Saturday, May 31, 2008

Must win.

It's not like Game four is the end of the series, but if the Penguins lose, it pretty much is. If the Penguins can win this integral second home game they'll have the series all tied up at two a piece. If they lose they go down three games to one and then they have to go back to Detroit in that state. Detroit... a place where they seem to have the confidence sucked right out of them.

If you're keeping track, it appears the Penguins have put a few of my suggestions into pratice, 2.5 out of 5 ain't bad:

1. They've been unstoppable at home down the stretch and all through the playoffs, maybe it'll continue through the next two games. half completed.

2. Mario Lemieux suits up. comeoonnnnnnnnn

3. Michel Therrian will have a freak out, just like the last time the Penguins played like this (two years ago.) Obstruction, obstruction, distraction.

4. Someone will score a goal. finally.

5. Detroit defenseman trip over the blueline several more times, sending Pittsburgh forwards in on a 3-on-1, but this time they actually score.

And here's something I came across while checking out the stories for the upcoming game tonight. Spot the typo.

Crosby, Malking Making Impact For Penguins

Also some news about game five, which is a few days away (monday). Feisty Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams will be making the trip to Detroit to take in the game. Detroit Red Wing forward Dan Cleary arranged tickets for the Premier. Williams is one of the most hilarious Canadian Premiers, he's called the Prime Minister a liar, pulled the Canadian flags down off the poles, and walked out on a Premiers meeting... and he's more popular than any other politician. If anything we'll get a good soundbite.

Colby Armstrong is back! (yay!) The former Penguins team clown and close friend to Sidney Crosby is now doing analysis for Rogers Sportsnet for the Finals. Too bad Rogers Sportsnet doesn't actually broadcast the games.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Drama in Canadian media.

* insert Darth Vader's theme* There's trouble in fantasyland, folks. So there's this long-running thing here about Crosby and Don Cherry. Waaaay back when Sidney played for the Rimouski Oceanic he scored this absolutely ridiculous goal (ridiculous = awesome) where he basically played the puck lacrosse-style with his stick and into the net. Anyway Cherry called him a "hot dog" for doing it.

Since the said event Cherry hasn't really ever praised Crosby, but he also hasn't really crapped on him like some other players (see: Jarmior Jagr in the late 90s). Cherry prefers the Jordan Staals and Gary Roberts of the hockey world, and that's fine, it's what Cherry's about. I accept
that. Nobody turns on Coach's Corner to see Cherry coo over players that everyone knows are awesome and should be awesome every game. We turn it on to see what kind of abuse he shells out.

But then Globe and Mail columnist William Houston (see the story below) writes an opinion piece on Cherry's opinion of Crosby. So (of course) here's my opinion on Houston's opinion of Cherry's opinion. Still with me? (man, where's a good Duthie-ism when I need one?) Here's my favourite quote, it's what Houston tries to wrap up his point with.

"But as a whole, the Hockey Night response to Crosby's effort was dismissive and small - a disservice, not to Crosby, because he receives plenty of kudos and doesn't need them from Hockey Night. It was a disservice to the telecast and the viewers."

A disservice to the viewers, eh? Well apparently, as a viewer i'm just a little to slow on the uptake to realize that Sidney Crosby had a good game without someone at Hockey Night in Canada telling me. Wait, but Houston also admits that they did mention Crosby's play. So I guess that simply mentioning it won't get through my thick viewer skull. Gee, I sure wish P.J Stock and Craig Simpson had come on like a couple of screaming junior high kids, jumping up and down with signs... like Sidney Crosby is like totally like playing like the best player like everrrrrrrrrr! lol, lmao, hugz!!!.... I would have definitely figured it out then.

There's this word i'm looking for, what is it? Oh yes, OVER-REACTION. Seriously, Houston
comes off in this piece like a whiny guy who wishes he was on Hockey Night in Canada. Yes, I agree. Crosby did look incredible in game three, in fact I think he looked like he was on some sort of mission to destiny. A destiny that involved magic, and some sort of dramatic music montage....... He played awesome (and created a whole new artery bulge on Mike Babcock's neck). I also agree that there does seem to be the "ABC" (Anybody But Crosby) factor with a lot of fans/media, and i would be the first to call foul when it happens (see: Philadelphia series). But I also agree that Gary Roberts - Jordan Staal pairing went out there and absolutely destroyed. They brought momentum, and the fact that Roberts was a healthy scratch a few days ago is also a very good story (Not to mention, i'm pretty sure he's the same age as Sidney's Dad, Troy). Also let's not mention that the Penguins were out-shot badly and Marc-Andre Fluery held the fort.

If Hockey Night in Canada had've said nothing about the play of the rest of the team and focussed totally on Crosby's play then you'd be on their arse for not recognizing a team effort when they see one.

Just so you know. It does take a full team to win a game, sure Crosby was a bit part of it. But if it was just him out there, there'd be no magic... or music montage.

Hockey Night snubs Crosby, and viewers

Headshot of William Houston

Let's see. He's the youngest player to be appointed as the captain of an NHL team. This is his first Stanley Cup final. Hard to tell, but he may still be hurting from an ankle injury that sidelined him for 29 games in the regular season.

On Wednesday, Sidney Crosby scored two of the Pittsburgh Penguins' three goals and logged almost 20 minutes of ice time to lead the Penguins back into their series against the Detroit Red Wings. It was a terrific performance.

But guess who received the attention during the Hockey Night in Canada postgame coverage? Gary Roberts.

The show's grudge against Crosby has gone well beyond ridiculous. Yes, host Ron MacLean interviewed him last Saturday, but the show's most influential commentator, Don Cherry, doesn't like him. And MacLean certainly defers to his elder.

"He's only 19 years old," Cherry said.

Yes, and Crosby's 20.

The ABC rule (Anybody But Crosby) had MacLean toeing the line. When he read off the three stars of the game, he said Crosby had been selected as the first star for scoring the opening goal and picking up another.

That understated Crosby's impact on the game about as much as saying Tiger Woods is occasionally noticed on the PGA Tour.

When Cherry did his postgame spot for ESPN, he continued to ignore Crosby and wax lyrical about Roberts. Finally, ESPN commentator Barry Melrose said, "What about the Crosby kid?"

"Oh," Cherry said. "I forgot. Yeah, he played a great game."

Crosby should be a Cherry favourite. He's a Canadian, he's tough and he has been in at least one fight. But the two got off to a bad start when Crosby was in junior hockey and was rapped by Cherry for being a hot dog because he used a lacrosse-style stick manoeuvre to score a goal. For his part, Crosby has a bit of an edge and he probably hasn't been appropriately deferential to Cherry.

Whatever the case, his performance on Wednesday ranked as one of the big NHL stories of the year and it deserved raves.

True, Hockey Night put him on the air for a postgame interview with reporter Elliotte Friedman. How could it not? And analyst Craig Simpson said a few words, chosen carefully, about his rising to the occasion.

But as a whole, the Hockey Night response to Crosby's effort was dismissive and small - a disservice, not to Crosby, because he receives plenty of kudos and doesn't need them from Hockey Night.

It was a disservice to the telecast and the viewers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sad news.

Luc Bourdon 1987 - 2008

Luc Bourdon, left, with Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang after winning the 2007 World Juniors

Vancouver Canucks prospect Luc Bourdon was killed in a motorcycle accident involving a tractor trailer, near his hometown of Shippagan in northern New Brunswick Thursday afternoon. Bourdon was 21.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Remember when everyone thought this series was going to be "delicious", and close, and fast skating? I was so excited! A Stanley Cup final I could get behind! Then the Pittsburgh Penguins started playing like a bunch of schoolboy bitches, and I started to lose my cool. My only hope for a decent series is that the Penguins will redeem themselves, and put up some sort of a fight. Here are some (im)possible things that may help:

1. They've been unstoppable at home down the stretch and all through the playoffs, maybe it'll continue through the next two games.
2. Mario Lemieux suits up.
3. Michel Therrian will have a freak out, just like the last time the Penguins played like this (two years ago.)
4. Someone will score a goal.
5. Detroit defenseman trip over the blueline several more times, sending Pittsburgh forwards in on a 3-on-1, but this time they actually score.

Monday, May 26, 2008


The van that accompanied Terry Fox on his Marathan on Hope in 1980 has been tracked down, restored and has begun its own journey across Canada.
The 1980 Ford Econoline, tracked down by Terry's brother Darrell and famed Canadian writer Douglas Coupland who wrote a book about Terry and his Marathon.
The van was then handed over to Ford of Canada, who put over 1,000 hours into restoring the van to its original condition. The van was then taken to St. John's, Newfoundland where on April 12, 28 years ago Fox dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1977, Fox's lost his right leg at age 18 to bone cancer and vowed to beat cancer by raising awareness and money for research. After beginning modestly in Newfoundland, Fox ran basically an entire marathon every day with his van driving faithfully behind. However later that year on September 1 Fox was forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ontario as his cancer had spread to his lungs. He had run for 143 days straight.
Fox passed away on June 28, 1981, as the youngest person ever to be awarded the Order of Canada.

The van will be crossing the country raising money for cancer research.

Also, over the weekend 10 pieces of Canadian history were stolen from the UBC Museum. The pieces were from iconic Native artist Bill Reid and were considered "priceless" by museum curators. The missing art is reportedly a mixture of jewelry and sculptures.
Don't think you know Reid's work? Check out the back of your 20 dollar bill.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spokane Wins Memorial Cup with 4-1 win over host team.

Game recap here

Karma was not on their side.

It all started when Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves (and you know my sentiments about baseball) said that he thought Sidney Crosby was a "Great, young American athlete."

Wait, wait, wait... what? Back that bookmobile up. Great? check. Young? you bet. Athlete? obviously... what was that third thing, again? American? nope. Someone hit the "YOU'RE WRONG!" buzzer. Poor ol' Glavine is gonna be feeling pretty sad when Crosby is tearing up the USA at the Olympics.

Then Joe Louis public address announcer Budd Lynch called him Steven Crosby. For a bit I tried to rationalize it... I looked across the room at a perplexed Garreth and said. "oh he's just old, I think he said Sidney... maybe". No I don't think he said Sidney, he definietely said Steven. Did he look at the wrong part of the page? Maybe he confused it with Steve Yzerman, who was coming out for the ceremonial face-off. Of course that would only makes partial sense because it's Steve Yzerman, not Steven. Awww, whatever he was born in 1917.

Before that, Marc-Andre Fleury fell flat on his face in front of the entire crowd in Detroit. He was attempting to do his super-run onto the ice for the beginning of the game, but instead did a face plant into the ice. It was slightly less embarrassing than when that anthem singer fell that time, but still embarrassing. I won't lie, I laughed.

But again... the karma. It's almost like the ghosts of Ottawa, New York and Philadelphia were cursing every step the Penguins took. (except when that goal got called back... more on that in a bit.) The Pens looked flat, were making bad passes, and they seemed to collectively trip just like poor ol' Fleury.

On top of it all, how many times were Detroit fans staring in horror as the puck sat idly in front of an open net with nobody on the Penguins able to pull the trigger. The answer is, A lot.

Back to that goal that was called back. If you didn't catch it, here's the recap: Holmstrom was in front of the crease and had his stick in "groin area" of Fleury. The Penguins, who seemed to be paying an ungodly amount of attention to the right-wing, didn't really notice Lidstrom pinch in on the left. The puck squirted over to him and he sent a rocket of a shot to the roof. The goal was called back because of "goaltender interference" and when a ref does that the rulebook states that the perpetrator must go to the box and feel shame for two minutes. So off paraded Holmstrom to the box and Mike Babcock looked like he might blow an artery.

I'm not saying that it wasn't goaltender interference, i'm sure any male would cringe in terror of the thought of getting smacked with a stick in the groin. But it's not like Holmstrom full out Chris Simon'd him. Let's just say if it was Henrik Zetterberg, they probably wouldn't have called it.

But I have to say I agree. In this case, I condone a double-standard. And before you hang me out to dry, let me explain. Holmstrom has a history of keeping his butt a little too close to the goaltender, and there's not really a rule against it becuase that toe-in-the-crease rule is thankfully gone. But, if you look at the replays of Holmstrom in front of the net, he is obviously obstructing the goaltender. A message needed to be sent, and sent early in the series. If you are going to call Sean Avery's shananigans a penalty than what Holmstrom does in front the of the net needs to be as well. There was a goal called back last series for the exact same reason, and he obviously didn't learn. My advice? Holmstrom, you're a big guy, just take a step forward. You'll still be screening the goaltender.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's here!!! It's here!!!

The finals start today.

Now I know the number one of the burning questions is... who did the TSN hockey panel pick to win it all?

Bob MacKenzie: Detroit
Mike Milbury: Detroit
Pierre McGuire: is remaining neutral? Can you do that?
Darren Dreger: Pittsburgh
Geno Reda: Pittsburgh

So with those predictions, it's tied 2-2 because of Switzerland over there screwing up the tiebreaker. Well, what better to replace Pierre McGuire with than with a MONKEY!

Maggie picked Pittsburgh.

And now the real burning question. Who do I think will win? Pittsburgh. Why? Because I have a blind faith in the magic of Sidney Crosby.

Kidding. There are also some other factors. Anyway, talk about a situation that's been over analyzed, pundits have had nothing to do for like 5 days now. And for the most part, it seems most are picking Detroit to take it home. Most seem to cite the team's recent past of overachieving in the regular season and underachieving playoffs, making them somehow more hungry. Don't buy it. They also seem to be saying that Chris Osgood is the more experienced goaltender with a few Cups to his name. Last time I checked Osgood was riding the bench for those Cup runs. Yep, I checked again... still true. I will agree that Detroit has the edge in faceoffs, but as long as Detroit is soooo fast. Um, so is Pittsburgh. Detroit is sooooo dreamy. Ok, well maybe they didn't say that. You get my point, I don't think there's an underdog in this one.

Some other notes about tonight.
Gary Roberts, despite being cleared by doctors after his stint with pneumonia, and was even quoted as saying,
"The rest has been great for me and I feel like I'm ready to go."
Yet for some reason... he is a healthy scratch. Seriously? How can you healthy scratch Gary Roberts in the playoffs. He's a playoff monster. He eats other teams for breakfast in the playoffs. He crushes their spirits. That's pretty hard to do from the press box.

Also, Chris Chelios will sit out for game one, he has a "leg-area injury" although he apparently wanted to play. And scoring machine, Johan Franzen is still out with "concussion-like symptoms" but could possibly be back for game two.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hockey not extreme or aggresive enough for you?

Then check out the latest installment from Jay Dahl, Backjumping, which won the CBC show "Short Film Faceoff" on Wednesday night.

The Memorial Cup semi-finals are tonight at 8pm (AST). You can catch it on Sportsnet... unless of course there is some sort of rain-delayed baseball game.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

no hockey, but we do have a duthie-ism.

"Let's see, four days of Stanley Cup Final preview anaylsis down, two to go.When you see our panel breaking down which team has the better stickboy...

'Mike in Detroit has really fast hands, but little Pete in Pittsburgh really organizes the rack well.'

...You know I will be sticking a pen in my eye very shortly."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Giv'r gas.

The final round robin game of the Memorial cup was tonight, Kitchener versus Belleville. The two teams were already pre-determined to be meeting each other in the semi finals on Friday, and judging by the game tonight, Friday will be a "dandy" as Bob Cole would say.

I checked the score after the first period and it appeared that Kitchener (the host team) had it under control, with a 3-0 lead. But as we all know, 3-0 is a pretty dangerous lead. Anyway I went out for a few pops at Boston Pizza, and came home about a half hour ago to the sight of a 4-3 Belleville come-from-behind, overtime win.

Bets anyone?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Love at the End of the World.

New Sam Roberts album (Love at the End of the World) = awesome. The album was fully released today, (yes i pre-ordered it and it was in my itunes this morning). It's everything you'd expect from a Sam Roberts album: Jeans and T-Shirt rock and roll that doesn't pull any fancy studio tricks to make it seem like they're actually musicians. And I can only imagine that it'll translate to an amazing live show. Album is full of catchy riffs and lyrics, but not toooo catchy (see: Nickelback. see: repetitive). You should pick it up.

In hockey news (although since Sam Roberts is a fan of Les Canadiens, I consider his new album hockey news),

Apparently Chris Simon has decided to abandon the NHL and will be playing in Russia next season. In Russia, Simon will be employed part time by the Russian Mafia where his skate stomping and stick swinging will be of great use.

Did that guy who always wears the velvet blazer, flowered shirt and jeans (sean mccormick) just say "eight-nizzle for bo-dizzle"?... on top of it all i'm pretty sure it was referring to baseball. puke.

I was watching TSN earlier and Mad Mike Milbury called the Stanley Cup Final match-up, "delicious".

As you may have noticed I'm just spewing thoughts in here as they appear in my head, I get a little off when i know HWS (hockey withdrawal syndrome) will soon be setting in.

A pro-longed Duthie-ism:
Watching the Russians celebrate their gold medal, I was thinking it was time for a slow-clap. You know the slow-clap, right? It’s the feel-good movie cliché where something inspirational happens in front of a crowd, there is silence for a moment, then one person starts a dramatic slow-clap that builds to a cheering frenzy. Roll the credits.

Anyway, wouldn’t it have been great if there weren’t any cheering Russians in the Quebec crowd, just 15 thousand stunned silent Canadians, until Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood up and started the slow-clap?
If Sidney Crosby is "The Next One", wouldn't Steven Stamkos be "The Next Next Savio(u)r "? Geez, Hockey News, get your facts straight...and your spelling. Which would make John Tavares "The Next Next Next One".

I think that's it... expect more of this randomness as the week progresses before the finals start on Saturday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Stanley Cup Finals.

Why I hate that god-foresaken rule.

Slash a guy in the face. fine. Run a guy into the boards from behind. fine. Knee on knee. fine. Heck, drop your hockey pants to the ice to fix your garter strap right before a faceoff (I kid you not, I saw Mike Ribeiro do this in Halifax, back in like 1999 when he played for the Quebec Rempart.)

But why in the name of Dion Phaneuf is there a penalty for flipping the puck over the glass? I understand, previously, it was more lucrative to do this as a defenceman than ice the puck. So, here's my question. Why not make it the same as an icing? You lose your line change, and have a faceoff in your own zone. done. Of course that makes too much sense, and as we know, the NHL doesn't make sense sometimes. The NHL is like a 3 year old child, eventually they'll learn, but not after getting stung in the butt by a bee three or four times.

Every time I see this call, even if it's in favour of a team I like, I cringe. When it results in a goal, well let's not talk about that. Who thought this up? My rule of thumb is large decisions like this would have to go through a group of at least seven people before it's approved. Where are these seven people? I'd like to tie them to a net and have shooting practice.

Who thought, "hmm this seems like it's delaying the game... let's make it a penalty, so it actually delays the game even more while the ref reviews if it hit the glass before it went out, finds the correct player, reports it to the stats dude in the little glass box, get the clock all fixed up and then... finally... drops the puck. Yah! That makes total sense! Even though icing the puck takes the same amount of time as a flip over the glass, let's make it a penalty... I'm an iiiidiot."


I never know if i'm going crazy or not when I find out Don Cherry says the same thing as me:

Cherry lambastes NHL over automatic penalty for shooting puck over glass

— Don Cherry again ripped the NHL over the automatic penalty given to players who shoot the puck over the glass, a call that helped cost Canada gold at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Speaking shortly after Rick Nash's delay of game penalty led to Ilya Kovalchuk's overtime winner in Canada's 5-4 loss to Russia in the gold-medal game Sunday, Cherry ranted that the rule was ruining games.

The rule came into effect for the 2005-06 NHL season.

"The National Hockey League, the reason they put this in, this goofy stupid rule, is because they said players were tired and they were shooting it in the stands," an emotional Cherry said during his Coach's Corner segment on a national television station. "If the guy knows he's getting a penalty, would he shoot it in the stands? Some fool in the National Hockey League had nothing to do (but) come up with that stupid rule and it's cost series."

Nash was clearing the puck from his own end when he mistakenly flipped it into the stands. Kovalchuk won the game 47 seconds later.

"Now you're going to say, 'If it had have been the Russians, the other way around,' no," said Cherry. "I don't want to win like that, I wouldn't want Canada to win like that. Some fool, some idiot in the National Hockey League come up with that rule, and it's killing us with the dumb rule and costing us games and a world tournament and Stanley Cups."

Asked how he would tweak the rule, Cherry barked: "They're too stupid to get rid of it."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Eastern Conference Champions

Sit. Down. Flyers.
If anyone had any doubts about whether the Pittsburgh Penguins would win this series, they were silenced today.

Whilst Canada was getting their ass handed to them by the Russians at least something was right in the hockey world. Before I could even switch the television over to CBC after almost throwing something at it, the game was 2-0. Ryan Malone (a player rumoured to be hitting the Free Agent highway this summer) scored first and opened the floodgates that was Martin Biron's net. The opposite could be said for Marc-Andre Fleury, who made a few timely saves early in the game, and one huge one late to preserve his shut-out.

The entire team was running on what seemed to be all cylinders, getting points from ten different players. Marian Hossa (4), Ryan Malone (3), Sidney Crosby (2), Maxime Talbot (2), Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Jordan Staal, Adam Hall, Pascal Dupuis, Brooks Orpik.

And it was almost like Sidney Crosby said a big 'NO, YOU SUCK' to the fans that rode him all of game four. Sit down. Flyers. and double sit down, flyers fans.

The Penguins now await the winner of the Dallas and Detroit final in the west. And by the way the last game went, it appears the momentum is in Dallas's hands. Game six of that series goes Monday night in Dallas.

The Memorial Cup game is currently in progress. Apparently instead of showing the Kitchener-Spokane game, the main Sportsnet network decided to go with random programming while the Bluejays game was in rain delay (see earlier post on Baseball). So you can only get the Memorial Cup game if you've got digital cable, where you can pick up one of the regional channels. Dear Sportsnet, You suck.

Brent Burns is a monster

quick updates from work.

Brent Burns has scored twice against Russia in the Gold Medal game to put Canada in the lead 3-1 at the end of the third period. was so excited that they mis-spelled Burn's name:

"Defenceman Brunt Burns scored his second goal of the game and third of the tournament on a 5-on-3 powerplay to give Canada a 3-1 lead in the first period. Russia immediately called a timeout following the goal."

Chris Kunitz has the other goal for Canada. Alexander Semin has the lone goal for Russia.

*update* Period 2, Russia scored on the powerplay, i have no idea who scored, although i'm sure ovechkin has something to do with it.

*update* Dany Heatley scored to make it 4-2 Canada!! The camera cut to Prime Minister Stephen Harper who was in attendance with his son. Apparently the PM is an avid hockey fan who is actually currently writing a book about hockey.

*update* Russia has brought it to within one with a goal by Tereshchenko(Stephen Harper looks worried) halfway through the third period.

*update* TIE GAME. 5 minutes to go. (Stephen Harper was right to be worried.)

*update* regulation ended with a 4-4 tie. Overtime in IIHF rules are a 20 minute overtime period of 4 on 4. And then if nothing is decided, a shootout. Seriously??? A shootout. ridiculous.

Also, it's now 1-0 Pittsburgh over the Flyers after an early Ryan Malone goal (assisted by Sidney Crosby and Marion Hossa)

*update* It's over. Canada loses. Kovalchuk scored both the tying and winning goal. Gold to Russia and Silver to Canada.
Russia scored on a powerplay... one of the most brutal penalties of life. I hate the delay of game for shooting it over the glass. I will rant about this later.


Thanks to Q-girl from "Of Moose and Men" for sending me this one. I somehow missed this absolute Duthie gem.

"Forget the Glow-Puck. What we need is the Glow Puckbunny. Whenever Elisha Cuthbert is present in an NHL arena, she will automatically illuminate so as to be easily located by television cameras -- and young defencemen."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How to make baseball less stupid.

1. land mines. Not big ones, we don't want people getting hurt. But little ones that make big noises and throw a bit of dirt around. "AND OH MY!!! Brian, it appears that Manny Ramirez has been taken out by a landmine while trying to steal a base!"

2. midgets. midgets are hilarious.

3. fire. anywhere. make the ball on fire, the bases, maybe the seats... the foul lines. something has got to be on fire.

4. Every second inning is actually Soccer-Baseball. Do you remember Soccer-Baseball? Why is it so much more fun than baseball?

5. Play in the rain. pussies.

6. Close calls at the bag are determined by a chugging contest between the runner and the baseman.

7. Foam party in the stands!!!

8. Techno music.

9. Sean Avery?

Vogue Magazine.

Never did I think I would be putting the two words "Vogue Magazine" together on my blog. But it happened, pesky Sean Avery is torturing a whole new industry with his presence when he started his "internship" at the magazine.

Don't believe me? It does kind of sound made up, but it's true, check out the story here for proof.

There were some golden quotes in that story from his publicist Nicole Chabot,

"He is ridiculously obsessed with fashion."

"He loves it more than anything in the world. It's something he has always wanted to do."

Even more than hockey? Please oh please, like it more than hockey.

Meanwhile a quick trip to the Vogue website revealed these riveting headlines,

"All the latest updates from the Cannes red carpet"

"Lagerfeld evokes a Sixties siren for Chanel in Miami"

Man Sean Avery is going to have fun getting coffee for the people who write this stuff.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Memorial Cup opens.

Junior hockey's trophy the Memorial Cup, arguably one of the most difficult trophies to win in all of sport, starts today. To reach the Memorial Cup, teams play four rounds of best-of-seven series (same as the NHL) to win their league title, but that's not where it ends (it ends after four rounds in the NHL). There are three major geographic leagues in Canada's junior system. The Quebec League (QMJHL), the Ontario League (OHL) and the Western League (WHL) each send their winner of their championship to the Memorial Cup, as well as the host team gets an automatic bye into the tournament. The Memorial Cup lasts a little over a week, each team first plays every other team (so, three games) and then based on standings during those preliminary games, a one game knock out style for quarter(*correction* there is no quarters.. how can there be, there's only 4 teams, duh), semi and finals.

Kitchener Rangers (host), Belleville Bulls (OHL), Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL), Spokane Chiefs (WHL).

First game at 7pm EST (Sportsnet), Rangers vs Gatineau.

The tournament for the rich and unemployed.

The World Championships have never been a big deal in Canada. We pay attention, sort of, if there's no NHL game on, I guess. Canada's team is always made of players who have either not made the NHL playoffs, or have been knocked out in the first couple of rounds. The tournament Canada really rallies behind is the World Juniors (under 20) at Christmas-time. The World Junior team on the other hand is made up of young players, most of whom are on the fringe of stardom. Let's not mention that the tournament has never been played on Canadian soil. Right down to the major sponsor (Skoda) the tournament is a European thing.

But if there was to be made inroads with the tournament on Canadian soil it was not to be done this year. I'm not one to criticize Hockey Canada, I think they do a fantastic job with grassroots, right up to the top. I've also had the luck of being able to witness the World Junior tournament in person when it was hosted in Halifax in 2003 and in Sweden in 2007. So I feel pretty confident in saying that this tournament was not fan friendly. It was pretty much anti-fan.

1. Game times. ALL of Canada's games were at 4:30pm local time. Listen, I know this is a long running joke, and perhaps the nice people at Hockey Canada can claim ignorance since they're based in Calgary. But people in Halifax have JOBS. I have a job, my friends have jobs, and 4:30pm on a weekday is not exactly an ideal time to go for a few pops at the Split Crow and hit up a hockey game.

2. Two Cities. Splitting the games between two cities is fine. It usually has to be done to accommodate two pools. However, splitting them between two cities in two different provinces that are extremely far apart is stupid. Google Maps tells me it's about a 10 hour drive from Halifax to Quebec City (and I don't think that Google Maps takes into account the side of the road panic attacks caused from driving through Quebec.) Why not just fly? Well, currently Westjet doesn't even fly from Halifax to Quebec, so you're stuck with Air Canada (goodbye luggage) and goodbye $659.14. That's on top of the ridiculous amount of money you would've dropped on tickets. More on that in a second.

3. Ticket Prices. A ticket package in Halifax ran you about $900. And this did not give you any medal games (past the quaterfinals). If you bought the package in Quebec, you get a POSSIBLE two Canada games (which depended on if Canada made it there).

4. Too many teams. Holy Phil Esposito. There are four pools in the World Championships, each with four teams. I love the Latvians, they were fun people to hang out with. The Slovenians were really crazy too. And I feel bad about this point... but it's one that needs to be said. Those countries are not very good at hockey. It's pretty damn hard to get up for a game against Slovenia (or Latvia... or France...or Italy).

Philly takes it one more game.

I have to give it to Philadelphia, they came out with absolute determination and desperation and took it to the Pittsburgh Penguins. I can even overlook the errant elbows that seemed to protrude from Scottie Upshall and Mike Richards. Goaltender Martin Biron was on fire. And the Flyers defense managed to hold off Sidney Crosby and Geno Malkin off the scoreboard and a late third period offensive after Jordan Staal scored two goals to bring the Pens to within one.
I'll even give a shout out to fellow Maritimer, Flyers defenseman Randy Jones who collected an assist in the game.

I also learned something, i've never realized how mature and absolutely knowledgeable about hockey the fans of Philadelphia are.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The week that wouldn't end.

Gary Roberts sat out game three with pneumonia. Gary Roberts doesn't have pneumonia, they just don't want him to kill any flyers.

Isn't that cute... the Flyers think they're gonna win a game.

The Detroit Red Wings failed to sweep the Western Conference finals last night as they lost to the Dallas Stars, pushing off the inevitable for one more night.

Dave Nonis has been in interviews for the General Manager position with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three days now. Three days? They've got to be going steady by now.

Canada beat Norway 8-2 to move onto the Semi-Finals against Sweden, to be held in Quebec City. (I will rant about this later).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blockbuster signing.

MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens have signed Calgary Hitmen forward Ryan White to a three-year contract.

White, 20, recorded 28 goals and 44 assists with the Hitmen during the 2007-08 season and led the team in scoring the past three seasons.

The Brandon, Man., native was selected 66th overall by the Canadiens in the third round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Update from the confines of work.

I'm at work, and there is futball (soccer) to be played tonight so I thought i'd do a quick update, pretty amusing blog entry from Ian Altenbaugh of The Sporting News:

Recently I have noticed a trend amongst hockey fandem. This phenomena is known as The Anti-Penguin Mentality. It has always been prominent within the confines of Philadelphia but has seen mass popularity with the ongoing success of the Penguins. In the last couple weeks Penguins fans have listened to members of the New York media bash superstar Sidney Crosby. The owner of the Philadelphia Flyers stated that is was unfair for the Penguins to have success because they had five losing seasons in a row. Message to Mr. Snider: your team has not won a cup since the seventies. The Flyers were absolutely terrible last season. Also, teams like Atlanta, Columbus, Florida, amongst others have had perennial high draft picks and have continued to suck year in and year out. So you can go shove some of your money up your no touch zone.

I know that people hate those who are seemingly destined for success. I do. This team is destined for success. The Penguins are under no circumstances the evil empire either. They do not have domineering ownership. Primary owner Ron Burkle allows Mario Lemieux to be the face of Penguin ownership. They are not like the owners of the Pirates, The Nuttings, an ownership group that does not care about the product that they are profiting from. Nor is Penguin ownership such like that of the Yankees or Oakland Raiders, a constant source of frustration for committed fans. So it can not be the Penguins representation that makes them so hated.

It is easy to say Sidney Crosby dives but he is constantly being disrupted and what some person sees as a player going down easily another sees as a player trying to sell a penalty. If you say he whines then you do not watch hockey. He talks to the refs but he is the captain and he is a talker. He is not always talking about the play either, he is referring to patches on the ice, issues with pucks, Crosby is a control freak, he is also at times joking around with officials. Maybe he is charming them. Well you can not hate him for being charming.

Penguin fans are, generally speaking, zealous but realistic. It comes from living in a poor city like Pittsburgh. Also, the fans in their teens and twenties know far more then Johnny beer-and-a-shot at the bar. The interesting thing about Penguins and to a lesser extent Steelers fans is that so many of them are college students. The hockey season practically eclipses the school year. Unlike Steelers fans however Penguins fans are not hopelessly dogmatic followers. There are not as naïve nor are they as stupid.

Pens fans on the whole are the savviest sports fans in the region. I have been through out the region. Trust me. They are already looking to the off-season to see what potential UFAs will be able to plug the vacancies expected to be created with the probably loss of Ryan Malone, Marian Hossa, and Brooks Orpik. The fans however are a carbon copy of Pens management. Management has gone to great lengths to assure that their fanbase will stay forever. Recent things done by management, such as the giant screen set up on Mellon Arena lawn that draws tens of thousands of people on game day to sit out and watch the game, have garnered national attention. Among some of the other things Pens management does is set aside a certain amount of tickets for each game for walk-up sales. This is unfounded in professional sports and while the chances of getting these tickets are next to nothing (sometimes as few as 100 are set aside) it is a gesture to those who can not afford the standard ticket prices and hope to capitalize on the Pens Student Rush Program a program that allows anyone with a valid student ID to get the first available ticket for 25 dollars. I had done this during the regular season and had seats behind the net, against the boards. When a player crashed into the boards, I jumped. That close. Twenty-five bucks.

So why do you hate the Penguins? I have you reason to like them. Tell me why you hate them. I, as a fan, am enjoying the Pens success. I watched a lot of bad hockey and went to a few games last season wondering if this was going to be it. It is nice to be rewarded.

In addition to his blog on TSN, Ian Altenbaugh writes a column for Sports Fiend Hockeytitled Around the Atlantic.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

If you can make a puck glow you can figure out if it passed the goal line.

Martin Biron just greased a goal away from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The puck redirected off of Hatcher's face (yes, his face) and into the net. Except as it was passing the line, Biron put his glove over the puck. It was very obvious to the entire audience that the puck did cross the line, but just as it did, the camera view was obscured by the glove of Biron.

I make my case again for goal line, chip-in-the-puck technology. The technology for having a chip inside of the puck already exists (see: stupid yanks need black puck on white surface to glow to increase contrast). Also, soccer has been testing various goal line sensors for a few years now and it appears to be advanced enough to be working. So my question is, with goaltenders gloves as large as they are, why are we relying on cameras to see through them?

It was a goal.

Osgood gets the Oscar.

I watched a really great movie last night, but the acting was really terrible. There was a red team and a green team and crazy "red neck" fans, and some juicy squid.
And in the last few seconds of the movie, Dallas Stars forward Mike Ribeiro was chirping goaltender Chris Osgood from behind the net. The two exchanged some dinner plans and meanwhile Ribeiro was getting a hug from two Detroit Red Wings players. His stick rose above the crossbar and he was pushed into the net. I agree, Ribeiro did make a slashing motion. But he hit a goaltender in the chest protector. A goaltender who takes slapshots at 90 miles an hour takes a tap with a stick in the chest protector and drops to the ice like he's been shot in the face. (Seriously Chris, you're in Detroit, save that type of reaction for if you actually do get shot.) Anyway, apparently Osgood's performance was Oscar worthy because the NHL is looking at suspending Mike Ribeiro because of the incident. As much as I dislike Ribeiro (see: underacheiving high draft picks in Montreal) I don't think he should be repremanded at all for this. There's been much worse hacking on Sidney Crosby and Gino Malkin and it's not even drawing a penalty.

Speaking of Cros and Gino, they will be in action again tonight at 7:30pm EST. And it is believed that sparkplug forward Mad Max Talbot will be back in the lineup after missing a few games due to blocking a shot with his foot. Not to be unmatched by the fact that Steve Downie will also be back in the lineup for the Flyers. Also check out this hilarious interview with Georges Laraque.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Breaking News.

Wade Redden has apparently rejected the offer from the Ottawa Senators that would see him take a substantial paycut. He said he has no interest in signing the contract and will reportedly test out the Free Agent market. Although the way he played this past season, good luck buddy.

Live Bloggin: Canada vs Germany

6:38pm: Eric Staal is the player of the game for Canada. Sort of a no-brainer.

6:35pm: GAME END. 10-1 FINAL.

6:30pm: St. Louis missed a breakaway goal.

6:29pm: Heatley just missed a tip-in attempt.

6:26pm: Loving the drunk guy in the Team Canada Crosby sweater dancing. Perhaps alcohol was the key to dimming the boring nature of watching Canada wallop Germany 10-1.

6:24pm: McGuire mentions the early morning wakeup call for the 11th time this game.

6:23pm: Staal narrowly missed a redirect in front of the net. And then got a penalty for hooking.

6:18pm: three-on-one after an unsuccessful pinch by Green and the puck trickles in off of a Canadian players skate. Cam Ward has now lost his shutout bid. I personally blame Gord Miller who said the SO-word before the end of the game.


6:14pm: Jovanaski with a real nice defensive effort after Derek Roy coughed up the puck in the Canadian zone.

6:10pm: Germany should be taking a lesson from Norway who played very close-checking and kept the Canadians to the perimeter. Germany appears to be trying to match Canada. I would like to point out that trying to match Canada IS NOT WORKING.

6:09pm: MIKE GREEN SCORES!!! poor poor Robert Mueller didn't even know it went in. St. Louis gets his fifth assist.

6:08pm: German penalty. Staal fell awkwardly but appears to be ok.


5:55pm: update from Russia-Sweden game. Sweden is up 1-0 and apparently Kovalchuk got in a fight, but as we all know players like Kovalchuk don't quite know how it works, and that was evident as both players still had their mitts on. Almost guys, almost.

5:51pm: Came across this. Apparently that dementia I was talking about the other day that seems to be running rampant amongst the Toronto Maple Leafs players hasn't affected everyone. Jason Blake is saying he would be open to a trade. That's code word for "THIS PLACE SUCKS!"


5:50pm: PERIOD END. 9-0 Canada.

5:47pm: JAMAL MAYERS SCORES!!! again. wide. open. net. McGuire: "THE GERMANS SHOULD START THE BUS NOW!".

5:45pm: Pierre McGuire is still talking about the 8:30 am practice, he now thinks it is a good idea.

5:44pm: Germany still only has 9 shots. These guys are playing like a bunch of Slovenians.

5:43pm: man... 8-0... this is starting to get a bit boring.

5:41pm: STAAL SCORES!!! AGAIN!!! Tipped the puck into an open net with only one hand on the stick. Nice behind the back pass from St. Louis. Apparently Eric Lindross has the record for most goals in a game, which is five. Staal is one away. Let's go Staal.

5:40pm: Do you think the players try to hit the Skoda cars in the stands? I would.

5:39pm: Rick Nash just made a ridiculous move and was stopped by Meuller.

5:38pm: our buddy Mavs, who is the music guy for the entire tournament just played "The Price is Right" theme. Awesome. Almost as good as starting the game with "Barrett's Privateers".

5:37pm: goal.

5:36pm: They're reviewing the goal to see if the posts were in place.

5:35pm: DEREK ROY SCORES!!! Doan was aggravating in front of the net, the goalie was down and out and Roy had a big giant open net.

5:34pm: "And Spezza couldn't cash in." A line Ottawa Senators fans are used to hearing.

5:33pm: German penalty.

5:32pm: shots are 26-6. This is not a goaltenders battle.

5:28pm: ERIC STAAL HATTRICK!!! St. Louis threw a beautiful pass from behind the net right on to Staal's stick. It appears no one was willing to throw their new overpriced official hats they've been selling at the games. "dat's right good dere staal, but i spent 40 loons on this hat."

5:28pm: The top line is out there and they are not looking where they are passing.

5:23pm: McGuire is on fire. "IS PANG AVAILABLE TO PLAY?"

5:22pm: Apparently Germany switched goaltenders at intermission because it is now Mueller in nets.

5:21pm: ERIC STAAL SCORES!!! second goal of the game (and tournament) — he walked right through pretty much four players. ROOF DADDY!


5:19pm: German penalty.

5:17pm: apparently German coach Uwe Krupp's son is playing in the US system right now, however if he plays another year he will be ineligible for the German national team. His other option is to go play with the Belleville Bulls in the OHL next year.


5:11pm: still intermission, interesting story about Dany Heatley and how he almost ended up on Team Germany back in the day.

5:05pm: Cory Woron just looked so lost when the highlight clips didn't come on. "WHERE DID MY WORDS GO!?"

5:01pm: Belarus took the Czech Republic to a shootout, the day after taking the Russians to a shootout. I love Belarus, they always sneak in some sort of ridiculous upset. (see: Sweden, 2002 Olympics)


5:00pm: PERIOD END. 4-0 Canada.

4:58pm: PATRICK SHARP SCORES!!! Sharp was trying to centre a pass and it redirected off of the German defensemans skate. The goaltenders five-hole is almost as big as Sean Avery's mouth!

4:53pm: Germany Penalty.

4:52pm: ERIC STAAL SCORES!!! 3-0 Canada. Staal's first goal of the tournament.

4:49pm: DANY HEATLEY SCORES!!! (through the giant five-hole again) He was pretty much in all alone. Heatley is on fire, 7 goals in 5 games.

4:49pm: Wikipedia tells me that Kotschnew is actually from Kazakhstan but has German citizenship.

4:47pm: Decided I better actually look up the name of the German goaltender, it is Dimitrij Kotschnew who is playing for the first time this tournament.

4:44pm: Heatley-Nash-Getzlaf line continue to pepper Germany's net with shots. What an insane line.

4:41pm: The German players all wear that god-forsaken T'blade skate system that makes the most annoying sound of life. If I wasn't afraid i'd miss some sort of terrible quip from Pierre i'd put it on mute.

4:36pm: Spezza comes up the right wing and puts a goal through the gigantic five-hole of the German goaltender. Nice to see Spezza doing something besides coughing up the puck to the other team.


Malkin defies physics.

The Pittsburgh Penguins continued their dismantling of opponents during game one of the Eastern Conference final against the Philadelphia Flyers mostly thanks to MVP candidate Gino (Evgeni) Malkin (although Captain Crosby and Peter Sykora each contributed goals).

Both of Malkin's goals were absolute rockets that appeared to go physically through goaltender Martin Biron. And maybe they did. The first one was a slapper from the side of the net. And the second one was definitely memorable. Malkin had just been crushed by a check behind the Philadelphia net, the puck was taken up ice into the Penguins zone and Malkin was having a bit of trouble getting going. He managed to drag himself up to the Flyers blueline when the puck came up to him via a beautiful two-line pass and there was no Flyers players in sight (except Biron). Malkin went in on a breakaway with a ton of time to work with, instead of going in for a dangle he stopped in front of the net and blasted a slapshot. And it went in. Ridiculous. I swear it looked like it went directly through Biron. It must have. Those aren't supposed to go in.

"It was really a last-second decision," said Malkin through a translator. "I just decided to shoot that puck as hard as I can. I didn't think about it, where to shoot, and to make any moves. Just as hard as I can"

"If i had his shot i'd probably have done the same thing," Crosby said with a smile in a post game interview. "He was probably pretty tired, whatever works."