Archive for the ‘public humiliation’ Category

Earliest hockey articles (Slow Saturday reading)

July 26, 2009
Whoa, easy. Someone can’t take a “floss” joke.

On a slow Saturday since some of our Armchair GMS are undergoing some scheduling conflicts, the subject of the great coming of age book “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” came up. It reminded me of the fact that I forced a few hockey articles on my college newspaper a loooong time ago.

Being that its fairly certain that these are the first hockey articles I ever posted, it might be fun to read these underdeveloped little pieces from an era in which it seemed that I might become a real journalist. (You’ll probably see why that never happened).

So here’s three posts, with a brief description and a self aggrandizing one-liner/excerpt.

1. “Here’s Hoping the NHL sticks to its guns” (Published: July 25, 2005)

My Crosby-centric article written in the summer before the first pro-lockout season.

“After the New Jersey Devils shocked the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings in the1994 Finals with the awful-for-TV neutral zone trap, the league would see more “clutching and grabbing” than a North American Man/Boy Love Association convention. “

2. “Younger, goonless NHL brings change from the ordinary” (Published: October 14, 2005)
Another article from the original post-lockout season, this one with a hysterical mug shot.

“Goons have been described as “dancing grizzly bears,” but honestly, I don’t want to insult the agility of those gigantic yet intriguing creatures.”

3. NHL Heckling Guide (Published: October 4, 2006)

Don’t be shocked if this becomes one of next season’s big features (the concept, not the rushed column).

“Do you hate old people? Then bring a walker to the AAC when the Red Wings come to town and heckle 44-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios.”

And, eff it, since hockey and mustaches are inexorably linked:

4. Moustache Mania (Published: August 29, 2006)

So, I became editor in chief of a college newspaper. What do I do? Devote a huge center spread feature to the ‘stache. Jeez.

“Judging from Josef Stalin’s bushy moustache and Hitler’s, well, “Hitler moustache” … it almost goes without saying that if you want to take over the world, you cannot put up a respectable effort while clean-shaven.

I mean, seriously, how can you expect to be truly evil if you cannot stroke your moustache and cackle with your minions? Even Saddam Hussein, a noted failure, acknowledged the moustache requirement.

Looking back, it’s hard to wrap my mind around the sex symbol status of Moustache Hall of Fame member Burt Reynolds. Sure, I’m jealous of his bear-like hairy chest. I’m only human. But I don’t quite understand the Reynolds phenomenon.”

Note: Sundaytainment will probably still be posted tomorrow, but it might be late due to expected hangover complications.

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The Magic of MS Paint

April 11, 2009
Paint job by: britdevil from the HF Forums

Stumbled on a hilarious thread at HF Forums that features a bunch of marvelous works of Microsoft Paint art related to NHL logos and (in)famous moments in hockey history. There’s not enough room here to show them all (highly recommend checking them all out, though) but here’s some of my favorites:

Alex Ovechkin (Paint job by: britdevil from the HF Forums)
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Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz (real and in Paint)


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Hilarious Paint rendering of a hysterical Olli Jokinen photo

Paint job by: britdevil from the HF Forums***

Borderline impressionistic take on the Alex Semin fight


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Two humiliating Ryan O’Byrne moments in one great drawing

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Edit: Somehow, I forgot the most obvious one (thanks, Amy).

Das Sedins!

Crosby hate or How I learned to stop worrying and love the stats (Morning cycle)

February 23, 2009

But c’mon guys, the Crosby hate is starting to be excessive. Look, we all understand that Sid the Kid gets media coverage that is not quite proportionate to his standing in the league. That doesn’t mean he’s not one of the best forwards, just that he’s not the only fish in the sea. Here’s the analogy that makes the most sense to me:

Consider NHL marketing a pizza. There’s eight slices and four dudes who want that stuffed crust. Let’s say we have Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla/whichever fourth forward strikes your fancy at the dinner table. It’s not unreasonable to give each guy two slices, but really, Crosby gets about 5 slices and the rest are lucky to even get one.

It would be like Lebron James receving all the attention unless Kobe Bryant found a way to score 30 points blindfolded. I get that.

Still, let’s not forget how lucky we are as NHL fans. The under-30 talent in this league is almost obscene. Crosby, Malkin and Ovechkin are joined by Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf, Ilya Kovalchuk, Ales Hemsky, Anze Kopitar and the list goes on and on.

It’s fine to dislike Crosby, but there may come a time when you regret frowning every time he touches the puck.

  • For the longest time, it seemed, stats filled my head with a rage only matched by Rush Limbaugh’s anger after a Donovan McNabb touchdown pass.

Perhaps, though, my deep hatred was for the statistics highlighted by ESPN and other networks when they cover sports rather than stats themselves. How many times per year do you roll your eyes at an obscure contextual statistic … one that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of anything?

After spending the last year getting more deeply involved in the hockey blogosphere than expected, my viewpoint of Moneyball/Bill James inspired statistics changed profoundly. It is painfully obvious that judging a player by studying superficial stats like plus/minus simply cannot cut it any longer.

Last week featured some fantastic examples of the best in stat-crunching and the last month shows my rapidly increased interest in “looker deeper.” You can find some great examples of good stat use in a footnote at the bottom of this post.* (And for not as great examples, there are a few I wrote in that footnote too.)

  • Here’s an open challenge: find a way to convince me that the Minnesota Wild can actually make the playoffs. Before you scream “they’re the eight (blanking) seed!” take a look at their positively homicidal schedule.

After they host the Kings tomorrow, they must go through this road trip: Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, San Jose, LA Kings and Anaheim. That’s a six game run against borderline to ironclad playoff teams. And to be honest, their schedule isn’t much easier from there.

  • And, finally, from the Be Careful What You Wish For department: in this high tech era in which people can take a photo of you with a phone, is it finally time to admit that being a public figure might just suck? At least a little bit?

Obviously, the Montreal Canadiens might not be the wisest decision makers when it comes to public intoxication, but this stuff keeps happening in sports and beyond. Sure, it would be great to sleep with gorgeous women, play a child’s sport for a living and rake in millions of dollars. No doubt about it, if I was a pro hockey player no one would be allowed to bring electronics into my home or parties and everything – banana peels, veal cutlets, everything – that goes into my trash would be shredded. Perhaps there are advantages to anonymity.

(Seriously, whoever snapped that photo of Michael Phelps might get the Wayne Gretzky/Mario Lemieux “skip the grace period” treatment. Just rush that douche into the Piece of Shit Hall of Fame.)

* – It’s non-hockey, but Moneyball author Michael Lewis took a fascinating look into the way the Houston Rockets measure Shane Battier’s under-the-radar contributions.

Matt from Battle of Alberta’s breakdown of Alex Kovalev’s struggles will leave you snickering at the surface-level “body language” type commentaries of talking heads.

Our pal Earl Sleek found some stark examples of how the Ducks currently handle tie game situations versus better time’s for the Quack attack.

Your fearful author also published some stories that crunch stats in the last month. Most recently, there was my team-by-team breakdown of goaltending tandems. Also, while moonlighting at Battle of California I took a look at the Western Conference: (bubble bursting part I, part II and part III).

Lou Holtz and Hitler: overrated

October 18, 2008
Do you think Dave Lewis auditioned for a part in “Downfall”? Also, spoked wheel ‘B’ logo > Swastika. That’s right, skin heads. I went there.

Immediately after hearing Lou Holtz say “Hitler was a great leader too” or something to that effect on “College Football Live” my facebook status changed to “James O’Brien thinks that Lou Holtz might be the worst sports analyst in human history.” Sometimes, you just get lucky and slip in when someone makes a big mistake on corporate TV and tonight was one of those nights.

Deadspin thinks that Holtz might have to play the corporate apology game or (fingers crossed) take some time off. Even before this blunder, Holtz was terrible enough to encourage a rapid channel change, but this was just stupid.

(Though I must admit there are probably more than a handful of West Virginians who would compare Rich Rodriguez to the Fuhrer)

Let’s face it, both Holtz and Adolf were overrated, although at least the failed artist accomplished the rare goal of making a style of mustache obsolete. To every one but the perennially unlucky Dave Lewis, of course.