Friday, May 30, 2008

Thank God there is no hockey tonight.

Cause you know what would crush the Stanley Cup Final in tonight's ratings?


Jesus, I love the spelling bee.

It's the perfect storm or nerdiness, child abuse, and white-knuckled tension.

Check this out:

I know that I bitch a lot about NHL promos, but I'll tell ya, the NHL would do OK to get a couple of these kids up on a podium and get them to try to spell the more difficult names of some of the NHL stars.

Here's how it goes:


STERN JUDGE (Voiceover): Afinogenov.

KID: Definition please?

JUDGE: The last name of Maxim Afinogenov, an All Star Right Wing for the National Hockey League's Buffalo Sabres.

KID: Language of Origin please?

JUDGE: Russian

KID: Part of Speech please?

JUDGE: Noun, proper name.

KID: Afinogenov?

JUDGE: Afinogenov.

KID: Afinogenov?

JUDGE: Afinogenov.

KID: Can you use it in a sentence please?

JUDGE: After picking off a pass in the neutral zone, Afinogenov electrified the crowd by beating two defenders and scoring.

KID: Afinogenov. A-F-I-N-A-G-E-N-O-V. Afinogenov.




VOICEOVER: The players of the National Hockey League: Hard to Spell, Easy to watch.


Then rinse and repeat with a different kid, doing Giguere, Kostitsyn, Datsyuk, you name it. You get a funny little sketch, and a great hockey highlight.


You see NHL?

How fucking hard is that?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great hockey game last night-



I feel like last night was some of the first really entertaining playoff hockey games I've seen since the first round. Even though I'm loathe to really root for the Penguins, I gotta tell you, it's nice to see a series not go 3-0 right off the bat. Also, I can't help but root for old friend Hal Gill, even though he was certainly a bit of a mixed bag in Boston. Still, despite how well the Penguins played with the lead (something they have done in almost every one of their victories through what has been a relatively easy path to the Final)I can't really say I like their chances.

Despite what the scoreboard said at the end of the game, the Penguins started this game very, very weak, virtually daring Detroit to beat them by not putting a 5 on 5 shot on the net until halfway through the first period. For a team that seemingly needs to get a lead to win games, this does not bode well.

And yeah, I know, they rallied back against the Rangers in game one of that series, but c'mon, that was the Rangers, who simply tried to sit on a lead and blew it. If the Penguins are going to win this series (or at least make it competitive,) they need to take it to Detroit early and often, and that means Malkin needs to start shooting. I know, on paper, the Penguins are one of the best defensive teams in the playoffs. But if I'm getting into a defensive battle, I'd rather not do it in a zero-zero contest against a team that has Nic Lidstrom playing 25 minutes a game.

Also, a special shout out should go to the officials in this game, who allowed a simply splendid stretch of something like 6 furious minutes of play in the third period without a single whistle. It stood in stark contrast to the last moments of the Celtics/Pistons game I watched after the hockey ended, a game that took half an hour to run the last 45 seconds off the clock in a series of timeouts, fouls and free throws that practically put me to sleep.

Now, I know, debating that hockey is better than basketball (or any sport) is kind of ridiculous, especially since a die hard fan of either sport isn't going to have his mind changed, but I will say this- the tension and excitement of the last part of a hockey game is (with the rare exception of a penalty shot) played out while the game is going on, actively, rather than passively. In the waining moments of a basketball game the drama is played out and heightened during stoppages, while players stand around waiting to watch somebody sink or miss a free throw.

in my mind, it is those passive moments of the game, (something also ever present in baseball and to a lesser extent, football) which I find inferior to the active costant motion of hockey, and for that matter, the field Lacrosse game, which I also think is just great- the NCAA championships and semis were the best thing I've seen on ESPN since they cancelled NHL 2nite.

So we have a game four Friday, and it'd be nice to see the Penguins pull out a win and make a series out of it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So- what do you think will beat the NBC coverage of the Stanley Cup Final tonight ratings-wise?

ABC's Wife Swap?

I doubt it. While I have never seen this show, the title seems to suggest it's like a big game show where you get to fuck somebody else's wife. If this was true, I would love it, and watch it very week, to see the destroyed lives unfolding before my eyes. Sadly, I don't think the wives have to fuck their new husbands, I just think they have to tolerate their new families, which they won't be able to do, especially seeing as most famlies can't even tolerate each other. If people want to see arguing, they are better off watching Sidney Crosby bitching at the ref.

Advantage: NHL

Fox's: So You Think You can Dance?

Again, I think the NHL has a chance to beat this. I quote the immortal words of Reggie Dunlop, who once screamed at a ref who was calling a penalty on his Charlestown Chiefs: "What are you running out here, a fuckin' dancefloor?!" However, in the case of the first nationally televised Stanley Cup Final game on network television featuring not only Sidney Crosby, but recently concussed Red Wing Johann Franzen, it's safe to say yes, the National Hockey League will be running a fucking dancefloor tonight. Expect lots of power plays. If you want a dancefloor, you'll get one on both channels, which might pull some viewers interested in such a thing. Frustrated hardcore hockey fans will do what they always do, and yell at their television screens.

Advantage: NHL

CBS's: Price is Right Spectacular:

This is a close call. I'm gonna say if it's with Bob Barker, it kills the NHL. If it's Drew Carey, the game has a shot.

Advantage: TIE: NHL/BARKER

Could it actually be that the NHL could win the network ratings tonight?

Lemme know what you think. I'll tell ya, if this game sucks, I'm flipping over to the Celtics/Pistons on TNT.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Friend Bob Powers-

-has written a book, called "You Are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero," and despite it's eerie applicability to every member of the Pittsburgh Penguins offense, it has nothing to do with hockey.

At least I don't think it does.

This book is an updated version of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books I used to read when I was a kid, and I'm super proud of him, as back when I was the editor-in-chief of Jest Magazine, we ran an early version of this story, which he has now expanded into a hilarious, dark and disturbing book.

So I say it has nothing to do with hockey, but who knows? When I flipped through it, the choices I made led me to having sex with my ex-girlfriend, then eventually demanding that a kidnapper shoot my father in the head. I tried a few other storylines, but it was that one that worked out the best in the end. Still, I haven't read all the other possible choices and endings, so who knows? Maybe there is some choice you can make that will have you playing on a line with Sidney Crosby, who (unless you happen to be a member of the Detroit Red Wings) you are currently tied with in point production in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final.

If you want to try the book out, and make some choices yourself, click here, then go buy it here!

Friday, May 23, 2008

What I'm doing tonight-

- to continue the "Things I've been enjoying recently that aren't hockey" theme (Finals start tomorrow) I'm seeing Van Halen tonight.

An extra ticket came through through a bunch of buddies of mine, and I decided to go. I was excited about it all morning, and then I had a depressing thought.

I saw Van Halen 20 years ago.

I'm not 35 yet, so it's slowly becoming a more common occurrence that I can say that phrase. It was one thing when I said things like "I haven't been on the monkey bars for 20 years!" But when it's things that I still like to do, that's a milestone, there.

Not to knock the monkey bars, but you know what I mean.

Yep, I saw Van Halen 20 years ago.

Of course, it's better than "30 pounds ago," which also applies, but still- Ooof.

Granted, when I saw them last time, it was on the "Monsters of Rock" tour, but times have changed. You know,other than that whole "guy named George Bush in the White House and a new Indiana Jones movie coming out" thing.

For one thing, in 1988, the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Anybody watch SNL this weekend?

Well I did, and I thought it was pretty funny.

I've been watching a lot of popular entertainment recently, mainly because with the exception of a few rare sparks of effort by Dallas and Marty Turco, both the Eastern and Western Conference championship series have been desperately fucking dull.

That said, they are mercifully over now, and hopefully we'll have a decent cup final, although I wouldn't be surprised if the Penguins don't win a single game.

That said, here are some of the things I've been enjoying more than hockey these days:

The Iron Man movie:
Not a revolutionary piece of cinema, but marketed honestly, which I appreciate. The movie was called Iron Man, and guess what was in it? An Iron Man.
Several in fact. The only way I can see anybody leaving that movie angry would be if they hated receiving more than what they paid for."What! I was expecting one Iron Man, singular, and instead I got Iron Men, in the plural! Fraud!" Nope, it was fun, featured good Robert Downey Jr, and had robot fights in it.

Adding Machine: The Musical

My mother-in-law was in town for her birthday this weekend, and like all upper middle class members of the baby boom generation who visit New York City, she finds herself genetically compelled to attend either a Broadway or an off-Broadway show. I'm not quite sure why this is, but I don't mess with it, and it's fun to see a live show from time to time. Plus, it was one of the best reviewed musicals of the season, and described as an extremely bleak, dark comedy, which interests me more than your average overpriced, overblown, watered-down broadway crap. My wife enjoyed it more than I did, but it was certainly a dark, ambitious, funny work of art, and a great night out. Very well acted too, perhaps not well acted enough to convince the NHL on NBC's entire on air broadcast team, but well acted.

Grand Theft Auto IV:
I bought this game, along with an Xbox360 recently, because my beautiful wife, a talented singer and voiceover artist, is one of the voices on the game. I will thank you to take note that I did not purchase this game because I enjoy staying up until 3:00 in the morning killing virtual hookers with rocket launchers, I purchased it because I am a supportive husband. The hooker killing is just a happy offshoot of that support. I did get a fun phone call from my buddy Ted though, (Not that Ted, a different Ted,) who left me a message telling me that he had purchased a copy of Grand Theft Auto, and would like to know which character my wife portrayed, so that he might avoid having sex with her, gunning her down in the street or both. I thought this was damn considerate. I know, it's all show business, but he was right to check in to see if he was crossing a line. It's all good, by the way, as she is actually a character in a sketch about health care on PRL, the Liberty City Public Radio Station. She plays a pharmaceutical rep named Sheila, and eventually gets her head drilled open by a character played by the unrelenting Rick Shapiro, who you might remember from the late, great HBO show Lucky Louie. SNL's Bill Hader is also in that sketch, along with my pal Bryan Tucker, who is a writer on SNL as well.

Which brings me back to hockey.

I was watching SNL last night (thanks, DVR!) and happened to catch a promo, on NBC, for the Stanley Cup Finals on Versus. I have long been a proponent of the theory that the best way to sell hockey is to show hockey, and Versus brought us back to the bad old days in style, showing us a promo for the Stanley Cup Finals starring- yes, a Lawn Chair.


I mean, is promoting this game really so fucking hard?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sharks vs Stars:

American Golf Fan

Roy Scheider and Samuel L Jackson are both big stars.

So how will the Stars fare tonight?

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