30 November 2006

This post brought to you by coffee, finals, and the letter 'P'

Even though the Pens game was days ago, I haven't had a chance to make a post about it. Good game, we won, but there were a few things I wanted to comment on:

1. Colby Armstrong got two goals, the first in the season for him. I'm really glad that he scored, now maybe people will get off his back.

2. Sidney was back. I don't think I need to say any more on that subject.

3. Fleury was looking really good, he made some spectacular saves...he also gave me a few heart attacks. Bobblehead magic?

4. Did anyone who saw the game winner for the Pens get a little flutter in their heart?

After neglecting blog land for the past two days, I checked The Pensblog (who was kind enough to give us a link. Thank you!) and saw an article about John LeClair and how his future may not involve Pittsburgh. Now, I know for a lot of Pens fans he's not really anything special, but as (far as I know) the only homeboy playing in the NHL at the moment, it's great that he's finally playing for MY team after all those years in Philly. I also get to rub it in the faces of the Flyers fans, which gives me warm fuzzies. He's got to do what is best for his career, though, and 4th line with only a spattering of minutes is probably not what he's looking for. Whatever you do, LeClair, please don't go to Anaheim.

29 November 2006

I Made This Post for "Personal Reasons"

Last year the Edmonton Oilers knocked the Detroit Red Wings out of the playoffs in the first round. I had my bitter little bout of "fucking Edmonton etc., etc." for a couple months, and then I moved on. The rest of the playoffs tore at my loyalties as team after team I resigned myself to got their ass kicked. Finally it came down to Edmonton, Anaheim, Buffalo, and Carolina, two of which I sure as hell weren't going to cheer for (I'll give you two guesses).

You'd think I would have gone for Buffalo, but the Canadian in me refused to allow it and instead made the excuse that if I cheered for Edmonton and they won, it meant the Wings didn't choke, Manny Legace wasn't to blame, and they might have lost, but it was to the Stanley Cup Champions. So, having watched them bitterly as they took out San Jose, I continued to watch, now cheering for them, as they decimated Anaheim, and by the time they made it to the Carolina Hurricanes I had forgiven their every wrong. I was in love with this team. (Incidentally, Pronger's was the first name I knew. Sure he was surpassed as my favorite player on the team by Fernando Pisani after that still amazing short-handed goal in Game 5 OT, and then again by Jussi Markkanen for that ridiculous playoff performance, but Pronger was first. From the instant MacT threw him out there to take the first ever Cup Finals penalty shot I was in love.)

When they lost and that sea of red flooded the ice it wrenched my heart--they came so close, only to lose it all at the last minute. When the Detroit Tigers lost the World Series this year and the Cardinals with their red uniforms stormed the field I had flashbacks.

This game might have been even worse. It was the same thing this team has grown so used to, all the expectations, the promise, only to have them all shattered at the last second or sixteen when everyone believes they'll pull through. It probably doesn't feel the same for the Oilers, that's for sure--but as a fan, I wanted to see them rub it in Chris Pronger's face. I miss him--but I have certainly not forgiven him, and after this, it'll be an even longer time coming if it ever happens.

I didn't actually get to see any of the game at all--I listened to the first two periods intermittantly on Oilers Radio, and was on the phone with Elly who was at the bar watching through the third. My feed was a minute or so behind hers, so when she started screaming no when that last goal went in I refused to believe it for a few seconds--and then my roommate had to come into my room and tell me to breathe. I can only imagine what would have happened had I been at Rexall Place.


Elly covered most of what my opinions are on Pronger as well (the only thing I'd add is seriously can he stop having press conferences in which he basically just throws "hahaha you still don't get to know!" in our faces?) so I'll avoid that and move on to: stepping back from the emotion involved in that loss, it is, of course, less surprising when you consider everything that played into it--namely all the injuries:

  • Staios was out before the game even started--still. This meant players like Smid and Tjarnqvist were playing 30 and 27 (respectively) minutes of the game--not things those two are used to.
  • Bergeron is said to have "looked green" literally upon walking into the arena. He played two shifts in the second period before leaving for good.
  • Ales Hemsky, in what is the biggest cause of distress of the evening for me, got nailed after four shifts and went out for the rest of the game with a "right shoulder injury". Early diagnosis is not good.
  • Winchester, though not a high-minutes player, left after a fight with O'Donnell and didn't play for the rest of the game.
  • Jussi Markkanen, of course, is also still out with a knee injury--it didn't play much into this game, but it's one more problem for the Oilers lineup.
What it all boils down to is that we got a bad break. We played a bad third period, but with all those injuries, we can forgive a little more. And if anything, the Oilers fans just have one more reason to hate Chris Pronger now--and hate they will. Maybe next time they'll let us actually show our disdain instead of taking away the signs at the door (you know, I understand the profanity bit, but "sucks"? I was really upset to hear they shut down such clever signs as "I made this Chris Pronger Sucks sign for 'personal reasons'" even if we did still get gems about freezing at -44 degrees.).

I will say this one last thing about Chris: He might not have had any other way around what he did--but he could at least have wish it could have come out differently.

What I have to say about the Oilers and the Ducks

Blind. Dumb. Luck.

28 November 2006

And because I couldn't leave the Pens out...

A quick Penguin post:

No word yet on Crosby, although he said he felt better yesterday, and this morning's skate would determine his ability to play tonight or not. I would like to see him back, but only if he's healthy. Get better soon, Sidney! Really soon, please.

The Tribune had an interesting little tid bit here. I think it really hinges, yes, on the two superstars we have, but lets not forget the rest of the team. It's hard to look past the brilliance of Malkin and Crosby, but we've got a few other stars, too. There hasn't been any press on Fleury, who, aside from having his own handsome bobblehead, has played like a trooper recently, as has T-bo on the other nights. Anything on Talbot? Gonchar? Recchi?

Rematch against the Islanders tonight, game time a special 7pm show. Go Pens!

P.S. As a random aside, I had a dream that I was trying to teach Malkin English last night, and he was trying to teach me Russian at the same time. Hm.

Welcome back, Chris, sorry we had to kick your ass

I'll admit it: I still love Chris Pronger.

Am I mad at him? Only a little. However, it is the very reasons I'm still a bit frustrated at him that make me love him in the first place. He is a rough, totally-unapologetic player, who has made no bones or compromises in this situation. When questioned about the whole affair, he sticks to what he said way back at the end of the finals, '"I've been asked that question a million times and I've answered that question a million times and my answer isn't going to change," he said. "It's personal, family reasons and that's as much as I'm going to get into it."' (Thanks, CBC) It's troubling and irritating, why did he leave after he said so many time how much he loved playing in Edmonton? Just like with the tootsie pops, the world may never know.

Of course, on the practical side, I also miss his 20+ minutes on the ice, his hard-hitting defense, and watching his 6'6 frame skate around and scare the beejesus about of the opposing team. I don't care what the rumors may say, because they are just that: rumors. Your personal life off the ice is, well, personal. As long as it doesn't affect the play or hurt anyone, I don't care. What made me angry, as I believe many other fans feel, was the way in which he handled the situation. Don't drop hints and then leave to go on vacation. That is rude and tactless...besides, right after a spectacular playoff run like that, any fan would be upset over the heartbreak of his defection.

The fact that he went to Anaheim, of all places, is a completely different story.

I am happy to see that the rest of the Oilers aren't smack-talking Pronger, and apparently have said, 'Pronger, they said, is more machine than man on game day — a cold-eyed Terminator with a six-foot hockey stick, an uncanny knowledge of the game and an instinct for the jugular.' Now while the 10 year old in me is giggling at the 'six-foot hockey stick' part, anyone who has seen him play can attest to his determination on the ice. The crowd won't phase him.

On a bit of a tangent: Does anyone know why Markkanen was dropped? He didn't have a spectacular game against the Blues the last time he was on the ice, but that shouldn't be a reason to drop him after the finals last season. Was there an injury? I can't seem to find anymore information on it. Besides, it's not like he lost a playoff game. (We still love you, Ty, but you don't adventure as well as Jussi)

Game time: 9pm EST
Predictions? I'm not good at them...but my hope is for a good, clean game, with Edmonton crushing the Ducks into a little feathery pulp in a 4-0 shutout. Lots of hard offense is going to be key here, and some solid netminding from Roli. I expect to see no less than 300 hundred anti-Pronger signs, hear some very loud booing (Edmonton fans are some of the most vocal in the league...think they'll let them sing the anthem this time?), and hopefully, after all is said and the Ducks beaten, people can move on. Fans love their teams, just look at the Pens fans booing Jagr...still.


27 November 2006

Days of our Lives.....on Ice?

I wasn't going to start with this already since the game isn't even until tomorrow night (I still don't have a place to watch it for that matter--Oilers PPV certainly doesn't reach into Michigan, and my plea to the Kalamazoo livejournal community as to establishments playing Center Ice games went unanswered), and I have the Wings/Stars game to be concentrating on as of a minute and fifty two seconds ago, but I just thought I should throw out there that Kevin Lowe is a little bit my hero.

"I'm not afraid to bad-mouth Chris Pronger," was a start, but when he, in speaking about the whole Pronger incident, told the Edmonton Sun, "It's a great subplot in the season," he sealed the deal.

I imagine this is only the start of the Pronger media explosion. Anything else important will likely get posted as it happens...I expect flooding on all the Oilers blogs I read in the next day or so.


Elly has just brought the following to my attention, courtesy of EPSN. I have highlighted the important part so everyone's sure to catch it:

Hockey Fact: The Oilers began the week 10-2 at home and 3-6-1 on the road. They have three home games this week, including Chris Pronger and the Ducks on Tuesday night in Edmonton. Mrs. Pronger will drop the ceremonial first puck.
Um. What? No seriously....what? If that is honestly the case, then there is someone in Edmonton with an amazingly twisted sense of humor, and they'd best be checking fans at the doors for rotten vegetables. I might die if that happens. Come to think of it, so might she.

The standard disclaimer

Every blog should have a disclaimer. This is ours.

This blog was created for one reason: We love hockey. In fact, we love it so much that we generally talk about it more than anything else, making our friends' eyes glaze over as a result. This is a place for our thoughts, our opinions, idle chatter, and stupid comments on things like this.

We hardly take ourselves seriously, and there is no offense meant in any of our words. If you like what you read, we'd be happy to hear from you. Heck, if you aren't happy with what we say, let us know! We love a good debate and, if push comes to shove, can find the delete key just like anyone else.

On this blog we have posted pictures and linked to other blogs. The pictures are not our property and we have more than likely lifted them off a site like nhl.com or one of its ilk. We are not making any profit off of them, and are using them only as a part of this site. As for the links we have posted, they have been done largely without asking the proprietors of the sites. We have posted them because we read these blogs and consider them well written, interesting, informative, and often containing juicy tidbits that make our day. If anyone would like a picture or their blog taken off of our journal, please let us know and we will be happy to comply.

Thank you!

No snow yet...

Although Steph already posted about this, I really must say that I would like Santa to put one of the Blue Jacket's Christmas cd's in my stocking this year. While I wouldn't say that it would be, ah, music to my ears, they did it for charity and that is always a worthy cause. Besides, hearing big, hulking hockey players sing 'deck the halls' is worth 10 bucks.

Penguins play tomorrow, but it feels lonely without a game tonight. It's probably for the best. I won't forget to bring someone's beer to their table while I'm yelling at the tv at work.

Calgary lost against the Ducks. While I would normally rail that the Ducks beat Kipper...they didn't Instead, we got another look at the mysterious and elusive Flames' back up goalie, McLennan. Now, if anyone has any interest in the Flames, you know that 'Noodles' is not exactly 'elusive'...any video has him in it ragging on his fellow teammates, but it isn't often we get to see anyone but the hard-working Kiprusoff. I think it's an interesting coaching choice to put McLennan in against the Ducks, who are number 1 in the west, and put Kipper in against the Kings, who have been falling as of late (of course, not NOW, that Calgary just caught them).

Only a back to back on OLNUSUSUS tonight. Go Pens!...tomorrow.

26 November 2006

Embarassments All Around.

Did someone tell my teams that last night wasn't going to count, or something? Not only were there losses, but there were bad losses, and ones that we definitely shouldn't have seen. So let's see.

  • Toronto/Boston:
Mats Sundin made an early comeback--nineteen days on an injury that was supposed to take three to four weeks. That should have put his team at a nice advantage, considering his record thus far, the fact that they also had Raycroft back to face his former team, and the current standings that put Toronto eight points above Boston.

So why did this team that's been surprising everyone this year, decide that suddenly it was okay to give a little shoutout to where they were last year? There wasn't even any one particular bad aspect, they just looked tired and slow and wholly unremarkable. That entire third period up until Sundin--who had said before the game that he'd been put on the fourth line for the night and wasn't expected to get all that much ice time (his guess was ten or so minutes) ended up playing eighteen minutes, presumably as the coaches were hoping that by keeping him on the ice longer, he'd be able to make something happen--the Leafs still couldn't manage to get the puck out of their own zone. I lost track of how many times just in that period they got it just out of the neutral zone only to have the Bruins defense (speaking of, Chara played an amazing game) knock it back again. Come on guys, seriously. The good news is they didn't lose by too much--and they didn't embarrass themselves to anyone except those of us who were watching the lackluster performance. They even tried to redeem themselves there at the end with a little rally after Sundin put one in the net for them, but it was no use once Brad Boyes scored that last goal.

Finally, I want to know where Darcy Tucker was, after we've all been praising him for his breakout season thus far. At least he gave us that first period fight to spice things up a bit.
  • Detroit/Nashville
Admittedly I missed a good chunk of this game because I was still watching Toronto when it started, and there was a Pistons game going on during it too--I was home for the weekend and thus unfortunately had to share the stupid-huge flatscreen with the other sports fans in the house. What I saw of the first period looked good though. We had Joey MacDonald in net, sure, and that was a dumb decision (You know, I give them credit for sticking by not playing Hasek two nights in a row, but could Babcock have been any stupider than to start him against St. Louis? It didn't even do any good.), but he held up and only let one in, which we matched. Cue me being lulled into a false sense of security and allowing my television to be defiled with squeaky tennis shoes against shiny floors for a half hour or so (the awful puke-mustard yellow Nashville third jersey's may have also played a roll in this).

Imagine my surprise when I flipped stations back to the game only to see the score as 5-1--just as they scored the 6th. Immediately I pulled up my faithful fantasy league stat tracker and cried over it for a few minutes as I confirmed the travesty. And the rest of the game continued on in a similar vein.

The question is, how. Nashville's probably hit hardest in the whole league with injuries right now--they didn't even have Vokoun for god's sake. And this is the sort of game we should be playing to the best of our ability--this is our division rival, after all, and not only that but the only team that could even challenge us for top of the division at all. And yet no one was doing anything with the puck. After the first period was over, the Wings decided playing hockey was overrated. We didn't even have a decent enough defense to blame MacDonald's being a rookie for the resulting six goals. And it wouldn't have mattered if it had been his fault anyway because it's not like Babcock was about to pull him--we all know perfectly well that when Dom's not starting, he's going to sit there on the bench all game no matter what sort of disaster strikes. As for offense...was there any? Someone let me know when Pavel Datsyuk remembers this is his contract year and as of right this second things are not looking all that great for him. Once again it was the younger lines that showed the most promise--or maybe I'm just a little biased toward Jiri Hudler right now.

  • Those Other Games
All I have to say about San Jose/New Jersey is that three losses in a row for Martin Brodeur is not in line with keeping me a happy hockey fan. Especially when that puts me down five in my league this week. Let's try to redeem ourselves tomorrow against LA, eh?

And then of course, the obligatory WTF at Montreal--they beat Buffalo on Friday night and lose to Philly on Saturday? I don't understand it either.

And now for something completely different....
It's not like anyone takes the Bluejackets seriously. But I for one didn't realize they lacked the dignity that would normally prevent something like, oh, say, a hockey team, from recording something like, oh, y'know, a Christmas CD. I kid you not.

Lest you not take my word for it, however, here's a sneak preview of the boys with their own rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer complete with "clever" lyric adaptations such as "call him names like a Red Wing" and "go down in history like the 06/07 Columbus Bluejackets." Anyone willing to argue the point that they do, in fact, have any right to make either of those statements is invited to comment.

You win some, you lose some...unless you're Buffalo

Let me tell you all a little story.

When I was in grade school, a friend of mine and I bet on a hockey game. I do not remember if it was the playoffs or the Cup, but our bet was a dollar to the winner. She took one team, and not knowing a great deal about hockey, I arbitrarily took the other because the name sounded neat. They played. I won. She payed me in pennies.

I asked her after why she was so bitter? I mean, what could be so great about a team named after small, flightless birds that live in snow and ice? Not compared to the big, quick men of the New York Rangers, after all. We discussed the finer points of hockey as only 4th graders can, and she started to tell me about a man named Mario Lemieux. The rest is history.

Since I did not have cable when I was younger, I only got to see snippets from Bruins games that happened to be against the Pens (mom was not a hockey fan), or check scores from the paper or magazines. High school, college, and my situation now, have allowed me a far greater ability to actually watch the Penguins skate. For my birthday last year I was able to see them skate in person for the first time. Of course, this would be about a month after Lemieux retired, but we still won (in Montreal, no less), and I couldn't have asked for a better birthday present than watching Sidney skate around and beat the Canadiens.

Why am I bringin this up? Because after listening to the game last night over nhl radio, I feel that I may have to find a way to rob a bank and get center ice. Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful for having that radio broadcast, but I would have dearly liked to have seen Fleury make all those saves or Staal on that breakaway. That was the type of game you're glad you paid an extra 40 dollars to get decent seats for.

A few thoughts:

-Fleury was great last night, and if half of what the announcers called as 'spectacular' was true, I can imagine what it was like to actually watch him play.
-Malkin stepped up again, and I think with Sidney indisposed, he is really showing what he can do in the spotlight. As much as I want Sidney back, I can't wait to see more of Malkin.
-Although I couldn't see this, it sounded like the Pens got a bit more active and shot more. They were still focused on making plays, especially during the power plays, but they played well.
-Both teams had 14 minutes of penalties, the first holding about 8 of those. Is it just me or are the Pens a bit more fiesty lately?
-Nice to see that we've fall almost to the bottom of the Atlantic division. Thank goodness that Philidelphia is there to cushion us. Really though, 24 isn't horrible, in the grand scheme of things.

A few other hockey related things:
-Nice to see that the Wild's Backstrom has hit the top in save % and GAA.
-What happened to Toronto last night? The Bruins were good, but the Leafs were half asleep on the ice. Maybe they were just too busy staring at Sundin in happiness.
-Anyone want to tell me why the Flames lost last night?
-Nice to see that Edmonton is taking a break this weekend to save up all their energy to completely crush the Ducks on Tuesday.

Next Penguins game is Tuesday, rematch against the Islanders. Go Pens!

25 November 2006


I am in love with Sidney Crosby.

Now, before you label me as one of those barely legal teeny-boppers that buy pink jerseys and hold up signs asking for his children, let me explain my deep and unwavering affection. Sidney arrived on the scene like a bolt of lightning, creating a stir and bringing hope to an often troubled club. Now I can admit, we haven't been the most stellar of teams in the past. True, the early 90's were the golden years...but in Sidney, and the other bright faces that we've seen come in, it looks as if there may be a renaissance. We saw the start of it last year (even though we had a horrid season, bidding Mario a final farewell), this year has been a breath of fresh air, a shining patch of sunlight on a cold, dreary November day.

Metaphors and similies aside, this year has been wonderful for Pens fans, with Sidney our poster boy in more than his good looks. Racking up 30 points, and trailing just barely after our Russian superstar, he has endeavoured to learn constantly, asking questions of more experienced players, and fixing slights that he can see within himself as he continues on his career. If you haven't seen him skate, especially with Malkin, you are truly missing something special.

It is all of these things, his drive to be the best, his commitment to the game, his willingness to learn and share, and just the pure enjoyment he gets out of playing hockey, that make me love him. Of course, his incredible shoulders and cute smile don't hurt, but his talent is indeed more than skin deep.

Why am I bringing this up? Sidney has missed the last two games from a groin injury, and although I was unable to watch the Islanders game yesterday (so much for getting out of work early on Black Friday), I heard that it went much the same as the performance against the Bruins. We have the talent, we have the drive....but we need something to put it together. On Wednesday, I saw a lot of great skating, passing, and moving the puck around...but there was a lack of scoring chances made and when those did become available, we tried to make plays instead of just taking the chance. I love that we are trying to make plays, that we share the puck, but really....shoot the damn puck more. Fleury was pretty solid, although he let one slip by that made me cringe, and from what I heard, T-bo was also on his game. So what is the problem?

I fear that Sidney's posterior warming the bench may let us get a preview of what is to come. Now, as all the sports websites love to tell us, Sidney's contract is up after next season....and so is Fleury's. I would love to see us keep both...but we do not have enough money, and we may not even have an arena. What would the Pens do without Crosby? He is only one man, and we do have quite a bit of great young talent...but as we have seen the past two games, he does a lot to bring things together. It could just be a coincidence, and Malkin has stepped up as the second in command while the captain assistant captain is away wonderfully, but it does beg the question: Is Sidney Crosby essential to the Penguins success? He is phenomenal, but it takes more than one man to play hockey.

Next confession: I am happy that the Oilers won against Calgary. The Flames are great, and Kipper in particular....but you just can't help but enjoy watching the Oilers play. Congrats to Edmonton for being first in the division! Now let Jussi out of whatever box you keep him in and let him play a little more.

Take two asprin and call me in the morning

Speaking of the Pens and what they would be like without their headliners, Malkin was injured yesterday against the Islanders. Therrien says that he will be back for tonight, but he said that about Crosby as well...will they both sit out tonight? I'm used to seeing the Pens at the bottom of the roster...but I guess it could always be worse. We could be where the Flyers are.

Last confession: I may still love Chris Pronger. Please bear in mind, this does not mean that I have forgiven him, and I can't imagine the feelings of the long-time Edmonton fans (unless having Jagr give you the figurative bird and go to the Rangers counts), but I am sure that we will hear from those fans on Tuesday, loud and clear. Until then, I will leave my comments about Pronger for another time.

Puck drop at 7:30 pm at Mellon. Go Pens!
(P.S. Go Flames! The Kings need a good ass-kicking)

A Month He Hasn't Forgotten

So tonight was Manny Legace's first night back between the pipes at the Joe Louis Arena since the Red Wings bid him farewell after their early exit from the playoffs. He could be bitter. Instead, he says,

"It was nice to be back in front of the fans. I saw some signs in the warmup, it brought some tears to my eyes. They missed me and that touched me. They treated me well here. I love it here."
We miss you too, Manny. I admit you did part of it to yourself with the lack of confidence and the big mouth, and the lackluster attempt at the playoffs last year, and the "I could hang myself", and the Manny Legace Suicide Watch, and the insistance that Detroit was going to let you go the second you messed up the playoffs, but look at the season as a whole! Sure we had good defense and sure that made a big difference, but Manny Legace was the face of the Detroit Red Wings last year. Whatever happened to "October may be over, but Manny Legace is a month you never forget"?

I was really proud to see him win tonight, especially in a shootout (and don't get me wrong, I still hate shootouts as determiners of games) beating players who knew his tendencies (and whose tendencies he knew) after six seasons of comraderie on this team. I never like to see the Wings lose (unless of course it's to the Leafs or Oilers), but tonight, a little part of me was spitefully happy to see Manny stop those 41 pucks and show them what they'd lost. And a lot bigger part of me was just happy to see him win, especially his second game in a row (gee, if only I'd had some faith and unbenched him in my fantasy league, huh?) and especially on the team he's on now against the sort of team the Wings are shaping up to be. Way to prove your worth, Manny. Even Mike Babcock was willing to say "He played well. He gave them an opportunity....Manny made some good saves. Give him credit."

I suppose he had to make himself look good somehow, though, after insisting on starting Hasek tonight in a last ditch attempt to make sure the Wings pulled a win (against a team they should have hopelessly trounced), leaving him now with a four game losing streak and a choice between starting rookie Joey MacDonald against the intimidating--Vokoun or not--Predators tomorrow, or going against the rhetoric they've been so insistant upon all season thus far and starting Hasek in back to back games early in the season. I'm as curious as you are.

At any rate, I've never been so happy to see Pavel Datsyuk hit the goalpost. I still love you Manny! And so does a good chunk of Detroit--which is more than I can say for certain other--excuse me for stealing your term, Elly--lame ducks who get their very own homecomings within the week. CoughCHRISPRONGERcough.

(In other news seven goals by seven different members of the team? Nice going, Toronto and thanks for the win, Raycroft.)

23 November 2006

Things to be Thankful For

A year ago Tuesday, just after coming off of a shift on the ice, Jiri Fischer collapsed on the Red Wings bench in the midst of a sold out arena full of people there to watch the Wings at the Nashville Predators. In the middle of a play, a commotion including Mike Babcock yelling for the medics drew all eyes to the bench where the Czech defenseman was fighting a seizure during which his heart stopped. While the arena full of fans looked on in panic and confusion, Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper skated a stretcher across the ice while Brendan Shanahan and Robert Lang did the same for his fiancee Avery.

Fischer's life was saved thanks to the proximity of the medics--something that might not have occured in any other NHL arena. However, he's been off the ice in terms of official games ever since, and it's still unsure if and when he might return.

"I wasn't scared about the abnormality. But I was scared about not playing hockey again. That was a shock for me."
So Fischer said in 2002 after initially being diagnosed with a heart abnormality. These days, however, Fischer's resigned to the idea that he might never play again--but it certainly isn't stopping him from trying. He's now spending his time trying to figure out just what went wrong and caused the heart irregularity, and working to once again return to the NHL. Fischer's even working out daily at the Joe Louis Arena--somewhere most people in Fischer's situation would more than likely want to avoid. He claims, however, that it's uplifting and has helped him in his recovery.

The Red Wings just finally put him on long term IR last week, freeing up around 3 million toward their salary cap--but the length of time they waited before even doing that said a lot about their commitment to the Czech. It's a good move, if an unfortunate one--the Wings need that money to deal with the losses they've experienced so far this year. Manager Ken Holland has said, however, that the Wings would spare no expense if Fischer believes he's recovered enough to explore a return. The amount of dedication from both player and team really stands out--it's too bad the future is still so indefinite when it comes to Fischer's return. Not only could the Wings use his skill--(remember that hit that put Daniel Sedin through the plexiglass?)--but his spirit could go a long way right about now.
It's really just unfortunate to see something like this happen to a player--watching the recaps of it are still unsettling and upsetting even now, a year after the fact. The Wings are playing strong in spite of--or perhaps even, in some sense, because of--Jiri's absence lately, but he's still missed, by team and fans alike, and everyone awaits his hopeful return to the sport. Jiri, however has other, more important, priorities:

"Right now, many people come up to me and they feel sorry for me. They say, 'How are you doing? I hope you can play one day.' I say, I hope I can get healthy one day."

Being the only one of three cases involving the same symptoms to survive, Jiri Fischer most certainly has things to be thankful for this afternoon. Whatever happens, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and we miss you Jiri!

21 November 2006

Let's Get it On...

The eve of a Battle of Alberta and what am I doing? The answer is not something like, oh, actually previewing the game. Instead I come bearing what can only be considered useless information after having followed a link from Battle of Alberta that led me to Andrew Ference's iTunes playlist. iTunes Canada is a wonderful thing. Basically in following it back through eight pages of celebrity playlists, I have discovered the following:

  • Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff is hilarious. I can't think of a single other hockey player who could have something like Big & Rich's Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy on their playlist, and who I could still look in the eye (ignoring the fact that I'd probably have to be standing on a couple milk crates before this would be possible) without bursting into laughter. I really don't know why that is, but I'm willing to bet it's that ridiculous goofy expression he's got in his roster photo. The one that also makes the rest of his playlist, full of Green Day, Blink 182, and Good Charlotte, a little easier to swallow.
  • Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres' was less exciting until I got to almost the very end where he includes Fall Out Boy's 7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)--wait, Fall Out Boy?? The funniest thing about this, though, is that in his little blurb about the song, he jumps immediately to defending it by insisting he heard them before Cork Tree happened. Hil.ar.i.ty.
  • Last but not least, my second least favorite Carolina Hurricane (edged out only by the monstrosity that is Rod Brind'Amour, who takes that category based on wins alone), Cam Ward. I think all I need to say here is that he quotes Nickleback as one of his favorite bands.

Don't believe me? Go look for yourself. You can check out Post-St. Louis Doug Weight, Philly's Robert Esche, and Anaheim's Dustin Penner, while you're at it.


In slightly more Pertinent To The Actual Sport Of Hockey news, Oilers resign Staios for another 4 years. Now if only the Ryan Smyth problem would be solved this easily. Either way, the Oilers face the Flames again tonight at Rexall Place. I know I mentioned that I should maybe preview a game, but I don't have a good prediction about the game tonight--these two teams are one loss, one win both ways when it comes to each other, so tonight's victory will be huge. The Oilers are 8-2 at home and the Flames are 3-4-2 on the road--personally I'm rooting for the Oilers, so I'm going to pretend those stats say a lot more than they do. What I do know, though, is that the Oilers PK is 3rd in the league (90.3%), and Calgary's coming in at a weak 24th (80.4%)--maybe someone should tell the boys to take advantage of that?

San Jose plays tonight too, in a huge Battle of California game--I'm sure you can guess who I'd like to win that one. I might forgive Chris Pronger someday, but that doesn't mean I'm ever going to be a Ducks fan. Anaheim's got the hometown advantage though, and the better record overall, if just barely, so this game should be close. Jonathan Cheechoo still DTD might make a substantial difference for the Sharks.

As for the last game of the evening, Jaromir Jagr and his Rangers, who my one-time favorite Brendan Shanahan also now belongs to, take on the Canes tonight. At the start of the season this would have been an easy pick, what with Carolina coming off their cup victory with a string of terrible playing and lost games, but they've picked it up lately--enough to he point where they're top-contenders to storm (...oh pun definitly not intended) the playoffs again. I'm still predicting a Rangers victory for this one--they've definitely got the offense to get past Cam Ward, and Jagr's just coming off scoring his 600th career goal, which has to be a boost. Either way, I just have to stand by my man Jagr--it's not ever hockey player whose Sports Bar you've been to in Prague.

....I am so not doing this for every game from now on.

Hey all. This is my first attempt at posting in this blog, so we'll see how it goes. Blogger and I have not made friends as of yet.

A few things:

1. Sidney was pulled during the Flyers game due to a groin injury. I am sure that Therrien knows what he's doing, but I really hope that he is telling the fans the truth and that Sid is okay. We may only have him for another season, I want to see him as much as possible with a Penguin on his chest. (Hey, that's not a phrase you hear every day)

2. The Flyers are not flying so well. Now, as a long-time Pens fan, I am not crying myself to sleep over this, but it is a bit disconcerting to see the always brutal Philidelphia coming up lame this year. Since I am pretty much the only Penguins fan in the Green Mountains (I think there might be 4 others, thank you John LeClair for coming west), I am enjoying this to its fullest and rubbing it in the face of every single Flyers fan I find. Trust me, after Johnny's tour with them, there are a good amount to choose from. According to NHL.com, the Flyers are facing some hard decisions. Resign Forsberg? Try to trade and see what comes up? I don't envy the fans watching their team slide to the basement. I know how they feel.

3. Canes v Rangers tonight. I am not sure which one I want to lose more.

4. Calgary v Edmonton tonight. Battle of the goaltenders. With Kipper being better than sliced bread, and Roloson being...well...amazing, it will be interesting to see how the offense gets past these two. Since I have love for both teams (yes, I know, shhh), it is probably a good thing that I will not be able to watch the game tonight. I don't know who I would want to win and I do not have enough beer to help me with that decision.

5. Clash of the black and gold. Next Penguins game is Wednesday, against the local boys, the Bruins. I really hope NESN is showing it. Why can't I be rich and order Center Ice?

6. I haven't heard anything lately about he of the luscious tattoos, Ryan Malone. How is his arm coming along?

Now that I have wasted time figuring out this program a bit, I am going to do dishes and go visit my mother for Thanksgiving. I love going home, free food and I don't have to pay to do my laundry. Go Pens!

20 November 2006

Some Kinda Introduction

1. Where am I and who are you?

You're at No Pun Intended, a hockey blog run by Steph and Elly, a couple of college students terminally slacking off on school in favor of beer and hockey, that's part rant, part actual astute observation, and part...well, squeeing over certain hockey players who shall as of now remain unnamed. You'll figure it out.

Also noteworthy, the picture that goes with this post is several months out of date and that hideous bleach blonde which will never happen again.

2. So why does this place exist?

Mostly because we seem to think that other people care about our opinions--and we have enough of them that writing them down seemed to make sense. That and when you spend several hours day watching hockey clips on youtube, you eventually want to share. After what had to have been a good few weeks of trying to pick a name, we started a blog over on livejournal, but as most of the hockey blogs we've seen are over here, we're suffering through learning how to use this supposedly "easy" method of publishing our useless information to the web.

3. And who are your favorite teams?

Steph grew up in Hockeytown as a Wings fan, but with a Canadian father, and is thus even more a Leafs fan. Thanks to the cup finals last year she's become utterly obsessed with the Oilers as well. We aren't sure yet how much of this is because of Dwayne Roloson. Recently she's started liking the Sharks too. This is contrary to everything she's ever known about hockey and she pretends it never happened.

Elly on the other hand, is a diehard Pens fan with a soft spot for Calgary (which may or may not have a lot to do with Mikka Kiprusoff--seriously, we have a thing for goalies), and has recently come into the Oilers love as well.

It goes without saying that nether of us are fond of Carolina, but Anaheim is up there on the hate list as well.

4. What about favorite players?

Steph's always had a soft spot for Mats Sundin and STILL LOVES MANNY LEGACE, DAMMIT! She's also been far too obsessed with Jiri Hudler, Andrew Raycroft, and Dwayne Roloson lately. Also she still owes Fernando Pisani her first born (and possibly five or six more children after that) from the playoffs last year.

Elly's squeeing over Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lately, but she hasn't gotten over Mario Lemieux and Mikka Kiprusoff, either. And then of course, ever since the playoffs there's been a whole lot of Jussi Markkanen love floating around. She may or may not have forgiven Chris Pronger. We aren't sure yet.

5. Why No Pun Intended?

Seriously don't even ask. We don't really even remember anymore (trust me the decision took weeks), except that we definitely make enough terrible hockey puns to require that disclaimer far more than anyone should. Ever.

6. Anything else?

That about covers it all. One of these day's well figure this all out and hey--maybe have a frequently updating, respectable blog.