Archive for March, 2009

Hockey Orphan revived: master post

March 31, 2009
Special thanks to: Earl Sleek for the clutch logo work! Thanks Sleek!

With the glory of the playoffs nearly upon us, it occurred to everyone at Cycle like the Sedins that now would be the perfect time to bring back our Hockey Orphan feature. After all, there will be 14 playoff Hockey Orphans once the smoke clears, so we figured we would help those people – as well as budding hockey fans – decide which teams to follow.

Since our crystal ball is at the repair shop, though, we are going to try to cover the NHL teams with at least some kind of chance at making the playoffs. In this post, we’ll have a link to each Hockey Orphan entry for your convenience. It will be bumped up to the top of the page whenever there is a new entry.

The basic premise of Hockey Orphan is: if you were a brand new hockey fan, what would make each team worth following (and, in some cases, not worth following). This hockey blogosphere is full of variety, so expect a lot of fun and interesting takes on this concept. The links to each team’s entry is below. We might not get to the obvious non-playoff teams by the end of the season. If a team hasn’t been covered yet, then there won’t be a link. Enjoy!

Teams that have been covered so far (with a decent shot at the playoffs)

Anaheim (Written by Earl Sleek from Battle of California; date: October ’08) (Also, there’s my take)

Boston (Written by Evan from Stanley Cup of Chowder; date: January ’09) (Also, there’s my take)

Buffalo (Written by Anne from Sabretooth’s House; date: January ’09)

Calgary (Written by Kent from Five Hole Fanatics; date: February ’09)

Carolina (Written by Ashley from The Life and Times of a Caniac; date: April ’09)

Chicago (Written by Clare from All Hawks Hockey; date: February ’09) (Written by CT from Hockee Night; date: March ’09)

Columbus (Written by Bethany from Bethany’s Rants; date: April ’09)

Detroit (Written by IAMJoe; April ’09)

Florida (Written by Whale4Ever from Litter Box Cats; date April ’09)

Minnesota (Written by Elise from 18,568 Reasons Why; date: April 4 ’09)

Montreal (Written by HabsFan29 from Four Habs Fans; date April ’09)

Nashville (Written by The Forechecker from On the Forecheck; April ’09)

New Jersey (Written by John Fischer from In Lou We Trust; April ’09)

New York Rangers (Written by Scotty from Scotty Hockey; April ’09)

Philadelphia (Written by FGSB from Flyers Goal Scored By; April ’09)

Pittsburgh (Written by Kimberlass from Puck Huffers; April ’09)

San Jose (Written by Gray from Couch Tarts on April 2 ’09)

St. Louis (Written by Laura from Wazzupwitchu; date: March 31 ’09)

Vancouver (Written by Yankee Canuck from Nucks Misconduct; April ’09)

Washington (Written by Rob Yurich from Storming the Crease; April ’09)

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Hockey Orphan: Laura from Wazzupwitchu on the St. Louis Blues

March 31, 2009
Logo by: Earl Sleek. You’re a beast, Sleek!

(Make sure to follow Laura’s take on the red-hot St. Louis Blues at Wazzupwitchu. Thanks a bunch, Laura!)

Imagine, if you will, a bad soap opera. My character barely misses being written off of the show and awakens, dazed and confused, in an Atlanta hospital, not knowing how she got there or where she came from.

Really, only one part of that horror story is true (not the contract negs but the being in Atlanta part), and the thought of being hockey-homeless is just too much for me to bear. But if my memory were tragically erased and I forgot every last awesome moment of my childhood that St. Louis Blues hockey gave me, I’d still be in love with this team. Let me explain:

1) Fun. These boys are just a blast to watch. There is no team in the league right now who plays a full 60 minutes as hard, fast, and hungry as they do. No checking out for a couple periods, hoping to recoup their losses in the 3rd. No namby-pamby Eastern Conference style speed and dump and chase. They hit, they score amazing goals, they make the saves that need to be made. Part of this fun is…

2) The Kid Line. Perron/Berglund/Oshie. There is NOTHING these guys can’t do. TJ is currently the most talked about rookie in the league right now (at least according to Puck Daddy) because he’s not scared. He does what he needs to do. He’ll lay out another team’s captain. He’ll make the slick assist. He can and WILL score a goal that’ll have women for miles wanting his children. Berglund has proven clutch, and Perron has responded to his stint in Andy Murray’s doghouse by playing at a furious pace.

3) Goaltending. Manny Legace’s season came to an unfortunate early end, but Chris Mason seems to be on a little bit of a roll. And when I mean little bit I mean holy tear. The most impressive part, aside from the GAA and SV% he’s been putting up since January, is that he’s started every game since February 3rd. No break, no “I’m tired… I think I need a rest…” He just does it, and he loves it. Every time someone asks him if he’s tired, he shrugs it off like it’s the dumbest question he’s ever heard. There is no prima-donna goaltender here.

4) Tenaciousness. The 10,000 and a half injuries this season – some weird, some not – have cost the Blues the third most manpower games in the league this season. It looked like they were catching up to us, and then bit by bit, people started coming back. Even without Eric Brewer, Erik Johnson, and Paul Kariya, we still have a solid offensive and defensive system. Thank you, Andy Murray. He needs to get the Jack Adams this year. Honestly.

5) Class. This is probably the most important thing to me. You can own 100 Cup rings, and if you don’t have class and history, you’re not a great hockey club. The Blues have it. Look at their rafters. Yes, they’ve retired the numbers of some of the greatest players in the game. But they don’t just have retired numbers up there – they have honored numbers. Doug Wickenheiser – honored not necessarily for his play nor for the fact that he retired a Blue – he played for 3 teams after them. But he was honored for what he brought to the team as a player in the form of character, and that character continues in the Fourteen Fund. Bob Plager’s banner hangs too. He was an integral part of the Blues in the 1960s and 1970s along with his brothers, and he too is recognized for what he brought to the team as a character player – as a team guy.

A more recent display of class can be found on St. Louis Game Time – a story I posted about one of my friends, some photos, a goal, and a very happy Walt. My friend’s a Thrashers fan [as was I as well as a Blues fan] before this nasty knock on my head that left me teamless), but he was blown away by the courtesy shown to him by this hockey team 900 miles away – a team that took the time out to call a fan of another club and say thank you.

Add up everything I mentioned here, and I could live in Outer Mongolia as a yak herder and still love this team. As it stands, I just live in Atlanta, I don’t have amnesia, and I will never forget who my team is. Thank God for small miracles.

Afternoon Cycle: You are fooorrrrgiiiiiven

March 30, 2009

Note: If you haven’t read Chris Kontos’ Hockey in Japan piece, make sure you do that first. It is absolutely essential reading.

  • There might not be many of you out there with the privilege of seeing much of the NCAA hockey tournament, but it’s been pretty awesome.

Still, deep down, as ESPN U or whatever affiliate covers these games, there’s this other feeling: the strong urge to plead for the NHL’s return to the four-lettered network. Admit it, you thought that as ESPN’s beautiful HD washed over you and creative, interesting camera angles came about.

Now, don’t get us wrong. ESPN left hockey bruised and battered entering the lockout. What’s the best parallel? Should we go to that Rhianna getting roughed up by Chris Brown well again? Or maybe kick it old school with a Bobby Brown-Whitney Houston or really really old school with Ike and Tina Turner?

(It’s amazing how many abusive music industry relationships involve people who either go by only their first name or don’t share a last name. Is the modern era hyphenated last name trend a catalyst for violence? Of course not, but it’s always fun to establish arbitrary reasoning for such things. Violence = not funny; outlandishness = quite funny.)

Either way, it’s obvious that ESPN’s sending subtle little flowers to hockey at work. A hockey highlight prominently displayed in the Sportscenter Top 10? Ohhh you shouldn’t have! Mentioning a hockey player other than Sidney Crosby? Maybe you can change!

Mike Chen, the wily veteran that he is, beat us to the “ESPN should televise NHL games on Thursdays” soap box but it still deserves to be mentioned. Think about it: Thursday is not a designated day for any sport, really. The NHL has three days of the week where the games are bountiful: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Versus covers Tuesday, Hockey Night in Canada owns Saturday … so why not Thursday Night Hockey on ESPN?

They wouldn’t even have to leave Versus, a cable channel we’d compare to an overweight, slightly dopey wife with a heart of gold. Sure, you can’t really brag about her with your office buds at the water cooler. And her production values are pretty terrible. And she never seems to rent the right movies/pick the right games. But she loves you and needs you. That’s got to count for something.

(Ugh, OK, no more bad analogies … until the next bullet point. Ho ho gotcha suckers!)

  • NHL Network was showing Game 7 of the Carolina Hurricanes – Edmonton Oilers SCF, which seemed shockingly old since it was in the pre or early HD era.

Still, it’s stunning just how much energy permeated every cell of that game. Dirty hits were thrown about like 10-cent tacos. Scoring chances abounded. Naturally, there were some GREAT playoff beards.

It really got us pumped for the playoffs. The long grind is almost over, everyone. Are you as excited as we are?

  • Does every NHL season see so many random, out-of-left field surges as this one? At any given time, there seems to be at least one or two RED HOT teams. Right now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are hot but they have big name stars so that’s not too shocking.

The two biggest surprises are the St. Louis Blues and the Carolina Hurricanes. We might take a deeper look at those two teams if possible. Either way, it seems like an odd trend but maybe we’re just paying closer attention these days.

  • Despite only recording one assist between eight guys on Saturday, the Funkillers managed to pull the tights and put their legs on the ropes to advance on to the fantasy hockey finals. The hero of Sunday was Roberto Luongo whose shutout, literally, was the only way this fictional team could win.

We know you don’t care, but just look at how close this was:

Found in Translation

March 30, 2009

Everything you wanted to know about Japanese hockey but were afraid to ask …

March 30, 2009

There’s a half-decent chance we might interview one of the blogosphere’s experts about the ins-and-outs of hockey in Japan. Since there’s a lot of ground to cover, we’d like to know if there were any questions you have about Japanese hockey. Leave your questions in the comments, or send me an e-mail at jamestobrien@hotmail.com.

I wish I could make my fantasy team do Herbies

March 29, 2009

One point from eight different players. My team’s going to lose after holding an 11-2 lead on Friday. How do I reach these keeeeeds?

What to expect next week

March 28, 2009

It has come to my attention that it might be a good idea to start keeping a “schedule.” Sure, the last few times we tried that it didn’t go too well, but still.

(You know, people always say how much they hate quitters but also point to “the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing but expecting a different result.” So, doesn’t that mean that you’re either a quitter or you’re crazy? ANYWAY let’s just move on …)

Since this site is about to go back into heavy GUEST POST mode for the next month or so, there will be a certain “Secret Santa” element to opening up the ‘ol CLS.com. Still, here’s what to expect in the next week or two:

Monday: A News cycle, either in the morning or afternoon.
Tuesday: mystery meat
Wednesday: Dance Partners
Thursday: Twinsie Thursdays, aka NHL-to-other sport parallels
Friday: Analyzing various early-in-the-year punditry type posts (“predictions that will make me look stupid” and the like)
Sat/Sun: mystery meat

Randomly during the weeks: Hockey Orphan entries/fantasy hockey melodrama, etc.

Naturally, there will eventually be a (probably misguidedly overly-ambitious) playoff special as well, so keep your eyes peeled, gumshoes.

(Also, there could be a potentially OUTSTANDING guest post that WILL BLOW YOUR MINDS. Don’t want to jinx it, yet, though but you’ll know it when you see it. If you’re cool enough to see it, that is.)

One Prediction that did, indeed, make me look stupid

March 27, 2009


For reference, here’s the original post: “Predictions that will make me look stupid.”

Here’s what I wrote in October 2008:

  • “The Ottawa Senators will win the Northeast Division. It’s amazing how quickly people can sour on a team that boasts Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza.

Sure, there was a time when the Senators had more than just that superstar line. But let’s not forget that the Montreal Canadiens – for all their class and entertainment value – are depending on an extremely green goalie and Alex Kovalev, one of the flightiest star players in the game.

Honestly, would the Canadiens need a second to trade anyone on their roster for Spezza or Heatley? This year’s Ottawa team will not spur the Globe and Mail to compare them to Gretzky’s Oilers, but they might just have enough juice to slip past an overrated (if not lovable) Montreal team.”

Yeeeeeah. Apparently, it’s not amazing that people soured on the Ottawa Senators. People were smart to doubt the Sens, who went on a massive nose dive and only qualified for last year’s playoffs because of a great start.

Apparently, the team I was looking for was the Boston Bruins, not the Senators. My instinct that the Canadiens were overrated – counting on a sophomore goalie, an indifferent Russian and a group of overachievers – ended up being pretty keen.

But instead of being a dark horse team, the Ottawa Senators ended up being dead meat. Bah!

Behind the Post

March 26, 2009

Quick little aside: WTF Google images? I kept looking for pictures of drunk referees and found NOTHING. I was stunned, to be honest. Then I couldn’t find a picture of people “ignoring an old man” or “an old man putting people to sleep.”

Perhaps the ‘ol Gov-en-ment is frowning upon my searches right now. Hmmmm.

The Montreal Canadiens’ NBA doppleganger is, quite obviously:

March 26, 2009

=


Since Vance from Bangin Panger had to be a poopy head* and correctly point out that the New Jersey Devils share obvious parallels with the San Antonio Spurs, we’ll probably let that one go. Unless there’s some outpouring from the comments for a Spurs to Devils comparison (snicker).

* – My phrase for someone who’s smart enough to guess something.

Anyhooters, before Vance trots out his big brain again, here’s the other NHL to NBA comparison:

The Montreal Canadiens are TOTALLY the Boston Celtics of hockey.

1. The Champions of being uh, champions

Flair: The FUCK are YOU gonna do about it?

Both the Celtics and Canadiens own the most championship belts in their respective sports. For years, they’ve been veritable Ric Flairs: stylin’ profilin’ jet-setting limousine riding something somethings. When some punk ass pretender flexes his 24 inch pythons/fast break offense, Flair puts four fingers in the air and says “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.”

Then the Canadiens/Celtics stomp really hard on a mat and their opponents act like they just got their shit wrecked. It’s awesome.

2. Old as fuuuuuuuuugees

Dudes, those teams are friggin’ older than Andy Rooney‘s balls. And AR’s balls predate him by like, 20 years.*

* – Science

3. Teams that could never be replicated in a salary cap era

Those Montreal Canadiens teams were so absurd, Ken Dryden was able to write a book while playing goalie for those teams. Oh, we’re not talking about thinking of ideas. No no. He would start with a notebook in the first period, just scribbling down ideas and the like. By the second period, he had some leggy editor looking over his stuff and proofreading his notebook with red ink.

But old “Dry-sie” didn’t take well to some (as Dryden would say) “broad” editing his work. Let’s just say the second period was a dark time for women’s rights. In Dryden’s crease, at least.

Most perceived this as Dryden’s “thinking pose” but it was actually his, “Listen … bitch” pose. What a dick.

By the third period, Dryden would get really frustrated and simply bring a type writer to his net. You’d think the refs would have done something about it, but:

1. They were drunk.

2. They knew Dryden went to law school, so their apparent drunkenness seemed illegal and they didn’t want to lose their jobs. Plus Dryden let the refs pull down some (as Dryden would say) “of his leftovers.”

At this point you’re thinking “Fuck you, James.”

Good point. But how do you think “The Game” was so descriptive and great? Obviously, he was writing it as the game was happening because his defense was so freaking good. Just think about it.

No? Fine then, assholes.

4. Historic arenas torn apart by heartless douche capitalism

This is a shame, but remember, college-aged readers: never show sadness. Especially for old stuff.

Instead, hide behind a mask of cruel bemusement and fake materialism. When some old man (who probably reads books, the fucker) comes up with some “why, the Forum had ghosts of Jean Beliveau blah blah correct statement that everyone hates him for” … just scoff.

Scoff, and say “Jean Be-le-who? Isn’t that that (slur against homosexuals) from Bloodsport?” even though you think Bloodsport was pretty sweet because it had all those awesome scenes where the dudes wrap crazy shit around their knuckles. Remember, this isn’t about what you like and dislike, this is about uprooting an old man who happens to be making a good point. Besides, if you don’t make fun of him, your friends will. Sleep on that, Ace.

5. Old white dudes

Yeah, I’m running out of reasons. Plus that’s basically the same as Point #2. I don’t see you doing anything about it, Ace.

6. Morally questionable team building

“Searching for Bobby Orr” details the sort of shady, sell-your-children-to-slavery “system” hockey used to have. Basically, you turn 18 (sometimes not even 18) and then sign some ridiculous lifetime contract with a team. Almost makes you think Scott Boras isn’t satan, and he’s not. At least Satan gives you something cool for selling your soul. Boras is just kind of a dick. From what I’ve read.

The Celtics had their own questionable shit, at least in the fact that Red Auerbach would drop N-bombs whilst riding Bill Russell to glory and smelly cigars. We’d hate him for it, but just go ahead and try to hate a guy named “Red.” It’s not going to happen.

Editor’s note: This is the most factually devoid, rampantly incorrect thing ever to see the light of day at Cycle like the Sedins. You’re welcome.