Friday, February 29, 2008


Vancouver <3 Trevor Linden

by Jes

Normally, a low-key fourth-line player with just seven points in 46 games wouldn't be all that popular with the fans. Trevor Linden, however, is no mere mortal in the eyes of many Vancouver Canucks fans and the citizens of Vansterdam.

The Westender, a local Vancouver paper, released it's annual Best of the City edition. Thousands of votes were cast, and Trevor Linden's name popped up near the top of many lists.

Even with his waning and declining hockey skills, and after the whole NHLPA corruption scandal, the people of Vancouver still hold Trevor Linden is seriously high regard.

  • Linden for Mayor? Linden ranked 6th, ahead of Roberto Luongo, Chuck Norris, and actual mayoral candidate Peter Ladner. Imagine how high Linden would rank if he actually chose to run.
  • Unsung Hero - I wouldn't normally think of Linden as a unsung hero, but he ranks #2, ahead of even David Suzuki (who is becoming more of a corporate shill every day) and the person who taped the airport Taser incident.
  • Surprisingly, Linden ranked just 5th on the "Local Personality You'd Like to Invite to Dinner". Perhaps those cliched post-game interviews have sullied his reputation?

    #1 was Michael Buble, the overrated lounge singer who seems to sell way more CDs than he should. Tell me, again, why people prefer his watered-down cover versions to the real thing?
  • Linden finished 2nd in the local personality people would want to date, and the only male in the top section. I know my own girlfriend finds Linden quite sexay, so it's no surprise Linden finished way ahead of the likes of the Sedinbots and Markus Naslund.
  • Despite his popularity with the girls, Linden finished just 2nd to Roberto Luongo as top Canucks player. Then again, it's amazing people would vote him #2 when he's like their 15th best player.
  • Labels:

    Thursday, February 28, 2008


    Thursday's Thirsty Thoughts

    by Jes

  • Not only are the Anaheim Ducks a better team than the one you cheer for, but
    they are also stylin' and profilin' like GQ models
    . Somewhere, Earl Sleek is drooling over his Jack&Coke.

    "I'm too sexy for my stick
    too sexy for my stick
    so sexy, it's sick"

    But neither did the three dapper Ducks when event emcee and comedienne Cindy Burns asked them – "these hot, hot, hot guys," she called them – each to strike a pose.

    Getzlaf turned to an audience of mostly women, some hooting with high pitches, and offered his best GQ-cover serious look before bursting out with laughter.

    Giguere, who was introduced as "Gee-gahr," put his left foot forward, pushed back the tails on his dark Canali sportcoat, sunk his hands in pockets and vogued. (His fair cheeks turned pink as he probably was wishing he could just lower a goalie mask.)

    Selanne, wearing a gray, herringbone Armani suit with a lavender shirt and handkerchief, happily played to the gallery's cat calls. When urged to model his apparel, the sly Selanne walked his fingers suggestively to his waist and – cue striptease music – raised a corner of his untucked shirt, exposing some torso for his wardrobe (mal)function.

    I'd have to give the nod to Teemu over Getzlag and Jiggy. Giguere is a distant third with an ugly blue shirt that makes him look a bit chubby and unathletic, and Getzlaf looks way too much like a security guard or businessman clone.

    (Hat-tip to JP at Japers Rink for the linkage)

  • So, Dion Phaneuf was strutting into a Starbucks to grab an overpriced non-fat latte when somebody took off with his gas-guzzling SUV.

    Does anyone feel sorry for the prick? I didn't think so.

    Note to Dion, try buying a vehicle that is a little kinder to the environment, k? Not that I'd normally advocate the theft of a motor vehicle, but it's not as if Dion can't afford a new shaggin' wagon with his fat new contract extension.

  • Yes, I was totally cheering for Dustin Head (nice name) to win a cool $1mil last night. Apparently, so was Peter Forsberg.

    Check out the video highlights over at FanHouse.

  • More FanHouse goodness: Greg Wyshynski found a story about a naughty little scandal involving high school hockey players in Nova Scotia.

    Apparently, the head coach allowed some rather cheeky little comments to be part of the players' bios. A mistake or on purpose? Who knows ...
    One player's bio says he enjoys "some meat between his buns." Another's says he likes hunting and fishing and warns women that he shares his bed with a huge weapon.

    A third player's write-up says he "could be coming into your mouth sooner than you think as he seeks a profession in dental hygenics (sic) in the near future."

    Another bio refers to a player's desire to visit pop singer Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

    And another caption says a player wants to become a motivational speaker for the hearing impaired.

    Crude, but hilarious. I can't believe those write-ups were actually allowed to go through.

    I just wonder what Greg was searching for when he came upon that story O.o

  • Wayne, our Southern Correspondent asks:

    A stat change: Shouldn't there be a stat for players who take penalties and their team gives up a goal while they're in the box?

    The problem with that kind of stat is that there would be far too much un/luck involved.

    Say Jarkko Ruutu takes 60 minor penalties in a season, but his team does a great job on the PK, and lets in only 6 goals.

    Compare that to a guy like Pavol Demitra, who takes 20 minor penalties. What if his team gives up 6 goals in those 20 PKs? Then, Pavol would look far worse than Ruutu, despite the fact he took 40 less penalties. Clearly, a player cannot control what his teammates do when he is not on the ice.

    The best thing would be a +/- for penalties taken/drawn (not including off-setting, of course), so we could see just who puts their team at a man-disadvantage the most.
  • Labels: , , ,

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008


    Reunion Time in Colorado

    by Jes

    What is this? 2001?

    First, the Avs sign Peter Forsberg and his bionic foot.

    Then, the Avs trade for Adam Foote.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Patrick Roy came out of retirement to suit up.

    The price for the rental is STEEP: A first round draft choice.

    From The Hat:
    That’s an exceptionally high price to pay for a rental, so presumably, the Avalanche felt they needed Foote’s experience and toughness on a blue line that had been relatively soft all season.

    Earlier, they surrendered Karlis Skrastins and a third-rounder to the Florida Panthers for Ruslan Salei, who hadn’t played in Colorado before but was an effective player for Anaheim when they made that unexpected run to the 2003 Stanley Cup final.

    A little known fact: Salei averaged above 26 minutes for the then Mighty Ducks in that playoff run. Salei is a quietly effective player. On the Panthers, he was second in overall ice time behind only Jay Bouwmeester, generally a pretty good indication of how important a role a player can have.

    The Avs have been freefalling lately, after managing to win games without their big stars.

    Now, as the stars filter back into the lineup, and the Avs get Foote and Forsberg into the lineup, Canucks fans like myself are nervous about Colorado re-finding their groove.

    And, yes, Slew-foot Salei is a fine defenseman that gets little notice. Skrastins was clearly skating around with a fork in his back, and the Avs needed an upgrade on D.


    Labels: , , ,

    Monday, February 25, 2008


    Mats Sundin Won't Waive No-Trade Clause

    by Jes

    All too often, people whine about the 'good old days' and how a player tended to play for one franchise his one career. Of course, it was much easier to play for just one team when there were only SIX teams in the league. In today's 30-team monstrosity, there is a lot more choice out there for both GMs and players.

    Basically, people whine that players aren't loyal any longer, all the while forgetting that GM's don't exactly show 'loyalty' to the players they put on waivers, etc.

    Now, as we approach deadline day, the one player that has been in the spotlight the most is Mats Sundin. Sure, Sundin is with his second NHL franchise, but it feels like he's been a career Maple Leaf.

    Mats said 'no' to waiving his no-trade clause, and now he'll remain with the Leafs until the end of the season. Obviously, Mats enjoys playing in Toronto and doesn't want to move his family and/or away from his family and friends for an extended period of time.

    Per Ice Junkies:
    Many players have come before him and have left their home team in order to chase the dream temporarily with a cup favorite but Mats decided it was not the way he wanted to win. To me, this speaks volumes about his class and leadership and illustrates exactly why so many teams were lined up for a shot at his services. Sundin deserves a cup, but with Toronto clearly embarking on an intensive, and much needed, re-build he may never get it. Many will accuse Mats of hurting that rebuilding effort and claim that he should have allowed Fletcher to get some value for him and then just re-signed with Toronto in the off-season. Regardless of one's perspective on that, Mats decision is actually a refreshing one as he will be a leaf until the end and that's something to be celebrated.

    On the flip side, Greg Wyshynski over at FanHouse disagrees entirely with what Sundin is doing.

    Sundin has placed his own personal comfort ahead of self-sacrifice for the franchise he so dearly adores. The asking price was only going to rise as Tuesday's deadline grew near; there's no telling what improvements to next year's Leafs their captain just pissed away because of his nihilism toward the "concept of a rental player." Ice Junkies believes this decision is the epitome of class; I couldn't disagree more.

    Well, I'm obviously not siding with Greg on this issue.

    1. Why shouldn't Sundin place his own personal comfort ahead of everything else? He signed a contract with a no-trade clause specifically because he *gasp* didn't want to get traded. If the Leafs wanted to trade him, perhaps they shouldn't have agreed to the clause. D'uh!

    2. It's not Mats Sundin's responsibility to do anything other than perform well on the ice. Anything that has to do with how much talent surrounds Sundin is the sole responsibility of Leafs' management. The fact that the Leafs are in their current pickle is the fault of JFJ and his ilk.

    3. Why the double standard? Do we now praise players because they choose to be rental mercenaries, or do we praise them because they show some actual loyalty?

    So, Mats made a personal decision and didn't want to upset his family and be a pawn in the NHL's Meat Market. Good for him. Mats has fulfilled his obligations to the Leafs, and is not obligated to play the role of trade bait. Why do we insist on treating players like commodities? It would be akin to me chastising Greg for not quitting FanHouse so that we can go out and hire Al Strachan.

    Labels: , , ,

    Friday, February 22, 2008


    Disrepecting a National Anthem? Puh-lease!

    by Jes

    Some fans in arenas across North American like to have a little fun with the national anthems as they are being sung. Dallas Stars' fans yell "STARS" during the American anthem, for example.

    Well, apparently Washington Capitals' fans are having a little fun during the national anthem, and now the jingoistic prudes are getting all whiny about it.

    Right here in our nation's capital, of all places, some people have a problem with the national anthem.

    It's not with the melody and certainly not the meaning, but when the anthem singer at a local sports event gets to the line, "O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave." For years now, some fans have been yelling "O!" adding the original exclamation point as Francis Scott Key wrote it and shouting with gusto and fervor.

    O, how this practice irks other fans.

    "It's something that's been bugging me for a long time," said Mike Rucki, a longtime Washington Capitals fan and co-founder of, a hockey Web site that provides a forum for those of a similar mind. "Just because it's a tradition doesn't mean it's a good tradition."

    Boo-frickin-hoo! I hope Mike Rucki gets his nose bitten by a bald eagle. Just because this fellow hasn't been laid in 14 years doesn't mean he has to get all up in our faces.

    Tell me, again, why we North Americans bother with this national anthem nonsense before sporting events?

    Do you sing the national anthem before office meetings, while standing at a bus stop, buying a latte from Starbucks, or waxing your carrot? NO! So, why is it normal practice to do national anthems before sporting events.

    Hey, I'm there to watch men (or sometimes women) play sports. I'm not there to do a bad sing-a-long or pretend that I'm feeling all patriotic prior to a Canucks/Avalanche game. Really, if I want to listen to music, I'll buy tickets to a concert, or turn up my mp3 player. Get the game on already!

    Riddle me this ... Do the Canucks really represent Canada? Are the Avs really American? Kinda hard to think of the Avs as representing the USoA when their stars are Slovak, Czech, and Canadian. Similarly, the Canucks are pretty hefty on the Swedes.

    Disrespecting an anthem? It's a song! Anyone who ties a song closely with a country and their own personal feelings is just anal retentive. These are the same people who treat the flag as a symbol of holy worship, and think their whole identity is tied up in the country they happened to be born in. A song is an artistic expression, and open to individual interpretation. Travel back in time to the 1950's if you are interested in being a slave to the state.

    Booing the anthem or swearing during the anthem ... those things are crass. Shouting "STARS!" en-masse is not. Tacky, maybe, but not crass.

    Labels: ,

    Thursday, February 21, 2008


    Just How Many Fans Does the NHL Have?

    by Jes

    Our Southern correspondent checks in with an interesting link to a Wall Street journal post. The topic? Just how many fans does the NHL actually have?

    The NHL claims it has 50 million fans, and cites the results of one particular survey to help back up its claim.

    The Numbers Guy delves into the pool, and claims the NHL is full of crap.

    [The NHL] cited a 2006 study from Scarborough Research’s sports-marketing division that found 49.2 million Americans had some interest in the NHL. Scarborough randomly dialed American phone numbers to recruit more than 200,000 people to fill out and mail in a survey. As part of a broad survey on consumer habits, respondents were directed to “check how interested you are in these sports.” The NHL was one of them. Responses were then extrapolated to adults nationwide.

    Scarborough found just 8.3 million American adults were “very” interested in the NHL. Another 13.5 million were “somewhat” interested. To approach 50 million requires counting the other 27.5 million who said they are “a little bit” interested. Apparently a little bit of interest doesn’t translate into switching on the television to watch free broadcasts of the season’s most important games. (By the NHL’s definition, Scarborough numbers show the NBA has 86 million fans, Major League Baseball has 114 million and the NFL has 135 million — including 55 million who are “very” interested in the pro-football league.)

    It is obvious that The Numbers Guy isn't much of an NHL fan, and doesn't really understand the nature of the sport or its fans. I know the NHL is exaggerating the numbers, as they tend to do. Still, let me defend the NHL a little bit.

    1. Unlike the Super Bowl, the NHL Stanley Cup Finals aren't always a 'must-watch' one-time event. By the time the finals roll around, most of us have experienced at least a tinge of hockey burnout. It's spring, it's sunny, and most people aren't in a hockey mood. Unless your team is involved, it is quite hard to really get into the Stanley Cup Finals at times.

    2. There are plenty of non-American hockey fans, especially in Canada and in Europe. The 50 million figure is, more realistically, a worldwide figure, and could also be derived from many other things (hits on, for example). Why do you think the NHL bothers to do exhibition games in Europe?

    3. It's kind of hard to watch the NHL when it's on a network that many people can't access (Versus).

    4. Having a 'little bit' of interest certainly doesn't mean that the particular fan is going to tune into the Stanley Cup Finals. Likely, any fan that says a 'little bit' of interest is more into their local team once in awhile, or they enjoy watching hockey highlights, fights, and the like. I have very little interest in the CFL, but I do watch the occasional BC Lions game from time to time.

    In the end, the NHL is pretty much full of it when it claims it has 50 million American fans. I'm sorry, but TV ratings would be a lot better if that was the case. The proof is in that pudding, I would say.

    What can't be discounted is how many fans the NHL has outside of the USA. The NBA is not doing too well in the USA, but they have awesome numbers from around the world, and their viewership from other places is growing rapidly.

    Perhaps the NHL will take lessons, and realize that there is a friendlier market outside of the disinterested American audience that would prefer slow sports like baseball and football.

    Labels: , ,

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008


    Photo of the Day: Slovak League Goodness

    by Jes

    It's been far too long since I featured some Slovak hockey here on Hockey Rants.

    So, my Slovak pal Daniel passed on a link to some great shots of a recent tilt between HC Kosice and Dukla Trencin (aka, The Factory).

    Here are some of the best ones ...

    Miroslav Hala's really cool mask design.

    Who in the hell designed those cheerleaders' uniforms? O.O

    Ouch! Faceplant! Serves you right for diving!

    "Can you believe they make us wear these ugly things?"

    Miklik celebrates with his homeboys.

    Labels: , , , ,


    Ovy's Got a Girlfriend!

    by Jes

    The moment Sidney Crosby ever gets spotted with a hot female companion, the Blogger servers will likely crash after the stampede of visitors to The Sidney Crosby Show causes the Earth to collapse upon itself.

    In the meantime, we'll just have to gawk at the 'other' star in the NHL.

    That's right, Alexander Ovechkin's got some new company, and she's pretty smokin'. Check out FanHouse for exclusive pictures.

    Now, how many professional hockey players would you expect to be scouring the Internet for a love thing? I'm not talking about a one-night hookup, or some juicy pr0n, but some actual companionship?


    Well, there is a first for everything, and it turns out Ovechkin did a little online shopping before making his purchase.

    Who'd figure Alexander Ovechkin for the online dating type? But apparently they don't make 'em here like they do back home: The Capitals' strapping superstar met his new girlfriend, a Moscow college student, on the Internet.

    There she was at Caps practice yesterday -- a 20-something named Katja, and described by one spy as "skinny, tan, blond, hot, Russian." Two weeks ago, she flew here for the first date, and they've been together ever since. Ovechkin, 22, declined to discuss the relationship -- but happily, Katja dished to a Russian newspaper.

    According to her interview with SovSport, the two met online last fall after she clicked on his profile on Odnoklassniki, a Russian equivalent of or Facebook, on which they were linked by a mutual friend. Ovechkin saw that she had visited his profile and wrote to her -- but she refused to believe it was the real Ovechkin until he gave an interview to SovSport in which he said "hello to SPY," her online name.
    It does make sense for a high-profile professional hockey player to use such a service. Instead of being surrounded by a bunch of greedy groupies with a one-track ($$$) mind, Internet sites allow the player to pick and choose his targets, and get to know them better before making first contact. If I am a player that values privacy and wants some actual substance from my girlfriend, I'd certainly consider the Internet to weed out the field.

    Now, if any Hooters girls should be scouring this site, looking for a love connection, I'm sorry to say that I'm taken. Greg, however, could use some lovin'

    Labels: , ,

    Monday, February 18, 2008


    OMFG, Advertising on NHL Uniforms?

    by Jes

    Normally, concepts and ideas from Europe (such as legalized prostitution, no-touch icing, not going ape-crap over half of an exposed nipple) show how behind-the-times and small-minded North Americans really are.

    There are exceptions, however, to every rule, especially when it comes to hockey.

    Anyone who has ever seen some semblance of European hockey knows that the entire experience is littered with advertising. It's not enough that the boards and ice surface likes look a NASCAR car, but the players' sweaters, themselves, make the players into skating billboards.

    Instead of prominently feature a team logo, you get sweaters covered in enough advertising to make you sick. Hell, some Euroclubs are even named after a team sponsor (such as Chemopetrol Litvinov, HC MOUNTFIELD (Ceske Budejovice), and HC Energie Karlovy Vary.

    Given how much advertising we're subjected to already, do NHL fans really want MORE of that crap?

    The one 'sacred' aspect of the NHL, compared to Europe, is that the players' uniforms have remained relatively logo free. Sure, there has been logo creep on the sweaters, but we'll accept a logo on a piece of equipment that belongs to the maker of said product.

    I always liked that I could look, or wear, an NHL uniform and have it all about the team colours, design, and logo. NHL uniforms are fairly clean and crisp, and are the one bit of freedom we have from the corporate messaging we are submitted to every minute of every game.

    Unfortunately, greed tends to prevail in this society, and now we have NHL goaltenders clamouring to sell themselves as corporate shills.

    A group of influential NHLers is asking the league and the players' union to consider placing corporate logos on jerseys as a way to generate new revenues, according to a Toronto Star report published yesterday.

    The group which includes New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, Dallas's Marty Turco, Detroit's Dominik Hasek and Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson is proposing the creation of a Goaltender's Club.

    The idea is to sell space for ads on the jerseys of the league's netminders.

    Hockey marketer Brad Robins and Edmonton player agent Ritch Winter are working with the players and they estimate on-uniform ads could generate upwards of $30 million a season for the NHL.

    "This is the wave of the future," Winter told the Star. "The NHL isn't as profitable as other leagues, and we have very little choice but to pursue new ways to create revenue so we can reinvest in our sport. It's just a way to pay the bills."
    Do these idiots not make enough money as it is? Do they really have no shame in slapping on some generic corporate logos onto their clothing to make a few extra bucks?

    Oh, cue the rich quote from Dwayne Roloson.

    Roloson shrugs off the prospect of criticism from traditionalists.

    "I think it's a great way to grow (hockey-related revenue)," he told the Star. "They have (uniform ads) in Europe and it doesn't take away from the true jersey look."
    Doesn't take away from the true jersey look?? O.... K....

    If this should ever pass, I suggest every NHL fan boo the living hell out of these empty souls and endeavour to put their fanship into goaltenders who don't submit themselves to the will of corporate assholes. It's pretty sad that these boys, who are already well-off, would feel the need to pimp themselves out as propaganda whores to the highest bidder.

    Labels: , , , ,


    No Comeback for Peter Forsberg

    by Jes

    Much ado about nothing, it seems ...

    Forsberg's agent Don Baizley has begun advising NHL teams that Forsberg doesn't have enough confidence in his wonky foot to commit to a return to the league this season.

    ''The prospect of Peter having enough confidence in the foot-skate issue to commit to being able to play in the NHL this season isn't where it needs to be at this moment,'' Baizley told TSN. ''As a result, teams are being told it is unlikely he will be able to commit to return to the NHL this season.''

    D00d, just retire already. Your body is broken, you've got Stanley Cup bling, and you don't need to prove anything to anyone.


    Link of the Day: For you Americans who don't have the pleasure of seeing TSN's hockey coverage, Melt Your Face Off Blog does a great transcription of your typical intermission gossip segment.

    Labels: , ,


    It's Beer ... In a Puck Hat!

    by Jes

    While you may think the latest trend in hockey wear will be ads on NHL sweaters (it'll happen soon, trust me), the real trend-setters will be wearing something else.

    For years, baseball fans have had the helmet with the cups on the side that allowed them easy hands-free access to their alcaholic beverage of choice.

    Now? Hockey fans have something much better. Yes, the RoFo Hockey Puck Headgear

    One-Size-Fits-Most. When worn… the wearer’s head acts as a fulcrum for the encircled beverage. The beverage act as a liquid gyroscope - finding its own center of gravity during the gyrations and twisting of the wearer’s head. While worn on an individual’s head, a second person can simply operate the spigot, and dispense a beverage. In addition, the RoFo HOCKEY PUCK Headgear is great for tailgate parties, at picnics, on the beach, during In-line and Street Hockey events, at Gen Con, at the races, or at an intimate Soirée. Hubba, Hubba, Hubba!!!
    Go figure that the guy who invented this lives in Milwaukee. Wear one of these babies and I'm sure all the hot chicks will just flock to drink your juices.

    The biggest potential problem is now to sneak this device inside of a NHL arena. Unless you can hide the tap somehow, I'm sure the securidroids won't let you wear the beer dispensing puck into the arena. Heavens forbid that you cheap out the NHL club $25 bucks on two NyQuil cups of beer.

    Friday, February 15, 2008


    Quebec Language Nazis Strike Again!

    by Jes

    When you walk into an Irish Pub, what do you expect? Low lighting, a pint of Guinness or Harp, perhaps a few TVs with the game on, perhaps some folk music, dancing, and probably lots of Irish paraphernalia.

    Certainly, you don't expect Poutine, Ambrée aux piments forts, et Pot au feu.

    Of course, that doesn't stop the Quebec Language Nazis from going to work, claiming an Irish Pub to be an enemy of the Republic.

    The Office de la langue francaise (OLF) issued the order to McKibbins Irish Pub on Feb. 6, informing the tavern it was violating Quebec's language charter by displaying the imported vintage posters.

    The wall hangings include vintage advertisements for Guinness and St. James Gate Dublin, imported from Ireland.

    McKibbins owner Rick Fon told CBC News he will not take the posters down because they serve as decoration, not to advertise beer.

    Once again, we see a great load of hypocrisy from the Language Nazis.

    Aren't the Francophones hell-bent on preserving their 'culture'? Why, then, must be enforce their culture and language on others? Certainly, you are not going to see and hear a lot of FRENCH in a genuine Irish Pub.

    Much like most religions around the world, The Quebec Language Nazis play the persecution card, but have no problem persecuting others and trying to assimilate the 'heathens' into their mindless collective.

    I hope the pub fights this idiocy and I hope the pub goers get behind their little watering hole.

    Of course, they are up against a bunch of whackos that think the captain of Montreal's hockey team should be forced to learn and speak French.

    Labels: ,

    Thursday, February 14, 2008


    Those Uncanny San Jose Sharks

    by Jes

    I have to admit that I don't follow the San Jose Sharks as much as I do some of the other Western Conference powerhouses. Besides the fact that their uniforms are hard to look at for more than three minutes straight, the Sharks play the most boring style of hockey outside of Jacque Lemaire's wet dreams.

    So, after looking at some of the stats for the San Jose Sharks, I am quite amazed that they sit pretty with a 31-17-8 record. While I admit the Sharks have a lot of talent, their individual player stats suggest a team that ought to be losing a lot more games than they should.

    Consider that ...

    1. The Sharks have ZERO 20-goal scorers. That's right. After 56 games, Milan Michalek is their top sniper with 19. One goal every three games hardly screams TOP SCORER!

    2. Patrick Marleau seems to have picked up a Gary Sheffield-like sulk, and is doing his best to suck with just 28 points and a god-awful -21 this season. Maybe he figures he can win the NHL's first ever Least Valuable Player award.

    3. Evgeni Nabokov has a rather mediocre 90.9SV%. Not bad at all, but certainly not that good.

    4. Craig Rivet (!) is their top scoring defenseman with 27 points. If Rivet leads your D core in scoring, something is wrong.

    5. Jonathan Cheechoo ... is he hockey's version of Brady Anderson, the guy who once hit 50 HRs, and never came close to that total ever again? D00d is on pace for about 20 goals this season, and has been about as effective as ColdFX.

    One of these things is not like the other ...

    Year Team GP G A Pts

    2003-04 SJ 81 28 19 47

    2005-06 SJ 82 56 37 93

    2006-07 SJ 76 37 32 69

    2007-08 SJ 49 14 9 23

    So, I asked Mike Chen, a blogging Sharks fan, for a few choice words.

    1. Why are the Sharks doing so well?
    Nabokov is playing the best hockey of his career, and by and large, the team's bought into Ron Wilson's defensive scheme so that they've got a pretty extraordinary goals-against.

    The problem is I think they're scared shitless of Wilson because he's kind of a snarky asshole and the team's made up of a bunch of wussy nice guys. their defense is great until the pressure's on against top teams or key moments. Then it's one bonehead play and they lose their confidence.

    2. What's up with Patrick Marleau?
    Patrick Marleau's got his head up his ass. He's not using his speed all the time, he's making bonehead passes, and what's most irritating is that he has games where he completely dominates, then he falls apart the next game...

    People in the organization say that he's finally mended fences with R Wilson, but he's kind of dug himself such a hole that he has no confidence right now.

    3. Does Jon Cheechoo = Brady Anderson?
    Cheechoo isn't Brady Anderson. He had injuries on and off last year, and 37 goals is still pretty darn good by my account.

    As for this season, if you consider he had double-sports hernia surgery and couldn't train over the summer, he was basically four months behind everyone, so consider the first four months of the season like his off-season condition/training camp/preseason.

    if you're going by that and looking at his play since Jan 1, he's basically doing what we expected. He's got about 30 games left in the season and should finish with 25-30 goals. Considering his conditioning, leg strength, and timing were all out of whack from his surgery for the first half the season, that's still pretty remarkable.

    Labels: , ,

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008


    Wednesday Wonderings

    by Jes

    Not long after the scary Richard Zednik incident, came another very close call in last night's Oilers/Wild tilt.

    Look at the picture above, and you can see Gaborik's skate hit Ethan Moreau in the face, right around the eye. *shudder*

    Fortunately for Moreau, he simply got a little gash, and was right back on the ice after a little medical treatment.

    Still, it's another fine example of an injury that could have been prevented with a properly-worn visor. Given all that Moreau has been through with injuries, why does he still insist on playing without a shield?


    TSN, aka Toronto Sports Network, has way too many experts on Deadline Day, and too many of them are empty heads. Mike Milbury has shown himself to be a know-nothing blowhard, and Glenn Healy's ego is so big that he makes Bob MacKenzie look like an Olsen Twin.

    So, showing their Toronto bias, TSN goes ahead and gets ... John Ferguson Jr as yet another 'expert'

    Let's see, do I really want to hear what that guy has to say when analyzing a trade? Given how the guy made plenty of poor trades and free agents signings during his reign of error, he's one of the last guys that I want to hear from as an 'expert' on any trade evaluation.

    "I made many trades over 10 deadlines in management with St. Louis and Toronto," Ferguson says. "I look forward to plying a new trade with TSN this deadline."
    Apart from offering an inside-the-head look at what a GM feels like after getting reamed in the ass, what is JFJ really going to offer that is of substance? Bring back Maggie the Monkey-like animal.


    Over at The NHL FanHouse, I take a look at whether making a big deadline deal is worth the cost.

    In short, Stanley Cup winners are not built on deadline day, and the sellers almost always win out. If Cliff Fletcher is smart, he'll absolutely rob some desperate team out of a bag of draft picks for 2-3 months of Mats Sundin.

    Labels: , , ,

    Monday, February 11, 2008


    Jes Gölbez, Hockey Escort

    by Jes Gölbez

    How often does a Canadian get to take a total n00b to a hockey game? I'm talking about somebody who has never seen a hockey game and knows little about the sport other than it is played on ice.

    Now, there are quite a few Canadians who don't like/watch hockey (be a patriot and report them to your local RCMP dispatch), but these people at least have a basic knowledge of the sport. Even my Gramma, who thinks hockey is a violent bloodbath *sigh* knows who Wayne Gretzky and Markus Naslund are.

    Thus, it was quite a new experience for me to escort my girlfriend and some of her relatives from England to last night's tilt between the Vancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars. These people know and love 'footy' (obviously), and didn't even know hockey teams existed in the UK, nor did they remember the Theoren Fleury hurricane that tore through the British Isles.

    Thankfully, they Brits quite enjoyed the experience, and were really looking forward to the game in the first place. It makes me wonder how other Brits would take to the game if they had some live exposure to it. Hell, they love Rugby, so why not hockey?

    The Giants totally outclassed the Cougars (4-2 score, over 50 shots on goal for the Giants), and the game was fast-paced. The only black mark was the lack of an actual fight (which they hoped to see). Garet Hunt, who is smaller than pre-baby Christina Aguilera, challenged Magnusson, a HUGE Swede. The Chicken Swede promptly clucked away and Hunt got a misconduct. It was great to booooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Magnusson the whole 3rd period.

    Now, hosting foreigners to a hockey game requires some patience, and it helps to compare hockey to whatever sport (soccer is easy) they know and love. There will be quite a few questions that seem odd, or just seem hard to answer because you never needed/thought about the answer to them. We know what Icing is, but explaining it can be much harder than you think

    Some of the more interesting questions I remember
    1. How long is a player allowed to be on the ice?
    2. Do the players get teamed into set units? (think line combinations) Do they always stick together?
    3. How do the players know who is supposed to go onto the ice? (It's hard to see the coaches barking instructions)
    4. Why the hell are there blimps inside the arena? (Btw, the woman in front of me caught a prize from them. It was ... $2 off of a haircut. Ummm, is that it?)
    5. When can players change on/off the ice? (Imagine soccer with on-the-fly changes? Heh)

    All in all, they were more content to sit back and just enjoy the experience, so I ended up fielding far fewer questions than I thought I would be answering ... At least they didn't ask me to explain ICING.

    That reminds me, I also caught a t-shirt for the first time in my life. Of course, it was for some stupid tool company, and it was bright white. Two strikes and your out! What a gyp.

    Poor Zed :(

    Labels: , ,

    Saturday, February 09, 2008


    Caption This Photo: Pain in Leafland

    by Jes

    In celebration of Hockey Day in Canada, let's partake in one of our nation's finest traditions: raggin' on the Leafs.

    How about giving us a good caption for this photo? It's just begging for a creative description. Yes, their pain is my pleasure.

    (c) Getty Images, 2007

    I think Maurice is pondering what to put on his updated resume.

    Labels: ,

    Thursday, February 07, 2008


    Is the NHL More Popular than the NBA?

    by Jes

    Over at The FanHouse, we were sent a link to something called "The Harris Poll", which asks a bunch of (American) people what their favourite sport is, and then ranks them, plays around with the data, and shows us just how popular the boring NFL brand of football really is.

    What made our eyes pop out was the fact that 5% of respondents claimed hockey as their favourite sport, while only 3% claimed professional basketball, aka The NBA, as their favourite sport.
    'Sup, bitches?

    The NHL is more popular than the NBA?? WTF??

    Of course, this news is far too good to be true, as any set of TV ratings will tell you.

    As with any poll, this instantly screams "SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!". 2032 adults is hardly going to capture the true tastes of the general American public.

    Given how regional NHL interest is, the figures could wildly fluctuate if you hit a good patch (Minnesota) or bad patch (West Virginia) when polling people.

    It's always been a pet peeve of mine that the media, and the pollsters themselves, seem to forget a simple little concept called SAMPLING ERROR.

    In statistics, sampling error is the error caused by observing a sample instead of the whole population.

    An estimate of a quantity of interest, such as an average or percentage, will generally be subject to sample-to-sample variation. These variations in the possible sample values of a statistic can theoretically be expressed as sampling errors, although in practice the exact sampling error is typically unknown. Sampling error also refers more broadly to this phenomenon of random sampling variation.

    For example, say a recent poll asked 2,000 Canadians which flavour of ice cream they like the most. The first poll had a +/- margin of error of 3%, with 38% choosing Vanilla and 23% choosing Chocolate.

    Now, the second poll shows 35% choosing Vanilla, and 26% choosing chocolate.

    If the media were covering the poll, the headline would be like "Support for Chocolate growing!" or "Vanilla Losing Popularity".

    Nevermind the fact that the growth/drop was 3% for each, which was the exactly sampling error, the media seems to think that any such movement is indicative of the mindset of the population, rather than the expected variation from one poll to the next.

    Just remember, kiddies, that any movement that is within, or very close to, a margin of error on any poll does not necessarily indicate a change in public opinion, as a whole.

    Of course, the Harris Poll doesn't even bother publishing a NUMBER for sampling error, but at least they acknowledge there is a such thing and give their reasons for not putting a hard number out there.

    Still, I did enjoy the poll, and would love to see a similar poll done with a far large sample size. Perhaps ESPN, with all of their resources, could conduct a poll through their website.
    Anyway, back to the original topic at hand ... Big Mac took the reigns of this story for us at FanHouse, and made a good point about how the NHL really is gaining ground to the NBA.

    This survey does dovetail well with some other data that we've seen about the relative popularity of the two sports. Back in November, Sports Business Daily published a study about the most popular sports sites on the Web, and that survey pegged the total traffic of and as pretty much even. Later, I called the league office in New York, and they told me that had the numbers from Canada been included, that would have been far more popular.

    Of course, once you add in those numbers from China, the NHL suffers a bit. The global village and all that.

    If I was working for the NHL, I might take some time to send these numbers to a couple of sports pages around the country to make a simple case: You might be ignoring the NHL, but there's a market of people out there that you aren't necessarily serving. You'd think there might be some potential in that.

    The numbers for the NHL are pretty much flat throughout the survey. It's the NBA's numbers that have really dwindles, as the American audience seems to be turned off by the new generation of American 'ballers.

    Labels: ,


    WTF Happened to ... David Vyborny?

    by Jes

    (OMG, actual hockey talk!!)

    With the Columbus Dinner Jackets fighting for a playoff spot, it's obvious that the team isn't going to roll over and die as it did in previous years.

    Rick Nash is scoring goals? Check.
    Nik Zherdev finally matured? Check.
    Pascal Leclaire is putting up a Vezina-calibre season? Check.

    If one wanted to point fingers as to why the Jackets aren't over the hump (yet), they could always point to one man for not producing: David Vyborny.

    Let's look at the numbers, shall we?

    Year Team GP G A Pts +/-

    2003-04 CLS 82 22 31 53 -26

    2005-06 CLS 80 22 43 65 -9

    2006-07 CLS 82 16 48 64 +6

    2007-08 CLS 45 3 13 16 -11

    Apparently, Vyborny has been hamstrung by groin injuries this season.
    Still, this is a new level of sucktitude for the guy, and his output has been below awful. Is there more to than meets the eye?

    Hitchcock has a theory on Vyborny's struggles, and it has nothing to do with his contract, which expires this summer. The Blue Jackets have not begun talks about an extension.

    "(Vyborny) didn't get off to a great start and he started overthinking," Hitchcock said. "When you're overthinking, you're underreacting.

    I really wish teams would stop dressing injured players and just let them heal. What good is an hobbled Vyborny to the Jackets when he's ineffective at both ends? Tell him to sit home until his groin is fully healed. In the meantime, give more ice time to Gilbert "Creme" Brule.

  • So, Heath Ledger died of an 'accidental overdose'. Accidental? I bet those drugs just jumped out of the bottle and right into his mouth? Riiiiiiiight.

    Look, the guy knew what he was doing, and he was a big-time user. Many celebs choose to live the fast life and drug it up, and it carries the risk of death.

    There was nothing accidental about Heath Ledger's drug use, and we ought not to BS ourselves into thinking this was simply an unfortunate little accident. Drug abuse is a high-risk, high-reward choice that, sadly, once again took another life.

  • Southern Correspondant Wayne chimes in on Rick Tocchet's return to the Phoenix bench: "I wish I had thought of this last week, but with the Super Bowl being played in Scottsdale, I wonder if Rick Tocchet made a bet on the game..."

  • Puck That Hit put out a list of their top 10 hockey names. How Pavol Demitra did not make the list is pretty f'ed up.
  • Labels: ,

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008


    Super Tuesday Smatterings

    by Jes

    I know, I know, another off-topic bunch of ramblings. I'll get back on topic in my next post. I'm just in the middle of a case of the Hockey Blahs.

    So, we had Super Sunday, and now Super Tuesday. Poor Monday was just 'regular', which is fine only if you are an old man who doesn't eat prunes.

  • Why do Amerikans have to draw out the electoral process for an entire year? Why not just have a Super Week of these primaries and get it over with? That way, we can see people vote for their favourite candidate, and not just the one with the momentum.

  • One reason why the Amerikan economy is in the tank: TOO MUCH SPENDING! The gov't spends way too much money on a silly occupation, and ye olde typical Amerikan spends way too much money they don't have on crap they don't need. The level of gov't and individual debt in the USA is already starting to have a major effect. Couldn't you all see it coming? How can Amerikans keep increasing their debt load?

    Meanwhile, how many of the candidates have actually had some concrete ideas on stimulating the economy?

    *crickets chirping*

    No, it's all SPEND SPEND SPEND!!! Until politicians realize that debt is BAD, the Amerikan economy will continue to tank it like the pre-Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins.

  • Speaking of spending, the amount that each candidate spends on simply wanting to be the damn Presidential candidate is sickening. Over $100mil per major candidate? That's all SOFT money that could be much better spent on something more important. Instead of, you know, putting homeless people into shelters or trying to develop cleaner sources of power, you get these assholes spending millions on TV advertisements. Yay for helping people.

  • Don’t expect any real change. Sure, Hilary or Obama winning it all would be a major coup in terms of getting someone other than a rich white man as the President, but it's not going to CHANGE ANYTHING.

    Remember what happened with the last political dynasty? Exactly.

    Does Obama ever take a hard stand on any topic? No. Strip away the gloss and glamour, and you get somebody who really doesn't bring much to the table. What would he do, really, that is so much different than any other president?

    Do you really think any of these candidates won't be a slave to corporate interests? Puh-lease. Once any of these guys (or girl) gets in the Oval Office, they will be the puppet of the masters that got them there.

    The candidates with a real mind for change (Edwards, Kuchinich) were promptly disposed because ye olde Amerikan people can't handle change.

  • One thing that never changes: People prefer style over substance. Hilary sheds some crocodile tears, and suddenly people vote for her? WTF? Are people that easily bought off by false emotion?

  • The average IQ of a Mike Huckabee voter? Probably 69. Anyone who votes for a Baptist minister who doesn't believe in EVOLUTION isn't fully qualified to be a member of the 21st century. What makes the average Huckabee voter different than an Islamic goat herder from Afghanistan? Skin colour, and not much else. I guess it's no surprise that WEST VIRGINIA voted for the guy, given that the state still thinks The Civil War will be re-fought within the next 20 years.

    The fact is, none of the candidates seems truly equipped to deal with the truly most important issues facing Amerikans today: The Economy, the Environment, and Britney Spears' mental health.

    Wayne's World! Party Time! EXCELLENT!

    Our Southern Correspondent chimes in with his Super Bowl thoughts.

    1. I don't get the fuss over whether Bill ("Mr. Warmth") Belichick left the field too early on Sunday; if you look at a replay, the clock had originally hit 0:00, until a second was put back on the clock...Anyway, he did shake Coughlin's hand, so what's the BFD?

    2. Do we really need a flyover of Air Force jets over a domed stadium? Come to think of it, do we need a flyover AT ALL?

    3. Normally, I would've been rooting for the Giants, but I was pulling for the Patriots just to shut up those bitter old bastards down in Miami...I can't tell you the hatred I've had for the Dolphins for the past 36 years (it's a long story)... (Jes: I agree)

    4. It's been 50 years since there were two teams in New York called the Giants; can we (especially The Worldwide Leader) stop using the damn term "New York FOOTBALL Giants"?

    5. I know it's glamorous to give the game MVP to a QB, but I would've given it to Jason (?) Tuck for the Giants, or the entire Giants D; Strahan played like Tom Brady was his ex-wife's divorce lawyer...

    6. Remember the old joke about the definition of "mixed feelings" was seeing your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your new car? Think how Giant fan feels today, when he came THIS close to getting rid of Tom Coughlin...

  • Labels: , , , ,

    Monday, February 04, 2008


    Stupor Bowl: So Much for a Perfect Season, eh?

    by Jes

    So, it turns out last night's Super Bowl set a ratings record for the event as millions (and millions) of The Rock's fans tuned in to see if New England could pull it off.

    Well, we know they didn't do it, and the Giants pulled off the upset. Thus, the 42nd Super Bowl will not be as special as it could have been. Think about it: If New England wins, everyone talks about the PERFECT Super Bowl and the PERFECT Patriots. Since the Giants won, it's just a nice upset, but that's it.

    The New York Giants' thrilling win over the New England Patriots was the most-watched Super Bowl ever, with 97.5 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research said Monday.

    The game had almost all the ingredients Fox could have hoped for: a tight contest with an exciting finish involving a team that was attempting to make history as the NFL's first unbeaten team since 1972.

    But the Giants ended New England's bid for perfection, 17-14. Throughout the game, the teams were never separated by more than a touchdown.

    Fox is owned by News Corp. The average price of an ad was $2.7 million for 30 seconds.

  • Now, many will state that the 'cheating' New England Patriots got what they deserved. As much as I don't condone the cheating, I have to laugh at people who think the New York Giants, or any of the other NFL clubs, are pure and white as snow.

    How many NY Giants are pumped up on steroids, HGH, and other lab-produced chemicals? Do you think other clubs don't pull some FBI tactics out of their ass? C'mon, we all know that every NFL club will cheat as much as they can get away with.
  • The game, itself, was the usual boring NFL brand of football we've all come to know and hate. Little offense, little flow, and a lot of low-yardage plays. Take away the final play of the game, and what do you get? Exactly.
  • It was quite interesting and kinda 'WTF?' to see the Patriots offensive line just completely pwned by the Giants. Did Brady not feed his boys enough KFC? You could see Tom Brady was just hella frustrated the entire game, and now we have the TOM BRADY "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING!!" FACE.

  • How did Eli Manning get Super Bowl MVP? C'mon!!! The guy did nothing for 8/10 of the fricking game!! Strahan and that Tuck guy were having their way with the Patriots' offense. One of them should have easily walked away with the award.

  • At first, I was kinda laughing at the NFL for getting Tom Petty for their half-time show, instead of somebody a little more relevant and current. Then, I realize that I appreciate the fact that they went out and got a little quality, rather than some air-brushed 'star' that we'll forget about in two years time. Petty isn't a HUGE name, but the show they put on was pretty solid.

  • Don't feel sorry for Brady, I'm sure he got plenty of hot supermodel ass after the game.

  • I'm willing to bet American women would pay six figures for some of the sperm from Eli and Peyton Manning's father's loins.
  • Labels:

    Sunday, February 03, 2008


    Stupor Bore Sunday

    by Jes

    Yes, I do watch the Super Bore, if only because nothing else better is on while I do some of my emailing/Scrabulous/homework, and because I like to bitch about pop culture.

    Besides, I need something to take my mind off of the Canucks' total suckage as of late. Losing to crap teams and constant injuries leave the Canucks dangerously close to missing the playoffs. *sigh*

  • I am rooting for the Patriots, in as much as I can in a "I don't really have a dog in this fight" kind of way. I'd love to see them have the PERFECT season, shut up those old Dolphins, and let us witness something rare and incredible. That, and Tom Brady is dreamy.

  • Us Canadians don't get to see those 'cool' commercials. Yes, our Canadian channels play Canadian commercials. Companies don't even bother trying, and we see the same 10 commercials throughout the whole game. It makes me want to skin a beaver.

  • Those 'cool' commercials aren't usually that great. A couple of winners, and a whole lot of losers. If you are a college frat boy with an IQ of 55, you'll like the commercials. For the rest of us, we'll forget them 3 seconds after we see them.

  • In an unrelated note, I was saddened to see Brock Lesnar lose his UFC debut. I think he might have that fight in the bag, but he made a very bad rookie mistake. I hope this doesn't stop him from trying again. Brock just needs to earn his stripes and get some actual in-ring experience.

  • I'll always be scarred from the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. Not that seeing a human breast freaks me out like those Fundamentalist assholes in the US of A, but Janet Jackson's 'breast' is something you'd expect as a villain in a horror movie. That, and Janet Jackson's waxy face makes me want to have a bulemic discharge.

  • Super Bore Sunday means little hockey news.

  • The great thing about tomorrow? No NFL for months!!! Sure, you'll hear about the commercials for a day or two, but then we can go back to not caring about the NFL.

  • Besides the betting, I still want a good explanation as to why the NFL product is worth watching. It's not like we're seeing the cheerleaders go down on each other.

  • Tomas Plekanec rules your world.

    Worst. Song. Ever.
    The Super Bowl is Gay

    Add to My Profile More Videos

  • Labels: ,

    Friday, February 01, 2008


    You Can't Stop Ovechkin

    by Jes

    You can't even hope to contain him.

    It's as if Alexander Ovechkin thought to himself, "Hmm, now that Crosby is injured, why don't I just yank the spotlight entirely for myself?".

    Didya see the highlights from last night's Habs/Caps tilt, where Ovechkin tore the Habs a new one with a 4-goal, 1-assist performance in the Caps OT win? Did you see him knocking down Habs players like bowling pins? Was your mouth agape at the utter domination?

    Now, it's normally hard to be impressed with Ovechkin, considering that he's quite often putting up highlight reel plays, piling up goals, and generally just kicking ass in Maddox-like fashion.

    Lately? He's taken the Caps on his shoulders and turned them into a possible playoff-bound club. Hell, even the injury to Michael Nylander hasn't slowed him down.

    With 43 goals in 52 games, Ovechkin is now on pace for 67(!) this season. The Rocket Richard trophy is pretty much in the bag. Kovalchuk is slumping and injured, and Iginla is over 10 goals behind.

    January has seen Ovechkin put up 13 goals and 9 assists in 13 games. The Caps? They are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and just 3 behind Carolina (With 2 games in hand!) for top spot in the South(l)East Division.

    Yeah, I'm totally having a fanboy moment.

    Despite Ovechkin's defensive deficiencies, I'd still give him the MVP at this point of the season. Not only is he the dominant force in the game, but he has little help. Lecavalier and Alfredsson are great players, but look at their linemates? Ovechkin might as well be playing with the ghosts of Dane Jackson and Chris Tancill.

    It's just too bad Crosby is injured, and we can't see them have a great MVP race to finish the season. :(

    Labels: ,

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?