28 August 2007

If hockey won't come to me, I'll go to hockey.

This past weekend I made the second of my usual twice a year trips to Toronto, where, after a fun evening with my good friend Chapel (wherein he bought me dinner as a prize for winning his playoff pool this past season), I met up with fellow HLOGger Sherry for second time. Last time we were able to take in a Bulldogs playoff game; this time the two of us made our way to the Hockey Hall of Fame. I'd been there once before, but not since it moved to the new building, so I was excited to see exactly what it was comprised of now.

First, I was unsurprised to see that the Wings were the team whose jersey was featured in the Central Division display, but I was more surprised when I walked around to the back of it and saw this:

What, didn't have any extra Stevie Y.'s or something? I wonder if he knows.

Sherry and I also decided to try the goalkeeping and shooting games they had - I managed to beat her in both, though not by much (I did do better at the trivia game, but it was pretty much sheer luck). I was only able to score three goals on seven attempts against Eddie Belfour (for shame), and only stopped two out of five (though it would have been three if I hadn't kicked one in with my own foot). To her credit, Sherry was playing in a skirt - but then again, I was playing in very hockey-inappropriate sandals, and both of us were using a stick about a foot too long.

When I stepped into that net, I must have started thinking to myself, "what would Conklin do?" There wasn't enough room to run behind the net and commit a grievous error, so I apparently had to think more like Cam Ward and flail at a shot I actually stopped until the puck went in the net.

If you're interested in any of the other pictures from the weekend, and the HHoF, my photo gallery is here. If you're looking for more stupid pictures of me proving that I should definitely stick to watching hockey rather than playing, however, you're out of luck, as those are all on Sherry's camera. We had a lot of fun even if we sucked.

Over the course of the weekend we also watched a chunk of Miracle and considered liveblogging it - but through a combined laziness and lack of internet in the room we were in, ended up sparing you all.

As August wears on there is less and less hockey news available, and more and more anticipation for the new season, but here are some odds and ends to help tide you over:
  • The Red Wings are going on with that silly "Fire on Ice" theme heading into the season - and they've created possibly the most hideous splash page ever to go along with it. Does anyone else think it looks like viewing an image on a monitor that can't display quite enough colors to show it properly? Anti-aliasing is good, I promise.
  • If you can manage to brave the site design, however, you can purchase preseason tickets starting August 30th. Tickets are also still on sale for training camp in Traverse City (September 13-18).
  • The Sharks took a page out of the Wings' book with a splash page of their own. It's almost as ugly, and yet it's a thing of beauty - bet you can figure out why. (In other news re: the Sharks endearing me to them, check out the Cheechoo/Teemu ska song, if you haven't yet.)
  • The LA Kings sign former Toronto backup J.S. Aubin (crickets chirp).
And finally, with the offseason being quiet and horrendously boring, you'd think we'd hit a lapse in crazy search terms - but nope. Amidst the armies of people who still want pictures of Lauren Pronger and information about Rod Brind'Amour's girlfriend, my latest favorites have been "js giguere pool party" (I hope he invited The Aquabats), "dominik hasek laptop" (the man just learned text messaging last season, let's not go too far now), "fake teeth in ontario" (....what?) and, the current winner, "let down your hair I want to comb it" (uhhhhh, that's the last time I make those "Mr. Babcock I want to comb your hair" comments).

25 August 2007

Creative and witty title goes here

School starting and the busy details of trying to sleep and work two jobs have kept me from commenting on this, but I can't ignore it any longer.

Sidney has a clothing line.
The Star has a great take on it, too.

Yes, that's right (for the three people out there who haven't heard it), you can now wear something by Sidney Crosby in your own home. Is it a little ego-centric? Yes. Is it a little humorous? Yes. Cheesy as hell? You betcha. Would I buy a SC87 original? In a New York minute (provided it wasn't pink, glittery in anyway shape, or form, and did not have the 'I hear Sidney' on it, because really, gag me). A lot of people are mocking this, but really, have we not seen hockey players do this before? (ask me who makes that line and I'll hit you with a shovel)

However, some people have a good point: did he do his research? What is his market, is he trying to go for casual female fans (or puckbunnies) with his women's line, or is he going for the actual female hockey fan? If he's trying to market to the real lady fans, Sidney, I should slap your hand. There are fans that appreciate the pink, but by and far, most do not. I suppose I should just be happy that I didn't see too much done in glitter, but I would have expected a bit more from Mr. Crosby on this. Maybe I'm missing the point and this isn't for hockey fans at all, just for women who think, 'Hey, I've heard of this Sheldon Crosby guy, and he's hot! Maybe I will buy a shirt....', either way, tasteful clothing isn't too much to ask for, and I'm hoping for the best when you can browse catalogs online.

In other news, the there will be a Merry Christmas after all: The Pens and Buffaslugs will evidently play in the Ice Bowl on January 1st. Good news! Bad news? I can neither make reservations, check prices of hotels online, or even buy tickets. What the hell, NHL? Also, anyone know why I can't buy Leafs tickets online until December games?

Now for some completely random pictures:
-The Frozen Moment from a few days ago. I had it open on my browser, and really, any time you can see a Flyer go head over tea kettle into the opposing players' bench is a good one.
-Screaming Eagles era Flower. I miss the mullet.

Oh, and as an aside, someone over at (I think, forgive me if I'm wrong) HLOG said something about Alyssa Milano creating her own sports clothing line...without the Pink. I checked it out, and really, not bad at all, if a bit on the sexier side of sports (which isn't a bad thing, just not what a game is about, of any sport. I sort of hate her for being able to be hot enough to be her own model on everything. Sigh). The bad news is, she looks like an Yankees fan. Oh, much better.

24 days till preseason!

21 August 2007

I'm in BryzgaLove.

Okay so if you know me, or have ever met me even briefly, or have so much as just seen pictures of me, or have ever remotely broached the subject of fashion/clothing/etc. with me, you're well aware of the fact that I have probably never worn something that actually matched for a day of my life. Or at least since I've been dressing myself.

With that in mind, I think you can now all understand beyond the shadow of a doubt how I can hate the Ducks, but love Ilya Bryzgalov:

It was brought to my attention earlier that Bryzgalov brought the cup back to his native Russia (Togliatti, to be exact) on Monday, August 6th. It (and Bryz) were mobbed outside the airport by people chanting his name, took part in a parade (at 6 am), went on to Volga Sports Palace, where Bryz played hockey before coming over to the NHL, Avto-VAZ, the company where Bryz's father works, then on a three hour cruise, and then to an office where his best friend and sister work.

And Ilya did it all in that absolute debacle of a shirt. People probably had seizures. That guy in the background of the picture has got to be laughing at the shirt. There is just no doubt. I ask you, how do you not appreciate that? (And don't lie. A tiny little part of you wishes you owned it.)

In case you thought that was the best part, though, I have news for you - not even close. In fact, the part of this journey that I left out?

"At suppertime, a small group went to Long John Silver's, a pirate-themed restaurant. An entire show took place while the group was eating dinner – singers, dancers, fiddlers. A large cake was wheeled in and presentations were made while pictures were taken. Then, all of a sudden, pirates invaded the party, emerging seemingly out of thin air. They dragged Bryzgalov down the stairs with the Stanley Cup (gasp!) A cannon was fired and there was much commotion. Bryzgalov emerged a few moments later, dressed like a buccaneer and safely carrying the Stanley Cup."
Yes. I am serious. Really. Serious. Tragically, despite a good couple hours of working my google-fu over at google.ru, I could bring up no photographic evidence (though I did end up with this video, entirely in Russian, where Bryz talks about...something).

Worry not, though - if Sherry can have Martin Gerber dressed up as, well, this, the gods of the internet cannot possibly keep failing me with regard to Buccaneer Bryzgalov. Until then, you all just keep staring at that shirt.

And loving Ilya Bryzgalov.

20 August 2007

40 Days and 40 Nights or How I Dealt With Hockey Withdrawal

One last lonely month looms between all of us and sweet hockey relief. We only have to hold out something like 40 more days. But this stretch is by far the hardest. The playoff buzz has worn off, the excitement of the draft is over, and it's hard to even summon back up the emotion to cry over the Jason Smiths, the slag-faced whores (I'm look at you Drury), the Mathieu Schneiders, the Jussi Markkanens, and, if you're Elly, the Ty Conklins, of free agency. News is trickling so slowly lately that the headlines are less "X PLAYER SIGNS WITH X TEAM FOR X EXORBITANT AMOUNT OF CASH!" and more "Top Ten Sports Songs!" So here we all are with forty more days ahead of us feeling like we're never going to see hockey again.

So what is there to do? Go watch baseball! The Tigers need all the support they can get - and apparently the collective I've massed around me (comprised of such illustrious bloggers as BoC's Earl Sleek, blogger at, oh, just the best Sabres blog on the internet, Heather, who's at least cheering for Andy Van Slyke, IPB (Ir)regulars Patty, who even supplied me with little bobblehead Pudge, and Mags - the mention of whom, as she shares my over-exuberant love of the awkward kid, brings me to my real selling point:

Christened PitchyCrunchy over at IPB the Tigers baby pitcher Andrew Miller, whether or not he's been spectacular lately (he has not), and whether or not he will be able to wrestle the title of "my Tiger" away from Magglio Ordonez (he has not, thus far, but I know Christy will pick up the slack on loving Mags if I do indeed switch over) is adorable. Come on. Look at that face.

So go watch the Tigers. Maybe we'll start winning again.

And uh, if baseball isn't your thing, go take HLOG's advice and rasterbate yourself some hockey players to stare at through the long month of August. Don't worry, it'll be over soon. IPB (Ir)regular Katebits, whose newly started hockey blog I of course have to pimp, has the proof!

16 August 2007

Only a month left!

Until the preseason, at least. August certainly is the loneliest month for the hockey faithful.

Not much going on in the Land of Penguin, but they have set up a web cam at the site of the new arena for those of us outside the area that have nothing better to do than watch a fuzzy webcam of construction workers on break. Still, all snark aside, it's a nice touch for the fans that have been waiting a life time to see this bad boy come to completion.

In television news, OLNUSUS has announced their schedule and the Pens mark 8 times on it, 3 of which are against the Rangers. Can fans really not get enough of booing Jagr or do the execs just really like New York? NBC has put out a 'flexible' schedule for it's Sunday games, and from the article, it sounds like they'll pick from 4 games to show (how they choose, it doesn't say. Names in a hat? Shortest straw? Team closest to the salary cap?) and then broadcast that one as the so-called 'Game of the Week', while the rest will just be bumped back to their regional carriers. Super, so games of the Rangers, the Devils, and some random Western team will crush out Boston and Pittsburgh (although I have hopes for the Pens, thankyouverymuch Sidney Crosby for being cute, marketable, and a genius at hockey, not to mention the baby-faced squad around you). Thank god for NESN (although I could do without Hazel Mae).

It isn't often that I talk about the Rangers in any sort of light other than 'scathing', but this video struck me as sort of cute and rather interesting, mostly due to the second eldest Staal making an appearance. Also, poor Cherepanov, 'The Siberian Express'? He's fast and....cold?

EDIT: I found this little tidbit on TSN, Gretzky on K.Lowe: ``He's not doing anything against the system or behind the backs of anyone, and good for him.'' Interesting. Also, Gretzky spoke up in defense of Edmonton itself, since it's apparently now thought of as the retirement home for hockey players, or 'the Siberia of hockey for pro players'. Ouch. Does anyone remember the 2005-2006 season?

Also, Mike Ricci retired (yes, there's a picture). Not much to say on that except that any excuse for knob hockey is a good excuse in my book.

09 August 2007

Sometimes, the real gems find you.

Earlier this evening, a friend of mine who has no remote interest in hockey (I know, but they really do exist) sent me a clip of some conversation of her brother's (equally anemic in the world of hockey knowledge) in which a kid who decided to share a physics probably that came directly from his text book. Initially she sent it to me because she thought I would appreciate any mention of hockey (probably true), but as it turns out, it was much better than that. It reads as follows:

"A hockey puck, mass 0.115kg, moving at 35 m/s, strikes an octopus thrown onto the ice by a fan. The octopus has a mass of 0.265kg. The puck and octopus slide off together. Find the velocity."
My friend was actually disappointed when I explained (this took a while) just why anyone would be discussing octopi being thrown onto ice, and why the existence of this problem was particularly hilarious to me especially (citing that "it made the problem a lot less surreal").

I, on the other hand, love the fact that out there somewhere is a Wings fan making up story problems for a physics book.

07 August 2007

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin

It's coming, slowly but surely. Hockey is just around the corner! I encourage everyone to check out The Pensblog's countdown, which started at the number of 66. They've got some solid support for the Pens' fans in the summer (and are one of the only things keeping me from gnawing on my computer in frustration).

So what else are people doing to while away the long days of summer? Some of us are doing some reading (and making terrible comparisons while we're at it), but many of us are finding some fairly creative and entertaining ways to pass the hockey drought. NHL.com is going back over the 'memorable moments of 2006-2007' Recchi's 500th is on there, but I noticed that Mario's speech to announce the Penguins staying in Pittsburgh isn't on there (I'm not being biased, but that was a historic moment at the end of a historic struggle), or Jordan Staal's hat trick in Toronto to mark him as the youngest player to do so. Not memorable enough, NHL.com?

Blogs are also getting in on the action. IPB has a uplifting series they're calling 'Reasons We Love Hockey' (and a new theme. Looks good, ladies!). Hot Oil is putting on a 'Historical Hot Off', which even if you aren't an Oilers' fan, you should check it out. SportsSquee is trying to convert us all to football, and certain Capitals' blogs are recapping games (with a little help from google videos). HLOG has also gotten in on the fun with movie nights, which, while a little confusing at times, are a welcome break in all the trade talk and moving rumors.

The teams are also trying to make us happier in the off season by supplying us with news. The Pens won't have to take down their pinup calenders until 2010 when the new arena is ready. It's going to take 3-4 years, really? Well, hopefully there won't be any other helicopters falling through the roof in the meantime (yeah, it's old, yeah, it's over used, yeah, I don't care. Still a classic). It's a long time to wait, but as the article says, they want to do a good job, and do it the right way. I'm sure it will be appreciated in the long run. Another interesting facet of the arena deal is the effect it's having on the community and residents. It sounds like the Pens and Co. are truly trying to work with people and make everyone happy and behind the project (as any sane company would, even though you can't make everyone happy) so as not to repeat the dissatisfaction that came from the original Civic Arena deal 40 years ago. New jobs and a grocery store are small things to ask in the grand scheme of things...right?

In other news, the Nashville Predators are staying in Nashville
...for the time being, anyhow. Congrats, Nashville! Now stop throwing catfish, you weridos. I'd like to try to see them haul these babies over the side of the glass. What would they have thrown in Hamilton...blackberries?

Is it me, or does this man look to be in serious pain? Maybe indigestion? Surprise? The 'you've gotta be kidding me' look when he realized who he got drafted by?

Yeah, that's about all I've got. Oh, except plans to go and see the Pens up at the Bell Centre for their second preseason game. Maybe I'll get lucky enough to sit next to another Penguins' fan in a Fleury jersey like last time...even if they didn't speak a word of English.

EDIT: For some random baseball news (to celebrate a wonderful 13th inning comeback by the A's over the Rangers last night, thank you, Piazza. Seriously, how do you blow a lead like that, coming off a grand slam and a home run?), I feel the need to share a bit of girliness and show the world that Philadelphia does indeed have something going for it: a one Mr. Cole Hamels. Good job on snapping that up, Philly. A talented rookie with a great arm...and a great everything else, too. Maybe it's the hockey hair, but it's nice to know that the home of the Flyers can produce something that pretty.

Just for shits and giggles, have some old-time LeClair. I still hear people claiming to have played in juniors and high school with him. Where are you now, John?

Go Pens.