08 December 2007

This is why hockey players aren't media moguls

There is a lot of press about how hockey can't seem to penetrate major markets. One of the reasons may be hockey commercials. You see, they vary. They vary between awesome, hilarious, etc., and mind-meltingly awful. However, the awesome and hilarious ones are catering to a fairly limited sector of the population who are going to find them funny, and an even more limited sector that actually enjoys the camp value. And the mind-meltingly awful ones have universal bad appeal.

You want to see a decent Nike commercial? This one, with Naslund and Kovalchuk, from a couple years ago, is pretty good. It's a cool concept, with bits of actual humor (look at the referee's and then the coach's expression--highly amusing!) and--this is key: it involves VERY LITTLE ACTUAL ACTING. This is because hockey players are generally very very bad actors. See: Good commercial.

A bad, bad commercial that I cannot for the life of me find on Youtube right now is that one that they keep showing on TSN (and, I'm sure, other networks, but I don't really see them) with the awful dark lighting and players that I cannot recall like...rolling over each other's backs in order to score goals. It's awful. There is not one single redeeming factor about that commercial, and it doesn't even come across as "cool" as they keep hoping it will.

You want to see a bad commercial of a different stripe? I have three: This tragic Blackhawks commercial about soda, this tragic one where they can't decide what to watch on the TV they inexplicably have in the locker room, and this one just in general. You know what the common thread is, here? (Don't say the Blackhawks. That's only partial credit.) THEY ALL INVOLVE ACTING. Look, man. They are TERRIBLE actors. Even if they sat around and talked like that in real life--which I can't see just because I don't think Marty Havlat would bother hanging around most of his teammates--they couldn't pull that off. It's just not good! Does that make you want to watch the Blackhawks play hockey? I hope not.

This is a bad commercial because it is boring as all get-out, and Ted Nolan is not an especially attractive man. That's the best you could come up with, Islanders Organization? Really?

You want to see a couple misguided but extremely funny anyway commercials? Here and here, both of which are from the amusing nation of Slovakia for, I think, the World Cup. Both feature arguably attractive young women who are very, very poor actors, being surprised in daily activities by a three-piece band of nutty Slovakian hockey fans with...musical instruments. No, I don't understand it either. Just watch them, seriously, you will laugh.

The whole set of NHL commercials that were running a couple years ago, the "[Player X] is just here to remind you that the season's starting soon," those were pretty good. Although this one with Peter Forsberg is somewhat terrifying, just because of the whole concept of Peter Forsberg being in someone's bed besides his own, with his "I will eat your soul" eyes. But this one, with Marty Turco, is very awesome as well, if only for that guy's delivery of "Okay! No music!" Seriously, who is that guy? He needs his own show.

Another set of NHL commercials I really really really enjoyed were the "NHL players are just like you and me!" commercials. I'm torn over which is my favorite: Joe Thornton's inability to eat toast, because that one was actually my life after the past week since none of my three roommates nor I could remember to buy margarine at the grocery store and had only rock-hard butter to eat on or toast, OR Ovechkin's inability to buy chips out of a vending machine. That commercial is the awesome reason whenever I'm directing someone, I shout "I said left! Left!" in a heavy Russian accent, but since no one but me remembers that commercial, I come across as a lunatic, not an...impersonator of hockey commercials, which I guess means I fall into a different category of lunatic.

The same set had the unbelievably awesome NHL Roadtrip commercial, which if you've never seen, you need to watch, like, immediately. It is all KINDS of awesome. (Except for the Staal brothers, who are just creepy as anything.) It has again, Ovechkin being kind of weirdly hilarious and ordering a shitload of food in Sidney Crosby's name, Sidney Crosby being not only hideous but a terrible actor, and about a dozen other players just generally being stupid and hilarious. My favorite part? "What are you doing?" "Nothing."

And, of course, the "Swedish Twins" commercial. This is a really really awesome commercial, if only for the Sedin twins dancing around. Honest to God, every person in that commercial deserves to be just heaped with awards. The first time I showed this to my dad, he nearly had a stroke from laughing so hard. That's how awesome it is.

Now I feel like I watch too much TV. So I'll finish off with this commercial, which at least makes me feel better about my addiction. The more hockey you watch, the tougher you get.

[And a thank-you to the beyond awesome girls over at Untypical Girls for linking to me! Sorry about the Stars losing to the Sens, guys. But...the Sens really needed the win. Please don't hurt me. You guys rule!]

02 December 2007

Cold enough for you?

It's winter, for sure--here in Ottawa we have approximately a dozen feet of snow and ice and slush to match. I think maybe the Sens have early-onset cabin fever, because they have been pretty hilariously inept lately. I was at the game against the Rangers yesterday and really, it's not even worth discussing. In fact, let's have a pop quiz:

Question: If your team is down three goals to none ten minutes into the first, what is the best course of action?
A: Just try and ride out the worst of it and take the break to get a grip and start over
B: Start a fight or two to get the dejected drunken fans back into the game
C: Start juggling your line combinations to inject some actual enthusiasm into the game
D: Check all the water bottles to see which of your players have apparently been drinking before and during the game
E: Give up when you notice your coach has been using the whiteboards to play hangman with the equipment guys.

The Sens actually chose Secret Option F, which was "Flail around madly for a while, then start taking penalties to really give the Rangers a sporting chance, in order to lull them into a false sense of security so you can come out swinging in the third and really show them what's what." It failed miserably. There weren't even any hilariously drunk fans by us up in the very last row of the stadium. Of course, it was a two o'clock start, so that may have had something to do with it. On the other hand, they were playing really really badly, so I wouldn't have judged anybody for starting their weekend festivities early.

But there are plenty of other teams that aren't having a six-game suckfest.

Teams Doing Surprisingly Well Going Into The Holiday Stretch:

No, really. Havlat is back, thank goodness, and all their little-kiddy forwards are putting in highlight-reel performances every single night. In Chicago. CHICAGO. They are doing WELL. I am floored, but in the best possible way. Is it possible they're bringing back an Original Six franchise for good? God, I hope so.

Minnesota: As long as Gaborik and Demitra are not injuring their groins by slipping on ice or falling down the stairs or stretching weirdly while lying on the sofa or what ever it is that is causing them to go back and forth on the IR like a tag-team effort--as long as they're not doing that, Minnesota is doing surprisingly well. Too bad their defense and goaltending is just boring as all get-out.

Detroit: Well, no one is surprised by this, are they? Unless the entire team suddenly takes off on an all-expenses-paid all-inclusive six-day seven-night trip to Cancun, it looks like they will continue to be in good shape.

Philadelphia: Hork. Too bad I hate them, but they're doing really well. Thank goodness they play in the same division as Pittsburgh and can smack them down on a regular basis, that's all I have to say.

Ottawa: See Detroit, and for Cancun read "anywhere but here," because I tell you what, it is damn cold around here, and they would be grateful for anywhere not frozen over.

New York Rangers: Oh, Henrik Lundqvist, you are making a beautiful thing happen in Madison Square Garden. And in the game yesterday, one of those goals you totally had no chance on. Now if your forwards can get it together like they were doing against Ottawa--although let's face it, Ottawa was putting up very little fight--you would definitely be in the running.

And the converse, Teams Looking Like Death Warmed Over:

Oh my goodness. Is there anything right with this team? Kiprusoff's GAA and save percentage is around fortieth. Fortieth. 40. IN THE LEAGUE. At this point Calgary management would be better served by going and standing outside a corner store for a bit, waiting to see who slips and falls on their way out and doesn't spill coffee all over them, and signing that person to a 2.5-million-dollar contract.

Anaheim: Excuse me while I laugh so hard I wrench something in my neck.

Buffalo: Ah, Ryan Miller, of "Two-man advantage: Instagoal!" fame, you're dragging the team down with you.

Florida: I feel bad for ripping on Florida because they're so pathetic, it's like making fun of a three-legged dog because it can't run as fast as the other dogs. Too bad it's so irresistible, because man, some of the plays they make are laughably awful. Do they have defensemen besides Jay Bouwmeester? Would it matter if they did?

Edmonton: What is in the water in Alberta? Is it something about the terrain?

New Jersey: More problems than you can shake a stick at, starting with Martin Brodeur, who is just now starting to get back into form. I think this is the beginning of the end for Brodeur--or not quite, really, because during the playoffs last year he was not looking like his usual sharp self, yet somehow walked away with the Vezina anyway. I think Brodeur is on his way out, and boy, is that going to be hard on New Jersey, because they are just riddled with problems from top to bottom.

Pittsburgh: Hahahahahahaha! I would love to see Sidney Crosby and Friends crash and burn as Pittsburgh management learns that one player--not Crosby or Gretzky or Jesus Christ back on earth and playing No. 1 forward--can carry a team.

08 November 2007

In praise of bad teams

First off: The other day as I was sitting and eating my lunch at my illustrious university, a couple of guys sat down beside me and were clearly watching the same TSN feed as me, except they were having an entirely different conversation about it.

Guy 1: Fucking hockey, man.
Guy 2: I know! What a stupid sport!
Guy 1: It's too hard to follow.
Guy 2: They move too fast! And they don't score enough.
Guy 1: Yeah! If they could like, make them score more, or something.

Note: As far as I could tell, neither of these guys were high as kites, drunk, or otherwise impaired. They were wearing Engineering coats, though, so that probably says something.

But anyway, leaving aside the question of "but the sport needs more scoring! It's too boring, and the goalies are too huge! Make the nets bigger! It'll be more exciting!" which is flawed in many, many ways and also far too boring for me to go into right now...what the eff were these guys going on about? Hockey, God bless it and its myriad virtues, is not the most complex of sports. Cripes almighty, it's one of the easiest-to-follow sports out there! See those guys on the ice? Their job is to put the puck in the other guys' net. The other guys? They try to stop them. There you are. Done. Now you understand hockey.

These guys were apparently basketball fans, which...all right. Not to knock basketball or anything, except that I hate it, but...okay, basketball and hockey? Different sports. Shut up, stupid guys, stop trying to make hockey more like basketball. I know the day I see the score Ottawa Senators 132, New Jersey Devils 75 I will have to walk off a cliff, because that will just be the end of my life.

Furthermore, how weird is it that the Blackhawks are actually above .500 right now? They don't completely suck! It's that whole "youth movement" thing they've got going on. They're all about twelve years old and need rides to the games, but hey, if they can produce on a consistent basis...who cares? (Why do I keep forgetting Duncan Keith is only 24? I have some mental block there where I'm convinced he's actually about 67 and constantly on the verge of retirement.)

Sens try to make it eight straight wins tonight. Washington isn't looking so hot, having gone 0-2 on their road trip prior to this game, and the Sens are 8 and 1 at home. Emery's in net tonight, which should be good. I was at the preseason game against Washington, (I don't know why, either), and Gerber played and won. However, it wasn't like Washington was being the most threatening team you've ever seen, either.

I'm going to Montreal this weekend, and Montreal is playing Ottawa, so I think I may leave my beloved Sens sweater at home lest a crazy drunk Habs fan accost me and beat me up. Actually, it's better for the sweater (ha!) that I leave it at home anyway--I've had it for several years now, and I wore it religiously all through high school, and now it's developed all kinds of holes and sad-looking unravelling. And it's not very warm because all the lining has worn away. And I'm not much interested in having the snot beat out of me in Montreal, mostly because my French isn't good enough to file a police report. So the sweater stays at home.

"Eric Lindros expected to announce his retirement from the league on Thursday." Jesus, not a moment too soon, either. I know people who had no idea he was still technically an active player. They thought, along with the rest of the world, that he had fallen off the face of the earth back in 2001.

02 November 2007

Long break, eh? Midterms have been getting me down here at Casa All Hockey All The Time, and it's been really busy. I was lucky enough to be at the game last night, Atlanta Thrashers vs. Ottawa Senators, which was pretty embarrassing as the Sens managed to blow a 5-0 lead. Nice, guys. Keep up the good work. Not.

You know, I love many, many players. I know more about some of them than is really healthy. If I could devote half the brain space I have to hockey to my schoolwork, I could be mistress of the planet. And as I was paging through the depth charts in the latest THN and realizing I knew stuff about even the most ridiculously obscure player, I thought "well, I may be a huge nerd, but at least I don't have a stupid name." And I don't. Many, many players? Stupid names. Yes.

Let's start with the Grand Master of Stupid Names, whom I saw play last night: Garnet Exelby. Garnet is not a NAME. It is a NOUN. It is a ROCK. You have GOT to be kidding me. (Actually, garnet is my cousin's birthstone.) And hey, "Ex," is a stupid nickname as well. Garnet Exelby sounds like a snowboarder's name. Not a hockey player.

And really no one should even get me started on Toni Lydman. Yes, I know he's Finnish. But in North America, "Toni" is a GIRL'S NAME. And it's usually a girl's NICKNAME. For heaven's sake. Jocelyn Thibault, as much as I desperately love him, also has a girl's name. And Marian Hossa. And Marian Gaborik. Yeah. Girls' names, the lot of them.

From the "How do you introduce yourself to people with a straight face" files, I give you Dallas Drake and Wyatt Smith. I think they should be friends. I think they should fight crime. And have their own television show. Damn, I'd watch that show. They could play it at three in the afternoon for the after-school crowd, and have episodes like "Today, kids, Dallas and Wyatt investigate Who Stole Vincent Lecavalier's Jewelry Out Of His Locker While He Was In The Shower And Left A Poorly-Spelled Ransom Note Entreating Him To Put Down The Bling Because He Looks Like A Moron?" Good question, incidentally. Not so much a good look, Vinny. You already look like a corpse, no need to decorate.

Shaone Morrison and Shean Donovan. No, neither of those are misspelled. Unfortunately. They do both suck, though, you're right.

Pavel Kubina. Not so much a stupid name so much as I can never, ever resist calling him Pavel "Funky Cold" Kubina. And now I have to turn in my Cool Card, don't I?

Lee Stempniak. That doesn't sound like a hockey player's name. That's some guy you went to summer camp with. And didn't like very much.

Colby Armstrong. Rule 1: No nouns as names. Rule 2: NO TYPES OF CHEESE AS YOUR FIRST NAME.

Lasse Kukkonen. Jesus, how do they possibly not make one million jokes per day? I know I would. "Crap, we're down seven-nothing! Lasse! Get help!" Can you imagine if he grew up to be the savior of the Flyers organization? The newspaper headlines would be, simply put, the best thing I've ever seen. "Lasse Pulls Flyers Out of 7-0 Well--Good Boy!"

Vern Fiddler and Jed Ortmeyer both belong in the "Sorry, we made a wrong turn, we're actually looking for the NASCAR blogs, have you seen them?" file.

Tuomo Ruutu, Jay Bouwmeester, Jonathan Cheechoo and Jordin Tootoo all belong to the Extra Vowel Club, while Andrej Meszaros and Wojtek Wolski are members of the "Silent J Club."

Finally, Joffrey Lupul? Please. THAT'S NOT A REAL NAME. Joffrey. Good heavens.

14 October 2007

The All-Illinois Team

Before I came to university in Canada, I lived peaceably in Illinois, specifically in the Chicago suburbs, being a long-distance Sens fans and learning to tolerate the Blackhawks, and maybe kind of enjoy them once in a while. However, there's always a big emphasis, no matter where you are, on the Local Boy Makes Good story. There are actually more players than you might suspect who were born in Illinois. It's true! Which is why I give you the All-Illinois Team


Bates Battaglia, from Chicago, currently with the Leafs. He is the grandson of a semi-famous Chicago gangster.


Chris Chelios. The most badass of all defencemen. The oldest player in the league. A Chicago guy, he attended Mount Carmel high school, which is in the same conference as my own high school, and was actually drafted by the Habs. He was outstandingly awesome playing for Chicago, and after he got traded to Detroit he didn't have to carry the team any more and was able to put up good numbers. A stand-up guy. I'd want him playing for my team any day. Plus, if I didn't mention him, he would come stomp me.

Brett Lebda. Another Wings player from Buffalo Grove, Illinois. It says his nickname is "The Lion Among Men," but I'm going to be inclined to take that with a grain of salt. I'm sure he's an imposing guy and all, but he's 5'9. He has hair like a mop. Really.

Joe Corvo. Uh, Joe Corvo is kind of a special guy. He's from Oak Park. He plays for the Sens and has really, really tragically trashy hair--he has a blond fauxhawk, okay? And, one time in Boston he punched a woman in the face in a restaurant, and then kicked her. This is true. And, "Corvo" sounds like a nickname already, like maybe what a loser would call their Corvette. "Yeah, gotta take my Corvo down and get it tuned up, maaaan!"

Tom Preissing. Tom Preissing is my homeboy. Tom Preissing was born in the same town I went to high school in. He is a very decent player and a hilarious guy. He looooooves the camera, loves it, wants to marry it, and does hilarious interviews. I miss Tom Preissing in Ottawa, although he really wasn't a necessary component and the Sens have fine defence already. Still...he was funny.

Andy Wozniewski. Another Buffalo Grove player. Weird, eh? And, he has never been drafted.

Craig Anderson. First of all, I love Craig Anderson. I think he is awesome. He is from Park Ridge, but grew up in Barrington. He was drafted by Chicago in 2001 and played a little bit for them, and now he may actually have a shot at the top spot in Florida. Craig Anderson is a tall skinny blond guy (6'2, 174) and TSN ranks one of his major assets as a "positive demeanor." Craig Anderson rules.

Okay, so it won't be a very good team. And a little heavy on the defence. But so what? Maybe we can get jerseys made with Lincoln's head on them. Lincoln's head, a stalk of corn, and maybe the Sears Tower. Or maybe my jersey design needs a little work.

10 October 2007

October Tenth Notes

-So, the Habs are going to start Carey Price, the wondrous 2005 draft pick, against Pittsburgh. The hype around the kid is amazing, it's like the goalie version of Sidney Crosby. I kind of like Price, I guess, but he really is young. And, you KNOW Jaroslav Halak is in Hamilton just ripping his hair out right now. Seriously, why not play Halak? He might not be as purely talented, but he's a little older, more experienced, and could use the time in the NHL. Price had better look out because Halak might be planting some ice outside his door in winter. "How tragic! You broke your leg? Guess I'll have to take your spot!" Just remember to send flowers, Halak.

-Speaking of goalies, there's a lot of buzz about the impending "goalie controversy" in Ottawa, which...two good goalies, no waiting? Who the hell is complaining? Let me shank them! Would it be the end of the world if they got rid of Gerber to dump some salary? No, hardly. I still think Emery deserves the top spot, but as long as Gerber is burning it up, why not let Emery take as much time as he needs to heal? When Gerber crashes and burns...as he will do, because it's Gerber, duh, and I'm pretty sure he didn't suddenly become amazing over the summer...Emery ought to be ready. Everybody wins! You know, sometimes I feel like Martin Gerber's only fan, and I don't even like him that much, but he totally can't be in my Awful Players' Club unless he starts sucking again.

-Speaking of the Sens, it took literally one game for me to come around to the new jerseys. Apparently I'm easy like that. It's the lettering on the back I really like, although I'm indifferent on the shade of red. It's different enough that it'll trip me up watching games on the TV until I get used to it. But...I don't care, I like them. (I am such an easy mark.)

-Oh, in the Sens game versus New Jersey, the Sens kept passing to Karel Rachunek, my favorite terrible defenseman, who has not played for the Sens since March of 2004. Did you fall into a time warp, guys? What the hell happened? Perhaps the constant mistaken passing was the reason Rachunek had four shots on goal and has become some sort of bizarro-world offensive presence. Seriously, when did he start shooting and getting assists and stuff all the time? Last season he had thirty-eight shots. Total. And now he gets four or five a game? I do not understand this.

-Carolina wiped the floor with Toronto last night. I found this hugely amusing, except I really hate Carolina as well, but...okay, they kept Toskala in the ENTIRE TIME. Seven goals. Poor guy, he was probably freaking out seeing the red lights in the stoplights on the way home. Man, Paul Maurice, I don't know what your goalie strategy is, but what, you think Raycroft is actually WORSE than that? It's good to see you have so much confidence in your goalies.

09 October 2007

You Look Terrible, East Coast Version

The roster pictures are terrible, there's no respite.

Why does Milan Lucic look like a hustler out to separate fools from their money? It's the hair, isn't it? Can the Bruins all pitch in to get Peter Schaefer a razor with all its parts, so he doesn't miss the one slob under his bottom lip? How about a brush? A cheap one from the grocery store endcap will do. Speaking of folks who need brushes slash haircuts slash a weedwhacker, Toni "Is A Girl's Name" Lydman might be able to lend an ear. (Yes, I know he's Finnish. I really, really don't care.)

Jocelyn Thibault should have left his hair longer. It doesn't look good in a "I have no hair!" type way. But, if your competition looks like this, i.e., horrifying, I can understand the need to separate yourself from him as much as possible. Also in the Tournament of Goalies...poor Martin Brodeur. That picture really has it all--bad hair, terribly stupid expression, looking enormously fat. Tragic. But at least he doesn't look like Satan, which is more than can be said for some people.

The Rangers should just fire whoever does their photography and site design. Michal Rozsival looks like some kind of ogre. Sean Avery is in the running for worst roster picture in the history of the entire league. The hideous Marc Staal looks like something you'd find in a bad 1955 movie about a spunky kid who learns the true secret of happiness while banished to his granddad's old farm. Marc Staal is not the spunky kid, though--he's the creepy, slightly-inbred, dim next-door-neighbor kid that Spunky Kid must befriend. (Who's going to play Spunky Kid, though? Possibly Chris Osgood, who will look eleven until he's eighty, at which point he'll look twelve. That's a good question, really.) Anyway, Marcel Hossa's problem is not the photographer, at any rate, it's whoever does his hair. He's your enemy, Marcel! Stop going to him! For your birthday (in three days), have someone dye your hair back to a shade found in nature!

Sami Kapanen looks more like a frog than anyone I've ever seen. It's okay, though, teammate Martin Biron never has to look at him, because he can blind with the power of his eyes. Have you ever seen anyone look like that in real life? It looks like someone turned the flash up to eleven. And weirdly, Antero Niittymaki looks like the bastard brother of Ilya Kovalchuk. Although, Finland and Russia are neighbors!

Run! Run! It's one of the Children of the Corn! Good thing the Pens also employ someone with a huge number of teeth to keep him in line. On the other hand, they could import someone like Pavel "Funky Cold" Kubina, who would just have to look at someone and they'd be scared straight. Would you second-guess someone with hair like that? No, of course not, because he looks like the Unabomber. Nor would you second-guess someone like Mats Sundin, who is clearly an alien from outer space.

Actually, I do know who's going to play Spunky Kid in my movie. Craig Anderson, of course! He looks sufficiently puzzled most of the time. And he has that added spot of uselessness--I mean, Chicago traded him away for a sixth-round draft pick, so clearly we are not dealing with the very highest echelon of goaltending here.

The Lightning should fire their photographer, too. I know Vincent Lecavalier is not shorter than Marty St. Louis unless there has been some really excellent trick photography for the past few years--so why is there only half a picture there? Why the acres of space above Vinny's head? Vaclav Prospal might look about six minutes away from killing himself, but at least he fills up the frame.

Those photos are depressing. Thank goodness their play makes up for it. (Sometimes. In cases like any member of the Staal family, there is no redeeming feature. And isn't that an ugly thought? The whole concept makes me want to never leave my home for fear I might run across a marauding Staal brother ready to eat my brain.)

08 October 2007

Awful Roster Pictures, Western Conference

It's that time of year. I am firmly of the opinion that roster pictures are of the devil, but they're a necessary evil, at least. Like, Anaheim's roster pictures look like they've been taken from about twenty feet away, which is totally warranted, because I don't think the photographer wanted to get any closer. God knows I wouldn't. Sometimes I think the photos are taken like they do at the DMV, where they just take the photo and don't give you any warning to get your face in shape. That would account for a lot, actually, a lot of players have that mouth-hanging-agape thing going on, the "I have no thoughts in my head" approach.

Some guys just look weird. Yanic Perreault looks like he's plotting an evil caper, and Milan Hejduk is clearly his deranged partner-in-crime. Actually, I think the Avs hired an ex-DMV photographer, or a magician, because darned if they don't all look so SURPRISED!!!! at the picture being taken. Take Tyler Arnason (although I understand if you'd rather not). He actually looks frightened by the photographer. Maybe the photographer is asking them really difficult questions? Jose Theodore looks similarly confused.

Other teams maybe didn't have the same problem. Clearly Gilbert Brule couldn't be confused if his life depended on it. He's too busy sculpting his hair into a helmet that can withstand even rays from outer space. Dwayne Roloson was a little bemused by the whole picture-taking process.

Manny Legace clearly ate well over the summer, and fellow goalie Niklas Backstrom had an unfortunate incident with a Flowbee. Teammate Branko Radivojevic fell victim to the stupidest facial-hair trend on the planet. Sami Salo became your weird uncle, the one who shows up to Christmas with strings of lottery tickets for everyone instead of presents and doesn't own a comb.

It's a wild, scary place out there for a hockey player with bad hair. The Eastern Conference must have a terrific wind problem slash tragic photographer shortage, because they're even worse, and they're up next.

30 September 2007

Seasonal Slogans

One of the best parts of each new season--besides the players shipping around, the jersey changes, the new schedule, the new rules the league wants to make up (I imagine a bunch of league officials sitting around someone's cottage drinking beer and saying things like "Okay, okay. So, if the player in question has a tattoo on his upper body, we'll award him the goal, even if he was standing on top of the goaltender at the time. And if the player has a tattoo on his lower body, well, screw him! We won't award the goal even if there's nothing wrong with it at all! Nobody will ever guess, and we'll screw with everybody! Good times!" and they all cheer and crack open another Molson)--so, the best part of each new season is the goofy-ass slogan that each team pays a team of management consultants a LOT of money to come up with. I have picked out some of the worst, and I am going to make fun of them.

Atlanta Thrashers: "Believe in [player's name here]. Believe in Blueland." Ah, Blueland is not the first place I think of when I think of Georgia. And, I did a little word-association with one of my friends who knows nothing about hockey, and said "Blueland" and she said "Isn't that a type of crab?" Yes. Yes it is. The Blueland Crab.

Boston Bruins. "The Hub of Hockey." You see what I mean? Personally I would imagine Toronto or New York as the actual hub of hockey, because that's where the league offices are located. Is it because the Bruins logo is round? Is it supposed to be a wheel? Isn't a Bruin a bear? Is it a hub-and-spokes type thing? That's all I can imagine. Too much thinking required.

Calgary Flames. "C of Red." The C is the Calgary logo, if that helps, which it really doesn't. Just..."C of Red?" That's the very best thing you could come up with? This one is pretty stupid all on its own without any added commentary.

Chicago Blackhawks. Apparently, it's "Red Rising." Are you serious? But this is not as embarrassing as last year's, which was "All4One" which sounds like a boy band, or the year before that, which was "Let's Go." That's it. In its entirety. "Let's go." I hope someone got fired over that one. The years before that were "Live from Chicago," which was...okay, not terrible, and before that was "Show Your Colors," which I don't really have a problem with. "Red Rising?" Maybe it's like a thermometer-type analogy? Communist Party sympathizers? I give up.

Detroit Red Wings. "Fire On Ice." Jesus Christ, if you hit the link for the Red Wings' site, before you get to the actual site, you get to one of those pre-sites that asks "Enter the Site?" and it plays a really loud sound of...something being on fire, or scorching, but good Lord, I about jumped out of my skin. "Fire On Ice" is not quite as bad as some of the others, but I think it'd be much more effective for, I don't know, the Calgary FLAMES, maybe? A lot better than "C of Red," I tell you.

Edmonton Oilers. "You're In Oil Country." This is...true. I don't really have a problem with this one, so much. At the very least, it's not aggressively stupid.

Florida Panthers. "See it. Get it. Love it." This is pretty inane. It just does not sound good in any way. At all.

Minnesota Wild. "Welcome to the State of Hockey." Apparently alluding to geography is OK by me, because this one doesn't bother me so much either. Maybe it's the goofy faux-hokey script, or the fact that Minnesota is actually a darn good state for hockey, but...it's okay. The marketing team can continue to work there, I guess.

New York Islanders. "We're All Islanders." Well, I guess we are if you're going with the definition of continent = island, but...well, as far as I know, I am not a member of the Islanders organization, nor am I a native of any island whatsoever. So I'm going to have to go with "no."

Ottawa Senators. "A New Era Begins." Man, I love the Sens desperately and I still don't know what they're getting at here. Please don't tell me it's an allusion to their new jerseys, because I kind of don't like them.

Philadelphia Flyers. "Back with a Vengeance." Look, I would have much more to say, but there is a absolutely horrifying pop-up on the Flyers' website of Daniel Briere that talks to you. Hockey websites, STOP IT WITH THINGS THAT MAKE NOISE. Especially when it's Daniel freaking Briere, who is so ugly he ought to be court-ordered to wear a paper bag over his head at all times when out in public. Good God.

San Jose Sharks. "This Is Sharks Territory." Hey, too close to "This Is Oil Country!" No fair! And it doesn't really flow as well for some reason. Whatever, sharks as species are pretty scary, I'd be warned off from ocean waters with sharks in them, I suppose it works.

Toronto Maple Leafs. "The Passion That Unites Us All." Too wordy! And it doesn't work unless you actually mean "unites us all in hatred against the Leafs."

Vancouver Canucks. "We Are All Canucks." Clearly, the Islanders and Canucks used the same ad agency. What, did they think they'd never run into each other and discover their faux-pas? Hockey is not a sitcom! But it does behave like one sometimes.

It's a good thing no one relies on marketing consultants to get us all revved up for the season. With something like "See it. Get it. Love it," we'd all be falling asleep in front of the TV.

28 September 2007

East Coast Roundup

Let's cover the East today!

New Jersey Devils. I know a lot has been made of the Devils leaving their trap-y past behind, but...they still play some seriously boring hockey. But they do have to play in New Jersey in the shadow of an actual Original Six team and another New York team, so...that's punishment enough, really. Anyway, looks like Martin Brodeur is coming back for another whack at it, which is good, I like Martin Brodeur and I think he deserves his hype as one of the best goalies of all time. During the playoffs last year he seemed to be letting in some uncharacteristic soft ones, though, and I wonder if he'll back off this year and let backup Kevin Weekes have some more time. More importantly, the Devils snagged my favorite mediocre defenseman of all time, Karel Rachunek. He is not a very good defenseman at all, but he's been improving, and did fairly well for himself with the Rangers last year. So far they've been pairing him with both Vitaly Vishenvski and Johnny Oduya, and he's been actually putting up points, which is shocking, considering that most seasons he gets maybe twelve points. Maybe.

New York Islanders. I won't lie to you, the only reason I know anything about the Isles is because of Miroslav Satan. I like him. This year they've also got Mike Comrie which should be good for some laughs on the island, since wherever Mike Comrie goes he seems to be about a waste of good top- or second-line space since he just. Cannot. Produce. And does not deserve the outrageous sums of money he's making--I mean, look! He spends it on buying cars for his latest jailbait girlfriend! Cut his funds off and give them to someone who deserves them, like...well, someone else.

New York Rangers. Are a good, solid Original Six team, and...all Czech. Okay, not really, but it can sure seem like that sometimes. Jaromir Jagr heads up a pretty solid core, and man, he is a horse. Between him and Brendan Shanahan, another player I really like, they could annihilate some rookies. They've also got Petr Prucha, a flashy Czech kid (okay, "kid"--he's 25) with some nice moves who fits nicely with Jagr, and one of my very favorite players of all time: Marcel Hossa, the Lesser of the Two Hossas. All joking aside, Marcel has matured into a decent player who'll never have the goal-scoring touch of his brother, but nonetheless has good hands and accurate passing skills. And he is a LOT of fun to make fun of. On the defense they have Michal Rozsival, a Czech defenseman I like a lot, and Jason Strudwick who is memorable only because he played for the Blackhawks for like, twenty minutes a few years ago and kept a hilarious blog on the website. And in goal they have the outstanding Henrik Lundqvist, who is not only smoking hot, but a really excellent clutch goaltender for being such a young guy. The short and short of it is that New York has got most of the pieces--veterans for leadership, sharp forwards for production, a solid goaltender--what I'll be interested to see is if their defense can hold up well for a season.

Philadelphia Flyers. I really, really do not like Philadelphia. I don't like their policy on Europeans--that they don't like them--which has seemed really, um, short-sighted, to say the least. They have made a few steps towards European players, with a bizarre amount of Finns, but still. And they have a few huge strikes against them in Derian Hatcher and Daniel Briere, both of whom I hate with an unhealthy passion. There is nothing I like about this team. Not one single thing.

Pittsburgh Penguins. Oh God. Two teams I despise in a row? So many awful people on this team that I hate! Colby Armstrong, who is a little jerk, Jarkko Ruutu, who I think is a dirty player, Jordan Staal, who is just vile, and Marc-Andre Fleury, who has just got too many teeth to be trustworthy. Have you seen him smile? It's like watching a shark with three or four rows of teeth. And the grand prize winner of annoying, Sidney Crosby, of course. Why won't Sidney Crosby just go away? I am so tired of hearing this bullcrap about how he is "The Next One" and how he's "going to save hockey." Look, hockey does not need saving, people? Especially by a snot-nosed diving kid. You know who else has been labeled "The Next One?" Eric Lindros and Alexandre Daigle, for heaven's sake. You know where Alexandre Daigle is now? Pumping gas at a Swiss gas station. Okay, not really, but I wish he was. He's actually playing with HC Davos in Switzerland right now. I wouldn't mind if Sidney Crosby went to Switzerland. And never came back.

Boston Bruins. Man, what has happened to Boston lately? They can't seem to get it together. Their captain Zdeno Chara is one of my favorite players, but I think their actual problem is that they don't have enough raw talent and up-front firepower to really be a threat. And, they have Andrew Ference, the most self-righteous and annoying hockey player on the entire planet and that is including the entire Russian nation, and that has got to be a downer for the team. Ference actually makes me dislike Boston. This is sad, considering Boston has a great history and deserve to not suck.

Buffalo Sabres. I have a love-hate relationship with Buffalo--normally I'm pleased to watch them play, but after their debacles with the Sens I hate them. They're certainly a good team, though. Ryan Miller, their starter goalie, I hate, he is the weediest, whiniest creature I've seen in my life, but I love Jocelyn Thibault, their backup. Thibault played for the Blackhawks a few years back, and was entirely respectable, but hip problems and hip surgery sidelined him for a good chunk of last year. A shame, because I like to watch him play, and he is a good guy. And, he likes to fly planes, which is a pretty cool hobby.

Montreal Canadiens. Montreal rules. They have awesome fans--although when they come to Ottawa they are usually crazy and drunk--and a near-mythical history with an astounding forty-two Hall of Famers having played for them and, of course, more Stanley Cups than any other team, ever. They're practically a religion. I can't hate them like I hate Toronto. Most of their players tend to fly under my radar, but I do like Saku Koivu, their captain, who has loads and loads of guts and a real sense of leadership. And Jaroslav Halak is their up-and-coming Slovak goalie who I am unnaturally fond of. Halak has quite a lot of work to do if he wants to really be a starter in the NHL, but he has a lot of talent and I'd like to see Montreal give him some more time in the league, even if he is only 22.

Ottawa Senators. I love them. They are my team. They can do no wrong. But they came pretty close with the whole Mike Comrie thing last year.

Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators' archnemesis. I hate them, and I enjoyed watching Buffalo wipe the floor with them 7-2 on Wednesday. It was fun.

Atlanta Thrashers. My main interest in Atlanta is Marian Hossa. He is a legitimate superstar and I would love to see him have a 50-goal year. This is the last year in his contract, though, so it'll be interesting to see how he does, and expect every team who can afford it to bid for him next summer. I don't think if Atlanta has anything to say about it they'll ever let go of him, but I'd like to see him go to a real contender. (Yes, I know, I watched them in the first round last year, did you? The Rangers beat them silly.) He can be pretty scary paired with Ilya Kovalchuk on the other wing, who has similar talent, but has already had a 50-goal season. Anyway, I don't want to like Kovalchuk, but I do anyway. He's so flashy! I can't look away!

Carolina Hurricanes. Their logo resembles a toilet, and it is accurate. Not only do they have a harbinger of evil in Eric Staal, they have John Grahame as one of their goaltenders, who used to have half-naked women and lighthouses (?) on his goalie mask. I don't know if he still does, but...it's a family game, Johnny! At last it posits itself as one! Cool it with the airbrushed women in bikinis, it makes you look trashy. On the other hand, you have to play for Carolina, and it's probably better to have naked women on your mask than to drink heavily, which is your other option.

Florida Panthers. Where to start? They're so pathetic, I can't hate them--there's nothing to hate. There are so many things wrong with this organization. First of all, they have a player in their system named Keaton Ellerby, which sounds like a pseudonym a British spy would use while checking into a swanky hotel to avoid detection. They have the most forgettable Slovak player ever, Jozef Stumpel, although I can't imagine why. They have the second most forgettable Slovak, too--Richard Zednik--although his problem is that people keep forgetting he is Slovak and imagine he is Russian. The bright light in the organization is, for me, Craig Anderson, a goalie from Park Ridge who I think is just the best thing since sliced bread. He played for the Blackhawks, but has spent most of his time recently in the AHL, so I'm hoping he and Tomas Vokoun can split goaltending duties because I love Anderson and I really, really want him to succeed.

Tampa Bay Lightning. First of all, they have a goalie with the awesomely hilarious name of Karri Ramo. Heh. Anyway, Tampa Bay is a little weird--they have flashes of brilliance like their entire Cup-winning season, but for the most part they just plod along in mediocrity. They have Vincent Lecavalier, who looks like a corpse and wears enough bling to repair the National Debt, and Martin St. Louis, who is officially listed at 5'9 but I'm pretty sure they let him stand on a box while measuring. If he is 5'9, I am 6'6 and Zdeno Chara's female equivalent of a freakish giant. (Note: I am not actually 6'6.) So all in all they have some, ah, interesting players, I'll put it that way.

Washington Capitals. I always forget Washington has a team. I shouldn't, because Alexander Ovechkin is playing for them, and he is really a whiz kid. I like watching him. They've also got Brian Pothier on defense, who used to play for Ottawa, and I miss. He was a decent defenseman! The Sens have got more defensemen than they know what to do with these days, so he's not sorely missed. In goal they have Olaf Kolzig, a really good guy who has done a lot of humanitarian work and deserves to be recognized for it. This year he'll also hit the 600-game milestone, which is huge for a goalie, especially one without a great deal of name recognition like Kolzig.

Hockey starts Wednesday! We're almost there!

27 September 2007

West Coast Roundup

The season hasn't started yet, and neither has my school year in earnest, which means I have more than enough time for long entries. Like this one.

Chicago Blackhawks. With the recent death of Bill Wirtz, it'll be interesting to see if the team passes out of Wirtz hands, and whether or not it'll have any great effect on the team. If the Hawks can get it together enough to be over .500, combining that with a TV deal that lets the home fans actually see the home games could have a galvanizing effect in the area. Bad news for Detroit fans who like to make the four-hour trip to see the games, but good news for those in the Chicago area who love their team and would like to see them rise again. Anyway, they have some extraordinarily skilled players like Martin Havlat, who just can't seem to stay healthy but when he is, he's a major scoring threat, they picked up Robert Lang, and two potential starting goalies in Nikolai Khabibulin and Patrick Lalime. Lalime had the top job in Ottawa a few years ago, and Twitchy Khabi can be really outstanding. Also, he was once addicted to caffeine--really truly addicted, not "I can't get going without some coffee in the morning!" addicted, which I find endlessly funny. Anyway, I really want the Blackhawks to start doing well. I don't know how I feel about them wanting to throw Patrick Kane in right away, but generally I'm biased and don't support putting draft picks in the NHL right away. And, hilariously, Jonathan Toews, their new favorite wunderkind (who is only about 20 days older than I am, too) broke his finger in his first NHL preseason game. I won't lie, I laughed A LOT.

Columbus Blue Jackets. Blech. Ok, did you know that this is supposed to be some type of Civil War-shout-out, the whole blue-jacket thing? I didn't, and I think they might get further with this analogy if their mascot wasn't a...an insect thing. Blue Jacket? Yellow jacket? What? I don't really care about Columbus, although they do have Sergei Fedorov in his declining years and Freddy Modin, who is legitimately excellent. They have Adam Foote, too. Man, I tell people Adam Foote is playing in Columbus and they're surprised he's even still in the NHL. Me too, frankly. The only real interest I have in Columbus is in ex-Senators goalie Martin Prusek who doesn't even play for their affiliate any more, he played in Russia for SKA St Petersburg for a year, and now has gone back to his native Czech to play for Vitkovice. So basically, I don't care about Columbus at ALL.

Detroit Red Wings. The perennial contender. I think Mike Ilitch may have sold his soul to the devil to keep such a good team together. Remember a few years ago when everyone was saying that the Wings were getting too old and couldn't compete any more? Suck it! They've come up with a well-rounded nucleus who keep producing, and they went three rounds in the playoffs last year. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Tomas Holmstrom are some of the best in the business right now, and just look at the defense. Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios. Done, thank you, goodbye. Not only is Nick Lidstrom one of the absolute best defensemen ever to play the game, Chris Chelios really HAS sold his soul to the devil. Have you seen the shape he's in? He's like the Chuck Norris of the NHL. Plus, they have Dominik Hasek in net, and I love Dominik Hasek. That is all.

Nashville Predators. Is there a team I hate more than Nashville? Philly, maybe. But not by a whole lot. It's a shame, because I like Radek Bonk, and...yeah, that's it. Although I'm looking at their roster and apparently they're carrying some goalie by the name of Dov Grumet-Morris in Milwaukee who's from Evanston, the wealthy part of the Chicago 'burbs. What? I like to see a Local Boy Makes Good story now and then! He can be the goalie on my All-Illinois Team. We don't have a goalie yet.

St. Louis Blues. I've always said that St Louis is where goalies go to die, and that is the only interesting thing about them. They have Manny Legace in net, and I like Manny, he was probably the best NHL backup out there when he was in Detroit. Unfortunately, he has...mental blocks, I'll say, which seem to get in the way of his being a first-stringer. Their other notable goalie is with their farm team, Marek Schwarz, who is shaping up to be a pretty decent kid and has put up some good numbers with Sparta in the Czech league, and Vancouver in the WHL. And, their motto this year is "Whatever It Takes," which makes for some interesting conjecture. What if it takes...a nuclear strike against LA? What if it takes a "cheesecake"-style calendar to break the luck of the team? Never mind, I would pay money NOT to see something like that and keep my eyesight intact, thanks.

Calgary Flames. I have a big blank where Calgary is because I just don't care. Blah blah blah Jarome Iginla blah blah blah nothing, blank space, blank space, I can't bring myself to care.

Colorado Avalanche. Boy, they've gone downhill lately, haven't they? Remember when Colorado was a guaranteed lock for the playoffs? I think Colorado suffers from a little too much Tyler Arnason, who is perversely one of my favorite players just because he is so terrible. And fat--and, ok, it says right in TSN's little player profile that he has issues with discipline on AND off the ice! Hilarity! Anyway, their goalies are funny, too--Jose Theodore, a walking STD farm who once dated Paris Hilton--really--and Peter Budaj, the Slovakian reject. Budaj is...well, he's a decent goalie, I'll give him that, but he's a strange person.

Edmonton Oilers. Oh, Edmonton, I have no qualms with Edmonton. Actually, I know very little about them, I only have name recognition with a lot of the players--Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani (awesome--how many hockey players do you know named Fernando?), Raffi Torres, Marty Reasoner, Joni Pitkanen, the list goes on.

Vancouver Canucks. Hey, Vancouver! I hope Vancouver does better this year than last, they have several players I really like, and in general they seem like a pretty classy and well-run hockey club. A lot of this is probably due to Markus Naslund and Trevor Linden, a couple of the most gentlemanly players to play the game. They've also got Henrik and Daniel Sedin, a great one-two punch and also lots of comic value in their twin-ness. And Ryan Kesler, who was born in my own hometown of Livonia, Michigan, how about that! They even have a token Slovak, Jozef Balej, in the system. I'm seeing that they just put him on waivers a couple days ago, but still--. I'd be proud to cheer for Vancouver, I'll say that.

Anaheim Ducks. Ok, hate, but also--seriously, ducks? Ducks? Who thought changing the name from the "Mighty Ducks" to just plain "Ducks" would improve matters? Have you seen a duck lately? They are not intimidating. They are goofy-looking. Fittingly, so are most of the Ducks. (*rimshot*) Blech. First of all, while Jean-Sebastien Giguere is my birthday twin and also a very good goalie in the bargain...it's the DUCKS. I can't get over that. I don't even want to get into it.

Dallas Stars. Dallas is another one of those teams I tend to forget exists until the Sens play them. Anyway, Mike Modano, another one of my Livonia guys, plays for them, and he is good for a whole lot of jokes all on his own--he is married to Willa Ford, for heaven's sake, Willa Ford, whose claim to fame is a really awful hit a few years ago called "I Wanna Be Bad." Shoot for the stars, Willa. Dallas isn't as bad as I think they sound to me, but I just...I keep forgetting they're there!

Los Angeles Kings. Boy, here is one of the most depressing teams in the league. What Dallas is to me, LA is to absolutely everyone else on the planet. Anyway, LA has several Slovaks, actually, Ladislav Nagy, Michal Handzus, and Lubomir Visnovsky. They also have one of my very favorite players, Tom Preissing, who played very well for the Sens last year and is from very close to my hometown. Anyway, Tom Preissing loves the camera--he LOVES it--and is a pretty funny guy, as well as a good hockey player, so I can forgive a lot from him. Unfortunately, he chose sunny L.A. over Ottawa, which is an actual good hockey city, so...well, Mr Preissing, you made your bed, now lie in it. (I'm just kidding. I could never hate Tom Preissing.)

Phoenix Coyotes. Ouch. Here is everything you need to know about Phoenix: They aren't very good. Whoever thought hockey would thrive in the desert needs to have his thinking license revoked. Now, I'm not going to say Phoenix is a black hole of suck, but...you know what, I am going to say it. Phoenix is a black hole of suck. The end.

San Jose Sharks. San Jose is pretty awesome. First of all, their arena is called "the Shark Tank," and the skaters skate out of a GIANT SHARK MOUTH. How awesome is that? Beyond awesome, that's how. They also have excellent announcers for their local feed--they are really, really good, and I wish they would cover other games just so more people would get the chance to listen to their informed, yet engaging commentary. But the team is really good, too! Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo, and Evgeni Nabokov are all excellent, and they've got a whole host of other skilled position players. Anyway, Jeremy Roenick has "come out" of retirement to play for them, and was retired for a grand total of what, three months? JR is one of those players, like Brett Hull, who I wish would retire just so he can get to his true destiny in the broadcast booth. I'd listen to a JR-and-Brett-Hull broadcast, man! I can't think of anybody who wouldn't! I suppose JR deserves his 500 goal marker, and this will make a nice wind-up season for him if San Jose can stay at a high level of play and finish high in the standings.

Tomorrow: the East Coast!

26 September 2007


You know what there is a serious dearth of these days? Really good line names. Just think about it--if you're the Podunk County Ice Mice, and you're going up against the Boston Bruins and the Dogs Of War line (Cashman, Phil Esposito, Hodge), wouldn't that be a wee bit intimidating? No one watching that game is going to think you have a prayer! (And they would be right to think so, because you are the Podunk County Ice Mice going up against the Boston Bruins during an era in which they won two Stanley Cups. But I digress.)

You just don't see it any more! Let's take a trip in the Wayback Machine to the golden bygone days of really good line names.

One of the most famous and as far as I'm concerned, the best: The Production Line. Gordie Howe, Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay (but after Abel was sent to Chicago they stuck Alex Delvecchio up there. This was not a problem, because he also ruled). I mean, come on. Simple, to-the-point, and bone-shakingly scary to go up against--do not forget that in 1950 they went 1-2-3 in scoring. A Detroit classic.

A close second is The French Connection, Perreault, Martin and Robert. Three talented players, but I'd make the argument that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts here. Oodles and oodles of goals and records, but since they were tragically playing for Buffalo, none of them ever won a Cup. Such is life when you play for Buffalo.

The Legion of Doom. I don't even like Philadelphia, but if that isn't one of the great intimidators in sports I'll eat my hat. Eric Lindros, Leclair, and Mikael Renberg. I'm not even going to make fun of Philadelphia in this entry, that is how terrifying that name is.

Now see, let's compare and contrast to some current line names.

The Shamrock Line. NY Rangers, Shanahan, Matt Cullen, Ryan Callahan. Are you kidding me? I would prefer my team to have only the slimmest possible connection with St. Patrick's Day. Thank you.

The S-Mac-K Line. I can't believe I actually just typed that. Anyway, Anaheim, Selanne, Andy McDonald and Chris Kunitz. I oppose the "let's take their initials and form something amusing!" shtick because you usually wind up with something like "the HMO line!" or "the CVS line!" which are not very interesting OR terrifying OR even worthy of comment, but this one just takes it to a whole new level of stupidity for me.

Like: The ABC Line. Chicago Blackhawks, Arnason, Bell and Calder. That's the best they could come up with? Nothing like the "Most Likely To Get In Trouble For Alcohol Abuse Line Excepting Maybe You Kyle Calder?" ABC? ABC??? Maybe if it was a reference to their not being able to reliably recite the alphabet, but, just...no.

There are a few lights in the darkness, though.

My personal favorite, The Two Brothers And A Brother Line. Vancouver, the Sedin twins and Anson Carter. The first time I heard this I laughed like a drain. Good one, Vancouver. See also: The Mattress Line--two twins and a (Jason) King.

The Czechs-Mex Line. Edmonton, Sykora, Hemsky, and Raffi Torres.

Two of a kind: The Grumpy Old Men Line of Dallas, Kirk Muller, John McLean and Mike Keane, and The Two Kids And A Goat Line of Detroit, with Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Brett Hull.

So not all is tragic in the line names of the hockey world. It looks like there may be hope yet for an inspiring nickname for the Sens' trio of Alfredsson, Spezza and Heatley other than "the ASH Line" or "the Cash Line" or "the Pizza Line," because let's face it, those names suck. Maybe this season some ass-kicking trio will show up and actually deserve a nickname like The Railroad Line or The Line of Battle. I can keep hoping, right?

24 September 2007

It's A Good Day For Hockey

But then again, as far as I'm concerned, every day is a good day for hockey.

It's September 25, which is officially fall as far as the calendar is concerned (but apparently the weather gods have decreed otherwise, because it's hot as all get-out around here). Almost before you know it, the regular season will be upon us, and with it come the many, many time-honored rituals of Hockey Season. Recite them along with me if you can.

1. Trying to figure out which Rust Belt team and city Ray Emery is going to piss off first
2. Placing bets on who will get injured first, Martin Havlat or Tuomo Ruutu
3. Establishing who will be more dismal and embarrassing to watch: Phoenix, Florida, or St. Louis.
4. Wondering if Marian Gaborik will stay healthy/motivated/interested in hockey long enough to actually be a goal-scoring dynamo this season like Minnesota has been telling everyone literally since he was drafted. "No, no, guys! THIS year he's going to be AWESOME! Wait, where is everybody going?"
5. Drinking beer and wondering what the referees have been smoking just before going on the ice to see some of the mythical infractions they call and wondering what kind of special contacts they put in to be unable to see some of the blindingly obvious things they miss. (Hey, Sidney Crosby, the biggest diver this side of the Olympics, I'm talking to you, man! But now I'm done, and please go away.)

And really it's shaping up to be a great season. My beloved Sens are revving to take another run at the Cup, Anaheim (damn them) are looking to be formidable opponents again, the Habs look sharp, the Wings are perennial contenders, the Rangers have spent some serious cash bulking up, and Vancouver is going to try to stay healthy and do some damage in the Northwest. (And I say good luck to them, because Colorado? Calgary? No. Although Colorado does have Paul Stastny, Peter Stastny's son, and that's got to be fun to watch. Fun in a sort of "For the rest of my life I am going to be compared to my father unless I do something really drastic like make a habit of scoring goals off my helmet" kind of way, I mean.)

The countdown to October 3rd starts now. Just seven days until hockey starts and we can all get back to ignoring school and work and focusing on the truly important matters of the day: who will win the game tonight?