Friday, August 29, 2008

Caveat Emptor! Or How Barry Melrose Spent His Summer Vacation

Photo: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Because we're all about the love here at Five For Smiting, I thought I'd offer a our newest victims patsies friends in the great city of Tampa a quick primer on what they can expect from their latest four-million dollar acquisition, Andrej "Sta-Puft" Meszaros.

The first thing you need to do, now that Mesz will be your highest paid D-man and the presumptive anchor on your blue line is...get a better goalie. I know, I know. "But we have Kolzig! Ollie THE Goalie! Waddya mean, get a "better" goalie!" Sorry folks. That ain't going to be enough. Now that you've entrusted #14 with protecting your own end, you'd better try to talk Patrick Roy out of retirement. Or Vladislav Tretiak (after all, he and Ollie are about the same age). Or maybe dig up the rotting corpse of Georges Vezina. Anything.

Second, buy a thesaurus. You'll want to have at the ready as many synonyms for the word "soft" as possible, if only to come up with witty alternatives to the standard "BOOOO!". And if, while watching your home town heroes, you lose sight of the boy, don't bother looking in the corners because he won't be there. Your best bet is to watch for the first guy heading to the bench.

Now, don't get me wrong, Tampa. We kinda liked the kid before he went all "Yashin" on us. And I'm totally convinced he absolutely will not pull the "I'm under paid!" card two years from now and hold out on his existing contract. Totally! Don't even worry about it!

Really, you should be overjoyed. You've managed to land a 22 year old first round pick who had a rookie season good enough to be considered for the Calder. Of course he spent that year playing next to Zdeno Chara...and his two years playing with Wade Redden (whom, you may have noticed, we also let walk) could best be described as a disappointment, if by "disappointment" you mean "so infuriating it made Sens fans want to jam sporks through their eyeballs to lessen the pain".

But still! $24,000,000.00!! What a steal! And what did you have to give up, really? Filip Kuba? The only defenceman wearing the big bolt other coaches actually worried about? Bah! Alexandre Picard? A 23 year-old stud, drafted 8th overall who, in the words of Tampa fans in the know, will "hit anything that moves"? Piffle! A first round pick?? 'Tis but a trifle! After all, San Jose won't suck that much...will they?

On the flip side, watching all of those opposing forwards dance and skip through, around and over Andrej's flailing stick should make for some exciting times down at the 'ole Times-Forum. Have fun with that.

Update: Did you know that there are two "Alexandre Picard"s playing in the NHL? I didn't. And neither, apparently does TSN. Their original story on the trade linked to this guy, first round pick (8th over all) of the Blue Jackets. Our Alexandre Picard is this guy, who went 3rd round, 85th overall. I probably should have noticed the linked bio was from the wrong team...but I'm still pummeling the first TSN I/T monkey I find about the head and neck. Just on general principle.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Soapbox: A Sens Fan Code Of Conduct -- Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

Having abandoned all hope of ever seeing socially responsible behaviour from its players, the 800lb gorilla of sport leagues, that bastion of joie-de-vivre, the NFL has turned its attention to its more, shall we by instituting a "Fan's Code Of Conduct" which will be policed and enforced by the individual teams.

Having been to a few Buffalo Bills games, where the New York State Troopers will happily assist you in carrying your two-four (sorry..."flat") of Old Milwaukee from the 7-Eleven across the road to the stadium parking lots three hours before kick-off, I can only Good luck with that. Trust me, "intoxication or other signs of alcohol impairment that results in irresponsible behavior" is the only way to gird yourself against the horrors that are the Ralph Wilson Stadium bathrooms (you cannot call yourself a man until you've spent a halftime trying to pee in a trough with 974 of your closest, newest friends yelling at you to HURRY DA FUCK UP!! DEY'S CLOSIN' DA BEER STANDS!!!).

But it did get me thinking (in and of itself a minor miracle during the dog-days off the off-season). This is precisely the kind of thing that needs to be instituted at SBP. So, showing the prescient community activism for which I've become known, I give you "Because This Shit Really Pisses Me Off: A Senators Fan Code Of Conduct For Attendance At All And Future Games At ScotiaBank Place". You'll thank me for this later.

1) Whiny self-righteousness will no longer be tolerated! Any person in attendance, having spent the entire game silently sitting on his or her hands but who then feels the urge to castigate, in a loud, sarcastic voice, those sitting in the two rows immediately in front of him or her for standing, swearing at a bad call, dancing, holding up witty home made banners or otherwise showing any sign that they are actually having a good time, shall be escorted to centre ice by security staff whence, between periods, he or she will be tarred, feathered and mercilessly mocked over the Public Address System as a self-absorbed tight ass who thinks the world should revolve around them.

2) Anyone caught trying to start "The Wave" will be summarily shot. Self explanatory.

3) All cell phones in the Lower Bowl will be confiscated and returned to their owners at the end of the game. Those who feel the need to incessantly rise and wave at the camera each and every time the flow of the game nears their seats and then proceed to phone friends and family to ask them "Did you see me on the TeeVee??", thereby ignoring the actual game itself, shall henceforth be protected, if not from their own inner dork, then from the unfortunate souls forced to sit around them.

4) Anyone wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs Replica Doug Gilmour Jersey will be summarily shot. C'mon people, it's been fifteen years!

5) "Gotta beat the traffic!" will no longer be an acceptable excuse for departure. Any fan leaving the arena with more than five minutes left in any game where the goal differential is less than three, shall be stopped at the exits and assessed a "Heinous Poseur", or "Jackass" fine, equivalent to the face value of their ticket, which will then be used to purchase tickets to subsequent games for REAL fans who could not otherwise afford to attend.

6) Anyone seen sporting anything anywhere on their persons with the words "What Would Gary Roberts Do?" will be summarily shot. Just on general principle.

7) The scoreboard will no longer be treated as your Omnipotent Overlord. As a reminder to those in attendance from those watching at home, it is possible to make noise, chant, scream or otherwise attempt to disrupt our opponent's play even at times when there aren't pretty flashing signs ordering you to do so.

So there you have it. On behalf of the Ottawa Senators, Five For Smiting thanks you for your adherence to this new Code, and would encourage anyone with other suggestions to leave them in the comments.

That said, should you feel that the implementation of this Code will in anyway infringe upon your enjoyment of live Senators games...see Rule #1. Jerk.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Battle of the Blogosphere Campaign Launch: A Second Line Scorer In Every Pot!

As a rule, I generally avoid fan forums (fora?) and message boards in my interweb travels. The Luddite naif in me finds their limitless discussions, odd language ("OMG yoU gyz RoK! Lefs SUX !!111!!") and multiple threads strange and frightening. Invariably, I end up clicking around a site, trying desperately to keep up with what's going on until, in my confusion, I end up inadvertently propositioning on octogenarian peasant in Kuala Lampur. Then things get weird.

So when, during one of my wistful forays into my site stats (why yes, I am possessed of juvenile cravings for attention and reinforcement, why do you ask?) I noticed a couple of hits from something called The NHL Arena, my first thought was Oh dear God, they have found me and will now come, with their unholy grammar and terrifying sentence structure to devour my soul! Then recalling I had already sold my soul for a six pack of Blue and the '07 Eastern Conference Championship, I calmed down, and checked it out.

After being pleasantly shocked by the utter and wholly unexpected lack of venomous illiterates, imagine my surprise to discover I was at war.

Okay, before I get called out by another anonymous commenter for outrageous hyperbole, I'll admit "war" may be a strong word. What I did find was something called "Battle of The Blogosphere", a series of opinion polls pitting hockey blogs against each other and where you, gentle reader, get to choose your favourite.

And I'm getting creamed.

My round one opponent (were there seedings for this?) is none other than the venerable New Jersey Devils blog (and fellow NY Times Slapshot contributor/unpaid intern/indentured serf) In Lou We Trust. Sure, they post more often, with more intelligence, grace and solid hockey analysis than I do. I also imagine they're better looking too. But only I can bring you the irrational anger borne of frustrated ambition and lost glory!

And so I ask both of you, loyal readers (Hi Mom!), which would you rather have? Information? Discussion? Actual knowledge? I submit to you, that way lies madness! Vote for me! Vote for me, and show them that snark, silliness and vituperative rage have a place on these here internets! Show them that "better" is not! Show them that the terrorists WILL NOT WIN!

Besides, we still have six weeks until camp opens. What the hell else do we have to do?

My name is Senators Lost Cojones, and I approved this message.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ya Heard Me Burkina Faso! We Will TOTALLY Kick Your Ass!

I am an absolute sucker for the Olympics. There, I said it. And yes, I know, I should be filled with fear and loathing because the Games are being run by an evil, oppressive regime hell bent on world domination and the enslavement of millions. And because they happen to be taking place in China. I know that. But I'm not. So piss off.

How bad is it? I was up a 6:30 this morning, on the last Friday of my vacation, to watch the Opening Ceremonies, a full ninety minutes before the start (but not too early to miss the dulcet tones of Ron McLean waxing poetic about "tourists" being "shooed" out of Tienanmen Square by armed guards). Beloved would call me an idiot, if she weren't still asleep.

I really can't help it. I've always held that we, as fans of whatever team we choose to call "ours", are simply responding to an impulse, hard wired into our primordial brains, to prove that our "tribe" is better than the other guy's "tribe".

At first, this was done by invading the other guy's cave, clubbing his pet mammoth and stealing his mate. Eventually that got to be a little awkward around the watering hole (Grom: "Yeah,, sorry about that Kronk. Want your wife back?" Kronk: "Nope. Just the elephant.") so a substitute method of lording victory over a cowering opponent needed to be found. Not surprisingly, Kronk and Grom soon found themselves in a heated competition to see which of them could throw a rock the furthest. Very shortly thereafter, members of Kronk and Grom's respective families joined them at the tar pit to cheer them on, and as soon as someone figured out how to charge outrageous prices for fermented berries and roasted pterodactyl wings, *POOF!* sports were born. Look it up. It's in all the books.

And that, at it's heart is what sports are all about. It's tribalism at its most basic. The Olympics? Tribalism with a veneer of sophistication and jaunty chapeaus. Throw in a Canadian flag? I am all over that, baby. For the next two weeks, I will thump my chest, become an armchair expert in all manner of esoteric games and scream in outrage at the Bulgarian judge because our guy ABSOLUTELY STUCK THAT LANDING, JACKASS!!

So watch your back, Burundi. The Canucks are coming for your elephant.