Friday, December 28, 2007

Help Wanted: Visigoth who can skate

This from Lord Stanley's Blog yesterday in Lord Stanley's Blog yesterday, JR seems to be mulling the idea of bringing in an enforcer. I hate the idea. Jesse Boulerice delivered the most memorable goal from the 2002 (?) season, but little else. Darren Langdon was a capable brawler and a solid clubhouse guy, but I dismiss the idea that you have to put Grendel on your 4th line to make other squads behave. The Canes really need to get physical from the outset. They need to hit the bully in the mouth before the bully can pick and chose his time and victim. You hit Colton Orr on his first shift and make him the retaliator. Mike Commodore, Andrew Ladd (when his hands are free), Craig Adams and Tim Gleason all stand up for their pards when the call comes, but beyond Erik Cole and Craig Adams, few Hurricane forwards seem willing to blast opponents on the forecheck. The Canes are perfectly capable of enforcement without bringing in a Scott Parker.

I defended Scott Walker awhile back after the head-butt he delivered to Mike Fisher. Yeah, it was a bit dirty, but the Canes were getting whipped and he took it personal. He got jumped from behind by a visor-guy and got frustrated in his attempts to punch thru the Plexiglas. Other Hurricanes might have curled up in a rope-a-dope and then skated away with their head down. He's the ornieriest guy on this Hurricanes squad, he's a robust little 5'10" ball of piss and vinegar, and I say Scott Walker needs some help in the physical play department.

I don't think the lesson of the Ducks Cup run of last year is that size and intimidation now trump all. The leading scorers on that squad were Teemu Selanne, Andy McDonald and Scott Niedermeyer. These guys are not giants with nasty porn-staches. This year's Ducks squad is dominated by Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Chris Pronger - big guys with mean streaks who can finish, but the Ducks have suffered greatly this fall without the presence of Selanne and Niedermeyer.

If you look to the Ducks model, the Canes lack similar size-speed-skill-intimidator balance. So in my role as self-appointed roster consultant, I'd advise JR that a move that improved the balance would be good. It doesn't have to be a pure enforcer, it just has to be a large man (or men) with decent skills who relish the opportunity to inflict pain on every shift. If the Canes want to add some instant evil to the lineup, here are a few guys I'd suggest looking deeper at:

  • Chris Neil-a human anvil with emerging offensive upside. Affordable at $1.2 mil thru next season.

  • Trent Hunter - Solid all-around player who is second in the league in hits. He's got hands like Craig Adams, and he's also a UFA at the end of this season if it doesn't work out.

  • John Zeiler-I watched this kid the other night and he hits everything that moves. He's not very big, but he's got a mile-long ornery streak.

EVENING UPDATE: Not sure yet how bad the injury to Bret Hedican will be. If he's going to miss a chunk of time, me thinks that puck-moving defenseman JR has repeatedly mentioned might be the Canes first priority. I'm still not convinced that a puck-mover is what the Canes blueline needs. The boys gave up three goals on defensive breakdowns tonight. I think they need an ice-time hog who can deal pain and own the area in front of the net. Luke DeCock mentioned Brooks Orpik the other day. That's not much of an upgrade. The two guys GM C/B would pursue would be Keith Ballard in Phoenix and Francois Beauchemin in Anaheim. I'd like to see the Canes take care of the need on defense first, and then go find an affordable enforcer at the deadline if this crew can't make physicality and enforcement a team commitment.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ninja Warrior Sunday

The Bengals got whacked Saturday by the 49ers-reminisent of those two Super Bowl debacles. The Panthers score was 3-0 when I got bored, so I started flipping channels. Like Jerry Seinfeld once said, "Men don't care what's on TV. They only care what else is on TV." So I found this show called Ninja Warrior on the obscure G4 channel. This is reality programming at its best and on a shoestring. Nothing but metal scaffolding, fake zoo display rock, plastic greenery and huge pits of muddy water. You can have Survivor, give me Shingo Yamamoto the gas station attendant.

This show combines the best of the old American Gladiators shows with the Gong Show. Instead of Chuck Barris, you've got a screaming Japanese narrator dropping snarky riffs on what is at times the strangest cast of contestants. There's an American doing overdub narration between events, but it's the Japanese narrator and the subtitles that are the most entertaining. Here's a typical line: "The super soldier climbs up to the balance bridge...and decides to attack the obstacle with his crotch." The poor guy tripped on a balance board and ended up straddling the thing briefly, before he fell into the watery abysss.

Contestants include serious athletes, Japanese celebs and everyday hosers. The cast of recurring characters includes a guy who looks like an octopus who apparently shows everybody his dead octopus in a bucket right before his run. There is also an exotic male dancer who strips down to a loincloth, and a lady wrestler who dresses like Conan the Barbarian's French maid sex-slave. Kinda liked that last one.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In Defense of Eric Staal

So it's a mid-week February night in 1989, and I'm heading out the door to the gym when the phone rings. Must have been a Wednesday, because on Tuesday's, Thursdays and Saturdays I did the three mile run along Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach. Also used to surf on weekend mornings. Every other month or so I ran a 10K in town. Best finish -44:50 in a Coronado to Balboa Park race. So the phone rings, and it's my girlfriend (now beloved wife). I tell her I'm heading to the gym, she suggests stopping over at her place. Never got to the gym that night. Never been in that kinda shape since. Not that I'd change anything, it's just priorities change as we go through life's transitions. Balance is hard, but it can be achieved.

Cam Ward got married right after the Cup finals two years ago. Cam had a crappy 2006-2007 season. Cam's play is better this season, but not great thus far. Eric Staal got married before this season. Think about the demands on his time and attention right now. He's got Pete Friesen breathing down his neck with dietary regimens and conditioning demands. He's got older and lower-salaried teammates, coaches and a GM looking at him to prove he deserves the cash and the "A" on his chest. Then he's got momma wanting to pick out linens, plant Geraniums, schedule romantic dinners and do all those other things newlyweds get to do. He's got photo shoots, PlayStation 2 game launch events, TV spots for NHL Network and those warm and fuzzy CBC vignettes with his bros, all while trying to maintain his commitment to job #1.

Yeah, Staal's floating a bit, and yeah he seems dis-interested and prone to taking nights off. At least he's not out peeing in public or "making it rain" in the clubs. If he starts to wear Cincinnati Bengals gear, then I'm worried. I say once Eric finds that balance, he'll be back. He's too good of a player; he respects the game too much, and he's too proud and well-grounded to become the next Jeff O'Neill. So I ask for patience with Eric Staal. Using marriage math, he's is still putting toothpicks in the jar. Married guy knows what I'm talking about.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Defense of Scott Walker

Street Fighting Man vs. Visor Guy

Scott Walker will probably be suspended for head-butting Mike Fisher last night. Does he deserve it? Yeah, he knows better. I think Walker was frustrated by the lopsided nature of the game, and in the end with being unsuccessful at trying to punch thru Fisher's freaking welder's mask face shield. I think you or I could take a Georges Laraque punch if we had that helmet and sheild apparatus. Hockey's code of chivalry, it's variation on the Marquis of Kingsbury rules, should be adjusted for visor guys. Some sort of star chamber, maybe a man-law group within the NHLPA should pass the word that visor guys are gonna have to lose the helmet at the outset of a bout. Maybe everybody should just drop the helmet. Might make lesser men think twice before dropping the gloves. Two more minutes in penalties means less than risking your boyish good looks. It's either that, or make Vinny Prospal masks the standard across the league.

Good on ya Scott Walker. You took it personal. Pitty your teammates don't share your passion right now. Me thinks Coach Lavvy, quoted in the N&O, would agree:

"I actually thought (Walker) was playing the body out there, one of the few guys that went out and tried to lay some hits in the first period," coach Peter Laviolette said.

Fellow Caniacs, this team is a mess right now. Wufie offers a very passionate treatise on the subject today over at Carolina on Ice. Here's a point he makes that I share:

As a paying fan, I deserve nothing less than total effort. THAT is what I pay for. Not wins. Not goals. Not saves. Not highlight reel plays. I simply pay for effort.

It's meritocracy time. In my mind, roster spots should belong only to the fittest and most committed-here and now. Nobody on this struggling team should think for one moment that their past accomplishments, or their longevity with the club, or the "A" on their chest, or how many TV commercials they've done, or the fact that they have three hockey-playing brothers and a dad who built a back yard rink on the family sod farm, should mean entitlement to ice time.

UPDATE: It's days like this when I want to actually be a journo. It would be juicy to be around this club the next couple of days. Wonder if Lavvy will start throwing phones like Hal McRae did back in the day? Walker as quoted moments ago on Lord Stanley's Blog:

"Things were happening so fast and you’re trying to keep your head down because you’re already cut. It’s tough to say. I’m trying to end the fight or keep my head down anyway, because he’s got a shield.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Your Wednesday Night Alternative Programming

Canes lose 6-0. Best system goalie plays in Albany. Top puck-moving defenseman a healthy scratch. Suckage meter pegged.

We take you now to lip-synching Swedes in silky karate pajamas:

Canes "big" free agent a bust?

Defense? You want ME to play defense?

Jeff Hamilton watched three of the last six games from a comfy chair. He's been pretty worthless (1 goal, -5) at even strength. With Matt Cullen in the house, my guess is that JR might take a mulligan on signing Jeff in the off season.

Again tonight, David Tanabe and Craig Adams get the nod while Hamilton watches from on high. To borrow from Abraham Lincoln's quote regarding General McClellan's reluctance to go on the offensive against the Army of Northern Virginia, If Lavvy's not going to use Hamilton, might there be some team who would like to borrow (have) him? At less than $1 mil per year he's day laborer cheap in NHL terms. So is Hammy being dangled as trade bait? Anybody know of a club out there that might be looking for a one-trick PP pony?

I'd like to see some deep digging on what's up with Hamilton.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Three Ducks Trade Scenarios

Now is the time on Sprokets wenn vee wildly speculate

Scenario 1
The signing of Bruno St. Jacques affirms that the Ducks will be looking to move a blueliner. Mathieu Schneider is wicked pricey now and will be more expensive in his next/last contract year. He's also 38 and Jewish. Old Jewish guys on the verge of retirement want to go to Florida. Tells me it's gonna be Schneider for Olli Jokinen, thus proving those some pundits who've teased a Jokinen deal for years were right all along.

Scenario 2
Todd Marchant has been a healthy scratch lately. He also makes way too much money to be sitting in the skybox. He's a grinding centerman. On the Ducks, everybody grinds...and kidney punches...and crosschecks...and so on. Thus, he's excesss baggage. So what team would be willing to take on a $2.5 mil/yr 4th line center? Without Kevyn Adams, the Blackhawks are a just a bunch of lost snot-nosed newbies in need of a Sargeant Hulka. Marchant will be the big toe those boys need. Marchant to Chicago for the Sergei Samsonov who will bring the (periodic) scoring touch the Ducks have lacked on their roster. I think Sergei just needs a change of scenery...again.

Scenario 3
Bruno St. Jacques was just signed and called up. He's from Quebec. The Ducks can't bring up one Gaul without restoring the cultural balance in the clubhouse. Too many Frenchmen on a team means surrender is the most imminent threat to your playoff chances. So to move Beauchemin, they must either sign a free agent mime or call up another Quebecois. I say they'll call up prospect goalie Jean-Phillipe Levasseur (sexy French, no?) and send down the Prussian-sounding Jonas Heil Hiller to make the deal work. France wins. Germany (Switzerland, Oh what's the difference?) loses. All is well in Francophone world. So, it looks like the Ducks will move Francois Beauchemin to the Canes for Johnny Crackers. Woooo Hoooo! Deal of the millennium baby!

There you go. Three very viable scenarios. One's gotta be right, right?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bates Battaglia is looking for a new gig

My second-fondest memory as a Caniac comes from game two of the first round of the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs. Canes win in OT on a Bates Battaglia deflection on a shot from the point. Nobody left the ESA a stranger that night. After getting beaten and beat up by the Devils in the first round of the 2001 playoffs, this was the game that made me believe in the Canes. Then, just like yesterday, they ran into the winged-wheel buzz saw in the 2002 Cup finals.

2001-2002 was a good season for Bates:

Player (Pts)

Ron Francis (77)

Sami Kapanen (69)

Jeff O'Neill (64)

Rod Brind'Amour (55)

Bates Battaglia (46-21 goals)

Erik Cole (40 )

Bates was waived today by the Toronto Maple Leafs. You've gotta look at the "Ice Chips" feature on the site for the announcement. Hope he finds a place to continue playing. If not, he's got that Sam Malone gig waiting for him back on Glenwood Ave.

For those into Cane nostalgia, click here to take a look at the roster that season. Many of those names are long gone from professional hockey.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas comes early to C/B

Now occupying a place of honor among my greatest office Christmas gifts

First there was the Homer Simpson hi ball glass. Then the gourd from Hawaii. Last year, it was the disco glitter lamp. This year, Roddy joins my collection. Many thanks to Dave of Carolina On Ice responded to my commentary on Hurricanes figurine night with an offer to send me my very own. Upon closer inspection of my new favorite collectible, the object du art appears to resemble Ralph Malph more than Ralph Macchio. So in keeping with this degrees of separation from Ralph Macchio trend, look for the Ray Whitney figurine to resemble the diminutive original Al of Al's Diner, Eric Staal to evoke memories of Richie Cunningham, and Cam Ward to favor _______ (your call to finish the riff).

Thanks again Dave.

Cason Wins 2007 Thorpe Award

Congrats to (distant) cousin Antoine Cason for his recognition as the best defensive back in college football. Quite an accomplishment for a guy who plays on a team that gets little or no national glow. Antoine decided to come back for his senior year despite the fact that this Wildcat program is a mess. He's on track to graduate and he's a great kid.

When asked to comment on Cason's recognition, Coach Mike Stoops ripped off his head seat, threw it to the ground, pointed to the heavens as said, "Finally, we got one." No Mike, you got one last week at ASU and pulled the same theatrics. Stoops then stomped off to hurl insults and gesticulate madly at the nearest person or object that seemed to resemble a referee.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

St. Pete is a Place of Death

Laser guidance devices on the blades of their sticks couldn't have helped the Canes make a crisp pass tonight. On the PP, it looked like the Canes were more interested in working out their kinks than in putting a puck on net. By God, I'm gonna make that perfect pass tonight if it kills us, says Matt Cullen. Shoot the puck and crash the net!!!! Crash somebody. Crash something. Cute hockey is death.

Once again tonight, the boys just didn't have it. I think they worked hard, but in the end they performed like a bunch who were playing together for the first time. The cycle goes on. It's been a W-L-W-L end of November into December.

More ice time for Andrew Ladd tonight, including quality time in the waning moments and a second period fight. Anaheim fights...a lot. Can you say "showcase?"

Contrast the Canes v. Ning tilt with the Pens v. Flames later in the evening. That was a wide open and physical game. The Phaneuf-Crosby-Roberts dynamic was especially tasty. You can hate on Crosby for being the Justin Timberlake of the NHL, but the kid shys away from nothing. He's gonna have Forsberg-style maladies later in his career because every trip to the endboards ends up in a Twister scrum.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Niedermayer Effect

From the Toronto Globe & Mail via Spector:

Ideally, they'd like to move a contract before the talk of Niedermayer's return gets into overdrive and that's where the problems start. It'd be easiest to move Francois Beauchemin, who earns a modest $1.65 million (thru '09) rather than Mathieu Schneider, signed as Niedermayer's replacement at a hefty $5.625 million.

There's your affordable puck carrying defenseman. If Niedermayer is really, really planning to return really soon, the Canes might be able to pick up Beauchemin on the cheap (a pick?). His 10 points this season would make him the top-scoring defenseman on the Canes blueline. I still like the idea of Shea Weber or Ryan Suter for their size and physicality.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Recchi is out

Still love using this picture. According to, last night was Mark Recchi bobblehead night in the Burg. Today he was told to bobble his ass out the door. They say he's lost it. I think he had it as early as the summer of 2006. Look at the physique on that ole Recchin Ball! Why he's a modern day Buster Crabbe. Saggy man-boobs are way sexy. I outta know. (too much personal information?)

Recchi came back to the Pens cause that's where he and momma wanted to finish out a career. Good luck Mark. You deserved better. I blame the cult of Crosby.

PM UPDATE: Darren Dreger on hints at where Recchi might end up.

Three takes on last night's tilt vs. da Ranguhs

Cam Ward: When he's on, he's like Steve Austin moving in that 1970's slow motion simulation of hyper-speed. He also benefitted from some rare and solid team defense. He was also lucky. Jagr broke a stick ripping at a open net on the back side and Staal bailed him out nicely after he coughed up a juicy rebound.

Eric Staal: A top objective in every team's game planning vs. Canes this year seems to be getting somebody in Staal's grill. Case in point-Holloweg (?) crosscheck of Staal into the post well after the whistle. The kid now wears the "A." I think he needs to start dishing out some punishment. He's big enough. He's strong enough. But is he ornery enough? His peers-guys about his age and physical stature-Ovechkin-Getzlaf-Perry-Nash all deliver punishment when they get the chance. The only real scrum I saw Eric get into was in the closing seconds along the sideboards with his little brother. That was a fun moment. You could tell big brother enjoyed driving little brother's head into the wall with a well-positioned elbow to the back of the neck.

David Tanabe: He's at his best when he can just skate. I think maybe the rigidity and structure of playing defense first stifles the kid's need for speed and artistic freedom. I don't think he enjoys the grinding along the end boards, and since he's not much of a hitter he might contribute more at wing. The Canes use a forward to quarterback PP, and since David is number 5 or 6 on the defensive depth chart, I don't think there's the chance for much of a starring role on the blueline for Avi. I'd like to see more of him at wing on the PP...when the Canes are already up 3-4 goals. I'd also like to see a more extended Tanabe at wing experiment when the Canes have their next injury opening at forward. Go to Tanabe before bringing Bayda or Aucoin back up.

Overall a convincing win at the MSG. One that followed a convincing loss in Buffalo. And before that loss? A luck-enriched win vs. the Craps. And before that? A bad loss to Philly. I see a pattern. Thursday night the Canes are in Tampa. Tampa attacks bettter off the transition than the Canes. Even without Miami University's own Danny Boyle manning the point, the Ning blueline contributes more to the attack than the Canes blueline. I love watching Kuba and Ranger engineer the Lightning breakout.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Marvin Lewis and the lowly Bengals

I'm a Cincinnati Bengals fan. Been one since my first game as a kid at Nippert Stadium in 1969. Last night's Ben-Gals performance made me want to hurl. The QB from lil ole Miami University who was told by his high school coach and Ohio State he should catch passes instead of throwing them once again made the Bengals' 2002 Heisman Trophy winner and USC glamour boy look like the second coming of Ryan Leaf. Ben just went about his business, finding ways to make plays, while Palmer launched 3rd down and ten bombs into the photo gallery.

When is Mike Brown gonna wake up and realize that Marvin Lewis is a fraud. He's a Brian Billick guy. At least Brian Billick is a fraud with a superbowl ring as a head coach. I think Bill Callahan could have won a Super Bowl in 2000 with that Ravens defense. Marvin Lewis' Bengals are never ready for the big games. The Bengals had no answer for the simple slant pass to Hines Ward. They gave him a 5-7 yard cushion every time, and he used em up. Marvin Lewis as a defensive genius my tuckus. Bengals defenses have been among the worst defenses in the league the whole time Lewis has been in charge. And Lewis' Bengals only play out of their minds when nothing is on the line. There is no team in the NFL that showboats more and brings less to back it up. Think back to Chad Johnson's little Hall of Fame coat bit during game one versus the Ravens.

Last night, Carson Palmer was throwing passes as though Manute Bol was his go-to receiver. And when he did find the mark with a pass, it was usually dropped. If you watch any Bengals games, you've probably noticed Palmer and TJ or Ocho Cinco yelling at each other on the sidelines when things start to go bad. Nice team chemistry there Marvin. Your boys got each other's back.

I've made it to now without bitching about the questionable character of many on the Bengals roster. That's all been dissected before. Bottom line is the Cincinnati Bengals are a team with no heart, no brains and no courage.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Baby You're Starz

Is this Lorenzo Perez-a.k.a Rico Suave?
Very cool post on Kukla's Korner. He's got a link to the HNIC feature about hockey blogging. The piece prominently features JP of Japers' Rink, Bill of A2Y and Liz of On Frozen Blog. Who'dah thought a government lawyer, a defense analyst and a black shoe chief petty officer could be such damn handsome folks. A well done piece by CBC. I especially love how well-versed Ron MacLean is on the best blogs in the business. He doesn't just list them from a script in this feature, he does a live demo from a laptop to show folks how to find the best of the best from the blogroll on Tom Benjamin's site. Hello!?! Mike Sundheim!?!

The whole bloggers aren't journos thing comes up in the piece...again. Who is in this blogging thing to be a journalist? Do you want to hang with that hockey writers guild guy in the HNIC clip? Do you aspire to be that guy? If you do, good on you. Not me. I want to be Jon Press (except the goverment lawyer stuff). The hockey world now knows Jon Press - they know he's hip and he wears a brown sports coat (probably with black shoes) to games. We also have a sense of his personality, what he does for a living and his passion for hockey and hockey blogging. And that hockey writer's guild guy? We know his office is messy and he's skeptical by nature. Yaaawwn....

Same goes for the local hockey journos. I think I've seen a picture of Luke DeCock, but I know nothing about the guy (other than that he answers his emails promptly). His reporting is solid and often laced with humor, but I don't know the man behind the DOS machine. And I know nothing at all about " Lorenzo Perez. When I "Googled" his name, the first image I got was the Rico Suave pic above - and it came from a site you probably don't want your kids to see. So what do we know about you there Lorenzo? Or is your name really "Lorenzo?" Are you now or have you ever been in the witness protection program?

Point is, consumers of media are attracted to compelling personalities. We live in a "have a take-don't suck" world. Hell, the anonymous one stands as living proof that you don't even have to be honest to have a prominent place in the grand circus of hockey culture. Hockey is sports entertainment. Shouldn't the coverage be entertaining as well? I'd probably want to be more like Luke and Lorenzo if I could get to know them better and their handlers let them run free once in awhile.

Lyle Richardson and Paul Kukla were the first wave of new hockey media. Thoughtful hockey 24-7 guys who report and comment responsibly-guys who network their asses off. I hope the next wave includes the Sam Kinison's of hockey blogging. How about the Earl and Jes show on the NHL Network? Gotta be better than Gary Green's House of Malaprops.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Turr-a-bull. Just turr-a-bull

Pick or create your own "less" to describe human sacrifice night in Buffalo - heartless, lifeless, emotionless, gutless, prideless... If I were John Grahame, I'd go on the IR with an undisclosed upper melon injury till I get moved down or out. Lavvy did a Coach Torts on the poor guy tonight. And we all know how well tough love works on Crackers. Sheesh.

Sometimes a blowout works to clear the mind-the whole you gotta hit rock bottom before you begin the road to recovery thing. I still say this team is N.K.R.-Not Kwite Right. The Ouija board says a shakeup in the works.

The Arizona Wildcats dropped nearly every pass and then the game to the hated Sun Dirtballs and their whiny little girl QB. Future NFL d-back and distant cousin Antoine Cason dropped two interceptions in the end zone. The dream season for Mizzou is done. They are still Oklahoma's bitch.

And my retinas are still hurt from watching hideous uniform day in NCAA football. Oregon with the metallic yellow helmets. Tennessee with the creamsickle jerseys and pants. And West Virginia Technicolor canary yellow. Death to the Nike design department.

Friday, November 30, 2007

On skittish forwards and christmas elves on defense

I don't want to play defense...I want to be a dentist!

The image burned into my mind from Wednesday night's tilt vs. the Flyers is the one of Derian Hatcher doing a Rick Mahorn box-out of lil Frankie Kaberle for the Flyers first goal. In keeping with the spirit of the season, it was the Bumble vs. Hermie, and the Bumble wasn't going to be moved out of the pivot. Of course it didn't help that the entire cadre of skating Canes left big ole Hatcher deep in the defensive end. Both Hermie Kaberle and Nic Wallin got boxed out by the two Flyers camped out in front of Cam Ward. Not that Wardo gets a pass. He's coughing up pucks like his name is Ozolindovsky.

On two of the Flyers goals (I think the Mike Knuble goal in the third was the other), Cane forwards got bunched up along the sideboards near the blueline. It looked like a kindergarten soccer game where the little scrum around the ball moves slowly around the field like a planchette (cool word eh? had to look that one up) on a Ouija board at the height of an Elvis seance. Hard to play team defense when time and space belong to the enemy.

Since this summer, I've been calling for new blood on the blueline. A big, responsible, physical presence who can skate and at least keep the puck in play. That being said, defense is team commitment. If yer not gonna play defense, then you gotta score in bunches. The Canes forwards don't seem to want to play team defense. I don't want to root for a red, black and silver version of the Thrash. Oh yeah, that Ovechkin kid is in town tonight. Rumor has it, he likes to freelance with the puck. Might want to take away some of the boy's time and space.

As for the recent Hermie vs. von Seidenberg discussion on Canes Country and in Lord Stanley's Blog? Give me the Baron. At least he's not a smurf. He's played ten less games and still has better numbers. So he gambles a bit. I'd rather have Jack Sparrow than Shaggy manning my blueline. And Andrew Ladd doesn't want to go hard into the boards for a puck right now. Mr. #4 pick in the whole freaking draft is proving to be as brittle as two-week old Tim Horton's donut.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Figurine Day Fast Approaching

Get Yours November 28!

Wufie covered this a couple of weeks back, but I found it necessary to re-set this looming disaster of a promotional give away. You know your swag sucks when you can't even bring yourself to show anything but the base of your giveaway figurine in the home page promo. Yeah, you can still click on the link and see this Ralph Macchio errrrr Mikey from the old Life cereal commercial as Rod Brind'Amour collectible in all its ceramic glory, but just try to hold back the chuckle.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Calling out Justin Williams

The Canes are playing zero sum PP/PK hockey right now. While they lead the league in advantages and power play goals, they are near the bottom of the barrel in killing penalties. Discipline on the defensive side seems to be the missing element from an otherwise successful season to date.

Justin Williams is contributing mightily to things that register in the negative columns. Yes, he is producing points. His nasty wrister the other night vs. the Bolts was Ovechkinesque. That being said, he's a -5 plus/minus over the last five games. He's also racked up 37 penalty minutes to date this season. On his current trajectory, Williams is headed for 126 minutes in penalties by the end of the regular season. That would put him in Derek Boogard/Jody Shelley territory. Justin has start playing a more disciplined game.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Joe Nuxhall is Heading for Home

I grew up listening to two legendary Cincinnati sports radio voices. The first was Phil Samp, who served as the play-by-play man for Cincinnati Bengals broadcasts when I was a kid. He died here in Tucson in 2005. A second Cincinnati legend passed away last week. Joe Nuxhall was the color commentator for the Cincinnati Reds for over 30 years. He made his major league debut as a Cincinnati Red in 1944 at the age of 15-when all the good ball players were in Europe or Asia fighting for their country.

Even back in the 70's and 80's, Joe was a throwback to the time when baseball was the American past-time. Joe used to throw BP, shower, down a couple of pops (legend has it) and then report to the broadcast booth where he did color and split play-by-play time with Al Michaels and later the great Marty Brennaman.

Nuxie always ended his Reds' postgame segment with the words, "This is the old lefthander rounding third and heading for home."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dennis Miller's New Versus Gig

Show biz gravitas comes to Versus. Dennis Miller has a new sports interview and rant show that looks to be a nice bookend with the radio show. Hockey, bull riding, bow hunting and now audio Rorschach tests. What more do we want from our favorite alternative cable sports network?

HS Sports Rant-The Finale

Last night was game one of the state playoffs up in Cave Creek. The kid sits out game one and her team gets beat 25-17. Game two features the player of the year in the region, who just happens to also be the resident team prima donna, experience yet another on court meltdown. Balls are flying off her arms in every direction like bullets bounding off Superman's chest. Head coach, My Boy Sherman, pulls her out for a pep talk. First she won't sit by him down at the end of the bench. When he does get her to join him down there in the cone of consultative silence, she won't look at him, let alone listen to him. She just rants and flails her arms the entire time he's going thru his "I feel your pain" routine. And her reward for throwing this ill-timed tantrum? She goes back in for the next point. Girls rule. Coaches drool.

Game two, down 10-6, the kid goes in on the front row. At 16-12 she finally gets her first set. It's a back set on the right side and she rips a vicious cross-court heater through the hands, and into the chest of the grand daughter of NBA hall of famer, George Mikan. No, she's not 6' 10" like gramps, but she's their star middle blocker. The kid is out again for the back row rotation and they drop game two, 25-15.

She gets into game three at 5-2, and gets two sets. Her first ball is blocked by a kid going to DePaul to play volleyball on a full-ride athletic scholarship. She drives the second ball long. She's out soon after and her club drops the final game 25-15. My kid touches the ball three times all night and registers one kill.

High school season is over-and not a moment too soon. She tells me on the drive home that as mad as she was for being treated like dirt most of the season by her teammates and coaches, she couldn't keep from smiling every time she stepped out on the court. You see, despite it all, she hasn't lost her love for playing the game. Club season starts in December and runs thru June. And I won't mind the grind at all, as long as I get to see that big ole smile again.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Crapzkrieg and one trade rumor that makes no sense

Understated line of the night came from Joe Beninati after Cory Stillman scored seconds into the Canes first PP-"Well, that didn't take long." Team speed, crisp passing, Zen master goalkeeping and responsible "D" all on display. Nice statement game going into a SE Division heavy November schedule. I especially enjoyed the way the Canes dominated Washington along the boards. Crushing hits last night registered by von Seidenberg and Gleason. Both look like they are settling into solid roles on this blueline. The Baron's wicked-quick hard and low slapper from the point was also on display last night. David Tanabe looked even more like the odd-man out.

Glad to see the refs run Donald Brashear after he boarded von Seidenberg. Hands to the head for a little extra kiss the glass flourish. What a cave troll. Just having Brashear out of the game kept tempers down and made for a cleaner vivisection of the dazed and confused Caps.

Rumor Madness
Spector had a link yesterday to an Edmonton Sun article by Jim Matheson about possible destinations for Thrash forward Marian Hossa. Matheson mentions Carolina as a possible destination for the struggling Hoss:

"Carolina - The Hurricanes have lots of cap room, are a Cup contender and he could play with Erik (or Eric) Staal."

This makes no sense. Hossa's a pending UFA with a $7 mil contract. Why would JR rent a guy who's shared salary might still top the Canes payroll? When Weight and Recchi were added for the '06 Cup run, there was talk of trying to re-sign one or both, but isn't it just inconceivable for Hossa to sign his next deal for Carolina kinda money? Now add to the mix the fact that Hoss disappears in the playoffs (4 pts in 2004, 1 point in 2007). Who needs Hossa when the Canes have Andrew Ladd? On second thought, how are Hossa's ankles?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Now it's Nic Wallin with the shoulder surgery thing

This today on Wallin is slated to miss three to four weeks after shoulder surgery. Looks like it's Tanabe time. Going into a division-heavy slate of games with one less responsible defenseman and a questionable PK will be a major test for this club.

Back on October 13, JR had this to say in an N&O piece:

"Our team would be improved with another defenseman that can move the puck," Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford told the paper. "It would help our transition game. It would potentially give us another defenseman for the second unit of the power play."

I still think a stopper with some offensive upside is the greater need, but I wonder what the Sharks might want for Christian Ehrhoff or Matt Carle now that they have Oh-Nozolinsh back on the payroll.

HS Sports Rant Part II

Sometimes I use C/B to vent about things non-hockey. Today is part two of a previous rant about mean girls and high school volleyball. Part one is here if you are so inclined. Canes don't play tonight, and I'm not hearing any news out of the RBC, so now's as good a time as any to vent.

Monday was the big come to Jesus meeting at my kid's high school with the principal, assistant principal (and head football coach) the AD and my kids coaches. Nothing has changed for my daughter since she got back from Europe. She still works hard, treats her teammates and coaches with respect, but receives no such courtesy in return. And the clique still runs the show. They decide if, when and how hard practice will be. They decide when it's time to do cheerleading routines and belly sliding contests instead of something volleyball related. And they decide whether they are going to be nice to somebody on a given day or not.

On advice of counsel (in this case an assistant coach at the UA), I don't turn on the flamethrower to start the summit. Instead I open with a request to understand more about the relationship between my kid, her teammates and these coaches. Coaches say they don't notice my kid being bullied and ostracized. They say she's too cocky and it's really on her because she doesn't want to be a minion of the clique, errrrr part of the team. Oh really? She wants to be ignored and belittled? At the request of the head football coach (who knows the kind of kid and athlete she really is), I agree to get her to finish the season. Her coach eventually agrees that he should have noticed her isolation and distress and talked to her about things. He promises to do a better job of communicating with her.

So, she went back to practice on Tuesday, and back into the same old crap. The program is still run by a cabal of mean girls. But this new and tougher C/B kid #1 has decided to start standing up for herself. Instead of just silently taking crap from the alpha she-wolves, barks right back. Now you know the alpha's won't allow any of that, so they get the pack to chime in and try to apply concentrated peer pressure to beat her down. She now has to listen to a chorus of crap when an alpha signals that it's beat-down time. And yet she still refuses to be cowed. She goes on to hit and block with a vengeance that day (and all this week). She forces the coaches to take a stand and back her. She asks for the opportunity to participate in drills slated to be "starters only." And she crushes. At the end of practice, she goes up to the head coach and tells him, "I'm going to finish the season, but I'm not taking any more crap." His only response? "Yeah, I noticed."

It's been three days since the big meeting. Three practices. Those three words are the only discussion the head coach has had with my daughter.

When I was in high school, I earned the starting goalie spot on my high school soccer team as a sophomore. For a couple of weeks it was real difficult because I replaced a senior who figured the position was his. And since he enjoyed significant social standing, many of the other seniors and juniors on the squad had his back-for awhile. They'd talk him up and talk me down. They'd purposely try to make me look bad in practice. My coach noticed this going on and put an immediate end to it. He simply didn't put up with crap from kids who thought they were entitled to running the show because of their social stature and upperclassmen standing. My coach was committed to fielding the best team possible and simply demanded that the players respect the meritocracy or hit the road. Eventually, the senior discovered that marijuana was more fun than soccer, and I went on to selection as the first team all conference goalie. Unfortunately, my daughter doesn't enjoy such principled leadership from her coaches.

Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be she-wolves. I read an article today about how mean girl cliques form and become all-consuming. The author used the analogy of a group of teens being on a cruise ship where a few socially dominant kids have decided they really hate all the structure and silly activity programming. Over time, these alpha's convince a small group that the cruise ship sucks, and they talk the group into jumping into a life boat and rowing away. Now the kids who only kinda thought the cruise ship sucked are stuck. If they don't bend to the will of the alphas from that point on, they might get tossed overboard. Keeping their place in the clique becomes a means of survival.

In essence, that's my kid's high school volleyball experience, except that no matter how incredibly clueless and ineffectual her coaches have been, she's never let the clique toss her overboard.

This evening the regional and state final playoffs start. Practice this week has been pretty lax. Not much structure or intensity until last night. The alphas are kinda getting tired of volleyball, so the coaches haven't wanted to press too hard. And how can you blame them? They don't want to get thrown overboard either. With a little luck, this will all be over by Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Count Floyd says, "Is very scary. This time no kidding. Is ze scariest monster ever!" A Whoooooooo!!!! Whooo-oooooh!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coach Torts Rampage

Thunderbolt and lightning-very very frightening me-Galileo, galileo, Figaro...

Hi all-I did a little post over at Southeast Shootout about John Tortorella's bench rampage last night that looked might have started with Paul Ranger and extended into the post-game presser.
One thing I forgot to mention in the post was a little vignette the Lightning broadcast crew did on Coach Torts' time as a Ranger assistant. The video was pre-gray and goatee for Tortorella. Tell me he isn't spot-on, separated at birth Freddie Mercury, circa Live Aid. I bet he left the MSG in tight white jeans and a wife beater tank-top.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chris Simon-Sociopath

Hassan, Chop!

How does career troglodyte Chris Simon still find his way into any NHL lineup? This is a guy who has been suspended six times-his last a 25 game suspension for going Saudi Ministry of Justice executioner on Ryan Hollweg's neck.
His double-fisted head shot on Rod Brind 'Amour in the third period Saturday night wasn't physical hockey, it was simply predictably sociopathic behavior from a sociopath. He may love sunset walks on the beach and cute little puppies off the ice, but he's unpredictable and prone to incredible violence once he laces 'em up. Yeah, Roddy was in the process of falling down, but I'm not willing to give this career assclown any benefit of the doubt. Not that the head shot hurt Roddy. His face is probably the toughest part of his body.

A few throwback quotes from the remorseful one after the machete attack on Hollweg last March:
"I've always been known as a team guy, and I feel real bad about letting the team down. ... I think I'll wait until I talk to the league office, and then I'll answer all questions afterward."

"I want to apologize to my team and Islanders fans everywhere," Simon said in a statement released Saturday night during the first game of the suspension. "My actions Thursday night played a major part in our team losing a crucial game. I also want to apologize to the National Hockey League for the damage I have caused this great game of ours."

Notice that the dude's first instinct was to plead the Fifth. And the unwritten message is, "Hollweg and the Rangers can kiss my arse."

Nice game Saturday night from Dennis Seidenberg and the entire Stay Puft blueline crew. I've always been quick to slag the kid, but now I'm rethinking. I will have to start showing more respect. From this point forward, he is "von Seidenberg."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Death by PP

Was anybody playing left defense last night? Did I really see the Habs drop one of those municipal golf course driving range AstroTurf rugs around the faceoff circle and then take turns teeing off from 15 feet on just about every PP? How can these boys go from the stifling team defense of the Slug game to last night's defensive debacle?

Matt Cullen was especially ill-disciplined last night. Stupid cross-check, breaking his stick on a slash and then giving up on the puck to allow the empty netter. Hey Matt, make sure you play a vigorous game of concourse soccer before tonight's game.

I want to see the long-overdue debut of "the Hobbit line" tonight on the Island. Aucoin, LaRose and Hamilton.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chuck Norris Factoids

Canada has Jordin Tootoo. We have Chuck Norris. I heard Dennis Miller talking about this on the drive to work. The site is called and here's a sampler of these not-so-well-known tidbits about America's enforcer:

  • When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
  • There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
  • Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
  • Remember the Soviet Union? They decided to quit after watching a DeltaForce marathon on Satellite TV.
  • Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship.

A Frothy Mug of New Season Justice

No Erik Beckhamcole-no problem
No Scott Walker-still no probem
No Dennis Seidenberg-point suddenly losing momentum

By the way. If Cole got hurt playing soccer, why didn't they just drop him on a stretcher and haul him around 20 yards away from the game? Then he could miraculously heal and pop up ready to go back in the game. That's how things go in Euro soccer. Injuries that appear career-ending usually get healed by the time the strecher gets to the sideline.

This from the Buffalo News-Oo0oo0hh, our boys had to play without Spock-check and Ka-Klingon. The Sabres would have won if they just had a complete team. The still proud and heavily oxidized city of Buffalo deserves it. We've suffered thru horrible winters for generations without a Cup. The only folks left here are Bills and Sabres fans. Everybody else has fled to Phoenix or Boca. We can't even get Snake Plisskin to come here any more. Carolina is not worthy. We want it more! Wah, wah, wah ...

Deja vu back to the late spring of 2006 and the Eastern Conference finals. Suddenly, it's a lot easier to forget the Canes 0-fer season vs. da Slugs last year. Suddenly, it's getting easier to forget last season entirely.

Some real good stuff last night. First of all, forget what I said the other day about the Stay-Pufts. I was misquoted or taken out of myself. All the blueliners delivered last night-bodies in shooting lanes-sticks in passing lanes and no quarter given along the boards. The "D" was an aggressive and attacking bunch of roid-raging Imperial Storm Troopers last night. They didn't just sit back like a human Maginot Line. They aggressively attacked nearly every Slug rush. Glen Wesley and Bret Hedican must have spent their off day with Wilford Brimley in that pool from the movie Cocoon. Maybe that old pool is the real secret to Heddy's rehab and Wes' renewed on-ice vigor and youthful mop of blazing red locks.

Eric Staal experienced total recall night. Duuude, I really am a power forward!?! Lookie what I can do with this big old body and wicked long reach. They can't drive me off the puck if I really want to hold on to it.

Keith Aucoin impressed as well. Kid was always in position to make a play last night-offensively and defensively. I see some Chad LaRose in his game. Hope he doesn't have to suffer thru the hands of stone phase LaRose had to endure.

Through it all, Cam Ward did his best Keith Carradine, as the stoic and wandering Kung Fu monk impersonation. Yessss young Vanek. Try and sieze the pebble from my hand. Thwaaack-glove save. One thing I notice about his game this year is how he almost seems to move in slow motion-even while he stays ahead of the play. One clumsy pad save from his belly was the only blemish on yet another grand performance by the kid. The really great ones always make it look easy. I'm not saying Cam's great or gonna be great, but man he's looked great thus far (knock faux wood laminate).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Killer Bees and Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men

Hey, Hey, Hey, I'm Here to Shut Down Your Cycle Game!
I'm seeing one trend in the Hurricanes play thus-far I like and one I don't. Carolina forwards are back to being the killer bees of 2005-2006. They are a bunch of swarming and opportunistic fargin' bastiges. The Roddy thru pass to LaRose last night was a thing of beauty. It reminded me of the kind of passes that used to spring Cullen and Cole during that Stanley Cup season. These guys have a feel for each other on the ice-the passing is much better than last season. You add a healthy Cory Stillman and that bronzed-god George Hamilton ripping one-timers on the PP, and I think the Canes have an offense that will score enough goals to win games...

...if the defense can start imposing its will on opposing forwards. That's the trend I no-likie. Cam Ward is the defensive-defenseman keeping the Canes in games right now. Hedican, Gleason and Wallin seem to roll off opposing forwards like Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men-like they are playing in inflatable Sumo wrestler suits. They are not imposing their will in the defensive zone. Mike Commodore is the only blueliner delivering any meaningful punishment on a nightly basis. "Journeyman" forward Brad Isbister used up Heddy enroute to setting up the Canucks only goal last night. Wallin is solid when he gets to the puck first, but unlike David over at R&B, I see a lot of frenetic activity from Gleason, but not much solid defense. Timaaay seems to operate on a two-second delay. He constantly seems to be catching up with the flow. Maybe it's a maturation thing many young defensemen must endure.

The buzz of a few weeks ago had JR shopping for an offensive defenseman. I'd rather see the focus on landing a big, smooth-skating and defensively responsible cave troll. Let the offensive upside come from Kaberle, Tanabe or one of the newbies playing in Albany.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday HS Sports Rant

I'm working my way back to Hurricanes hockey, but I've just been busier than a one-armed paper hanger the last few weeks. I've got two kids playing HS sports at different schools right now. Every evening extends to at least 7pm-game nights, we go until 9 pm or later. Last night, I was at the JV football game 130 miles north in Fountain Hills (northeast of Phoenix) while my wife was 30 miles south of Tucson at the volleyball game in Nogales.

Few things are as fun as watching your kid perform-sports, dance, music, it doesn't matter. In our family it's dance and sports. Few things are as aggravating as watching your kid playing for a team that is an absolute train wreck. My daughter's high school team is not lead by a coach. It's run by a group of alpha females. It's the perfect storm of four skill and leadership-challenged seniors who are used to volleyball being what you do when it's not basketball season, coupled with four juniors who've played just enough bad club ball to think they are all that, with two talented sophomores who are the real future of the program. These prima donna juniors run roughshod over a coach who seeks only survival at this point in his storied two-schools-in-two-years career. He wants them to like him-he really needs them to like him.

The telltale signs of a team in mid-train wreck are everywhere. The team decides when, if and how hard they want to practice. The team treats practices like the sleepover scene from that Valley Girl movie from the 80's. Then these same girls who giggle, goof-off and conspire in whispered voices throughout practice absolutely lose their composure the minute things don't go their way in a match.

Through it all, my daughter has suffered the slings and arrows of fratricidal adolescent females who routinely make her the target of their venom. Yeah, there's a lot to hate. She loves and respects the game. She practices hard and treats her coaches and teammates with respect. She smiles way too much on the court. She's 6' 1" and can jump nearly 10 feet. She hits the ball so hard she brings pain to opponents' hands and arms. She trained last summer in a national development program. She's tall, smart, athletic and beautiful (maybe a bit of Dad-bias there), and all these things don't sit well with the mean girls. How dare a sophomore have so much game and take away so much of their glow. Girls are much more aggressive and cruel now than they were in my youth.

On the other side we have my son's JV football experience. He's got great coaches and a good bunch of kids. There is no doubt who runs the football program.

Unlike my daughter, C/B Jr. only has one hardcore knucklehead to deal with on his team. This kid is a sophomore who tries to intimidate the freshmen off the gridiron to cover his sorry lack of vigor on the field. Last night, the knucklehead finally got yanked after a half of service as the game's officially licensed speed bump. This gave my kid his chance. He went from 4 plays last week to nearly 30 last night. First play, he drew a holding penalty after busting thru the guard and tackle gap on a pass rush. Later that series, he made a bottom of the pig-pile tackle in the gap. He's 5' 11" and 200 lbs-tough to move when he wants to hold his ground. His sister is an Impala. He's a glacier. Love 'em both.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thrash Fire Bob Hartley

You all know I've been a Thrash hater for a long time. I think consistent underachievement, resorting to thuggery and a grandstanding prima donnas will be the lasting legacy of the Bob Hartley era in the ATL. That being said, I can't wait for the architect of this debacle to get whacked. Don Waddell "crafted" this roster. It's been his program since June of 1998. He drafted Patrik Stefan with the first pick in the 1999 entry draft. It was Don Waddell who gave up on prospects Braydon Coburn (#8 in 2003) and Alex Bourret (#16 in 2005) in February of last season for Alexi Zhitnik and Pascal Dupuis respectively. And it was Don Waddell who gave Thrash fans Keith Tkachuk for Glen Metropolit, first and third-round picks in 2007 and a second-rounder in 2008 at the deadline last season.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No Heddy Hating Here

Today's Frozen Moment is classic. Heddy makes a crotch save. Guess Bret and the missus have all the family they want. Timmay's flinching like a soccer star on a direct kick. What a wuss. Love those Frozen Moment images.

Would have loved seeing the game when I got home last night. Think I would have learned by now not to count on my teen-age son to manage the DVR.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Week One in the Can

Hiatus Retrospective

Hi again friends...if there's anybody left reading this blog after my long hiatus. Spent last week in SoCal. Did Santa Monica, the La Brea Tar Pits and the LA Zoo with the munchkins-then Paso Robles and Cambria with the missus. My oldest got home Saturday night after a two-week Euro trek that included Rome, Pompeii, Florence and Slovenia with her aunt. I've placed one of her pics from the land of the Kopitarz on this post. This is the riverwalk in Ljubljana.

One Good Game to Build on
Watched the Canes/Pens tilt on Friday night. Picked a good one to watch. I went ahead and deleted the Habs and Pens games when I got home Saturday night. We're-mailing-it-in-tonight was a recurring theme for the 2006-2007 Hurricanes.

Well he does come cheap. This blueline looks a lot like last season's blueline. I still don't think that is a good thing. How much does it suck to be Ryan Bayda? Screwed again to start the season.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Musings

Future So Bright...
Remember when you looked at players in the Canes system around the trade deadline, and knew there wasn't anybody in goalie pads who would be worth much in trade? Lots of kids made it fairly deep into the preseason this summer, including Brandon Sutter, who stuck around quite awhile and got a real good taste of what it's gonna take to get his game ready-probably next season-for the show. As the Canes finally send Casey Borer and Brett Carson down to Albany, you have to admit the future looks a whole lot brighter across the system. Great job PK, JK, and Lavvy.

On the Road Again
I'm in Cali next week and away from my beloved DVR just in time for the start of the season. I'll have to take your word for how week one goes in Canesville.

Totally Unbiased SE Division Predictions
1. Carolina Hurricanes - Embarrassment is a great motivator
2. Crapitals - Young and cocky with everything to gain this season
3. Ning - One big Fonzie meltdown away from implosion
4. Kitties - Over their post-Luongo separation anxiety...maybe
5. Thrash - Just a deadline Tkachuk deal away from #4.

Totally Unbiased Eastern Conference Playoffs Prediction
1. Ottawa - This season's version of da Slugs
2. Pittsburgh - If the defense can keep it close
3. Carolina - Deeper, rested and recently embarrassed
4. New York Rangers - All that money has to buy something? Right?
5. Toronto - Cause Coach Mo says so!
6. Buffalo - Pride (or bitterness) still runs strong in those slug veins
7. Philly - Wicked pissed at being walked on last season
8. Craps - Superman in a bad Soviet haircut now has a Norse sidekick

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Karmanos Resignation

My first take on the resignation of Jason Karmanos is that it probably doesn't foreshadow future profound changes. Jason has lived long enough in the shadow of pop and JR and probably wants to move out on his own. Good on ya brother.

Dude has investment banking experience and a degree from HahVahd. Jason is nearing the point of no return professionally, so now is as good a time as any to venture out and make his own mark on the world. Really, really rich folks are better at creating new private Idahos than the rest of us. Good luck Jason, but be ready to come back and save the franchise when that red phone rings or you see that beam of light in the sky.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Canes Bloggers on the Radio

Now on 850 the Blog-Bubba and Chris do radio. Nice debut boys.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Musings

Day One and Already a Body Count? arrrrghhhh!!!
Ladd-sore back (how does a kid that young have a sore back???)
Hamilton-hip and/or groin injury before he even stepped on the ice
LaRose-sprained knee
Hedican-"nominally" healthy, which is code for, let's see how well the extra strength Tylenol PM works after a real NHL preseason practice
Kaberle-Knee rehab

New "A" Teamers
Congrats to Eric Staal and Ray Whitney for their selection as alternate cap'ns. Deserved reward for Whitney and what looks like the first step in the transition from the Brind 'Amour era to the Staal era. Interesting that Erik Cole didn't get the nod. That must mean he's on the trading block!! Yeah, that's the ticket. Cole Edmonton for Dustin Penner and the stuff left behind in Chris Pronger's locker, including the phone number of a certain sultry sports reporter vixen.

Go decimated Canes. Beat the new and improved Craps.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Brandon Sutter a Dark Horse Opening Day Roster Candidate?

Allan Muir of SI thinks so:

With a lot of filling out to do, he's likely best served by another year in juniors. But a strong camp could earn him a spot on the opening day roster, at least for a 10 game look-see.

Tanabe in camp?

Luke reports in today's Lord Stanley's Blog post that David Tanabe has been told he's welcome to join the crew at camp. Like most, I'm surprised he hasn't received at least a camp invite. He had a pretty healthy and solid season for a not-so-good team. The Red Wings have invited blueliners Brent Sopel and Jassen Cullimore to their camp...along with enforcers Aaron Downey and the new busboy from Cheli's Chili Bar.

I haven't heard anything about Tanabe being courted by the Chernobyl Gamma Rays of the Russian Super League, so it looks like he really wants to find a new home in the NHL.

If he's not signed or invited to some other team's camp in the coming days, methinks we'll see David Tanabe slowly and menacingly circling around the older and more sickly Canes. Look for him to have a series of "accidents" with his stick that somehow result in chops across Heddy's hamstring and Frankie's knee. Camp might end up looking like one of those National Geographic specials with the lions and the wildebeesties. Problem is, Tanabe has never been much of a lion. He's more like an ostrich with a mild temper.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Demise of Mike and Chuck in the Morning

Back in May, I wrote a post about the vapidness of the Tucson radio landscape. Back then I told you about the Mike and Chuck show on 1290 AM:

Here's roughly how each segment goes. Mike introduces a topic and gives his take. Chuck agrees with Mike and then re-sets the take. Mike and Chuck spend five or six minutes complementing each other for the thoughtfulness and social compassion they demonstrate in their take, then they go to commercial.

It appears the market has finally spoken. A few weeks ago, Chuck disappeared from the Mike and Chuck show, but kept his rest-of-the-day job as the station program manager. Here's a quote attributed to Chuck in Tucson Weekly, our local arts, dining, entertainment and revolutionary socialism rag:

I told my managers earlier in the year that I wanted to devote more time to myself.

Right, Chuck. I too want to spend more time with me. The other day, the other shoe dropped. The voice of the ever-whiny Mike is also gone from the Tucson airwaves. AM 1290 dropped in an encore airing of armageddonist Glenn Beck druing drive-time while they await the launch of the new Dan Patrick radio show. Beck is often maniacally funny, but I always get out of the car looking for snipers on the rooftops and terrorists in the Safeway.

The moral of the story? Folks want to be entertained and/or enlightened during their drive to work, not bummed out and lectured to by guys with the same predictable and pessimistic take every day.

A nice 9/11 kick in the groin

So my kids jump outta the rack today eager to wear their finest red, white and blue to elementary school. My wife, a school teacher, fusses at my son for dumping his sweaty PE clothes in the dryer to "freshen them up." Her red t-shirt was in the dryer. It's 9/11 remembrance day in the schools.

So my wife gets to school and her teaching partner isn't wearing R-W-B. She casually asks if her partner forgot during her morning rush to get her kids and herself to school. The response? I don't recognize 9/11. Our government brought down the towers.

Bet I know what her lesson is gonna be about today.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Musings

Kukla's Korner is new and improved for the 2007-2008 season. I like this trend towards crisp and straightforward design. Good-redo Paul...and without the extra trapezoidal panels or silly stripes!!!

The mainstream media waits with baited breath that new OBL video scheduled for global release on Sep 11, but C/B readers need not wait till Tuesday. Yes, my operatives have in fact secured an advance copy:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Silly Racing Stripes

Although I don't want to influence the C/B poll currently capturing your impressions of the new Canes sweaters, I have to say "silly racing stripes" leads for a reason. They should have just left the sweaters alone.

That being said, the 10-year logo is most excellent. I love the big ole "X." I'm gonna mull the tag line, "Our Team. Our Tradition" awhile longer.
(image swiped from Beth.And Hockey)