can more easily be controlled, but the Internet allows fans to get around any controls the NHL has in place for the more established channels.

For the new breed of athlete that does use the Internet often (such as Tlusty), they'll need to be protected from their own stupidity and/or gregariousness as anything that they allow to be exposed will spread around the hockeysphere faster than the Ebola virus.

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Tuesday's Thoughts: Flyers Goon it Up

by Jes

After what happened between Flyers d-man Randy Jones and Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, you'd figure that the Philadelphia Flyers might exercise a little caution in last night's rematch

But, as we know, the goonish mentality is alive and well in the City of Brotherly Love. (Hat tip to Mirtle for the video link)

Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell was given a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct for hitting defenceman Andrew Alberts at 14:22 of the second period. Andrews left the game with an unspecified head injury and will be evaluated on Tuesday.

Boston's Zdeno Chara said that his team decided not to retaliate after Alberts was injured.

"It's something we talked about," Chara said. "We probably ended up with some bruises, but we have two points and that's the most important thing right now. It's up to the league to address things like that."

Hartnell said that the hit on Alberts was not deliberate.

"I did not try to hurt him," Hartnell explained. "There was no intent at all. I am not that type of player. If you look at all the games this year and past years, I finish my checks every time I have an opportunity."

Not deliberate? From the little highlight we do see (near the end), Hartnell was absolutely rocketing towards Alberts with the full intention of doing some damage. While I defended Jones' hit on Bergergon, I believe Hartnell's hit was fully intended to injure the Bruins' player, and a very lengthy suspension ought to be on the way.

Dark Knight Edit: Hartnell gets a two game suspension. The NHL's idiocy knows no end.

Other goodies over at the NHL FanHouse ...

1. We have a new contributor in Kevin Schultz (from Barry Melrose Rocks). His debit column is a beauty, as he gives Gary Bettman some tips on how to run his new radio show.

2. Imagine winning a hard-to-come-by Nintendo Wii, and then dying on the way to pick up your prize. Well, that's what happened to one poor kid at a Providence Bruins game. Greg Wyshynski has all the gory details.

3. Rome continues to burn as rumours surface that JFJ wanted to fire Paul Maurice, but couldn't. More Steve Simmons bullshit or the real deal? We report, YOU DECIDE!! Muhahaha

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Monday, November 26, 2007


Erin Nicks, WTF?

by Jes

Erin Nicks is a cheeky writer, and rabid hockey fan, who has panned many an interesting article for the Ottawa Sun. She definitely ranks up there for underrated writers whose work you ought to check out some time.

Her latest piece, however, made me gasp just a little ...

I'm dealing with an unprecedented case of sports indecisiveness, and it's wreaking havoc on my household.

I'm not talking about Martin Gerber vs. Ray Emery, or whether Wade Redden should stay or go. Those dilemmas are a walk in a park compared to my problem.

I can't choose between the NFL and NHL.

One rarely has to worry about displaying allegiance to a particular sport, because the majority of scheduling allows for year-round gorging with little conflict. Unfortunately, this won't be the case for the NHL, NFL and myself for the next little while. Is it possible to make a clear-cut choice? Maybe not, but a little side-by-side comparison wouldn't hurt.

League vs. League (couch viewing): It's common knowledge that of the two, the NFL translates to television far better than hockey ever could. The NHL has shown a significant number of games in high-definition over the past few years, yet HD seems commonplace for football.

Let's get something straight, Erin. The NFL brand of football is, by far, the most boring sport to watch on TV of all the Big 4, and is on par with NASCAR for actual lack of brain stimulation.

The average NFL game has 3 minutes of talking followed by 5-10 seconds of action followed by 3 more minutes of talking, players walking around, etc. Big plays are few and far between, and most 'hitting' barely registers. The fact that any Canadian would possibly choose an NFL game over ANY NHL game should be cause for lobotomization.

It doesn't matter that the NHL might not translate well to TV (which always strikes me as a cheap cop-out of an argument), because the NFL is naturally boring, and would require showing naked lesbian mud-wrestling in between huddles to be even remotely interesting to watch.

So, Erin, or anyone, can you give me one GOOD reason why anyone should ever choose to watch an NFL broadcast over an NHL game?

To Erin's husband or boyfriend (if she's got one), be a real man and take control of the remote. It's written in law that no female should ever have control of the remote unless the male tires of it. Even then, the male should only grant such privileged access if it results in either a tasty meal and/or serious nookie.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007


Video of the Day: NHL Plays of the Week

It's Grey Cup Sunday up here in Canada, and Thanksgiving weekend down in the USA

So, take it easy and check out TSN's NHL Plays of the Week


Friday, November 23, 2007


Glen Hanlon Gets the Axe

by Jes

Well, Wayne was right! Hanlon's Crapitals lost to the red-hot Thrashers and Hanlon was fired the very next day.

"He understood that it had to be done. We had talked after our game on Monday night and had some concerns about whether he was losing the team," general manager George McPhee told the Associated Press. "Glen is a first class guy . [but] it's not about friendships and you've got to do what's best for the Washington Capitals."
Translation: Business is business.

Now, some will point out that the Caps' special teams are horrid, and that is usually what a coach has an effect on.

Power Play: 14.6% - 23rd in the NHL
Penalty Kill: 78.2% - 23rd in the NHL

Now, how does someone exactly make gold out of cowshit? Sure, the Caps Power Play ought to be a bit better with Ovechkin and Nylander out there, but, as I mentioned before, the Caps have a young defence and a total lack of quality depth. The fact that the Caps are 23rd in the NHL is not at all surprising, and is actually better than their W-L record.

It's not that I disagree with the coaching change, as that can be a nice boost if you get the right guy, but Hanlon certainly got shafted by a GM who is one of the worst in the league.

How in the hell does George McPhee still have a job? All he has done is watched as his team went from competitive to laughing stock, and it will be a long time before the Caps get competitive again.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Photo(s) of the Day: Hockey Ad Spam

by Jes

We all know that hockey is a sport that needs a great deal of marketing to grow itself in the US of A. Creating good ads, however is not always easy.

Here are a few examples of some very weird/bad/screwy attempts to promote the game.

Earlier this year, Greenspon Advertising Southeast created and executed an ad buy in men’s urinals throughout 50 bars and restaurants in Charlotte, N.C. promoting the ECHL hockey team, the Charlotte Checkers.

The campaign simply featured a Charlotte Checkers branded hockey puck in the urinal. That’s all. Nothing more.

The campaign got out of hand, however, and made its way into dirty hands when the hockey pucks started disappearing.

What the puck? Who the hell is so desperate for a puck that they'll dig it out of a urinal????

OK, so a griffin is eating Turkey? Isn't that a little cannibalistic?

A 'meh' ad for a poor hockey game. It might have worked if they showed a big hit or a fight. Instead, we get Dominik Hasek making a save. Uh-huh.

Not a good excuse to listen to Michael Bolton, despite that Earl Sleek might tell you.

Finally! Truth in advertising. Unfortunately, those were the best looking females they could find in all of Ottawa. Politics isn't pretty, people!

Not an actual ad, but a good way to entice players to sign with the Florida Panthers.

Anyway, a Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends. Stay away from the Bud Light and drink some real brew. I'm sure your area sells Czechvar or a real Slavic Pilsner.

*** Looking to win a free book? Check out The Great Hockey Book Contest #2 over at Joe Pelletier's site.
Gare Joyce's book looks interesting, as he gives you a look inside the life of an NHL scouting department.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007


When Will Hanlon Get the Boot?

by Jes

So, a little note from our Southern Correspondant got me thinking ...
Since this will be most likely my last post before the holiday, let me make a prediction:

If the Thrash beat the CAPS in D.C. on Wednesday night, look for Glen Hanlon to be fired before the end of the month.

Now, after a hot start, the Washington Capitals are back to being the Crapitals with a 6-13-1 record. Fans and chanting for Hanlon to be fired, and Ovechkin seems to be pouting and dropping hints of his unhappiness. Not good times.

Now, I don't watch the Capitals enough to gauge if Hanlon is a good coach or not, but I don't see how he should be the lone goat when even the game's best coaches couldn't do much with the roster as it stands now.

When it comes to the league's worst defensive corps, the Caps are pretty much at the top of the list. How can any team hope to compete with Brian Pothier as their #1 defenseman? Rounding out this fine crew are Mike Green, Tom Poti, John Erskine, Shaone Morrisonn, Jeff Schultz, and Milan Jurcina. This group is short on talent and experience, and it's no surprise that the Caps are sucking as hard as they are.

The Caps are also a one-line team, thanks to the absence of Alexander Semin. Kozlov-Nylander-Ovechkin is one bitchin' first line, but Nicklas Backstrom (another rookie) is the next-best scorer with just 9 points in 20 games.

Let's face it, the Caps have very little talent, at least not until a few years down the road when some of these youngsters really develop to their full potential. There was a reason I picked them to finish 13th in the Eastern Conference, and, despite Ted Leonsis public chest-thumping, this is NOT the year the Caps are going to make the leap. If anything, the Caps have such a long way to go that I can't see them making the playoffs next season, either.

So, Hanlon will very likely be dumped as the Caps struggle. It's too bad that it won't fix the real problems, which is a lack of depth and experience on the roster.

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Monday, November 19, 2007


Sean Avery is Sexy?

by Jes

People Magazine, that fine purveyor of celebrity crap, has decided that Sean Avery is one of North America's sexiest males.

Given that Avery has shagged his fair share of celebrity ass, it's hard to argue against him having some sort of charm with the ladies. I mean, it's not as if he's Mike Ricci or Mike Rathje.

Still... sexy? Ugh... I guess if you like bad boys who never shut up.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007


A Lesson in MSM Rumour Mongering

by Jes

We all know the Mainstream Mediots like to churn the rumour mills in order to sell more papers. Who cares if there are actual facts to back up the supposed rumours, as long as the rumour sounds plausible, people will start talking, and players will start getting nervous.

Here is an 'article' from Steve Simmons of the London Free Press, which basically says nothing, yet churns the old "JFJ is on his way out" routine.

Talk shows and frustrated fans aren't the only people conversing about the Maple Leafs these days.

NHL executives have been playing their own game of gossip -- some of it more than gossip -- wondering amongst themselves who will be the next general manager and next coach of the Leafs.

Many are saying they believe change is imminent. But in fairness, that story has been out there for awhile.

If you are stupid like me, and actually read the entire thing, you'll come to realize that

1. There is no mention of an actual name. NHL Executives is a very generic term...what is the accounting controller of the Florida Panthers is talking about John Ferguson Jr. Is that really a good source? Technically, the Marketing Manager of the St. Louis Blues is an NHL executive. Notice how Simmons doesn't actually seem to have talked to any of these individuals?

2. There is no concrete mentionof WHAT the Leafs will actually do and when. It's really just water-cooler gossip "Pssst.. do you think JFJ will be canned today"

Look, many of us believe JFJ is on thin ice, but if you are going to print something as a rumour, try to back it up with actual evidence. All this article does is fan the flames and make it harder to JFJ to do his job with confidence. All the while, fans will get a false sense of what may or may not be happening.

Some say Eklund is full of crap, and he is, but how does a guy like Simmons have any more credibility? This sounds like something from a message board, not a major newspaper.

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Friday, November 16, 2007


Get out the forks!

... because there are a few grumpy veterans who might need one stuck in their back.

Aging is one of the few things we can count on (besides death, government's cheating the masses, and taxation), and it always hits NHL veterans hard. One minute, they are rockin the clock with goals left and right, and the next minute they become about as effective as a 3-year old dish rag.

There are a few vets that I didn't expect to decline quite so quickly ...


He's had his injury problems, but he's usually been a dependable goal scorer. After putting up 28 goals and 45 points in 58 games last season, he's declined to just 1 goal and 6 assists in 17 games. He's still getting his shots on goal, but they aren't going in for him. I still think he can hit the 20 goal plateau if he stays healthy.


While the Blues have started well, Doug Weight has not. Just 3 assists (no goals) in 15 games for the crafty centerman pretty much spells the end of his useful life. D00d had 59 points last season, so why in the hell is he suddenly doing so poorly?


The dude is a few months younger than me, so there will be no fork sticking this time. However, why is a guy this skilled putting up just 11 points in 20 games after a point-a-game pace the previous two? Laziness, injury? I don't follow the Sharks closely enough to know

Well, he's got 6 points in the last 3 games, and may finally have shaken off whatever has ailed him. Before that outburst, he had just 5 points in 17 games... one week can sure change a lot :)


9 points and an awful team-worst -7 in 18 games is unlike Elias, who is supposed to be the big star in Joisey. Is this a team thing? Hardly ... d00d is 6th on his own team in points, which is 5 slots below where he ought to be.

In November, Elias has just 2 points in 7 games ... so he's really in the deepest funk he's ever been in.


Michal, Michal, what the hell? He's supposed to be a defensive stalwart, yet is -7 (2nd worst on the Kings), and has just 4 points in 18 games. Yes, he had more points last year in 8 games than he has all of this season.

Perhaps he's not as well recovered from his injuries as he'd have us believe. From what little I've seen of the Kings, Handzus just looks like he's aged about 10 years in 1 week.

I'd expect Elias and Marleau to turn it around for sure. They are young and have been getting their shots on goal. Murray may be able to salvage a decent season .. Handzus? He's got a long way to travel back to where he used to be (if he can ever, given his myriad of injuries) and Weight looks like he's pretty much finished.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007


2 Man Advantage: Meet the Roommates

by Greg

Stuck at work at (by last count) an hour and a half later than planned, which sucks loads, but I've been able to catch up on hockey-watching for the first time in ages, at least. Someone (I've got the sound off) was just showing clips of Ron Tugnutt stopping 70 shots against the Bruins in 1991 -- not sure why, but kind of a nostalgia blast.

Anyway: no time to write anything long, but the 2 Man Advantage guys pass along their latest clip, which is pretty damn funny. Should Islanders fans be concerned about how little their defensemen understand each other?

Also, this is the first time I've seen 2MA, but if that was really a Mikko Makela jersey that flashed across my computer screen -- five stars.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Hot Uncensored Leaf Action

by Greg

Pity poor Jiri Tlusty -- in a matter of weeks he's gone from "the guy who scored two goals in his debut" to "the naked guy on the internet."
I kind of wonder what sort of draft-pick orientation process the Leafs have -- I'd figure that "don't take naked pictures of yourself and send them to a girl" would be pretty high on the advice list.

Despite the apologies, I've yet to find anyone outraged by this (admittedly, I haven't looked too hard) -- reactions tend to range from amused to "leave the kid alone." I sort of side with the second one, though obviously not enough to not write about it. If idiotic (though fully-clothed) photos were a crime, I'd be doing hard time.

There's a bit of interest to be found in the contrasting coverage -- the Sun seems to be going with the full-on British tabloid approach (somewhere Rupert Murdoch is reading the "Lusty Tlusty" headline and feeling very proud of his impact on journalism), while TSN is so restrained that it's impossible to tell what's going on. The only story I can find on the site is this vague Canadian Press story -- it was the first thing I read about it this morning, and I was left with no clue what the photos showed. Tlusty cooking dinner? Robbing a bank? Watching television? Murdering a hobo? Who knows, in the demure TSN/CP world?

At least it's getting the NHL a little press, though I must admit any possible PR campaign escapes me.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007


WTF Are They Smoking in Dallas?

by Jes
Brett Hull

So, Tom Hicks couldn't hold his wad and fired Doug Armstrong as GM of the Stars. The Stars were .500, but a case could be made for canning Armstrong, given how cruddy the Stars' future looks.

His replacements? Les Jackson and ... BRETT HULL?!?


Dallas Stars Chairman of the Board and Owner Thomas O. Hicks announced this afternoon that Brett Hull and Les Jackson have been named Interim Co-General Managers to run the Stars’ Hockey Operations for the remainder of the season. Earlier today Hicks announced that he relieved Doug Armstrong from his duties as General Manager of the hockey club.

“Brett Hull and Les Jackson are both people that I know and trust to do a great job and run our hockey club for the remainder of the season,” said Hicks. “They are very good hockey people and know the business well. They have complementary skill sets and successful hockey leadership records.

“It’s early in the season and I am convinced they are the right people to provide direction, vision, management and guidance that get this team positioned to win another division crown.”
Brett Hull has been out of hockey for just a couple of years, and is suddenly qualified to be co-GM of a hockey club? aye, aye aye. Hicks' stupidity knows no bounds. I mean, this is the guy who did give Alex Rodridguez enough money to buy the Mir space station.

This should be interesting to say the least. I wonder just how much power and sway Hull will have in the operations of the hockey club.

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So, Why IS Jim Gregory in the Hall of Fame?

by Jes

David Pratt, in his Big Fat Rant, fumed about the fact that Jim Gregory was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder category.

Excuse me, but on Monday night did Jim Gregory, the chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame's Selection Committee, actually induct himself?

Gregory spent one year as head coach of a pro hockey team.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were so impressed the next season they hired Gregory as an assistant coach and, after missing the playoffs, made him their general manager.

For the next decade, under his leadership, the Leafs never finished higher than third in their division and never went to a Stanley Cup final.

Gregory was rewarded for his failures.

Now, reading Pratt's Rant, you'd probably be thinking, "Hmm, just how the hell did a mediocre GM make the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder?" The Hockey Hall has made many questionable picks under his tenure, such as Clark Gillies and Dick Duff.

Then, you could go here, or here , or even here, and realize that David Pratt's one-sided argument ignores many facts, and presents all of the facts as well a Michael Moore documentary.

Jim Gregory was not elected to the HHOF for his tenure as a coach or GM, but for his tireless work behind the scenes in the NHL. Responsible for setting up the Central Scouting Service, among other endeavors, Gregory is one of those glue guys that does a lot of work behind the scenes, but rarely gets credit for the stuff he does.

Admittedly, I know little about Jim Gregory, but if you are going to make a case against his (self)-induction, you could present a more convincing argument.

PS: Glen Anderson as a Hall of Famer? No.
PPS: Paul Henderson? This horse has been beaten to dust. One great goal doth not a career make.
PPPS: Mark Messier still is, and will always remain, a giant dick.

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Monday, November 12, 2007


Bettman Radio?

By Jes

This ... is ... funny

Want to quiz commissioner Gary Bettman about the state of the NHL?

XM Satellite Radio will give listeners the chance to do just that, announcing plans Monday for a new show called NHL Hour hosted by Bettman and a rotation of league executives.

The weekly program, debuting Nov. 27 and also broadcasting on, will be co-hosted by Bill Clement and encourages fans to submit questions via phone and e-mail.

"I look forward to hearing from our fans directly and being a part of this one-of-a-kind radio show," Bettman said in a statement.
Will Bettman have all questions pre-screened to ensure that Bettman can spin his web of half-truths into answers most common fans can't fully comprehend?

Will Bettman get burned by constant questioning of his tenure and the holes in his arguments?

I don't get XM, nor would I be prone to listening to Bettman for more than 5 minutes, but I invite anyone who does listen to XM Radio to have a gander at the show and let us know how Bettman performed.

In any event, the fact that the commish is putting himself out there, screened or not, is commendable.

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The All-Star Game Just Doesn't Matter

by Jes

Wayne, our Southern correspondant, asked me a fairly simply question:

Granted it's early in the season, but the NHL All-Star Game is getting no buzz nationally (par for the course, I guess). Do you think the format should be changed from East vs. West (or Patrick vs. Campbell for oldtimers) to North Americans vs. Europeans?

We all know that the All-Star Game hasn't mattered in many years, and is basically one big corporate schmoozefest for Bettman and the big companies he is trying to court.

Players certainly don't want to risk fatigue and injury playing in an exhibition games with players they'd normally be trying to bodycheck through the glass. Therefore, getting the All-Star Game to matter would be an enormous chore.

The NHL could go the MLB route by awarding home advantage in the Stanley Cup Finals, but we all know how incredibly dumb that idea is. Sure, let's not reward a team for having success during a long regular season, and give home ice based on a game of shinny.

The NHL could offer a large monetary award to the winners of the game, since players seem to chase a roll of green almost as much as the blondest bunny, I suppose giving a substantional amount of coin to the winning team to divvy up *MIGHT* induce some hard play.

Then again, players in the ASG already make serious coin ...

As for the buzz, the Rory Fitzpatrick story was the best thing that could have happened for the NHL last season. Even I got into the voting, something I don't normally do. The hype the story created gave the ASG some actual press!! Good or bad, air time is what the NHL wants, and what the NHL got.

This year? What stories are there to tell?

*crickets chirp*


I don't worry if the ASG will matter or not, since I use that time to take a break from the game. If I am going to worry about anything, it'll be making the skills competition more exciting to watch.


Friday, November 09, 2007


Friday's Frank Frothings

by Jes

Forbes, the magazine that figures wealth is the be-all and end-all of our lives, has done its usual due diligence on the NHL and its finances.

Basically, it's good to be an NHL owner, especially in Canada. Yep, our dollar continues to rise like fast-bake yeast, and the salary structure of the NHL has ensured that franchise values will grow like weeds in your uncle's garden.

It's also advantageous (duh) to own thy own arena, as teams can shuffle lots of revenue to/from the building, and make a killing on the overpriced, heavily-marked up, watered-down, bad-for-you beer. Not only that, but the arena can be used to host other events (concerts, basketbrawl, etc)

In the two seasons since team owners canceled the 2004-05 campaign to force a salary cap on the players, the 30 NHL franchises have increased an average of 23 percent in value, and the league has gone from an operating loss of $96 million to a profit of $96 million.

The average hockey team is now worth $200 million and last season posted a profit (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $3.2 million on revenue of $81 million. Even small-market hockey teams are hot properties: Tampa Bay Lightning owner William Davidson, who bought the team, the operating lease to the arena, and 5.6 acres of surrounding real estate for $115 million in 1999, is on the verge of selling that package for $206 million.

No, television ratings have not improved. Last season's Stanley Cup finals between the Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators were the lowest in history, and NBC pulled in a horrid 1.1 regular-season rating. And to win back the love from fans and sponsors spurned by the lockout, team owners have kept ticket and advertising prices essentially where they were three years ago.

The surge in team values and profits is due to the salary cap that was included in the new collective bargaining agreement (which has lowered player costs from 66 percent of revenue to 54 percent since the 2003-04 season, according to our data) and a stronger Canadian dollar (the six hockey teams north of the border pay players in U.S. dollars).
Of course, we know Buttman will come out and say Forbes is full of it, and that NHL franchises aren't at rich as everyone thinks they are (While at the same time, claiming the game is better than ever before. Go figure)

Wayne's World: Our Southern correspondent is back with his thoughts on the Saku Koivu issue. I agree with him for the most part, but Stan Fischler a great writer? *cough*

Some final thoughts on the story I sent you last week about Saku Koivu, who was receiving no love from the Montreal fans because he didn't speak a dying language (uh, uh, (snap, snap), it's on the tip of my tongue, I know it...), French!

Thinking about this last week, the closest comparison I could think of is NASCAR's Jeff Gordon. The guy has been stock-car's best driver for the past decade, but the rednecks hold it against him because he was born in California for god's sakes...

But the Francophone/separatist thing in Quebec has been going on for decades (remember the Maurice Richard riots in the 50's or Rene Levesque who made it to the U.S. edition of TIME back in '78?)...This past summer, I re-read a book by the great New York hockey writer Stan Fischler called Slashing!, originally printed in 1975. Early in the book, he reports how David Molson (heir to the Canadian brewing empire) was forced to sell his team and have a rifle around the house because a group of radical French-speaking Quebec separatists put on him on a death-list for "exploiting French-speaking athletes"...
It is not as if Koivu doesn't know French (he did player intros the next game en francais), but he obviously doesn't feel comfortable enough in his French to do interviews in that language.

European players already have enough nervousness about doing interviews in English, given the complexity of the language and the media's ability/desire to twist quotes to put a player in a bad light. Can you imagine how apeshit the French media would go if one of Saku's French interviews had a slight hint of something juicy to it, intentional or not? Given that well over 90% of the hockey media and fanbase is English, why should Saku have to pander to some whiny minority?

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Thursday, November 08, 2007


Eric Lindros Calls it a Career

by Jes

With Eric "The Big Ego" Lindros announcing his retirement, the sticks and stones are being flung around the hockeysphere left and right about the career of the polarizing centerman.

Over at The FanHouse, I muse about how Lindros changed the game. As much of a douche as Lindros is/was, we all know that he and his style of play had a profound impact on the NHL.

For worse, teams decided to load up on big slugs and SIZE, over skill and speed. Before Lindros, Cam Neely and Mark Messier were your basic power forwards, and most players were prized for their skills rather than their brute strength. Once Lindros came on the scene, it was all about BIGGER is BETTER, and teams skipped over skilled, smaller players to draft slugs like Brett Lindros, Chris Wells, etc etc ... Thankfully, after being smacked upside the head a few times, teams realized that players like Martin St. Louis are hella valuable and now NHL clubs are focused more on skill than pure size.

So, is Eric worthy for the Hall of Fame? My own preference would be 'YES', but that is without fully examining his case. I believe the effect Lindros had on the game trumps his final numbers and lack of any Stanley Cup success.

Over at The Daily Examiner, one scribe relays a story about Lindros and his habit of 'peeking'

The bathroom was relatively crowded — in fact there were only two side-by-side urinals available. I took my urinal just like I would if I didn’t think the number one pick in 1991’s NHL Entry Draft was about to take the next one.

The first thing I noticed, upon seeing Lindros in person standing, was that he was taller (and skinnier) than I expected. I guess height helps in hockey because it allows you to see things from a less obstructed perspective.

As I did my thing, I felt something bearing down on me from an unobstructed perspective. It was Lindros, and, yes, he was sneaking a peek
Eeepp O.o

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Hilary Gives Comrie the Duff Stuff

by Jes

As if people didn't hate Mike Comrie enough, d00d got hooked up with uber-rich celeb-babe Hilary Duff and continues to flash that shit-eating grin of his as he 'leads' another team to a non-playoff appearance.

From what little I know about Hilary Duff, she is known for her 'good girl' image, which has been carefully cultivated to maximize her revenue inflows.

Well, she certainly gave her boyfriend, and a trendy NY nightclub, a dirty little show for their viewing pleasure.

SHE may look like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, but HILARY DUFF'S fans were left shocked after witnessing the star performing a lap dance at the weekend.

The pretty actress - who shot to fame in kids' TV show Lizzie maguire - treated her ice hockey star boyfriend MIKE COMRIE to the saucy performance at exclusive New York hot spot Tenjune.

A partygoer said: "Hilary was having a wild night, drinking Veuve Clicquot straight out of the bottle.

"She looked nothing like the sweet little Lizzie Maguire she once was as she treated Mike to a series of raunchy lap dances.

"The place was packed but Hilary didn't mind."
See? This is the kind of hardcore hockey news that you won't find at TSN or The Globe and Mail.

On another front, are Alexei Yashin and Carol Alt official finished? We must know the truth!

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Monday, November 05, 2007


Another Hockey Road Trip We'll Never Experience

There are hockey road trips, there are hockey road vacations, and then there is something completely above all of those.

One fella has decided to take the idea of a hockey road trip 10 steps forward, pretty much tossing his hat into the ring as the Hardcore Hockey Fan of the Year.

From the New York Times:
“A lot of people have the ability and resources to do something like this over a longer period of time,” said Williamson, talking as he snapped photos of the Garden scoreboard with his iPhone. “But I wanted to take that challenge one step further by doing 30 arenas in 30 days.”

By the end of the tour, Williamson will have traveled about 30,000 miles and spent about $10,000 on airfare, car rentals and hotels. (He said he would cut costs by staying with relatives and friends along the way). That estimate includes the price of his authentic No. 30 Lightning jersey, with a message sewn on the back: 30 games in 30 nights. He wears the jersey to every game, washing it by hand whenever his schedule allows.

Williamson, a divorced father of two teenage boys, is chronicling his experiences on his Web site .
Of course, being a mainstream rag, the New York Times failed to even include a link to the guy's website. Why mention it if you can't provide a link? Afraid people might not come back to the NYT??

I don't think I could ever handle a 30-30 deal like this. Besides the cost, the aggravation and travel would seem to make it more of a chore than anything else. Having to check in/out of hotels, through airport security, and everything else would have to leave this guy extremely drained when its all said and done. We'll see if he pulls it off.

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Friday, November 02, 2007


Sean Avery Scores with Mary-Kate Olsen?

by Jes

From the "Gag me with a spoon" file comes rumours that Mary-Kate Olsen is getting jiggy with Sean Avery. My FanHouse cohort, Greg Wyshynski, who spends about 6 hours a day on celebrity gossip websites, forwarded me the 'good news'


From (If it's there, it MUST be true!):

Avery, who was previously linked to Elisha Cuthbert and rumored to be the other man in JT's "What Comes Around Goes Around," has been seen squiring MK all over the Big Apple.

He shoots, he scores!
I know I'm not the only guy who once fantasized about the time when the Olsen twins would be legal (not that we have a chance or anything), but then they stopped eating, started smoking, and just generally started to look ghoulish.
Mary-Kate Olsen

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Bad Luck Canucks

Cheering for the Vancouver Canucks is one, big, long exercise in pain.

It's not bad enough that the team keeps losing games, or that we're subjected to the public displays of in-fighting.

Now, the Canucks have seriously caught the injury jinx, and it ain't pretty.

Both Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo were taken to hospital with injuries. Bieksa suffered a lacerated right calf when he was cut by the skate of Predator Vernon Fiddler during the second period.

''There's a pretty deep cut there, with the (calf) muscle,'' coach Alain Vigneault said after the game.

Salo, who was playing only his fourth game after returning to the lineup after a wrist injury, was hit in the face by puck shot by teammate Alex Edler. Salo went down and bled profusely before being helped off the ice.

Vigneault said Salo, who missed nine games after being injured in an intra-squad game, was hit in the orbital bone around the eye and his nose.
Holy crap, dude! These aren't minor little nicks and scratches, and will certainly linger for a long time.

Canucks are now 1-6 at home ... WTF??

Anyway, Mitchell is playing with a very sore ankle, Krajicek is out after slipping and falling on a banana peel that Alex Ovechkin threw onto a DC sidewalk, and now this?

Yikes. So, the Canucks D is consisting of a suddenly-looking-old Mattias Ohlund, Mike "Vanilla" Weaver, Aaron "Slow as molasses" Miller, an Injured Willie Mitchell, and then some call ups.

Sure, Alex Edler will probably rock the house, but guys like Patrick Coulombe? Yuk.

Well, at least the Blues are doing well :)

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Thursday, November 01, 2007


Koivu Unfairly Targeted by Separatist Morons

Certain Quebec politicians certainly do their best to score political points by picking on non-French hockey players. (Just ask Shane Doan)

The latest BS to come out of the Poutine province is some whining that captain Saku Koivu doesn't parlez le francais.

Saku Koivu's response was a simple one when he was asked yesterday why he doesn't address Montreal hockey fans in French – "I'm not perfect."

The Montreal Canadiens captain's lack of spoken French has cropped up occasionally as an issue over the past few seasons.

This week, it was Quebec City lawyer Guy Bertrand who spoke out about it in front of a provincial commission studying the so-called reasonable accommodation of minorities and immigrants.

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois went one step further by affirming the Canadiens should insist on French courses for its players.

Hmm, do you think many free agents to be would be clamouring to sign with the Canadiens if they had to learn French?

Honestly, Saku should have just told Bertrand and his cronies to go fuck themselves, and then told the media, "If you want me to speak French, then ask me questions in Finnish."

Saku, whose native language is FINNISH, a language vastly different than most other world languages, took the time and effort to learn our English, the language of the vast majority of NHL media, fans, and players. He has certainly worked hard to adapt to the North American lifestyle and has provided the Habs faithful with many years of great play.

Oh, let's not forget that little cancer thing he had to fight. That didn't take a whole lot of time and effort, did it?

Last time I checked, Canada has two official languages, one of which most people speak and one of which very few do. As long as Koivu speaks one, which he does, then he's certainly more than capable to captain a North American hockey club. As much as certain morons would like it to be so, it's not the law that one must speak French to live and work in Quebec.

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