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!