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?