Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Big three games coming up for the Bruins.

The Bruins have started out strong, there's no doubt.

I've been a bit of a weak poster these days, partly because I just got a full time job writing over on the PRI show "Fair Game," which airs in New York Monday through Friday at 8:00 PM on WNYC, making me available in more New York City homes than Versus. Or Versus in HD at least. Check their website to hear the podcast or find out where you can catch the show in your neck of the woods.

If you listen to tonight's show, you'll get to hear me slip a hockey reference into a piece I did at the opening of the show about last night's democratic debates.

So while I haven't been writing about hockey, I will certainly be watching. These next three games for the Boston Bruins are their biggest of the season. After coming off an incredible game against Chicago, where Chara had his first fight as a Bruin (and it was a doozy), they ran into some bad luck, losing their best all around player in Patrice Bergeron for over a month. That's been the one B's game all year I managed to miss, and I'm glad, because it would have ruined my day.

They play Buffalo tomorrow, who are a good team, then go into a home-and-home series with Ottawa this weekend. Having Bergeron gone will really test the ability of certain members of this team to step it up and see if they have what it takes. Glen Murray, Brandon Bochenski, I'm looking at you. To have to do it against Buffalo and the Eastern conference leading Senators will be a lot of fun.

I'd say if they can come away with four points, they should feel great about themselves.

The big question is goaltending in the Ottawa games.

Can they trust Fernandez in one of those games?

Friday, October 26, 2007

F(r)ight night

With Halloween just around the corner, I’m willing to entertain the possibility that demonic possesion is real. How else to explain the sudden rash of pugnaciousness among the NHL’s skill players? Vincent Lecavalier drops the gloves for the second straight game, and Zdeno Chara is responsible for more bloody hockey equipment than Jason Voorhees:

YouTube has the clip of Chara making the ice look like Curt Schilling's sock drawer, but I’m not embedding it here. This is a family blog, you fucking douchebags.

Sure, the fight was a pretty clear decision for Chara, but American Hockey Fan hereby awards honorable mention to career 6th-column specialist David Koci for having the plums to go nose-to-nose with a thyroid case full of pent-up anger (though let's face it, even at a towering 6'6", the best he could have hoped for in this case was nose-to-bulging-Adam's-apple).

And what's more, Koci answered the bell despite having had the aforementioned nose broken once already in this young season...David Koci, we at AHF tap our sticks on the boards in your honor, sir.

Whether it’s supernatural or not, it can only be a good sign for hockey that not just the character guys, but the marquee names are playing with passion this early in the season - you'll note that Lecavlier’s bout resulted in a win for Tampa, as did Chara’s for the Bruins.

Now can someone please drive a stake through the heart of the vampire that has sucked the scoring touch out of Patrik Elias?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I gotta say

the new promo for NHL Center Ice is a well-plotted piece of nonclaptrap that never made me want to retch.

Seriously, I think we can all agree, they did a bangup job illustrating the grit and toughness of the sport, right?

Could be least it wasn't in slow motion.

Seriously, though, I get the joke. I understand why it's supposed to be funny...they're big tough guys, but now thanks to HD, they're as concerned about their looks as the Desperate Housewives. But it's just not working for me. It reeks of a first draft, an idea that was bland and inoffensive enough to survive the initial pitch meeting, then somehow managed to ride that wave all the way to air.

How about this as an alternative, especially since Halloween is right around the corner:


Spooky music plays in the background as a GUY sits on the couch, nervously snacking from a bowl of pretzels, and watching his widescreen HD TV, the screen of which is not yet visible to us.

After a suspenseful 10 seconds or so, the guy sees something on the screen that makes him scream at the top of his lungs and flee the room - pretzels fly everywhere.

Cut to reveal of the TV screen, which is showing this:

in glorious high definition.

NHL Center Ice in HD...don't miss a single horrifying detail.

Then roll the federally mandated clip of Sidney Crosby losing his balance, and call it a day.

Am I the only one-

-who hears the first words of that "Hockey Fights Cancer" promo and gets confused? It starts out with an announcer saying the words "Hockey Fights Cancer," but before they can even get to the word "cancer," I hear the words "hockey fights" and get all excited that I'm about to see one. Then they get to the cancer part, and I get all depressed that I was just amped up for some good old fashioned violence and now I am reminded of the stark, harsh reality of "the Big C."

Of course it doesn't help that they play that slow mournful "don't give up" song either.

Maybe there is some way they can combine the two. On the World Series last night, they mentioned that when the first player steals a base, America gets a taco. How about whenever anybody gets in a fight in the NHL, they put up the Hockey Fights Cancer logo and phone number after the fight is over and the boys are heading to the penalty boxes. That way, we can still have our enjoyment in bloodlust, but if we're feeling at all bad about it, we can dial the number and help battle the big C.

Plus, I'd love to see Derek Boogaard get interviewed in the locker room after a knock -down, drag out saying something to the effect of "I didn't want to do it, I'm just concerned about all those sick kids."

Other hockey sites have news and commentary, but only American Hockey Fans consistently provides workable solutions to the NHL's problems.

Who's with me!?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

OK- I know the New York Post are mostly Rangers fans-

But are they actually suggesting that if you go to a Devils game in the new arena, you run the risk of being murdered?

From the article:

"[I believe] this will be a safe arena," Vanderbeek said. "I think over time [concerns] will go away. I can't change it overnight. People will have to come here and see for themselves."

...Vanderbeek suggested that much of the fans' security will be provided by themselves, walking in numbers from Penn Station, from the light rail, and from nearby lots. He said there will be a significant police presence in the area.

The Devils and Newark simply cannot afford even a single arena-patron tragedy in a city that annually suffers 100 homicides...

When fans are inside, they'll be enthralled. It will make the Garden pedestrian, as long as the pedestrians are secure.


I'm not sure about this, but my guess is that the enhanced police presence is going to fill the neutral area just around the arena's entrance, handily trapping any of the murderers who attempt to enter the arenas defensive zone.

Just a hunch.

Still, if it was up to me, I'd have Cam Janssen walk the fans to their cars.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How about that big Papi!

Love him!
Former Minnestota Twin!

And those undefeated Patriots!
With Randy Moss, who made his name as a Minnesota Viking!

Pretty sweet right?

Don't forget Kevin Garnett, putting the Celtics on the front pages again after coming over from the Timberwolves? It's really looking like Boston teams are all hugely benefiting from an influx of players from Minnesota sports franchises!



To be fair, while Manny Fernandez didn't play well, it's hard to peg that loss on him. The Bruins lost big last night, but it was kind of a perfect storm of bad things happening. Huet was hot, Fernandez wasn't. The Habs snipers found the net, guys like Glen Murray and Patrice Bergeron had great bids but just seemed snakebit. Add the fact that Chara didn't have a great game, getting caught up ice a few times and taking some bad penalties against a team with a lethal power play. Montreal had a tough loss against the Panthers last week when they got caught in the last two minutes, and they corrected that mistake tonight.

Still, for a team that got beat, really humiliated last night, they did a lot of things well. They cycled the puck well in the offensive zone, kept possession, and stayed into the game until the fifth goal, no small feat.

Honestly, if they were going to lose to the Canadiens, I'd rather they get blown out, as it could serve as a motivator for the future.

Plus, if they go through a rough patch for a while, they're in the clear, and have time to improve without media scrutiny. Face it, everybody in New England is watching the World Series and the Pats anyway. Chara could rape a guy on the ice, and they wouldn't get any ink.

Chicago's next. It'll be fun to get a look at this Towes kid.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sidney Crosby Special on 'Versus' Tuesday

Well, the people at Versus were kind enough to contact me and see if I'd like to post some exclusive video of (read: advertisement for) the new Sidney Crosby special airing Tuesday night at 6:30 prior to the 7:00 PM Pens/Rangers game.

I decided to go for it, not only because I was flattered that Versus thought of me, but it also because it gives me the opportunity to note that this preview video, much like "Versus" itself, is not available in high definition in New York City. Also, the local Ranger broadcast will not be on, meaning New Yorkers with Time Warner won't be able to see a highly anticipated game in HD.

While I'm aware that this is a decision of Time Warner Cable and not Versus, somebody needs to get off there ass on this. Whoever's fault this is, it probably pisses off Ranger fans, and alienates the large market share that I'm sure Versus wants to capture.

Just sayin.

So here's the preview video. My favorite part is when Sid explains that the new NHL is all about speed. So how does the film show this off?

You guessed it, slow motion!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

National Punctuation League

The clock is ticking, counting down to the Devils' home opener at the brand new Prudential Center on Saturday, October 27th. Crews are working around the clock to make sure the arena is ready and let's face it...with this kind of time crunch, the first thing to go is the proofreading:

Or maybe it's a nod to those who say that Brodeur is the whole only one Devil gets a locker room?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I guess Americans always sucked at broadcasting hockey on a national level.

Check out the pronunciation of Rocket Richard's name in this American newsreel footage from the 1951 Stanley Cup Final between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs.

And Richard scores!

Richard who?

Richard Lewis?

Of course the broadcasters on TSN tonight weren't much better, as they repeatedly accused Florida coach Jacques Martin of "stealing" a game from the Canadiens tonight. Hey guys! It's hard to win a game when you only score one goal.
If anybody stole that one it was Thomas Vokoun, who also leads the league in looking like Tim Wakefield.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What a win for the B's!

Oh, and by the way- Aaron Ward?

Officially off the shit list.

Told ya so.

Sean Avery is injured.

So what did you think he'd be doing?

Duh- he's talking to the New York Times.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

What a day.

11:00 AM- hit the grand opening of the NHL store in Manhattan. Went through the Stanley Cup line . Talked to legendary referee Paul Stewart. He loved my Mighty Squirrels track jacket. I decide not to tell him about the Candle in the Wind thing. Paul Stewart is polite, affable and a splendid ambassador of the game. I overhear him telling someone else that his grandfather was also an NHL referee, and I wish that I could have been a fly on the wall for discussions between Stewart and his grandfather. I mean, imagine that. Awesome.

11:30 AM- Hit the Starbucks inside the NHL store. Wasn't wild about the fact that my color scheme exactly matched the pumpkin spice lattes. Mere seconds after this picture was taken, I overhear Paul Stewart approaching the Starbucks counter. He asks "So, how are those pumpkin spice lattes?!" While I have previously stated that pumpkin spice lattes have very little to do with hockey, I am forced to reconsider this idea as Paul Stewart is clearly fired up for one. Paul Stewart orders a pumpkin spice latte, and the Starbucks employees, none of whom probably know who he is, fall over themselves to serve him. Charisma and a sharp looking uniform go a long way in this town. Sadly, I do not get picture of this.

12:00 PM- Headed outside to see what's up. We see Bruin great Rick Middleton signing autographs. I remind Ben of what my pal Andrew Donnelly once said about Rick Middleton- that he was so lethal a scorer partly because when goalies would see him, they would momentarily be confused by the fact that he looks exactly like a butcher. They'd look up, se his face, and instead of hearing "What can I getcha, pork roast?" BOOM, the puck is in the net. Seriously, if that guy never led the league in scoring, I can tell you he definitely led it in resembling a butcher. That dude looks just like a butcher. Great Bruin.

7:00 PM- Lucked into a pair of Ranger tickets tonight against the Caps. 60 bucks for the pair. Went to the game with my future wife and love of my life, and had a great time. Saw Gomez's first goal as a Ranger, Jagr eclipse Paul Coffey to become #11 on the all time point scorers list and saw Alexander Ovechkin put on a clinic. More than any other player in the NHL, Ovechkin is a player that you need to see in person. The way he moves off the puck is an art form. And then when he gets the puck, look out. I didn't see the slew foot from the opening, but I can tell you this: an undefeated team defeated itself with penalty after penalty after penalty. Additionally, their defensemen seem chronically unable to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Also, Olaf Kolzig deserves a medal. Really, really, really fun game. If there was one downside, it was that Brashear didn't fight. Good times.

10:00 PM- Arrive home, pour a scotch, watch Roberto Luongo make a few sick saves for the Canucks. Jesus, that dude is good at playing goalie.

10:30 PM- Settle in to watch my beloved Bruins face off against the Los Angeles Kings. As though this night could not get any sweeter, some freaky Cirque du Soliel trapeze artist is slowly lowered from the rafters to drop a ceremonial first puck between Chara and Blake. She gracefully twists down to the face-off dot, places her feet on the carpet, slips, and she falls on her ass. I cannot stress enough how enjoyable this is to watch. Thanks to the magic of DVR, I watch it at least 6 more times. The moment I find this on YouTube, I will bring it to you. Anyone?

10:35 PM- The game starts, and it's a rollercoaster. Phil Kessel gets the first hat trick of his career, Marc Savard comes back from a groin injury to QB a devastating looking power play, and Aaron Ward puts in a game like the number 2 defenseman he should be, scoring a clutch goal and landing a great hit behind the opposing net. It's nice to see that when a game becomes a shooting spree, the Bruins can continue to put the puck in the net. Great effort by PJ Axelsson at the end there to sacrifice the body and get the puck out of the zone at the end there. Also, Claude Julien looks like Alfred Hitchcock. As my brother noted, it's a step up from Dave Lewis, who resembled Hitler.

2:10- wrapping up a hockey blog post from a great hockey day. Jesus this feels good. Watching the game wrapups on the NHL network and happy to be alive.

Sorry if there are typos, I'm hitting the hay.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Well, I finally got my key.

Yes, I finally obtained one of the "keys that could unlock my NHL dreams." They were handing them out at the store, so after all of the frustration of past days, we just walked up and grabbed one. Alas, after 20 minutes in line, the key did not unlock the box filled with prize envelopes. So I asked the guy who was in charge what to do with my key.

"You can keep it," he said.

Then it hit me- I can still unlock my NHL dreams!

All I have to do is use this beauty to key Ulf Samuelsson's car.


Lord Stanley's Officially Licensed Merchandise

Reporting back from the opening of the NHL store, where I encountered Ben and Ritch wiping the sweat from their brows after a couple of hours spent storing away things the NHL has done wrong for a rainy day (even Bruins and Devils fans run out of vitriol after their record falls to a certain point). I could almost see the exhaustion on their faces. However, they did get there early enough to snag the bag of free shit, while all I made away with was a possible key to my dreams and a rocket popsicle. Nothing like knowing that the Marketing department at the NHL sat down for a brainstorm for their big event and conclusively determined that NHL fans like "free ice".

Though the lines to the "Unlock your Dreams" safes (they have two sets of my dreams on hand) were shockingly long- unfulfillment in New York City knows no bounds-the line to get into the store was bearable, and we sailed through in about 15 minutes. Even more surprising, while the line to buy a t-shirt that says "It's good to have goals" was about twenty deep, the line to see and be photographed with the Stanley Cup was exactly one person long, and we took the opportunity to grope the Cup like it was Ben's mom for a full 30 seconds. Odd to be so excited to touch something that you can pretty much guarantee has held the urine of a solid four dozen people at least, but it's just so shiny.
And for a little added perspective, the hands that type the very words you're reading have touched the Stanley Cup more recently than the Bruins.

Four Thousand Words

More to come, (Ben took most of the pics) but here's a few shots from my camera at the grand opening of the NHL store:

(left to right: Ritch, Stan, Ben, Sid the Kid's giant legs)

(Jamie Langenbrunner submits a written request for Ben's autograph

AHF hits the "ice wall."

File that grin under: "shit-eating."

"Unlocking My NHL Dreams"

That's the slogan for the contest the NHL has been running all around New York City this week.

Not like I've seen any of it.

Supposedly, there were members of an NHL "street team" (read: unemployed actors) hitting locations all around the city and giving out keys. You take the key, go to the grand opening of the NHL store on Friday, and you can "Unlock Your NHL Dreams."

They were supposed to be at Grand Central Station in New York between 2:00 and 7:00 on Thursday, and I went twice, once on my lunch break at 2:15 and then again after work at 6:15 and I couldn't find them. I did see Antonio Banderas (look, Gawker confirms it, he was there!) but no NHL. After I got back to work, I emailed my pal Doug, a Sabres fan and a real nice guy who I had the pleasure of attending one of the Sabres/Isles playoff games with last season. Like me, he works near Grand Central, so I emailed to ask him if he had gotten a key. Here's what he said:

No key yet. Just went and did a pretty thorough walk-through to blow off some steam from work. Nobody there from the NHL that I could see...Anyhow, I am gonna try to brave the elements and take a walk by one of the other supposed Street Team locales on my way home to try and find a key.

No word if he found one. Oh, and did I mention it was pouring rain in New York this afternoon? That's a hockey fan for ya.

Later, I emailed AHF contributor Ben Zelevansky to relate how Doug and I struck out, and he wrote the following:

I just came from GCT (Grand Central Station) myself, as it happens. No street team, no indoor team, no nothing. The NHL - wasting the time and abusing the trust of its fans...whoda thunk it? My new NHL dream is to kick Gary Bettman in the nuts.

Perhaps this isn't surprising. After all, the grand prize of this contest, or the "ultimate NHL dream" is- wait for it.... tickets to an NHL All-Star Game in Georgia!


Tickets to a game where the players don't care in front of an audience that doesn't understand? Christ, if you're you're offering up NHL fantasies in the All Star Game, why don't you let me skate a shift? It's not like there's any hitting going on anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still going to the NHL store opening tomorrow.

Not to be a dick, but I'd go to a Klan rally if the Stanley Cup was there. I'd feel bad about it, and tell every man present that Willie O'Ree is ten times the man they are, but I'd go. The Stanley Cup remains the one thing about the NHL that Gary Bettman seems powerless to fuck up. It is the past, present and future of the greatest game on earth, it fits eleven beers in it's bowl and you can motherfucking read it if you want to. And I've never seen it in person, but I will today. And I will read it.

There's an NHL dream for ya.

Incidentally, do you know ANYONE whose idea of an NHL dream is seeing the All Star Game in Atlanta? It'd be nice, sure, but DREAM?


Therefore, in the spirit of Ben's new NHL dream, to kick Gary Bettman in the nuts, I'd like to propose a far better NHL dream, and one that hockey could provide-

The NHL gives the winner of this contest a pair of lower bowl tickets to games 4-7 of the Stanley Cup finals sitting next to (wait for it)......... Kurt Russell.

There's a goddamn dream for ya.

That's a guaranteed great seat to go see the Stanley Cup being hoisted next to not only a great American hockey fan, but Snake Fucking Pliskin.

If any of you readers have some other NHL dreams, I'm all ears-

Comments are wide open...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Have you guys met my nephew?

Well, I haven't either.

That's him there, in my sister in law's belly next to the big shining cup. Or maybe it's my niece, we don't know yet. Either way he or she is closer to the Stanley Cup than I've ever been, something that still chaps my ass a bit. Knowing this, my brother sent me this picture in an email entitled "The Real Hockey Fan."My brother will doubtless be a great father, as he's already using his unborn child as a weapon in his ceaseless campaign of breaking my balls.

Either way, I'll even the score with my little nephew or neice tomorrow, as I'll see the Stanley Cup at the opening of the new NHL Reebok store in Manhattan. I'm excited, as it looks to be the only place in Manhattan where I'll be able to get my mitts on a new B's hat with the sharp new logo, and they will also be driving a zamboni up 6th avenue. On the downside, Gary Bettman will be speaking, and there's a Starbucks inside the store. I'll tell ya, nothing really says hockey like a four dollar spiced pumpkin latte.


But you can't go wrong with the cup.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Battle of AHF

Most of you are no doubt on the edge of your seats wondering how the first week of our fantasy league shook out. As you may recall, opening week matchups were Ritch vs. Jen and Jack vs. Ben.

Astute readers who noted which of us is writing this post will be unsurprised to learn that I kicked the most ass of all, shaming Jack in a 12-1 blowout for the week. And if not for Montreal's defense (they've got more holes than an O.J. Simpson memorabilia heist plot - am I right, people?) letting 62 shots through to Cristobal Huet, I would have shut him out completely. Ritch pwned Jen similarly (though let's face it, not quite as effectively as I crushed Jack - numbers don't lie) with a 10-4 drubbing.

So, to recap....the standings:

1) Ben
2) Ritch


15) Jen
16) Jack

And yes, it's a 16-team league.

I'm not going to say that my domination in the world of fantasy sports also means that I am the funniest writer here...that's for history to decide.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Momma Needs a New Sunday Dress

While happy that hockey will have me, despite the crippling setback of my ladybits, I've found it hard to attire myself properly when cheering on my beloved team. Last year's hastily bootlegged wifebeater got downgraded to pajamas after the playoffs, and I hear bison-related fashion was all the rage on the catwalks this fall, but I can't seem to find Sabres gear in ladies' sizes for the life of me. It seems like Ebay would be my best bet- girls gots babies to make, they can't all have time to keep up with the hockey- but the pickings are slim. Allow me to go all Lucretia Mott on Ebay's offerings for "Sabres ladies/womens/girls":

First, the Sabres watch. For when your biological clock isn't doing the job!

The Sabres hat, or as it's referred to in Northern New York, the tuke (or tuq, or took. It's an oral tradition). As IF we'd mess up our hair with a hat, even if it is that delightful it's-a-girl shade of pink. Common sense, people.

The Sabres shirt, only available for ladies in pink. Because nothing says "I'm a serious sports fan, and my team means business" like calligraphy.

The piece de resistance, the Buffalo Sabres cheerleading uniform, featuring that bane of a logo. I'm not entirely sure why the makers chose a cheerleader outfit specifically. Since there are no sidelines, couldn't they have picked something just as arbitrary? Why not a Sabres kitty cat or a Sabres French-Canadian maid?

Same thing? Actually, no. This is a toddler-size version. Get your little girl started on the road to objectification early!

Finally, this sexy little number, which I will gladly accept from any willing patron with $9.99 to spend on advertising my team allegiance/loose morals*. I'm not sure exactly what "one" is, but I think I have an idea, and I'm willing to play along (though I'm going to need a few cocktails if it's Vanek.)
*I'm so not kidding. Size small, tank top.

OK- that feels about right.

Fun night of hockey tonight- I caught most of the second and all of the entertaining third period of the Stars/Avs, and was very impressed with their offense. Shhh- you hear that? It's fantasy owners around the country adding Jaroslav Hlinka.

Still, the most entertaining thing about the whole night was the feature on Rod Brind'Amour between the second and third periods, mainly because it had Rod the Bod delivering the following quote:

"I'm so lucky, I gotta tell ya...I got three beautiful children and- everyone that is a parent has beautiful children and thinks there's are the life's just...great."

Really, Rod?

Every parent has beautiful children?

You ever run that statement past your mom?

Rod Brind'Amour is a great, great hockey player, but uglier than a weevil-ridden tree stump.

Christ, that guy is horrible looking.

In other good news, my cable company now has the NHL Network, channel 458 if you're in Manhattan.

Finally- a nightly wrapup show!

Now, if the Bruins can manage to not totally suck, this should be a darn entertaining season.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

American Hockey Fan Season Preview: Boston Bruins

In case you guys didn't catch Kevin Paul Dupont's recent Sunday Boston Globe column, he really went on a tear. I'll tell you, nobody can hate on the Bruins like Dupont. I quote:

"The Bruins today are New Orleans-after-Katrina low, and in theory it should be easier to reassemble one ramshackle franchise than an entire city gone asunder."


The Boston Bruins are in worse shape than post-Katrina New Orleans?

OK, they were bad, but were they really Two-part Spike Lee documentary on HBO bad?

Yeah, they had a hard season, and I appreciate the lyrical turn, but I gotta tell ya KPD, that's a fucked up statement.

The Boston Bruins:
In WAY better shape than these dudes.

As bad as they were, they still finished better than both the Flyers and Capitals, or as Dupont might refer to them, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Let's not forget, this was a team that remained in the chase for a playoff spot through February, and then crapped the bed on two crucial home and home series against the Rangers and Canadiens, who were both at the time, vulnerable.

Those four games, from March 18th through the 24th, were must win games, and when they blew them, all of them, the Bruins were done, and they knew it. They would win only one more game that season, and it would be tough to argue that anybody who wasn't just up from Providence was trying too hard. I'm not saying that if they had busted their balls to win those games, anything would have come of it, but if they hadn't been gutted by those back to back home and homes(thanks unbalanced schedule), maybe they wouldn't have quit. If they played up to their ability, and added, say- 13 points in nine games to their final standings it makes them look a hell of a lot more like the playoff team that they had the potential to be.

Don't get me wrong, the Bruins were a painfully inconsistent team all of last season, but that's a flaw that I lay at the feet of the coaching staff, which has been replaced. I'm not saying that I have complete confidence in Claude Julien, but at least his technique of motivating the team won't be pitching a fucking bear head around the locker room. Adding Manny Fernandez in goal is a huge improvement over Hannu Toivenen, who they shipped to St. Louis for a used puck bag Swedish prospect Carl Soderburg.

Also, it bears mentioning that the evening of that first crucial game they played against the Rangers was one of the first games (if not the first) that Aaron Ward played as a Boston Bruin. Ward was traded from the Rangers because of a dispute with Jaromir Jagr, something that should endear him to Bruins fans of all stripes.

Ward is a solid defenseman who despite his big mouth in the locker room, has quietly and efficiently won a number of Stanley Cups over a long and successful career. Plus, whatever he hits, he destroys. He came into a situation that was already deteriorating, and I feel like a competitor like that has gotta have a really big chip on his shoulder for a fresh start. As a lifelong Bruins fan, I have my eye on Aaron Ward for a big season, and when I say a big season, I mean it not in the sense of putting up stats. I'm looking for a guy who can get things done, not be too flashy, not go over the top, just get in there, and show the young guys how to fucking win in this league.

While the team certainly has a lot of gelling to do, they certainly have the tools to roll a couple of lines.

Marc Savard is as good a setup man as anybody in the game today, and is just three fights and one soul patch away from being a beloved Boston sports hero. Here's a tip Marc: if you want to stand out as Marc Savard the hockey player, maybe you oughta try to distinguish yourself from Marc Savard the Hypnotist.

I mean, for Christ's sake, dude.

You're a great fucking hockey player- there's no need to have the facial hair that Kevin Costner sported on a photo shoot for the AARP.

Sturm, Savard and Murray can Score. Patrice Bergeron has it in him to be an elite player in this league, and PJ Axelsson is one of the finest shorthanded players in the NHL. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the Bruin management's pledge to make the Bruins a "harder team to play against" comes true, having some crafty shorthanded guys will really help us out. Chuck Kobasew is no slouch in that department either, not that he really had that much of a chance to prove himself last year.

So look- am I saying that the Boston Bruins are going to win the Stanley Cup this season?


That is exactly what I'm saying.

I mean, fuck it, who picked the Canes in '06?

Monday, October 01, 2007


OK- so the NHL season is, um- under way?

I don't know about the rest of you guys, but boy, I'm none too impressed with the NHL's season "Premiere." Above and beyond the fact that the debut game was on HD Net, which pretty much means the only people watching were close personal friends of Dan Rather, it's also kind of tough to really feel like the season has kicked off, when the rest of the games don't start for three or four days.

I did catch Sunday's game on Versus, and the game was "eh." There was about 10 minutes of great hockey during the second period, and I felt that as much as the British fans, (and me as well) love a good fight, did Scott Thornton really think it was a good idea to drop his gloves and start swinging when his teammate had possession in the offensive zone?

Also, I was upset that we didn't see more footage between periods of what hockey is really like in Britain. Hockey fans in Britain are a small passionate group who love their game despite the fact that football is FAR more popular. You know, kind of hockey fans in America, who are a small passionate group who love their game despite the fact that football is FAR more popular.


According to Yahoo sports, there were a lot Manchester Phoenix and Belfast Giants shirts in the crowd -- two of the 10 teams in Britain's Elite Ice Hockey League. Why didn't we get to see a little footage of these guys in action?

Seeing British hockey players would be entertaining for, at the very least, the dentistry. If there were ever a group of people with worse teeth than Englishmen, it's hockey players, and the confluence of craggy horrors that would be on display in those player's mouths would be worth the price of admission, even if the hockey is terrible.