Friday, March 30, 2007

Little PMB lacks grit; may win roses, tiara

In my last post, I decided that if I had to hockey fight someone in the NHL it would be Little Pierre Marc Bouchard. Well, it turns out I picked the right guy because Little PMB is one of the top candidates for the Lady Byng Trophy! For those of you who don't know, the Lady Byng Trophy is awarded to the league's most sportsmanlike player. Generally it goes to a guy with the most points and fewest PIMs. (Sidenote: I'm not sure the Lady Byng is actually a trophy. I think at the NHL Awards Ceremony they just give the winner a bunch of roses and a tiara. I could be wrong about this.)

Now, I don't want to say it's given to the league's biggest pussy, but...well, Mike Russo, the Wild beat writer, basically said as much. Russo wrote, "Sometimes there's a negative connotation surrounding the Lady Byng Trophy because the stereotype is the hardware goes to a player who lacks, well, grit." (I believe I scooped Russo on this story. My thorough analysis of Little PMB's lack of gritty play was obviously the main source for his story.)

Little PMB confirmed his pussiness (that's a word, right?), saying, "I'm not going to get any PIM's for hitting too much. I'm not going to get called for elbowing or charging or hitting from behind." Yeah, I mean, why would he want to hit guys and stuff like that, he's just a hockey player.

Anyway, this story just confirms that I made the right choice in hockey fighting Little PMB. Actually, I think the NHL ought to change the criteria for the Lady Byng from "most gentlemanly conduct and outstanding skill" to simply "player the average guy would most willingly hockey fight."

I just want to reiterate that I would still probably get dominated by Little PMB in a hockey fight. So, Little PMB, if you're reading this - you win, I lose. No hard feelings, right? Oh and one more thing, nice effort last night in a 4-2 loss to Calgary.

Read IT: Mike Russo's Star Trib story on Little PMB

Monday, March 26, 2007

Who would YOU hockey fight?

Maybe you've had this conversation while watching a hockey game:

You: I HATE that guy! He's such a dirty little bitch! He's gonna get his ass kicked if he's not careful.

Wife/Ladyfriend/Partner (hey, we don't discriminate at Casual Hockey): Yeah, that guy is cheap. (Pause and silence. It's obvious she's thinking about something carefully. And then...) Do you think you could beat that guy in a fight?

My wife and I have had this talk no fewer than a dozen times. It's hard to say what the motive is behind this question. She could be asking an honest question, which implies she actually thinks I have a chance in hell fighting an NHL player. More likely, it's a backhanded attempt at calling me out for all my shit-talking, "You call that guy a little bitch, but he'd actually kill you in a hockey fight."

So, I try to put all sorts of conditions in on the fight, like, "If it was late in the game and the guy was at the end of a long shift, and he was blindfolded with one arm tied behind his back. Yeah. Then I could probably beat him in a fight." But generally, I'm pretty quick to say I'd get absolutely killed in a fight with a NHLer.

But that got me thinking. There have to be a few players in the league I could hang in there with. (Probably. I mean, right?).

Remember this is a hockey fight not a street fight. So that automatically gives me hope. In any case, this is the criteria you should use if you're interested in hockey fighting an NHLer:

  1. He should be smaller than you. Reach and size are a big advantage in a hockey fight.

  2. He should be European or French-Canadian. Look, I don't mean to offend, but I'm not going to fight some guy from Alberta who spent his summers loading grain trucks or something. Guys like that aren't soft. Guys from socialist Sweden are soft.

  3. He should average less than 30 PIMs per season and preferably never been in a fight in the NHL. A player averaging less than 30 PIMs is a skilled guy and its safe to say never mixes it up. His penalties are probably due to tripping or holding or some shit like that.

  4. Under no circumstances should you fight a defenseman. Defenseman are too tough and crafty. They know how to grind in the corners and battle in front of the net. They also know all of the dirtiest tricks in the book. Take Chris Chelios. Would I fight that guy even though he's almost 63? No way. I wouldn't even glance at him.
So after taking all those things into account, I came up with the list below. (Let's get this out of the way. I'm about 5'10" and a deuce. I'm not particularly tough and I have pretty short arms. How do you like my chances?)

Alexi Yashin (Honorable Mention) - I thought Yashin would be the perfect guy to fight because he's the quintessential lazy Russian offensive player. He's not a physical player and averages just over 30 PIMs a season. He doesn't like to play defense (he's a career -81). You watch him play and you just know he's soft. Plus, a lot of people regard him as a doooosh, which I agree with. Plus plus, he wears a turtleneck when he plays (see pic). This fact alone almost convinced me I could take him.

The problem is twofold. First, he's 6'3" and 220, a significant size advantage over me. Second, I'm certain he has ties to the Russian mafia. I just don't want to get involved in any action like that. And if he beat me in a fight, eveyone would say, "You lost to a guy that wears a turtleneck." Then they'd shake their heads and say, "Get out of my sight!" And if he happened to break his hand on my face the Russian mafia would NOT be happy. I'd probably be shot after getting my ass kicked by Alexi Yashin. So, as you can see, it's lose-lose with Yashin.

Kristian Huselius (Honorable Mention) - I also briefly considered this guy. He plays for the Calgary Flames and not Team McDonalds as the pic indicates. Mostly, I considered this guy because of the picture. That and he's a Swede and he has no chin. Just look at him. Someone ought to fight him. Right?

Sedin Twins (Honorable Mention) - Just watch this. Please.

"Little" Pierre-Marc Bouchard (WINNER!) - This was a tough choice as PMB plays for the Wild. And I like the way he plays. But after crunching the numbers, PMB was the only logical choice. Here's the thing. He fits all of my NHL hockey fighting criteria. He's listed at 5'10" and 170lbs, which means he's more like 5'8" and 150. I can handle that. He has averaged about 20 PIMs a season, so he's not an aggressive player. I highly doubt he's been in a fight ever. And he's French-Canadian, which means he probably wasn't loading grain trucks in Alberta as a kid. Also, if you look at his picture, he just looks like a nice little guy. My wife calls him "Little PMB" and obviously this inspires confidence in me.

So that's it. I would drop the gloves with PMB. (Does it count if I pull a Matt Cooke and turtle right away?)

You heard it here first that ex-Rangers goalie, Mike Richter, was considering running for US Congress. Unfortunately, Mike has decided not to run. This is a real shame for lots of reasons. Mostly, I'm disappointed because there was so much potential for hilarious comedy. I had my hopes set on Mike being sworn in wearing his goalie pads and Team USA uniform.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mindfuck no match for Derek Boogaard

Andy Murray tried to stick Derek Boogaard in the mind after Thursday night's game. In the game, Boogaard dominated St. Louis tough guy, DJ King, in a third period scrap and propelled the Wild to a 5-1 victory. After the game, Murray questioned Boogaard's effectiveness:

"He never plays! The guy's got to be on the ice to have an effect and he has no effect on the game. He doesn't play! Boogaard wouldn't get into our heads! I wish they'd play Boogaard more. If they would play him more, we'd like that. Tell Derek I'm a fan of his. I want him to play more!" Read the whole story here.

St. Louis enforcer, DJ King, was less enthusiastic about Boogaard playing more, "Next time, Andy Murray can fight him." Later, Murray conceded there was that one time when Boogaard got into his team's head and that was when the toughest guy on the Blues was punched repeatedly in the face by Boogaard.

Boogaard seemed saddened by Murray's comments, but unfazed. "I can't play? I don't affect the game? I mean, you know, that's his opinion, I guess," he said with a pouty lip. A Wild staff member then led Boogaard away on a leash and put him back in his cage until the next game.

Sidenote: Also, in shocking news, Boogaard said he would like to see more fighting at the end of games.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Todd Fedoruk gets punched in the face...hard

Another NHL game, another guy knocked out and lying in a pool of his own blood (ok, there was no pool of blood). This time it was Todd Fedoruk of the Flyers. He and Rangers tough guy, Colton Orr, squared off in a heavyweight match-up that took place 20 seconds into the game. That seems awfully quick. Hmmmm.

In their last match-up, Orr and the Rangers felt Fedoruk "took liberties" with Rangers players when Orr was out of the lineup. (Sounds oddly sexual, I know.) You see, peoples, Colton Orr is a goon (Fedoruk is a goon, too). He commands respect when he's on the ice. He keeps the dirty, physical stuff to a minimum. When he's scratched or not playing, the other team's tough guy might take advantage of the situation. Otherwise known as "taking liberties" - are we getting it??

Isn't that why we have referees, you ask? Hey! What is this basketball??? The players "police themselves," which, in theory, actually leads to less fighting/pools of blood and more scoring (to paraphrase Dale Hunter, Marty McSorely, and Todd Bertuzzi). In any case, Orr decided that Fedoruk needed to be "held accountable" for his actions that night. Hence, the fight.

Don't worry, though. Todd was okay.

"I'm a little sore but I'm fine right now. I remember everything. I looked at him and he said, 'Let's go.' He knocked me out on the way down. When I got off the ice I woke up. I guess I got my bell rung.''
Well, he didn't remember everything. Rangers doc, Claude Macaluso said, "He is having some problems with short-term memory, but other than that he is great."

Yeah, and other than the fact that he can't remember his wife's name, what he ate for dinner, and how to tie his shoes, he's doing GREAT. Also, although he doesn't remember the team he plays for, he did seem to recognize the team colors and jersey logo. So the Flyers expect him to return soon.

Gary Bettman said he hadn't heard about the incident as he was busy working out the details of the league's new TV deal with the Food Network.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Just for a second, just to see how it feels

That's Hayden Panettiere. Apparently, she's one of the stars of the tv show "Heroes". More importantly, she's licking Lord Stanley's Cup. (That's obviously one of the finest sentences I've ever written.)

Just when you think Gary Bettman is irreversibly incompetent, he goes and does something like this. And totally redeems himself! Well, not totally. But that was a pretty good idea. I'll have to see the Cup involved in something a bit more pornographic before I forgive him for inking that Versus deal.

Thoughts about who you'd like to see licking Lord Stanley's Cup? This could get interesting...

Fighting Gary Bettman

The hockey news today is that Islander Chris "The Decapitator" Simon will not face criminal charges for his attack on Ryan Hollweg of the Rangers. If you didn't see it, check it out here. It's pretty fantastic.

Is it just me or does there seem to be a lot more cheap shots and old school fighting this year? Check out the clip below of Jordin Tootoo crushing Robidas of the Stars. Tootoo (yeah, that's his real name) was suspended 5 games for the action. My theory on all this is that Gary Bettman and the NHL are letting up on fighting because fans love it, it generates buzz (good or bad), and it sells tickets. Seriously, since the lockout there has been very little national media coverage of the NHL. Except when some goon tries to chop another guy's head off. The Chris Simon incident is the best example of this. That clip was shown everywhere. It's better publicity than no publicity at all. Right? Right, Gary??? You keep watching, we'll see more of this stuff next season.

Oh and enjoy watching this guy get knocked out dead cold. Eeeesh.

Monday, March 19, 2007

NCAA Hockey Tourney Pick 'Em

As promised, here's a link to the NCAA Hockey Tournament Pick 'Em Challenge. It's a pretty big deal. Click on the link below and see if you can figure it out. Alabama-Huntsville is definitely my sleeper pick.

Wild Hockey Guide NCAA Hockey Madness! (Click Championship, then you'll see the bracket. Then click "Predict It!" at the top of the page. Then, you'll click a button at the bottom of the page and you'll probably have to register or something. This is the best I could do. Apparently, doesn't have a NCAA Hockey pool yet...)

Friday, March 16, 2007


Yes, People! It's the that time of year again. College hockey playoffs! The NCAA tourney field will be set on Sunday, so check back and enter the 2007 Casual Hockey NCAA Division I Hockey Tourney Pick 'Em Challenge. (I might shorten the name - maybe). The prizes are yet to be determined. So don't forget, check back Sunday or Monday to enter the Casual Hockey Pick 'Em Challenge.

Note: Some of you I realize don't care about College Hockey, or probably Hockey in general. But, it's just another reason to fill out a bracket and who doesn't like that?

In honor of College Hockey fans everywhere, check out the clip below. Here's the setup: The game is over, and the Gophers had just lost to CC in the WCHA Final Five. Tyler Hirsch, one of their top scoring forwards, skates to center ice, sets up like he's taking a penalty shot, then skates full-speed at the net, takes a slapper, and slams into the goal knocking it over. As he skates to the bench, he realizes he better leave his stick at center ice. Needless to say, this guy isn't playing competitive hockey anymore.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Onion is Smarter than Gary Bettman

The Onion reports that the NHL has signed a deal with the Food Network. I like this. This could actually work. The NHL may as well televise its games on the Food Network, since its currently stuck lingering in cable tv hell. Here's a quote from Gary Bettman:

"We also thought the lead-in programs on Versus, especially those that focused on bull-riding, bass fishing, and violent contact sports, were not entirely compatible with the image of the league. Now, hockey games will follow Emeril Live, Feasting On Asphalt, and The Hungry Detective, which, as you can plainly see, are a better fit."
Hey, at least they'd be on a channel people watch. The Onion's fine reporting comes just as the NHL started bragging about this:

"Tuesday’s Buffalo at Pittsburgh game on VERSUS posted a .41 national household cable rating, garnering 394,678 viewers. The telecast not only was the highest-rated NHL game this year, but the most-viewed NHL regular-season game ever on the network."
Ok, easy now Mr. Bettman. I think Blue's Clues and Bob the Builder still have you beat. Also beating you, MTVs My Super Sweet Sixteen. So, let's not get too excited. (That game was pretty awesome though, if you saw it.)

Not really related sidenote: Christina Aguilera was at the Wild game in Vancouver the other night. By far the biggest celeb to attend an NHL game this year. Word on the street is that she and this guy have a little something going. Seriously, it's in US Weekly. Probably.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Messier and Gary Coleman: Peas in a Pod

It's been quite awhile since I posted last. I apologize. But I hope to make it up to everyone by sharing the picture above. Yes, it's amazing.

First, the photo was taken sometime in the 1980s, the peak of Gary Coleman's career and in the midst of the Oilers Stanley Cup Dynasty. Which falls right into my theory that the NHL sucks at drawing celebs. Now, we know they've always sucked at it. The Oilers could only get Gary Coleman in the locker room? Really? We're talking about one of the great Dynasties in all of sports and they can only get Gary Coleman. Honestly, something needs to be done. Soon.

Second, presumably Coleman wants an autograph from Messier, which Messier obviously finds hilarious, like 'what could this guy possibly want with my autograph?' Maybe Gary Coleman is a hockey fan. I don't know. Also, Gary Coleman has an autograph book? (Or, conspiracy theorists, is Messier actually getting an autograph from Gary Coleman??? Wow, total mindfuck, there.)

Third, what's with that teeny tiny little towel Mess is wearing??? I mean, don't look too closely or you might see Mark Messier's penis. (How is that towel even staying on. It's obviously a hand towel. How is this possible?) It's probably the only time you'll ever see a 6-time Stanley Cup champion's penis, so have a look!

Fourth, Messier drinking a beer, post-game. That's fantastic.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Mike Richter dropping the gloves with Congress

Surrounded by The Rockettes and wearing full pads and uniform, Mike Richter announced last week that he is considering running for US Congress in Connecticut's 4th District (Seriously, click the link). Richter, a former all-star goalie, helped the New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup in 1994. During the press conference, Richter vowed to wear his goalie mask throughout the campaign. He said if elected he would bring his goalie stick to all committee hearings "to show those conservative pussies there's a new sheriff in town." He also said that if given the chance, he would "playfully jersey" John McCain.

Richter said, "You know, if I walk by him in the men's bathroom I might pull his suit coat over his head and give him a couple quick ones to the ribs. Just to keep things light, keep him on his toes, let him know that I'm watching him." "Jerseying" is a technique widely used in hockey fights. A player will pull his opponent's jersey over his head and arms, rendering him immobile. This allows the player to repeatedly punch his opponent in the face.

Although critics say he has little or no political experience, Richter defended his experience, saying, "I played for Team USA! I blocked hockey pucks for my country, at home and abroad! I played against the Soviets during the Cold War! That's pretty much all the experience I need. McCain got a purple heart?? Who cares? My name is on the Stanley Cup. How many Congressmenpeoples can say that?"

He also pointed out that he was a patriot before "it was cool to be a patriot." Richter's goalie mask has an image of the Statue of Liberty painted on it. As he walked off the stage, Richter mumbled something about wanting to get Nancy Pelosi in the penalty box sometime, but the remark was mostly unintelligible.

Richter retired from the NHL in 2003 because of an overwhelming number of concussions. He was accepted at Yale soon after (again, not kidding). He is majoring in Political Science and will graduate in 2008. It is widely speculated that Mark Messier would be Richter's Chief of Staff/Enforcer.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Reader Question; Or NHL Level 3 Exam

I got this question from a reader the other day:

You seem very knowledgeable on hockey. In your opinion, who are the twelve players with the most unique backstories (from a human interest perspective) to have won the Stanley Cup over the past three years?
Wow! Is there a right answer to this question? Is this a final exam? Unfortunately, this reader didn't leave a name or email. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it's actually Barry Melrose, ESPN's hockey analyst. He's always bothering me for insight and analysis. As if I have time for that.

Anyway, I thought I'd give it a shot. Let's take a closer look at the question. The players with the most unique backstories to have won the Cup in the last 3 years. First, that's obviously a trick question. With the lockout in 2005, there have been only 2 Cup winners in the last 3 years. Ha, you can't fool me, Melrose! So that leaves us with last year's Cup champs, the Carolina Hurricanes, and the 2004 champs, the Tampa Bay Lighting. Second, you want me to give you 12 players from two teams with interesting back stories? 12?? That's too many. I'm not doing that. That's not fun. You hear me, Barry? That's excessive.

(Let's be honest, not all these guys are interesting. They're hockey players. They either grew up on the Canadian prairies and spent all their free time playing shinny with their pals, mom drove them to early morning practice, etc., etc. Or they grew up playing in Scandinavia and never learned how to check or fight. Those are the simple facts, folks. So, I'll name a couple interesting players, not 12.)

Martin St. Louis (Mar-tan San Loo-ee) - Yes, he's French-Canadian. No, I don't hold that against him. Well, not really. St. Louis plays for the Lighting and won a load of awards when he won the Cup in 2004. He was the league scoring champ, league MVP, and Stanley Cup playoff MVP all in the same year. Not bad. Of course, none of this would be particularly interesting if he weren't 5'2". Yep, he's just a little guy. The NHL lists him at 5'9", but he's closer to 5' than he is to 6'.

In fact, he's so little no team wanted to draft him when he came out of the University of Vermont (no word on if he did the "elephant walk" like many UVM players before him). He was signed by Calgary as free agent, played in the minors until he was released, and Tampa Bay picked him up soon after. Blah, blah, blah. The rest is history.

Mike Commodore - In stark contrast to Little Martin St. Louis, Commodore is 6'5" and 230lbs. He's a man among men. Anyway, his story isn't all that interesting, he grew up playing on the Canadian prairies, he stayed out on the pond all night skating, etc., etc., get the idea. (Commodore hails from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, which I hear is beautiful this time of year. It's the Naples of Alberta, I'm told.) But here's why I like him:

1. He played for the Fighting Sioux. Enough said, I think.
2. Voted "Best Hair" in the NHL. (Ladies, I know what you're thinking. Open the window if you're feeling a little flushed.)
3. Around the locker room, he wears a white bathrobe with his number embroidered on it. (Actually, that might be the best thing about him.)
4. Shockingly, it turns out, he's the other guy molesting the Stanley Cup with Rod the Bod in the previous post! (I'm not sure how I feel about this).
5. He's tough (despite the weirdo Stanley Cup pic). The guys at (yes, that's a real website) offer a wonderful description of one of his scraps in the minors:
When they decided to go, Commodore got his gloves off, and lowered the boom on Thompson. Brent went down like he’d been shot. Commodore went in for more, picking up Thompson by his jersey, noticed he was out cold, and dropped him like 8th grade Spanish. Thompson finally made it to the box, were he asked the penalty box attendant why he was in there, and when he got out so many times, the attendant was compelled to inquire if Brent was OK. Hilarious turn of events. Well, not for Brent Thompson.
(Seriously, though, who drops 8th grade spanish class? Is that even allowed?) One of his more recent scraps follow...Oh and Barry, I hope that answers your question!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Stanley Cup molested by "Rod the Bod" in gay bath house

So, that's Rod Brind'Amour in the pic above (yes, his nickname is Rod the Bod, but I think he gave it to himself. Does that count?). It's really not clear what the hell is happening in that picture. I mean, I really love the Stanley Cup and everything. But do I love it THAT much? I'm not sure. There's a guy whose job it is to monitor the Cup at all times, just to make sure nothing bad/weird/tragic happens to it. Well, what was he doing when the above happened? I don't believe he was like, "Oh sure guys, take your shirts off. Alright, let's get a pic with the Cup. Okay, now splash some water on each other...." (And, is he flexing or is the Cup really, really heavy?)

If you didn't know, the Bod is also widely recognized as the ugliest man in the NHL. Anyway, this is all background info for the clip below, which is amazing.