Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Video Hockey - NHL '97 Trade Analysis

You can read my analysis of the Wild's trade in the previous post. But here's some reading you just can't miss. The people over at Teapot Dome Scandal have done a thorough analysis of some of the recent trades in the NHL. If you're a fan of the EA Sports video hockey series for Sega, you really need to read this. Here's a teaser:

"I'm not sure what the big deal was about San Jose picking up Bill Guerin. The guy's a 73 Overall, which is more or less Nelson Emerson / Paul Ysebart territory, plus his alarming 66 Endurance really calls into question his commitment to conditioning. Which I imagine occurs while the system is turned off."


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ivy Leaguers? Really? Really???

The NHL trade deadline came and went today. Some notable players were available: Bill Guerin, Todd Bertuzzi, Gary Roberts, and others. So who did the Wild pick up? Dominic Moore, from the Penguins. That's him in blue in the pic above. Presumably, Todd White took him down. (Also, Todd White is 5'8" about 150).

If you don't know who the hell this guy is, don't worry I'm pretty sure no one in the state of Minnesota knows about him either. Although, apparently he's ranked 11th on Harvard's all-time scoring list. So that's great. We've got Harvard's 11th all-time leading scorer. Now we're well on our way to a Cup parading down Nicollet Mall. Maybe next year we'll pick up a Dartmouth guy who's ranked 15th in all-time penalty minutes, because that would really put the fear of God into our opponents. Shit.

Case in point, here's a clip from the Star Tribune article on the trade:

"Because he pays little attention to Eastern Conference teams, coach Jacques Lemaire admittedly knows "nothing" about Moore, saying even assistant coach Mario Tremblay said, "Who?" when told of the deal."
Read the rest of the story here.

The Wild gave up a 3rd round pick for this guy. Honestly, was it even worth the time, energy, and money spent by dozens of people to get this deal done? Was it? The answer, no. No way. If somehow this guy scores the game 7 winner the Cup Finals, I'll, I'll...sit on my balls for an hour. Really.

Monday, February 26, 2007

NHL Celebs Part Two

Awhile ago, I wrote about how the NHL needs to attract more A-list celebs to its games. Well, apparently, the NHL was way ahead of me on this. An article in the Wall Street Journal from April, 2006 details how the NHL has been courting celebrities, offering VIP tickets to games and such things. Judging by this excerpt, I don't think it's going too well:

As the race for the Stanley Cup heats up, the NHL is trying various ways to raise its profile -- and erase memories of last year, when a labor dispute canceled the season. Taking a page from basketball, the league is on a mission to get celebrities in the stands where they can see and be seen.

It isn't always easy. The league wooed Steve Carell, the star of NBC's "The Office," and fellow cast members to show up at a game. Mr. Carell declined; the NHL wound up with the supporting actress who plays Jan, along with two other co-stars. To tempt George Clooney, the NHL sent a VIP pass to any playoff game anywhere. Mr. Clooney's representative says "he's strictly a basketball, baseball and football guy," and in any case hasn't received the pass. (The NHL says some passes are still en route.)
Check out the rest of the article.
Okay, two things. First, Steve Carell is a pretty big star. Too bad he wouldn't go. Also, too bad "the supporting actress playing Jan" went nameless in the article. She's not even star-enough to be named in the article?!?! But I'm sure she caused a stir at the game she attended. I can just hear fans whispering to one another, "Who's that?" "Oh, that's the supporting actress who plays Jan on the 'The Office.'" "Oh. Right." Now that's star power. It's like the NHL just gave up when Steve Carell said no thanks and left the tickets at the set for anyone to pick up. The league is lucky a couple of lighting technicians didn't show up.

Second, George Clooney hates hockey. Basically, what his rep was saying is that George likes all the other sports, just not hockey. So that's great. One of the world's biggest stars hates hockey. I guess we have to be content with Lil Jon.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Riding his stick like a horse..."

This has to be in the running for best hockey story of the year. If you're too good to click my links, here's a teaser:

"Mickey Meyer rode his stick like a horse, dropped his bulky pants, mooned the crowd and slapped his buttocks during a game against Brigham Young University, police said."
So far, I haven't been able to find video of the excitement. Would love to post it if anyone has a copy. Another example of why hockey is the greatest sport on this planet.

Also, did I mention this guy is one of the best players in the NHL. And who says the NHL doesn't have marketable players?

They're just scrappin'!

Well, if you watch hockey you certainly saw arguably the best bench-clearing brawl of the year last night. It was...excellent. The clip above does a good job describing the details of what went down and how it started. Please note Chris Drury's bleeding head, probably the best indication of why it started. Let's give some credit to Drew Stafford (Fighting Sioux alum) for immediately dropping the gloves with Neil after the hit on Chris Drury. Drew Stafford - um, we learned is not a fighter, as Neil immediately pulled the jersey over his head and punched him in the face a couple times. But, he came back and got the shootout game winner. Nice.

P.S. These two teams play again tomorrow night. That will be interesting.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Wild and Sub Sandwiches

In a great game last night, the Wild won on a shootout goal by Mikko Koivu. That link won't show you the actual goal, but it's pretty much the same thing. Unfortunately, the big win over the Stars was overshadowed by this quote from Mike Greenlay, Wild tv analyst:

"He delivered that (hit) like a big ol' sub sandwich!!! [Pause] I don't even know what that means."

Okay Mike, settle down. I can just see Mike's partner in the booth sliding him a note, "STOP TALKING! YOU'RE RUINING IT! ARE YOU HUNGRY OR SOMETHING???"

Also, my dreams of a Stanley Cup parade down Nicollet Mall are pinned on this guy. Seriously, you'll really regret it if you don't click that link.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Tip for the NHL

The Wild play another big game at home tonight against Dallas. (I should stop saying that, because at this point they're all big games.) Gaborik and Demitra have been pretty much unstoppable for the last 10 games. Here's a quote from Brian Rolston about making sure other guys are contributing:

"We'll be just fine. Gabby and Pav have been going for a long time here. But I agree we need to get goals from other places. I don't think Butch and me are doing a terrible job, but obviously we need to get scoring again, there's no question."
Okay, so here's my beef. What's with the nicknames??? Read that again. Gabby, Pav, and Butch!?!? Three nicknames in three sentences. You rarely here nicknames tossed around in interviews from athletes in other sports. I'm convinced this is a hockey thing. And it needs to stop. Rolston, you're giving an interview. Try to pretend you're not sitting in a bar talking hockey. It's a good thing if people know the names of the players. It is. Really. Can we start acting like a legit professional sports league now? Can we? Please? I blame Gary Bettman and Russians.

Fashion Week in Buffalo, NY

If you're like me and you love hockey and love fashion, you probably already heard about the Buffalo Sabres fashion show. (Don't waste your time watching the whole thing. Do watch the first bit so you understand how ridiculous this is.) Seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Apparently, Ryan Miller did. He's the Sabres goalie, which might explain a few things. (Goalies are weird. Don't ask why, it's just the way it is.) I'm not sure why he thought it would be a good idea to dress-up his teammates. Let's remember that these are mostly Canadian farm boys and nothern European guys. Fashion isn't exactly their "thing".

If you watch the video, you understand why hockey players aren't doing a lot of modeling. First, they aren't pretty. (Watch the interview with red-headed defenseman Brian Campbell and you'll see what I mean). Second, hockey players have big legs and big asses. They look better in breezers and pads than slacks and shirts. Yet, it's not the first time hockey and fashion have come together. Everyone's favorite hockey movie, Slapshot, features a charity fashion show. The players aren't exactly amused. Chiefs defenseman Johnny Upton sums it up:

"I'm gonna flash 'em, Joe. I'm gonna open up this f*&$%@ robe and wiggle my dick at 'em...every lady in there, with the exception of my wife, is gonna be running for the and your fucking fashion shows!"
Please note, Johnny Upton does indeed wiggle it, which is followed by horrified screams. Unfortunately, I don't think any of the Sabres "wiggled it at 'em" at the Buffalo Convention Center. I would have heard about this. To date, I haven't heard of any Minnesota Wild fashion shows. Honestly, I can't believe this stuff actually happens.

Monday, February 19, 2007

President's Day

Ah, yes. Prez Day. If you're fortunate enough not be working, it's got to be one of the best holidays on the calendar. Think about it. You don't have to DO anything on Prez Day. No buying valentines, no turkeys (although, I do love turkeys), no holiday gifts, no fireworks. It's great, what's not to love?

So, I was trying to decide how to best incorporate hockey and Prez Day. I was totally stumped...until I found this clip of Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Chelios. (I'm still learning how to post videos and pics, so bear with me! Just click the link.) It's a bit long, but absolutely worth it. Here's a little tidbit:

"I'm gonna shove Lord Stanley's Cup right up his candy-ass!"

I think you'll agree, this is exactly the kind of thing the NHL needs. Some well-known stars, good humor, and Chris Chelios. Those are the ingredients of success!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Versus Quote of the Week

If you were able to find the Versus Channel last night, you may have seen the Ducks and the Avs. This was the announcer's lead-in to the commercial break after a big hit:

"They're bumping uglies tonight in Denver! Stay with us!"
Huh? Excuse me? Could you repeat that? I'm not really sure if this guy knew what he was saying. But, funny nonetheless. If you don't know the phrase "bumping uglies" this link will help. In any case, that's what you get with Versus hockey coverage, a lot of unintentional comedy. I'm starting to like it actually.

Valentine's Day Special!!!

Because there's nothing better than dinner, hockey, and sex (yes, all in one night), the Wild smartly scheduled a home game against the Canucks tonight. Unfortunately, this also means that, if you're at the game, you'll be seeing a lot of this, Click it. (Not sure exactly what's happening here, what has happened or, worse, what is going to happen. There are almost too many questionable things about this pic. Note, I wouldn't get into an elevator with those 7 people. And why are those two people on their knees??) Anyway, you'll be seeing a lot of couples in matching jerseys tonight. I've never understood this phenomena. It's terrible. And the couples doing this are always sort of lumpy. They wander around the arena concourse holding hands and the backs of the jerseys say things like, "Hubby" or "#1 Wild Fan". I can't stand this. Luckily, my wife would punch me in the face if I bought jerseys for the both of us (otherwise, I'd probably already have bought them).

If you can stomach the jersey crowd, the game should be a good one. Both teams are tied with 66pts., two behind NW division leader Calgary. If you can't convince your lady to go to the game tonight, tell her these guys will be performing at intermission...I'm told.

Related V-day Sidenote: What the hell is Dougie Weight doing in this pic??? Two interesting things about the pic: 1. The excitement/fascination of the ladies in the crowd (and that guy on the left) 2. Coach Joel Quenneville totally disgusted, watching the whole thing unfold on the "Kisscam". You can actually see Quenneville losing all respect for Weight.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tonight on...Versus (Part Two)

Because I do extensive and deliberate research in preparation for the posts on this blog, I watched a game on Versus last week (Rangers versus Bruins). You know how Jack Nicholson and Leo DiCaprio are always at Laker games? And the announcer does the token, "...and look who's taking in the game tonight. It's Brad Pitt," blah, blah, blah. It was great to see that the stars also come out for NHL games. Versus tried to pull this off last week. Except the only celebrity in attendance was...Liam Neeson, who is almost 84 I think. He was looking old. Is this the biggest star we can conjure up??? Admittedly, Liam Neeson is a great actor, but I don't think he's the kind of guy the NHL needs right now. I'm pretty certain, no one (out of the 94 people) watching this thought to themselves, "Wow. Liam Neeson. Yeah. Hmmm. Hockey must be hot right now." I swear, the NHL should star paying celebs to show up at games. Why not do this? Get Brittany to show up pantyless. Maybe Scarlett J. shows up with Justin Timberlake. The pic of them at a hockey game ends up in US Weekly and BAM! Hockey's back! This would work. It really is that easy.

And that got me thinking, what other celebs like and watch hockey. And sadly, this is what I came up with:

1. Dennis Leary - I can't stand this guy.
2. Cuba Gooding Jr. - Last movie I remember him in, "Snow Dogs".
3. Kiefer Sutherland - Probably the most famous celeb hockey fan.
4. MacGuyver - I don't know his real name and I'm not sure he's alive any more. Does he count?
5. Liam Neeson - Apparently.
6. Jason Priestley - He's making a killing on 90210 syndication.
7. Alan Thicke - Who didn't love "Family Ties"?
8. Dave Coulier - What a jokester! “Full House” was the best!

Okay, this is getting embarrassing. I have to stop now. The sad part is, it gets worse. Really, click here.

Tonight on...Versus (sigh)

Yes, tonight on Versus (formerly OLN, otherwise known as Outdoor Life Network - wow) the Red Wings battle the Flyers. For those of you who have never heard of Versus (you're not alone by the way), it's channel 932, sandwiched between The Puppy Channel and The Hallmark Channel. (Incidentally, the Hallmark Channel is pretty much Lifetime, WE, and Oxygen channels wrapped into one. So don't let your ladyfriend fool you.) Anyway, if you can find the channel, you can watch hockey tonight. Oh and preceding the hockey game is a show called, "Holy @#*!" Nope, not kidding. So be sure to tune in a little early tonight.

I just can't believe the NHL let this happen. How on earth do you let ESPN go away??? Makes no sense. Although, my inside sources tell me that ESPN had no interest in bringing back the NHL. If that was the case, the league should have just given ESPN the rights to broadcast games. For free. Instead, NHL games are lingering in cable tv hell. No one watches. I read somewhere that only 14 people watched the All-Star Game this year. How is this possible? I blame Gary Bettman for this. And obviously, the Russians must take some of the blame as well.

I really wish I could have been inside of Bettman's brain during negotiations. What the hell was happening in there? On the one hand you have ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports. Not just the best sports channel, one of the best channels on tv. Everyone knows that. When guys turn on their TVs, ESPN is either the first thing that comes on or the channel is immediately changed to ESPN. At that point, there's a 50/50 chance the guy will just leave it on. No matter what is on. Seriously.

Case in point, last weekend I wake up around 830am, wander to couch, turn on ESPN, and proceed to watch an hour of women's 9-ball pool. An hour! Granted, the Black Widow was playing and she IS tremendous, but still. And yesterday, I turn on the ESPN and some terrible NBA game is on. Now, you have to understand that I hate the NBA. It's a disgrace to all other professional sports. I just can't get into a sport where its best players, Shaq and Lebron, can be sidelined for 20 games by a big toe injury. A big toe. How is that possible? In any case, I end up watching the basketball game. For no good reason. I don't even like it. It's obvious, I'm hypnotized by ESPN. My wife, knowing this, comes in and says, "What are you doing??? You don't even like basketball." I look up, tired and drowsy. Shit, she's right. That breaks the spell.

Okay, so back to Bettman's brain. Why wouldn't he want millions of guys watching NHL games on the worldwide leader in sports? I can't answer this question. Let's just go with this: Gary Bettman is a douche until he proves otherwise. Seems reasonable.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Geriatric Line Starts

The Wild picked up a nice win last night against the Florida Panthers. I have to admit, even though I follow the NHL pretty closely, I forget that Miami (of all the places in the world) still has real team. They just fell off the radar after the Cup run in '96. They will remain "off the radar" with their current marquee players being Eddie Belfour, Gary Roberts, and Todd Bertuzzi. If you are indeed a casual fan, Eddie "The Eagle" Belfour and Gary "I Have No Shame" Roberts have a combined age of like 107. I'm not kidding. I think Roberts won a Cup in 1967 with Gordie Howe, that's how old this guy is. After the game, the trainers have crutches waiting for him when he steps off the ice. It's terrible.

And Eddie, poor Eddie, he looked absolutely awful last night. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him in net. He should be playing in B-list pro/am golf tournaments on the Hooters Tour. Instead, he's getting lit up on a nightly basis playing in South Florida (his save percentage is among the league's worst). Every time the Wild scored on him he looked stunned, like he couldn't believe he was still in NHL taking 90mph slapshots in the chest. At times, it looked like he was using the crossbar to prop himself up (not unlike Denis "de hair, de hair" Lemieux in Slapshot, although at this point Denis was a far better goalie than Eddie is now...think about that). Just like Roberts is crutching around the locker room after games, I swear the trainers must have to push Eddie into the crease before the puck drops. He can hardly move from side to side. Eddie, if you're reading this, it's time to retire. It just is. You're not going to win a Cup with the Miami Icecats or whatever. Just stop. Nobody can bear to watch anymore.

Other than seeing those two guys, the game was fairly uneventful. Even though Florida got close a couple times, the Wild responded with quick goals. There wasn't much rough stuff since Gary Bettman, the commish, was in the house. Apparently, Bettman was there to have a heart to heart with Bob Naegle (Wild owner). But, I think Naegle and Bettman just sat in the owner's box and counted their stacks of gold coins. That's what rich people do...I'm told. More on Bettman this weekend.

Related sidenote: Boogaard got his first point of the season last night. Everyone is talking about this. The Wild media all reported that Coach Jacques called out Boogaard, saying he should be playing better offensively, or something like that. I don't understand this. Jacques, help me out. You are asking your goon, your tough guy, your enforcer, to start making some plays in the offensive zone. Huh? This makes no sense. Especially for Boogaard. He's 6'7", 495 lbs., that's not his game. His game is to punch people in the face. That's what YOU hired him to do. Why put the extra pressure on him to score goals? If I had to choose between Boogaard scoring a goal and Boogaard bloodying Bertuzzi's stupid head, I'd obviously choose to watch Boogaard bloody Bertuzzi's head. Even if it was a game winning goal. I'd much rather watch Bouchard or Rolston score the goals. If Boogaard scores, it's going to be ugly anyway. It'll deflect off his shin pad or something. What's fun about that? Honestly. Can we stop talking about this now? There's a reason why he only has one point through 55 games this year.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Wild Lose and the HLOG Ladies Revisted

The Wild lost last night in Dallas. 4 - 2. By all accounts it was a terrible and uninspired game. The Wild jumped out to a 2-0 lead almost immediately, then promptly gave up 4 unanswered goals. I have to admit I didn't actually watch the game. My wife chained me to the couch and we watched 3 consecutive episodes of Sex and the City. I'm not even kidding. I think I've seen every episode of season 6 about a dozen times. That's all TBS does. They've got season 6 on a loop and it just repeats itself. I can't handle it. And my wife watches like it's the first time she's seen it. Totally enthralled and content. I'm trying to think of something I could watch over and over and over again. Ummm, maybe Miracle. (I always tear up when Eruzione gets on the medal stand and invites the rest of the guys up there and they're holding up number 1. Gets me every time. Other than that, I've never cried. Seriously.) Also, now that I'm thinking about it, I could probably watch any of the Don Cherry Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em videos for any length of time. If you don't know Don Cherry, here's a few tidbits: he coached the Bruins in the 70s, he's a regular commentator on Hockey Night in Canada, he loves fighting and Doug Gilmour, and he hates European and French-Canadian hockey players (they wear visors and they don't have "guts"). Here's Don Cherry meeting one of the Kids in the Hall.

Hockey quote of the day:

"You don't like to see 20 kids punching 20 other kids. It's not a disgrace, it's hockey."
- Unknown Montreal journalist, referring to one of the most amazing hockey fights ever.

Okay, I don't even understand this quote. But it's hilarious. Check out this link to see the fight between Canada and Russia in the 1987 World Juniors. Naturally, Don Cherry went on camera stating flatly, "I blame the Russians!" I'll be talking a lot more about fighting, hockey, and Don Cherry in coming weeks.

HLOGs Part 2: If you missed my first post, and I'm sure you didn't, here's a reader response:

"In regards to the ladies who love hockey players blog (or whatever) how attractive could a chick be if she actually can complain:

'If I hear one more effin' time that prior to this year, Malkin was the best hockey player in the world not playing in the NHL, I'm going to puke all over my Hockey News.'

Seriously...Can you imagine Elle McPherson uttering such words....or being in a situation in which she's been hearing way too much about Malkin?!! If you can't, I think it may be exactly what she's frustrated about here: (NSFW)"

Ok, so that explains it. I couldn't agree more. Also, I didn't want to get into posting boobs so quickly, but I felt the point couldn't be made without the pic. Call it my editorial instincts.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Lesson One?

Okay, I'm at work writing my first entry for my web log. This cannot be a good sign. I'm going to tell myself this is just a short break. I deserve breaks. Whether it's for coffee or writing in my new blog. (I believe Grantland Rice got his start this way. Can anyone confirm this?) This is a hockey blog. A hlog, if you will. I'll be helping the more casual fan understand the game in ways that are probably trivial and irrelevant, at best.

Amazing, I just did a google search for "hlog" and what comes up? Hlog - Hockey's Ladies of Greatness. A blog devoted to hockey from a lady's perspective. I wish I was kidding. Among the many fabulous posts this site offers is a "fantasy make-out session" with Evgeni Malkin, the highly-touted Penguins rookie. I couldn't possibly make this stuff up. This is great, here's a teaser:

"Now at ease and slightly hammered, you start to notice the kindness in his eyes, and not the underbite. You take a leisurely walk through the streets of picturesque Pittsburgh (again, this is a fantasy), with the translator a few steps behind...He finds you a nice park bench and together, you hardcore communicate in the international language until the translator tracks you down and busts you." Please read more...amazing.

"Hardcore communicate in the international language"???? Can I nominate that for the Pulitzer? And, seriously, what is the translator's role in all of this? Obviously, Evgeni needs to work on his english, but why write the translator into the makeout fantasy? Unless I missed some sort of threeway action, that would be the only reason you'd want the translator there. If you want to read the rest, please check out the link. No seriously, check it out. This will be a book someday, "The Best Hockey-Erotic Stories of 2007". I believe there's also a "fantasy make-out session" story featuring Sidney "Jailbait" Crosby (their words not mine), if you're into that sort of thing. Again, I couldn't make this stuff up.

A related sidenote (sort of): These women clearly love hockey players in an odd/obsessive sort of way. It reminds me of Miss McGill from the movie Youngblood, widely regarded as the best serious/dramatic hockey movie. If you haven't seen it, go rent it. (Although, Slapshot makes attempts at more serious drama in the middle of the movie as well...the plant closes down and Reggie's wife leaves him for good, and the team is going to fold, etc. It's all too serious. Doesn't work. We all just want to get back to Reg screaming, "She's a lesbian!!! I know! I know!!!"). In any case, Miss McGill runs a "boarding house" for new players in Hamilton, Ontario. Hmmm, how to say this...Miss McGill likes to seduce, then have sex with the new Mustangs' players. Actually, in the movie, this borders on sexual assault. Let's keep in mind that this movie and team is based on major juniors in Canada, so these players are as young as 15. I mean, Dean Youngblood (played by a constantly sweaty and young Rob Lowe) can't be older than 18. She's definitely a sexual predator. And it turns out that she's slept with most of the team, and ladies, this includes Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. (Yes, they are also in the movie. I'm fairly certain this was Keanu's big break, he plays the French-Canadian goalie). Is this a bad thing? Probably not. It builds confidence. I mean, Miss McGill is like 57 and has giant knockers. How could that not be inspiring for a 16 year old kid? Case in point, look at Annie Savoy in Bull Durham. She's instrumental in Meat's ascendance to the Major Leagues.

Sidenote to a sidenote: There is no doubt in my mind that Bull Durham (1988) was inspired by Youngblood (1986). The basic plot is the same, but Bull Durham is obviously a better movie. I just want credit where it's due. That means you, Academy Awards! Bull Durham gets an Oscar and Youngblood gets nothing?? I protest. 21 years too late, but I protest nonetheless.

So anyway, these ladies and their hockey blogs and fantasy make-out sessions make me wonder. Are these ladies also preying on young junior players, in say, Omaha? Or Traverse City? Or even Bismarck? I like to think so. For those of you who are casual hockey fans and don't know, there are certain women who absolutely love hockey players. Not being a woman, I'm not sure what it is, but I'm not sure how you could love a face like this. Keep in mind, these ladies are mainly from Canada and the northern US. Not sure what they might look like and also afraid to say anymore...

I guess that concludes lesson one. I think the take home point here is that even though Miss McGill is kind of slutty, she really loves hockey. That's great. I think Don Cherry once said something like that. And same goes for the women writing the weird fantasies about NHL rookies. (The more I think about that, the weirder it is. Who writes that stuff? I'm intrigued.) They just love hockey (players?). I couldn't be happier about that.