Monday, July 23, 2007

Dave Fay Eulogy

Jason LaCanfora delivered long-time Washington Times Caps' writer Dave Fay's eulogy on Saturday. Fay gave way to a long-time battle with cancer last week. Fay, as LaCanfora put it, was an institution in the Caps' community, covering the teawm since 1982.

Even if you didn't get to read Fay's coverage of the Caps, LaConfora's eulogy is still a good read.

And as the Caps' blogging community has grown over the years, the decrease in print media took a huge hit with the loss of Fay.

One piece from the eulogy that I enjoyed very much:

I'll never forget a game in Toronto about six years ago when Sergei Gonchar, one of Dave's favorites of this era, was getting pummeled by borderline hits. The Maple Leafs eventually knocked Gonchar out of the game - a dirty shot from Darcy Tucker finishing him off - and the game ended late, right on deadline.

Dave and I sat in the back of the media workroom afterwards, where Leafs Coach Pat Quinn conducts his post-game press conferences. We were scrambling to file our stories, every second vital to us, while half listening to Quinn, who, for those who might not know, was an imposing figure with an uncanny gift for browbeating and intimidating the media.

So Quinn was rambling on and making excuses for his team, trying to defend Tucker's ugly antics, when suddenly I heard the chair next to me go skidding back towards the wall.

The coach was still yapping away, but now Dave was on his feet in the back of the room, yelling above him.

"Quinn, I haven't seen a worse hit than that since you cheap shotted [Bobby] Orr in 1969," Dave bellowed out, leaving Quinn speechless and the assembled Toronto media horde stunned.

Dave laid into Quinn for a few more minutes, standing up for Gonchar and for what he believed in - this was by all accounts Fay's press conference now - then filed his story, packed his bags and left like it was just another game. Quinn, flabbergasted, absorbed the lecture and barely looked up. I nearly blew deadline taking it all in, but man, was it worth it.

The scene was hilarious, sincere, ballsy and a little bit surreal all at the same time. That was Dave.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gary Bettman is at it again...

Enough is enough... I really do think that Gary Bettman hates Canada. Jim Balsillie wants to buy the Nashville Predators for an astronomic $238 million and what does Gary Bettman do?

According to Rodier, when Bettman found out they were on the verge of signing a letter of intent, he angrily called [current Nashville owner Craig] Leipold and told him to back off.

Your guess is as good as mine as to why. More from ESPN...

The battle for ownership of the Nashville Predators might be the single-most important moment for the league in decades, even eclipsing in importance the lockout that scuttled the 2004-05 season.

On one side is Bettman, whose vision of the NHL continues to be one that includes teams scattered across America, even if many of those American markets are floundering. The failure of the Predators reflects badly on Bettman's vision. Their failure is his failure.

Not only that, but...

Many players have told they believe a new team in Hamilton would generate significantly more revenue than a team in Kansas City. Governors and GMs have told in the past year they believe a second team in Southern Ontario would be a surefire success. Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, still one of hockey's most influential figures, recently said he thought a team in Hamilton would be a success.

the accusations raise questions about whether the commissioner overstepped his bounds. The issue could lead to a showdown with the NHL's board of governors over whether Bettman acted appropriately and with the best interests of the league. The board is scheduled to meet next in September, likely in Chicago.

Please Ted Leonsis, I'm begging you. Get rid of this dope once and for all.

I, and so many other Americans, full well know that hockey is Canada's game.

And with millions of Canadians screaming for another team, Gary continues to stand red-faced in the corner with his fingers firmly planted in his ears.

Update - Some discussion about Mr. Bettman over at Kuklas.

I just watched Gus Hanson lose $300K in two hours

Okay... so I play a little bit of online poker at Full Tilt. This morning I logged on and saw Gus Hanson sitting at a heads up $200/$400 NL table with pr1nnyraid. The minimum buy in is $800, but word is Gus started with close to $100K.

I sat and watched for a while and watched as Gus' stack dwindled. There were some absolutely sick hands. And as Gus said as he left the table, he was favored in most of them when the chips went all in.

The biggest was an A10 -vs- AK (for Gus) pre-flop all in where pr1nny nailed trips and sucked out. He later sucked out again with AQ -vs- Gus' KK and hit his Ace for a $70K win.

Another was Gus' 99 -vs- pr1nny's 33 with pr1nny hitting his 3 for trips. I believe there was a similar hand like this as well.

I also saw Gus push all in for less than 20K with 22 and pr1nny calling with an A/face card and nailing Gus again.

And while Gus ran into a lot of bad beats, he wouldn't leave the table and kepy buying back in for 15K and 20K at a time, only to push all in and lose over and over again.

By the time it was said and done and Gus left, pr1nny was sitting with over 310K.

And pr1nny's response when Gus said he was favored in most all ins?

"What can I say? The system must be rigged." A little salt on the wound.

The Value of Sports Blogging

With Michael Vick and Barry Bonds, two class acts, dominating the sports world these days, I've found myself venturing into some articles on sports blogging and press credentials.

Here are a couple articles worthy of a read:

Blogs offer instant, irreverent analysis of the sports world:

"I'm just some guy in West Virginia with a computer, but we've got the premier NFL blog out there," said Florio, whose drew more than 600,000 individual viewers in March. "I never did like the word blog, but I've accepted that that's what our Web site is."

Florio's nearly 6-year-old site attracts more than fans - it's a must-read for many NFL players, management types, agents and media members.

"Every day, several times a day, I check on ProFootballTalk," said Miami Beach-based agent Drew Rosenhaus, who counts Dolphins Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor among his impressive and expansive client list. "It's very entertaining. He tries hard to break news and he's got good sources. He's very credible. I've been reading his stuff for years now."
Looking into the Blog Box:

We’re setting up a BLOG BOX in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – sort of like a press box, but away from the scribes and broadcasters because we know you want to cheer, shout, have a pretzel and enjoy the game experience on your own terms.

We will provide you with a media pass for a few games next season and a seat in the NYI BLOG BOX. You will also receive your own set of Game Notes when you enter the Coliseum Press Gate. All you have to do is bring your note pad and/or voice recorder and cheer as loudly as you want. After the game you attend, we will set up an area where you can toss a few questions at a coach or players, based on your requests and their availability.
Some great stuff out of David Singer at Ice Block. I also want to point out the Ted Leonsis' take on bloggers as well:

Of course press rooms and player access should be made available to bloggers! Bloggers are passionate fans. They are very knowledgeable and have a growing audience. They bottle up interactivity and they know how to utilize the new medium. Bloggers are showing up higher and higher in search engines and on search results pages. They point back and forth to one another. They dive deep into subjects and are very capable of building next generation businesses. They are a medium and they are helping to build a new one that is fast growing instead of shrinking. They are journalists who are self policed. If they do bad work, they won't be pointed to by other bloggers and they will fall out of the search engine results pages. The NHL needs all of the coverage and audience we can generate. Our audience is the most wired of all the pro sports. We need to be looking at the creation of next generation networks and deliver content to fans in a manner they are comfortable with and in a voice that relates to the new consumer.
And once again, Eric McErlain leads the charge for press credentials. I am really on the fence about this one. I think Eric needs to rethink exactly who he is representing in this cause. Bloggers like himself and On Frozen Blog, who take blogging to another level with regular and original coverage, player interviews, and inside sources? Or the regular bloggers, still serious, but those that have content that teeters between the sports and entertainment world.

I believe both add value to the sports world. And as long as a blog adds material on a regular basis and does so in a professional manner, they should be considered for in-game blogging in some fashion. That is why I think that the Islanders idea is a great one. I also think that they innacurately characterized the atmosphere that the bloggers would be a part of. On the contrary, I think that a blog box would be quite professional. As Ted said, bloggers self-police. So "hooting and hollering" with "hotdogs in hand" probably wouldn't be seen in a blog box... at least not in Washington, where Capitals blogging is taken seriously.

So to Eric. Please rethink the all or nothing game plan. Because I believe that would exclude a lot of great blogs out there that would be very happy with covering a game from a blog box.

Remember that it is the press that is worried about bloggers... not the other way around.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Aebischer To Phoenix?

Could be according to Paul Kukla...

I am hearing a little rumbling today that David Aebischer will be a signing a 1yr deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. More information as it becomes available. I should do these rumor things all the time, drawing millions of hits!!! lol
While this news wouldn't usually make my blog, I wanted to see if the rumor hits thing was true. So click away!

I'll also add that it wouldn't be so bad to see Aebischer in a Caps' uniform at some point, although from what I read, there will be some goaltender talent testing the market next year.

Update - Done Deal.

For anyone who hasn't yet seen it...

Today on Wikipedia, their "featured article" is regarding fighting in hockey.

Check it out!

If it's not up (if you're checking it out after July 19), here is a direct link to the article:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Things Are Slow... Read Anyways

So things are slow around here recently. The free agency grind has come to a screeching hault. There is really too much to write about if you want to cover all of the free agency happenings. So I opt out and point towards those who are for the challenge.

I'm very happy with the Caps move this off-season and have told Ted Leonsis as much in a congratulatory email. Ted and I have battled on email this off-season... mainly just back-and-forths about the dysfunctional CBA. If you do a search down on this blog, you can read about how the CBA will eat up small-market teams in a mere year or two. Simply put, they won't be able to catch up to the minimum salaray cap... even with the cap being linked to revenues. It won't matter.

But the Caps were were able to fill some much needed holes and do so without spending all of the nickles and dimes in Ted's pockets. So, at this point, there is still the possibility of picking up a short-term guy in Forsberg or Yashin - the more and more I read about though, the less and less I would want him, even for a year. But really, what the Caps have done, is set themselves up for next year. There will be more holes, most likely I am sure on defense, where the Caps will be shopping a defensive defenseman next season. In addition, Olie Kolzig isn't getting any younger and the Caps will need the cap space to start thinking about bringing in a replacement should one of the youngsters not pan out. Overall, a B+ to the Caps... they should make the playoffs this year. If not, adios Glen Hanlon.

I've also been following Eric McErlain's blog about press credentials for NHL bloggers. I signed up for Facebook and joined his group, but have contributed to the conversation much. I'd rather just read at this point and let the heavyweight toss around their ideas. But the basic gist is that Eric has found a media organization that could help back the cause to formalize a process for bloggers to obtain press credentials to cover NHL games. As we saw in the Stanley Cup finals, teams are getting less and less exposure through the media. The Caps get less print space every year it seems.

Eric's idea is great. He has already taken the initiative in creating criteria for obtaining press credentials. They seem fair and would help weed out an spur-of-the-moment type blogs that have little credibility.

I've thought about looking into press credentials to do some in-game blogging for the Caps. I know it would be something I would enjoy and could do quite well. But with the family and a full work schedule, blogging 41 home games would be difficult to say the least. I've wondered, however, if a blogger would be able to work a handful of games a year. This might be something that I look into this year (once I check it out with the wife first - I'm whipped!).

So yesterday, news came out that Chris Benoit had steroids, pain killers, and an anti-depressant in his system when he killed his wife and son. I've said it before, the anti-depressant and pain killers shouldn't overshadow the steroids. Regardless of what was in his system, Benoit needed a trigger in his life to snap like he did. That trigger acts independently of what was in his system. In the end, Benoit is just another wrestler that has steroids linked to his death. It's a problem and Congress should add the WWE to their list of sports they are investigating.

Yesterday also brought about some bad news for Michael Vick. I'll wait and see what comes of this from a legal standpoint. However, I have a question and a quick piece of advice... 1) Will the NFL play star treatment? 2) Stay away from Vick in the early rounds of your fantasy draft. ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What I have to Say About Sid the Kid

I see that the CBC article for the Sid the Kid signing has linked to me. I don't know how they come up with my blog since I haven't written anything about Crosby in quite some time.

That being said, I might as well write something serious about him since they gave me a link. So here goes...

Sid the Kid is a weak, pathetic crybaby! (Actually, he's pretty good... but who cares, right?)


A Caps fan...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

$350 for a Hockey Jersey?

According to the Newobserver, the new form fitting, skate 8% faster with your head down, NHL jerseys will be retailing for $350. Replicas will go for $110.

You do know you can pick up a game worn jersey, complete with stick marks and blood, for that price, don't you?

And be careful when you go for the chili and cheese on those fries. These form-fitters are designed for the super-elite hockey player... not the over-indulgent hockey fan that is starting to come around to the idea of expandable wasteline khakis (I wouldn't know anything about that).

Monday, July 9, 2007

50 Baseball Players That Might Have Did "That Stuff"

So I write "that stuff" because blogs are being taken a bit more seriously these days. With that said, there is absolutely no credibility to the names I am about to list. I won't even go into detail as to why I think they may have did "that stuff" at one point in their careers.

I will also note that some of these names come from Fried Chicken's site... meaning they're not all mine. I respect a lot of the sports opinions over there and since the membership more than covers every American state and Canadian province, I am sure there is one or more members that covers all of the MLB teams.

And before I get on with the names, I'll say that I believe that 50% or more of all MLB baseball players that played from 1990-2004 did "that stuff" at some point in their careers. I think this "thing" hasn't blown wide open because it is bigger than most of us can imagine. I believe that some of the names that would come out would strip down baseball to the core of some its supposedly most honest players.

With all that said, here are 50 baseball players that might have did "that stuff"...

Adrian Beltre
Albert Belle
Albert Pujols
Andruw Jones
Bobby Abreu
Brad Fulmer
Brady Anderson
Brian Giles
Brian Roberts
Cal Ripken Jr.
Cris Carpenter
Dante Bichette
Darren Daulton
Daryl Strawberry
Dave Hollins
Dean Palmer
Derek Jeter
Eric Karros
Eddie Murray
Edgar Martinez
Fernando Tatis
Ivan Rodriguez
Jaun Gonzalez
Jay Buhner
Jay Gibbons
Jeff Bagwell
Jermaine Dye
Jim Edmonds
Javy Lopez
Jose Guillen
Julio Franco
Larry Walker
Lenny Dykstra
Luis Gonzales
Mark Tiexiera
Mickey Tettleton
Mike Gallego
Nomar Garciapara
Paul O'Neil
Pete Incaviglia
Randy Velarde
Ray Lankford
Ruben Sierra
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Terry Steinbach
Tim Salmon
Tino Martinez
Todd Helton
Tony Batista
Troy Glaus

Thursday, July 5, 2007

CBA Could Eat Up Small Market Teams in Years to Come

Look out Buffalo. Look out Tampa Bay. The lower limit of the cap could be knocking on your front door in the next few years.

From Spector at Fox Sports:

Better get used to more surprises over the remainder of the collective bargaining agreement.

First, save yourself the shock of seeing the cap rise every year and just expect it to happen. It might not increase as much as it did this summer, when the NHLPA exercised its right under the CBA to boost the cap by five percent, but it will likely keep rising by various degrees over the remainder of the deal.

Canadian Press hockey columnist Pierre Lebrun recently said a team executive predicted the cap could rise to $62 million within the next four years. That might seem an unapproachable figure, but then again, few expected the cap to hit $50 million only two years into the current CBA.

League revenues could reach a point over the next four years where they level out and thus result in only marginal increases, but it seems unlikely the cap will decline in that time.

With a higher cap, of course, comes higher salaries and longer contracts for the players, especially the league's top unrestricted free agents.

Spector is right. I too noted that league revenues should continue to rise in the next few years. There are too many quick fixes for league revenues to take a dive, most notably expansion. Expansion will be kept in Gary Bettman's pocket for a rainy day... or shall I say when league revenues aren't projected to increase in an upcoming year.

Of particlar interest is Spector's mention of how the CBA could hurt small market teams trying to meet the lower limit of the cap, which next year will be $34.3 million next year.

It's even more interesting when you note the $62 million prediction in four years that was mentioned above.

Can you imagine what a base cap of $46 million would do to some small market teams? These are rough numbers of course; but when you consider the cap this past year was $44 million, you can't help but think we'll have some small market teams waiving the white flag in upcoming years.

Free Agency Notes from Two Minutes

I tried my best to keep up with the signings... I think I did a pretty good job actually. But I'll let the big boys like Kukla, Spector, and TSN break the rest of the overpayments for free agents.

Additionally, TSN has a pretty good transactions page for a sumamry of signings.

As for winners and losers, you have to like what the Rags and Flyers did, although I've never liked Briere. Edmonton, Los Angeles, and the Islanders are your losers.

As a Caps' fan, I'm happy with the moves they made, snatching up two Isles to add some second line depth on the O and D. They also picked up Nylander, making sure they had a signed contract and not just some agreement from his agent before announcing his addition to the team. Nylander will net Ovechkin another 10-20 goals this year. So don't be surprised to see AO rack up 70 goals. Alexander Semin might tack on another 50 with the additions of Kozlov and Nicklas Backstrom. These top two lines should be able to compete with any in the league. Just don't be surprised if the Caps give up 50 shots a game as well...

Check out a a good CBA read from the Habs Inside/Out. The best part of the read actually comes from the comments.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Jeremy Roenick to Retire

From Fox Sports...

Jeremy Roenick is retiring, a newspaper reported, after an 18-year NHL career in which he became the third-leading American goal-scorer in league history.

Roenick, a nine-time All-Star who played with four teams, sent a text message to a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer reading, "I'm retiring; is that still news?" The story was posted on the paper's Web site Wednesday.

The only American-born players with more goals than Roenick, a two-time Olympian, are Mike Modano (507) and Joey Mullen (502).

The 37-year-old center was an outspoken critic of the lockout that wiped away the 2004-05 season.
Roenick at his best... in a Hawks uniform.

And more Roenick from Youtube...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

NHL Free Agent Signings

Updates as they happen from Two Minutes for Blogging.

Email me at to break news or if I am missing something.

The Fourth Period's Best Available:

Peter Forsberg, C
Sheldon Souray, D
Teemu Selanne, RW
Brendan Shanahan, LW/RW
Slava Kozlov, LW
Brad Stuart, D
Bill Guerin, RW
Andy Sutton, D

Complete list of free agents from TSN. Still some good names out there.

Rachunek to the Devils at $1.5 million for one year.

The Vancouver Canucks sign forwards Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister.
Canucks and Beyond
Hockey Rants

Preds sign Mason to two-year extension

Todd Bertuzzi signed a two-year deal with the Ducks.

Regehr re-ups for five years with the Flames.

Nagy, Handzus, and Calder to the Kings. Kings fans can be happy again.

Ken Klee heads to the Thrashers.

Calgary Flames pick up Owen Nolan for one year.

Bonk and deVries to the Preds, each for two years.

Bryan Smolinski has signed with the Canadians

Robert Lang has signed with Chicago for two years.
Spector's Blog

The Washington Capitals signed veteran centre Michael Nylander to a four-year deal worth $19.5 million.

Tough guy Strudwick signs with the Rangers
New York Rangers

Hamrlik to the Canadians for four years at $22 million.

From Spectors:


The Vancouver Canucks have signed Lukas Krajicek to a two-year contract worth $2.2 milion.

Tough guy Sheldon Brookbanks signs with Jackets.

Forward Bates Battaglia has signed a two-year deal with Toronto worth $650,000 per season.

From Spectors:

Preds sign Jed Ortmeyer... two years at $1.5 million.

Anaheim Ducks's defenceman Scott Niedermayer is about to announce he is retiring from the NHL. Update - Neidermayer is not officially retired. Huh? Make up your mind Scotty...

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed winger Petr Sykora to a two-year contract and defenceman Darryl Sydor to a two-year, $5 million contract.

The St. Louis Blues sign winger Paul Kariya to a three-year, $18 million contract.

The Colorado Avalanche have signed winger Ryan Smyth to a five-year deal worth $31.25 million.
Hockey Buzz

The New York Islanders have signed winger Jon Sim to a three-year deal.

Scott Gomez to the Rangers??? Yes (seven-year deal worth $51.5 million)... and Chris Drury, a five-year deal worth $35.25 million.
Rangers Blog
The Hockey Rabbi

The Edmonton Oilers dealt defencemen Jason Smith and forward Joffrey Lupul to the Philadelpia Flyers for defenceman Joni Pitkanen, forward Geoff Sanderson and a third-round draft pick in 2009.

Jason Blake signs with the Leafs for 5 years at $20 million.

Hannan to Avs at four years and $18 million.

The Washington Capitals have signed forward Viktor Kozlov to a two-year deal worth $5 million.
Caps Boards - My God do Caps' fans whine.

Zubov signs extension with the Stars... 1 year at $5.35 million.

Ryan Smyth to the Avs, a five-year deal worth $31.25.
Denever Post Blog
Sakic call from TSN

The Atlanta Thrashers have signed forward Eric Perrin to a two year deal worth $1.5 million.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed unrestricted free agent right winger Michel Ouellet to a two-year deal worth $1.2 million and $1.3 million.

The Carolina Hurricanes agree to a two-year contract worth $800,000 per year with forward Jeff Hamilton

Florida Panthers have signed forward Radek Dvorak to a two-year contract.

The Boston Bruins have signed free-agent right winger Shawn Thornton to a multi-year contract. Update - 3 year deal.

Forward Yanic Perreault agrees to terms with the Chicago Blackhawks on a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

Brian Rafalski agrees to a five year, $30 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

Calgary signs defenceman Cory Sarich to a five year, $18 million deal worth an average of $3.6 million per year.

Daniel Briere has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for eight years and $52 million. The deal includes a no movement clause. TSN

The Edmonton Oilers have signed free agent defencemen Dick Tarnstrom and Denis Grebeshkov to one-year contracts.

Anaheim signs defenceman Mathieu Schneider to a two-year deal paying him $5.5 million and $5.75 million.

Florida Panthers sign forward Richard Zednik to two-year deal, $3.25 million contract and forward Brett McLean to three-year, $5.1 million contract.

Washington Capitals sign D Tom Poti to four-year, $14 million contract.

Atlanta Thrashers sign C Todd White to four-year, $9.5 million contract.

Zednik and McLean to the Panthers

Barret Jackman gets a one-year extension at $2.2 million.

Joe Thornton re-ups for three years with the Sharks.

Minnesota trades Manny Fernandez to the Bruins for Petr Kalus and a 4th round pick
Boston Herald

The Edmonton Oilers have signed free agent defencemen Dick Tarnstrom and Denis Grebeshkov to one-year contracts.

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed G Dany Sabourin to a two-year deal worth $1.025 million.

Iginla to get four or five year extension at $7 million per.