Monday, March 31, 2008

In Case Of Emergency Pull Goalie

Okay boys, gather 'round. I have something very important to say to all of you and I need your undivided attention. What I'm about to ask of you will require focus, determination and your full commitment to team goals. It won't be easy, but I'm sure you have it in you.

As you know, we currently sit four points out of ninth with three games to go. I think you'll all agree with me that this is an unacceptable situation. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you all should be embarrassed by your collective lack of faith in what we are trying to achieve here. However, we can take some solace in the fact that our fate is still very much in our own hands. Yes, gentlemen, we control our destiny and no one else. It is NOT too late. So I will reiterate our chosen end of season strategy, if only to impress upon you the importance of working together, as one.

You are going to lose those three games. All of them. In spectacular fashion. Ah, ah, ah...I will not truck with your doubts! We CAN do it, no matter the cost! And here's how:

Alfie, Spezz and Heater, you're sitting out. Your regular roster spots will be filled by Timmy Johnson*, the left winger on my nephew's Timbits team, a small block of gouda and the dessicated corpse of One-Eyed Frank McGee who will be controlled from the rafters by the trainers through a series of puppet strings. Think of it as Weekend At Bernie's on ice.

Fish, I want you to wear your skates on the wrong foot. And you will only be allowed to skate backwards. Verms and Cory, you have each been issued new sticks with the curve removed. Oh, and I should also mention that they've been cut to a length of 7 and 3/4 inches. Neiler, you've been enlisted into the French Foreign Legion. Your flight leaves in an hour. Don't bother showering.

Let's see...what have I missed. Oh, right! Gratz, congratulations! You're now the captain. For the next three games, you'll be getting forty-five minutes of ice time, so don't let me down! Kelli (with an i!) has been kind enough to sign up as your She looks very good in stockings, and her hourly rates are quite reasonable, at least according to her personals ad. Now she is a rookie after all, so you, as the veteran, will need to watch closely for nipple chafe. Or was that vapour lock? Either way, pay attention!

The entire fourth line will now consist of rejected understudies from the Off-Broadway production of Wizard of Oz, The Sequel: Munchkins Revenge. As for you Gerbs, keep doing what you've been doing.

There you have it gentlemen. As I told you, just put your faith in me, and you will meet, nay...SURPASS!...those goals which obviously lay so close to your hearts.

But it's more than that, really. I'm a big believer in "TEAM". And don't we owe it to each other to go out as one, as a true "TEAM, after all that we've been through over the past six months? All of the laughter, all of the sweat, blood and...yes...tears? I believe we do. And so should you.

So we stand at the precipice gentlemen. Within our grasp is that for which we have journeyed so far, battled so long.

Three games. That's all I ask. For we are not so different, you and I. Our twin desires are not so incompatible that we cannot weld them together in a mutually beneficial symbiosis of breathtaking simplicity. You will escape the (unpaid) soul crushing grind of post-season play, while we avoid the heart wrenching, and almost certain embarrassment of a first round, four game sweep. I only ask that you trust me. We will all be better for it.

Now get out there and suck!

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the humiliated.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

L’Affaire Roy -- To All Tender Hearted Media and Parasitic Politicians: Just Shut The Hell Up!

I wasn’t initially planning to write about Jonathan Roy losing his freaking mind, or his father’s complicity in it. After all, I like to keep things light around these here parts, and it’s not like there’s been a shortage of coverage, comment, or opinion. Plus, there were actual, you know, hockey games going on. But now, there’s something happening that is forcing me to either vent about it, or explode in a misdirected rage, thus endangering my well being, not to mention any number of innocent passers by.

But let me get this out of the way first. What Roy the Younger did by skating the length of the ice to wail on an opposing goalie who a) didn’t know what was coming and b) clearly wanted no part of it, was a disgusting act of cowardice, worthy of a criminal assault charge and he should be run out of any hockey league on the planet on a rope. While you could argue that the linesman who literally tackled an unidentified Chicoutimi player who was attempting to come to the rescue of his goalie only made things worse (watch the tape and count the number of punches landed after the player and official go shooting through the frame) Jonathan’s actions are inexcusable and he has rightly been branded a thug and an asshole.

As for Dear Old Dad, I’ll let Four Habs Fans speak to that in a far better way than I ever could. No, really…go read it. Like right now. It’s that good. It’s okay, I’ll wait…

Welcome back! So what was it that finally made me take up my keyboard? Why, it’s the same thing that usually gets my blood boiling, namely, the barking seals that make up the MSM and those grandstanding, two-legged cockroaches who deign to call themselves “Honourable Members” of one legislative body or another who will react with the usual well calculated faux outrage at whatever those barking seals tell them is “important”.

If it’s not Lloyd Robertson thundering in ominous tones from the pulpit of his anchor desk about how “violence in hockey” is contributing to the downfall of Western Civilization as we know it, it’s Quebec Premier Jean Charest popping off in a media scrum, opining that the QMJHL must immediately move to ban fighting in order to protect the frail sensibilities of the general public. Had his knee jerked any more suddenly, he would have kicked himself in the mouth. This of course, has set off the usual perfectly circular storm whereby other media outlets and other politicos feed off each other in an increasingly shrill competition to claim the highest moral ground (I can’t wait to watch The Sports Reporters tomorrow morning. Damian Cox may actually stroke out right there on the set).

So to all of you self-serving hypocrites decrying the (entirely fabricated) fact that hockey is once again mired in a dark age of thuggery, I say, with all sincerity, just shut the fuck up. Zip it.

Ask yourselves, if this hadn’t involved the son of a hockey superstar, a superstar known for his arrogance and temper, AND the fact that this particular superstar was also the son’s head coach, would this have engendered any more than a roll of the eyes and a tsk-tsk from any of you? Now, before you answer that, I’d like to point out that there was another brawl that same night, involving the Gatineau Olympiques and Shawinigan that was sparked by a vicious hit from behind on the ‘Piques goalie and involved far bloodier combat. And yet, somehow, this failed to find its way into your collective reptilian consciousness. If anything, I would have thought that you all would have seized on this to bolster your “case”, in the same way a Chihuahua attack on a child generates a month’s worth of similar stories which finally culminates in a five part series about how we’re all in danger from “an epidemic of rabid Pitbulls!” But hark! We hear nary a peep. No eleven o’clock news, no long diatribes in the papers, no…nothing.

So back to my original question: Would it have been reported the same way in not for Mssrs. Roy? Yeah, didn’t think so. Now that you’ve exposed yourselves as the sensationalizing whores you are, just shut up and let the rules as they are already in place work the way they’re supposed to.

To the MSM, how about you go back to telling the story, instead of trying so damn hard to be the story. As for the politicians, how about you…well…just go. Crawl back under your tax payer subsidized rocks, there to wait until the next whiff of opinion polls triggers your highly evolved love of the cameras.

There are enough of us who love, and more importantly, know this game to make sure this kind of self-serving crap doesn’t affect the way the game is played. At least I hope there are. But if I can add here to the increasing chorus of those who won’t be led by the nose like so many sheep, to those who are saying, and have been for a long, long time, that the Emperor has no clothes, I will feel as if I’ve done the right thing. Which is more than any politician can say.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead! Stick A Fork In 'Em! And Other Mixed Metaphors

In keeping with my long standing principle of never, ever, passing up a chance to mock, ridicule and otherwise do my utmost to stomp on the flag of Leafs' Nation, I would be remiss if I didn't add my two cents to those who are piling on in glee at the prospect of a third straight year without a mid April sighting of Darcy Fucking Tucker's ugly mug. This one's for you, Dad.

See ya guys. As the Nation would say, we may not have won anything either, but at least we got further than you. And according to you guys, that's all that matters, right?

Sabres 3, Sens 2 (SO) -- SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP!

Did you ever wonder who discovered milk? Seriously, think about it. Who was the first guy to look at a cow and say to himself "Well, I'll just squeeze these dangly bits here and see what happens. Then maybe...oh I don't know...maybe I'll drink whatever comes out of them." Did you ever wonder that? No? Well I do. I think about stuff like that all the time, pretty much whenever I feel the need for a distraction. During meetings. On long drives. Post coitus. Whatever. I also think of things like that when I'm watching excruciatingly dull yet incredibly frustrating hockey games. I have no idea what made me think of that...

The Highs:

  • Searching for Bobby Mike Fisher...There he is! Always the last place you look: Welcome back Mickey! Two goals to break a two-fer-twenty-eight game scoreless streak means that the suicide pass you dished to Stillman early in the first, almost getting him killed in the process, is forgiven. Besides, I could never stay mad at you, ya big lug. man crush is showing.
  • And lo, a child completely fuck it up: Yo, Brian! ' Yeah, that's it. I think that's what the kids are doing these days. Now, your second game wasn't as strong as your first, but that's okay. And really, whose is? Ask Beloved. But you still played better than Reds has on most nights this season, trust me. But a small bit of advice, if I may: you might want to lay off creaming opposing (veteran!) tough guys into the boards from behind, especially when one considers that you look like the kid who bags my groceries. It's for your own safety. You'll thank me for it later.
  • Dost mine eyes deceive me?!?: A hearty congratulations to Andrej Meszaros (No, really!) for coming to Alfie's defence by absolutely leveling the Sabre player (whose name escapes me at the moment) who had the temerity to face wash The Captain following a goal mouth scramble. True, it was a bit of a blind side hit...and it was late...and it was the most body contact I've seen you involved in all season...but in a game like this, I'll grasp at just about any straw for something positive. Ugh...I have to go take a shower now.
The Lows:
  • *Sigh*...we'll have to start all over again with the Electrical College: The pre-game talking heads made much hay with the fact that the Sens had spent the majority of that morning practice concentrating on "defensive responsibilities". So what happens? A Keystone Kops routine in front of our net leads to Buffalo opening the scoring (I'm pretty sure all five of our fearless heroes took a swing at the puck, but I'll need to check the replay) and the tying goal comes with Christon Philichenkov playing "no, you take it" in front of a sprawling Gerber, who had already slid halfway to Geneva.'d that work out for ya, boys?
  • In goal, for YOUR Ottawa Senators...Mister Super Fantastic Trampoline Guy!: Speaking of whom...You're doing it again Martin. It's what got you benched last year, and what lost you the starting job back in December. Rebounds. Crazy ass rebounds followed by you letting yourself get out of position. It's simple really. Stand up. Top of the paint. Face the shooter. Stop the puck. Now you try.
Creamy Middle:

For a team playing for its playoff life, the Sabres came out absolutely flat, and we should have buried them, early and often, then salted the earth, laid a wreath and been happily on our merry way to the first round. But we didn't (shots on goal after the 1st period? 18-9 Buffalo. 18!!) and we paid the price. And now, I find myself wracking my brains, trying to remember the last time, other than '97 that is, when we hadn't clinched a playoff spot with a scant four games to go. And unless The Bryan has a magic "Defence" elixir stashed away somewhere, we won't see the end of April, even if we do get in. And on that happy thought, I'm going to continue drinking...

Up Next:

If you thought the boys were lethargic last night, just wait until tomorrow, when we play a desperate Bruins team, in Boston, at one o'clock in the afternoon. We'll be lucky if the boys don't take their afternoon naps right on the bench. Oh, THAT's right! We won't get to see it! And why not? Well let me tell you...and I want to make myself perfectly clear here, removing all ambiguity lest my words be open to misinterpretation...*ahem*...SOME PENCIL NECKED CBC COCK KNOCKING FUCKSTICK DECIDED THAT WE DON'T WANT TO SEE LATE SEASON GAMES AND DECIDED NOT TO TELEVISE IT! I'm looking at you Nancy Lee. Stupid, hockey hating, bi-- La-la-la-la-la...I'm okay, now...La-la-la-la. Yep, right as rain. FUCK!

Behind Enemy Lines:

I had hoped to find a Bruins blog that offered a game thread, if only to allow me the opportunity to punch the "refresh" key for three hours while screaming at my monitor...since, you know...I can't actually see the game (Fuck you Nancy! You goddamned, breaths...musn't lose...AAAAAARGH!!), but alas I couldn't. So I'm happy to direct you to The Old Bruins Fan. Nothing fancy, just good, solid hockey talk with none of the panic that someone blogging about a team 2 points out of ninth should espouse. I have to admire that. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write a very strongly worded letter.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sens 6, Sabres 3 -- Well, At Least We Didn't Spot Them Six

My New York Times Overlords have once again tapped the hockey blogosphere to find out what the eminent scribes from those teams on the playoff bubble are feeling. They didn't come to me. Either they have more confidence in the Senators then I do, or they know something I don't and are just trying to spare my feelings. I haven't decided yet.

The Highs:
  • 29 teams petition League to reduce game to 40 minutes: Five against the Habs. Five against the Sabres. All scored in the third period. Now about those first two...
  • And lo, a child shall lead them: Brian Lee. Remember that name, because he'll be starting on the blue line coming out of camp next year. First ever big league game? No sweat. All he did tonight was be the most reliable defenceman we've seen since...oh...November. Scored his first point...sure, it was an assist on an empty net goal, but still. Earned himself some time on the power play too. And did I mention he saved a goal by kicking a Buffalo shot off the goal line? Oh, and that he repeatedly put Sabres players on their asses the way an NHL caliber D-Man is, you know, supposed to? See ya Reds. Enjoy free agency.
The Lows:
  • Speaking of worthless bags of donkey feces: Mr. Meszaros certainly had himself an adventure didn't he? Let's see...where to start? Oh! How about your chronic inability to do anything other than pussy little shoves on an opposing forward? Or wait, wait wait! How about your latest incomprehensibly stupid brain cramp that led directly to Jason Pomainville's goal a mere 25 seconds after the Sabres had gone up 2-1? But for my money, your opus, your coupe-de-gracie if you will, was the hooking penalty you took because you were out of position again, thus wiping out a 3rd period powerplay while we were down by two.'re a restricted FA come July aren't you? reason. Just asking.
  • A real goalie? Missed it by...THAT much: If Gerbs is losing pucks in his pads, or making the stop only to remain frozen in place as the fat rebound squirts onto an opponents stick, or if we find him grossly out of position after almost every fucking shot, it can only mean one thing. Playoff time is coming. Which means...GUH!...Rayzor. Sweet Jesus, can no one save me from these turbulent idiots?
  • Attention! "Kristen" please report to dressing room STAT! Bring massage oil...and a friend: Not sure how many people caught it, but The Captain was definitely not okay after scoring our fifth goal and his second of the night. In fact, after shaking his head to an inquiry from the trainer, he left the bench with a grimace with about a minute to go. If memory serves, somebody warned him against coming back from his back problems too early. Whomever could that have been? Please light sacramental candles as you see fit.
Creamy Middle:

Two trains of thought on this one. First: Holy Mother of God, were we lucky to get the win and if we keep it up we're going to get killed in the playoffs! Second: The boys dug deep to win a game we absolutely needed and we'll ride this and be unbeatable in the playoffs! Man...I'm really starting to hate the month of March.

Up Next:

Two nights hence, we tangle at home with the Sabres once again. Depending on what happens with the rest of the clusterfuck that is the Eastern conference between now and then, we could be facing an even more desperate team than we did tonight. Or not. Either way, it would be nice to see us actually play like we're supposed to and crush an opponent who, on paper, has no business giving us this much trouble. But then, that's just me.

Behind enemy lines:

Fellow Times-ian The Willful Caboose is the place to be. Her game threads are an achingly poignant portrait on what it's like to be on the outside looking in. God, I hope I'm never in that position.

Update: Turns out young Master Lee didn't get his first point after all, Verms' empty netter appearing as "unassisted" in the box score. This is what I get for listening Gordo Gasbab Wilson while trying to write a post at the same time. That's it. Come next game, I'm drunk dialing A-Channel Ottawa to tell him he's an idiot. And that I have Prince Albert in a can.

Habs 7, Infuriating Bastards 5: The Nye Mets Are My Favourite Squadron

As we're minutes away from choking away our third divisional game in four nights, I don't have time to post a full rant about the pile of excrement we left on the Bell Centre ice last night. Nor, frankly do I have the energy.

Seriously, you would have saved we fans a lot of bewildered grief and anger had you simply come out of the dressing room at the beginning of the third, dumped a jerry can of gasoline over your collective heads and immolated yourselves, Hindu Monk style right there at centre ice. At least that way there would have been some dignity involved.

So which would you prefer, gentlemen? Miss the playoffs altogether, thus joining the 2007 New York Mets as the very symbol of a heavy favourite collapsing down the stretch in a heap of fragile egos and unfulfilled promise, or make the playoffs and lose in the first round, probably by sweep? Please discuss amongst yourselves.

But bear in mind, as you've shown us with your level of play over the last two games, there are no other choices.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Leafs 5, Choking Pig Dogs 4 -- Please Pass The Mashed Potatoes. It's Next To The Kick In The Scrotum

I didn't get to see much of this game, so I guess I should be thankful. We sat down at our friends' dinner table just after Alfie's goal to make it 1-0. Before that, the boys were flying around, intent on crushing anyone and anything clad in blue and white and generally making Toskala's life a living hell. So as I tucked into my roast chicken (delicious!) I was positively giddy with the certainty that this game was pretty much done, and we'd once again make the Laffs our bitches, pound Darcy Fucking Tucker into paste and make Paul Maurice cry like a girl.

Um...right. By the time the desert dishes were cleared (chocolate fondue...also delicious!) and I could turn the t.v. on again, it was 4-4. Thirty seconds later, the Leafs score the winner and Bob Cole is (gleefully? Was that glee, Bob? I'm pretty sure it was glee.) telling one and all that the Sens had blown yet another two goal lead. Then I got drunk.

It's a tossup as to whether the nausea, aches, cold sweats, head spins and soul destroying sense of helpless outrage I'm feeling right now are the result of way to much plonk, or that familiar and ever so sickening reaction to losing a fourth straight game to THEM in what amounted to a playoff game two weeks early.

So I'm going to go lay down now. If I'm feeling better in a couple of hours, it was the wine. But I doubt it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Best 365 Days I've Ever Spent With My Pants On!

If you'll allow me a bit of self-congratulatory blowhardy goodness, I'd like to wish myself a happy birthday.

Yes, it was exactly one year ago today that I took up a dare from a friend (Friend: "Dude...your emails are freakin' hilarious! You gotta write a blog! Me: Are you crazy? That's public man!") and first strung a series of quasi coherent sentences together, thereby announcing my presence to this here series of tubes. I had no idea how long I would keep it up, whether I'd want to, or if anyone would even read it. At the most, I thought it would be a cool way to scratch a literary itch that had been bugging me for a while until I got bored with it and that would be that.

But something funny happened on the way to short lived obscurity. I found myself having a blast. And the more I looked around the small corner of the interwebs devoted to our little game, the more I realized how good the writing was out there, and how passionate others were about producing it. I think I've enjoyed that revelation as much, if not more, than committing my own little scribbles to the electronic version of pen-to-paper. Thanks for that.

It has been a hell of a year. Along the way, I've made some friends, won some bets, needled our "enemies", taken things WAY too seriously, tried my best to entertain, been given the chance to express myself in a few other places and made more friends. I have to say, as hobbies go, blogging about a hockey team beats the living bejesus out of stamp collecting (er...not that there's anything wrong with that).

I've always told myself that the very second this starts to feel like a "job", I'm going to hang up my keyboard and vanish into the ether. But I'm not even close to that yet. So, to the 11,209 visitors to my little chucklehut in the past year, I'd like to offer a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU! While I may have tried to do it without you, there is no way it would have been as much fun.

Sens 3, Blues 2 -- Well THAT Was Certainly Very Inter--zzzzzzzzz

So riddle me this. Are interconference games incredibly dull because of the unbalanced schedule, or should we be much more appreciative of the unbalanced schedule's inherent ability to save us from incredibly dull interconference games? I expect your answers, single spaced, annotated, and fully illustrated on my desk by noon tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm going to sit here and try and pull something mildly amusing out of the dreck we saw last night. Then I'm going to kiss some snakes. I'm going to hug, and kiss, some poisonous snakes.
  • Rollin', rollin', rollin'...keep them lineups rollin'...: It's a small bit of alchemy that had forever eluded Teflon, namely, the ability to use...and trust...his third and fourth lines. The Bryan suffers from no such affliction and thank Christ for that. Otherwise, we would have woken this morning wondering how the hell the Canadiens had managed to get five points ahead of us, instead of only three. Messrs. Schubert and Vermette? Please step forward and accept the mildly alarmed platitudes of a gratefully nervous populace.
  • Cool! The judge said we get double credit for time already served: I'm not sure how the boys did it, or even if it was entirely deserved, but they managed to make it through the entire first period without taking a single penalty. After the parade to the box on Sunday, this struck me as a mind blowing miracle on par with the Resurrection (see what my blasphemous ass did there? My lapsed Catholicism is showing). Since the Blues power play is slightly less effective than your average junior team, it is a matter of some debate whether this actually mattered, but it was nice to see.
The Lows:
  • Well...we do have an opening in the mailroom: If The Bryan wants to get a second scoring line going, he'll evidently have to do it without Randy Robitaille. I know! I'm as shocked as you are! By the start of the second he had been dropped to the second line, replacing The Captain with Fish and Stillman. He was so effective there, that by the time the last period started, he was playing with Verms and Kelly on the third line. With five minutes to go, he made a brief appearance on the fourth line with Schubeedoo and Donovan. Had this game gone to overtime, I'm thinking he would have been back with the trainers, sharpening skates. And we wouldn't have missed him.
  • Missing pet. Large, hairy, can be mean but fiercely loyal. Reward for safe return. Answers to "Gratz": Watching Barret Jackman run around after Fish and then flap his yap into a double minor for stupidity, I couldn't help but wonder, why the hell doesn't anybody shut him up? This was quickly followed by "Holy crap! Somebody call LAX Lost Baggage! We must have lost McGratten on the west coast swing!"'s that knee Chris? Feel like playing? How about tomorrow? Tomorrow would be great.
Pithy Observations of Questionable Importance:
  • Come again?: At one point, I heard Dean Brown refer to one of the Blues players as "the Czech born Pollack". The anti-PC part of my primordial cortex was delighted. Then I realized he was talking about rookie call-up defenceman Roman Polak. "OH...THAT Polak" I thought, relieved a little that a potentially embarrassing gaff had been avoided. But (a small) part of me was left hoping someone in the League would draft a player by the name of Viachislev Fernandez, if only to hear Brown refer to him as "the Russian born Spic".
  • He's got huge, sharp-- eh-- he can leap about-- look at the bones!: Most goalies paint something fearsome on their masks. Curtis Joseph had his vicious, rabid dog and "CUJO" inscribed on his. Eddie Belfour, with his proud and fierce eagle. Every goalie in Florida Panther history has adorned his gear with some variation of that lethal and predatory animal. And the Blues' Hannu Toivonen is certainly no exception. At least, I think. It was hard to tell what exactly the pink bunny on the back of his mask was meant to represent, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the Finns' natural fear of rabbits.
The Creamy Middle:

Ugh. Thanks for the two points, Saint Loo, but I'm glad that's over. Eight to go, all in the division. Which, of course will make for better hockey. Everybody knows, you can't play good hockey without having a hate on for the opposition. Otherwise, we'd call it soccer.

Up Next:

Saturday night, coast-to-coast on the Cee Bee Cee, we travel to Toronto for the first of two. To finally put a playoff stake through their black hearts will be sweet indeed. I'll be watching this game from some friends of ours, who were gracious enough to invite Beloved and I to dinner. If this doesn't go well, I'm thinking their two year old will have a whole new vocabulary to share with Nana and Pop Pops come Easter morning (note to all non-hockey people...Saturday night dinner parties, particularly in March, may not be a great idea).

Behind Enemy Lines:

The Wonderful World of Loser Domi
, a refreshing break indeed from the usual blind adherents to the Evil Empire who pollute the Fan 590's call in shows with guttural noises, but who have yet to master, mercifully, the art of typing with their knuckles. Who says Leaf fans can't be philosopher poets?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Buffalo Sabres Think This Is A Fantastic Idea

Losing a 7th game in any playoff series is always devastating. Trust me, I know. At the tender age of 8, my team lost the Cornwall Atom C Division House League final, in overtime, to the only other team in our league. Granted, it was by virtue of the fact that our opponents had more players who didn't fall down in the act of trying to skate backwards, but still... I was years getting over it. In fact, I'm getting a little misty eyed right now (stupid repressed memories).

Imagine then, if you will, how much worse that 7th game loss would feel if, in fact, it came in Game 8. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Clarence Beavers:

The Ottawa West Golden Knights got a second chance yesterday and took full advantage of the opportunity, three days after it looked like they had lost the Eastern Ontario Junior B Hockey League Metro Division final to the Clarence Beavers.

The Knights won the series last night with a 2-1 win in a Game 7 replay, which was the result of a blown call by a referee in the original Game 7 on Sunday.

The blown call in question, came when the Golden Knights were disallowed what would have been a second period tying goal after an officials' conference, thirty seconds after the fact, determined that the play should have been whistled dead on an offside. The Knights immediately filed an appeal (and by immediately, I mean between the second and third periods) and on Monday, the pointy heads that control the Ottawa District Hockey Association had decided that, despite the Clarence win in overtime, this most egregious injustice of biblical proportions could not go unaddressed, and that the game be replayed, not from the point of the mistake, but in its entirety. And of course, Karma being the fickle bitch that she is, Clarence subsequently lost the replay.

So what's the lesson to be drawn from this children? Well, while a referee's top priority (with the possible exception of Dan Marouelli) should be to ensure that any game they officiate be as fair and equitable as possible, they will miss things from time to time. And when that happens against your team, do not, under any circumstances, merely accept the result with grace and sportsmanship, but whine to the heavens that you were robbed until you can convince someone, anyone, in a position of authority to see it your way and give you what you want. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's the moral here.

In unrelated news, Dominek Hasek was seen earlier today, sprinting toward the NHL's head office in New York, a video tape in one hand and a skate in the other. Early reports that he was heard muttering "I am totally going to kick Brett Hull's ass" remain unconfirmed as of this writing.

Give The Do-Over to Ottawa West [Ottawa Citizen]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Personal Services Contract With Satan Stipulates I Must Mock This

Yes, I know it's everywhere. Everybody has it, even Deadspin, whose hockey coverage can best be described as "naive" (easy Greg...The Closer notwithstanding). It's been running on a continuous loop on TSN, Sportsnet, CTV News and a circa 1987 VCR somewhere in the bowels of ESPN.

But I don't care. 197 feet. Shorthanded. The only thing that would have made this better would have been a 1-0 loss. But, I'll take it either way. Seriously. I could watch this all day.

I know J.C. Petit. J.C. Petit is a friend of mine. And you, sir, are NO J.C. Petit.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Canes 5, Sens 1: Mr. Cojones? My Name Is Joe, And I'll Be Your Waiter This Evening.

Uh-Oh Corvo gets his (presumably) long awaited chance to prove to us that shipping his sorry ass out of town on a freight train was the wrong thing to do (um…the smart money says he won’t)
Some dumbass idiot wrote this on his "weblog" (I'm told this is some new fangled "internet" thingy) about "hockey" a couple of days ago. If you listen closely you can almost here the dessicated corpse of Edgar Allen Poe laughing his bony ass off. Mmmm...finger lickin' good!

The Singular High:
  • ♫We only live to kiss your ass...From here on in it's easy street...♫: Mr. Gerber, please rest assured that under no circumstances should you feel the least bit responsible for anything that transpired today. Not at all. Not one iota. Really, your conscience should be absolutely clear. The final shot count (42-17 Canes) demands it. Do you feel better? Do you? You do? That's great. If you need me, or my EgoStroke-a-Matic, I'll be over in the corner, sacrificing rubber chickens to the minor deity that is your fragile psyche. Our Cup shot depends on it.

The Lows:

  • Irony? Karma? Comeuppance? Comeuppance. Ah, le mot juste!: If Uh-Oh's hat trick wasn't bad enough, even Patty Eaves had to get into the act and spit in our eye with the Canes' first goal. C'mon Patrick, I thought we were cool. I thought we were friends. I didn't want to see you go, and I said so. And this is how you repay our loyalty... Sorry Pat, but I think its time we see other people.
  • Five guys on the ice? Well that's just weird: Options for The Bryan: a) teach players that one is less likely to be forced into a couple...several...okay, TEN cheap hook, hold, trip or interference calls if one is in actual motion when encountering an onrushing opponent, or b) just send players to the penalty box every two minutes on a rotational basis while conceding 4 power play goals right from the outset. Come to think of it, this one might be easier.
  • The only thing missing was the orange plastic puck: As a nine year old veteran of two, count 'em TWO seasons of tyke hockey under my belt, I thought floor hockey was the dumbest thing in the world. No positional play, nobody knowing what the hell they were doing, just twenty kids rushing into a corner of the gym, falling all over themselves, cheap plastic sticks flailing everywhere until the "puck" squirted out of the pile into the opposite corner, whereupon the mob would go screaming across the floor, only to repeat the process. I hated it. Amateurs, I thought. That probably explains my rather visceral reaction to the way the Sens played this game.
Creamy Middle:

No big mystery here, kids, this was an absolute stinker. Everything we've been in the last three wins, everything we were on Thursday night against Montreal, disappeared. We couldn't chip. We couldn't chase. Hell, we could barely shoot. We didn't hit. We didn't skate. And we sure as hell didn't work. While I'm not overly concerned just yet, what we saw today was a bit of a relapse into the bad habits developed under Teflon's reign and with 9 games left until Go Time, it must be nipped in the bud. Now. With four days until our next game, I have a feeling The Bryan will be pulling out the old Bag Skate manual. Good on him, I say. Last one to puke gets the message.

Up Next:

We're at home in our last non-divisional game of the season, against the Loch Ness Monster of the NHL, the St. Louis Blues. Until you actually see them in the flesh, you're not entirely convinced they exist.

Behind Enemy Lines:

They're prolific. They're passionate. They're hotlinked to MYFO. And they're hilarious. They are St. Louis Game Time. Anybody who puts "Fucking Detroit Since 2005" in their Title layout, is a friend of mine.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Russian Motivational Tools Somewhat, Er...Different

I have no doubt whatsoever that hockey's minor leagues can be a bit of a drag. Enduring endless bus rides to far flung outposts to play a game in front of two thousand or so friends and family and then spending the night, two to a room, in Mel's Dew Drop Inn (Now 80% roach free!) doesn't strike me as the most glorious of existences. And when it's a choice between the Big League lifestyle in the bright lights and big cities of the say, Manhattan...and yet another Saturday post-game "celebration" dodging jagged beer bottles and busted pool cues at a roadhouse in scenic downtown Peoria, it's no wonder that young players would do anything to escape.

That said, as Ottawa Senator draft pick and current Bingo rookie Alexander Nikulin's minor league blog (which is worth visiting, if only for the pics of his insanely hot girlfriend) points out, things could always be worse:
If I were playing in Russia, they’d lock us up, of course, so that we would think really hard about our behavior. That’s one of the strongest motivational tools in our country, I know it from personal experience. But not in America, especially with this kind of schedule.
How this particular motivational tool managed to escape Teflon's attention before he was axed, I'll never know. But it does serve as a nice little something for Rayzor to keep in the back of his head as he contemplates his next temper tantrum over losing the starting job.

In Soviet Russia, bad practices imprison YOU.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sens 3, Habs 0: Balance Of Universe Restored! Earth Again Rotating On Proper Axis! For Now…

From: The Office of The Ever Righteous Earl of Kanata, Duke of Barbados, His Most Excellent Rich Guy, And All Around Swell Dude, Give It Up For Emperor Eugene.

To: Members, newcomers and general sycophantic hangers-on of the Ottawa Senators Admiration Society of Honourable Gentlepersons.

My Dearest Subjects: Please be advised that the last odiferous stench remaining from the Teflonian Reign of Error has now been eradicated from the general area surrounding ScotiaBank Place. Therefore, the earlier ban on bringing small children, the elderly and most livestock, put in place for precautionary safety reasons, has now been lifted.

Join me in grand celebration of reclaiming that which is rightfully ours, by hoisting one of my $11 beers, won't you?

The Highs:

  • Who was that masked man? No, really. Where the hell did he come from?: Lord Gerber, I have no idea what’s in the Kool-Aid The Bryan has been feeding you, but you just keep right on drinking it. This was as sound and solid a positional game as I’ve seen from you, or any goaltender this season. Please, I beg of you, oh Dark One, watch the tape of this game as often as you can between now and the 6th of April. Now, normally, I try to avoid blowing smoke up anybody’s ass. But as it appears that this is precisely the way to get you to actually play the game properly (plus the fact that the alternative is just too frightening to contemplate) please consider my air compressor and I at your immediate and permanent disposal.
  • ♫You take the high road, I’ll take the low, and I’ll be at the end boards, BEFOOOORE ye!♫: THE mantra The Bryan has been preaching since his glorious return has been the K.I.S.S. principle. Keep It Simple Stupid. No more idiotic cross-ice passes when entering the zone, no more dipsy, and certainly, no more doodle. The equation is really quite…er…simple: Chip. Chase. Crash. Get Puck. Score. So, Mr. Komisarek, would you agree that this seems to be working rather well?
  • NONE shall pass! And I don’t care if you CAN answer me these questions three: The defensive flip side to that coin, of course, is to keep your opponent as far away from your own net as possible. On the few occasions where a red sweater did try to venture into that sacred territory, he was quickly reminded that our D have since rediscovered their spines and was quickly dispatched to the ice surface, there to flail helplessly while trying to soothe a suddenly very tender tailbone. After a rather long absence, it was nice to see again.

The Lows:

  • How’s that back Alfie? I can refer you to a rather good masseuse. Sincerely, Client 9: Please don’t get me wrong Daniel. Seeing you in the line up last night did all of our hearts a world of good. But…um…how to put this…might it be possible that you rushed it a bit? Just askin’. You see, it looked to these thoroughly untrained eyes as if you were labouring a tad. But hey, that could just be the effect of missing five games, right? Sure. No problem. But bear in mind that we need you to be absolutely superhuman in 24 days or so. Coming back too soon for a regular season game, no matter how important it may be, thus risking an aggravation of a lingering injury…well that’s just dumb.
  • That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.
Creamy Middle:

We’re back. Allow me to state for the public record, we are fully and completely restored to full operational capability. There’s still an extremely tough 10 games remaining, and we certainly won’t win them all. And because we spent such a long time in the crapper, we may not win the Conference, or even the Division. But I’m okay with that. Why? Easy. “Play to your potential”. It’s all we fans have wanted to see since Christmas and it was Teflon’s failure to persuade, cajole and threaten the team into doing that that got him fired. But now it’s different. If The Bryan can use these last ten games to get the boys playing anywhere near the level they’re capable of playing (and it appears he will), we are truly the Beasts of the East, and it won’t matter who has home ice, or where we play. And the rest of the conference knows that.

Up Next:

A Sunday matinee, spent amongst the magnolias, antebellum plantations and empty seats of Raleigh-Durham as we take on the Hartolina Whaleicanes. Uh-Oh Corvo gets his (presumably) long awaited chance to prove to us that shipping his sorry ass out of town on a freight train was the wrong thing to do (um…the smart money says he won’t) and Beloved gets her hubby (that’s me) back for a rare Saturday night of canoodling on the couch rather than hearing me scream at the television from down the hall. We’re still watching Cops though…

Behind Enemy Lines:

Please drop in on Carolina On Ice for all our your tropical depression needs. WufPirate does indeed seem like a nice enough fellow, although his rather irrational enthusiasm surrounding the Corvo trade does make me worry for his sanity a bit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sens 4, Bruins 1: Darth Gerber Laughs At Your Pitiful Teddy Bear

Hello, Mr. Carbonneau. I am coming for you.

The Highs:

  • A tightrope? No net? Perfect!: On Coach's Corner Saturday night, Grapes sent a message to The Bryan to the effect that based on his own experience with the temper mental beast that is an NHL goalie (see file: Cheevers, Gerry), Gerbs needed to know, beyond any doubt, that he was THE man in order to play at his best. Well, he's given Martin his sixth straight start and with Rayzor's walking papers locked safely away in the GM's top drawer awaiting only an end of season signature, the "it's your team now Gerbs" message has been received. And the results are increasingly magnificent.
  • This puck will self destruct in 15 seconds: Good morning Mr. Heatley. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is a third straight 50 goal season, despite your lengthy recovery from a separated shoulder earlier this year. You currently stand at 35, with 11 games to go. This translates into a 1.4 goal per game average. Should you fail in this endeavour, we will have no choice but to punch Tom Cruise, repeatedly, in the groin. Should you succeed...well...we'll do it anyway. Only with more glee.
  • Ooooh! I LOVE origami!: I simply must use some space here to give an awe struck golf clap to Bruins' forward, Aaron Ward. After taking the full brunt of an A-Train hit that literally folded him in half, backwards, at the Sens bench, which resulted in a pity-whistle from the officials and the sight of Ward crawling on all fours ever so slowly toward the B's trainers, he was back twenty minutes later to start the second period. Such heroics cannot go uncelebrated. Seriously. My own spine snapped in half out of sympathy. I'm actually typing this with a giant Q-Tip held between my teeth.
The Lows:
  • I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I had a bit of reality blocking my ears: At roughly 10:00 of the second period, Gasbag Emeritus Gord Wilson stated the following (and I am not making this up) "Andrej Meszaros was easily the second best player for the Senators on their West Coast swing". I'm paraphrasing a bit, as the actual statement went on for about twenty minutes, running roughshod over three scoring scoring chances, twenty-seven Dean Brown statistical references and a repeat of Dubya's last State of the Union. Ten seconds later, Mesz tripped over his own skates at the B's blue line, forcing The Dark Lord to make a spectacular stop on yet another odd man rush caused by a Meszaros brain hemorrhage (by my count, number 14 since the Duck game). Even by Gordo's regular lofty standards, this one completely destroyed my Broadcaster Homer-O Meter.
  • This really isn't working out. But we can still be friends: Don't get me wrong, I like Randy Robitaille. I do, really. By all accounts, he's a good guy, solid, dependable, not too flashy...likes puppies. In other words he's exactly the type of guy all the hot chicks in high school "liked" but wouldn't be caught dead with in a closet at a house party. That is to say, Bryan, he has no business being on the top line with Heater and Spez. Now if you'll excuse me, I apparently have some latent issues that need dealing with...
Pithy PPV observation of questionable importance:

For ten minutes in the third period, the demonic duo of Brown and Wilson were mysteriously absent from the broadcast. Nothing to hear but the sounds of the game on the ice, the grinding of skates, the "thock" of a well placed pass, the oohs and ahs of crowd. No play-by-play, no overly convoluted colour commentary, no nothing. If I closed my eyes, I could almost smell the flat, overpriced beer from the concourse. It was glorious.

The Creamy Middle:

We may not have our MOJO back, Sens fans, but we do know where the little bastard is hiding and it's only a matter of time before we have him back in his cage, where he belongs. Last night's game was as close to our true form as we've seen since early December. The legs were moving, the boys were on every puck like a john on a Times Square hooker, and the goaltending was positively money. If I were our four division opponents, whom we face in 9 of the next 11 games, I might tend to be a little concerned. But then...that's just me.

Up Next:

A chance to regain a tie for the division lead beckons, as we travel to Montreal for the first of three games against the Habs before the end of the year, Sportsnet East with the regional coverage. If I may offer the will be nice to be able to measure ourselves against such an elite team. Enjoy!

Behind Enemy Lines:

Seriously. Do you have to ask? While things may get a little heated between us over the next three weeks or so, Four Habs Fans is the place. As long as they stay away from the he-man stripper picks. After all, we aren't the Leafs.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Holy Crap, Is THAT What I Sound Like?

In what can only be described as a momentary lapse of reason, the fine gentlemen from Melt Your Face Off have invited your's truly to participate in a panel discussion on BlogTalk Radio, dealing with all things Goon.

Does the instigator rule suck as much as I've always said it does? Can the NHL afford themselves a return to the glory days of the "enforcers" and "policemen" at the risk of alienating potential new fans? Can it afford not to?

But wait! There's more! Also joining the MYFO all star list of editors will be HF33, of the ever brilliant Four Habs Fans.

The show starts at 9:00pm tonight. So join us here, won't you? Just listen, or better yet, call-in, if only to tell me I'm an idiot.

Oh, glorious interweb. Is there nothing you can't do?
p.s.: If you missed the live show, BlogTalk will have it available in their archives. Or so I'm told. Then again, after my performance, they might just choose to burn the tapes.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sens 4, Yotes 2: Sens win! Demand To Play In Morgues For Remainder Of Season

In one of the greatest soundbites of all time, Harry Neale, on getting fired as Chief Canucklehead, told reporters "We couldn't win at home, and we couldn't win on the road. My failure as a coach was my inability to find somewhere else to play". Well Harry, I'm happy to report that the NHL has listened and created a completely neutral site for struggling teams: Glendale, Arizona. At one point in the second, I'm pretty sure I heard someone in the crowd open a bag of peanuts. Followed quickly by the sound of another fan, sitting several sections over, telling him to shut the hell up and keep the noise down, dammit!

The Highs:
  • And it went. Wherever I. Did gooooo!: Fishy fishy fishy Fish! One short handed goal, one power play goal, one of the very few forecheckers, big hits and a valiant, if futile, attempt to lead his tenderhearted teammates into places they otherwise fear to tread: the corners. Please spit in the cup Mike. Emperor Eugene finally has a use for that cloning lab I'm convinced he's secretly built in the SBP basement. Hey, if you have a better idea about why we're paying eleven bucks for a beer, I'd like to hear it!
  • Joe who?: Taking his cue from his aforementioned linemate, Cory was the (only) other guy who looked like he actually gave a crap, at least for the first two periods. While he wasn't rewarded with any goals, he did manage to surpass Joe Corvo's career hit total as a Senator by mid point of the first. So...looks like we won that trade after all.
  • Karma is a vengeful mistress...and a bit of a bitch, truth be told: To: Martin Hanzal. From: W. Gretzky (Head Coach). Dear Martin. A shorthanded breakaway, with the chance to further deflate an already reeling opponent with a third straight goal in less then five minutes sitting there for the taking, may not be the best time to try to get on the highlight reels with some jackass, hotdog, dipsy-doodle, behind the back and through the legs, practice ice bullshit. Please note that Mike Fisher's tying goal came on the ensuing rush while you stood in a corner trying to get your stick out of your ass. Please report to press box.
The Lows:
  • Breaking up is NOT that hard to do. Really. Try it: Holy crap Bryan. Under no circumstances should Reds and Mesz ever be on the ice at the same time again. You're just courting disaster. Between Andrej's propensity to hand scoring chances to the other team like a crack dealer at a certain Ottawa live music venue (stupid pass through the middle of our zone = Yotes' 2nd goal... Soccer girlie man routine after taking puck in the mask..."My face! My beautiful face!"... = Yotes' point blank shot) and Redden's absolute inability to do anything but try weak ass stick checks against opposing forwards, it's a wonder we only gave up two goals. Seriously. Split 'em. Or better yet, sit 'em. Both of them.
  • Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na LEADER! Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na LEADER!: Last night's Hot Stove on HNIC dealt with the lasting effects of Teflon's Reign Of Error. Quoting "an unnamed GM", words such as "Have to ditch Emery", "Cancer", "laziest practice team in the league" and, most telling "they have to be deprogrammed" serves as further proof that John Paddock is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Pithy Observation of Questionable Importance:

Um...excuse me, Phoenix? Just what the hell is ""? And do you really want to entrust your career aspirations to a company that can't even spell? Just wondering.

Creamy Middle:

If someone had told me way back in those golden days of October that the Sens would be facing a "must win" March...against Phoenix, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed. If someone had told me that last week, I would have screamed "DON'T YOU THINK I KNOW THAT?!?!" before punching them in the mouth. Well, we won our "must win". Whoopdee-fucking-doo. With 12 games to go, TEN of which are within our division, nothing I saw last night gives me the warm and squishies about getting out of the first round...assuming we even make the playoffs (a proposition still very much up in the air Sens fans).

Up Next:

Tuesday night, back home, against the Broons. This is the second to last Pay Per Screwed game of the year. I'm not sure I can resist ordering it. After all, as with any addiction, it's hard to stop once you start...

Behind Enemy Lines:

Check out Ghosts of the Garden for a fan's eye view of what it's like to get spanked 8-1 (by the Leafs!) and 10-2 by Alex the Great and his Capital minions in the same week. Youch. Not that we have any great experience with losing to Toronto or Washington...oh no. None at all.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mm Hmm? Yes? And If I Can Obtain For You Such An Animal?

We here at Five For Smiting take great pride in our ability to bring only the finest of ill informed opinion and conjecture to our gentle readers. It is an ability...nay, a responsibility...we take very seriously. In order to fulfill that responsibility, we use a process built on a gelatinous foundation of rumour, innuendo and alcohol, the integrity of which is jealously guarded with an enthusiasm bordering on zealotry. So when our research department, ably led by our Chief Canine Sir Humphrey Fartsalot and his team of poo flinging simians, digs up a downright amateurish attempt by the MSM to usurp that process, it leaves us no choice but to act:

PHOENIX -- After the Ottawa Senators raced to a 15-2 record, it would have been unthinkable. Even a couple of weeks ago, when they still sat atop the Eastern Conference, it would have been beyond the realm of possibility. But now it's such a tangible reality square in front of them that even they cannot ignore it: These Ottawa Senators may not hang on to a playoff position.

Now, please don't misunderstand. I admire the attempt, no matter how clumsy it may be. However, the lack of decisiveness, of passion...of league, don't you think?

Having closely analyzed the results garnered so far on this road trip, as well as having borne witness to the Senators truly execrable level of play over the last three plus months, I can categorically refute the above statement and say with utter certainty that these Ottawa Senators WILL NOT hang on to a playoff spot. It's self evident, really. In actual fact, so certain is the Five For Smiting Research Arm of this outcome, that it is already compiling a list of individuals who are most responsible for this abomination. The names "Murray", "Spezza", "Gerber" and "Emery" have already been written onto the ballot. In ink. All that remains is to determine the order of finish (all suggestions welcome in the comments).

And so, Mr. Panzeri, while I admire your enthusiasm, I suggest you leave this kind of thing to the professionals. Unless we manage to beat Phoenix tonight. In which case, all bets are off and of course we'll make the playoffs.

When that happens, I can always just blame my stupid dog.

Just Getting There Now Goal No. 1 [Ottawa Citizen]

Kings 2, Sens 0 -- Please Follow Directions Printed Below

Step 1. -- Insert season in bowl.

Step 2. -- Activate green flush lever located at upper left.

Step 3. -- Act contrite and apologize profusely to fans, press and team. Insert shoulder shrugs and befuddled head scratching as appropriate.

Step 4. -- Giggle like self-absorbed schoolgirl on way to golf course/summer home/crack dealer.

You played the absolute worst team in the NHL, and quite possibly the worst team in all of hockey. You played the absolute worst team in the NHL who were also starting a rookie goaltender against you. And you couldn't even score, let alone win.

Forget about the division, gentlemen. That goal is no longer attainable. You are now five points out of oblivion. One of the most impressive collection of hockey talent ever assembled is now hell bent on missing the playoffs. And the only reason this will almost certainly happen, is that you just can't bring yourselves to give a shit.

Disgusting. Brutal. Inexcusable. Pathetic. Bastards.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2 Games, 1 Point , 5th Place -- Personally, I Blame This Guy

After missing a train in 1876 in Ireland because its printed schedule listed p.m. instead of a.m., he proposed a single 24-hour clock for the entire world, located at the centre of the Earth and not linked to any surface meridian. [Wikipedia] And to think, the best Rayzor could come up with was "I went to the wrong rink."
At three minutes after one o'clock this morning, I was startled awake from a beautiful dream. In it, Charlize Theron, wearing nothing but roman sandals and a centurion's cape came to me, whispering "Do you want it?" Oh yes. "Do you really want it?" Oh God yes!! "Then I'll give it to you. And you will LOVE it!" She stretched out her arms, beckoning...yearning...willing me to take it....when, suddenly *poof* she, and it, were gone.

I sat bolt upright, bathed in a cold sweat, the last vestiges of her sultry voice mixing with the remnants of a sonic boom originating somewhere over Northern California. It was the sound of an enormous implosion, the air rushing in to fill the vacuum. Damn it! Damn it all to Hell! She was going to give it to me! I know it. How do I know? Because she was holding it in her arms. And it was magnificent. And then it was gone. In a flash of smoke and sterling silver, it had vanished. The Cup, our Cup had vanished forever.

What? What the hell did you think I was talking about?

L.A. tonight. Hey! Charlize lives in L.A.! I gotta hit the sack. G'night!

Monday, March 3, 2008


Hi Martin. It's me, SLC.

Now I realize that we may have gotten off on the wrong foot here, what with me hanging the "Swiss Pastry" moniker on you (and not the infinitely cooler "Swiss Cheese", I should add in my own defence). Oh...and of course there was the time when I wanted you traded for a bag of pucks. And hung in the ScotiaBank Place parking lot. say there Buddy? Friend? Oh pal 'o mine? Bygones, oui?

See, here's the problem. God help us, but we need you. I need you. I need you to shrug off your natural tendency toward non-confrontation and passivity, toward decorum, neutrality and utmost respect for obscure banking laws. Martin, I...nay, WE...need you to dump your innate "Swiss-ness". We need you to reach up and grab the #1 goaltending spot by the throat, wring its fucking neck, and not let go until mid June. And we need it to start tonight.

Why, you may ask? Well, how about, if you don't, you've left us with this:

"One of the things I would do over is the (Emery) stuff," Paddock said during a conference call. "Not really the tardiness. The tardiness has been there the last couple of seasons. I don't think there was really any change in how he was handled. When it came to being late five minutes before practice or five minutes after, I didn't let him practise.

"I should have put him off the ice when he wasn't working. I'm not talking about coming out early or staying late. It's just during practice. That would have been that accountability that they talk about. That's the one thing I would do differently."

When asked for a comment yesterday after practice -- how appropriate -- Emery refused to talk to the media.
Now, I've heard that you've been trying to assert a bigger leadership role in the room. And that's commendable. you assert a little faster there, pal? Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's all on you now Gerbs. Without you, we're left with Coach Killer and his infuriating, and wholly undeserved sense of entitlement. Without you, we're done in the first round. So waddya say? Are you ready to cowboy up? Is Darth Gerber ready for a comeback?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sens 5, Pens 4: Memo To Habs -- We Will Crush This Little Rebellion

Please forgive me for indulging my inner geek here, but I feel the need, in light of our regaining the Conference lead for the next...oh...three hours or so, to call down a little Dark Side voodoo on the derrieres of our rivals.

The Emotional Highs:
  • Man alive! There ALIVE in here!: Now that's what we're talkin' 'bout gentlemen! They hit! They banged! They hit 'em again! They finally found, trapped and skinned that wily and elusive animal called a "forecheck", long rumoured to exist but rarely seen. And Verms! When Vermette drops the gloves you know everybody is amped up. As for the fight itself? haircut Antoine.
  • My name is Senators Lost Cojones, and I approved this message: Everyone knows, there are good penalties. A hook to disrupt a breakaway. The trip to clear out the crease during a goal mouth scramble. Then there's the "fuck THIS shit" penalty. Mr. Phillips, please step forward. For teaching Mr. Malkin that a two minute boarding call is not the worse thing that can happen after hitting someone from behind (sure, it cost us the power play but I don't care), I hereby award you me look around here...AHA! I award you the The Golden Beer, symbolic of hard work and short tempers. I're speechless. It'll pass.
  • Does that #28 jersey come in prison stripes?: Congratulations Marty. Three straight penalties (only two of which you actually deserved, both of which the Pens cashed in for goals), one goal scored and being a general pain in the ass. You've instantly become the most memorable deadline acquisition in franchise history. Granted, if you look back on our record at the Trade Deadline that's not saying much...but still. Just keep on keeping on, and we'll get along just fine.
The Lows:
  • Somebody missed the memo: Playing the part of an airplane seat cushion, ladies and gentleman, Mr. Jason Spezza! Yes, whether it was ignoring the back check, lazy passes through the neutral zone or getting knocked off the puck quicker than an eight year old polio victim, our boy certainly puts the "Float" back in "Flotation Device".
  • THAT's a hook. Gotcha: If ever you've questioned my rants about the decline in the quality of officiating this season (Hi Dad!), please consider the following sequence: Staal skates into the corner after a loose puck, Spezza (shockingly) close behind. Staal literally picks up Jason's stick by the blade and tucks it under his arm, before flopping to the ice like a wounded trout. Dive? Not in Gary's brave new League. Nope. Penalty to number 19, two minutes for hooking. And referees wonder why they're held in such high regard by the paying public.
  • You're a hard habit to break: A small vestige of Teflon's tenure reared it's misshapen head in this one. After two periods of hockey, played at a tempo to make a Sens fan's special places all moist and excited, we came out flat for the third. For now, we'll cut you some slack guys. We know that there are far to many things to fix before the stench of the previous administration is finally eradicated from the room, but if you could put this one somewhere on the "to do" list, it would be appreciated. Remember, the gallows haven't been completely put away yet.
Pithy Observation of Questionable Importance:

At one point in the second, The Captain disappeared for about five minutes, a fact noted several times by an increasingly alarmed booth. When they finally threw it down to Eliot Friedman to find out what the hell was going on, Eliot informed a breathless and rather worried fan base about the state of the entire franchise with one word: "Maintenance" Okay then. I'll be sure to issue a press release before I take my car in for its next oil change.

Creamy Middle:

Picking up where we left off on Thursday, the light at the end of the tunnel just got a little brighter. If anybody had any doubts whether axing Teflon was a mistake, they should be gone after today. And while we're still a long...LONG way from regaining the form that got us to the Final, we can at least take comfort in the fact that The Bryan won't let us go down without a fight.

Up Next and Behind Enemy Lines:

On the road, Anaheim, San Jose and Los Annng-ga-lese. Here there be monsters! As the Sens take off on their annual odyssey to the edge of the known world, I am reminded by Her Majesty that my five a.m. wake up call means that for all intents and purposes, this team doesn't exist for the next week. But be sure to check out Mike Chen, Battle of California, and Purple Crushed Velvet for all of your update-y goodness. I'll be around from time to time, if only to keep my page hits up.

Update: Just fixing some typos and cleaning up the dead link. Nothing to see here. Move along.