Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Letter From a Kings Fan

Hola! Soy Julio Díaz y he sido un fan desde los Kings'89, también conocido como el año en que obtuvo 99. No es fácil ser un fan de los Kings, sino que hacemos lo que podemos. Kings' fans son los mayores estadistas en California y constantemente tienen que soportar molestos con patos' fans y pretencioso Sharks' fans. Tengo entradas para Diehard Kings juegos y por lo general tienen un buen tiempo a los juegos… por lo menos, cuando yo puedo recordar. Nada me da más placer que golpear a otros equipos y su fanbases cada vez que tratan de entrar en Staples Center.Mi jugador favorito en este equipo es, sin duda, Anze Kopitar. Él me recuerda un montón de Dmitri Kristich, excepto Kopitar es realmente buena. También tengo mi vieja escuela Steve Duchesne jersey y, por supuesto, un jersey Deadmarsh. Deader! Cuando no estoy en desplazamiento letsgokings.com o golpear a los hippies Normalmente estoy viendo mi'92-93 recapitulación de vídeo. Es bastante bien desgastado, pero aún el amor. Acabo de detenerlo cuando hay 5 minutos y luego golpearon a mi Patrick Roy muñeca por un tiempo corto.

Los Kings no son buenos ahora, pero estoy bastante seguro de las cosas recogerá muy pronto. Tengo fe en Luc Robitaille y estoy seguro de que el comercio Patrick O'Sullivan (nunca fue a los playoffs) y una 2 ª impresionante para alguien como Jay Buowmeester. Hágalo, Deano! Aparte de eso, voy a ser feliz a sabiendas de que los reyes no llevan gay culo de color cerceta o naranja al igual que los otros equipos. Estamos desgaste púrpura y varonil que es como el infierno.

Bien, tengo que llegar a mi turno, así que mejor parar aquí. Estoy bastante convencido de los Reyes harán los playoffs esta temporada porque no tenemos que fuck Rob Blake y ya deshacerse de Marc Crawford, que probablemente nos cuestan 10 victorias la temporada pasada. Si no, voy a romper Dean Lombardi las piernas.


Julio Díaz

Letter From a Sharks Fan

Greetings, fellow hockey fans! I'm John Tanabe and I'm one of the bigger San Jose Sharks fans you'll find 'round these parts. Some people might be surprised that the Sharks have such a knowledgeable and sizable following, but actually we have one of the best fanbases in the league. Have you seen it? You should, it's true. I swear. Anyway, the Sharks have had a little trouble getting over the hump in their long and storied history, but we're sure to win the championship this season. I'd be willing to bet my '89 bottle of cab franc on it, and it's quite expensive!

I've been a season ticket holder since all the way back in '96, except for a few years at the turn of the century when I had a little cash flow problem thanks to the bubble burst. (I honestly thought pets.com was going to last forever.) They do a great job making you welcome at the "Shark Tank": free wifi, special parking for my Prius, and the tofu! Oh god, the tofu! It really is a modern paradise. The fans really do a great job of making the place great, too; did you know that the Sharks have some of the best fans in the NHL? It's true. One Toronto fan told me, "You guys are just like Canadiens fans," which I'm pretty sure he meant as a compliment. Look at how well-received Brian Campbell was when he came here for the stretch run! It was great and was in no way pathetic at all.

Trying to pick a favorite player of mine is obviously difficult because the Sharks have so many great ones. My first love was actually Owen Nolan, especially when he pointed before his shot against Dominik Hasek in the All-Star Game. (Did you know that was in San Jose? We did a great job setting that up.) Today my favorite player is definitely Evgeni Nabokov. I can't believe he didn't win the Vezina this year, he totally got jobbed! I mean, I know Brodeur had a better save percentage and the Sharks had the 2nd fewest shots allowed in the league, but, uh, Nabokov should have won anyway. You see, they allow good shots, but they don't allow bad... if you'll see this chart... boy, this wine sure is good.

Alright, I'd better get going, I have to fix a bug in our system before my ignorant boss throws a fit. (He's a Ducks fan.) I'm glad I was able to inform you about how much you're missing by not being a Sharks fan. I have to go to meet a couple compatriots of mine for a hockey game (we're testing out NHL '09) so I'll catch you guys later. Look for me: I'll be the guy looking down on you from the top of the standings. Haha, zinger!


John Tanabe

Blah, Blah, Blah, Retarded, Blah, Blah, Blah

Yeah, the Kings are going to be forced to give up Jack Johnson to get over the cap floor. Why would they sign Marek Malik when they can trade away their best defenseman and get Nikolai Khabibulin? WHY NOT?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Versus CamPain 08 - thirty two athletes battle for the title "Toughest Athlete of All-Time"

Not to be confused with Deadspin's Sports Human of the Year contest, shockingly won by Barbaro in a come from behind tour de force in 2006, Versus kicked off election season early launching CamPain 08. Thirty two athletes will battle amongst the viewing public in a virtual toughman contest to decide "which athlete best represents a lifetime of determination, competition, domination and tradition".

The initial list of nominees sans any write-in candidates is a little unusual. Recently "un-retired" Packers quarterback Brett Farve gets the nod over legendary players like Jack Lambert, Lawrence Taylor, or Dick Butkus. San Francisco 49'ers safety Ronnie Lott was righfully included in the top 32. Despite amputating part of his left pinky after it was crushed in a hit, Lott helped the Niners win four Superbowls and eight division titles. The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame inductee regularly used the crowd to gauge how big one of his pancake tackles was. If fans responded with a chorus of "ooooooh's", he knew it was a monster "oooh hit".

Looking past the base jumpers, rock climbers, bmx riders, Iditarod mushers, and free divers, boxing is well represented with Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, and Archie Moore. Good selections all, but the true ironmen of the sport heralded the transition between the no holds barred London Prize Ring rules to the modern day gloved Marquess of Queensberry rules. Several title fights edged into the 40-50 round category, where a fight was won only by a knockout or another fighter quitting on the stool. It gives "toughest athlete" a whole new meaning. Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson are two old school baseball nominees, and they are really the only baseball players you could include in a toughest athlete list. Modern baseball players are out for several weeks with finger sprains or sore abs. Old baseball players did not even have abs they had guts, and they were fueled with beer and hot dogs. Jack Hamilton is another ball player included on account of a fastball he took square in the face. Waking up in an ambulance en route to the hospital after taking a baseball to the head is never a fun experience, trust me.

The NHL is also well represented, with Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard and Bob Probert earning nominations. Versus notes Howe's unique double edged talent as one of the league's best scorers and most feared competitors. One ref described the sound of his 1959 pummeling of Rangers goon Lou Fontinato, "Never in my life have I heard anything like it, like the sound of chopping wood. Thwack! Then all of a sudden Louie’s breathing out of his cheekbone." Take a second to wipe that image from your memory. The Rocket Maurice Richard, namesake of the league's goal scoring trophy, also was described knocking out a Ranger goon twice, once after he regained conciousness. Toughness to Versus appears to be flattening New York Rangers, can't argue with that.

Far and away the leading favorite from the NHL, and possibly a leading favorite out of the initial 32 nominees, is former Detroit Red Wing and Chicago Blackhawk enforcer Bob Probert. The Windsor, Ontario native's career resume is littered with the remnants of the NHL's most intimidating and feared players. Probert engaged in several of the NHL's most classic fights with the likes of Tie Domi, Georges Laraque, Marty McSorley, Donald Brashear, Stu Grimson, Joey Kocur and Dave Semenko to name a few. He flattened Colorado's 6-foot-5 240-pound Scott Parker on home ice. He pummeled the "Grim Reaper" Stu Grimson 6 seconds into the Anaheim Ducks first game to introduce a new generation of fans riding the wave of interest in the Mighty Ducks film series. In addition to his enforcer skillset, Probert was far from a liability when on the ice. He provided a physical edge that opened up room for skilled players, while contributing 163 goals and 384 points in 935 games played.

Bob Probert entertains his fans, Probert laments NHL changes - London Free Press.

Probert also watches a lot of hockey and can only shake his head at how the game has changed. It's fast and exciting, but Probert thinks there are too few hits and too many penalties called. "Imagine a penalty call in overtime of the Stanley Cup. That was unheard of."

He also thinks the league still needs enforcers to protect their teammates. If he was playing, there'd be heck to pay for some of the cheap shots players are getting away with, Probert said. "I'd be out there fighting before those guys left the ice."

My dark horse pick for CamPain 08 is big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Many only know of Hamilton from his AMEX commerical, his marriage to Gabrielle Reece, or some of his unusual expirimentations with kite boarding or paddle surfing. Hamilton is also one of the pioneers of modern big wave tow-in surfing. With many of the largest breaks traveling at speeds too fast for paddle in sufing, Hamilton has taken tow-in surfing to new levels and is widely regarded as the top big wave surfer in the world. On August 17, 2000 at the Teahupo'o Reef in Tahiti, Hamilton dropped into what many consider the world's thickest wave resulting in an iconic Surfer Magazine cover known around the world. Laird Hamilton has also surfed monster 50+ foot waves at the legendary Hawaiin break Pe'ahi (Jaws), which along with Half Moon Bay's Mavericks is considered one of the most dangerous surfing locations in the world.

It is one thing to engage in a 12 round title fight, to ride a bike over several mountain ranges or lineup against an NFL O-lineman for the better part of an afternoon. It is an entirely different thing to catch a wave the size of a 7-story or 8-story house moving at 30+ miles an hour, then trying to cut hard to avoid a mountain of whitewater that can make you a permanent part of the reef below. Auto racing talking head Jeremy Clarkson described Formula 1 racers as not having the part of the brain that registers fear when describing how modern race car drivers approach a difficult section of a course (such as the corkscrew at Laguna Seca). When a normal person would break, or fear for their life approaching a 300 foot elevation change and two quick turns at almost 200 mph, a race car driver does not.

Laird Hamilton has a similar brain abnormality. When riding waves the size of small office buildings, he genuinely looks like he is enjoying the moment. Other big wave surfers have said that Hamilton is capable of making adjustments on some of these gigantic waves that no other individual could. Each time he drops in on another wave he displays a "lifetime of determination, competition, domination and tradition" like no other athlete.

Make your selection for toughest athlete at Versus CamPain 2008 or make a write-in nomination here, or view the the original "campain ad" and listen to the debate here. Voting for Round 1 ends August 1st. No voting for yourself George Parros.

[Update] The Versus MMA youtube channel has this camPAIN08 video clip featuring several mixed martial arts athletes worthy of consideration. Rickson Gracie, Fedor Emelianenko, Dan Henderson, Randy Couture are not on the initial list of 32 Toughest Athlete nominees, but Sacramento's Urijah Faber is. Faber is the WEC's Featherweight Champion. What makes Faber worthy of consideration you say? This interview where he describes fighting off a large mob of Balinese criminals by himself. Why won't Faber win the Toughest Athlete title? Because he went to Davis. War Chico State!

[Update2] Trying to follow in Barbaro's footsteps, Bodacious has garnered .4% of the vote in the "Bull" category. For some reason I do not think there will be a new model of Lamborghini named after this entrant.

The 1,800lb horned beast was referred to as "The World's Most Dangerous Bull." His specialty was delivering life-threatening head butts to riders. After one unsuccessful ride, Tuff Hedeman's face needed reconstructive surgery. Later that year when Hedeman drew Bodacious again, he opted not to ride him.

World's Toughest Athlete, World's Most Dangerous Bull, that is just splitting hairs. Bodacious gets my vote. The last professional bull rider to try to ride Bodacious donned a hockey mask and had both of his eye sockets fractured. No one ever tried to ride him again. Bull 1, Pros 0.

Letter From a Ducks Fan

Hey guys! My name is Jacquie and I am, like, the biggest Anaheim Ducks fan ever! I know you are too, and it's pretty much the bestest thing ever. I've been a Ducks fan since all the way back in 2005, which I think is when this league they play in was found. My dad's company has tickets and I try to go to as many games as I can. Me and my friends Aubrey, Audrienne, and Crystyna go to almost every game and we always have such a blast trying to get on the jumbo-thing. I love everything about hockey, from the hot guys to the little kids skating in between innings to the free drinks I get from old guys. It's sooooo awesome!

My favorite player is definitely Ryan Getzlaf. Have you seen his cheekbones? He's sooo cute! I also like George Parros (he looks like my older brother!) and of course Teemu Selanne. I definitely assume hes one of the best guys in NHL history, right? Waaaayyyy better than that jerk, Paul Kariya. I don't know who that is, but my boyfriend said he's bad. My dad loves some guy named Pahlsson, but he doesn't even score! Don't you love my haircut?

What's up with other fans being jerks all the time? Every time a Candadian team comes along, people are all mean and say we dont know anything about hockey, but that's totally not true. They're all like, "Sit down you stupid bitch, you can't take pictures during the middle of a game!" and I'm all like, "Whatevs!" I mean, if we didn't know anything about hockey, why would we have a team? I'm pretty sure that means I'm smart.

Okay, I have to get going to an Angels game, and then I'm going to Coldstone and then maybe head over to Mackenzie's, but I might just go to my boyfriend's instead, I haven't decided. Thanks for taking time to read, I know how hard it is. I think the Ducks are definitely going to win the championship this year, thanks to my future boyfriend Ryan Getzlaf and that one big guy with the pads in the net thingy. If you make it out to a game, look for me: I'll be the one looking adorable! Byeeeee!!



BoC's Cribs

Oh fuck I am excited. I got the keys to my new place in Irvine yesterday, and camped out there last night for a blessedly short commute to work this morning.

This is the cleanest this place will ever be.

Yes that is a flat-screen mounted over the fireplace, seamlessly connected to the cable box and receiver, which in turn are seamlessly connected to the speakers on the front and rear walls. Once I set up a seating arrangement more comfortable than wood flooring, I'll be set!

At any rate, I am doing a "staged" move, regularly running a Prius-load of belongings from my old place Redondo as part of my daily work commute. Once most of the small stuff is down in the new place, I'll get a U-Haul and move some of the bigger pieces. During this two-week-or-so stretch, expect Sleek to be much more a BoC commenter than a poster, unless Schneider gets traded or Selanne gets signed (or Sleek gets excessively bored with moving).

I haven't been an Orange County resident since summer 2001. It's only been one night, but damn it's nice to be back in Ducks territory.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Over-rated! (in video games)

Jay Bouwmeester is fucking fast. And he skates like a god damn gazelle.

I say this without the experience of actually watching him play in games. How do I know this, so irrefutably?

Like a god damn gazelle.

Because damn if the guy isn't the closest digital equivalent to Bobby Orr in hockey video games - whether its the 2K series or the EA Sports ones. This fact is made all the more glaring since there really aren't any true threats to his polygonal skating throne (the closest competition would probably be Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Zubov or former Rudy Kelly lover Luber Visnovsky).

So, it is to my great game playing excitement that most hockey pundits are labeling Bow-monster the next Brian Campbell.

Can you imagine what his unparalleled digi-speed and agility could do on a team that, you know, someone would voluntarily watch on TV? What his almost-Afinogenov-like skating would do for a team like Anaheim* or Pittsburgh* or Detroit* or Ottawa*?

At a reasonable 84 this year, it seems like Bouwmeester's rating is actually moderately accurate in NHL '08 (although, answer me this question if you're one of the 5 people who follow the Panthers: is he really that fucking fast?). But year after year he's one of those guys whose "potential" rating made him become a 90 by the age of 25** so I almost wonder if his rating will eventually suffer some residual negativity.

Anyway, this is off the top of my head, but here's a list of players who are comically overrated in hockey video games - with their ratings in parenthesis. Naturally, this is a pretty quick list, so lemme know some obvious ones I've left out in the comments:
  • Michael Peca (86) Somewhere, there is a list floating around the blogosphere. It is titled "Unofficial list of players who inspire irrational hatred." Yeah, Peca is exceedingly mediocre. But maybe people hate him so unfairly because his video hockey skills are so greatly disproportionate to his actual, real life abilities.
  • Eric Lindros (82) I believe that one of the online roster updates finally weeded The Concussed One out of video games.*** But before that, the oft-injured power forward has been a beast on the imaginary ice years beyond his real life relevance. (John Leclair is pretty much in the same spot, with far less "shine a light in his eyes" type jokes)
    It's......probably a good thing that these guys never won a Cup
  • Todd Marchant (80-something) Never noticed it, really, because I never used the Edmonton Oilers back in the day and Marchant's general hockey career has been harmlessly irrelevant. But Sleek pointed him out when I did a top-5 video game countdown and it's changed his digi profile ever since. Since speed is such a huge factor in video games (especially in the days when all you really need to do was deke to score goals), his unrealistic impact has become downright jarring.
I mean, at least Lindros was on The Legion of Doom line.
  • Sergei Fedorov (89) If he was this great in real life again, he could probably re-bang Anna Kournikova.

    Sergei Fedorov and the dudes who decide ratings: both nostalgic.

  • The legacy of Alexei Yashin. Whenever people think of albatross contracts, they usually have to mention him.
But there's also the Yashin effect in games: video game rating makers feel sorry for fans of teams who sign players to albatross contracts and "give 'em a little boost." And why not, really? Those poor fans are the ones that ultimately have to deal with that terror (since GMs typically just pack up their office and move on to a different job).

Rick Dipietro and The Bulin Wall (to a lesser extent) are both well above average goaltenders. But in NHL '08 these guys are equal or even better than J.S. Giguere, Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist. Something tells me that, big contract or not, the Kings would probably want to trade for Khabibulin if he was anywhere near Lundqvist's level.


* - Teams I arbitrarily picked out of a hat for being "potentially good" and maybe, somehow having some serious cap space next summer.

** - The early "franchise modes" of video games really went over the top with these "potential" ratings. If the NHL really worked that way, Gilbert Brule would be a few steps behind Evgeni Malkin and Andrew Raycroft would now be Roy 2.0. It seems like that trend is dying off now, although the creatively devoid Madden series really needs to cut that "team full of 99s" bullshit.

*** - It probably needs to be stated that, for this study, I'm only referring to NHL 08. Because the 2K series might as well cease to exist.

Brett Favre: Pigskin Hero to Pig-Skinned Zero?

Favre the enforcer? It might be his best option.

Well, I’m late to the show on this story, but I guess in a quest for Midwest relevance, the Ducks’ new AHL affiliate the Iowa Pigs have offered a contract of some unknown capacity to former NFL great Brett Favre. Now on the face of things, this is a more ridiculous idea than even the Kings moving to Kansas City, and I’m not even sure the relevant question is “Can Brett Favre play hockey?”, but what the heck? It’s a summertime story.

Now I really don’t have a ton to say about this marketing gimmick, because even though this is a somewhat Ducks-related story, I may be one of the least-knowledgeable internet voices on the subject.
  • As I note regularly, I don’t follow the AHL at all, as it’s not televised in any way in SoCal. I probably cannot name five players who played for the Portland Pirates (Anaheim’s previous affiliate) last year—those that I can name were introduced to me when they were called up to the big club.

  • I have no idea how well or badly hockey sells in Iowa. This may be the key to answering the question, “Is this a good idea or not?” [EDIT: Puck Daddy provides a good Iowa perspective about hockey.]

  • I don’t know very much about Brett Favre, as I avoid the NFL like Todd Bertuzzi avoids backchecking. I basically know that he’s a long-time Packers quarterback who has had some recent retirement controversy (the football fan staying in my house filled me in on this last night), but still remains one of the top 10 most recognizable and appealing names in sports.
So, from my seat of ignorance, I don’t know how well to commend or condemn the new Iowa ownership for their certainly brazen gimmick; if it generates enough buzz to get more eyes on Pigs Hockey, probably it’s a good idea. Still, what’s next for the Iowa Headline-Makers? What other former athlete, now estranged from the sport that made them famous, could help bring this club to local prominence?

Barry Bonds on the blueline? Michael Vick on the wing? Let’s get some suggestions to help put this Pig club on the map.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Kings Are Going To Be Fine

Despite what Spector says, the Kings will have no trouble hitting the cap floor. None. I cannot stress this enough. Look (all numbers in the millions of dollars):

Michal Handzus- 4.00
Dustin Brown- 3.175
Alexander Frolov- 2.9 (hahahahaha)
Kyle Calder- 2.75
Tom Preissing- 2.75
Jack Johnson- 2.15
Denis Gauthier- 2.1
Derek Armstrong- 1.5
Ted Purcell- 1.35
Matt Greene- 1.15
Dan Cloutier buyout- 1.03
Anze Kopitar- .956
Brian Boyle- .835
Jason Labarbera- .825
John Zeiler- .725
Erik Ersberg- .7
Alyn McCauley buyout- .667
Raitis Ivanans- .6

16 players, $30.143 million

RFA's that will make the team:

Patrick O'Sullivan: 3?
Jarret Stoll: 3?
Drew Doughty: 3?
Matt Moulson: .75?
Joe Piskula: .5?
Peter Harrold: .5?

6 players, $10.75 million

Total: 22 players (and 2 buyouts), $40.893 million

That leaves one spot for another defenseman, whether he be Drew Bagnall or Mathieu Schneider. (Keep the dream alive, people!) Doughty's cap hit is inflated through performance bonuses, which go away when they are no longer achievable; the obvious way around this is to make the performance bonuses easily achievable for this season. The Kings could use one more contract just to clear the floor by a good amount, but it's not crucial. Not to mention, it's the end of July and the Kings don't have to worry about their cap situation until the end of September. Bottom line: I'm much more worried about the Kings' ability to ice a credible defense than I am about their ability to reach the cap floor.

And the Kings aren't moving to Kansas City, people. C'mon.

LA Third Jersey News

New information is leaking about the Kings' new jersey for the upcoming season, thanks to Howard Berger of HockeyBuzz. Here's his description of what the jersey will look like:

LOS ANGELES: The Kings will unveil a predominantly black jersey with the letters “L A” inside a pencil-point logo on the front. Broad white stripes will adorn each arm. A thin white stripe will run horizontally on each side of the jersey, just beneath the shoulder. There are no stripes at the bottom of the uniform. The color purple – widely evident in the Kings’ primary jersey – will likely be featured in the number outlines of the alternate, though the photo copy I have doesn’t clearly show it. A better idea would have been a reprise of the Kings’ original purple and gold uniforms from 1967, but the club marketers are apparently not bent on tradition.

Now, can someone tell me what a "pencil-point logo" is? I have no idea. Also, I'm a little worried it'll look like a roller hockey jersey, what with the broad white stripes down the arms and nothing at the bottom of the jersey and all that. One bonus? No purple. I don't know about you, but I hate the purple addition to the black and white. Why purple and not gold? It bothers the shit out of me.

This jersey sounds like it'll be a compromise between the Kings' current jerseys and their Chevy logo days from the '90s. I'm all for any jersey that reps LA, so I'll give this jersey a tentative thumbs up for now.

Reader Andrew points out that the description reminds one of the Galaxy logo:

Friday, July 25, 2008

15 Reasons the Kings Won't Sign Glenn Murray

1) Dustin Brown is 23 years old and scored more goals than Murray had points last season. He plays right wing.

2) Ted Purcell is 22 years old and was the AHL rookie of the year last season. He plays right wing.

3) Brad Richardson is 23 years old and is incredibly fast and a solid penalty killer. He plays right wing.

4) Derek Armstrong is 35 years old and is the eldest member of the team. He had more points than Glen Murray last season. He will probably play right wing on the 4th line and has a game that translates well to that role.

5) Oscar Moller is 19 years old and could potentially break into the line-up this season or next. He plays right wing.

6) Wayne Simmonds is 19 years old and will probably slot into the right wing either this season or next in a bottom-six role.

7) We already traded away Glen Murray once.

8) He's a terrible skater.

9) He doesn't play defense.

10) He can't kill penalties.

11) Glen Murray curiously fell off a cliff when that one big guy left Boston.

12) He probably voted for Andrew over Elvis on Greatest American Dog.*

13) The Kings already have Kopitar, Brown, Frolov, Boyle, O'Sullivan, and Stoll set on the power play, the one area where Murray has a modicum of value.

14) He's 36 years-old.

15) Thurs., March 29, 2007:

"I liked Glen Murray when he was on the Kings and I’m sure he’s a pleasant enough guy, but I’d rather eat a baby than have him on the Kings for the next two years."

*Seriously, that was fucking horse shit. Bella Starlet is obviously retarded and Laurie cheated with Andrew (yeah, it's perfectly fine to open a giant fucking hole in the hoop, that's not illegal at all), but Elvis loses? Sure, he fucked up a little because David sucks ass and wouldn't take him off the leash, but he rocked the little cross thing. And Laurie fucking sucks for ratting out Elvis for biting a few dogs. I hope she dies of gonorrhea and burns in hell. Fuck!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sleek forgets to include heroism in Bettman art

On Tuesday, Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski (the Darth Vader of hockey bloggers) started a Bettman-themed Art Contest, dedicated to portraying Gary Bettman (the Jar-Jar Binks of NHL commissioners) in a heroic light, and he's already put up some early submissions, as have a few bloggers. Of course this is a movement I can enthusiastically support (I figure that I'm some sort of Threepio unit in this analogy), as I endorse all forms of cheesy internet art.

Darth Wyshwhatshisname then followed it up with a threatening e-mail: If you don't enter this contest, I will find you and kick you. And with that, this droid went to work. I jotted ideas down for most of a Tatooine workday, then sped home in my landcruiser to get Photoshoppin' (would you believe I still have yet to try the actual tool Photoshop? Here's Sleek's makeshift method.).

As the post title suggests, though, I strayed from the heroic theme. Instead, I followed this thought process:

Hero -> Protagonist -> Title Character -> Movie Poster -> Movie Poster Pun

and really focused on that last leap. In fact, I should have entered a contest called "Gary Bettman Cheesy Movie Poster Puns that don't use the obvious Batman link", where I easily could have taken third place. I guess I should add that I wasn't fully motivated to win Greg's contest; PJ sends me free Versus-themed shit already. It may turn out I end up getting kicked more because of this post, but if you love cheesy Gary poster puns like I do, enjoy these entries; but then consult a doctor:

Entries One and Two:

Not too heroic, I guess. Maybe praising Gary is beyond my abilities.

Bonus Non-Entry:

Even worse. I didn't even end up submitting this one, as:
a) it clearly went against the heroism theme,
b) it didn't turn out looking as good as the other ones, and
c) I haven't ever seen this show, so I didn't know what sort of joke to add to the pun.

Entry Three:

I do like this one. It has a nice charm and a nice built-in story.
Gary meets Salary. Gary caps Salary. Salary cheats Cap. Gary moves to Kansas City.

So, commenters, any good Bettman poster puns I missed? You don't have to draw them or anything, but 25 Mike Chen bonus points if you describe a loose story. Heroism is optional.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Helpful Guide for "Greatest American Dog"

Excluding hockey, I'd say my two favorite things in the world are dogs and idiots. Naturally, this makes Greatest American Dog my favorite show in the history of television. Nothing makes me giggle more than seeing some lunatic frantically screaming at their dog to heel while the pooch gleefully chases a stream of light. If you haven't seen it then here's a clip, and no I'm not going to give any kind of intro:

It's like someone put a camera inside my head and filmed my dreams. There's been two episodes so far, but there's still time to catch on to this surefire hit. To help, I've created a list of the dogs in the competition and which hockey player they are like. I'm retarded.

Tillman is a big, massive dog who can dominate a competition when he wants to. Although he is talented, it sometimes seems like he'd rather skateboard on the beach than practice. Plus, he's overweight.

Comparable: Dustin Penner

Ezzie (short for Esmerelda) is a small, sweet dog. She's talented but somewhat cowed, beaten by countless barrages from her coach. It's unlikely he'll reach her potential because of this, although a change of scenery could do her a lot of good.

Comparable: Lubomir Visnovsky

Some people may doubt Preston because of his beautiful exterior, but it hides a tough interior that strives to compete. This beautiful dog would kill you as soon as look at you, all the while stealing your girlfriend's heart.

Comparable: Henrik Zetterberg

Kenji is a massive dog. She could be the best dog in the competition but is being held down by it's poor coaching. Kenji often seems content to just surprise people with her natural ability than work on improving the weaker parts of her game. It's unknown if this dog will ever live up to its ability or if it'll be content simply being the biggest dog in a small dog park.

Comparable: Rick Nash

The scrappy Elvis is a snazzy dresser (look at his little tie!) and is as tenacious as they come. Quick to fight, he scares the other dogs (and their owners) with his sudden bouts of temper. Despite this, there is no doubt that Elvis can pull a trick or two when the competition is on the line.

Comparable: Sean Avery

Presley is young, energetic, and enormously talented. The dog is prone to the mistakes all young dogs make, but given time it is guaranteed that he'll be the best dog in the world of... dog tricking?

Comparable: Alexander Ovechkin

Galaxy is the favorite in the competition and is pretty flawless. He's been near the top of each competition so far and makes even the hardest tricks look effortless. His only downside is that his coach is a douche bag and he whines constantly when he competes.

Comparable: Sidney Crosby

Bella Starlet is a little bitch.

Comparable: Corey Perry

Star is a friendly, serene pooch from Texas. She loves to explore, although advancing age is making it a little more dangerous for her to be in that position. Through it all, though, Star accepts any challenge with a calm demeanor.

Comparable: Mike Modano

Beacon is a wild child, a dog without much training. He can sometimes be a great show dog, and other times he will run wild around the arena. The dog will always get a lot of attention because it demands it, but is not quite ready to be taken seriously as a competitor.

Comparable: Dion Phaneuf

Leroy is a forgotten dog in the competition because he tends to blend in. He's very talented, however, and could sneak up and end up being one of the best dogs in the competition before it's all said and done.

Comparable: Anze Kopitar

Andrew is a laid back, congenial dog that will leave a good impression on everyone he meets. He is also a very hard worker and constantly trains to improve his ability. He's not a serious competitor because of his age and limitations, but I wouldn't be surprised if Andrew impacted the competition in a meaningful way.

Gary Roberts

So there you have it. Greatest American Dog is on tonight at 8 on CBS. That's CBS: America's Most Watched Network.

(Okay CBS, now release my family.)

Carlyle gets two-year extension, will he crack a smile?

While the rest of the California teams have opted to fire and replace their head coaches this offseason, the Anaheim Ducks have taken a more controversial approach: extending Coach Carlyle's contract another two years. Carlyle, like 85% of Anaheim's roster, was set to have his contract expire at the end of the coming season.

Now I'm not a guy (surprisingly?) who has a whole lot to say about coaching: a lot of what makes a good coach is a good team, and Carlyle's certainly done well when his roster is stocked with its proper dosage of Pronger and Niedermayer. Aside from his players, though, much of a coach's impact is tough for me to isolate. How good a coach would Carlyle be behind the Kings' bench, for example? I'm not sure, but I can say this: Carlyle is one of the most diligent line-matching coaches I've seen, and he has gotten great mileage out of having Pahlsson manage the murderer's minutes and Getzlaf or Selanne milking the easy minutes. I can also appreciate how his blue line is managed; allocating minutes to Niedermayer and Pronger seems like it would be an easy task, but there's certainly in-game considerations that need to be made.

While I can't fully explain or articulate all the strategic nuances that make Carlyle a good coach, I will add that I appreciate his overall grumpiness. One thing that struck me about the last two cup-winning coaches (Carlyle and Babcock) is how awkward they both looked in trying to crack a smile after their final win. In both cases, the attempted display of joy turned out to be a little bit scary and awfully short-lived; smiles were clearly not a practiced expression for them.

It really makes me wonder: how much of good hockey coaching is demeanor? Can a good Xs-and-Os coach be betrayed by a jovial attitude? I don't really know, but regardless, I'm glad to have the grump extended. His system seems to work for the Ducks, and as Superintendant Chalmers once said semi-approvingly about Principle Skinner, "He seems to know the kids' names."

Go Ducks.

Dumpster Diving

Two rumors to chase down: the Kings want to sign a 40 year-old coming off open heart surgery, and they want to trade for a guy that you'd think just underwent open heart surgery.

Also, Mike Brophy does a good job outlining why Kings' fans shouldn't be jumping off bridges. It's kind of amazing how people bitched and bitched that the Kings have never rebuilt properly and now they're whining because we haven't been good in 2 years. What the fuck did you think rebuilding meant?

Oh, and here's quick little bit on Colten Teubert, Kings' new draft pick and douche bag. I have a feeling this guy is going to get way too much credit over the course of his career. I feel bad but I kind of hope Brown crushes him during training camp.


I haven't written much on new coach Terry Murray because what can I say? I don't really know his style of coaching in the "New NHL" and I haven't seen him make a mistake yet. So I'll leave it up to you guys, then: what would you like to see Terry Murray do most with this team? Install a trap? Work on Kopitar's defensive game? Keep lines together for more than 2 minutes at a time? Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What's the Deal With O'Sullivan?

Everyone's freaking out because Patrick O'Sullivan hasn't yet signed. To recap: O'Sullivan had a break out of sorts last year, tallying 53 points in 82 games while also showing good hockey sense on the penalty kill. When you factor in just the time he was playing with Kopitar and Brown, he had 34 points in 40 games. Naturally, he's looking around at the league's situation and is seeing dollar signs. Why wouldn't he look at Jeff Carter's contract and think that seems about right for him? They're the same age, they had the exact same point totals this season, they both played on the penalty kill... they're kind of spitting images of one another. Of course, O'Sullivan doesn't have the track record Carter has and he hasn't shown what he can do in the playoffs, but the argument is there for his agent to exploit. The Kings, on the other hand, are hoping to sign O'Sullivan to a cheaper deal because they have to sign Kopitar and Johnson next year and others down the road. This all leads to an impasse that looks like it might take a while to resolve.

I think the hold-up doesn't necessarily involve O'Sullivan, but instead involves Anze Kopitar. We've heard his name in rumors recently and I think the reason isn't that he's getting traded, but that Lombardi is trying to get him locked down to a long-term deal. When you're dealing with restricted free agents, you want them to look at their value in relation to the team. If they're looking at their value in relation to other free agents, you're going to run into a problem. If the Kings can lock Kopitar down, they can then set the ceiling for every other free agent with whom they negotiate. A player isn't going to presume they're more important than Kopitar and will be less likely to demand more than him. Plus, signing Kopitar gives the team financial security and lets them know who the cornerstone is going to be in the future.

This is just some harebrained* theory of mine, so don't take it as gospel. I'm just saying that signing Kopitar first before their other restricted free agents makes a lot of sense and I wouldn't be surprised if Kopitar was pursuing it. Make O'Sullivan weigh his worth compared to Kopitar, not to other restricted free agents. Does this make sense or is the heat getting to me?

*I always thought it was "hairbrained," but then when I thought about it that didn't make sense. Like, they think with their hair? But then I thought even more about it, and "harebrained" seems stupid too. Are rabbits known for being stupid? They just kind of eat carrots and fuck all the time, and that seems pretty smart. I wish I could do that. I need to go lie down and think about this.

Summer Resolutions

Ah, blessed summertime, when the days get long and hockeyless. How I loathe thee.

Still, I guess it's not all rotten. I've been furiously packing and preparing for my move to Irvine, which should get really underway next week. Once I get my head above water, though, I do have one project that I'd really like to get done. Really, it's been sitting on my plate for something like five months, and it's well overdue: a Battle of California t-shirt.

The ever-awesome guys at The Pensblog asked me back in February to draw up a t-shirt design to merchandise in their impressive Storeblog, and I lied and said, "For sure, right away!" Since then, I've sat down with a blank paper and pen quite a few times, fully intending to put a masterpiece together worthy of public display, but I keep coming away unsatisfied with the result. I mean, it's one thing to put together cheap cartoons for a free internet, but I guess I'm holding myself to a higher standard for product with an actual price tag.

Here's one of my recent efforts, which is probably close to what I'm imagining:

Whoops, forgot the Star.

Now I'm not exactly sure on how copyright rules work in a money-making* venture like t-shirt sales, but to be safe I'm hoping to fully create the whole thing -- no stealing from Bill and Ted or Itchy and Scratchy, for instance. I'm pretty sure Pensblog will allow more than one design, so I'm certainly open to concept ideas. What would you like to see a duck, a king, a shark, and a star doing on a BoC t-shirt? I'd love to hear some reader ideas, and I'll probably run some design ideas throughout the summer just to take a reader pulse.

* I'm not really planning on making any money, but there will be a cost.

So anyway, that's one thing to look forward to. On a different note, yesterday I made a brash, stupid, awesome decision (one that I haven't done anything towards and still might back out of). If my loose plan works out, I think I'm going to spend New Year's with my kid brother in Chicago, and then freeze my ass off at the Winter Classic at Wrigley. I'll keep you guys updated as this plan really gets developed (or scrapped), but for now, the loose plan is that myself, the lucky green shirt, and up to a dozen other layers of clothing are going.

And who knows? Maybe by then the green shirt will be replaced by a BoC t-shirt I can be proud of.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The BoC Collaboration is a Failure

Lauri Tukonen has been traded to the Dallas Stars for Richard Clune. I guess the Stars are just collecting all our failed right wingers.

I can't say I understand this move. Clune isn't even a top 20 prospect in Dallas' crappy system and split time between the ECHL and the AHL at the age of 21, the same as Tukonen. He does get a lot of penalty minutes and could eventually fill the role of a John Zeiler. He also fills a void in our left wing prospect pool, but that's like saying that cancer's a good thing because it gives you a chance to buy a new hat. Actually, it's nothing like that, but you get what I'm saying.

Oh well. I actually like Tukonen and I hope he finds some measure of success in Dallas. He ended up not being worth that 11th overall pick but, like I said earlier, I think he can find success as a third line grinder... which means he'll fit in perfectly in Dallas.

Knucklehead Proliferation

Two years ago, the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup thanks to George Parros' moustache and Brad May's right fist. Since then, the other teams in the Pacific have gathered their own eclectic mix of goons, ruffians and whelps to combat the OC menace. Last year the Pacific was the best division in hockey and this year I think it'll be the fightingest. Since there's not much going on these days, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at the fighting prospects of the teams in the Pacific, broken down by role. Be warned: these are my fight roles and they're complicated and more than a little insane, so try to keep up.

Goons: George Parros, Raitis Ivanans, Jody Shelley, Brian McGratton

Goons are guys who play about 5-7 minutes a game and don't really have an impact. They'll skate around and hit someone, get knocked down and then square off with a fellow goon to give the masses a little excitement. It's awesome. Every team has a goon except Dallas, who have a couple of tweeners to do their dirty work. The Kings have the best enforcer because Raitis Ivanans is 1) the best hockey player of the group, and 2) Ivanans isn't keeping someone good out of the line-up like everyone else. Brian McGratton is the new guy in Phoenix and I imagine he'll fight a lot in the beginning. Jody Shelley sucks.

Tweeners: Brad May, Krys Barch, Brad Winchester, Craig Weller, BJ Crombeen, Chris Kunitz

Tweeners are like goons but smaller and better at hockey (though still not good). They fight well and usually beat up on lesser fighters. Brad May pretty much sets the standard for tweeners in the NHL, as he can fight any weight class and do some damage with hooks and slashes as well. Barch and Winchester teamed up to fill the role in Dallas, although I'm not sure if they're going to make the team. Crombeen might take their slot next year and he's pretty fucking crazy. Scott Thornton did fill this slot for the Kings, but he retired. Brian Boyle will probably try to take that role next year.

Avengers: Douglas Murray (of Sweden), Matt Greene, Sean O'Donnell, Brendan Morrow

Avengers and tweeners are similar, in that they're both light heavyweights, but the difference is that the primary role of an avenger is usually hockey-related, not goon-related. Avengers fight when a teammate has been wronged and usually kick ass. Doug Murray excelled at this last year, often coming to the aid of any teammate that had his knee messed with. (Doug Murray hates it when people get kneed.) Matt Greene comes in to fill the role for the Kings this season, while Sean O'Donnell will continue fighting in defense of his teammates in Anaheim. Brendan Morrow is excellent at this role, but he's probably too good a hockey player to fight too much. Phoenix had two players that defended their teammates last year, Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard, but they both left in the Jokinen trade. Someone is going to have to step in and fill that void for them. Criag Rivet also protected San Jose last year, but he's gone now so they can have Rob Blake shoot 9,000 feet wide of the net.

Punching Bags: Todd Fedoruk, Travis Moen, Brian Sutherby, Kyle McLaren, Craig Weller

Punching bags are sacrificial lambs. When someone on their team does something that goes against the code, these men are usually sent out to get their asses kicked in order to end the retaliation. They'll fight anyone and usually lose, but at least the important players on the team are spared. Todd "Ow my face!" Fedoruk is the standard in punching bags, but every team besides the Kings and the Stars have one on their team. Brian Sutherby probably doesn't belong here because he usually starts fights; he just kind of sucks at it.

Pests: Danny Carcillo, Sean Avery, Steve Ott, Corey Perry(?)

These guys are like goons except they usually skate a regular shift. Their job isn't primarily fighting, it's more annoying-related. Lots of stick work, lots of trash talk. They are usually held accountable sooner or later, fighting mostly each other or avengers. Danny Carcillo is the cream of the Pest crop because he's fucking insane and will fight anyone. Avery and Ott will form a dynamic duo of douche baggery in Dallas, making up for Dallas' lack of a straight Goon. Corey Perry isn't so much a pest because he's good at hockey, but he's a little bitch nonetheless so he goes here.

So that pretty much runs down the people you're going to see fighting in the Pacific. Overall, the Ducks still have the best fighters in the division, but the Stars have a variety of people to throw out there if things get crazy. The Kings and Sharks are basically only avengers and 1 goon each, while the Coyotes have two goons, big and small. The Pacific Division is shaping up to be the fightingest division in hockey next year and it's going to be awesome.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Highlights of the Stars' schedule

I might be a little late to the party, but that won't stop me from spilling beer on myself and being an asshole throwing out some sporadic thoughts regarding the Stars' schedule:

Opening Night (Friday, Oct 10): The 'Stache returns

Gotta hand it to www.playoffbeard.com

Forgive Brett Hull and Ken Hitchcock if they think back about 10 years on this night when the Blue Jackets visit the Stars.

Avery returns (Monday, Oct 20)

The Rangers probably rank pretty low on the list of teams that were jilted by Sean Avery, but it should still be fairly interesting to watch Avery, the unsavory's return to MSG.

(Expect numerous Men's Vogue jokes)

Home Games, by the month:

October - 5
November - 5
December -8
January -4
February - 10
March - 7
April - 2

Away Games, by the month:

October - 6
November -7
December - 5
January - 8
February - 3
March - 9
April - 3

So, by my super sophisticated calculations, the Stars have:
  • One more road game in October
  • Two more road games in November
  • Three more home games in December
  • Four more road games in January
  • Seven more home games in February
  • Two more road games in March
  • One more road game in April
Don't be surprised if the Stars have a fairly middle-of-the-road start, explode around Valentine's Day and then once again struggle a bit toward the end of the year. With all the stat heads blowing their wads about fancy, Beautiful Mind-ish equations it would be funny if the Stars' season came down to the simple math you see in that list...

Significant road trips

Oct 31 - Nov 11 is a five game road trip
in which the Stars visit the refurbished Chicago Blackhawks, the not-so refurbished/hard to believe they almost signed Mike Modano Boston Bruins, and then a BoC trip to SJ, Anaheim and then LA for a home-and-home with the Kings.

The Stars might immediately fuck up their New Year's resolutions in a tough four-game Western Conference road trip that goes from Edmonton (Jan. 3) to Colorado (Jan. 5) to Detroit (Jan. 8) and then finally to Phoenix (Jan. 10). Thankfully, there's a nice break between Colorado and Detroit (although the Stars always struggle in John Denverland and we all know Turco's had a struggle or two as a pro in the Joe).

Aside from those two trips, the Stars have a few 3-gamers here and there. With just a quick glance, I'd say the Stars were spared by the road trip gods.

Home stands

Both of their biggest home stands come in February, the month Stars fans should hope that the team is at its hungriest and healthiest.

The first is a four-game one. It starts with their second game of the season against the New York Rangers (Feb. 6), then a game against the hated Nashville Preda-thors (Feb. 8), then Gretzky, Jokinen & Co. (Feb. 11) and finishes off with the punch-less Canucks (Feb. 13). The Stars should be deeply disappointed if their record is worse than 3-1 in those four games.

The biggest stand comes after they have a two-game shite tour of the Central Division (vs. Chicago and C-Bus).

It's a six-game monster that will almost certainly be a huge factor in where (hopefully not 'if') the Stars are seeded in the playoffs. It goes Oilers (Feb. 19), Chicago (Feb. 21), Sharks (Feb. 23), St. Louis (Feb. 26), Ducks (Feb. 28) and Penguins (March 1).

That should definitely be an interesting run of games.

Bits and pieces

Why does the NHL think it is a good idea to go against the sports tradition of dark road jerseys?
  • The Stars will play against all five Atlantic division teams. The Rangers and Penguins should both be among the hardest-to-get tickets. The Rangers come on a Friday and the Penguins on a Sunday.
  • The Ducks are this year's season finale. Could the Pacific Division be on the line that night?
  • The Canadiens are coming to town. There might be some lame storylines in Mike Ribeiro vs. his former team and maybe a Gainey thing if you're really desperate. But the Habs should be worth every penny based on their high flying offense and their kick ass uniforms.
  • It will be a great logo year for the Stars in general, facing off against the Habs, Blackhawks, Bruins and the Red Wings. Nice.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Danny Markov to LA?

According to a Russian report, maybe. Markov is formerly of the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers, but has recently been plying his trade for Moscow Dynamo. He has an out-clause that allows him to come back to the NHL without any problem. The article says Markov will make a decision in the next 2 weeks, so we'll wait and see.

Markov isn't that great, but he's pretty tough and he's a left-handed shot, which is what the Kings need. He played with Philadelphia already, so Murray and Lombardi are both familiar with her. Plus he's Russian, and I love Russians. Just think, Alex Frolov will actually have someone to talk to!

Update: Rich Hammond says Markov had a change of heart. Fuck! Moving on...

Kings Schedule Review

-The Kings are at home for most of the first half of the season and are basically on the road the last 2 months. They have a 4-game home stand right at the beginning of the season, then 2 games against St. Louis and Nashville, and then a 7-game home stand. Is this done to make sure the Kings get home revenue before they're completely out of the playoff race in January? Probably!

-The Kings open the season with a home-and-home against the San Jose Sharks, meaning the home opener will bring Rob Blake back to Los Angeles. I've been practicing my boos and you should too. I recommend a little lemon tea with a hint of honey after booing practice to soothe the throat. And remember, boo from your diaphragm, not your throat. You could damage the chords if you're not careful.

-If you're reading this from Toronto, feel free to come to Los Angeles on December 1st to watch the Maple Leafs play the Kings. The average temperature should be around, oh, 65 degrees? Or you can just watch on TV and wonder why the people in the crowd aren't wearing jackets.

-The Kings got the Capitals, Flyers, and Devils twice from the Eastern Conference. Does that seem weird to anyone else, that the Kings finished 2nd to last the season prior and now they get the Southeast division champ and two playoff teams from the Atlantic? It's not that big a deal, but you'd think they'd get the Islanders and the Lightning or something.

-The worst week of the year is going to Feb. 22nd-Feb.28th. The Kings have a road trip that week that sees them play the Wild on Tuesday, the Flyers on Wednesday, and then the Red Wings on Friday to finish things off. That sucks, especially because they have to fly to Minnesota, then fly to Pennsylvania, then fly all the way back to Michigan. Then they get one glorious day off and then play Chicago and Columbus on alternating days. If the Kings aren't out of the playoff picture by February, this trip should just about do it.

-Sneaky awesome game: Monday, February 16th. The Kings won't be very good so they'll probably have some sort of promotion. They're playing the Thrashers, which means you can see Ilya Kovalchuk and Toby Enstrom live. And, the Thrashers will suck so the Kings might actually win. These are all the ingredients of a successful home game. Just don't buy tickets for a while so I can get mine first.

Overall, this change in the schedule should help the Kings. Their division is probably going to be the best division in hockey once again, so the Kings are going to need to perform against the Eastern Conference if they're going to have any chance of finishing above last place. The biggest thing I noticed when I was looking at this schedule? Man, I wish hockey was back.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sharks 2008-09 schedule: Going Back to Philly

The NHL released the full 2008-09 schedule yesterday, and as Cheechew noted the Sharks will open the regular season at home against the Anaheim Ducks. In addition to return visits from Ron Wilson and Vesa Toskala as the Maple Leafs return to San Jose December 2nd, Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich's return visit to Tampa Bay October 25, and back-to-back games against Stanley Cup Finalists Pittsburgh and Detroit October 28th and 30th, the schedule also contains a rare home-at-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Going back to Philly, I don't think so.


Sep. 24 at Anaheim, 7:00 p.m.
Sep. 26 Anaheim, 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 29 at Phoenix, 7:00 p.m.
Sep. 30 Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Los Angeles, 5:00 p.m. (Salt Lake City)

Regular Season

Oct. 9 Anaheim, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 Los Angeles, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 at Los Angeles, 6 p.m.
Oct. 14 Columbus, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Anaheim, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 at Philadelphia, 4 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Florida, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Tampa Bay, 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 28 Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30 Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 2 at Colorado, 6 p.m.
Nov. 4 Minnesota, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 St. Louis, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 8 Dallas, 7 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Phoenix, 5 p.m.
Nov. 11 Nashville, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 13 Calgary, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16 at Chicago, 4 p.m.
Nov. 17 at Nashville, 5 p.m.
Nov. 22 Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Dallas, 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 29 at Phoenix, 6 p.m.

Dec. 2 Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4 Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Dec. 11 Anaheim, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13 St. Louis, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 15 at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 17 at Columbus, 4 p.m.
Dec. 18 at Detroit, 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 20 N.Y. Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 23 Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Dec. 27 at St. Louis, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 29 at Dallas, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Minnesota, 3 p.m.

Jan. 3 N.Y. Islanders, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 6 at Calgary, 6 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Edmonton, 6 p.m.
Jan. 10 at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15 Calgary, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20 Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24-25 (NHL Allstar Weekend in Montreal)
Jan. 27 at Colorado, 6 p.m.
Jan. 29 Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 Chicago, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 5 Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 at Columbus, 4 p.m.
Feb. 10 at Boston, 4 p.m.
Feb. 11 at Pittsburgh, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 13 at Buffalo, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 15 at New Jersey, 10 a.m.
Feb. 17 Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 19 Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 21 Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Dallas, 5 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Detroit, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 26 at Ottawa, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 28 at Montreal, 4 p.m.

Mar. 3 Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 5 Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 7 at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Mar. 10 at Minnesota, 5 p.m.
Mar. 12 at St. Louis, 5:30 p.m.
Mar. 14 Los Angeles, 7 p.m.
Mar. 15 at Anaheim, 5 p.m.
Mar. 17 at Phoenix, 6 p.m.
Mar. 19 Nashville, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 21 Dallas, 1 p.m.
Mar. 22 Colorado, 5 p.m.
Mar. 25 at Chicago, 5:30 p.m.
Mar. 26 at Nashville, 5 p.m.
Mar. 28 Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 30 at Calgary, 6 p.m.

Apr. 2 at Edmonton, 6 p.m.
Apr. 4 Anaheim, 7 p.m.
Apr. 5 at Anaheim, 5 p.m.
Apr. 7 Colorado, 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 9 Phoenix, 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 11 at Los Angeles, 1 p.m.

[Update] Mike Rathje for president.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Wear Black On The Outside...

...Because black is how I feel on the inside.

(Bonus points if you know where that quote is from.)

Word from the Icethetics blog (formerly Tournament of Logos) is that a little more than half the league will have 3rd jerseys next season, and the Sharks will be one of them. Apparently, they're going to the "If it ain't broke..." way of thinking (which they should have done when they had awesome jerseys) and are going black, all black.

This is good for me because I hate the white jerseys and I have a dark Roenick one. Since I'm a Dan Boyle fan from his Tampa Bay days and I didn't want to have two teal jerseys, this is the perfect opportunity.

However, this takes me back to when the original Sharks 3rd jersey was released. I remember back then thinking that it looked like a practice jersey except that someone had stapled some V-shaped patches on the side. Technically, I still think it looks like that, but they grew on me, especially now that I still haven't accepted the new Sharks design. In fact, you know what would be fantastic? If they just took the OLD Sharks 3rd jersey and made that the NEW 3rd jersey -- alternate, retro, and just plain better than the ones now.

Either way, I'm getting a Boyle 22. And did you know that if you love #4, you have your choice of McLaren or Blake right now?

Cal Worthington and his dog Spot > Los Angeles Kings

D.C. may have Eastern Motors, but they got nothing on Cal Worthington and his dog spot. If you have lived anywhere in California over the last 20 years you have been bombarded by this random car salesman hawking the worst looking automobiles imaginable while riding everything from grizzly bears to a flock of penguins. The commercials usually aired in the coveted 1-4AM time slot, better to appeal to the less than sober consumer.

According to NHLscap.com, the Los Angeles Kings are sitting at a 2008-09 salary of $29.5M. A whopping $27M under the $56.7M salary cap and $11.2M under the $40.7 million salary cap floor. With 10 NHL forwards under contract and 4 NHL defenseman, a dip into free agency and the continuation of Dean Lombardi's rebuilding youth movement are definite possibilities. With the free agent ranks approaching Who's Left? territory, launching an offer sheet on restricted free agents becomes more attractive by the minute.

Before Barry Melrose accepted the head coaching job with Tampa Bay, he said that he thought the open San Jose Sharks position was the best one available in the NHL. New Kings head coach Terry Murray takes over a Los Angeles Kings team that tied Tampa with only 71 points, but based on win totals the Lightning (31-42-9) edge out the Kings (32-43-7) as the worst team in the NHL. While the Lightning have gone off the deep end signing almost 2 teams worth of NHL forwards, the Kings are another story. During the press conference today announcing Terry Murray's hiring, general manager Dean Lombardi said, "I think this is the toughest job in the National Hockey League right now". With an incomplete NHL roster, a hole in the crease and several young defenseman expected to fill significant roles on the blueline there are significant question marks for Los Angeles moving forward. Unless 2008-09 is going to be the season-long campaign to draft John Tavares first overall, Lombardi needs to identify targets, specifically a goaltender (Khabibulin?) and a veteran NHL defenseman who can absorb minutes like brawnee paper towels, then work the phones to make it happen.

If you need a better goaltender, go see Cal. For the best deals on defenseman, go see Cal. If you want your buyout payments low, if you want to save some dough, go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal. Any player, any team, go see Cal. If you want one who uses afrosheen, go see Cal. Its a giant supermart, save a bundle play it smart, go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal.

[Update] Murray to be introduced as the Kings' new coach, Flyers assistant will be the 22nd man to hold the top job for L.A., succeeding Crawford - Los Angeles Times.

New NHL Schedule, Projected Winners and Losers

For the last three post-lockout seasons, each team's regular season schedule has consisted of 32 divisional games, 40 in-conference games, and 10 out of conference games. Starting this year, the new format will feature 24 divisional games, 40 in-conference games, and 18 out of conference games (essentially eight divisional games have been moved out of conference).

So I decided to take an overly-simplistic look at which teams might enjoy the new schedule, and which teams might not. Basically, this table looks at the results from last season, and shows where teams got their standings points. The last two columns project how those results would have looked in the new schedule, and what the point difference projects to be.

(click image to enlarge)

Teams that struggled in their own division will probably enjoy the new schedule; same with teams that dominated the opposite conference. Take a look at where your team stands, and feel free to comment on my lazy, overly-assumptive approach.

Sharks Sign Kinch and Westgarth

Who are they guys? It sounds like a comedy show on VH1. Sounds like more depth for the Worcester Sharks.

The schedule was announced today. Highlights:

-Eastern teams coming to SJ include: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, Toronto, NY Rangers, Tampa Bay. Greg Jamison must be doing cartwheels in the front office. He could not ask for a better group of eastern teams to visit.

-The longest road trip is only 5 games? We are so used to seeing 8, 9, or even a 10 game trip each year during February.

-Opening night versus the Ducks. I don't remember the last time we have ever opened versus a division opponent.

Rob Blake has finally made his way on to the roster on the Sharks website. The big question is what number he will be wearing. If we cannot get rid of the human pylon Kyle Mclaren, Blake will be forced to choose a new number. #44? Sorry, Vlasic has that one.

Is anyone else concerned about the lack of a Ryane Clowe contract? A few weeks ago both sides said they had a handshake agreement and the only thing left was Clowe to decide how many years he wanted. This better get done before Kevin Lowe comes in and offers him and 8 year deal for $80 million.

Went to Tahoe for the celebrity golf tourny last weekend and got some good pictures w/ Roenick (playing golf w/ a stogie in one hand and a Bloody Mary in the other..nice), Sakic, Lemieux. Big disappointment to not see Gretzky on the day I was there. Will post some pictures once they are uploaded.