Monday, February 27, 2006


Final Olympic Mutterings

I know I was mad as a disturbed hornet at how badly Canada tanked in Torino, but let's get a little perspective here. Canada rocks!

I've heard and read way too much pissing and moaning about how crappy the Olympics turned out simply because our men's hockey team sucked a big chestnut.

OK, is that not a huge insult to the other athletes (Hello, Ms. Klassen and her 5 medals!) who performed bravely and did well? 24 medals and a lot of near-misses (4th place finishes) gave Canada its best result ever. We were only one medal behind the grand old USA which has 10x the population of our fine country (we believe in quality over quantity). Oh, and we kicked Sweden's ass, Russia's ass, and Norway's ass.

How did Japan end up with only one medal?

How much do women's figure skaters suck now? If you fall twice, you win a silver medal?

And...what is up with the "RUSSIAN FEDERATION" crap? It's RUSSIA. This isn't the days of the CIS, bubs.

Anyway, back to my main point... those same blubbering Molson Canadian drinking morons (you know the ones that whine on those call-in radio shows) need an extra helping of pablum this morning. Without a men's hockey medal, these people think our Olympic effort was just in vain.

How utterly simple and thick-headed.

Let's celebrate our country's fine achievements and look forward to 2010. Since Vancouver and the province of BC is going to go way over budget to host this 2-week party for the rich, we might as well celebrate in style.


I watched the last two periods of the Sweden/Finland game from my hotel room, and you'd be amazed that I didn't pull a Keith Tkachuk and start tossing chairs everywhere. I had a sinking feeling that Sweden would win and they did. Congrats to them, and it's been a LONG time coming.

I had already given up on the men's tournament, and the final game was actually entertaining. Canada's players and coaches should take notes from Team Finland on how to get the most from your talent, and it's amazing how good Sweden can be when they don't get absolute atrocious goaltending.

As CasonBlog mentioned in my comments, Team Sweden deserves major kudos for sticking with their traditional uniforms and rejecting the Nike crap the other teams were wearing.

Nike, stay the hell out of hockey! You might know basketball, but you don't know hockey, and your 'jerseys' suck ass.

BTW, how ugly has Mats Sundin turned? When he was drafted, he was actually a pretty fine looking Swedish lad. Now? He looks like the older cousin of Gollum.


My hockey pool suffered big time this tournament. Jagr's groin is back to being shredded like pizza cheese and now Pavol Demitra is out anywhere from a month to two months after taking Milan Jurcina's shot to the head.

Here's a picture of Pavol, who seems a bit too happy. What kind of medicine are they giving him? Medical Marijuana?

Pavol Demitra


Canucks fans are doubly-pissed at the Olympics. Jovocop was already out, now Ohlund and Salo are injured and not with minor little bruises.

Bryan Allen is now the #1 defenseman, which means open season on Alex Auld.

Nolan Baumgartner - Bryan Allen
Steve McCarthy - Kevin Bieksa
Tomas Mojzis - Wade Brookbank

Add Bertuzzi's suspect play and Naslund's injury woes to the mix and you get a team that is going to have to fight hard just to keep a playoff spot.

Shut up Calgary, I can hear your laughing!

Intuitively, the new IIHF senior men's rankings make no sense. Sweden #1? Huh?? They won one gold medal and little else the past decade. Canada has won a hell of a lot, and you'd expect them to still be #1 despite a crappy Olympics performance.

Of course, the IIHF doesn't count the World Cup, which is just dumb. If you are doing a world rankings without taking into account of the major international tournaments, that what is the use?

Top 15:

1. Sweden 4030
2. Canada 3940
3. Czech R. 3930
4. Slovakia 3805
5. Finland 3765
6. Russia 3725
7. USA 3575
8. Switzerland 3525
9. Latvia 3335
10. Germany 3270
11. Kazakhstan 3100
12. Austria 3045
13. Belarus 3035
14. Ukraine 3015
15. Denmark 2990

Oh, and the IIHF Awards

Directorate Awards, men's Olympic Tournament
Best Goalie: Antero Niittymaki (FIN)
Best Defenceman: Kenny Jonsson (SWE)
Best Forward: Teemu Selanne (FIN)

Olympic Tournament MVP: Antero Niittymaki (FIN)

Media All-Star Team
Goal: Antero Niittymaki (FIN)
Defence: Nicklas Lidstrom (SWE), Kimmo Timonen (FIN)
Forward: Teemu Selanne (FIN), Saku Koivu (FIN), Alexander Ovechkin (RUS)

Saturday, February 25, 2006



It's a good thing that I'm in Seattle for a weekend getaway. I need to getaway from that damn frustrating Olympic hockey.

Sweden? Finland? It's an easy choice, but it still sucks. The Nordic ones are guaranteed at least a silver.

I'd like to give out a big BIG F U to Milan Hnilicka.

D00D wins a much undeserved Best Goaltender Award in the Czech Extraliga last year, robbing about 10 more deserving goalies of the honour simply because dumbass journalists fell in love with his NHL credentials (lest they forget how much d00d sux0red)

Hnilicka plays a great game against Slovakia filling in for Vokoun, and then goes back to his normally crappy self just in time to face Sweden. Is he a double agent? No, he just sucks >:( Do pice Hnilicka.

Oh, here's an exclusive photo of Peter Forsberg's pre-game preperation. If this doesn't scream EVILDOER, than what does?

Friday, February 24, 2006


Kosice's new digs c/o US Steel

Kosice, a small steel town in Eastern Slovakia, is known as a great hockey town with a great fanbase. Other than drinking strong Ruthenian vodka, painting eggs, and frolicking in the snow, there isn't a whole bunch of other stuff to do there. (FYI, Ladislav Nagy is definitely the biggest recent product out of Kosice. )

For years, the team and fans had to suffer with an old old old stadium that could only fit 2,000 people. Not everyone who wanted to see a game could get seats (or a place to stand) and it certainly wasn't known for being comfortable.

Thanks to team sponsor/owner US Steel, Kosice has finally completed construction of the new "Steel Arena" (Kosice Stadium Ladislav Trojak).

There are some nice photos at the link provided. It really is great to see the Slovaks finally get a nice new stadium somewhere other than Bratislava. For far too long, Slovak teams have had to play at old barns leftover from the Communist era while many of the Czech teams have bright new digs.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Sparta Fans Suck

Only a fan of HC Sparta Prague would ever do something like this...


Team Canada: Playing the Blame Game

Even though Canada has won a record amount of medals at the Torino Winter Olympics, all that most people can talk about is how poorly our men's hockey team played.

Now that Canada has been bounced from the Olympics, almost everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to cry, piss, moan, and bash Team Canada.

I normally avoid jumping on such bandwagons, but I'm pissed and I'm feeling in a ranting mood. Who the hell do I cheer for now? The Czechs? By default, that's the team I am pulling for. It's basically like cheering for the flu rather than The Clap.

It's important to note that the cliché "If only they played with more heart" is generally quite asinine. Can Canada simply will a victory by sweating bullets and playing hard? No. It's not as if Team Canada was playing against a bunch of schoolgirls. Canada was playing against world-class opposition and was clearly outplayed in all facets of the game. I hear a lot of fans crying because the men didn't display the same heart as the women. That's a fair enough assessment, but that's not the sole reason why Canada didn't play well. Heart and spirit alone do not win hockey games.

Still, what disappoints me the most is that Team Canada didn't play like a Team Canada. What I saw on the ice was a disinterested and disorganized squad that was constantly in a daze and didn't seem to really want to be there. We can normally count on Canadian teams to show heart and passion, but I got none of that from this team.

Where was the hustle? The passion? The drive to the net?

To me, this tournament was much much worse than what happened at Nagano. In 1998, Team Canada was doing great until they ran into Dominik Hasek. In this tournament, Team Canada NEVER looked good at all. Even against the Italians, Canada looked like a bunch of drunken fratboys.

Did you get the feeling that the North Americans was the one group really didn't want to be there? The Europeans love this tournament and you could see how players like Demitra and Selanne played with more feistiness than they normally do. Keith Tkachuk? He looked like he just wanted to get home and take a big bite into a real Krispy Kreme donut.


Who to blame, who to blame? There's lots to go around and I'm not the only hockey freak who is going to look for targets to throw my darts at.

1. Wayne Gretzky - We know he said he'd expect to take the blame if this team tanked. It tanked, and now the reaper has come to collect.

Although Team Canada still looked good on paper, we all know that selections were based on tenure and reputation rather than who's kicking ass in the NHL right about now. The Great Shill had to be rescued from having old men like Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux take up roster spots, when it was obvious that they were two steps away from the great pasture known as retirement.

Eric Staal, Sidney Crosby, and Dion Phaneuf all would have been better selections than some of the other 'established' players that Gretzky and his lack-of-brain trust took to the games. This much was obvious before the tournament and it came back to bite them. I bet the young guns would have brought a lot of enthusiasm and hustle that many of the vets seem to lack. Who in their right mind would take Adam Foote after his horrible play this season?

Todd Bertuzzi - It was Gretzky's stubborn attempt to show that he had balls that led to such a poor selection. The rest of the world got to see what we here in Vancouver see all the time; a frustrating floater who takes bad penalties and loafs around on the ice as his linemates to the dirty work. What made Bertuzzi deserving of such an honour? His play? No. His work ethic? No. The Olympics didn't put any sparkle into Bertuzzi's game and he sucked just as much as he has all season. Gretzky deserves all the crap that will be thrown his way for this selection.

2. Pat Quinn - Leafs haters will use this tournament to cry out "See, Quinn sucks as a coach. Always has and always will!"

The hallmarks of a well-coached team include cohesion, systematic play, work ethic and spirit, and on-the-fly adjustments.

Team Canada was disjointed, disinterested, and fell into the trap of being being reactive rather than proactive. Did Pat Quinn strike you as a coach who could adjust as his team will lollygagging through the Round Robin? If anything, Pat Quinn was slow to react or couldn't find the right buttons to push. Quinn showed the same stubbornness as Gretzky and seemed determined to prove that Canada would win 'his way'

3. The Players - In the end, most of the fault lies with the players. I can't feel sorry for most of them as I've rarely seem a Team Canada effort that left me so ashamed to have a team represent our country. Whether it was Chris Pronger's or Todd Bertuzzi's lack of discipline or Jarome Iginla's lack of intensity, the fact is that this group of players simply did not play anywhere near the level that we expect from them. Other than Joe Sakic, Brad Richards, and the goaltenders (who played well), they all need a 5-hour bag skate and a public apology for pretending to care.

4. The Russians - Well, if they didn't play so well, Team Canada would still be in it ;)

5. Injuries - Injuries to the D may have hurt, but every team had to deal with injuries. This is no valid excuse and we can't play the 'what-if' game.

Gretzky needs to step down and take a step back. He has to run the Coyotes (into the ground), film 100 new commercials, and deal with this whole Operation Slapshot crap. I completely understand if he decides to take a break from Team Canada and frankly, we need to see new blood take the reigns for our senior club. Pat Quinn needs to go and never be hired back and we need to have a mentality that you EARN a spot on Team Canada rather than be given the spot because you are part of The Club.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Woe Canada, Woe Slovensko

*Sigh*, why do the hockey gods hate me so?

There will be no gold medal repeat for Canada in men's hockey. Russia defeated Canada 2-0 in the semifinals on Wednesday, eliminating them from further medal contention.

Did Canada deserve a medal? Not really. How can Canada's high powered offense be shut out 3 times in one tournament?


Cry all you want about the absences of puck-moving defensemen like Jovocop and Niedermayer, the fact is there is no way Canada should have been shut out three straight times. Would it have hurt Canada's forwards to drive to the net and get some rebounds?

Many will expect Wayne Gretzky to shoulder the blame, but I'd put much more of it on the shoulders of coach Pat Quinn. Did Canada look like a poorly coached team to you? To me, Canada lacked exactly what a good coach would provide.

As for Slovensko, it's 2-0 Cesko after two periods. This sucks!

EDIT: It's time like this that really make me hate this game! >:(

The Czechs diddle around during the Round Robin and crawl into the playoffs while the Slovaks dominate and fly into the playoffs. One game later, Slovensko is going home and the Czechs move on.



Hockey Players' Wives

If I were a hot female specimen, there is no way in South Dakota that I would ever marry a professional athlete, especially a hockey player. It just wouldn't be worth the 'bling'

The average hockey player is cocky, self-centered, rather dumb, cheating on his spouse and has at least 6 fake teeth. Pro athletes generally have the worst of the alpha-male traits and are good for nothing more than a night or two in some high-priced hotel.

The wives of pro athletes know exactly what they are getting into when they enter such a relationship. Judging by the IQ of some of these women that I have come into contact with, they are either too ignorant to realize what is going on and/or so supremely shallow as to not care what their husbands do, just as long as the money keeps flowing in and the status symbol of being married to a pro athlete doesn't wear off.

Patricia Robertson of the seems to think these wives are deserving of some of our thoughts and feelings.
As Wayne Gretzky is rallying the boys in Turin, Janet Jones Gretzky is dealing with the authorities. Am I the only one who feels a pang of sympathy for Janet and the other hockey wives as they deal with their various trials on the sidelines?
Yeah, you probably are.
Patricia seems to equate being a player's wife with being burdened with their expectations.


You are telling me that Chris Pronger's wife is in agony and distress because Pat Quinn called out her husband for taking dumb penalties? The only pressure Ms. Pronger is under is the pressure to find the latest Gucci's in time for the next Oilers charity event. Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSoreloser might have been chopped to bits in the press, but their wives certaintly didn't go under the microscope.

At least Patricia got one thing right:
Which brings us to more unseemly topics. In my opinion, Wayne Gretzy's only real social crime is the endless shilling he does for Ford, McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Other endorsements you may have been bombarded with by The Bill Shatner of Sport Shilling include Tylenol, Campbell's Soup, Nike, Esso, CIBC, Hallmark Cards, Peak Antifreeze, Thrifty Car Rental and Mattel, who developed a "Great Gretzky" effigy of the hockey superstar. I can't wait till he's old enough to shill for Grecian Formula, Polident and Depends.
It seems one out of every four commercials on Canadian TV has Wayne Gretzky in them. If it's a hockey game, it's about one out of every two commercials. Is there anything Wayne won't slap his name on for a quick buck?

Anyway, it's time for me to eat lunch:

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Feeling Immune to Olympic Fever

In years past, I was a total Olympics sheep. I'd watch hours and hours of coverage of sports I don't normally give a rat's ass about. I was young and hypnotized: the perfect demographic for advertisers.

When else would I watch curling? Cross-country skiing? Ice Dancing? Biathlon? Does anyone watch downhill skiing at any other time?

Yet, there I was, glued to the couch/bed and in front of the TV, wide-eyed as I cheered on Canada and watched athletes with 'strange' names from strange places for 2 weeks straight.

During Nagano, I was in school full time and I wasted many nights staying up until 2 or 3AM watching the Winter Olympics. I had to skip many classes in the morning just to catch up on my sleep. Salt Lake City? It was easy to follow the games when the games were in our prime time.
Now? I don't feel nearly the same attraction to these games. I have certainly watched my fair share of the Olympics, but not nearly as much as I have in the past, and not with nearly the same enthusiasm. I actually turned away from curling and ice dancing, leaving my manhood intact. Don't most people find it hard to watch events that aren't live? There's so little tension, which is the biggest reason why people watch sports.

Now, there are more than enough news items about the Olympic ratings and how they are set to be the lowest ever for a Modern televised Olympics (since which year? I don't know, but it's all doom and gloom news).

It makes sense, really.

Torino is 9 hours ahead of us Best Coasters and 6 hours ahead of the Least Coasters. The events are taking place when we are either asleep, heading to work, or at work. I'd love to watch some of these hockey matches, but it's kind of hard when they are played at 11am and working folks don't get home for another 5-6 hours.

Watching replays later in the night doesn't hold nearly the same effect, and I am more likely just to look up the results online and watch something else (not American Idol, like so many lemmings here seem to do. What the hell is the attraction to that crap?).

What surprises me is that so many folks seem to be surprised that the ratings are 'surprisingly' so low? Umm, most people have jobs. Most people are not going to take vacation time to watch the Winter Olympics.

I'm not going to get into other phenomenon such as the Internet (apparently the websites are getting monster hit numbers), other options (Amerikan Idol), and lack of American dominance. The big factor is the time difference and everything else is just condimental (if that's even a word. If not, I take full credit for its invention).

Oh, happy day!

Slovensko beat Svedsko 3-0, giving the Slovaks an undefeated record heading into the playoff round.

Their reward? They get to play CZECHIA in the first knock-out game. *Sigh*. Even when the Slovaks do great, they somehow get screwed :(

Oh, but at least I won a certain bet. ;)

Canada could have been the opposition, but they beat the Czechs 3-2. From all accounts, Canada was severely outplayed (and outshot by nearly a 2:1 margin) and won thanks to the thankfully-he-didn't-suck great goaltending of my "favourite" Martin Brodeur. Is this going to stop the bleating and panicking of the Canadian press? Probably not. A win is what Canada wanted, but they certainly look shaky.

Monday, February 20, 2006


"The Sky is Falling!"

Who needs friends when you have the North American mediots nipping at your heels?

I know Canada can't score and I know they can't get any traffic in front of the net, but this panic in the media and from the fans is just useless.

Remember 2002? Canada crawled into the playoff round, didn't exactly blow away the Belarussians in the playoffs, and still won the gold!

Remember Nagano? The Canadians ripped apart the opposition in the Round Robin, only to finish 4th when all was said and done?

Until the playoff round starts, nothing really matters. Canada has secured a playoff spot, and these games are purely exhibition. There is some reason for concern, but the second guessing and whining is so unbecoming and wasted energy.

Here are actual quotes and headlines from the Chicken Littles and enemies of the Federation. Oh, and of course using the gambling 'scandal' for clever and original? I bet they stayed up all night thinking of those gems.

"I'm upset that Canada has been running up the score, especially against the host nation...There was no need for that. They're trying to pad their stats. . . . Canada is running up the score for whatever reasons -- personal, short-term." - American (whiny) Women's Team Defenseman Angela Ruggiero

"PUCK HOPES FADE" - Don Gauf, member of the 1952 Canadian squad: "They haven't got a hope now if they play like they did today. They can't get in first or second, but they might have a shot at the bronze."

"Great One's gamble not likely to pay"

"Gretzky hockey gamble appears to be losing big"

Gretzky played wrong cards:
Is this what happens when Eric Staal and Sidney Crosby and Jason Spezza, three of the top Canadian scorers in hockey, none of them FOGs (Friends of Gretzky) get left behind in favour of the old familiar Canadian guard.

'He may be on the roster, but Bertuzzi doesn't belong"

'Team Canada's talent not producing results in Torino"

"Gretzky's face tells Canada's sad story"

"Nobody's in awe of Canada, and a sick feeling is acceptable"


Swedish Plastic Surgery

Sport Bladet has an interesting little feature on their website where you can perform some drag-and-drop surgery to 8 of Sweden's top Olympic athletes.

Linken haar.

Yes, in the comfort of your own home, you can improve the looks of Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg.

Damn, those Swedes are weird...

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Woe Canada

After two most excellent days for Canada at the Winter Olympics, Saturday was downright sucktacular.

1. Canadian Curlers had a horrible day losing to countries they can normally beat fairly easily. (Link)
The men’s team lost to Italy and is clinging to the final playoff spot. The women’s team is out of the playoffs thanks to a loss to Japan. JAPAN!??! Ow :(

2. Eric Guay just missed a medal and finished fourth in the Super G. (Link)

Guay was skiing for the first time competitively since suffering a knee injury back on January 23rd during a Giant Slalom race in Austria. The inflammation in the joint below the knee kept him out of the men's downhill race last weekend. The Mont-Tremblant, Quebec native underwent therapy and pronounced himself fit to race earlier this week, however, he did admit that he was still experiencing some discomfort in the joint and would likely be freezing the affected area.
I think Canadians should give him a proverbial round of applause for his effort. I didn’t think he would be able to ski after his injuries, but he came back and almost got a medal even while injured.

3. Oh, and Team Canada’s male hockey team lost Switzerland!! Damn, those Swiss don’t miss. Shutting down the vaunted Canadian offence and keeping the powerhouse Czechs from running up the score are two very impressive feats.
The key to winning Olympic Hockey? Getting really really really damn fine goaltending. We saw in Nagano (Hasek), and we’re seeing it in Turin (Aebischer, Gerber, Arturs Irbe, and Kim Martin).
“Yeah, thanks for the sage advice, Mr. Obvious.”

Well, great goaltending can make a winner out of any team, but we are seeing some monumental upsets thanks almost solely to great one-off goaltending efforts. The Swiss were outshot 49-16 and teams that rarely win games when giving up a -33 shot differential.

Oh, and some idiot blogger (His name rhymes with ‘chess’) said this about the Swiss before the tournament, picking them to finish 10th:

Their defence isn't too shabby, but this bunch of mini-me's suffers
from an inferiority complex and confidence problems that will always hold them back.
I bet that fartknocker feels like a Mastercraft tool-kit right about now.
Joeri Loonen of sent me some more photos, including this one of the Slovaks lined up. Is Martin Strbak leading the charge or checking out the babes in the crowd? (Click photo for larger image)

Operation Slapshot:

Al Strachan is calling out the media, blabbering that they all owe Wayne and Janet Gretzky a big apology.

As you would expect, Al Strachan doesn’t apologize for his own behaviour, as he is too high on his soap box to climb down.

While Strachan didn’t pile on the Gretzky’s like other mediots did, Al didn’t become Gretzky’s knight in shining armour until it was quite clear that all Wayne and Janet did was bet on some horse races and football games.

It’s no small wonder why most peeps think Al needs a swat upside the head with a salmon sandwich.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Women's Hockey: A Threesome?


It's always those two and nobody else in women's hockey. It was rarely ever close, as the North Americans basically had their way with the world.

...but this Olympics has been about some surprising results...

The U.S. women's hockey team made history Friday night - the wrong kind.

For the first time since international competition in women's hockey began in 1990, the U.S. and Canada won't meet in the championship match - and it's largely because of Kim Martin.

Martin made 37 saves and stopped all four American attempts in a shootout, while Maria Rooth had two regulation scores and the clinching shootout goal in Sweden's 3-2 victory in the semifinals.

When she was only 15 years old, Martin led the Swedes to the bronze medal in Salt Lake City. On Friday, she was the difference in a watershed win that decisively proves world-class women's hockey can be played outside North America.
As evil as Sweden is, I have to fully congratulate them on this victory. It's really nice to see that some other country can beat one of us (Well, the Americans, not the Canadians heh).

Now, is something wrong with the US team this year? They haven't been dominating the weaker teams nearly as much as Canada has, and now this surprising loss. Perhaps they are in a weak part of their cycle, or the other countries are catching up (which is hard to believe given the resources the NA teams have compared to the rest of the world).

So much for the usual matchup for gold. I just Martin turns back into a Swedish version of a pumpkin before she faces Canada.


Photo of the Day: Todd Bertuzzi

The guys at capture Todd Bertuzzi looking like he's about to go Wayne Brady on the press...

Thursday, February 16, 2006


More on Moore/Bertuzzi

Just wondering what your thoughts are on the new lawsuit filed against Bertuzzi. Even Moores Parents are suing?!?!? Crazyness.
# posted by Cyndy : 10:58 AM

For the most part, I've refused to entrench myself on either side of the Moore/Bertuzzi issue.

Todd Bertuzzi is not the martyr that Canucks lemmings think he is, nor is he the demon that Crapalanche fans think he is. I'm not a fan at all of Todd Bertuzzi, as a player or a person (from what I know of him), but I don't hate him or care strongly about his personal fortunes.

Still, if Bertuzzi was to be charged and received some punishment from the law, then so be it. I'm uneasy about the law invading the self-policed circle of hockey, but I am not opposed to it. Playing hockey should not make one immune from the laws of the land. To me, Bertuzzi already received a rather harsh punishment (in hockey terms) and continues to receive public punishment from the fans and mediots who will never let forget this incident.

Then, this lawsuit got dropped on Bertuzzi the day the Canadian team started their Olympic quest, and it just made me shake my head in disgust.

His Ontario case seeks loss of income damages of $15 million, punitive damages of $2 million and aggravated damages of $1 million. In addition, Moore's parents are asking for damages of $1.5 million in conjunction with Ontario's Family Law Act because they were watching the game on television in the Toronto area.
$1.5 mil because they were watching the game on TV? WTF?

Dammit, that is just so frickin AMERICAN! Steve, why do your parents deserve a big windfall for seeing this on TV? Should I get $2mil for witnessing a live murder on a TV news program?

Look, I know the object is to sue high and then settle/negotiate a lower amount, but this isn't the USoA. We don't give enormous payouts to people who sue other people. Unlike Texas, we don't see the need to reward millions to some whiny moron who is clumsy enough to spill hot coffee in their lap.

Steve Moore is a ivy league graduate. He's not going to have trouble finding a good job! He wasn't going to make that $19mil in his entire career.
I don't feel sorry for people who try and milk their situation for undeserved payouts. It's not the the fact that he's filing a civil suit that bothers me so much as the obvious cash grab and the whiny way Moore is trying to lash out and get his revenge.

Oh, and an Ontario court? What jurisdiction do they have? The incident took place in Vancouver, not Ontario. You'd think an Ivy League grad would have a better grasp of geography. Duuuurrr..
Moore deserves to lose this case. It's time to move on with your life if you don't intend to play pro hockey again.


In better news, Slovakia beat Latvia 6-3. Will this drive the Latvians to drink even more than usual?


Olympic Thoughts and Such

It's great to see some upsets and surprising results float in from Turin. I just wish I wasn't at work so I could actually watch the damn games >:(

Be sure to check up at for their excellent first-hand coverage.

CZECHIA lost to the Swiss. Wow... Aebischer comes up big with 40 saves, but TSN may want to fact check this...

Aebischer, 22-2-13 this season with Colorado, made 13 saves during the third period of Switzerland's 5-0 loss to Finland on Wednesday. He replaced Martin Gerber, who allowed all the goals on 24 shots.

As much as I love my Czech brethren, this kind of result also gives me quite a chuckle. The way some Czech fans and personalities (basically the ones who would be Leafs or Avalanche fans if they were North Americans) treat Slovak hockey is the same way Oprah Winfrey treats a pair of shoes that cost less than $200. It's nice to see them get a little comeuppance once in awhile, although I still pull for them to do well overall.

Latvia Awards Drunk Fans with Tie - Latvian correspodant Jess Golbezs was going to send in a report from this game, but, in usual Latvian style, he went and got piss drunk and won't be sending me much of anything.

The fact that the Latvians tied the US is a bit of a surprise, but it's not as if the world is dying of shock. This wouldn't be the first and last time that an American squad has troubles with an 'inferior' squad due to chemistry and teammwork issues. We'll see if the Americans can get together and play some good hockey.

Slovakia 5 - Russia 3. You can imagine how happy this Ruthenian was to see the Russians get their comeuppance. A fine example of their overconfidence? Red and Black Hockey has the details.

"Rossiya Shaibu"? More like Rossiya SHUT THE HELL UP!

Yeah, so I wasn't thrilled that Peter Budaj got the start in goal, but he did enough. For all of their smack talk (*ahem*ILYA*ahem*), the Russians didn't back it up with any inspired play and were resoundly outshot by a more motivated Slovak squad.

Great quote from Pavol: “We had a great start and we played great defence. As the game progressed we started to focus more on defence, Russia sometimes forgets about doing so and it cost them.”

The guys at are taking some great photos at the games. A larger version of this one is going up as a wallpaper on my desktop at work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Photo of the Day: Dark Demitra

My pal, Joeri Loonen of, is one lucky bastard. D00d is in Turin covering the Olympic games for the site and gets to frolick with all of the Italian ladies and watch all the hockey he can handle.

I asked him to send me some goodies and here's his first one..

It looks like someone is trying to strangle him as he talks to the press after practice.


Useless Olympic Fact of the Day

From the Vancouver Courier's Trivial Turin Tidbits:

Canada's first gold medal in a winter sport wasn't at a Winter Olympics. Hockey was contested at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. They love their chocolate, beer and post-winter hockey in Belgium. Canada won hockey gold at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924.

Canada beat Italia 7-2. Yep, they gave up 2 goals to Italy! I guess we can blame jetlag and the crappy goaltending of Martin Brodeur ;)

Czechia beat the Deutschlanders 4-1. Hasek tweaked himself hard, but in slips Vokoun and the world keeps spinning without a beat. No real surprises otherwise.


A kiss is just a kiss, right?

For Valentine's Day (well, a day late, but whatever), an oldie but goodie.
February 28, 1997

Puck-er up for Palffy and Green
'Ziggy kind of surprised me with a big kiss on the lips'

Gable and Lombard.
Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster frolicking in the surf in From Here to Eternity.
Palffy and Green.
Palffy and Green.

The New York Islanders' kissing bandits, who bring their act to the Corel
Centre tonight, raised some eyebrows and pursed some lips with their post-goal smoochfest after Ziggy Palffy scored a goal against the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night.
In case you missed it, Palffy swatted home a rebound behind Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur for his 33rd goal of the season. He passed behind the Devils net and hooked up with Travis Green in the corner where the two embraced.

The next thing you knew, bam, lip lock.
"Ziggy kind of surprised me with a big kiss on the lips," said Green.
You and about 30 million hockey fans, Travis.
Goals are happy occasions. They inspire a group hug, a pat on the head or maybe a tap on the butt.
Palffy was clearly overcome by the emotion of the moment and it didn't look like he was doing it tongue in cheek.
"I guess he was just pretty happy to get a goal. I guess that's what Europeans do," said Green, who had to endure the expected derision from his teammates yesterday.

"The thing is, he's done it before. He gave somebody a peck on the cheek last year."

"We believe in camaraderie," said Isles coach Rick Bowness, "but that's taking it a little too far."

Don Cherry, who landed a smooch on Doug Gilmour during an episode of Coach's Corner --but, hey, only on the cheek, I'm tellin' ya -- had a laugh about it last night. He plans to do something on Ziggy's pucker power tomorrow night.

"I know those guys who wear visors are sweeties," said Cherry last night, "but that's a little too much."
What is proper post-goal kissing etiquette? Does the guy with the visor tilt his head to the left or right?
Ziggy was keeping his lips sealed yesterday. Guess he doesn't like to kiss and tell. What's next?
Will Islanders fans start celebrating Ziggy's goals by throwing Hershey Kisses on the ice?
The pair obviously has a huge endorsement deal coming its way.

Imagine the commercial:
Announcer, over the pictures of Zigmund Palffy racing in and beating a goaltender: "Palffy shoots. He scores!"

Cut to Palffy: "Before I pucker up, I make sure to use T and Z's lip balm. Helps eliminate those
annoying injuries that can put a crimp in a goal scorer's game. No, not knee, groin or shoulder injuries -- chapped lips! Nothing worse than having lips rougher than the ice at the CoreStates Center. Right, Travis?"

Green: "Right, Ziggy. Make mine strawberry."

You can bet that any Islanders player on the ice when Palffy scores in his next game will be giving him a wide berth. They'll avoid him like a retail price. Green said there probably won't be a repeat tonight at the Corel Centre. He's not ready to just turn the other cheek.

"I wouldn't count on it," he said. "But then again, it depends on how big a goal it is."

Green figures he's got the problem licked. "All I know is I'll run to the bench."

Monday, February 13, 2006


Olympic Hockey: Bad for your health!

Forget voodoo dolls, Chinese Water Torture, and Ashlee Simpson music, if you really want to hurt someone, just name them to an Olympic hockey team roster.


My g/f (the Flyers fan, bleeeccchhh) told me that Michal Handzus had been skipping practices regularly since December. I guess I can't be all that shocked that Handzus has pulled out of the Olympics. Do pice!

Slovakia is already thinner than Nicole Richie at center, so this is a seriously big blow to their already slim chances. Who's left? Jozef Stumpel and Richard Kapus :(. Pavol Demitra was named team captain (a big slap in the face to Miroslav Satan, who didn't deserve the C back anyway) and will have to play at center for sure now.


In typical Peter Forsberg fashion, the guy just won't stay dead!!! D00d is like a villian in a horror movie. You can skewer him with a crowbar, burn his face with a blowtorch, and saw off his right arm and he'll just get up and keep chasing you with that psycho look in his eye.
It looks like he'll skip the prelim games and then probably come back for the playoff games and score 10 assists in 3 games.


As if their offense wasn't troubled enough, Antti Miettinen (not to be confused with Antti Laxative of the Minnesota Wild) has pulled out and will replaced by Niklas Hagman. Antti is the 7th(!) Finnish player finished before the tournament begins. Jeezus.

LATVIA Latvian correspondant, Jess Golbezs, reports that Sandis Ozolins will be playing for the Latvians after all, just in time to give Arturs Irbe a new ulcer.

Defenseman Sandis Ozolins of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks is expected to complete the in-patient portion of his treatment with the NHL Substance Abuse Program and be released to represent Latvia at the 2006 Winter Games, according to a Canadian Press report.
It's sad, but true. This tournament is turning into a battle of attrition before the games even start. How the hell are the damn Czechs staying so injury free?
It must be the high quality beer.
(Molson Cold Shots at 6%? Even Czech babies wouldn't get drunk drinking that lame excuse for beer)

Saturday, February 11, 2006


Saturday Slam

I was at the Canucks/Ducks game last night, which was the first time I had ever seen Anaheimlich's NHL entry live in person. Their white uniforms aren't all that hideous (unlike their purple jobs) and have a crisp look to them. It's too bad the home squad suffered a rather pathetic 3-1 loss. The old cliche "no sense of urgency" seemed to apply, as the Canucks, for the most part, lollied around their own zone as if this was an exhibition game.

  • New NHL, Same old team - The Ducks are known for being one of the NHL's remaining trap teams, and they played it to perfectly. They kept the Canucks bottled up in their own zone and the home fans were audibly frustrated at the Canucks inability to clear the puck from their old zone. As Don Cherry would say, "Keep it simple, stupid! Dump it off of the glass!"

  • Andy McDonald, the best player you don't know about? Years ago, I told others at the Face Off Circle forum and some others that young Andy McDonald was a player to watch and would become a rather good player some day. Now, I never realized the little bugger had 'grown' into such a star.

    The 28 year-old is second on the Ducks with 52 points in 56 games (one behind Selanne) and he was a demon in the offensive zone, especially on the Power Play. He looks legit, and certainly better than just the second-line center that I had pegged him for. He's not the ideal #1 center, mind you, but he's really exploded this year.

  • Selanne - He didn't look like a world-beater, but he certainly looked good and dangerous. One underrated aspect of his game is how good he is at keeping the puck. He was very strong on his skates and not easily pushed off of the puck.

  • The Ducks trapping helped set a record for quietest crowd in GM Place history. With the Ducks up 3-0 in the first period, it was quiet enough for me to hear the Grecian Formula melt off of the head of a steaming Marc Crawford.

  • Ruutu vs. Fedoruk? When both men were off for roughing, Ruutu was really jabbering at The Fridge in the penalty box. Wouldn't you love to see Ruutu take on Fedoruk and get his ass absolutely kicked? Yeah, like Ruutu would ever be dumb enough to take on the challenge.

  • Another player I'd never heard about, Dustin Penner, was quite impressive and he's HUGE (listed at 6'4" 240). Maybe Ducks fans or others can tell me more about the big slab of beef.
    According to his page, Penner is a 23-year old who played just one season of NCAA hockey, one full season in the AHL, and then ripped up the AHL this season before getting the call up. He isn't even drafted??

  • Wow, where the hell did this guy come from? He's got a bit of Bertuzzi in him.

  • Speaking of Bertuzzi, he was at his very worst last night. He didn't even have a shot on goal, and was floating around as he usually does. I wasn't the only one who noticed, as quite a few fans in my section were yelling things like "SKATE, BERTUZZI! GET YOUR ASS MOVING!"

  • Oh, and the worst customized uniform of the night? Some idiot who had #44 and BERT. That's right, not Bertuzzi, but BERT. *sigh*

  • ---

    Regarding OPERATION Slapshot and all of the Chicken Little Syndrome surrounding it, I'd suggest you check out this Op-ed about Prince Harry and his Nazi Uniform faux pas. This quote is especially relevant:

    We have lost the ability to express proportion. There is no longer such a thing as an accident. There is only a catastrophe. Whatever happens is "big news", unless something else turns up that is bigger. Someone somewhere, preferably a celebrity, must be involved, be blamed and, with luck, be sued or sacked. Public figures no longer make mistakes. They make "massive errors of judgment" for which they must resign or be roasted alive. This is almost medieval. However minor, and however sincerely regreted, a mistake may be redeemed only with trial by ordeal.

    Friday, February 10, 2006


    Friday's Frank Rantings

    This whole OPERATION SLAPSHOT fiasco, as I noted before, doesn't interest me a whole lot. Hockey is not going to die or be hurt all that much, in the end. Did the Black Sox fiasco hurt the MLB? Pete Rose? How about the NBA and its numerous scandals?

    As long as the intregity of the sport remains intact (no betting or fixing actual hockey games), then it'll just be 'another' scandal, to most people. Those idiots (such as Skip Bayless, who hasn't wrote anything above toilet-paper worthy in his entire career) who don't even watch hockey on a regular basis are the only ones who seek to paint hockey in an ill light. It's easy to step up on that proverbial soapbox and make yourself out to be some bastion of integrity by taking swipes at professional hockey. These guys don't stick around to fight out the good fight, retreating back to their little world of American football and baseball.

    Leave it to the Canadian sports media to make this whole scandal bigger than it really is, in order to make themselves more relevant. I guess they can feel better about themselves when they report on 'serious non-sports' news once a year.

    TSN was the worst of them all, with the OPERATION SLAPSHOT graphics, and Gino Reta doing his best Geraldo Rivera impression as he reported live from Newark (Can anyone take Gino Reta seriously?).
    It was like CNN or FauxNews. Take one story, create graphics, beat it to death, forget it about it a month later.

    After 2 minutes, I had enough and switched to something else. It's one thing to cover the story, it's another to sensationalize it.


    I went to the Giants/Ice game on Tuesday (5-1 win for us, yay!), and it was just like a graveyard inside the Pacific Coliseum. Weekday games are usually quiet, but compared to the WJC games, it was night and day. There was little atmosphere, but at least I could walk inside the concourse with some level of comfort.

    Gilbert Brule - In the 10 games since his return, he has 8 goals (nice) and 3 assists (meh) and a -1 (yukky). He had 1G and 1A on the night and clearly looked more 2x more talented than everyone else on the ice. Still, he needs to be less of a puck hog and try using his linemates better. He has talented linemates this year, so he should distribute the pick more.

    The only player that can't be happy with his return is Michal Repik. Brule takes Repik's PP time and Michal hasn't scored a whole lot in the last 10 games.

    Uniforms - The Kootenay Ice had some new all-black uniforms, and I swear they were the new 'trimmer' kind of uniforms. I know black is a slimming colour, but you could tell their tops were much tighter and shorter than the usual fare. The Giants, in contrast, looked like football players in their bulky white sweaters.

    I give a big thumbs up to the sleeker design. Hockey players shouldn't look like football players, especially since most of them are pretty skinny up top. The Ice players looked like the tall, skinny teenagers that they really are.

    The Giants are kicking some serious ass this year (3rd overall in the WHL), mainly to the experienced and effective defence corps. Having Stars 1st rounder Marc Fistric back is obviously huge, but Nashville 6'5" draft pick Cody Franson has just exploded this year and may turn out to be an even better NHLer. He's got 13 goals and 30 assists in 55 games with a +13. He only had 13 points all of last season! If you want to talk about later-developing draft steals, he's one of them. He didn't look at all special last season, but his game has improved in every respect. The Predators are certainly good at plucking out underrated and late-blooming defensemen from the WHL (like Shea Weber).


    So, Jose Theodore got busted for using Propecia, a drug for hair restoration.

    I'm sure Dick Pound must feel vindicated. Now he can go back to making porn movies.

    Does Jose Theodore look like the type of guy who would need a hair restoration product? I know he's a flaming metrosexual, but he's not in Alex "Bald at 20" Auld territory.

    Jose Theodore

    Thursday, February 09, 2006


    Olympic Hockey Predictions

    The Winter Olympics are one hell of a curse this time around. I'm amazed at just how many players are dropping out of this tournament due to injury.
    I almost feel sorry for Gary Bettman. Almost.

    As a side rant, I don't at all agree with those who would have 'amateurs' play (such as the juniors or U-23, as I've heard suggested) instead of NHLers. For me, the Olympics should always be about the best of the best. I want to see the very best in the world, at every sport, compete against one another for Olympic glory. I know the Olympics are basically a big money-sucking corporate-buttkissing, gouge-the-taxpayers to throw a big-party event (those of us in Vancouver aren't shocked at how expensive the 2010 games are going to be. Another $110 million budget increase? *yawn*, like we didn't expect that), but I like to live in my dream world where the Olympics is all about the best in sports.

    Now, here are my Olympic Hockey Predictions.

    1. Czech Republic
    The Czechs have a very strong roster, and also the good fortune of having the best health. While other teams' players are falling like flies against a semi, the Czechs actually got a boost when Petr Prucha went down to injury and was replaced by Patrik Elias.

    The big question? Who starts in goal? Hasek has returned to great form and Tomas Vokoun has been THE MAN for the Czechs for recent events. Either way, the Czechs can't go wrong.

    2. Canada
    Canada is still a very strong team, but they have been hit hard with injuries to their blue line. The losses of Jovanovski, Niedermayer, and McCabe deal a serious blow offensively. Jovocop and Niedermayer are great skaters and perfect for the big ice. Martin Brodeur better come up big, because the team is no longer as awesome as it looked.

    3. Russia
    Don’t discount this offensive machine, as Nikolai Khabibulin won't be around to suck away their chances with his suspect goaltending of late. Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Yashin, Frolov, Afinogenov up front with an experienced defence behind them...this lineup can do some serious damage and is relatively healthy.

    4. Slovakia
    Either one of Jan Lasak or Karol Krizan (I hope he gets his shot) will make a deal with Satan (not Miroslav) and play out of his mind for two weeks. The Slovaks great offence will kick into high gear and somehow, Radoslav Suchy, Ivan Majesky, and Martin Strbak will play 300% better than they have in their NHL tenures. Sure, I'm delusional, but nobody else is giving this team some love.

    5. Finland
    I would rank them higher, normally, but they've suffered some key injuries as of late, such as Joni Pitkanen, Sami Kapanen, and Ossi Vaananen. Without Kiprusoff as the #1 goaltender and with Kari Lehtonen pulling out, I don't think Finland has nearly enough offence to be a serious gold threat without some great goaltending behind them. Still, we know Finland is always tough to beat and plays better than the sum of their parts.

    6. USA
    Great bunch of forwards, but absolutely awful goaltending.
    You can read more about Team USA in the little preview I wrote for

    7. Sweden
    No Floppa, No Naslund, no chance! These bunch of chokers will fail just as miserably as they always do.

    8. Germany
    Uwe Krupp
    is the head coach? "MUSH, MUSH!" Look for Marco Sturm to score up a storm, but don't expect much more than the usual 8th from Germany

    9. Latvia
    They'ds contends fors golds ifs thes objects wass tos haves thes fanss whos loves tos partys thes mosts. Whys ams Is speakings likes as snakes? Justs looks ats thes names: Masalskis, Ozolinsh, Skrastins, Ignatjevs, Ankipans, Sprukts, Redlihs, Berzins, Cipruss. How the hell is Arturs not an "Irbes"?

    10. Switzerland
    Their defence isn't too shabby, but this bunch of mini-me's suffers from an inferiority complex and confidence problems that will always hold them back.

    11. Kazakhstan
    Nikolai Antropov and Vitali Kolesnik are their lone NHL players. I'm so happy to see the ghost of Konstantin Shafranov (The first Kazakh-born player ever in the NHL) is back!

    12. Italy
    Stick to soccer, overpriced fashion, and pasta. It's what you are good at.

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006


    Oh noes!! Hockey Players aren't perfect!!!

    To date, I am one of the few bloggers who hasn't yet commented on the big story about involving Rick Tocchet and the gambling ring. Eric @ OffWing has given it pretty good round-the-clock coverage, if you really feel the urge to read everything there is to read on the topic.

    Honestly, I don't give a rat's ass. I really don't.

    Does their gambling involve professional hockey at all? Likely not, since nobody really gambles (much) on hockey. I find it hard to care about what these individuals have done with their lives, and I'm not really surprised that a few within the NHL ranks would partake in criminal activities. A certain percentage of all folks are criminals, so why would you expect that level to be 0.00% in the NHL? Sure, these folks involved are complete morons, and they will be hit hard. Once you wake up to the reality that hockey players are rich jocks who are human (a shock, I know), you'll be better equipped to handle the fact that they are just as fallible as anyone else.

    I'm seeing a lot of contrived anger from the mediots and the blogosphere, with people 'caring' a lot more than they really should and a lot more angry than they really are.

    What really irks me is the typical "Chicken Little" syndrome that comes out of the MSM any time something bad happens to/by a hockey player. Oh, this scandal is just a big black eye for hockey. Right. You'd never hear the same kind of 'This is the death knell of the league' kind of talk for the NFL, NBA, or MLB.

    "Oh, the NHL has such a small and weak fan base in the USA. If the sport isn't as pure and white as snow, the fans will all leave for professional bowling! This scandal will lose the NHL 50% of its fan base!"

    Whatever! Talk to the proverbial hand!

    Is the Todd Bertuzzi Incident the reason why hockey isn't very big in the USoA? How about Dale Hunter on Pierre Turgeon? Alan Eagleson? Brent Sopel's hair?

    No, so life will go on, and Rick Tocchet is pretty much dead in the water in terms of his NHL future. Let's stop pretending that the sport is going to die because of this, and stop pretending that you are personally hurt by this gambling ring.


    A Love Letter from a BJs Fan

    It's time to dig a treasure out of the old mailbag.

    This little 'gem' comes from a Dinner Jackets fan, Todd Glover:

    As George Carlin once asked, "What kind of name is Todd?"

    Are you a complete moron or what? I am tired of your undeserving Blue Jacket bashing. They are building an organization the right way. Have you forgotten the early days of Tampa Bay and Ottawa. Look at what they have achieved.
    Now, now, now. None of my bashing is every undeserved!

    The lifetime record of the Blue Jackets is now 126-204-33-20, and that includes three straight last-place finishes in what is now a very weak division. If it wasn't for the total ineptness of the Blues and Hawks, the Jackets would be in the basement once again.

    The RIGHT way?? No, the Jackets have built exactly the opposite of the right way.

    Let's see. Doug MacLean's idea of 'building' a team is to throw out big money on old and expensive free agents such as Luke Richardson, Adam Foote, Scott Lachance, Darryl Sydor, Bryan Berard, Andrew Cassels, and Todd Marchant in a misguided attempt to merely make the playoffs. These older veterans are clearly overpaid and are paid based on past performance (and one big season, in Marchant's case), making the Blue Jackets less able to fill their roster with other good players since they are spending so much on so little. This method, just like we see in Pittsburgh this year, leaves a roster that is quite expensive and quite thin and quite crappy. The Jackets have never been that competitive and should have saved that money for when they really needed it.

    These old veterans, especially Richardson and Lachance, took away ice time from the younger players that would have really used the time to develop. Don't give me crap about having these old farts teach the youngsters to play. If they were so great, why is Rostislav Klesla basically 'ruined'? Wow, did the BJs screw that guy up.

    The RIGHT way would not have an incompetant GM having his contract extended, or the hiring of a coach way over his head (Mr. Gerard Gallant).

    As for the early days of the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning:

    1. Both franchises had awful initial management groups. Tampa Bay was ruined for a long time thanks to Phil Esposito's trading of Roman Hamrlik and other goodies for Jason Bonsignore's mullet and Bryan Marchment's kneecapping ability plus his many other poor moves. Their initial burst of decency didn't help their draft position, and they also picked many duds and rather suspect players that didn't turn out great.

    2. It is unwise to assume that the BJs will be a great team in the future simply because Ottawa and Tampa Bay used to be really awful teams and then became good clubs. Both of those clubs got to where they are today thanks to great management over a long sustained period. Columbus has awful management and would need a regime change before they could ever hope to developed the sustained success of those 2 franchises. Look at the Bengals in the NFL and the Clippers in the NBA! Proof that franchises can stay bad for an eternity if run poorly.

    Oh, and what are these great trades the BJs have made?

    Have you failed to notice the collection of young talent they have assembled? Have you failed to notice that they were one of the best teams in the NHL during January? Who knows what could have been this year if Nash would have been healthy. I guarantee that they make the playoffs next year and will be a scary team to face.
    One month does not a team make. Having the fortune to play in the NHLs weakest division combined with the proper alignment of the stars would allow any team to have one hot stretch. Every dog has it's day, and all that crap.

    The only reason the Blow Jackets have lucked into the young talent that they have is thanks to Doug MacLean's bungling of the franchise. His inept management has caused the BJs to finish low in the standings, basically handing them nice draft positions. Doug MacLean certainly didn't plan it that way, or he would have never wasted so much money on expensive free agents. Their stubborn refusal to get rid of Marc Denis reminds me so much of the Edmonton Oilers, who stuck themselves with Tommy Salo so long and failed to realize that he was their biggest problem.

    I would appreciate it if you would shut the hell up when it comes to matters that you are too stupid to comprehend.
    I love you too! Come over to my house sometime and I'll bake you some chocolate-mint cookies.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006


    The Curse of the Blue Jackets?

    It seems like everyone I like that becomes a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets turns to utter crap once they enter into that cursed organization.

    Let's start with Jaroslav Balastik, whose monitor I finally updated today.

    His season totals stand at 39GP 8G-4A-12PTS -7, 14PIM and 105SOG.

    Not the greatest of numbers, but not a total loss.

    The thing is, every game I've seen him play in, he looks like a player that should have a lot more than 12 points in 39 games. When I talk to others that have watched him play, they have been impressed with his play in the offensive zone and his work ethic around the opposing net.

    Why just 12 points?

    Last night's game against the Canucks was a perfect example of how his season has gone (and a perfect example of how badly the BJs defense sucks).
    Balastik had quite a few chances around the net and was dangerous and noticable all night. He finished with just an assist to show for his 3 shots on goal and the many other chances he generated. In his last 5 games, he has just 1 assist and 17 shots on goal.

    Overall, he averages 2.87 shots on goal per game, which is usually what solid offensive players do. His 7.6 SHT% is way out of line with the standard 13-15% figure you'd see from a regular contributor. Among the BJs, only Rick Nash averages more shots per game. Only Nikolai Zherdev and Bryan Berard have more total shots on goal, which isn't surprising since they've played more games than Balastik.

    Does he just suck? Is he cursed? Or a bit of both? He could certainly use some of that 'puck luck', as the cliché goes. He'd never fail to bury this many chances when he was in the Czech Extraleague, so I'd figure he's due to break out and hit at least the .50 PPG mark.

    Gilbert Brule - Suffered both an injured shoulder and jaw early in his NHL career. He had never suffered through anything like that before, so I blame Columbus entirely for this curse. He's back with the Giants now and much healthier! Too bad he's cursed to play with such an awful NHL team when he ends his WHL career.

    Doug MacLean - OK, he's not cursed, he's just way over his head. He was an excellent coach with the Florida Panthers before Bryan Murray totally ruined that franchise. Dougie managed to get a great GM job with the Blue Jackets. Who wouldn't take that job? Unfortunately, he is clearly unqualified for the job, and now BJs fans are cursed with having him around longer as his contract was extended? Whaaaaaat?

    I'll always have a soft spot for the guy, but I'd never want him near the management table of my organization.

    I'm just glad Pavol Demitra isn't a Blow Jacket. He'd probably have his head knocked off and come down with the first case of the Black Plague in centuries if he were to join this club.

    Monday, February 06, 2006


    Super Bore Hangover

    Finally, the Super Bore is over and we can get back to focusing on the sport that deserves the most attention: Hockey!

    The game? As usual, it was boring. If you wanted excitement, you should have watched the Grey Cup. The action and pace was much much faster, and the game went into OT. The NFL = Slow. After all of these years, I just can't see the attraction to American football.
    "OOOOH, a 2 yard running play!"

    Canadians don’t even get the 'great' commercials that the Yanks get (Seeing some of them online makes me think we don't really miss all that much anyway), so what's the point of even watching the game? They actually played some of these commercials on SportsNet after the game, and none of them were all that funny. It looks like innovation (the Apple ad and such) has given way to going for cheap shock value.

    The halftime show? Forgetting the puritanical uproar over a half-exposed breast, the fact is that the half-time shows are either lypsynched or just plain awful.

    The Rolling Stones? The Mark Messier of the rock world? Wow, they sounded bad last night. It was painful to watch and listen to this 'concert'.

    Aretha Franklin was right, why couldn't they have found someone from Detroit Rock City to play at half-time? Kid Rock would have made a lot more sense and would have done better in all respects.

    I can't understand why companies in Canada air the same boring commercials they always do during Super Bowl Sunday. You'd think one or two enterprising companies would have had special SB commercials.

    Well, the folks at Bell finally kind of noticed that "Hey, nobody in Canada is doing a unique commercial. Why don't we do one?"

    Bell is known for some pretty funny commercials, and the one featuring beavers (Frank and Gordon) were pretty well done. VancouverOpEd has more.

    I'm just glad the Super Hype is over. I really don't need to hear another 1,000 stories about Jerome Bettis.

    PS: "I'm doing to Disneyworld"? Umm, OK.


    Remember the Golden Helmet (Zlata Helma) videos I linked to often during the lockout?

    Well, this weeks crop is really good so I'd figure it's time for a little highlight watching.

    1. Petr Leska, Jaroslav Balastik's former centerman, does a lovely pirouette behind the net before stuffing it in.

    2. Roman Malek, the little guy the Flyers will probably never bring over, robs Vsetin on the rebound.

    3. Jaroslav Kudrna, of my fave Trinec team, with one of the strangest broken plays I've seen this year. Kudrna gets upended, but the play isn't whistled dead. From his ass, Kudrna makes a sledge-hockey pass to Jan Peterek, who rifles a one-timer home.

    4. Ivo Prorok torpedoes his way home.

    5. Andrej Podkonicky, formerly of the Washington Crapitals, combines on a very nifty give-and-go-and-give-and-go with Petr Sachl.

    6. Daniel Branda goes round-the-world to score a beauty of his own.

    Saturday, February 04, 2006


    The Peter Forsberg Slideshow

    A pictorial look at Peter "Floppa" Forsberg, the world's most prolific diver and expert playmaking center.

    One day, an alien boy (on the right, dummy) was discovered in the Swedish logging village of Ornskoldsvik. Feeling sorry for the little tyke, they took him in as one of their own.

    In his early years, he showed a disturbing trend of violent behaviour. Here he is, beating a cat with a rod (The cat is censored for your protection).

    They decided to put his violence to good use on the hockey rink. Here, young Floppa is shown revealing his true dream: To play for the New York Islanders.

    Instead of being drafted by the Isles, he gets taken by the Flyers. You can tell he wasn't too happy about that.

    In case you are wondering, Peter is a size Extra-Small.


    Yeah, definitely.

    This is what Peter's species really looks like. Only the finest plastic surgery keeps Peter looking human.


    Where's a machine gun when you need one?

    It's funny because it's true!

    Friday, February 03, 2006


    Looking for a used goaltender?

    Apparently Jose Theodore is up for bids at Ebay.

    Yep, there's a lot of crap up for sale. Buyer beware!

    Thursday, February 02, 2006


    Study: What Correlates with Winning?

    What is the real key to winning hockey games?

    The simple answer is to have the most talent and the best coaching, but I prefer to go a little deeper and pinpoint what is worth investing in and what is worth not bothering to talk about

    The old 'key' mantras you've heard time and time again:
    "Faceoffs and Puck Possession are the key to victory!"
    "Special Teams are key to winning"
    "Scoring the first goal and getting the early lead is key"
    "Taking the body will wear down the opposition and win hockey games"

    "What the f*****g hell is wrong with that ref??"

    So, which is it? What really correlates well to winning?

    With the help of Greg "Cartman" of The Puck Stops Here, I decided to take a look at team statistics for certain categories and see how well they correlated with the overall standings as of February 1st.

    It's table time!

    The highest correlation comes from +/-. This is obvious, as a team that scores more goals than it allows will win more hockey games. We see this in the PYTHAGOREAN standings that I produced before and this isn't the best measure to use. This is an 'after-measure', rather than measuring an actual attribute. It shouldn't be compared to the others for that reason.

    I put Power Play %, Penalty Kill %, Hits, Faceoffs, Shots For and Against, and Scoring the First goal as things that teams do and try to do well at in order to win games.

    The best correlation? Scoring first! I'm sure Cranky Tom Benjamin would say something like "Well, the best teams often score first because they are simply better...Stupid kids, get off of my porch!!" True, but we see scoring first is really far more important to a team's fortunes than any of the other stats. In second place, Power Play success %.

    You can see how the Chicago Blackhawks, the Flyers, and the Carolina Hurricanes have PK% that really don't match their overall place in the standings. There are always more successful penalty kills than successful power plays, so good teams take advantage of the opportunities they are given. Giving a crappy team like the Dinner Jackets more Power Play opportunities isn't going to hurt you nearly as much as giving the Senators more chances to bulge the twine.

    Not surprisingly, faceoffs have a low correlation to winning (told ya!) and hitting is even less telling of successful teams. I can theorize that lesser teams tend to have more thuggish players and better teams tend to have more skilled players that focus on scoring rather than hitting. It's true that the HITS stat is rather unreliable from arena to arena, but good teams don't necessarily have to rack up hits.

    I also notice that Atlanta ranks highly in scoring first, shots per game and PP%, yet is 23rd overall. The obvious reason is their lack of goaltending. If I could have added SV% to this table, I would have. Perhaps SV% would correlate even better than scoring the first goal.

    Obviously, this study is fairly crude and could always be improved.

    Cartman had suggested some refinements. This is Stat Geek territory.

    1. Using Raw Numbers - "On the level of this study it probably
    doesn't matter much, but if one team is way ahead or behind the rest of the
    pack this information gets lost in rankings (the same thing if lots of teams
    are very closely grouped)."

    Now, the ranking system allows each stat to be a 1-30 variable. In order to correlate a set of data, you need to have that matching variable set. How can I correlate a 80.5% with a 3 ranking. I'm not a stats wiz, so if anyone knows, let me know.

    2. Covariances - "Another thing one can do is try to calculate partial covariance. If we conclude that (for example) shots per game strongly influences winning percentages and maybe hits are quite strongly correlated with shots per game and also with winning percentage, but we want to remove the influence of shots per game before measuring the correlation with hits, this can be done."

    Well, I don't have that much time on my hands :). It certainly might be worth a look.

    Now, I'd love some feedback from the readers. How could this study be improved? What surprises/doesn't surprise you about the results? Did you learn anything?

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006


    The Scott Stevens Show

    The New Jersey Devils will be honouring former captain Scott Stevens in a ceremony in 2 days time.

    Love him or hate him, Stevens was one of the best defensive defensemen in NHL history and also one of the very best bodycheckers. If you don't believe me, just ask Eric Lindros, Shane Willis, or Tie Domi. (Although they may not remember those hits...)

    I know some consider Stevens to be a dirty player, but I consider him to be the very essence of "borderline". Stevens would do whatever he could that was just within the rules, and he was good at not crossing the line from 'clean' to 'dirty'. When he laid an open-ice hit, he did not stick his elbow out and he did not run players from 30 feet away. (at least not very often, unlike Bryan Marchment and his magical knee of death)

    People also tend to forget that Stevens was a hell of an offensive defenseman early in his career with the St. Louis Blues. When the Blues were forced to give Stevens up in the Brendan Shanahan 'tampering' case, the Blues were never really the same until Chris Pronger blossomed.

    If you want to relive some of Scott Stevens' best moments, check out this video gallery over at the New Jersey Devils official website.

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