Thursday, July 31, 2008

RIP "The Nosebleeds"

Well, as some of you know- I was one of the writers for the comedy sports blog "The Nosebleeds." That blog was funny, and a lot of fun, until, well- we all just stopped writing. Not quite sure how that happened, but there you go.

Now that the blog has been "suspended for lack of payment," and the editor, the very funny comedian Liam McEneaney, is performing over in Scotland, I'm gonna go ahead and call it.

The Nosebleeds is dead.

And since there isn't a heck of a lot of hockey news, I thought I'd raid the raw files of the Nosebleeds, and re-print one of my favorite posts. Originally posted on August 15th of last year, it dealt with Michael Vick, who at the time, had been indicted on dogfighting charges, but not convicted.

The following post was written by my cat Grapes, and brings the kind of perspective to the dogfighting issue that only a cat can bring. In case you think this is a stretch for AHF, Grapes is named for Don Cherry, which makes it about as hockey related as I can muster on the 31st of July.


Michael Vick Deserves Our Support

By Grapes the Cat, Guest Columnist for the Nosebleeds

Greetings sports fans! As I was lying atop a newspaper today, I noticed that Michael Vick is facing Federal charges of dogfighting. Most of the sports community is either condemning Vick outright, or withholding judgment until due process takes it's course. I would like to recommend a third path, and send a passionate, heartfelt message of support to Michael Vick on behalf of not only myself, but cats in general:

We support you Michael Vick.

In a related point, fuck dogs.

Seriously, dogs are assholes, generally stupid, and deserve whatever they get.

Dogs were shot? Sweet.
Dogs were hung? Awesome.
Dogs were drowned? Great News!
Dogs were electrocuted? My only regret is I can't see every single one of those filthy, vicious pricks bursting into a shower of sparks on Youtube.

For Christ's sake, look at what you're defending!

Yeah, let's all make sure these fucking idiots are well cared for.

I have heard that dogfighting is cruel, but I respectfully disagree. It is really, really funny. We all know the dog that loses the fight gets killed. While that is unquestionably awesome, it gets even better. Guess what happens to the winner if he gets injured?

They kill him too!


Too bad, Scraps! Congrats on the big win buddy, here's your trophy: it's um, noose-shaped. Oh, my. I apologize. My sides are hurting from laughing so hard at these stupid fucking dogs.

In closing, I would like to urge all of you not to leap to judgment. There is no definitive proof Michael Vick has committed any crimes against dogs, and while all of us earnestly hope that he did, it is also our earnest hope that he will get away with it, and return to a long, prosperous career electrocuting, shooting, hanging and drowning dogs.


Grapes the Cat.

PS: If you are a dog, go fuck yourself.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who's got three grand?

If the answer is "you,"well- you could be the lucky hockey fan who gets to go see the New York Rangers kick off their season in Prague, or as John McCain calls it, Czechoslovakia.

Here's a riddle for John McCain:

What's the difference between the New York Rangers and Czechoslovakia?

Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1993 whereas the Rangers waited until 1995.

Of course, having the Rangers play in Prague is 100 percent consistent with almost all of the recent signings of the Rangers, namely "a great idea if it happened three years ago."

And I know, many hockey pundits over the past several years have been praising the Rangers and their post-lockout return to being a playoff team, but with the "don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out" departure of Ranger captain and Czech star Jaromir Jagr, and the signings of the past-his-prime Marcus Naslund and soon-to-be past-his-prime Wade Redden, it looks like we are seeing a return to the disastrous decisions that not only led the Rangers into years of soaring payrolls and a complete lack of team chemistry, but the utter abandonment of the only thing that actually worked for the Rangers over the past decade, the creation of a team identity built around Jagr and young Czech players.

Check out this post-lockout 2005 New York Times article about the first place Rangers and team identity. There might be a login required, so here's the pertinent passage:

New York reminds Jagr of European cities, and his preponderance of Czech teammates makes him feel almost at home.

His roommate on the Upper West Side is the Czech rookie Petr Prucha. His car pool to practice includes the Czech veterans Martin Rucinsky and Martin Straka. Jagr usually sits in the back, sipping a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. The group chats exclusively in Czech.

The car pool has grown this season. The Rangers now have six Czech players on their roster and three players who used to be with Jagr in Pittsburgh. "It's all by design," Rangers Coach Tom Renney said. "You can tell they enjoy each other's company."

Not only are the Rangers in first place in the Atlantic Division, but Jagr also leads the N.H.L. with 12 goals and Straka has complemented him with 13 assists. During games, Jagr and Straka continually gesture to each other, flashing the same sort of hand signals they used to give with the Penguins.

"We had this situation in Pittsburgh with a lot of Czech guys around him," said Michal Rozsival, a Rangers defenseman from the Czech Republic who played with Jagr in Pittsburgh. "He was always happy, always upbeat. He looks the same right now."

The only remaining Czech players on the Rangers are Rozsival, who remains a solid defenseman, Petr Prucha, who despite a promising rookie season has been invisible of late, and Marek Malik, a hulking oaf who gets booed by his home crowd practically every time he hits the ice, and whose unrestricted free agent status leaves him still available to any NHL General Manager willing to part with a used puck bag.

So good luck on the Prague trip, Rangers. I'm sure the locals will be thrilled to come out and cheer for Dan Fritsche.

So it seems that the Rangers have managed completely recover from one of the two brilliant hockey decisions they have made in the past decade- establishing a team identity. (The other one was signing Henrik Lundquist.) Now, after booting their captain, letting character guy and fan favorite Sean Avery walk out the door, leaving Brendan Shanahan unsigned and likely retiring, the Rangers have effectively created another power vaccum for who is going to lead their team. Will it be Drury? Gomez? Naslund? Unless a major surprise happens and this team miraculously becomes greater than the sum of it's mismatched parts, the Rangers are threatening to reclaim their throne as the Toronto Maple Leafs of the United States hockey market, filled with aging players with no chemistry and no chance at the cup, with the one difference being that they'll never have to deal with all that annoying "fan interest" and "demand for tickets" that Toronto struggles with. All things considered, it's a miracle the Rangers didn't end up with Mats Sundin.

As a dedicated Bruins fan, no one wanted to see the Rangers and Bruins face off in the Winter Classic in the last game ever played in Yankee Stadium more than me. But as a general hockey fan who wants to see the game grow, I certainly don't want a team with no identity on the stage that was established last year as such a triumphant showcase for the league.

I have always hated Jaromir Jagr. I hated him for beating my team when he played great, and I hated his lack of passion for the game when he didn't. But hockey has always needed bad guys, and as I see Jaromir Jagr step off the NHL stage, I realize I never hated the man, I just loved to hate the player. And now, I'm coming around to the belief that the management of the New York Rangers failed him, perhaps starting with the signings of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez, as I wrote about last year.

The cracks in the team chemistry that were caused by that signing, have expanded to shatter the Jaromir Jagr era of the New York Rangers, and any rebuilding that they began.

Now the Rangers and their fans must live with the results.

Let the Gretzky Fleury Lindros Bure Holik Jagr Naslund era begin.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Best. Hockey. Headline. Ever.

Click here and enjoy.

UPDATE: They changed it. The bastards. It used to read: "Leafs give Finger big raise."


Hey Sportsnet! Take a lesson from the New York Post. They don't undo their greatest headlines.