Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dear NHL: All Your Meats Are Belong To Us

So now that we’ve all managed to somehow come down from the euphoric highs surrounding the Swedish Midget Little Person Convention and Calf Roping Festival, it’s time to turn our attention to that most glorious of days, the morning…er…afternoon of which hockey fans across the league will leap out of bed at the crack of noon and rush headlong to the den to find out what Gary Clause has left for them under their Officially Licensed NHL Beer Fridges (and then stain their Officially Licensed NHL jammies with their burning tears upon realizing there is no television coverage until five in the afternoon! Seriously TSN. WTF??)

I refer, of course, to Free Agent Day, falling, as always, on July 1st for your convenience (or as we Canuckistanians like to call it: Great National Drunken BBQ Day).

The storylines will be many. The dollar amounts will be obscene. The potential comedic gold will be…stupefying. Who will be the next contestant on “Kiss Jaromir’s Ass!”? Who will once again overpay for The Great False Hope that is Marian Hossa? Will Sean Avery fulfill his pact with Satan and sign with the Laffs (hint: see below)?

And most important of all, how will The Bryan placate the howling mob? As could be expected, we here at Five For Smiting would like to offer a few suggestions.

So, without further ado, we are pleased to give you the top ten free agents we’d like to see wearing the Condom Logo next year. Ranked by Degree of Inappropriate Arousal (a complex mathematical formula involving player stats from last year, their salaries, our ability to fit them under the Cap, the degrees of separation from Elisha Cuthbert and the square of Pi) and presented in ascending order (that’s “lowest” to “highest” for you Leafers), we’ll roll out numbers 10 through 5 today, with the finest five to run Saturday. Excited yet? Didn’t think so, but here we go anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, start your pitchforks. Drum roll is optional.

10: Sean Avery (DIA 2.6 – mild interest characterized by quick up-and-down scan. Firmly ensconced in the “in a pinch” file):

Imagine how much fun we could have now that Darcy Fucking Tucker has finally been taken out behind the barn and “Ole Yeller’d” . Eight times a season, we could unleash Satan’s Spawn on the now defenceless Laffs. Eight times a season, we’d be the ones laughing, rubbing their faces into the ice and spitting on Vesa Toskala’s battered corpse. HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW BITCH! Yeah, that would be sweet. In the meantime, we can keep Sean locked in the basement, feeding him raw meat and keeping him good and angry using an endless loop of Air Supply. Oh come now. Stop acting so shocked and appalled. You were thinking it too, so you may as well just admit it and move on.

9: Daymond Langkow (DIA 3.2 – moistened upper lip, slight dampness in the palms):

Assuming we could ever pry him from the cold dead hands of Mike Keenan, his 65 points and a genuine honest-to-Christ sense of defensive responsibility would make him a sweet addition to the second line. What? Waddya mean Keenan’s still alive?

8: Ty Conklin (DIA 3.9 – pupil dilation accompanied by small increase in heart rate):

Okay. Hands up everybody who thinks Swiss Pastry is the man to take us to the Promise Land now that He Who’s Name Shall Not Be Uttered has been shipped off to Greater Peoria. Anybody? Anyone at all? That’s what I thought. So we need a back-up. ConkBloc’s greatest asset in this regard is his relatively tiny…cap hit. Or so I’ve heard.

7: Mark Streit (DIA 4.2 – blood vessels start to expand, flashbacks of Grade 7 gym class...Holy crap! BOOBIES!...begin):

81 of 82 games played, 62 points, 33 on the power play, plays both ways…er…not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not bad for a Kraut chocolate eating neutrality monkey. Plus it will drive the boys from Four Habs Fans batshit.

6: Shean Donovan (DIA 5.2 – face flushes, feel uncontrollable urge to flirt in Irish accent):

Hey look! He’s one of ours! And he wants to stay! Solid veteran presence, does what’s asked of him, doesn’t bitch about it. And really Bryan, we kind of owe him a little somethin’ somethin’ after the way Teflon treated him, know what I’m sayin’?

5: Brooks Orpik (DIA 5.9 – quickened breathing and slight tingling in the area the nice priest called the “vestibules”):

Everything we wanted Wade Redden to be (and may have been for a year or two), but didn’t get, namely a big, mean, stay-at-home defenceman who will punish you severely for the slightest crease infraction. In other words, the exact opposite of the player we just drafted in the first round. What was that Sherry? FINE! I’ll cut the kid some slack. But geez…

Well, that should be enough for both of you to chew on for a while. We’ll be back on Saturday to finish off the list, hoist a pint to our brilliance, and scribble a few more run-on sentences. In the meantime, we’re heading back to the greatest interweb day in the history of the ebays.

Pants! (© FHF)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Sunday Soapbox: Of The NHL, Euro 2008 And Testicular Contrasts

I have a confession to make. Every two years I watch a lot of soccer. And every two years, I always, always think the same thing: I am never watching another game. Ever.

But it never fails. The next time the World Cup or the European Championships roll around I find myself drawn to the television the way a Catholic schoolboy is drawn to his dad’s porn stash: with heart pounding excitement mixed with shame and self-loathing. This time it will be different, you think. Just one little peek. What can it hurt, right? And yet, it always ends the same way. Eventually, you find yourself in a locked bathroom with the water running, not sure if it was worth it, wondering why you just can’t stop and hoping against hope your mom won’t notice the inordinate amount of toilet paper that seems to have vanished from the roll. And that’s exactly how I feel after watching every Euro or World Cup final (um…without the toilet paper). Exhausted. Used. And a little dirty.

And the reason is quite simple. It’s the diving stupid!

I’m not talking about the awkward flopping of a player hoping to draw a competitive advantage. After all, we hockey fans don’t have to go too far to see one of our own doing the same thing (Hellooooo…Darcy).

No, I’m talking about the effeminate girly-men rolling around on the ground after being brushed, if touched at all, by an opponent, clutching an ankle, or knee, or baby toe as if it had just been amputated, while wailing at the top of their lungs that OH GOD, I’VE BEEN SHOT!! IT HURRRRRTS! The high theater continues with the inevitable appearance of stretcher bearers (stretcher bearers!) who whisk the poor bastard to the sidelines, whereupon a little man will produce a magic aerosol can from his little-man gym bag, and spray the affected area. And like Lazarus rising from the tomb, the dying man jogs back onto the field at the next whistle, ready to start the show all over again. Come to think of it, I may still be talking about Darcy. But I digress.

Every time I see that, particularly at major international tournaments like Euro08, I can’t help but contrast that with the sight of Ryan Smyth taking a dozen stitches to the forehead in the hallway behind the Oilers bench without missing a shift in a playoff series against Dallas, or Chris Draper and Ryan Malone doing their best to score a goal by deflecting a slap shot with their face in this year’s Finals. Did I mention that Malone was playing with a broken nose at the time?

If you’re like me (and God help you if you are), you have at least one crazy-ass soccer fan among your circle of acquaintances. They are a passionate lot, these fans. They will bombard you with stories about how badly it hurt when England got hand-jobbed at the ’86 World Cup or send you an email containing a frighteningly complete minute-by-minute recap of that week's Hotspurs match. A match that ended in a 0-0 draw. They love their game, and they want to make damn sure you love it too. Good on ‘em, I say.

Now, that said, for all of their knowledge and passion, they seem to have a curious blind spot when it comes to the main reason most North Americans just don’t get the sport at best, or at worse, loathe it to the depths of their beings. I fall somewhere in between. I love the passion of the crowds. I can appreciate that a scoreless tie can still be exciting. And I know that soccer, when played at its highest level, can indeed be beautiful (not The Beautiful Game, mind you. There’s only one of those, and it’s played on ice).

Sorry folks, but until soccer rids itself of the downright embarrassing displays put on by its stable of castratti, it will remain, to me and to millions of North Americans who prefer their sports a tad more robust, as a biannual curiosity, but nothing we'd bring home to mother. Or spend money on.

Now if you'll excuse me, the semis are coming up. I have to go refill the toilet paper.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Welcome Erik! Because You Can Never Have Too Many Undersized Swedish Teens!

I'm going to need a little time to digest this one. Erik Karlsson. Pierre McGuire calls him "the Swedish Brian Rafalski". I'm assuming that doesn't mean he's out of shape and overpaid.

If you asked any Sens fan what it was we needed the most out of this draft, the answer would have been "an assassin". The second answer? A big, mean, Pull Out Your Spleen Through Your Anus And Eat It With A Nice Chianti While Crushing Your Spine defenceman. We get...Erik. Erik weighs 157 pounds. I haven't weighed 157 pounds since Grade 10.

The Bryan began his post-draft interview with the following sentence: "To win in today's NHL...". Did I mention that Erik will be playing in Sweden for the foreseeable future? Did I also mention that we traded UP to get him?

More as the weekend goes on. Right now, I need to mail order some HGH to Stockholm.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NHL Meatmar...Er...Draft 2008! Now With 76% More Drunken Bloggers!

"Ottawa apologizes." With those immortal words uttered on a glorious June day in 1992, possibly while drunk, then GM Mel Bridgeman kicked off the Ottawa Senators' long and embarrassing disastrous painful illustrious draft day history. I'm not sure if you've heard, but this year's cattle call is happening in our own backyard of scenic Kanata, whereupon dozens of young men will kiss their moms, mount the stage in all of their pimply peach fuzzed glory, don a jersey, put on a baseball cap and rush out to buy Paraguay. Good times.

Now this may tag me as somewhat of a heretic amongst my blogospheric brethren ("sisteren"? Hi Sherry!) but I've never been a huge fan of the draft. Putting aside the inherent creepiness of middle aged men poring over the physical attributes of strapping young lads the way you would a thoroughbred ("Stamkos? Fantastic speed! Nice gait. Check his teeth."), it's hard to get excited by your team's draft picks when you know it will be a few years before you see them with the big club, if at all (freaks of nature named "Crosby" or "Ovechkin" excepted of course).

Now that said, there is one very good reason to get excited about this year's festivities. SensBlogCon 2008! Put together by none other than Ben Meyers, writer, editor and driving force-y goodness behind Sens Army, this inaugural meeting of Sens bloggers, fans and various sycophantic hangers-on promises to be an entertaining and enlightening little soiree indeed. Ben has the details up on his site as well as this Facebook group.

So join us, won't you? Not only will you be amongst kindred souls as we contemplate the pitiful sight of some poor bastard in his grandfather's suit who sat through seven rounds and never got picked, but also put pasty white faces behind the names of those responsible for some of the best Sens blogs on the interwebs. I hear most of them have even promised to wear pants.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Sunday Soapbox: We Now Pause For Maudlin Sentimentality

When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. -- Mark Twain
I can't wait to be a Dad.

I can't wait to teach my toddler to say "Leafs SUCK!" and then feign shock and dismay when it's enthusiastically shouted in the grocery store.

I can't wait to open a hockey bag, in September, full of equipment (put away wet and jammed in the basement) looking for the $75 shin pads my 8 year old swore up and down were "stolen" after the last game back in March.

I can't wait to find them.

I can't wait to burn them for the safety of all concerned and buying a new pair.

I can't wait to tie ten pairs of skates at six in the morning in a cramped dressing room while the "coffee" I bought at the arena's concession stand sits untouched and congealing on the floor under the benches.

I can't wait to take a day off work to take my 12 year old, at his insistence, skating on the Rideau Canal on a December day so cold, your wind-whipped tears freeze to your face on contact.

I can't wait to pack it in ten minutes later after the fourth time said 12 year old complains that "my boogers hurt!"

I can't wait to stand, hose in hand, at midnight on a 30 below January night to make sure the ice on the backyard rink is absolutely perfect by the time the kids come home from school the next day.

I can't wait to curl up on the couch on a lazy, snowy Sunday afternoon and explain the beauty of a perfectly executed double-raze-takeout, or the intricacies of a zone blitz.

I can't wait to say "Can you go get Daddy a beer?" at halftime.

I can't wait to burst into the bedroom and laugh at my very green pre-teen who is feeling the full effects and dire consequences of breaking into my liquor cabinet after I went to bed the night before.

I can't wait to show enough mercy not to mention anything about it for the rest of the day.

I can't wait to show my child that nature's perfect food is an inch thick top sirloin steak grilled to medium rare and sliced across the grain.

I can't wait to say "Don't tell your mother I said that."

I can't wait to let my 15 year old help me build a new room in the basement, entrusting him to mix the compound I'm going to use to hold the drywall tape.

I can't wait to open the door on our new room the next morning to find that four hours of taping had completely collapsed and was now lying in the middle of the floor.

I can't wait to teach my child that the only things you need to do basic electrical work are a pair of pliers, some work gloves and a good sledgehammer.

I can't wait to teach my child how to find a good electrician. And dry waller.

I can't wait to make a two hour round trip at three in the morning because my daughter called and tearfully declared that she had had a fight with her roommate. And I can't wait to help her move out the next day.

I can't wait to show my kids what a gift it is to be married to the same person for twenty-five years.

I can't wait to show my kids that my whole world revolves around them, and that no matter what they do or the trouble they get themselves into, they will always have a place to come home to for as long as they need to stay.

I can't wait to be a Dad. I can't wait to be my Dad.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Craig Hartsburg! I Am All A-Quiver With Undecided Apathy!

Photo courtesy of Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP Photo.

As we shed a single tear watching Pat Burns and his oncological sidekick ride off into the sunset, headed we know not where...but the smart money is on Lou "Fish Eye" Lamiarello's buffet table... let us welcome Craig Hartsburg, newly minted Grand Chief Whistle Dude of your Ottawa Senators.

While it is true that most of Craig's head coaching experience involves keeping pubescent boys from drinking illegally and catching the clap from Russian hookers, the first second fourth first third first choice of the Ottawa sporting media does have two WJHC gold medals on his resume, so that's something. And while one could make the argument that a poo-flinging simian would have won two gold medals with the talent on those Championship teams, we won't here for fear of being seen as an ungracious host.

So what does Craig bring to the table? In a word, "accountability". No really. He said so himself. Twice:

''Early in this whole thing, the players will see that there's a plan and we're certainly here as coaches to motivate the players to follow the plan. And then if the plan is not followed, there will certainly be accountability,'' Hartsburg said. ''I don't want to get into specifics, but trust me, there will be accountability. It'll be black and white. They'll know what's right and what's wrong and they'll know there's a line not to cross.'' (Ed. note: Pssst...Jason. I think he's talking to you. Has to be. Wade and Rayzor are history.)

And as long as some of those "specifics" involve two hour bag skates after lousy efforts and the occasional cattle prod to the groin of those who can't find the corners, I'm right there with you buddy!

So welcome to the fish bowl Craig! We're happy to have you aboard, and wish you nothing but the best! For now. But the first time you triple shift Alfie to get yourself out of a jam, I'm ripping you to pieces. Just thought I should make that clear. You're not in the Sault anymore.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome Peter DeB -- Wait, What? The Sun?? Aw Crap. Never Mind...

Ordinarily, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch is a pretty solid read. He's plugged into the NHL rumour mill like no other Ottawa sports writer, and you can usually take what he says to the bank. Except, perhaps, today. Today, Good Ol' Bruce seems to have channeled his inner Steve Simmons and pulled a story straight out of his ass with a little help from an over enthusiastic Kitchener radio station:
Peter DeBoer could soon be moving to Ottawa as coach of the Senators. The coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers is in the Barbados today and believed to be meeting with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to hammer out a deal to become the team's new head coach, the Sun has learned.
Well...not so much. No sooner had that story hit the series of tubes, the Sens were denying any hiring had taken place:
Sources tell TSN DeBoer's trip to the Barbados was simply a continuation of the interview process and DeBoer has not yet been offered the position of head coach. "I haven't hired anybody at this point in time," Senators GM Bryan Murray told The Canadian Press.
It's interesting to note (at least it is to me), that the original story that appeared on the Sun's website this morning said it was a done deal and that the announcement was "imminent". The reason I remember that is the sinking feeling I had while reading it in my cube, and, with no access to my pulpit, being powerless to stop it (I also suffer from delusions of grandeur in the morning, but that usually passes before lunch). That story is now gone, replaced with the "we're absolutely, almost without a doubt, rather confident this may, or may not happen. Maybe" quasi-retraction you see above.

All questions of journalistic integrity and a writer's premature expectoration aside (it happens to everybody Bruce...really), this delay gladdens my heart. Not because I have anything against Herr DeBoer (der Nederland... REPRESENT!) but because it means I still have a chance to sway The Bryan with our true choice:

Am I right people?? Am I? Hello? Is this thing on? Apparently those delusions have hung around a little longer than usual.

DeBoer meeting with Senators Owner [Ottawa Sun]
Senators still searching for next head coach [TSN]

Monday, June 9, 2008

Let This Be A Lesson Young Man: Octogenarian Composers Are Not People With Whom One Should Trifle

Pic swiped from the CBC website. Since they were giving everything else away today, I didn't want to feel left out.

Well, that was certainly a tidy bit of business, wasn't it Scott? You must be exhausted. You should go home and relax a little. You know, loosen your tie. Fix yourself a drink. Sit quietly alone, contemplating a hard day's work. Smash yourself repeatedly between the eyes with a blunt object...

I'm told the kids have a word for what happened to you. It may well have fallen out of fashion, I don't know. It's so hard to keep up with the latest trends, isn't it? Tsk...public opinion is just so hard to gauge sometimes, am I right?

Anyway, as I said, there is a word, the perfect word for what transpired: You got pwned. It means, according to the Urban Dictionary, "to be dominated by an opponent or situation, especially by some god-like force." That "god-like force" Scott, was the CTV Network.

In the likely chance that you remain confused as to the thrust of my argument, I'll put it another way. You were just violently sodomized in the mother of all metaphorical prison rapes. And you brought it on all by yourself. Don't believe me? Check out the language CTV used in its press release. Try not to trip over the gloat...
CTV Inc. has acquired all rights to 'The Hockey Theme' in perpetuity, preserving the song's legacy and ensuring it will be heard on national television for years to come..."It's an honour and a privilege to own such a cherished piece of Canadiana." said Rick Brace, President, Revenue, Business Planning and Sports, CTV Inc.
Yikes. "It's an honour and privilege to own such a cherished piece of Canadiana". If you listen really close Scott, you can almost hear the PR staff in the background, yelling "HAH! LOOOOSERS!" between the pop of champagne corks.

And I really must commend you on the grace and class with which you took your mean, "business reversal"...
"Hockey is a game, it's not a song," Moore said. "We have the No. 1 sports property in Canada. I don't expect one less viewer to tune in on Saturday to watch Hockey Night in Canada. They will continue to watch their favourite team."
Moore said he was surprised a rival network would purchase something so inextricably linked to the Hockey Night brand. "It's a constant commercial for our network," he said.
Neat trick, that. Calling it just "a song" while at the same time expressing shock that someone else would steal it out from under you because it's such a valuable and "inextricable" part of your "brand". But I suppose "Oh YEAH?!?!? I know YOU are, but what am I??" didn't make it out of draft.

And as for being "surprised a rival network would purchase something so inextricably linked to the Hockey Night brand" you're literally a day late and several million dollars short on that one. Not that anybody tried to tell you of course.

CTV Saves 'The Hockey Theme Song' []
CTV Purchases The Hockey Theme []

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Sunday Soapbox: "It's Just Business" -- How Much For That Ditty In The Window?

In any given week there are usually one or two stories in hockey, or the sports world in general, that are guaranteed to annoy, confuse, amuse or just plain piss me off enough to talk about.

Rather than continue to inflict these meaningless rants on Beloved during our daily commute (although I will miss the eye rolls), I thought I'd explore them here in a new feature I'm calling The Sunday Soapbox. Like it? Hate it? Think I should just do everybody a favour and get the hell off the internets, leaving them to people who know better? Let me know in the comments.

This week: HNIC, The Song, and putting a price on being "a fan". Please ensure onions are firmly affixed to belt prior to proceeding.

The saddest statement I've run across (so far) in the HNIC Theme Song imbroglio came from "Louis". I've never met Louis. I have nothing against Louis. I'm sure Louis is a fine fellow. But Louis depressed the shit out of me.

In a brief exchange in the comments section of the New York Times coverage of the saga, Louis and I debated the relative wisdom of the CBC's decision. When I pointed out that if Ms. Claman and her lawyers were just trying to squeeze the song for the largest possible pay-day, as Louis was implying, they could simply sell the tune to TSN for "a thousand times more" than Mother Corps had ever paid. It was Louis' response that depressed me. "Then she should do that and quit squeezing the CBC. It’s just business."

"It's just business". If we, as a society are indeed going to hell in a hand cart as some of our more "eccentric" members insist, then that phrase would adorn the license plate. The sad implication is that all things are expendable, and that anything can be sacrificed, as long as it "makes good business sense". This may hold for strictly "business" transactions (although a few Enron investors may beg to differ), but in the sports world it's scariest string of words a fan can hear. Because "it's just business" has no room for the deep emotional investment we, as fans, make in our favourite sports.

"It's just business" tells us, the fans, that not only do our passion and loyalty not matter, but worse, that the owners of the teams to whom we freely give that loyalty and passion couldn't give a rat's ass about either.

"It's just business" is why hockey fans in Winnipeg, Quebec City and Hartford no longer have teams to cheer for and why Hamilton never will.

"It's just business" is why we've replaced grand old arenas like the Forum, Maple Leaf Gardens, Boston Gardens, The Spectrum, and Chicago Stadium, infused as they were with history, character and noise with soulless cookie cutters stuffed with luxury boxes whose "naming rights" are whored out to whichever corporate pimp comes up with the biggest cheque.

"It's just business" is why, on most nights, you can hear a pin drop in most arenas as the well healed snack on sushi and Perrier in those boxes, throwing an occasional glance to the ice between rounds before disappearing half way through the third to beat traffic.

"It's just business" is why a working class family has to spend the equivalent of their mortgage payment to go to a game.

"It's just business" is why that same family, after spending that money, can only hope to actually enjoy a hockey game amid the deafening music that has replaced the organist, the commercials running on the scoreboard or the blinding array of strobe lights and flashing signs exhorting them to "MAKE SOME NOISE!!" five seconds after the aforementioned deafening music killed the spontaneous chants of the crowd.

And "It's just business" is why people like Louis will never understand how, in a sports landscape where all of the traditions and lore that make being a sports fan worthwhile are slowly and constantly being stolen from us in the name of turning a buck, losing some silly song would mean so much. And that makes me sad.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dear CBC: Perhaps You've Misunderstood Us...KEEP THE FUCKING SONG!!!

The ability of pinhead elitists to misread or (more likely) ignore the common mood never ceases to amaze me. "There, there", they cluck. "We know better. Now go play with your t.v. and drink that stuff you like so much...what's it called again? Oh yeah!..."beer". How cute!"

Say goodbye to the soundtrack of Saturday night. The iconic, long-running theme song for Hockey Night In Canada will be replaced by a new tune chosen in a $100,000 contest open to all Canadians, the head of CBC Sports said last night.

Um...okay. We (and it's very much "we", remember) are going to spend one hundred large, on top of whatever production costs some asinine CBC-ized version of "Canadian Idol" (please welcome your host, Rita McNeil! And she's dressed as Anne of Green Gables!) will run, just to avoid paying an 80 year old woman $23,000.00.

Ah, but there's another consideration, isn't there? Yes, indeed, there is. One no doubt manufactured by a room full of lawyers pulling an all nighter trying to justify their idiocy in the face of the enourmous, and apparently completely unexpected (at least to the CBC) shit storm their original announcement started. Out of the blue, comes this:
The sticking point is the $2.5-million lawsuit launched by Claman's reps, Copyright Music and Visuals, in 2004, alleging breach of contract and breach of copyright. The lawsuit points to the alleged unlicensed use of the song to sell cellphone ringtones.
This one is an even bigger no-brainer. Did the CBC sell the song as a ringtone, and thereby profit by that sale? The twelve people in my office who have just such a ringtone say yes. Did the CBC pay Ms. Claman the appropriate royalties for use of the song as a ringtone? Apparently not. Otherwise, why bother with the lawsuit?

So here's an idea, Mr. Scott Moore, Chief Pinhead at CBC Sports. How about we...oh, I don't know...PAY THE WOMAN WHAT SHE'S ENTITLED TO! Weird. I know. But I guess Mr. Moore doesn't agree with me. Referring to his Open Mike Night To Replace The Legend, Upon The Back Of Which We've Made Millions of Dollars idea, he was typically oblivious:
"I think it'll generate a great deal of public interest and discussion among Canadians," CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore said last night.
On that we can agree, Scott. It certainly will "generate a great deal of public discussion". Unfortunately for you, most of it will centre around the bunch of clueless, condescending, stuck-up, expense accounting, parasitic fucking morons running the Canadian Broadcasting Corporporation.

'Get Your Guitars Strumming': CBC [Ottawa Sun]

Thursday, June 5, 2008

And Moses Sayeth Unto Them: "Behold, The Holy Land, Which I Giveth Unto You. Now Piss Off. I'm Outta Here!"

If you'll indulge me for a moment (HA! Like you have a choice!), I'd like to bid a fond adieu to one Mr. Will Leitch, author, renaissance man, gadabout, founding editor and driving force behind the greatest thing to grace the interwebs since midget porn,, who is moving on to other things.

When I started this here chuckle hut just over a year ago (a start directly inspired by Deadspin, I should add), my overriding thought, my mission statement if you will, was "Be Like Will". The tone for most, if not all, of my best posts came from reading and re-reading that day's DS before ever putting fingers to keyboard, on the off chance that I might find and borrow a small bit of the magic in Will's language and humour. Sometimes, not often mind you (I'm not that good), but sometimes, it worked. And it felt magnificent.

So to Will...though I've never met you, spoken to you, emailed you or even know you from anything outside of the 8 to 10 posts you've written so brilliantly every day for the past three years, I just want to say thanks. Thanks for letting me watch what you do so well, and use it as inspiration to pick up a hobby I've long dreamed of, but until then, never had the nerve to try.

Good luck, Dear Leader. Deadspin will go on, but it won't be the same without you. Oh, and hell to 'da Naw.

CBC To Little Old Lady: "Cat Food Is Yummy! Oh, And Thanks For Everything!"

I'll say this for CBC Sports (Hi Nancy! Long time no see!). They certainly know how to generate hockey buzz in the off season, even if that off season is less than 21 hours old. Normally they would wait until July to pull something this stupid.

At 12:34 p.m. this afternoon, a little item went up on the CBC website to the effect that Hockey Night In Canada would not be renewing the licensing agreement to it's own iconic theme song (they were no doubt reacting to an earlier report in that bastion of balanced journalism, The Toronto Star -- H/T to Four Habs Fans), a song written especially for them in 1968 by Dolores Claman, and one that has become, through some kind of genetic mutation, Canada's unofficial "second national anthem".

Try as they might to bury it between a link to the day's soy futures and a five part series written by David Suzuki about how David Suzuki is such a genius he deserves to be canonized by Saturday, those pinko commie astute CBC readers found it. The reaction was swift, and severe. 389 comments (and counting) were left on the site, almost universal in their condemnation. To put that number into perspective, that's roughly three times the average number of listeners tuned to CBC Radio 2 at any given moment.

At 5:26 p.m., a "clarification" was posted, saying that "Oh no no no, you have it ALL wrong! We're still in negotiations!"
Contrary to published reports, CBC Sports hasn't yet pulled the plug on the Hockey Night in Canada theme song. "We've been reaching out to [Claman] and her representative, and haven't heard back," (Executive director of CBC Sports Scott) Moore said. "We're prepared to do a deal, we're prepared to talk, but we're not prepared to do a deal at all costs."
While there's no mention of nice Mister Moore's reaction when pressed about the evident contradiction in stating that Mother Corps had been "reaching out but haven't received an answer" nearly five hours after Ms. Claman's agents told reporters that they had received a drop dead letter from HNIC the week before, I imagine it involved a shout of "LOOK OVER THERE!", followed by a dive beneath Greg Millen's ego.

Apparently the hang up is money. So let's put our math caps on, shall we?

According to the same report, CBC pays a fee of $500.00 each time the song is played, a number that has remained virtually unchanged in 40 years. To be generous, let's assume that the song is played...oh...40 times a season (20 regular season games...remember, they don't repeat it between games of a Saturday double header, and now we know why... plus playoffs). That works out to the princely sum of $20,000.00 for the entire season. The Claman camp is asking for a 15% increase in the fee. Okay...15% of $500 is $75. $75 multiplied by 40 is $3,000.00.

So, in effect, we have a Crown Corporation with an annual operating budget somewhere north of $1.2 billion balking at spending $23,000.00 for something that gives them a level of brand recognition for which McDonald's would cheerfully eviscerate Ronald in front of a room full of preschoolers to achieve. Nicely played, Mother Corps. Nicely played indeed.

To sum up, in the five or so years of Ms. Nancy Lee's stalwart leadership, CBC Sports has, in no particular order:
  • a) almost fired Ron McLean before a backlash forced them to surrender faster than the French Army.
  • b) almost fired Don Cherry until a backlash forced them to surrender faster than the French Army.
  • c) actually did fire Chris Cuthbert, their best play-by-play man, and heir presumptive to Bob Cole only to see him walk to TSN for half the work and twice the money.
  • d) become so Toronto centric that even the more sane members of Leaf Nation are becoming embarassed.
  • And finally, e) attempted to nickel-and-dime a little old lady into destitution, not to mention spit in the face of every Canadian hockey fan, over a dollar amount that wouldn't cover Czarina Lee's car allowance for week.
Well, let me tell you, I have never been more proud to be a Canadian taxpayer. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to call my MP and explain to him how "privatization" works.

Last play for Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song? []
Deal still possible for Hockey Night Song []
Fire Up Your iPods: HNIC Song Won't Remain The Same [Four Habs Fans]

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Marc-Andre's Ass Would Like To Congratulate The Detroit Red Wings!

I can think of a few worse feelings than losing a Stanley Cup on an own-goal. Like...say...getting one's testes caught in a band saw. Or coaching the Laughs.

But really, MAF's posterior exploits aside, the Wings have deserved this win since the first week of October. So congrats Detroit! And thanks! Universal Order has been restored.

Now we can finally start talking about the draft.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another Refugee Escapes The Dying Of The Light

Speaking of The Universal Cynic, it would seem she is moving on to better things:
And, Finally...The Announcement: Many have asked where the column has been (I've never taken two weeks off in a row). Well, after nearly four years, Sun Media and I have parted company.
While I don't pretend to know the reasons behind the parting of ways, I can't help but think that Sun Media will ultimately regret letting it happen at all. For all of the talk about how traditional print is losing ground to "the new media", it seems rather counter intuitive (that's a polite way of saying "really fucking stupid", by the way) to allow a columnist with solid cred on the interwebs to get away, while at the same time, keeping a talentless hack like Steve Simmons on the payroll. But then again, I'm just an amateur "blogger", so what the hell do I know, right Quebecor?

But here's the best news:
I can say with nearly unwavering certainty that my days with traditional media are over. However, I will soon have an announcement to make regarding my next move. What can I say? You can't keep the Scott Norwood Section down for long.
Damn straight, Erin. You can't. And if traditional media, addled as they are by bean counters citing ad rates and circulation numbers, can't wrap their collective head around that concept, then I have no problem stepping over their bloated corpses on my way to indulging my preference for good writing, no matter where I find it.

For whom the bell tolls [The Universal Cynic]

I'll Take "Painfully Obvious Choices" For $1200, Alex

In light of the glacial pace in which The Bryan's search for a Head Coach seems to be proceeding, I would like to direct your attention to Erin's eminently logical reasoning as to why a certain candidate would be, in her words, "currently the right choice". And I agree with her completely.

That said, for those of you within the organization who may a) have The Bryan's ear, b) have a little trouble with the subtlety of Erin's prose and c) stumbled across my little site while looking for thumbnails of barnyard porn, please allow me to point out our preference in a way that should remove all doubt and most of the ambiguity:

Thank you, that is all.