What can I tell you? I couldn't stay away, I love this game, despite the fact that I constantly bitch about it. Back with some more thoughts as we struggle to get through the last few weeks of offseason boredom. And off we go...
Super cool that the NHL releases this new rules enforcement video to the fans as well as the teams.
Not cool that they have Sears-quality models pimping the NHL gear. If it's the stuff the pros wear, why can't you shove them into this overpriced crap? Besides, it's not like you don't make them do every other retarded promotional appearance. I might actually buy this shit if they did that. Except for those Carolina pajama bottoms. And I don't need to see Eric Staal modeling them with his brothers in their corresponding team's pajamas having a pillow fight either.
How cool is the NHL store? This cool. How did NASCAR not think of this first?
Souray for Commodore? Souray had a pretty heavy of helping of shit in his mouth when he started bad mouthing management last April and openly, as in stating it publicly to the media, that he wanted a trade out of town. Not the first to spurn Oil Country, and most likely he won't be the last. But the Edmonton front office attempted to push back, albeit almost six months later, by stating that the guy with a horrible first name, is not welcome at training camp, despite the fact that he said he would attend. Pick up your lunch pail and hardhat and head on into work, despite the fact that you got drunk at the Christmas party talked shit about the bosses, and then puked on your own shoes. I don't know how Tambellini expected to get any suitors by doing that, he's going to need someone really, really foolish to grab an injury-prone, aging defenseman. Cue Scott Howson and the Columbus Hobos. "We got Mike Commodore, interested?" Its a move by Howson in desperation of making some kind of splash in town before the season starts. Considering the players that have come through and sit presently in Ohio, Souray would probably be the best defensemen they've ever had, and that's downright depressing. The Oil are so desperate to get this cancer out of the room before it affects the young guys they might just take Commie off their hands for the next three years at $3.75 per. He makes the most of any defenseman on the team and he's been shelved to the third pairing. Anyone got a gun?
Well it's finally done. Kovy is contracted to be a Devil for what would conceivably be the rest of his career. 15 years, a cool $100 million to be paid out over that time for a guy who's as one-dimensional as a cardboard cutout of himself, and probably containing just as much substance. The League tossed in a $3million fine, and the surrendering of a third round pick next year, and a first rounder sometime in the next four years at the discretion of the Lamoriello, for good measure.
This one got a lot of talk around the campfire, Matt Duchene's little in-game tiff with his landlord Adam Foote. To me, it was a little overblown, its hockey, not tennis. What was more interesting in that game was Matt's sweet move in the shootout.
Howard Baldwin, the used-to-be owner of the Hartford Whalers, has been trying to get the buzz back in "the insurance capital of the world" with events like this. Now there's talk of re-naming the Hartford Wolf Pack to the Connecticut Whale. Painfully awful. Now that we're a decade into the new millenium, naming a sports team the Whalers is politically incorrect, despite it having one of the classiest logos in hockey history.
The new St. Louis Blues have their work cut out for them. After taking them on a remarkable run to the postseason in 2009, they've managed to get Andy Murray fired and replaced with Dan Bylsma's clone. They made the dental patient Tkachuk retire, put Kariya on a year-long furlough for mental health, and walked away from Chris Mason (Not Steve). But they somehow persuaded Montreal to give up Halak, and they've got a healthy crop of young kids in there ready to take up the charge. But this move may be counting your chickens before they hatch.
Pat Burns is in bad shape, but he ain't dead yet. Leave it to Damien Cox to trust senile Cliff Fletcher's word without doing any, you know, fact checking and then tweet it for all the world to catch fire. Tough ol' Burns calls up B. McKenzie to let him know he's not dead, and to have him set those fuckers straight.
It really doesn't look good for Savard. The fact that he came back and played in the playoffs after suffering that concussion, only to start feeling the effects of post-concussion syndrome just before the season starts is really not good. It's no wonder why Chiarelli attempted to shop him over the summer, despite the fact that he had just signed him to a 7 year $28million contract extension. Savard's damaged goods at this point, and the Bruins are essentially fucked at this point if he isn't the same player he was, or if he can't go on. Example of why not to sign players to long-term deals #638.
Unless the discussion moves to performance enhancing drugs in hockey. Nah, let's just sweep that back under the rug for a while, shall we?
We're big Puck Daddy fans, but there's a new reason to enjoy the Yahoo hockey blog, and his name is Justin Bourne. Bourne's the son of Islander legend Bob Bourne, and he's had some first hand experience of attempting to claw his way to the big show with unsuccessful results. He started writing after giving it all up, and he's parlayed it into a few gigs with The Hockey News, USA Today, and now Puck Daddy (he wrote the last link about PED's). His spots have great insight into the world of professional hockey, and they've all been pretty good reads on PD so far. Check 'em out.
The re-built Atlanta Thrashers for real? New blood in town consists of a healthy portion of the team formerly known as the Blackhawks including Byfuglien, Sopel, Ladd, Eager, and via free agency, Dawes, Chris Mason (not Steve), Modin, and Meyer. Not a Cup contender but definitely a step in the right direction.
Speaking of the right direction and bringing in new blood, Jeff Vinik buying the Bolts might have been the best thing that's happened to the franchise since their Cup and subsequent lockout. He hires Stevie Y, who hires Guy Boucher as probably one of the most sought after rookie head coaches this offseason. He reassures Vinny that he's not going to move him, then goes ahead and re-signs fan favorite Marty St. Louis to keep the lynchpins in place. He trades for Simon Gagne to complete the 'South of France Connection,' and grabs Bergenheim, Moore, Pouliot, Kubina, Clark, Jones, and Ellis (who has problems). And brought back Steve Downie who had a career year last year lined up with Stamkos and St. Lou, despite his previous reputation. Not bad for a team in need of a new identity, both on and off the ice.
Seems like every mediot who ventures to pick winners and losers are hailing the Canucks as the heir to the throne. As I've said before, I'm a big believer in the thought that an SC winner has to suffer a hard loss at the hands of a victor in order to push them over the top. Given that the 'Nucks have lost to the Hawks in the second round for two years in a row, and the latest having them go onto win it all fits nicely with that philosophy. But for some reason I just don't see it, not yet, as much as I hate to say it.
Now that red pipe savior Roberto Luongo made the respectable move to give up the 'C,' the question now becomes who earns it? The race seems to be between two polar opposite contenders. In one corner you have Hank Sedin just coming off a career year with an Art Ross and a Hart trophy in tow. The polite, skillful Swede is as much a humble ambassador as Boutros Boutros-Ghali. And in the other, you have Ryan Kesler, shit-stirrer extraordinare. The brash, defensive specialist thrives on getting to the opponent in more ways than one. Most smart hockey people are leaning towards Sedin, to follow in Naslund's footsteps, and have a good rapport with the officials, which the Canucks so desperately need. But my gut, and Canucklehead nation says Kesler, as a heart-and-soul, leave it all out on the ice kind of player, like beloved Captain Trevor Linden. (Rumor has it that Hank's already been tapped.)
Kari Lehtonen might be soft, but he knows who's hard. The Finn with a girl's name may have stolen Dallas fan's hearts by electing one of the most beloved figures of the State of Texas to adorn his helmet. No it's not George Bush, its Walker, and Texas Ranger. The badass ginger has his double-fisting machine gun pose from 'Invasion U.S.A.' with shades, and his trademark karate kick, handsomely shown off in his 'Chuck Norris Action Jeans' advertisement proudly displayed on Lehtonen's new three-year deal helmet. Lehtonen's had some pretty sweet helmets before with Clint Eastwood on his last Stars helmet after the trade from Atlanta, and Heath Ledger as the Joker back in A-town. But he's also had some bad one's as well, check out Heika's list to see them all.
The Pop Stars have officially entered into the NHL courtship. Two Mike's have shelved both Hilary Duff and Carrie Underwood. We've already seen Duff put Comrie in her videos, but now Carrie has matched the deed by putting Fisher in her latest music video. No blowjob highlight in this one, but we do get a keen look at some crappy family photos, and Underwood's scrapbooking skills.
Belanger came out swinging after signing a deal with the Coyotes, with haymakers labeled for George McPhee. Belanger, his agent, and GMGM apparently had a verbal agreement for a $1mil plus deal, but the double GM asked Belanger to hold off, due to an ongoing trade negotiation and the handicapping that would go along with the signing. McPhee asked for a week to iron it all out, and Belanger gave him a month. In the meantime, the Caps organization assisted Belanger and his family with integrating into the community, recommending schools for his kids, and the like. Belanger thought it was all good until the days kept ticking by. By this time the pending trade had fallen through, and McPhee backed off on the deal, Belanger felt he had to sign somewhere. It ended up being hockey purgatory for almost half of what Washington had agreed to. In principle. Apparently, Belanger has filed a grievance with the powerless NHLPA, and his lawyer turned agent has successfully burned the bridge to Washington with his other clients by spouting off at the mouth. I understand Belanger's stance, especially when it comes to making arrangements for your family, but he should have pushed McPhee shortly after the week about signing a contract, and not waited a month. GMGM is just as much to blame for this PR blip, but was ultimately doing his job and that may require taking some shit from time to time, and working on two things at once.
Well that's all I got for now, I'm going to go panhandle to come up with enough scratch to get Center Ice or Gamecenter, whichever's cheaper.