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!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Look kids!

It's the new Gary Bettman collectible action figure!

Injured players MUST appear in Montreal!

Buy yours Today, OR ELSE.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Claude Julien vs. Rick Tocchet

I'm watching a good interview with Boston Bruins and Eastern All Stars coach Claude Julien on the NHL Network leading up to the All-Star game.

Julien played a handful of games in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques, and he was asked if he fought. Julien responded that he had, and added that"If you want to go on to YouTube, you can see Rick Tocchet break my nose."

I heard that, and thought- you know, I think I'd like to check that out!

And sure enough, here it is:


Back in those days, Julien was in over his head with the current coach of the Tampa Bay Lighting. Not these days.

Oh, and if you wanna see Tocchet opening up another facial cut on a current member of the Bruins management, you can watch that here too, but you'll see that the Vice President gets in a few more solid shots.

Here's current Bruins broadcaster and former #1 overall pick Gord Kluzak faring slightly better:

Of course, Kluzak's got a better looking dance partner these days.

Seems like bum luck. I dig up Youtube clips of Rick Tocchet pounding on the faces of three different luminaries involved with the Boston Bruins, and none of them are Jeremy Jacobs.

As for Tocchet himself, I always liked the guy (Although I liked him less when he played the Bruins.) He was a skilled, scrappy player who was tough to play against, hit hard, and played the game the right way. The Bolts are in such bad shape these days, that he may not be destined to be a head coach forever, but he'll always have a job somewhere in hockey.

Bet on it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brendan Shanahan Signs with Devils

Nope, this isn't a 20 year old post, Brendan Shanahan is a Devil once again.

It's hard to see this as anything but a positive for the Devils, and the price is right. With any luck, he'll get skate with Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston on "The Prodigal Son Line."

By the way, when Stan Fischler steals that, remember you heard it here first.

Of course, the really good thing about it is, when Shanahan finally retires, the Devils will get former captain Scott Stevens back from retirement in compensation.

DuPont stirs the pot-

Well, if you're at all interested in the Boston Bruins, you probably check in on Kevin Paul DuPont's Boston Globe column.

Old KPD has always been a master of a writing style that if you are a fan of it, you might call "tempering one's expectations in the Bruins," and if you're not, you might call it "being a crusty old prick." I love DuPont, even though earlier this year, he managed to turn an article about the Bruins being legitimate cup contenders into a downer. And he came out with a doozy this week.

In the wake of the storm of rumors swirling out of Montreal that Vinny Lecavalier may be headed to the Habs, DuPont officially threw the Boston Bruins into the ring, suggesting that the Bruins have the young players and the money to swing a deal for Lecavalier, should the Tampa Bay captain decide that he might want play somewhere where Stanley can avoid those harmful UV rays.

And while DuPont has a point that yes, the Bruins do have some attractive tools to possibly lure Vinny to the hub, you can see that the old dog might just be pulling a classic DuPont "make you feel good about the Bruins, then kick you in the gut and laugh while you suck wind" move that he does so well.

Here's how he starts out:

The Bruins have the goods to make a deal for Vincent Lecavalier.
Quite something, isn't it? I mean, did you ever think you'd see that day?

OK, KPD- you got my attention.

Vincent Lecavalier, (despite some nagging injuries this season) is one of the most dynamic, complete hockey players in the NHL today. He's flown a little under the radar this season, what with the whole Barry Melrose show, but make no mistake about it. This Bruins fan could learn to love Vinny real quick. Anybody remember when he fought Jarome Iginla in the Stanley Cup Finals?

But watch him pull the rug out:

The Bruins could part with two first-round picks, or part with one first-rounder and offer a choice of former top picks Zach Hamill (No. 7 overall, 2007) or Joe Colborne (16th, 2008). The Bruins would not offer Kessel and Krejci, but could be enticed to give up one or the other. Lawton, a former agent, most likely would grab Krejci, one of his former clients. One of Boston's other two prime young forwards, Wheeler and Lucic, then would be on Tampa's wish list. Getting painful now, isn't it? Parting with either Kessel or Krejci would be hard, but not impossible, not when the return is Lecavalier. But to layer on either Wheeler or Lucic, or perhaps even defenseman Wideman, then comes the moaning and groaning.

Yep, there's the patented DuPont groin punch.

And yeah, it does hurt.

Still with 145 comments and counting, DuPont might claim to not understand the internet, but that dude is generating some serious page views. And, despite the fact that I really doubt this deal will ever happen with the Bruins, I would like to thank DuPont for stirring the pot for a discussion of really fun hypotheticals with my brother and my buddy Duben, who also loves the B's.

In short, after we discussed it, here's why we think that deal will never happen (with Vinny's monster contract aside)

-The impetus for the deal is ostensibly for the Bruins to deal with injuries to their forwards. So dealing for Lecavalier would make sense if, they weren't coming back. With the exception of Marco Sturm, who is done for the year, Lucic will probably be back for the Washington game this weekend, Bergeron's recovery looks promising, and Kessel, who just came down with mono, should be back in about a month. Let's not forget, Kessel beat testicular cancer, he can handle a little goddamn mono. I remain optimistic for Kessel's healthy return (and as an optimist, I refer to his scrotum as "half full.")

-So if our guys are coming back in a month or so, the worst case scenario is that we are so crippled by injuries this month that we go into a month long tailspin, and take a drop in the standings. Oh wait- the Bruins have a 12 point lead over the next closest team in the division, and a 9 point lead on the next closest team in the Eastern conference. That effectively means we can spot the rest of the teams in the Eastern conference at least 4 regulation wins, and still have be in first place going into the playoffs. I'm not exactly afraid these injuries are dropping the B's from playoff contention.

-Any big trade with the Bruins this season would have to involve a goaltender. Thomas and Fernandez have been phenomenal this year, and all reports from training camp had Tukka Rask being the best goalie in camp. Conventional wisdom said that they were going to play Manny, let him rack up a few wins, then trade him. But why mess with a good thing? So that's where we are. But, with a major prize like Vinny on the line, and sacrifices that would have to be made, the Bruins would have to see that they are flush in the goaltending position right now. Thomas is the #1 goaltender, and is getting up there in years. Rask is young and unproven, so if they were going to trade anybody, it'd probably be Manny. And the Lightning could use a veteran down there to press Mike Smith. Oli Kolzig was great in his time, but he's 38 years old, and injured. For the Bruins to suggest a deal without Fernandez included seems unrealistic.

-Oh, and one more thing. If Vinny wants to come to Boston, he's not keeping number 4.

We can only hope that KPD was stirring the pot for the sake of a spirited discussion, and maybe to pull a little bit of Red Sox/Yankees hi jinx to get the Habs to up their offer. If they know that the Bruins would consider giving Krejci, Kessel and two picks, maybe they'd offer up something a little more team crippling than Christopher Higgins and a single, lousy Kostisyn. I mean, who the hell wants one Kostisyn? It's like getting a two legged dog. Sure it's cute and your heart goes out to it, but let's be honest, he's not catching a lot of Frisbees for you.

Let's go ahead and call a Kostisyn what it really is: a poor man's Sedin. And who the hell would be interested in that?

Maybe the genius behind Saw 4?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thank You, Marco Sturm.

With all my excitement about the recent Bruins victories, and anticipation about Tuesday's matchup with the Montreal Canadiens, it's worth taking a moment here for Marco Sturm.

It was announced this weekend that Sturm will be having knee surgery and is done for both the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. This is not only a big loss for the team, but has to be a big disappointment for Sturm himself, who has been nothing but a solid competitor and a great Bruin ever since coming here in the Joe Thornton trade. That was no easy way to come on to any team, especially seeing as everyone in the league (pretty must accuratley) stated that it was a terrible trade for the Boston Bruins. Both Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart have moved on, but Marco Sturm has hung in there, in good times and bad.

I'm not sure how seriously players take the idea that they need to fill the void of a player they are traded for, but when you look at where the Bruins were when the trade was made (in terrible shape) and where they are now (best in the NHL), Marco Sturm was there. And, lest we all forget, now that Michael Ryder has excelled on the Krecji-Wheeler line, it was Sturm who had Ryder's place on that line before Sturm went down with concussion symptoms this year, and it was with Sturm that those two started to first display the magic that they now bring to every game they play in.

Not to knock Ryder, but Sturm was there first. Then in the game when he came back from that injury, all Sturm did was score on his first shift, before sustaining the injury that has now ended his season.

Additionally, let's not forget game six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last season against Montreal. It was Marco Sturm who won that game with the biggest goal for the Boston Bruins in 20 years. Some of us, like me, are Bruin diehards. Some of us watched the Bruins through thick and thin, but in the city of Boston, there were a lot of good teams to watch over the past 8 years, and many of them stopped watching. That goal was the moment that got them back. That goal, in that game which forced game seven- that was the moment when the Bruins won back their city. That goal was a clarion call that hockey was back in Boston, city of champions, titletown, and Marco Sturm got it for us.

You can get the studio version of that goal all over the internet, but here's a great hand-held shot of it taken by a fan from the upper deck. Listen to that crowd:

It also breaks my heart a little bit that Marco Sturm will be missing perhaps the most anticipated regular season Bruins game since Ray Bourque came home in an Avalanche sweater- the February 10th game when Joe Thornton returns to Boston. Thanks to the imbalanced schedule, Joe Thornton has only played in Boston in a San Jose sweater once before and he was thrown out in the first minute. This is a huge game for the Bruins fans, a huge game for Joe Thornton, and a huge game for the league as the two best teams in the NHL face off in what could be a preview of the Stanley Cup final. You better believe that Marco Sturm had it circled on his calendar.

I'm terribly sorry he won't be on the ice for that game, or pulling on a B's sweater in the playoffs this year as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

So thanks for all your efforts this year, Marco Sturm.

Real Bruins fans remember your contributions, your sacrifices, and yes, that amazing goal in game six. You made Bruins fans believe, and you got the ball rolling.

Thank you for that.

Get well soon.

We'll see you in October.

Welcome Byron Bitz!



Love this new kid!

Comes up for his first NHL game, gets his first point, hits hard, is strong on the puck, not afraid to jump into the scrum for the Bruins, and is alliterative as hell.

Budding Boston Bruin Byron Bitz Breaks Barriers, Bests Brind'Amour's Boys!


UPDATE: Bitz's parents were at the game. I have no confirmation that there names are Barry and Barbara, but I really hope so.


What it feels like to be a Bruins fan these days:

Pretty damn good.

(screengrab from the NESN broadcast, fashion provided by this kid's excellent parents)

Friday, January 09, 2009

I'm calling it.

The New York Rangers will not make the playoffs this year.

Just wanted to get that on the record.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hey- Did anybody else have their Versus Broadcast cut out part of the Bruins-WIld Game?

Maybe it was my DVR, but it seemed to me that they just cut away from the entire last half of the game, and went right into Sports Soup.


Also, bummer for the B's on their first back-to-back regulation losses.

Here's hoping it builds some character.

OK- yes, I hate Sidney Crosby...but-

I gotta say- I feel bad for the guy.

I went to the Rangers/Pens game last night, and man, the Penguins are falling apart.

I think it's time to ask the question-

Is the NHL asking too much of Sidney Crosby?

The crowd was chanting "Crosby Sucks" with the same zeal that they shouted "Sloppy Seconds" when Dion Phaneuf came to town, and while sure- the Madison Square Garden crowd has always been tough, I wonder- has the NHL put too many eggs in Crosby's basket?

He's a great player, but can any player handle that weight?

Look- I hate the Penguins, and there are a lot of elements of Crosby's game that I have big problems with. But if the Pens keep folding the way they have been, will the pressure of the league's marketing bury one of it's brightest stars?

I hope not.

I mean, not enough that the Penguins actually turn it around, but still-

A real fan of the game wants it's greatest stars to shine.

The way to do that is by reporting the excellence of the NHL honestly, and honestly- the NHL has been over-promoting this kid- yes KID- for years.

Sidney Crosby will be 22 years old in August.

Could the NHL be killing Sidney Crosby?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Some of you

probably thought "There's no way Ritch could possibly hate Sidney Crosby more than he does right now."

Let's find out together!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Anybody wonder what Jaromir Jagr is doing over in Russia?

If your answer was "enjoying a moment of quiet dignity," you are incorrect:

Holy cow.

In other news, TSN reports that in Pittsburgh's loss to Boston last night, they started six American-born defensemen who all played college hockey.

Those D were:

Ryan Whitney
Alex Goligoski
Brooks Orpik
Kris Letang
Hal Gill
Mark Eaton

As an American Hockey Fan, that's a great thing for not only American born players, but for collegiate hockey programs. Sadly for the Pens, it also appears to be a great thing for opposing forwards from everywhere else in the world.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Winter Classic: After period three.

Well, the game is over, and the Hawks just didn't bring their game, which made for a kind of a bummer ending to what was a great hockey game. Interesting to see if these two teams meet the Wings in the playoffs- these past two losses are a pretty sobering way to end a 9 game winning streak.

Some thoughts:

-Kudos to Darren Pang for letting us know that Ty Conklin took a bathroom break. Huet on the other hand, took his crap out on the ice.

-It's very classy and cool that they are opening up the ice space tomorrow for people to skate on for 10 dollars, with all of the money going to charity. They should do that every year.

-It is probably not worth saying this, but YES, the Winter Classic should happen every single year. Traditions are started when something is so much fun that you just really, really want to do it again. This game is one of those things. While the NHL never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, this is just great for the game. Let's do it again next year, and let's do it at Fenway with the Bruins and Habs.

-I am now watching "The music of Seal on Ice" on NBC. It's fucking bizarre. This is one Seal that I wouldn't mind seeing clubbed to death. Or eaten by a large walrus. Either way would be fine.

- So far, the home team has lost both Winter Classics. Too bad. It's really cold out there, and that's a long walk back to your cars. I remember the mood on the walk to the parking lot after the game in Buffalo. That's a long, cold walk for a bunch of fans who were really psyched up to attend a game that is the hottest ticket in town. I really hope the home team wins next year. Unless it's in Montreal. I love watching those french bastards suffer.

- "Seal on Ice" is still on in the background. Seriously, I would love to meet the TV executive who actually stood up in a meeting and said "How about Seal on Ice?" I would greet him, ask how exactly how it was that he decided to combine those two particular things, then set his penis on fire. I mean, Holy Shit. Seal on Ice? For Christ's Sake.

- I've been watching those Bud Light "Drinkability" ads all afternoon. Is that really a selling point? That your beer is "drinkable?"I mean, it seems to suggest that they are fully aware that their beer sucks, and have decided to strongly assert- "No, we know that our beer is watery piss, but despite all that, you actually CAN drink it. Despite what you have heard and experienced, this beer actually can physically be consumed. It has drinkability." Basically, what they are saying in this ad is, I guess, their beer isn't frozen. Nice work, idiots.

-I haven't been writing much on this blog over the past few months, mainly because I generally write on this blog when I am upset about hockey, and as a Boston Bruins fan, things couldn't be better right now. Look what I wrote about the B's this time last year, and you can see that all the signs were there. And Phil Kessel is definately hitting the back of the net.

-Happy 2009 everyone!

Winter Classic: After period two.

Well it's official ladies and gents- we have a hell of a hockey game on our hands.

Three unanswered goals from the defending Stanley Cup champs, a highlight reel go-ahead goal from Pavel Datsyuk.

One of the joys of watching this game from the greatest sports blogosphere on earth has been the great job Eric McErlain has been doing, posting video from the stands at the classic.

Here's some of his videos, which he threw up on Youtube:

A personal highlight for me was the Friday the 13th trailer. With apologies to Huet, Jason has the best looking hockey mask of the day. It was a new trailer that I haven't seen yet, but I am pretty fired up for this movie. Sure, other Friday the 13th movies have come and gone, but what does this one have that others haven't?

Topless Waterskiing.

That is what is known as raising the motherfucking bar.

I'm still commenting on the AOL Fanhouse liveblog, and had some fun with this exchange:

AdamGretz: If Bill Wirtz were still running the Hawks, would all of this be happening today?
Bruce Ciskie: Hell, no.
[Comment From Ritch]
It would be happening, but it wouldn't be televised.

No matter who loses today, the game of hockey wins.

Winter Classic: After period one.

Hey all-

Unlike last year, when I was lucky enough to join the throng at Ralph in Buffalo, this New Year's Day I'm parked on my couch watching the Winter Classic, and it's a great day for hockey.

I'm having a heck of a time adding comments over at NHL Fanhouse, who are running a liveblog of the event.

Check it out here!

It's already a better game, hockey-wise, than last year, here's a few thoughts:

-Conklin doesn't look strong. The wrap-around goal was soft and I've questioned his positioning.
-The pacing is fun to watch, lots of back and forth.
-Whoever was supposed to be covering Havlat on his goal F'd up. That was a missed assignment, plain and simple.
-Scrappy. I love the hits and the scrums. I'd love to see some Winter Classic fisticuffs.
-This is the first time Chris Chelios has back to Wrigley since he saw the Cubs win the World Series.

I'll try to write a little recap after each period here as well.

Second period is about to start.

Happy New Year!