Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mr. Mirtle's List

James Mirtle has updated his hockey blog ranking list. CB barely makes this edition, but Southeast Shootout is firmly entrenched in the middle of the pack. Jen is working on some new skin and formatting for SeSo 2.0. We've added some new Bolt and Kittie contributors for next season. My job is to find a few good Caniacs-hint, hint.

I'm heading to Cali this week. Stops on the wine, cooler weather and colleges tour should include Pasadena, the Reagan Presidential Library, Santa Barbara, Solvang, San Luis Obispo and Monterey. Trying to talk the wife into going to that restaurant in the movie Sideways (the Hitching Post?) - "...if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any f'ing Merlot!" ...makes me look kinda Metro, eh?

Hope JR works a little 2005 magic this week. Brian Rafalski would be a great addition if the Pitkanen deal falls thru. He's kind of an enhanced version of Frankie Kaberle, but he's a winner. I still think a puck-moving blueliner is a more pressing need than a third line centerman.

Thanks for continuing to dial me into your daily scan. Anything big happens, I'll chime in from the road.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Introducing EA Sports' "Metro Staal"

Redwood City: In an effort to expand the NHL's appeal among a broader and more narcissistic audience, EA Sports has introduced, "NHL08, The Metro Edition." Gamers will soon be able to purchase this special metrosexual friendly edition in the popular EA series at their nearest Williams Sonoma.

In addition to exciting on-ice features found in all EA Sports games, Metro Edition players will also be able to color coordinate the post-game attire of their favorite NHLers, design and Feng Shui their personal living space, and create sensible diets, high in fiber and anti-oxidants, for their virtual superstars.

When interviewed about the release, dreamy cover boy, Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes, stated, "See, I can have my cake and eat it too. Isn't this just super!"

(me thinks you'll rue the day you ever posed for that pic, Staalsy)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ron Francis is a Hall of Famer

Affirmation on the first try for Ronnie it should be.

Fun with Sir Paul McCartney and Photoshop

Zoolander was on at least 15 times last week. My boys now know most of the lines cold. When I saw Sir Paul's Starbucks ad during one of the breaks, an eerie physical similarity, albeit generations apart, caught my eye.

Bad recent run for Paul. A bitter divorce row with a money-grubbing wack-job ex would be enough to bring anybody down. Paul and Linda had a ranch here in Tucson back in the day. The family came back to Tucson in the closing days of her life.

When I'm sixty-four, I might be pursing my lips like his Paulness, but it will probably only be when I am sans dentures. I don't know how much Blue Steel I'll still have in the tank. Good to see Paul rebounding with gusto.

Little Youtube snip below of Paul and Ringo with an easily confused Larry King. Yes Larry, Paul and Ringo are the ones on the set with you. John and George are only there in spirit.

Derelicte Don Maloney

For Mr. Don Maloney, the man chosen to lead the Coyotes into their next "Decade of Derelicte in the Desert," I offer this picture in place of the 1,000 words I could write to express my disappointment with your decision to waive one of the few guys on your roster who has paid the price it takes to win a Cup.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wednesday Hurricane Mullings

Tell this guy his sweater is just not hip enough

Kevyn Adams was placed on waivers today by the Coyotes along with Nick Boynton. Hope Kevyn finds his way to club that needs his leadership by example. I thought that team was going to be the Coyotes. They weren't going even have to pay him squat this season, so they obviously just wanted Kevyn gone. Yet another speed bump in my three-year old loveless relationship with the desert dogs (H/T Emperor Paul). Will/should he get another chance with the Canes? Much as admire Kevyn, I think not.

It appears that Nic Wallin has been made an offer he can't refuse. Not sure "no trade clauses" do much for a player besides giving you a bit of leverage. But it's the kind of leverage that can backfire if you get in the way of a GM trying to take care of business. If it were me, and my team wanted to move me to recharge the team, not sure I'd want to stay once things became known. Nic, my advice to you is this; you are in the sports entertainment business. It's not wise to stand in the way of business. Handle this with class, and you'll always enjoy a heroes' welcome in Raleigh. Take your toys and go home, and you'll forfeit the esteem you've earned with the Caniacs. Life involves change. Living in Apex ain't all that, what with the chemical fires and annual ice storms...

If Nic is moved for Joni Pitkanen, the Canes get an instant infusion of offensive production and a freelancing Euro with a nasty streak. Last season, the Canes were short on both nastiness and offensive production from the blueline. Pitkanen alone produced almost as many points as the top two scoring Hurricane blueliners last year (Commodore and Tanabe). The question lingering in the back of my mind is whether the Flyers are looking to move Pitkanen because the signing of Kimmo Timonen makes him expendable, or if it's because he's a bit of a head case. The kid is only 23. Coach McCarthy might have to go a little Sergeant Hulka on the boy for the first few weeks of camp to get him to buy into the system.

The Canes alleged new sweater features a space-age polymer core fabric and a dopey oval stripe around the shoulders. Maybe RBK felt the need to offer the illusion of meaningful design change. If a shoulder stripe is that meaningful change, I am not impressed. In my business, white space is your friend. The Canes sweater is already busy enough along the hem. Why break up the crispness of the shoulders with its focus on the wind-ravaged hurricane warning flag alternate logo. I know, I'm venturing dangerously into Feng Shui-land. Nike started all this BS of adding swatches of colored polygons to socks and the armpits of sweaters, and RBK is blasting down the same path. Aren't there any old school hockey advocates left in NHL marketing shops? My top three favorite NHL sweaters remain old school:
  • Montreal home red

  • Blackhawks home red

  • Rangers road white

Friday, June 22, 2007

We got us a Sutter

No more "hitting the wall," eh junior!
The only rap I remember hearing on draft day about Eric Staal was that he had a lot of physical developin' to do before he would be NHL ready. Staal was tall, lanky, a bit weak in the upper body, but blessed with great natural hockey sense. I think I had a deja vu tonight with the Brandon Sutter pick. Give the kid two or three years.

Weeks ago I took a SWAG (stands for scientific wild-ass guess) that the Canes would go blueliner and that guy might be Nick Petrecki. Might have been a real interesting pick for the home boys. Did you get a look at the wild eyes on that kid? He looked like Francis, errrr Psycho from Stripes. "You call me Francis, and I'll kill you." Did you notice him start to offer his mom, aunt, whatever, a manly handshake when he was announced as the pick?

Oh yeah, regarding the new sweaters unveiled tonight-Jackets and Craps.
The Jackets sweater doesn't look much different. Like the new logo that was the third sweater logo, but I miss the lime green bug already.

As for Washington, hate it. Looks like a practice jersey. Newish logo is retro-Caps, but the designer made the "t" into a hockey stick. Why does the logo have to have an incomplete "t" (missing the right arm) as a hockey stick? Why does the San Jose shark have to bite a hockey stick in half? Big ass sharks bite fat sea mamals and Hollywood actors, not hockey sticks. The classic Red Wings logo is a winged wheel-not a winged wheel running over a hockey stick. Chief Blackhawk isn't biting a hockey stick in half either.

The new shoulder patch looks to me like a variation on the Whataburger logo. JP likens it to the old 1970's Pontiac Firebird logo. His take is probably a better description.

It takes a village

Kepis are for Frenchman! Real Buckeye Civil Warriors wore slouch hats!
(21st Ohio at Chicamauga)

It's 105 degrees right now in Tucson-hardly hockeyesque. But it's NHL Draft day in Columbus, and several bloggers are gathering downtown to celebrate renewal in the game we love. Every team get's to play today...unless you are Atlanta. Har!!!!

Sorry I'll miss the big hockey blogger conclave. It takes a village boys and girls. Just say "no" to oligarchy in hockey blogging. Wish I could be there. I hope this will be the first of many such "Moots." Can't wait to read the after-action reports.

I'm more interested in possible draft day deals than who the Canes might pick today. If JR wants a quality puck mover, he might have to trade the pick. I wouldn't call Anton Babchuk or Dennis Seidenberg "sexy" trade bait. Might not be bad to trade down in a fairly weak draft. Might be the difference between a Schneider vs. a Sutton.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What About Hedican?

Thursday, June 21 Update:
Lorenzo Perez in today's N&O, quoting JR:

"And then we may look at changing our defense a little
bit," he said. "... Maybe we could add a puck-moving defenseman and maybe kind of change our style there a little bit."

My sources say Joe Corvo or Tom Preissing. Of course my "sources" are usually just the voices inside my head...makes me just about as credible as some others in the mongering business, eh?

Raleigh: Hurricanes sign Scott Walker to multi-year deal.
When asked to comment, Mr. Jerry Barker of Raleigh offered only the following public comment: "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em."

Love the Remo Williams take, by the way. That being said, Walker will always be Gus Grissom on ice to me.

So, the Walker signing leaves $2.3 in the kitty for a 3rd line center, eh? What about Bret Hedican, his bad hip and his two-point-four-meeealunn-dollars? The Canes want the Hedican cliffhanger resolved by July 1, so might there actually be $4.7 mil in the kitty? If Heddy's return was a done deal, I think we might have heard something by now. Last Bret update in the N&O was Friday, the 8th of June.

Everybody says a 3rd line centerman is the most pressing need. If Bret takes DLee's advice and Hamill-Camel's off into the sunset with his lovely wife, I think the most pressing need will end up being a top four blueliner. I'm just a caveman, and easily confused by all this modernity that surrounds me, but I'm just not comfortable starting the season with Commodore, Kaberle and a supporting cast of over-the-hillers and under-achievers.

I believe in Chad LaRose. I think the boy might surprise a bunch of us if he's given the chance to run the third line. I say, let Trevor Letowski run the grinders until he can prove his game rates more than a handful of minutes a night.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Your Friday Rorschach Test

I think I see a pony. How about you?

(image compliments of the humor spam machine that is my dad)

Der Versus Snafu

Major Hockstedder, let me assure you, it was not our fault..

I was really charged up to watch the DVR rebroadcast of Trish Stratus, the most decorated Diva in WWE history, and the her special guest, the NHL awards ceremony, but it wasn't there.

Lots of folks up and down the blogroll offer detailed analyses on how and why it happened. I did grab these soundbites off the wire service:

When asked to comment, Versus programming director, Major Wolfgang Hockstedder, avoided direct blame for the incident stating: "If my head rolls, all heads vill roll!"

Hockstedder's comments were immediately refuted by CBC public relations director, Sergeant Hans Schultz, who stated, "I see nothingk; I hear nothingk, and most of all, I know nothingk!"

To be honest, I was never really that interested. I hate awards shows as a genre. Sports award shows are no different. Dopey cue card comedy set-ups followed by dopey speeches from guys who aren't paid to be good at public speaking, and B-list celebrities in search of sports culture credibility. At least you don't see much political grandstanding and unabashed narcissism at an NHL show.

Congrats to Cap'n Roddy for a Selke part deux performance. I probably would have gone with Sammy, but Rod has earned a little lingering respect. Sammy will get his chances in the years to follow.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blogger Box, Excellent

The Glow of a Stanley Cup Still Lingers

Congrats to EA cover boy Eric Staal

Deadspin was where I saw it first. Now Joe Ovies at 850 the Blog has a nice dialog going around the idea of permitting bloggers to attend games as pseudo-journalists. Bloggers would have to know their place and stay in their section of pigeon heaven, but at least they'd be there.

Two parts to the blogger glasnost program on Long Island appear to be a blogger box up on press row and post game interview access for bloggers. Deadspin offers this detail nugget:

"The NYI BLOG BOX will be a completely separate entity from the traditional
press box at the Coliseum. In addition, any post-game player and coach
availability for bloggers will be separate and after all working members of the
media have had their interview requests satisfied."

Well, isn't that special? Press Row gets chicken on a stick and multi-colored tortilla chips and the Blog Boxers get a handful of half-eaten Slim Jims? This wreaks of separate but equal. It smells of segregation, and of a caste system. Who will be the first blogger Rosa Parks? Who will have the courage to test this odious snob barrier? Who will be the first to boldly step in front of a Cousin Ned and land that exclusive, "We need to do a better job of getting the puck in deep," soundbite? My money is on Bubba...or maybe his anonymous hockey blogger minion.

Of course, I'm in Arizona, so the subject is moot for me, but were I still in Raleigh, all I'd want from Mike Sundheim is a once-in-awhile press pass, and maybe access to Ray Whitney for select post-post-game post-post, I mean after he's had a shower and a couple of beers...I want Ray raw and uncut. It would be great journalism. It might go something like this...

Me: "Ray, Colby Armstrong blindsided your boy Trevor Letowski pretty good tonight. Your thoughts?"
Ray: "Armstrong is s F*#*&!?!g little girl. F*&$?!@+ that puss. That's Ok, Commie got him back in the third with a elbow to the temple that F&^*^&*!g Mick McGeough missed."
Me: "So how is Letwoski? Does he have an undisclosed upper body injury?"
Ray: "Trevor was really F*&^?@*d up last time I saw him, Scott. He's got a nasty concussion. Pete told me he was muttering something about a big green gerbil that talked to him in his sleep. My guess is he'll probably spend much of the rest of this season a healthy scratch even after he gets off the IR."

Me: "Ray, why to you "F' with Tripp so much during his pre-game segments?"
Ray: "Truth is, Tripp is my BFF, and I get jealous when he pays attention to the other guys."
Me: "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
Ray: "Word."

Maybe that's what Sundheim fears most. The inherent truthiness of hockey blogging!!!!! If I were Mike, I would jump at the chance to give passionate fans with a take and a forum for expressing their ideas the best access possible. The stuff I read on hockey blogs is usually far more engaging that the stuff I read in a newspaper or watch during the 11 O'clock news. Ok, I never read a newspaper any more...and I never watch the 11 O'clock news. Bad examples-or are they? I think you get the point.

Those of you who read this blog and the other Canes blogs know any of us would acquit ourselves well if granted greater access. We respect the game. We love the Canes. We know the knife goes on the right side and the fork goes on the left. How is that a threat to the franchise? I don't mind if Canes' marketing wants to check out a blogger's pedigree first. I could tell Mike Sundheim today who is legit. Just look at my blogroll, and David's, and Bubba's, and Mer's, and PK's and AQ' al. Get the message Mike?

If you really want to see the power of new hockey media in action, go to Japers' Rink and see how JP has forged connections with the Caps organization, with his fellow DC Metro bloggers, and via endeavors like AOL Fanhouse, to a global community of hockey fans.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fear the Waterfowl

It looks like hockey is alive and well in Southern California

I spend a lot of time snarking on Euros lack of heart and grit. Yeah, it's a shameless play on an over-used stereotype. But like all sterotypes, it's rooted in some element of truth. Today, I formally renounce that it might otherwise pertain to Teemu Selanne. I've never seen any Euro that overcome by emotion after winning the Cup. While I'm somewhat ambivalent about the Ducks winning the Stanley Cup, I feel real good for Teemu. He's a warrior and a class act all around. If he retires now, he goes out the Elway of that franchise.

Random Thoughts

Just like last year, he couldn't get out of the way fast enough for me. Every time I see him I think of the Martin Short character pictured above. It's the one where he plays the paranoid and easily offended lawyer ensnared in a twisted web of lies and deceit.

The rest of you are a bunch of girly men
The Ducks are good-real good and they'll be knocking blocks for a few more years. I've been saying for months that the Eric Staal/Joe Thornton/Ryan Getzlaf physique-size, speed, power will one day rule hockey. That time is now.

The Sens had no answer for Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Cory Perry. These boys simply had their way with (insert Senator defenseman of your choice here). Mike Comrie bounced off Rob Niedermayer's leg on the rush that led to the Duck's second goal. Mike Comrie is a flea in a world now ruled by Clydesdales. Dustin Penner got double-teamed on a number of occasions and came out of every scrum with his head up and in control of the puck. Much as I detest the guy, Chris Pronger took a number of wicked hits, including a cheapie to the back of the head from Chris Neil; he suffered a separated shoulder, and still came back to finish off the Sens.

Free agent issues? What free agent issues?
Just Teemu and Giggy. Can they afford to lose Giggy? My Schnauzer could have played in goal these Anaheim Ducks. J.S. is real good, but not critical. The Ducks might end up losing UFAs DiPenta and/or Huskins.

Today, it sucks even more to be Dinner Jacket fan
Francois Beauchemin is a fantastic defenseman. Todd Marchant was a great character-guy addition. Meanwhile back in C-Bus, Sergei Fedorov will be stealing money through the end of next season.

Requiem for Sabre-Fan
Damn dude! Your shot at last year's Cup gets stolen in seven games by a heretic southern hockey club that goes on to win it all in another seven game a nail-biter. This season, you rule all year long only to go doormat and lose in five to a crew that turned out to be doormats in the finals.

Grandma Duck Fan reminds me that it sucks to be a Caniac right about now
I ran into an elderly woman in a Ducks sweater this afternoon in the UA student union. She said she was at the Honda Center last night and flew out immediately after the game to be on campus for her grandkid's new student orientation session. She was sky high and could barely talk cause she lost her voice last night-first booing Daniel Alfredsson every time he touched the puck, and then cheering thru the final minutes and Cup celebration. The glory days of last summer seem like ancient history right about now.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lighten Up Francis...urrr Jerry

Saw this the other day on Lord Stanley's Blog. Mr. Jerry Barker of Raleigh sent a note to the N&O blog editor's imploring them to not use images of hockey players fighting. Mr. Barker is quoted as follows:

“Do everything you can to help promote good sportsmanship, positive fan
behavior, civility and good, clean competition.”

Barker referenced the grainy image above used in a piece about Scott Walker's pending free agency. The photo was totally appropriate and in context. Mr. Barker may have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express the night before he wrote the N&O editors, but he clearly doesn't know hockey or what Scott Walker brought to the Carolina Hurricanes.

There are a number of things I really love about hockey. One of them is the code of chivalry that keeps heavily armored men with space-age weaponry from killing each other. Guys like Scott Walker enforce that code of chivalry and keep "sportsmanship, civility and good, clean competition," in the game. It's where there is an absence of a guy like Walker where a thuglet like Brooks Orpik gets away with breaking Erik Cole's neck.

Hockey is an honorable sport. Periodic Fighting is hockey's version of sensitivity training . Yes, there are some goons in the NHL who bring no game to the game. Scott Walker brings game and grit, and that's why the N&O used that image.

If you can't take the Testosterone, Mr. Barker, it might be time get out of the gender.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Draft Weekend Blogger Bash in C-Bus

UPDATE: Great heads up from Soccer-Guy Jonathan to a comprehensive C-Bus visit guide put together by Sarah on her Neutral Zone Trap blog. Columbus has more culture than a bucket of yogurt! AQ, I demand a full report from The Magnolia Thunderpussy upon your return.

Got a note today from Drew of End of the Bench fame. He and Michael Turner of Army of the Ohio are your hosts for a June 22 NHL Draft Bash in Columbus. It should be a star-studded occasion headlined by the grand arrival of Her Majesty, The Acid Queen, who will represent the Caniac Nation.

I will be deep into stuff at work that won't let up until the end of July. Massive bummer. It would be good to get back and see how the burg has changed since I lived there in the early 90's. Michael has a very detailed, "what to do," list on his site. Here are some places I would hit if I would do if I could make it back to C-Bus:

  • Katzinger's Jewish Deli in German Village. The best Reuben sandwich evuh. Great garlic dill pickles too!
  • Graeter's Ice Cream on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington (just west of OSU). It's a Cincinnati thing, not so much C-Bus, but Graeter's is the best ice cream in the land.
  • Moretti's Italian restaurant-order the Veal Francaise.
  • The estate sale at Doug MacLean's house-Probably in Bexley, Upper Arlington or New Albany. Everything must go! Great deals remain on last year's models including Zherdev, Berard. and Fedorov.

Good luck Drew and Mike. Hopefully this will be the start of an annual pilgrimage for hockey bloggers.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Shine on you crazy Canadians

Oo-Oooh say can you see...?

Two things on Kukla's Korner caught my eye this evening. One is about all the top-tier Canadian talent that will turn out to make the June 14 NHL awards show a truly star-studded affair. Stand by for...

  • Trish Stratus, the most decorated Diva in WWE history

  • The Second City’s Next Comedy Legend on CBC (who shall remain nameless, I guess?)

  • Tyler Stewart, drummer from Canada’s ever-popular Barenaked Ladies

The other is the announcement that Alanis Morissette will sing both national anthems prior to Game 4 in Ottawa. Back in the day, she did a video in her birthday suit. Wanna boost some ratings there Versus?