Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY 2009

Happy New Year!

Don't drink and drive. But if you have to drive, don't drink Budweiser.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GOALS OF THE YEAR: OVIE!!!!!!!1

Yeah, it's Ovechkin.

Again.

This one was vs. Ryan Miller and the Sabres on 12/26/2008.



Wow. Just, wow.

This is a better quality video (OVIE's goal is at 3:39).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

RANDOM YOUTUBERY: NOTRE DAME LOVES GOLDEN SHOWERS

Unfortunately, bowl organizers finally found someone that Notre Dame could beat, even with coach Weis sitting in the box eating wings during the entire game. However, it did bring us this great comment:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

RANDOM HOLIDAY YOUTUBERY: "EMMET OTTER'S JUG BAND CHRISTMAS" (1977)

From Jim Henson's "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas" (1977), it's the River Bottom Nightmare Band. Their particular Alice Cooper/Edgar Winter "Frankenstein"-type sound kicked Emmet's ass in the band competition, if you ask me.



Why isn't this ever on TV during the holidays? This was a classic Muppet special, but gets less attention than the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).

This blooper reel is actually pretty funny, if you don't mind watching a toy drum being rolled across the screen 100 times over 5 minutes. (233 takes? Sweet baby Jesus, Jim Henson was a perfectionist.)

(Unrelated question: why has Vince Vaughn been relegated to making Christmas movies every year? Has he given up?)

Friday, December 19, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: IN THESE TROUBLED HOCKEY TIMES

Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery leaves a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008 in New York. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Frank Franklin IIIn these troubled times (Media Cliche of The Year), it seems that more has been made about the NHL's off-ice follies than the on-ice action. Of course, this leads us to the whole Sean Avery kurfuffle whose douchey comment received a ridiculous amount of attention. This was most likely due to the post-election hangover, where the media was desperate for something to talk about (see also: Plaxico Burress).

But it's beyond silly to even get worked up about someone saying "sloppy seconds" during a pre-game interview, while a dozen rabid reporters eagerly awaited his every utterance. Yes, Sean Avery is an arrogant, narcissistic, self-promoting dickslap who thinks he's smarter than he actually is, mainly because he spends a lot of time around hockey players. But Gary "Fucking" Bettman was way out of line giving him a 6 game suspension, and Stars' GM Brett Hull was gutless by washing his hands of him.
This was less about "offensive" words and more about the league wanting to "protect its image", and quiet a loudmouth who thought the league does a "lousy
job of marketing its players". If the league had instead read a list of his crude, boorish behavior, and his general lack of respect for the game, his teammates, and everyone around him, they might have made a better case for his exile.


Neverthless, not discussed much during this whole debacle is the fact that this happened in Canada (some say Canada, others Calgary), where they don't have "free speech" as most people know it (thanks to Rob for the link). Also not discussed: how fucking horrible those sunglasses are for someone who claims to be fashion savvy.

But the most overlooked part of the equation is Canada's own Elisha Cuthbert, one of GAvery's former "girlfriends" who was implicated in this mess. Since her acting "career" is all but non-existent, I think she should use this golden opportunity to pose for Playboy. This way, everyone wins.

THE NEW MEDIOCRITY. The NY Times Slap Shot hockey blog (who I've linked to before) broke down the playoff standings last year using an alternate scoring system (3-2-1) to illustrate how deceiving the current NHL standings are. Jeff Z. Klein wrote a great article showing how the NHL standings system makes mediocre teams look much more impressive than they really are.
Let’s examine the record of a random team, like the Rangers. The N.H.L. tells us they’re 20-11-2. Wow, that sounds good — 20 wins, 11 losses, and 2 “OTL,” which seems like ties or kind-of ties. They’re a powerhouse, and Rangers fans should be really happy!

The reality, of course, is that 9 of those 20 wins came via overtime or penalty shootout, and those 2 “ties” are actually losses in OT or PS. And, you know, in the playoffs there is no four-on-four overtime or penalty-shot contest … just hockey, with five skaters a side and no guaranteed points for being tied after 60 minutes.

So the Rangers, when playing actual hockey during the 60 minutes of five-on-five with no points guaranteed for making it to overtime, have really won 11, lost 11 and tied 11. Hey, Scott Howson, isn’t that mediocrity? Yes, it is — and anyone who’s watched the Rangers will tell you that’s a far better reflection of reality than their official record, inflated as it is by their luckiness in penalty-shot contests this year.
As it stands now they're 12-11-12, and anyone who has watched this squad (and especially their defense) knows they're not dominant world beaters. But hey, they've won enough to lead the division and that's really all that counts in the NHL, where 22 of 30 teams are somehow above .500.

SHOOT THE SHOOTOUT.
I really wish they'd do away with the shootout so we wouldn't even have the aforementioned scoring system problem. I honestly lose interest in a game if it's not won in regulation or the brief overtime session, and usually just turn it off. Furthermore, some people have complained about this shootout spin-o-rama goal by Jason Blake (okay, Devils fan Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski did), but I think it's a brilliant move.



While some like Bobby Holik have said it's "bullshit" and "un-hockey" and others claim it's "illegal" (since the puck isn't moving forward at all times), I personally have no problem with it. Since the shootout is already gimmicky, I say anything that lets the players show off their creativity and skill should be encouraged. As it is now, players only seem to go with two different moves: come in wide and try to go five-hole, or come in slow and try to bury it one of the top corners. Rarely do they show off their skating and puckhandling skills. Isn't that whole purpose of this tacked-on sideshow?

GOAL OF THE YEAR? This happened way before Turkey Day (Nov 26, in a 3-1 loss versus Jesus Price and Les Disciples), but I'm just getting around to it now. At this rate I should be done with my Christmas shopping by January 15th. Anyway, check out Johan Franzen turning O'Byrne inside out (poor kid had a rough month) before netting this ridiculous backhand shot.



THE WAR ROOM. They had a little piece about the Toronto instant replay HQ during one of the MSG games a few weeks ago. I envisioned a giant high ceilinged suite with giant screens, or maybe something like the police station in the underrated Minority Report. But it wasn't even close to being anywhere near hi-tech as that; it was more akin to an air traffic control room, but more depressing. One of the things they bragged about was their 3 HDTVs that they use for replays, along with several video walls split into 4 different games. Go back and read that again: only 3 of their monitors are in full HD. And when they showed a "replay official" in action, the special TiVo-like unit that they used showed a pixilated mess that looked worse than my Cablevision HD feed. Are you kidding me? This is what the league is using to decide winners and losers. Astonishing.

I'M SICK OF THE WORD 'BAILOUT'. Despite layoffs at MLB, NFL and the arena league shutting down for a year (okay, that last one is no shocker), Gary "Fucking" Bettman claims the NHL is doing well. Is he whistling in the dark, or is the league actually financially solvent? I would be willing to bet that if this recession keeps up, a heaping handful of teams will suddenly cry poverty, perhaps shutting down the weakest teams. I have no problem with that happening
. I just hope the Canadian government doesn't intervene and bail them out.

INTERESTING QUOTE: "It ended up coming to me, bouncing, and I knew that if I would just turn around and shoot it that Price is solid in there, so I had to get him off because I was in so tight. I just tried to put it between my legs and it worked out." Allegedly, Thomas "Manic" Vanek was talking about hockey. I'm not convinced.

CHITOWN CAM. This is officially cool: a webcam showing the construction of the Wrigley Field Winter Classic rink. I can hardly believe it's only 13 days away. The long range forecast for Jan 1 in Chicago calls for a high of 23, windy and colder with sleet, freezing rain and snow. Yecch, that could be a mess. The question is: will the wind be blowing out or in at the Friendly Confines? And who would win a hockey game: the 1990-91 Blackhawks or a whole team of mini-Ditkas? I just hope it goes off without a hitch . . . whoops.



Finally, Happy Birthday to Alyssa Milano, who turned 36 today. Naturally, that calls for pictures of her sporting her "touch" line of sports-related clothing (or less).







Remember the 80's? And is that a Claude Lemieux jersey she's got on?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

THE CUPCAKE BITES BACK

I went to go see Villanova lose horribly against Texas last week, but it was worth it just to say I saw a college basketball game at MSG for $10. Let's face it: $10 gets you shit in Manhattan, let alone a seat in the Garden, the Self-Proclaimed Most Important Arena In The World.

However, I would have paid any amount of money to see this game against Cleveland State. It may look like a typical Syracuse early season cupcake (one of 11 straight home games against the likes of Cornell, Colgate, Canisius, Coppin State and Long Beach State), an easy win to pad their win/loss record for the selection committee come March . . . but that's where you'd be wrong.



I don't know which one I enjoy more: the ridiculous buzzer beater, or Coach Boeheim's frustrating feedback fiasco during the post-game press conference.

Monday, December 8, 2008

RANDOM YOUTUBERY: NORTON FURNITURE

This is a real furniture commercial from the Cleveland area.

Oh good God.

RANDOM YOUTUBERY: PAUL F. TOMPKINS "DRIVEN TO DRINK" (1998)

Being a long time fan of HBO's classic Mr. Show (see "Landlord" sketch here), I can't believe I hadn't seen Paul F. Tompkins' 1998 special "Driven To Drink" until last night. In the next two clips from this special (which was sort of a play format) he discusses his theory about "The Sober World" vs. "The Drinking World".



In the second clip, he tells a story about drinking at his old favorite Philly local, [Dirty] Frank's.



(He's lost about 40 pounds since then, so I'm thinking he probably doesn't drink 4 pints in one 30 minute show anymore.)

Bonus mp3: "Elegant Balloons" from his 2007 album Impersonal.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

COVERING CRAP WITH A BERET

It's Thanksgiving in the states and for some reason this holiday is always the hardest one for me being away from the States. Julie's generally gone; in her old job she was always in the "pre-holiday" sales mode so she was away and today she's in Italy. Anyway, all that to say, the drinking will start early today in celebration of our murderous forefathers:

I was kind of wasting time on Youtube and happened onto some Richard Thompson videos. I like Richard Thompson, but imagine my surprise when I found this video.



I think it's pretty good. It's better than Dolly Parton covering "Shine" and much much much better than this.

Anyway, I may be challenging Jeff for Death Manager of the year. I picked up Khabibulin on Tuesday and in his first start he exploded his groin (or something). He did make 20-some-odd saves and only let in one goal, but I started him over game-winning-goalie Ryan Miller last night. FUCK! He better really be DTD. I don't really like the remaining goalies on the FA list. And Khabi's been playing decent hockey this year.

*OVECHKIN 21 points in his last 9 games. That's why he's the #1 pick motherfuckers. He may single-handedly win me that liter bottle of Johnny Walker Blue that Jeff put up as a prize for the OHBFHL champion, right Jeff? It's written on the interwebs so it must be true.

*Scoring an empty netter should count as a goal, but you should not be able to call it a "natural hat trick" It's a fucking gimme, damnit Maklin.

*BUFFALO SABRES on a one-game winning streak. They started 8-2-2 and they're 10-8-3 now...that's not how to play this game.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: FANTASY KISS OF DEATH

Vancouver Canucks' Pavol Demitra, right, of the Czech Republic, and Sami Salo, of Finland, celebrate after Salo scored the game winning goal during the overtime period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday Nov. 24, 2008. It all started with Marty going down with an injury for the first time in a billion career games. Then, GABBO's groin kept him out for all but 2 games since the start of the season. Then as soon as my trade for MAF goes through, he goes down with a "lower body injury". (Could you be more specific? Hangnail? Water-on-the-knee? Sprained scrotum? What?) To put the icing on the puck, Brenden "The Sun Won't Come Out To" Morrow (my leading PIMmer) tore his ACL asunder, and is done for the season.

The reports are in, and it's confirmed: I am the KISS OF DEATH. Now I remember why I don't play fantasy sports. Sure, I might be in second place due to a lucky 5-4-1 win by Kris, but that's also because half the managers in the league don't pay attention to their teams.

* In one of the most hilariously pathetic moments I've ever seen in a hockey game, the Canadiens' Ryan O'Byrne scored a game-tying "own goal" when he passed the puck back towards where JESUS PRICE used to be . . . not realizing he already left the goal for an extra skater on a delayed penalty.



Wow, that was a perfect backhand into the centre [sic] of the net! I couldn't do it better myself. (Honestly, I've tried.) Naturally, the Icelanders would end up winning in the shootout, causing the Bell Centre faithful to derisively chant his name from the rafters as he dejectedly exited the arena, embarrassed by his huge hockey boner. (Yeah, I'm trying to bring that word back into the lexicon to mean "gaffe" or "mistake".)

* In other news, JESUS PRICE IS HURT! Hurt that I didn't choose him on my NHL 2009 All-Star Ballot! I chose Timmy Thomas, who overall has better numbers and had to be written in. Apparently, crazy Montreal fans (redundant, I know) have stuffed the ballot box to put 5 of the 6 nominated Habs in the voting lead, despite the fact that none of their skaters are in the top 48 in scoring, Price isn't in the top 10 in GAA, and the team is below the Devils in goals scored. Not to be out-homered, I chose Elias and Parise from the Devils, and more overlooked yet deserving players like Devin Setoguchi, Marc Savard and Shea Weber, and not a single damn dirty Canadien. (They're allegedly hiding the votes over the last 2 days, so your votes don't really count as much as you thought they did.)

* Rob might be right: this current Rangers team plays an incredibly boring brand of hockey. They may not be up there with the 1995 Devils (who I actually enjoyed watching, because they won it all--ha) or the 2007 Red Wings, but they really have no exciting players and very little spark.

* Programming note: It's happened several times this season where there were three hockey games on local TV in the New York area on Saturday night, and they were all on SIMULTANEOUSLY. In fact, the Rangers and Isles each had their OT and shootouts going on at the same time, so it was impossible to follow. Hey NHL, if you want me to watch, STAGGER THE GAMES A LITTLE. Spread out the start times 15 minutes or so, that's all I ask. Last night was perfect: Rangers at 7, Islanders at 7:30 PM. One game was going on while the other was in intermission, and they didn't end simultaneously. (MSG probably does it so they can use the same postgame show and not pay those guys to work extra time, because those Cablevision-owning douchebags are notoriously cheap, but it seriously stinks.)

* SALO POWER! Canucks don't need no stinkin' Luongo (week-to-week with/without a groin) to beat the champs, with Sami Salo setting up the tying goal in the 3rd and scoring in OT to take down the Wings 4-3. This is the first time I've ever been impressed by anyone with the last name "Salo".

* GOAL OF THE WEEK. Yeah, it's a kid you might have heard of. Sidney Crosby, vs. Atlanta on 11/20/2008.



* NEW JERSEYS: The verdict is in and I think the new Tampa and Ottawa 3rd jerseys, with BOLTS and SENS written across the chest, are awful. They look like they're from the AHL or a beer league. If the point is to make more money, how many of those BOLTS jerseys are going to sell in South Florida? The Coyotes' new 3rds are slightly more appealing, but only because it reminds me of the Johnny Cash-voiced space coyote in "The Simpsons".



* There have been a lot of ugly hits so far in the league and so little done about them, and I've gotten to the point that I don't want to talk about them anymore. How about we take away the hard, fiberglass shoulder pads and replace them with old school foam ones? I guarantee you won't have anyone slamming guys face first into the boards from behind any more.

* Malcolm Gladwell, author of the interesting, thought-provoking (though somewhat flimsy) books The Tipping Point and Blink, has a new book out called Outliers, that begins with a study about Canadian junior hockey players, to try to illustrate how certain young boys get a headstart in their hockey careers due to both their talent and their surroundings. But the fact that I found most interesting is that it turns out that most hockey players were born in January. In other words, if your kid isn't born in the winter, don't bother buying him skates.

* TOTALLY UNRELATED MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK. Kris passed along the video for Kathleen Edwards' "Hockey Skates" so I thought I'd post it. Yeah, she's Canadian, in case there was any speculation.



"I'm tired of playing defense and I don't even have hockey skates." This reminds me of Sarah McLachlan, a not-unpleasant song that you forget immediately after it's over. It's the aural equivalent of drinking Molson Ice.

In closing, even though I complain a lot about the NHL, I'm thankful for the sport of hockey. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! (Except the Canadians, who already had theirs.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

RAMBLINGS ON WHATEVER

With a title like that, I've set the bar awful fucking low. Let's see if I can live down to the expectations.

Apparently on the internets all the kids are doing "bulleted lists." It's sounds like a Sean Gayvery invention to me, but whatever: he makes more money than me.

* Whiskey (translation for the English/Scottish/Irish readers out there: whisky): Holy shit, I used to be fully in the beer camp, but I've swung into the whiskey camp with great zeal. Here's why: You open a beer and drink it. You open another, drink it. After a couple of these your significant other (or dog or conscience if you live alone) starts to give you the "how-many-of-those-have-you-had" look. There's a bottle-trail of your dependence on alcohol. Whiskey, you can pour yourself a small one, then another small one, etc...yes, this is all about justifying my consumption...But you know what - fuck you for judging, asshole.

Since, I've been in France I've "felt" my American roots more and more. Not that I'm ever going to be one of those balls-in-your-face Palin loving idiots, but (tangent alert) when some stupid cock of a Frenchman feels like he needs to criticize me because our democracy elected Bush, I do feel like punching the asshole in the head. So (tangent ending) I have been drinking bourbon (the Brownest of the brown liquors) whenever possible. But my choices are limited to Four Roses (which is surprising not horrible) and Makers Mark. I think there's a brand called "Wild Chicken" or something too, but that's horrible stuff. I can get Woodford Reserve, Basil Haden's and most of the other premium stuff, but it's so damn expensive that I can't justify it.
So the logical step is Scotchland...It's just so much closer, so there's obviously more choice.

Snap Drinky Drinky Review: Highland Park 12-year old Single Malt. Mmmm. I'm not a big fan of the whole "peat-fire-still-buring-in-the-bottle" aspect of some Scotch and Highland doesn't disappoint. It's actually quite sweet for a scotch, and it's not surprising, following my brief flirtation with bourbon, that I like this. I'm sure that many connoisseurs (did you know that the base "con" in French is dick or asshole? just saying) would find it below them. But damn it, it gets the Krusty Brand Open Hockey Seal of Approval.

* Fantasy Hockey: Is awesome because the "No Homers" club, managed by yours truly, is kicking major ass so far this season. Through 7 weeks, I'm undefeated in head-to-head matchups (Jesus Price saved my ass with a lackluster win last Sunday to defeat Kammann's Zelepukin Slappers/Kiss of Death team 5-4) and I'm a very respectable 35-12-8 overall.

* Fuck Nokia. Honestly. I changed my Blackberry Pearl for a Nokia E71 a couple weeks back. The Nokia is like a supermodel. So damn sexy that you want to take it into a bathroom stall and...umm...surf the web with it. But it's also dumb as fuck. No built in push mail is like walking up to some really hot chick and asking her to go out with you and her lazy eye shoots up towards the sky and she mutters something about her cat liking catfood. Then there's the "Nokia PC Shite Suite". RIM has you install this little non-intrusive program to sync with Outlook. Nokia, this giant memory hog of a program that runs in the background all the fucking time (why the fuck would I want to send SMS messages from my computer, I HAVE A PHONE FOR THAT!) and won't shut off. I can't watch pirate videos anymore with this fucking thing installed because it makes VLC jump so much. I may learn to live with it - because it is fucking sexy and much more capable than my crackberry (I get TV on it!) for many things, but the change is the hardest part. I have a new found respect for those crazies from America's hat that invented the whole Blackberry system.

Anyway, I think I had other things to complain about...But whatever. I'll post again in the next 3 or 4 weeks. I promise!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: LISTEN TO THE DOC

I'll admit it: I'm in a Marty funk. Devils games just don't have the same allure without #30 in between the pipes, especially when they face the Rangers tonight (It's Henrik versus . . . some other guy!). Sunday night's matchup between the Devils/Oilers featuring Clemmenson and Drowning-Delaioueiourois (sp?) was a low point for me.

However, every once in a while a game comes along and reminds me why I love this sport. Tuesday's rematch of last season's Cup finalists, the Red Wings and Penguins, lived up to the hype thanks to a furious finish by the latter. After being outshot 26-14 by the defending champs over the first 2 periods, and being down 5-2 and 6-4 in the game, Jordan Staal (finally) woke up and netted a hat trick in the 3rd, the final coming with 0:22.8 left to tie it 6-6. In OT, said Staal suavely stole the puck and fed Fedotenko for the winner with 1:11 left to seal it 7-6. This is why I watch this game. (And I'm glad it was a real shootout not decided by a fake shootout.)

After seeing Ozzy and MAF give up a total of 13 goals on 68 shots (34 apiece), maybe we don't need more rules and equipment changes to increase scoring, we just need more mediocre goalies. Marty Turco is certainly doing his part to raise the league average GAA. If you haven't seen this early Xmas gift he gave the Sharks yet, this is a microcosm of his season so far.



Speaking of Mr. Brodeur, this report regarding his surgery is officially weird: Report: Devils G Brodeur previously tore tendon. So are we saying he won a Vezina last year with a partially torn tendon in his arm? Or did all the fat jokes inspire him to workout in the offseason, and the injury was a result of lifting weights and overdoing it? (As this article posits, you can BLAME AVERY, or Puck Daddy, for all the donut jokes.) Regardless, I say he's going to be out for the year. Marty's done. Thanks for coming to Newark and drive safely!

This article is also interesting: "Lundqvist hoping to avoid injury bug". No, we don't want to jinx Henrik or anything. He's fine. What are the odds that he'll get hurt too? Pretty slim, right? It won't happen. Probably not. Forget we even brought it up, wrote about it, and put it online. It's not a big deal, because hockey players aren't superstitious. Nah.

* As for the other injured local goalie, what is the real story with Rick DiPietro? I realize that when you sign a player for 15 years, you have to take into account the possibility of losing him to injuries--but this is ridiculous. He's undergone surgeries on both hips and both knees (and suffered a concussion) in the 2+ years since he signed that ridiculous contract, which is a lot for a 27 year old player. Add to that the fact that his crappy ownership maybe put too much pressure on him by making him the man (and giving up on countless quality players around him), and Garth Snow is an invisible GM that apparently was only hired to be Ricky's life partner. This is a sorry franchise, and I almost feel awful that DiPietro has to be a part of it for the rest of his career, if he ever returns to the ice.

* Hockey announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this week and rightfully so. His play-by-play call is effortless, informative without being overwhelming, and entertaining without being flashy. Most of all, the crescendo in his voice during the height of action is impeccible; I can't even tell you how many Brodeur saves and Devils goals (and non-Devils plays) were made just a little bit better thanks to his announcing. I was also amazed by his ability to name all the foreign players during the Winter Olympics. By all accounts he's a consumate pro and an incredibly personable guy. Congratulations, Doc!

Monday, November 3, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: BRODEUR TO UNDERGO SURGERY

FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!

Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur to undergo surgery

Preliminary reports have him missing 3 -4 months. This is basically every Devils fan's worst nightmare come true. I just knew drafting him on my fantasy team would be the kiss of death. Well, since they rely on him more than any other team leans on their goalie, I'd have to say, "There goes the season". Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007-2008 Stanley Cup Champions, the New York Rangers!!! (Or insert your team name.)

I was going to complain about how NHL.com stole my Marty Watch idea (they saw my blog, obviously, and renamed it "Brodeur Watch"; see right), but none of that matters now. Now we're looking at weeks and weeks of Kevin Weekes, with Scott Clemmenson to back him up--a not-so-dynamic duo.

What do they do now? Do they hope the backups can do their job in the meantime? Can they take Clemmenson and make Clemmenade? And after that doesn't pan out, will Lou acquiesce and get someone's cast off like Khabibulin or Fernandez or god only knows who? Will anyone show up to games at The Rock this winter (I won't)?

Add to this depressing news a weak defense that doesn't take the body or clear out the crease, an anemic offense, two questionable free agent signings already on the IR (Holik and Rolston), and this looks like a team that is severely screwed. I saw them as a 5/6 East seed WITH Marty; without him playing again until March, I don't see them making the playoffs at all.

Puck Daddy has a good article entitled "10 Biggest Aftershocks From Martin Brodeur's Injury". Hailing from Matawan (one town over from where I grew up), he nailed us Devils fans in this incredibly accurate description: "Devils fans are born cynics, both due to our systemic inferiority complexes and Jersey breeding." Exactly.

Fuck. This is the worst thing to happen to the Devils and Marty since Stephane Matteau got a lucky deflection off Fetisov's skate.

Hurry back, Marty.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

DON'T YOU HATE PANTS? TFP ICE GIRLS EDITION

I was going to just do a MARISA MILLER IS SO FREAKING HOT post to get it over with, but why not a hockey themed post?

Thanks to The Fourth Period, we have the women of the 2009 TFP Ice Girls™ Calendar.

To keep things local (and because there's no Miss Buffalo or Miss Newark, god forbid), here's Julia and Jessica, Miss New York and Miss, er, New York. While only one of them is of the opinion that Potvin Sucks, they both can agree that they completely abhor pants.



I have to say that I also really like Pamela (Miss Pittsburgh) almost as much as she hates her pants.




For the record (and in case she's reading this), I have no problem with Sidney Crosby.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

RANDOM YOUTUBERY: "GUITAR HERO WORLD TOUR" COMMERCIAL

Here's a great commercial for "Guitar Hero World Tour", a parody of the famous scene from Risky Business.



In order of appearance: Alex Rodriguez, Tony Hawk, Michael Phelps, and Kobe Bryant.

Wow, how much did this commercial cost to make? Those Guitar Hero guys (Activision) must be making a fortune.

Monday, October 27, 2008

PHILLY FANS ONCE AGAIN SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS

As a prelude to the riots and fires sure to be touched off by the impending Philthies World Series win (delayed for the first time by shitty weather--yes, it's snowing in upstate New York right now), a Flyers fan threw a smoke bomb onto the ice during the Devils/Flyers game on Saturday night.



Meanwhile, across the way at Citizen Spank Park they are building onto their reputation as awful, boorish fans by acting like complete tools towards visiting Rays fans during World Series Game 3.

Children were cursed at, and one 9-year-old boy had beer poured on him. A Rays family member stayed locked in a bathroom stall because, he said, Phillies fans were banging on the walls and threatening him.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe "Not To Be Confused With John Madden" Maddon added, "Throwing mustard packs at my granddaughter is not very cool". Wow, that's fantastic. And this shit is tame compared to what goes on at Iggles games.

I'm so tired of fans' awful behavior being tolerated just because they're rooting for a bunch of athletes who play a sport near their house. As a kid I didn't understand why some people really hate sports, but now I get it. It's not so much the sport itself but the attention lavished on it by the media and the asinine actions of its fans. While I enjoy sports, I can't get that emotionally involved in it; my eyes glaze over whenever anyone tries to explain why they're a bigger fan than that guy over there. It really doesn't matter. It's certainly not an excuse to lob the c-word at women and terrorize kids just because they're not wearing the same color shirt as you.

So after the Philthies finally win the WS (if anyone watches it) I hope they burn down Independence Hall, defecate in the Liberty Bell and slap a few children along the way, as that will definitively prove to the world that they're the best fans and have the best team! Woo hoo!

Stay classy, Philthadelphia!

(As an aside, as soon as the Anaheim Ducks dropped the "mighty" from their moniker, they won the Stanley Cup. I thought as soon as the Rays dropped the "Devil" from their name they were a shoo-in to win it all. That remains to be seen.)

HOCKEY HITS: LUCIC VS. VAN RYN (AND THE PLEXIGLASS)

I thought this stuff only happened in NHL '94.

Milan Lucic sent Mike Van Ryn through the plexiglass during the Leaves 4-2 win on Thursday.


Massive Hockey Hit Into the Glass - Watch more free videos

Yikes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: GAYVERY'S DOUCHEBAGGERY AND SPORTS HEAD GAMES

Dallas Stars' Sean Avery gets knocked down by New Jersey Devils' Mike Mottau (27) as Devils goalie Martin Brodeur (30) watches the puck dyring the third period of an NHL hockey game in Newark, N.J., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008. The Devils defeated the Stars 5-0.I couldn't let this week go by without mentioning Sean Avery's visit to the New York City area, this time as an overpayed member of the Dallas Stars. Now the enemy, they (for some reason) booed him in his old prancing grounds, Madison Square Garden, and taunted him when he was checked to the ice. He was similarly heckled at the Prudential Center when he refused to fight David "Kelly" Clarkson. Don't you know that all this dickish diva wants is you to pay attention to him? Doesn't anyone realize that negative energy only makes him stronger, like the slime in Ghostbusters II? You puckheads should know better. Hell, what am I saying? People still chant "POTVIN SUCKS" at MSG. Personally, I didn't agree with him getting booed and decided to say "Boooo-very".

Maybe there's something to be said about Gayvery's pest tactics. Since the league is putting up with his "agitation without pugliation" policy, he'll continue to play and garner attention. But to me he represents everyone in the world that's allowed to be a complete douchebag and get away with it: the Wall Street maverick who makes money when stocks collapse, the guy in the BMW who weaves through traffic, the asshole who goes in the bathroom exit at a hockey game when there's clearly a fucking line, the Patriots fan who didn't seem to exist for the first 30 years of my life. As long as opponents don't let him get in their head (as Brodeur clearly didn't in Monday's 5-0 drubbing, his 98th SO), and the defense keeps him off the scoresheet (he's currently on pace to score 0 goals), he's a useless player. He knows it, and that's why he's already focusing on his post-hockey career in fashion.

Other than company softball ringer Darryl Strawberry, I wonder if booing and heckling affects players that much. The head games that occur on the ice are probably more effective, but I'm not too sure it doesn't affect them on some subconscious level, either positively (while on the road) or negatively. All I know is that I don't care what players say about each other in the press, just take care of your job on the ice.

* While at MSG on Monday night (to witness Turco's one good game so far this season) I realized that the Rangers have two players who have names that sound like "boos" when chanted by the crowd: Drury and Dubinsky. I think they should go further and get an entire team of players with the "oo" vowel sound in their name, so you can't tell if they're booing or not, like J.P. Dumont, Jordin Tootoo and Francois Bouchard. Do they chant "Chee-choooo" in San Jose? If so, I say they trade for him.

Speaking of, whatever happened to Chris Droooory? Did he retire? Oh that's right, he's the captain and starting center for the NY Rangers. He's only got 1 assist in 9 games and is a minus-5. Ouch.

* The Sabres continue to win (if you count prevailing in the Dodge Honda SuperSkills Competition a win, and I guess we have to since the NHL does). Maybe they're finally shaking off the hangover that was last year's season, but they're off to an incredible start (6-0-1) after defeating the Wild in the shootout.

* We have a new sports jinx: the Sarah Palin Curse. Ever since the dunderheaded vice presidential candidate dropped the puck at the Philthy Lyers' opening night at MassiveBankFailure Center, they haven't won a single game (0-3-3, 3 points, last place in the East). The actual reason for this might be the injuries on defense and lackluster goaltending that have produced a conference worst 29 goals allowed (only Dallass with 32 GA, most of them thanks to Marty Turco's 4.03/.848, are worse). But I have no problem blaming it on a politician, especially one that's an insult to intelligent women everywhere. I have a feeling they might notch their first win this weekend, since the Devils have a home-and-home series with them wherein Friday's game is quickly followed up by 4 PM Saturday start (due to the damn Philthies/Rays game). But look for the Blues fast start (4-2-1) to be quickly snuffed out, as she will be dropping the puck tonight in St. Louis!

(I'm turning into Puck Daddy by mixing politics and hockey. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.)

* GOAL OF THE WEEK
Brendan Morrow, proud member of the Zelepukin Slappers, against It's good to be the King Henrik at MSG, 10/20/2008 (2-1 Stars). (Fast forward about 0:58 in.)



I saw him score this live, from his stomach.

* Great player names: Wacey "Wascally" Rabbit (C, Boston Bruins). He hasn't been spotted on the ice yet, but Elmer Fudd is currently hunting for him.

Friday, October 17, 2008

WRIST SHOTS: IT'S ALL PART OF MY HOCKEY FANTASY

New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias (26), of the Czech Republic, takes a shot as Atlanta Thrashers forward Marty Reasoner (19) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008, in Atlanta. New Jersey won 1-0.<br />(AP Photo/John Amis)It's weird what you find yourself rooting for when you have a fantasy team, especially a fantasy hockey team. It was late in Monday night's game and the Rangers were already up 3-1 on the Devils with Marty pulled, so I was rooting for Gomez to score an empty net goal, or an empty net assist, or something! During garbage time in the Wild/Thrashers game (I just stopped to think: man, those are awful team names--sounds like a bar band that plays only 80s hair metal covers--THE WILD THRASHERS!), I actually cursed at GABBO! for missing an empty net. At least offensive-minded defenseman Ron Hainsey got a few SOG for me, while Zeppelinberg was busy hurting his groin in a back alley somewhere in Detroit. Dammit, Kronwell, get that plus/minus up!

Among the things I will NOT have to root for: anyone in a Philthy Lyers or Maple Leaves sweater, or guys like Todd Bertuzzi or Sean Gayvery (because I kicked them off my draft list). So here's my fantasy team, about whom nobody cares about but me. (Not sure if that's the name I'm sticking with.)






Zelepukin Slappers
1. (6) Martin Brodeur
2. (7) Henrik Zetterberg
3. (18) Martin St. Louis
4. (19) Marian Gaborik
5. (30) Eric Staal
6. (31) Thomas Vanek
7. (42) Brenden Morrow
8. (43) Dan Boyle
9. (54) Niklas Backstrom
10. (55) Nicklas Backstrom
11. (66) Marc Savard
12. (67) Lubomir Visnovsky
13. (78) Niklas Kronwall
14. (79) Dustin Byfuglien
15. (90) Zach Parise
16. (91) Henrik Sedin
17. (102) Ron Hainsey
18. (103) Mathieu Garon

Yes, I got Niklas Backstrom and Nicklas Backstrom. I thought about dropping one of them because I was just going to get confused . . . but which one?

Strangely, the three (two) people who blog here each autodrafted their respective team's goalie: I got Marty with the 6th pick, Kris decided the 6th round was Ryan Miller Time, and Rob ended up with King Henrik.

* It's 2008, and interference is the new obstruction! This happens at the beginning of every year, where the officials pick one penalty and call it incessantly. Yes, I understand they want to "set a tone" and hope the players follow their lead, but these games are being called ridiculously tight. There's no doubt they want to increase scoring by calling more infractions (and judging by the scoreboard, littered with 6-2, 7-4 and 5-4 finals, scoring is up), but how in God's name did the Islanders get NINE POWER PLAYS last night? And there were two monumentally horrendous calls last night against the Devils, one of them was called "interference" when Colin White was merely finishing a check, the other was a tripping call made after a player tripped over the blue line. This will probably taper off in the second half of the season, but power plays and the resulting goals are a little off the charts right now (except for the Devils, who always stink with the extra man).

* Last night, there were maybe 5,000 people attending the Devils 1-0 win over the Thrashers in Atlanta (don't believe the claim of "11,293"--there aren't even that many hockey fans in all of Georgia). Even Chico "Eats" Resch commented on it stating that it was one of the lowest turnouts he's ever seen, and he was a Devils goalie when they were only winning 17 games a season. It was pretty depressing. Apparently, to offset low ticket sales Thrashers management is trying to lure customers by making some seats "all you can eat". No, don't give people discounts, just give them unlimited shitty nachos. What fatty could refuse that? Well done, guys!

So where were all the fans in Hotlanta last night? It's not like there was a Braves playoff game last night--oh wait, they don't attend those either. Can we just admit that the Southern Fried Hockey experiment didn't work? Of course not, because the NHL will never admit defeat, they'll just raise ticket prices and add teams in places like Kansas City and Barcelona. Okay, you got the Stanley Cup all the way down to Carolina and Tampa--congratulations Bettman, you shitface! I hope you're happy, and made a plaque commemorating that incredible accomplishment. Now can we get this league back to actual HOCKEY, featuring teams in (Canadian) cities where people give a shit and attend whether the team is good or bad?

* My free NHL CENTER ICE preview ended PROMPTLY at midnight on the 15th. In fact, there was still a game going on when it cut out. Thanks, Comcast Cablevision Cocksuckers! I didn't matter much anyway, as those channels were nearly unwatchable in standard definition, and there are exactly ZERO HD channels allotted for this package on CV. One other note: because of DirecTV pricing based on potential "viewing occupancy", the CI package would be $749 for the season if purchased at a bar (1-100 people). That's ridiculous. And I was all ready to chip in $50, but that won't even make a dent. NHL, don't you want ANYONE to see your sport?

* The Battle of New York was won by . . . the Sabres on Wednesday night. Their 3-1 win in MSG prevented the Rangers from going 6-0, which would have been their best start ever. Speaking of, I will be attending a hockey game in the Most Famous Arena On Planet Earth for the first time in a long time. It will remind me how depressingly lame it is to have your home team's rink in Newark.

* GOAL OF THE WEEK

Martin Havlat vs. the Coyotes (4-1 Blackhawks, 10/15/08).



Egads, that's a wicked backhand.

Here's my blognostications for the playoff teams this season:

Wales (Eastern): Pittsburgh, Washington, Montreal, NY Rangers, New Jersey, Carolina, Buffalo, Ottawa.
Campbell (Western): San Jose, Detroit, Minnesota, Vancouver, Chicago, Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis.

* As you might know, Marty Brodeur has the chance to set two career goalie records this season: wins and shutouts. I'm just glad I've been around to watch most of these--holy back bacon, he's got nearly 100 shutouts (not counting the postseason)? Yikes. Anyway, I'm proud to introduce: Marty Watch.

MARTY WATCH

Wins = 541 (11 more to pass Patrick Roy, 551)


Shutouts = 97 (7 more to pass
Terry Sawchuk, 103)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TOP 10 THINGS I DIDN'T MISS ABOUT NFL FOOTBALL

Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants scores a touchdown in the second quarter. (Al Bello, Getty Images / October 5, 2008)We're about 1/4 of the way through the NFL season, and I'm already tired of it. I didn't realize how exasperating it can be, as I filtered out all the shit and just remember the Giants Super Bowl win. But getting there is quite a shitty road. Because everyone loves Top 10 Lists, here's another one, Top 10 Things I Didn't Miss About NFL Football.

10. Chris Fucking Berman. Not only has his shtick worn out its welcome, but he's also appearing in NutriSystem commercials. Good God, just shut up already.

9. Joe Fucking Buck. I wish the FOX robot would take the baseball bat he's armed with (cross promotion with MLB! Kill me now!) and slug that smug prick in the face.

8. Owners thinking they're part of the team. You don't know anything about football, you just have a lot of money and own a bunch of amusement parks and oil drills. So stop sticking your face in front of the camera, Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones, and fuck off.

7. The media thinking I care what football players have to say, or what they do off the field. The Giants' Plaxico Burress didn't answer his phone for 2 days, was suspended two weeks (one of them a bye, which is horseshit), and they still pummeled the Seahawks? Who cares? Just catch passes, or throw them, or do whatever it is you do on the field. I don't give a shit about the rest of it.

6. Every media outlet slobbering over the Cowboys. At this point I'm rooting for Tony Romo to break his arm on a pass to T.O. as the ball explodes and the leather shards permanently blind him. It's also amazing to me that the Giants STILL they don't get any respect or attention. What do they have to do, win the first game on the moon?

(UPDATE: I wrote the above sentence weeks ago, before Romo broke his pinky and could be out for up to 4 weeks. Thanks!)

5. Football Night In America. Lousy name, lousy show, brought to you by lousy NBC Sports. While the team of commentators (Costas, Collingsworth, King, Tiki, Jerome, etc.) are mildly irritating, nothing is worse than the has-been dream-team of Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann. The latter is especially glib and unfunny in the role he's rehashing for NBC, as if he's saying, "Kick me off MSNBC's political reporting for being too smug a prick about McCain, eh? Why, I'll be so insufferable doing football highlights they'll HAVE to reinstate me!" I think it's all a ploy to make Madden seem brilliant by comparison. It's working, because it's actually enjoyable to listen to him after all of NBC's jackassery. (Oh, and the John Williams theme music makes me constantly look over my shoulder to see if there's an evil Darth Someone about to stick a lightsabre in my Jar-Jar Binks.)

4. So many abysmal teams with ancient, boring QBs. Kerry Collins, Gus Frerotte, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Jeff Garcia--the 2008 NFL season is going to be known as The Year Of The Old White Guy. Do you mean to tell me there isn't one college QB from the past 10 years that are better than Gus Frerotte, Ryan Fitzpatrick, J.T. O'Sullivan and Sage Rosenfeld? Speaking of, check out this craptastic play by Lions "quarterback" Dan Orlovsky:



Where the hell did you think you were running? We're not in Canada! Good God, you suck.

3. The commercials. Good Lord, they're interminable. Kickoff, then 4 minutes of commercials, 3 and out drive, punt, more commercials, a couple of plays, timeout, more commercials--FUCK! While watching a game is excruciating, I can't imagine even GOING to a game any more, it would seem endless. At least if I'm at home or at a bar, I can find something else to do to pass the time.

Not only are the commercials never-ending, but they're also incredibly fucking dumb. After watching a lot of Discovery HD over the summer, the plummeting collective IQ of the marketing campaigns saved just for football fans feels like a spike driven into my frontal lobe Here's the trifecta of ubiquitious and annoying ads I have to endure.

* "How will I know if my beer is cold if the little Coors mountain doesn't turn blue?!?" I don't know, maybe you can tell because IT'S IN YOUR FUCKING HAND? How about you break the bottle over your head and feel it that way? Assholes.

* Budweiser American Ale. An American style ale brought to you by a Belgian owned company! Woo hoo! I know they're probably referring to the style, but I'm not buying it, literally and figuratively. In fact, I would love if people revolved and stopped buying their shit, but that will probably never happen as long as they keep putting out groundbreaking products like light beer with lime flavoring in it. Go get fucked, A-B.

* Heineken wants you to believe that because the city of Amsterdam is great, this means that their skunktacular beer must be great. However, they use "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis as the background music. Why did they choose a song by a band from Scotland to tell you how great the Netherlands' biggest city is? If Amsterdam was so DAM GOOD, they should at least have one good band, no?

2. Monday Night Football. I can avoid listening to ESPN talking heads during the week by just not turning the channel on. But when your team plays on Monday night, and the radio feed is 30 seconds ahead of the action, what can you do? Seriously, the commentators are atrocious this season, constantly undermined by chatty jackass Tony Kornheiser. ESPNABCDISNEY needs to bring back Dennis Miller. And no, I'm not kidding.

1. Instant replay. They just don't seem to get it right. Personally, I would love to see it removed from all sports, and have the referees just say, "Fuck you, I'm calling it on the field". Instead, they're afraid to make a call (or in the case of Ed "Herculis" Hocholi, a little overeager), and they huddle up to make sure they're all making up the same story. Because no matter what they call, someone will complain about it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

DAD OF THE YEAR IS LOCKED UP

Meet Randy Lewis, a shoo-in for Dad-of-the-Year:

See Randy found himself in a bit of a predicament the other day. He was already staring down 2 DUI convictions, but he had just drank 15 beers and "some liquor" and needed to get home.

Making a spur-of-the-moment decision that only alcohol allows, Randy handed his keys to his son and told him, "get me the fuck home, now."

Great plan, except Randy's son is only 10. Now a 12-year old, yeah he can drive 90 mph (according to the cops), no problem. But at 10, not so much (on the plus side, no one died).

Needless to say, Randy Jr., rolled the vehicle. Not only were Randy and Randy Jr in said vehicle, another 10-year old and a 6-year old were also present as well as Paula Elaine Evans a 38-year old friend of Randy Sr (and probably his sister and lover). Paula had copious amounts of undefined "pills" and she did what every inbred woman would do in her case and started swallowing them so the police couldn't confiscate them.

Now many people are going to say that Randy's tee shirt shows just how deep his problem goes. I say that now-more-than-ever, Randy needs a beer.

Let's hope that Randy Jr learns to drive better, quickly, 'cause someone's going to have to bring Dad beer in the clink when he's doing 5-10 for the various laws he broke.

[WSBTV via Jalopnik]

[Update: The Smoking Gun has the arrest report]

THE END (OF NON HOCKEY SEASON) IS NEAR

Kammann already ran his upcoming season preview and that's great, because I'm not going to spend anywhere near as much time.

I've got a couple of comments:

*I like Drooory too and I wish he was still on the Sabres but I like the fact that the Rangers made him captain.

*I've looking for the Sabres to make the post season this year. Even if the boffins out there don't think they will, I'm confident - at least to a certain degree. Maxim for Men's in a contract season and keeping with a majority of European players, this generally means he'll perform well. Derek Roy impressed me last year and there's a lot of young players on this fast team. Hopefully...WHOA. Hold the press. I just went to sabres.com to check out something and I see they named Craig "I don't want to go to Buffalo" Rivet captain. What the fuck? I know that he's made amends for the aforementioned comment and I'm sure he's a great guy, but the Sabres have a large amount of motivated, home grown talent (cough, cough Pominville cough, cough).
I like Lindy...a lot...and based on that, I'm going to try to withhold judgement on this decision, but off-the-cuff it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Anyway, I'm glad to see Teppo back for another year. Sucks that Gaustad is out for the beginning of the year, because he brings heart to this team, but I'm hoping to be watching illegal streaming video of the Sabres come May.

Anyway: You know it's hockey season when the NHL.com sends 5 spam messages per day. At least they're getting the most for the marketing budget; we're talking about it. And that's all that counts.

Oh, I forgot to mention this: Bettman Sucks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

RANDOM YOUTUBERY: JAPANESE PIZZA COMMERCIAL

Here's a Japanese commercial for PIZZA-LA.



♪Pi-pi-pi-pi-Pizza-la-kun
to to to to toppings!♪

You can't make this shit up. Suddenly, I don't feel like having pizza for lunch today.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

HOCKEY IS BACK!

<br /><br />NHL ice hockey team Tampa Bay Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier handles the puck during his team's practice session in Prague October 3, 2008 REUTERS/David W Cerny (CZECH REPUBLIC)There's a chill in the air, the leaves are starting to turn, the Christmas decorations are already in the stores, the Mets choked away another season . . . all of this can only mean one thing: BETTMAN SUCKS!

I mean, HOCKEY IS BACK!

Unless you were from Michigan, last season probably left a bad taste in your mouth, what with Avery's Rangers douchebagging their way past the Devils, the Sabres missing the postseason boat, and the Big Red Wing Machine boring everyone en route to another Cup while making Sid the Kid cry. But it's a new season and a clean slate, as right now every team is in first place and dreaming of kissing Stanley's shiny metal butt at season's end. Conversely, every team is in last place, trying hard not to completely embarrass themselves in front of ever-dwindling crowds who would rather be playing golf or watching NASCAR. It's a crap shoot, but it's a fun one.

Because everyone loves bullet lists, here's my Things To Look Forward To for the NHL 2008-09 season.

* This year, four NHL teams are inexplicably being exiled to Europe to play their first 2 games: Sidsburgh Penguins vs. the Senators in Stockholm, and the Rangers vs. TB's Mullet Marauders in Prague. Wouldn't it make more sense to put the Lundqvist-led Rangers in Sweden? Maybe when they planned this, they envisioned Jagr being on the team and playing in his native Czech Republic, but it's still shitty planning if you ask me. Anywho, the Rangers had to lug 6800 pounds of equipment over there for just TWO GAMES. With the economy in the toilet, the high price of jet fuel, and playing these games at noon time (Eastern) during football season, the NHL is really thinking outside the brain on this one. Brilliant marketing ploy. I hope you sell a lot of $400 jerseys in Prague, you assholes.

* I have to admit, the NHL.com site redesign is pretty slick. However, they decided to (uncreatively) go all black, just like the vast majority of the league's 3rd jersey designs. Will voters reciprocate and go all black this November? We'll have to wait and see! (A cheap joke, I know.)

* As Salo pointed out, the season for exaggerating Canadian announcers has already begun. Check out this Carey "Jesus" Price save, from a Montreal preseason game.



Yeah, nice effort, but we've pretty much determined that it wasn't going in anyway. But that doesn't stop the irritating homerriffic TSN announcers from losing their shit over it. The Canadians want a Canadian born goalie on a Canadian team to be the next Patrick Roy/Martin Brodeur SO BADLY, so they can say, "YUP HE'S THE BEST AND HE'S A MONTREAL CANADIEN!" Of the 6 teams they're clinging to, Luongo can't win the big one, and you saw what happened when Ray Emery crashed and burned: they made him RUN AWAY TO RUSSIA. They're just a little bit frustrated, and will stop at nothing to overrate their own. In other news from Canadia, Vancouver is undefeated in the preseason. I say we give them the Cup now!d

* In local news, Chris Droooooory was named the Rangers captain. Who was their last one? I can't remember. It was Messier . . . and then someone else, who isn't even on the team anymore. Anyway, great choice, I've always liked him.

* I have to tell you, I like Bobby Holik back on the grind line for the Devils. He signed big money to be "the man" in NYC, and had similar expectations foised upon him in Atlanta, with subpar results. But as a team player on the Devils, he's where he should be. If he and Madden can remain relatively healthy, I think they'll grind out a few goals here and there.

* I don't go out of my way to frustrate myself, most of the time it just finds me. However, this time I sought it out directly by researching the NHL Center Ice package. Specifically, what the going rate is and weather they're going to make more HD games available, a promise made in 2005 when the league returned with their VERSUS/NBC package. Since I have cable I'd have to go with Comcast's "Sports inDemand", and it's quite pricey at $159 for the season (by comparison, baseball is $199 for the season and offers over twice the number of games). On top of that, this is what their site says about HD games: "Up to 7 games a week in Hi-Def now included." Wow, as much as SEVEN and as little as ZERO games will be in HD every week, despite the fact that they're ALL broadcast in HD. Sure, I'm luck I live in the NYC area and get quite a few games already (Rangers/Islanders/Devils) plus Versus HD. But I don't think Cablevision has any HD channels devoted to CI (at least they didn't last season). What a waste.

So if I wanted to watch the same games online, it would have to be cheaper right? Nope: the NHL Center Ice Online package is $169. So I can watch the games on my laptop for more money? And the ridiculous blackout rules kill a lot of the games, and the out-of-market NBC, VERSUS and NHL Network games are not available either? Holy crap, where do I sign up? Since CI subscribers get 50% off the purchase of CI Online, it would cost $243.50 for the season! That is monumentally absurd. What average fan is doing this? All of this for a sport that is less popular than the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA and NASCAR in this country. (Again, by comparison, the MLB.tv package is $129 for the season. That's right, it's less.)

Once again, the NHL seems insistent on screwing their fans right in the wallet (including increasing the cost of premium weekend games in D.C.). Instead of catering to the fair weather fans, and trying hard to break into markets that don't really care about the sport (Atlanta, Florida, soon to be in Europe), how about you cater to THE FANS YOU ALREADY HAVE??? If the NHL wants their sport to grow and the ratings to improve, they should be giving this stuff away, or at least they should think outside of the current business model, which is, "Screw the fan and they will bend over and take it." I've said it a billion times: they just don't get it. At least there's a free preview from October 4 - October 15 (NOT AVAILABLE IN FRANCE).

* I've decided to increase my hockey intake (or frustration) twofold this year: Once, I've started the 1st Annual Open Hockey Blog Fantasy League. And two, I bought a Playstation 3 along with a copy of EA Sports' NHL 09. So I can have my players underperform in real life AND in the videogame world (especially when I'm the one controlling them). At least I can live out my dream and skate for the Hershey Bears or the Lowell Devils using the new "Be A Pro" Mode.

(I thought about blogging my BAP progress here, which wouldn't be interesting to anyone else but me--but when has that stopped me before? That's one thing I wish people did more of: review games as they're playing it, weeks/months after it comes out. I hate these guys that play it 3 times, and say "I give it a score of A-minus!" and then never talk about it again. Well, how is the Be A Pro mode over the long haul? What about the online league? They just abandon the game after posting their initial review.)

Let's drop the puck already!