Thursday, August 30, 2007

Analyzing the New Canucks Jerseys



In review: Hartford Whalers + California Golden Seals x Roberto Luongo = New Canucks Jerseys

Study hard class, this will be on the test.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Handy Guide for Beginners: Fantasy Hockey

Jeremy Roenick is RAD! Dude!

It's that time of year again. No, not for college and pro football players to get arrested in droves after opening night, but you're getting warm. We're officially a month away from hockey season, and that means it's time to start up, or think about thinking about starting up, a fantasy hockey league.

For most people, this wouldn't even be a thought in the deepest, darkest parts of their mind. But you, you're different. You read mediocre hockey blogs in August. You check your calendar daily to see how many days are left until training camp starts. You take joy in the fact that one of your arch rivals will no longer be getting 'any' from Elisha Cuthbert. And of course, you're still wondering why in the hell Tampa Bay is going to pay Marc Denis $2.8 million this year to sit on their bench for at least 41 games.

If you've done any of these things or pondered any of these questions recently, then this post is for you. This is for the people. You know who you are. You're the ones who don't care about baseball, aren't overly excited by the start of football season, don't realize basketball is a professional sport, and live in parts of the continent where ESPN shoves NASCAR and Arena Football down your throat constantly. For you, the people, I give you BMR's Handy Pocket Guide to Fantasy Hockey.

Do not use ESPN fantasy games to host your league. Not only do I have a sneaking suspicion that ESPN might continue it's campaign to rid the world of the NHL by 'accidentally' forgetting to even host an NHL fantasy website this year, they'll probably just start everything over a couple weeks into the season, anyway. Hey, I'm just saying.

Do not pay extra for StatTracker® if you're using Yahoo! Yes, it only costs $9.99 for the entire season. But is it really that hard for you to either; A) wait until the system automatically updates nightly at 4 AM EST or B) just check a God damn box score, which just so happens to be updated by Yahoo! on their website in real time?

Your league name won't be any good, no matter how hard you try. Might as well just name it Ted's WalMart Employee Fantasy League or something generic like that. Not only does it save you the trouble of looking like an idiot when you try to whip out some gangsta slang and totally screw it up, but this way you'll be able to tell the difference between the five leagues you're in that all have the same name. Now, they won't all be named some variation of the Bay City Ballas Mad Fly Hockey Shizzle Dizzle League. Honestly, you should just name your league Poop. Naming your league after fecal matter is way more original than anything else that you're going to come up with.

Rotisserie scoring leagues don't hold a candle to head-to-head leagues. That brings me to my next point, when given the option, always choose a head-to-head style league over rotisserie scoring. Not only is head-to-head much easier to spell, but there's nothing better than the trash talking that is birthed from a head-to-head league. Under rotisserie rules, only the winner gets to talk trash at the end of the year. When you have a head-to-head match up against a different opponent each week with the chance for a rematch later in the season, and playoffs, that's almost more trash talking and bragging rights than you'll know what to do with. It will be amazing, I promise. After all, without trash talking and bragging rights, there wouldn't be fantasy sports at all.

Always invite the guy who should be in gamblers anonymous, but isn't. The best part about playing fantasy sports for money is that when you need to fill those last couple of spots in the league, everyone has a friend (or two) that is a compulsive gambler. Not only will it be fun to watch them crumble when their team goes into the shitter before the All-Star break, but it's extra money for everyone else to win!

Convince your friends/family/coworkers that fantasy hockey is, actually, fun. This is the most important part of creating a fantasy hockey league. Unless you live in Canada or a select number of cold weathered American cities, you probably don't know too many people who like hockey. Even if you do know a lot of hockey fans, chances are most of them won't be crazy enough to join a fantasy hockey league with you and pay to do so. This is where your skills as a used car salesman come in (you do have those, right?). You've got to sell other people on joining your league, and you've only got a month left to do it.

For co-workers, the best angle would obviously be to explain to them just how much time can be wasted at work thanks to their involvement in a fantasy sports league. Chances are that any employee worth their weight in slacking ability knows this already, and will be quick to sign up.

When it comes to friends, playing the guilt card is a sure bet. Remind them how little you see them as it is because you work such long hours, or are always at school/doing homework. For the guys out there, just remind those friends in a relationship how whipped they are by their girl, and watch how fast they give in. It's fun! As for the rest, seeing as you're already friends, they'll probably cave easily as well and coincidentally forget to check their team regularly once the season begins. That's because they really couldn't give a rat's ass about any of it in the first place. No worries, you've got their money and they'll probably be an easy beat thanks to a bad draft and unkempt roster.

If none of these attempts succeed in filling up all the spots in your league, then you might have to resort to, you know, talking to your family. Seeing as you're reading this blog and have read almost the entirety of this long winded post, that leads me to believe that you don't have much of a family life, either. This assignment is on your own, class. Good luck!

Schedule the league's live draft at a time when only you can attend. If you know your league is going to be a sham anyway, since the only people that you could get to join were a bunch of friends and co-workers who have never heard of Alex Ovechkin, don't worry. Make sure to schedule your live draft at a time when you'll likely be the only person who cares enough to show up. This actually happened in one of my leagues on Yahoo! last year. One friend was the only person who showed up to the live draft online, and he ended up coming away with Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin and Selanne. Needless to say, he won.

Don't try to be a smart ass when naming your team. Please, spare us the trouble of trying to understand the joke in your team name. Chances are, you only get about 25 characters to use in naming your team, and that won't be nearly enough room to explain that really funny line Keanu Reeves said in The Replacements that you can't believe everyone doesn't know and think is completely hilarious. Just do everyone a favor and name your team something like Average Joe's or Skillz That Killz and be done with it. We'll all get the Dodgeball movie reference and wonder how you ever came up with applying it to a fantasy hockey team. You're so witty and amazing. I wish I could be just like you.

Previous Handy Pocket Guides on BMR
A Handy Guide for Beginners: Hockey Blogging (8/13)

A Handy Guide for ESPN: How to Not Ruin Hockey (8/2)

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Montreal Canadiens

Who doesn't love Youppi?

Quick hits
  • Youppi is actually a real man who is mute and covered in orange fur.
  • The Habs have not won a Stanley Cup in 13 seasons, the longest drought in the franchise's storied history.
  • Just to remind you how storied that history is... The Pocket Rocket, Henri Richard, won 11 Stanley Cups during his 20 seasons in Montreal. That percentage alone makes Derek Jeter look like a scrub.
  • This year the franchise turned 98 years young. I think the present I sent got lost in the mail. Sorry, Montreal.
  • FourHabsFans' post on why they hate the New York Rangers is plain fucking awesome. Do yourself a favor and go read it.

Odds for the folks at gambler's

78 to 1: In his return to Montreal on January 8th (provided he doesn't get cut before then), Sergei Samsonov will voluntarily scratch himself from the lineup to commemorate his time in Montreal.

4 to 1: If a poll was conducted, the majority of BMR readers would be in favor of French speaking ice girls.

9 to 1: The Habs will win the Cup this year. After all, they're the sexy pick.

Obligatory serious analysis

Things aren't so bad in Montreal. Well, let's just say that they could be worse. The folks up there have the longest Cup drought in franchise history going, the Habs have stunk up the joint in recent years, and of course there were those shenanigans about an American buying the team a while back. Fear not, Habs fans. Hope is on the way.

Montreal finished two points out of the 8th spot in the East last season, and have, for the most part, taken care of business this off season. First off, the team rid itself of Sergei Samsonov, which is a plus in itself. Despite the loss of Sheldon Souray, the team strengthened it's blue line by re-signing Andrei Markov, Mike Komisarek and adding Roman Hamrlik, Patrice Brisebois and Jamie Rivers. The additions weren't earth shattering, but these players will at least provide experience and depth to their defense.

Up front the team lost Radek Bonk and Samsonov, which isn't that big of an issue considering neither player scored more than 26 points over the course of the season. To replace them, Bryan Smolinski and Tom Kostopoulos have been brought in. They're not a whole lot better than the aforementioned players whose places they will be taking. Kostopoulos is a career depth player and Smolinkski will turn 36 in December and his engimatic personality leaves it almost impossible to tell how well or poorly he will play.

One thing is for sure; how far the Habs go will be only as far as goaltender Cristobal Huet leads them. The Frenchman was a standout two seasons ago when he posted a .929 save percentage and a 2.20 GAA in 33 starts. Last season he split time with David Aebischer, whom has since signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. Aebischer's numbers were weaker than Huet's, but Huet's numbers dropped significantly. Witness a 2.81 GAA and .916 save percentage over the course of 39 starts. In this league you have to have a solid goaltender, and Huet will have to be just that for the Habs.

Prediction: The Habs are going to ride a solid year from Huet, who thrive on being the #1, and finish in the East's 8th spot.

The best looking ice girls in Montreal
There are no ice girls in Montreal (as far as I know), so all we're left with are more Elisha Cuthbert pictures because she's from Montreal. It's too bad, really.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Islanders Will Stop at Nothing to Conquer the Internets

The verdict is in; fans do fan forums better.

It's safe to say that the New York Islanders are all for class participation. From their famous Blog in a Box, to the numerous fan articles that they publish through various mediums, there's no doubt that they love to hear what the public has to say. In another very unique move, the Islanders have acquired an internet fan forum to become the team's official message board/fan forum/gripe fest for their website.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is believed that the team has traded Andy Hilbert and a third round pick in 2008 in exchange for the rights to call the forum, Islander Mania, their own.

All kidding aside, this is certainly an interesting step that the team has taken. If you're not familiar with the situation, the folks over at Islander Mania have been doing a bang up job of hosting arguably the most popular website to talk Islanders on the internet for nearly a decade now. This past Sunday, the crew officially announced that they are going to become the team's official fan forum for their website on September 1st. Not only that, but the forum will remain completely as is, with the lone exception being a change in web servers. It's a pretty big move, and one that is nothing new for a team that always seems to be on the cutting edge of technological marketing and fan interaction.

For the fans running the forums, it's got to be a thrill. There's really no higher praise for a fan forum/website than to have the team like it so much, they actually ask you to come on board. That's about the equivalent of a blogger getting a job at the New York Times, assuming you don't think the Times is "America’s most venerated journal of treason."

SI FanNation Wants You to Think Steve Sullivan Has Aged Horribly

This is getting really tiring. This is at least the third time I've had to post about how the NHL folks over at SI FanNation have totally dropped the ball on their NHL coverage.

I know, I know. People make mistakes. But they mess up like it's their damn job. At least it's pretty funny this time.

But maybe, just maybe it's not an error at all. Could it be a conspiracy? Is FanNation out to get Nashville's Steve Sullivan? I guess it is possible. After all, they made him look like he aged pretty horribly over the summer.

Let's review.

This is Steve Sullivan as a healthy, strong and virile young man in his days with the Blackhawks, somewhere between 1999 and 2004. That puts him between the ages of 25 and 30. This is before he started aging horrifically, or so FanNation would have you believe.

This is Steve last season, while playing for the Predators back in February of this year. He's a 32-year old veteran of the NHL at this point. He's still got plenty of spring in his step, which is shown by the 60 points he scored in 57 games for Nashville.

Saturday, word broke that Sullivan could miss the first three months of the season with back problems. He's been out since February 22nd due to this, and it's apparently taken a toll on him; witness FanNation's post about him yesterday. He must of aged about 30 years since we saw him in February.

Get well soon, Steve. Please, get well.

Monday, August 27, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Boston Bruins

That would be one sweet whip if it, you know, didn't have those Bruins logos all over it.
(C) Boston Bruins

Gotta give some love to the Northeast Division. Today, a little foreplay with the Boston Bruins.

Quick hits

  • The Bruins have made it out of the first playoff round once in the last 12 seasons. The last time they were in the Conference Finals, Kevin Stevens was the league's second leading scorer.
  • P.J. Axelsson is the longest tenured Bruin, as this will be his 10th season in a Boston uniform.
  • [Insert obligatory joke about how bad the Southeast Division is] The Southeast's new slogan; 'We're not just Carolina and Tampa Bay!'
  • For the price of $250, "Blades, the Bruins mascot [a giant bear] will arrive in the Bruins Hummer for a one-hour appearance".
  • For $650, Blades will fight a Leprechaun with a broom.*

Odds for the folks at gambler's

12 to 1: Blades defeats the Leprechaun by TKO.

3 to 1: Blades wins by threatening to maul the judges.

4 to 1: Manny Fernandez will realize that Boston isn't all that much better than Minnesota. In fact, it might just be worse. That is, if Fernandez enjoys winning hockey games.

50 to 1: Zdeno Chara finally acknowledges that he's been lying on the scouting report his entire career. He's not actually 6'9", but is really a midget on stilts.

Obligatory serious analysis

A few weeks back, I rated the Bruins as the fourth biggest losers of the off season up to that point. That position still stands, as the team hasn't made any significant improvement since that piece was written. The Bs did a face lift of off-ice personnel this summer, firing head coach Dave Lewis and letting go some of their front office staff. Claude Julien was brought in to replace Lewis, and that's probably for the better. Julien did coach the Devils into a playoff spot and helped in their winning of the Atlantic Division title before Lou Lamoriello pulled the plug on him and took all the credit. He's certainly an upgrade over Lewis. Not doubt about that.

The problem in Boston is that the on-ice product hasn't improved much. The team did acquire Manny Fernandez, which brings an end to their goaltending woes. Fernandez should be a solid performer for the Bs this season, but the problem with his acquisition was the subsequent loss of youngster Hannu Toivonen. The Bruins received center Carl Soderberg from St. Louis in exchange for Toivonen, and Greg Wynshenski was not too keen on the trade. He went so far as to say that "Bruins fans may want to mark down July 23, 2007 as yet another date that could live on in Bostonian hockey infamy."

No matter what happens down the road, the Bruins net will be secure for the present. That's great and all, but is that what you really want with a somewhat young, below average team? The Bruins won't be a factor in the East this season, so they might as well have kept Toivonen and gone with the youth movement in net for another year.

The only other addition that the Bruins have to flaunt is the signing of free agent Shawn Thornton from Anaheim. Thornton had 9 points in 48 games last season for Anaheim, as he split time between the NHL and AHL's Portland Pirates. The B's didn't lose any significant players, but their inability to add big names is what will hurt them this season. Aside from Thornton (who may likely be a non-factor) and Fernandez, they are essentially returning with the same lineup that finished 13th in the East last season. Yes, they have a new (and better) coach. That's not going to cut it in an Eastern Conference where almost every cellar team improved in leaps and bounds.

Prediction: Hold on to your hats, folks. I'm going to put the knife in 'em and say the Bruins will finish dead last in the East this season. Everyone in the conference save for the Islanders has either significantly improved or was already better than Boston. It's going to be a long year.

The best looking ice girls in Boston
As far as I can tell, the Bruins don't actually have any ice girls. I'm not entirely sure if anyone in Boston even cares about the Bs anymore, either. So, to try and make this as little of a stretch as possible, as you probably know, Jennifer Garner is a fan of that other team in Boston that everybody does care about, the Red Sox.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay
* - probably not actually endorsed by the Bruins. Maybe, but it's not likely.

Cuthbert and Avery are no more. I know, you're crushed.

She was in Old School. That's really all you need in a woman.

I'm sorry to report tragic news like this so late in the day since I know we are all going to lose lots of sleep over it, but apparently, Elisa Cuthbert and the Rangers' Sean Avery have broken up. Now, I know what you're thinking, and let me tell you, there is no reason to jump off that rooftop you so quickly ran up. It's going to be OK. Everything is going to be alright.

Mommy and Daddy are having some trouble right now, but everything is going to be OK. Daddy promised to never hit Mommy again and Mommy said she won't have any more Jack and Coke after 10pm on Mondays and every other Wednesday.

Sorry. I don't know where that came from.

Seriously, though. Take some NyQuil or whatever else will knock you out pretty good (keep it legal, kids) so that you can overcome this tradgedy and get some sleep tonight. I know, I know. It's going to be tough. In this time of despair and pain, we need to stay strong. Stay. Strong.

Thanks to the FanHouse for breaking this.

The Best of Rick Jeanneret

If you have ever watched a Buffalo Sabres game on TV (and I'm talking about the local feed), then you've certainly heard the uncanny, exciting and sometimes incoherent Rick Jeanneret. Jeanneret has been the Sabres play-by-play man since 1971. He started on the radio, and moved to TV for the 1995-96 season. Jeanerret has some of the best, most unique and exciting calls in the business, which is exactly why he's been in the business for so long.

Love him or loathe him he's certainly one of the most colorful characters out there, and he's a hell of a lot better to listen to than Doc Emerick who, by the way, still doesn't realize that there's a different between doing play-by-play on the radio and doing it on television. But seriously, he's a sweet old man; how could you possibly loathe him? Not to mention the guy gets more excited for a Sabres' goal than most people do for the birth of a child. You've got to love it. Anyway, thanks to YouTube here are some of the best calls from Jeanneret, and if you check out his Wikipedia page, there is much more goodness.

2007 Eastern Conference Semis; Rangers vs. Sabres, Game 5
Chris Drury ties its up in the closing seconds and everyone including Jeanneret absolutely loses it.

Daniel Briere is the cookie monster... um. Ok.

And I might as well just cut to the chase and give you the Rick Jeanneret Top 10, thanks to Sportscentre.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Florida Panthers

It's a little under seven six five weeks until the 2007-08 NHL season opens in London, England on September 29th (blimey!) and it's time to start previewing the season. I'm starting these season previews really, really early but that's only because there's no way I can write 30 solid previews in only a couple of weeks. If I'm going to preview every single NHL team, and I'm going to try my hardest to do so, it will take all seven weeks and then some... And as you might have guessed, these aren't going to be your standard season previews.

I wonder what's spooked Stanley Panther.

...and today we're moving back to the Southeast Division. I know you're excited. I can barely contain myself.

Quick hits
  • Ice Dancer Allie's favorite color is light yellow.
  • [Insert obligatory joke about how bad the Southeast Division is] The Southeast's new slogan; 'We're not just Carolina and Tampa Bay!'
  • The Panthers have not made the playoffs for six straight seasons and have not won a playoff series since their magical run to the finals in the spring of 1996. As a matter of fact, they have finished 4th in the Southeast five years running. That has got to be a record of some kind.

Odds for the folks at gambler's an

30 to 1: Tomas Vokoun will break the franchise record for wins in a season (Roberto Luongo, 35 in 2005-06).

3 to 1: Vokoun will not be as drunk as Eddie Belfour on road trips.

Obligatory serious analysis

The Panthers didn't make it onto my list of the Top 5 Most Improved Teams this summer, but maybe they should have been on there. They added Richard Zednik and Radek Dvorak, while acquiring one of the best goalies in the Western Conference last season (despite injury), Tomas Vokoun from the fire sale that is the Nashville Predators. To add to that, the Panthers re-signed their major free agents to monster deals, including Nathan Horton (6 years/$24 million), Jozef Stumpel (2 years/$4.5), Bryan Allen (5 years/$14.5) and Stephen Weiss (6 year/18.6). The Panthers have established who their core players are, that's for sure.

The lone downside to the offseason has been the loss of forwards Martin Gelinas and Chris Gratton, who combined for 79 points in 161 games last season. That being said, the Panthers will be returning 10 players who notched at least 29 points last season. Add Dvoark and Zednik to the mix and their offense shouldn't miss a beat. Last season, the Panthers led the Southeast in scoring and were 5th in the Eastern Conference. As you might expect, the reason they finished so low in the standings was a lack of defense, which was due in large part to the loss of goaltender Roberto Luongo. With the addition of Vokoun, the Panthers have almost completely filled the gap left by Luongo. Add another year of experience to their young defenders, and this team is going to be in playoff contention come April.

Prediction: The Panthers are going to be in the thick of things come playoff time, but I think they'll finish just short; 9th place in the East.

The best looking ice girls in Florida
Chicago owns Florida in this category. So, I'll just show you some more Blackhawk Girls.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay

Friday, August 24, 2007

Justin Timerblake Plays LA King in Surprisingly Realistic Role

Hooray for Creepy Photoshopped Images!

If you haven't heard by now, Mike Myers has a new, lame movie in the works. And it's just our luck, too; it's going to involve a hockey player portrayed by Justin Timberlake. Now that's how to make a box office hit! Of course, by "box office hit" I mean movie that is probably going to rival Gigli for it's spot on the "we would be better off if this had never existed" list.

Anyway, as the folks at Battle of California pointed out today, Timberlake is going to be playing for the Los Angeles Kings in the movie. Sucks to be you, Kings Fans. But really, is this role that far from the truth? Isn't this (pictured right) what we imagine a Kings fan's wet dream to be?

Kidding, just kidding.

Seriously, though. If I had to pick a team that would fit Justin Timberlake perfectly, it would be the Kings, hands down. I don't know why. It just would be.

This is definetly going to be one of those things that Kings fans will have an awful lot of trouble living down. Ex-Boy Band Member and Current Metrosexual Pop Sensation portrays one of your own He-Man Masculine Hockey Players in a big Hollywood movie? Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark.

All that can really be salvaged out of all this is that Timberlake will be co-starring with Jessica Alba in the movie. Hell. Yeah.

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Chicago Blackhawks

It's a little under seven six five weeks until the 2007-08 NHL season opens in London, England on September 29th (blimey!) and it's time to start previewing the season. I'm starting these season previews really, really early but that's only because there's no way I can write 30 solid previews in only a couple of weeks. If I'm going to preview every single NHL team, and I'm going to try my hardest to do so, it will take all seven weeks and then some... And as you might have guessed, these aren't going to be your standard season previews.

This picture is just really, really confusing. I guess what is does prove, though, is that Bill Wurtz really is part of the evil empire.

This is the time of year where Hawks fans try to convince themselves that they have a shot, and the rest of us are left to wonder why they bother. No matter which side of the fence you're on, the Hawks are, indeed, an NHL team. Thus, I am forced to write a season preview for them.

Quick hits
  • Chicago Ice Crew girl/member/person Adrienne cannot live without "tinted moisturizer." Whatever the hell that is.
  • You probably knew this already, but the Blackhawks have the longest Cup drought in the NHL (1961). That is, unless the Senators count.
  • The team has also not won a playoff series since the 1995-96 season. That is the second longest drought in the league, behind only the New York Islanders (sigh).

Odds for the folks at gambler's an

2 to 1: Patrick Kane sleeps with at least two ice girls.

8 to 1: At the end of the season, I still won't know how to pronounce the last names of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Dustin Byfuglien.

50 to 1: The Hawks actually do make the playoffs.

Obligatory serious analysis

On July 30th, I dubbed the Hawks the fifth most improved team in the NHL this summer, slightly edging out the Washington Captials. I'm sticking with that assessment, and still believe that the Hawks are one of the league's most improved teams coming into the season. That being said, I still can't see them in the playoffs. Despite large improvement, teams very rarely go from worst to first, and the Hawks are no exception. They finished in the basement of the Central Division and were the third worst team in the West last season. They'll improve and probably jump over the Blue Jackets, but I can't see them eeking out a playoff spot just yet.

Robert Lang will prove to be a big acquistion, and if Sergei Samsonov can somehow turn things around (which he won't) the Hawks will make a small climb up the standings. Add a healthly Martin Havlat, and an impact from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, you would almost think the Hawks have a very serious corps of forwards. It's still a far cry from the rest of the conference, though. Last year, the team scored the second fewest goals in the NHL and there really isn't any depth in the forward ranks at all.

The Hawks defense was also suspect last season, but the blueline situation is looking up thanks to young guns Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. Yes, Adrian Aucoin is gone, but he missed 81 games due to injury in only two years in the Windy City.

Don't forget about Nikolai Khabibulian in net, either. He may have had a down year in 2006-07, but he is still as good as they come.

Prediction: Improved? Certainly. Playoff bound? No way. The Hawks will slip in with the 10th spot out West.

The best looking ice girls in Chicago
All of them.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Senators Logo Not to Be Confused with Trojan Man

That's not exactly what his mom had in mind when she told Billy to stay in school.
(C) University of Southern California

Today, the Ottawa Senators unveiled a new, bigger, brighter logo and jersey design. By my estimation, it's about 32% manlier than their older jerseys. If you want a more visual representation of that statistic, I would say that it now bears a much closer resemblance to Russell Crowe's character in Gladiator than Orlando Bloom's character in, well, any character played by him.

Living over a thousand miles away from Ottawa and being an unpaid blogger have their drawbacks. Namely, I was not able to attend the Senators press conference today in which the new jerseys were unveiled. So, as a service to you the loyal viewer, I am going to attempt to summarize what I imagine occurred at the press conference today as if I was a real, paid journalist.

Ottawa (BMR) -- The Senators have jumped on the proverbial bangwagon, and are doing what all the kids are doing these days. No, they're not huffing fumes from various aerosols. They're buying all the hot, new fall fashions to get ready for school the new NHL season.

In an effort to look 'mad pimp' and 'fly' for all the bitches n' hos, the Senators have redesigned their jersey and logo. While the new look certainly has some fans, not all are so pleased. Martha Smith from Watchamacallit, Ontario did not feel the new look was appropriate. 'The new jerseys look like that guy on the condoms box,' she said. 'Is this really what we want our children to be parading around in?'

The Senators on the other hand, were quick to dismiss that notion.

When asked if the logo looked similar to the Trojan Man, Senators intern Joey didn't buy into the theory. 'I think it looks a lot like Jason Spezza,' Joey said. 'When Spezza gets mad, that's kind of what it looks like. He gets kinda pale and angry, with a side of constipation. I think they were trying to model it after him.'

But no matter what the logo may look like, it's clear that the Senators were trying to distance themselves from their in-province rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Said Senators GM Bryan Murray, 'we're really trying to distance ourselves from our in-province rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs, with these jerseys.' Mr. Murray went on to describe the Maple Leafs jerseys as 'totally weakass' and meantioned that 'maybe if they looked tougher, [Toronto] would win the division once in a while.'

Reports out of Toronto say that the MLSE is planning to launch an attack against the Anaheim Ducks, to make the infiedels and their GM 'pay for his comments'.

The University of Southern California Trojan is also not pleased with the design. A siege on Ottawa is currently in the works, once he recieves a US passport in approximately 3-6 months.

See? I think I could do this whole MSM journalist thing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Columbus Blue Jackets

It's a little under seven six weeks until the 2007-08 NHL season opens in London, England on September 29th (blimey!) and it's time to start previewing the season. I'm starting these season previews really, really early but that's only because there's no way I can write 30 solid previews in only a couple of weeks. If I'm going to preview every single NHL team, and I'm going to try my hardest to do so, it will take all seven weeks and then some... And as you might have guessed, these aren't going to be your standard season previews.

Vinyl hockey pucks. What will they think of next?

Quick hits
  • If you thought that John MacLean being the Devils all-time leading scorer was odd, then you haven't seen anything yet. The Blue Jackets' all-time leading scorer is David fucking Vyborny.
  • Fredrik Norrena was the first netminder in team history to finish with a winning record. He was 24-23-3 last season.
  • The BJs play at Nationwide Arena. Little known fact; it actually does stretch across the entire nation.
  • Molly, from the Pepsi Power Patrol, enjoys going on walks and meeting new people. Good to know.
  • What does Molly like best about Blue Jackets games, you ask? "Winning," she says. Of course, that's what we all love about the Blue Jackets. The unbelieveable amounts of winning that goes on.

Odds for the folks at gambler's an

20 to 1: The BJs actually do make the playoffs this year.

7 to 1: Mike Peca wishes he took more time to decide on an employer.

150,000 to 1: Congress replaces the American flag with the new BJs jersey.

Obligatory serious analysis

Well, the good thing is that you can't say that the Blue Jackets for not trying. After all, they have played a full 82 games in each year of their existence. What they do at those games, is a different story. The team has never made the playoffs, but to their credit, they are making improvements.

Last season the Blue Jackets finished in 11th place in the Western Conference as it was their season best season in history, in terms of points. They earned 73 points, one shy of the franchise record of 74 set two years ago. Bringing in Ken Hitchcock to coach last season is no doubt a plus for the franchise, as is getting rid of Doug MacLean. The on ice product leaves much to be desired. Today, the BJs added Mike Peca, which is a good move but not one that will solidify that illusive playoff berth. What Peca will do though, is add veteran leadership and, if things go well for Peca and not the team, he could provide some trade value at the deadline. The team has also added Kris Beech, Jiri Novotny and Sheldon Brookbank. That's not exactly going to get it done, as none of those names scare opposing teams. The up side is that Anders Ericksson and Brian Boucher are the biggest names that the team has lost this off season.

Two of the most important players to the success of the team this season will undoubtedly be forward Rick Nash and goaltender Fredrik Norrena. Nash played only 54 games two years ago, but managed to net 54 points. He was not able to keep up the torrid pace last season (74 games, 57 points), and it's obvious that as Nash goes, so goes the Blue Jackets. They'll be looking for him to step up even more in his 5th full NHL season. Norrena won the role as starter last season from Pascal Leclaire, but managed only a .908 save percentage and a 2.78 GAA. There's no doubt about it that he isn't getting any help from his defenders, but if he can improve, his play alone could help offset an inexperienced and below average defensive corps.

Prediction: The BJs will have their best season in team history... and still miss the playoffs. I'm seeding them in the 10th spot out West.

The best looking ice girls in New Jersey
Sorry, no ice girls today. Please accept this image in their absence.

Just kidding.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay

Mike Peca Chooses... Columbus! WTF??

Canadian Bobblehead Peca is not excited.

The verdict is in and Mike Peca has chosen to sign a contract for the upcoming season with... the Columbus Blue Jackets. I haven't been following the situation all that closely, but given all the rumors swirling around Peca and the New York Rangers, this move is a little surprising to say the least. And as you can obviously see, playing for a contender was not a high priority for Peca.

Here's some reaction from the internets...

Battle of New York
"Glen Sather opted to pass on signing Peca, and I for one feel it is a good non-signing. Leaving the cap room available should we acquire a defenseman is the first good thing that comes from this. Second, should Hosaa not be on the top line, replaced by Straka, it gives some kids a chance to compete for the third line center position."

Eric McErlain at the FanHouse

"...adding Peca to a team in search of an identity like Columbus seems like a no-brainer. Then again, one wonders just how long Peca will stay. No matter how much Columbus might improve this year, nobody has them projected to be a playoff contender, and it would make sense if Peca was simply looking for a safe place to re-establish his reputation on the ice ahead of next Spring's trade deadline."

James Mirtle

"In any event, this franchise has to make some sort of a move toward playoff contention in the near future, and I can't see it happening this season — even though there've been some strides on the blue line and in goal. Goal scoring remains the team's Achilles' heel and Peca doesn't help there."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Remembering A Team 96.6% Of Us Were Not Fans Of

Updates are kinda of tough to do right now. I'm away from home, and the internet connection that I'm struggling with is a little shoddy to say the least. Half of the websites that I try to visit load perfectly and half of them don't, so I'm not sure how often things are going to be updated around here the next few days. I promise everything will be back to normal by the end of the week.

Here's some fodder for the Penguins fans out there, or to put it more aptly, something for the fans of the teams that I neglect by never posting about. Statistically speaking, more than 96% of you probably don't care at all about the Penguins (29/30 duh). And to you I say, screw you. The good folks over at The Pens Blog and Doubt About It put together a recap of some of the best quotes from the Pens championship videos from the early 90s. The references to Craig Patrick's genius and Frank Pieterangelo will send you into one hell of a time warp. I promise.

The FanHouse also has a good article up about some problems that Islanders owner Charles Wang may be facing. The Islanders having a solid, trustworthy owner who would spend the money needed to compete; you knew it was probably too good to be true.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Off-Season Journal, Day 75: Which Canadian Team Will Choke Next June?

Christ, please tell me all Flames fans look like this.


It has happened three years in a row. One fledgling Canadian team has singlehandedly captured the hopes and dreams of the entire nation with a brilliant run to the Stanley Cup finals. Each time, those hope and dreams have come crashing down like something that crashes and burns really, really well. The Hindenburg comes to mind. So does the monk in that famous picture.

You get the point. The Flames made a run in 2004, the Oilers had their 15 minutes of fame in 2006 and the Senators got pwned this year.

While all of us Americans sit around and twiddle our thumbs in June because we can't possibly be bothered to rally around some team from a God-knows-where small market that we've never heard of, Canadians are banding together each summer in the hopes that they can recover what has been stolen taken from them. I'm talking about the Stanley Cup, of course.

We Americans really can't get behind these types of things. I mean, since when has Canada stolen anything from us? That's besides the fact that we just don't like to 'rally together'. Not since Woodstock, anyway.

I'm sure all the Canadian readers know exactly where I'm going with this. Today I'm going to take a look at the chances that one of the eight seven six Canadian teams left in the NHL will make a sweet Cup run, only to give their fans the distinct feeling of get stabbed in the heart when their team comes up short.

Not a snowball's chance in hell: Edmonton Oilers
Kevin Lowe's newest incarnation of the Oilers isn't going to get to the playoffs this year. I'm going to make no bones about it. This team fell flat on their faces the second Ryan Smyth walked out the door -- and he's not coming back anytime soon. Joni Pitkanen, Sheldon 'Swiss Cheese' Souray and Dustin Penner have been brought in to try and fix things, but I can't fathom the Oilers making the playoffs in what has been the better conference in recent years. There's a big gap out West between the haves and the have-nots, and right now the Oilers are still a have-not.

Ask me again later: Calgary Flames
The Flames finished eighth in the Western Conference last season, and I can't see them finishing much higher this season. They're not totally out of the running for this illustrious prize, though. The Oilers were able to make their 2006 run from the 8th playoff spot, so there's no doubt that the Flames could very well do the same. In fact, the Flames made their Finals run in 2004 from the sixth spot. If they do come up in eighth, don't count them out, but it's certainly going to be an uphill battle.

One of the most interesting story lines in Calgary this season (other than Mike Keenan) will be the team's revolving door blue line turns out. This summer, the Flames swapped Roman Hamrlik, Andrei Zyuzin and Brad Stuart for Adrian Aucoin, Cory Sarich and Anders Eriksson through various trades and signings. We'll just have to wait and see how things pan out for the Flames.

You Again? Booooooring: Ottawa Senators
The Senators won't have another miraculous run this season for one reason; they are old news. No one wants to see the same underdog two years in a row. That's why Mighty Ducks 2 can't hold a candle to the original Mighty Ducks, no matter how good the sequel was. Hell, you're not really even an underdog if you can reach the Finals in consecutive years. The point is; the Senators bandwagon filled up pretty fast last June, and there's no way that will happen again if they make another run this June. It's just not the cool thing to do.

The Wily Veteran: Vancouver Canucks
If you can remember back far enough, the Canucks made their own special run to the Finals before that sort of thing was popular. In the 1993-94 season, they finished 2nd in the Pacific Divsion and lost to the Rangers in the Finals in seven games. They have experience in this sort of operation, but they're too good. They finished 3rd last season in the West and are currently trying to lure Peter Forsberg to town. If that happens, they'll be too good to pick. After all, the Flames, Oilers and Senators made their runs from the 6th, 8th and 4th sports, respectively.

The Sexy Pick: Montreal Canadiens
The Habs are dying for a title. They are one of the winningest and most storied franchises in professional sports, having won 24 Stanley Cups, but haven't gotten their hands on one since 1993. The curse of Patrick Roy? Possibly.

The Habs finished 10th in the Eastern Conference last season, but were only two points removed from a playoff berth. Their only major loss is Sheldon Souray, and they've added Roman Hamrlik and Patrice Brisebois. Despite playing in a vastly improved conference, the Habs are going to be in the thick of things come playoff time. You might even say that this is their year to make an Oilers-like playoff run. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. The Habs are the one team that, historically speaking, would spoil everything and actually win the Cup if they were to make it to the Finals. They have lost in the Finals nine times, but have won 24 times. That high winning percentage makes me believe the Habs actually would come through if they found their way into the Final. They're out. They look good, but with a record like that, I can't pick them.

The Favorite: Toronto Maple Leafs
Let's face it; the Leafs are dying for a Stanley Cup. I wouldn't say things have reached Cubs like proportions, but it's getting close. 1967 might as well be 1908 to them. During the 40 years that the Leafs have gone without a Cup, the Canadiens have won 10 Cups, but I think the fans in Montreal do a good enough job reminding Toronto of that so that I don't have to.

This year won't be Toronto's year, and at the same time it will be. They still have a lot of work to do in order in win a Cup; they are not at the point of loveable losers just yet. It's pretty much a requirement that you get there before any miracles happen to you. Just ask the Boston Red Sox. There's still a whole lot of people in the hockey world who love to see them suffer, and those people will get their fill as the Leafs are my pick for the Canadian team to come up short in the Finals in June 2008.