Thursday, December 27, 2007

Colton Orr Who? Let's Talk Maxim Afinegenov

With Damien Cox loitering the net with repetitive rants about enforcers, the instigator, and, you know, physical hockey, it's pretty easy to miss an actual NHL star involved in yet another cheap play.

Case in point... Maxim Afinegenov slew footing Scottie Upshall and attempting to step on him while he was down. Apparently Maxim didn't get word that stepping on your opponent gets you 30 games in the NHL. If he did, he would have surely been deterred and would not have tried a stunt like this some two weeks later. Right Gary and Collie? - The embedded video was jamming up the blog. So try the link.

Of course, this is nothing new to the Sabres. Last year, then captain, Daniel Briere, speared Alexander Ovechkin in his groin in retalitation for a hit from behind the game before.

Nowadays, not even team captains are held accountable for being tough players. Forget dropping the gloves and acting like a team leader, ala Zdeno Chara taking on Georges Laraque, spearing and slew footing are the way to go when you won't fight.

Which, of course, begs the question, just how dangerous would this league be without fighting?

More for Cox over at Kuklas Korner. I left a nice comment for him there.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Crosby Beats Down Ference

Crosby is a natural. He gets the lid off, throws three rights, lands two, and bloodies Ference.

Youtube (Crosby -vs- Ference):

Laraque -vs- Chara:

Thanks to Dillon at Fried Chickens for his hard work in getting these clips up!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Punishment Fits the Crime for Simon

The NHL handed down a swift and severe decision to New York Islander Chris Simon today. The rugged winger will sit for a league record 30 games after stepping on Pittsburg pest, Jarkko Ruutu, with his skate blade last weekend. Simon has also been granted a leave of absence by the Islanders to attend counseling that, according to ESPN, is not related to drugs or alcohol.

This marks the eighth suspension of Simon's career. Simon's most notable suspensions include a stick swing to the face of Ranger's pest, Ryan Hollweg, last year. Simon was also suspended for a racial slur directed to Mike Grier. In the 2000 playoffs, Simon slashed Peter Popovic in the throat with his stick, earning him a one-game suspension. Simon has also been suspended for a variety of other elbow and fighting incidents.

While I think the league's decision to go to longer suspensions was a poor one (one that started with Steve Downie), I am convinced they got this suspension right. At this point, I'm not even that concerned with the length of the suspension. Chris Simon needs help, which I am glad to hear he is seeking. His inability to think before acting has caused him to use the two deadliest pieces of equipment a hockey player uses, a stick and razor sharp ice skates.

I do hope to see Chris Simon playing again on Long Island this year; but this time with a clearer mind. Simon is an offensively-gifted enforcer. And those types of players are few and far between these days. And although this might not be a popular thing to say, the next time a pest gets under your skin Chris Simon, drop your gloves, pick up an instigator, and go to town. Sitting out of a game for 17 minutes is a lot easier to handle then missing 30 games.

Ben Eager for Jim Vandermeer

The Blackhawks and Flyers swapped a rugged pair of players today. Philadelphia sent Ben Eager to Chicago for Jim Vandermeer.

Eager, who led the league last year in fighting majors, hasn't been quite so productive this year. The 23 year-old has 0 point and is a -8. Although I think the trade may have had more to do with his inability to generate offense, Eager's fate may have been sealed when the tough guy was beat up (or down) by 38 year-old Penguin Gary Roberts last week. Eager was able to pick up his first point of the season tonight, an assist, in Chicago's game against Nashville.

Vandermeer returns to Philadelphia where he was originally signed in 2000 and spent a few seasons playing for the Phantoms in the AHL. Hopefully this will light a spark under the once willing defenseman. Vandermeer has seen his fight totals drop each year since he came into the league in 05-06.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tonight's Tickets Distributed is....

When the home team announces "tonight's home attendance is..." why don't they just start saying, "tonight's sold and distributed tickets is..."???

Anyone that follows the NHL knows that, on some nights, there is literally 1/3 of the announced attendance actually sitting in a seat.

Is it not embarrassing to turn on your favorite sport on a Wednesday night only to see countless empty seats? The Capitals and Islanders arenas are glaringly empty these days.

So while Gary keeps projecting record breaking attendance this year, why aren't fans actually showing up to games?

The Board of Governors should ask that very question the next time they talk about the state of the game.

So Now Teams are Going to be Penalized?

Brian Burke will love this one.

A week after calling an all-hands GM telecon to discuss why GMs were left out of the NHL's decision to tweak the rules and hand out bigger suspensions this year, Collie Campbell and Gary Bettman have warned Philadelphia Flyers GM, Paul Holmgren, that his team was "under watch" and there could be possible team ramifications for another on-ice lapse in judgement by a Flyers' player.

I can help but wonder if this is similar to those infamous pre-game phone calls teams get when there is build up to a game?

Does Dennis Miller Equal the NHL?

You can find both hiding on Versus these days.

Some think that the entertainment value of both are declining.

And both are led by guys that talk smart, but are from it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Instigator - Part XXXVII

What is that, part 37? It seems like that anyways.

So it seems like the instigator appears to be the hot button again with Kuklas Korner and James Mirtle lending some cyber space to the polarizing topic recently. Apparently, Eric Lindros has been visting teams and doing in-game interviews in which he has been bringing up NHLPA topics, most notably (to me anyways) the removal of the instigator.

Now I won't even go into some rant about how entirely removing the instigator would be great for the game... it isn't going to happen.

The best hockey fans, well that is the 95% of hockey fans that enjoy on-ice policing of the game, can hope for is some increase in the number of games before a player gets a suspension. And if that tickles your hiney, don't get so excited. Only a handful of players hit that magic mark of three last year, most notably Ben Eager. And while Eric Godard recently picked up his third (and had his suspension lifted by the NHL - my God!), it just doesn't happen too often these days that you should get excited about an increase in instigators before a suspension.

Now, what should the NHL really do to meet halfway? They should toss out the extra ten minute misconduct that accompanies an instigator. That way players only get a seven minute package rather than putting their team one player short for almost an entire period. They should also remove the game misconduct that accompanies a second instigator in a game. Finally, the horrid rule of an automatic suspension to the player and coach (plus a fine to the coach) for an instigator in the final five minutes of a game should be removed.

One notion as to why none of this will happen was voiced over at Kuklas. Basically they stated that the NHL wants to avoid ugly brawl that will delay a game and put the NHL is a negative light. Question - what are these cheap hits doing for the NHL that any different? Another question - have Collie and Gary's suspensions, you know... the ones that were never run by anyone before being implemented, really detering cheap hits this year? Half of the Philadelphia Flyers think not.

Then there are the pesimists that say it will never happen. Well, me thinks it might. I personally chatted with Ted Leonsis about it last year and he said the Board of Governors was very close to voting through the bumping up of games before a suspension was given. He said he voted in favor of modifying the rule himself. So we shall see. It doesn't appear to be on the radar this go around; but I am thinking we might see some talk happen in February.

And to the 5% of hockey fans that cover your eyes when a fight breaks out, relax. Modifying the instigator rule isn't going to send the NHL into thugdem. The enforcer that jumps a turtling yapper will still put his team at a man disadvantage for seven minutes. And in today's game, that usually spells a goal or two you just put your team down. It's too fine a line to walk for some players to do such a thing as they might find a one-way ticket to the AHL on their locker if they choose to deter with their knuckles.

One thing is for sure though, cheap hits are happening more and more these days. Maybe it's the new Reebok jerseys that are making players faster (8% apparently) and players can't pull up in time. Maybe it's a lack of respect amongst players. A GM even said that players were tight knit coming out of the lockout... not so much anymore. Whatever it is, the current system isn't working.
Time to make a rule change for another three years and see what happens. One things for sure, 95% of hockey fans will be a lot happier. And I'd bet the farm the NHL would bring in some new fans and start filling seats when things start to heat up between teams (man it was empty in Washington and on the Island last night).

And dare I say a rivalry might brew? It's been a long time since Detroit/Colorado. Wait a second, that started with a cheap hit... and oh yeah, the players took it upon themselves to straighten it out. Fans hated watching those fierce battles. Patrick Roy versus Chris Osgood? Darren McCarty versus Claude Lemieux? Oh terrible! Yeah right...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Colin Campbell Calls Derek Boogaard

Ring, ring, ring...

Minnesota Wild assistant: Wild locker room. Can I help you?

Collie: Yes. This is league disciplinarian, Colin Campbell. May I have a word with Derek Boogaard please?

Minnesota Wild assistant: Why sure... one minute please.

Third-party voice: [barely audible] Ask him why they call him "the Boogeyman" Collie... I like that nickname. It's scares me. Don't tell anyone I said that.

Collie: Shhhh Gare. Someone is picking up the phone.

Boogaard: This is Derek.

Collie: Derek, this is league disciplinarian, God I love saying that, ehem sorry, Colin Campbell. I wanted to speak with you before tonight's game and warn you that I will be watching you very closely.

Boogaard: I have a job to do. I really don't have time for this.

Collie: Understandable. But know that anything you do out there is considered pre-meditated. This whole "Itchy and Scratchy" thing has gone overboard. Fans are getting excited and we might even have a lot of people watch the game tonight. You best leave those, what did you call them, eh yappers, alone over there. The Sedin Brothers shall not be harmed! If you so much as scowl at Matt Cooke, I will give you five games. And if you even look at Kesler, you are finished for half the season. Aside from the Boulerice thing, he is a good kid that keep his nose clean. Yapping and cheap-shotting can be tolerated in this league. You policing the game cannot. I AM the police Boogaard... you hear me?!

Boogaard: Ohlund break our guy's leg and your yelling at me like this? Wait, what is that? Who is breathing heavy? Is someone else is listening to this? Gary, is that you?

Collie: No one else is on the call Derek! And one more thing... Mike Brown will only be fighting Aaron Voros tonight. You leave him alone. The Nucks called him up to play hockey and that is it. If you touch him, you are done for the year. You leave those gloves on, you hear? There will be no emotion in this game I say!

Boogaard: You and Gary hold hands and watch closely tonight. I am going to personally show you how to police a game. I'll be sure to send you an apple martini in the press box.


Collie: Don't you hang up on me Boogeyman! McGeough will be there tonight! No emotion I say! No emotion!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Most Amazing Ending to a Game I Have EVER Seen

Woke up to stumble on to this gem this morning. Sure, it's only Division III football; but this easily the most exciting play I have ever seen end a sporting event.

Friday, October 26, 2007

LNAH Hockey Fights

With the NHL turning soft on us (actually fights are up this year, but its the "lesss than heavy" guys that are fighting), let's turn our attention to a league where you are almost guaranteed 2+ fights a night per game... the LNAH. A little about the LNAH for Wiki:

The Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey (LNAH) was founded in 2004 and is a low-level professional league based in the Canadian province of Quebec. It was called the Quebec Semi-Pro Hockey League from 1996 to 2004 when it turned pro. It has no connection with the similarly-named North American Hockey League (NAHL), an American junior league for players under twenty.

Unlike higher-level professional leagues, such as the American Hockey League or the ECHL, the LNAH is not known for its skill level. Its teams employ many enforcers and has a rather infamous reputation for on-ice antics that mostly include fisticuffs. The LNAH has the unofficial reputation as the world's roughest hockey league.

I really don't know where to start with the LNAH. There are line-brawls on a weekly basis. I would liken a lot of the tough guys to an early-version of Tie Domi, as they dust off their hands, shadow box, and do other entertaining things to play to the crowd before and after fights. You can expect a fight a night per tough guy. It's not like the NHL where 25 fights might lead the league at the end of the year. Some of these guys will have more than 25 fights midway through the year. There are a lot of goals scored in games which keeps things fun for the finesse fans as well.

But really, if you go to watch an LNAH game, you know what you are in store for. Former NHLers Link Gaetz and Gino Odjick have played in the league. It is rumored, although I don't think it is much of a rumor, that Link got paid by the fight. Legendary AHLer Frank "the Animal" Bialowas played in the LNAH. Caps tough guy Donald Brashear played in the LNAH during the lockout and was promptly banned from the league after punching his opponent multiple times while he was down. Former AHLers Brandon Sugden and Sean McMorrow currently play. Rumored-to-be a Hershey Bear last year, Steve Bosse, resides as the current champ of the league. Current Syracuse Crunch that can't find his way into a game, Jon "Nasty" Mirasty, is #2 behind Bosse and is probably the most entertaining fighter in the world today.

So the only way to really explain the LNAH is to watch some of these guys in action for yourself.... enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Zdeno Chara Pounds David Koci

Apparently Koci had his nose broken two nights ago. A solid right by Chara opened it up again and a bloody mess ensued.


Belak breaking Koci's nose:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Huge Chris Simon article...

This one from Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber. A couple of quotables:

Darryl Bootland, a nondescript New York Islanders winger, and Riley Cote, a fourth liner for the Philadelphia Flyers, were standing beside each other at the face-off circle in the second period on the night of Oct. 13, jostling with their sticks and engaging in repartee that was more Oscar De La Hoya than Oscar Wilde.

"Why d'ya look so angry all the time?" Bootland demanded.

"'Cause that's my job," Cote replied.

When Cote lifted Bootland's stick and it caught its owner in the face, the contretemps became Chris Simon's job.

Now Simon, sprung from his personal purgatory, switched sides ... or at least moved from the right to the left side of the circle so he could line up next to Cote. "Simon looks at me, and he's like, 'What's up?' " Cote said. "And I said, 'Are we going to do this?' And he's like, 'Yup.' That's kinda [how] it happens."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Caps Finally Show Some Toughness

Donald Brashear -vs- Georges Laraque

Arguably the two best heavyweights in the game today, these two squared off on Saturday night. Laraque looked to catch Brashear early on with a left. Brashear went to a knee twice and Laraque continued to throw while Brashear was getting up, but couldn't put the Cap away. Brashear rights himself and throws two solid lefts, the first hitting helmet and the second looking to land flush on Laraque's forehead knocking the Penguin off his skates and to the ice.

Friday, October 12, 2007

More Modifications to NHL Uniforms on the Horizon

New York - Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the new NHL, has proposed more radical changes to all NHL uniforms. Citing aesthetic preferences, Bettman has sent marketing DVDs to team owners in hopes that they will approve the changes at the upcoming Board of Governors meeting.

At his press conference, Bettman, who would not go into exact details about the modifications, said:

"This is not a revenue-generating initiative. We have tested these new uniforms and they make the players 10% faster than they were in 2005-2006. That is a 2% improvement over what the Reebok jerseys. Not only that, but sweat absolutely cannot be trapped in these uniforms. These are ultra skin tight. And that is why I have cleared my schedule to attend all Detroit Red Wings game this year. I've had my eye on Dominik Hasek for years. I can't wait to see how the uniform flexes when he kicks out for a save."

Twominutes has obtained an exclusive copy of the marketing DVD and has posted it here for you to view. Accoring to an NHL source, the video depicts exactly what an NHL player could do in these uniforms during a live game. The source noted that "this video is accurate. We tested all of the maneuvers you see in it."

Just so we're all on the same page, this was an "Onion" moment for me. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Team-by-Team Fighters List

Me and a couple of guys over at Fried Chickens put our noggins together to come up with a list of tough guys for each team. We also included "in the system" minor league guys that can be called up to fill holes if need be.

We even sorted by weight class, which more so is based on fighting ability and who guys have danced with in the past. The designations are:

HW = Heavyweight CW = Cruiserweight MW = Middleweight

Anaheim Mighty Ducks:

George Parros (HW)
Brad May (HW)
Travis Moen (CW)
Shane Hnidy (MW)
Sean O'Donnell (CW)

In the system: Mike Hoffman (HW), Geoff Peters (MW), Dan Lacouture (MW)

Atlanta Thrashers:

Eric Boulton (HW)
Chris Thorburn (MW)
Garnett Exelby (MW)

In the system: Boris Valabik (HW)

Boston Bruins:

Shawn Thornton (HW)
Jeremy Reich (CW)
Milan Lucic (CW)
Andrew Alberts (CW)

In the system: Steve McIntyre (HW), Nathan Saunders (CW)

Buffalo Sabres:

Andrew Peters (HW)
Adam Mair (CW)
Paul Gaustad (MW)
Nathan Paetsch (MW)

Calgary Flames:

Eric Godard (HW)
Wayne Primeau (CW)
Mark Smith (MW)
Dion Phaneuf (CW)
Jarome Iginla (CW)
Cory Sarich (MW)

In the system: Brandon Prust (CW)

Carolina Hurricanes:

Mike Commodore (CW)
Tim Gleason (CW)
Craig Adams (MW)
Scott Walker (MW)

In the system: Wade Brookbank (HW), Trevor Gillies (HW)

Colorado Avalanche:

Scott Parker (HW)
Ian Lapperiere (CW)

In the system: Cody McLeod (CW), Cody McCormick, (MW), Mitch Love, Dale Purinton (HW)

Chicago Blackhawks:

David Koci (HW)
Jim Vandermeer (CW)
Danny Richmond (MW)
Martin Lapointe (CW)
James Wisniewski (MW)

Columbus BlueJackets:

Jody Shelley (HW)
Jarred Boll (CW)
Kristian-Ole Tollefson (MW)

In the system: Tom Sestito (CW), Zenon Konopka (CW)

Dallas Stars:

Todd Fedoruk (HW)
Steve Ott (MW)
Krys Barch (CW)
Brad Winchester (HW)
Brendan Morrow (MW)

In the system: B.J. Crombeen (HW), Mark Fistric (HW)

Detroit Red Wings:

Dallas Drake (MW)
Aaron Downey (HW)

Edmonton Oilers:

JF Jacques (MW)
Matt Greene (CW)
Sheldon Souray (CW)
Ethan Moreau (MW)
Steve Staios (MW)

In the system: Zach Stortini (HW), Bryan Young, Ryan Flinn (HW), Theo Peckham (CW)

Florida Panthers:

Steve Montador (CW)
Bryan Allen (CW)
Greg Campbell (MW)

In the system: Anthony Stewart (MW)

Los Angeles Kings:

Raitis Ivanans (HW)
Scott Thornton (HW)

In the system: Paul Crosty (HW), Kevin Westgarth (HW)

Minnesota Wild:

Derek Boogaard (HW)
Stephanne Veilleux (MW)

In the system: Aaron Voros (HW), Matt Kassian (HW), Riley Emmerson, John Scott (HW)


Montreal Canadiens:

Tom Kostopolous (MW)
Garth Murray (CW)
Steve Begin (MW)
Mike Komisarek (CW)
Ryan O'Byrne (CW)

In the system: Jimmy Bonneau (HW)

Nashville Predators:

Darcy Hordichuk (HW)
Scott Nichol (MW)
Jordin Tootoo (MW)

In the system: Nolan Yonkman (CW), Alex Henry (HW)

New Jersey Devils:

Cam Janssen (HW)
Mike Rupp (CW)
Arron Asham (CW)
Sheldon Brookbank (CW)
David Clarkson (CW)

In the system: Grant Marshall (CW), Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre (CW), Pierre-Luc Leblond (CW)

New York Islanders:

Chris Simon (HW)
Darryl Bootland (MW)
Andy Sutton (CW)
Brendan Witt (CW)
Bill Guerin (CW)

In the system: Gordie Dwyer (CW), Tim Jackman (CW), Kip Brennan (HW), Matt Spiller (CW)

New York Rangers:

Colton Orr (HW)
Ryan Hollweg (MW)
Jason Strudwick (HW)
Sean Avery (MW)
Brendan Shanahan (CW)

In the system: Dane Byers (CW), Francis Lessard (HW), Dave Liffiton (CW), Mitch Fritz (HW)

Ottawa Senators:

Brian McGratton (HW)
Chris Neil (CW)
Mike Fisher (MW)

In the system: Danny Bois (CW), Matt Carkner (HW), Jeremy Yablonski (HW), Greg Amadio (CW)

Philadelphia Flyers:

Jesse Boulerice (HW)
Riley Cote (HW)
Ben Eager (CW)
Mike Richards (MW)

In the system: Tristan Grant (HW), Martin Grenier (HW), Gino Pisselini (CW)

Phoenix Coyotes:

Josh Gratton (HW)
Daniel Carcillo (MW)
Nick Boynton (CW)
Keith Ballard (MW)

In the system: Kevin Cormier, Craig Weller (HW)

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Georges Laraque (HW)
Jarkko Ruutu (MW)
Maxime Talbot (MW)
Gary Roberts (MW)

In the system: Aaron Boogaard (HW), Dennis Bonvie (HW), Ryan Stone (CW), Deryk Engelland (CW)


San Jose Sharks:

Brad Norton (HW)
Rob Davison (CW)
Ryan Clowe (MW)
Doug Murray (CW)

In the system: Jonathan Tremblay (HW), Brad Staubitz, Brennan Evans (CW)

St.Louis Blues:

DJ King (HW)
Matt Walker (HW)
Jamal Mayers (CW)
Barrett Jackman (CW)
Dan Hinote (MW)

In the system: Anthony Peluso, Hans Benson (HW)

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Andre Roy (HW)
Shane O'Brien (CW)
Nick Tarnasky (CW)
Chris Gratton (CW)

In the system: Mike Egener (HW), Jay Leach (CW), Karl Stewart (MW), Dan Jancevski (CW)

Toronto Maple Leafs:

Wade Belak (HW)
Kris Newbury (MW)
Darcy Tucker (MW)

In the system: Ben Ondrus (MW), Brad Brown (HW), David Ling (MW)

Vancouver Canucks:

Jeff Cowan (CW)
Kevin Bieksa (MW)
Byron Ritchie (MW)
Alex Burrows (MW)

In the system: Rick Rypien, Mike Brown (MW), Nate McIver (CW)

Washington Capitals:

Donald Brashear (HW)
John Erskine (HW)
Brian Sutherby (CW)
Matt Bradley (CW)
Chris Clark (MW)

In the system: Ben Clymer (MW), Grant McNeil (HW), Chris McAllister (HW), Dean Arsene (CW)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Clean Hit by Neil Shelves Superstar Avery

Sean Avery is hurt... again. Guess he won't be making the Islanders game, you know the one he wanted to play in sooo bad because he is sooo good at policing the ice.

But nope, Chris Neil walloped Avery with a clean open ice hit the other night, sending Avery to the locker room and sidelining him for four weeks with a separated shoulder. Of course the hit resulted in an elbowing call for Neil. Sadly enough, its yet another example of Bettman's zebras being oversensitive to what are really clean hits. Watching Neil's elbow as comes in... it's down and so is Avery.

I tried to find some Avery comments about Neil but was unsuccessful. No worries, the inevitable 'Chris Neil is a thug and I am a goal scoring machine" comments will be in the presses soon enough.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

NHL Enforcer Articles - Time to Play Catch Up

I openly admit that my blog lacks focus. Really I just use this space to write what is on my mind (which can get cluttered - I have self-diagnosed a touch of ADD). That could be that Gary Bettman is running what was once a great sport into the ground (I almost lost my dinner last night when he popped up on the Caps game). That could mean providing some updates about the Capitals (I am a hockey friendly blog according to their website you know). And/or that could mean writing about the true characters of hockey, the tough guys (you know, the ones that make the fans cheer even louder than when a goal is scored - that burns that anti-fight crowd).

Being that Gary and the Caps have dominated TwoMinutes (this is the premeir TwoMinutes blog out there!) the last couple of entries, it's time to play catch up on some great enforcer articles.

Anyone heard of this Milan Lucic character? Do a YouTube on him. The kid is tough as nails.

The Boston Herald has taken notice... not once, but twice in the past couple of days.

Lucic took on Brad Winchester last night by the way, earning a solid edge against the opposing youngster. This was one second after the main event, Todd Fedorek -vs- Scott Thornton.

Anyone heard of this dope? Mr. Corbet writes that Dennis Bonvie might literally kill someone on the ice one day. He failed to mention that Bonvie is probably in his last season in the AHL and he hasn't come close to killing anyone in a 10+ year career. Corbet also plays the parent/child communication card, saying that parents have a hard time explaining why grown men are fighting on the ice.

To Dopey Corbet, I say this... Any ARTICULATE parent doesn't have that problem. If you can't explain to your child that what is happening on the ice is not what should happen at school, then you had problems communicating with your child BEFORE you got to the rink.

Mr. Corbet is just another anti-fight writer trying to make a name for himself. Thank you for joining the Beat Up As A Kid link on Twominutes dope. (Side note - a poster at Fried Chickens found a very interesting article questioning Corbet's ethics. Good read... scroll down for the article and bolded section.)

Anyone see the Jon Mirasty got a part-time offer with the Syracuse Crunch? YouTube Mirasty (he goes by the nickname Nasty Mirasty) and you will see that this guy is an absolute animal. Be sure to skip the Steve Bosse fights (he was rumored to be signed by Hershey last year). Mirasty has a hard time against Steve.

Hey, Donald Brashear builds homes! I don't know why that is important. But it's worth a quick read.

A Lappy story out of the Denver Post. Laperriere is a warrior. And it just so happens that he found Mr. Tootoo the other night against the Predators. Someone's not wasting time, eh?

Olli Jokinen says that the Panthers need an enforcer. But of course Jacques Martin would prefer not to "waste" a spot on a guy that doesn't play that much. And of yeah, the Panthers are "team tough." Yeah, that's what every team that lacks an enforcer says, true or not. Has anyone noticed that we have 30 "team tough" teams in the NHL? I haven't.

Speaking of NOT being team tough, the Detroit Red Wings cut Aaron Downey. This after keeping him on the roster through all of pre-season AND the first game of the season. No worries once again, the Wings are team tough too because they once had Brendan Shanahan and Bob Probert and Joe Kocur and... seriously, how embarrassing is it to be a Wings fan right now?

Derek Boogaard (the apparent second coming of Bob Probert) got edged out by David Koci the other night in a slug fest (in which many punches didn't land). Minnesota fans are in denial about this one. Psst... it's okay if the big guy loses every now and then.

Gary Bettman wants to get hit-to-hurt guys out of the NHL so much so that he had his lap dog, Collie (seriously, Bettman calls him this) Campbell, call the Islanders (Hollweg), Predators (Tootoo), and Wild (Boogaard). Apparently these guys will be "watched closely" this year.

That is the NHL for you folks... objective as ever. These three guys couldn't take a $@)! without the NHL inspecting it, especially Boogaard who actually got a penalty for getting punched in the eye the other night.

Ah yes, on to Steve Downie, who the AHL has decided to suspend for a month of play. The NHL has made Downie the face of "hit-to-hurt" players. Nice job making an example out of A KID that hasn't even played in an NHL game. For some background on Downie, read this article posted at Flyersphans.

More on hit-to-hurt player, Jordin Tootoo. Looks like he cheated on Kellie Pickler. Can't really say I blame him. He's young. He's a star in Nashville. And there are so many hot single chicks in Nashville, it's not even funny. Well I guess he could have broken up with her first, then had some fun. Gross misconduct! Oh yes, the "new NHL" doesn't have that traditional penalty anymore.

Just a quick tid bit on Bettman. Last night, he said there are rumors that ESPN is interested in the NHL. He better play smart on this one. Versus can't carry ESPN's jock. Nuff said.

My top ten heavyweights going into the season:

Laraque (he'd better fight more this year or he drops)
King (he was GREAT in his short stint last year)
Shelly (although I’m not that high on his fighting ability anymore)

Darkhorse - Mr. Koci, George Parros (for frequency, not results)

Finally, I actually gave away four tickets to opening night at the Verizon Center tonight. 200 level at center ice. Who, in their right mind, would pay to see one of the softest teams on ice, the Carolina Hurricanes, play?

Friday, October 5, 2007

$258 to Take a Family of Four to an NHL Game

And I rounded down...

To all those that say that hockey is a family friendly sport, I point you to the Team Marketing Report.

Some quick hits from their Fan Cost survey, now going on its 15th year:

The most expensive team to see play is the Montreal Canadians at a whopping $332.

The Phoenix Coyotes are in last (just like in the standings) at $181.

If I have one more kid, that will give me four in my family and we can go see a Washington Capitals game for a cool $230... pocket change, right?

The most expensive beer goes to Los Angeles at $7.25. Dallas (yeehaw!) charges almost half as much ($4).

It looks like Florida (21%), Carolina (28%), and St. Louis (17% because they packed em in like sardines last year...) feel its time to start charging families more to see a game this year compared to last.

And oh yes, 18 teams have raised the average ticket price, 10 teams did not change their price, and 2 actually dropped ticket prices (one of which is Toronto who still has the second highest ticket price of all NHL teams).

So to all those dopes out there that think it is reasonable for a family of four to see an NHL game, think again. And all that coin for what owners will even refer to as a niche sport... oh yes, they're just covering the t.v. ratings debacle when they do that. I forgot.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Gary Bettman Caught with his Pants Down Again

Looks as though Gary and his crownies on Sixth Avenue are having a tough time generating revenues for the league when their counterparts in other major sports don't have near the difficult pulling their own weight.

So what does Gary do? He wants the NHL office to take over all team websites to pull revenue into his office to justify his existence.

As a matter of fact, Gary has suid the New York Rangers have $200,000 for selling some NHL merchandise on their website during the last two playoff games of the season for the Rangers. And it was renue-sharing merchandise too! But without Gary's stamp of approval, the NHL sees the Rangers as in the wrong.

Not only that, but Garden CEO Jim Dolan has highlighted Gary's failures in expanding international markets when 30% of NHL players are European. It seems that Sixth Avenue is only bringing in $4 million a year from European initiatives whereas Gary's former boss (the NBA) is raking in $125 million!

Larry Brooks see the writing on the wall for Uncle Gary. LB writes:
THE Garden's lawsuit against the NHL al leging antitrust vio lations and charging the league is acting as an "illegal cartel" by attempting to seize control of individual teams' marketing operations is not only an extraordinary measure unto itself, it represents the first public evidence of the schisms evolving within the Board of Governors and that are threatening Gary Bettman's reign as commissioner.

Make no mistake. After supporting Bettman and the Board on issues contrary to their own self-interests such as the hard salary cap, revenue sharing, and cancellation of the 2004-05 season, the Rangers are no longer amenable to ceding control of their business to Sixth Avenue, and neither are a growing number of the big-market teams who carry the league on their backs.

It's a tough call in my opinion. The only reason I see something like this affecting the Board's opinions on Bettman is because it involves the thing that is most important to the Board... their revenues. And Gary is only slapping the wrists of thebig market clubs, right?

The problem is that Gary isn't playing Robin Hood the way it should be played.

Gary is taxing that website revenue and putting some in his pocket to justify his existence... THEN he re-distributes to the smaller market teams.

I just sit back and shake my head and wonder if anyone else is surprised in the least by this.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Got Less than 20 Games

Steve Downie can't say the same. But that is the hypocrisy of the NHL. Lots of Senators on this reel. Feel free to leave a comment if you want more added.

Chris Neil - 0 games

Cam Janssen - 3 games

Chris Pronger - 1 lousy game. Have a nice trip to the hospital Dean!

Scott Neidermayer - 10 games

Pronger and Neidermayer - 1 game

Kyle McLaren - 3 games

Derian Hatcher - 7 games

Colby Armstrong - 0 games!

More Armstrong - 0 games!

More More Armstrong - 0 games! Wow does this look very similar to Downie's.

More More More Armstrong - 0 games! Again, familiar. Carter gets the penalty too!

Darcy Tucker - 0 games!

The NHL Hands Down a Joke of a Decision

Steve Downie gets 20 games? Are you kidding me? I was thinking between 3 - 5. Sure the kid has a record in the OHL. But not in the NHL.

And sure he concussed Dean McAmmond; but who hasn't? The guy skates around staring at his feet half the game. This isn't the first time McAmmond has laid on the ice staring at the rafters.

The hit in question:

Seriously. Was it THAT late? Is it me or did he leave his feet a split second before wrecking Dean, who consequently was watching his pass?

Was this worth 20 games???!!! Not a chance.

Folks, I wrote it on the hfboards and I will write it here... I am glad I haven't purchased Center Ice just yet. I will be holding off to see if this is what the NHL has in store for us in 07-08.

What's hilarious about all of this is that while Uncle Gary was over in London promoting the NHL, he was asked a question about hits to the head. His answer:

Downie was given a match penalty, which means he was automatically suspended. He is going to have an in-person hearing with Colie Campbell later today or earlier today, depending on your time zone. But the fact of the matter is this is a case that may result in supplemental discipline. I don’t want to be more specific because we don’t prejudge these things, and Colie has to have a hearing.

But the one thing I want everyone to focus on in terms of the physical play in the game, this is a physical game and we’re not looking to take physicality out of the game. I believe from a statistical standpoint last year, 45,000 hits were recorded in our games. There were probably 10 hits to the head that we had to look at closely. There were less than a handful that we didn’t like and needed to be addressed, which was part of the effort this summer.

What we want to do is get rid of the less than handful of hits without getting rid of the other 45,000 hits because we’re not looking to change the nature of the game, we’re looking to protect heads, and that will be a priority for us during this season.
We can all speculate what the result of the supplemental hearing will be today, but you can weigh in as to whether or not you thought we were too heavy or too light or sent the message or didn’t send a message or disciplined appropriately or didn’t after Colie renders his determination.
Well thanks for letting us weigh in Uncle Gary. And thank you for admitting that of some 45,000 hits, only a handful were problematic.

So the question is, why the backlash over a handful of hits?

Does anyone really think that 20 game suspensions are going to stop players from hitting other players in the head?

And do any of you dopes in Ottawa ever stop to think for a second that hits to the head have anything to do with the fact that these guys play a game at breakneck speeds on a sheet of ice?

Poor Dean gets nailed twice (Pronger gets one game by the way - I won't even touch the hypocrisy of that one!) and Sens fans are outraged.

Oh how soon they forget that Chris Neil is a loose cannon. Can you say Chris Drury? How long before Neil lays out yet another dirty hit on a guy skating around with his head down?

So thanks Collie and Gary. Sens fans are happy. The rest of the NHL still thinks you're a joke.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rangers/Islanders Brewhaha Vid

I think its been covered enough. So I'll just post the best video I could find. This cuts everything down to about 7 minutes.

Cry Scott Cry!!!

Scott Morrison, from CBC, doesn't like the fact that Chris Simon was allowed to play against the Islanders last night. Simon, of course, has five regular season games left to service on his 25 game suspension for whacking Ryan Hollweg in the kisser with his stick.

So yes, according to Morrison, he should be allowed to play in the preseason. But no, not against the Islanders. According to Morrison:

Where is the common sense?

Simon shouldn't have been anywhere near the ice against the Rangers for all the obvious reasons. And especially since the Rangers decided to dress Ryan Hollweg, the player Simon chopped down his with his stick back on March 8 to earn the supreme wrath of the league.
Serioulsy, does any have Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" lyrics handy? Thank you Gary.

Scott, Captain Obvious has something to say to you... this is hockey! Players hit; they check; and they occasionally fight. It happens.

I 100% guarantee you that if you were to ask any Ranger in that dressing room whether or not they thought Simon should be playing, they would tell you no or they could care less.

If anything, the preseason is the most opportune time for the two teams to get the bad blood out as two points are not on the line.

But a brawl happend. And that made Scott angry. So he pecked at his keyboard and blamed somebody (I'm still not sure who) for letting Simon play.

And while Scott was pecking, fans that tuned into the game were hooting and hollering as they witnessed some old time hockey and, dare I say it (this will burn Gary), a rivalry brewing.

NHL Jerseys Mean More Money and Nothing More

Forget that more injuries will occur as a result of the new, tight-fitting (they conform), Reebok jerseys the NHL has made every NHL team switch to. What about the sweat? After all, that is one of the reasons the NHL apparentely made the switch, right?

This from the Calgary Sun:

Traditionalists still call a hockey uniform a sweater.

Having now sampled the new, high-tech togs unveiled by all 30 NHL teams this year for a handful of pre-season games, Flames players are understanding why the word sweat is in sweater.

"My undershirt is just soaked," said forward Owen Nolan. "I find I'm changing them in between periods and a lot more frequently than before. I feel like I'm working out in a sauna."

The new uniform system unveiled by RBK has benefits. Sweaters are lighter, are apparently more wind resistant and repel moisture.

However, while moisture doesn't soak in from the outside, it doesn't release from inside the uniform. That means players are becoming saturated in their own sweat.

"With the other ones, you had holes and got more of a breeze in there -- maybe that's why you got that drying out effect," said blueliner Cory Sarich. "These seem to heat you up more because there's not that two-way air flow.

"Besides, the jerseys don't feel much different than the old ones. I don't know if they've accomplished what they want. From talking to guys, I don't feel they're making a difference on the ice."

Moreover, players around the league are complaining their gloves are becoming so full of sweat they have to change them constantly.

Also, their skates are filling like buckets, and that's not a piece of equipment they want to change mid-game.

The article goes on to talk about how elastic the jerseys are and how they are adversly affecting the fight game.

But seriously folks, this all doesn't matter. Forget tradition. Forget what the players want. This is about money, green, revenue, funds in the pockets of the owners, a Commissioner keeping his job. You get my point.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It Couldn't Have Happened to a Better Guy...

Thank you Milton Bradley for brightening my day yesterday. Now I don't like to see athletes get hurt; but if it is going to happen, it might as well happen to Bradley. And yes, it certainly did look like he was egged on by the umpire. That is not shocking to me in the least.

But even if egged on, you can read between the lines and see that this guy is a first-class idiot. According to the Canadian Press:

"It's terrible. And now, because of him, my knee's hurt," Bradley said Sunday. "If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm taking some action. I'm not going to stand pat and accept this, because I didn't do nothing wrong."

Bradley was playing his third game back from a 12-game injury layoff. Batting .313, Bradley hit his 11th homer earlier in the game.

As Bradley walked to the plate in the eighth, umpire Brian Runge asked the player if he had flipped his bat in the ump's direction after taking a called third strike to end the fifth.

"I said, 'Are you kidding me? That's ridiculous,"' Bradley said. "He said, 'Well, it was reported to me by the other umpires that you threw your bat at me.' And I said, 'That's completely ridiculous. I've done a lot of things. I'm trying to turn it around. I would never harm anybody."'

Bradley singled, then asked Winters if he told Runge he threw his bat. "He goes, 'Yeah, you did.' I go, 'Are you kidding me? That's completely ridiculous. If I strike out and the inning's over, why are you looking at me? Everything's always about me."'

Then, a fan heckled Winters.

"I pointed to the guy in the crowd, affirming it," Bradley said.

Bradley said Winters responded with a string of expletives.

"That's when I went at him and he kicked me out," Bradley said.

Here's some more material on Bradley as Alan Schwarz, from ESPN, put a pretty pink bow on Bradley's checkered past.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ken Campbell Doesn't Get It...

Campbell's Cuts... read it, digest it, then osmose this garbage right out of your system.

Ken Campbell is another hockey wimp that saw an opportunity and jumped on it. Sure Kenny, a couple of fighters have gotten hurt this year. The insight is appreciated by all.

It's hockey Kenny. Not the ice capades (well, I'm not so sure about in the new NHL). Players are going to get hurt. After all, they are 8% faster and can hit harder as a result, right?

As for the tough guys, well, those shiny new jerseys sure are tight. And they sure do rip easily. So expect so more toe-to-toe action this year. And fully expect more injuries as these guys swing freely.

But feel sorry for someone else Kenny. These guys love their jobs... they love protecting their teammates. Bumps, bruises, cuts, and even the occasional break all heal. You won't hear them complain.

And one more thing, I'd love to see you get real close to one of those guys and call them a "like-minded lunkhead." Nah, stick behind the keyboard... it's safe there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NHL Enforcers Not Happy with New Reebok Jerseys

James Mirtle has the story over at the Globe.

While the new garb was tested for water resistance, aerodynamics and, ahem, marketing potential, I'm guessing the pointy heads never thought to try it out in a scrap or two.
In all seriousness, I am glad to see James stating the obvious. Folks, these jerseys were made for one reason... to make money. What other pro sports league has overhauled every team's jerseys during the off-season? Better yet, do you buy the cokkadoodledoo (that's a first for me) being fed to you that these jerseys are really going to make the players 8% faster?

Enforcers possess very strong upper bodies as they need to lock out opposing fighters from coming inside and throwing punches. And when those cement grips get on each other jersey's and combatants start tugging and pulling, players expect resistance. And when it suddenly isn't there, there is a potential for injury.

Not only that, but when jerseys start tearing off, players will be free to throw without defense from their opponent. That, most certainly, is how injuries happen. And that is one reason the NHL invented fight straps... thank you Rob Ray (he used to conveniently find his way out of his jersey during fights) for that.

So don't be surprised if this isn't the last injury you see. As James said, the focus has been on the look of the jersey.

At the same time, don't forget about the cost ($100 for an REPLICA and oodles more for an authentic, because the NHL is fan friendly); don't forget that you are now supposedly watching 8% faster players (woohoo!); and don't forget that the NHL has soiled the linens of hockey tradition yet again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Flyers-Sens... A Little In-Game Blogging

Want to get in to watch FOUR NHL preseason games tonight? This is the link you want to use.

So this is my first shot at NHL t.v. And with a few bumps and bruises I was able to get in. The link from the Flyers site was dead for a while. So I scooted over to hfboards where I was tipped to this link. Lineups to come. Actually this is the best I could up with. Toughness lineups are:

Senators - Bois, McGratton, Carkner, and Neil.

Flyers - Cote, Richards, Grenier, and Eager.

Apparently there should be some brewhaha action tonight after Ben Eager sticked Brian McGratton in the stomach last year. Both teams are icing tough lineups as well. So we could see some fireworks. This game is coming to you live from the John Labbat Center

Thus far, I am impressed with the quality of I am viewing in a midsize mode. I tried the full screen but the picture was fuzzy.

Before I get going, I am a Caps fan. So if I get some of the spellings on these names wrong, please accept my most sincere apologies! That and I got started late because I wasn't sure if would work.

First period:

Pretty quiet game with 13:30 left in the first.

Fight - Cote comes in after Carkner levels Downey. Downey had his back to the ice and got popped pretty good. Cote gets in quickly and throws a quick left and Carkner counters with a few lefts that send Cote to the ice. Quick fight. Win to Carkner.

Sens goal - Neil with a shot from the right faceoff dot and Zubov cleans up the big rebound.

Fight - Brian McGratton and Martin Grenier, the big boys, drop right off the face off. Both lock out with the lefts and proceed to throw multiple rights that come up short. McGratton starts to wear Grenier down and sneaks in a few rights. Grenier counters with a short nice left before the refs jump in. McGratts controlled the fight and gets the win.

Fight - Eager throws a cheapie from behind on a Sen and in come Danny Bois. They drop the gloves immediately and Eager throws a couple of ineffective lefts that don't land. Eager loses his balance and down they go. Edge to Eager, although he lost his balance.

Gauthier crushes Neil into the end glass shortly after. It looked like he was going to get a penalty; but the refs surprisingly let it go. Pretty chippy game early on. Neil may be a little gun shy after exchanging blows with his teammate, Jeremy Yablonski, in training camp a few days ago.

Getting reports that is dropping out for some in the middle of the game. This is a great feature. Let's hope the NHL gets the logistics worked out real soon.

Hartnell clips Neil with a highstick. Boy does Chris Neil have a target on his back. And this isn't even the Sabres!

Apparently Carkner has gone to the dressing room. He might have hurt that paw on Cote's jaw earlier in the first.

Sens Goal - Mezeros makes it 2-0 with a blast from the point that finds the 5 hole.

Brain Boucher gets to watch the game from behind the end glass. Not only that, he gets to sign autographs too. Apparently the cameraman got the nod for the last spot on the Flyers bench. Apparently Boucher will see the ice in the third.

Sens - Nick Foligno cleans up his own rebound from the side of the net to make it 3-0. Foligno also drew the interference penalty that led to this power play and his first NHL goal.

Refs call a hooking penalty with 6 seconds left in the first. Zero tolerance again in the new NHL... ugh.

After the first, it is 3-0 Sens on the scoreboard. And 2-1 Sens in the fight column.

1st period intermission find... scraps from last night's Flyers/Devils game:

Cote vs. Asham
Smith vs. Clarkson (joined in progress)
Boulerice/Janssen Round 2
Eager/Rupp (shakey camera)
Cote/Clarkson (not much, but Cote gets 17 mins, Clarkson gets nothing)

Second period:

Martin Gerber has been sharp in goal stopping all 19 shots he has seen thus far.

Flyers lead in shots 19-17. So it's not as if they aren't putting up an effort.

Pretty quiet early in the second period as well. Neil gets rubbed out again... what's new?

Cote went looking for McGratton, but Brian skates away.

Danny Bois sits for two minutes after a hook. Flyers on their second PP opportunity.

Umberger promptly highsticks Corvo on the PP to send it to 4 on 4.

Update - Matt Carkner did hurt his left hand and has not returned in the second.

Thank God for helmets. Dennis Gauthier just took a slapshot to the lid, just above the face shield. He got up after shaking the cobwebs.

Penalty to Brian Lee for interfering with Hartnell. The penalty parade has officially begun! 4 on 3 hockey... enjoy! The Flyers pepper Gerber with multiple shots but can't find the back of the net. Gerber makes another brilliant save with 8 minutes left in the first... this kid looks fabulous between the pipes.

Neil is getting smacked around as he takes another hit, this time from Jones. Chris Neil has thick skin. I wouldn't be surprised if he finds Scottie Hartnell at some point, maybe Brad Richards.

You gotta love how the Rogers commentator says Danny Bois first NHL first last year was against Georges Laraque... whoops... it was the other black heavyweight (Donald Brashear)!

Steve Downie gets stood up by Luke Richardson and then decides to throw some weight at Foligno... he gets a stick in the face by Foligno and the Flyers go to their fourth PP.

Martin Gerber stones the Flyers once again at the end of the second. It sounds as though he will hit the showers after the second. A great night by Gerber... I can't find stats right now; but well over 20 saves and a big goose egg on the scoreboard.

Third period:

Commentators say the Flyers have outhit the Sens 9-6 through the second. Who's keeping these stats? I can count more hits than that off the top of my head!

Bois and Eager got matching minors for a meaningless scuffle at the end of the second.

Strike Martin Gerber hitting the locker room. He's still in goal for the Sens. Boucher takes over for the Flyers.

Question - just how old is Luke Richardson? My God he has been in the league a long time. Does the guy drop the mits anymore? I know he used to. The last fight I can remember Luke being in was against Matthew Barnaby a few years ago.

Steve Downie wanted the puck and got a little overaggresive, sending a Sen flying into Gerber as they battled to get to a loose puck. Downie sits for two for interference.

Lupol promptly goes off for a hook. 5 on 3 for nearly two minutes for the Sens. Let's see if they can add some insurance. note... the audio comes in behind the picture sometimes. I won't complain too much... the picture is pretty good and................ it's free.

The Sens muster a few good scoring opportunites, but can't get one past Boucher. Back to full strength with 13 minutes to go.

More interference (man I love the soft calls) from the Flyers... this time Ruzcinka. Sens back to another PP. On a out-game blogging note, I read the Boogaard picked up the first five-minute major for interference... on a hit that he missed! "Brilliant" new rule. And who better to test it on than the Boogeyman?

Goal - Patrick Eaves picks up a loose puck and beats Boucher glove hand to make it 4-0. A nice kick pass by Foligno for the assist.

Okay I lied... the audio is really starting to annoy me now. I'll log off and on at a commercial and see what happens.

Interference on the Sens... Brian Lee. Yawn. I guess we'll ride the remaining ten minutes out on the PP. When will the NHL learn that fans would rather see 5 on 5 hockey? There are enough rules in place that promote scoring opportunities. Truly, do we need a PP-fest? It makes for dreadfully boring hockey.

Steve Downie has been getting a lot of PP time. I wouldn't make much out of it as I have seen Brian McGrattan on the Sens' PP unit a time or two.

Neil cranks Umberger into the end boards... a nice hit.

Update - audio still is behind the picture after signing off and on. Ugh.

3:37 left and a trip by Mr. McGrattan as he adds to his PIM total for the night. Pretty pointless penalty on his part. Sometimes I wonder if tough guys try to pad their PIM totals with obvious penalties like this. Psst Brian, tripping isn't tough.

Last count 49 shots to 39 shots in favor of the Flyers. Martin Gerber now makes his 50th save in a potential shutout game. Very impresive as he fights for a backup job in Ottawa.

A final hook, I think, by Joe Corvo will end this game on a PP for the Flyers. Fitting.

A 52 save shutout for Martin Gerber tonight!

No final thoughts tonight folks. It's preseason! Truly, how much can you get from these games? Gerber looked great. The Flyers are a tough squad and I would love to see Cote and Boulerice (he put two beatings on Cam Jannsen last night) stick on a fourth line for them.

Stars of the Game:
Gerber - First star
Eaves - Second star
Foligno - Third star

Monday, September 17, 2007

Marc Ecko is a Brilliant Man

Although I wouldn't let his clothing line touch my worst enemy's wrinkled skin, I can't help but think that Marc Ecko is a genuius for what he is doing with Barry Bonds' #756 homerun ball. According to

The fate of Barry Bonds' record-breaking home-run ball is now in the public's hands after its buyer announced Monday he was taking votes on whether to give the ball to the Hall of Fame, brand it with an asterisk or blast it into space.

To vote, go to Ecko's site here. Besides that countless headlines that will put Mr. Ecko in the news from now until September25 (smart move), when voting ends, this will be one of the most interesting sports polls that I have ever seen. Your vote will actually decide on the fate of a piece of baseball history that is directly linked to a figure that is the face of steroids in not only baseball, but the entire sports world. Your vote will answer the question, is baseball history more important than how we feel about cheating in sports?

I voted for an asterik. Sending the ball to Cooperstown is a waste anyways because this isn't the ball. The ball will be Bonds' last homerun. Let that ball find its way to Cooperstown. In the mean time, let's make a statement with this ball. And while sending it into space signifies that we want steroids out of sports and out of headlines, an asterik is a clear symbol of how corrupt the sports world has become. And it is the symbol that characterizes athletes that cheat the game and its fans.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Caps Camp Here I Come

I'll be over at Kettler for my first look at the new practice facility and the second day of Caps training camp this Saturday.

If you want to catch me, I'll be the guy briskly walking past the table where the new Caps' jerseys will be on sale for a cool $115 (unpersonalized).

In all seriousness, training camps, at least the Caps' training camps anyways, provide for an intimate atmosphere for possibly meeting some of your hometown players.

Too bad I won't be able to make it tomorrow... the Caps went all out and got Chevelle to open things up. Pretty cool!

The Big Snake Heads to Texas

Slash to the back of the leg to Kuklas Korner for noting this enforcer transaction:

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas (September 12)- The Texas Brahmas of the Central Hockey League (CHL) announced Wednesday the signing of playmaker and enforcer, Robin Big Snake.

"Big Snake is going to make a huge impact for the Brahmas team and organization. There is a lot of excitement built around this signing. I have no doubts that his reputation will bring fans to the NYTEX Sports Centre," said Head Coach Dan Wildfong.

Big Snake, a Siksika Nation native and popular (video sharing website) icon, spent 67 games last season in the United Hockey League (UHL-now the International Hockey League) with the Rockford IceHogs in Illinois. He recorded 42 points (17 goals, 25 assists) and 330 penalty minutes.
I have to admit, I chuckled a bit when I saw Big Snake referred to as a playmaker. But if you scroll down in that article, you'll see that his offensive numbers are actually quite good.

In 05-06, Big Snake put up 46 points in 66 UHL games. Last year, he followed up with 42 points in 67 games. For a guy who is fairly young at 23, you'd think he would see more time in the AHL at some point.

Let's hope so... character guys (with skill) like this are few and far between these days.

How Pathetic are the Orioles?

I'm a home town guy; so I stick with my teams through thick and thin. And while I want to become a Nats fan, I'll wait for them to get that farm system rolling and get a couple wins under their belt before I transfer over.

In the mean time, the Orioles are, unfortunately, my baseball team. Folks... it is embarrassing.

The Orioles problems start at the top with a one Mr. Peter Angelos. That being said, one of the few things that keeps me hanging on as a fan are the stories that Cal Ripken will one day take over as the O's owner. Please, please, please make that sooner rather than later Cal. I drink my milk daily in anticipation.

On to this season, which going into it I was fairly optimistic. Did I think we would make the playoffs? No chance. We won't make the playoffs until the O's aren't in the same division as the money bag Yanks (as long as they lose, I'm happy) and Sox OR until monkeys fly out of my...

Fast forward to now and this is easily the worst season the Orioles have ever seen. Kevin Cowherd from the Baltimore Sun puts it best...

First they signed their manager to a new contract and promptly lost 30-3, becoming the first team in almost 110 years to give up that many runs.

Then another team scored 11 runs in one inning against them.

Then another team's rookie pitcher threw a no-hitter against them in only his second major league start.

Then their best pitcher, in the running for the Cy Young Award, went down with a season-ending injury.

Then another promising pitcher went down with a possible season-ending injury.

Then another player was accused of receiving steroids and human growth hormone.
Mix in one of the worst stetches of baseball played in any team's history and one of the most dreadful bullpens, well again, in any team's history and you can't help but feel sorry for us Orioles fans (right?).

Now this isn't very bloggeresque; but I can't help but say it... the Orioles downright suck arse.

God I hope the Caps give me something to cheer about this year.

Monday, September 10, 2007

From the MLB steroid files...

Now I'm not much for patting myself on the back and this one really isn't even worth bending my knuckles to type it out; but the sports journalist in me (this is to not so cleverly point out that journalists would cut off their green pinky toe for a good negative story any day) can't help but point you to an old post of mine in which I named 50 MLB players that may have did "that stuff."

And planted firmly on that list are two guys that are wearing steroid bullseyes on their backs right now... Mr. Troy Glaus and Mr. Jay "Muscles" Gibbons. That's right... they really did call him "Muscles" a few years ago in Baltimore. Then, two or three years ago, he reported to spring training having lost 20 or so pounds to be a trimmer outfielder. Sure...

While the closest thing to a power surge for Glaus was an inrease of 18 HRs from 1999 to 2000 (which actually pretty significant), Gibbons' career has been marked by injuries (big, quick muscles and no stretchy equals injuries folks!) and jumps in HR totals followed by a recent steep decline the past two years. The once promising lefty is currently hitting a whopping .230 with 6 HRs. His slugging percentage is an abysmal .348, way down from his career high of .516 he put up in 2005. Gibbons has played just three full seasons out of a seven year career.

But hey, don't throw that steroid dart just yet; this is just the tip of the iceberg. There's bigger fish to fry than Glaus, of course with the exclusion of Bonds who everyone knows is guilty as sin.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Capitals Training Camp Roseter Announced

ARLINGTON, Va., – A total of 68 players will be on the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in the upcoming weeks for the 2007 Washington Capitals rookie camp and training camp, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Thirty rookies will participate in rookie camp, which begins this Saturday, Sept. 8, and runs through Wednesday, Sept. 12, when the rookies travel to Philadelphia to scrimmage the Flyers’ rookies.

Training camp begins Friday, Sept. 14 when 38 veterans – 24 of whom saw action for the Capitals last season – will join selected rookies to get ready for the upcoming 2007-08 NHL season. In between practices and off-ice workout sessions, the Capitals will play seven preseason games before camp wraps up with the Caps Care Golf Tournament on Monday, Oct. 1.

The public is welcome to attend every practice, free of charge, beginning Saturday, Sept. 8.

2007 Washington Capitals Rookie Camp Roster


19 - BACKSTROM, Nicklas
83 - BEAGLE, Jay*
36 - BOUCHARD, Francois*
63 - GORDON, Andrew
65 - GUERIN, Marty*
61 - JOUDREY, Andrew
64 - KRONICK, Dan*
58 - LACROIX, Maxime*
81 - LEFFLER, Brett*
86 - LYNES, Luke*
74 - MAXWELL, Tommy*
71 - MORIN, Travis
85 - PERREAULT, Mathieu*
82 - PINIZZOTTO, Steve
67 - TAYLOR, Justin*
45 - WERNER, Steve
57 - WILSON, Kyle


47 - ALZNER, Karl*
62 - COLLINS, Sean
49 - DOVGAN, Viktor
73 - GODFREY, Josh*
29 - HUNT, Jamie
42 - LEPISTO, Sami
46 - MCNEILL, Patrick
34 - POKULOK, Sasha
75 - SEABROOK, Keith*
89 - SLOAN, Tyler*


31 - MACHESNEY, Daren
30 - NEUVIRTH, Michal
40 - VARLAMOV, Simeon

Washington Capitals Training Camp Roster


24 - BARNEY, Scott*
56 - BOURQUE, Chris
10 - BRADLEY, Matt
87 - BRASHEAR, Donald
17 - CLARK, Chris
27 - CLYMER, Ben
14 - FEHR, Eric
43 - FLEISCHMANN, Tomas*
15 - GORDON, Boyd
38 - KLEPIS, Jakub*
25 - KOZLOV, Viktor
21 - LAICH, Brooks
53 - LAING, Quintin*
22 - MORGAN, Jason
50 - MOTZKO, Joe
92 - NYLANDER, Michael
8 - OVECHKIN, Alex
18 - PETTINGER, Matt
54 - POTULNY, Grant*
28 - SEMIN, Alexander
39 - STECKEL, David
16 - SUTHERBY, Brian


41 - ARSENE, Dean
44 - EMINGER, Steve
4 - ERSKINE, John
52 - GREEN, Mike
23 - JURCINA, Milan
76 - MCALLISTER, Chris*
79 - MCNEILL, Grant*
26 - MORRISONN, Shaone
9 - POLLOCK, Jame
2 - POTHIER, Brian
3 - POTI, Tom
55 - SCHULTZ, Jeff


35 - CASSIVI, Frederic
1 - JOHNSON, Brent
37 - KOLZIG, Olie

I might start taking some notes on some of these guys, so stop back in before training camp for something you could print off and take with you.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

George Parros takes the Cup to a Pig Roast

How can you not love "the Stache"??? (for the record, I'll never put a question mark inside my quotes. It looks ridiculous).

From the Observer-Reporter:

On this hot, summer night, the Stanley Cup was on display near a smoldering pig.

The National Hockey League's most precious and unique trophy was one of about 300 guests at Chuck Wonsettler's farm Friday evening, courtesy of nephew George Parros, who is a member of the Anaheim Ducks. The friends, family and well-wishers were on hand for the pig roast and to toast Parros.

A highstick to Mirtle and Duckswire for this one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ovechkin Beats Up Malkin's Agent?

Now I do not speak Russian, but apparently so. Thank you to my bud Humpzilla for finding this:

In second part of this russian sport newspaper article says that Alexander Ovechkin fought Gennadiy Ushakov, Malkin agent. Some days ago after nightclub party Ovechkin had heated dispute with Ushakov. Ushakov insulted the Caps forward and they started to fight. As a result Ovechkin injured Ushakov's jaw.

AO and Malkin would make for a good tilt. Of course we're all holding out for AO/Crosby... because, yeah, that'll happen.

Update - According to Japers', AO has denied being in a fight.

Thoughts - It sounds as if everyone is taking AO's words at face value. Since when did athletes start telling the truth?

Yes, if I were a betting man (wait a second...), I'd believe him. At the same time, who wants to be known as the "agent byatch slapper?"

Update Update - Tarik's source says its true. Funny side - one of my Devil's buds asked if AO checked him from behind. Hmm... I thought that was Cam Janssen's territory?

Update Update Update - False again according to McErlain.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Caps' Training Camp Schedule Announced

Two Minutes for Blogging was recently linked as a Caps' fan friendly blog (that's right, no cursing on this site... although sometimes I want to!). So I think some love is in order for my red, white, and blue.

The Caps announced the following information about practices, rookie camp, fan fest, and the much-anticipated training camp (will there be enough ice for all the defenseman???):

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals 2007 Rookie Camp and Training Camp at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., will feature practices and scrimmages that are open to the public and free of charge, as well as special events including giveaways and specific days dedicated to heroes in the community and the Capitals’ young fans.

Training Camp opens with Fan Fest on Friday, Sept. 14, after a one-week Rookie Camp and features a special pre-sale for 2007-08 single-game tickets available only at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Individual game tickets will go on sale to the public on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. at 202-432-SEAT, on and at all local Ticketmaster outlets, including the Verizon Center box office. Capitals season-ticket holders will have an opportunity to purchase individual game tickets prior to public sale.

Fan Fest will also feature autograph sessions with players, a town hall-style meeting with chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis and a live broadcast by DC101’s Elliot in the Morning Show. For each of the first three days of camp fans can play interactive hockey games and four of hockey’s most prestigious trophies – the Calder, King Clancy, Norris and Vezina – will be on display.

Fan Fest also marks the first opportunity for fans to purchase the Capitals’ new jerseys. The jerseys available at Fan Fest will be Rbk Premier Replicas without names or numbers; fans will have the opportunity to order personalization that day.

Other special events take place throughout Training Camp. Thursdays during Training Camp – Sept. 20 and 27 – have been dubbed Red Thursdays, when all fans wearing red to Kettler Capitals Iceplex will receive a free ticket to a preseason game at Verizon Center.

Friday, Sept. 21, is Heroes Day at Capitals Training Camp, dedicated to honoring our local heroes in the military, our police officers, firefighters and first responders. The day will feature an on-ice recognition of local heroes, a skills competition between teams of police, military personnel and firefighters, as well as a special autograph session and an “Ask the GM” session held with vice president and general manager George McPhee exclusively for the members of these services. SportsTalk 980 will broadcast live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex for a portion of the day’s events.

Saturday, Sept. 29, is Kids Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, featuring the launch of the new Caps Kids Club. Kids Day will also feature a kids’ skills competition, a kids-only autograph session, face painters, caricature artists and a special giveaway.

This marks the Capitals’ first Training Camp at the new Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the Metro-accessible, inside-the-Beltway practice facility that features two NHL-sized rinks. All on-ice sessions at Rookie Camp and Training Camp – like every Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex – will be open to the public and free of charge.

Fans can get the best possible available seating location and price by signing up today for full season tickets and save up to 51.4% off the gate price. The Capitals also offer a 19-game Weekend Plan and a You Pick 11 plan, in which fans select the games they wish to attend. All plan holders can take advantage of the Caps PowerPay option – interest-free monthly payments with full season plans starting as low as $66 per month.
I for one will be taking in a day or two at the new Kettler Ice Rink. Please follow the link above for exact dates and times of scrimmages. As soon as rosters come out, I'll post them here. Personally, that is how I decide when to attend.

A Couple of Thoughts on Mr. Vick

So I was listening to my morning sports radio show, the Junkies, on the way in today. I so wanted to call in and go off on some of the callers; ah but I ride a commuter bus and 90% of the riders are asleep on my trek in to DC; so no dice.

But IF I were a caller, this is what I would have said.

First, I am sick of tired of people trying to justify Michael Vick's actions by comparing dog fighting to deer hunting. I don't hunt at all; but I recognize two very important differences between the dog fighting and deer hunting. One, killing a deer is typically done in a quick and humane way, by a bullet or pellets from a shotgun. Dog fighting is a disgustingly violent method of killing an animal, a pet no less, that can reportedly take up to an hour. Two, hunters either eat their kill or donate the meat for others to eat. We don't eat pit bulls the last time I checked.

Second, I am firm believer that many of the problems we see in today's youth start in the home. That being said, what kind of an example was set by Michael and Marcus Vick's parents when they were growing up? While good parents were busy spending time with their children, helping them with their homework, making them eat their vegatables, washing behind their ears, and sending them to bed at a proper time, I wonder what Mr. and Mrs. Vick were doing. Something tells me they weren't the best role models.

Regardless, as Charles Barkley said over the weekend, at some point we all have to make a decision whether or not we want to be men. It looks like Vick was more concerned about holding on the hood rather than moving forward as a man.

Question, are you surprised Michael Vick found Jesus in two weeks? I'm not. It seems like people go to Jesus when they need something from Jesus, doesn't it?

Vick, even though he sounded contrite in his apology, has made business decisions to protect his rear end up until now. He lied to Arthur Blank and Roger Goodell. He then entered a plea; but sugarcoated the plea by saying he didn't personally bet on the fights or personally kill the dogs. So do you really feel that Mike is being genuine in his apology? Or is he just a good liar that is proceeding with covering his arse and starting the path to rebuilding his shattered rep?

Finally, even if Michael Vick doesn't play another snap in ANY football league, he'll still be financially secure. And I will give you two words to explain why... book deal.

More from Michael Wilbon at the Washington Post, including some juice of Vick's money grubbing father. And I'll do a quick cut-and-paste of this thought from Wilbon to conclude:

Personally, I'd like to see Vick locked in a cage with six to eight of those pit
bulls and nothing but his hands to use in his own defense.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fantasy Studs versus Fantasy Gambles

If you picked Edgerrin James in 2006, chances are your fantasy team didn't make the playoffs. On the other hand, if you were lucky enough to snatch up Maurice Jones-Drew, there is a good chance some fantasy bucks came your way at the end of the year!

So how can you tell who is going to be a stud and who is going to be a bust? You can't! A best guess is all we have.

And that is why I am going to take a look at some possible studs versus gambles... with a little bit of help from Fantasy Football Toolbox that is!

Edgerrin James:

James should significantly improve his numbers from last season with the additions of Levi Brown, Mike Gandy, and Al Johnson to the offensive line. Coach Ken Whisenhunt is emphasizing a run first offense, so James will see plenty of carries as the feature back for Arizona. Edgerrin James will be a huge gamble on draft day for fantasy owners in 2007; but if he slides far enough, he is worth the risk because he could break out behind the Cardinals rebuilt offensive line.

My take - I'm shying away. James has looked rough in his first couple fantasy games.

Shaun Alexander:

Shaun Alexander clearly benefited earlier in his career from the road-grader blocking of Steve Hutchinson. Without the outstanding Left Guard paving the way, Alexander is unlikely to repeat the success he had in 2004 and 2005. He's still a stud running back, and one of the few who plays in a system where he doesn't split time in the backfield; but fantasy owners need to keep their expectations to a realistic level.

My take - A safe #6 to #12 pick. Alexander has upside. But the injury bug worries me just a bit.

Maurice Jones-Drew:

Based simply on the numbers Jones-Drew should be drafted at the end of round 1 or early round 2, but his numbers seem a little inflated. In 2007 he wont be taking any teams by surprise as they will come into the game prepared for him. The fact that veteran's Fred Taylor and Greg Jones will be back this years, means that Jones-Drew will be splitting carries and wont get enough touches to be a consistent top tier RB. Let someone else jump the gun and take him well before he deserves.

My take - I agree. 14 TDs was inflated and he will be lucky to see half that this year. He's a sexy pick; so expect some dope to jump on him early this year. Just don't let that dope be you.

Cedric Benson:

With Chicago splitting ties with Thomas Jones, Cedric Benson inherited the starting running back job. Early last season, some people speculated that Benson would take over for Jones at some point during the season. However, Jones was relentless in his fight to keep his starting job. This season it will be different. Benson will get his shot to prove his durability. At this point, even with Benson's history of injuries, he will be an interesting draft day pick, as he will get a lot of touches and who knows how productive he could be. As a starter, Benson should be good for over 1,000 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

My take - an early to mid second round guy. Benson should thrive being the only back. And he doesn't fumble either.

Thomas Jones:

The acquisition of Thomas Jones has to be one of the biggest moves this off season. When the Jets began last season, there was hope Curtis Martin would return. As the season progressed, that hope turned to dismay as we watched Martin sit on the sideline. New York did the best they could patching together a running game with whoever was rushing best that day. This year however, the running game shouldn't be a problem. Jones is a solid rusher in the prime of his career. In a well balanced offense, he should have no problem hitting 1,000 yards. Thomas should be a solid fantasy back all season.

My take - Jones is injury prone. But Leon Washington should take some of the load off. Again, a mid-second round pick. I got him in the early third (see post below).

Willis McGahee:

Even factoring in that McGahee missed two full games (the only missed games of his career) and significant parts of a third, 2006 was arguably his least productive season. He finished with 990 yards -- the first time he failed to reach the 1,000 yard barrier over his three-year career -- and his six touchdowns were well shy of the 13 scores he had his rookie season . He averaged just 3.8 yards per carry and his career-high is just 4.0 per carry.
McGahee has shown the ability to be a top level back, but not on a consistent basis. He had just two 100-yard games in Buffalo a season ago, but those numbers should rise now that he is playing behind one the league's top offensive lines and veteran quarterback Steve McNair.

My take - I like McGahee late in the first this year. He has a huge offensive line and better weapons around him to take the pressure off.

Ronnie Brown:

There's little doubt Brown will hit the 1,000 yard mark again this season. The only question is can he stay healthy enough to play all 16 games? If so, he could easily rush for 1,200 yards. Ronnie should be a starting back in every league.

My take - I'm not a Ronnie Brown fan at all. The Dolphins O-line is horrid and Brown will have a tough time getting into the end zone this year.

Travis Henry:

In 14 games last season in Tennessee, Henry rushed for 1,211 yards on 270 carries, had an average of 4.5 yards per carry and scored 7 touchdowns. Minus his rookie season, Henry has rushed for over 1,000 yards in any season, which he has played more than 10 games. Jay Cutler's ability to throw downfield should open up for the run and Henry has the ability to put up big yardage and make the defense pay. Travis should return to prime form this year in Denver as Mike Shanahan's offense concentrates on the strength of the running scheme. Look for him to get the majority of the carries with Mike Bell as his back up.
I am changing my rating of Henry as his nature to be injury prone may be upon him once again. I think he might be a high risk choice at RB as there are many other options out there that could have very high potential as sleepers or RBs on the move.

My take - Henry is the sexy pick of 2007 because he is a good RB running in Denver's system. I'm going with an early second round pick. He could pay huge dividends this year for your club.