Archive for the ‘BERTUZZDAY’ Category

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.

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Bertuzzday: The NHL’s dopey Heman advertising campaign

November 25, 2008

He imposes his will on his enemy, but he does not allow his enemy’s will to be imposed on him. He imposes his will on his enemy, but he does not allow his enemy’s will to be imposed on him. He imposes his will on his enemy, but he does not allow his enemy’s will to be imposed on him.

All lockout and no play makes NHL marketing a dull boy.

Coming out of the lockout, Gary Bettman and Co. were trying to re-establish or reignite hockey’s place in the sports world. During this process, the league left its unappreciative, abusive lover in ESPN for the sexually mundane but clingy Outdoor Life Network (which showed its undying love by changing its network name to the more sensible and less shit-kick-uous Versus). Thankfully, the league bounced back because it opened up the game in a variety of ways. The game sold itself.

And it had to, because christ almighty, those advertisements were Monster Energy Drink rejects. Somewhere Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer were waiting for royalty checks.

The scene starts off with a quote from The Art of War, following the time honored tradition of comparing a child’s game to war. Sure, getting a Chris Pronger elbow to the head hurts but most people would prefer an attack from Stompy over shrapnel to the throat.

The war analogy is weak, but the execution is even worse. The scene starts with homoerotic man boobage only to be followed by misogyny, when TUPH ACTOR HOCKEY PLAYER is too manly to put on his hockey equipment. Nope, he needs some random piece of ass to suit him up.

Then we see TAHP square off with Bland Hockey Opponent in NHL logo Gear.

BHOiNLG: “Nervous?”

TAHP: “This is going to be fun!”

Whoa-ho. Look out Gladiator. The NHL is coming to wreck your shit! Cue the sexy female narrator and get her the Lao Tzu lines! Now, dammit!

Perhaps the most hysterical part is the ending, when the puck streams iconic hockey images on both sides on its journey to the UBER COOL GAME WINNING GOAL. That definitely made the Fox exec behind the GloPuck cream his pants.

Instead of using a generic war movie orchestra score, the NHL should have just used Godsmack. It worked for the US Army, why can’t it work for a fake hockey army?

Over time the NHL’s gotten better at realizing that its fans (and potential fans) are no longer impressed by meathead commercials and that hockey’s niche sport status suggests a humorous approach. Over the last few years, they’ve hit their stride with very funny commercials (featuring Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin) and even came up with some solid cereal ones too (kinda dig this year’s “talking inside the photo/Zack Morris freeze-time inspired” spots, but the real champ is that sweet ass Stanley Cup montage). Those ad campaigns actually are a solid example of the NHL listening to its fans, even if the league’s hearing is rather selective *COUGH*Fire Gary Bettman *COUGH COUGH.*

Next week, we’ll take a look at the absurdly goofy and strange ads from past and present (here’s a hint, Max Talbot might make an appearance). I want to make sure I get as many of the best quirky NHL ads so please link any relevant ridiculous local commercials in the comments.

Until then, here’s four of the better NHL ads to come in recent times:

God, this Cup raising commercial is just amazing:

Bertuzzday: Great things come in pairs

November 18, 2008
These duos are less Batman and Robin and more Toe Jam & Earl (two great teammates who rocked the world fairly equally)

Even though sports market individuals, just about every successful sports star needed a second banana or running mate. Joe Montana needed Jerry Rice. Michael Jordan never truly took off until the Bulls found Scottie Pippen. David Ortiz was unstoppable when Manny was being Manny.

The NHL is no different. Over the years, the league’s most exciting and successful teams typically featured some terrific combinations. Often they’re more than the sum of two players, but many of them center depend on two great athletes. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best duos past and present.

Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg/Pavel Datsyuk

You only need to look back to last season’s Stanley Cup Finals to see a prime example of dynamic duos.

On one hand, there was media darling Sidney Crosby and silent assassin Evgeni Malkin. They only play on the same line sporadically – both being natural centers – but when put together the results are lethal. No doubt about it, that Penguins team had great supporting cast members but Crosby/Malkin accelerated their run to the final round sooner than most expected.

Unfortunately for Pens fans, the Zetterberg-Datsyuk combination proved even more deadly. Surely those two benefited from outstanding support players including top five all-time defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, but Zetterberg and Datsyuk showed a keen ability to shut down the Penguins great forwards while pitching in some key goals.

Joe Sakic/Peter Forsberg

Along with Patrick Roy, arguably the best goaltender in NHL history, Forsberg and Sakic were the preeminent pivot 1-2 punch back in the early part of this decade and late Nineties. With their seemingly cohesive skills (Forsberg’s cerebral playmaking and Sakic’s supreme wrist shot), you’d think they’d make ideal linemates. Instead, Forsberg made good players like Alex Tanguay and Milan Hedjuk into All-Stars while Sakic provided opposing defenses with the impossible riddle of “who do you stop?”

Forsberg’s game seemed a bit more transcendent than Sakic’s but Burnaby Joe was more dependable and was just as much of a clutch performer as Foppa. Either way the two combined for 2 Stanley Cups, a few Hart trophies and a tense rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings.


Mario Lemieux/Jaromir Jagr

It didn’t end well, but few pairings in NHL history compare to Lemieux-Jagr. With Lemieux being a center and Jagr being a right wing, the two were able to make music together for a few unforgettable seasons. And few defenses had an answer when the Penguins also lined up fellow hockey HoFer Ron Francis with the two superstars.

I’ll never forget the quirky stat that was broken once Mario Lemieux came back from retirement: at that time, Lemieux assisted on 68 of Jagr’s career goals and Jagr assisted 66 of Lemieux’s career goals. Sometimes obscure stats become downright spooky.

Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger/Scott Stevens

Niedermayer played on some of the most dominant defensive teams of the last 20 years and has up close experience with two of the sport’s most controversial hitters. However you feel about Stompy Pronger’s line-pushing intimidation and Stevens’ head hunting, their work with the smooth skating Niedermayer accounted for four Stanley Cup championships and suffocating defense.

Brian Trottier/Mike Bossy

Retrospectively overshadowed by the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers dynasty, the New York Islanders accomplished the extremely rare four-peat on the back of this stunning combination. Trottier ranks as one of the best two-way forwards in hockey history while Bossy is considered by some to be the purest goal scorer the league’s every seen.

Sadly, I was a but a twinkle in my father’s eye during this time so my only account is through the eyes of others.

Wayne Gretzky/Mark Messier or is it Wayne Gretzky/Jari Kurri?

Those Oilers teams were loaded like a Madden dynasty full of players with 99 ratings. Still, I’m a Penguins fan and plenty of ink has been spilled to praise the Great One. So, take this time to remember how great they were. Didn’t get to see much of them myself.

Bobby Hull’s balls made one of the greatest players of all-time. All mine have done is make a towel crusty.

Stan Mikita/Bobby Hull

Greatest Hockey Legends featured an illuminating piece on Stan Mikita, who for many younger fans was known only as the namesake for a Wayne’s World restaurant but clearly was much more. It’s arguable that Mikita was far superior to his famous, Archie Manning-ish counterpart in Bobby Hull. (Of course, Mikita cannot claim that a 600-goal scorer came from his balls)

Check out Pelletier’s great piece on Mikita to get some nice perspective on a forgotten great.

Phil Esposito/Bobby Orr

“Jesus saves, but Espo scores on the rebound.”

A great bumper sticker that highlighted just how beloved the Bruins once were in Beantown. Few Masser sports figures can match Bobby Orr’s greatness, but who knows if #4 Bobby Orr would’ve hoisted a single Cup if the Bruins hadn’t gotten Esposito in one of the most one-sided trades in sports history.

They didn’t like each other, but they didn’t have to. Their nicely meshing skills did all the necessary complimenting. Orr would captivate with end-to-end rushes and then get the puck to an eager Espo. A combination that was good for 2 Cups, plenty of goals and a lot of “What-ifs?” because of Orr’s sadly brief career.

Not always the best of friends, but Orr and Espo were borderline unstoppable

Some close, but not quite good enough two-somes

Paul Kariya/Teemu Selanne

Two borderline Hall of Famers who put up some pretty impressive numbers. The passage of time hurts their impact but the biggest problems are Kariya’s decline and the fact that those Ducks teams were gawd awful.

Markus Naslund/Todd Bertuzzi

It’s hard to believe that the former Canucks duo was once the next big thing. Then Bertuzzi broke Steve Moore’s neck and Naslund slid far away from elite status. Both are now on different teams, with Bertuzzi shuffling from Florida to Detroit to Anaheim to Calgary in a blindingly bad three years.

Eric Lindros/John LeClair

Their best years were too few and they ended up with no Stanley Cups. Maybe if Lindros didn’t have so many lackluster final seasons.

Bertuzzday: The Rangers immensely foolish reaction to Cherepanov’s death

November 11, 2008

On a day like this, Americans think of those who gave their lives to protect and embolden this country. Hockey historian Joe Pelletier features two great pieces regarding hockey and the war on his informative Greatest Hockey Legends blog (click here for stories on such luminaries as Conn Smythe and an intriguing read about “The Hockey Jersey that saved a Prisoner of War“).

Normally, Bertuzzdays are meant to be a time capsule into the silliest (and sometimes most shameful) moments in NHL history, but today made me think of Alex Cherepanov enough that it seemed like an appropriate subject. On some level, every war leads to what seems like pointless, unnecessary deaths … but it doesn’t get much worse than a person dying while playing a sport.

Over the last few years, there have been some close calls. Richard Zednik suffered a freak injury when his throat was slashed by Olli Jokinen‘s skate. It was a near-miracle that Zednik survived. The medical staffer actually choked Zednik in order to keep him from bleeding to death.

Another chilling near-death experience came when Jiri Fischer nearly died during a Detroit Red Wings game. Much like Cherepanov, no one was aware of Fischer’s heart problems. His teammates and spectators watched helplessly as their friend was close to death, but in this case his team was prepared enough to save his life.

For Fischer, it was a near-death experience that sent him on the road trying to convince hockey teams to carry a defibrillator in order to be prepared for such emergencies. Details on Cherepanov’s death are shady, but the general consensus seems to be that the ambulance needed to save his life came a tragic 15-20 minutes too late. It’s not a sure thing the young man would have survived anyway, but it’s truly awful to wonder if the case will justify the negligence charges brought up by Russian lawyers.

Time will tell whether or not Cherepanov’s death could have been prevented.

One thing, though, that’s not up to debate is how poorly the New York Rangers handled this delicate situation last week. As Mirtle pointed out in his new blog, while justifiably asking for a compensatory pick Rangers assistant GM Cam Hope broke every commandment in the tact Bible with this jaw-droppingly bad statement (I put the particularly inflammatory stuff in bold):

“We understand that this is a sensitive issue, but with all due respect to Alexei’s family and his memory, he is technically eligible to be drafted again next year.

We are not attempting to capitalize on a tragedy, but there would be no question regarding the Rangers’ right to a compensatory pick if Cherepanov had been revived and survived the incident and were on life support.”

To paraphrase Kyle’s mom: “What – what – WHHHAAAAT?”

In a sick way, that quote reminded me of the scene in Talladega Nights where Ricky Bobby prefaces broad, sweeping insults by first saying “With all due respect.”

Sports fans and Americans in general have a reputation for blowing sports out of proportion. But even the most hardcore sports fanatics understand that there is a line you don’t cross.

It was one thing for the Rangers to meekly probe the NHL regarding the situation, but to use such crass language leaves Glenn Sather and Co. with plenty of egg to clean off their faces.

Really, it’s comments like those that justify insufferable inventions like sensitivity training. Cherepanov’s death was unnecessary but, even if Omsk/KHL dropped the ball, what they did was still an accident during a nightmare situation. It’s not every day that a college aged, phenomenal athlete goes into cardiac arrest. Even if someone was at fault it was still a lack of preparedness or luck, not an act of premeditated stupidity. His death, along with the equally awful death of Luc Bourdon, make 2008 a tragic year for hockey.

But while you can chalk Cherepanov’s death up to an accident in at least some train of thought, how can you spin the Rangers’ graceless gesture? Hopefully the NHL punishes them by not giving them a damn thing.

Bertuzzday: Vote for Obama McCain Rory!

November 4, 2008


Somewhere, some hockey humorist with a half-decent memory might write in Rory Fitzpatrick for president today. Chances are that the once-hot story is merely a faded memory, no longer even in the minds of those who once PhotoShopped the marginal defenseman to his 15-minutes of fame.

But not too long ago, the NHL All-Star game was doing something it had not done since players skated without helmets; it was generating a legitimate buzz. Of course, let’s not give the league itself too much credit for the attention generated by the Vote for Rory campaign: it seems that the league didn’t find that grassroots campaign all that funny.

The movement took advantage of the NHL allowing fans to vote for All-Stars as many times as they pleased (not surprisingly, the league changed the guidelines for future All-Star voting because of this fiasco). Eventually, Rory Fitzpatrick came just short of receiving the number of votes necessary to start the NHL All-Star game and eventually was black balled from even making an appearance.

The highly questioned final voting numbers: 1) Niklas Lidstrom (591,657 votes) 2) Scott Niedermayer (573,069) and Rory Fitzpatrick (550,177)

The NHL receives praise for being relatively “tech savvy” compared to other major league sports who threaten lawsuits against YouTube and other fan-unfriendly moves.

But the league’s sloppy handling of the Vote for Rory movement shows that the league still must learn that anything but the most negative bit of publicity is good for the game. This was a harmless, good-hearted showing. Finally, a no-name player was going to get a pat on his back for his hard work. Sure … much like Pensblog’s “What Would Gary Roberts Do?” wristbands, there’s certainly more than a touch of irony to the promotion. And it DID expose the league’s questionable decision to beg for web traffic at the expense of all-star accuracy. But Vote for Rory was a classic moment of making lemonade out of the lemons that are the league’s marketing ideas.

And the humorless NHL absolutely, positively blew it.

As shocked as we may be by the way the Edmonton Oilers organization treated DMFB, the Rory situation is all the evidence needed to show how out of touch this league can be. The NHL is not unlike that arcade owner in Wayne’s World: completely unaware that they’re being referred to as sphincters.

Oh, well. Maybe the league cannot keep up with the humor and insanity of the blogosphere, but that’s OK. We’ll just talk amongst ourselves.

Here’s the Rory Fitzpatrick “Attack Ads” in their YouTubed glory:

Edit: just saw that Sean Leahy mentioned the Vote for Rory campaign in a post on Puck Daddy today, so apparently I’m not the only one who thought of the NHL All-Star game when I should have been trying to decide if a handshake visit with John Cornyn was enough to earn my vote.

Bertuzzday: Marty McSorley and a poll of cosmic significance

October 28, 2008

This Bertuzzday spotlights the last of three infamous moments in hockey goonery, Marty McSorley clubbing Donald Brashear over the head with his stick. The individual YouTube clip was awful quality, so just consult #4 in this clip of the 8 “dirttest” moments in hockey:

Of the three hits, this moment probably had the largest effect on the evildoer. Not only was McSorley suspended for the rest of the year, he also faced some minor criminal charges because of the incident. He also was effectively cock-blocked from international competition and McSorley’s career will be remembered for that ugly attack instead of the many attacks he made while protect pretty boys like Wayne Gretzky.

Brashear’s injury was a Grade 3 concussion caused by the way his head violently hit the ice. As an enforcer with the Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, he hasn’t exactly developed an angelic reputation himself. (His brush with infamy came this year as he “introduced” Atlanta Thrashers rookie Zack Bogosian to the NHL.)

Good ‘ol Hockey Fights.com.

ANYWAY, with all that I thought it would be a jolly good time to abritarily vote on which offense is the worst. There are two “bonus” choices for notable multiple offenders. (Chris Simon is the author of #2 in that first YouTube clip)

Each option on this poll has an appropriate clip:

What is the most shameful incident for the NHL?
( surveys)

Bertuzzday: Dale Hunter’s disgrace

October 21, 2008

“Everything changed by one mean-spirited little prick. When Pierre Turgeon got up, he left some piece of himself on the Nassau pond. From the minute he returned, he was hesitant; he was a perimeter guy; he was a guy who was not activating the energy level of his team the way he had been. He didn’t have that drive to the front of the net.” -Frank Brown quote found on Hockey Legends

On the heels of arguably the most notorious hit in NHL history, it only seems natural to follow it up with a hit that quite possibly is more egregious.

Dale Hunter‘s hit didn’t break Pierre Turgeon‘s neck. Cannot say whether or not that moment of shocking violence looped on judgmental news reels and received national attention – my attention at that time was devoted either to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or professional wrestling.

But my guess is that it was infamous mainly in the hockey community, as then-new commish Gary Bettman suspended Hunter a then-record 21 games for that sickeningly late hit.

Much like Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore, this hit will inexorably bond Turgeon and Hunter forever. Thankfully, Turgeon still ended up having an excellent career: he retired more than ten years later (in 2007), broke 1,000 points and made a huge heap of cash.

It is interesting to read that Turgeon was a potential superstar before that fateful night. Without knowing about that moment of ghastly violence, Turgeon simply seemed to me to be a soft, enormously overpaid player who coasted on past glories. Who knew that he had every reason to flinch even when celebrating a goal.

Hunter, on the other hand, can only seek refuge in Capitals fans and the people who knew him behind the scenes. Bruce Schoenfeld of The Sporting News put it well:

“The Turgeon check is by far the most memorable feature of his career, the two minutes he would get on SportsCenter if he retired today.”

It certainly is a shame that people can reduce an entire career to one disturbing YouTube clip, but any pity reserved for Hunter is weighed by that gnawing bit of logic. There’s just no excuse for what he did.

Overall, my perspective on the situation is limited. For now here’s a few interesting quotes/links to what other bloggers said about it. It would certainly be great if there will be an update with some fresh opinions (so stay tuned) but for now a few pull quotes and links will have to do.

The hit was listed among the top 10 hockey violence lowlights on CBC Sports Online.

Another link to the incomparable Hockey Legends Web site: who knows how much respect that hit cost Hunter, but apparently it took $150,000 from his bank account.

More coming soon, hopefully …

It’s BERTUZZDAY!

October 14, 2008

In the olden days (before today) Tuesdays used to suck. Say what you want about Monday, at least it was the first day of the work week. Tuesdays are like the bad sequel or an ugly twin to Monday. There’s really not a whole lot that can be said for Tuesdays.

Until now.

Here at Cycle like the Sedins, we’re going to celebrate each Tuesday by chronicling the lowest, most vile and/or most humiliating moments hockey’s ever seen. And really, there cannot be a better person to attach to such an event than the infamous Todd Bertuzzi.

To start things off, it only seems natural to explore the event and man behind this historically bad pun. So with that, let’s take an off-beat and tasteless journey into the shameful event (is it Punchgate or Bertuzzigate? Because everything has to be “X”gate. It’s like, a rule or something).

——————————————-

In my mind, there are three reasonable candidates for The NHL’s version of “The Zapruder film” but only one moment that could be hockey’s version of the JFK assassination. Sure, hockey fans might not know Where They Were When They Found Out It Happened … but few should ever forget the strange feeling of seeing hockey looped relentlessly on CNN.

And it sure as hell wasn’t for a breathtaking goal.

Here’s a link to a soundless clip that also features Steve Moore‘s hit on Markus Naslund, which inspired the Wild West-style bounty that was placed on Moore’s head.

Obviously, the toll this moment took on Moore’s life and career are not a laughing manner. But the Vancouver Canucks at fault deserve to be mocked and berated for their involvement (whatever it might be).

It must have been fate that implored me to watch “The Karate Kid” on Hulu.com last night, because the Vancouver Canucks – Cobra Kai parallel is STUNNING. Especially if you feel that Marc Crawford did indeed encourage Bertuzzi’s actions.

Disclaimer: my imaginary legal team must acknowledge that Marc Crawford claims Todd Bertuzzi acted “in direct disobedience” during the infamous attack. Therefore, this INGENIOUS analogy is based on the EXTREMELY DUBIOUS premise that Crawford promoted such behavior. My use of all caps is IN NO WAY an expression of sarcasm.

(Phew)

Now, watch this famous clip from “The Karate Kid” and see if you can match certain characters with their theoretical (former) Vancouver Canucks counterparts. Skip to about 1:30 if you want to limit your exposure to awesomeness:

In case you don’t have my Patented Deductive Skills, here’s the Cast of Characters:

Canucks/Cobra Kai from left: Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Marc Crawford, Brad May


Marc Crawford as “Fascist Douche Coach.”

Could you imagine Crawford telling Bertuzzi to “sweep the leg”?

Todd Bertuzzi as Standard ’80s Teen Movie Villain with Aryan Features

Heat from the media neutered Todd Bertuzzi’s game. Say what you will about Zabka/Johnny’s underhanded techniques, at least it took a crane kick to humble him. Advantage Zabka.

Strangely, this image comes from www.sharkblog.com.

Doesn’t this quote seem eerily familiar to Brady May’s “bounty” comment? Just sayin’.

Seriously, the similarities are endless (or there’s about three). I’m not sure who would be Mr. Miyagi though.

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To wrap up our first ever Bertuzzday, let’s end it with an interesting question. E-mail us your answers and we’ll feature the best responses on next week’s Bertuzzday:

What would it take – within the realm of possibility – for Bertuzzi to absolve his sins in your eyes? In other words, suggestions related to death and breaking his own neck will be read, possibly laughed at but then ignored. I’d especially like to hear from Colorado Avalanche fans (and, hell, Teemu Selanne if he’s got a second). To start things off, here’s what he could do that would appease me greatly:

“The Jesus” thought that what the Canucks did was “Bush league stuff … laughable mang.”


Do you remember that scene in “The Big Lebowski” where Walter gives a little background on “The Jesus”? How he had to go door-to-door to let his neighbors know “he was a pederast”?

Bertuzzi would have my reluctant forgiveness if at a designated time during every road game, the Jumbotron would display a recorded message of Todd Bertuzzi admitting to being a confirmed neck breaker (or something like that). Fans could even mock him in a “Kiss Cam” kind of way. It wouldn’t repair Moore’s vertebrate and Bertuzzi would still be making crazy money to play a game he’s clearly no longer passionate about.

But it would make a difference if he was DIRECTLY shamed in public for this moment until he concedes and retires. Enough of that “dark cloud/carrying a mental burden” crap.

I want that burden to be TANGIBLE.