Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Foot In Mouth Disease: Real, Live Journalists Peddling to Bloggers?

As anyone who regularly reads this blog or any other blog knows, bloggers love to take shots at actual journalists like a pot smoking hippie would at a corporate executive. Naturally, journalists in the main stream media (MSM) return the favor by dismissing the relevancy of bloggers in the same way a princess would look down upon a peasant. It's all a nice little circle of life that goes on in this part of the interwebs. If you're looking for proof of these points, look no further than Deadspin on any day of the week and the reaction the folks over at SportsJournalists.com had to the Islanders' blog box. Those are simply two examples out of hundreds.

Ironically, it turns out that not everyone in the journalistic community is turning their backs and dismissing this whole blogging thing as a passing fad. Why do I say this? Well, imagine my surprise when I started receiving emails a couple times a week from CBS Sports, a highly reputable bunch of professional journalists who, as it turns out, know that bloggers do indeed have an audience. Their strategy is simple and goes back to the age old idea of "a plug is a plug is a plug". Here's a snippet from the introductory email to this newsletter I was unknowingly subscribed to:

"About a year ago I started compiling a list of sports blogs – mainly ones that I read – and began occasionally sending pieces/features from CBSSports.com. The obvious thought being that some of you might include bits or references to these works in your posts."

I guess you could call the fine folks over at CBS Sports "closeted blogger lovers?"

Come on, now. There's no shame in that, even if you are part of the MSM.

I've got no problem with people sharing links via email. I get lots of email from people sending me various things they think I might find interesting, and I know I'm not the only one. Again, I really have no beef with that.

It's just funny that no matter how much hubbub and rhetoric comes from most people (not all) in the MSM about how petty and unimportant blogs are, that part of the MSM is out there adapting and changing by soliciting their content to blogs. That's a nice case of foot in mouth disease you guys have there. Might want to get that checked out. (Enjoying my sentence fragments so far?)

While this all sounds very condescending on my part, I'd like to take a moment to salute CBS Sports for trying, albeit in a self serving manner and covertly through email, to bridge a little bit of the gap between the MSM and bloggers. My only beef with CBS Sports is they really should stop sending me links to stories about A-Rod or the Colorado Rockies. First of all, this is a hockey blog. Hoc-key. Get it? Secondly, I don't care about baseball. Not at all. Not even a little.

Video Evidence That Islander Fans are Awesome

But you already knew that.


Thanks to the 2 Man Advantage.

Call Me Crazy, But Jones' Suspension is Justifiable

It's time the NHL stepped up and did a little more to protect players.
Michael Dwyer/AP

Here we are about a month into the season, and we're already discussing and dissecting the umpteenth controversial and dangerous action taken by a Philadelphia Flyers player. Unbelievable. And that's ignoring all the wild lapses in judgment that went on last season -- I'm looking at you, Chris Simon.

First it was Steve Downie, and then Jessie Boulerice tried his turn Suspension Generator. The pair received a combined 45 games in suspensions, and probably caused an even bigger headache to the on the NHL'sFlyers' marketing department, not to mention the players that they cut down. Marketing now has their work cut out for them, adding to their task of overcoming their lack of rational thought that produced this gem during the summer.

The latest suspension of a Flyer was handed down today to defenseman Randy Jones for his hit on Boston's Patrice Bergeron Saturday night in Boston. The total penalty was two games. That's it. I imagine this number may lead many people into a frenzy questioning the methods and madness of NHL HQ, and let me come out and say it right now, the suspension is just.

Yeah, you heard me. Hold back a few seconds before you channel all kids of rage and disgust in my direction. I'll let you grill me, fry me and put me in a bun in a minute. Do whatever you wish, but first, hear me out.

Two games seems like an extremely weak sentence for a hit that sent a guy to the hospital and probably made many people wonder if he was even going to walk again. And you know what, it might be a tad short. Maybe six games or ten would have been more appealing to the ear, but it would not have been just.

The major difference between what Jones did as compared to Boulerice and Downie was his level of intent. In fact, I believe there was no intent to injure, unlike the two previous suspensions. Take a look at the first two incidents, and I'm sure you'll agree that there was a certain level of, how do you say it poetically, massive brain cramping with the intent to injure. When you look at the hit Jones put on Bergeron, not so much.

What Jones did wasn't some premeditated slasher movie imitation. Here, there is no similarities to any of the poorly thought out goonish cannibalism that we have seen from the likes of say, Todd Bertuzzi or Chris Simon. Jones meerly went to the end boards to tie up and knock the puck away from Bergeron in an attempt to regain control of the puck for his team and, you know, play defense. When Bergeron put his head down, Jones had to make the split-second decision of whether to pull up or to finish the check. Jones did what most hockey players in this tough, overly physical enviornment that we know as the modern NHL would do -- he finished his check. Had Bergeron kept his head up, he may have skated away with nary a bruise. I'm not blaming this on Bergeron. Not at all. All I'm saying is that Jones was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and made a hit that 99 times out of 100 the other player walks away. That is worlds different than skating up to someone who had just pissed you off and whacking them with your stick in premeditated retaliation.

In the end, what happens is we have yet another example of the NHL ignoring the problem instead of trying to correct it. In an era when why many lower levels of hockey have moved to a rules system that employs no-touch icing, and other sports leagues are working on improving the protection of a player's head (see the NFL) the NHL drops the ball. Whenever an offensive or defensive player turns their back to chase a dump in as Bergeron did, they are taking a serious risk to their own health. Even though it may be a 99 times out of 100 type of event, this situation occurs numerous times every game, and therefore we see this type of injury what seems like a couple times each year. The problem is, that due to very vulnerable body positioning, it can result in very serious injury. The ludicrous thing is that this is all accepted on the NHL level.

In youth hockey, the prime example of prevention of this type of injury are those stop signs that you see on the backs of youth hockey jerseys. It so happens that in the NHL, we are gullible enough to believe that players are old enough and conditioned enough to recognize the imaginary stop signs on the back of jerseys, such as the one Bergeron was wearing. For that assumption, we get what happened on Saturday night; a scene that no one wants to see starting with a player going limp on the ice and ending with a night in the hospital. Thankfully, Bergeron should be alright.

Giving a two game suspension to Jones isn't the sign of a league office that has gone soft, it's a sign that Jones isn't to blame. Bergeron was a victim of circumstance and a league which chooses to believe that hits to the head and other serious injuries like Bergerons are only part of the price for being a pro hockey player. Jones only had a fraction of a second to adjust to Bergeron and either was not able to adjust or did so in the wrong way. The play was one that occurs on a nightly basis in the NHL, and every so often ends horribly. Don't believe that? Look no further than Jason Blake who was carted off on a stretcher after a similar incident last season. And he's not alone, either.

Impressive Linguistic Talents - October 30th

The best comments from the past week...

The Golden Mullet
justin on Dan LeBatard is a Ridiculous Human Being

I just body-slammed my next door neighbors 7 year old, and then she was all complaining and whatnot. But I'm like, "Hey, how come they can do it in the WWE and no one calls the cops on them".
Awesome. Just awesome.


Second Place, the Silver Mullet, You Might Say
mike on Dan LeBatard is a Ridiculous Human Being
Personally, I always thought they gave out suspensions in basketball because they are so horrible at fighting. Seriously, it like an 8-year-old slap fight, or some jackass running across the court, cheapshotting somebody else, then running away.


The Bronze Mullet
dearlordstanley on If This is Anything Like a High School Reunion, It's Going to Suck
As far as Wirtz goes, "My Dad was an idiot on the TV thing" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

...and +5 to bryce and loser domi. See? My memory is better than that of a goldfish.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Lost Transcript: Chris Chelios Auditions for IPhone Commercial

Only the highest quality photoshopped images here at BMR!

Boy, have I got my hands on something special for the Monday morning post. As it turns out, Detroit Red Wings defender Chris Chelios auditioned to be in one of those IPhone commercials earlier in the year*. I've got my hands on a copy of the transcript from it (the video tape was too hard to come by) and present it to you without any further fluff.

---

Date: September 3, 2007

Location: Detroit, MI

Event: IPhone Casting Call

So this one time, I was sitting on the bench during a game and we were losing real bad. It was like the New England Patriots decided to play hockey. We were just getting stomped out.

Anyway, Ozzy said he heard about this new phone that could basically do anything. He said we should all buy one, cause then we would start winning. I was like, "Ozzy, it's a phone. Be serious." He was dead serious, though. I could hear it in his voice.

"Grandpa, I'm dead serious," he said. "This phone is the real deal. I know we're down 11-0, but if we were to go out and buy a couple during intermission, I know we'd be winning in no time!"

Even Nicky Lidstrom chimed in; "Nej , han er absolut rätt."

I still wasn't convinced, but reluctantly accepted cause I'm a team player and all.

"Nicky, you know I can't understand Swedish," I said. "but I'll trust you on this one Ozzy, as long as you give me gas money to get to the store."

We went and got them during the intermission and as soon as we opened the boxes, you could tell these things were special. I scored 100 goals in the first 30 seconds of the third period, and Ozzy actually made a couple saves. Heck, even Nicky learned to speak English. It was amazing. I've never seen a phone do those things before. Best of all, we ended up winning the game 111,076 to -20. I've been a believer ever since, and none of us ever step on the ice without our IPhones.

----

Impressive Linguistic Talents will be up later tonight...

* - Not true.



Epic Battle Update: No One Wins, Universe Still up for Grabs

From a website that's in a language I can't read.

Tonight I come to you with grave news. The fate of the universe is still up in the air at this hour, as both the Minnesota Wild and Paul Stastny mailed it in tonight.

The Wild lost 3-1 to Colorado, extending their losing streak to a season-long three games. Despite his team actually winning the game, Paul Stastny was held without a goal yet again. His goalless drought now spans 14 days and seven games.

At the moment, it is still unclear if the universe can recover from both of these utter disappointments. Only time will tell if another force will rise up and seize control.

For the time being, a team of actors has been assembled to save mankind. And womankind:

They've got the Guy Who Isn't Matt Damon but is Friends With Him, Billy Bob Thornton, the Big Black Guy from Green Mile Who is a Really Good Actor, that Creepy Dude Who's Always in Important Movies, the lead actor from the Fifth Element and, of course, some hot chick.

-----

Alright that's really going to be the last I talk about Stastny and the Wild for a while now. You might be laughing but I know that I'm killing you on the inside with these shenanigans. I'm going to quit cold turkey.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Minnesota vs. Paul Stastny: An Epic Battle for the Universe

This is madness! THIS... IS... CAKETOWN!!!
AP Photo/Paul Battaglia

OK, so this isn't quite the epic battle it was when these two teams met last Sunday, since the Wild are on a losing streak for the first time this season and Paul Stastny hasn't had a point in three games, but it's an epic battle nonetheless.

We have only one period remaining to prepare ourselves to face the fate of the known universe. Will worlds collide? Will Paul Stastny ever score again? Does anyone other than me really care?

Soon, we will know the answers to such epic questions.

Soon, I will stop over using the word epic. But not today.

(+5 to anyone who gets the reference in the caption.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Take the Long Way Home

Oh 80s hair, is there anyone you don't look funny on?
Art.com

Tonight the New Jersey Devils will finally make their home debut at the brand spankin' new Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Researchers are still unsure if the eight Devils fans that have already bought tickets are excited. It is believed that they may simply be a hockey loving race of zombies.

Sorry New Jersey, I had to take a shot. I'm obligated to by birth.

Anyway, the new Prudential Center finally opens tonight, only about three weeks late for the start of the regular season. They had a ribbon cutting ceremony the other day, where a whole bunch of important politicians and announcer 'Doc' Emrick spoke before the media. I imagine Emrick's speech went something like this:

"...and I'm walking up to the podium now, putting my left foot in front of the right. Newark mayor Cory Booker is over at the refreshment table, and he leans in to grab a Styrofoam cup with which he will likely fill with coffee. The coffee this morning is very hot, I burned the front of my tongue earlier on it but at the moment I am about to reach the podium, at which time I will begin to address the audience..."
No one is sure if he has taken a breath yet.

And if you're wondering, Jon Bon Jovi christened the arena last night with a concert. Naturally. After hearing that I was left wondering; where was the Boss?



Friday, October 26, 2007

Dan LeBatard is a Ridiculous Human Being

...sigh.
Source

Memo to Dan LeBatard:

Please don't talk about hockey if you don't even know what it is.

This isn't word for word, but on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption this afternoon, LeBatard asked Tony Kornheiser a question to the effect of "Why is it that when the NBA fights, there are 15 game suspensions and playoff implications, etc. but when it happens in the NHL it's normalcy?"

Again, that's not word for word, but the point is the same. Dan wants to know why fighting in hockey is allowed while there are massive suspensions when it happens in basketball. There are a lot of different factors at play here, namely that fighting is ingrained in hockey much as it is in boxing, but Dan, it would be better if you just kept some things to yourself.

You might as well go to England and ask them why they play cricket and not baseball. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that just as the cultures of England and America are different, so are the cultures of hockey and basketball.

There are really so many factors at play here, including the fact that LeBatard is simply a talking head who is trying to compare apples to french fries for effect, that this isn't even worth talking about. I could write a thesis on how asinine the question was, but I'll save it for questions that, you know, actually require rational thought.

Update (10/27): Shaved ice has a great piece on this subject:

Tony [Kornheiser]:

"I'm sick of fights; I'm sick of designated goons. I know in the arena, these are very popular things. I thought as a culture, we had gone beyond this."

Yeah, which is why UFC is the fastest growing sport. Get over yourself. Clearly you have no idea that there is an unwritten code in hockey that still exists.

The audio of the aforementioned show can be found here. The exact quote from LeBatard:

LeBatard: "Do you ever wonder, do you ever wonder, I'm with you on this one too, do you ever wonder why the fights in the NBA, whenever there are fights in the NBA it's 15 game suspensions, it's craziness, it's rules that end up affecting the playoffs..."
Kornheiser: "And why not in hockey?"
LeBatard: (something inaudible about Amare Stoudamire) "...and in hockey nothing"


Today's Class Lecture: Simple Math Equations

Here at BMR, it's all about you, the people. That's why I'm taking the time to do a public service today for all the kids out there. You're the future, that's why you need to know things like maths, and how to map the Iraqs, such as.

In an effort to help today's youth learn as much as they can about hockey, I've compiled a list of simple math equations based on how many points each team has in the standings right now. It's also a good example of politics and how to build cities. For example, you need 2 2/3 Phoenix-es to make just one Minnesota. Who knew, right?


Boston / Buffalo = .5 Atlantas

Atlanta^2 = Minnesota or Ottawa

Toronto ≠ Tampa Bay... but Toronto = San Jose

2 Edmontons = Dallas + Nashville

Calgary + Philadelphia = 3 Vancouvers


That's all for today's class. Study up. This will be on the test. I'm looking at you, Buffalo.



The Daily Sniper: If There was a Hockey Game in Boston While the Sox are in the Series, Did it Really Happen?

News and notes from last night's action...

Homeless teens; the answer to the Bruins' attendance problems?
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Boston 3, Chicago 1 -- Its not like you have to be reminded, but there were a lot of things going on last night that were competing for attention from the people of Boston. There was Game 2 of the World Series between the Sox and Rockies, as well as the #2 Boston College Eagles taking on Virginia Tech (that's college football). Low and behold, there was a hockey game, too.

But did anyone really see it? Did it really happen?

And more importantly; who in their right mind would actually choose the Bruins over both the Red Sox and BC Eagles?

The announced attendance at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston last night was 10,290. Right. And I'm the commissioner of the NHL. In all seriousness there was probably about 3,000 people there. If that. Heck, they were probably all homeless people that the team pulled off the street to try and fill seats, lured by pretzels and cokes.

If you're of the belief that a game did indeed happen at the Garden last night, and it wasn't all a figment of our collective imaginations, you should note that the Bruins actually did win. I mean, jeez. There really is no stopping the city of Boston right now is there? First the Patriots then the Sox and now the Eagles and Bruins. The Celtics look pretty good this season, too. I guess after all the pain and suffering, God finally decided that it was Boston's time. I imagine that after this current run, Boston teams won't win a title until, oh, 4467.

Phil Kessel scored twice. Jon Toews had one for the Hawks. Ho hum, Boston wins (again).

Columbus 3, St. Louis 0 -- As it turns out, whatever Paul Stastny has been having, Pascal Leclaire has been having some, too. Leclaire turned away 36 shots to earn his fourth shutout in only his sixth start of the season.

I'll give you a moment to process that.

Pascal Freaking Leclaire just recorded has six starts and four shutouts this season.

Holy bejeezus. Right now he's got a .950 save percentage and a 1.34 GAA, and is doing a heck of a job working his way up Gary Bettman's hit list.

Rick Nash also had a sick goal, which he shot between his legs. The BJs can simply not be stopped, folks.

NY Rangers 2, New Jersey 0 -- Well, I guess someone had to win. Nigel Dawes (who?) scored twice for the Rangers, who helped continue making the Devils look like a shell of their former selves. I'm now taking bets as to how long it will be until Sweet Lou fires Brent Sutter. I give it until Thursday.

Toronto 5, Pittsburgh 2 -- Pittsburgh, that's just embarrassing. You should be ashamed.

Toronto scored five goals in a row, including two from Jiri Tlusty (who?). Alex Steen had three points for the Leaves, and Malkin and Crosby each had two points for Pittsburgh.

Phoenix 1, Anaheim 0 -- I take it back Pittsburgh, this is the most embarrassing score of the night. With the win, the Coyotes keep pace with Nashville for the worst record in the Western Conference. Craig Weller (I'm getting sick and tired of it but, WHO??) scored the lone goal for Phoenix and Alex Auld (OK, I at least know who that is) made 31 saves to earn the shutout. And earn it he did. The Ducks actually outshot the 'Yotes by a 31-21 margin.

Edmonton 5, Minnesota 4 (SO) -- The world mourns as the Wild are officially on their first losing streak of the season. They face a rematch with Paul Stastny and the Avs on Sunday. At that time, the fate of the universe will be decided.

Tampa Bay 5, Philadelphia 2 -- The Flyers join the Wild by earning their first losing streak of the season by also losing game on back to back nights. Brad Richards probably scored or something.

Los Angeles 2, Dallas 1 -- The Kings continue to take refuge from wild fires in their icy rink. Fire vs. Ice: who will win?

Yeah, I'm sorry. It's the eighth game of the night. I'm really stretching things right now.

Nashville 3, Altanta 0 -- If these teams combined their point totals, they would be tied for sixth place in either conference. So to review, Atlanta + Nashville = Los Angeles. Study up, class.



Thursday, October 25, 2007

PARSCADT -- People Against Ryan Smyth Crying All the Damned Time

Is this what it looks like when Ryan comes home for Christmas ever year?
Andy Devlin/Getty Images

Dear Ryan Smyth,

Look, I have no problem with athletes showing "emotions" and "feelings." It's what keeps them human and allows us to relate so much to sport.

But puh-leaseeeeeee, give me a break Ryan Smyth. If you care so much about the Oilers that it continually brings you to tears, then you should have signed with them in the summer. If it means this much to you, then you would have taken $2.5 million to go play in Alberta and would have gotten over whatever hissy fit you had with Kevin Lowe.

Look, it was touching when you cried after being traded. I got that. The Oilers wanted to re-sign you and then turned their backs on you and traded you to the nether regions of hockey. I get it. You played in Edmonton for what seemed like your entire life. I know, I know.

But give me a break.

The moment that you signed anywhere else this summer, it was essentially a written statement saying that you had moved on. So why don't you?

Best wishes,

Kevin


P.S. Apologies for a being a few days late about this but some of us have, you know, real life to deal with.

P.P.S. And no, I couldn't come up with a shorter acronym thank you very much.



Your Frozen Fantasy Sport Update

Well, things have been underway in the BMR fantasy league for a couple of weeks now, and everyone has had ample time to deal with crushing early season injuries. There's also those slumping disappointments that managers how to decide if they want to try and wait them out or not. I hate to name names, but I'm looking at you, Marian Hossa.

Here's a look at the first BMR fantasy league...

(click for full view)

And no, I didn't purposely highlight my own team in the standings. Yahoo! just happens to do that. 11-15-4 is nothing to highlight, either.

The Phoenix Pharts are in the lead, basically pulling a "Minnesota Wild" on the competition. But seriously a 16 point lead after three weeks? That is RIDICULOUS.

In the second fantasy league, things are looking a bit more promising for me.

Two words: Daymond. Langkow. Lucked out big time on that one. To be honest, I'm really glad that I'm not embarrassing myself in both leagues. I was afraid that was going to happen.

I'll update this again in a couple weeks, but in the meantime, good luck to everyone the rest of the way!

The Daily Sniper: The Wild Are Who We Thought They Were!

The Daily Sniper: News and notes from last night's action...

Denny Green knows who the Minnesota Wild are.
AZCardinals.com

Calgary 5, Minnesota 3 -- The Wild are, indeed, human after all. That's what we thought they were, but we were all naive and let them get away with convincing us that they were of a higher power. They still were able to shut down Paul Stastny, though. That has got to count for something.

The Flames overcame a 3-0 first intermission deficit by scoring five unanswered goals the rest of the way. Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla each had three points for Calgary. And who said Mike Keenan can't motivate his players?

The Wild have now given up seven goals in their last two games. Somewhere, Gary Bettman is smiling and sipping champagne.

Apologies for the football reference.

Detroit 3, Vancouver 2 -- Numbers on the scoreboard may not be as close as they appear.

The Red Wings outshot the Canucks in dominating fashion, 39-15, and Tomas Holmstrom netted two to help Detroit to their seventh win in ten games.

Carolina 6, Buffalo 2 -- The Carolina Hurricanes are an unstoppable offensive force... when they feel like it. Four third period goals broke open what was a 2-2 tie at the second intermission, as five different players had a multi-point game. The Canes cruised to their sixth win of the year and have lost only once during their first ten games. As for Buffalo, well, not so much. Jason Pominville had two goals, if that matters.

Washington 5, Tampa Bay 3 -- The Capitals scored a season high of five goals Wednesday night in the District, pulling themselves back to the .500 mark. Captain Chris Clark (say that three times fast) was moved back to Alex Ovechkin's line, leading to Clark scoring his first two goals of the season. Ovechkin was no slouch either as he put up three points on the night. Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier racked up 19 penalty minutes after being given a game misconduct during the third period. Hoo ha.

The score that makes you glance twice

Florida 4, Philadelphia 3 -- Yes folks, the Flyers rolled into Sunrise, Florida and surprisingly fell flat on their faces, suffering only their second loss of the young season. Olli Jokinen and Greg Campbell each had a pair of goals for the Panthers, while Daniel Briere's goalless streak climbed to five games. The city of Philadelphia holds its collective breath.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If This is Anything like a High School Reunion, It's Going to Suck

Smyth in an Avs uni still looks really, really weird.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Today, there is a very important reunion going on in NHL land. If you live in Canada, the television stations have been beating this one into the ground and I really don't need to remind you of it, but I'll remind you anyway. It just so happens that today is the day Captain Canada returns to Edmonton for the first time as an opposing player.

Former Oiler Ryan Smyth will make his return to Edmonton tonight as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Chances are, he's going to get one hell of an ovation from the Oiler Faithful, but my bet is that there will be a lot fewer tears this time around. I mean seriously, how could you top the display he put on in March?

One thing is for sure, this will likely be more entertaining than a high school reunion. There's really nothing worse than paying money to be reunited with people you were forced to put up with due to geographic location (or income level, if you went to private school).

In other reunion news, the Blackhawks are finally making amends with television.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest goofs in the history of sports marketing may finally come to an end. Rocky Wirtz, who recently inherited the reins to the Chicago Blackhawks from his late father, released a statement today saying that he is in negotiations with Comcast to televise Hawks games on cable TV. No matter how many times I hear it, it still amazes me that it's 2007 and we're only now talking about Hawks games on the tube. Ridiculous. Of course, this was all really a tribute to his father. We all know this is what Bill Wirtz really wanted.

"This is dad's team,'' he explained, "and there is no better way to honor his effort than to enable as many Blackhawk fans as possible to experience this new era of Chicago hockey.''

Yeah, I bet.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Minnesota Saves the Universe from Imminent Destruction

Brian Rolston puts on his best "epic battle" face.
Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images

Sunday night a match of epic proportions took place in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Inhuman Destroyer of Nations That Is Paul Stastny collided with what is currently the only other force in the universe that I consider unstoppable; the Minnesota Wild.

What ensued can only be accurately described as a battle for the universe that makes Transformers the Movie and any Star Wars flick pale in comparison. No folks, this was the real deal. This was a real life Superman colliding with a group of individuals that represent all that is wrong with the world (but that's only if you ask Gary Bettman's opinion, of course).

For those regular readers around here, you don't need to be reminded about any of that. You know the high regard in which these two forces of cataclysmic proportions are held.

Thankfully for all of us, the question that has been asked by many, many generations dating back to about two weeks ago, has finally been answered.

Coach Ditka versus a hurricane; who would win?

Oh, no wait.

In an epic battle for the universe between Paul Stastny and the Minnesota Wild, who would win?

Yeah. That's the question I was looking for.

Folks, today we can all take a deep sigh of relief. The Inhuman Destroyer of Nations That Is Paul Stastny has been stopped, and the universe was left almost totally intact! That's really an added bonus. This was a battle that was not easily won or lost. Facing a 2-2 tie heading into the third period, the outcome was in doubt and many were left fearing that the Battle for the Universe would be left up to the outcome of a shootout. Heaven forbid.

In the final period, the Wild would prevail thanks to a shot that was like a bolt of lightning thrown down from the sky by a force we cannot even conceive. Thus, the fate of the universe was decided on the powerful stick of one Mikko Koivu. A thousand generations from now, all will know the name Koivu and that on this night, it was his stick blade that rained like lava from the volcanoes of hell! It was he who had slain the Mighty Stastny!


Synopsis: The Wild remained undefeated and held Paul Stastny scoreless in the process.

Impressive Linguistic Talents -- October 22nd

After a much needed weekend off, here are the best comments in the week that was.

The Golden Ticket

rj on Jon Toews Will Destroy Your Life and Take No Prisoners in Doing So

"Bill Wirtz feels he is overpaid and wants him to stop scoring. It's too expensive to power that red lightbulb..."


The Medal for Being So Close, Yet So Far
casualhockey on Jonesy, Put Your Head Down and Write
"Wow, look at the size of his head. Fucking huge. Keith "Cartoon Head" Jones. Jeezus."


Bronze; Hey, it's better than nothing.
gwyshynski on Gary Bettman's Hit List
"Would you expect anything else from a middle-manager with zero people skills who finds himself in the captain's chair of a rudderless vessel?"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Daily Sniper: Your National Nightmare is Over

News and notes from last night's action...

The Thrashers are mildly enthusiastic about their first win.
Gregory Smith/AP

Atlanta 5, NY Rangers 3 -- After six long, grueling games the Altanta Thrashers have finally won. We can now shift our attention to other, more important things such as once again going about our daily lives. My apologies to Ranger fans tonight have to be beside themselves right about now. Ah who am I kidding... WOO!! Suck it!!

Calgary 4, Los Angeles 3 -- The word out of Calgary today is that Mike Keenan's head has yet to explode. That's always good news. Daymond Langkow and Anze Kopitar each had three points in this one, as the Kings are still in search of their first road win.

Ottawa 4, Montreal 3 -- As it turns out, Carey Price is indeed human. He surrendered four goals on 29 shots, as the Sens chalked up another victory. Believe it or not, Alexei Kovalev scored his third goal of the season for Montreal and Daniel Alfredsson had three assists for Ottawa.

Philadelphia 4, New Jersey 0 -- Mike Richards continued his dominance of the National Hockey League, scoring his seventh and eighth points of the season to go along with a +3 rating. Martin Biron won his fourth straight game and recorded his second straight shut out.

Detroit 4, San Jose 2 -- Bryan Rafalski had three helpers for the Red Wings, and Chris Osgood (jeez, doesn't it feel like he's been around forever?) made 23 saves.

NY Islanders 5, Washington 2 -- Bill Guerin single-handedly defeated the Capitals, by scoring three goals. Two of those came on the power play. Bryan Berard (wow, it's weird seeing him play for the Isles again) recorded the game winner and Chris Campoli added four assists for the Islanders. Alex Ovechkin added his fourth of the year for Washington.

Toronto 3, Florida 2 -- Bryan Mccabe and Jason Blake scored for Toronto before Nik Antropov scored his sixth goal of the season to help the Leaves overcome a 2-0 deficit.

Boston 4, Tampa Bay 1 -- Marco Sturm had a pair of goals for the Bruins.

Edmonton 4, Phoenix 2 -- Edmonton power play... zero.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Buys and Sells: October 18th

Every week, or as often as I remember, I'll provide you with my poorly thought out ideas on whose stock is on the rise, and whose you should avoid like Enron. Three teams/players/things to buy, and three to sell. Simple stuff, folks. That is, if you could actually buy and sell teams and players. Oh, whatever. Never mind.

Toronto's loss should be another teams' gain.
AP Photo/David Duprey

Buy: Philadelphia Flyers. The boys from the City of Brotherly Love are off to a 4-1 start this year, and have outscored their opponents 21-10. Daniel Briere has shown that he is the real deal and can score without the being part of a full throttle offense (maybe it was learning the value of teamwork?). I'm not completely sold just yet. Any division that has the Rangers and Penguins on the bottom is sure to turn around at some point this year. Luckily for the Flyers, the Islanders and Devils should be the victims of said turnaround.

Conservative Buy: The St. Louis Blues. After a 3-1 win over Chicago last night, the Blues moved to 4-1 on the young season. OK, so the Blues did beat the Blackhawks. That's not necessarily saying a whole lot. The Blues still shut down the Colorado Avalanche last Friday, allowing only one goal. We're going to see what this team is made of in the coming days, though as Minnesota and Anaheim come to town.

Buy: Toronto running Bryan McCabe out of town. Look, if they don't want a defender who has averaged 59 points and a +15 rating over the last three seasons, then so be it. I'm probably not alone when I say I'll take him on Long Island. Heck, there's probably a bunch of teams that would find a good use for this guy. OK, so McCabe can be a bit of a defensive liability. I can live with that. We had Tom Freaking Poti all of last year for God's sake. All I'm saying is that one dumb mistake is no reason to run a guy out of town. Then again, the folks in Toronto may be right. The Leafs will obviously be a much better team without the guy who outscored every forward on the team last year save for Mats Sundin.

And for those of you scoring at home, you have to go all the way back to Denis Potvin to find the last Islander defender to have 59 points in a season.

---

Sell! Oh God, sell!! Don Waddell behind the bench in Atlanta. For the second week in a row, I am doing a 180 on my pre-season prediction and am scared of what the Thrashers are becoming. Call me pessimistic, but I can't imagine this team rallying around Mr. Waddell. Sometimes teams will take to any new coach behind the bench because they were so sick and tired of the previous one, but I'm not buying it. This team folded down the stretch last year and Waddell had the lack of foresight to keep Hartley around to usher in a worse than dismal start. How much is he seriously going to be able to do?

Cautious Sell: Pascal Leclaire. If you were like me, and picked up in your fantasy league because he didn't give up a goal for the first 2+ games he played this season, you were probably sorely disappointed this week. Leclaire gave up five goals last Saturday to the Colorado Avalance (ok, so they do have Paul Stastny) and was benched at home in favor of Fredrik Norrena for Wednesday's game against Dallas. Chances are Leclaire won't be giving up five goals every night, but all signs are pointing to two straight shutouts being a fluke rather than the norm.

Sell: Edmonton Oilers Power Play. Through the first six games of the season the Oilers have scored only one power play goal in 25 chances. For comparative purposes, the Canadiens, Flyers, Lightning, Blues and Bruins all have four or more PPG in fewer than 25 chances. This isn't boding too well for the Oilers, who brought in Sheldon Souray (48 PPP last season) to help out with the man advantage.

Jonesy, Put Your Head Down and Write

I've been meaning to touch on this for quite some time, but I've never had the chance. Recently I got a copy of Jonesy, Put Your Head Down and Skate, written by former Philadelphia Flyer Keith Jones and ESPN's John Buccigross. If you've read any of John's columns recently, you may have seen it mentioned.

In the book, Jones tells the story of his career, as well as many other yarns that he picked up along the way. That's about all I'll say for now, as I meant to write a mini-review of it, but really haven't had any time to do anything of late (if you haven't noticed by how infrequently the site has been updated). If you want to check out some more information about the book, head on over to it's official website.

Last note, but probably the most important, is that Keith Jones is donating his proceeds from the book to Alex's Lemonade Stand. Alex's is a charitable organization that is trying to find a cure for childhood cancer. If you are on the fence about buying this book, my advice would be to buy it just for that reason. You're giving to charity, and you're getting something in return. Really can't beat that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nascar and Hockey Go Together Like Tequila and BBQ Sauce

AP Photo/Ryan Remiorz

Two great tastes, why didn't anyone put them together sooner?

If you remember, MartyBrodeur was spotted at a NASCAR race back in August. It was a culmination of one of the oddest looking marketing ploys the NHL has ever seen. This time, the drivers struck back as NASCAR driver Patrick Carpentier (who?) showed up at a game in Montreal. The Habs even trotted out Guy Lafleur Himself to give the guy a jersey. Turns out George Gillette, Habs owner, is sponsoring Carpentier's car in the Nextel Cup.

Are these the first signs of a world in which hockey and NASCAR live happily side by side? No. Oh, God. Please, anything but that!

Thanks to loserdomi for the tip.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gary Bettman's Hit List

Postershop.ch

Gary Bettman is a wily fellow. It goes almost without saying that Mike Milbury and the Everlasting Gobstopper are about the only two things that would be able to hold onto the job of NHL commissioner longer while running the league into the ground. Of course, that is assuming that a Gobstopper could run the league as bad or worse than Bettman. I, for one, am not so sure that the Gobstopper would be a worse commissioner.

Due to the sort of "wily" personality that Mr. Bettman has, I feel as though he is the kind of person who keeps a nicely organized hit list in the side drawer of the mahogany desk in his library. The library is also where he keeps his leather bound books, of course.

At the moment we least suspect it, Mr. Bettman will follow through and take out some of the people on the hit list that he has been carefully editing and refining for years. You know, kind of like that kid everyone made fun of in fourth grade, who finally gets revenge decades later at the 25th high school reunion. The actual existence of said library, mahogany desk and hit list is completely impossible to determine. Despite those issues dealing with reality (isn't reality soooo overrated?), I will attempt to recreate what I believe the hit list would actually look like. If you were looking for the post each week that makes you question my sanity, please take note that this is that post.

  1. Defense - This one is first, foremost and completely obvious. Ever since the lockout ended, Mr. Bettman has been on a Salem-like witch hunt trying to get rid of defense and increase goal scoring in the NHL. This is probably the only thing on this list that we can confirm he has made an attack on, since the attack has been so darned blatant. Defense is, as Stephen Colbert would say, on notice.
  2. Canadians - Not the ones that play in Montreal, they're spelled with an 'e' after all, but the ones that live north of the American border. Canadians have long believed that they have always been the target of Mr. Bettman's ire, and this list now proves their suspicions. Not to mention the whole conspiracy to make sure the Nashville Predators stay on American soil thing. You know, the one where we all basically assume they will be playing in Kansas City this time next year.
  3. Charisma - The commissioner's public appearances make him appear more like a robot than anything else. If his personality is lacking anything, it's clearly charisma. Charisma is a sneaky bastard that smartly keeps it's distance from Bettman. For that, charisma is on his hit list. Side note: Imagine for a second that he actually had charisma. That is a frightening image.
  4. Minnesota Wild - As I wrote on Monday, the Wild are quickly making their way up this chart as their suffocating defense and net minders make it nearly impossible for opposing teams to score on them. They could be lumped in at #1 with 'defense' but since the Wild are such a threat to national security and the commissioner's health, they get their own bullet point.
  5. ESPN - I think you can figure this one out on your own.
  6. Nike - Yeah, the bastards made sucky skates. They still gave up and pulled out of the hockey market on their own terms. That kind of weak sauce does not fly with Mr. Bettman. Nike, prepare for the Wrath of Bettman!
  7. History - Somehow, I imagine the commissioner has a serious fear of history. It's simply a hunch, but I'm willing to bet that it's on his list. If you can't learn from it, you might as well destroy it.
  8. Global Warming - Even though he will never admit it, Mr. Bettman knows that he needs cold weather cities to keep the NHL alive. Global warming, you have been notified.
Of course, it wouldn't be right for me to be simply a Negative Nancy and harp on all the enemies and shortcomings that the commissioner has. A positive note that I cannot forget to mention is the ridiculous amount of street cred Mr. Bettman has for having Snoop D-O-Double-G as one of his homeboys. That's gotta be worth something. Mad props, yo.

As if you needed any proof that Bettman was awkward and lacked charisma...
John M. Heller/Getty Images


Monday, October 15, 2007

Impressive Linguistic Talents -- October 15th

It's time once again to recognize the very best in class participation from the previous week.

The Golden Ticket
loserdomi on The Daily Sniper: Never Mind, Chuck Norris IS a Hockey Team

"That Paul Stastny seems to be quite the talented young chap, isn't he? /understatement>

And Chuck Norris would make the Blackhawk logo cry that single tear just by looking at it. It would be a tear of fear."


The Medal for Being So Close, Yet So Far
black capricorn onThe Daily Sniper: The Sens are an Unstoppable Killing Machine
"What happens if you program said killing machine not to kill but to love?

Why then, you would have the Toronto Maple Leafs."


Bronze; Hey, it's better than nothing.
casualhockey on The Daily Sniper: The Sens are an Unstoppable Killing Machine
"Brian Elliot has a huge ass. Just FYI. When is Bettman going to introduce the "Goalie Ass-Size Rule"? It's obviously an advantage to have a giant ass like Brian Elliot. Seriously, it's enormous."

Honorable Mention
ryan (who always seems to sneak into posts) on Daniel Briere Finally Understands Teamwork
"I think that would be a good team name. Perhaps they could call them the Philadelphia Synergy, and the team colors could be shades of gray, and the mascot would be a 38 page document that nobody reads."

The Minnesota Wild Have Got to be Killing Gary Bettman Inside

Narcoleptic Josh Harding can stop your slap shot in his sleep.
AP/Mark Avery

Ladies and gentleman, the Minnesota Wild and Crazy Guys/Fightin' Adjectives/Abstract Concepts, whatever you want to call them, are on a mission to make Gary Bettman's head explode. With a victory over the Anaheim Ducks tonight, the Wild have moved to 5-0, surrendering the un-Godly amount of four goals during that time. That lack of goal scoring alone is probably giving Bettman a hernia, so don't tell him that the Wild are averaging an even more ridiculous 2.2 goals per game during their current streak. The Wild are simply sick nasty, folks.

When is the last time a team started the season undefeated and averaged around two goals per game? I don't know, but I would assume it's been a while. One thing is for sure, the Wild are launching a full scale attack on NHL HQ. They don't like goals, and aren't phased by any of your fancy, shmansy rule changes.

Another surprise from Minnesota is whom the Wild started in net tonight. When I first saw that they had beaten Anaheim 2-0, I figured Niklas Backstrom had earned his third shutout of the season and my fantasy team was going to bust some more heads in. Not so fast. Backstrom had started all four games for the Wild so far and got some much needed rest tonight. Instead, Guy Probably No One Has Heard of Outside of Minnesota, also known as Josh Harding, got the start tonight.

With so much hubbub surrounding Backstrom, it's no surprise this is my first encounter with Minnesota's second round pick from all the way back in 2002 (wayyyy to long ago to remember). I'm a Harding virgin, or a Har-gin, if you will. Harding stopped all 37 shots the Ducks threw at him, and earned his third career shutout in only his eighth career start. It was also Minnesota's third shut out in five games this season. Yikes. If you're of the belief that scoring is going to win back fans, you've really got to hate the Wild right now. I'm looking at you, Gary.

So there you have it folks, the Wild, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding; singlehandedly trying to give the commissioner an ulcer.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Daily Sniper: Your National Nightmare is Over

News and notes from last night's action...

AP Photo/Aaron Harris

Ladies and gentleman, all is well in the world. Sidney Crosby scored not one, but two goals tonight for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Our long, depressing nightmare is over. You can now continue to go about your daily lives, feeling safe once again. The Iraq War is over. Poverty has been solved, and cancer has been cured. All is right with the world now that Sid the Kid has broken the drought.

If only.

On to the scores.

Pittsburgh 6, Toronto 4 -- As you already know, the Pens got help from Sid tonight, as he scored the eventual game winner during a power play with just over five minutes to go in the third. In lesser, non-world changing news, Maxime Talbot also had two goals for Pittsburgh. This game really wasn't as close as it appeared, though. Pittsburgh pelted Vesa Toskala with 51 (yes, FIFTY. ONE.) shots, 46 of which he stopped. The Leafs were out shot 52-27 on the night.

Minnesota 3, Phoenix 2 -- The Machine That is the Minnesota Wild continued its roll through the Western Conference tonight. The Wild trailed 2-1 entering the third, but got goals from Mikko Koivu and Eric Belanger to take the victory from the jaws of defeat. Marian Gaborik added a goal and Pavol Demitra had two helpers for Minnesota. On the other side of things, Daniel Carcillo netted two as the Coyotes fell to 2-3 on the season.

Colorado 5, Columbus 1 -- Paul who? The Avs became the first team to score on Pascal Leclaire, and they didn't need any help from Paul Stastny to do it. Milan Hejduk and Joe Sakic (there's more to Colorado than Paul!) combined for all five Avalance goals to get the win.

Ottawa 3, NY Rangers 1 -- And now, back to your regularly scheduled Senators win streak. The Senators netted three goals in the second period, and that's all they would need to move to 6-1 on the young season. They found seven points from seven different players, as Martin Gerber stopped 36 shots to earn the win. Jaromir Jagr scored his first of the season for New York.

New Jersey 6, Atlanta 5 -- Contrary to popular belief, the Thrashers proved that they do indeed have an offense. Surprisingly, five goals were not enough to beat the Devils. Martin Brodeur faced only 17 shots, but surrendered 5 goals. Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Elias each had two goals.

Chicago 2, Dallas 1 OT -- The only overtime game of the night came in the Windy City, where Robert Lang tied up the game with 3.1 seconds left in the third ice hockey session. Lang would later assist on Jason Williams' overtime winner. If you want another ridiculous shots on goal margin, you got it; Chicago out shot Dallas 40-18, including a 20-4 margin in the third period alone.

Calgary 7, Nashville 4 -- Six different players scored for the Flames, as Kristian Huselius was the only player to have a multi-goal game for either side. He now has four goals in five games. It sure seems like Mike Keenan isn't affecting him. At least, not yet.

Philadelphia 3, NY Islanders 1 -- Martin Biron stopped 29 of 30 shots to lead the Flyers to a victory in their home opener.

Buffalo 7, Washington 3 -- Jaroslav Spacek and Derek Roy each had two goals to help lead the Sabres over the Capitals. Brian Campbell had four helpers for the Sabres.

Florida 6, Tampa Bay 4 -- Tomas Vokoun had another steallar game, stopping 40 shots for the Panthers.

Carolina 3, Montreal 1 -- Cam Ward is now 4-0 for the Hurricanes, who are 4-1-1 as a team.

Vancouver 4, Edmonton 1 -- Daniel Sedin had two goals and his brother Henrik had three assists for the Canucks.

Boston 2, San Jose 1 -- This game is quite possibly the most unlikely victory of the night. Milan Michalek tied the game for San Jose with :38 to go in the third, but Aaron Ward netted the winner for Boston with only :12 left.