Archive for the ‘guest posts’ Category

CapsChick of a View from the Cheap Seats shares her Earliest Hockey Memories

September 11, 2009

Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts
(A View from the Cheap Seats is in the stunning brigade of great Washington Capitals blogs and is rapidly becoming one of our favorites. How can you fault anyone after reading all of her great questionnaires (even if she was gullible enough to invite me). Hopefully Caps Chick doesn’t make a point to do TOO many of those great features or CLS might go out of business.

If … this was a business, that is.)
My dad moved to the Washington, DC area in 1974, the same year the Capitals came into existence. A Boston Bruins fan from his days in New England, he went to the very first preseason game ever held in the nation’s capital – and bought season tickets right then and there, beginning a love and a passion for the team that has spanned decades.

So you could say that being a Caps fan – or at least a hockey fan – wasn’t so much a choice as it was a birthright. I was indoctrinated right from the womb, really. There’s even a story that my mother would attend games while pregnant with me and I would proceed to kick to “Let’s Go Caps!”…I only kind of believe it.

(Editor’s Note: Somehow that’s not the first female blogger who relayed this story/anecdote as Wrap Around Curl also seemed to make this reference. Is it wrong to feel a little jealous about these puck based childhoods?)

That baby’s not just kicking, it’s making a kick save!

So my upbringing was a rather unique one, entirely Caps-centric in a city of Redskins fans – but it was ingrained in me from such a young age that it becomes hard to pick out just one memory that defines hockey’s place in my life. It’s really more of a collage of sights and sounds and events that turned me into the obsessive nutjob I’m proud to be today.

I remember my sister and I getting little replica jersey t-shirts from the Junior Fan Club and proudly wearing them as often as I could, begging to wear them to school and to bed and then wondering why they weren’t clean when I got to go to games. We had a pile of pom-poms in a basket in our basement, souvenirs of past playoff series that would occasionally make cameos in whatever make believe dress-up games we would be involved in on any given day; the number of times I pranced around with white plastic hair is too high to count. On the wall was a growth poster featuring a very young, very large Scott Stevens in full uniform and on skates. I remember gazing up at it and thinking he was a giant, an impression that was probably not helped by the fact that the poster was hung about a foot off the ground. Yet because of that poster Stevens was probably one of the first players I recognized just by looking at his face – and one of my earliest favorites for that exact reason.

Then there was the arena. Back then it was the Capital Centre, a place that often felt like a second home because of how much time we spent there and how comfortable it felt no matter how big and loud and potentially scary it could be (especially when Penguins fans were in town…ahem).

It had the strange, scooped-out roof that in my mind looked like it had been crushed by a giant rear end and the parking lots named after patriotic symbols like ‘Stars and Stripes’ and ‘Eagle’. There was the huge video screen in the middle of the arena, the first of its kind, and smaller computerized screens in the corner with funny little cartoons that acted out penalties or implored the crowd to cheer. The concourse smelled like popcorn and cotton candy and cigarette smoke – of course this was back in the days when you were allowed to smoke in arenas. And the building was always filled with noise of some kind or another, whether it was the organ or the cheering of the crowd or the wandering trumpeter who appeared in different sections throughout the game.

Back then I didn’t really understand the concept of “other teams” the way I do today. I knew I hated the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Devils and Islanders, but aside from a few select faces of evil (Lemieux, Hextall, Ulf Samuelsson, etc.) I couldn’t have named players even on those teams – and outside of the Patrick Division, forget it. Hockey was very personal to me. I honestly believed that when I went to a game or watched it on TV the Caps couldn’t possibly lose; if I cheered loud enough they would score. And when they got knocked out of the playoffs, as seemed to be their tradition, hockey ceased to exist until fall. I don’t even remember actually watching the Stanley Cup being awarded until the Rangers won it in 1994.

But I knew my boys. I knew guys like Miller, Ridley, Johansson, Langway and Hunter, knew their numbers and their on-ice personalities. And really that’s probably the strongest memory of them all – the players I grew up with, the ones who taught me to love the game and the Caps, and the ones I still idolize to this day.

Well…that or the hatred of the Penguins. It’s a toss-up.

Jesse from Open Ice Hockey shares his Earliest Hockey Memories

September 3, 2009

Fantastic logo by Gray of Couch Tarts fame.

Admittedly, I had never heard about Open Ice Hockey until Jesse e-mailed me last week. From what I can tell, it is a fairly new site that is currently running season previews. Feel free to take a stroll around Open Ice Hockey and enjoy Jesse’s charming hockey memory. Good luck with the site/blog, Jesse!

For as long as I can remember, I have been a Maple Leafs fan. As a kid growing up in Northern Ontario, it was kind of forced upon me. Every year, my parents always got two sets of tickets to Maple Leaf Gardens, one set against the glass in the gold section, and one set of center ice reds.

It was the 1992 season, and I was sitting with my dad against the glass at the Gardens during the Leafs warmup. At the time, my heroes on the team were similar to other fans, as they boasted the likes of Gilmour, Clark, and Potvin. This day was a bit different however, as a lesser known player, Mike Krushelnyski, didn’t know that he would change a kids life with a small little gesture.

As the players were skating around, I was banging on the glass and yelling out all of the players names as they went by. When Mike went by, I couldn’t pronounce his name, and I guess he heard because he tapped on the glass with his stick as he went by. I asked my dad how to pronounce it, and when he came by the next time, I yelled it out properly. Once again, he must have heard, because he winked at me when he skated by, went and picked up a puck, and threw it over the glass to me.

When I told my mom what had happened, she told me that I should write him a letter thanking him for what he did. Little did I know then that it was a general letter that was sent back from the Leafs, but included was a signed photo of Krushelnyski. I got the picture framed and it still sits in my room to this day with the puck that he threw me.

Clare from All Hawks Hockey shares one of her Earliest Hockey Memories

August 27, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

(At this point, you are probably aware of Clare’s work at All Hawks Hockey. She’s been a big help during the big unruly League Re-Draft process and a friend of the blog for quite some time. Make sure to follow her as the Blackhawks approach one of their most important seasons in ages.)

Clare: “I love the Sabres so much I would wear my t-shirt when I practiced my violin.”

My father works as an usher for the Sabres, has for years and knew one of the guys in the ticket office. He worked in the same section every night, so some nights in an attempt to get me to love hockey close to as much as he did, he called the ticket guy and would see if there was a seat available in his section. Most nights there was because they had 13 seats in one of the rows and 12 of them were held by season ticket holders. Seat nine was never sold.

One night, I was about seven and at the Sabres game, soon to my surprise the seat to my right was filled by someone very familiar.

I believe he was injured or it was the first year that the Sabres had three goalies. He and his then-girlfriend, now wife were sitting in the stands. Let me tell you that the rumor that he talks a lot is actually complete fact. He talked through the whole game, we talked mostly about hockey, I think although I can’t really remember.

When I got home I proudly told my mother:

“I sat next to someone very important today at the game!”

She responded: “Really? Did you?”

In my funny little seven year old voice, I said “I sat next to “Maa-rten Bee-ron” and he thought I was adorable!”

It is one of my earliest hockey memories and has since always made me a Marty Biron fan.

Earliest Hockey Memories with NHL Shout

August 19, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

(Until recently, we haven’t been particularly aware of the Tampa Bay Lightning blogosophere [the Lightning-ogosphere? Bayogosophere? Lecavalierogosphere?], but it’s heartening to know that the team possesses plenty of great bloggers. One of those blogs is Lightning Shout, which sports a sweet logo and bitchin’ mission statement. Make sure to follow WB Philip’s work as the team starts to transition from “Saw” level horror show to respectability.)

My first hockey memory involves a game between the Boston Bruins (52-0) and the Detroit Red Wings (0-52) in the cold winter of 1970. This original six matchup was played in Detroit, Michigan at the Violet Street Hockey Arena. It featured a Bruins team that consisted of Phil Esposito, four Bobby Orr look-alikes, and an unmasked goalie, Gerry Cheevers. The Red Wings touted their daily lineup of the Howe’s: Mr. Hockey, Mark, Marty and an adopted son named Jim, my brother. All players were seen smiling constantly during the battle, despite their inability to skate in any direction but a straight line. The technology was way ahead of its time. The players wielded metal one-piece sticks and skated on a hybrid surface made of painted particleboard. The game was played without a referee or linesman in sight and at one point, was delayed due to the combatants losing the only puck available. (It had rolled all the way under the sofa) Both teams were very flat and had trouble hitting each other.

The Bruins led the whole way, riding centerman Phil Esposito’s 16 goals to a comfortable lead! The Howe’s led the team from Motown, with the family netting a total of 14 goals. It was late in the third period when the game was halted for a bathroom break. What happened when play resumed would haunt me for the rest of my life! At the drop of the puck, the Bruin goaltender, Gerry Cheevers, suffered what can only be termed, a catastrophic spot weld injury and tumbled slowly to the fake ice. The Philp house rules vehemently stated that, “Once a player comes loose from his metal post thing, he must be removed from play immediately and may not return or be replaced during that game…unless mom says so.”

Huh?

Those of you who are now part of the geriatric hockey set will recognize this scenario. Yes, the ice surface that comes in a box (assembly required)…Coleco tabletop hockey.

When you turned the rubber knob to strike the plastic, oversized puck (not the heavy one with the marble in it), you would here that unforgettable “TING” as the stick met the disk. All players had either sandy brown or jet-black colored hair and had that same psycho grin on their face. You know the look. It’s the one Matthew Barnaby used his entire career when he was agitating.

After Cheevers was yanked from the game, the Red Wings went on an offensive onslaught, scoring four goals in the last minute. The buzzer to end the game sounded in the familiar form that was my mom’s shriek, “Boys, put that god damned game away for a while!” It was over. Red Wings 18, Bruins 16.

December 24, 1970: A day that will live in infamy in the Philp household. I had shamed myself, the TTNHL (Tabletop National Hockey League), and most of all, the brotherhood of tabletop players…I had lost to my kid brother!!!!

As my brother paraded around the living room in his Heckle and Jeckle, footie pajamas (I hated those damn birds!) I found myself crying, but quietly happy for him. I had tasted victory so many times before that it had become a bland repast. Now I saw the hysterical glee on the face of my brother, whom I had destroyed 52 straight times before, and, for a brief moment, felt good.. I walked over to congratulate him on the victory and did what any good big brother would…I gave him a SUPER WEDGY!

Gray’s Earliest Hockey Memories

August 5, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

We’ve become buddies with quite a few San Jose Shark bloggers through Battle of California and CLS. Generally, they seem to be incredibly high quality people who deserve more post-season bliss than their seemingly great team has been able to produce.

Gray from Couch Tarts is one of our SJBFFs for sure (hell, she even concocted that adorable logo) and provided this week’s Earliest Hockey Memories entry. Make sure to follow the Couch Tarts and try not to make more than a couple obligatory Shark Week jokes. These nice people have suffered enough.

Like a lot of other American kids, I grew up living and breathing baseball. Sure, football existed too, but I didn’t care about that. It was all baseball. These were the days of the Bash Brothers in Oakland, and the ’89 world series. If you lived in the East Bay and didn’t love baseball, you were pretty damn weird.

And yet, somehow, hockey slowly started to trickle into my sub consciousness. I don’t remember how or why, maybe it was the Mighty Ducks movies, maybe it was watching Strange Brew too many times, who knows, but my friends and I suddenly developed a strong desire to play hockey. (ok, it was the Mighty Ducks movie) We went to a sporting goods store, got sticks, (the best bright plastic on wood that 15 dollars could buy), a bag of orange plastic pucks and set up a small soccer goal at the end of my friend’s drive way and started to play.

We didn’t really know how, but we knew hockey players hit each other, so the games usually revolved around how hard we could check the opposing player to the ground before stealing the puck and scoring a goal. Rules were generally ignored in favor of shin hitting mayhem, unless of course someone thought you scored a goal unfairly. Then a huge debate would be started, usually ending with someone shooting a puck at someone else, and generally in a very tender spot. (as a girl, I got the best part of this deal) After all, what was hockey about if it wasn’t about beating up the other side?

Later on, in middle school, they added street hockey into the PE curriculum. We’d play on the basketball courts, with only slightly more attention paid to rules and positions than to checking. Classes were co-ed, so we weren’t supposed to make contacts, but the boys always did. I’m sure some of it was an excuse to hit girls in the chest and feel their boobs. The Sharks had come to town by this point, but it was still rare to find someone openly discussing hockey in school. Fans existed, but I didn’t know many.

Once in high school I had little time for impromptu games on someone’s street, and I generally forgot about hockey. I didn’t get to my first NHL game until after college. Anyone who thinks a California kid can’t fall in love with hockey is dead wrong. It might take us a little longer to get there, but when we eventually get to a live game, we’ll be hooked. Even if it means making more Mighty Ducks movies.

Since this probably won’t happen again

July 25, 2009

Ballhype is a nice promotional site and all, but we have to admit we found this ranking a bit … shocking (click to enlarge):

Their ranking system is based on outbound links, so it makes sense that our contribution-oriented blog would be grossly inflated in their ranking system. Still, we thought this was shocking enough to share with you since it probably isn’t something that will last very long.

The draft? Yeah, it’s been kind of a big deal. Sheesh.

We cannot thank everyone who’s contributed enough, as well as every blog kind enough to link to us. Please support and follow each re-draft GM’s blogs, as well as the ones in our massive sidebar and the ones we carelessly forget to link.

Five Hole Fanatics

Vancity Canuck

Raw Charge

Defending Big D

All Hawks Hockey

Lighthouse Hockey

Strange Deadfellows

Section 303

Wazzupwitchu

Five for Howling

Pensburgh

Storming the Crease

Sacrifice the Body

Battle of California

Royal Half

Life and Times of a Caniac

Scotty Hockey

In Lou We Trust

Sports and the City

Fear the Fin

Sens at Land’s End

Hockey Blog Adventure

Bangin Panger

Litter Box Cats

Crash the Crease

JC NHL

Jibblescribbits

We cannot thank you enough. Seriously.

Wrap Around Curl shares her Earliest Hockey Memories

July 15, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

By some fortuitous bit of dumb luck, we’ve managed to swindle some of our favorite hockey bloggers to write guest posts for CLS. Still, it never gets old when we get to bring in someone for the first time.

Such is the case with our prolific pal Wrap Around Curl. Her hilarious, occasionally “Man Candy”-oriented work would be impressive enough if you simply followed her self-titled blog. Yet WAC spreads her seeds of sass all over the blogosphere, most notably as a correspondent for CLS favorites Puck the Media and Pension Plan Puppets. WAC makes Lance Armstrong look like some random slacker from Austin, TX, doesn’t she?

Anyway, we’re glad to welcome WAC to the world of CLS guest posters. Make sure to follow her work.

***

For me, well I’ve been going to hockey games since I was in utero. My mom went to Chiefs games all the time. Well, they were the Flyers then. And it was more of the Slapshot era of hockey, the rivalries brutal and fights broke out in the stands. The Flyers played in the Spokane Coliseum which was affectionately called the Boone Street Barn and the team often, The Boone Street Barn Burners. Cowbells were common cheering props.

But she went to hockey games all the time and still went when she was pregnant with me. And even after I was born she still took me. The season ticket holders she sat by had made me a baby blanket and other stuff. (I have the blanket somewhere in storage.) I didn’t get to go to too many Chiefs game when I was younger. But I do remember being about 7 and sitting front row and screaming and pounding on the glass. I loved it. I wanted to play hockey as a kiddo but my mom couldn’t afford it, and I got mad when I found out that they don’t let girls fight. I can’t even ice skate but I’d certainly allow a strapping young defenceman, say Luke Schenn, teach me how to skate.

I started going to more and more games in high school with a few friends. And when I was a freshmen in college I used my financial aid money for season tickets. And the last person I dated started going to hockey because I went all the time. We eventually split and I lost the season ticket seats in the breakup. Terrible, truly. He decided to take random chicks to hockey (one of them does crosswords during games) and I still went to games, proudly and on my own. I have my season ticket a few rows behind the visitors bench now. And I haven’t missed a Chiefs game in about three seasons (I left a wedding reception early once for a game, its ok the cake was already cut). I treasure my player magnet collection and hate Cheerstick and Buck Night so hard. I tolerate Chuck a Puck.

People seem to find my love and adoration of my junior hockey team amusing. Well, given my location that’s all I have for hockey. But really it’s the best. The young talent, it’s wonderful. And the Chiefs alumni list is pretty amazing (here’s the alumi list) These kids are amazing. They play hockey because they love it and not for the paycheck.

Last years team that ended up winning the Memorial Cup was astounding. Dustin Tokarski – I am convinced will be quite the goalie in the NHL, if only he would stop getting overlooked because he might be a tad short for a modern goalie. He’s 5’10 to 5’11 depending on which stats you are reading. Drayson Bowman is just waiting to rule the Carolina Hurricanes. Ondrej Roman is going to be a tremendous goal scorer if he can get out of the Czech Republic. I keep dreaming that former captain Chris Bruton (he errrr was the one who dropped the Memorial Cup…) will return to the Chiefs as a coach. But because of the void I live in, people loving other NHL teams doesn’t seem so strange. There are people here who love the Red Wings (Mike Babcock used to coach the Chiefs), the Wild, the Canucks. Even the Predators and Lightning. If I wear my Nordiques jersey to a game, people smile.

It’s the homegrown fanbase and traditions that make it. There’s the special way we celebrate goals. And the Teddy Bear Toss. My friends and I make shirts for players and they are so flattered. They are some really great kids. And I am happy to pay 13 bucks a game to see them play. It’s rough following junior hockey because well, they can get injured. Then there are those who age out or have to be traded because of the overager rule. I’ve cried many times over players moving on. But I come back every season, ready to embrace the new players and to buy new player buttons. This season I will go through the hard process of deciding on a new “hockey boyfriend” since Tokarski is done as a Chief, after setting many new records. I’ll treasure my Chiefs sweater the boys signed. My friends and I have rituals for games, reading the program in a specific order. After most games we go to the same places for food and often a Chief or two will be there with his family and we’ll send him a basket of deep fried Oreos. We have to take care of our boys.

I even made the long journey to Montreal to see who was going to draft Jared Cowen. Sitting there with the Leafs crew, I sobbed my eyes out when the Senators picked him. Everyone was nice and comforted me and told me it was going to be ok, even though I have to hate him now. I’m happy he is going to an organization that will love him but I wanted him in the blue and white. I hope that Jared will have another season or two with the Chiefs before leaving me for Ottawa. Am I a member of the Leafer Nation? Of course. But my truest team is the Chiefs.

Anaheim Calling talks about the one ex-Duck they don’t want to see in Detroit, Anaheim free agency in general

July 1, 2009

Make sure to follow Daniel and Arthur’s great Ducks blog, Anaheim Calling for all your flying-V/knuckle pucking/formerly dirty elbowing needs. (Sorry, that was generic, but I’m sleepy. Anaheim Calling really is awesome.)

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

DANIEL:

The player I’d hate to see in my sweater has to be Jeremy Roenick. I’ve disliked him since he insulted the Ducks organization during the 1997 Playoff series between the Ducks and Coyotes (which we won). How does it feel not having your name on the Cup, Roenick? You’re entirely too cocky for a guy who’s never won a championship, and I’d never want you on a team that I root for.

“Tsst!”

ARTHUR:

Dear Murph,

This offseason, please don’t sign anyone born before November 10, 1970. I realize that you’re an old Blackhawk and Chelios is an old Blackhawk and Roenick is an old Blackhawk, and you occasionally want to walk into the locker room and reminisce about that one time that Darren Pang puked on Steve Larmer’s skates. I realize how attractive that is for you. I also realize that there’s some kind of Blackhawks AARP underground, and Doug Wilson probably just called you to remind you it’s your turn. To that, all I can say is TSST!

What’s that? Bill Guerin? TSST! His birthday’s on the 9th. Saku Koivu? Good Murph. Good boy. Now, I can show you affection and stop being do-minant.

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

ARTHUR:

If you’ve never seen a conniption, come and find me when Francois Beauchemin signs with another team. The man can turn a playoff series around, whether it’s by throwing the big hits, scoring a goal, tricking Iginla into thinking he’s right-handed or breaking Tomas Kopecky’s face.

It kills our chances if he signs with Dallas. That team already has our number, and they’d be adding a guy interested in reminding us, game after game, why it’s important to negotiate with your injured players.

DANIEL:

The free agent signing that would crush my soul is easy: Pahlsson to Detroit. If Arthur and I were blogging during the 2006-07 season, I can guarantee we would have done a post called: “The Top 10 Reasons Pahlsson Deserves The Selke.” I like Pahlsson, and I’ve always thought he was underrated, both as a defensive player and a scorer. Conversely, I hate Detroit. I mean, I HATE Detroit. They’ve ended the Ducks’ Playoff run on 3 occasions, and I feel that, despite everything that gets said about Anaheim and L.A., Detroit is the closest thing we have to a true rival. Losing a player like Pahlsson, who is in my eyes the quintessential Duck, to our rival in Detroit would cause me physical anguish comparable to crucifixion.

Storming the Crease decides who should NOT team up with Ovie

July 1, 2009

Rob from Storming the Crease has been a long-time contributor to Cycle like the Sedins, providing us with deep, interesting takes on the Washington Capitals. He’s been one of the busier bloggers during free agent time, writing three fantastic posts on Caps UFAs today alone. Make sure to follow his Caps-related pursuits.

They should be an interesting team to watch for the next decade (or however long Alex Ovechkin‘s contract is).

Raise your hands if you were the only guy in DC with a lower approval rating than George W.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Michael Nylander. The problem is that Nyls is signed for another two years and has a contract that epitomizes dead weight. GMGM has tried everything to get rid of this guy, who right now is a $5.5 million scratch (at least for the playoffs). Granted, there’s still a little more than three months until the season starts, but Nylander stands out more than just about anybody.

(If you get the sense that I pick on Nylander at every opportunity, you’re right. But he’s really dead weight at this point. Seriously, I’d rather have an AHL player on the team than this guy. The Caps should have let him be Edmonton’s problem when they had the chance.)

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

It would be AWESOME if the New York Rangers and/or Philadelphia Flyers continued their free-spending ways. Oh wait, that happened already with the Flyers totally overpaying for an aging Chris Pronger. GM George McPhee thankfully wasn’t baited into another bad deal (see Jagr, Jaromir) and passed on trading for a good player, albeit one who is past his prime.

Barry Melrose Rocks tells us if the winds of change will affect the Carolina Hurricanes

June 30, 2009

You’d think that we’d hate all other NHL blogs, but the truth is that we pretty much enjoy all of them. One of the best general NHL blogs out there is the magnificently named Barry Melrose Rocks and we’re glad to have them contribute to CLS for the first time.

Dave McBrayer writes for BMR as well as his Hurricanes-related blog Carolina on Ice. Make sure to follow both blogs and enjoy his slightly different take on the Hurricanes free agent situations.

The Hurricanes have only two UFAs: Erik Cole and Chad LaRose.

Am I the only one to rock the “Every LaRose has its thorn” pun? Probably.

It won’t chafe my ass to see Erik Cole walk:
Erik Cole was traded for Joni Pitkanen this time last year but the Canes were teh suck without him so they brought him back. He was good, then crappy again – consistency and his lack thereof were one of the reasons why he was traded in the first place. If he can come back at a reasonable salary (say 2 years, 2.75mil/per) – awesome. But he’s always been a beast to try and get re-signed, so perhaps Jimmy Rutherford has had enough of Cole getting the upper hand in negotiations. The whole “deciding not to show up or score a goal” in the playoffs certainly didn’t help him if he’s leveraging for a paperstack anywhere close to his prior $4mil/per contract.

I may die / cancel my season tickets / cry into my pillow if they can’t re-sign LaRose:
Chad LaRose deserves so much more than the $875,000 he got last year. He was an RFA last year and Rutherford low-balled him due to claims that LaRose was their pencilled “4th line player” with a 1 year deal. He had a career season with 19 goals and 12 assists. Now he can’t come to terms with the Canes as they most likely are trying to NOT pay him anywhere close to what he could get on the open market.

You won’t find #59 on any prized free agent lists this summer, but there are plenty of clubs that would love to have a passionate, hard working player like Chad LaRose.

Free Agent I wouldn’t mind seeing in the red and black: Mike Knuble
David Lee introduced the rumor to me. No way it happens though (please happen!).