Friday, October 31, 2008

The Sens changed their entrance song? Also known as the 'Every Link is a YouTube Link' article

Quoi le merde??

So apparently the Sens have changed their classic entrance song to some ditty by a band called Rev Theory. This ditty, in fact.

Now, I must ask - double-you-tea-eph? It seems to be in a long line of weird pre-game fuckups the Sens organization has been getting up to in the past year.

Is it just me - or is he the biggest fail soldier ever? His helmet almost falls off a few times, the mic keeps cutting out, he's not all that ripped, and he doesn't look like a fucking CENTURION, which is the bloody point, isn't it? Fuck, I'm still bitter.

At any rate, I don't really understand the point of changing the song. Or at least, to that particular Rev Theory song, who have a much better hockey song that someone put to hockey clips, and is awesome.

Anyways, there's an increasing (dare I say it) Americanization of everything we're doing over at The Bank of late. The Spartan: from California. Rev Theory: from Massachusets (sp?*). Most of this wishy washy ridiculousness? Things you'd expect to see at a game in Tampa to try to excite fans who aren't already excited.

PST. Sens organization! Canadians already like hockey! We're already excited! Really, I promise. The kitchy bullshit isn't neccesary! You don't need to try to excite us with fancy laser-light shows and Spartans and all that jazz. Just the montage of our team during the classic Roman-themed badassery track is nice, that's all. Really. I promise.

Thanks to James Gordon at Hockey Capital for posting his article where I found out about this and finding the clips that I ultimately borrowed.

Oh, and for your enjoyment. God Bless Hocky indeed.
* My english teacher used to put "sp?" besides words that weren't spelt right, I've kept the tradition alive. Even on MSN.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We extend a welcoming hand to...

As this blog continues to grow, so too does the number of writers.

We welcome Phil Frowd, one of the few people in the world that I would consider an expert on God's greatest gift to man: the beautiful game* (besides Robbo Robson, who, were I a woman and around 50 years old, I might have the hots for). His articles will mainly focus on football in the Premiership, La Liga and (potentially) Serie A, as well as internationals.

His team is (unfortunately) Arsenal (which means that I now have two authors who support mortal enemies of mine)**.

I've decided to forgo the usual "write a bunch of columns and eventually be added to the authors list" because, quite frankly, most of the comments he's posted on my footie-related articles are articles in themselves.

Any road, a round of applause (or a round of a paws... as the 5-year-old Amrit thought the phrase went) for the introduction of our very own Big Phil.

* That would be "sack-er" for those of you who don't know
** Sens/Leafs (Milway), Spurs/Gunners (Phil)

Runnin' it all down

I should just stop with this whole predicting game...I'm not very good at it. I whiffed big-time on the World Series, Philly clinched it tonight in 5 games, not my predicted Dodgers over Red Sox, and then Rays in 6. So I was way off.

My Leafs are not looking terrible these days. I'm really liking what Ron Wilson has done as the coach. Anyone that can make Matt Stajan into a productive player is good in my books. I kind of wished the Leafs had held on to Kyle Wellfed, just to see if Wilson could sort out his motivational problems. He has a whole world of talent, but he is lazy. I'm fine with all of the developments, and I will be okay no matter where they finish. My biggest fear is that the Leafs will be in the hunt for the playoffs, and Cliff Fletcher will trade away any of the prospects or picks that the Leafs have for an overrated, expiring contract. Then again, being the Leafs, this is what should be expected.

Delving into a new sport, the NBA season kicked off yesterday and the Toronto Raptors won their season opener against an overrated Philadelphia team. This Raps team looks a little different this year, with Jermaine O'Neal at Center, and Jose Calderon now the starting PG, with TJ Ford shipped off to Indiana for JO. JO does not have to be the all-star he used to be (20 points, 12 rebounds a night). Chris Bosh is this teams 20-12 player. JO has to be about 15-8, because his key contribution will come on the defensive end. He will be guarding the best big guy on the other team. By doing this, he allows CB4 to move over and cover a lesser player, and enables Bosh to fly to the ball on double teams to block some shots. Now, we just have to see if Sam Mitchell can work out a solid 9-man rotation.

And the Buffalo Bills got knocked around by the Miami Dolphins, with Trent Edwards looking like he was making his 9th career NFL start. The Jets and Pats are up next, and then the schedule reverts to being easy, with games still left against the Chiefs, Browns, Niners and Broncos. PLAYOFFS!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The revolving door spins

Bye Juande, buy 'Arry!!! (see here).

So, I suppose it's expected that I provide a little analysis on Redknapp coming to the Lane, and Ramos, Poyet, the other Spanish bloke and Commoli (I don't care if his name's spelt right) leaving it. Wait, it isn't? Well, fuck off I will anyways.

Here's my thinking on the thing. Harry wanted to manage here for a while, and we've had him tapped up for a while. He's obviously very happy with the system of player-breeding that Spurs have, or else he wouldn't have 9 of our former boys sitting over at Fratton Fortress. Before Pompey and Spurs kicked off earlier this season, he was full of praise for Spurs, too. And not coach-talk, genuine praise for the system and management in place at WHL. 'Arry trained at Spurs as a boy, and his son played and captained our first team (and married a drop-dead gorgeous WAG). It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the old piece of fried chicken has wanted to be at WHL for a while.

As for the firings: Yes to Ramos, yes to Comolli. I don't know who the other Spanish one was (beyond a first-team coach), so I'm not right to talk about it, no to Poyet.

Comolli has been a useless Director of Football for years. He kept most of his old contact cards he took from Arsenal, and his scouting methods and locations are outdated and unsuccessful. He doesn't believe in negotiating fair contracts for players, which is why we wind up spending ridiculous amounts of money on players who are rumoured to be good without thinking about how they'd fit into the team mold. His firing is long overdue, and I'm happy to see him go.

Ramos yes because he can't operate unless the conditions suit him perfectly. He played single-striker at Sevilla and it worked, but it doesn't work at Spurs because, frankly, we no longer have a single striker. We have Darren Bent. He would not change his tactics to suit the situation he found himself in, and for that can't be considered the amazing manager he was rumoured to be. Besides, Sevilla's Director of Football more-or-less ran the bloody team, he chose the players for a formation which he wanted to see, Ramos served as a go-between and decided on starters, along with other basic coaching and management responsibilities.

Poyet no, because I have a lot of respect for him and think he's been the one shining light in this dismal show of management. He's a Spurs alumni, a fan favourite, and a player favourite too. They respect Gus, and Gus respects them. If anything he'd be a wonderful ambassador for the club and I think they should've kept him on.

Now, how do I feel about Harry Redknapp? I fucking love him. To be honest, I was gunning for him to be England manager when that job was up in the air, and now that he's at Spurs I couldn't be happier. He's my kind of manager, direct, to the point, good now'f London cockney (innit?), inspirational and very, very angry. Behold: YouTube examples - 1 and 2*.

Also, I think he's a purveyor of good, English football. Smart passing, ignoring the fancy business, get the job done sort of football. He's the king of getting the most out of his players (please note Portsmouth's starting XI in the past 5 years, and the success they've had), and turning results. I'm really excited to see him take the helm at White Hart Lane and hopefully this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

* The very start of the interview is funny, the interview itself is boring, the apology at the end of the clip by the anchor is hilarious.

Hockey does the splits while rugby steamrolls

Pretty decent two day show for the campus teams I was watching.

Gaels 70 - 3 University of Toronto Varsity Blues

Rugby performed the steamroller act we all know only too well against the lowly Varsity Blues over at Richardson Stadium. No one felt it necessary to tell me that as I stood shivering against the weather at Kingston Field before finding out about the location switch. A short cab ride over, and I asked a fan the score. The game kicked off at 1, I arrived at 1:20 - the fans had already lost count of the score. Now the scoreline isn't much of a surprise given the outcome of the last Gaels v Blues rugby match, but I thought the weather might have actually made an impact today.

Let me paint this picture the best way I can - miserable. Absolutely miserable. High winds, freezing cold, pouring rain (my notebook fell apart), not dry even under the makeshift tents set up at the endzone. The field was in such poor condition that a few tries were missed as a result of players sliding through the try zone and not getting the ball down in time. Absolutely. Fucking. Miserable.

But the talent prevailed, and the Varsity Blues' season (unsurprisingly) came to an end on the rainswept fields of Richardson Stadium. Next match for the Gaels - the Western Mustangs. This time they'll be visiting here, I went down to London to cover the last Western match (a dramatic 12-12 draw). Since we drew that one on a last-play try, I'd be interested to see how this one goes. There's some bad blood between the teams, many of the players know each other pretty well, suffice to say I'm really looking forward to next weekend.

Gaels 2 - 5 Carleton Ravens
Gaels 4 - 1 University of Toronto Varsity Blues

Friday night against the Ravens was an unfortunate game for the Gaels. They forechecked tenaciously, took the body hard*, and all-in-all just made life hell for the Ravens. Then they scored on a goaltender's mistake, and the Gaels lost their tenacity. Queen's started to regain their confidence towards the end of the period after a short burst of Carleton dominance, but couldn't buy a goal and, late in the second, Carleton made it 2-0 on a powerplay goal. The third period was just flat unfortunate for the Gaels, they pulled one back 1:20 in, and allowed three goals (scoring one halfway through).

Saturday night, Queen's seemed to figure it out. U of T is a formidable opponent (as far as hockey goes), there's a divisional rivalry and, judging by the hits and the talk of the players (I was sitting near the penalty boxes), personal rivalries there too. Some iffy refereeing throughout the game, a lot of no-calls and over-calls, but somehow the refs didn't lose control of the game. Queen's had one hell of a first period, scoring two goals in less than a minute and their third goal 8 minutes after that, taking a 3-0 lead into the period break (after killing a minute-long 5-on-3). The second period was largely a stonewall by Queen's. Toronto took 10 shots on goal (their lowest, believe it or not, period shot-count of the game), but Queen's survived. The third period saw UofT pull one back about halfway through, but Queen's pulled it back on an empty-netter with 39 seconds left (yeah, the OUA got it wrong there - they said it was with 30 seconds left. Pft). Solid night overall, though.

My biggest concern with the hockey team after this weekend is the defense. The Toronto game was hallmarked by some exceptionally clutch saves by goalie Brady Morrison, but it could have easily gone the other way. The Gaels were outshot 41-29 against Carleton and 38-18 against the Varsity Blues. Something that definitely needs to be remedied, as it's been said before - Morrison's good, but he's no Gibb**.

Oh, and also - the Sens fucked the bed tonight. That's about all I have to say about that.

* That's what she said
** I can't find any of Gibb's stats from this season at Laredo, but then the CHL season is about as fresh as the OUA one so, watcha gonna do. At any rate; this is what they say about him on the team page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Explaining the picture, or "I don't usually spend my evenings in briefs throwing money around my bedroom"

Mike Commodore.

The man who looked like a lollipop during the playoffs. One of the few players in the world who has two Stanley Cup rings and deserves neither.

Also the man who I thought would help turn around my Sens last year (not to be).

That said, when this picture hit the interwebs, one of the lesser-skilled players in the NHL was grabbing front page attention (of the Columbus Dispatch*).

Lots of theories were thrown around about the picture - the most popular among those I know was that it was him celebrating his Columbus-granted payday for his shit performance in Ottawa (I know many bitter Sens fans).

Well, Greg Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy managed to speak to Commodore about the picture - pretty decent explanation. I like it when rich people do stuff that regular people do.

That said, I'm skeptical that he's a team leade-... wait. He's at Columbus. Nevermind.
* I jest, he was also on the front page on a variety of blogs.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shows What I Know...

Not so long ago, in this very space, I predicted a Dodgers-Red Sox final. Didn't happen. But seriously...props to anyone who predicted that either of these teams would be in the World Series at any time during the season.

So who should win this World Series?

Pitching should favor the Rays. They have 3 Starting pitchers who did really well in the regular season (Shields, Kazmir and Garza), plus a bullpen that has overachieved. David Price is the X-Factor here, as he could solidify his hombre status after his performance in Game 7 with some clutch performances in the World Series.

The Phillies have 45-year old Jamie Moyer and 24-year old NLCS MVP Cole Hamels...but not much else. The bullpen has just been outstanding, especially Brad Lidge, and has not allowed a team to come back from 7 down in the last 3 innings to win a game this post-season.

Offensively, the teams were fairly even through the regular season. Both have their high-points (Utley-Howard-Burrell for the Phils and Pena-Longoria for the Rays), and no real sinkhole (besides the pitchers' spot for the Phils). Matt Stairs should DH a bit for the Phils when they go into Tampa. The real breakpoint has been the post-season, where Bossman Junior (but actually) Upton has turned it on and has hit an absurd 7 HRs in 11 games, just 1 short of the record for a single post-season, held in part by Barry Bonds. I'd have to give the advantage to the hot team, the Rays.

Experience-wise, these teams are even in that neither have much. Although it would be funny to see Albert Pujols throwing out the first pitch in T-Bay and then pointing menacingly out to Brad Lidge, to remind him of the '05 NLCS home run that has still not come down.

The Phils should have a bit of a homefield advantage, in that their fans have been on the wagon for more than 6 weeks. Plus, as my house-mate pointed out, Tropicana Field may be the ugliest stadium to ever host a WS game.

And the most important of all deciding factors: number of Ex-Jays! The Rays boast Gabe Gross, Eric "the Dude" Hinske and Trever Miller. The Phils have Jayson Werth, Matt Stairs and Scott Eyre. So they both have a fringe-starting RF, a platoon pinch hitter and an extra bullpen arm. Have to give the advantage to the Phils for the presence of good Canadian "kid" Matt Stairs.

Besides, Philly fans really need this. They are one of the most depressed sports fan bases out there. The last pitch the Phils threw in the World Series was knocked for 3-run HR by Joe Carter back in '93. The Eagles got to the Super Bowl only to see Donovan McNabb hyperventilate on the final drive. The Flyers were crushed by the Red Wings back in '97 and had to go through that awkward, painful Lindros-Clarke divorce. The 76ers got the distinct pleasure of wasting some of the prime of one of our generations premiere competitors, Allen Iverson.

Then again, I'm looking at a crappy Leafs team, a worse Argos team, a Jays team that has just been passed and lapped by the Rays and a Raptors team that is looking up at the Celtics...I need a drink. At least I got the Bills and the Golden Gaels to hang my hat on.

As much as I hate to say it, Rays in 6 (not at all trying to reverse curse them...).


On the subject of Sorry!, does anyone actually remember how to play it? I'd love to get my nostalgia on.

Anyways, this apology is for the lack of articles recently.

Both Milway and I have been getting our collective ass handed to us by midterms and essays and whatnot - interrupted only by copious drinking.

This is, of course, why we haven't put up anything new since 7 days ago - typically something of a sin in my eyes for a sports blog. Especially when there's been so much going on in our little world.

Queen's football - perfect 8-0 season
Queen's rugby - undefeated 5-0-1 season
Soo Greyhounds - had their asses handed to them by the Fronts :(
Sens - mixed results
Spurs - got beaten by Stoke in probably the worst match I've seen in my entire life
England - beat Belarus, have turned the tide, quickly starting to play up to their potential

Anyways, sorry for the lack of posting lately, we'll try to get back into the swing of things immediately following this busy period. Please refer to any or all of the blogs posted on the right-hand side of the page for further time-wasting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who you boo to?

My poor attempt at rhyming in the title has been noted.

This blog post comes on the tail of more displays of a strange phenomena I've been noticing over the past few years: home crowds booing the home team. The point of just-too-muchery occurred when England thrashed Kazakhstan 5-1. The one, of course, was created by an Ashley Cole epic fuckup - leading England supporters to boo him at every touch of the ball for the rest of the game.

Every Spurs game this season has led to the home team being chorused by a series of boos, due to their poor performance. The Red Sox were being booed in the fifth inning at Fenway today due to their giving up 4 runs early to Tampa.

There's a point of ridiculousness to booing the home team. Every fan has limits to their patience, especially in the world of professional sport. After paying ridiculous sums to get tickets to a game (£33 minimum adult ticket at WHL, $30 minimum for standing room at Scotiabank Place, $59 minimum for tickets to any game next season at the new Texas Stadium), fans don't want to see their team get shellacked.

It brings to mind a very important question: are fans paying ridiculous sums to go the game for the atmosphere and to support the home team, or are they paying for a few hours of solid entertainment?

I personally don't ever see myself booing my own team at the church which is the home stadium (whether it be Wembley, White Hart Lane or Scotiabank Place), but I also don't have the funds go so often enough to remove the novelty of being at the game.

There are situations where booing the home team is justified. If it's getting to the tail end of the season and the team has stopped trying (as we saw with Spurs last year, or with teams who get out of playoff contention and give up), it's justified to boo the home team. You've paid an unreasonable sum to go see your team - if they don't give a shit why should you?

That said, if your team is trying, as we're seeing from Spurs this year, it's beyond unreasonable to boo them. They're not playing well, but booing them is not a justifiable response - and when December comes around, I'll be cheering full volume for the Lilywhites as they take on Fulham on Boxing Day (assuming I get tickets), no matter their performance.

Same with the England scenario: Ashley Cole is one of my least favourite footballers in the world. It takes a lot for an Arsenal and a Spurs fan to agree on hated players, but he's on that list. That said, everyone's made a bugger-up in a match... for him to be booed for the rest of the match is unreasonable, foolish and, indeed, "crazy".

What are some of these fans trying to accomplish? Booing your home team while they're playing well does nothing but demoralize them, and reduce their level of play. That said, while your home team is trying hard to overcome demoralization to play better, and the home supporters are booing them - it's nothing but counterproductive.

So come on you home supporters of all teams and leagues - show support for your side and wear your colours proudly!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Youth Movements

With the NHL North American season kick-off just around the corner, all 30 teams are finalizing their 23-man rosters. I noticed an interesting trend: a continued prevalence of 18 and 19-year olds.

No less than 9 picks* from the 2008 Entry Draft, as well as many more from the 2007 Draft, have made their opening-day roster:
1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay
2. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
3. Zach Bogosian, Atlanta
4. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis
5. Luke Schenn, Toronto
8. Mikkel Boedeker, Phoenix
9. Josh Bailey, New York Islanders
14. Zach Boychuk, Carolina
28. Viktor Tikhonov, Phoenix

And the 6th overall pick, Nikita Filatov, is in the AHL, so there is a likelihood that he will get called up at some point as well.

I understand that many of these players could be returned to their junior teams before they play their 10th game, but this is exceptional. Last year, only 4 draftees made their debut. And one of them (Kyle Turris, Phoenix) played in just 3 games.

Why is this? It could be associated with the lowering of the age to be an Unrestricted Free Agent. Or it could just be that these guys are that damned good, that at 18 years old, they can compete with the best players in the world. Or all of these teams are in rebuilding years and feel that they are looking to the future and letting their kids play.

Indeed, Phoenix has 10 players on their roster who were born in 1985 or later, LA has 8, STL has 7.

Will this trend continue to next year? There is no reason not to expect John Tavares and Victor Hedman (the consensus top 2 in the 2009 Draft) to be playing in the NHL right from the start. After that, I haven't read enough draft material to know where everyone projects.

This is more of an NBA or NFL draft mentality, where there are no minor leagues, so players have to make that jump immediately.

Whatever the reasoning, we could be looking back in 20 years and see how remarkable this past draft actually was.

On the other end of the age spectrum, I don't know what is more insane:

Chris Chelios was drafted in 1981 and has still played in 100 less games than the one person Ron Francis, who was taken in the same year, or Jamie Moyer and Greg Maddux both played for the 1987 Chicago Cubs, and are now on opposite teams in the National League Championship Series.


*I only looked at the 1st round, so I may have missed someone, but I doubt it

Monday, October 6, 2008

Game the second and Queen's sport stuff

Sorry for the delay folks.

Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to watch the game yesterday as I was covering Queen's lacrosse, so I'm not going to bother with a game recap because... well... the one I'd give would be a lot less useful than this, this or this.

That said, it was 3-1.

On to Queen's sport:

Queen's 80 - 0 York

The starters came out midway through the third quarter... and the second/third strings beat up on the Lions too. What is it with Toronto-area universities being so shitty at ovular-ball related sports?

Next weekend sees the CIS #2 Gaels take on the U of O GeeGees at Richardson. It'll be on The Score... which is unfortunate because the stadium the student side will be empty... before and after halftime. That said, it is fortunate because (hopefully) I'll be able to watch the game on TV. It'll be the Gaels' last real test before playoffs start, and hopefully it'll be a huge confidence boost. That said, week 8 is against Waterloo so I can't imagine we'll be going into the playoffs on a low.

Men's Rugby
Queen's 106-0 Trent

Men's ovular-ball-sport for the win! It would appear our rugby team is chugging along nicely, and setting an OUA record along the way. That said - Trent got beaten 99-0 last year (the game was called to avoid further embarrasment), so this wasn't much of a test. The test is this Friday, when the Brock Badgers (last year's OUA finalist and the team that beat us) is coming to Kingston Field. Be there! Brock's lost some of their key guys from last year but their core is more or less still together... it'll be one hell of a game!

Men's Hockey
Queen's 0-2 Western

Looks like there was no party-spoiling - we beat them on our Homecoming and they beat us on theirs. The men's home opener did not have a strong scoreline (for a Queen's fan), but I wasn't there... so we'll wait for the home opener this week to see how they're playing. Wait, fuck. Thanksgiving. I won't be there for that game either, but if you're in town, our boys have their home opener against York this Friday night and that weird Oshawa school-like thing on Saturday afternoon.

Women's Soccer
Queen's 0-1 Ottawa
Queen's 6-0 Trent

Solid split - Ottawa's one hell of a team, but Trent isn't a team we should be losing to... and we didn't. Good result for a young side, but I didn't see the game. That said, Andrew will have more analysis in The Journal tomorrow.

Men's Soccer
Queen's 5-0 RMC
Queen's 2-0 Trent

Holy fuck. Men's soccer finally had a weekend worth talking about... and I wasn't there. Again, Andrew will break it down later, but this has been a really unsuccessful season for the boys and this will be a good confidence boost for them.

No Queen's wins (that I know of) happened in sports that I don't typically cover, so I'm not going to get into it - but in short, women's hockey lost, women's rugby lost, men's lacrosse won, women's lacrosse lost-lost-won... that's it I think.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sens v Pens in Stockholm - game the first

(Updating will occur during period breaks)

Period 1

Pittsburgh scored a shite goal, Gerber should've been all over that. Luckily he recovered, because he's been absolutely crucial... what's the deal with the Ottawa penalties!?!?!

We've taken 5 penalties in the first period. 10 minutes of penalties!!! Fuck!

Donovan's goal to tie was pretty decent, another case of weak goaltending but it'll do.

This is hilarious to watch: the rule where they changed the location of the faceoff when a penalty is called. The commentators don't seem to understand the rule in a 4-on-4 situation, nor do the refs, players or coaches. And hell, we don't have a fucking clue either.

Jarkko Ruutu has won me over, his play's been tenacious but not douchebaggy. Volchenkov's been throwing his weight around, and the top line (in the few times they've all been on the ice) have been clicking. That said, I still worry about putting the three of them on the same line, full-time.

More to come at the second intermission.

PS: Watching the CBC first intermission -- Mike Milbury has his tongue so far up Sidney Crosby's ass it's unbelievable. HEY MIKE! There's more players on the ice than the boy from Cole Harbour. We know he's good, so stfu. It's now been 5 minutes of talking abouy Sidney. Even when they're talking about Gonchar's injury... it goes back to Sidney. Fuck.

Period 2

Ottawa seems to have worked out its defensive problems. Killed off all the penalties in the first, and they're dealing with all kinds of pressure from the Pens without a huge amount of problems.

Kuba's dump-in hits Neil and goes right to Malkin... unforch. Unforch-er, beauty of a move by Malkin, Gerber can't get his pad all the way down and an annoying fucking SH goal to score.

Heatley seems to be shooting a lot more... if he could get some more on target it would be nice, but the Pens are giving him a lot of attention, he's finding all kinds of space on the ice. Alfie seems really tired, he's not showing much intensity.

Fleury's rebound control is fantastic. Even when he doesn't swallow up the puck, he pushes the puck to where there's no one in a red shirt, it's really impressive.

Heatley just took a really stupid penalty. The commentator made the comment and it was a solid observation, since scoring, Malkin's been fantastic. This PK is gut-check time.

Pittsburgh is getting really hard pressure, even after the PP ended, this is really unpleasant. For the 10 seconds Ottawa will get on the attack, Pittsburgh will have a minute. It's very, very unpleasant.

Chris Neil is a beast, smashign the shit out of Cooke then forcing Godard into taking an incredibly dumb penalty. Nice one. But the powerplay is about as successful as the rest of their play, no sustained press...

NICE! Heatley scores off a Spezza pass, beauty goal on the PP. Thanks Neiler for forcing that penalty! 2-2

SPEZZA SH goal. GORGEOUS! Fuckin' beauty, goodness gracious. Flew down the right wing, pause, pause, pause, defenseman down and a beauty wristshot over Fleury's glove. Beauty. 3-2. Pittsburgh has now gone 14 minutes on the powerplay without a goal, about a minute of that 5-3. That's just poor.

Period 3

Elliot Friedman made Sidney Crosby human in an taped interview shown during the period break. ♥!! THANK YOU CBC ZOMG LULZ! Fuck off.

Sens start the period 5-3, and were it not for a huge diving pokecheck from Alfie, it would have been unfortunate. Oh, another chance from Pittsburgh. FUCK! Come on!

For me, the Neil-Ruutu-Foligno line has been Ottawa's best. They sustain pressue, keep the Pens in check, and have been absolutely shutdown in defense.

Fuck, Crosby puts a perfect pass on Scuderi's stick and he scores... Gerber lets in his second softy of the game. My confidence is waning quickly. That was Scuderi's first goal in 95 games.

(Sorry I was ordering food)

Vermette seems adamant to keep trying these wraparounds, the Pens are starting to predict it.

I wish Ruutu's last name started with a W, so we could call Neil, Foligno and Ruutu the NFW line... NO FUCKIN WAAAAY! Foligno has just drawn a penalty for holding on Chris Letang, putting the Sens back on the powerplay. This is the third penalty this line has drawn, I like it.

VERMETTE JUST THREW A HUGE HIT! Holy shit! Letang lost his stick, he's shaken!!! Sorry, it wasn't a huge'y game-changing deal... other than the fact that VERMETTE JUST THREW A HUGE HIT!!

Though I like Ruutu now, that little dive after the slash to the hand was ridiculous and excessive. There was absolutely no need to fall there.

Neil lays out Cooke to end the game - 3-3 the score, we're going to OT folks!


Tenacious play form the Sens, they're not looking for a shootout they want to end this now. Voracious forecheck and quick turnarounds, the play is almost exclusively in the Pittsburgh end.

Spezza's passes have been very poor.

Kenneddy catches Ottawa's defense on the change, Spezza trues to beat 4 guys in the d-zone, loses the puck, and there was an open walk on goal and an incredibly light goal in OT to give Pittsburgh the win. Gerber and Spezza have been very poor.

That's the game - 4-3 Final. No guarantees with a "live"-blog tomorrow, but I'll probably do a game recap.

Jason Spezza somehow got second star. Wait, CBC fuckup - Dany Heatley is second star. Makes more sense.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Clear eyes, full hearts, and there's some hockey at the end

If they can do it, so can I.

A new season of Friday Night Lights has begun, and I for one was a little skeptical, after the train-wreck that was their last season. Murder (er.. manslaughter... self-defense... what?), ridiculous stories of teenagers running off unchecked to another country for magic shark cells of some kind, adoption, a set of over-tumulus love triangles, squares, etc... it was ridiculous.

But, like any good fan, I'll watch it regardless. And the new episode is probably their best since the first season. Looks like they're getting back to more realistic situations for the characters... and a whole lot of football. Oh yes, in yesterday's episode there were multiple practice scenes and a game scene! Hurrah! Mo' football, says I!

Now, the only hole left is that Hispanic kid from last season, who Buddy Garritty adopted. Where'd he go? Lyla seems to have decided to stay (I thought it was her senior year last year, but whatever) with Buddy while her mom, stepdad and (presumably) siblings all went to Northern California (hippies!!), but Lyla's staying with her dad. Okay. But, like I said... what happened to the Hispanic kid who Buddy adopted?

As for interesting twists, I'd like to see how this whole thing plays out with the freshman quarterback and Matt Saracen. Badass! And hooray for Tim Riggins continuing to hook-up with Lyla Garrity, attaboy!

Anyways, the show seems to be good again, I'll keep watching.

Oh - and by the way: staying with football, the Gaels are ranked number two in the country! WOO! Queen's Silver Gaels? At any rate, this is a bye week for the Tricolour (err... York, bye week, tom-ay-to, tom-ah-to), then next week will be the last big test before playoffs. Ottawa, at Richardson. Should be a barn-burner. Or, a barn-wrecker? At any rate, it'll be on the Score, and I for one will be watching!

Touching briefly on hockey: the Gaels had a pretty unsuccessful preseason in the Atlantic provinces, but will be looking to shake it off with their first regular season game at Western... on their Homecoming. Wow, the Queen's v Western Homecoming games just keep on rolling, don't they? At any rate, in the words of jead coach Brett Gibson, "We're going there to spoil a party". Them's fightin' words, I love it.

Oh, continuing to briefly touch hockey *whistle whistle*: the Sens beat Frolunda today 4-1. Alfie got a standing O from his hometown crowd when he notched a beautiful backhand over the Indian's goalie to make it 2-0. Jason Smith deflected the puck into the net for Frolunda's only goal... it'll happen. I unfortunately won't be able to watch the season opener on Saturday against Pittsburgh, if someone would keep me posted I would be most gracious.

Well, I might as well continue to briefly touch hockey: The Soo Greyhounds are in Kingston on October 17th. I'm fucking jacked.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fixing the System

In shocking news yesterday, the US House of Representatives said no to the proposed $700B bailout package. The markets took a huge hit -- the TSX lost about $100B on its own. Now, the system is in absolute disrepair, but I believe it can be fixed in a few easy steps.

Ya, who am I kidding, I got no idea. But I do think I have a plan to fix baseball's playoff system! Assuming that the current divisional alignment is kept, here is how I would fix it:


It is shocking that the Jays can play the Sox, Yanks and Rays 19 times each, but the Angles can play the A's, Rangers and Mariners 19 times apiece, while playing for the same championship. A certain Neate Sager puts it best:

"The current setup ignores the strength-of-schedule questions entirely. It's like having a 100-metre dash where some runners only have to run 75 metres and some have to run 125 -- and no one notices."

If all 11 teams not winning their division and are pursuing the wild card, should they not have faced the same opponents the same number of times? Which relates (and leads into!) point number 2...


Get rid of Interleague. It was a novelty when it started, but it is just beyond stupid now. Why should I be more excited that the Jays are playing the Phillies than if they were playing the Tigers? Because the Jays played the Phillies in the '93 World Series? What about all the memorable playoff chases against the Tigers? If the season is 156 games long, with a balanced schedule, each AL team would play each other 12 times, 6 at home and 6 away (FWIW, this is not me complaining about the Jays being stuck in the division with 2 perennial powerhouses. We actually do pretty freaking well against them and do pretty well against the AL Central. We always get rocked by the AL West and in Interleague). This would also enable the season to end earlier. Next year's finals are scheduled to end in November! That is ridiculous.


I understand why the Wild Card was introduced, from a baseball perspective. The 1993 National League is the prototypical example. The Atlanta Braves won the NL West with a league best 104-58 record. By 1.0 games. The San Francisco Giants had the 2nd best record in the league (103-59)...but did not play in October. Now, the top 2 teams in each league are guaranteed to be in the playoffs, but the 4th team can be below .500.

I say add more teams to ensure that the best teams make it to the playoffs. I wouldn't go with the full-blown 16/30 teams make the playoffs that the NBA and NHL have. I would add just 1 more playoff spot, another wild card to be exact. On the day after the final day of the regular season, the 2 wild card teams would play in a one-game playoff, with the team with the higher record hosting the game. This gives greater incentive and reward to winning the division, as a few extra days to rest your pitchers are granted. This could mean more combative divisional races down the stretch, as teams would want to avoid this 1-game scenario. Also, as we have seen over the last 2 years, the 1-game playoffs that do happen can be very exciting. Both the MIN-CWS and SDP-COL games were 1 run games, and nail-bitters the entire time. Each team would be playing to live another day. Just imagine if the Jays had been in that 5th spot (it was NYY this year): We might have witnessed Roy Halladay pitching in Fenway Park with his team's season on the line.

So there is my 3-step plan. Some may say my ideas are stupid, some may say I am tinkering with a system that need not be tinkered with and some may be nodding their head in agreement. There may be other ways to make baseball better, especially shorter game times, but this cannot really be done, unless it is mandated that Roy Halladay pitch every game. And he just might be able to, he really is a horse. But I digress.

As for my playoff prediction, I gotta go with the Cubs or the Dodgers. The Cubs have been the best team all year, but a motivated Manny (looking for a 4-yr/$100MM contract) is a scary thing. The Phils need another starter to step up behind Hamels and Moyer. The Brewers are going to have to keep on relying on CC and Sheets on 3 days rest with Yovani Gallardo and Dave Bush spelling them. The White Sox are going to run out of steam and get beat by a fresher Rays squad. The Sox are going to beat the Angels, as they seemingly always do, but neither the Rays nor the Sox have the bullpen thats good enough, unless a Keith Foulke-circa '04 steps up. Screw it, I'm taking the Dodgers over the Sox, with ManRam hitting some ungodly line in the World Series.