Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lost: NHL Edition


Lost: NHL Edition (Season Four, Episode 1)

A sport, stranded alone in a desolate, snowy part of the Canadian wilderness continues its search for attention and a major television network contract. Led by Gary Bettman and Don Cherry, a crew of 14 ventures forth to try and salvage what is left of their sport and return to civilization. But can they survive as arguably the fifth biggest sport in North America?

Daniel Alfredsson (in blatantly Swedish accent): Gary, how much longer is this going to be? We've been wandering around out here for weeks. I just want to get home already.

Gary Bettman (leader of the group): Bah! Not until we find Versus! They will be able to solve all of our problems, and maybe even help us get back onto ESPN! Yes... YES... OUR DOMINATION OF THE WORLD WILL BE GLORIOUS!!! GLORIOUS!!!

Doc Emrick (talking at super sonic speeds): Crap.Therehegoesagain with allof the conquertheWORLDshenanignas. I'mREallygettingsickOFthisALLTHETIME!

Don Cherry: Yeah I know, eh? He just rambles on about this Versus stuff all the damned time. You know if he would just put his head down, skate hard and hit somebody once in a while we might of been out of this mess a long time ago, eh?

*Paul Stastny instantly appears out of thin air*


Sidney Crosby: What the fuck are you talking about?

Martin Brodeur: STFU Staz. im so l33t ill pwn the crap outta u n00b. ugh i h8 n00bz so much.

Gary Bettman: Quiet you fools! My GPS is telling me that we are close the the Versus headquarters. If we make haste, we can find them soon enough!

Pascal Leclaire: What if we just went home and looked at the TV Guide? I think that would work just as well.

Gary Bettman: I know nothing of your tee vee guidos. Blasphmeny. Now onward! Make haste!

Daniel Alfredsson: Let's at least stop for food on the way. I'll cook us up something nice.

Gary Bettman: Yes... Food... MWUHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!

Don Cherry: Food sure sounds good. But not as good as a tough, back-checking winger!

JR: I am so sick and tired of this shit. You are all out of your friggin' minds.


JR: What...

Sidney Crosby: Seriously, what the hell is wrong with this guy?


Martin Brodeur: ZOMG sum1 make th3 dAmn n00b STFU. SRSLY.

JR: Wow. I can't take any more of this shit. I'm going to head over to that bar. See you psychopaths later.

George Parros: No, wait JR! That's...

*JR proceeds to wander off a cliff*

George Parros: ...a cliff. Shoot.

Gary Bettman: BAHAHAHA. Leave the weak ones behind!! Survival of the fittest!!

Pascal Leclaire: That's kind of harsh.

Don Cherry: You mean harsh like an Al MacInnis slapshot to the throat? Or how about a Donny Brashear uppercut right to your kisser? Is that harsh enough for you? Cause this wilderness is nothing. Nothing!


Doc Emrick: MAYBEifweall worked together we couldgetbackhomeandoutOFthisMESSFASTER!

Daniel Alfredsson: Maybe if we had Dany Heatley here. He would know what to do.

Sidney Crosby: You and Heats should get a room already. Yeesh.

Daniel Alfredsson: Don't be jealous just because we win games and you don't. Who's got the conference championship bitch? Maybe you should go and [edited for content] with your boy Evgeni. Or are you in the doghouse with him and have to settle for Staal?

Sidney Crosby: That's it I've had enough of your crap!

*the two being a brawl in the midst of the scene*

Don Cherry: Aw, it's that cute, George? The two pretty boys are fighting again.

George Parros: Yeah, someone's really gotta teach them how to fight. It's funny though. They're like cats in heat.

*and cut to commercial...*

What Happens When Adults Get a Hold of the YouTubes get the calmest and most well thought out videos in the history of the world. Let's hope these older humanoids don't take over other the planet. I shudder when I imagine what the world would be like. Seriously, with all the trash that is put on the interwebs, it almost hurts my head to watch something so calculated and coherent.

Oh and for all of those out there with insomnia -- you're welcome.

Last thought... Can I have 4:14 of my life back?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nice Try, Ray (Your Pointless Post of the Day)

REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

I'll be honest -- I haven't been following the whole Ray Emery situation up there in Ottawa. I know he was late to practice or something, got fined... But that's really about it. What I do know, is that I know some BS when I see it. Take the following quote from a Yahoo! article about Emery the other day (emphasis mine):

"Ottawa Senators goalie Ray Emery will be "fined substantially" by the team after arriving late for a team skate a day after the All-Star game.

Emery's explanation for being 4 minutes late was that he went to Nassau Coliseum for the skate, when it was being held at the Islanders' practice rink Monday afternoon."

Now, being an Islander fan and having lived on Long Island for 20+ years, I can tell you that without a doubt, there's no way someone can do that. If you can make it from the Coliseum to the Isles practice facility and only be four minutes late for practice there are two possible scenarios: 1) You were at the Coliseum well before practice was supposed to start. We're talking 30-45 minutes early. 2) You're lying through your teeth.

With no traffic and knowledge of the parkways, you can make it in 15-20 minutes. Maybe. If we are to assume that this is during the day, so there is endless traffic, and that Emery doesn't know the roads, which he doesn't, we're talking a 40 minute trek across Nassau County. You take the Meadowbrook to the Northern State, hope you get off at the right exit and then maneuver some town roads to the practice facility. I can see it in my head. The best part is there's no exit that conveniently puts you near the practice facility. And if it's after 3PM or before 10 AM forget it. Traffic would make the trip at least an hour. Or if it's lunch time there's traffic too. Welcome to New York. I guess the question is now, which gentleman's club were you at, Ray?

So, there's your useless post of the day. If you're like me (i.e. insane) and really care, here's the trip I'm talking about. And I know Mapquest says it's a 19 minute drive. Mapquest is wrong too.

Oh and one last note. Now that is what you call a unique angle on a story. Suck it everyone else.

Lost: NHL Edition (A Prelude)


Tomorrow, I'm going to have something a little special for you in celebration (or mockery, whichever you like) about the much anticipated season premiere of Lost on ABC (or Free ESPN, whichever you like). I haven't decided if I'll use it for FanHouse or BMR, but I'll certainly let you know either way.

For now, here's what the critics are saying about Lost: NHL Edition.

"Every season, [Gary Bettman] seems to astound beyond capacity, then he comes back and astounds more. His antics are getting on my nerves."

-The Sacramento Bee (really, that's the best paper they could get?)

"...mind-blowing how NASCAR fans still don't get it..."

-Charlotte Post-Dispatch

"Really, I can't say that I've ever seen it."

-Stephen King

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Changing Definition of Media

Get it? Media card? I slay myself.

It's serious post time. We better put on our concentration caps so that we don't hurt ourselves. Try to follow along. I know I'll be winded by the third sentence


There once was a time when the only people in the media were those with a pass and a newspaper gig. I'm talking of course about the folks that are now defined as Main Stream Media (MSM). These days, anyone with a voice can chime in and call themselves part of the media. Everyone who has access to, for example, Blogger can instantly become a full blown member of the media. Whether or not they realize and/or admit it.

You see, while all of us are members of the vast category that has become the media, not everyone is so quick to jump on board. In fact, lots try and shed the imagery and stigma that comes with the title of "media member" in an effort to look cooler and stay more in touch with their readers. "No, I'm not one of them," they would say. "That's why you should listen to me. You and me are on the same level."

It's a neat marketing tactic, a successful one too, but lacks sincerity. And of course, there are those who still, in fact, call themselves non-members and really aren't members. It's all very gray and blurry. But that's not what this is about.

This is about the changing definition of "media." Once upon a time there was only the MSM. But since we now actually refer to them as "main stream" it's only natural to assume that there must be, and is, a sort of "underground". Who's a part of it? That can be hard to say. There are bloggers, bloggers with MSM gigs, MSM with blogging gigs and MSM. As things have evolved so quickly, that likely doesn't even cover everyone. And it's hard to tell where everyone fits in exactly. But at the end of the day, it all falls under the broad definition of "media" whether everyone wants to admit it or not.

Take for instance, Will Leitch of DeadSpin uber fame. Mr. Leitch started writing for the Sporting News this week, and one of the first lines he typed said exactly what he thinks he is -- but really is not.

"I do not consider myself a professional sportswriter, but I’ve met a few of the savage beasts..."

That simple line does a great job of summing up what the sports blogosphere* is all about. It's about begin someone -- part of the media, if you will -- while trying to maintain that you're not anyone at all. This is not meant to bash Mr. Leitch, as I'm a huge fan (who isn't?) but rather use him as a singular example of something you can find all over the internet. Likely even at this very blog. Whether Mr. Leitch wants to admit it or not, he is a professional sportswriter, just not in the old school meaning of the term. He's not the pro sports writer you grew up reading in the local paper every morning. He's the new breed. He's the guy who runs one of the biggest sports websites on the entire internet while dabbling with gigs at the New York Times, Sporting News and, yes, somehow finding the time to become a published author.

So whether you're a card carrying member of the media or someone from the dark and mysterious underground, let's set the record straight right now. From the still casual fan to the serious blogger and the 9-5ers, we're all media and we're all part of the same family. Even if we don't like to admit it.

*- For those of you who hate the term "blogosphere", insert any word you like. Try "baby seal farm," it's funny.

Thoughts on the Press Box

After a weekend of shaking hands, nodding and smiling politely, I'm going to take a moment to reflect on what it's like to be on the other side of the velvet rope. No, really. There were velvet ropes! My first time in an actual, real, live press box was more of the fly-on-the-wall variety as opposed to the action at a place like Strokers. That was a billboard advertisement picturing a whole bunch of girls somewhere along I-85 near Atlanta and is quite possibly the biggest sexual innuendo in the history of mankind. The experience was interesting and something I'm glad happened sooner rather than later. It also makes me want to think twice every time I write something bashing someone in the media. It's probably the quickest way to make enemies in there. So I didn't shake took many hands but I did rub a bunch of shoulders, and here's a little free word association of the people that I saw in the ATL.

  • David Amber, ESPN - Big enough to kick my ass.
  • Barry Melrose - Didn't see him, sadly. Might not of even been there.
  • Alyssa Milano - Gorgeous.
  • Rick DiPietro and Joe Micheletti - Should go on the road as a comedy tour. Two of the funniest, most enjoyable and outgoing people there. And I swear I'm not saying that because of their ties to the Islanders.
  • Doc Emrick - Class act.
  • Scott Niedermayer - Definition of professional.
  • Dion Phanuef - Already mentioned this, but seemed nervous about talking to me. I would be too.
  • Gary Bettman - Sadly not seen standing next to Snoop Dogg. That would have made my year.
  • Willie O'Ree - Is there anyone that doesn't know him? Wins the award for best dresser.
  • Scott Burnside, ESPN - Has red hair. That's about all I figured out.
  • Alex Ovechkin - Funny guy.
  • Usher - Sunglasses indoors. Puh-lease.
  • Harvey the Hound - Favorite mascot.

Going back to the topic of how relevant/necessary the ASG actually is, I think it's safe to say that the press certainly believes in it. That was evident by the sheer number of media members in attendance. The Phil is a new arena and has an absolutely gigantic press box. It spans two entire levels above the suites in the arena and still, we were put in an auxiliary box elsewhere in the arena because there were so many other pressers in attendance. At about the 120th spot on the totem pole, there was no room to accommodate us in the actual press box. While most of the media in attendance was Canadian, I think this certainly speaks volumes about how important the press feels the event is.

Speaking of press row, I don't have any great stories to weave for you a la a certain AJ Daulerio. My plan from the start was to keep out of trouble and enjoy the free pretzels (they're not only for the blog boxers!). I do have to say that at least from where I was sitting it was more of a holiday than a day at the office for most of my compadres, something I probably should have expected. A quick glance down the row saw crossword puzzles and score sheets decorated with epic drawings. To be fair, most of the people here weren't hockey people, so I can't imagine they were too into the game anyway. But the one moment that stuck in my mind were some people who managed to pick up a pair of puck bunnies that were clearly out of their age bracket. As I learned this weekend, flashing a badge can do a lot of different things for you.

All in all everyone was unbelievably nice and always willing to lend a helping hand. It didn't matter if I was talking to the media, players, NHL staff or Phillips Arena staff, everyone was a pleasure to be around. Maybe that had to do with the badge, but either way it was great. And I have to give some extra props to the arena staff. When wandering around the maze that is The Phil, they always knew where I should be going. The directions might be lengthy, but they were spot on and all smiles. Now if only I could slap the person who designed the layout of the arena. It's a B-E-A-UTIFUL facility, but the layout leaves a lot to be desired. Like a staircase next to the elevators that doesn't stop after one floor. That would help.

Monday, January 28, 2008

An All Star Hangover

I'm pretty sure any thought I ever had ever about the All Star game has been posted and reposted at the FanHouse. A thousand times. I just did six posts in an 48 hour span (would of been more if I could work a tape recorder) which is about what I normally do in 10 days over there. It was fun though and I'm glad I got to do it. The fans in the ATL were great, the facility was great (fun maze!) and the city was great as well. It was all great, if you haven't picked up on that.

Just fair warning that there isn't going to be anything new up over here or at FanHouse Monday morning. I need a few hours to recover from excessive typing. But I should be back Monday night, if not early Tuesday and we'll start the fun all over again.

If you missed it, this was my weekend. Grammatical errors, smiling politely, free over salted pretzels and loving every minute of it. And no YouTubes of Kane from the YoungStars game yet. This is America, right?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Screw It, Just Make Him a Forward

One of the moments that stood out in my mind tonight -- Rick DiPietro going three of four on his shots across the rink. Also on my list of things to post are Patrick Kane's breakaways from the YoungStars game, but those aren't on YouTube yet. So for now, you're going to have to deal with videos of my main man DP.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Superskills/YoungStars News and Notes

Right now I'm sitting up top at the Phil taking in the Superskills and YoungStars competitions. We're almost through it all, having just finished the wildly entertaining YoungStars game. Here are some random thoughts and ideas from what I've seen so far. I'll probably pick one or two of these and focus in on them later in the night at FanHouse.

  • The Phil is an absolute maze. There's no other way to describe it. The press elevators are the same two elevators that service four levels of suites on one side of the arena, so they're no use. When you take a staircase, it only goes about one floor before you have to enter the concourse and roam in search of a new staircase that, if you're lucky, will get you to where you want to go.
  • I walked past Bryan Murray and Mike Milbury on my way up. I don't know them at all, but they certainly seem like an unlikely couple.
  • The initial relay competition was a snoozer. Watching the goalies shoot was the highlight, and that wasn't that great. Maybe it should be it's own competition, though.
  • The Atlanta crowd is bruuuutal, as they've rode anyone and everyone so far. That's a slap at them, it means they know their stuff. It's just that I would usually expect this out of New Yorkers. They rode Chris Osgood especially hard during YoungStars, chanting "Osgood, you suck" throughout most of it. It didn't help when he let a few straight shots go through during the shootout.
  • They took place at the end of the ice opposite from where I'm sitting, but the Kane breakaways during YS looked like highlight reel goals.
  • YS: best event of the night by far. I'd be very surprised if anything tops it. If you want to know how to sell the shootout, this is how. It was basically a glorified shootout, but way more entertaining.
  • The shootout was severely lacking in creativitiy. In the NBA, the slam dunk competition awards points for creativity. Something the NHL should look into for next year, perhaps? (EDIT: and it turns out they have judges.... whoops)
  • Minor, but pulling Kovalchuk off the fastest skater finals was a joke.
  • As I'm typing this, no one is getting juiced by the accurate shot competition.

And So It Begins

The vast majority of my All-Star coverage will be posted over at the FanHouse, so I advise you to spend the weekend over there. We can have a big slumber party and toast marshmallows. It will be cozy! If there's anything that falls through the cracks, and I'm sure there will be, you'll be able to find it over here. For example...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Just When You Thought We Were Done With This... Messier is Right on Cue

You know, I thought we were passed this. I thought we were out of the woods when it came to watching Mark Messier cry in public. Of course, I forgot that the Rangers were retiring Brian Leetch's number, a former teammate of Messier's. So I didn't watch the game, but I still have to endure seeing things like this.

I'm sure there are YouTubes of it out there but it's not really worth trying to find. I don't want to put all of us through something severely traumatic again. I just hope that through awareness, we can find a cure for this terrible disease that seems to haunt Messier. I'm talking about Crying in Public to Garner Attention Syndrome, of course. That's CPGAS for short.

But going back to my original point -- we are nowhere near out of the woods on this one yet, folks. Tonight, Leetch announced that the Rangers would be retiring Adam Graves' number later on. So what does that mean? That means that tonight was not the last we will see of Messier's waterworks. Dammit. Someday we will. Someday. WE. WILL.

Status Update

As you've surely noticed, things have been a little bit lacking around here this week. So here are some links that you will hopefully find appealing to the senses, which will be quickly followed by a Mark Messier post. I know how much you love those... And I can't find anywhere else to fit this in, but FanHouse is sending me to the All Star Game this weekend to cover it. Hopefully Atlanta survives and I don't blow it. I'm not sure if I'll be able to post anything up over here or not, so just make sure you stay tuned. I'm sure there will be a stray picture or two, but no first hand accounts of Stu Scott's pickup tactics. The market on those is completely covered already.

redneck cat carrier (I Can Has Cheezburger)

Selanne's return nears: THN (Mirtle)

PuckToons: An Appropriate Suggestion For the Skills Competition (Earl Sleek)

NHL Announces All Star Skills Competition Details (Going Five Hole)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Three More Years of Not Being Able to Watch Hockey

I live in a college dorm, and my life is more or less at the discretion of the University. They control a lot of things. That's thanks to the computer chip they put in my brain, but that's a story for another day. Among the things they control are what TV stations we do and don't get. I'm not going to complain, because utilities, internet and TV are all included no matter how much you use them (Leave the water running all the time! Yay!). I'm in no position to complain.

But you can imagine my reaction when the NHL signed an agreement to extend it's TV contract with that network that no one can find for another three years. That means I will be able to continue not watching hockey for another three years (assuming I don't move out of the dorms, which is a very likely possibility).

For the NHL, the move is a no-brainer. They're going to get about $72 million per year to dish out the rights to Versus. From Greg Wyshinski at the FanHouse, who I believe never sleeps but can't prove it, is the following:

The bottom line is ... well, the bottom line: Comcast is willing to pay the NHL a rights fee (following the New York Times's math, well over $72 million per season) that no other network would seek to pay for the rights to regular season hockey games. The League is already in one public access deal with NBC; it came to OLN for the money in the first place, and it simply can't leave this kind of money on the table with Versus.

Yup. I can't say I would leave that on the table. It's hard to imagine another network ponying up that much for the NHL at this point, so for the league it's a good deal. As long as you think decreased exposure is a good deal.

Meanwhile, ESPN has been airing more and more hockey coverage every night. This had conspiracy theorists like myself that a return to the WWL was imminent. I'll be interested to see the reaction, in terms of coverage, from the WWL in the weeks and months following this announcement. Hopefully we don't go back to jokes about irrelevance and turning a blind eye to a sport that is, in fact, still a major player in North America.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Now There is Nothing to Occupy Our Time

Mike Cassese/Reuters

Remember middle school? (I know, I know. You might not want to.) But secrets would go around and you might have been the last kid on the playground to hear it, so by the time it got to you it was old news. Or maybe you were the one the secret was about and were in the awkward position of not knowing that everyone else knows something. It's impossible to know for sure, but I imagine one of those scenarios was what the John Ferguson Jr. situation ended up evolving into.

Well, today the most awkward position in sports has been vacated. To no one's surprise JFJ was finally fired from his position as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs today. It was a long time coming and frankly it's amazing it lasted as long as it did. Much shorter than the OJ case but still longer than jail time for Paris and Nicki. Now, I'm not hating on JFJ. Regardless of whether he was good at his job or not, the position he was put in was awful. But watching the soap opera that has been the Toronto Maple Leafs was just so fun!

So what do we do now? I don't know what to do with myself right now at all.

This is like when That 70's Show went off the air or we found out that Man vs. Wild was sort of staged. I won't be able to watch the league's most followed team suffocate itself with it's own ignorance anymore and it's just a damned shame. Le boo.

At least we still have the Flyers and their suspension mis-adventures. Those are always fun!

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's Like a Baseball Brawl, But Everyone Knows How to Fight

Something that we rarely see in North American hockey is the bench clearing brawl. It just doesn't happen. In fights, the players on the ice take care of the beatings and hand out punches while everyone else looks on from the sidelines.

In baseball, that's not how it happens at all. Fights in "America's pastime" always end up looking more like large hissy fits than anything else. You know, the benches clear and even the guys in the bullpen come running out, but by the time they get there all the fun is over. Meanwhile, some guys yell things at each other. A couple may try (in vain) to throw punches but it all ends up in either a dog pile or with the fighters being pulled apart by teammates.

I don't profess to know a lot about baseball, because if I did this would be Peter Gammons Rocks and not BMR. Nonetheless, I can't say that I've ever seen a whole bunch of bloodied up baseball players after a bench clearing brawl, but that's all I'll say about that.

Last night the Oshawa Generals and Sarnia Sting of the OHL did their own rendition of a baseball brawl, except a couple guys actually fought. At the end of the game when the players had filed onto the ice to head to the dressing room, some fisticuffs broke out. What could have turned into a massive brawl ended with only a few fights and a couple of angry coaches. It was all pretty tame reserved if you ask me. The teams don't play a lot, so that probably has something to do with why everyone pretty much just stood around and watched a few guys fight. If this were a Red Wings/Avs game, for example, I can't imagine that would be the case. The National Guard would have to be called in they ever had a bench clearing brawl.

h/t Japer's Rink

Weekend Cleanup

I'll be back with a longer post later, but for now here's some reading material.

Roenick: Chelios to Play Until Age 50
Recapping the Best Post-Lockout NHL Goals

Hockey pioneer Willie O'Ree honored in Boston
The playoff push: 95 points or bust (Mirtle)
HBIC Turns One! (Hockey Blog in Canada)
Puttin' On the Foil - A Weekly NHL Recap 1/20 (Going Five Hole)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Broduer's Words are Strong. Play... Not So Much

REUTERS/Gary Wiepert

As you all know I'm a rabid Islander fan. That means once in a while you have to deal with some gloating and parading around once in a while. I know you probably don't like to put up with it, which is why I try to keep from referencing the aforementioned team all that much. Sadly, this is one of those times where I must give in to impulse.

You see, the Islanders are 9-1 against their local rivals (Devils and Rangers) this season. That's pretty impressive. What's more, it's even better when the play of the team makes Marty Brodeur eats his words. While I admire Marty for being such a stellar net minder all these years, there's a certain level of disdain for him that I must have because he plays for a rival. And there's also the creepy girl who comes to every Devils game at the Coliseum dressed in a veil with a sign that reads "Marry me Marty." And she's like 15. It's creepy.

So when Marty had the following to say, which I don't have a link to except for the video from Sportscenter, it's always sweet when something like that gets slammed right back in your rival's face.

"When you're a goalie of that stature, with that kind of contract you become a leader. You're responsible for 19 other guys. You have to be composed, be in control. I'm not sure he is."

OK, so it's not the most inflammatory thing ever. But it's out of character for a character guy like Marty.

Long story short, the Isles and Devils faced off at the Prudential Center last night. The Isles won their fifth of the season against the Devils, 3-1, thanks to 37 saves from Ricky D. Marty, for what it's worth, had 22.

Suck it, Brodeur.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This Week In: "Oh $%#$, We Messed Up"

If you remember, a while back I wrote a post about Tukka Rask, a goalie for the Boston Bruins. It was cheeky, cute and well intentioned. Well. Yeah. A funny thing happened after that. Type in "Tukka Rask" on Yahoo! search, and that post if the first link that comes up. Now I just feel bad about writing it. I can't say that I'd be happy if that was the first link that came up.

I mean, imagine in his life after hockey Rask goes interviewing for jobs in the corporate world. The first question out of the interviewer's mouth is, "so... uh... you're a caveman?" How is he supposed to explain that one without being subjected to the harsh realities of racism (or caveism as it is affectionately called)? There I go again. But you get the idea. That can't be a nice thing to come up when searching for your name. So, if I can do anything, I hope that I can make this post the new top link on Yahoo when you search for Tukka. Because he'd now be associated with a picture of Sergeant Slaughter, and that's balla.

Now if only I could get a giant picture of a clown to show up when I Google "Mark Messier".

OK, Jokes Over. Where are the Real Capitals?

Ray Emery silently weeps.

What the hell is going on?

After tonight's 4-2 win in the Canadian capital, the team from America's capital moved to 4-0 against the Sens, winning the season series. Amazing. It's not so much that one team is dominating a season series as much as the fact that the Capitals are among the worst teams in the league, while the Senators are among the best. All four games were won in regulation to boot. Sure, the Sens are on a cold streak in general, but this is too much. Something smells fishy.

Could it another case of American imperialism abroad? Maybe.

Did the Capitals finally figure out how to disrupt the time space continuum in such a way that allows them complete and total control over a vastly superior team?* It's possible.

My conclusion -- Bruce Boudreau has developed some kind of Vulcan mind-meld to control opposing teams. He just hasn't learned to use it effectively on teams other than Ottawa yet.

No matter what the real reason is, kudos to the Caps for opening up a can on the Eastern Conference's best team.

(* - at least on paper, anyway)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Places Where An Outdoor Game Should Take Place

Worst. Photoshop. Ever.
NY Daily News

This weekend there was some big news in the big apple (see what I did there?). The NY Daily News is reporting that the NHL is working with the Rangers and the Yankees to hold an outdoor game at Yankee Stadium. For all the details, check out the story at the Daily News, complete with horrifically photoshopped picture.

To keep up with the whole "OMG WE NEEDZ LOTZ OF OUTDOOR GAMES THEYRE SOOOO COOLL OMGZZZ LOL" mania that is going around these days, here's a list of venues where an outdoor game needs to be played.

  • The moon. Why not? We saw how snow affects the game, so how about zero gravity? TV ratings: off the charts.
  • The Reflecting Pool outside the Lincoln Memorial. This isn't my idea, the DC bureau of NHL FanHouse came up with it, and it's a heck of an idea. One of the best backdrops you could imagine for a game.
  • Some cool natural place thingy. You know, like Yellowstone or something. Can you tell I really didn't think this one through? But basically -- instead of an awe inducing man-made backdrop, go with something natural.
  • A frozen pond in Alaska/Canada. An actual frozen pond. This would piss off the players to no end since the conditions would be brutal. But hell, this is taking the game back to it's roots to the extreme. EXTREME NOSTALGIA!!!
  • Miami Beach. Just because it would fail miserably and we could all laugh.

Checking In...

Apologies for taking the weekend off, but after some epic stories last week, I needed to recover. I'll be back with more in a bit, but for now here's some links that you should take a look at. Absurd statements regarding AO's contract not included.

Hockey Fights on Amateur Night
An AHL Fight That You Must See

Other, better writers:

Rangers may get date at Yankee Stadium (NY Daily News)
Sens beat the Red Wings, but lost Dany Heatley. Uh oh. (TSN)
A Creative take on the AO business (Interchangeable Parts)
A Well Thought out, Analytic take on the AO business (Mirtle)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Behind the Mascot -- Fin the Orca

In light of last week's news of mascot/actress interspecies relations, I decided to dive a little deeper and do some investigative journalism imaginary interview blogging. The following may startle you, or induce dry heaves, but is totally serious. As serious as a mascot can be.

Name: Fin the Orca

Organization bound to: Vancouver Canucks

Height: 6'3

Weight: Five flatbed trucks


Thanks for sitting down with us today, Fin. My pleasure.

First off, what nationality are you? Irish.


What kind of hobbies do you have? Practicing terrorist exercises with t-shirt guns... Eating children. Watching Canucks games... And hanging out of moving vehicles yelling random obscenities.

(C) (top), audihertz on Flickr (bottom)

Do you have any homicidal Tendencies? Yes.

What are they? Eating as many children as my stomach will hold and then vomiting them back out for fun.

Why children? They taste like tuna... And they eat a lot of sugar so they taste better than other humans. Plus, it's fun to hear them scream. Especially unsuspecting ones.

(C) ViewImages

Any other hobbies that you would like to talk to us about? Dungeons and Dragons. I absolutely love that stuff. I know, I'm a nerd. But whatever.


I'm looking at this photo, and correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like you really have a thing for torturing children... What?? Does that make me a bad person? Oh, right it doesn't. CAUSE IM AN ORCA.


You've been in the news a lot for your fling with Pamela Anderson. Can you tell us the latest? And what was going on in this photo? You know what? I'm sick and tired of all you media hounds asking about me and Pam. This is absurd. My private life is my private life. That's IT. THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER!!! (storms out)

A Handy Guide for Beginners: How to Create Your Own Rumor

Gossip is fun! And profitable!

Lately there have been a lot of rumors flying around. Mats Sundin is going here... Alex Ovechkin is going there... It's tough to make sense out of it all. What's real? What's fake? Hell, I have no clue. I wake up every morning and wonder why Skip Bayless still has a job. It's all beyond me.

But there are some things I do know. And for those things, however few and far between they may be, we have Handy Guides for Beginners. The latest installment will show you how to formulate, create and sell your very own NHL trade rumor! Who knows, maybe you'll be the next big internet sensation.

First things first. You need a player to create a rumor about. It sounds simple, but you have to be careful. Some players have been locked up with long term deals that no team would want to take on (see: Rick DiPietro, Daniel Briere, etc.). These players should be avoided at all costs. It's just way too easy for know it all liberals to shoot your rumors down. You have to find guys who may not be happy in their current environment (Jagr?), have an expiring contract (Sundin), or are simply a superstar (Ovechkin, Thornton, etc.). No rumor about a star player is too unbelievable. Unless, you know, they're locked into a 15-year contract.

Now that we've got a player, (feel free to choose your favorite from the aforementioned criteria) we need to find a destination for them. This step is simple, but it can have it's caveats. This is the part that really has to make sense. I'll tell you flat out -- you can't sell a rumor if it's ridiculous. Well, some people can, but I digress. To make sure your destination works, ask yourself a few questions: Is this team in/outside of the playoff picture? Are they looking for a rental? Do they really have use for this person? (Unless it's a star player, in which case, of course they do!) Do they already have a star at this position? (The Red Wings don't need a goaltender, you see.)

Now that you've got a destination, you need to figure out who/what is going to be sent back to the original team in return. This could be any number of things. It could be money, draft picks or players. Usually, it's the latter two. At this point, just pick your favorite. Heck, if this rumor is about your favorite (or least favorite team) choose whatever you want. Creating a rumor about Hasek going to Pittsburgh? What the hell, send Crosby back in return. It's your rumor! And besides, you can't be wrong, you're only listening to what your sources tell you!

That brings me to the next step. You need to sell your rumor. For the sake of time, let's pretend your already have a medium to disseminate your rumor from. Print, internet, radio... Doesn't matter. It's all the same in the end. What you need to do now to make this thing serious, is that you need to be a salesman (or woman) about it. You have to know what you're talking about (or at least sound like it) and convince your viewers that this is, in fact, inside information. Tell them how hard you're working to find out the truth about the rumor. Tell your viewers that you have similar reports from multiple sources. And, most importantly, you have to leave them wanting more. Leave saying, "check back later for more updates" or better yet, use a classic "hook" like the pros -- hint that there is more to the deal than is being revealed. "[Player]'s name has been kicked around as part of the package, but I can't confirm anything yet."

Sources are the best invention ever. It's simple and yet so amazing! You can't be held accountable for what you say ("My source gave me bad info!"). It builds trust with your viewers since you're obviously well respected and connected ("I've heard this rumor from many of my sources"). Best of all, it's what all the pros do. Peter Gammons uses sources from time to time. Bob McKenzie has his own. Everyone has sources! Why not you?

Sit back, and enjoy the ride. Congratulations! You're now well on your way to becoming a serious hockey reporter! That plush gig at a top media outlet can't be far away...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Live Blogging a Meaningless Game... Because We Can

1254 Sharks win it 3-1, and that will about do it for the live blog. Thanks to everyone who hung around tonight, intrepid on-site photographer Liz E and of course JR. Hope you enjoyed it! Not 100% sure, but I imagine the next live blog will be the All-Star game later this month. That should be a whole lot of fun. Have a good night and drive safe folks.

1252 Canucks just about surrender by not even trying to get Luongo out of the net.

1251 Just remembered I'm on ice sheet duty at the FanHouse. Its going to be a long night... One minute to go in the game.

1246 That power play really helped the Sharks as they've controlled all the play during it and in the time after. With a little over three to go this game is all but over. Canucks need goals and they need them fast.

1244 And so the game turns right back around the other way as the Sharks get their seventh power play of the game. The Nucks have had two.

1242 Oh man, the Canucks were almost within one. Ryan Kesler scored, a play I completely missed, and then Henrik Sedin came in with a breakaway... No one with in twenty miles of him and he gets stoned by Nabokov. Big play.

1240 The Canucks postgame magazine show thingy is called "Shark Byte". I get it!! It's cause they're the Sharks and byte makes it all sound hip and cool!! And silicon valley is in California. I get it! They're so cool and in touch with area youth!

1235 Here's another photo from industrious on-site reporter Liz E. JR is up on the big screen after his goal, smoking shark head and all. (colors adjusted by me) The hand in the foreground is obviously someone asking JR, "can I ride next?"

1230 Another Sharks power play, another Sharks goal. Milan Michalek puts in one that caromed off the boards and came right back to him on the short side. 3-0 Sharks. And the shark head is smoking again. So much for the Canucks making it a game.

1228 Not really sure why, but the Sedins always remind me of Professor Frink from the Simpsons. If, you know, there were two of him.

1226 Early observations, but it looks like the Canucks FINALLY showed up to play.

1223 Talk about an unbalanced schedule. The Sharks will have 4 game in hand on Detroit, Dallas and Anaheim after this game is over. The Blues and Coyotes will have a game in hand on the Sharks.

1219 OK, then. That's enough of the JR love fest. I hope he didn't impregnate too many readers. Remember folks, wash your hands. Twice to be safe. Third period is about to start and hopefully it will be a good one. Personally, I'm hoping for a couple of fights.

12:16 -- Losers.

12:14 -- Speaking of goals... Can't wait till the Leafs come to town Saturday. Hopefully they start that swiss cheese raycroft. I'll score like 10 friggin goals. With my eyes closed. And a brew in one hand. It's gonna be sick bro. Peace. I got a game to play. Gotta go live the life.

12:11 -- Ah. You're my fans. I can't hate on you. In fact I love you. But not in that homo way. Not like Pensblog Charlie. Back to why I'm here. Thought it would be good to grace you with my presence cause I havent done that in months. Ugh, you're just like my wife. So needy. Jeez... I'm soooo sorry. What can I say? It's tough being me. It's only once in a while that I get to check in or score goals. You saw that shit? Fucking awesome. So easy. Against the best goalie in the league too. THATS HOW I ROLL. DAMN FRIGGIN FLY.

12:08 -- Whats up nerds? With your fucking live blogs and shit. That's pathetic. Seriously. That's all you have to do? It's Thursday night. Do yourselves a favor. Go out and get some poon.

1205 And here's JR. I'll turn it over to him for a few minutes.

1203 Anyone else think those land rover commercials with all the breathing are creepy? Is it just me?

1200 Happy new day! And the Sharks are on the power play again... Luckily for Vancouver, they now have double digit shots. Congrats.

1154 - 5 minutes to go in the second... and... let's see. I'm getting word that JR is going to give us a report at intermission. Certainly a surprise, I was starting to think he had forgotten we existed.

1152 They're showing the replay where Michalek missed a wide open net, stopped only by Luongo's stick. This guy is absolutely the only thing keeping Vancouver in the game right now. Penalty killed, but the shots are 17-6 San Jose.

1150 Jeff Cowan with a high stick to Milan Michalek... Sharks go on the power play. And through the first minute of it the Sharks PP is absolutely buzzing.

1145 Quick snap back to reality here. With the Sharks up 2-0, a third goal would effectively end this game. The Canucks don't have too much of an offense, not to mention a three goal lead is almost always a killer.

1142 Whew. I'm back. Sorry about that, I just did a whole lap around the block with my shirt over my head because I was that pumped up about the goal. JR BABY. And if you're my neighbor, please, please don't call the cops.

1137 HOLY JEEBUS!! JR nets a rebound on the powerplay!! 2-0 Sharks! Announcer calls it a "rare goal". Oh yeah? Well screw you announcer guy!

1135 JR with a great chance from the slot... Oh man I thought he would really score. That would have been too perfect.


1129 Just realized there were 10 total shots in the period. Pathetic.

1127 Here is a list of things that would make for great entertainment during the next intermission.

  • JR giving a lecture on how he uses his man-aura to score mad babes (complete with on-site example at local bar).
  • Luongo taking shots -- with golfballs.
  • Luongo taking tequila shots, and then playing out the game. Or giving us a running commentary from the bench.

1122 Dave from Santa Clara asks the announcers what players are still using wooden sticks. Is that just a dumb question or do you have a wood fetish?

1120 As promised, they're interviewing Willie O'Ree. That was 247% less awkward than when they interviewed him in Anaheim.... Oh, and I bet Pamela will be with that shark head by week's end. Calling it right now.

1113 The announcers say "JR tries to set up Rissmiller behind the net" and "they'll get a boost in the dressing room". Priceless. Absolutely priceless. Have at it folks!

1112 Just got an email from Liz E who is at the game tonight... Almost on cue, it features a great picture of the frightening Shark head hanging from the ceiling! Liz if you can read this, get a shot of Thornton's beard and one of JR's puck bunnies. Please!

1109 Hell of a job by the #2 pk in the league (that's the Sharks). Had a breakaway and possession of the puck for a good portion of the kill.

1106 Wow, they're interviewing Rivet on the bench. Talk about coverage. The game is almost as heavily covered as JR when he takes a night out on the town. Hioooo! Sorry, I'll stop.

1103 GOAL. Craig Rivet takes a pass from Mike Grier and puts it through Luongo's five hole. 1-0 Sharks. Cut to a shot of a giant shark head hung from the rafters blowing smoke out it's nose. I get it, but that's pretty weird.

1101 Another plug of Willie O'Ree. I almost think they paid him to be there. It's gotta be nice to be Willie.

1055 Sharks are playing very physical hockey. I have no intelligent analysis of that. All I can say is that I'm sure JR is a fan of physical play.

1052 Aaaand they are going to have Willie O'Ree on at the first intermission. All I can think of is the classic YouTube with him, the Ducks announcer and Snoop Dogg.

1049 The puck goes over by the Canucks bench and everyone jumps up on the boards to avoid the too many men penalty. Reminds me of the kids' game, "the floor is lava."

1046 Turns out it was Henrik. Who knew?... Alex Edler of the Canucks gets rocked. He's bending over at the bench in pain. Something to keep an eye on. I didn't realize, but the kid is +18 on the season. Wow.

1044 Tonight's matchup features the white version of the new Sharks unis against those unholy blue Canuck jerseys. Yeesh... And with that one of the Sedins gets called for a penalty for putting his stick on an opponent's hands. This is a touch penalty, but at least it's being called consistently. Oh and I don't know which Sedin. But it really doesn't matter unless we're talking about the All-Star game.

1041 Well, there you have it. This picture (from the Sharks website) doesn't really do it justice. It's much scarier during an on-ice interview.... And with that the puck drops.

1039 During this commercial break I'm working on finding a picture of Thornton's beard. It's pretty scary.

1036 The announcer proclaims "Game 1 of the second half of the NHL season!" I get chills. Not.

1034 And were off and running. First thing I see is a closeup of Joe Thornton's beard. Oh good.

1032 Just ate too much pizza... ugh. Give me a sec to get that video feed going.