30 July 2007

And the offseason gets darker still.

Once upon a time, the Edmonton Oilers had a puck-moving defenseman, a gritty workhorse captain, a heart and soul guy, and a blonde-haired, blue-eyed sweetheart of a goalie with his leetle goalie mask who bent over backward to give them a chance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs 06.

It took less than two years to tear that team apart.

Chris Pronger is a Duck.
Ryan Smyth a Colorado Avalanche.
Jason Smith is in Philadelphia.
And this afternoon, Jussi Markkanen signs with Finnish team Jokerit. (Look at him still wearing his Oilers helmet - you can tell me it's only because he obviously hasn't gotten time to get a new one made, but you can't say it's anything but depressing.)

Makes you wonder what would have happened if they'd won.

29 July 2007

Well scratch my back with a hacksaw!

That's right, folks, Mr. Mike Lange is back for another year covering the Penguins on the radio. Who says video killed the radio star?

Not much else going on in the Penguins world (aside from the now infamous Staalgate, which really, they should just be ashamed of. I mean, none of us ever did anything like that when we were young, and I know that we just all waited until we were 21 to drink, and then we always kept within the limits. Right. Really, they should be hanging their heads that they were caught. Didn't they have any practice with backwoods parties in Ontario?), and the newest scandal is Kevin Lowe's 'desperate and tasteless' push to snag Anaheim Duck Dustin Penner. That K.Lowe is being a douche is nothing new, just ask an Edmonton fan, but really, does it warrent all this attention and negativity? Sure, it wasn't exactly the most classy thing to do, but it wasn't technically illegal, either. Sort of like letting a big heavy door slam in the face of a pregnant woman in a wheelchair with a broken leg.

So who thinks that the Staal brothers will have a bet going on during the first game of the season? Any guesses on what they'll bet? (If you say gatorade, you have no imagination)

27 July 2007

Oh, Lupul.

I will admit, the first time I checked out San Jose Shark Mark Smith's band The Vinyl Trees it was more because I had a decided love of his cute teal hair (it matched mine!) than because I believed in his musical prowess. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they're actually rather fun - which led to clicking on an article about them playing recently at the Blue Beet Cafe in Newport Beach. Never did I expect it to be so hilarious (emphases are mine).

"In his black T-shirt and jeans, the lead singer of the Vinyl Trees was barely recognizable as a hockey player. Two of his friends — Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Ducks and Joffrey Lupul of the Philadelphia Flyers — blended with the crowd in plain clothes. The Blue Beet was populated Thursday night with superstar athletes, but the night was about camaraderie, not competition.
Thursday night, the Stanley Cup was on display in Canada, and Penner and his friends left their seasonal rivalries behind them. McKaig, who knows a number of hockey players through his job, invited the Vinyl Trees to play a set — along with Lupul's band, which had to bow out when the Flyers star came down with a sore throat."
I can't decide which has me rolling the worst. "Lupul's band" (Seriously are you kidding me? Someone with great myspace-fu needs to get on this RIGHT now. Finny, did you know? And if so, why was I not informed!?), "sore throat" (Elly and I have decided that since he probably currently knows one person out in Philadelphia, 'sore throat' is more likely a coverup for 'Gator has disabled most of my motor functions'.) or, and this is what I do believe is winning right now, "Flyers star." FLYERS STAR! STAR!

I hope he fills those big shoes every bit as well as he did the ones set out for him last season.

Blogroll! (Because sometimes we like to think we have readers.)

Having forgone (forwent?) sleeping at a reasonable hour yet again, I have spent the past while cleaning up our blogroll (after being inspired to do so by my favorite IPBers), adding some of our newer finds, editing links (because people like Jordi can't stay in one place), etc. I doubt I'm done yet, but before I spend any more of time that should really be devoted to sleep on making things pretty, I figured I might as well make sure I've got everything covered.

So, if there is anyone out there reading who would like their blog added to our blogroll, or if there's someone you know we're missing, or hell, just someone you think we should check out, now is the time to let us now! Leave us a comment here and we'll get right on it!

(Oh and uh, which is the bigger scandal of the day, Comrie/Duff or Lowe/Pennersquee?)

25 July 2007

I Bet Their Momma's Proud.

Apparently all of us fans aren't the only ones bored with the offseason.

The rest of us just aren't throwing Eric Staal bachelor parties that get broken up by the cops and winds us up in jail. Now, this is funny enough on it's own. But taken point by point it becomes utterly hilarious:

  • Eric was arrested for "disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process." Funny enough on it's own, right? But when broken down we see that what really happened was that the Sheriff's office received complaints about "screaming, yelling and playing loud music," and they were then warned in excess. Screaming, yelling and playing loud music? At a bachelor party? Oh those wacky Staals. But wait, it gets better!
  • Having been kicked out of the establishment, the lot of them (Staals, cousins, and friends, by the sounds of things) subsequently decided the next best course of action was to harass motorists passing by on the expressway. At 4 am. Okay, now we're encroaching on the territory previously known as "what my college friends do on Saturday nights."
"Just keep smiling, maybe our charm and good looks can get us out of this."
  • Next, they got not only Eric, but Jordan as well - for underage drinking. Why I never! Jordan Staal, drinking? That little stumble he almost took at the awards ceremony is suddenly happening in a whole different light.
  • Finally, 10 of the 14 arrested spent the night in jail. Eric was one, says the article, and I can only hope that Jordan was another because I imagine the conversation on his end would have been something like this: "Do not tell mom. Eric. Do NOT tell mom." Until he was forcibly shut up in a brilliant feat of some more disorderly conduct. I'll be EA is thrilled.
Edit: And thanks to Sherry and her HLOG coverage of this scandalous incident, mugshots of both Eric and Jordan are available.

So now that my entire afternoon has been made by reading about these antics (and my Saturday nights of 3 am traffic cone stealing - yes, we did it - and such just got a whole lot cooler sounding - from now I'm introducing every plan to my friends with "Oh come on the Staal brothers would do it!"), I just have one question, Eric (and you have all summer to think about how you could have not gotten arrested): How does it feel?

I've got it!

While doing the morning blogroll, I came across a lovely picture on Capschick's blog (which was from a link to On Frozen Blog), of Ovechkin sporting the new Capitals logo on a spiffy red shirt in the picture on the left. He looked so stern, so manly, so taciturn and just so....Russian that in my coffee deprived state it made me think, my goodness, he looks just like someone else....but who?

Well, it dawned on me finally that he looks just like another foreign prodigy in sports (if he frowned a bit more), if not exactly in hockey. I'm sure that Capschick will be thrilled that her post sparked that particular epiphany.

Where does that leave poor Malkin? Out at the library, I think. (Sorry Geno!)

EDIT: While searching for Krum pictures, I found this. Hmm.

23 July 2007

Signs it's Been the Offseason for Too Long: #1

The Detroit News, lacking any actual Red Wings news, as management is content with the current roster, has so little to report that they instead treat their readers to an article, photo gallery, and even audio that is essentially what Chris Chelios does on his summer vacation.

Paddle surfing: It isn't better, just different, Cheli says.

I encourage anyone interested in Cheli's surfing, biking, and uh, sitting at a friends' place on the ocean to check it all twenty three, yes, you heard me right twenty three, images. When does hockey come back, again? Those who like to rag on his age will find great material - personally I love the 74 year old workout partner.

I just wonder if the News realizes we have a perfectly lovely pair of pair of soccer playing Eurotwins who photograph a little better that they could be capturing the summer activities of. If only.

Meanwhile I just bumped down a great post of Elly's that has been killing me all afternoon, so make sure you check that out as well.

22 July 2007

Was that a tumbleweed?

Quite times in the dead of the hockey drought that is summer. Not much going on (unless you count the Nashville drama with a certain Canadian billionare that Pens fans are familiar with. Don't let him get you down, Nashville!), and the Pens are all out on the beach or on the indoor rinks. Personally, I hope they're on the beach with a friend and a good book. Summertime is for relaxing, and as long as you do some practice, you might as well play. Besides, training camp is coming up soon, and rumor has it that the boys are going back to West Point. Think they'll have this much fun again?

Speaking of breaks, NPI is rather quiet right now, and I'm sure you can all guess why.

That's right, Mr.Potter has taken us hostage, and although my adventures with him lasted 23 hours, Steph has to go at a slower pace due to the fact her roommate wants his copy back at the end of the day.

After finishing the book, I think I can sum it up nicely by saying that it's like the last 10 years of the Penguins history, topping off with a Cup win. It is not like the Oilers' last season, which Steph said she was glad of, since it would mean that the book ended with the death and destruction of everyone and everything.

So, how do I compare the two? Well, let's go at this systematically:

-Sidney Crosby, dark haired, marked for greatness at the tender age of 13 (right around when Harry went to school at 11), works great magic with a stick. Now if we can just get him to get a scar on his forehead, it would work.

-If Colby Armstrong had bright red hair...

-Instead of foisting poor Geno into the role of a bushy-haired girl, I'm going to say that he instead resembles a certain Bulgarian seeker. Quiet, kind, speaks with heavily accented English (rather sexy in the movie)?

-Malfoy = The New York Rangers.

-Actually, no no, Malfoy = the Philadelphia Flyers. Snarky and inept, but with some good looks (Lupul, I'm talking about your baby blues, here....and your lack of stickhandling, come to think of it), but that you hate on principle because they're just so good to hate.

-The Death Eaters = The New York Rangers.

I can see it now...Sidney Potter, alone, finding himself at the School of National Hockey, famous before he steps foot on the State-side ice for powers he doesn't know the extent of. Sorted by the Magical Drafting Hat into the Penguins House (located in the tower of Pittsburgh), and taken under the kindly wing of Lemieuxdore as he steers his path from afar with kindly words and well-timed advice. Along with his two best friends, Colby Weasley and Malkin Krum, the prodigy from Eastern Europe, they are lead through the trials and tribulations of learning the skills of hockey from their head, McTherrien (sounds like a terrier breed). Hijinks abound as Sidney faces alienation from other Houses, jealous of his skill, and his acceptance into a new world with the help of other friends, such as Maxime Flannigan and Jordan Thomas. (I was really seeing Eric and Jordan Patil, but I didn't want to contemplate who would wear ornamental butterflies in their hair) Many adventures follow the trio as they work through their years, competing with the other groups, facing friends, family, and culminating to a faceoff with an old nemesis, one that trained with Lemieuxdore in his younger days, learning from his skate-lacings...He-Who-Must-Be-Booed.

As with most of their meetings, Sidney comes off victorious, leaving his opponent to scratch his mark, #68, into the locker room door as he leaves. Lemieuxdore has left the terrible task of defeating He-Who-Must-Be-Booed once and for all (before he retires, anyhow) to young Sidney Potter and the Dark Captain's minion, Sean Lestrange? Can he do it? Will he live up to the task set before him? Will the Penguin House win the Cup this year? Only time will surely tell.

And now, back to your scheduled waiting for the preseason.

(for the record, I do like Jagr, the parallel just fit too well to pass up. Sorry, Jaromir!)

19 July 2007

I'm sorry.....what?

The gods are laughing at me, aren't they?

Someone tell me...

Well, we're about a third of the way through the misery that is the offseason, and we're all still alive so far (I think). Posting has been lax thanks to, well, not a lot happening. In fact, such little has happened that we've banded together for mass viewing sessions of The Cutting Edge in hopes that maybe we can the crazy that's setting in with as quiet as the hockey world has been these past few days. Which brings to mind a few questions:

  • Who will sign Jussi Markkanen? And why haven't they yet? Are the hockey gods still mad at me? And for that matter, what of Ty Conklin?
  • Is the new guy in Edmonton brave enough to wear #44?
  • Will Darcy Tucker quit hockey for the more(?) lucrative acting profession? (And at the very least, will his appearance in Little Mosque on the Prairie make me as happy as I'm expecting it to?)
  • Do Avs fans do these things just for us Wings fans' benefits?
  • Will my favorite little Tiger pitcher Andrew Miller learn to throw something other than a fastball? And will my inane love of him continue? On the topic of baseball, how awesome is Magglio Ordonez?
  • Do any of these questions really have anything to do with hockey?
And most importantly, is it October yet? Or at least September?

18 July 2007

Say what?

The Penguins have added a few more people to their ranks...their office staff ranks, that is. Tom Fitzgerald and Jason Botterill have been hired to work with prospects and manage the salary cap space, respectively. Yes, that Tom Fitzgerald. I hope someone stuffs a squeaky rat in his inbox.

Jordan Staal answers some Q and A questions from fans. The part about he and his brother betting on a face off was cute, and something I've always wondered if they do. I can't imagine that there isn't a certain amount of smack talk between the four of them, especially Eric and Jordan.

The shop at nhl.com is selling 2 foot tall Stanley Cup replicas, complete with gloves, crate, and little doily (all for a cool 250 smackers). Too expensive? How about the inflatable version (complete with repair kit)? Great for pool parties!

Lastly, this gem was lifted from Empty Netters (which I still need to put in the sidebar), and shows us again just why we love Maxime Talbot. For an extra bit of Penguiny goodness from youtube, check this out as well. The part with Fleury was cute, but hearing Armstrong say 'a little smoochie' just about killed me.

Is it October yet?

17 July 2007

Midsummer blues

I found myself with, gasp!, free time this morning since my work called to switch me to a long closing shift in surgery and I thought, hey, why not update the blog! It's been a while since I've been able to give it some Penguins-oriented love.

-Therrien signed a contract extension yesterday to keep him around for another year. I was worried that the Pens might go the way of Boston. (how many coaches is that now? 3 in the last two years?)
-Old news, but Sidney is around for 5 (six if you count this upcoming season) more seasons. I think, 'thank you, merciful god' sums that up. Either that or 'yippie!'. I'm okay with either.
-Talbot and Armstrong are back for two more years and Wilkes-Barre has been bulking up a bit as well. I don't know much about them, but it's always interesting to watch people develop.
-Another signing of note is Petr Sykora, formerly of Edmonton (we'll forget that little patch in New Jersey...and Anaheim...and with the Rangers...hell, let's just forget everything up until the Oil, shall we?), who had some good production in the first half of the season, falling slightly off in the end. I'd point that out as something of note, but really, check out Edmonton's last twenty games or so. Recchi-Crosby-Sykora?
-Not a lot of discussion on signing Fleury early or not. He's improved dramatically last season, but can still be shaky. Are they waiting to see how he comes out this season?

Well, work calls, but there isn't much more on the Pens front (backup goalie switching, but I can't remember the stats on Sabourin at the moment). The season is coming closer and closer every minute! Preseason starts on the 17th of September with a double visit to the Bell Centre in Montreal. So close...maybe they'll have cheap tickets?

Go Pens!

14 July 2007

The Boogeyman Strikes Again

As the horrendously boring and hockeyless summer wears on, so does the (oftentimes equally boring) debate over fighting in the NHL.

Meanwhile, your and my favorite Hemsky-abuser (insert a few other slightly more unpleasant adjectives here) Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard and his little brother soon-to-be-Penguin Aaron, like many other NHL players, host a hockey camp over the summer. Unlike most of these hockey camps, however, this one focuses specifically on what Boogaard does best - beating people up.

About two dozen young players, age 12-18 pay $50 apiece to learn how to "how to leverage their strength when decking an opponent, protect themselves against punches from various angles and condition their bodies for the physical play that is the cause of, and solution to, the NHL's identity crisis." Despite criticism, Boogaard insists he's showing the kids how to protect themselves, not hurt one another. Because we all know Boogaard's out there to protect himself. Not wreck shoulders.

Now, you can argue for or against fighting in the NHL all you want, but outside of the fact that Boogaard in particular hosting this is just hilarious the event decided to go completely over the top with regard to what exactly comes with that $50 fee:

"The second "Derek Boogaard Fighting Camp," which includes T-shirts splotched with blood-red dye, was staged inside a stuffy miniature rink with boards, glass and plastic ice."

You'd all better make a note to let me know if anyone ever manages to pull one of those up on eBay. And hey Hannah - Willie Mitchell doesn't approve.

11 July 2007

I live!

Just like Sidney, I'm back (maybe even for 5 years)! So much Penguin news to catch up on! Blogs to visit! Stories to write! Flyers to despair over (how COULD you, Gator!). Devils fans to laugh at!

Let the good times roll, baby.

10 July 2007

The Season's Getting Closer!

I just realized just how long I've been absent (has it really been since free agency started?). Anyway, a lot has happened - a lot I'm sure you all read about on blogs that are keeping themselves up to date much more than I am. Which I will now resume doing without week-long disappearances that provoke other bloggers to inquire as to if I've been able to leave my house without a bottle of vodka in one hand and a picture of Smytty in the other (short answer: yes, long answer: does beer count?). To start it off, the Wings have released their preseason schedule:

Detroit Red Wings 2007-2008 Preseason Schedule
Sept. 18 -- @ Minnesota
Sept. 21 -- vs. Minnesota
Sept. 22 -- vs. Pittsburgh
Sept. 24 -- @ Pittsburgh
Sept. 25 -- vs. NY Rangers
Sept. 27 -- vs Tampa Bay
Sept. 28 -- @ Toronto
Sept. 29 -- vs. Toronto
I'll probably make the Toronto game (which I'm very happy about seeing as the schedule meanswe won't be hosting Toronto during the regular season), but it's unlikely I'll get home from school to catch anything else. I'd like to see the Rangers (almost as much to see the Joe's reaction to Shanahan as much as for a certain Czech winger), but as it's a Tuesday it probably won't work out. I was sad about missing the Penguins as well but then some more interesting news cropped up:

The Hockey News
is reporting a second outdoor game (the first being 2003's Heritage Classic between Edmonton and Montreal) in the works, at which the Penguins have already agreed to be the visiting team. The possible destinations for this game? Buffalo or Detroit.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggests the Penguins have agreed to be the visitors in the outdoor game, which will be broadcast on NBC (possibly marketed as “The Ice Bowl") and be held in either Buffalo or Detroit.


Should the game be held in Detroit, a likely location would be Spartan Stadium, where the "Cold War" game between U.S. colleges Michigan State and Michigan was played in 2001. That game drew a world-record hockey fan crowd of 74,554.
Should the game happen in Buffalo, it would be at the Ralph Wilson Stadium and, rumor has it, on New Year's Day. Let's all keep our fingers crossed for Detroit! (Can't you just see Hasek with a little toque a la Jose Theodore? Would it even fit on his mask?)

02 July 2007

This is not a mature post.

Some people out there are making real, informed, logical posts about the first day of Free Agency and all these crazy signings. The Wings did some things I think are pretty smart, signing Rafalski after the Ducks picked up Schneider. The Leafs picked up Blake, which is probably not a bad thing. Drury and Briere went off to the Rangers and the Flyers and I could care less. Well. I could have cared less about that before hand, but even the others just aren't feeling like they matter.

Because the Oilers broke my heart again.
And again.

And one last time for good m