Friday, May 25, 2007

I'll Take Potpourri For A Handjob, er, a hundred, Alex









This past week or so has been pure sweetness. First the NBC fiasco. Now it looks like the Predators are going belly up, likely to be moved to Canada where they will likely directly compete with the condo builders at MLSE. Ha! It is to laugh. Especially considering that the Blueberry has purchased a team with about ten times the talent that the Richard Peddies have.

Which means, just down the highway will be a team that will likely win the Cup before those jokers at the ACC. Since the last Leafs' victory (which happened at about the time I came firing down my dada's chute) Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Calgary, New York, New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Colorado, Dallas, Tampa and Carolina have all won the Stanley, as LT calls it. This not so exclusive club (hell its been 40 years - even the Israelites were figuring a way out of the desert at this point) is about to add a new member - either the Anaheim Ducks or the Ottawas.

Please God, let it be Ottawa.

Not to mention that ten of those Cup winners as well as Anaheim have made it to the final and lost, something the Leafs have not been able to accomplish. Not even a lousy conference championship in 40 years. I mean, St. Louis, LA, Vancouver, Buffalo, Washington (!) and Florida (!!!) have all made it. Only the Jets/Yotes have not out of all of the teams that existed before 1990.

So lets review. In a couple of weeks fifteen teams will have won the Stanley since George Armstrong lifted that old mug. Seven more will have gone to the final. Six of the eight teams who have not gotten that far are babies.

Brilliant.

Where is multiple Stanley winner Tahir Domi anyhow? I remember him talking about how the Sens had no heart and would go nowhere in the playoffs. Hey Tahir. Yeah, you. How's retirement going for you anyhow? The heartless Sens now have gone farther then you ever did in your sorry excuse for a career. I look forward to coverage of your next escapade on the cover of the local tabloid. Meathead.

Please God, let it be Ottawa.

If you want terrific coverage of the Blueberry guy picking up the Preds, then you have to read Mirtle. The Hat and Damien Cox at the Star (both linked by James) also have weighed in with great columns on the subject. It looks like Bettman's legacy is going to be, well, nothing. Disaster is what it has been. I lived in Florida for three and a half years and at that time (98-01) you could actually watch a lot of hockey in the US on basic cable. ESPN had a game on almost every night. And now, long gone. A bloated league with franchises in markets where nobody cares. This week has been the perfect storm for Bettman. The NBC joke. And now one of his franchises ... done. Even with the new CBA the Preds could not make a go of it.

I feel badly for those Predators' fans out there. I do. To see a team you love go away is a killer. I think it was a mistake for the NHL to do what it did in the 90s but the owners are in it for the money and expansion fees are the easiest money there is. If you are going to subsidize teams then give revenue sharing money to teams where fans actually care. Without corporate support and with fan support dwindling despite having a terrific team, the Preds are dead.

Now I know from last spring and from living in Clearwater that there are fans in the South. And I am not going to argue with the passion, the knowledge, the smarts or the bearded. Transplanted or native born, these men and women love hockey and they know hockey.

But there are damn few of them.

If I were the God of Hockey, Phoenix, Atlanta, Florida, New Jersey, Washington - gone. All of them. And when I say gone, I mean gassed. When your team has won three Cups since 1995 and is a winner year in and year out and you can't sell out playoff games, then you're gone. New York doesn't need three teams. And the other four. No point in they being there. Throw a California team in there too. I'd probably say the Kings to be honest. Who would care? Disperse Ovechkin, Semin, Horton, Bouwmeester, Kovalchuk, Hossa, Lehtonen, Elias, Brodeur, Jack Johnson, Kopitar, Cammaleri, Charlie Simmer's wife. One hundred and fifty less players.

The Preds who would have gone as well, move to the Golden Horseshoe. Then as the Hamilton Fincups or Upper Canada Dark or Kitchener Waterloo Natalie Portman Makes Sweet Love to Pat McLean Three Times Every Nights, they could fill the rink with diehard fans who grew up with the game and make the Gooseberry Man even richer.

Dallas, Carolina, Tampa, Anaheim, San Jose, Columbus - they stay. I think (I may be wrong) that hockey is growing in these places. If five years down the road things have turned sour then move or contract. Welcome back Winnipeg or the Nords. Throw the Islanders in the mix too.

Same reason I'm cheering for the Sens (plus it would be so beautiful here in Toronto if they won!). If the Ducks win, how many people will care? I said thirty to forty thousand and Earl Sleek said I was likely overestimating that number. I'm tired of teams from places that basically do not care winning the Cup. Even though Peter Schaeffer and Dean McAmmond came by a couple of weeks back to take my tax money back to Ottawa.

For forty years the NHL has been chasing the American dream. They are farther from it now then ever. Doesn't matter what they do, short of playing eleven aside on grass with the old pigskin. The viewers are watching Nascar and poker and UFC. Americans do not care, for the most part. And you know what, that's ok. Hockey fans in Nashville will find hockey if they are hockey fans. (Well, maybe not with the NHL's TV contract). I'm a soccer fan. Until this year there was no pro team here. I'm still a fan of the game, warts and all. The EPL didn't do anything special to attract me. I began to watch a game that has been around forever, liked it and got hooked.

So, fuck bigger nets and playoff shootouts and all the other BS attempts to attract people who do not care and never will.

Pointless.

So lets go Ottawa. Win that Cup so you have to pay Emery and Preissing and have to move your man Wade Redden to, uh, lets say Edmonton?? Win it to shove it to Tie Domi and to make Leaf fans sad.

By the way, Leaf fans, why aren't you marching on the ACC and burning Richard Peddie alive? Go shoot a retired teacher or something. God knows I would.

Oh yes, as commish, I'd tie Bettman up in Red Square and have a German Shepherd, the cast of Rent, the ghost of John Holmes, a donkey and the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan fuck him up the ass.

Hard.

Natalie, call me.

Sens in six.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lowe Proves To Be Genius As Oilers Garner First Round Pick


Hah!
Four more Duck wins from a fitting conclusion to the Oilers' Annus Horriblus.
Awful Bumhole Indeed.
I'm cheering for the Sens but you know and I know that the result is a foregone conclusion.
Curse of the Mullet.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Its a Personal Matter


I won't try and dissect the decision and the reasoning behind it (Matt Fenwick does a far better job) but I was surprised that Pronger got a game for his hit on Holmstrom. Not because I thought it was undeserved but because when it comes to the NHL you never know what you are going to get when the call comes.
I remember the Bertuzzi incident. I also remember how that same week Bryan McCabe, in a fit of pique after a typical pisspoor performance on the blueline led to a Leafs' loss, sucker punched an opponent in the dying seconds of a game. The punchee went down and then got up, unlike Steve Moore. Other then that, the incident, in my eye, was almost identical to the Bertuzzi one, save the leadup to it. I can't even remember if McCabe received a minor penalty.
Burke defends Pronger, as he must, but hard to say what his complaint is when Brad May only received a slap on the wrist for his attack on Kim Jonsson. It would be interesting to see what would have happened to Pronger if Holmstrom, one of the Wings' more important players, was done for the playoffs as a result of the hit. Then again, as noted, May got off lightly, so the result may have been the same for CFP.
The result, well, its not as bad as what happened to the Phoenix Suns, who are now screwed thanks to the NBA, but the Ducks are up against it tonight. Without Pronger to eat up thirty minutes (and he was even in the Tuesday night debacle on top of everything), you get the trickle down effect. I don't think the expectation is that Scott Niedermeyer will play as poorly as he did last game but the fact is Sean O'Donnell and Joe DiPenta and whoever else is down that Ducks' depth chart (Huskins? Ric Jackman?) is going to see a lot of Zetterberg or Datsyuk and if you are a Ducks' fan that's not so good. Splitting up his two aces was a master stroke by Babcock. Carlyle chose to send Pahlsson out against Datsyuk and they shut down that line but Zetterberg ate Andy MacDonald alive. The Wings suddenly look to be in good shape and they're no kids. Its boot to the throat time and I'm thinking they're going to deliver.
Great stuff and all intriguing as we look ahead to the finals. The Ottawas are looking damn good, short of a historic collapse and I think the best opponent for them matchup wise would be the Wings. Ottawa has essentially counted on the Alfredsson line and their PP to do the damage, outscoring whoever they face, while their remaining lines go evens with their opponents. It has been a great formula. The top line has been inspired, facing down Crosby in a power matchup in round one, dismantling Madden and Pandolfo in round two and rolling over the Sabres' nominal checking line to start this round. Meanwhile Redden and Meszaros were not on the ice for an ES goal against until last night in the previous eight or nine games, iirc, and guys like McAmmond, Fisher, Saprykin and Comrie have contributed timely offence.
Methinks the Ducks can send out Pahlsson and Pronger and they may have success against Alfredsson and I would think that you might bet on Selanne, Getzlaf and Scott N. doing alright against the rest of the Ottawas. On the other hand, while I respect the Wings greatly I'm thinking Alfredsson does a number on anyone they send out and that includes a power v power matchup that includes Zetterberg and Lidstrom.
We'll see - have to go and after all of this time I still haven't a moment to talk about how my favourites (Sharks and Les Sabres) have fallen by the wayside. Maybe soon.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Not Dead, Just Resting.

On vacation and seeing as I sit in front of a computer most of the day I'm trying to stay away from it this week. And succeeding for the most part.

Sens in six.

Wings in six.

And Spurs over Man. City on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dr. Smyth and His Merry Men Save Little Johnny Edmonton - An Allegorical Passion Play




Scene: Little Johnny Edmonton, a fresh faced innocent lad, sits in his bedroom, looking at his Oilers' hockey cards. A Ryan Smyth poster is on his wall. Cal Nichols, Pat LaForge and Joffrey Lupul enter.
LaForge - Hey, Johnny, how about giving us some money for that swell new arena we're going to build downtown?
Johnny - Uh, aren't you guys a bunch of rich dudes? Shouldn't you be able to finance this without public money?
Chorus: ECONOMIC SPINOFFS! REVITALIZE THE DOWNTOWN! NO MORE DRUG USING HOBO TERRORISTS!
Johnny - Who the fuck are all these guys?
LaForge - Oh, that's the Edmonton media. So, what about the money?
Nichols stubs out his cigar on Johnny's goldfish.
Johnny - I think it has been proven that there is no real economic benefit from building an arena. I'm pretty sure there have been studies that have proven this.
Chorus: PROVINCIAL THINKING! SMALLTOWN HICK! REJECTING THE FUTURE!
Nichols - Listen, you little fucker. Don't make me get angry. Pony up or the Oilers are history. I'm taking this gig to Houston. Without a new arena we're fucked.
Johnny - Weren't you guys in the top ten revenues this past season. The numbers don't jibe.
Chorus: NEW MATH! ALL HAIL EIG! DON'T QUESTION THEM!
Johnny - I don't know - I just think the money could go to a whole lot of better enterprises then this. And it all seems a little sudden. All of a sudden we need an arena? And you guys have stacked the odds in your favour.
Chorus: ARE YOU SOME SORT OF COMMUNIST?
Nichols - You goddam hippy. Alright Lupul, teach him a lesson.
Lupul unbuckles his pants while LaForge and Nichols grab Johnny.
LaForge - Trust me kid, this won't hurt a bit. As a matter of fact, you're going to love it.
Lupul pulls down Johnny's pants, revealing boxers with Ethan Moreau's toothless yet sexy visage.
Lupul - Chopper! (gasps)
LaForge - If that doesn't get him going, I don't know what will. I'm carrying wood myself all of a sudden.
Nichols - Let's go Lupul, take a trip up that old dirt road.
A handsome man walks in.
Chorus : SMYTTY!
He is followed by Ethan Moreau, Jason Smith, Steve Staios, San Fernando, Shawn Horcoff and Stan Weir.
Nichols - What the fuck?
Smyth - Unhand him, you knaves! (Slaps Nichols, knocking him to the ground.)
Moreau - Get out of here Lupul, you big fucking pussy, or I'll snap your spine.
A sobbing Lupul tries to exit but Stan Weir grabs him and breaks him in two.
Chorus: ALL HE NEEDED WAS A FIRST LINE CENTRE!
Smith, Moreau, Staios and Weir go all 300 on the chorus. The bloodshed is gory, needlessly over the top and very pleasureable.
LaForge - Now guys, come on, without us, there are no Edmonton Oilers.
Horcoff - Wrong again! Dr. Smyth invented a machine that bends time. We all travelled back in time and through investments in IBM and Microsoft as well as betting on innumerable longshots we are all multi billionaires. We bought the Oilers from Pocklington before he traded Gretzky. We own the Edmonton Oilers!
LaForge - But Smyth is a dummy.
Dr. Smyth - Actually it was quite simple - mostly physics. Let me explain.
Merry Men: BORING!
Dr. Smyth : Sorry. Anyhow, we own the Oilers. You guys are just a couple of putzes. Your little scam is over.
Johnny: You mean, you were never traded?
Dr. Smyth: That's right Johnny. Now put on your pants.
LaForge - So, what does that mean to us?
Stan Weir - Well, you're the ones who are fucked now.
Suddenly San Fernando once again reveals the brilliance seen only once, in the spring of 2006, when he impregnated Andy Grabia and almost carried the Oilers to the Cup. LaForge and Nichols are reduced to ash.
Dr. Smyth - Ok lads, so first we have to go to that cocktail party where Prongs met that dentist's daughter. We'll take care of that and then back to Game 7 - I'm going to score meself a hattrick!
Moreau - What about Simpson?
Dr. Smyth - Don't you worry, I've got something special planned for that clown.
Come back next week for another episode of Dr. Smyth and His Merry Men when Dr. Smyth must race against time to save Patrick Thoresen, who is being held captive by a bunch of hillbillies led by Dion Phaneuf.