Archive for the ‘Hockey Schlock’ Category

Does anyone…uhhh…hate is an ugly word…dislike Kovalev as much as I do?

December 7, 2009

What a fuckin’ waste of 5 million dollars!  No, he’s not “making it look effortless;” he IS effortless.  Watching the forecheck game of the Senators is beautiful…until Kovalev is on the ice, then it’s a damn joke.  He’s the only one not putting forth the effort to make it work.

Carcillo’s Suspension is a JOKE
I have never been more disappointed with an NHL ruling than the one that suspended Dan Carcillo for his punch on Matt Bradley.  Bradley was dropping his gloves to fight.   Carcillo got around to punching earlier than Bradley; good for him….end of fucking story.  I have n0 idea what the NHL is thinking.

Fantasy
If you’re looking for a fantasy flier, think about Erik Cole.  I know I am.

Long Term Deals
Hossa, Alfie, Savard, Kipper…..they’ve all signed long term deals with ‘sweet heart backends’; meaning that the last year or two of the deals are on the cheap simply to reduce the cap hit in the near term.  There is very little chance the player will play in the league on the last year of their deal.  Does anyone really think Marian Hossa will play past age 37 and into the last four year of his deal that will pay him $3.5 million over four years?  NO !!

The league is talking ab0ut legislating this type of deal out of the game.  Can anyone tell me why?  I’m completely befuddled.  It’s not good for the team to do this.  If Alfie retires and doesn’t play for his  $1 million in 2012/2013 the Senators still have to deal with the $7 million cap hit.  Why does the league care??

STOP trying to save the GMs from themselves!!!!  The salary cap was one thing: the playing field wasn’t level….but to try to stop the GMs from screwing themselves on a mostly level playing field is just stupid….STOP IT!!!!!!  No one made Stan Bowman sign Hossa for a RIDICULOUS number of years.  Some would argue that former GM, Dale Tallon looks pretty good given this decision and they’d be right.  Hossa will be an albatros around the neck of the Hawks for maybe 4 years and certainly 3.   It’s all just so stupid!!

Have a nice night!

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Buh & Bye

March 5, 2009

 

You win some, you lose some.  Sometimes losing some is winning, some.  Unfortunatly, sometime not losing, some; is…well….not winning, some.

Losing is Winning
The Senators “lost” Marty Gerber when he was picked up by Toronto off waivers………..HEY!  I’m still talking here; get up off the floor and stop laughing.

Losing is Sad….and Happy
I honestly felt bad for Antoine Vermette.  While he was addressing the media after the trade, the guy just sounded so sad to be leaving the Senators.  It was heartbreaking and I’m going to miss the lad.  His speed and penalty killing were fun and appreciated (by me).  Having said that, I like this deal.  The Senators received the Blue Jackets’ 2nd round pick in this year’s draft and goaltender, Pascal Leclaire.  Taking on Leclaire is a gamble for the Senators.   He was expendable in Columbus because of the emergence of Steve Mason and his cap hit is $3.8 million for the next 2 years.  Pascal Leclaire had one good year, but he was REALLY GOOD that year.  We’ve seen this phenomena before (see Jose Theodore…twice, among others); a player having a stellar season when their contract is expiring, only to return to prior form when he gets the bucks.  So, do we get the stale Leclaire or the Chocolate Leclaire?

The Senators are in a spot where they have to get their goaltending on the cheap and in the scheme of things, $3.8 million is cheap for a number one goaltender….provided he performs, of course.  Pierre McGuire says Leclaire is the best goaltender the Senators have ever had (I’ll see his Leclaire and raise him a Hasek.)  To me, it comes down to this:  the Senators can stand pat with their goalies and see if Elliott can take the reins or they could try Leclaire.  I’m an Elliott supporter, but I’m happy with this option.

Not Losing is Losing.
The trade deadline is passed and Chris Neil remains with the Senators.  This is damn near inexcusable.  I don’t care if you’re not getting full value for him, when 2:55 eastern rolls around, you accept the last offer you received for him (assuming there was at least one).  There is NOTHING to gain by keeping him around.  Mr. Neil needs to get over himself if he thinks he’s worth $2.5 million/year.  Maybe the lack of trade deadline interest will convince him of this, but I seriously doubt it.  The Senators lose here.  A third round pick would have been fair.  A fifth round pick should have been enough.

What the hell is Filip Kuba still doing on this team?  If he was going to be re-signed, it should have been at a discount from his current salary of $3 million.  The guy sure as hell doesn’t deserve a raise!!!  I’m despondent about this signing.  Just terrible!!!!  Not only do we not get future assets for a guy that was said to have attracted a lot of attention, we have to watch this piece of shit for another three years.  I was fine when he came as a 2 player package for one overpaid Meszaros, but this isn’t much better than overpaying Meszaros would have been.  WFT??  The Sta Puft Marshmallow Man is just not a top 4 guy (not for a team that wants to win, anyway) and they’re paying him like one.  If they get a decent puck mover in the offseason, or Karlsson comes in and impresses, Kuba will be relegated to 5th defenseman minutes and now we’re paying him $3.7 to do so?  I want to die…..or better yet, kill Filip Kuba. (I remind you that I’m against killing and only employing hyperbole)

Going Back a Bit
I liked the trade acquiring Campoli.  Clearly, getting Comrie was simply a salary dump for the Isles.  Murray may well want to sign Comrie, but that could have happened in the off-season without trading for him.  So this is a late first round pick for a decent puck moving defenseman.  He’s not a top flight guy, but he’s pretty good and he’s dirt cheap for another year.   He can play top 4 minutes and is a second unit power play guy.  Unfortunately, we need him on the first PP unit.   McAmmond, who went the other way, simply didn’t fit into the Senators’ plans.  Old guys with scrambled brains typically don’t.

Open Letter to Jack Edwards

February 6, 2009

In the telecast tonight, you seemed to enjoy talking about how the Senators have “mismanaged” their defense.  Chara is one thing; huge mistake.  But, there are not many competent hockey people who would say the Senators made a mistake letting Redden and Meszaros go given the amount of money they wanted and are currently making.  Ask the Lightning and Rangers if they would like to undo those deals.  Corvo didn’t want to stay because he couldn’t take the media scrutiny.  What are you going to do?  Keep him around and have a miserable wreck messing up the defensive end because he has zero confidence?  No, you do the honorable thing and make the best deal you can for him. 

Right now, the Bruins are living in the sweet spot; a spot the Senators were in 3 years ago.  You have young talent contributing in a large way and you have a very good goaltender on the cheap and some veterans on reasonable contracts. 

Here’s something you’re going to start experiencing very soon Mr. Edwards.  Young, talented players get older and start to want bigger contracts.  You have Kessel, Krecji and Thomas who all need new contracts next year.  You have Lucic and Wheeler needing contracts the following year.  They’re either going to have to step up and pay these fine young players, or they’re going to have to let them walk.  Either way, the Bruins are going to lose some of the fine depth they have this year.  There’s only so much money in the bank.

So, when this happens, will you be complaining about how the Bruins have mismanaged their team, letting players X,Y and Z go?  No, you won’t will you…you’ll be saying how the Bruins have done the best they can with the situation they have. 

You may want to be careful with the arrows you sling these days.  They’ll be circling around in about a year. 

P.S. Heatley has been on the 2nd power play unit for the past 8 games or so because they wanted a net presence on both units.  For the record, Heatley scored PP goals in each of the first two games on the “second unit”. 

What Else
I’m keenly aware that I haven’t been busy in this space lately.   Call it a mental and physical break.  Let’s face it; there are only so many ways you can say the Senators have stunk lately, and so many times you can tell people the team needs some help on the blue line, the big three need to step up, and secondary scoring would be a nice feature. 

Coaching Changes
They’re always fun, aren’t they?  I was on record calling for Hartsy to go, back in December.  It made sense back then.  There was still the illusion that this team could turn a corner.  I’m not sure it makes sense now, although I’m not going to complain about it either.  Part of me thinks they should have just ridden out the season with Hartsburg and made the change at season’s end.  Another part of me thinks there’s never a bad time to start correcting bad habits.   Murray had to know that he risked becoming a punchline by making yet another coaching change; full marks for being big enough to make the call.  There are any number of people out there suggesting Murray should go.  I whole-heartedly disagree.  When he took over, the Senators were a “mature club”; meaning they had a mostly veteran lineup and the prospect cupboard was mostly bare given the crappy drafting of the Muckler regime.  It’s going to take 4 years of work for Murray to prove his worth and re-stock the team.  A top 2 pick in the draft would go a long way to curing some ills.  And honestly, I hope we end up with number 2 and Victor Hedman.  Everyone is judging him on his WJC performance, but it’s fairly well known that he was injured for the tourney.  Two years from now, I’ll be thrilled if we’re watching a Hedman/Karlsson D pairing. 

Anyone out there still blaming Murray for letting Chara walk, stop it….just stop it!!

Just Because
I know it’s quite a long time before the Vancouver Olympics get started, but if I was picking a team for the United States, as of today, here is the club I would choose.  Keep in mind, this is not meant to be an all-star team.   You have to have penalty killers and player comfortable playing a reduced role.  With that in mind, here are the 23 players I would name to the squad:

Forwards (13)
Jason Pominville, Brian Rolston, Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Dustin Brown, Joe Pavelski, Chris Drury, Ryan Kesler, Paul Stastny, David Booth, Erik Cole

Particularly conspicuous by his absence is Brian Gionta.  He used to make his living by taking his undersized frame to the net.  I’ve noticed a particular lack of that effort in his game the last couple years.  Erik Cole may not be having the best of years, but he’s the hard nosed, character player you want on your side in these competitions.

Three players who may well play their way onto the team with continue production and development include TJ Oshie, Bobby Ryan and Blake Wheeler. 

Defensemen (7)
Brian Rafalski, Ryan Whitney, Mike Komisarek, Keith Ballard, Ron Hainsey, Ryan Suter, Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson is a stretch given how little he has played, but his combination of offense, defense and nasty are worth taking a small “experience risk” compared to the likes of Paul Martin who could have easily been on this list in place of a few players.  In the end, I left him off simply because he doesn’t shoot the puck enough and we already have Rafalski and Komisarek who don’t shoot. 

Goalies (3)
Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas, Rick DiPietro

Not a lot of mystery here.  I’ll not be at all surprised if DiPietro will not be able to play, in which case Scott Clemmensen gets the call.  I’d prefer to see him perform at this level for another team before annointing him Olympics worthy, but that may not be an option if he’s had enough Devil Cool-aid. 

Back On The Blog

December 27, 2008

hartsburg1

[Hello to you Hammers coming over from Iain Dale’s blog.  Just thought I’d let you know I’m a Spurs supporter.  We don’t need Bellamy because Keane is on his way back to White Hart Lane]

Some of you might have thought I was just being lazy with my one sentence review of the Flyers game and it would not be a huge stretch to assume such a thing about me, but it really isn’t accurate this time.   I’m just a little angry about my team and when I see such a lack luster effort (I’m not one of those fans who mistakes scoring goals with putting in effort) and I’ve been watching that same effort for the better part of the season, it just leads me to one conclusion.  It’s a conclusion that I can hardly bare to write; one that Bryan Murray cannot pull off with a straight face; one that King Biovail won’t be very happy about. 

The Senators have to fire Craig Hartsburg.  They have to do it now.

Exhibit A
On a snowy, icy, rainy night in Newark, the Senators looked very much under the weather. So much so, when I asked one Devils player about the opposition after the game, he responded by saying, “No heart.” Then he backtracked a bit, saying: “They looked disinterested; you could see it in their faces.”

Exhibit B
I watched the 2nd and 3rd periods of the Flyers game.  I didn’t see one; not even ONE meaningful hit from the Senators.

and Exhibit C
“Certainly I thought we went out and did something about it,” said Hartsburg, who also was confused as to why Lehtinen wasn’t thrown in the box.

“In a hockey game like that, you need to respond with constant physical play. Guys like (Chris) Neil, (Jarkko) Ruutu and (Cody) Bass did that. That was as physical a game as we’ve played, and a lot of it happened after that point. It was a strong response by our team.”

And lastly, Exhibit D

Let’s see if I can pull this all together:  The opposition knows you’re not playing hard.  Your fans know you’re not playing hard.  Your coach thinks that playing a physical game is a good response instead of a way of life and you’re in 12th place in the conference.  If that’s not enough, the coach also thinks that putting Jason Spezza with Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil is a recipe for success.

Hartsburg said if Spezza doesn’t have success playing with rugged wingers Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil, the next stop could be the press box for one of the club’s highest-paid players.

It’s pretty clear to me that Hartsburg does not have the attention of this team.  I don’t know exactly why that would be; whether it’s that they don’t respect his systems, his decisions or his methods, but whatever it is they’re not playing for Hartsburg and they’re apparently, not playing for each other either.  Here’s a comment I posted on The Sixth Sens (he sees Daigle people) website in regards to sticking up for Alfie when Jere Lehtinen squashed him into the boards.

free willig said…
Here’s the reason sticking up for Alfie is worth more than 2 points. Because if we’re not willing to stand up for Alfie, (or anyone else for that matter) then other teams can just run our guys without fear and pretty soon we’re playing our entire Bingo team (literally or literally). And, I would also argue that a team that is not willing to stick up for each other is not a team that has any chance in the playoffs. If you’re not playing for each other, you’re going nowhere. Lastly, your suggestion of Kelly (or someone of his ilk) challenging Lehtinen is EXACTLY what should have happened. It’s not about sending a heavyweight (if we had one) out to beat Jere to a pulp; the code is about making him accountable in a fair fight. That’s all I would ask. Lastly, (really this time) There is nothing to say that this would be mutually exclusive with gaining two points and it usually charges up your team.In finishing (no really), it bothers me when people who lay a clean check are made to drop the gloves. That’s just ridiculous, but Lehtinen’s hit was not clean. Not penalized, but not clean.        

To be sure, there are other issues with this team.   There’s not one defenseman on the team who is a threat to carry the puck up ice and make a play and honestly, I’m convinced that if we had just one such defenseman, you would see some of our forwards come out of their scoring slumps as offensive pressure from the backend opens up space for the forwards.  But, one thing you can always control and the one thing you absolutely have to bring to the rink every night ESPECIALLY if you’re challenged a bit offensively, is a physical game.  And that, my friends is coaching or lack thereof. 

In closing, is anyone else getting tired of the same quotes from the coach “we’re not putting in a 60 minute effort” and players “we’ve got to be better” after every loss.  Please find something new.

A Farce United!

December 22, 2008

a-farce-united

We tried it their way and they ended up doing it our way instead.  So, the Ottawa Bloggers Collective decided to make a campaign out of it.  Check out the other ads in the campaign.   There’s the Cynical;  there’s the Heart Wrencher; the Heart Wrencher and Serious; and the I Don’t Know What.  No, really….I have no idea what he’s doing.  I call mine, Man Contemplates  Turnaround.

If you would like to join the campaign, email your photos and a brief description to anyone in the Ottawa Bloggers Collective.  Bring your funny stick!

Take Another Sip From The Bowl Of Fetid Putrescence

December 21, 2008

toilet-22

And that from a game the Senators won.  It was abundantly clear that this was a game between two struggling teams.   The best part was really the end; partly because it was mercifully over and partly because Jason Smith got the game winner in overtime; his first point as a Senator.  Yes, his FIRST POINT.  You’d think in 30 games, he would have lucked into a second assist or something, but no.  The way the Sens celebrated, you would have thought they’d just won a playoff series.  Oy!

Gerber has a stinky five hole.
This was easily the worst game I’ve seen Martin Gerber play.  Anyone who has followed the Senators at all knows just what a powerful statement that is.  The Dallas announcers were even making fun of him.  One of the niceties of having Centre Ice, is that every now and then, you get a telecast that doesn’t take you to commercial but you continue to get the announcer’s conversation at commercial breaks.  These guys were really making shit out of Gerber and then they toned it down a bit but kept it going during the telecast.  “This thing looks like it’s headed to a three point game here again tonight….barring another shot on goal at Gerber’s end….”.  Hilarious!!

We use words like honor, code, loyalty….
The Senators use them as a punchline.  Alfie gets cleaned out and sent to the lockerroom on an illegal hit from Jere Lehtinen.  I do not care that it wasn’t penalized.  No one watching that game would argue it was a clean hit.  Even the Dallas announcers thought it deserved a penalty and I would say it deserved 5 minutes.  There was no answer by any Senator.  The fact that it wasn’t penalized should further dictate that retribution is exacted.  This is your CAPTAIN, you jackasses!  The one player on the team this team that absolutely deserves better than this putrescent season and you can’t even stand up and be counted when he’s cleaned out?  

And I thought I was embarrassed by this team up until now.

This win means nothing.  Sure, Vermette got off the schneid with his first goal in forever.  (how does someone get ON the schneid?)  Sure Spezza looked like he gave a shit (Heatley still doesn’t).  Sure Cody Bass would have hit his mother if she was on the ice.   This was still a win against a bottom feeder.   Win the next two and then we’ll talk.

The Lonely End Of The Rink

December 20, 2008

If I had money in a gambling account, I’d bet against the Senators tonight.  Oh, lookie there; I do.  First time I’ve ever laid a wager against the Senators.  It feels funny; like I have headcheese in my shoes.  

I don’t expect a thing from the Senators tonight.  The Devils are hot and the Senators are playing with 4 revamped lines, so chemistry will be an issue at best; comedic at worst. 

I am immediately rewarded for my insolence with a Devils goal a mere 40 seconds into the contest.   Wheee!  Luckily, this torture is going to be broken up as I must leave shortly to take my wife to dinner.

[cue the elevator music]

I’m back; that was some good mahi mahi.  The Senators gave up a power play goal just as I was turning on the car to listen on XM.  I promptly shut it off and went with music.   

Laugh It Up
Doc Emrick, play by play man for the Devils; known in hockey circles as one of the best at what he does, has been referring to Alex Picard as Alexandra Picard (presumably because it’s spelled, Alexandre) and Christoph Schubert as Christian Schubert.  He has a block with Schubert’s name as I’ve heard him make that mistake in the past. 

Other funny stuff includes the afore mentioned Christoph Schubert falling down a lot and the Senators trying to enter the offensive zone when no one has a clue where their linemates are going.   It’s a regular 3 car pile up. It’s also hilarious watching the Sens try to exit the defensive zone.  Oh, and all these goals they’re giving up are gut busters too.   Remember when at least our penalty kill was good?  Senators lose 5-1.  What laughs!! 

My 42 inch plasma for a number 1 defenseman.
The answers are not going to come from within.  The Senators will likely roll up 3 more losses before the Christmas roster freeze is over.  They have a chance against Dallas, but it’s not a good chance after traveling tonight while Dallas sits in Ottawa and watches them play the Devils.  Road games at Philly and Calgary you can pretty well write off.  If this happens, the Senators will likely be 12 points out of a playoff spot.  The only question is whether they retool a touch or trade a piece of the core.  I guess they could just continue to suck and take a shot at the first pick in the draft, but after Melnyk came out and said they’d be in the top 4 teams in the conference, I doubt that’s the course they’re looking for. 

An Ottawa scout was in Minnesota this week; discuss.

That Thud You Heard?

December 17, 2008

Was the sound of my crest falling so hard it was felt in Ottawa.  I’m not going to say I don’t care about the Senators.  I will always care.  What changed for me last night?  I was no longer surprised, hurt or angry about losing to yet another team we should beat.  I will also no longer be able to summon joy when we win.  The wins won’t matter because this team is going nowhere unless there are changes in personnel.  I’m not interested in a trade for trades sake.   It has to be a good hockey move.  There are too many possibilities out there to speculate on what that might look like.  We’ll know a good hockey trade when we see it. 

No Longer Dejectedly Yours,

Free Willig
Hockey Schlock

Ants On Ice In Red Shirts, 2. Ants On Ice In White Shirts, 0.

December 16, 2008

At which game, one Freewillig was heard to have said, “My gawd, we’re even worse in person”. 

The Worst Thanksmas Ever
I happened to be in Milwaukee for Thanksmas last week, so I grabbed the wife, bro-in-law and his wife and made the trip down the Chi-town for the good ‘ol hockey match at the United Center; that souless, hollow, life-sucking cavern of a basketball court hockey rink.  Our seats were at center ice, 13th row of the upper deck.  In most hockey arenas, those wouldn’t be half bad, but here…..well….let’s just say that I was able to identify most of the players on the ice by their skating style and nothing else. 

I have more than enough Senators’ sweaters for everyone so we were some of the few decked out in Sens gear.  I was wearing my Havlat sweater for it’s ironic qualities and I would later come to regret that particular move.  We had planned to get to the arena by 6:30 for a 7:30 game, but if you’re at all familiar with Chicago traffic, you won’t be surprised to hear that we pulled in to the parking lot with just enough time to get a beer and get to the seats for the anthems.  (I don’t ever want to hear the operatic version of O Canada “sung” by the guy at the United Center again.  Yick!)   My wife has a friend (he played guitar at our wedding, actually) who is a manager of the food service at the United Center so he had promised to get us into the bowels of the building.  I had a quest; one which will not be fully revealed in this space just yet but more on that later.   The friend (we’ll just call him “Steve”….that’s his name) said he’d just catch up with us after the game and show us around then.

The Peroni Report
Most of the game, I spent with my head in my hands; alternately disgusted with the Senators’ play or with the complete stoning by Huet on the few great chances we had.  I’m sure this game was not as bad as it looked from the haze of the upper deck; it’s a torturously slow game from that far away.  Luckily, I was sitting next to some very nice Hawks fans, so I had some decent hockey conversation AND they have Italian beef sandwiches and Peroni at the United Center so not all was lost. 

Postgame and I Fear I’ve Jinxed Our Boy
Steve showed up at our seats with 30 seconds left in the game.  I thought we were just headed for a tour, but instead, he leads us to the autograph pen.  I had brought along a t-shirt to deliver to Cody Bass and that was my main goal for the evening; getting the shirt to Cody any way possible.  That seemed like it would be no problem at all now that I was behind the scenes. 

This is where having 4 sweaters along paid off.  I took off my Havlat sweater and was wearing my Cody Bass t-shirt.  Marty Havlat passed within 2 feet of me and I gave some thought to asking him to sign my sweater, but it just seemed weird.  Wife thought it would have been flattering, but I don’t know.  Some of the guys filed past and I gave a few words of encouragement; some of which were acknowledged and some just blown off.  I even gave the Manatee a “nice game”.  Heater had a group of kids from Madison, Wisconsin in attendance.  I guess he still does some charity work there, so he was occupied.  I didn’t have my Heater sweater along anyway.   The guys were remarkably good about signing stuff for the few Sens fans in the pen, given just how crappily they had played.   Alfie came by and signed the sweater my sister-in-law was wearing.  My wife has always like Neiler because he’s always really good to the kids along the tunnel at the Xcel when they play there, so he signed the sweater she was wearing.  Fish then came out and I flag him down to sign the sweater my bro-in-law was wearing.  I had Cody’s shirt in my hand, so I asked Fish “Is Cody still in the room?  I have to get this t-shirt to him”.  He looked at me and I pointed out the shirt I was wearing.  He laughed and said “I can give it to him”.  I guess there’s no one I’d trust more to pass something along.  I told him I really appreciated it. 
 
We had already been there an hour and with a two hour drive, we decided not to wait anymore.  Our friend walked us around in the underworld and I passed within two feet of Scotty Bowman, so that was a treat.  I was struck by just how freakin short the guy is. 
 
I think it would have been a helluva lot better experience had they not played like such shit in the game; I would have been much more chatty with the guys but all in all, I guess I’m just happy to be able to ‘mail the package’.  I will freely admit that it was quite weird being a 40 something guy, asking guys 10 years my junior for autographs.  It’s the first time I’ve gotten autographs in person.  Not sure how I feel about it. 
As you probably know by now, Cody Bass has been sent to Binghamton.  The unveiling of the T-shirt will just have to wait.  I hope he liked it. 

Me Sees Feces

December 9, 2008

A game-ish
That was an experience I don’t want to repeat.  Due to injuries, the two most dangerous players on the ice for Florida were Bouwmeester and McCabe and the Senators pissed the first two periods down their collective leg.  When is this bunch going to get it into their heads that they’re not good enough to take any team in this league, lightly.  And that’s what it was folks; plain and simple.   If I’m Jay Bouwmeester, I’m thinking “why in hell would I want to play here?”  If we play like this on Wednesday, we’re going to get Coyote’d

The highlight of the night for me was Garry Galley saying, ” Better be aware of Florida’s backside”

I’m out
I’m on vacation through Monday, which includes taking in the game in Chicago on Wednesday.   I look forward to writing that report for a great many reasons. 

Asshat
Let’s talk about other stuff.  Erin had an interesting post about the Avery ordeal.  I’ll admit that I’m one of those guys who was embarrassed for manhood by what Avery said.  I never engaged in “locker room talk” even when I was regularly in locker rooms, so to hear it out loud and caught on camera offends my sensibilities.  So, tonight when my wife got home, I asked her the question.  She had heard about the Avery thing (and she pays zero attention to hockey; when she goes to a game, she spends 60 minutes talking to her friend), but didn’t know specifically what he’d said.   I laid out the entire scenario for her.  Her response?  “That’s not so bad.  That seems like a really long suspension for THAT” 

What it boils down to really, is that the NHL and the Dallas Stars are tired of Avery’s act.  The punishment doesn’t fit the particular crime, but Avery is being punished for years of just being a huge dick (even guys use terms to slag their own gender).  He broke a different Code; he didn’t leave it on the ice and everyone is more than happy to pounce on this opportunity to rid themselves of a menace.  Amazingly, Avery had never been suspended before and it’s because he had made his comments to guys while inside the boards.  And that’s where the hypocrisy of the NHL is so evident.  As long as the general public doesn’t get wind of it; so what!  I’m sure he’s said things that would make most of us want to rip out his knee caps.  Rumours of racial slurs abound and he made a cancer “joke” to Jason Blake.  

I will not be the least bit saddened if I never see Sean Avery in the NHL again, but I think the Stars are just happy to have a “reason” to rid themselves of this guy.  And honestly, I’d like to cut the guy a *little* slack and think that his request to get counseling is NOT just a ploy to “look like I’m doing the right thing”, but I just don’t buy it.  I think he saw the reaction of the Stars organization and thought “I really stepped in it this time…I better think of something quick”.

Have a nice career in the KHL, Sean.  Watch out for staph infections.

Brian Burke
Will be a colossal failure in Toronto.  And by that, I mean he will never get the team any farther than Pat Quinn did.  He’s got a few years grace period and 3 years from now when the Leafs finally make the playoffs again, everyone will say what a great job he’s done getting there, but three year’s after that, the Leafs will be no closer to a Cup.  Vancouver was a perennial playoff team while he was there, but no more.  The Ducks won a cup mostly because Bryan Murray drafted well.  Burke was smart enough to know that he was staring at a losing proposition in Anaheim.  The team has no where to go but down.  They’ll be losing some key components in the next couple years.  Neidermayer and Selanne will be gone to retirement.   Pronger will be a free agent.  The prospect cupboard is pretty bare for the Ducks.   (this sounds all too familiar).  Burke simply got out at an opportune time.   And now he’s on to the Leafs.  His personality is big enough to deal with Toronto, but his acumen is not enough to fix what’s ails them.