Friday, December 28, 2007

Ottawa Senators. Cancer Free Since--What? WHO? Aw Son Of A...

Fuck you Ray Emery. You made me break a promise. You made me break a promise and that pisses me off. Mind you, it doesn't piss me off as much as a primping primadonna whose inflated ego and delusions of grandeur threatens to derail an entire city's most fervent dream pisses me off, but close. You see, the promise I made, both to myself and Beloved was that, during this most peaceful and festive season of Christmas, I would put down my keyboard, climb down from my soapbox and leave all things Senators to sort themselves out without me. All I wanted was two weeks to just watch the games (or not), take in some WJHC goodness (or not), sleep too much, eat too much, drink too much and exchange awkward man hugs with long lost cousins. Two weeks. That's all I wanted. But no. You had to go and fuck it up for me. Well fine. If that's the way you want it, then listen up fuckstick.

We'll put aside the tattoos, the cockroach and the Tyson mask. We'll even put aside your inability to drive like an actual human being. Those were just circus side shows for the press to write about on off days. Those things had absolutely no bearing, and no effect on what went on between the boards. You played well, at times spectacularly, and we went to the Final. Everybody loved you. We even overlooked the fact that, in those five games against the Ducks, you very much choked like an asthmatic Greg Norman, but then, so did the rest of the team and all was forgiven. But not now, and not anymore. Because what you're doing now is affecting what goes on between the boards, and in the dressing room. Most important of all, you're screwing with our title shot Ray, and that cannot be tolerated.

So let me lay it out for you. You don't like being the backup? Fine. How about you don't suck? How about not giving up 10 goals on 80 shots in your last three full games? How about not pulling yourself out of game five minutes in because you suddenly felt a "twinge" in an old injury you swore up and down to your coach not seven days before was fully healed? And while we're on the subject, how about not scheduling off season surgery so late in the summer that you miss most of training camp? Oh that's right, I forgot. Superheroes such as yourself don't need training camp.

Nor do they need practice, right Ray? You throw a hissy fit yesterday after finding out you weren't the starter against the Islanders, and then today, you show up five minutes before practice is supposed to start, leaving Coach P no choice but to throw your ass off the ice as an example to everybody that no one is bigger than the team. And rightly so. If Heater had been the one to pull that bullshit, I hope he'd have been sent home too.

But, see, here's where it gets especially infuriating. Now the entire organization has to cover your ass. Instead of thinking about Ovechkin and the Caps tomorrow night, the Head Office has to put out lame excuses for you, how you're "sick" and "not feeling well enough to practice". The rest of the team is left to answer the same question from the press about "What's wrong with Ray?" and tell everyone with a microphone and a note pad, over and over again, how this is in no way a distraction.

Well, guess what ARE a distraction. But what you may not realize is this: you are very much an expendable distraction. Consider, you're being paid $3 million a year to be a backup. Darth Gerber has been (and may God forgive me for saying this) as solid as they come this season. Jeff Glass and his 2.36GAA and 92.5 save percentage is waiting in Bingo. And finally, there are quite a few teams a hell of a lot further away from a Cup than you are right now, crying for goaltender. Do the math Ray. Do the math, and shut the fuck up. Or in the words of The Captain:

“To get considered for a start, (the coaching staff) is looking for him to show that he wants to be in there,” said Alfredsson, who said he had not seen Thursday's incident. “You have to work hard in practice to show that you want to play. That’s what most players do when they’re not playing and the goalies are no different.”

Now, I can't imagine how angry Alfie has to be to call out a teammate in public, mostly because he has never had to do it before, but I'm fairly certain that's Swedish for "the Emperor has no clothes". And remember Ray, we ran one asshole who thought he was bigger than the team out of town on a rail, so don't think we won't do the same to you.

Alexei Yashin Will Take His Ball And Go Home [Five For Smiting]

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Game 32: Sens 3, Bruins 2 -- Now Starting In Goal For YOUR Boston Bruins...Oh For The Love Of...

Pithy Observations of Questionable Importance:

  • Mix 1 part Id, 2 parts Super-ego. Stir. Bring to boil: Train of thought for Bruins starter Alex Auld – “My Bruins sweater tells me I’m good. But my Coyote pads and mask say I suck. Mommy! What do I do??”
  • Okay, NOW we’re under budget: The TD Banknorth Garden cost 160 million dollars to build. It is truly an architectural marvel. A veritable state of the art entertainment palace, packed with every luxury imaginable. The scoreboard alone cost $4 million. So…um…what’s with 98 cents worth of naked 100W bulbs being used as goal lights? Really Harry. If you wanted to bring something over from the old Gardens, you probably could have done better than that. Like maybe a real live crowd for starters.
  • Correction! TWO perfectly good jackets!: Pssst…Coach P. Do me a favour? Can you please return the suit you wore last night to whatever wino you rolled to get it? While tweed is considered, in some circles, rather professorial, without the suede elbow patches, it just screams poseur. And the vertical stripes almost caused my new 56” HDTV to explode in protest. Thanks.

The Highs:

  • Yeah! I got one! Now get the hell off my lawn: The year was 2005. FourHabsFans were still just four lawyers bitching about the Habs. Jamie Lynn Spears was an innocent lass of 14 living in Big Sister’s double wide. And on the 26th of November, Luke Richardson scored his last goal. His last goal, that is, until last night. We await word of any biblical ramifications stemming from this event.
  • I see England. I see France. I see Bruins’ underpants!: For 2:30 of a 4:00 power play, the big line, with help from Mesz and Corvo (yes, that one) played keep away entirely inside the Bruins blue line, until Golden Groin finally ended their misery by getting his second of the night. Whereupon the Bruins penalty killers were finally free to suck on their oxygen tanks, retrieve the many articles of normally invisible garments strewn about the ice and place a bulk order for more jockstraps.

The Lows:

  • Those diesel fumes? Don’t worry, you’ll get used to them: Spawn of Mike continues to impress upon the coaching staff that perhaps another year of seasoning might be in order. Nicky, a small word of advice from an interested observer: when playing on the first line with two of the greatest talents in the league, you would do well to try more than just dumping the puck deep. Gotta make a play kid.
  • You take it. No, you take it. No, you. Please, I insist: Twice, on odd man rushes did our brave heroes pass up on a high percentage shot to try the pretty pass through the slot. Both times, they were rejected. Both times, the rush went the other way forcing Darth Gerber to save your collective hides. The moral of the story? They’re not booing; they’re saying SHOOOT!!!
  • Never thought I’d say this, but I miss Jacques: Speaking of rather spotty defence, I counted three Bruins breakaways in the first period caused by a bad pinch, and two brutal giveaways at the Boston blue line. THREE! Five years ago, this would have resulted in severe punishment from the head coach. Martin would have had the offending parties locked in a closet until such time as one of them managed to make him smile.

Egregious Joe Corvo Fuck Ups: Just one, surprisingly. On Ottawa’s first power play, Joe decided that he didn’t want to man the point and skated into the slot. The only problem? The Captain, down low, passed the puck…back to the now empty point. The resultant short handed breakaway (see above) by Sens killer Marco Sturm was mercifully stopped by His Sithness. Gary Galley, doing the colour for Sportsnet, upon viewing the replay posed the rhetorical question “What the heck was he thinking?” I assure you, gentle reader, my words were somewhat stronger.

Creamy Middle: For those of you scoring at home, that's six straight as our rape and pillage of the Northeast division continues. And this was as solid a win as you'll see. A few shaky moments in the first period aside (Joe), the Bruins were never really in this one. They were beaten to every puck, lost almost every battle on the boards and were treated to the sight of Verms and Neil taking repeated runs at Chara' thighs (Guys...the dude is 7"3' on skates...You? Not so much. Aim higher). For a team short three key players, that ain't half bad.

Up Next: Tomorrow night, in Atlanta. For we unlucky bastards forced to watch the local A-Channel feed and thus will be subjected to three hours of Gord Wilson's windbaggery, we can at least take solace in the fact that with a win, the Sens can sweep the season series against the Thrashers and finally put those "Who won the Hossa/Heatley trade?" to bed once and for all. Not that that will stop Simmons from typing something stupid about it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Game 31: Sens 7, Thrashers 3 -- The Schwartz Is Strong In This One

Alright, I'm convinced. Darth Gerber has returned. I was tempted to retire "Swiss Pastry" (or at least put it aside, always leaving it within easy reach mind you) after he bailed the Senators' inexplicably horrendous asses out during the first period Thursday night absolutely robbing Syd and the Kiddie Corps in the process. Sherry, over at Scarlett Ice, already had. But such is my utter lack of confidence in his confidence, that I decided to hold off at least one more game, with Hossa and Kovalchuck coming to town. What I hadn't counted on is how craptacular the Thrashers not named Hossa or Kovalchuck actually are. But, based on the fact that he made the stops he needed to make last night (especially on those back-to-back 5 on 3s in the 3rd), kept most of the rebounds out of the middle of the slot and managed not to slide into the first row on any of his initial stops, I'll give it back. Really, what choice do we have, right Ray?

The Highs:
  • Do you suffer from motion sickness? Talk to your doctor about Dimenhydrinate: We started 16-2. Then we went 0-5-2. Now we're on a 5 game win streak. All of this means we're still on top of the East by 8 points and leading the division by 6 (all Massholes enraged by the NHL's screwy math, please line up outside the Commissar's office...that is once you remember Boston has a hockey team). While the standings after 31 games can't be considered a surprise, how we got here is. Therefore, for the remainder of this season, all Senators fans presenting a "Sens Army" window flag, will receive a 20% discount on all purchases of Gravol and Dramamine.
  • Oh. So thaaaat's "Secondary Scoring". Gotcha: Mesz, with his fifth of the year, continues his reign of terror on Scandinavian goaltenders, leading the scoring race amongst all right-handed defencemen born in Povazska Bystrica, Slovakia in 1985. Seriously. Look it up. Verms, Kelly, and Spawn of Mike also chipped in. A lovely compliment to Heater's (ho hum) third straight two goal game.
  • This is never easy to say: Another two points for Joey Corvo, including the assist (nice saucer pass Joe) on Heater's second of the night to make it 6-3 and pop Atlanta's balloon, gives him 10 points in 10 games. I know I've been hard on you Joe. And make no mistake, your efforts are appreciated. But I still want your ass traded as soon as humanely possible. Why? Read on...
The Lows:
  • This is never easy to say (Part II): Joe, the only reason you were in position to get that assist was because you had come out of the box following yet another stupid offensive zone penalty at exactly the right time. And while we're on the subject how does one score 10 points in 10 games and yet have a +/- rating of +8 in those games? Now, statistically, you're golden. Good for you. But statistics won't tell us how many times you cough up the puck at the point (6 by my count, all of them right toSydney Freakin' Crosby on Thurdsay with a couple of others to Kovalchuck last night) or get caught out of position or just flat out get beat. There's a reason we're giving up an obscene amount of shots against this year. And a lot of it has to do with the play of #7.
  • Hello, Home Depot? I'd like 22 rolls of bubble wrap please: First there was Golden Groin's practice mishap. Then, Rayzor's adventures in a batting cage. Next, Ray again, for reasons unknown, having to pull himself out of the game in Carolina (after dicking the team around in warm ups, I feel compelled to add). The very next night Gratz goes down with a shoulder injury in fight with Laraque, not because he was beaten mind you, but because he was trying to shake his glove loose. And now we have Fish out for an undetermined amount of time because of what's being called "an oblique muscle injury" suffered...wait for it...after Sean Donovan crashed into him during a line change. Did I mention Fish was on the bench at the time?
Creamy Middle: More good than bad in this one. We'll take the two points, thank you, and we can safely assume that the danger of falling back into another slump has passed...for now. The effort is up (that's GOOD!), but we're still way too inconsistent in our own end to be totally comfortable with any kind of lead (that's BAD!). Darth Gerber is giving us $3mil per year goaltending (that's GOOD!), yet Swiss Pastry lurks just beneath the surface (that's BAD!) waiting for a fluke goal to come roaring back. And of course, there's always Joe...(that' forget it).

Up Next: Tuesday night, in Boston, Sportsnet with the coverage. As I'm looking at the four feet of snow that has drifted up my garage door, I can only hope I can dig myself out in time to make a beer run for this one. Seriously. Have you looked outside? Boss, unless you've got a sled team waiting for me, I may not be in tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Game 29: Sens 6, Canes 0 – We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Bitch Slap

Dear NHL,

On behalf of the Ottawa Senators, I regret to inform you that our “Guaranteed Win” promotion has now officially come to an end. We would like to thank all those who took advantage of this generous offer over the last few weeks; however, our season’s stock of losses was depleted much more quickly than we had anticipated. Therefore, due to these pressures, we must readjust the cost of our remaining supply from its sale price of “Here you go! Enjoy” to its original price of “Not a hope in Hell, losers”. While we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, we would also like to remind you that rain checks will not be honoured at this time. Please rest assured that we look forward to discussing this, and many other issues, in person with as many of you as possible between now and the 6th of April 2008.

The Highs:
  • OH NO YOU DI-INT!!!: Fish, dude…wow. Words fail me. Just…wow. I hereby vow to name all of my future male offspring after you. Seriously, all of them. And had you managed to grab the assist for the Gordie Howe, that would have applied to the girls too. As an aside, I’d like to say that that was probably the last time Scott Walker is going to take a run at an opponent’s last available goaltender, but as evidenced by his twin cheap shots (head butt and sucker punch while Fish was restrained by the linesman) after his perfectly deserved pummeling, his brain obviously resides somewhere in the vicinity of his sphincter. So I’ll have to say “probably not”.
  • And what God has joined, let no man put asunder: Symbiosis: n.; a close relationship between organisms in which the outcome for each is highly dependent upon the other. One had a goal, and two assists. The other scored two goals, with one assist. Each finished with three points. So…which do you prefer gentlemen? Jasy Speatly or Danon Heatzza?
  • If we can figure out a way to do this for every game, we’re golden: This should come as no surprise to either of my loyal readers, but watching Pastry come into the game cold didn’t exactly fill me with the pink and squishies. Thankfully, my visions of blowing a two goal lead while he lay flopping around behind the net like a gutted trout proved to unfounded. Doesn’t mean you get the “Darth” moniker back just yet Gerbs. We’ll see how tonight shakes out first.
The Lows:
  • I’m pretty sure Beloved once told me that communication is important in all loving relationships: Pssst…Ray. See that guy over there in the office? That one. With the bad haircut and perma-scowl? Yeah, he’s your “coach”. Now follow along please. If, at any time in the future, you may feel that you’re not up to playing that night, you go and talk to him before the game. That’s right. Before the game. Okay? Got that? Great!
  • Um…that’s it. That’s all I got: Statement games such as this don’t generally produce too many. And that is why we love them.
Creamy Middle: Aaaaaaaaaaand we’re back. Thank you. Thank you very much. How about a big hand for our standins, folks! Thanks guys! We all realize you did the best you could. Really. It really is too bad they have to leave now, isn’t it folks? Yes. Yes it certainly is. Thanks again boys. And don’t take this at all in the wrong way, but I sincerely hope never to see your ugly faces again this season. Now go home and grab your fucking shine boxes.

Up Next:

Tonight, on the road, it’s Flightless Birds season! If memory serves, these are the same asshats that started our slide a few weeks back. Yes. I seem to recall two blown leads, a shootout, and Sydney Crosby’s smugness staring up at me in the next day’s paper. Hmmm. Time for another curb stomping boys!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sundin Grants Rare Glimpse Inside Leafs Dressing Room

I, Larry Tannenbaum, would like to assure Leaf Nation that their captain remains 100% committed minimizing any distractions that may detract from our stated pre-season corporate goal: finishing low enough to have a shot at drafting John Tavares.

Not seen: The MLSE marketing department lobbying hard for next year's "Third Jersey".

Friday, December 7, 2007

Games 26 & 27: Sens 8, State Of Florida…um…8 – Creamy Middle, Moral Victory Edition

Update: Through a series of smoke signals, Morse code and strangely erotic interpretive dance, we've been informed that our heroes defeated the Stars last night 4-2. Okay, I got it from here. In any event, we might be on to something here. We'll know for sure on Wednesday.

Okay Bryan. Most of the angry mob that had gathered outside your office has been mollified and left to make last call at Marshy’s. You can probably open the door again. But just because they put down the torches and pitchforks, doesn’t mean you can relax. After all, they left them within easy reach. See? Everything is right over there in the parking lot, between the hot dog vendor and the guillotine.

The Highs:

  • Kool-Aid Will Continue To Be Served On The Mezzanine Level Until 6:00pm: For all of the wailing and rending of garments going on around here over the last seven games, we would do well to remember that the boys still managed to grab 5 of 14 points. Lucky? Sure. But we’ll take ‘em. This means we’re still four points up on the Hartolina Whalicanes for tops in the East. Even more miraculous, we’re only three back of Detroy-it for first overall. Who said October games are meaningless? Oh right. I did.
  • Superman Never Made Any Money, Saving The World From Solomon Grundy: Swedes are well known as a rather stoic people, and for good reason. You never see news reports of drunken mobs, liquored up on Carlsberg and Absolut rampaging through the streets of Stockholm, pummeling innocent passers by with blunt objects (well, almost never). And so it is with The Captain. He threw the team on his back with 13 points in 7 of the crappiest games played in the last ten years, including single-handedly stealing a point for us in Tampa Bay. So Daniel, you have our permission to cut loose. Go CRRR-AAAY-ZZAY Viking style! Kiss your beautiful girlfriend…on the mouth…IN PUBLIC! No, really it’s okay. You’ve earned it.

The Lows

  • Danger Will Robinson John Paddock! Danger!:Anyone who thinks the slump is done, that PHEW!, we’re out of the woods with nothing but sunshine and lollipops in front of us, and is therefore scrambling to get back on the bandwagon, please consider the following facts:
    • A) We beat the Panthers for our only win in eight games. Not exactly the ’76-’77 Habs are they? (why the hell do they keep popping up??)
    • B) All of the problems that led to the slump (shaky goaltending, brutal giveaways, tentative breakout passes, goddammit HIT SOMEBODY!) were still in evidence on Wednesday, albeit to a lesser extent. It takes a while to break bad habits. Trust me, I’m a smoker. I know.
    • C) 25, 28, 25, 35, 22, 41. Breast sizes from FHF’s latest game threads? Nope. Shots on Goal against for the last six games. Team D, needs a little work there coach.
    • D) Fair weather fans suck and should be boiled alive in their own feces.
  • Is That Most Of Our Goals In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?: When we lost in last year’s Finals, it was in large part due to a lack of secondary scoring. When questioned about this apparent problem, your humble scribe boldly proclaimed to our enemies that this would not be a problem this year. Upon gazing in stupefaction at the Senators stats page (which I normally avoid if at all possible), my Magic Cloak of Smug Invisibility melted away in the face of cold, hard numbers. 61% of all Senator goals this year have come either from Heater or The Captain. Sixty-one freakin’ percent. If I’m Coach P, that scares the piss out of me. I’m not Coach P. (he smiles more than I do), and it scares the piss out of me. So boys, from now on and until such time as you both learn to share, you are never EVER to be in the same vehicle at the same time. One Emery-esque “mishap” and we’re screwed. We’re also going to book you into separate hotels. Don’t worry Heater. Super 8s have cable too.
Creamy Middle:

We're close kids, but not quite out of it yet. Passes that missed by six inches last week, missed by three on Wednesday. Shots that once were four feet wide, were a mere two. The skating is a little faster, the hitting is a little harder (Golden Groin excepted) and the hands seem to finally be loosening a tad. The signs of an eventual return to dominance are there. Of course, that can all turn to shit against Dallas tonight, a somewhat stronger opponent than we faced in Florida. But since that game is on Pay-Per-Screwed, I will blissfully ignore it and anything that results from it. And if things go the way of the last PPV game, even those who paid for it may be forced to ignore it as well. But I'll bet they won't be nearly as blissful.

Up Next:

Since it's the next game anybody can see, we'll go with Wednesday, on the road, at the aforementioned Whaleicanes. I take no end of amusement in the fact that the largest of Canada's Big Six banks owns the naming rights on a hockey rink in the middle of NASCAR country. And by "amusement", I of course mean "barely controllable rage". It's so nice to see the 28% interest I'm paying on my credit card going to such a worthwhile, and no doubt profitable endeavour. Believe me when I say I mean this in the nicest way possible: Fuck you Royal Bank.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Our Gods Are Vengeful. And Getting Increasingly Annoyed

It has been said (or if not, it sure as hell should have been said) that prayer is the last refuge of the desperate. Well, brothers and sisters, as we survey the landscape into which our heroes have wandered, I’d say that pretty much sums it up. Consider: Mired in a six game losing streak, the longest such streak since the Pre-Playoff Dark Ages (um…that would be pre-’96 if your just joining us). A-Train, Destroyer of Shooting Lanes, Devourer of Pucks is on the shelf for a month. On-ice competitions, run on a game-by-game basis, amongst the rest of the team for the “Biggest Fuck Up” award. Most baffling of all, Swiss Pastry has yet to be traded for some competence and a sweaty gym sock to be named later. And so, amidst so much inexplicable darkness we have no choice but to pray.

But to whom do we turn in our hour of need? God? Allah? Jehovah? In the spirit of tolerance and understanding cults with money religions the world over have taught us, I say to you: Don’t be a fucking idiot. That’s only ONE deity. All three are pretty much the same Bearded Old Dude wearing different funny hats (or as my RC upbringing taught me between inappropriate touches…our “Good God” funny hat, and two “You Will All Suffer Eternal Hellfire You Heretical Bastards” funny hats), and He’s a tad busy, what with all the death, war, famine and pestilence to look after. No, if we’re going to make it worth our while to beseech a higher power, we’re rolling old school. We’re going Roman.

Why Roman? Well, aside from the obvious ties to team themes (I still say they should feed some Christians to Spartacat between periods. What?? Oh, like three hundred 8yr old Timbit players falling all over the ice is better?? The potential violence alone should scare the crap out of you), it’s pretty safe to assume that you don’t conquer 90% of the known world, run an empire, and lay the bedrock for Western Civilization without some pretty bad-ass help. Well, those crazy kids (the Romans, not the Timbits) had that, and plenty of it. 259 Bad Asses to be exact, 28 of which were classified as “Major” deities.

We’ll leave the important gods alone for now. After all, things aren’t that bad. I mean, we’re not the Leafs or anything. For now, we’ll go with these six, with a proviso that more will be added as required.

Ahem…OHHH Gods Of Rome Randomly Chosen From A List! You’re all SO really big! Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I’ll tell you! We, humble mortals beseech you, hear our prayers:

  • Hercules, God Of Strength, grant us the fortitude necessary to restrain ourselves from running Swiss Pastry out of town on a rail with orders never to return. Or, conversely, grant us the strength to throw his overpaid, underachieving ass into the Rideau canal the next time he sucks the tits off a goat.
  • Angerona, Goddess who relieves men from pain and sorrow, grant A-Train a speedy, and complete recovery! Um…in time for the next Leaf game would be great, but it’s not, you know, like, mandatory. Thanks.
  • Felicitas, Goddess of Good Fortune, please bestow your blessings on Heater, Kelly, Alfie and Verms, so that they may know, once again, the sweet feeling of hitting the inside of the post for a change.
  • Providentia, Goddess of Forethought, we beg you to watch over Golden Groin and grant him the wisdom and knowledge necessary to avoid bad turnovers in our end. Trust us when we say we’ve tried. Seriously. You’re our last hope. Failing that, please send sharp pains through his colon every time he does it.
  • Nodulus, God Who Makes Knots In Stalks Of Wheat! You are included here simply because I think your job description is hilarious. Moving on.
  • Nemesis, Goddess of Revenge, we ask that you smite our divisional enemies by the vilest of means, so that they may once again tremble before us, thus restoring order to the universe. A little extra effort in Toronto would be appreciated.
  • And finally, to you Verminus, God of Cattle Worms. See above. Did I mention Nemesis is a woman? I foresee beautiful music for the two of you. Your kids might be a little unpopular though.

Well, that should just about cover it for tonight’s Tampa Bay game. We'll see how that works. And let this be a warning to the rest of the league. We’ve got 253 more in our pocket, and we’re not afraid of using them. Don’t make me go Jupiter on your asses.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Game 23: Isles 3, Sens 2 (SO) – The Creamy Middle, Drive For Five Edition

Yes…well…*cough*…That should just about take care of those pesky 76-77 Hab comparisons. And now that that’s out of the way, any chance we can get back to playing hockey now boys? Any at all? That would be great, thanks.

The Highs:

  • Waddya say now, Miss Don’t-Find-Me-Sexually-Attractive-Anymore??: Andrej Meszaros launches his reign of terror against league goalies by doubling his productivity! And he was one OT swing-and-a-miss into an empty net away from being declared a living god and having numerous barber shops erected in his honour.
  • SPEZZOR SMASH!: Quick question for you Ray. When you saw the Isles break out on a 2-on-1 late in the 3rd period of a tie game and then noticed that Golden Groin was the last guy back on D, did you pee yourself just a little bit? Really? Yeah, me too.
  • SwissAir Flight 29, now boarding at Gate 1: A solid performance, with occasional flashes of brilliance by Master Emery, means that the title of “Senator Goalie Most Likely To Be Traded (and the commemorative albatross figurine that goes along with it) is firmly back in the trembling hands of Swiss Pastry. This, of course, is subject to review. Daily.


  • I too have been violated by the cold, cold finger of injustice: I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that Mick McGeough is the absolute epitome of the worst sports official in the history of everything ever. First, the “goaltender interference” call that waived off Randy’s goal was shite of the highest magnitude. Replays clearly show Vermette being shoved into DePietro from behind (and, while I’m at it Healy, just shut the fuck up with the “he didn’t get out of the way fast enough” bullshit. We all know you’re auditioning to be Peddie’s new lap dog. TSN should really just fire your ass. If not for conflict of interest, then how about for being galactically stupid.) Then, phantom hooks and holds that were called in the first, suddenly disappeared for a period and a half until the game had degenerated to one of those pre-lockout rodeos we all remember so fondly. And finally, just as suddenly he couldn’t keep the damn whistle out of his mouth. 4-on-3s in overtime! What fun! At least we were granted the small solace of seeing him almost fall on his ass on the way to the scorer’s table.
  • C-O-R-V-O! C-O-R-V-O! And CORVO was his NAME-O!: I’ll say this for you Joe. You seemed to be all over the ice last night. Yes, I have to say, we certainly noticed you. Mostly because you were usually in the wrong goddamned place. Bad breakout passes. Whiffed shots. Dumb giveaways. Numerous rather ill-advised pinches. In other words, exactly what we want from our two million dollar defencemen. Look, we already told you, your cab for the airport will be here on February 26th. Um…until then, do me a small favour will you? Can you go stand over in that corner like a good boy? Thanks. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t. Touch. Anything.
Creamy Middle:

While certainly not the result we were looking for, all-in-all, not a bad effort. At least there were some signs of life this time, ahem, as opposed to a game not so long ago against a certain dysfunctional expansion team from Southern Ontario. This too shall pass Sens fans. Hold on to that thought. By June, we will be looking back on this little rough patch and laugh at the depths of our own panic. Right? Right?!?! OH DEAR GOD, TELL ME I’M RIGHT!!!

Up Next:

Er...Nashville. A which ended about an hour ago. Thanks to the magic of brutal traffic and an immediate dinner engagement a la familgia, I got home just in time to watch Swiss Pastry give up the winning goal to the Preds 27 seconds after we tied it with the extra man, but before posting this little missive (written earlier this afternoon). Five in a row. Lost. Believe me when I tell you, my mind has already written half of my next post. Just a hint, but goaltending, and why Gerber Baby should be shipped out of town on the next express train to Palukaville might figure rather prominently. Then again, it may just be the seething cauldron of disgust talking.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

JFJ Continues To Enjoy The Confidence Of His Employers

Come with me, children, as we jump into the way-back machine to those heady days of summer when Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment enthralled us with their own, shall we say, particular motivational theories around getting the most out of their employees. Yep, nothing says, “We think you’re a terrific General Manager!” better than actively searching for a baby sitter for that General Manager. In public. Twice. Then being turned down by everyone to whom you offer the job. Ah…good times indeed. Well, fear not, kids. MLSE would like to remind you anew that they hold John Ferguson Junior in the highest regard:

Richard Peddie, the President of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, told the Toronto Sun that hiring Ferguson, who had no prior experience as a general manager, was a mistake.

Seriously, John, how much longer are you going to take this? They’re obviously not going to fire you (either your buyout must be fucking enormous, or Larry’s worried about certain…photographs…getting out) so they’ve opted for the next best thing. They’re trying to humiliate you out of the job. For Christ sake, just quit! Take your cash and retire to someplace saner like say, Pyongyang. Jesus, I don’t know whether to pity your helpless ass or admire you for trying to stick it to the man.

To be perfectly honest, I think it must be enormously difficult to be JFJ, at anytime, let alone now. He grew up the son, and namesake of a hockey legend. He’s 40 years old, and his legendary father’s equally legendary friends still call him “Junior”. The Toronto Maple Leafs, the fixation and enabler of the most pathologically irrational fan base in the NHL hired him without any GM experience whatever and then refused to trust him with the authority necessary to actually do the job. He’s forced to spend more time negotiating the Byzantine structure of his corporate overlords than he does player contracts. In the last three months his own boss has inferred that he’s incompetent and “a mistake”.

And as a final perk, he gets to be bombarded constantly with steaming piles of monkey dung masquerading as “journalism” from a no talent hack whose “inside sources” invariably turn out to be a) the ACC cleaning crew, b) his imaginary bathroom buddy “Fritz” and c) wrong (remember that Mats Sundin Is Retiring!! story, Steve? Yeah, didn’t think so. But I do. Fool me once…jackass).

And to think, until today, I had no idea the poor man had to endure all of that without possessing a human spine. You know, it almost makes me feel bad for him. Almost.

Hiring Ferguson A Mistake []
JFJ On His Way Out [Toronto Sun]

Monday, November 26, 2007

Game 22: Flyers 4, Sens ...Who Cares?? I'm Hopped Up On Goofballs!!

Last Saturday afternoon, I came down with the mother of all head colds, contracted, I can only assume, from some rather foolish outdoor activity undertaken earlier that week (next time Ma, get yourself off the damn roof). And so, I did what all men do in that situation, bitch and complain about it until the woman does something to make us feel better. Thus it came to pass that, as Beloved abandoned my phlegmy and mucus ridden corpse for a previously scheduled social engagement, I settled in to watch the Sens/Flyers game wrapped in the twin cocoons of a thick blanket and the soothing narcotic effects of a certain night-time cold medication (I don’t want to name names here, for fear of having my comment box deluged with badly spelled spam…but NyQuil ROCKS!) And I discovered that, under those effects, what I was witnessing on my television wasn’t nearly as infuriating as it normally would have been.

Swiss Pastry’s (no more Darth Gerber for you) three weak, weak goals were met with a series of shrugs. I actually giggled a bit at Briere’s winner, mostly because he looked like a giant bobblehead to my drug addled eyes. No really, an actual bobblehead. In pink, no less. So this got me thinking a little bit. Well, it got me thinking Sunday morning. Saturday night, I was too distracted by Jim Hughson’s repeated attempts during the late game to eat the giant marshmallow that had suddenly replaced his headset.

So Sunday I thought to myself that we, as Sens fans, should embrace this slump. And let’s not gild any lilies; it is a full-blown slump. Why? Let us count the ways:

· It’s November, not March: Historically, the Senators play their best hockey after Christmas (and I’ll pre-empt the witless wags here and say “until the second week of May”). So, we get the shitting-our-pants phase out of the way early, and we’re home free for the rest of the year.

· A bad Sens game, makes a great drinking game!: The rules are simple. You divide the number of players on the ice between the participants. You then drink every time one of “your” players fucks up. For each nervous pass fanned in the offensive zone, one shot. Defensive zone? Two shots. A fanned shot gets 2 drinks and a drop pass resulting in an odd man rush the other way (a.k.a.: The Spezza Surprise), means the owner of that player picks another participant, who then has to drink three shots. Did I mention I was alone Saturday? My dog really didn’t like this rule very much.

· I’ll put $10 on Rayzor: Office pools, Super Bowl style, on which of Ottawa’s goalies is going to suck the most over a given stretch of time. Bonus money to anyone who can pinpoint the exact moment Gerb’s confidence hops a flight to Geneva, or Ray snaps and goes Rambo on the asses of his fellow commuters.

So there you are, fellow Legionnaires. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. And always remember, things could be worse. We could be Leaf fans.

At Least We're Not The Leafs [Four Habs Fans]

p.s.: The picture is from a site called Subversive Cross Stitch. Seriously. As stitching is one of Beloved's many many creative talents, I include it here for her benefit. And I totally want "Don't Make Me Cut You" for my cubicle wall.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Game 20: Sabres 4, Sens 2 -- The Creamy Middle: Roadkill Edition

Gentlemen, you will kneel before the scheduling gods and do homage. Render unto them thanks and praise for their mercy and wisdom. Why? Because you have a game to play tonight. Oh yes, verily, be ever grateful that Sid and the Kiddie Korps are in the House. Why, you may ask? Had this been an open date between last night's disgrace and Saturday's rematch with the Flyers, you would have had to answer for your "performance". You would have answered for it with the longest, most grueling, downright evil and quite possibly fatal bag skate of your careers.

How bad would it have been? Plenty. Coach P. would have established a twenty-mile perimeter around the Bank into which no puck could venture and still hope to survive. He would then, bullwhip in hand, had you dress in full gear, and strapped weights equivalent to a Volkswagen to your backs to run you through one hundred wind sprints, red line, to blue line, to hash marks, to goal line until the weaker among you were slicing open your own jugulars just for the excuse to stop. First man to fall would reset the count AND have to clean the puke from the ice afterward. Then how about a two hour "cool down" session on those pretty stationary bikes Brenden Shanahan thinks are so funny to top it off? Gentlemen, Coach P. would have ensured that if any of you had somehow survived the ordeal to go on and procreate, your future grandchildren would still be in pain. Okay, maybe Coach P. wouldn't have done any of that. Aren't you glad I'm not your coach? You have tonight's game to redeem yourselves gentlemen. I would suggest you take full advantage of the opportunity and perhaps not suck the moose cock quite so enthusiastically.

The Lipstick On The Pig:
  • Hello, Leon's? About that don't pay a cent thing...: My television somehow made it through the first 29 minutes and 27 seconds of this exercise in craptacular with most of its major components intact. At 29:28, Alfie scored to make it 3-1, and I put my hammer away.
The Lowest Of The Many Many Lows:
  • Lost puppy, free to a good home. Answers to "Rayzor": Ray, I don't know where that horse went, but you'd best find it and get back on it and right smartly. 3 goals, one of them a soft floater from the top of the circle, on 9 shots after losing your last game to the worst team in the league (Hi Coach Han -- oh, sorry) is a one way ticket to being traded to the British Ice Hockey League for some battered haddock wrapped in newspaper. Or worse, Los Angeles. That would leave Swiss Pastry to carry our Cup hopes, and that is something for which I could never forgive you.
  • Why no, I don't believe a six foot opening is large enough for a three inch object. Why do you ask?: Chris, as your picking the carbon slivers from your palms this morning, I want you to forget about it. Forget, for the moment, that that shorty would have meant a 3-3 tie and the completion of an improbable comeback. Forget that your miss cost us any momentum we'd managed to generate to that point and therefore probably cost us the game. Forget, as hard as it seems, the fact that you hit the freakin' post on a deserted net from three feet away!! Forget all that. Look at those splinters. Now, perhaps you're squeezing the stick juuuust a tad too hard, no?
  • Well, if it's in a "newspaper", it must be true!: Last Friday, I advanced the theory that Heater was in a slump. The following Monday, the Ottawa Citizen's Allen Panzeri reported to the breathless masses that...wait for it...Heater was in a slump. I don't know what that means, except that I should probably track the IP addresses of my visitors a little more closely. Anyway, Dany, your two goals in the last three games ( or 3 in the last 12 for those of you scoring at home) does not mean your slump is dead. Only that it has been relocated to other parts of your game. Apropos of nothing, standing still while flailing helplessly at opponents with your stick (as lovely a tribute to the Golden Groin --BFF 4EVAH!! -- as it may be) and taking stupid penalties is not the optimal way one would go about being a leader.
Curdled Middle: Depending on what happens against the Flightless Birds tonight, we may be on the verge of a full blown slide. Of course, I can't actually see what's happening in tonight's game as it is the first of seven of those abominations before the eyes of man and God known as "Pay-Per-View". As I would rather urinate down my own throat than shell out money for a third rate broadcast, thus feeding and giving credence to the beast that is corporate greed, we'll move straight on to...

Up Next: Bobby Clarke's fiendish army of the undead comes to visit on Saturday. A bright shiny penny to the man, or woman, who brings me Steve Downie's head on a plate. What? He's in the minors? All right. Two bright shiny pennies.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Pre-Emptive Apology to the Friends and Family of Larry Robinson

As Four Habs Fans has been reminding the hockey world all day, your favourite son’s number 19 jersey is finally being lifted to the rafters tonight, to take its rightful place amongst the true giants in the history of your storied franchise. On an occasion as well deserved and momentous as this, I am reminded of the wise words of one of England’s most mediocre greatest Kings, Edward the Penitent: “We’re really, really, really, really sorry.”

It’s not like we set out to ruin Larry’s night. We didn’t look at the schedule back in April and say “Hmmm...Retiring Robinson’s number? Time for a good old-fashioned curb stomp boys!” A combination of scheduling fate, a fluke loss and Darcy Tucker’s asshatery brought us to this unfortunate pass. I’m sure I speak for absolutely nobody when I say that had the Leafs not beaten us, the Senators would, to honour the occasion, be happy to grant the Habs a chance at victory so that Larry’s big night could be celebrated in style. We would be the Washington Generals to your Globetrotters. The Curly to your Moe. The France to your…er…everybody. We would call up the entire farm team. Send Golden Groin, Alfie, Heater, Fish, Darth Gerber and Philichenkov to Chez Paree with a dump truck full of money and orders not to emerge until a minimum of three strippers have been impregnated. We would have been happy to play along. But alas, as you know, we don't lose two in a row, so this cannot be.

So it is with a heavy heart that I extend this apology on behalf of the Ottawa Senators and their Legion of supporters. We’re sorry. We really are. this is know...we kinda want the points.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Game 18: Laughs 3, Sens 0 -- Oh Dear God, There Will Be No Living With Them After This

As I watch a game, I keep a notepad by my side to record any random brain farts that may or may not become fodder for the breathless prose my loyal reader (Hi Mom!) has come to expect in the subsequent game post. What follows is an exact transcription of tonight’s abortion: Flat. Skate! Hit? Goddamn it. Paddock, what the hell?? FUCK! Tucker. C’mon, hit them! Son of ….JAYYYYYSSSSONNNNN!!! Crap. HIT…THEM!! Fuck! Fuckity fuck FUCK!! Tlusty…wonderful. Celebratory junk shots for all. Break the shutout? FUCK! Fuckin’ Leaf fans…insufferable bastards. Hey, look. Cops is on…

The Singular High:

  • The Schwartz is strong in this one: Okay, fine. This will come as a shock to Beloved, but I will, occasionally, admit when I’m wrong. Swiss Pastry is playing pretty well. There, I said it. Happy? Two losses (including tonight) in his last 25 games and he seems to have cut down on his wanderlust on the rebounds. I still don’t trust him with our Big Ugly Trophy aspirations. Nothing personal Martin, but you’re…um…from away, you see, and Euros fold like a cheap suit in the playoffs, particularly if they play for us. But for now, you have my rather qualified endorsement. And don’t paint your mask. “Darth Gerber” is a pretty cool nickname. Might even make the hotties overlook that bald spot.
The Lows:
  • If it ain't broke...: Look Coach, I know how you feel. You're the boss. You're the grande fromage, the undisputed leader of the best team in hockey. Hell, you might have the best team in history on your hands. Your team is 15-2. You Is Da Man! But...but...they've done it by themselves. How can you stand out? How can you prove what a genius you are if people think all you do is just tap guys on the back and send them over the boards? No! You must do something! Anything! Everyone must know of your brilliance! I know! Try scrambling the lines! The same lines that got you to the Finals! Yes...that's it! I'll put Eaves between Spezz and Alfie! Heater to the second line with Fish and Robitaille! The fourth line won't even see the ice! GOD, I am a master! So for three games now, you've changed things up. The result? All the chemistry of a Grade 8 mixer. Won one, barely won a second and didn't even show up for the third. Here's an idea John. How about you just, oh I don't know...LEAVE WELL ENOUGH THE FUCK ALONE?!?!? Read this. Tap your guys. Stay the hell out of the way.
  • Geez, if only I were allowed to somehow physically impair my opponent: I can almost guarantee that there was more fight in the crowd than there was on the ice. How do I know this? Well, easy. By the time it was 1-0, Leaf Nation were already taunting Senators fans, unaccustomed as they are to a lead. At 2-0 they were throwing popcorn. At 3-0, Sens supporters had finally had enough with mono-syllabic grunts and bad sentence structure and were swinging for the fences. On the ice? There was six minutes left it in the third before I saw a blue sweater on his ass. 'Nuff said.
The Creamy Middle:

It was inevitable really. We were due for a stinker. But did it have to come tonight? Against the Leafs? Christ, we don't play them again until February 2nd. Even if the Laughs win all of 4 games between now and then, Larry Tannenbaum gets fired, JFJ is assassinated, the ACC collapses under its own hubris and the unholy union of Grapes and Darcy Fucking Tucker finally implodes due to irreconcilable differences, we'll have to listen to them. They are impervious to logic. They can't grasp just how badly their team sucks. They are incapable of independent thought. They simply empty their wallets, Pavlov like, at the sight of anything in blue and white. They are Leafs Nation. And they'll never, ever, shut the fuck up.

Up Next: I killed a man, just to watch him die:

Monday night, Habs, at the Phone Booth. I almost feel bad for them, and especially for my friends at Four Habs Fans. The last time we played them, we were coming off a loss. We beat them just to make a point. This time, we're coming off a loss. To our most hated enemy. We don't lose two in a row. As I've told them before, they're going to need a bigger boat.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Game 17: Sens 3, Sabres 2 -- The Highs, The Lows, The Creamy Middle

Dear friends of the Northeast Division,

Really, is this the best you can do? Is this all there is? I mean, it's not like we haven't given you any chances. Boston, you took one game to overtime riding the back of a ridiculously hot goalie. We won in a shootout. Sure, you managed to steal a point, but still. And how about you, Montreal? In our first game you made rather foolish promises. In the second, we gave you a lead with five minutes to go, and yet you couldn't beat us.

And you Toronto, what about you? Hello? Toronto? I'm talking to you...listen here ple -- yes that's a very nice, I'll put it on the fridge. What? Darcy, stop screaming! Now what was that? No, you can't have any cookies this close to bedtime. Shhhh...I'm talking to the big people now. Thank you. Good boys.

Buffalo, you were our last hope. You were the one we were counting on to make this interesting. And yet...and yet... Young man, we are very disappointed in you. Look, we realize you were violated this summer, losing almost 80 goals and 160-ish points from the roster that surrendered meekly lost to us in five games in the Eastern Final. We know. And that mean Mister Lowe treated you just horribly.

But please, for all our sakes', pick it up will you? And if not for us, than do it for the sake of the Commissar. Can you, as a group, please, please try to make the 24 remaining games we have against all of you a little more...shall we say...competitive? Just a little? Please think of the ratings!

Thank you, and God Bless,
The Ottawa Senators.

The Highs:
  • Traditional gift for one's 800th anniversary? 35 pounds of bowl-shaped silver: As the chants of Alfie! Alfie! Alfie! rang from the Bank's rafters last night following the Captain's two goals and announcement of his 800th game in a Sens jersey, I couldn't help but wonder how many of those chanters had been calling for his head not one year before. Stand and be ridiculed, heathens!
  • Mike, if I weren't straight, and you weren't an evangelical Christian, we would so totally hook up: Never have I seen two more beautiful no-look passes as Fish delivered to Alfie and Donovan, each for goals. Ever. WHY CAN'T I QUIT YOU?!?!
  • Nurse? It hurts when you touch me there: The Golden Groin finally made it back into the line up. While he wasn't quite the JAAAYYYYSSSSON!! we've come to know and love, he did cough up the puck just enough to remind us why he doesn't play on the penalty kill. But when you hear the play-by-play guy exclaim "Spezza! Helping out defensively!", you know he's having a pretty good game.
The Lows:
  • If it's not on our site, it didn't happen: While the official team site conveniently fails to mention this, the Senators went 1/7 on the power play against the Sabres. Or to put the suckitude in a different light, 16.9% (13/77) for the season. Good for 18th (God, I feel like Dean Brown, quoting all of these dirty). Apropos of nothing, Coach P., I couldn't help but notice Chris Neil's absence on the power play last night. While I'm sure it's strictly an oversight, how about trying him out, front of the net? Worked pretty well for Murray last year. Just sayin...
  • My Heater has gone cold. Can I get a rental?: Dany, Dany, goal in the last 9 games. This is no way to impress the prospective father-in-law. If you're going to be here for the next 7 years, AND you want to get laid, you better have more than millions of dollars in your pocket. You have to produce man! Wait, what? Oh...apparently your millions are enough. Okay. But if you could score a couple of goals, that would be cool too.
The Creamy Middle: This game was never really in doubt, even with the parade to the penalty box in the third period. Let's face it. The Sabres, after having been raped and pillaged over the off season, are no longer the threat they once were. And at 15-2 it's getting a little tough to find things to complain about. Luckily for me, there's always the Leafs...

Up Next: Hey! Looky here! It's the Leafs. Tomorrow night, in Toronto. There are several certainties surrounding this one. 1) Alfie will be booed each time he touches the puck. 2) Bob Cole will climax every time he says "Mats Sundin" and 3) Jiri Tlusky's text messages will be very, very closely monitored.*

*More on that later. You didn't think I would let that go did you??

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thank You

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae
We tend to take the lives we lead, the things we have and especially the games we play for granted. And that's okay. That was their gift to us. And the greatest thing about giving is the joy the recipient takes in that gift. And so we should go on fretting over the meaningless trivia of our day-to-day, or the seeming insurmountable difficulties we face today that, once conquered, will be promptly forgotten tomorrow. And we should continue to take our little games far too seriously, to mock and jeer and imbue contests of sport with an importance out of all proportion to that which they actually have. That is what they would have wanted. That is why they fought. That is why they died. So that you, I and everyone else could go on enjoying their gift.

But today, on this day, as we sit in our comfortable homes, agonizing over the games we play and watch, we are reminded of them. And we should always, always, say "Thank You".

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Game 16: Sens 3, Habs 1 -- Highs, Lows, The Creamy Middle

Photo courtesy of Wayne Cuddington, Ottawa Citizen

Wow. Way back in October (my Naive Period if you will), I made the mistake of dismissing the Habs as a serious threat to our birthright, otherwise known as the Northeast Division title. And sure enough, the season began, we rolled to the best start in league history (dispatching Montreal along the way with memorable consequences) and were generally feeling rather good about ourselves. We were hot! We were masters of all we surveyed! Accusations of hubris flooded in!

Er...okay, I got one email from a friend of mine accusing me of being a little on the arrogant side (this from a guy who is the self proclaimed Chair of the Bill Belichick Friendship and Mutual Admiration Society). But something was going on right under our noses. Down in the trenches where the plebes were rolling around in the mud for the right to call themselves Best of the Rest, Les Habitants had quietly, imperceptibly, crept to our gates. Yesterday, they tried to bust down the doors. And they almost made it. We managed to repel them this time, but in the future, this little rebellion bears watching. Carefully.

The Highs:
  • Many rubber chickens will lose their lives for this: Whatever deity you happen to worship, be it God, Allah, Yaweh, Nicole Kidman, whatever...pray to that Devine Being, making whatever sacrifices that He/She/It deems necessary to ensure that these two teams hook up in the playoffs. This game was too exciting, too damn entertaining, to have been played with nothing more than two points on the line.
  • Now witness the firepower of this FULLY OPERATIONAL Daniel Alfredsson: With six minutes left in the third, the legion of Hab fans in attendance (seriously, guys. We have to get a handle on invading fan bases) were up and doing that quaint little "Olay!" thing they do. Five and a half minutes later, they were skulking, stunned, toward the exits, flags and banners limp in their hands. The Captain had decided that he doesn't much care for that song, you see. And so the command went forth to do something about it. The rest is history. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you. You do NOT step on Superman's cape.
  • That's it. We're declaring war on France: While Swiss Pastry played surprisingly well for the good guys, Huet was positively out-of-his-mind, batshit crazy fantastic. He stopped 34 shots. He pitched 56 minutes of shut-out hockey. He stopped the Captain on a gift penalty shot. And Randy Robitaille will require intensive therapy and faces many sleepless nights coming to grips with the absolute sodomizing Huet layed on him in the third period. Not bad for a cheese eating surrender monkey.
The Lows:
  • Those big novelty cheques apparently weigh more than we thought: This was the sixth game our $7 million wunderkid missed with his groin pull. Look, Jason. I understand. As a single guy you want to take special care of that area. No problem. We get it. weeks? Some people, not I mind you, but some people may interpret that as being a little...oh, I don't know...soft. But on the flip side, we keep winning without you, so take all the time you need.
  • Playing the part of Darcy Tucker for this matinee, understudy Mike Komisarek: Pssst...Mikey. I have a pretty good hunch that Coach P will dress #16 for the next game. How do I know this? Why, you told me. Right after you took repeated runs at Heater and the Captain and then went to great pains to avoid any discussion of the matter with a certain Mr. Neil. 19th of November. Circle it. And sleep well.
Creamy Middle: Easily the best game of the year. Playoff games in November usually are. It was so good, in fact that it allowed me to temporarily forget about the useless hunk of metal that was once my hot water tank languishing in my basement. And facing a week's worth of cold showers, I'll need a 14-2 record to keep me warm.

Up Next: The magic carpet ride through the division continues next Thursday with Buffalo coming to town. Lindy Ruff gets another chance to yell at the referees about his team's propensity to fall down and get hurt. Meanwhile, Ray Emery is working the speed bag with extra enthusiasm.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Game 14: Sens 5, Latest Victims 1 -- The Creamy Middle

In thoughtful response to my guest appearance over at Pension Plan Puppets, witty and erudite commenter, LeoSC saw fit to post the following: "just wait till tonight!". Um...Leo? I'm still waiting. Leo? You there? Hello! Is this thing on?

The Highs:
  • Does this mean we have to play the rest of our games at the Hockey Hall of Fame?: 13-1 and proud holders of a new league record! Now there's been some crazy talk around these here interwebs that this year's Sens team may equal, or even surpass the all time win record set by the 1976 Montreal Canadiens. That team lost all of eight games on route to a 136 point season. With a clear head, and unimpeachable logic, I will endeavour to expound on this in a future post, but for now ladies and gentlemen, allow me to state the following with neither qualm nor reservation: IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN SO EVERYBODY SHOULD JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN! Thank you. As you were.

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, Vessa has left the building: For those of us not fortunate enough to have erased the memory engrams through the self-administration of enormous quantities of alcohol, watching Vessa Toskala skulk to the bench after having given up his 4th goal on 12 shots was sweet indeed. The days of manhandling a vastly inferior Leaf team only to have guys like Belfour and Joseph stand on their heads and beat us seem to have been relegated to the dustbin of history, right next to Gary Roberts' ghost and Mats Sundin's dignity.

  • Look up. Look waaaaaaaay up: I get to use the picture you see above. I think I'll have that airbrushed on the hood of my car, 70's poon-van style. All it needs is a buxom, leather-clad Amazonian warrior princess holding a white tiger on a chain.

The Lows:

  • Hey, why is your picture on a milk carton?: Memo to Joe Corvo. Please observe the gigantic contracts being signed all about you. Now calculate the impact of those signings vis-a-vis the salary cap in the coming years. Next, examine your own salary in relation to said cap. Finally, review the level of your own play in the first 14 games. Please ensure personal affairs are in order for a late February departure.

  • Sleep Mercy is for the weak, Abu!: Did Troy ease up on Athens? Hell no. Did Nelson turn to the Spanish at Trafalgar and say, "Oh dear. Terribly sorry old man. Sherry?" No fucking way! They not only defeated their enemies, but they crushed them, ground their bones into dust and displayed the eviscerated corpses as a warning to others that "WE ARE NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!" In short, they removed the very will to exist from those enemies, their families and their countrymen. So, remind me again Coach P., exactly why we got off the gas after the 4-0 goal?

  • Your shower Bubba ain't gonna take to kindly to that: Hey Mark! That was a classy piece of work there, suckering Chris Neil with under a minute to go and then running behind the linesman. Noticed you had your gloves on too. Very nice. But a word of caution: Your "friends" out in the yard, 155 days hence, probably won't view that as very heroic. Fellow inmates can be bitches that way.

The Creamy Middle: While I could go on ad infinitum about the sweetness of last night's humiliation, I'll let ESPN (tWWL for you Deadspinners) take it home:

The Senators improved to 15-2-2 in their last 19 games against their provincial rivals, including wins on consecutive nights to begin the season.

Oh, and as a final shout-out to my friend LeoSC, in response to your cutting analysis that "The bully will still beat the shit out of you, just wait till spring!", I can only add...No. Not so much.

Up Next: The Caps come a callin' at the Bank tomorrow night. While "Battle of the Nation's Capitals!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, at least it promises to be more of a challenge. They've got this Russian kid you see. I hear he's pretty good.

Senators win eighth straight, off to best start in NHL history []

Monday, November 5, 2007

Well, That Settles It. Tim Thomas Is Clearly Inhuman

I was originally planning on posting the usual half-assed snark masquerading as quasi-serious analysis following the Sens home-and-home series with the Bruins. But something funny happened on the way to the Creamy Middle. Tim Freakin' Thomas. The man is utterly ridiculous.

He's 33 years old. He was drafted by Quebec (Quebec!) in the eleventh round, presumably because the quadriplegic midget was no longer available. The draft doesn't even have eleven rounds anymore (may have had something to do with the midget).

His Bruins page is the War and Peace of player bios. He's played in just about every league anywhere that ends in "HL", and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that he also spent six months in a Turkish beer league. And all he does is give us fits. Did last year, and is doing it again. Outshot 80-39 in two games, the Bruins managed to steal a point they had no business getting, all because nobody told a 217th overall pick to pack it in, that he'd as like have monkeys fly out of his ass than be a big league goalie. Ridiculous.

Well, I say good for you Timmy. I've always had a soft spot for grizzled journeymen who won't give up on their dreams no matter what their mother thinks. Now go jump in a well before our next game, will you? There, that's a good boy.

Up Next: Speaking of ridiculing goalies, the traveling three ring circus that is the Toronto Maple Leafs are into the Bank for their third date with humiliation this year. If you're attending the game and are over the age of 80, please be careful. You may be kidnapped and forced to act as mentor to JFJ.

Keep an eye on Pension Plan Puppets, not only because it's chock full of Leafy goodness, but also because Plan Puppetmaster (Puppeteer?) was kind enough to interview yours truly for his 5 Questions With... feature, an honour for which I am deeply flattered. I can only hope I can insult Leaf Nation as eloquently as Four Habs Fans did last week.

Update: For those who may be interested, here's my turn on the PPP hotseat. REPRESENT!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Senators Ensure Blind Behind The Back Passy Goodness Through 2015

Our favourite defensive liability, Jason Spezza, the Ying to Heater’s Yang (not that there’s anything wrong with that) has signed a 7yr/$49M contract extension that will keep him coughing up the puck in a Senators uniform until his 32nd birthday.

Spezza will get $8 million in each of the first five years of the contract and $5 million and $4 million, respectively, in the final two years. The cap hit will be $7 million per year for the Senators. Negotiations for the new contract proceeded quickly. Spezza's agent Rick Curran met with Senators' GM Bryan Murray last weekend and the deal was consummated Thursday night.
Aside from the mental image of Bryan Murray consummating anything with anybody, I have to say I think this is awesome news. I really do. As maddening as Jason can be sometimes, he is scary-good on the rush and can put a puck through a stripper’s g-string without ruffling the folded twenties tucked therein …8 times out of 10 (Pssst…Jason. It’s what happens those other two times you try that that makes people yell at you. Just sayin’, you might want to work on that a bit).

It’s also much better than losing him next year to restricted free agency after say, JFJ goes Kevin Lowe on our asses and puts in a ridiculous offer sheet, always assuming he’s been suitably instructed on the proper use of opposable thumbs or that MLSE hasn’t fired him by then.

The concern of course, is that we now have an enormous amount of money tied up in our “core” (Heater, Alfie, Fish, Rayzor and now Spez). So let us all hope and pray that either the Commissar’s much ballyhooed promise of an ever rising salary cap comes to fruition, or the Sens find some hitherto undiscovered font of Bangladeshi third liners who are willing to play for food and stay locked in the Bank’s basement between games. Otherwise, we could be in deep, deep shit in about four years. But oh boy, are those four years shaping up to be one hell of a ride.

Seven More Years []