Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy 1-Year Anniversary National Passtime.


Yes, my friends, it's been a full year of random ramblings, expletives and making fun of Toronto together.

This great blog started from my desk at the Halifax Scotiabank call centre after secretly watching TSN Tradecentre while attempting to take calls. I had wanted to write a blog for a while, but it was that Huet trade (and the Hossa trade) that drove me into this.

And nearly 300 posts later (comon now, summer is for drinking on the beach) a lot has changed — in hockey and in life.

I quit my job at Scotiabank, and embarked on a one-year journalism degree. (look out, world!) There, I met 40 of the most random people from across the country... ever.

Then there's the randomness that hockey brought us.

Remember when Sean Avery said that 'sloppy seconds' thing? Sidney Crosby missed his second all-star game. Jonathan Toews became a full-blown Captain Monster. We had the Sundin Saga, the Brian Burke Saga (aka saga #2), the Ottawa Senators train-wreck saga. Canada won its 5th straight gold at the World Juniors. Detroit owned the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals. Halifax hosted the World Championships (and lost in the final to Russia). CBC lost the Hockey Night in Canada theme... then TSN bought it. And speaking of TSN, my love of James Duthie, reached creepy-stalker-love levels... although I blame my friend Dan for taking it to that new level.

But after all that, you know what's greater and funner — besides making up words??

My actual birthday is in 2 days.

Trade Doomsday... 5 days.


bust out the desk rum, should be a good week!

Cheers. (and thanks for reading)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ok, now you can bring Avery back.

Because if anyone will have that little moron shaking in his boots, it's Torts.

Yes, the Big Apple just got a little more entertaining.

It's another one of those moments that just seems scripted. Torts will make his coaching debut with his new team in Toronto where he will bask amongst his former co-workers at TSN and the Toronto media.

I'm so happy to have my old John Tortorella back — I missed him. The screaming, yelling, swearing, f-bomb dropping Tortorella, that is. So much more fun than the reflective, non-swearing, analytical Tortorella we got on TSN (although to his defense, he did let a few drop here and there.)

Regardless. There is nothing like a good post-game interview with John Tortorella when his team played like donkey shit. And now he's with the New York Rangers. So that possibility is highly probable.

What a nice pre-trade deadline treat.


and while I was writing this post.


MARTIN BRODEUR WAS PULLED OFF INJURY RESERVE!!!
It's looking like a debut against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday is the plan.

For the conspiracy theorists out there.
Sounds like Peter Stoffer drank the koolaid.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Canada's fifth season

Yay! I just saw a commercial for Roll Up The Rim. That means our fourth season: Spring (aka more winter) and our sixth season (NHL PLAYOFFS!!!!!) are not far off.


Yay!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hockey Day in Canada.


Oh Hockey Day in Canada... so heartwarming.

Every year the CBC spends the day broadcasting from a small town somewhere in Canada. They also manage to get three games in there, featuring all six Canadian teams and as well as hockey stories and minor league games from across the country. It is extremely cute and gives Ron MacLean ample opportunity to make puns.

It went well, I spent the day plunked on my chesterfield being completely lazy (although i did play a bit of pond on the the terribly soft ice we've got right now) and now I've got some thoughts on the games.


Game 1 — Kovalev's revenge.

Alexei Kovalev was forced by GM Bob Gainey to sit out the last two-game road trip. With that trade rumours swirled and fans wondered.

Apparently there was more than met the eye (and the media).

Kovalev told reporters that he has felt tired this season, has inexplicatly lost weight (which blood tests have been unable to explain), and he felt the break given by Gainey was good for him.

"I have no idea why this has been happening for the last few months,
but I feel better now," he said. "The last few days are going to help
me."

Well it seems like it did help.

Kovalev was on fire the entire game. He made a lot of beautiful passes and scored a classic Kovalev goal where he stripped the puck from a Senators defensemen and put one away with his super-quick release.

Also it seems the fans were pulling for him too. A friend of mine was at the Bell Centre for the game (jealousy) and he sent a text to say that Kovalev recieved the biggest pre-game cheer from the crowd.

Perhaps sentiments helped along by the fact that "party-gate" came out while Kovalev was on his break.


Another thing I noticed was the powerplay of the Canadiens. And for once it wasn't because it was deplorable.

I've joked about the news that the Canadiens have traded for Mathieu Schneider — but it almost seems to be working. They had a deplorable roadtrip in Washington and Pittsburgh (although when Ovechkin does this sometimes it can't be helped.)



But the powerplay looked fabulous last night. They were passing like the Canadiens of last year and Schneider seems to have fit in nicely as the new PP quarterback.

On the other side — Ottawa had Mike Comrie in the lineup. No this isn't 2007, the Senators traded for him.

The Senators general manager reacquired Comrie and defenseman Chris Campoli from the New York Islanders for centre Dean McAmmond and a first-round draft pick.

To help understand what draft pick the Senators traded away I am using an excerpt from CBC.ca: "The 2009 first-rounder heading to the Islanders originally belonged to San Jose, which included the pick in the Andrej Meszaros-Filip Kuba trade with the Senators on Aug. 29, 2008."

Got it? No? Oh well.

What I think this is trying to say is that the Senators will still have their own first round pick should they tank their season (which is very possible). So don't worry, Sens fans, your dreams of Victor Hedman are still very much alive.

Comrie is an unrestricted free agent on July 1. I'm betting this will be one of those one-night stands. However Campoli, a puck-moving defenseman is making less than a million and he's under contract until the end of next season.

Oh yah... the final score: Montreal 5, Ottawa 3

Game 2 — The Return of the Sundin.

It's the kind of stuff that makes you think hockey might be fake... you know, like wrestling. Someone is scripting this stuff, right?

Stuff doesn't work out this perfectly.
Sundin makes his return to the team he played for for 13 years (on Hockey Day in Canada, no less) and scores the final goal in the shootout to win it for the Leafs Canucks.

I am pleased to see that the Leafs fans didn't act like a bunch of fools and boo him. During a television timeout he received a huge standing ovation that lasted until it was time for puck drop, for which he was on the ice. The refs stood back and let him gather himself.

Good job Toronto fans.

Score: Canucks 3 Leafs 2 (Shootout)


Game 3 — Squeezing the stick a little too hard.

Edmonton... to win a shootout you need to hit the net. All three shooters for the Oilers couldn't even get a shot on Kiprusoff.

Sam Gagner actually lost the puck on the way into the net. The look on Craig MacTavish's face was absolutely priceless.

Score: Calgary 3, Edmonton 2 (shootout)

Overtime — Final thoughts on the day.


- I am actually really sick of "Hockeyville". It was cool the first year, but it's beginning to get repetitive and kind of seems like filler.
- I was a bit skeptical about the CBC picking up PJ Stock as their sort of... well.. what does he do? Anyway, he has really grown on me. He cracks me up, his self-deprecating humour is refreshing. You could tell it took some time for him to work out the kinks of broadcasting but I think he's got it now... he's definitely brought some spice to the CBC set which can sometimes seem a little bit too serious. His blog posts also crack me up, I can just picture him saying this stuff.
- Alexander Ovechkin is absolutely dismantling the NHL this year (see video above) — he got his 43rd goal today (8 more goals than the nearest challenger... although Crosby and Malkin both have more points) and he had a slow start. Unreal. Crosby and Ovechkin had a little battle through the media today. Ovechkin said Crosby talks too much and Crosby said he doesn't like Ovechkin's showboating on the ice. Not exactly Avery versus Phaneuf but still fun.

And that's it for my epic Sunday afternoon post. Somebody get me a beer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

They call him Johnny-hook-me-up.

I can't even handle this story... It's just so... Belarussian. "purchases ranging from vodka to cars and housing"???

They also buy nice Canadian wife to stay in country.

Newspaper La Presse is reporting that Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn of the Canadiens have a relationship with Mangiola Pasquale, who was arrested on charges of drug trafficking Feb. 12.

The report suggests the police have recorded conversations between the players and Pasquale and they would sometimes meet after games at the Bell Centre. The report, citing other sources, says the relationship between the brothers and Pasquale is significant, with the 38-year-old Pasquale advising the Kostitsyns on purchases ranging from vodka to cars and housing.

Defenseman Roman Hamrlik is also said to have had contact with Pasquale, thought their relationship is reportedly not nearly as strong as that of Pasquale and the Kostitsyns.

The Canadiens lost to the Penguins 5-4 Thursday night.


Anyway, since this story broke, the media is calling the off-ice issues with the team, "party-gate". Apparently a lot of the younger players are putting more emphasis on their social life than their playing one. For weeks people have been asking me what is wrong with the Canadiens, and really I've been at a slight loss to figure it out. The popular answer has been that Carey Price has lost his confidence. But I've been at a loss to explain why exactly the rest of the team has been playing like... the Ottawa Senators.

This would explain it.
Because it sounds like Junior hockey. And that's exactly how they're playing.

Speaking of Russians...


Does something seem wrong about this? I can't quite put my finger on it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dear Senators,

Even the Hockey Gods want you to lose and get Victor Hedman.

OTTAWA - With the Ottawa Senators needing every point they can muster down the stretch to maintain their slim playoff hopes, just about the last thing they needed was to lose one of their stars for any length of time.

But the Senators, 13 points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot heading into their game Thursday against Vancouver, learned they'll be without captain Daniel Alfredsson indefinitely due to a fractured jaw.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Patty Kane is not 160 pounds.

Duthie-ism.

Hockey players? Well, they sometimes lie about their weight. I've seen Chicago star Patrick Kane in the dressing room. There's no way he's 160. He looks like Ghandi.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Apocolypse in Canadiens land.

I'm on deadline for another story right now — but this is apocalyptic!

Canadiens GM Bob Gainey is keeping struggling forward Alexei Kovalev in Montreal for the team's two-game roadtrip to Washington and Pittsburgh.

Nope, no injury. They literally think he's playing so bad that they would rather him just stay home.

Gainey has not denied that he would trade Kovalev before the March 4 trade doomsday. But its certainly a random move if there's no trade intentions.

The second sign of the apocalypse is the Canadiens sent Sergei Kostitsyn to HAMILTON!? What is going on. Greg Stewart will replace him in the lineup in the motherclub.

I'd say Gainey is near pulling the trigger on some sort of deal.

Yes they can('t).

It's slightly less sad than watching the Leafs fans hope — but still sad nonetheless.

your duthie-ism fix:

Don't lie, yee citizens of Sens Nation. I know you are doing the math.

"Let's see, if we go 21-6, and Sabres go .500...and the Panthers trade Boumeester...and all the Hurricanes get mono...and the Rangers...umm...forfeit...hey we're in! And the way the Habbies are goin', Heck, we might get home ice advantage still!"


Quote of the Night.

"You'd have a better chance of stealing a TV from the White House than overcoming a 3-0 lead in Minnesota" - Gord Miller during the Ottawa/Nashville game Monday night.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Adam Proteau... go to the corner.

And think about what you've said.

I was watching Off the Record today (so of course I was already mildly enraged).

And they were chatting about the Canadian Olympic team. They were throwing blueliners around and Brian Campbell's name came up.

Adam Proteau (a Hockey News columnist) said that by this time next year Brian Campbell will be old and he wants to see younger, faster players on defence.

Brian Campbell is 29 years old. He will be 30 at the Olympics. Get the man a wheelchair and find him an old folks home, quick!

And can somebody also find me a faster defenseman? Last time I checked Campbell is one of the best skaters in the league. I don't understand how he is being overlooked for the Olympic team.

Old and slow are not things I think about when I think Brian Campbell.



Penguins fire
Michel Therrien.
Too late.

Blockbuster Trade.
Mathieu Schneider picked up by the Canadiens. Maybe now they'll un-suck. Or not.

Creepy Stalker Love.

My friend Dan went to the All-Star game. Yes, yes, I hate him too.

But he's pretty awesome.

When he told me that he brought me back a present from the All-Star game I was pretty stoked.

I mean, think of all the people that converged on the All-Star game. Some of my favourite players, Jon Toews, Sid Crosby and Brian (Soupy) Campbell.

But none of those compare to what he actually brought back.

Dan brought back his All-Star weekend pass signed by none other than...

...TSNs James Duthie.

oh. my. god. Awesome!

Apparently Dan mentioned that I had a reporter crush on him and that I too, had also gone to Carleton (it was only for a year, but that's okay).

If by now you're like... "who in the heck is James Duthie? And why are you so goddamned excited?"

To answer those questions, i'll send you on a little archival journey. A regular feature at the
National Passtime is duthie-isms. Which are Funny quotes from James Duthie's blog and NHL on TSN broadcasts.

And for that second question. Nobody said I was cool.

It's now creepy stalker love. Sorry Duth.

Me with my prize from All-Star Weekend.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Useless fact for your day.

I just received an email from a friend pointing out one of the random-est facts ever.

Go to Google and type in 'Jonathan Toews is a monster'


Yup, that's my blog as the top hit.

Take that Pierre McGuire. ha!

(Of course I suppose the question we should be asking is why would you search 'jonathan toews is a monster'.... but who cares.)


duthie-ism.

Set the scene:

going into a commercial break we see a shot of a mascot on the ice with a young timbits player. The timbits player shoots on the net, the mascot flops onto the ice but the puck goes in the net.

"Memories of Ottawa's goaltending from years past."

Just in time for Playoffs...

April 7.

Mark it on your calenders folks. That's when the newest Tragically Hip album hits the stores (er, iTunes).

Got this email this morning.

Hi Folks,

Greetings to all. We have some very exciting news to deliver. Our twelfth album, We Are The Same, will be released in North America on Tuesday, April 7th. The album was produced by Bob Rock and recorded primarily at the Bathouse Studio. It contains twelve new tracks that range from levity and light to melancholy and anger. We think it has a little bit for everyone and showcases the great range of the band.

The full track listing is:

Morning Moon
Honey, Please
The Last Recluse
Coffee Girl
Now The Struggle Has A Name
The Depression Suite
The Exact Feeling
Queen of the Furrows
Speed River
Frozen In My Tracks
Love Is A First
Country Day

The opening track, “Morning Moon”, is now available to be streamed from our website, Facebook and MySpace page, as well as our iLike page. Novelists Joseph and Amanda Boyden wrote the new album bio. Please have a read, we think it captures the essence of We Are The Same better then we could ever imagine articulating it ourselves.

By the way, the regular season ends Sunday, April 12.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Okay, Okay, I'm in. Let's talk fisticuffs.

Because suddenly it's the the cool thing to do. Like Livestrong bracelets or Twitter.

Being 'anti-hockey fights'.

Look through the latest columns as your evidence. Charles Gillis' recent column in Maclean's is a perfect example.

I'm not anti-hockey fights.

I've tried to stay out of the fighting debate for quite some time. Every time I hear an argument about fighting, I cringe and I almost bust out the laptop.

Well I'm finally caving — because I need to make some points I haven't really seen. There's your standard arguments that if you take out fighting, the stick infractions and cheap shots will go up.


Don Sanderson, a 21-year-old defenceman with the Whitby Dunlops, lost his life after hitting his head on the ice during a December fight.

But let's take it as it is. A freak accident.

Hockey is an incredibly dangerous sport. There's ice, there's sharp blades (which Richard Zednik can attest to), players carry big sticks, they wear armour, there's a very hard little pick that fits neatly in the orbital bone, and players are super-fit which means they hit harder, they skate harder and they shoot harder.

Freak accidents will happen.

What I think we're missing in this debate about hockey fights is the numbers. Someone needs to look at the amount of fights and figure out the percentage of player injuries resulting directly from fights.

I'd like to bet a good chunk of change that it's not very high.

I'd also like to bet a good chunk of change that the bigger cause of injuries are hits from behind. Or just plain stupidity (like skating around the neutral zone with your head down *cough cough* Eric Lindros ... take a minute to look at the wikipedia entry — it's incredible that he's still alive.)

Okay so people still want it banned.

Let's run with that theory of hitting from behind. That's banned ... per say. Do it enough and you'll be watching some games from the rafters. So implement a suspension for players who fight. So what?

Just like hits from behind, someone could get hurt, but you can't really stop it completely. It's the nature of the game. You'd have to take out hitting to stop that. And that's just stupid.

I've seen a few columnists bring up Todd Bertuzzi's sucker punch on Steve Moore and I cringe at their lack of understanding of the issue. You cannot even bring the Steve Moore and Todd Bertuzzi incident into the equation. That's stand alone. Bertuzzi is kind of a dummy (trying to be nice here) and it would've happened regardless of if there was a "ban" on fighting.

There's this argument that if you take out fighting, eventually the atmosphere and culture of violence will leave the game. HAVE ANY OF THESE PEOPLE EVER WATCHED HOCKEY?

Good god. I'm sorry about the caps lock. But I'm a little upset.

There are a lot of things plaguing the NHL and its players more than the fighting question.

How about behavioral problems off the ice. Give an 18-year-old who may or may not have even bothered to finish high school a million dollars and let him free into the world? Not everyone is responsible like boring Sidney Crosby. I think we know what we're talking about without actually saying it.

Back to my main point: Fighting will never fully go away in the NHL.
Unless players start getting charged for assault by the local authorities.

And that's a slippery slope that nobody wants to go down.


Good Sentence.

From The Canadian Press:

"Non-hockey participants in the recommendations included Football Canada, the NHL, the NHL Players' Association, the OHL, Ontario Hockey Association, Ontario Hockey Federation and a number of medical and therapeutic bodies."

Non-hockey participants, even though the word "hockey" or the initial that represents the word "hockey" is in the sentence five times. Good one.


Can't even function in Russia.

Obviously he's just still miffed about the hat thing. Good ol' Trainwreck Emery. It could only get better if he started dating one of Sean Avery's old girlfriends.

Oft-troubled goaltender Ray Emery has left his Russian hockey club, at least temporarily.

Emery did not report to Mytishchi Atlant following the KHL's break last week, and a source has told ESPN.com that the 26-year-old is upset about salary-related issues. The team has reportedly been using the wrong exchange rate on Emery's $2 million annual wage, and the goalie claims he has been short-changed about 33 per cent of what is owed to him. Mytischchi Atlant is allegedly upset that Emery did not report on Thursday and has threatened legal action.

The sometimes unpredictable backstop has had a very successful year with the team, going 20-6-0 so far with a 2.00 GAA and a .930 save percentage.

Emery made news for an incident in late January when he got into a shoving match with a team trainer who was trying to make him wear a hat.

The Hamilton, Ont. native originally made the trip to Russia after the Ottawa Senators cut all ties with him in June of 2008 following a series of behavioural and performance-related issues.

Emery's absence from his KHL team comes at a time when there is some interest in him from several NHL clubs. But in order for Emery to return to the NHL, he would first have to clear waivers - a condition that could prove complicated considering his strained relationship with the Russian club.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Rangers dressing room scared.

And as they should be...


Because their front office has LOST THEIR MINDS.

This rumour has come up before, but it was from an alum that I figured had been hit in the head a few too many times ... this seems a bit more serious.


from TSN.ca

"A day after handing the New York Rangers a huge 10-2 loss, the Dallas Stars, as expected have placed forward Sean Avery on waivers.

The New York Post reported on Friday that the Rangers held discussions involving the front office, coaching staff and players to determine if the troubled wingers' return to the team would be beneficial."


*UPDATE* Good god, this actually happened. He's been assigned to the Rangers AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolfpack.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hope for us all.

I've been watching the local CTV news in awe for the last 25 minutes.

It culminated in the anchor calling TSN's James Cybalski something that sounded like, SABLINSKAY.

Perplexing.

I'm right and you're wrong.

Well not you. Unless Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Ray Shero is reading this. (Which in hindsight seems to be a good idea for him.)

Let me elaborate.

Trade Deadline 2008. (Yes folks, I know, like me, you're all still trying to piece together your Saturday night and the thought of thinking back an entire year is cumbersome... but humour me here.)

The Pittsburgh Penguins pull of one of the dumber trades I've seen. They send Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a draft pick to Atlanta in return for a one-night stand with Marian Hossa.

I said this then, and i'll quickly say it again. Colby Armstrong is a glue-guy. He was an energy guy. The fans loved him. And most importantly he was Sidney Crosby's best friend and roommate — and they clicked on a line ... unlike Crosby and Hossa.

Not to mention... cough cough ... that Hossa left you, and the Pens look like lost puppies this season.

So I find it incredibly hilarious that when I'm checking out the trade rumours on TSN.ca that Colby Armstrong's name pops up. And guess who's looking to get him back.

"According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Armstrong has attracted interest this season, including the Penguins who would like to see him reunited with captain Sidney Crosby."


Habit ... excused.

I've finally found an excuse for my 4-cup-a-day coffee addiction.

Stuff White People Like #1. and Stuff Journalists like #9.

Finally, vindication.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

R.I.P Marquee.

We're going to stray from hockey for a minute...


The Marquee Club, where do I start.

Before Christmas, owner Victor Syperek announced that he would close the Marquee Club because it was sucking him dry of money (he later filed for bankruptsy protection... )

It was a classic case of the boy who cried wolf.

Syperek had said the exact same thing a few years previous. The bar closed for a bit but started to re-open for concerts, and then retro night on Wednesdays came back, and. and. and.
`
So when he said it this time, we secretly didn't really believe him. Nor did we want to.

The Marquee is a staple in the lives of music-lovers in Halifax. Gaining almost iconic status after local artists began singing about it. Sloan wrote an entire love-hate balled to the place, "Marquee and the Moon". And the venue is referenced in various songs by local artists.

But when I say love-hate, I mean it. I think everyone who's ever been there has a love-hate relationship with the place. It's like this random little jewel on Gottingen Street, not the most savory charactars hang around that area. And it's a helluva walk from any other bar (and it's all uphill).

Inside, is indescribable. From the ceiling hang bikes, mannequin body parts, airplanes, old fashion light fixtures. The place literally looks like it was thrown together with stuff that was found by driving around on trash day. Delightfully mis-matched. Rumour has it, much of the stuff came from the old Met department store that closed down on Gottingen Street in the early 90s.

But then there's the fact that it's a band venue. Usually in a band venue the stage (and a view of it) is the most important thing. Not so at the Marquee. The Marquee taunts you. There are several beams holding the place up and the bar sits in the middle of the place so it cuts off access to the stage.

Did I mention it takes forever to get a damn drink in the place?

Okay... back to the love. Head down the stairs and it's ... another venue?

Yup, gotta love that.

Hell's Kitchen, a smaller venue with another bar (and separate cover usually.) That's where you can also chow down on pizza made on site.

Which brings me quickly back to the hate... i've wondered if in Hell they've ever cleaned the bathroom. You feel that at any minute CSI is going to bust in there and pull a body out of the wall. There's no other explanation for the smell.

Back upstairs....

I've seen some great bands at that little bar. The Trews before they were big, i remember going to see Wintersleep there for 5$ (costs 5-6 times that now), Joel Plaskett, Matt Mays, Finger Eleven, Bloc Party, Sam Roberts, and random little band from here and afar.

Most recently, last night In-Flight Safety had their CD release show. (the album "We are an Empire, My Dear" is great and you should pick it up!) It was a great show, but sad at the same time.

All is not lost, though. Two guys are planning (and determined) to have the venue re-opened, they'll probably fix its shortcomings... which means it'll never quite be the same. It'll never be the Marquee.



"Walked home across the bridge when the Marquee shut down...there's a reason that I love this town" - Joel Plaskett - Love This Town

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Funny TSN lead photo

My name is Vincent Lecavalier. Look at my longing face. Oh how I long to leave the Tampa Bay Lightening. I long so much i'm practically crying. A grown 6-foot-4 grown man who will literally cry if they don't trade me to Montreal.



Looks like someone at TSN feels the way I do. haha.

why you shouldn't do things before coffee.

Headline:

Lindros resigns from NHL union post

I thought this said re-signs. I for a split second thought Eric "concussion kid" Lindros was going to make a comeback to the NHL. I could picture him now skating around the ice with a pillow duct taped to his head.

phew. Maybe I should go get some coffee before I start copy editing stuff today.


This should be on failblog.



This actually happened. I kid you not. KVOA TV in Arizona had their feed interupted by porn. Minus the black box. seriously.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trade Deadline day just became a billion times more important for the Canadiens.

Robert Lang is done for the season.

I know that the team is simply saying "indefinitely" but that's their way of pussyfooting around the fact that Lang had surgery on a slashed Achilles tendon. That's not just something you bounce back from. In other words, it's no mysterious "lower body injury". His foot. And his season is effed.

Mark March 4 on your calenders folks. Because Bob Gainey needs to come up with a quasi-miraculous trade to keep the Canadiens season, a season.

I've tried to keep my giddiness level down when I hear those Vincent Lecavalier trade rumours ... but if ever a rumour were to play out to reality, could it please be this one?

Speaking of reality...

To make matters (and Guy Carbonneau's mood) worse, Kovalev has not been playing well since the all-star break. During the latest press conference a reporter asked if it had to do with forfeiting the captain's C to the return of Saku Koivu.


"I hope not," said Carbonneau. "I hope that's not true. We're in trouble if it is, because I'm not going to take the C off Saku. If someone has to have a letter to perform on the ice, I have a problem with that.

"He's not a rookie. He's been in this league a long time. In the long run, we're going to need him."

Good god. Does Bob Gainey have to have a little one-on-one, again, with our Russian friend?

Olympics, Olympics!! Canadians love talking about the Olympic hockey team wayyyy before the Olympics.

The Canadian Press released their predictions for Canada's 2010 Olympic team Monday. And since I did just that on December 4, I thought I'd compare the two lineups.

The players that both CP and I picked are bolded, with some notes of who they chose instead and my agree/disagree reasons as well. Fun!



Forwards


line 1: Dany Heatley, Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton
line 2: Simon Gagne, Vincent Lecavalier, Jarome Iginla
line 3: Shane Doan, Marc Savard, Jonathan Toews
line 4: Brendan Morrow, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf/Rick Nash.

Instead of Marc Savard, Brendan Morrow — CP has Jeff Carter, Corey Perry.

Mark Savard HAS to be on the team. People overlook this kid for everything. I drafted him in my pool in like the fifth round, but this kid has the touch. Yzerman would be crazy not to take him for Team Canada.

Brendan Morrow is a born leader, but either Carter or Perry is more than acceptable.


Blueline

Dion Phaneuf, Chris Pronger,
Mike Green, Brian Campbell,
Shea Weber, Rob Blake,
Kevin Bieksa, Dan Boyle

Instead of Bieksa, Blake and Campbell — CP has Brent Burns and Jay Bouwmeester.

CP has Canada carrying 7, whereas I have 8. I am including the taxi squad in my lineup, though. I would agree to trade off Blake and Bieksa for Bouwmeester and Burns for size, but Campbell has to stay.


Goal
Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price

CP has opted for Steve Mason as a third stringer. The play of Price and Mason in the rest of the season/playoffs will be critical, but again, this is the third stringer. The real fight will be between Brodeur and Luongo for who will be #1.

Monday, February 2, 2009

dear ottawa,

What in the EFF did I just tell you. You're like the puppy that pisses all over the floor.

You fired Craig Hartsburg? Really? After I just told you, you were doing so well. I take it back. No, don't try to argue with me. The damage has been done. You're such a jerk, Ottawa. He was perfect for you guys. You were losing, famously! And right before Valentine's Day... tsk tsk.

Just thought i'd let you know... this is very counter-productive. Firing the coach mixes it up. It usually rallies the troops (at least for a few games...) But even if it is just for a few games... you don't need your troops rallied. Why would you try to rally the troops?

I know that your owner thinks that in 35 games you'll be able to get your shit-show train-wreck back on the tracks, but he's obviously insane. There's no other explanation. I've spoken to Ottawa fans, they all secretly enjoy this spiral into the cellar, because they know the reward. Unlike those other fans who cheer for that team in blue and white, they know that losing now (and losing spectacularly) is the key to Hedman.

Brian Murray, I just want to point out that you are the GM of the Ottawa "pants-pooping" Senators. Not the Toronto "will-always-be-mediocre-and-will-never-get-that-coveted-top-draft-pick-because-they-keep-winning-enough-games,-but-not-enough-to-make-the-playoffs" Maple Leafs.

I hope you clean up your act Murray. Geez.


Top Ten Ways to make All-Star weekend better.
a little late, but written gold takes time people!
  1. fire. doesn't matter what's one fire. but something should be.
  2. always have it in Montreal.
  3. free booze. since the game will now always happen in Montreal... this shall fuel widespread street brawling and looting. everyone loves hooliganism.
  4. nhl vs. khl? now there's a gongshow waiting to happen. And perhaps some bench brawls if they let Emery come (see: Emery tries to murder waterboy. video at the bottom of this post).
  5. Bruce Springsteen.
  6. Maggie the Monkey.
  7. no more commentators. make them compete in the skills competition. And secretly tell the players they get extra points if they injure one.
  8. Fans are encouraged to bring an extra pair of shoes.
  9. Someone force Sidney Crosby into a goddamn pair of skates.
  10. remember that commercial where Jarome Iginla is running through a city dodging random flying pucks, which we eventually figure out are being shot from a roof by Markus Naslund (sorry folks, i couldn't find it on youtube... not that i looked too hard). That should be an event. Hmm maybe we could involve the commentators in this one. Ron MacLean versus Pierre McGuire. I like it.

Duthie-ism of the day.

Duthie had his own list of ways to better some of the events, I personally like this one a lot, let's add it as an un-offical #11.

"The shooting accuracy competition should replace its old-fashioned blue and red targets with pictures of Sean Avery's face. Dion Phaneuf, Jarret Stoll, their girlfriends, and any Dallas Star will be allowed to participate. Shooting accuracy scores will skyrocket."


Emery, just give up and become a UFC fighter.