Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jesse is getting coal in his stocking.

(Frank Note:  It took me way too long to post this.  My apologies to Jesse.)

Happy Cyber Monday (Frank Note:  See?)  . I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and hopefully a nice Thanksgiving break.
Long time no post, and I apologize for that. I've been very busy with work, Call of Duty, and walking my dogs.
First things first. With all the holiday cheer I've been seeing around me with Black Friday and such, I thought I'd give you all a few holiday gift ideas for Frank. Check this badboy out. I could only imagine his x-mas cheer opening this gift x-mas morning. - http://cgi.ebay.com/Detroit-Sucks-Chicago-Blackhawks-shirt-size-medium-/260696917138?pt=U_Hockey_Fan_Shop&hash=item3cb2bf4492
(Frank Note:  That isn't very nice.)

Juicy juice will always be better than Minute Maid. Fact.
The Hawks ended the circus trip on a high note. A solid win for Crawford against a slumping Kings team. I've been on the Crawford since before the season started. (ask Rusty.) so it's good to see him do well. The dude has payed his dues.
Watch John Scott beat the shit out of Kevin Westgarth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=985bd9nTDGA - It's why you're here Scott. So do it more.  (Frank Note:  Freakin'..  ouch.)
My dislike for Nick Boynton may surpass my dislike for Scott. At least Scott doesn't take dumb penalties that seem to lead to a goal every time.
If you have a PS3 my name is danmajerle. add me.
The new killing the dream came out. It rules. Everything they do rules.
You can stream the new ep from a band named the Frozen Ocean here. - http://thefrozenocean.bandcamp.com/album/in-exile  -  This is a project by a guy named David Swanson. The same David Swanson that was in a little band named Life In Your Way.
You can expect to hear about this fight everyday for the next week. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcAuHrExlnw - Andre Johnson is probably gonna' get the heavy hammer of the NFL law laid on him. Worth it. No one wants to (Frank's Rafio Edit:  fight) with you now.
Actor Leslie Nielson died Sunday night from complications of pneumonia. I'm guessing the main complication was the fact that he had pneumonia.
You have a good night.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Hating on the All Star Game.

Seriously, did Horton's doughnuts run out of coffee on the morning the NHL announced the changes to the All Star game?  It seemed like just about every hockey writer had a lot of negative things to say about the weekend long event, and I guess I can't quite figure out why.  I just assume that there was a coffee shortage.

The common threads seemed to be the following:

1.  That mostly everyone feels that this is just an opportunity for corporate sponsors and the like to rub elbows with the best the game has to offer.

2.  The level of competition in the game is a joke, and as such this game isn't a good example of hockey, or even all that fun to watch.

3.  The players usually put on the ballots for fan voting tend to be more about name recognition than performance recognition.

I will respond to each of these points, and then we can wash our hands of this talk and move on with the rest of the hockey season.

1.  Yeah - it's called running a professional sports league.  Teams and the league itself receive money so that particular products can be associate with hockey and the NHL.  I don't see what the big deal is. That we give these people who pump so much green into our favorite teams the chance to meet Steven Stamkos? 

Suck it up.

I take pride in the fact that hockey players are rarely the pampered athlete type, and the "they deserve a weekend off instead" argument is nuts.  Yeah the players are tired.  That's why watching a squad lift the Cup carries so much emotion. 

I can't recall a single instance of a team claiming they could have won the Cup if they hadn't sent three of their players to the All Star Game. 

Stupid.  Stupid.  Stupid.

This is their profession, and the media side of the job is much, much less demanding than that of any other sport (except for in Canada, where I honestly believe that the media coverage is actually a detriment to the game...  but that's neither here nor there.)  Asking our best players to put on suits and schmooz two weekends a year - the All Star Game and Awards Night - isn't that big of a deal.

And they have fun playing together.  They all bring their family members along and hang out and get sticks signed, etc...  The players get to schmooz too!

So, to the point, the game is profitable and has positive impact on the League's bottom line. 

2.  If you don't like the level of competition, then perhaps you missed the point of the All Star Game.  Which is to watch the league's best dip and doodle in ways that are usually only reserved for practices and time off during the summer.

Admit it.  The possibility of watching Sid make a no look, behind the back pass to Pav Datsyuk who fakes a shot and drops the puck back again to a trailing Danny Heatly is a pretty awesome one.  Sure, there isn't a lot of hitting or back checking.  But we get that for 82 games a season, plus four rounds of playoffs.

I say lets marvel at the pure, crystallized and mostly uninterrupted talent flow that occurs on the ice.  How many rule changes have been implemented to increase goal scoring?  And a lot of people feel it hasn't been enough.

How people manage to complain about a 11 to 9 offensive showcase is kind of beyond me.  I savor the chance to not watch a team trap another one to death for 60 minutes.

So the All Star Game is fun.  Which seems to be a dirty F-word to hockey "purists", but I digress...

3.  This point I kind of agree with.  Which isn't any fun - agreeing, that is.  But usually some of the players who are nominated don't deserve to be there, and are only there because of the name on the back of the jersey.

Unfortunately the All Star Game is one of the leagues few opportunities to receive any kind of mild national press coverage that doesn't involve a rude gesture from one player to another, hits from behind, or a 100,000,000 dollar man missing a shootout shot entirely.

In short, we need the name recognition element to the game for it to have any kind of "growing the game" effect.

Hockey fans, for whatever reason, have this shut-in mindset.  That the game is theirs and only theirs and no efforts should be made to include the casuals. 

Well guess what.  We need the casuals.  Casuals fill up the seats that season ticket holders don't buy up.  And lets be honest.  Right now most clubs need all the Casuals they can get.

So the All Star Game gives the NHL positive  media recognition.

Lets recap then.  This one weekend out of the hockey season is profitable, fun, and gives the game positive media recognition and you want to cancel the thing and replace it with rest and relaxation?

Maybe Horton's didn't run out of coffee...  maybe someone spiked it with some kind of hallucinogenic drug...  because that just doesn't make any damn sense.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A few quick blasts from Jesse

Tonight Jonathon Toews broke his stick purposely on the ice coming off during a shift change. That gesture sums up the beginning of this season perfectly for the Chicago Blackhawks. Another home loss tonight to a bottom feeder team. The Hawks got booed tonight and they deserved it. They aren't playing tough and they are not making chances for themselves. I wish I could write more about the games that have been played so far but they are making it tough. The same story every game, and it's not a good one. This is the seventh home loss this year for the Hawks. They lost eight total home games last year. Weak.
Meanwhile the St.Louis Blues are playing out of their minds. The Predators are getting it done (FS note:  Preds have been falling off a bit lately...  apparently right now it's the Blue Jackets we should be paying attention to...  have a great record in their last 10, and downed the Blues last night 8 to 1.) and the Red Wings are always tough. Awesome.
The Blues look like the best team in the league right now and Lightning have turned it around. Check out where they are in the salary cap compared to everyone else. - www.capgeek.com
Tuesday night the Rockford Icehogs got into eight fights. The Hawks just play oh-lay. Kyle Beach was in two of them and Jeremy Morin was in one.
Demi Lovato parties. Fact.
One of best hardcore bands out there today officially called it quits this week. Check out what you missed. - www.myspace.com/continuance
Call of Duty: Black Ops came out this week as well. That zombie map is entirely too big, otherwise that game rules.
Last but not least. Happy Veteran's Day.
Thank you for defending our country and freedom.
If not for you I would not be able to do what I want when I want, and for that I am forever grateful.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Cheetos for breakfest.

Cereal for lunch.  This?  This is how I roll.

Moving on.

Since no one else is writing anything about the St. Louis Blues I guess I am going to have to do it.  Holy smokes, is all I really have to say.  After two seasons of really failing to live up to expectations, what with that awesome young core and all, they finally seem to get "it." 

Halak may end up being arguably one of the biggest steals of the last decade if they keep this up, regardless on how the two prospects Montreal got in return turn out. 

That kid is for real, and how Montreal deals him after what he did in the playoffs is absolutely beyond me.  Price isn't a bad goaltender - he is putting up respectable numbers so far.  But when a guy shows up like that in the playoffs the last thing on earth I'd want to do is trade the guy away.  Especially if that clutch dude is between the pipes.

No way.

Side Question before we get back to St. Louis:  Is there something in the water in Canada that makes their GMs so incapable of making good deals and building a hockey team?  Without even running a Google search I can think of several deals off the top of my head that just don't make any damn sense.

The Dion Phaneuf trade was actually terrible for both teams involved, which is something I don't believe has precedent. 

Taking on Scott Gomez and his Brad Richards sized contract for Chris Kunitz numbers is up there as well.  You can't put a price on leadership.  Unless the price is 7.3 million friggin' dollars a year.  I'd stab myself in the foot if my favorite squad did that.  Was Bob Gainey drunk - and I mean really drunk - when he pulled the trigger on that deal or did he lose a bet or what?

The exception I suppose is Vancouver, who I pray ends up meeting the Kings in this years playoffs after their phenomenal series last year.

Back to St. Louis...  (maybe that is why no one can write about them.  Oh look, a butterfly...)

I have not honestly had the chance to sit down and watch an entire Blues game, but I've seen a lot of highlight packages on the NHL Network, and I am under the impression they operate a lot like the successful Buffalo teams from the 90s did.  Roll four lines that are more or less the same, and play solid hockey in front of a good goaltender.

Seems simple enough, but it isn't very often teams can develop that kind of chemistry on four lines.  The Penguins can't even get synergy on their first line.

Looking over their roster, ten players have 5 points through 12 games.  Their top scorer is the gritty TJ Oshie.  I can not wait to see Oshie suit up for the United States for the next three Olympics.

They also only have 3 regulars who are minus players, and they are only -1 a piece.

So I declare the Blues legit.  No one should want any part of them in the playoffs.  They play the kind of hockey that can be very successful come that time of the year.  Responsible, two-way, win games 3-2 kind of hockey.  They can muck it out and have big, physical forwards that have good hands. 

I'm stoked that Tampa Bay is already on the turn around.  I love Steve Yzerman and it makes me happy to see him succeed so quickly.  I know he was handed more or less a full-house hand with guys like Stamkos and Hedman coming into their own, but give the man credit for bringing in good pieces during the summer. 

Early finals prediction? 

Blues vs the Bruins. 

You heard it here first.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jesse's thoughts on Halloween, the Hawks, and looking like an ass.

Sorry for no post over the weekend. It was a busy one and I don't get a day off this week. One other reason for no post this weekend is because there are only so many ways to type the Blackhawks suck.

Hope your had a Happy Halloween. I can't count on my fingers how many times I heard, "Just an excuse for girls to (FS Edit) walk around town like they were at home, alone." I honestly don't know how they wanted me to respond to that. "Yeah it rules." or "Yeah it's so dumb blahblahblah." No care ever. Get away from me. I honestly do love Halloween. Mainly the decorations and the pumpkins. I'm down for pumpkin, owl, and bat decorations year round.

Brian Campbell is back. Yay.

Hawks had a stupid weekend. Pulled off a solid win against the Kings. Got totally destroyed by the Oilers. I didn't get to watch this game so when I saw the final score I about passed out. Tazer finally got some stats in this game. Beat the Wild on Saturday in a terribly boring game.

Shit has been lame recently man. Cup hangover is setting in. I understand the fact that you are defending the Stanley Cup so everyone wants to beat you but the Hawks are in such a tough division this lolly-gagging isn't gonna cut it. Also losing to Rangers and the Devils doesn't look sweet on the resume either. 

Thank god I'm not a Minnesota Vikings fan. Brett Favre is done. Cutting Randy Moss is accepting the fact it's over.

I hope Seabrook is a Hawk next year.

I work in an establishment where I am required to say goodbye to guests as they are leaving. (My life sucks). Our restroom is located next to our exit. I get faked out and say my farewells to people actually entering the restroom. Needless to say I look like a jackass at least two times a day for this very occasion.  (FS:  I work at the same kind of joint as Jesse - same chain, actually - and I too look like an ass one or two times a day due to this phenomenon, usually bringing my daily total to somewhere around 65 or 70.)
Blake Griffin has been a monster so far this season. Dude trys to destroy the world with every dunk.

Dear Kevin Garnett,
           I'm not mad at you. Charlie Villanueva does look like a cancer patient.
                                           - Jesse

http://espn.go.com/nhl/photos/gallery/_/id/5642047/30-goalie-masks-nhl%23launch-1&title=+sTitle+&id=5642047 - All the netminders masks. Pretty neat.

http://www.alternative2punk.net - Some parts are in spanish. You'll figure it out. Free tunes brah.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Living and dying by the stick.

It has been a hard fought, seven game Stanley Cup Final series.  Fans of both teams have watched for what feels like forever to get to this moment.  It stretches back father than a season, usually.  Sure, Chicago fans watched that squad all year last year.  But how many of them had been waiting since '61 - probably before the Kanes or Keiths ever met - just waiting for that run.  The run.

I was thinking about the emotional roller coaster -nay!  Journey - of a season, never causing any less emotion or stress or joy than the year before and the effect it can have on your day to day life.

Such is the power of sports.

Then I kept thinking.  There are Perennials.  Teams that you more or less expect to see in the top 8 of each conference every year.  Detroit.  New Jersey.  Pittsburgh.  Washington.  Chicago.  These are outstanding teams with a great mix of youth and experience and talent and personality and they make it.  They get it.  And fans flock to these teams.  Check out yearly jersey sales.  Ticket sales.  The stands, whenever local economies aren't crashing all over the place.  These are staple and model franchises (ignoring the recent decline of the Devils.  I think it is a bit early to cast them into the dead spout.)

But what is it like on the other end of the spectrum.

I was watching something (I honestly don't remember what it was) on the NHL Network and I saw a short clip of a Panthers fan going crazy with his face panted masterfully and a cape and...  well, you know the type.  And I couldn't help but say out loud...

Really??  They still do that in Florida??

And I don't mean any disrespect by that, but the last time the Panthers had any kind of real success was the first year they were a team and they ran all the way to the Finals, only to run into a juggernaut Avalanche team.

So how do teams like the Panthers keep putting fans in the seats?  And, more so, what is it like to be a honest-to-God, diehard fan of a terrible, terrible team that makes terrible, terrible choices and is terrible, terrible year in and year out?

(Sidenote:  I am not saying that the Panthers are bad.  They got the youth movement thing going..  still..  and they have some good pieces.  David Booth is one of my favorite canadates this year to have a break out season and I really always wanted Horton to break out for them...  kind of like how he is for the Bruins this year.)

Hockey fans are pretty intense.  What kind of toll does it take on your sports soul to roll your eyes every time you general manager calls a name at the draft?  Or makes a "splash" during free agency only to have it backfire in a huge way.  That the guy running your team apparently was the only one who didn't know about this players reputation for being lazy.  How does Steve Yzerman turn Tampa around in three months and do what they have been trying to do for a decade in Columbus?  What kind of blinders are we talking about here?

It seems pretty simple:  There are a lot of rich businessmen running hockey teams that aren't hockey people.  They don't get it.  And that has to be aggravating to fans of those franchises. 

People always complain about places like Phoenix having hockey teams, and they rant about how people don't even show up even when there is a good team on the ice.  But I don't think team placement is really an issue in the league any more.  It's a great game - build the arenas and they will come.

I think the issue is that there aren't enough good hockey minds in the higher-up levels of management to keep these teams decent and well ran for too long.  After all, it wasn't the players that spent the League into the ground before the lockout.

You tell me, in what other profession would Darryl Sutter of the Calgary Flames still be employed?  These guys are pulling the trigger on trades I wouldn't even make in a video game.

So I suppose fans of the rich-getting-richer teams should be thankful for the brains that run their teams.  And we should all appreciate the Atlanta Thrashers fan who is now buying his third team jersey, still going to the games, and still cheering his guts out and still hoping.