Archive for December, 2008

Meltdown 1 of ?: The Sabres whomp the Flyers

December 29, 2008

This topic makes it as good a time as ever to look for some voices outside my own, because this is the only instance that truly comes to mind. And honestly due to game coverage, these games are only burned into my memory because of the shocking nature of the defeats.

But man, oh man was this a meltdown. You know when the term might not quite be hyperbole when a good coach gets fired.

To be fair to the Flyers, there were three games that were nowhere near brutal. The Flyers managed to win two games and lose one in OT.

At the time, this series seemed to spark the arrival of the Sabres: an 8-2 win on Game 2, a 3-0 shutout in Game 5 and a 7-1 pounding in the deciding Game 6. For non-math majors out there, that means in the two most important games of that season the Flyers got blown out 10-1. In that Game 6, the Sabres outscored the Flyers 3-0 in the first period; 3-1 in the second period; 1-0 in the third. That’s about as close as I could think of to being a parallel game.

Oddly, the Philadelphia team was on the other end in this one. It’s underscored an intriguing mini-trend in sports: the other huge metropolitan areas (outside of NYC) going from gloom to bloom. It happened for Boston starting with the Patriots to the Red Sox all the way back to the Celtics. Could it be happening in a Phillies – Eagles – Flyers pattern?

I sure fucking hope not.

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Mind blowers

December 29, 2008

The Czech Republic vs. USA World Junior Championship game is on my TV right now, but there’s only so much mental commitment that can be made to that after an unreal day of NFL football. Usually, football bores me with its endless commercial breaks, three-and-outs and awful announcing but today was truly a special day.

And every game pales in comparison to the jaw dropping clusterfuck that was the Cowboys – Eagles game. If that was duplicated in a game of Madden save files would be erased, friendships would become estranged and a disc would be shattered. People throw words like “meltdown” around often nowadays, but make no mistake about it.

That game was an unmitigated disaster. A pigskin A-bomb.

In the next day or two we’ll look back at some of the hockey meltdowns of somewhat similar severity and relevance. If you have any suggestions leave the scores and your recollections in the thirsty comments section.

Tidbittage

December 26, 2008

  • The World Junior Championships start today. In fact, NHL Network is covering today’s USA vs. Germany game as this is being written. Apparently, the most notable prospects for the ‘Mericans are Colin Wilson and a guy who owns a last name I’m currently too lazy to research.

A little pissed off from going through the old resetting password run-around. Is there anything more aggravating than realizing you can’t remember your damn password? Well, besides a dinner party with Roseanne and Fran Drescher.

  • Saw the semi-obscure French Canadian movie about Maurice Richard called (not-shockingly) “The Rocket” last week.

It was nice to gain some insight into Richard’s career. The man playing Richard successfully captured The Rocket’s delightful bug-eyed expression, which must’ve been a huge part of the casting process.

The hockey scenes were solid, but the movie dragged a bit at times. Still, it was fun to spot the occasional NHLer in the film, from Ugly Mike Ricci to douche of the year Sean Avery (who appropriately played a total douche).

Based on its film merit, “The Rocket” would probably only be a 6/10 but for hockey nerds I’d bump it up to 7/10.

  • So, the Vancouver Canucks got a nice digi-upgrade with Mats Sundin. But the real upgrade comes for the San Jose Sharks. The upgrade for Devin Setoguchi makes the Sharks ludicrously good.

OK, that’s all for now. I’m still kind of smoldering over the Great Password Hunt.

From the "out of left field" department

December 20, 2008
Patrik Elias is having a sneaky good year.
  • After reading all those New Jersey season obituaries after Marty Brodeur injured his elbow, you’d think there would be just as many headlines about the Devils’ astounding offensive run. According to the awesome highlight show NHL on the Fly, the Devils have scored 26 goals in their last six games. That’s more than 4 goals per game.

It’s been a banner year for the fascinating blog Brodeur is a Fraud and hockey pundits who downplay the importance of a franchise goaltender. Seriously, Tim Thomas?

  • Couldn’t find a high quality version of David Krejci‘s spectacular goal one night after the fact, but this video still includes it. One of my absolute favorites of the year.

Who saw Krejci coming? It seems like he’s legitimately good, too: his 32 points in 31 games is pretty unreal for someone who’s supposed to be a third-liner. Seriously, he’s hotter than Carla Gugino right now. It’s pretty hard to top 23 points in 13 games and points in all but one.

  • The NHL Network, NHL ’09 and the hockey blogosphere are like a potpourri of crack for a puck nerd. Until the NHL Network, it looked like NHL Center Ice would be for next year but now my addiction is too severe.
  • Late 2008 is, dare I say, an almost unprecedented period of cross-sport regular season dominance.
Not since the days of Big Van Vader have we seen such dominance

Even though they’re floundering in a worrisome way now, the New York Giants were steamrolling teams week after week. The Sharks’ reign of terror broke a few irrelevant “at 30 games played” all-time records. Last but not least, the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are on paces that challenge the best video game seasons in ridiculous winning percentages.

It looks like 2009 might be “reality check” time, although that probably won’t be the case in basketball. The Lakers and Sharks going on the road more often will give those teams their truest tests.

  • Everyone probably knows this already, but make no mistake about it: Mats Sundin went to Vancouver for money. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong or that the Canucks aren’t worthy, it’s just hard not to roll your eyes when people try to paint any other picture.

Surely, having a shit load of Swedes doesn’t hurt either.

The digi-impact of Mats Sundin

December 19, 2008

When the Mats Sundin saga finally came to an end with the announcement that he would join the Sedins, Sami Salo and Mattias Ohlund in Vancouver, most people were thinking of his real life impact. Will the ‘Nucks go top-heavy with a three ‘dins line? Will they spread the wealth by putting Sundin with some of their hard working, offensively-challenged wingers?

But after just a few moments, I wondered: will the addition of Sundin make for a new digi-power in NHL ’08? The Sedin twins, Sundin, Demitra, Kesler and Wellwood is actually make a halfway decent group of forwards. At least when you consider the fact that Luongo’s alongside Brodeur as the best goalie in the game.

Here’s a completely biased list of the best teams in NHL ’08. Where do the Canucks fit in?

Detroit Red Wings

Would be totally unfair if it weren’t for that flopping sonofawhore Osgood. Stacked with stars, depth and straight killahs in the faceoff circle.

San Jose Sharks

Hate to admit it but they’re kinda cheap too. Two stars, some very solid depth guys, interchangeable D and an elite goalie. DAMN, Gina. Damn. Gina.

Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens seem like a team for NHL 09 connoisseurs. They don’t have one outrageously good forward, D or goalie and the lack of top scorer does hurt them sometimes. But their real life breakneck style translates well into the digi-arena.

Anaheim Ducks

Not my first choice, but they’ve got some good forwards, two ridiculous D and an elite goalie. They were once the ultimate cheese team but they’re not so bad now.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils are the ultimate video game team. Let that sentence soak in for a moment.

They’ve got a bizillion solid forwards: Elias, Parise, Madden, Rolston and Holik (really). The D’s better than last year and Brodeur’s still a beast.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Even though they’re my boys, the Pens aren’t my team. They are just AWFUL at faceoffs and I can’t seem to ever get their lines right.

***

So, those are the best teams in the game IMO. Which teams do you like to use? Is it best to use your favorite team, the best team overall or to take the high road and use a more workmanlike digi-group?

The New BoC

December 8, 2008

Congrats to my homies at the Battle of California: after 2 1/2 years on indie label blogspot, the band scored a major record deal with SBN. The new site is here and will be updated it the blog list as soon as I’m done here.

As far as my eternally unclear role, I expect to post semi-regularly there much like I did before. Basically it’s been difficult to post anything about the Stars this year since it’s kind of kicking the “These Guys Really Suck” horse to death but we’ll see. Maybe an Avery-free Stars team will start to make noise.

ANYWAY, just wanted to pass that note along to the 2 out of 5 readers who didn’t come here from BoC. The future is so bright we gotta wear shades, you cocksuckers.

Making lemonade out of Avery’s lemons

December 4, 2008

LAST BOC/CLS DOUBLE POST FOR A WHILE, REALLY!

This Sean Avery story sure has legs, doesn’t it? Before this it seemed like the only time the NHL was the top story was if Todd Bertuzzi broke someone’s neck (although hockey being a lead story only when something bad happens still rings true).

On Wednesday, the Avery coverage just wrecked every other big story. It was:

  • The lead story on “Rome is Burning.”
  • No. 4 on ESPN’s insufferable “Around the Horn.”
  • The first topic during “Pardon the Interruption.” Among others …

Is it a slow sports day or is everyone just tired of talking about how much of a dumbass Plaxico Burress can be? (And where the hell does the name Plaxico come from? I guess I’d have a bad attitude too if my name was a combination of a plaque-killing mouthwash and Mexico)

ANYWAY, since this story is quickly getting beaten into the ground, why don’t we have some more fun with it? With that in mind, the NHL should take advantage of it’s rare moment in the sports spotlight. Here’s a few suggestions free of charge:

Sean Avery punching bags – All the satisfaction of slapping the taste out of Avery’s mouth without the momentum killing penalty minutes! Deluxe version includes simulated Avery whines and whimpers. Tears of pain and overpaid athlete blood not included.

All this punching bag needs is a designer shirt, molester mustache and a shit-eating grin.

A “Sloppy Seconds” Charity Dinner – With Thanksgiving only a week old, perhaps a hearty helping of the last remaining leftovers is in order. And if the NHL really wants to make Avery regret his comments, why not make the mainstream media’s favorite agitator the bus boy? Other recommended celebrity bus boys: Theo Fleury, Claude Lemieux and Barry Melrose.

Avery endorsed “hot water bottles”Because no one knows them better than the King of the Douches.

Dion Phaneuf made guest editor of GQFirst, Phaneuf steals his girl. Then he becomes the cover star of NHL 09. And the final insult: Phaneuf completes the “anything you can do I can do better” trifecta by trumping Avery’s scrawny Vogue internship by guest editing a superior magazine. Admit it, that would be awesome.

Gary Bettman starts his “hey, I’m not THAT bad, right? RIGHT?” tour of Canadian cities without NHL teams – The Napoleonic blunder should seize Avery’s “indefinite” suspension by going on a tour to polish his image. Sure, Bettman is to the NHL as George W is to the USA but … he’s not napalming cities, right? For every Joseph Stalin there’s an Adolf Hitler.

Apologies to Stalin’s mustache for that unfair Bettman comparison.

Even Hitch’s ‘stache cannot hang


Avery, Cuthbert, Phaneuf and secret guest Avery’s childhood baby sitter appear on Dr. Phil – Sure, Dr. Phil is a choad. But can you imagine his twang-heavy chiding of Avery for the sloppy seconds remark? And then a further examining of Avery’s alleged cross dressing youth? Gold, you miserable sons of bitches, gold!

——————————————-

Finally, I’d like to apologize for Benedict Arnold-ing the NHL 09 club. But, dammit, I’m impatient and it was hard to get all the ducks in a row. Anyone who joined the club/was thinking of joining the club is more than welcome to join me on the whacky new team I’ve on. Please, alleviate my guilt.

ALL-EV-I-ATE IT!

Come on now

December 3, 2008

Sloppy seconds? Seriously? The NHL’s collective feathers are ruffled over this?

Still, reactions from Marty Turco, Mike Modano, Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro show that this Sean Avery experiment isn’t exactly going well. We’re only in December and the team is already clearly exasperated.

Obviously, Avery needs father figures and/or players who obviously wear the pants. In Detroit, he was just some annoying gnat of an undrafted free agent in a locker room full of larger than life personalities. After that, he’s been in big markets where hockey isn’t exactly the main event (LA, New York and Dallas) so he could cultivate his bad boy image without the necessary “But he’s actually not all that productive” backlash.

It keeps feeding that gluttonous Avery ego. Don’t expect it to stop anytime soon.

Is it already safe to call this a lost season for Dallas?

Bertuzzday: Whacky NHL commercials

December 2, 2008

As a continuation of last week’s Bertuzzday, let’s take a look at some of the most unintentionally hilarious commercials in hockey history (with a few, like Hockey Falls, that are probably intentional):

First, Hockey Falls:

The immortal Wooden Colby Armstrong/McLovin Talbot/stilted Gonchar/English-impaired Malkin car commercial:

“Charlie, come out here and get your whoopin'”

Hilariously awful Mario Lemieux commercial (thanks, Pensblog):

Pretty sure Rudy Kelly was the first to spot this ridiculous Kings commercial (Hard to believe this came out recently):

Call to Arms: there was a ridiculous Florida Panthers commercial where Olli Jokinen and others kept exchanging glances and nodding. It is absolutely absurd and awesome. If you know where to find it let me know. There might be more weird commercials soon.

Teaming with the Enemy

December 1, 2008
Look at that idiot.

After getting done gritting my teeth over another “say goodbye to the lovable, awesome Phoenix Suns of old” type article the other day – and spending the requisite time cursing Shaquille O’Neal‘s improbable name – it occurred to me that my favorite teams employed quite a few scoundrels, varmints and general dick heads.

Sure, Shaq is personable. And occasionally hilarious with his monotone, space cadet delivery. But on the strength of Steve Kerr‘s conspiratorial aim to dismantle the Suns, Shaq managed to de-ball the only watchable team in the NBA.

With my hatred of Shaq boiling, let’s take a look of other guys I hated even as they wore my favorite pieces of laundry:

When Ron Dayne got the ball, you knew shit was going to happen. To the Giants.

The Giants are kicking an astounding amount of ass lately, but there have been far more instances of Big Blue kicking me in the balls. Thankfully, the most painful memories erased themselves from my brain thanks to the passage of time and … college. Really, all that lingers from the REALLY bad days is a fear of Danny Kanell and a deep hatred of Dan Reeves.

So, really, the most distinct era before Eli took over involved coaches pushing the chips in, making bad poker analogies and Kerry Collins turning the ball over in the clutch. But as uncomfortable as it was to watch Collins bumble around like, well, a recovering alcoholic, no player drew my ire quite like Ron Dayne.

Before Ricky Williams bonged his way to the all-time NCAA rushing record, Dayne wrecked shit at the University of Wisconsin. Despite his collegiate heroics, most NFL teams had a small problem with him being kind of a fat, slow piece of shit who couldn’t break a goddamn tackle.

Sadly, the Giants were not one of those teams. They drafted him and – mainly because of Tiki Barber starting his run at calling a co-host “a medal cunt” – the New York media dubbed him “Thunder” in “Thunder and Lightning.” Sadly, a more appropriate moniker would have been “Blubber and Fumbling.”

Being that baseball is approximately my 50th favorite sport, watching a shaky closer come to the mound is not a typical feeling for me. But watching Dayne amble onto the field probably produced the closest comparison: every time he would touch the ball, something awful would happen.

Watching Dayne run the ball is the NFL’s equivalent to an endless loop of the Pre-Getting the Girl part of bland romantic comedies. Tedious and terrible. You just cannot wait until it is over.

Yucky.

Pittsburgh Penguins are treated a lot like UN ambassadors in my world. They are allowed to commit minor crimes and parking violations with nary a batted eyelash.

But there still were a few guys I hoped would crash through the ice and somehow drown.

Although he served the Pens with reasonable vigor, it never sat right with me to see the villainous John Leclair in a Penguins uniform. And, as if the karma of such a move wasn’t questionable, don’t forget that Leclair was involved in an on-ice collision that made Evgeni Malkin‘s wild rookie season that much more difficult.

The bigger douche, though, was probably Matthew Barnaby. Simply being himself was bad enough, but the Pens traded Stu Barnes for that meddlesome douche. Now, that will not do.


A Rod = the final nail in baseball’s coffin.

So, those are the guys who found a way to bypass loyalties and bias and earn good, old fashioned disdain. What about you, wary reader? Which players stirred up your inner Philly fan? Who are the guys you wanted to pelt with boos and batteries?