Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wait- Did Keith Ballard kill another goalie?

 From the Yahoo! recap of tonight's Florida/Colorado game:

Scott Clemmensen, starting in place of injured Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun(notes), made 29 saves. Vokoun is recovering after he was hit in the head by Florida defenseman Keith Ballard’s(notes) stick during a bizarre on-ice accident Monday night. Vokoun received stitches on his ear but had no other medical problems... Ballard was involved in another scary incident on Wednesday. Charging toward the net with less than a minute left in overtime, Ballard slid toward the net and appeared to collide with Anderson, whose head hit the goal post...Ballard wasn’t available to speak with reporters after Wednesday’s game.

I'll say it: Keith Ballard is the Tommy Jarvis of the NHL.

Watch your ass, Varlamov, you're next

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Stunning New Angle On Keith Ballard-Vokoun Hit

Maybe it's the 3D, but this new look at the vicious shot to the mask dished out on Tomas Vokoun by his own defenseman last night makes Ballard look, oh I don't know, a little more feminine, maybe?

What do you think?

(H/T Dumb As A Blog)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I've only seen one Bruins game this year-

-but I'll tell ya, I'm a little worried about the penalty kill.

Missing both PJ Axellsson and Stephane Yelle hurts.


Man, that was some solid-ass hockey analysis, especially after a four month layoff.

I'm tired.


I've been on a book tour,  gone to a bunch of weddings, have another wedding to go to this weekend, and that means I'm gonna miss the B's/Islanders game.

And that's a bummer, because I like these new look Islanders. Win or lose, if you're an Islander fan, I think checking in on dudes like Streit, Okposo, Tavares, and whoever their next general manager current backup goaltender is, is gonna be fun to watch.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great Season, Everybody

Let's do it again in October!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sidney Crosby is the youngest captain ever-

-to win the Stanley Cup while not playing the third period.

It kind of reminds me of the time Willis Reed limped back into Madison Square Garden, and made the heroic decision to stay on the bench so he wouldn't hurt his team, or Keri Strug.... oh screw it.



With the Cup on the ice?

Fuck me.

I hate that guy.

That was awesome how one asshole who didn't play in the third period passed it to another asshole who didn't play the third period.

Yay, Marketing!

In case any of you Penguins fans are interested in rewatching game seven...

...there will be an IMAX version of the game being shown Monday evening at the Moon Township drive-in movie theater, projected onto Marc Andres Fleury's massive teeth.

Fans should bring wine, cheese, blankets, and several yards of thick rope, should the Stanley Cup winner need to at any point, floss.

I gotta tell you-

I got a little choked up seeing Hal Gill raise the Stanley Cup.

That's a native of Concord, Massachusetts right there, and he played hard for the Bruins.

It was nice to see Guerin lift it too, but he'd done it before.

And, you know- both of those guys managed to suck it up and play the third period.

Please, Gary. For the Love of the Game. Don't.

I said it last year, and I'll say it again.

Gary Bettman has no business on the ice at the end of the year, handing out the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Justified or not, the fans hate Gary Bettman, and not only does it bum out us hardcore fans, the inevitable booing takes casual fans out of this wonderful moment of celebrating hockey.



Stop it.


One man, and one man alone should have been handing out the Stanley Cup that night, and his name was Mario Lemieux. If the Wings had won, it should have been Steve Yzerman. Or Gordie Howe.

I've put out my theory on this.

It is do-able.

Can we PLEASE make it happen?


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Even though I knew the outcome and the final score...

... while I was watching the Stanley Cup Final on DVR, when Nic Kronwall hit the crossbar with 2:10 remaining in the third period, I screamed.

Goddamnit- I love this game.

Congrats to the Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans on an incredible playoff and final.

The Best Possible Reason To Miss Game Seven Of The Stanley Cup Finals

Annabelle Ellen Duncan.
Born June 12, 2009.
11:42 PM
6 lbs, 13 oz.


Who won the game?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A thoughtful gift.

Just in case I haven't expressed how totally awesome my wife is, she arrived home last night and told me that she had been to a discount candy store and she bought me a present.

It was a pack of 1990 Topps hockey cards, complete with gum.

Let's open 'er up!

-Kelly Miller: Capitals.

-Troy Murray: Blackhawks.
again, I sorta remember him.

-Doug Brown: Devils
At this point, I'm thinking this pack might be shit. There might be a reason it only cost a dollar.

-Mark Osbourne: Maple Leafs.
Seriously, this might as well be a random name generator. I don't know any of these guys.

-Pelle Eklund: Flyers
- I sort of remember this guy, but it's hard to get too fired up about a random dude form Philly. Especially when he's named "Pelle."

-Doug Brown: Devils.
You read that right. Another fucking Doug Brown Card. I was still thrilled that my wife got me the pack, but yeah- I was getting discouraged. And then, all of a sudden:

-Barry Pederson: Penguins
Heyhey! I'd forgotten that this current member of the Boston Bruins broadcast team played for the Penguins, and let's not forget, this is the guy who went the other way for Cam Neely. This is a great card, and I'm happy, but if that's all I got in the pack that I liked, let's be honest here- Barry Pederson on the Penguins is sort of a thin broth. So who was next?

-Mario Lemieux: Penguins.
WOW! Yes, I've always hated number 66, but you can't deny he was one of the best ever, and I got that old pop I used to get when you open a pack of hockey cards, and stumble on a superstar. It was a really nice nostalgic moment. I looked it up on line, and I don't want to brag, but that card is now worth a cool dollar and fifteen cents. Bidding starts at a dollar. Up next?

Ken Linseman: Flyers.
This was a really fun one too, from a Bruins fan's perspective. Everybody loved The Rat in Boston, and this was a card from his first year in a Flyers uniform after the Dave Poulin trade. Poulin was a great Bruin too, and I feel like getting a Linseman card in a Flyer uniform is almost better than getting one of his Bruins cards, cause this way, I remember Poulin as well.

-Edmonton Times: "Gretzky Returns home to score his 1851st point"
These cards were always horseshit. Nobody wants the fake-ass Gretzky card that's not Gretzky's actual card. Still, being able to fondly remember my disdain for getting such a shit card was still kinda fun, from a nostalgia perspective.

-Rick Tocchet Flyers (89-90 Scoring leaders card)
see above. Also, screw Rick Tocchet. But yeah, you know, even though he was a shitty Bruin, you gotta kinda like the guy. Let's use this space to watch him break Claude Julien's nose again, shall we?

-Bob Carpenter: Bruins
Damn, I loved Bob Carpenter. He's another guy who's still with the Bruins organization, and he was a dandy, lemme tell you. On the face of things, he wasn't really that goddamn good. He could check and play OK, and wasn't awful, a good lunchpail Bruin, and then every now and then- like every 25 games or so, Bobby Carpenter would get these GREAT goals, and- oh wait. Shit. I'm thinking of Bob Sweeney. But Carpenter was great too. We eventually lost him to the Devils, (I think) for one reason or another and he was one of those B's you'd see in another uniform, and just wish we never let him go. Brian Rolston-esque, that guy.

Dave Chyzowski: Islanders (Top Prospect Card!)
Yeah, well that didn't work out so well for the Islanders, did it? And you Isles fans can't even blame Milbury for that one. In 1990, he was one of the best coaches in the league, bringing the Bruins to the Stanley Cup final. And these last two are something else:

Scott Stevens: Capitals.
Boy, it's hard to imagine old Scott Stevens on the Caps, isn't it? But he was. I saw that card and eagerly thought "Maybe this is a rookie card!" Wrong. He was on the caps for 8 years before he ever joined the Devils. What a player. And then, the icing on the cake, the best card in the pack:

Andy Brickley: Bruins
Wow- two members of the current Bruins broadcast team in one pack? Good times. Since there isn't much chance I'd find a card of a 15 year old Kathryn Tappen, this is about as good as it gets. Good old Brick, who was a great lunchpail Bruin, smart hockey player, and now one of the best color men in the game. When I was lucky enough to get a press pass at the Verizon Center in Washington, one of my biggest thrills was to meet, and do a quick interview with Andy Brickley. Man, does he look like a baby on that card. Funny.

Incidently, the gum, like all hockey card gum, was broken into three jagged, solid shards. Before I could stop her, my wife popped one of the shards into her mouth, made a horrible face, and ran from the room to spit it out. That's 19 year old gum. I asked her why she did it, and she said "I was curious!" This coming from a woman who won't try Indian food, and yet her driving culinary curiosity compells her to chew a piece of hockey card gum that's old enough to vote.

And I've tried that gum 19 years ago, when it was fresh.

It sucked then too.

My beautiful wife....

...will be giving birth to a baby girl this weekend, if her doctor is to be believed.

But the doctor might be lying.

It makes sense to me that baby doctors might tell women who are very pregnant and sick of being pregnant that "it'll be this weekend" just to make them feel better. Believe me, there is something to be said for lying to pregnant women to make them feel better. And don't misjudge my motives, I'm just positing the theory that it's a good thing when pregnant women feel better.

Cause, from what little I've seen of it, being pregnant kind of sucks.

Anyway, this is a hockey blog, and I post this here because this weekend, of course, there's a pretty big hockey game on, and I may become a father during game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. My wedding had a similar hockey overlap, and of course what happens in circumstances like that is that watching hockey becomes the smaller number. It's a big goddamn number, there's no doubt about it, but when you do the math, you realize what's really important. If you are the kind of hockey fan that would bemoan getting married or experiencing the birth of your first child because you're missing a hockey game, you might want to stop calling yourself "a hockey fan," and go with something smoother sounding, like "sociopath."

Hockey is hockey and life is life and there are some things that are just more important, plain and simple.

With that said, thank fucking Christ the Bruins aren't playing Friday. And I'm not saying I wouldn't make the right choice, I'm just glad I don't have to. For all hockey people, the game is part of our lives, so it would follow that it might be part of the significant milestones of our lives as well. I haven't missed watching the Stanley Cup being raised since the mid-80's, but if I do miss it this year, I'll have a pretty good excuse. If the game is tied at the end of the third, and I'm not there to watch it, enjoy your sudden death hockey fans.

I'll be welcoming new life.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Tired tonight.

If you wanna see some exclusive crowd pics from before game 5 in Detroit, check out Dumb as a Blog. My co-worker (and huge Red Wing Fan) Sam actually got tickets by just getting on Ticketmaster with four friends and hitting refresh.

I expressed surprise that she got tickets that way and she said "Yeah, I guess there's a lot of people from Detroit these days who can't really afford hockey tickets." Which is sad. Of course, there's also the fact that tomorrow's game 6 will be the Red Wings 30th Stanley Cup finals game in less than 15 years.

In the same time period, counting tomorrow's game, Penguins fans have had the opportunity to watch their team play in 12 finals games, all from this and last season.

The Bruins of course, have had none. If you go all the way back to 1988, they've had 10 appearances in the cup finals, and I'm counting the game when the lights went out, which ended a tie, and was replayed, which technically meant there was another opportunity to buy tickets to the finals. In my lifetime, the Boston Bruins have won exactly one hockey game in the Stanley Cup finals.

It was pretty sweet.

In Detroit, they've had considerably more chances to see their team in the Finals, and have no reason to expect those opportunities are going to dry up in the immediate future. With all due respect to the folks who have lost their jobs, I think that's worth mentioning.

Do I sound like a bitter and jealous Bruins fan? Is that coming across?

Cause I am.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Celebrity Sighting

Today was a beautiful summer day in New York City.

I was out and about, doing some errands, and found myself walking up 6th avenue, just south of Radio City Music Hall. There were tourists out in force, and as such, I found myself rather unintentionally walking right next to another guy.

Like side by side, our strides were matching, we were in each other's personal spaces, and it was kind of weird. It went on for a full 10 steps or so, to the point where I thought "Oh Christ, am I gonna have to slow down, or pretend to stop or something?" I glance over at the guy and I recognize him. I can't place him right away, but I know that I know this guy. I take another look, and I place him. It was a prominent sports columnist for the Boston Globe, who's name I won't mention here since I don't want to invade the dude's privacy more than I already am, but anyway, I recognize him right away. I will say that he wasn't one of the regular hockey guys. Since we were literally right next to each other, I call him by his first name and say hi. He's a little cold at first, probably because he spotted my double take, and- you know, I was walking down the street close enough to be holding his hand. I quickly say "tough year for the Bruins." He looks at me, and says: "Yeah."

A thoughtful look comes over his face, and he corrects himself.
"Actually, no. Tough series. Great year."

And he was absolutely right. Not wanting to act like a creep, I wished him well, told him to enjoy the nice day, and turned the corner. For the next 20 minutes I replayed the scenario in my mind, rehearsing scenarios in which I told him that it always feels tougher when your expectations are higher, told him how glad I was that the Globe didn't go under, offered to give him a restaurant reccomendation, or asked him the proper pronounciation of Fluto Shinzawa. Ultimately, I think I did the right thing.

But it was a fun brush with celebrity.

To bring it back to hockey, my brother plays in an ice league in Houston, Texas and according to his Facebook status, he overheard the following in the locker room:

"I was as useless out there as tits on a snow shovel!"

He is happy to report that even in Houston, Texas- hockey players are still hockey players.

Friday, June 05, 2009

No Internet Access At Home.

Hey all,

My internet at home has been knocked out for the past few days, and I can't really do a lot of hockey blogging at work, mainly because my day job is blogging, and one of the ways I got the job in the first place was by showing them the hockey blog. Hence, my employers know it exists, and they are cool and nice, and if they noticed that I wasn't writing on their blog while some hillarious post I write here about Jordan Staal popping someone in the walnuts turns up in their Google Readers, well, it wouldn't look good is all.

But yes, I'm aware the Stanley Cup final has gotten a heck of a lot more fun to watch, I just haven't said so yet cause I haven't had the ability to write from home these past few days. Hopefully I'll get the problem worked out over the weekend.

For now, enjoy this comment I received on my last post from the ever eloquent "Mr. Ken:"

You're a dumb ass mother fucker. The game is right. PENGUINS will LOSE if they don't WIN in game 5 on Saturday. Funny, fucking bullshit if I can't log on and post this fucking simple true information on their goddamn dumb ass site. I can't. It's a piece of fucking shit!!

Personally, he lost me after "dumb ass mother fucker," but like most great poetry, the interpretation of meaning is up to YOU- the reader.

What do you think he's saying here?

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Stanley Cup Finals Have Sucked. Watch, As I Start To Bitch About It, Decide It's Pointless, And Instead Resort To Mocking Rod Brind'Amour's Looks

Boys and men.

I didn't even watch the third period.


The Pittsburgh Penguins are consistently playing JUST well enough to lose by one.

If they don't show me something radically different in Pittsburgh, we're looking at a sweep.

All I can say is, if the fucking Carolina Hurricanes are gonna go and knock out the two best teams in the east, the least they could have done is shown up for the conference finals.

I mean, Jesus.

I don't know how Rod Brind'Amour can look at himself in the mirror.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

No Dog In The Hunt? Who To Root For In The Stanley Cup Final

I've been clear about this. I have hated the Pittsburgh Penguins for over 20 years and I'm not going to just blindly endorse them now. I mean, for God's sake, right after Crosby touched the Prince of Wales trophy, the officials actually gave the trophy a two minute holding penalty.

I'm not sure how they justified that.

But it's also tough to root for a dynasty, and if you look up "underdog" in the dictionary, it says "antonyms: 2008-2009 Detroit Red Wings." So what the hell do we do?

Let's be honest, I'm not going to NOT watch the Stanley Cup Final If the lockout taught us anything, it's that as fans, we should enjoy it while we have it. Also, last year's conference finals were also deadly dull, and the Cup final ended up being a very entertaining affair. That means some tough decisions have to be made.

Who do we root for?

There are a lot of reasons to root for the Wings:

- Original Six team. Snobby, I know, but that's where I stand. I think it's good for the game.

-Economywise, the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the US automobile industry are, to put things as gently as I can, fucked. Their fans could use a lift.

-Excellence. There is a very good argument to be made that to root for the Detroit Red Wings is to root for hockey excellence, plain and simple. They are cobbling together the seeds of a dynasty, and this after greats like Yzerman, Hull, Shanahan, Hasek, and Federov have all moved on. From a hockey management perspective, that is amazing, and to see it in the salary cap era, makes it even more impressive.

-Detroit could be the first team to win both the Winter Classic and the Stanley Cup in the same year, something that the Penguins were unable to do last season. Achieving this feat could be a future yardstick to determine the all-time greatness of Stanley Cup winning teams. You can't get into the Winter Classic unless you were at the very least, a contender for the cup the year before, and to win both the classic and the cup is to shine on hockey's two biggest stages at both the beginning and end of a season. They say you have to be lucky and good. To win both the Winter Classic and the Stanley Cup is to be lucky and great. That's worth rooting for. Which brings me to my next point.

- Unlike the Penguins, the Detroit Red Wings were excellent all year, from the drop of the puck in October to the beginning of the Stanley Cup final, the Wings were a yardstick team, which means that every team brought their A-game all year long, and the Wings ended up on top again. As recent seasons in Boston, San Jose, Buffalo and Ottawa have proved, it's one thing to be good in the regular season, and another to maintain that level of excellence all year and through the playoffs.

-Darren Helm, who scored the series clinching overtime goal for the Detroit Red Wings last night, could potentially be the only forward to have two Stanley Cup rings and no regular season goals. In his career. Ever. I'm not sure that's ever been done, and it's kind of cool.

Reasons to root for the Pittsburgh Penguins:

-I've said this before, but from a hate perspective, it'd be fantastic to see Marion Hossa lose the Stanley Cup again this year, this time in the other sweater. I know hockey is a business, blah blah, blah, but to bolt the Stanley Cup loser to sign with the team that beat them is some lame, front-running shit. I'd love to see that guy lose. Seeing him lose the Stanley Cup to his former team while wearing the sweater of the team that beat him a season ago would be the hater's version of Ray Bourque finally winning a cup in Colorado. Hockey fans from around the world would rally together to cheer his loss.

-No matter what happens in this series, the interest generated by the Washington-Pittsburgh playoff series is going to insure that we're going to be bombarded with promos and commercials talking about how great Sidney Crosby is. If it annoyed you in the past, it's going to be even worse next year, whether he wins or loses the cup. Search your feelings, hockey fans, you know this to be true. If Crosby actually fucking wins something for once, at a bare minimum, the league won't look as stupid for endlessly promoting him. It's a thin broth, but it's something.

-If the Penguins win the Cup, everybody on that goddamn team is going to want a raise. With the cap heading down, this means that there'd be a good chance that I might be able to see Jordan Staal play for a team that I don't hate worse than poison. Again, I'm reaching a little.

Of course, at the end of the day, what I'm really hoping for is a long, hard, competitive series in which my allegiances shift from game to game, something that has happened in the past, (even with the Penguins.) While I'll probably end up supporting the successes of whichever team whose effort and heart forces me to recognize them, I'm gonna bite my lip, take a deep breath and just say it:


In game one, anyway.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Penguins. WIngs. Goddamnit.

Screw it.

I'm just gonna reprint what I wrote at this time last year.

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?

The Washington Capitals-

- apparently played their last game of the season this year against the 1996 Florida Panthers.

Thanks to Off Wing Opinon for the vid-

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fun With Stats

I was flipping though my Boston Bruins 2007-2008 Guide and Record book this afternoon, and came upon an interesting fact:

With 10 points in 24 games played, Alexei Zhamnov is the Boston Bruins third all time leading scorer who's last name begins with "Z."

How about that?

Big Rob Zamuner (2001-2004) has the number one spot with 50 points in 178 games, followed up by Rick Zombo's (1995-96), 14 points in 67 games.

Alexei just barely managed to edge Joe Zanussi's (1975-1977) 9 points in 68 games.

Great job Alex!

And- with that much needed dose of excitement, we return to the conference finals, which provided this electrifying highlight of Patrick Kane's mouthguard's getting pulled out.

Yep, that was pretty much the highlight of the whole game.


Friday, May 22, 2009

AOL, um- drops the ball.

Thumbs down to the AOL site Asylum, who just published their list of 10 Famous Men With Only One Ball.

Number one is a cricket player who died in 2002.


Where's the love for Phil Kessel?

Link Dump (And Chase)

Hey all,

Not only did I not watch last night Hurricanes/Penguins game, but I didn't even know what time it was on. I'll get back to it when we start getting into some decisive games. I did check out some highlights online, and if you're like me and didn't check in, all you really need is Malkin's hat trick:

As a side note, I enjoyed how the Versus announcer claimed that the first goal was a "nightmare scenario" for the Canes, because Malkin came off the bench, and went straight to the net. No offense to Malkin, but the nightmare scenario in my book there (and in the second goal as well) seemed to be Ward's lack of rebound control, something that didn't seem to be a problem for him in the Boston series. That third goal's a beaut, though. It's funny how when a player gets hot that puck seems to have eyes.

Anyway, in case you give a wet damn what I've been up to this week instead of watching hockey, my cat Grapes (A big Michael Vick fan) handled my blogging responsibilities over at truTV this morning, so I've been taking it slow. If you haven't seen Grapes' first Michael Vick post, it's reprinted here.

There has been quite a bit of hockey over on Dumb As A Blog these days, as my co-worker Sam and I had a trashtalking face off over our street hockey teams' recent meeting in the BlackTop Street Hockey League. Sadly, my team (The Mighty Squirrels) fell to her's (The Skyfighters.) The back and forth is here:

Here's her first post, and a highlight:

Ritch's team is called the "Mighty Squirrels." Any team with this name has no business winning a hockey game. Though we all loved Joshua Jackson in the movie The Mighty Ducks, we all laughed at Anaheim for creating an actual hockey team under this title.

My first post, and a highlight:

For fans of the cinema, I'll remind you that despite the fact that Rocky technically “lost” his title shot with Apollo Creed, there was an even bigger winner that day: America. And, to a smaller degree, racists from Philadelphia. But that's neither here nor there.

Her response and a highlight:

I'd like to assert that you are just jealous because both your Bruins and Squirrels have choked in the past month, while my Red Wings and Skyfighters continue to prevail.

And my reply:

We play hard, we live hard and when the hockey gods do not smile upon us, The Mighty Squirrels will go down in defeat with a little something called dignity.

Or barring that, we'll just grab your nuts.

All things considered, I think I handled myself pretty well, given that I was trying to defend a 6-1 asskicking, got the score wrong, and called a guy from the Czech Republic a Canadian. I'm like George W. Bush in that way, in that "facts" are less important than "gut feelings." By the way, I'd make a terrible President too. In case you feel like kicking Bush when he's down, check out this cool story from the re-designed Newsweek, which checks up on the former President and finds out what he's up to: cold calling teenagers.

In fact, I'll give Bush the last word here, from his remarks at the White House to the 2008 Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings:

"The Detroit Red Wings were the first NHL team that I welcomed to a Stanley Cup ceremony and now they'll be the last team I'll be hosting...You guys may be back next year, but not me."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nope, this isn't ESPN, it's the Onion News Network-

-but you gotta love the pitch perfect parody.

At least I think that still looks like ESPN, I haven't turned it on since I got the hockey package.

Either way, enjoy:

NHL Tries To Woo Fans By Increasing Scoring With Bigger Nets, 3-Point Line

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hockey Blog Quote of the Week:

Well, now that the Bruins are off golfing, getting surgery, or almost getting to the top of Africa before climbing back down again, I've decided to introduce a new feature here on AHF, the Hockey Blog Quote of the Week.

It's basically an attempt to hip some of you out there to other hockey blogs that may be doing something interesting funny or cool, you know, when I don't feel like doing it. I figure if I'm not doing anything interesting, the least I can do is steer you to someone who is.

So the inaugural hockey blog quote of the week comes from the Ms. Conduct blog, written by a beat reporter for the Houston Aeros, the farm club of the Minnesota Wild, and just about the only other thing besides Pappacitos that makes Houston, Texas tolerable.

She's also a new goalie, and anybody playing hockey in Texas is alright by me (exception: Steve Ott.) Here's her quote, from her May 18th post: Miley Cyrus and the Emo goalie

My blocker glove no longer smells like ass. I ran ripping hot water through it for a while yesterday, and then dried it off with a little fan blowing in it and a couple of dryer sheets stuffed inside. My hand smells like Bounce. This is infinitely better than ass.

Thanks to Ms. Conduct for a nice little slice of hockey life as it starts to feel like summer again.

So- what the fuck?


Pittsburgh and Detroit?

That's gonna be the goddamn Stanley Cup final?


You assholes are gonna reduce me to rooting for Hossa to lose the Stanley Cup with the other fucking team this time? I mean, that'd be awesome, from a hate perspective, but you know, on the other hand- the goddamn penguins would win another Cup, and who wants that?

I'll tell you who: Assholes, and my awesome friends Eric Cole and Carter Keairns.

But screw them.

Seriously- they've had their goddamn share.

Goddamnit, Blackhawks, pick it up.

And don't ask me to root for the Hurricanes- I just can't.

I hate this game.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

You're Welcome, Bruins

Yes, it was a disappointing end, but boy-o-boy, this season had a ton of great Bruins memories, this video from features a great deal of them:

Some of these are touched on in the video, and some are not, but here are some of my memories of the season, inspired by this video:

-Milan Lucic drilling Mike Van Ryn through the glass. In time, perhaps we'll forget that the Bruins lost that game, badly. After being down by two goals, and getting smashed though the glass, Van Ryn responded by getting the ball rolling and scoring the first of four unanswered Maple Leaf goals that night as the Bruins blew the lead. Still, at the end of the day, there was only one player picking tiny cubes of plexiglass out of his ass crack for the next three days, and it wasn't Milan Lucic. I'll take it.

-Stanley Cup of Chowder: It seemed that for years, I was the only guy out there blogging about the Bruins, and let's be honest, I've always been a little more into the passion than the blanket coverage. SCOC jumped into that void with a vengeance, and created not only a great gameday source, but a great hub (pun intended) for the other Bruin blogs that started popping up this year. Some day I'll update this fucking blogroll. I swear.

-The character game against Dallas, when Steve Ott (and his sloppy second Sean Avery,) instigated the Bruins into playing, fighting, and winning as a team. Come to think of it, where were those Bruins in games 3 and 4 of the Carolina series? Actually, scratch that, I'm keeping it positive.

-The emergence of David Krejci: He appeared last year, when Savard went down with an injury, but this season, Krecji emerged. What hands this kid has, and seeing player after player after player (Marco Sturm, Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder) find their scoring touch while playing with him has finally made us realize that he possesses one of those talents that the truly great players have: making your teammates better hockey players. The winner of the 7th player, and well deserved.

-The first regular season game against the Detroit Red Wings. The first real measuring stick of the Bruins season, Manny Fernandez stood tall for the B's, and this team realized it could beat anybody. I know, I know, it didn't work out at the end of the season, but this was a huge moment.

-Manny Fernandez, period. There is practically zero chance we will ever see Fernandez in a Bruin uniform again, and his game dropped off towards the end of the season, but this year he finally played, and played well, pushing Tim Thomas, ever the battler, to elevate his game to the point where he is the front runner for the Vezina trophy. Like Alex Auld before him, I wish Manny well.

-The appearance of Byron Bitz: This kid started slow, but always played amazing along the wall, in a way we haven't seen since Big Joe Thornton. The new NHL is a possession game, and having Bitzy on a cycle is great. With any luck, we'll get a Lucic/Krecji esque emergence from Bitz next season. If that happens, I see Kessel, Savard and Lucic along with Krecji, Ryder and Bitzy giving us two lines with an elite assist man, a trigger guy and somebody who can give the other guys room to move. That bodes well. You know what I really like as a Bruins fan? A third line with Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron on it.

-That Bruins kid who took his shirt off and went nuts in the playoffs. One day, this kid will likely be arrested for assault outside a 99 Restaurant in Medford. But we'll always have 2009:

-The awesome videos of One more time, shall we?

-The emergence of Fluto Shinzawa: Yes, the Boston Globe had a shaky year, and we're not really sure what the future will bring, but as the Bruins started evolving into an Eastern Conference powerhouse, Fluto raised his game along with them. Fluto had been around for a few seasons at least, and he was never bad, but to me, my family and friends who follow the Bruins from afar, he was little more than the new Bruins writer with a name we can't pronounce (Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, anyone?) But this season, that all changed, as he brought smart, well researched articles and quick informative blog posts that gave you both solid info and in-depth analysis, something that made us all better Bruins fans. And no, we still can't pronounce his last name, but for B's fans, he's forever "Fluto." The moment I realized he had become indispensible was the day after Aaron Ward had been sucker punched by Scott Walker, and there was doubt over whether he would play the next game. Aaron Ward is a warrior, but a broken bone in your face is a broken bone in your face. I was discussing the situation with a friend, and he said "Fluto said he'll be stunned if Ward doesn't play." And that was that. To paraphrase Reggie Dunlop: "Fluto wrote this: it's got to be true." A fanbase is only as good as it's sportswriters, and having Fluto step up his game alongside the legendary Kevin Paul DuPont (who I have praised multiple times in this space) will ensure that the Boston Bruins will continue to have some of the most hockey literate fans in the game for years to come. Or, you know, until the Globe collapses.

Ah well.

Fluto- after all of them that you've handed out all season, this STICK SALUTE is for you.

Thanks for the memories this year, Bruins. And thanks for thanking us.

And remember, that loss hurt you more than it hurt me.

Or at least I hope it did. We need to you remember that feeling next year.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I was in the shower this morning...

...thinking about why exactly Chuck Kobasew decided to get cute on a four man rush in overtime, and didn't just throw the puck on net. Then I remembered that Kobasew had a great game seven, and his line with Bergeron and Recchi did great work for us down the stretch.

Then I thought for a while about how the power play didn't click last night, and wondered for a while how it was that it was so dominant against the Canadiens, and not as much against the Canes. Then I shampooed. I wondered if the turning point for the Canes was that shorthanded goal they scored earlier in the series, not as much from a momentum perspective, but from the perspective of putting a seed of doubt in the heads of the Bruins power play, and how that might have been a factor in the misfires with the man advantage in game seven.

Then I thought about the fact that I'm 35 years old, and will be having my first kid in five weeks, and whether the Bruins actually did me some kind of favor by losing, as I can now focus more entirely on getting ready for the responsibility of parenting. That made me think about back when I was in college, and thought for a second about how the Bruins missed the playoffs for the first time in 20 something years, and started to suck really hard, and shipped Ray Bourque out of town, and I wondered if the Bruins were deciding to suck so I could better concentrate on my studies. Then I thought about the time the Bruins completely melted down, traded Joe Thornton for less than what he was worth, and how at that time how I wondered if the Bruins were actually doing me a solid, because I'd have more time to focus on my writing.

Then I thought "Hey Bruins- enough with the fucking favors!"


Then I wondered how many years Tim Thomas has left, and got silently mad at something I read on the puck daddy blog about how Thomas will never win an overtime series. I'm not quite sure how you can take a guy whose unconventional style made him the best goaltender all year, and somehow blame that that style on the Bruins playoff loss. You dance with the girl who brought you, and Tim Thomas was fantastic all year. You can generically criticize Thomas for his rebound control, I guess, but he'd punched out several rebounds earlier in the overtime, and handled them brilliantly. That Walker rebound wasn't some platter that got coughed out into the slot. The guy went hard to the net and batted it right out of the air.

Then I washed the shampoo out of my hair.

Ultimately, the Boston Bruins came into this season a young hungry team who in the previous year's playoffs, battled back from a 3-1 deficit only to lose in game seven of the first round. This season, they took that feeling, blasted through the first half of the season like a team possessed, grappled with trying to maintain their urgency when the playoffs were a certainty, and battled back from a 3-1 deficit to lose in game seven in the SECOND round.

So you know, that's progress, right?

On the bright side, this could mean tickets to the Winter Classic at Fenway next might be slightly more attainable.

Goddamn it, Bruins.

I guess I'm a Blackhawks fan now.

Anybody know how to spell Bufuglien?

Coping with loss

My boss, who is not much of a sports fan, is in Framingham, Massachusetts today for meetings, and mentioned in an email that he was feeling a bit out of step with some of the office banter in the wake of last night's heartbreaker. So in the spirit of that M*A*S*H* episode where Hawkeye and Trapper John teach Radar a couple of context-free lines he can use to impress one of the more cultured young nurses at the 4077 (e.g. "That's highly significant"), I decided to send him a few key phrases he could drop into casual conversation that would help him fit in:

  1. "Hey, you can't blame Timmy on that last one. He got us this far."

  2. "You gotta admit, Bitz was a bright spot."

  3. "I hope Scott Walker gets a painful rash."

I think as long as no one asks any follow-up questions, he's golden.

Feel free to add your own in the comments.


Shoulda said yes to the Hedda Lettuce thing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Have you ever got a work email that made your heart sink?

As I'm sure you know if you're reading this blog, I'm pretty excited about tonight's game seven between the Bruins and the Hurricanes. What you might not know, is this blog not updated as often as usual because I got a job a few months back blogging for Dumb As A Blog over on truTV. If you're just interested in my posts, click here, but Samm is a Detroit Red Wing fan and she blogs about hockey from time to time too.

Anyway, my colleague Susie and I got the following email from my boss today around 3:00 PM:

Ritch, Susie

I know it’s last minute, but a friend of a friend is running a gay film series and I promised we’d do something on the blog. Basically, I need someone to go to Clearview Cinema on 23rd at about 8.45pm tonight and interview this guy Hedda Lettuce, then watch the film with him and stay through the movie, which should get out around 11pm. We should also take some pictures. The guy Hedda has a big web following so this will bring in much-needed traffic.

Susie, this is normally something I’d send you to handle, but I know your brother’s in town. So Ritch, can you go? We’ll pay you to work from 8.30 to 11.30 and even buy dinner (no more than about $15, please).

Let’s talk later about appropriate questions.

Thanks. Again, sorry for the last minute timing.


It bears mentioning that Susie's brother is in town because their mother is ill, so my first instinct, sending an email that replied to all saying "sorry Sus, I have a hockey game to watch tonight, so if you could blow off your sick mom and hit the gay film festival for me" really didn't seem like an appropriate course of action.

Stewing, I decided the only way to get around this was to line up someone else as a guest blogger, get them the gig, and then email everybody with my brilliant solution. I immediately thought of Ophira Eisenburg, who is a great comic and storyteller (and Calgary Flames fan), and got her on the phone. I'd already pitched the gig to her, explained about Hedda Lettuce, and got her to tentatively cancel the other gig she had tonight, when my boss ducked into my cubicle, asked if I was trying to get someone to fill the gig, and said he needed to talk to me. He looked a little stern, as though this was not the kind of gig I should be outsourcing, and asked me to come talk to him in his office. I hastily told Ophira I'd call her back, and went into my bosses office.

"So- you're trying to get someone else to do this gig?"

"Um, well, I..."

"Well don't worry about it, because it's a prank.I know it's game seven tonight. We all thought we'd have a little fun- Susie was in on it too."

My boss, and everyone gathered outside his office door burst into laughter. I called Ophira back, explained I was the victim of a cruel hoax, and promptly booked her on my comedy show I host at Comix comedy club every third friday of the month.

She laughed at me too.

At any rate, my path is now clear:

Thursday Night: Watch Bruins/Hurricanes game seven

Friday Morning: Begin plotting my revenge...

Home sweet home?

I realize I've been pretty quiet around here this post-season, but in my defense, I was under the assumption that the Stanley Cup playoffs were canceled this year. I guess there could be some other explanation as to why the Devils are no longer playing, but I am not interested in hearing what that might be.

Anyway, now that the Devils have voluntarily bowed out of the Cup race (I'm guessing so they can devote more time to lifesaving medical research or reading to the blind), I am, by default, rooting for the Bruins. Partly because Ritch is my friend, partly because it would be cool to have an Original Six final, and partly because the Penguins suck so hard.

But Bruins fans - even bandwagoners like me - have cause to be worried. Not just because they had a big hill to climb being down 3-1 to a Carolina squad that I understand is pretty talented (no specifics, please!) but because if I'm reading the brackets right, eight seven of the ten teams eliminated so far this year have suffered that fate on home ice:

Detroit over Columbus
Vancouver over St. Louis
Chicago over Calgary
Boston over Montreal
Carolina over New Jersey (Wait, what?)
Pittsburgh over Philadelphia
Chicago over Vancouver (NOTE: See comments)
Pittsburgh over Washington

And of those eight seven, three were Game 7s - two of which were won by the visiting team.

So what does that mean for tonight in Boston? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. But at a minimum, it means I spent too much time looking into this, so you people are going to read about it.

Go Bs!

P.S. Confidential to LL in Newark - Please look into whether there are any more Staals rattling around that may have been overlooked. And if not, maybe FedEx a bottle of wine, a tin of oysters and a few Barry White albums up to Thunder Bay.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I understand the viewpoint of everyone in this video:

The Sharks fan, the Dad, the cat.

Each of their points, all so valid, so real, so painfully, wonderfully great.

The Kid: so young, so passionate, so unaware of what the repercussions of his actions might be. Still, as over the top as he is, he HAS A POINT. It was supposed to be the Sharks' year. It was to avoid a similar display that Joe Thornton elected not to address the media I suspect.

The Dad: So aware, so dorky, so goddamn DAD-like, that his reaction to an admittedly bad situation dooms his kid to the worst of what he initially feared.

The Cat: Wants to play him out, but waits- is something better coming? Yes. Wants to play him out again, waits for something EVEN BETTER. Just as he thinks the time as come, he waits again. Hits the last beat and aww yeah, he plays his ass out. Like Father, like son.

This is a like a Greek Myth. Seriously, if Joseph Campbell were to write and direct a Youtube video, this would be it.

I'm gonna publish this and then might watch it thirty more times.

It's that goddamn good. If the Sharks ever win the cup, they should fucking hand it to this kid first. He's paid the price, man. He's paid the price.

I'll tell ya- if the Bruins lose tonight, I might be acting the same way.

Of course, that's a big part of why I don't generally videoblog.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Two things that the members of the Boston Bruins know:

Scott Walker's number is 24

Jussi Jokinen's number is 36

Disicpline is important, but they know.

They know.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Carolina here we come!

Great game, but the job isn't done.

Still- even if you aren't a Carolina Hurricanes or Boston Bruins fan, I think that you should be rooting for the Bruins.

I mean, don't we all want to see this kid back in the stands for game seven?

Great game from the Bruins and from Captain Chara.

Also, in case you were concerned that this blog wasn't providing enough of me- here's a picture of my cat Grapes drinking a glass of scotch to the B's victory.

Game six, man.

Game six.

I'll take it!

Great first period by the B's, with Captain Chara picking up an assist (maybe a goal?) on the powerplay, and Savard ignoring 17,565 people screaming the word "SHOOT!" and showing why he's one of the best passers in the league.

And how about Milan Lucic?

I don't want to say that Lucic was smelling blood in the water, but this chick had a better chance of getting out of the way.

That said, the Bruins have 40 minutes to play, and this is a Carolina team with a lot of pride. I mean, every single one of those guys have to wake up and look at themselves in the mirror.

And in Brind'Amour's case, that's a pretty herculean chore.

And yes, I'm aware that I make fun of Brind'Amour being horrible looking a lot. Enjoy this post from 2006, perhaps the first time I said so.

Lookin' at you, Chara.

Hey, big man.

It's now almost 2:00 AM eastern time as I write this, and as a dedicated Bruins fan, I spent the last 25 minutes watching bonus material from the new History of the Boston Bruins DVD. I just ordered it from Netflix, and decided that today was the day to watch it. If tomorrow (now today's)game goes the way of the last three, I won't much be in the mood.

Anyway, I was watching the DVD extras, and saw a nice little featurette about how you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, or at least got as far as Gilman's point, two hours from the highest point in Africa.

And then, you went back down.

From Rob Simpson's journal of the trip on Boston

The next three hours consisted of climbing almost exclusively on scree. We dug in, sucked it up, and after a handful of rests, some team building words of encouragement, and some timely “pole’-pole’s” thrown in, we finally arrived at Gilman’s Point. The last two hundred yards were excruciating on mind and body. A few minutes after sunrise, we stood at 18,650 feet.

A snow filled crater sat below us within the huge volcanic bowl of Kilimanjaro. Huge glaciers stood in the distance to the East, and also closer to us on the west side of the summit. Also off to the left, a narrow ridge path, a combination of ice and lava rock, stretched out before us. It led up to Uhuru Point, another kilometer off, and another 800 feet above us, to the highest point in Africa.

We took a few minutes to celebrate and photograph our accomplishment. Out came the video camera(s), and then out came a question.

“Who’s going on to Uhuru?” Mark Brender asked.

Darryl said no, he was feeling some altitude symptoms, as would Brender a few minutes later. Chara also declined, but his decision was based on fatigue and hockey, not desire.

“Too tired guys, I can’t chance a step, can’t mess with the hockey,” he basically said.

Well, OK big man- I hate to say it, but you're in a 3-1 hole, had your ass handed to you over the last three games, and now you're coming back to Boston with the season on the line.

This is what you've been saving it for. And, not to be too much of a prick about it, but you're currently a minus four with no points in this series, and you're wearing the same C on your sweater once worn by a couple of Bruins d-men by the names of Bourque and Orr.

The 2008-2009 Boston Bruins have never really faced any adversity until now. You're the captain, and I'm putting it on you.

Suit up Z.

Now you really have a mountain to climb.

Can you finish this one?

Friday, May 08, 2009

"As Jackson and Pollock look on?"

Just heard that announced in the first period of the Canes Bruins game.

I checked the Bruins blog, and sure enough:

* Kevin Pollock and Dave Jackson will be the referees. Jean Morin and Thor Nelson will be the linesmen.

Seriously, if those guys aren't careful it'll be a huge mess out there:

The Carolina Hurricanes hire a adorable little girl to sing the National Anthem-

- to counterbalance the shock, horror and revulsion that Canes fans have when they see the horrible face of Rod Brind'Amour in person.

I mean, for Christ's sake look at him.

He looks even worse without his uniform.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Old Friends

So, I'm sitting here watching game one of Pens/Caps, and seeing Bill Guerin on the Penguins has caused my mind to drift once again to the Bruins.

As much as I hate the Penguins, and I DO (maybe more than even Alexei Kovalev) I can't build up a lot of hate for Billy Guerin, a Massachusetts boy who came to Boston from Edmonton in a trade for Anson Carter, and put together back to back 40 goal seasons in one of the toughest eras to score in NHL history. He was the de-facto captain of the Bruins, but wasn't given the "C" because in the pre-salary cap days, the Bruins knew they weren't going to pay him, and it would be more than embarrassing to see yet another captain skate out of town for better money (Jason Allison) or a better chance at winning (Ray Bourque.)

So, after a great year playing on a line with Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov, Billy Guerin did what most people did who wanted ridiculous money before the lockout: signed with the Dallas Stars. He promptly got hurt (my brother liked to say he was wearing a pair of baggy shorts, and his wallet swung around and hit him in the thigh) and based on the games I saw him in, never really seemed to get that scoring mojo back, even during a short stint in San Jose, where he was re-united with Joe Thornton. After a disappointing stint with the last place Islanders, it's been interesting to see Guerin playing well with the Pens, and re-uniting with Hal Gill, another former Bruin from Massachusetts. Gill had his detractors in Boston, but I always thought he was a solid player. Getting shipped out of town after the Bruins signed Zdeno Chara is no shame, they got a better big man, and Gill not only landed where he could, but played great in last year's run to the Stanley Cup final.

But even in the Bruins series against the Montreal Canadiens this year, I couldn't get away from old friends. Glen Metropolit, who was a great role player on the Bruins last year, and a key component in their epic seven game series with the Habs last season, found himself on the other side of the rivalry at the end of this season after being odd man out in Philly due to salary cap issues. It was nice to see the friendly handshakes he gave and received in the line after that series this year.

And during the Bruins' disciplined, workman-like beating of the Hurricanes in game one of their semifinal last night, there was old friend Sergei Samsonov, who use to cause Bruins fans to pull their hair out with his tendency to beat three guys, skate into the corner and then fall down. Still, Sammy is a guy who I enjoyed watching for so long, that I have a hard time wishing him ill.

It bears mentioning that if the Sharks hadn't performed their yearly April chomping of a high voltage power line, the Bruins could have not only dispatched the Canadiens, the team who knocked out their finest squad since this recent band of B's in the first round, but then had the potential chance to go through each member of the top line of that team in subsequent rounds (Samsonov in Carolina, Guerin in Pittsburgh, and Thornton in San Jose.)

Of course, that'll never happen now.

But you know, kinda neat, right?

Let's go Bruins!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Since No One On The Versus Broadcast Seems To Have Mentioned It:

Congratulations to Jeremy Roenick on a tremendous career.

There have certainly been some ups and downs, but all things considered, the NHL was far richer for having him in it.

It's a sad irony that the night in which Roenick likely played his last game in the NHL is the same night that the Chicago Blackhawks won their first playoff series since he left.

Anybody remember this kid?

Many thanks for the memories JR- I'm sure we'll see you around.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Adieu, Les Habitants....

Don't weep, Canadiens fans. Your 100th season may have ended, but your hearts- your hearts...will go on.

Man- that song gets me.

Every time.

What, you don't like that one?

How about this?

Or maybe something a bit more family friendly?

This is 8 minutes long, but let's face it, you're not watching any more hockey till October. Skip ahead to the 1:50 mark if you're really in a hurry.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Many a true word hath been spoken in jest

From Tom Gulitti's indispensable Fire and Ice blog, here's Devils winger Brian Gionta on becoming the Devils' fifth 20-goal scorer this year:

"I would have had 40 if I had a different center," Gionta joked. "[Dainius Zubrus] should win the Selke for shutting me down."

Now that's a pretty good joke - especially for an athlete - but when he skated on a line with Scott Gomez, Gionta set the all-time Devils record for goals in a season with 48. Zubrus, on the other hand, who was brought to the team to be its top line center, is currently 7th on the team in assists, and 8th in goals.

Ha ha.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bruins- Lucky and Good.

Great game by the Boston Bruins today as they were both lucky and good.

They got some goals through Brodeur that you don't normally see beating that guy, but he was due for a letdown, and this game meant a heck of a lot more to the Bruins that it did to the Devils.

The Bruins goals were examples of making your own luck. Yes, they got lucky with some bounces or shaky goaltending, but each goal was a direct result of going hard to the net, and following the puck into a danger area. They desperately needed this win, especially against a good team.

The Devils, for their part, are coming down from Marty's big win. Sure, it'd be nice for them to catch the Bruins, but they've been too hungry and too hot ever since Marty came back, and they just plain old didn't NEED this win. It was anybody's game in the first, but Marty was due for a letdown, and this was it. It'll be interesting to see how the Devils handle the final ten games. They played fine, and scored a beautiful goal, but the Bruins played slightly better, got some bounces and had far superior goaltending. Also, the Bruins really pinned the Devils down in the third, a skill they desperately needed to regain of late.

Despite their next three meaningless contests against the Leafs, Flyers and Bolts, the Bruins will close out April with an opportunity to potentially dash a team's playoff hopes for the next five in a row. The Senators are still a VERY dark horse to make the playoffs, but given their recent winning ways, if they can stay in contention, and the Rangers, Habs and Panthers continue to not get points they should be getting, I can't imagine that they'd be dreading playing the Bruins twice in their final five. If the Bruins had blown this lead against the Devils, the Sens would definately be circling those games on their calendars. They still might. Bookending the second Senators game are first the Rangers, then the Canadiens, two teams who will likely already be in the playoffs for those games.

As a Bruins fan, I'm far less worried about the postseason than I was earlier this week, as they played a 60 minute game today against a good team. That's all you can ask.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Marty Breaks the Record - Video Highlights

St. Marty's Day kicked off with a small parade:

Then it was right to warmups. Note the hot dogging at around the :25 mark...perfectly appropriate on free hot dog night:

The scene and standing ovation right after St. Patrik set up the short-handed game winner. And, oh yeah, becomes the Devils' all-time leading points leader:

Marty takes a victory lap:

Witnessing Dyslexia

Sorry about that.

I mean't Five Hundred and Fifty Two.


Not Five Hundred and Twenty Two (see comments.)


I am a Dumbass.

You see what happens when newspapers fold?

Sorry about that folks.

Witnessing History

Ben and I just got back from the Rock, after seeing Martin Brodeur become the winningest goaltender of all time, and as a nice bonus, we also saw Patrik Elias become the leading all time scorer of the New Jersey Devils.

You need anything else to go well?

I still got my free beer.

Take that, Deb Kaufman.

I have been to a lot of hockey games, but this was the first time I really felt I witnessed something historic, and just about everything about the game was something special. Here are some initial thoughts:

-The Devils were relentless in the opening minutes, blazing out to a 2-0 lead. I was sitting with Ben and I asked him, "what do you think was said in the locker room before this game- anything?" He replied,"if it takes a speech to get you motivated for this, I don't know what I can do for you." Just imagining the intense silence before the game in the locker room was pretty cool.

-The Hawks were blown off the rink for the first 10 minutes, yet according to recorded shots, remained competitive. I'd be interested to see how many of those first period shots were from way outside, and how many of those shots the TV broadcast judged as quality chances. I can't imagine there were many.

-As shellshocked as the Hawks looked early, Duncan Keith looked great. In the largely ineffective Chicago powerplay in the second half of the first period Keith almost singlehandedly kept the play alive and the puck in the zone. That dude is a good hockey player who played with a cool head when almost everyone else on that young blackhawk team was gripping their sticks so tight they almost snapped in their hands. Both Kane and Toews in seperate instances seemed insistent on beating everybody on the Devils instead of getting a safe, smart shot off, only to be broken up by the aggressively collapsing Devils.

-Elias became the leading scorer for the Devils with an assist on a shorthanded goal by Brian Gionta in the later part of the second period. Despite the fact that the Blackhawks answered right back, the fact that Marty had been scored upon did not phase the crowd or the energy one bit, as we were still all on our feet cheering Elias. Truly, Elias took the heat off of Marty, and denied the Hawks any ability to take the crowd out of the game. Ben and I wondered how many times each one of those men have done that for each other over the course of their long Devils careers.

-I saw a woman wearing a Patrick Roy Avalanche Jersey. This struck me as poor form, seeing as Roy, in that sweater, had defeated the Devils and Brodeur in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals. While I hate Patrick Roy completely, I understand honoring him on this night. But at least wear a Canadiens jersey, lady. I mean- for Christ's sake. You're in the Devils house, and it's Marty's night. No need to bring up that game.

-The New Jersey Devils Fan "Rangers Suck" chant needs to stop. You wanna know why? Cause it's true. You have the winningest goalie in NHL history and have mopped the floor with the Rangers since the mid 1990's. Enough with the goddamn inferiority complex. It's time for a grown-up rivalry. I enjoyed hearing the "Marty's Better" chant. It was born out of a legitimate gripe when Jean Sebastian Giguere won the Conn Smythe trophy for the Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup finals, despite losing to Brodeur's Devils. And now, he is better. Than everybody. This chant, and greeting Gretzky's Coyotes with the "Mickey Mouse Club" theme song, are the chants I'd like to see grow and flourish. Hey Devils fans- you're winners. Act like it.

-Chicago, to their credit, made Marty work for it. Great finish to a great game.

-It'll be real interesting to see how this Devils team reacts to this down the stretch, and into the playoffs. Was this their Stanley Cup, or the event that forges them into a playoff beast? Only time will tell, but as a Bruins fan, I'd rather not speculate- I'd rather just enjoy this night, enjoy this moment and celebrate being a hockey fan who got to see something special tonight.

Five Hundred and Twenty Two.

Congratulations to Martin Brodeur on being the best.


(UPDATE: I know, I know. I fucked up. Thanks commenters!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh What a Night

Please write your own introductory paragraph connecting that song title → The Four Seasons → Jersey Boys → the New Jersey Devils → Martin Brodeur, because I'm too damn tired.

And yes, I know it's a tenuous connection. I mean, what the AHF staff witnessed at the Prudential Center in Newark tonight was a once in a lifetime event, while that song is about something (a guy losing his virginity to a hooker) that happens all the time.

Or so I'm told.

Full wrap-up coming tomorrow (barring laziness), but for now:

Congratulations, Marty.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Go, Marty, Go!

Watch this space Tuesday and Wednesday, as both Ben and I will be attending Tuesday's potentially history making game as Marty Brodeur attempts to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks and become the winningest NHL goalie of all time.

While tickets are still available to watch the most significant record we've seen challenged since Wayne Gretzky eclipsed Gordie Howe in points, it seems like the Devils have cancelled their "Guys night out" promotion, which offered seat upgrades and a free beer.

The website says it's a "system error," but I'll be surprised if that gets fixed before Tuesday. I already got my ticket, and if Big Lou welches on my free beer, there will be hell to pay.

Islanders glass reporter Deb Kaufman once claimed to get me a beer and welched, and I still haven't forgotten about it.

Watch your ass, Lamoriello, watch your ass.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What the fuck?


What the fuck?

What's the message there?

Bobby Orr played his heart out, sustained severe knee injuries that required multiple surgeries, became the greatest player in NHL history, and the message that fucking Mastercard takes out of that inspirational story is "Buy now, pay later?"

Hey Mastercard!

Go fuck yourself!


Go fuck yourself.

Sometimes I'm envious of Canadians...

My brother is on a business trip in Calgary this week. We were talking on g-chat, and he said he met a guy up there who was a big hockey fan, young kid, in his 20s. They apparently talked about the game for about 20 minutes, and when the discussion turned to Barry Melrose, this Canadian guy told my brother he had no idea who that was.

As I said, sometimes I'm envious of Canadians.

Let's Go Devils!

It's a tough time to be a Boston Bruins fan.

Not this season, this week.

While the B's are still holding a six point lead over the Devils (and everybody else in the east,) they are slumping. Over the last 10 games, only the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning have a worse record, and against the non-playoff bound Ottawa Senators, they allowed anxiety to creep into what had been a great start, and a game that should have been a slam dunk turned into a bit of a nail-biter. Had they lost it, it would have been devastating to team and fan morale.

On the other hand, who really cares?

All good teams go through slumps, and the question becomes not "are you in a slump?" but "when are you in a slump?," or "how do you respond?" And for right now, the Bruins are allowed to drop a couple games. They have earned that much. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Bruins fan, and I'd like to see them win 'em all. But if both the Bruins and the Devils play the next 10 games the same way they played the last 10 (Bruins 4-5-1, Devils 7-3-0) the Bruins are still tops in the east. And while that isn't an ideal outcome, from where we're sitting now, they would still be THE BEST TEAM IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE.

That is by no means the end of the world, and it might do the Bruins a little good to feel vulnerable. They also would have three games to get their act together, including one against Montreal and another against Buffalo, games that just might give them an opportunity to knock one of those squads out of the playoff hunt. For the record, of their last 13 games half of them are coming against non-playoff teams, so I really don't expect a collapse.

Even if the Devils do catch the Bruins, that really doesn't matter either. Home ice is cool and all if you're a season ticket holder, but ask the Montreal Canadiens how much it helped them last season. In so far as opponents, the team who finishes in 7th or 8th is even more arbitrary than a flip of the coin, and right now, one win can make the difference between 9th and 6th in the East. The Bruins or the Devils are going to be playing the Rangers, Penguins, Sabres, Habs, Panthers or Hurricanes. Of that group, I'd like to avoid the Pens or the Canes right now, but there is no way to predict that. And the Bruins potentially dropping from first to second has no bearing whatsoever on predicting who they might play.

So it's in that spirit, that for the next two games at least, I'm rooting for the Devils. Marty Brodeur is two wins away from Patrick Roy's all time victories record, and is playing in his hometown of Montreal under the recently raised 33 banner of the player whose mark he is soon to eclipse. The only regret I have about that game is that I live in the New York Metropolitan area, so the Hockey Night in Canada Broadcast will be blacked out.

Should Marty tie the record in Montreal, in front of the fans who cheered on Patrick Roy for so many seasons, they return home on Tuesday to face a strong young Chicago Blackhawks team who while talented, have played .500 hockey over their last 10, and had to get two of their Ws via overtime or shootout.

And, I'm going to that game.

So the way I figure it, I'll be looking in on the Bruins for the next week or so, but I just can't obsess over them. For the next 5 days, I'm a Devils fan. All I have to do is root against the Canadiens (easy) and then head to a live hockey game on Tuesday, and hope to witness history. Even if the Devs lose in Montreal, I can go root for Brodeur to tie on Tuesday. And, unlike most Devils games, this history making contest looks to be a full house.

Oh, no- not because of Marty Brodeur.

They're giving away free beer that night. I know it's St. Patrick's Day and all, but I'd like to think this promotion is Lou's gift to Marty.

So go Devils, go!

You know, until Wednesday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Curious Case of Dustin Dibble

Well, my pal Susie who I work with at Dumb as a Blog just forwarded this to me, and a lot is being made of it. Apparently, this guy in New York City got drunk watching a hockey game in a bar, fell onto the subway tracks, had his foot severed by the train, and was just awarded a 2.3 million dollar settlement.

Mayor Bloomberg calls it "incomprehensible," the New York Post called it a "rebuke...of justice," and the Daily News said in a headline, that the jury was even stupider than Dibble himself.

I don't know, I feel for this Dustin Dibble kid.

Seriously, if getting drunk in a bar and watching hockey is a crime, lock me up. Plus, none of these news stories mentioned the date of the incident: April 25, 2006. Anybody remember what was going on in April of 2006? That's right, it was the return of the the Stanley Cup playoffs, which had been canceled the previous year due to the lockout. I'm not saying it's not a tragedy, I'm just saying that there were a lot of guys out there who who would have given their left foot to watch some playoff hockey that spring.

I'm not saying I condone public intoxication, But that's something to celebrate, people. There hadn't been any playoff hockey on for almost two years, we'd just gotten through a long cold winter, and they were dropping the puck. Additionally, while the news story didn't specify what game he was watching, it bears mentioning that the Oilers, who eventually came out of the west and were playing great, beat the Detroit Red Wings in double overtime that night.

I might have been out a little late that night myself.

Here's my blog post from that day, in which I warn hockey fans to choose the games they watch wisely.

And perhaps more tellingly, here's my blog post from April 26th, written just after the incident, in which it becomes clear that a hockey fan in New York City had few options when it came to watching games that were not the Devils and Rangers, a terrible series that the Devils swept.

So, while some are busy blaming liberals and lawyers for Mr. Dibble's accident and subsequent payday, I'll come right out and say it: I blame the NHL.

Sure, that subway conductor should have stopped the train, but Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow shouldn't have stopped the previous year's playoffs, and the NHL should have had a half decent TV package in place, so that the only options to watch the double overtime in the first Stanley Cup playoff in two years wasn't a goddamn bar.

I say that if the City has to pay this kid 2.3 million, some of it oughta come from the NHL.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NHL to Fans: "Suck on This"

Because nothing goes together like hockey and chocolate's a no-brainer! By which I mean, someone lacking a brain came up with this promotion.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A moment of silence

Now that Zdeno Chara has broken the record in the NHL's Hardest Shot competition, this may mark the last All Star Game where we see the archival footage of the great Al Iafrate, who held the previous record for 16 long years. This is a significant loss, not because Iafrate's achievement has finally been surpassed, but because future generations will have no way of knowing how fucking ridiculous his haircut was:

Look at that goddamn thing. A terrifying hybrid of male pattern baldness, used-car-salesman-combover, and permed mullet...all held together with more oil than you'd find in Dick Cheney's stock portfolio.* I mean, he may have been the only guy in the league who supported the helmet rule for non-safety-related reasons.

It's too bad that Al has hung up the the age of the Honda Bridgestone ScotiaBank Upper Deck McDonald's Cisco Gatorade Dr. Scholl's Haagen Dazs Pamprin John Deere Verizon Playskool Super Skills Competition, I'm sure Al could have cut himself quite a lucrative deal with the good people over at Dapper Dan.

And just to cover my bases...please Lord, don't let him find this, read it, track me down, and fire a 105 mile-an-hour puck at my nuts.

*no longer VP, but still a valid reference!