Friday, May 29, 2009

As If You Need A Reason

I'll admit I haven't been too excited about the potential for this Stanley Cup matchup since the start of the Conference Finals. I didn't see Chicago or Carolina putting up much of a fight against our now-crowned finalists. And the thought of a rematch of last year's SCF brought me to a level of boredom compared with the Chinese Checker championships and Turtle Wrestling on Versus.

But now I'm starting to come around.

Fuck, its the Stanley Cup Finals, how can you not be psyched for this?!

Granted the last round wasn't the most exciting, but honestly how much can you expect after two dynamite first rounds. It was hard to top that show, and I think we all had to see it coming after that brutal Pittsburgh/Washington Game 7. Total flop.

But I think all the hockey fans out there are on the same page, just for the simple fact that I've seen multiple articles on why to watch. Whether that's for 'the Casual' or for the hockey world outside of Detroit and Pittsburgh, who knows.

I've got two reasons, one for each team winning.

My wife asked me the other day, "Why do you hate the Red Wings so much?"

As I searched through the list in my mind and tried to find the words that wouldn't be tied to a string of obscenities, I found myself getting worried. As I scanned and re-scanned the files in my recreational-damaged mind, I found the lack of a legitimate reason starting to dawn on me.

'Because they're good,' just won't cut it.

Neither will 'because their fucking fans are bandwagon, shit-talking, know-nothing assholes,' even if couldn't be more true.

They are the model example of a successful hockey franchise. Mirtle nailed it with this beauty, asking whether Detroit should already be considered a dynasty due to their success just within the last decade or so. As you can tell by the poll at the bottom, we the people emphatically say yes. I said no just for the simple fact that the cluster of Cups has to be closer together. There were four and five years respectively between the Wing's Cups after their two consecutive in '97-'98. But four Cups with the potential for five provides a good argument.

There have been several comparisons between the Penguins/Red Wings version 2.0 to the Islanders/Oilers battles of the 80's, but I believe that's still years in the making. Think about that for a second, the New York Islanders won four Cups in a row before challenging for a fifth, with Edmonton taking it for the next two before letting the Habs slip in there, before capturing another two. Before the Isles four consecutive Cups the Montreal Canadiens under Scotty Bowman in the late 70's captured four in a row.

And I glazed over at the fact that we're seeing the same SCF as last year.

And that's the reason to like the Red Wings for the Silver Chalice, because its one step closer to a dynasty, (if it isn't already).

You look at the names on the Detroit roster.
The first non-North American Captain to win Stanley, 39 year old Swedish import Niklas Lidstrom, winner of 6 Norris Trophies, and member of the 'Triple Gold Club'.

Selected 53rd overall in the 1989 draft.

Hailed as one of the best two-way forwards in the game, winner of the Selke and the Byng, Pavel Datsyuk.

Selected 171st overall in the 1998 draft.

Winner of the Conn Smythe, and also a member of the 'Triple Gold Club,' arguably the best player in the world, Henrik Zetterburg.

Selected 210th overall in the 1999 draft.

And holding the NHL record for the most goals in a four game playoff series with 9, owner of multiple team playoff records, and with plenty more in store for his remaining years within the League, Johan Franzen.

Selected 97th overall in the 2004 draft.

These are perhaps Detroit's best players and they are bottom feeders within the draft. Diamonds in the rough plucked from the coal by Ken Holland, and polished to a fine shine. And this isn't even a glimmer of the depth, and youth that the brilliant Mr. Holland has found within the draft the last few years.

To watch this team win a few Cups consecutively would be a thing to tell the grandkids or at least the homeless shelter workers about.

As for the Pens, there's no reason to doubt that this is the team of the future.

Say what you want about Sidney, or Cindy Crosby or Evgeni Malkin but this is the new crop of NHL Stars. Think about it, Crosby is not billing himself as the new messiah of puck, this is the NHL and ultimately Gary Bettman's doing. This guy gets all of the spotlight, and all of the criticism that goes along with it and he doesn't want it. You can see that in every interview, he's a shy, timid kid, who happens to play some really good hockey. Really good. Malkin's only saving grace is that he can't speak the language, and he still has to continuously agree to interviews while his English sounds like a mixture of Chewbacca and sea lion.

But you can look at the rest of the lineup and see that this a team made up of prepubescent kids on the verge of becoming men. Staal, Letang, Kennedy, Goligoski, Fleury, Talbot. This is a team that if kept together, has the potential to become a dynasty just the same.

Look at that. And I didn't even mention Hossa.

Penguins in seven. Changing of the guard perhaps.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Where NHL'ers Go To Die

No I'm not talking about the late Peter Zezel. But much props to the journeyman. The Dump has a nice little tribute for the 'Youngblood' extra. Livin' the dream!

I'm talking about the KHL, the Kontinental Hockey League. Fucking Russian's can't spell worth a shit. (Tell me that doesn't look like OBEY.) I've already gone over Bill Masterton trophy candidate Richard Zednik's defection after Jaromir and Radulov led the charge, Yashin just scampered back as he wimpered into his sleeve. But now its seems as if we have a slew of others who are ready, not for greener pastures, but to be put out to pasture. The Russian National Team in the NHL, the Washington Capitals, not to be confused with the Swedish National Team of the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings, have two players leaving for Mother Russia.

Sergei Fedorov has not yet directly admitted, but apparently there are reports that he has a two-year deal for $3.8million per, from Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Federov had his best years alongside Stevie Y in Detroit, and was labeled a greedy turncoat leaving Michigan for bigger numbers. He bounced around from Anaheim, to Columbus, before finally seeing a resurgence in Washington the last two years in a mentoring role for Ovechkin and the rest of those Soviet brats. You have to wonder if any team in the NHL would offer Fedorov any kind of deal, given his declining numbers and his age. It may be the best bet for him, closing his career alongside his brother in his native land.

Viktor Kozlov is the other Cap reportedly leaving for the homeland, and quite convincingly. Vik's two options are Salavat Yulaev and Lada Togliatti, no word on numbers just yet. I'm thinking Kozzie's going to opt for Lada, just because he's from Togliatti. (Just to clarify, I know nothing of cities in Russia, its simply in his profile.) Kozlov probably would have garnered some significant interest around the League, he's got fifteen seasons under his belt, probably could have squeezed out two or three more and then headed for the other league. (Another clarification; when I capitalize League, I'm referring to our League, the NHL, when its lower case I'm referring to this other upstart league, the KHL.)

Captain Obvious (Mirtle) has also reported that the likes of enigmatic (translate; sucks for every game of the season except one) Max Afinogenov and Miro Satan are also more than likely bound to head for the Red Curtain due to a lack of palatable offers from this side of the pond. Satan is actually Czech by birth (who knew?) but will probably get by on name alone. I mean that his name is Satan, not that he played in the NHL.

In that same article of 'From the Rink,' Mirtle also mentions that the Predator brass were unsuccessful in trying to lure Alex Radulov back to North America. I wish someone on a payroll with an expense budget would have dug deeper into this story, there's got to be more to it. Unless its just your standard sob story of young Russian boy dreams of playing professional hockey all his life, works hard, plays junior hockey in the QMJHL, gets noticed, signs a deal with an NHL team, realizes its Nashville, goes home. He said the KHL was "offering [him] much better conditions," does that tell you anything about playing pro hockey in Nashville?

Jagr surprised everyone by tucking tail and heading for Omsk considering what he was still able to do for the Rangers. He has admitted to receiving offers from the Oilers after his first year in the KHL, but stated that he will stay and honor his contract. It went so far in fact that Avangard Omsk had a deal in place with the Oilers that hinged on Omsk's playoff chances. Avangard made it to the second round but lost to the eventual champions, Ak Bars Kazan. However, there's nothing to say that the Curly Mullet couldn't eventually return to the League, but he's not getting any younger, and the fact that he could have stayed and didn't, has to say something.

Alexei just doesn't want to play for you anymore.

Now in a roundabout way I've finally come to the player that I originally wanted to talk about.

Nikolai Khabibulin.

Khabby has played 13 seasons in the League drafted by the Winnipeg Jets way late in '92. He made the move with the franchise to Phoenix where he played another three seasons before going to Tampa. In what turned out to be his last year of four seasons with the Bolts, he backstopped them to a Stanley Cup in the '03-'04 season ('04-'05 gets chalked up to the Lockout). He was then labeled as a free agent in the NHLPA's North American Free Trade Agreement, and signed a four year, $27million deal with Chicago, the largest amount for a goaltender at that time. 'Twitch' didn't play badly for the next few seasons, just average, and the upper management in Chicago thought the Stanley Cup sparkle was wearing off. So Chicago GM went out and picked up the French goaltender Cristobal Huet in a vanity signing, to either change the guard between the posts, or push Nikky to be better. The latter worked and the 'Bulin Wall, along with the gradual maturity of the young Hawks made a run for the Western Conference title. They would run into their old friends from the pond, their longtime Original Six rivals, the Detroit Red Wings.

Now here's where it gets fishy to me. After dropping two games at the Joe, the plucky Blackhawks returned to their home ice to seek some revenge. After taking a 3-0 lead early in the 2nd period, Khabibulin gave up three goals in approximately 4 and a half minutes. Quenneville yanked him, or he yanked himself, and Huet kept Detroit scoreless for an overtime win, the only win for Chicago in that series. Nikolai was never to be seen again. The young rookie Corey Crawford took his spot on the pine, and some puke mop up duty in Game 4. In Game 5 the Hawks played valiantly, but ultimately were no match for the Winged Wheel. And still no Khabibulin.

Did he see the end coming, and like the kid who takes his ball and goes home, did he metaphorically bolt out of his crease like Tim Thomas?

Did he refuse to stand in front of the buzzsaw that he felt his teammates were leaving him vulnerable to?

Or was he really injured as the Blackhawks state, and I'm just a skeptical asshole?

He's at the end of his contract and its hard to imagine anyone offering him, in the words of Pierre McGuire, the 'monster' amount of money he had already received, $6.75million per year from the Hawks. No team wanted to pick up that salary for a season when Tallon placed him on waivers at the start of the year. He's an "overpaid, aging veteran" says Mirtle, any reason not to think he's ready to be put out of his misery and return to the Hammer and Sickle?

My point is that he quit. Plain and simple. He's exactly the type of guy you'd expect to flee the competition like he did when Detroit battled back in the second period.

We'll see if he's got the guts to return to the League, or if anyone has the guts to offer him a deal.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No Games on Tonight?

What the shit is that about? These probably aren't funny, but I don't care. For a real laugh head over to nhLOL.
"Scott you sure you don't have ass cancer?"
Too soon?

Goal Cam. Get it?

"Iz dis whut it fels lik to scor?"
"Who else plays on our team?"
"I can't believe he just called me 'Ugly'."

"What the fuck did you just say?"

"Yes, 'dees teef and ma fashul hair iz real."


"Well Detroit, at least you make good cars. Wait a minute, no you don't."
- A Ducks fan to a Wings fan after Game 6 in Anaheim

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May Two Four

I hope you're all already shitty by now, I know you've been riveted to your seat waiting for this, but I'm still a little pissed that we're going to be watching the same Stanley Cup Finals matchup as last year.

So obviously, Detroit in six, Pittsburgh in six.

I only have a few things I can cling to now, and it all really hinges on Detroit losing.
  1. It would be great if Chicago did it, I would love it, that town would go nuts. I think Chicago/Pittsburgh is the best matchup we could hope for.
  2. If it has to be a rematch of last year, that Pittsburgh wins this year.
  3. And if worst comes to worst, that Carolina beats Detroit and they win their 2nd Cup in four years.

Can you tell how much I hate Detroit?

The hate is only stronger for the Rangers.

Did You Know... Paul Maurice coached the Hurricanes to a Finals matchup against Scottie Bowman and the Big Red Machine back in the 2001-2002 season.

FTW - That's not 'For The Win' that's 'Fuck The Wings'

Happy Motherfuckin' May Two Four. Get crunked.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hits and Highlights of Game 6 in Anaheim

There were none.
If this were not a playoff hockey game, where every game in a series matters, then this could have been in the running for possibly the most boring game ever. Anything exciting that happened, any time a goal was scored, it was the result of a mistake. An idiotic, passion-less mistake that should not be made for two teams of this caliber.
I'll be honest, I was walking into this game figuring the Wings would take it, and probably pretty easily, as they've shown they're able to do. It would be up to the Ducks to put on a stronger effort than their opponent. But no one played like they wanted to win. It was like a game early in the series, where teams can always fall back on excuses like 'we'll get them next game, we'll get that one back.' But the Ducks got one more lucky bounce than the Wings, and so we'll go to Game 7.

Now, I'm not a guy who needs a bunch of goals to be entertained, so lets not lump me in with that bunch of assholes blaming a 2 to 1 score. But there was just no desire out there, no exciting plays, no great scoring chances, no need for big saves. The biggest things we took out of the night was that it was going to a Game 7, and some of the marquee Red Wings got a little roughed up at the end. Other than that, it was pretty much all bullshit.

But I promised you pictures, and while I'll admit they're quite shitty, they matched the effort on the ice.

I would say this was about 20 minutes to about a half hour before start team. The seats were still not filled by about 10 minutes into the first. The arena announcer stated that it was a sellout later in the game, but there were empty seats, and plenty of untouched towels.

Look at all these fucking mutts. Red Wings fans rank up there for some of the most arrogant douchebags in the sporting world. And they're fucking everywhere, like peppermint-colored cockroaches. They tried to get a few chants going, but were quickly overpowered by the home crowd. Anyone wearing the red and white after the game was definetely taking a lot of shit. Well deserved.

We can't 'Rock the Red' or have 'Whiteouts' or any cool shit like that, we have to sport orange for Orange County out here. Its either that or be a Kings fan. And then you have to be a Raiders fan. And then you have to drive to LA. And support a crappy team. And no self-respecting human wants to do any of those things.

A clean sheet. Is there anything better?
That night there wasn't.

Some asshole actually did manage to sneak some aquatic life into the rink, and threw it over the glass at a really pointless time of the game. I guess it was to spark the away team into some inspired play. It didn't.

The most exciting part of the game, the melee at the end of the game. And it wasn't that exciting. The melee, and therefore the game as a whole. This is like the sports media's swine flu. Lets make a big deal out of this and generate some headlines. It was some boys roughhousing at the end of a game. The thing that gets me is that Anaheim's formula for being a rough, and hard-hitting team has completely vanished. There was virtually no hitting in this game, except for when Helm left his feet to crunch Whitney behind the net. If Anaheim wants to win Game 7, they need to do two things, beat on the Wings, and crash Osgood.

Yes, somehow, there will be a Game 7. Lets hope its more exciting than Game 6, and last night's Game 7 blowout.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Game Six, Life or Death

Who didn't want every one of these series to go seven games?

The seventh game, the one that makes the previous six irrelevant.

Needing overtime to force it, the Caps beat the Pens in Game 6 in Pittsburgh, after running away with a 2-0 lead in the series, only to drop the next three. This has literally been the series. 'Nuff said.

The young Hawks had the most important game in years for the Chicago franchise in what I believe was the highest scoring game in the playoffs so far. I sure-as-shit thought the Canucks would take the series, and that it would take seven to do it. Just proves I don't know shit. You can stop reading now.

Only a few wise men thought the 'Canes would give the B's a run for their money. The Bruins played passion-less hockey since the Habs series, until a 4-0 shutout in Game 5 when their ass was on the line. I expected the Bruins to mow through the Hurricanes in 5. They got the lawnmower started in Game 5, but they'll need to keep it running and win out the series, so that we both don't end up looking like assholes.

Tonight I'll either be witnessing the Ducks force a Game 7 or Detroit heading off to the Conference Finals. After watching the Wings flick the switch halfway through Game 4, and just completely throw it into another gear of competitive playoff hockey, I get the feeling I'll be watching 'the handshake' tonight. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm a realist, and a pessimist, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

I'll be taking a shit-ton of photos for a little slideshow to follow. When I get around to it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Choking... No Not the Sharks

While I originally wanted to write something about the dangers of autoerotic asphyxiation while masterbating (you really should have a spotter) to the Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (a.k.a. Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby) series, I instead felt the need to jump on another bandwagon.

I've been perusing the blogroll and reading all the articles pertaining to the Phoenix situation, and it seems if the pieces are all there, but they aren't put together. I'm going to try and simply it for you dumplings.

Okay you know what, fuck that. That'll take too fucking long, I'm just going to bulletpoint that shit for you mutts.

What's happened...

And that's pretty much where we're at, Gary and his band of lawyer trolls are in bankruptcy court today "protecting their interests."

The simple facts...

  • Expansion teams in non-traditional markets, yeah we're gonna beat that one to death for a hot second. First of all, the move of the Minnesota NorthStars to Dallas baffled me. To me that signaled the start of the NHL putting its dick in holes it had no business sticking it. The addition of a team in Florida and giving Disney a team so close to the Kings fueled that thought as well. However within the last few years we have seen teams in NTM be successful and win Cups. Think Tampa, think Carolina, and most recently Anaheim, no longer a Mickey Mouse operation. (Sorry.) So the theory is correct, you can place a team anywhere and be successful, as long as you have smart hockey people running the operation and making it a success. Phoenix has never enjoyed success, even modestly. I believe the thought was with Gretzky behind the bench as the second coming of Christ, and the influx of youth with all of these accumulated draft picks that the team would have a bright future, or at least humble results. That has not happened, hence failure in the desert.

  • The economy is in the crapper, with no signs of relief in sight. Minor league hockey teams are folding all over the country, its not unreasonable to think that there are other NHL teams/owners in financial trouble.

  • Arena - Aside from its atrocious name, the rink itself is actually really cool. What's not cool is that the team is taking it in the ass from the City of Glendale, who owns the facility, and collects all parking, usage, and all other bullshit fees that in most cities go to the franchise. That's a huge chunk of money that will need to be negotiated with the City and new buyers.

  • Moyes and the Coyotes appear as if they tried to pull a fast one on the League by just all of a sudden declaring Chapter 11. They had to know the League would jump all over that, even if they didn't have their hand in the proverbial cookie jar with their franchise bailout. I'm not so sure the maneuver was just to allow Balsillie to get his dirty hands on it and call the movers before Gary knew what was going on.

  • Its obvious Bettman doesn't want Balsillie in his boys club for failing to obey the unwritten code of kowtowing before the Board of Governors not once, but twice, and is now going for a third time. Bettman will probably fight tooth and nail to keep Balsillie out since he crossed him, whether or not Jim's desire to place a team in Southern Ontario is good for the League or not.

  • To be fair, Jimmy-boy Baldy hasn't played nice either, selling season tickets for the Hamilton Predators before anything even remotely got approved. Nashville fans cried holy hell, and got a few high rollers to bankroll the team's stay in Country Music USA. Can you even imagine the Penguins relocating considering how entrenched they are now?

  • Balsillie has been hellbent in his desire to bring a team to Canada, more specifically Southern Ontario, as his new website asking for fan support illustrates. Couple his obsession, with local support, and the Canadian media's relentless seige to make the Winnipeg Jets, I mean Phoenix Coyotes, their own again, and something's gonna give.

  • The League, I mean Gary, wants to keep the team in Phoenix. Whether that's little Gary not willing to admit when he's wrong, or him being foolish enough to think that it can survive, is another matter. But if in fact Reinsdorf is seriously interested in retaining the team, then that's maybe all it takes. Until he starts losing money.

  • We've all questioned fanbases before, and they've fired back and kept their teams. I'm not sure if the Coyotes have the support that have kept other teams in their digs, but I know of at least one blog that's making some noise, and by the sound of it drumming up more unrest. Community support will be crucial in keeping this team in Phoenix.

Bottom line is that the Coyotes are in trouble and they need some serious help.

-No shit Captain Obvious.

Can the Coyotes be successful in Phoenix?

- They haven't been yet.

Does Canada, more specifically Southern Ontario want another team?

-Hell motherfuckin' yeah.

Whether or not any of those things change we will see within the next few weeks.

Monday, May 4, 2009

All I Know is He's Gay. Gay! Gay! Gay!

Someone please tell me the NBA isn't gay as shit. I dare you.
This is on the front page of the Worldwide Leader of Sports (other than hockey). I don't know what I hate more, ESPN or the NBA.
This is a day of surveys that won't be answered. You tell me, what resembles more evil incarnate, ESPN or the NBA?

Accident? Or Two-Hander to the Head of Halak?

You tell me...

Originally posted by PuckDaddy on YahooSports, here's the backstory on it...

Here's with soundeffects if you need a laugh...

I don't know if he's swinging for the iron. Either way, why doesn't Halak chase after him and kick the shit out of him?

You decide...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Are You Mental? Schedule Screw-up

Gary. What the fuck?!

Are you fucking retarded?!

Not only are you going to show the only two games of the night at almost the same fucking time, but you are going to air the Anaheim @ Detroit game at 7pm Eastern.

That's 4 o'clock out here, I'm still at work you fucking dickhead!

Its bad enough I've got to race home everyday during the regular season, and understandably the first round, just to catch the second period. Now you're going to fuck us on the West Coast too. No wonder why you get no love out here, asshole.

And just to add a cherry to that bowl of shit you just served us, you've scheduled the Carolina @ Boston game at 7:30pm Eastern.

Wouldn't it have made more sense to start at TD Banknorth Garden at 7pm, and then start at the Joe at 7:30 or even 8pm you dumb fucking bitch?