Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tickets still available-

-to what might be the biggest game on the NHL schedule before the playoffs start.

The Washington Capitals play the Carolina Hurricanes in D.C. on April 1st, and the Caps trail the Southeast division leading 'Canes by just two points.

There has been a lot of talk about Alexander Ovechkin being named MVP of the league this year, and this may be the game that decides it.

Oh, by the way- the Versus network will be showing Nashville vs. St. Louis.

Nice work, fellas.

I just checked Ticketmaster, and found two ninety dollar seats on the blue line, club level. Or, on the Caps ticket exchange site, I found an ice level pair behind the penalty bench for a buck 20 each, or up in the nosebleeds for 55 each. If I lived in DC, I'd be all over that shit. The Caps are encouraging their fans to wear red for the game, an odd choice, since, well- those are the 'canes colors too, but I'll allow it. It's gonna be a battle.

Both teams have three games left, and perhaps the most even schedule of any two clubs racing for a playoff spot. They play each other once, then both teams host the also rans Tampa Bay and Florida one time each before wrapping up the season. This is appropriate, because whichever team that comes up short can ask whichever Florida team just beat them for a lift to the sunshine state where they can spend April on the beach.

The writing is on the wall for these teams. They have to play somebody really good at hockey (each other), and then a couple of teams who'll be really good at, well- tanning.

Still, the 'Canes just dropped a game to Tampa Bay recently, and if Washington runs the table, that looks to be the game they will look back on.

Thanks to the Old Bruins Fan, I found this cool chart on TSN that tracks the final playoff spots. And certainly there will be a few spirited contests in the bottom of the East, and it'll be fun to watch Vancouver scrambling to get in, but from where I'm sitting, that April 1st game in Washington is the game to watch.

No foolin'.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Client #16

Looks like it's time to add another event to the Sean Avery Olympics:



Once again, it looks like Sean Avery's mouth has gotten him in trouble. But this time, instead of using his mouth to generate those juicy soundbites we can't live without, it appears he used it to arrange for someone to have sex with him for money.

I, for one, am shocked and disappointed. You expect this kind of thing from your elected officials and your Martin Sheen descendants. But professional athletes? It's heartbreaking.

And the fact that it's Sean Avery accused of soliciting prostitutes is especially painful. That a player known as much for his quiet humility as for his trademark stylish eyewear could be caught up in such sleaze is just appalling. I mean, next you're going to tell me that Todd Bertuzzi is rude to waitresses. I just don't want to believe it.

In fact, I don't believe it. Why should I? Avery denies the allegations outright, saying that it's likely the handiwork of his many enemies. In fact, I don't know why that wasn't the headline: "Avery Framed by Enemies." The Daily News is probably just afraid that these mysterious and powerful enemies will turn on them. After all, these shadowy figures are like chess grandmasters, seeing 10 or 20 moves ahead. Consider:

First they planted Avery's name and private cell phone number in the database of a prostitution ring. Then they arranged for a federal investigation to out Elliot Spitzer as a client of a different prostitution ring, knowing that the increased media attention in the wake of that scandal would lead to further digging into prostitution in general. Then they orchestrated the leak of database to the Daily News, and here we are.

Damn you, enemies of Sean Avery! I won't stand idly by while you smear one of the NHL's greatest heroes!

(Please remember this post if I ever get busted for hiring prostitutes. After a rousing defense like this, Avery's enemies have got to be plenty pissed at me, too.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Credit where it's due.

OK- nobody shits on the NHL promotions more than I do.

That ridiculous gladiator campaign, the Keanu Reeves "Come and Get it Boys" spot, that thing where they had the chick form Heroes licking the Cup, whatever. The NHL has traditionally been awful at promoting itself.

My stance has always been, if you want to see hockey, show hockey at it's best. Show the game, show the plays show the history. Or, barring that, just let Canadians do it. Seriously, they have a better feel for this kind of stuff.

Then, this clip that I just saw for the first time during tonight's Flyers/Devils game (Lets go Devils! In Regulation!) finally did the trick.

This here is an excellent, excellent hockey promo.

Gave me goosebumps when I saw it for the first time, then did once again when I watched it here on YouTube.

Great job NHL- never let it be said I don't give credit when it's due.

Retaliation for Begin hit?

As I write this, the Boston Bruins have won two games in a row without Marc Savard, the teams leading scorer, and arguably, ALL of their offense. Granted, the bench has stepped it up considerably, with guys like Peter Schaeffer and Phil Kessel finding the back of the net, but if Savard is out for the playoffs, or even playing with an injury that seriously hampers his ability to produce offense, it's safe to say that the Bruins chances of doing anything in the playoffs are effectively nil.

Savard was cross-checked in the back by Montreal's Steve Begin, and according the Boston Herald, has broken a small bone in his back. Granted, the article goes on to say that if you break your back, this is the best way to do it, but still- a guy on a team that has humiliated the Bruins all season long has taken out their leading scorer on a dirty play that was not penalized.

Now, with the Bruins seeming to solidify their standing, there is a pretty good chance that they will be facing the Canadiens in the playoffs. So if that happens, the question becomes, what happens to Begin? Are there going to be headhunters going after him?

I remember a time in this league when I relished seeing the "Kill Ulf" banners that hung in the old Boston Garden, and when the Penguins came to town, Sammuelson found himself a healthy scratch. Somehow, back in those days, that seemed like a lot of fun, frontier justice, and if he's going to do the crime, he better expect to pay a penalty.

But now, in the era of the NHL when the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident still hasn't faded away, it's hard to really root for violent retaliation. And I don't think it's out of line to draw the comparison. When the Bertuzzi incident happened, Steve Moore had hit Marcus Naslund, the Canucks leading scorer up high in a previous game, in an unpenalized incident. During the next game, the Avalanche were blowing out the Canucks, embarrassing them. Obviously, I can't defend Bertuzzi's actions, but the circumstances were certainly volatile.

And now, with the Bruins, we have a leading scorer knocked out, and an embarrassed team, who has lost every single game against the Canadiens this year. I'd like to say that if the team meets in the playoffs that somebody like Lucic, Chara, Reich, or Shawn Thornton squares off with Begin fair and square, and they settle it at center ice, but I don't know. If it goes badly, and Begin is seriously hurt in a similar manner to the way Moore was, I'm not sure the game could survive it.

Something to think about.

A musical message for the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Yeah, I know I've done this before, but I just hate the stupid Maple Leafs so much, I just can't help it.


I thought that Leafs fell in the autumn.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Battle Roy-al

OK- So you guys have heard about the big fight with Patrick Roy's son right?

It looks like he really got his nose out of joint.


I mean, you never know, this kind of thing is big news in Canada, but here in the states, we're all about college basketball and the Red Sox in Japan. Seriously, the only way the American press is going to cover something Patrick Roy's son does is if the governor of New York crosses state lines to have sex with him.

And you never know. Here in the tri-state region, our governors are horny as hell.

But, anyway, for those of you who didn't know, here's a capsule review from Small White Ball:

In a QMJHL playoff game between bitter rivals Quebec and Chicoutimi, Quebec was losing 7-1 when things got a bit chippy as they tend to do when you're getting your collective asses handed to you. During some 5-on-5 brawl time, Quebec head coach and all-time NHL great Patrick Roy ordered his goalie to skate down and fight the other goalie. After several attempts, he broke free and it was on. After pummeling Chicoutimi's netminder, the Remparts' goalie then battled a defenseman on his way off his ice.

He's got the Youtube videos on his site too, but it's all in French, and I didn't really feel like embedding it.

Both Roy's were suspended for the incident, and the younger Roy showed yet another flash of his father when he said "I cannot hear anything they say, because I have two middle fingers plugging my ears."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Old Time Hockey Meets New Media

Regular readers of this blog know that I've been involved with online media - podcasting and the like - for quite some time (obligatory Unleashed plug here). So it should come as no surprise that I'm a subscriber to the various podcasts made available by the NHL. Like much of what the league does promotion-wise, they kind of suck. I mean, it's not that the content is BAD, exactly, it just falls way short of its potential.

For the most part, the podcasts appear to be chopped-up segments from the NHL's weekly Westwood One/XM radio show:


Doc's Classic NHL

Doc Emrick, who may be the best play-by-play man in the league, hosts a weekly feature highlighting some the sport's seminal figures. For those of us who didn't grow up with the game, it's a great way to get caught up on the last hundred years or so, in an easy-to-swallow capsule form. (NOTE: Actual swallowing not necessary). From this week's piece on Gordie Howe, I learned that Mr. Hockey actually came out of retirement in his mid-forties to play on a line with his two sons in the then-nascent WHA. It gives me hope that Martin Brodeur will stick around long enough to back up his goaltender son, assuming that a) Lou Lamoriello signs him and b) cloning technology has not been perfected by the time Marty is ready to hang it up.


That Announcer Voice

The one that says "Visit for the latest stats, scores, news, and highlights." It is terrifying. They put more computerized vocal effects on that guy than Britney Spears, and with an equally appealing result. I understand that hockey is an extremely manly sport, but that throaty, borderline-Satanic rumble makes Barry White sound like Paul Lynde. It's a little much.


Sam Rosen

Can anyone explain to me how this guy has a job in broadcasting? You've heard the expression "He's got a face for radio?" Well, Sam Rosen does. But he's also got a voice for silent movies. I understand the NHL offers a 20-hour-a-week internship just squeegeeing up the spittle that collects on the inside window of the Rangers' broadcast booth (3 credits, must be a currently-enrolled college student). Seriously, Sam Rosen makes Sylvester the Cat sound like David Niven. (NOTE: This will be the last "A makes B sound like C" joke in this post, unless I think of another one).

So what to do?

One solution would be to follow the example of owners like the Capitals' Ted Leonsis who, as you may have heard, is leading the charge when it comes to exploiting (in a positive way) the enthusiasm and creativity of the fan community. Believe it or not, we can be more than Score-O contestants and t-shirt gun targets. A more deeply involved fan community will have more cause to be evangelical when it comes to promoting the game...there's an army out here waiting to be mobilized, and a country waiting to be reintroduced to the greatest sport there is. Check out this, this, this, and this for a few samples of what AHF did in DC with some home video equipment, hardly any preparation, and zero budget. With the full cooperation of the league, and some dedicated resources, we (the collective we) could do so much more.

There are people who read this blog who aren't even hockey fans...and I think it's because of the unique editorial perspective we provide (also the Lauren Pronger pictures). And as true fans of the game, I know the staff at AHF would love nothing better than to help the effort to it regain its former standing. But it will take some open minds at NHL Headquarters, and admittedly no small amount of courage to relinquish some modicum of control over the brand in an effort to find the real pulse of the fan community.

Or, you know- we can leave it to the guys who design hockey stick sculptures.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Ron Tuggnut:

March 21st, 1991: Ron Tugnutt plays a game so extraordinary that he works his way into the American Hockey Fan Hall of Fame:

"Greatest Goaltending Performance by a Player Whose Name Sounds Vaguely Dirty."

Condolences to our runner-up, Darren Puppa.

Thanks to Kukla and Joe Pelletier's Greatest Hockey Legends for the find...

Things I hate more than Alexei Kovalev:

-Eye Pain
-The suffering of innocent children
-Rachel Ray
-Gruesome anti-smoking ads with photos of cancer riddled lungs.
-That watery feeling you get in your mouth seconds before you vomit.
-pouring a bowl of cereal into a bowl, realizing you have no milk, and having to pour the cereal back into the box.
-Al Q'aida

Jesus, I hate Alexei Kovalev.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy 60th, Bobby Orr!

Apparently, the Bruins are running some kind of video tribute tonight to Bobby Orr in honor of his 60th birthday today.

Happiest of happy birthdays to the best who ever played.

Here's a great clip I found on Youtube of a Bobby Orr compilation taken from WSBK TV38, where I used to watch the Bruins all the time as a kid.

(Warning- this clip might not be safe for work, if you work someplace where your employer frowns on you yelling "You gotta be fucking kidding me!" and "Holy Shit!" That's what I did while watching this.)

I'll tell ya, if the Bruins can't pull some inspiration from this, I don't what'll get 'em going.

Maybe Dana Hersey and the Movie Loft?

(I'm a particular fan of the way Dana says the word "Pappy."

Monday, March 17, 2008

How it came to this.

Well, now that we have returned from Washington DC, and our trip to the press box, the question on everyone's lips has been: "How the hell exactly did you pull that off?"

The answer to that question is simple.

We pulled this off for one reason, and one reason only. Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Capitals, is an extraordinary man, a forward thinking hockey promoter and a class act. Even if you have any reason to doubt my first three assertions, you simply must agree with my final one:

The man is a hell of a good sport.

For over a year, Ted Leonsis was a favorite target of this blog, both in posts and even in a sidebar category, entitled, if my memory serves, "Multinational corporations or executives who despite having access to mammoth promotional budgets or media empires of their own have nonetheless started blogs in a pathetic attempt to seem 'with it."

At the time, my view of blogs was slightly narrower than it is today. I viewed blogs as something that gave people with no access to the mainstream media a platform for their words and pictures to be seen around the world. If you were in charge of a major media outlet, you already HAD a voice- so if you came down off the top of the food chain to steal our extremely tiny slice of the pie, you were an enemy, plain and simple.

So when I heard that the owner of the Washington Capitals had a blog, I was a little testy to begin with, a feeling that only intensified when I read Ted's 101 list, a collection of "life accomplishments and goals" which I still find a little flabbergasting. I didn't know at the time that this list was created after he had survived an airline crash, and he used it in part to motivate himself to rise to the position he now occupies. Had I known this, I may have gone a little easier on him. But not knowing that, I felt that it came off a little braggy, and that was all I needed. I took every opportunity to mock, goof on, and ridicule this symbol of the high and mighty hockey owner who somehow hadn't found the time to accomplish his stated goal of owning a mountain home (#27 on the list) despite the fact that he'd had an entire canceled hockey season to look for one.

And that was a big part of it as well. I've still never really forgiven the NHL for cancelling an entire season, blowing their TV deal, and generally marketing the game without seeming to understand the things that make it great. Is it all the owners fault? Probably not. But they all had a voice in this, certainly a greater one than the fans, who were the ones who suffered, and then in droves, left. As an American Hockey Fan, I've been pissed at a lot of people who I hold responsible for the lowered national standing of the greatest game on earth. I picked on a lot of people around the league, with the same reckless abandon and salty humor I learned from watching the old Boston Garden Gallery Gods, who I used to sit in awe of at Bruins games when I was a kid. I'd sit there listening to them bang on those old yellow heating units at the top of the old Garden as they rained down profanity and blue collar wit on officials, slacking members of the Bruins and their hated opponents alike.

If going to Fenway Park was like visiting a holy cathedral to baseball, going to the old Garden for a Bruins game was like hanging out on a pirate ship. As Fred Cusick remembers in his book " Voice of the Bruins" one famous heckle happened to then coach Harry Sinden in the late 1960's, when after a particularly embarrassing loss, one fan yelled "Hey Harry! There's a bus leaving for Oklahoma in the morning! Be under it!"

Well, I don't live in Boston anymore, the atmosphere in rinks around the country is certainly a tad more civil than it was back in the rough and tumble days (at least sometimes it is) and I felt that if the league itself either wouldn't or couldn't promote and market itself while including some of the swashbuckling, irreverent fun that has always been a part of hockey for me, well, I'd better do my best to make sure someone is.

And so, based on that flash decision, Ted Leonsis became another colorful bad guy in a list of villains that included Gary Bettman, the Versus Network, hack sportswriters who pick on hockey, Ulf Samuelsson, and whoever thought it was a good idea to cut away from playoff overtime to show the pregame of a frigging horserace.

By the way, that is not a complete list.

Maybe I need a 101 list of my own.

I digress.

Either way, I'd dump on Ted whenever the chance arose, and I was doing just that last year, around the beginning of the 2007-2008 season when yes, I stepped over a line. I'm not sure if Ted Leonsis was aware of the existence of when I called him a douchebag, or an ego case, but when I called him a child molester?

He paid attention.

OK, I didn't really call him a child molester. Or at least, not in a serious way. Just in a kind of kidding around way, you know, the way I once asserted that my friend Eric, the lawyer and Ranger Fan may have been into German Fecal Porn. I mean, I said I didn't know if he was or he wasn't. Either way, yeah- I mentioned Ted's name, and very well might have said something potentially libelous.

Turns out he didn't find it funny. It was certainly not the smartest thing I've ever done, but sadly, not the dumbest either.

But if I suspected that the aforementioned post wasn't my finest hour, I was certainly reminded of that fact when, the next day, I received an email at my AmericanHockeyFan email address entitled "Was that post really necessary?"

You go ahead and guess who sent it.

I won't disclose in this story any actual quotes that Ted wrote me, as they were not written with the expectation of publication, but the gist of the very brief, polite note was to ask me if I would reconsider using his name on my blog in that manner. Now, I don't know what you do when a billionaire asks you to "reconsider something" but when it happens to me, I fucking reconsider, and fast.

I knew that if Ted Leonsis wanted to make my life unpleasant, unpleasant it would become. My image of myself as glorious crusader in the tradition of the Gallery Gods was fast disintegrating into that of the unfortunate Flyers fan who after screaming at Tie Domi and banging on the glass had the terrible misfortune of falling into the penalty box with him.

I was in a pickle.

While I was deciding what to do about this, I quickly put up two other posts, to push the offending blog post down the page, and called, well- my buddy Eric, you remember, the lawyer who I accused of maybe being into German Fecal Porn? (He's not, by the way.) After a brief discussion, Eric told me that my best course of action was to take the post down. While the constitution might be on my side, and he stressed MIGHT, (See: People versus Larry Flynt) he told me that when it came to resources, there was no way I could afford a court battle if Ted wanted one, and if he did, it would hurt me far more than it would hurt him.

I also forwarded Ted's email to Ben, my co-writer and engineer here at AHF with the caption "Now what?"

Ben replied with the following 14 word email:

"Uh, take it the fuck down? That guy could sue us off the planet."

I listened to the advice of both of my friends, thought about it carefully over the weekend, then sent Mr. Leonsis the following email:

Mr. Leonsis-

Ritch Duncan here, from American Hockey Fan.

First off, I am flattered that you took the time to respond to me. I am a comedian and a satirist, and it is rare, especially in this medium, that the target of satire takes the time to respond to one's work. Additionally, I'd like to thank you for your persistent and dogged support of the hockey blogging community. You have been the unquestioned leader among all hockey owners in terms of granting access and legitimacy to this young art form, and I commend you for it.

Secondly, this is not the first time that a prominent member of the hockey community has taken issue with my writing, and as I have done in the past, I am happy to discuss this in private, instead of splashed across the front of my blog. While in the short term, posting that you emailed me would certainly have boosted my readership, in the long term it would have compounded the problem, something I am reluctant to do without first letting you know where I am coming from. You did me the honor of writing me a polite note expressing your feelings, and I am happy to do you the same courtesy.

You have asked me two things: one if that post was really necessary, and two, if I would reconsider using your name in this manner in my blog.

As to your first question, "necessity" is hard to quantify. I'm not writing about life and death here, I'm writing comedy for hockey fans, and hockey fans happen to be an irreverent lot. One could very easily argue that much of the dialogue in the movie Slap Shot isn't necessary, nor are many of the outlandish statements of a Don Cherry or Sean Avery, but regardless, there is a precedent for it in the entertainment this community enjoys.

To answer the second question first, I have been reconsidering "using your name in this manner," all weekend long in fact, and to provide a small bit of cover while I have been, I have put up two more posts, something I normally don't do over the weekend, to at the very least push the controversial post down the page. Additionally, while you were not specific about the manner in which your name was used, I'll go ahead and assume you are taking issue with the satirical assertion I made that you might be interested in molesting children.

If that is the case, rest assured, I don't have any reason to believe that you want to have sex with children, and I think the post makes that pretty clear. The post is based on a silly cartoon, and the issue of molestation is only brought up to provide an entry point into making fun of your 101 list and your commercial with Alex Ovechkin.

I have given a great deal of thought about the question of either editing out the references to child molestation or removing the post altogether, and I'd like to be upfront about why exactly I am uncomfortable with that. From a first amendment perspective, the idea of censoring or removing an obvious joke at the expense of a public figure, especially a joke that no right-thinking person could possibly interpret as true, merely because said public figure finds it offensive sets a horrible precedent. Additionally, if I remove a post, I owe it to my readers to explain why I have removed or edited my work, and that could again, make this issue larger than it need be.

Either way, I would be happy to reassure you that I will never again refer to your name in the context of molesting children ever again on my blog.

Best of luck in the upcoming season,

Ritch Duncan

Again, without permission, I won't reprint what he wrote me back, but I will say that he wrote me a long, thoughtful response, explaining that by doing what I did, I was in fact hurting my standing in the blogging community and my site's standing. He also explained a bit about his background, the fact that he had written the list at age 24 as the result of a plane crash, was a son of an immigrant and how as a young man he used to haunt the comedy clubs in Boston. He described the kind of comedy that I was using in that post as the same kind of lazy comedy he recognized from amateurs, an accusation that certainly applied to that post. He went on to say he respected my standing on a first amendment right, and as a proponent of blogs he would let it slide, adding that I was a writer who was clearly better than that post. He thanked me for my response and signed off.

At that point, I felt like a bit of an idiot.

An idiot who was relieved that he wasn't about to get sued off the planet, sure, but an idiot just the same. Here was a guy who I had depicted as a two-dimensional ass, responding with integrity to a half bit punk who had given him no real reason to. I immediately took his name out of my sidebar, and removed all reference to him in the offending post. Not because I had to, or the law compelled me to, but because the guy had won me over. He could have smashed this blog and me to pieces, but he didn't, because he recognized something that I somehow didn't for quite a while.

Blogs are for everybody.

It doesn't matter how much money you make, whether you own a media outlet, a hockey team, or whether you even own a computer. If you have access to a library, you can get your words to the world, and he wasn't willing to crack down on that, even when he was the target of a stupid, immature assault that he had every reason to demand be taken down, and yet he didn't demand it.

He's a guy who feels like the internet is the future of hockey, and he let it slide.

I sent him the following note:

Thanks, Ted-

How about that for an irony? The second you stand up for your constitutional right to call a guy an idiot, he ends up responding in such an upfront manner that you don't much want to anymore.

You make sensible points, and I'll amend the blog.

Good luck with this Backstrom kid, I'll be watching.


Ritch Duncan

He replied with a simple thank you, and low and behold, several days later he emailed me to ask if I'd like to come watch a Bruins game from the Press Box sometime, with a full press credential. I immediately shot him off the following note:

Ted, that's a tremendously nice offer.

Heck, had I known you were such a gentleman, I'd have called you a child molester years ago...

Here's hoping both the Caps and Bruins are healthy and competing for a playoff spot when March rolls around!



And so it was written and so it was done. Scroll down for the fruits of our trip.

The only regret I have about the trip was it fell during Spring Break, so Ted was on vacation and I didn't get the chance to shake his hand and thank him to his face.

So I guess at the end of the day, I have the following advice for those of you sports bloggers who are interested in getting press credentials:

I am not, repeat, not saying that it is ever a good idea to irresponsibly and potentially libelously call a billionaire a child molester. Doing so is reckless, stupid and likely to land you in serious trouble.

I'm just saying it worked out pretty well for me.

As I have said over and over since I started this blog, the National Hockey League will grow and prosper on the strength of not just of it's game, which has no equal, but of it's characters, and I am here to tell you that Ted Leonsis is one of them.

Many thanks once again to Ted, his team, and support staff at the Verizon Center, who made our stay a pleasant one. Believe me when I say this, I sincerely hope that the Carolina Hurricanes don't win another single goddamn game this season.

Lets Go Caps.

You know, unless they meet the Bruins in the playoffs.

I have my integrity too, after all.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In all seriousness-

- Many thanks to Ted Leonsis, Kurt Kehl, the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, National Hockey League and all of the staff and crew here at the Verizon Center.

We had a great time, and hope we could show you a side of the game that the average American Hockey Fan doesn't see that often. And no, I'm not just talking about me watching hockey sober.

Although I admit, that is rare.

There will be a full wrap up along with more man on the street video when we get back home.

What a great trip.

I mean, who has more fun than us when traveling from New York to Washington?

OK, other than Eliot Spitzer.

Thanks again- See y'all back in the big apple!

So, how'd it end?

We took off early to beat the traffic.

Seriously- help a brother out!

Pre-Shootout Update

Ritch: still not drunk.

More on this as it develops.

Great overtime-


If the B's pull this out, you're looking at Alex Auld as your number one star.

Shootout to come.

To Overtime we go-

Bonus hockey!

With a win, the Bruins will move ahead of the Rangers.

Fuck this, I'm watching hockey.

AHF Live Videoblog #4

I saw the Geico Caveman in the Men's Bathroom.

I'm serious.

I'm standing there in between the second and third period, waiting to take a leak.

The caveman walks in.

I don't say anything, because really, what do you say? This poor guy has been waving at people non-stop for the last two periods, answering hockey trivia and riding around on the zamboni.

I figured I could let the dude piss in peace, without saying something like "Hey- no painting on the walls, OK?"

But honestly, it was kind of like a Geico commercial. just the two of us, wating for an available urinial when the caveman pipes up.

"Hey- do you do standup?"

I do do stand up so I look back at the caveman and say- "um- yeah."

He says "Yeah, I've performed with you before- it's Eric Andres under all this makeup."

Eric is a very funny guy, by the way.

Check out his standup here.

Taking a quick break from posting video

to report that this might be the first hockey game I've been to with Ritch where he wasn't hammered.

AHF: Professionalism Above All

I'm missing a hell of a game here.

One one tie, big hits, great goaltending, and I'm staring at a computer.

Great penalty kill here by the B's.

Wideman on the Bruins just barely held a puck in at the Capitol blue line in the last seconds of the second period. It looked to me like he kept it in, but the linesman blew it dead on an offside. I remarked, "Boy, I don't know about that- he was closer to that than I was, but it looked to me like he kept it in. I'd really like another look at that."

Then, my wife Rachel, who is here doing the on camera interviews for our man on the street video (already shot, needs to be edited) dryly remarked "replay booth is right there, why don't you stop by?"

I decided not to.

I mean what am I supposed to do, knock on the door and say "Hi- Ritch Duncan from American Hockey Fan. So, was that a bullshit offsides or what? Thanks for clearing that up. "

I was just handed another media report, this time for the second period.

Now the Capitals are 0-12 when shooting 5 on 5, 0-4 when skating 5 on 4, 0-3 when skating 4 versus 5, and still 1-1 when skating 5 on 3.

I mean, if you're not gonna take my advice, I don't know what to do for ya.

3rd period starts in 6:00 minutes.

More to come.

AHF Live Videoblog #3

AHF Live Videoblog #2


Kobasew ties the game on the powerplay with a blazing slapshot from the slot off a pass from Lucic.

I scream "Yeah!" Then immediately felt guilty. You don't want to be Mr. fanboy in the press box after all.

I'll tell ya, the Caps really do it right- after every goal and penalty they make a special announcement telling you who, what and when.

They say "Attention Media, that penalty again, was number 12, Chuck Kobasew on an assist from Milan Lucic."

I'll tell ya, it must be crazy up here for basketball.

BIG SAVE by Auld on a quirky play behind the Bruin net.

I yelled again.

It's tough, when you like hockey so much and all.

The second period is under way-

Of the Caps-Bruins game, or as I'm calling it, the "NHL Head Coach Alfred Hitchcock Look-alike Contest."

Here's hoping nobody starts bleeding. I'll just find out later that it was only chocolate syrup.

First Intermission recap:

So far the Caps and the Bruins have been pretty evenly matched, with the five on three being the difference.

Seeing the way the Bruins won the two team's last matchup, (two late goals both scored on five on threes) it's not hard to think the hockey gods are offering a little payback.

I'm looking around the press area, and I was just handed an updated score sheet, filled with stats. The stat sheet is pretty cool, and has all kinds of breakdowns.

Apparently while playing 5 on 5 hockey, the Caps have taken 5 shots for 0 goals, while playing 5 on 4, they have taken 1 shot for no goals, and while playing 5 on three, they have taken 1 shot for 1 goal.

I'm no hockey coach, but if I'm Bruce Boudreau, I'm telling my guys to keep up that 5 on 3 play.

Stick to what works, I always say.

Live from the Verizon Center, Part Two

We're up here in the rafters of the Verizon Center, and it's a lot like being a kid and reading your Dad's porn. A lot of fun, but I keep looking over my shoulder and hoping that nobody finds out what I'm doing and busts me for it.

Also, I'm masturbating.

That's not wrong, right?


Federov just scored on a five on three, in the last seconds of the first period.

With any Luck, Backstrom will tie it up for us.

AHF Live Videoblog #1

We're here!

Sitting in the Press box of the Verizon center!

So far, I've chatted with Andy Brickley, done some man on the street interviews, seen the Bruins warming up with some pre-game soccer and eaten a half of slice of cold pizza.

Stay tuned for more updates, this is fun as hell.

The Geico Caveman is here as well, or as we're referring to him, Chris Chelios.

0-0 in the first.

Stay tuned.

On the road!

Heading to DC now.

We'll be on the scene as the Bruins attempt to drive a stake through the heart of the Washington Capitals' playoff hopes.

The Caps still have two games remaining against Southeast division leading Carolina, so if this one goes bad for the Caps, (or good, to be honest) expect the crowd to be scoreboard watching for the 'Canes/Ottawa game.

More after 3:00 from the nation's capital!


Great win for the Bruins.

Sadly for me, I had DVR'd the game today, because I had to work during the afternoon, so I was looking forward to watching the game when I got home.

After I finished with work, I saw that I had two voicemail messages.

The first was from my buddy Sully, who is more of a baseball fan than a hockey fan. The second was from a number I didn't recognize.

I called Sully before listening to the message.

"Hey Dude- it's Ritchie. Before you say anything, I'm DVRing the game, so don't say a word if it's about the Bruins."

"Oh. Yeah, no prob. I left a message with my kids saying hi to you." Sully has a pair of twin boys who are just hitting speaking age, and I appreciated the call.

I figured the first call was Sully's kids and the second call was probably something work related or a freelance gig.

I listen to my messages.

The first messages are Sully's kids, being just about as cute as you would expect a couple of kids saying "Hi Ritchie" would be. If you don't think that's cute, you probably aren't named Ritchie.

It was cute as hell.

The second message I was mildly worried about, as since I've started this blog, lots of people I know occasionally call me when they are flipping through the channels and see my favorite hockey team winning or losing.

I figured I'd listen to the first bit of the message, and if it was hockey related, I'd hang up.

I listen to the second message and it's my pal Duben.

The first three words are:

Dude- B's won.

After those words, I begin to hear "in over-" and I hang up.

The damage had been done.

Jesus F'n Christ.

Still, the B's won, and in overtime, which has got to be agony for Washington, where we are going tomorrow.

We leave at 9:00 AM and shoudl arrive in DC around 1:30

Game starts at 3:00.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bad Day For The Caps-

- Well, what with our big trip to Washington coming up tomorrow, I couldn't help noticing that with the Capitals big win over the Thrashers last night, and Carolina getting whipped by Buffalo, that puts the Caps 3 points behind 8th place Philly, and four behind 7th place Boston.

The only problem?

Boston plays Philly this afternoon, and one of those teams is gonna get two points. Plus, with Buffalo beating the Canes, that puts them a point behind Philly for 9th.

These are the games when you hate the extra overtime point system. In the old days, Caps fans would just decide to not watch that game. These days, they have to actively root against a tie. Or barring a tie, a time machine, so they could go back to last October and lobby to promote former Hyannisport President Bruce Boudreau a couple months early.

However, if Boston, still playing without Captain Zdeno Chara, decide to boot it in regulation this afternoon, then again in DC on Sunday, which is a distinct possibility given their soccer-like offensive output versus Tampa Bay the other night, this race has the potential to get really interesting. Especially when you consider that Tampa has now won two straight, has scored 14 goals in it's last three games, and plays the 6th place New York Rangers tonight.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

American Hockey Fan To Liveblog in Washington D.C.

Yep- you heard me.

This Sunday, March 16th, Ben and I will be traveling down to Washington DC to liveblog the matinee contest between the Bruins and the Washington Capitals.

Through a series of events so strange and so bizarre that I cannot even begin to elaborate on now, we have been invited by Caps owner Ted Leonsis to set up in, and blog from, the press box.


We have a couple of other tricks up our sleeve, so check back in regularly on Sunday, as we hope to be putting up fresh off the concourse video (pending official OK to do so), crack commentary of the game and the race for 8th in the East, and an exclusive interview with Ovechkin.

Of course, I'm referring to Stanislav Ovechkin, the Recruiting Specialist at the METRO Cash and Carry Ukraine, but let's face it, despite our fancy credentials, we're not that big time yet, and an Ovechkin is an Ovechkin.

Oh, and later this week, stay tuned for the story of how we got invited to Washington.

It's a seriously remarkable story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I love the NHL network.

OK- so I'm watching a rerun of a Boston/Montreal playoff game from 1988, and as the camera pans across an image of Bruin goaltender Reggie Lemelin swiping the snow out of his crease, I hear the classic Bruins broadcast team of announcer Fred Cusick and color man Derek Sanderson having the following back and forth:

DEREK: They talk about the loneliness of the long distance runner. The loneliness of a goaltender when he's back there alone...

FRED: (chuckles) Would you repeat that?


FRED: "The loneliness of the goaltender when he's back there alone?"

DEREK: Yeah, it just... kind of hit me. Touched my heart there for a minute. There's Reggie-

FRED: Well, what you need to say is, when he's back there- in the nets.

DEREK: uh...

FRED: Don't repeat the loneliness.

DEREK: Well, OK. I stand corrected. You're lucky I don't take umbrage with that remark.

FRED: Yeah. Oooo.

DEREK: I had to get that word in, somewhere during the night.


FRED: Casper, Skrudland (PUCK DROPS) And the draw is back for Thelvin, he can clear it quickly, and he did...

Best. Announcers. Ever.

(With apologies to Andy Brickley, who is becoming a hell of a color man himself these days.)


-since I don't much feel like talking about the Bruins game last night, I'll toot my own horn a little.

As some of you know, over the past 6 months or so, I have been freelancing off and on over at the Public Radio International show "Fair Game." I was in a couple weeks ago, and pitched a comedy bit I called "The McLaughlin Groove," the idea being that we take nutty transcripts from the venerable political chat show "The McLaughlin Group," and set them to a beat. I DVR the show every week, here in New York, it comes on right after Meet the Press ends, and for you hockey fans, that's usually the time that Tim Russert will mention the Buffalo Sabres, if they are doing well. So I went ahead and read some of the lines I had heard on the show that week, about John McCain securing the Republican nomination. They were pretty extraordinary, even for the Group. Here's a transcript:

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does Romney's endorsement seal the deal? Is McCain now the inevitable Republican nominee? I ask you, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, absent celestial intervention, I think he's going to get the nomination.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Absent what?
MR. BUCHANAN: Celestial intervention.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it happens, Pat. May he rest in peace, Paul Wellstone. John Heinz was killed in an airplane crash.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, let's not speculate on it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Death comes in the night on cats' paws, Pat. You never know.
MR. BUCHANAN: On little cats' feet. That's the fog, John, that comes in on little cats' feet.

Anyway, I pitch the idea in the meeting, mention that those would be dynamite metal lyrics and our music producer Matthew Perpetua yells out "Andrew WK! He'd be great!" I was thrilled to hear that, since I'm a big fan of Andrew's, and to make a long story short, a couple of days later, I'm on the phone with Andrew WK, singing my ideas for lyrics into the phone to a bona fide rock star. He tells me he loves the idea, likes what I wrote, and incorporates it into a terrific little song.

Funny, catchy, Andrew W.K and John McLaughlin.

My assignment ends, the segment airs and everything goes back to normal.

Until the song blows up, and Fair Game, Andrew W.K. and John McLaughlin are all over the blogs.

That's the kind of thing that makes a guy feel good. Of course, it also would make me feel good if the Bruins could score more than 7 times over the past 6 games, but I'll take what I can get these days.

Here are two of my favorite responses, the first by badass animator-guy Scott Bateman, who animated the entire thing brilliantly here:

And the second, from a random fan on YouTube. In my view, the rainbow cat paws are a particular high point.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why hockey was better in the 80's.

More mustaches
, less soul patches.

Everybody remembers the mullets, but I'll tell ya, those soul patches are getting a free ride.

Oh, and what made me think about this was the superb New York Times hockey blog "Slap Shot," who shined a little light on Dennis Maruk, the man whose single season Washington Capitals goal scoring record will likely be broken this season by Alex Ovechkin. His goalscoring record may fall, but his mustache will shine proudly forever.

Oh and yes, I am aware that "Slap Shot" is a terrible name for a hockey blog, especially one that doesn't use foul language. But don't hold that against it. They are actually doing a great job over there.

Just for fun, here are some other terrible Hockey blog names:
(apologies if these are real)

Ice Breakers
Five for Blogging
Haikus about Patrick Roy's Cock and Balls
Open Mike (Keenan)
The Blog Street Bullies
Jacques Demers' Daily Read
Mike Ricci: ALL NUDE
WWNMD? (What Would Nevin Markwart Do?)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"The last thing you want to do is get into a fight with a broken nose . . . but there you go, it went pretty well."

That quote comes from the toughest 19 year old in the world, and if you haven't gotten a look at Milan Lucic, tune in, because the Bruins are hot, fun to watch, and are sporting a collection of some of the most colorful characters in the NHL today.

Here's a fun profile of Lucic from back in his WHL days.

Here's another clip from the Vancouver Giants, followed by one with him up on the big club.

I'll tell ya, the next step is to get this kid in a Farrelly Brothers movie.

Matter of time folks, matter of time.