So, it's out with the old-in with the even older. Coach Lavvy is out and Coach Mo is back.
Last two seasons, I rarely missed a Canes game on the DVR. This season, I'm forgetting to even program the machine. Last season, I did battle with the females of he C/B household for prime viewing time. This season it's some combination of Private Practice, Gray's McDreamy Anatomy and Starvivor nearly every night. I now watch more tape-delayed college volleyball on the Mountain West Conference Channel than Canes hockey. Part of that is because I love volleyball. The other part is because this Canes team that might only have a 50-50 chance of winning against the Florida Panthers on any given night.
Let's face it. The last two years have been a mess. The collapse, re-birth and collapse of last season leaves me thinking, "Fool me twice,.... screw you! I'm watching the Food Network. " And this season is shaping up like those other seasons samdwiched around 2006. Two years of Justin Williams injuries. Two years of waiting for Cam Ward to prove he wasn't a Conn Smythe fluke in 2006. Two years of watching "Wardo" give up a late softie. Two years of an anemic power play. Two years of watching the Canes get physically dominated by bigger, stronger and younger forwards. Two years of waiting for Andrew Ladd to blossom. Two years of trades and signings that amounted to a refresh of a boring status quo. Two years of watching Rod Brind 'Amour fade as a leader and a player with two-and-a-half years to go on a five-year contract.
A coaching change is supposed to infuse new life. A coaching change is supposed to embarrass the players and make them step up. And it's supposed to rekindle hope in the fan base. Yup, I can't wait till that Pittsburgh game tomorrow night...Oooh, wait a second...looks like there's a five-day old replay of a college cross country meet on the Big Ten Network.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
So, it's out with the old-in with the even older. Coach Lavvy is out and Coach Mo is back.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Obama won big tonight and he deserved to win. He beat the Clinton machine and he beat McCain's Vaudeville routine. John McCain is a lousy political team player, and it cost him dearly. You can't count on "the team" when you've screwed them so many times. McCain spent so much of his political career pissing on his own party and sidling up to his "friends" in the media. He refused to push critical issues involving Obama's character and associations. He pulled the rug out from under the campaign when he sequestered Sarah Palin when her popularity was peaking. Then he sent her into MSM ambushes when he finally let her out. Now McCain can go back to the Senate and back to being Russ Fiengold's butt-boy. Wonder if Lindsay Graham will continue to serve as his boy Smithers.
I don't think we'll see the US lurch too far to the left. I think it will be a re-doux of the Clinton administration. Everything Obama has done thus far in his political life has been to benefit Obama. It won't take him long to see that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Kos crowd care little about the best interests of Barak Obama. I think Obama will have to triangulate to keep his head above water.
The Republican Party is broken. Crappy leadership. No vision. No core principles. No message. The country clubbers have abandoned the tenets of the Reagan Revolution, and the party is now rudderless. The party needs to replace lawyers and lifer politicians with veterans, entrepreneurs and visionaries. Who is (was?) the Republican Party chairman? I know who the Dem party chair is, and he's probably squealing again.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I'm with this guy.
I'm with this guy because he's made a sacrifice no community organizer, congressman who spent his whole adult life in political office or TV pundit with a tingly leg has ever made. Just like John McCain. Obama and his possee were perfectly willing to sell this guy out...probably still are if there is political hay to be made.
Not that I'm a huge McCain guy. Actually, I'd rather vote for one of Ronald Reagan's old cowboy hats. At least that might have some real Republican DNA left in it.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
It's been my contention for years that Andy Sutton is a Succubus and Brendan Witt is the NHL's version of Randall Tex Cobb, but to think Doug Weight would join the ranks of the rank seems implausible. Was it a clean hit? Technically yes, but Weight chose to go after Brandon Sutter's head when the puck was his for the taking. Bad guy? No. Bad decision? Yes. The next shift should have involved Brookbank or LaCouture pummeling John Sim-even if he was on the bench. Chad LaRose wanted a shot at Mini-Avery, but the punk wouldn't accept the challenge.
So much for the Canes supposed defensive depth. Yeah they are rather deep in stay-in-place soft guys who prefer reaching, grabbing and tripping to skating, discipline and hitting. That defensive depth let the Isles anemic offense pepper Cam Ward like Sonny Corleone at a toll station. Melichar for holding twice and tripping once. Enjoy the in-game buffet Joey.
And is it just me or does Joni Pitkanen seem lazy and unispired? Now a knee issue. Rest up Chachi, can't wait to have you back in full glide mode.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Hi gang. Slowly working my way back into the season flow. And now I've seen something potentially weighty piqued my interest. TFP and one other media outlet I saw promoted the idea that Joe Corvo is being shopped by the Canes. What am I missing here? This was a guy JR coveted long-time. Now he's expendable? What's changed? Has been out boozing and feeling up female pub patrons? Is the club so desperate with the injuries up front that they'd dump Joe for somebody like Peter Schaefer who can't even hold a spot on the Bruins roster? How can you be desperate when you are 2-1 with two in-conference victories under your belt? Somebody splain me this one.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Justin Williams was just hitting his stride as a player in this league when he went down with the knee injury in December of last year. Consecutive seasons of 76 and 67 points made Justin an indispensable cog in the Canes offensive machine. Then last week, Kaboom! A ruptured Achilles tendon sets him back again. That has to be agonizing to a guy who knows the window of opportunity at this level is only open for a very short time. Good luck Justin. Make sure you max-out on glucosamine and chondroitin during your rehab.
So what to do in the waning days before the start of another season-another season the Canes can't afford to write-off because of key injuries. The Canes re-stocked the pantry with young defensemen this off season, but the forward corps looks very shaky. Cap'n Roddy, Whitney, Cullen, Walker, Ruutu, Eaves and Larose all have significant injury histories.
Here's what I'm not banking on:
1. Canes swinging a deal that brings in a Williams caliber player.
2. Jeff O'Neill suddenly becoming a dedicated two-way player.
3. Brandon Sutter showing up for game one with 25 pounds of extra muscle and the enhanced heart/lung capacity to grind out 20 minutes of ice time every night.
4. Some youngster or journeyman emerging from the league's worst farm system and have a breakout season.
So I say it's time to try again to move Kaberle or Seidenberg to create depth in the Canes forward corps. The Sens are said to be looking for an offensive defenseman. The Leafs have a Kaberle, why shouldn't the Sens? The Bruins and Kings are also looking for a puck-moving blueliner. The Kings only show four defensemen on their roster. And with all the exits they've had in the off season, Tom Preissing is the closest thing to a scoring machine on that roster.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Big Red joins the upper-upper echelon of highest paid players in the NHL. From what I read, the extension kicks in next year and will bump Eric from $5 mil per to $8+ mil beginning next season. I like the deal. Earlier in his career, Staal would periodically morph into invisibility mode. He's now a proven leader on the ice and a force on every shift. He's also a friggin' ironman who has played 81 or 82 games every season since he joined the big club.
As it stands, only Sid and Ovy will be paid more. Staal will jump ahead of some guy named Richards, who I think used to be somebody with the 'Ning. And did you know Thomas Vanek makes more than guys like Jason Spezza, Jarome Iginla and Vinny Lecavalier? Anybody got the number for Vanek's agent?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I think I dig this new third impression gear. Has a dark, Nazgulie, Megatronesque, maybe Sardaukarish look to it. It's a bit superhero looking, but it's not a stylized constellation cow head, oily oblong gear or mighty fish stick guy. Plus how cool will it be going into overtime to hear the RBC PA announcer holler, "Hurricanes, Maximize!!!
Nothing old school about this get-up. I was hoping for something old school, but I guess I can live with this one. Not sure if Roddy is going to look like a warrior or a cartoon character in this wear.
Worse case scenario, Caniacs will have something to wear to the next Sci Fi or Comicon convention. I like bold marketing moves, and this one is definitely bold. Click here if you haven't seen the new stuff.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Lyle Richardson has a piece on foxsports.com today about the Canes chances this season. Lyle puts a lot of the focus on Cam Ward. I agree to a point. Ward has yet to become the stopper he looked to be in the '06 Cup series. Ward faced the sixth most shots in the league last season, and gave up the third most goals. He barely held a .900 save percentage and his goals against average was worse than those of NHL luminaries like Fredrik Norrena and Mathieu Garon.
Yes, Ward is going to have to be the ball Danny, but I still think defense is just as big a question mark. JR made significant changes on the blueline, but I'm still concerned about the impact the departure of Wesley and Hedican will have on the Canes play in their defensive zone. Wesley always played a steady positional defensive game, and when he was healthy, Hedican's aggressiveness and speed helped cover mistakes and disrupt rushes.
We're all pretty sure Tim Gleason and Joe Corvo will do just fine in their roles, but until Anton Babchuk and Joni Pitkanen have some time working with their new partners and in the system, we won't know if this is the crew to take the Canes back to the playoffs. We also don't know what will become of Nic Wallin and Frankie K as we get closer to the season. I am willing to make this bold prediction: Nic will be slower and Frankie will be softer. Like most of you, I'd be OK if Frankie were moved for a puck, prospect or pick and Seidenberg or one of the Albany kids given a chance. For some reason, I keep checking on the status of UFA vets like Aaron Miller, Keith Carney and every body's favorite skating Ent, Marek Malik. Oh well, still plenty of time to tweak the roster before Camp Roddy becomes Camp Lavvy.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
This morning I was watching a reply of NBC's Olympic coverage and heard the funniest line of the games from Jim Lampley. Cuban Taekwondoalist, Angel Matos, got disqualified in a match for taking too much injury time. Junior took the loss very badly. As you can see, he tried to take his frustration out on the referee's melon. After showing the video replay, Lampley laconically quipped, "After all, it's the first rule of Taekwondo: you can not kick the referee in the head." Nice one Lamps.
This fine display of Cuban sportsmanship was followed later in the morning by a boxing match that featured a kid named Correa who pulled off a Mike Tyson hat trick in his Gold Medal bout against a British opponent-a punch, a grab and a bite. Too bad for Correa. Daddy brought home the gold medal in '72. The Chicoms in attendance were pulling for the legacy to take another gold home to the beloved and still critically dead Fidel Castro. Old school SNL fans will get the reference.
Here's the video of Matos:
Friday, August 22, 2008
So you're sitting there on yer back porch in Angier and you say to yourself, "Self, I wonder if The University of Arizona would be better for me than say...Chapel Hill or Wake Tech?" Well here's your answer. Check out this little movie project I worked on this spring:
Arizona Days/Arizona Nights and the trailer for the movie are both available on YouTube. You can also download the movie or trailer in much higher resolution at the UA's iTunesU site. It's a bit tough to get to on iTunes. You have to open your iTunes then navigate to iTunesU via the iTunes store. Once you've found the UA on iTunesU, you go to the Student Life section to get at the movies.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Plus the French won. That sucks. The French simply have no equal at pretending to be in combat. I think they should drop the silly little foil sabres and switch to samurai swords or pirate cutlasses. Let's see Mr. Gallic exuberance, Monsieur Julien Pillet , medal then. Two of France's four gold medals are in swordplay. One in team sabre and one in team epee. I think "epee" is one step up from the swordplay game we all played as kids while we were taking a leak in the woods.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I've got this book at home about the Crimean War, and based on the events of the last week, I pulled it out and took a look at how that conflict started. In 1853, the Tsar wanted to snatch some territory from the Ottoman Empire-namely its possessions in what is now Romania. The Tsar approached the Brits in secret and offered to divide up Ottoman lands between them. The Brits said no. So the Tsar put the word out that he demanded protective control over all the lands under Ottoman control containing Eastern Orthodox Christians. The Turks told the Tsar to pound sand. The Tsar invaded, and the Brits and French joined the Ottoman Turks in the Crimean War to teach the Tsar a lesson. The Russkies get tossed out.
In the late summer of 1939, Stalin couldn't get the world domination deal he wanted with Britain and France, so he went with Hitler. In September, the Soviet Union invaded Poland right behind the Nazis under the pretext that a collapsing Polish nation could not protect the security of ethnic Ukranians and Belarussians living in the eastern part of the country. Those Poles who protested too much were executed or shipped off to Siberian death camps. The Soviet Politburo called the operation a "the liberation campaign."
In the winter of 1939, Stalin wanted to add to Soviet territory along the Finland/USSR border. He also wanted Finnish beachfront property to build a major naval depot. He offered the Finns some barren wasteland in return. The Finns told Stalin to pound sand. Stalin got Soviet artillery to shell a little Russian town, and blamed the provocation on the Finns. He then invaded and got the territory he wanted.
In the fall of 1956, a student-led revolt in Hungary gained momentum and eventually led to the Soviet puppet government agreeing to reforms and a withdrawl from membership in the Warsaw Pact. The Soviets would have none of that and sent in the Red Army to crush the uprising.
In the spring of 1968, the Soviets weren't happy with some reform momentum in Prague, so they sent in 200,000 troops from several Warsaw Pact nations to put an end to this democratization silliness. They threw out the existing puppet government and replaced it with one that more easily bent to Soviet will.
Jump ahead to 1979, when the Soviets were not happy with Communistness of their puppet Afghan regime. Seems they hadn't carpet bombed, tortured and executed well enough to keep this forever lawless land quiet, so they sent special forces to kill their puppet dictator and took over the country. Enter Charlie Wilson and the Mujahideen.
Now Putin, Pravda et al are telling the Russian people and a cowardly political opportunists all over the globe that the Georgians started this whole thing. Yeah, those nasty Georgians were mean to the poor newly minted Russian citizens living within Georgia, so it is Russia's Divine duty to lay waste to Georgia. And they're doing just that.
So you moral equivalence types just shut up. The U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan to depose evil and give oppressed people the chance to be free is not the same as Russia's move into Georgia. Our men and women in uniform are busy rebuilding, teaching, empowering and eliminating the terrorists who want to fill the void left by the old boss. Russians on the other hand are back in the business of crushing and subjugating. If "world opinion" sees events differently, screw world opinion. It won't the first time world opinion was dead wrong. World opinion should never serve as the moral compass for a nation of free people.
Mr. President, what do you see when you look into your pal Vladimir's eyes today? Wishing the old days were over forever is no longer possible. Willing the old KGB agent to be your bestus buddy never had a chance,and deep down you knew it.
This new Russian bear has added energy dominance and cyber warfare to its arsenal of weapons. Time to drop the hammer on the People's Republic of Putinia. (Now channeling John Belushi in Animal House) Who's with me? Let's do it!! ARRRRrrrrguh, sigh. Nobody, eh? Nice working with you there Georgia. Let us know how things work out.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
They needed to beat the Germans' score of 76.50 on the final dive, but their forward 2 1/2 somersault with a twist came up short. The judges awarded them a 72.0 for a total score of 314.40 — 4.59 points behind the Germans.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Two images stick in my head from last night. One is the 2008 drummers in silky silver pajamas pounding out a rhythm only a Borg could groove to. You want to see the value of diversity in a society? Take a look at those 2008 Chinese men with the same close-cropped and jet black haircut. Lighten their complexion and dye their hair blond and last night would have looked just like a Hitler Jungend festival.
The other thing that bugged me was when the cute little children in colorful costumes and representing the various ethnic groups of China handed the Chi-Com flag over to the boys from Leibstandarte Mao Tse-Tung. The colorful little parade turned into a lesson in proper fascist goose stepping.
I wish the Olympic folks would just ban all political showmanship from the event. It's cool to tell me about your culture and history, but spare us all the posturing about the martial glory of Mother China. You might impress the contingent from North Korea, but the rest of the world actually remembers and can access information about Tiananmen Square and the Cultural Revolution.
Friday, August 08, 2008
A few weeks ago, I thought talk of Jeff O'Neill playing hardball to secure an NHL contract was just plain silly. When I also read that the Canes were talking to him about a two-way deal, I thought that was almost as silly.
Reading today that he has been invited to attend camp makes more sense. Let's see Jeff show the club what he's got left in the tank and whether he respects the great privilege it is to play a kids game as a grown up -then maybe contract talks can begin.
Welcome back Jeff. Now get out there and outwork the rookies and journeymen.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Heading out today to take my daughter to a college prep volleyball camp at Colorado State University. Good program at CSU. They finished last season with a Mountain West Conference championship and an NCAA tournament bid. We're also scheduled to check out CU Boulder and the University of Denver on this trek. I want her to look at New Mexico, but she doesn't dig Alboocracky. She's ready to get out of the desert.
I'll be on the Frankie K watch all week.
Posted by M15D at 7/28/2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I really wanted to hear Don't Take Me Alive
Big nasty storm on the way out to the casino/amphitheater last night cleared up right as the show got started. The Joey Defrancesco trio started the night off with some free-form jazz. Not a big fan of that stuff. Every so often, Joey sounded like he was about to break into that ballpark organ riff that goes, dah, dah, dah, dah, dadadadundadaaaahhhh...Chaaarrrrge!! A buddy of mine who attended the show last night called it Zamboni music. Seemed an amiable bloke, and he and the boys finished strong with an audience participation number about getting my mojo on. Shagadelic baby.
So the rest of the crowd starts filing in, and for the first time in a long time, I don't feel so old. Scores of Tommy Bahama guys in the Hawaiian shirt, microfiber shorts and leather sandal ensemble. Other than wife-of-Tommy Bahama guy, not a lot of women at the show. Oh yeah, there was a grandma who passed in front of me pushing her walker to the extreme of its performance envelope trying to get to her seat before Fagan and Becker made their entrance. And a nice mix of dads and sons. I dig that. Raise 'em right. It's never too early to teach them to just say "no" to Rap and those Flaming Lips people.
Becker and Fagan didn't look like they were ready to be fitted for portable oxygen tanks and scooters, but the boys are looking very seasoned. The other night towards the end of that VH-1 Who tribute, Roger Daltrey closed with something along the lines of: If we're still playing when we're 90 we may look like shat, but we'll still sound great. And the Dan sounded great last night. It was almost deja vu-2000. My concert-going shipmate, Captain Dan, recalls this as the set list:
- Royal Scam-Love the jam session that segues into Walter and Donald making their appearance from opposite sides of the stage. Becker kinda waddles and Fagan has this gangly, stoop-shouldered scarecrow swagger thing he does. He's mastered how to look really cool when you don't have lick of motor skills beyond your hands.
- Everything You Did
- Show Biz Kids-Best of the night for me. Re-arranged from the studio version. Less machine-like, more jazzy. Fagan and the gals hit the Show business kids making movies of themselves, you know they don't give a F_ _ k about anybody else line twice. Very cool
- Two Against Nature
- New Frontier
- Hey Nineteen
- Glamour Profession
- New Frontier
- Gaucho-Ever heard Walter Becker sing? He's more Tom Waits than Tom Jones
- Home at Last
- Parker's Band
- Love is Like an Itching in my Heart/band introductions
- Kid Charlemagne
- (encore) FM
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
The Early Years
That's David Palmer on lead vocals, Denny Dias on guitar and I think Jeff Baxter on bongos.
Interesting summer for music in the Old Pueblo. A few weeks ago, Journey came to town with their new Philipino Karaoke singing Steven Perry sound-alike. Tonight is Steely Dan at the AVA Amphitheater. Great venue for a show, provided the monsoon gives us a night off. I've been a Dan fan since high school back when the movie "FM" came out. I spent the summer of '79 driving around in my dad's Dodge Omni with Aja cued up in the 8-Track player. Aja, when all my dime dancing is through, I run to ratchet, ratchet, bzzzzzzz-click youuuu....oooh.
This will mark my third Dan show-the first in Manassas was way back when, in 2000. Saw them again during a virtual sandstorm in 2006. The second show wasn't nearly as tight as the first. Let's hope Donald's voice is silky smooth.
Perusing YouTube, the boys seem to be dropping in some more obscure tunes on this tour. Here are some songs I wish they'd include:
- Midnight Cruiser
- Don't Take Me Alive
- The Caves of Altamira
- Doctor Wu
- Time Out of Mind
- Tomorrow's Girls
- H Gang
- Royal Scam
- I Got the News
- Everything You Did
- Show Business Kids
- Two Against Nature
- What a Shame About Me
- Babylon Sisters
- New Frontier
- Hey Nineteen
- Black Friday
- Green Earrings
- Glamour Profession
- Parker's Band
- Kid Charlemagne
No Cuervo Gold. No fine Colombian. Just a few Stella Buds and lots of ear candy.
Friday, July 18, 2008
This just in from an "inside source" close to the guy who knows the guy who changes the urinal cakes periodically at the RBC. There's just something fishy about this design.
Here's another take from The NHL Tournament of Logos site.
I still like Ingmar's Whale-themed sweater the best.
Thanks Jack Pittman
The word the other day from Luke that JR was speaking with Jeff O'Neill about a two-way contract to bolster the Canes depth at center makes me think that Matt Cullen's melon may not be ready for prime time, or that he's one Brooks Orpik experience away from Eric Lindrosville. UPDATE: Oops, just saw that Wufie already had the same take. Snooze you lose.
Speaking of Luke. I'm beginning to get a bit worried about his follicle future. This haircut has all the signs of a imminent descent into Trumpian come over syndrome.
Thrash and Kitties go ugly late
These two squads successfully scooped up the leagues UFA sloppy seconds...or maybe thirds. When asked about his new deal with the FLACats, Cory Stillman waxed Zach Mayo squealing, "I got nowhere else to go!"
Tampion Bay triples down
Vinnie is worth the cash, even if he plays into his fifties. I saw Gordie Howe playing in his fifties, but it was the WHL. How about Radim Vrbata for $3 mil and seven years of Ryan Malone just a few months out of a perpetual doghouse and with one good season under his belt?
- Here's a link to my first post from July 15, 2005-when I fancied myself a serious homer/analyst
- Here's the most visited post in this blog's history. Right before game seven of the 2006 Cup final. When the going got tough, I got whiny.
Thanks to all who find their way here or back here even when I have little or nothing to say. At the end of the Canes season, I started thinking that my energy for riffing on things Hurricanes was about used up. Now months later, I'm getting excited again about the upcoming season.
Despite being an Arizonan now for four years, I still haven't become much of a Coyotes fan. This despite the possibility that the Dogs could be very good this season. On February 7, the Canes come to Phoenix. At least on that night, I'll be wishing pain and suffering on Skelator Olli.
In Uthuh News
Welcome aboard Eye of the Storm. Another take is always welcome.
Friday, July 04, 2008
As the dust settles on the first week of free agency, looks to me like moving Kaberle and his modest salary might not be that big of a deal. I'm sure some clubs will leave roster space open for rising prospects, but there are a few clubs who might need a veteran puck-moving defenseman who scored the winning goal in the 2006 Stanley Cup final. The LA Kings only have five blueliners on their active roster. Bret Hedican might end up a late addition to the Kings roster now that San Jose has both landed Rob Blake and Miami University's own, Danny Boyle.
The Canes bestus trading buddies, the Ottawa Senators, have three defensemen on their active roster with Andrej Meszaros an RFA. Right now they don't have an offensive-minded defenseman. RFA Antoine Vermette is still dangling out there as well. Might Bryan Murray be fleeced again? He let Mike Commodore go. He let Cory Stillman go. The Canes still have Joe Corvo and Paddy Eaves-at bargain prices....not to rub it in.
The Buffaslugs are also short on blueliners. They're also trying to unload Maxim Afinogenov.
Denis Seidenberg had a pretty solid year last season. He'd be a nice 5th or 6th defensemen on some squad this October. If JR keeps him. That would be fine with me. If he could be part of a deal that moved Kaberle or helped the Canes re-stock the system, that would be fine as well.
So I think there are some easy deals to be done that would involve moving Kaberle for prospects and/or picks. There also might be the possibility of a more complex deal that might bring in a solid forward. Such a deal might mean packaging the recently signed Tuomo Ruutu or possibly Chad Larose. I think the fun has only just begun.
Other UFAs I like:
RFAs I somewhat covet:
Jay Bouwmeester - dream on C/B
Posted by M15D at 7/04/2008
Thursday, July 03, 2008
So JR now has both of the blueliners he's coveted longtime. Joe Corvo and Joni Pitkanen will man the point on the PP. And the love fest continued yesterday with Pitkanen signing a three-year deal for team captain cash. Now JR has the guys he wanted. We know Corvo is the real deal. Lets see if Pitkanen is more than a big porcelain doll with a sliding upside. You look at Joni's page on TSN and you see a lot of missed games with knee, back and hip maladies.
I bitched all last season and into my last post that the Canes needed to get bigger, meaner and more athletic on the blueline. Babchuk and Pitkanen are both big boys who can play angry. I'm actually more intrigued by the pending return of Anton the Refusenik than the acquisition of Pitkanen. A more mature Babchuk might be the real gem of this signing period. And he returns for cheap-Josef Melichar cheap. If Josef Melichar is worth a cool mil, I bet Pavel Brindl could be had for a fraction of that kinda cash! Boom that gaping hole at wing is immediately filled. In one off season, the Canes forward corps gets smaller, quicker and more enigmatic.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
My best guess of a Canes roster from among those who are most likely locks as of today:
Whitney, Staal, Cole
Samsonov, Brind 'Amour, Williams
Larose, Cullen, Eaves
Ruutu, Sutter, Walker
JR has stated he wants to shore up the blueline. The Kaberle/Wallin pairing is probably no better than a third-pairing in this league. It looks to me like adding a top blueliner won't be enough. I believe the Canes need another stopper and a guy with the offensive upside Kaberle showed back in the day.
JR has stated he wants to get bigger and more physical on the fourth line. If Brandon Sutter is all grow'd up and ready to knock some folks around, a Ruutu, Sutter, Walker fourth line could wreak some havoc. So my concern is not whether the Canes can put together a physical fourth line. I'm worried about a one-pairing deep blueline and the smallishness of many of the other forwards. I heard all last weekend about the resurgence of the small guy in the new NHL. Good news is, the Canes are on the bleeding edge of Hobbit-hockey with Whitney, Samsonov and Larose (if he returns) on the roster. And if Zach Boychuk makes the squad, we'll have the makings of a Tolkein trilogy this fall.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Maybe the Coyotes can afford to buy the Finnish Skeletor a helmet that fits. My favorite Coyote is now a Florida Panther and one of my top five "hate-him's" in the league is a Coyote. Great deal for the Yotes. Keith Ballard is a solid and developing player, but prone to taking bad penalties and getting caught behind the play after trying to make the big hit. I think he developed some bad habits playing with Nick Boynton. Ditching Boynton's nearly $3 mil in salary is also a winner.
The acquisition of Jokinen is huge for the dogs. Doan, Jokinen, Reinprecht, with youngsters Hanzal, Turris and Mueller. Every forward on this squad is a centerman. This should be a very fun team to watch next season. I'm definitely going to make it to more than the zero games I attended last year in Glendale. Good job Don Maloney!!!
For much smarter analysis, check out Coyotes Blog, One Fan's Perspective
Darcy Hordichuk is a lunger more than a fighter. If he lands that first punch, he might win the decision. If he misses, he's toast. I still like Tim Conboy better in the enforcer role. Conboy has that borderline psycho postal employee intangible that's hard to find in this league.....outside Sean Avery. Speaking of the little tool, check out this video clip from YouTube. It features Hordichuk doing something really stupid and our boy Timmayy Gleason back in the day.
Now I know JR has stated he has no plan to move up. He did move up from #8 to #4 in 2004 to get Andrew Ladd. The Columbus Dinner Jackets need to get to the playoffs real bad. The defenseman of the future may or may not be enough to keep the faithful, faithful. They've flirted with Ryan Malone and they are taking a hard look right now at Patrick Marleau. How about Erik Cole or Justin Williams and a pick for that #6 pick? If Luke Schenn is still there at #6... Another possible move-up trade partner might be Nashville in the #9 spot.
Lets see if all the buzz around Pitkanen, Liles or maybe Streit comes to fruition over the weekend. I really like the idea of the Germanicish Mark Streit joining the Canes. I can see it now, Streit and Seidenberg - Hans and Franz. The Siegfried line. Hey Mike Comrie....You with your Hollywood Disney Channel girlfriend, and your designer trousers and your courtside seats at the Laker game. Come across dee meedle and see how we put you through Teutonic Hell with our huge bulging muscles. Yah, vee will crush you if we don't get caught up ice on an ill-advised pinch...
Pierre McGuire has the Canes taking Zach Boychuk in the #14 spot in his TSN mock draft. Just what the Canes need, another 5'9" centerman.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Thank you Glen Wesley for being a Carolina Hurricane. Here's my favorite Glen memory from an post I made right after the Canes Cup victory in 2006. This was at the end of his first speculated final season. Here's a snip from the opening:
In the spring of 2004, my wife and I went to the Fridays in Cary for a nightcap after attending a particularly humbling home loss to, I believe, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Soon after we were seated, Glen Wesley walked in with his wife...
Please note that Glen was there to have a quiet late dinner with his wife. The Fridays in Cary is not a "scrip club." Glen didn't have a posse with him that night. He wasn't there to be the center of attention or to make it rain.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Luke discusses this briefly in his LSB post, and I want to take a do my own analysis in parallel to TSN's off-season game plan piece from Tuesday.
Last year's squad was smallish, lethargic and injury-riddled. So I would make the following the top three off-season priorities for the club:
1. Get younger, bigger and meaner on the blueline: Joe Corvo is now the PP quarterback for this squad. Looks like the club is stuck with Frances and Nic "No Trade Clause" Wallin, so as much as I admire and respect Glen Wesley and Bret Hedican, the time has come to move on. Bret might have already made his decision to ride off into the NOCAL sunset. Since the Preds will have a tough time signing both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, I'd work the phones for a deal here. From today's TSN game plan report on the Preds, it looks like Suter might not be the golden boy any more. You think Erik Cole likes country music?
2. Get bigger, hungrier, meaner and faster on the 4th line: Props to the Lollipop Guild line of Walker/Bayda/Aucoin. These guys over-achieved when production was needed most, but JR has already indicated he wants to get larger down the forward lines and I concur. Problem is, there's not a lot of room on the roster even after Bayda, Aucoin, Letowski, et al have been cut loose. JR's move to bring on Eaves and Ruutu makes things even tougher. Eaves on the durability front and Ruutu on both the durability and discipline fronts. In the TSN feature, Scott Cullen suggests three guys the Canes might consider going after: Matt Bradley, Pat Rissmiller or Adam Hall. Not sure I'm all warm and fuzzy about the thought of any of these guys.
I like Tim Conboy in the psycho killer/#7 defenseman/4th line forward role. I could see pairing him with big and skinny Brandon Sutter and a guy like Bradley or Rissmiller.
3. Cover that six in goal: Cam Ward is proving to be spectacularly average with flashes of brilliance. Michael Leighton might be the guy to press Cam in the coming season, but I'd like to see the Canes pursue another good, young talent just in case years 5+ of the Cam Ward experience turn into a train wreck. Cullen suggests Alex Auld or Patrick Lalime. I say see what Boston might want for Tuukka Rask. The kid looks to enter the next season stuck again behind an over-priced Manny Fernandez and Captain Cartwheel. You think Erik Cole likes chow-duh?
Not hating on Cole. He's just one of the few marketable players on the roster. Cullen throws in Justin Williams as well. Have to ponder that one. Two knee explosions versus a broken neck...
Here are some UFA's I'd be intrigued to see in the sightless eye:
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Hi all, if yer still reading.
Good move (financially) to bring Coach Lavvy back. GMJR finally puts to rest speculation (he created) about Coach's status, and lets us know it's part of the usual end-of-season (failed season) process:
"I can understand why there was speculation," Rutherford said, "but I wasn’t trying to insinuate anything. It's a standard process each year. I wasn’t going to take that position until every one had the chance to meet."
So this morning I'm sitting there having that first cup of joe watching the Wings/Stars tilt and the wife asks, "Did any Staal bros play in the playoffs?" Boom, flashback to last night's final(?)dream. I'm at a gym or rec center...not sure why or where, when three guys come running down the hall whacking each other in the butt with rolled up towels. It's Jordan, Eric and Mark and they are all wearing nuthin' but a thong. Kinda like the scene in Zoolander where the male models are having the ill-fated gasoline fight, only with even more gayness. Shocked and horrified, I leave the gym only to find the boys (and Dad?) similarly attired and riding bicycles down an alley.
Friday, April 25, 2008
I used to dig Ocho...errr Chad Johnson's act. It was fresh. Dude was irreverent. It was all in good fun. After a season of watching Johnson throw hissy fits and drop balls at crunch time, this Bengals fan (since 1968) has had enough. I've had enough of the Bengals being a sideshow. I've had enough of seeing this team and evn finer city ridiculed for the parade of thugs and misfits who've donned the multistripe-ed jersey.
Last fall, Colin Cowherd did a bit on his ESPN radio show asking folks to suggest tag lines for the City of Cincinnati. You know, stuff like "America's Finest City" (San Diego). Herd got suggestions like, "Cincinnati - you have the right to remain silent." Great bit...but the underlying truth behind the comedy still stings this emigre Cincinnatian.
The other day Colin did another bit of analysis on the proposed trade that would send Ocho to Washington for two picks-including Washington's first round pick. He said the Bungles were stupid to pass up the opportunity. I concur.
Chris Henry and Odell Thurman are thugs. Chad is no thug. He is however a prima donna and a man totally absorbed in the larger-than-life alter ego he has concocted for himself. Ocho has become the Hyde to Chad's Jekyll. I say let some other franchise with deep pockets and the willingness to try stupid things (Washington) have Ocho and all his theatrics. Get some players in return that will help rebuild this franchise. Rebuild the patchwork Bengals linebacking corps. Get some run stoppers for the D-line. Hell, turn these picks into trades with other NFL clubs willing to pay a price to move up.
Come on Marvin, Katie and Mike, screw yer foolish pride and do something to make this team a contender. With a little luck, yet another Bengals rebuilding cycle could parallel that of the 49ers. How sweet would a third Super Bowl rematch be for those of us who remember 1982 and 1989? Only this time, the Bengals might have a Hall of Fame quarterback to lead the two minute drive at the end of the game.
Just to add salt to the wound here is a quick look back at the Bengals 31 picks since 1999
1999-Akili Smith -BUST
2000-Peter Warrick -BUST
2001-Justin Smith - BAILED
2002-Levi Jones - GOT PUNKED IN A BAR BY KEVIN PORTER AND HIS POSSE
2003-Carson Palmer - STUD
2004-Chris Perry - BUST
2005-David Pollack -BUSTED NECK
2006-Jonathan Joseph - GOOD COVER GUY/CAN'T CATCH
2007-Leon Hall - DEVELOPING SITUATION
From the draft team that brought you Ki-Jana Carter and Chris Perry, here would be a sign of a yet another Bengal draft apocalypse:
With the ninth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select night club brawler and lotsa babyses daddy, Darren McFadden.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
With three years left on his contract, Peter Laviolette seems far from safe. In today's N&O, Jim Rutherford calls out Lavvy on several fronts. Seems like a very public beatdown for a guy you want to keep on board for three more years. The question in situations like this is, if the Canes do axe Lavvy, who is out there available and better? Awhile back, I floated the name of Brian Sutter. He is a former Jack Adams winner, but his track record as an NHL head coach is unspectacular (around .500). Couple that with the fact that his brother's kid will probably be in the lineup next season. Bad idea.
Hey, how 'bout Pat Burns? If this squad needs and infusion of accountability, he might be just the guy. And he's itching to get back behind the bench. This from the Globe and Mail on April 8:
"Burns, a three-time winner of the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's coach of the year, would consider a return to the NHL coaching ranks if the opportunity presented itself in the fall."
Monday, April 07, 2008
Year one of the Jack Johnson era in LA didn't go so good. His 11 points on the season placed him in around 9th place among rookie blueliners. That places him only 6 points above Tim Conboy. And Johnson played in 55 more games that the slightly psycho Conboy. Jack led all rookie defensemen in penalty minutes and had the worst +/- among rookies at -19.
The Canes acquired Timmayy Gleason and Eric (hardly knew ye) Belanger for Johnson and Oleg the human traffic cone Tverdovsky. Johnson logged more ice time and more PP time than Gleason this season. Johnson had around a 200 minute advantage in total ice time over Gleason. Jack played around 185 of his 1,600 minutes of ice time killing penalties. Gleason spent 239 of his 1,400 minutes of ice time ice killing penalties. That's around 27 addition pks for our boy. Gleason logged 19 points and was a +5 in a stopper role. As noted above, Johnson scored 11 points as a puck-moving and aggressive defenseman.
Next season might be the breakout year for Jack Johnson. Blueliners take longer to develop ya know. Yeaahhh well....Tobias Enstrom of the ATL and Tom Gilbert of Edmonton didn't seem to struggle all that much. JR's genius remains intact.
UFAs/RFAs I'm bullish on going into next year:
1. Sergei Samsonov (UFA)
2. Tuomo Ruutu (RFA)
3. Tim Gleason (RFA)
4. Aucoin/Bayda/Larose (UFA)
5. Tim Conboy (RFA)
6. Michael Leighton
Guys I'd like to see the Canes release:
1. Trevor Letowski
2. Jeff Hamilton
3. John Grahame
4. Wade Brookbank
Guys who should retire with full honors-special night and a number hoist to the rafters:
1. Glen Wesley
2. Bret Hedican
Friday, April 04, 2008
You take 46 shots on goal, enjoy an 18 minute PP advantage, and lose 4-3. You lose three of the last four games when everything is on the line, and I think you probably should go home early. Got to hand it to the Panthers even though they tried their best to hand it to the Canes.
It's been a season on the ledge and that ledge gave way tonight. I spent the first hour or so after the horn pretty pissed off that my boys couldn't seal the deal. It's now around 9:30 in the desert and I have to say I concur with Andy of Hurricanes Insider. Regardless of what happens in Craptown tomorrow, this was a season to be proud of for your Carolina Hurricanes. Here are my top-ten things Caniacs can be proud of:
- The boys thrived for months at the top of the division despite extensive injuries to captain Rod Brind 'Amour, Justin Williams and Matt Cullen.
- JR's acquisition of Joe Corvo, Sergei Samsonov and Tuomo Ruutu helped the Canes compete until the last day of the season. The addition of these guys and Patrick Eaves might also set the franchise up nicely for years to come.
- Keith Aucoin and Ryan Bayda become legit NHLers.
- Timmay Gleason stepped up and became a rock on the blueline. I like the Jack Johnson deal much more now than around 7 months ago.
- Bret Hedican not only defied the detractors (like me) to made it thru the season, he was a stud. Thanks Bret. And thanks for another great final season Glen Wesley.
- Tim Conboy and Wade Brookbank added that missing element of on-ice psycho the Canes needed to keep league thugs at bay.
- Eric Staal deserves all the glow he got all season in the hockey media. He's become a power-centerman and one of the league's premier talents. Sign him long-time ASAP JR.
- Scott Walker showed up every night and every shift. He took a ton of punishment and delivered quite a bit as well. He was the heart and soul of the all who aspired to grind for the Canes.
- Trevor Letowski served admirably in perhaps the least glamourous role on the roster.
- Peter Laviolette proved he still had this lockerroom.
Now that we're all feeling warm and fuzzy...damn it sucks to lose to the Newman's tonight of all nights. Thanks for the negative psychic energy vibe Mary Beth Wrenn...bitch.
But tomorrow's another day, right guys? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Go Panthers! Beat the, the.... aw screw it. Go Jayhawks.
Hi. Memba me?
If fading memory serves, it was these same Florida Panthers who dropped a bit of mathematical elimination on the Canes last season. How interesting that they get to a shot at the spoiler role yet again. To cry baby Jacques Martin and the Kitties, the Carolina Hurricanes are Seinfeld to their Newman. The Canes are sleek, successful and charming. The Kitties are boorish and bitter about their penchant for missing opportunities. The Kitties' venom for the Canes seems to know no bounds and you can bet Olli and the boys would love to break their hideous streak of 15 losses in the big ATM tonight. Should be physical from the puck drop. Look for an Ollie Jokinen hat trick - a goal, a slash/trip and a cheap shot in a scrum.
In a valiant effort to bring fresh to an otherwise dismal season of Panthers coverage, Sun-Sentinel writer Steve Gorton called on a pyschic for her breakdown of the contest:
If you believe in psychic power, they will finally beat the Hurricanes tonight at RBC Center. Mary Beth Wrenn, a professional psychic in Charlotte, N.C. since 1987, envisions it happening."I do feel the spell will be broken," Wrenn said by telephone Thursday.
.....Wrenn, who doesn't know any of the Panthers or of their streak before being told Thursday, nonetheless senses a "negative energy" around the Panthers in Raleigh.
Negative for whom there Mary Beth? That little detail seems somewhat important if we are to bank on pre-game psychic analysis. Oh, by the way....shut up Mary Beth you freaking Charlotte Copperhead. Now is not the time to hate on Raleigh.
In my ideal world of tonight, Florida folds up like a card table a la Tampa and both the Craps and Canes get into the postseason. The Canes "deserve" the spot for excelling despite all the injuries to key players. The Craps deserve it because OV8 and the boys are playing the best hockey in the Eastern Conference right now and they are the feel-good story of this hockey spring.
A Washington/Montreal first round match up sounds mighty tasty to me. Speaking of traitors, wouldn't it be great to have Montreal Gazzette columnist Jack Todd covering a Habs/Craps series? His take on DC and it's hockey fans could incite some epic rage in the District.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Say Goodbye to Some Pretty Soily Company
The Succubus saga is finally over for Paul McCartney. Psycho Ex, Heather Mills, gets $48 mil, a one-way ticket on the Your 15 Minutes are Up Express, and a good chunk of Sir Paul’s life essence. Fatal attraction chick wanted around $250 mil. In his ruling the judge said, Mills' claim "is and was unreasonable, indeed exorbitant." Exorbitant Indeed.
Heather couldn't’t supply evidence of anything she brought to or gave up as part of the marriage…except the concept of an acrylic fingernail/guitar pick. I remember reading the Macca kids saw through Heather’s smokescreen right off the bat. I hope Stella McCartney gets the green light now to take a couple of designer stiletto heel whacks at Heather in some dark alley. Look for Heather Mills to appear in Penthouse…or maybe Swank, by the end of this summer.
Linda McCartney used to be the brunt of a lot of tasteless jokes and Beatle-Fan derision back in the day. Now you can see how much he and the kids counted on Linda to keep things on an even keel.
I think my favorite post-Beatle, Beatle song is George Harrison's What is life. Ringo's It Don't Come Easy is pretty good. With the exception of Number 9 Dream, most of the Lennon stuff seems pretty dry to me. I really don't care for Imagine, even when it's covered on American Idol. I'm also not a big fan of a lot of the more pop McCartney stuff. I want to shoot myself in the head whenever I hear the bells that signal the opening of "Let 'Em In." I like the Joe Piscopo/Eddie Murphy version of Ebony and Ivory more than the Paul/Stevie Wonder version. And the Michael Jackson collaboration is just plain creepy.
That being said, I still dig a lot of Macca stuff. So, in an effort to re-line Sir Paul's pockets in this time of great financial hardship, here's the C/B top five post-Beatle Paul McCartney songs:
- Maybe I’m Amazed (the raw version from “McCartney”)
- My Brave Face (Elvis Costello to the rescue)
- Helen Wheels (love the "Say bye, bye riff at the end)
- Silly Love Songs (with Paul on lead bass way before Spinal Tap)
- Soily (click on "Take 7" on YouTube above-even better version than the Wings over America live version he did as an encore)
Monday, March 17, 2008
One nasty little thing Tuomo does is that Bill Laimbeer box-out along the boards. When he senses somebody about to close on him, he launches himself backwards at the last second and lays a wicked body blow on the opponent. Eric Staal just establishes position and takes the beating. Ruutu likes to set the tone for the encouter by landing the first blow.
Another nasty little thing Tuomo does is whip dangerous passes across the neutral zone. The last one to a streakin Joe Corvo was money, but the 10 previous ones were rather frightening. Gonna have to keep an eye on Ruutu's penchant for doing the Brett Favre into triple coverage thing.
Joe Corvo was moving like Alec Baldwin in the Shadow yesterday. They didn't seem to have a clue on where he was or how to stop him. The Ottawa announcers were fairly kind all night to Paddy Eaves and Corvo. Only snarky thing I heard was one of them saying Corvo never shot that straight when he as a Sen. Luke covered Frankie's renaissance the other day, but my two cents would be that Joe being Joe lets Sister Frances Kaberle get back to being Frankie Kaberle again. Corvo's aggressive and attacking style is the goose the Canes need from the blueline. JR does it again. I am not worthy....
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I've been wondering about David for awhile. He suffered a concussion on December 18 and went on the IR on January 4. Yesterday, he didn't make it to a team photo. All we know at this point is found in Luke's LSB post today:
Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford described Tanabe as "week to week" but if he's in no shape to leave the house even for a team picture, it's obviously not a good situation.
How about some deeper digging N&O crew? It's going on two months away from the team for the poor kid. What's he going thru? What's the prognosis? How are the club and his teammates helping him get thru this? One report I read said his parents were having to drive him around town.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Missed last night's game and only saw highlights on NHL On the Fly. Maybe we saw the other side of Joe Corvo last night? Just an observation from the 20 seconds I had to watch the highlights. I promise to spend some quality time tonight with the DVR.
Last night was video shoot night at the Arizona/USC basketball game. I had a crew in the McKale Center filming for an upcoming student recruitment/YouTube video. The house was packed. More than 14,000 Wildcat faithful in attendance - 50% red-shirted students, and 50% red v-neck sweatered octogenarians. My media pass got me a place down on the floor right by the exit for the officials.
If you saw the game last night, you probably most remember the knucklehead from the Zona Zoo student's section throwing a water bottle at the USC bench in the closing seconds. Well seconds before, USC forward Devon Jefferson dunked the ball and then proceeded to taunt the crowd his entire trip back up the floor. Not that Jefferson's Sean Avery emulating display justifies the attempted assault with a deadly beverage. I hear they got the toss on video (not my crew) and junior will be summarily transferred to ASU.
A few things I noticed last night.
- Jay Bilas took time to sign autographs for kids and talk with the fans. He also had on a sweet pair of brushed black suede loafers.
- The old people in the McKale Center were every bit as obnoxious as the students. Thousands of octagenarians screaming, waving bony fingers and foaming at the mouth at every foul call. One old coot was on Tim Floyd all night-from about five feet away.
- OJ Mayo is the real deal. He works his ass off every play, and he's ice with the ball in his hands.
- Our "phenom," Chase Budinger, has dreams of playing in the NBA. He looked like Butters from South Park last night. Nearly the entire USC squad had their way with him. He looked totally lost. After the game he showered and came out to sulk in the stands by himself. Later, I think his parents came down to sit with him. Man, the pressure these kids are under when they are still trying to figure so much out about themselves. And you know the haters, users and entourage wanna-bees are always circling like buzzards waiting to zoom in for their share of the goodies...or a chunk of the carcass.
Happy weekend all. I've got volleyball Saturday, Sunday and Monday night. In tribute to the potential return to action of Canes defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, I leave you with Dana Carvey and Steve Carell in a bit I think is titled, Germans Who Say Nice Things.