Archive for the ‘Mr. Plank’ Category

Fear the Fin’s Mr. Plank shares his Earliest Hockey Memories

July 22, 2009
Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

We consider many of our favorite CLS contributors borderline friends, despite the fact that we might not be able to pick them out of a lineup. However, Mr. Plank is one of the rare souls who not only had the bad luck/opportunity to meet with us, but to see us absolutely sloshed. As part of his black mail campaign that began that night, we are required to direct you to Fear the Fin and to tell you that his little avatar thing is misleading. That handlebar mustache is merely meant to distract you from the fact that he’s devastatingly handsome.

Despite being way too much of a stud to blog like the rest of us, we’re glad he does. Fear to Fin is a great San Jose Sharks blog. Make sure to check it out. If you don’t, Plank will totally break your girlfriend’s heart just because he can. Seriously.


A fact that will come as a shock to some of you (sans the WBT crew that has graciously made the move with me), I wasn’t born a Sharks fan, nor was I even born in the Golden State. As is the standard with most Hollywood based storylines (you should see the clubs I frequent based off this FTF gig), it’s best to dig in where it all began.

I was born on October 25, 1987 in St. Paul Minnesota, a state that is commonly known as The Land of 10,000 Lakes; lakes that receive a heavy dose of wear and tear during the long winters, humbly offering a simple yet eloquent medium for exercise and sport.

St. Paul, Minnesota. We think.

What better way to take advantage of Mother Nature than hockey eh?

The love for hockey woven into the veins of Minnesota made it easy for anyone to enjoy. The high school state tournament was a frequent destination for my father (who was born in Wabasha, the town where Grumpy Old Men was based), and at the ripe age of three he found it in my best interest to drag me along. How right he was. Details don’t come easy at that age, but from what I can remember, the one thing that drew my attention was the culture of the sport. There’s something magical about being physically cold- it forces you to emit heat from your heart through a smile or a wave at random passerby (something that may be considered a law in Minnesota). Coupled with the elegant speed of the skaters, viciousness of a body check, and general pandemonium when a goal is scored? A fairly easy choice, as I’m sure you all can agree.

From them on I was hooked, and rightfully so. The next week I purchased my first pair of skates and headed out onto Lake of The Isles to practice with my dad. We skated for what seemed like sunup to sundown (in reality it was probably an hour or so, and I doubt I was able to skate all that much), and came home to a piping hot plate of chicken cacciatore and rhubarb pie. Ah, those were the days.

Yes, this was placed here to make you hungry because we’re cruel.

When the winter wasn’t in full force my dad and I would play in the basement. We weren’t strapped for money persay, but hockey was an expensive sport- I never got an opportunity to play it competitively. Regardless, in that basement it didn’t matter at all. I would strap a pillowcase on each of my legs (mimicking the future of goaltending equipment quite well I must add- those things made the five hole look like a pinhole), a baseball glove in my left hand, a stick signed by Neal Broten in my right, and a laundry basket set up behind me serving as the goal. My dad would tee up socks, bunched up in balls of three, and fire them at me while I did my best to shut the door on his Stanley Cup dreams.

At night he would tell me stories about the great Phil Housley, probably the greatest player to come from the great state of Minnesota (and one of the greatest American-born players of all time); tales of watching him at the high school hockey tournament looking like a man amongst boys, how he played in the All-Star game at the age of 18, how his swift skating and rocket from the point was the thing scouts salivated over.

My favorite team was obviously the Minnesota North Stars (a franchise that has a rather peculiar history with the Golden Seals and San Jose Sharks- funny how things work out sometimes). My favorite player was Neal Broten and Mike Modano, probably due to my dad’s influence. I vaguely remember the Stars magical run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in ’91, and was just beginning to immerse myself into the team when they packed up and left for Dallas.

It’s one thing I’ll never forgive, and frankly makes the Sharks rivalry with them all the more bitter for me. I sincerely hope they manage to worm their way into a playoff spot this season and finally get what they deserve.

Hell hath no fury like a six year old scorned.

After moving out to California, the groundwork for my impending fandom was set. My dad would take me to games on occasion, but unfortunately didn’t quite warm up to the team in the warm climate of California. To be fair though, Owen Nolan’s inclusion onto the Sharks roster got me lots of tickets at The Tank. I guess it’s not too hard to enjoy a player that has the ability to ignite a fanbase like number 11 would continue to do during his career in San Jose.

If I had to name the most visceral moment as a San Jose Shark fan it would be game three of the 06′ series with Edmonton- not due to it’s heroics, but because of how helpless it made me feel. The Sharks were about ten minutes away from taking a 3-0 strangehold on the series when Chris Pronger tied the game. Two overtimes later some hack puts it past Tosk and the Sharks melt down. I think Big Joe hit about two posts that game as well.

Not the most pleasant memory, but it’s the one that burns the brightest.

In summation, my hockey history has been one that has had a great beginning and looks to have an excellent future. Although the summer sun is soaking the skin of co-eds across California right now, the drab and dreary clutch of winter is where I feel at home.

Is it October yet?

Go Sharks.

Looking back at the BoC trip (part 1): Sleek is a beast; I’m just a monster

May 8, 2009
Cartoon by: Spade from Victorhell of BoC commenting fame. Oh, also, it’s O’Brien 🙂

California. What could I say about this place after spending one week there when the Red Hot Chili Peppers have covered every base already? Perhaps my naked inexperience is exactly why it’s taken me so long to write more than a superficial mini-post of my trip.

Each one of these posts will be heavily tangential and full of wild assumptions. Hopefully you will find these at least slightly interesting.

Meeting Earl Sleek

One thing I’ll never forget (even if the forgiveness came instantly) is my sister absolutely losing her mind when she found out that I’d be staying with people I MET ON THE INTERNET.

Because OBVIOUSLY I would end up hacked to pieces in some SoCal dumpster by this HOMICIDAL MANIAC who … blogs about hockey and draws adorable cartoons. (Naturally)

She had seen an episode of “Oprah” that featured online sexual predators. Keep in mind, growing up, my sister is the LAST person I’d expect to freak out about anything … especially based on the workings of big momma ‘O.’ This prompted a freak out from my wildly unsupportive brother and my nun-like mother. Typically, I can coast quite comfortably under the radar with these people, but never underestimate the power of technophobia.

If nothing else, my family should have worried for Earl Sleek.

Not sure how much personal, identifiable information is appropriate here, so I’ll keep it to a healthy minimum. Sleek showed up to (very nicely) pick me up from an Amtrak station and had the “Katamari Damacy” soundtrack playing in his car.

It was a little bit awkward at first, but my God, the guy owns a soundtrack to an obscure video game I LOVED in high school. Talk about an amazing ice breaker. Otherwise, we would have probably been a little less relaxed. Here’s a simulated thought process, thwarted thankfully by the dual wonders of nostalgia and Japanese pop music:

Me: Weird, I’ve never seen this guy before. He’s tall and seems way too normal to be a blogger.

Sleek: Jesus, this guy’s fucking fat.

Luckily, we were able to avoid such thoughts and chat about a game where you roll up human beings and enjoy visuals clearly targeting the college stoner/Autistic crowd. We eventually watched hockey and segued into “Mr. Show” (a program I had never seen before that night, which blew my mind).

My original plan for the trip was to spend time with both Sleek and Fear the Fin‘s Mr. Plank, but things fell through with Plank. (Or Plank thought, “Wow … this guy is a serious douche bag. Time for Plan B.”) Unfortunately for Sleek, I ended up crashing at his place for pretty much a full week. This meant heavy exposure to my flippant style of pontificating and unquenchable need to make a joke out of everything.

Certainly, if I were to plan the trip again, I would have done things quite differently. Regardless of whether or not I annoyed the piss out of Sleek*, he was incredibly gracious to allow me to stay at his spectacular bachelor pad. Thanks for everything, Sleek.

And keep rocking that Katamari.

* – I totally annoyed the piss out of him.

In Praise (but also plenty of ridicule) of NHL on the Fly

April 25, 2009

Mr. Plank and I were chatting about the greatness (but also the humorous flaws) of “NHL on the Fly” and it dawned on me that the show needs a love letter. Yet since I cloak myself in a veil of cowardly sarcasm, that love letter will make fun of the show a lot.

For those of you (sad, CHEAP, PATTTTTHEEEETIC) people who aren’t aware of NotF, it is basically the NHL’s answer to the formerly great ESPN show “NFL Primetime.” Actually, scratch that, it’s even better: it’s NFL Primetime if it was on an absurd 10-hour loop.

If you want to know what happened in the NHL each night and you hate the Internet (good for you), then NHL on the Fly will impregnate your heart.

ANYWAY, the most fun part might be making fun of the “broom closet” production values of the show. And what better way to do that then by hurling superficial insults at the show’s hosts? I thought you’d never ask!

Dan Pollard
Not much to say about Dan “DP” Pollard so it’s natural to go to a double penetration joke. I’m cheap.

Brian Duff
Blandly likable, a lot like Dan Pollard. Unfortunately the only goofy pun nickname you could give him is a Simpsons beer reference, not something sexual. Therefore I like Dan Pollard better. This is not a Democracy.

Craig Button
FINALLY, someone I can make fun of. Craig “cute as a” Button is “the Italian guy” on NHL on the Fly. (Note: he might not actually be Italian.)
It’s fun to imagine him when an intern gets him a coffee without his patented “just sugah.”
Button: “You call this coffee? You fucking call this coffee?”
C’mon you know that has to happen at least once a month.

Gary Green
Now we make it to the friendly old man with that could-be-creepy twinkle in his eyes. Green seems like the “cool uncle” who would take his 10-year old nephew to “Porky’s” yet the kid’s parents just can’t seem to object to their son’s too early exposure to showered breasts. Seriously, try to imagine maintaining anger at double G. Not going to happen, Ace.
There are a lot of odd associations that come with Green. For some reason he sort of reminds me of the “Jump to Conclusions Mat” guy from “Office Space.”
OK I’m a bit fucked up.

Larry Murphy
When you look at Larry Murphy, it’s kind of hard to believe he was a hockey player (and a really good one too). Isn’t it?
I get the feeling that Larry will join Bill Clement in the “younger generations will be stunned that they were players” zone. Here’s some Hall of Fame members:

  • Pat Summerall
  • Phil Jackson(even though he’s really fucking tall)
  • John Davidson
  • Lenny Wilkens
  • Larry Brown

There are probably a lot more guys that give you the “no shit, they played?” feeling but I’m drawing a blank.

Dave Reid
Reid – and all the NHL on the Fly guys, really – seems to really know what he’s talking about. If I met him, I would probably drop my sarcastic, difficult shtick in favor of trembling fear.
That is just how I react to a crew cut.

Bill Berg
Berg’s photo is a tough find. It’s really a shame, too, because his “confused” expression is quite a treat. It’s not that he’s bad, either, it just that it seems like he’s perma-perplexed. And that’s one of the things that makes him awesome.

Bill Clement
It’s pretty stunning that Clement is the guy who got shit canned (or at least left) from the Versus studio show being that he’s the only guy I’d willingly watch on TV.
I used to hate him, but couldn’t put my finger on the reason. Then I realized that he looks EXACTLY like my high school Biology teacher.* As my memory of high school fades more with each season, I like Clement more.
Plus, the mustache.

The Detroit Freud Wings is more like it. Ha ha Psychology humor. I suck.

Carrie Milbank
OK, well, she’s not on NHL on the Fly but you deserve a reward for reading this far. God bless you.

* – My high school Biology teacher wouldn’t allow his children to watch TV. Look, TV rots your brain … but if you don’t watch it, you will be smarter than your peers and they will HATE you for it.