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.