Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Welcome PK

Ever slow on the up-take, I'm late to add Apex's own, The Penalty Killer to the Blogroll. PK has a Sweeeet 100 level game seven ticket for sale. With a little luck, and from the PK Box vantage point, you may well see Jason Pominville's arrogance sniffing mug smashed against the glass many times before the night is over.

Don Quixote Ruff

H/T to Joe Ovies at 850 the Blog on this post game six Lindy Ruff riff from 940 News in Montreal. To quote the great motivator...

I think we sensed that as a team, some of the arrogance on the ice,
some of their comments," Ruff said Wednesday before his team departed for
Raleigh, N.C.
"They were laughing in the 4-0 game," he later added. "They
felt like it was going to be over, we were done, we had another injury, we lost
another player. There's a fine line. They had a right to laugh, they had a
pretty good game going. But I think that our guys are the type that would take
it personally and wanted to prove that we're not done yet."
The kicker, Ruff
claimed, was hearing that the Hurricanes supposedly had champagne on ice
in the
visitors' dressing room before Game 6 on Tuesday night.


Tilting at windmills are we Lindy? Escalating the rhetoric for that little extra boost of andrenaline at game time, eh?

Players love being played for fools don't they? Do you really have to go that deep into your little bag of make-believe bulletin board material to goose Pancho Briere into donning his game face?

I had no problem with the Sabers effort or victory last night. They took it to Carolina early in the contest. The 'Canes ruled late as the Sabers started playing not to lose. Lack of discipline killed the 'Canes last night. Doug Weight admitted his mistake. Lesson learned, let's bring on game seven.

I just hope it's a good game seven. I hope the more aggressive and more disciplined team wins, and I hope whoever wins goes on to win the Cup. What's not to like and admire about the guys on the Sabers roster? What's not to like about a team that overcomes huge injury setbacks on the blueline and wins big playoff games with a rookie-ish goalie?

It's just harder today to root for Don Quixote Ruff who unfortunately chose gamesmanship over class last night.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An Appeal to Ron Francis

Dear Your Franchiseness,
In 2002 you proudly hoisted the Prince of Wales Trophy after your Hurricanes won the Eastern Conference title. At the time, you knew that tradition and superstition dictated that it was bad karma to touch the figgin' thing, let alone pick it up and wave it around at center ice, or carry it along a receiving line of adoring Caniacs at RDU.

At this critical point in the season and before a possible game six clinch, I implore you bust loose with a mea culpa for your malfeasance of 2002.

Come clean now, and in doing so, you will make sure Roddy, KAdams, Wes, and/or Stillman don't repeat this egregious mistake. Please use your well-earned 'HOF Cane-Cred to remind Roddy to leave the trophy of second place on the table. Just walk away and nobody will get hurt.

Your humble servant,
CasonBlog

The CasonBlog/Cardinal Ximinez Five Things
1. Goaltending excellence-Cam is the man of the first period. Beyond that, it's anybody's guess.
2. Discipline-Gaustad and his mates will come out hitting, hit them first and avoid the stupid retalliation penalties that put you a man down.
3. Heart-Play like this is game seven.
4. Utter ruthlessness-The Marines say pain is weakness leaving the body. Make the avoidance of pain ever-present in the Saber's psyche.
5. Veteran Leadership-Hurricane resiliency starts and ends with the vets...and Eric Staal.

...and team defense! Yes! That's it! You have to clear the area in front of the crease and push the Sabers to the outside. Arrrgh, Six, yes six main things that will ensure a glorious game six Hurricane victory, the Prince of Wales Trophy and a trip to the Stanley Cup finals. Six, six, six!!!!!

Go 'Canes

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day and Game Five

Memorial Day in my home town of Glendale, Ohio was one of the best holidays of my youth. A big parade and a picnic at the Lyceum heralding the opening of the pool. Veterans would don their old uniforms (whether they still fit or not) and lead the parade. Dr. Todd's uniform always fit perfectly. He was a Navy Doc, and he's now the mayor. The vets were usually led by Bill Carruthers. Bill was a Green Beret in Nam who never quite escaped that experience. The parade would end at the war memorial below the old water tower, where there would be a few speeches, some flag parading and a few rifle volleys. One Memorial Day my dad chewed me out because I failed to stand and take my ballcap off during the anthem. Never made that mistake again. The picnic was always a blast-when it didn't rain.

On this Memorial Day, I'm reminded of Glendale's own John MacCaslin, who as a junior co-pilot in a B-24 Liberator watched the pilot-in-command right next to him get instantly killed by Flak. John had to finish the mission-his first mission, over Germany. Where do we get such men? I dunno, but thank God we do.

Great Memorial Day movies:
Twelve O'Clock High-Gregory Peck
The Bridges of Toko Ri-William Holden (This is where the "where do we get such men?" line comes from. Look for Mickey Rooney flying a helicopter from my first squadron, the "Fleet Angels" of HC-1)

Common Myth Now De-Bunked
This just in. Corey Stillman does not disappear at playoff time.

I thought the 'Canes were doomed when Lavvy had to pull Gerber. Down a pair in the second, they found a way to bounce back again. Cam was solid, bordering spectacular. Instant momentum change works again. 'Canes loose, they have to win two in a row with the first a do-or-die back in Buffalo. Now they are in the driver's seat. Keep the hammer down boys. If you let them back up, anything can happen in a game seven.

I'll be watching the papers this week for a little escalation in the Briere/Ruff disconnect. The Sabers will be in "us against them mode" big-time between now and Tuesday. The "them" in at this point might not only be the Hurricanes.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Yeah, it's duck season

Congrats to the Oil!
Whittled away a whole mess of higher seeds. Flu bug didn't hold 'em back.
I know-wrong duck, but it's a classic.

On Colsey and Rick Jeaneret

Got out of work late last evening-love those late Friday afternoon meetings when they are called by folks who want you there merely to endorse decisions they've already made. Not your meeting, Jeff Kallay, experience marketing guru of Mindpower in Atlanta. Yours rocked. We hockey bloggers need to consider our readers experience with our story telling-you know, enhance the multi-sensory appeal of our work. How do I bring that unique mildewy hockey equipment smell to my reader's experience? How do I introduce the unmistakable sound of shattering chicklits and pre-scrum vocal pleasantries? But I digress...

Driving home from the lot where our nearly year-long new home build project is about to become reality, I was talking with the wife about the best timing for Erik Cole's return. I opined that it wouldn't be worth it to put him in late in the conference final. If the Hurricanes were to lose the series to the Sabers, then tweaking team chemistry and maybe risking his long-term health just to not even make it past the final four wouldn't be worth it. I thought they owed it to him to bring him back in the finals. He is a big piece of the 'Canes success this season. It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and I think his return would have sparked the boys to reach a little deeper when it matters most.

Unfortunately, all prognosticating in Erik's case will be for naught--this season. Hang in there Erik. I hope JR, Lavvy, PK, and Caniacs everywhere continue to make it clear to you that you are the guy who brings the wicked speed, killer instinct and a nasty edge that pushes Hurricane hockey another level. Plan on coming back next year with a reinforced Mike Singletary sized neck and just pick up where you left off.

Listened to Rick Jeaneret coming home last night on the Sirius radio. I thought Rick Moffat was the best radio guy I had heard calling the hockey play-by-play. I've always loved our guy, Chuck Kaiton, as well. He puts just as much into his high-pitched, "...and scores!" squeal for opponent goals as he does Hurricane goals. Ditto Jeaneret. He's more a story teller than correspondent. He does a great job with the tension build to emotional payoff thing. Like the great ones, he sells the experience. Get it?

Odds and Sods

Gerber Resurgent
No science involved, you could just feel it was "Baby Food" time. It's real interesting to contrast the physical styles of the 'Canes two goaltenders. When he's on, Ward is controlled and deliberate in his movements. Gerber on the other hand is a cat-like little bundle of energy when he's in the zone. Glad the 'Canes have two legit options in goal. It gives them the opportunity for instant momentum change. Cam is hungry. He's tasted being number one and seems a bit pissed about being benched. He'll be more than ready when and if called. Wouldn't Dallas have loved the option the Hurricanes now enjoy?

Red and Black in the MSM
Belated Bravo Zulo to David at Red and Black for his commentary in the Christian Science Monitor. His analysis was right on, and the fact that he was a go-t0-guy for a major newspaper speaks to the emerging power of David's blog and our new hockey media.

Sod Jerry Sullivan
H/T to BFLOB and thanks to our own Cousin Ned for opening the door to this slag.

Dethrone the Dictaphone-hit it in it's funny bone, that's where they expect it least....
In keeping with emerging tradition, this entry was crafted while listening to a fine rediscovered (by me) record: Bruce Springsteen: Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Our Own Worst Enemies

What, You mean I gotta take my head out of Coach K's ass for this?
Two things over the past two days have found their way into my craw. Both remind me that hockey in North Carolina still has a way to go. The first is Cousin Ned Barnett's dopey slag on hockey and hockey culture. Nice literary technique, cover your lack of passion and knowledge of the sport by belittling the game and basically calling ardent fans a bunch of nutters.

The second is some clown named Jefferson Davis, errrr Davis Jones. Mr. Jones attempted to cut the oversized Hurricanes jersey's off the statues on the state capital grounds. His quote in the N&O:

"That's not the purpose of state monuments, to make them mannequins for a
fleeting sports event," said Jones, 49, a small-business owner, consultant and
carpenter from Raleigh. "As a native North Carolinian, I feel it's very
disrespectful and disgraceful to do this."

First of all, get over the "native" North Carolinian crap. Like that should make your opinion more important than others. I see these "native" Texan license plates out here all the time. So what, by accident of birth that makes you a better Texian? In Arizona we don't worry much about that stuff. We ran all the natives off or into reservations a long time ago (much like NC and TX huh?). Second of all, this "fleeting sports event" is one of the most prestigious championship campaigns in the world. The 'Canes second deep cup run in the last four NHL seasons has the potential to put Raleigh on the world's stage, again. Maybe Mr. Davis just wants Raleigh to stay the sleepy little town that Andy and Barney used to venture off to when they wanted to escape the drudgery of Mayberry.

In Edmonton, you've got Mardi Gras in the streets after every Oilers win. I must have seen over a hundred pictures of folks in that town climbing lamp posts, parading down the streets and generally showing their pride (and their magnificent breastusus) along the Whyte Mile. In Buffalo, you've got an entire community behind this Sabers Cup run. What nutter would dare cut up a similar display in that town? Can you say, "lynch mob?"

Unfortunately, Ned and Caulton Tudor are two of the most public faces of the Raleigh sports media. I concur with Her Majesty in her rant of today. These two do not get hockey and really seem to resent it's intrusion on the Triangle's ongoing fixation with Duke/UNC/NCState/Coach K/Coach k..... Maybe that's the other burr in Mr. Davis' saddle as well.

'Caniacs run the gambit from "natives" to Michigan transplants, to Canadian refugees. There are folks that get it in Raleigh. The ones that don't just seem to make their way to the front.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Beotchgeschlapped

Great third period. It took Carolina until late in the second for the 'Canes to wake up and realize they were in the friggin' Eastern Conference final. The hole the dug for themselves with bad penalties, reaching instead of skating hard thru and with the puck and poor team defense was just too much to climb out of, but they made a gallant effort. Made for some fun hockey in right up until the horn.

Buffalo obviously fixed their OODA loop issue, and it had nothing to do with missing Teppo. They took the 'Canes out of their game just like the Hurricanes did to them on Saturday. Funny how this game ebbs and flows. I'd love to be the sports psychiatrist/psychologist/neurologist/TV personality who figures out the brain chemistry fluxuation shifts that cause teams to jell on Saturday and tank on the next Tuesday. I'd be richer than Oprah and Dr. Phil combined.

I liked Lavvy's move in the second to pull Cam Ward. Cam didn't stink all that bad, but sometimes he appears almost narcoleptic in his unflappability. You could tell by the way Marty Gerber blasted off the bench, he was pumped to get the chance back in the pipes. Were it my call, I'd go with Marty on Friday night. He was the man all season, and it's about time he reclaims ownership of the starting job.

Tonight the 'Canes left their fingerspitzengefuhl in Raleigh, but Friday is another day. Leave with a split, and it will all be good. Liked what I saw from Mark Recchi and Cory Stillman tonight. Doug Weight looked slow, and Mike Commodore played like Oleg Tverdovsky with anger management issues.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hurricane Fingerspitzengefühl

In the military they call it the OODA loop. The acronym stands for observe, orient, decide, act. Some Air Force colonel gets credit for the concept, but many believe it's something we picked up from the Germans in the Big One. Although they were big-time losers, they put together a pretty impressive run from '39-'42. Erwin Rommel was said to have had something called, "fingerspitzengefühl." No, it's not that "farfegnugen" psychobabble that VW used to peddle years ago. It's not even "funkengruven." Fingerspitzengefuhl is an ability to get inside the heads of your troops and those of the enemy, in near real time, and use that battlefield intuition to your advantage.

One of the things that made those New England Patriots teams of a few years ago so formidible was Belichick's mastery of his team's OODA loop. They were simply a dominant team in the second half. Once they saw what you were doing, they adjusted at the half and came out and kicked your arse.

Same thing in hockey. The dominant teams get into the psyche's of their opponents and disrupt their OODA loops. I would guess Lavvy and his leadership realized that what they didn't bring in game one was a physical element where they should have a distinct advantage. In game two, this adjustment totally disrupted the Saber's OODA karma. The 'Canes just beat them up and beat them down, almost to the point where a lack of discipline cost them (hello Stillman).

Yes, the Hurricanes made some rather nasty adjustments after game one. After consultation with Cardinal Ximinez of Spanish Inquisition fame the other day, I listed three things that I believed would make a difference in this series. They were: goaltending excellence, discipline, and heart. These would be the three main avenues to a Hurricanes victory: goaltending excellence, discipline, heart....and utter ruthlessness, Four! No, there are really four main paths to a glorious Carolina victory. Amongst the Hurricanes essential elements in reigning victorious at the conclusion of this series are goaltending excellence, discipline, heart, utter ruthlessness...and veteran leadership. Oh bugger. I'll come in again.

Now how do the Sabers fix their OODA loop issues? All I'm hearing so far is, "Gorsh, we could sure use Teppo back in the lineup."

My Four Stars:
1. Glenn Wesley: Jesus saves, but Wes controls those that trickle thru!
2. Bret Hedican: Just gets faster and nastier the closer he gets to the Cup.
3. AWard: Dude's gonna need a long Jaccuz real soon. Every night a multi-car pile up.
4. Doug Weight: Starting to bang like a sledgehammer and do those playmaking things JR picked him up to do.
(note: all are seasoned citizens)

UPDATE: More on the translation of fingerspitzengefuhl compliments of Her Majesty in the comment box (couldn't get the link to post in Blogger).

Monday, May 22, 2006

APB on MIA FWD

Anybody missing a Condor?
Joe Vasicek was the Hurricanes scoring leader in the '03-'04. He suffered a catastrophic knee injury on November 11, and powerfully announced his return on April 3 with two goals and two assists. Since then, he's been virtually invisible. I know the severity and location of the injury made the rehab and comeback challenging, but if Joe can't get manufacture his place in this lineup with all that is at stake right now, he might as well be tipping his caddy with the rest of the league's left-behinds.

Don't know if it's physical, mental, plain bad luck or some combination, but it looks like the Hurricanes are leaving Big Joe on the side of the road and moving on. If he's too slow and too soft, there is no place for him. If Lavvy want's to try and leverage his bulk and good hands in front of the net, what line do you put him on and who do you sit? Chad St. Louis, errrr LaRose, the agitating little waterbug with hands of stone? First round pick Andrew Ladd and his four minutes of crash and grind? CAdams, who knocked the Be-Jesus out of Chris Drury the other night? An unfortunate injury can always open the door to opportunity, but as of now things no-lookie good for the Condor.

I believe he's under contract thru next season, so it should make for an interesting summer.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Anybody know....

where I might find a Ryan Miller voodoo doll?
photo: spreadshirt.com

I'm tempted to "go Maven" and blame today's game one loss on the numerous bad puck bounces the 'Canes experienced around the Sabers net. Nahh ganna do it...wouldn't be prudent...at the juncture. Stay the course. Million points of light.

Bottom line. Cam was shaky and Miller was solid. Lack of hustle on the backcheck led to goal one. On the Briere goal, Cam seemed to be back-pedaling and unsure. And McKee had way to much time to engineer his shot through a forest of tall tree screens on goal number three.

Not Marty Gerber time yet, but I hope Lavvy gives Ward no more rope than he gave Gerber in the MTL series.

Friday, May 19, 2006

CasonBlog at a glance

Happy game one everybody. Many are venturing here because CasonBlog is a final-four hockey blog. Others might be here after reading about CasonBlog in the N&O (although they never mentioned name or the URL of the blog-evidence of an insidious plot to undermine new media, me thinks--UPDATE: IT'S THERE. I MISSED IT. PLEASE DISREGARD THE RANT).

Here's a little primer. This blog is irreverent and never to be taken too seriously. You want a soliloquy on the merits of the left-wing-lock, you won't find it here. This blog is about hockey players and the characters who orbit about them-including my fellow bloggers. Here you will find shots fired at blowhard pundits who get paid to be widely published, arrogant and often wrong. At times you will see Monty Python riffs and references to the cartoons and TV shows of my youth. Mostly it's about my team since the 2001 playoffs, the Carolina Hurricanes.

There is a lot to chose from now in the Carolina Hurricanes blogosphere.

  • You want detailed eye-witness reporting, and thoughtful analysis from the the 100 level of the RBC, check out Red and Black Hockey.
  • Need tough Caniac love and a healthy smattering of rhetorical napalm? Check out Sweet Tea, Barbeque and Bodychecks and meet the Acid Queen.
  • Want some GenX culture and music reviews with your 'Canes dialog? Check out Stormbringer.
  • Go to letsgocanes.com if you want to join in the discussion and connect with some of the most connected Caniacs in the world.
  • And if you want to connect with other Sabers fans, check out this one .

The CheliCart and My Three Things

Monday, September 19, 2005, was the day I discovered that hockey blogging didn't have to be all about crunching statistics and rigid aherence to newsroom reporting formats. Brand new to blogging, I discovered Hockey Rants and a post and image that made me holler:

"Oh dear, it's worse
than I feared!"

(note: a pre-Hurricane Dougie Weight looks rather glum in the background)

Until yesterday, this Tka-Chunk post was the funniest I've read. Yesterday, Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed stepped up with, "The CheliCart."

The CheliCart post is sure to arouse the ire of our friend IwoCPO over at A2Y. Much like the truly hateful redneck analogy venom he recently targeted at 'Caniacs and this correspondent in particular, the dreaded Memphis Zawahiri is surely working up a retalitory strike for the fine folks at VCOE.

My Three Things
Once again, it's impossible to be objective when my team is playing for the conference championship. But here are three things the 'Canes need to take care of to move on in seven games (with at least two OT's) to face the fast, physical and daredevil Ducks for Lord Stanley's Cup (my other prediction).

1. Goaltending excellence-I think we have two shots at winning this one. Both Ward and Gerber have demonstrated the ability to be unbeatable (remember Switzerland v. Cananda?)
2. Discipline with the puck and in pursuit of the puck-take a bunch of penalties vs. these Sabers and die.
3. Heart-The 'Canes have to want it that much more.

I hope I can relax and have fun watching some great new NHL hockey. In reality, I already know I'll be captain mood-swing from now till it's all over. Screw justice, I too want a cup!

Almost Lost in Translation

I'm getting a kick out of Batigol's Hurricanes blog-the Keilbasa Edition. This post title caught my eye today:

"Rod Jest Jak Wino"

Now, being the third generation Slovene and expert in Slavic dialects that I am, I can report with great confidence that Batigol has made a desperate attempt to scoop us all. Loosly transated, this line reads, "Rod jacked up a wino in jest."

Now if this were true, it would be devastating the Stanley Cup aspirations of our beloved "Huriganami." But we all know it just can not be true. Rod is a pillar of the community. He would never assault a wino. His large and sweaty bottom has been known to work over a few goaltenders, but never the defenseless of our society.

We know from the WRAL report earlier in the season that Rod has turned his bachelor's crib into a veritable Bullwinkle's arcade and pizza parlor. That's right, and he does it, "for the children!" Jungle gyms and trampolines...hell, the only thing he's missing is the water show and animatronic moose and squirrel...I just hope he never adds the animatronic Dudley Do-right that boos whenever the Star Spangled Banner is played. That could well provoke and international incident (see Sharkspage).

Anyway...Hey Batigol! We just don't need this kind of tabloid journalism here in hockey blog world, so knock off all that muck-raking!!!!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lavvy to the Isles does not compute

Like Lavvy's gonna trade Roddy for this Bobblehead?
HT to Kukla's Corner who picked this up from Newsday's Alan Hahn. Hahn speculates that the Islanders may be holding their coaching spot for the return of Peter Laviolette. It's a rumor that has simmered since around January. In my eyes it just makes no sense.

Some pundits point to the 'Canes perceived inability to re-sign Lavvy during this season as fuel for speculation about him moving on. I think the better explanation is that JR just doesn't play things that way. He takes care of this kind of business in the off season. In my mind, end of analysis angle number one.

In his piece, Hahn states:

Newsday reported in January that one option under consideration by
Charles Wang is a tandem of John Weisbrod as GM and Laviolette as coach and
director of player personnel. It is believed that Weisbrod has faded from
contention for the GM position, but a person with knowledge of the situation
yesterday said that Laviolette's return, possibly in a dual role, is not out of
the question.


"It's the best explanation of why Charles Wang would wait this long,"
an NHL executive said.


Squeeze me? Could it be that many potential candidates might be waiting to see how and if Charles Wang resolves his Milbury issue? Could it be that the Islanders job just ain't that sexy? Crappy building (until the "Lighthouse" becomes a reality), less than second-class standing in the market, etc. Do you think the Marc Crawford's of the world are licking their chops at the chance to jump into that den of bile? Is it really some grandiose scheme or just the rudderless machinations of an indecisive owner? I would expect the latter. In my mind, nix analysis angle number two.

I hope and expect Lavvy to demonstrate a measure of loyalty to the Hurricanes after the opportunity Pete K and JR gave him. I think Pete and JR will make a solid offer to keep Lavvy in the fold. At the same time I wouldn't blame coach for exploring his options. Let's see Vancouver, LA, maybe Boston, or Hempstead????

Overall, the Lavvy to Long Island thing no-workie in my mind. The only way I see it is if they offer him a package to include:
  1. Multi-year deal as head coach
  2. Ditto as the GM
  3. Mui Fun Tickets (Naval Aviator for cash)
  4. No Captain Yashin
  5. First dibs on firing Mike Milbury

I wonder what Laviolette's family thinks about the prospect of moving again. As we all know, if momma's not happy, nobody's happy.

Colesy Skates! A New Media Scoop Update
The N&O has made an agility leap with their new Lord Stanley's Blog. Remember it took almost two days for the N&O proper to report on Cory Stillman's return to practice earlier this week. Lord Stanley principal writer, Luke DeCock, blogged Erik Cole's return to the ice at 2:28 Thursday afternoon. The crew in the Letsgocanes.com forum was still a bit quicker. Socal saw Erik on the ice just before Thursday's practice, dropped a call to Ice Saber who posted the news at 11:07. Hyena posted a great photo at around 5 pm.

Damn, lost another scoop to the new media.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Power of the New Hockey Media

Lot's of 'Canes fans cringed when they saw Cory Stillman go down with what looked like a nasty leg, knee or ankle injury in Sunday's series finale vs. the Devils. Like many, I wondered how bad he was hurt and how long he might be out. Well, leave it to the crack correspondents of letsgocanes.com to get there first with the answer.

My favorite ongoing forum dialog strand is titled, "practice reports." Several participants file these reports and the banter is always entertaining. NCCanes reported just prior to 1 pm on Monday that Stillman was back at practice at skating at full stride. Not enough proof for you? ONeillsNo1Fan, went in search of more concrete proof:

"I went out back afterwards and asked Cory how his leg was and he said it
was fine. Very very very glad to hear that. Nicky had a brace on his arm, I
dunno if that has anything to do with why he didn't practice. Good news on Erik,
too. He drove himself today."
Crikey! Four huge news scoops in one forum strand. I have no reason to believe either correspondant is a stalker or some real life version of the wierd guy in the new ESPN mobile ads, just fans who are connected with their team and community. How 'bout this new media?!?

OBTW, you had to wait until today to get this same news on Cory from the N&O. Not a slam on the N&O, just a reflection of news cycles that new media doesn't have to adhere to.

OBT-BTW, over the last months, I have registered with letsgocanes.com under around four different alias's. I keep forgetting my user name/password combo, and end up starting over. If any forum administrators are reading this, feel free to delete all but one of participants from Tucson-they are probably all me. If you have the time, leave me in as Smo-Fan and drop me a line on how to fix my login issues.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More Bulletin Board Material From the Maven

Ok, we all know by now the Maven thinks the Devils were victims of a series of unfortunate events. Now Stan Fischler, fresh off his revisionist Devils retrospective, has jumped squarely on the Buffalo bandwagon. I guess it was inevitable. The Sabers are the last MSG Network club in the hunt, so he's now a Sabers guy.

Fresh off picking the Devils in six, he now says it's gonna be Sabers in five. Why you say? Stan thinks Cam Ward is a "cardboard goaltender." He used this term on the air and then reiterated it in his MSG online article:

"As I said on the air following Carolina's elimination of the Devils, I
consider Cam Ward a cardboard goaltender. And what does that mean? Miller has
stood his ground between the pipes for the Sabres. Since the start of the
playoffs, Ward has been touted as the second coming of Georges Vezina. This is
nonsense. Yes, he helped beat the Canadiens, but Montreal has a popgun
offense."


I guess he missed much of the Canadians series. And I guess the wicked offensive depth of a team that included Gomez, Gionta, Elias, and...and...anybody? ...seemed significantly more intimidating to Stan than the Habs. Maven goes on to give the Sabers the edge in just about every other category.

JR is quoted in an nhl.com piece as saying the Canadians have been the 'Canes toughest opponent yet. Part of his commentary is surely a dig at a less than gracious Devils club that still can't come to grips with having their clock cleaned in five. The larger part is just the naked truth.

I don't mind any pundit picking the Sabers in this series. I think it could go either way.I just don't care much for a know-it-all, who has been proven to have little insight into these playoffs (he said it would take the Devils seven games to beat the Rangers) telling me with supreme arrogance how it's gonna be. Couple that with the fact that he doesn't mind routinely dropping snide personal insults into his commentary, and you've got the makings of a truly distasteful old curmudgeon. Case in point is the finish from his latest article:

"Peter Laviolette has been nominated for the Adams award because of an
equally positive campaign. That is, if you overlook his egregious failure with Uncle Sam's Olympic team in Turin."


I got your egregious right here, Mave.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Booing Thing...Again

Dateline San Jose: Sharks Fans Involved in International Incident
photo: sfgate.com
So the folks from Haite-Ashbury south decided it would be hip to boo "Oh, Canada" the other night in the Shark Tank. Doubt it had anything to do with nationalism. I think these next generation hippies, Mac programmers and weekend anarchists just reject organized forms of government in general, be they domestic or foreign. When asked about the incident, this Sharks fan remarked, "Dude, if we can just get some of that fine Columbian medicinal weed from Canada we'll quit booing."

Now we went round and round on this with the BC fans at the WJC. Jes makes a good point in today's anti-Oil rant where he basically asks, "Why do we play anthems anyway?" Why Jes? Why? Well that's simple. The NHL is a like a little UN Security Council. The western hemisphere and Euros dominate, but all have a unique identity and heritage that must be respected. Why do we play the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Oh, Canada" but leave out the Czech and Soviet anthems? Now I know you probably need a drunk guy with an accordian to play the Czech anthem, and the Russian anthem only works when there is goose stepping and massive parades involving trucks and missles, but please, hockey is a big tent. We have to be all-inclusive.

I say if we are gonna do anthems, let's do 'em all. One for every nation represented in the house. It will only take around fourty-five minutes at the start of every game. I believe we are obligated to make sure that somebody finds out whether there is actually a national anthem for Kazakhstan when Evgeni Nabokov is in town. It may just be a bunch of Cossack's screaming war cries and riding around on little ponies, but we owe it to world harmony to make the effort. And when Cristobal Huet takes the ice, we need to play La Marseilles where all us citizens of the global community can join in it's stirring refrain of...

Tremble, tyrants! and you, traitors,The disgrace of all groups,Tremble!
Your parricidal plans will finally pay the price! (repeat)

Nothing promotes world harmony like those kind of lyrics. Don't ya think? Booing is just hate speech. We can't have any of that in hockey now can we?

Everybody find their happy place and sing along with me now, I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony, grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves.."

Maven Schmaven-The Word on Stan Fischler's Take

The Hockey Maven strikes back
The term "maven" makes me think of a crabby old woman in a moo-moo who was ridden hard and put away wet as a younger woman. She's fat and flabby, smokes Lucky Strikes and loves to tell you how you should run your life. Here are some excerpts from a sunny Devils end-of-season retrospective by Stan Fischler of the MSG Network with my Steven Colbert-style "the Word" counter-points in parenthesis:

No matter how you shake it, a letdown against Carolina was inevitable and yet the Hurricanes series was there to be won. (...even the Blackhawks have the chance to win a series that stands 0-0)

And it could have been won had in 20 excruciating seconds the Devils not fallen victim to an extraordinary set of bad breaks. ( ...like letting Alex Mogilny rot in Albany, or trading for Ken Klee at the deadline and leaving him and Matvichuk on the pine at crunch time?)

Leading 2-1, John Madden took the center ice face-off. Normally the puck would fall flat.This time it landed on its end, when Madden pulled it back the rubber orbited like a Texas Leaguer instead of smoothly sliding to defenseman Brad Lukowich.(...go ahead and blame the puck Stan, it can't write an Op-Ed or blog)

The arcing puck enabled Carolina to quickly invade the Devils zone before Lukowich could clear the disk to center. Devil after Devil failed to get a handle on it as the puck eventually reached the front of the net. (...like Sauron's ring seeking it's master, huh Stan?)

Lukowich moved Eric Staal, but right in the direction of the oncoming pass. Poof!
(..."Poof?" The only time I would use such a word is in describing the play of Mike Ribiero or Pavel Brendl. Now we see Stan stooping to blaming fairy godmother magic to explain the Devils woes.)

Just like that the puck was in the net with only three seconds remaining! In overtime, Jersey had its chances before another stroke of bad luck killed them. (...if you want to call leaving a defenseman free for a one-on-none rush, "bad luck")

Over a half-century of covering hockey, I never witnessed such a succession of unbelievable bad breaks. (...four games to one-damn the bad luck!)

My Word
The Devils still don't want to give the Hurricanes their due. In a few articles I've read, they whine about the missed opportunity to take advantage of the early exit of the Sens and Philly. Like the Maven, they seem to blame this series loss on a series of unfortunate events. With nobody to mug in the corners, Colin White is left to wrastle with the issue of whether to keep his Pulp Fiction inspired chops and porn star stash. Marty Brodeur is left wonder if he really believes all the hype that follows him around. Many pundits said Cam Ward would flinch once he took a look at the legend at the other end of the ice. Cam was crisp, he got flamed, and ultimately finished the better goalie in the series. And we thought Brodeur had the market cornered on bounceback ability...

Alas for Fischler and the Devils. The 'Canes now move on and Stan goes back to reminiscing about those great Islanders teams of the 80's. (...Yeah, see, where's your Niedermeyer now?)

They Wait Until *!!?*&%!! Mother's Day to Win????

Happy Mother's Day to You NHL!
Didn't see a lick of yesterday's game. The scheduling geniuses booked game five on Mother's Day, and like the loving husband and dutiful father of four I am, I was attending to my brunch, window shopping and kid management duties. Like Her Majesty, I kind of thought the Devils might take game five, thinking the Hurricanes were gonna need another day to decompress and get their focus back. I was wrong. Cam was solid again and from what I've read, the 'Canes played again at full mojo.

About Game Four
After berating those sunshine fans at the RBC who bailed at the 20 second mark of game two, I had to at least stay 1 second longer than them. I bailed at the 19 second mark of game four. I hope you all joined me through nearly three complete periods of video root canal-let's call it a moral victory for we the faithful. The one complete game I've been able to watch in this series is the one they tank. I the old days, it would have been easier to bail right after the first period. With this team, I kept believing something good was going to happen even when they were down 4-0.

As a kid I grew up a UUUGE Cincinnati Reds fan. Sparky Anderson rented the house across the street one season and I played little league with his son (now I'm name dropping like Garth). The Big Red Machine of '75-'76 was a team I would liken to the 'Canes. They played like they believed they were never out of a game. Everybody remembers Carlton Fisk tying game six of the '75 series and ex-Red Bernie Carbo winning it with a walk-off homer, but few remember that the Reds came back an won game seven on a bloop single by Pete Rose that scored Joe Morgan. After the game, Joe commented that he knew if he got on and into scoring postion, Pete would drive him home. The Big Red Machine never got rattled, and I don't think these 'Canes get rattled.

Bring on the Sabers
This will be a really fun series to watch. Both teams bring wicked speed, near on-ice telepathy among line mates, and a never say die attitude. Both have rookie goalies who probably have yet to realize the gravity of their situation. Howevuh (Dialog a la Steven A. Smith), if like the Sens, the 'Canes take bad penalties and give up odd-man rushes because of defensive lapses, the Sabers can win this series. This more veteran-rich 'Canes squad is gonna have to step on the Sabers early and own game momentum. These Sabers remind me a bit of the Thrash. They are great front-runners and very hard to come back on.

Now is the time when we need to realize the investment in Mark Recchi and Doug Weight. Now is the time not to let Chris Drury hover at the back door or even breathe with the puck at the end of a game. Now is the time to hammer Maxim Afinogenov until he starts to think twice about freelancing with the puck. There are times he looks like Alexi Kovalev, skating like Brian Boitano and scoring pretty goals in bunches. He can also be made to disappear like Kovalev as well.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It depends on what your definition of "ugly" is...

Just saw this over at Slam Hockey (still not sure what the Canoe thing means). They have a poll up that asks, "What's the ugliest potential Stanley Cup matchup?" Talk about a push-poll. I voted Carolina/Anaheim for two reasons. First, I think it's a real likely match up the way things look today, and second, because that's what I knew they wanted to hear. Here's how it broke down after my vote:

Carolina - Anaheim 43%
New Jersey - Anaheim 22%
Carolina - San Jose 12%
New Jersey - San Jose 8%
Something else 16%

Total Votes for this Question: 2718


The Hurricanes have two shots at "ugly" dominance in this poll. Talk about us against the world. Canadians and Nor'Easters may hate the idea of a Carolina/Anaheim matchup, but the hockey could be unbelievable. If either the Hurricanes or the Sabers get to the finals, the thought of one of these teams against Anaheim, Edmonton, or San Jose is really intriguing. Lots of speed, physical play, stars of the future in the spotlight. TV ratings are in the tank anyway, so why not just have fantastic "New NHL" hockey for those who flat-out love the sport?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Game Three and Update #1 on The "Big BS"

Re: Game three
Only saw the third period. Hate how work and time zones conspire to deny me my fun. I heard the end of game two on the car radio the other night leaving the zoo. John Forslund had a nice line going into the break after Eric Staal's game tying goal. Something to the effect of, "Now the better team will win." Any doubt who the better team is right now? I know things happen and safe is dead, but the Hurricanes just look like a vastly superior team. They are faster, more skilled, more in synch. The fat lady hasn't starting signing yet, but as you can see, she's getting warmed up.

The Hockey Blog Summit-The Big BS
Starting to hear some Joe-mentum on the Hockey Blogger Summit concept. Here's who we've heard from:

  • Acid Queen-First in the dogpile, suggests Nashville around Army/Navy weekend (first week in December)
  • Ingmar Bergman-Promises to leave Angmar, errr Sweden if the event looks compelling enough
  • Confessions-Mike is interested and uncowed by the concept of suffering the slings, arrows and napalm of Mer Majesty to represent for Steel Town
  • A2Y-IwoCPO seconds the idea of Nashville the first week in December but fears he must enter the city in stealth because of his virulent anti-Bubba rants this year.
  • Hockey Rants-Jes is interested but fretting the cost of venturing so far from his grandmother's basement, errr beloved Canada.

Lots of stuff to still mull. I'd like to find a weekend where we can take in two games. A place where getting a block of tickets is do-able and affordable. And a place where one can stumble from arena to pub with little constabulary intervention.

Can you blame him?

Fox Sports has a video sequence of a few Hurricanes players reflecting on game two. Take note of Bret Hedican's commentary (try not to be distracted by the dangerously thinning dome locks). Can you blame him?

Hey sunshine/bandwagon/my company paid for the box/daddy got me the seats/it's the place to be seen tonight in Raleigh, game attendees! Like Bret says, I wish they would have locked you clowns out and not let you back in. I had a coach who used to say, "Act like you've been there before" as a way of demanding self-discipline and poise in either victory or defeat. The same message needs to go out to this crowd. If you can't stay put for the final 20 seconds of a thrilling game, you don't get it and should just go back to bashing Herb, drinking white Zin on your deck in Cary, or making that evening step aerobics session.

Game three tonight. The Devils had a closed-door soul searching session after practice yesterday. Napoleon had one of those right before Waterloo.

Mr. Mojo is Risin.' Got to keep on risin.'

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MLB vs. NHL-Why I Love Hockey Players #3
















These two photos from the last two days point out to me the difference between hockey players and other athletes. Barry Bond's personal relationships appear largely metaphysical or spiritual. In Barry's world it is all about Barry. The other Giants should just feel lucky to share the same uniform and bask in the glow of his greatness. He went on to be predictably surly and self-absorbed in his post-game press conference. What a prick.

Hockey is a team game. You rise and fall as a team. Selfish guys don't last long (ex. Sean Avery) and often drift from team to team around the league (ex. JR). The other pic is from last night's thriller. The elation and the raw emotion are real, and the joy is a shared joy. Nic Wallin climbing the wall after his goal in the OT is another example. This Hurricane squad is a band of brothers.

This dynamic is what makes the hockey experience exponentially more appealing to me than baseball, basketball (Stephon Marbury) and even football (ex. TO). The Oakland A's of the 1970's hated each other-they all hated Reggie Jackson, but they won a couple of World Series. Kobe and Shaq hated each other, but they won a couple of rings. Teammates lived in fear of the public scorn of Michael Jordan, but he led them to multiple NBA titles. This kind of clubhouse dynamic just doesn't fly in the NHL. Dysfunctional families crash and burn in our sport (ex. LA Kings, Vancouver Canucks). Makes me remember the 1979 Pirates team with Willie Stargell, those hideous yellow uniforms, silly caps and,"We are family..."

Game three in the swamps. Let's see if the 'Canes road mojo holds.

Monday, May 08, 2006

First Call on a Hockey Blogger Summit

I've had an idea for awhile, and I thought I might put it out on the net before it leaves me and the hockey blog community moves on to summer pursuits. The Acid Queen mentioned in one of her comments that she only knew face-to-face around three of the folks who frequent her blog. I know nobody.

I would like to pitch the idea of a Hockey Blogger Summit to take place some time next season. A weekend where the great, the near-great, and the wanna-be hockey bloggers like me get together to meet, share ideas, discuss technology and revenue generating ideas, trade smack, and take in a couple of games. I would love hear how IwoCPO built the A2Y empire in so little time. I'd love to hear James Mirtle's take on the blurring lines between journalist and blogger. Maybe Mike from Confessions could entertain us with his ardent defense of Brooks Orpik once again. I would love to see the Acid Queen arm-wrestle all comers. We might get Lyle Richardson to give the keynote address. I don't mean to leave anybody out, just to tease the concept.

So, the thought is out there. I'm not sure where. I'm not sure when. It's got to be an accessible place, somewhat centrally located with reasonable hotel rates and affordable/available game ticket prices. Chicago comes to mind-maybe ATL, Nashville or St. Louis. I'm no Julie-your-cruise-director, and we have no union coffers or association travel budget to draw on, so I'm not volunteering to do any event management, but I can probably get my carcass to the agreed upon location. We might set up a paypal account and gather funds to rent a club box. Maybe somebody has friends in high places and can get us a deal. Regardless, I would want to keep it on the cheap out of the gate. If we're heading for the ATL, I'd want to save my pennies for CNN stuff and those yummy green cheeseburgers they offer at Philips Arena.

Feel free to talk amongnst yourselves.

Wings gone but IwoCPO not forgotten

This photo is on the Hurricanes home page today. Don't focus on the ruggedly hansome Bret Hedican. Focus instead on the lower left corner of the pic. My spies tell me this image may well record the first public sighting of IwoCPO and his mutant clone, Mini-IwoCPO. Of course our pal, the Chief, will probably neither confirm nor deny...

And as for Grandma in the lower right of the picture. She looks like she wants to stick a Benjamin in Bret's garter.

Game Two and I'm at the Zoo

It's Mutal of Omaha's Wild Kingdom for Me!
Probably won't see any of game two tonight. You see, it's "adopt a zoo animal day" and my first grader and her class are going to the zoo to meet their new friend. They've chosen a rhino, and we are gonna get a behind the scenes tour of the rhino's zoo habitat. Nothing like the noxious fumes of large African game poo in a cosy little concrete enclosure on a hot Sonoran desert evening. At least they didn't adopt an elephant.

Marty had some smack for our heroes after game one. I hope his bulletin board material keeps the 'Canes focused and angry going into game two. The keys:

  • Clamp down on Elias-give him no room to breathe
  • Crowd the crease in front of Brodeur. After game one, he might have a hair trigger temper
  • Bang Gionta and Gomez at every opportunity
  • Don't get suckered into scrums that take Staal off the ice with somebody like Grant Marshall

Go 'Canes. I'll catch up after my rhino experience. I think I'll wear Daisy Duke cargo shorts and go as Steve Irwin. "Crikey, ain't she a beaute?"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

'Canes Mojo Risin'

WARNING: It ain't gonna be this easy.
I hope the boys lock this one away and approach game two like it's game one of a brand new series. That being said, I thought I was having a Ducks/Avs deja vu today. The Hurricanes smothered the Devils all over the ice and owned the puck on the PP. The boys also showed lots of poise in killing nearly back-to-back-to-back penalties early in the tilt. I'm loving Matt Cullen more and more every time I see him. He's so aggressive on the rush and clearly wants the puck on every PP. Again, how smart was JR in picking up Cullen and Frankie Kaberle even before the new NHL took shape?

Class is out of session
I got this Marty Brodeur quote from James Mirtle's blog:

"Every time I've played against them, it's always the same thing. It's not a
problem, though. I think the instance with Williams, he kind of elbowed me right in the head and my mask was twisting off and it hit my eye a little bit and I just kind of pushed him."But it's part of the game. They're going to get to me. Definitely we're going to need to do the same thing to Cam Ward
if we're going to be successful. We've got to get to him and make it tough for him to play."


Sounds like Marty Soprano just put a contract out on the boy who idolized him as a child. If either Grant Marshall or Cam Janssen show up Monday night in a velour warmup, we'll know the hit is on. OBTW, Brodeur's smack on Justin Williams doesn't fly either. Justin got knocked into ole flopsy. Brodeur should have jumped up and taken a punch at his defensive corps before he thought to hit Williams. In fact, Brodeur should have done Three Stooges head slaps on the lot of them after their poor play. Yeah, yeah, Marty Brodeur, future hall of famer-iceman in the playoffs, yada, yada. Marty, the 'Canes flat-out owned your crease today, your defense let them do it and you flailed around like a walrus.

Devilish Distain
A site called, "Devils Due," that James listed in his post today has an interesting "top ten list." The title of the post is "Top ten things that sucked about today." I feel your pain dude. I had a similar take after the 'Canes got whalloped in game one vs. the Habs.

Alas, it looks like we're back to slamming southern hockey culture again with this line from the list:
3) Southern hockey knowledge.In the same way that Canadiens look down at the
hockey knowledge of Northeasterners, Northeasterners look down on the hockey
brains of Southerners.

List meister, Tom Lycan, goes on to hedge on this initial broadside, but the dis is hereby logged. I guess Hurricane fans are making progress. Where Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette thought 'Canes fans were nothing more than "cretins," Tom and the folks at "Everything New Jersey" will at least concede that our family trees might branch. Tom, I got your everything New Jersey right here:

  • Bruce
  • The E Street Band
  • Tony Soprano
  • Shallow graves and cement shoes

Maybe Raleigh hockey fans aren't really that dumb. Maybe the Hurricanes brass just think they are. Maybe the same 'Canes leadership that jacks up prices on second round playoff tix with little heads up is the same one that patronizes Hurricane fans with hockey knowledge bits between periods. I think what you are seeing is a reflection of the low esteem our northern and northeastern raised ownership and management team still has for its fan base. I would guess Jason Karmanos probably shares your view. He is after all a Harvard man.

Tom also takes a shot at Mike Commodore and The Nature Boy in a very funny post. Game on New Jersey. Monday night in Raleigh, and then off to the swamps of New Jersey. Yeah? Joisie? What exit?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Pikz that Killz

I never really paid much attention to the Western Conference first round match-ups. The Flames/Ducks matchup in game six was the only full game I watched. I did watch the last five minutes of the great Red Wing rotisserie.

Overall, I guess I was Hurricane-fixated throughout the first round. The Carolina team that stumbled into the playoffs worried me greatly. Took 'em two games to get oriented, but just like the Devils, they finished the Habs off in four straight. We'll the boys are not yet "deep" into the playoffs, but the matchup with the Devils has a familiar feeling to it.

Here's my round two pikz that killz:

Sens/Sabers
I don't think the Sabers waterbug forward will have their way with the Sens top-notch defenders the way they did with Philly's all-Ent blueline. The Sens score like Matt Leinart working a Vegas club. Heatley, Havlat, Spezza, Alfredsson coming at you all game long. They are big, fast, and skilled. They also have the market cornered on Euros with attitude in Havlat, Chara, Volchenkov, and Vrada. I think the Sens physical play will knock the Sabers off stride. Ray Emery is a bit of an unknown. He's also a bit wacky. Idiot or savant, who knows which you will get. Ryan Miller has been solid, but you'd have to have the same reservations about him that you do with Cam Ward. If Emery crashes, I don't put much faith in the AHL-caliber Mike Morrison. If Miller crashes, I would have more faith in Martin Biron. If the Sens control the flow and put the Sabers on their heels, you won't have to worry about Emery.
Sens in six.

Ducks/Avs
Jose Theodore will gag. If he does, the Avs are down to Peter Boo-Tai..err Budaj. Ilya Bryzgalov might gag, but J.S. Giguere would love the opportunity to step in and save the day. Ducks just won a cage match. The Avs got to watch some of that cage match after making short work of a flat Dallas team. The Ducks are young, big, fast, and deeper beyond the first line. If Sakic, Tanguay, or Hedjuk aren't on the ice, the Avs are all a bunch of Ian LaPerriere clones. The Ducks can send Andy McDonald (wicked quick with great hands), Corey Perry (wicked large with speed and hands), Ryan Getzlaff (ditto Perry, but with a mean streak) downstream in a variety of combinations. The Ducks also have the world best hybrid blueline centerman in Scott Neidermeyer. Even Jeff Friesen has ditched the bad attitude and brought his game. Oh yeah, and Teemu Selanne is playing out of his mind, almost like he cut some sort of Faustian deal during the lockout.
Ducks in five

Oil/Sharks
The Oil keep their opponents in games, while the Sharks tend to bury them. I dont think the Oilers have an answer for the two-headed monster of Thornton and Marleau. Toskala and Nabokov give the Sharks the goaltending edge. Roloson has kept the Oilers in games, but he's no Cam Ward, errrr Brodeur. That being said, if I were putting together a team, Ryan Smyth would be one of the first guys I'd go after. Today, the next might just be Chris Pronger. The Oil play with a ton of heart and emotion. This can work to their benefit or detriment. Where the Sharks top players play like cold blooded assasins, the top Oilers always seem in the midst of a Banzai charge. The Oil's southern brethren fought like tigers and then flamed out when it mattered most. I see Edmonton doing the same.
Sharks in seven

'Canes/Devils
'Canes in six. Gerber makes a triumphant return. Deja Vu, 2002.

Why bother breaking it down any more than that when it's impossible to be objective. To borrow a line from her majesty, "screw analysis, I want a cup!" What can I say? Don't see a hell of a lot of "analysis" from DLee either. I guess he's drinking the Kool Aid too.

Ok, ego makes me do a little crackpot analysis. Shut down Elias and that little bug Gionta, get in Scott Gomez and Colin White's grills until they do something dumb and we'll be in good shape. We beat Brodeur in '02 with two mercurial goalies, we can do it again.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Better Lucky Than Making Tee Times

Cory Stillman, you diminutive little beer keg of a man, you looked mahvelous at around 1:19 of OT. You know Cory, Fernando likes to say it is also better to look good than feel good, but in your case it is better to be lucky than to be good my friend.

Cristobal Huet, your beret wearing, banana throwing and incessantly whistling gaullic minions will still love you despite this unfortunate setback. All the hate left the building with Jose Theodore-at least for now. You did a simply mahvelous job of stopping all those pucks the Hurricanes drilled into your belly button tonight. Too bad Craig Rivet deflected the final shot that was otherwise destined to join the rest in your gut.

-------------------------------------------
Tight games turn on such things. Blown out in game 1. A heartbreaking game 2 loss in OT. I thought the Hurricane blueline would be their doom, but by the end of game 2, you could feel the tide turning. The last three games, Mike Commodore skated strong and passed the puck with poise. AWard and the boys blocked shots like demons, Bret Hedican chased down pucks and broke up rushes, and Glen Wesley moved and grinded like a 25 year old again. The 'Canes D gave Cam the chance to see nearly every shot. Wardo made several UUUUGE saves again tonight. His point-blank, slide to cover the back door stop on Mike Ribeiro was simply Brodeur-like (can you say, "foreshadowing?").

Jack Todd thinks the Devils will make short work of the 'Canes. I might have agreed with the meathead if we were talking about the Carolina Hurricanes of April 22. I think this will be a great series because it looks like the Hurricanes have their mojo back.

Yeah baby, it's back to Hurricanes and Devils. Scott Stevens blindsiding Ron Francis and Shane Willis. Kevin Weekes stuffing John Madden on the doorstep. The RBC line and Bates Battaglia tipping in the game winner in OT (saw that one live in section 117).

'Canes and Devils Round 3-A History of Violence.
(Coming to an arena nowhere near me...Damn it.)

Ducks/Flames Last Night

This series is a friggin' WWF cage match on ice. These guys are just killing each other on every shift. The season-ending match up set the stage nicely for what has turned out to be the most brutal of the first round series. It's Blood, guts, and glory in spades.

Blood
The refs let a lot go in this tilt. Lots of old school obstruction and hitting that was led by elbows, hands and butt ends of sticks. The first period scrum between Jerome Iginla and Francois Beauchemin was classic. Frankie got his hands up in Jerome's grill, Jerome took exception, wild punches ensued, and Frankie took the scrum.

Dion Phaneuf separated Todd Fedoruk from contact with the earth his helmet in a bone crushing hit along the boards.

Darren McCarty took a puck to the mellon only to bounce off of the massive bulk Dustin Penner as he fell. Stephane Yelle played the whole game bleeding from the bridge of his nose.

The end of the game jawing between Ryan Getzlaf and Darren McCarty and around the linesman was also priceless. Getzlaf might be a rookie, but he seems to love this level of intensity.

Guts
Little Andy McDonald is a special player. He's a fantastic playmaker who fearlessly dives into any scrum. He takes vicious hits that would fell a lesser man. Not bad for a guy with a history of concussion issues.

Glory
Teemu Selanne scored two goals, but only one was allowed. The forehand to backhand shot at an impossible angle to score the disallowed goal was a thing of beauty. His second was purely a goal-scorers goal-a wicked snap wrister over the shoulder of Miikka Kiprusoff (Kipper got everything shot gloveside) on a nice feed from McDonald. Reminded me of the Alexi Kovalev goal in Game #5 the other night.

OBTW, If they are taking the time to review every called goal in the playoffs, why don't they review wave-offs? Selanne clearly netted the puck before the ensuing three-Flame collision in the crease. Not only did they disallow Selanne's goal, they put an innocent Joffrey Lupul in the box for goalie interference.

Scott Niedermeyer has a Matrix-like feel for the game. Matt Leinart may have dressed like Neo in those incredibly dopey and pimp-enriched ESPN NFL draft segues, but Niedermeyer lives in that kind of zone. He just seems to be two steps ahead of every play. Some are saying his game winning wrap-around bank shot was lucky. I think Scotty makes his luck.

Looking Ahead
The first and second seeds are gone in the West. Either of the two teams I watched last night would create huge physical problems for any Eastern Conference team. The Flames want to beat you up and take your lunch money. The Ducks have found a way to make even purple and teal loook mean. Glad only one will move on.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jack Todd Bulletin Board Material

H/T to SISU on this one (Jeff adroitly distances himself).

Seems Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette no-likey bang-sticks. Seems he no-likey hockey in North Carolina even more. Jack calls 'Cane fans "cretins" in this lastest snide outburst-says we don't deserve the caliber of hockey our players bring to the ice. Now North Carolina is the home to both Ft. Bragg and Camp Lejune-Army and Marine Corps. Bitter memories might be clouding Jack's judgement.

The other day I blogged about what I see as a creeping bitterness in Canadian media that has festered since the Habs recent reversal of fortunes. Exhibit B is an example of sour grapes bulletin board material from the keyboard of Hell-No-I-Didn't-Go-Jack:

The Hurricanes are probably going to win this series, which will earn them a
date with the New Jersey Devils and a quick trip to the golf course - where they
and their fans can beat their ThunderStix all day long.

That being said, I concur on the bang-sticks front. They passed them out at a Thrash game I went to last fall. Must have been ADD night at Philips Arena. The din caused by these hideous things, wielded by hyperactive kids and teens with no intention of watching the game, was mind-numbing.

I agree with Jack. I say ban the bang-sticks.
I also say throw Jack Todd in Levenworth if he ventures back to U.S. soil. That will give him a Taste of Metal.

Her majesty has a tasty rant on this issue as well.