Do You Want to Read the Worst Interview Ever?

I just got my copy of The Hockey News’ Yearbook. Holy s#!+ is Sidney Crosby boring.

For three pages of fluff and pictures, Crosby puts us to sleep, answering the most hack questions a hockey person could ask. If it will help steer you from wasting your time by reading it, I will now give you the highlights. Crosby wouldn’t say that, doesn’t know about this, thinks the town he lives in is “neat,” thinks Jay Leno is a nice guy, and some other stuff that I would report back to you, but I fell asleep.

What have we done to athletes? They get jumped so fast for showing any personality, they won’t show any at all. I’m not talking about Sean Avery or Jeremy Roenick. Those two deserve what they get, because they are such asses when they open their mouths. But the normal athlete is too scared to say anything, thanks to a sensationalist media. It drives me nuts. You might as well get rid of the player interview all together these days. There is no need. The hack questions asked over and over to the same dull, emotionless answer.

I’d like to put the standard don’t-get-me-wrong paragraph, maybe a little butt covering. But that isn’t going to happen. This is exactly how I feel. I am bored to tears with these players. I bet they could be interesting people, have interesting things to say, maybe even be conversational. That’s one of the impressive things about players who are no longer in the game. They don’t have to censor themselves so much, and didn’t have to in their day. They tell great stories, talk shit about other players, and generally speak their minds. Why can’t we have more of that?

This is just one more reason Alex O is winning me over. He is colorful, honest, talented, funny, has fun, and still has a good head on his shoulders. He will tell you what he is thinking, and doesn’t have to apologize for it. He has a personality, which I have yet to see from Crosby.

Need proof? Watch this…

[ev type="youtube" data="ZFB2tHhLIxY"][/ev]

Also, check out the guy (is it a player?) at 2:40 into the clip, with the picture stuck to his back, and then finding it.

I can’t imagine what Crosby goes through in his life. It isn’t something I would want for myself. There has to be so much pressure on him to be an ambassador for the NHL. But, come on. Show me something here. We could all use it.

Also… Hey, Rick Nash. Did someone slip you a mickey for your snippet in the last issue of THN? Try to sound more excited about a rivalry. At least sound like it matters, not like you are writing a report about it. If you feel the rivalry with the Preds is strong, great. Now do something about it. Jeez, why did you even bother to answer?

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The Brain is Too Soft Today

For the past few days, work has been unforgiving, mostly in the time department. A few long days, with little sleep, and blogging went by the way side. I have a few things in the pipe, and a few things I want to post about, but today, I have no brain for any of it. Nothing is bubbling to the surface.

Instead, I give you the greatest game ever played. Ever.

Link to Youtube.com video

I’m not going to embed that video here, just go and watch it. It’s about seven and a half minutes, and worth it.

Real posts coming soon.

PS: why doesn’t blogger’s spellcheck recognize the word blog?

Jersey: Game Worn Hinote

For the final birthday jersey, may I present Dan Hinote, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche:Hinote Front1

You can click the picture to make it bigger, and really, you should.Why? Besides the fact that it’s Dan (Frickin’) Hinote? If you haven’t noticed, I have a few game-worn jerseys, from many different leagues. AHL, ECHL, Russian Super League, Slovak Extraliga, and even a CHL (Central Hockey League) which I lost (yes, it still hurts). But I have never had an NHL game-worn jersey. This beauty comes from the 2002-2003 season, later third, plus some playoff action (Not much that year). Hinote scored a goal and two assists in those playoffs, plus one minor penalty. Was it in this jersey? I don’t know. I don’t have those stats. I do have this jersey, and that’s good enough.

Hinote Rear

“But, wait,” I hear you say, “Danny left the Avs for the Blues. Why would you want his jersey?” First, don’t call me a Butt-weight (yeah, it never gets the kind of laugh I want). Danny was a UFA, and the Avs weren’t going to give him the money the Blues did. Danny never had big numbers. That wasn’t his game. Danny is tough, hard, works every shift, and has a mouth on him, which is great for his team. ESPN produces a show called “The Season.” In the year they followed the Avs, they caught Hinote yelling at Bertuzzi something to the effect of not giving a f%$# who he thought he was. The first half of the 2 parter was shown halfway through the season. That was before the Bertuzzi-Moore incident. ESPN edited that verbal barb out. I think I still have it on video somewhere. That was great stuff.

Danny was always more surprised and more excited than anybody when he scored. In this past seasons playoffs, he broke the shutout of Ilya…..Ilya…….Bryzgalov. He saluted his teammates, and spurred them on. The Avs lost the game, and were swept in the series, but Hinote was at his best. His sharp angle goal against Chicago on April 3rd was just amazing. They don’t get any sharper than that. It was the game winner with only 12 seconds to go. Dan was a star of the game. When was the last time that happened? Freakin amazing.

This is from ESPN.com:

“I only get the lucky ones,” Hinote said. “I knew there was about 15 seconds left so I just wanted to throw it to the net and maybe get a faceoff down there. I wasn’t trying to score from there.”

“He’s right,” Khabibulin said of Hinote’s goal. “That puck shouldn’t go in. I’ll take the blame for that one.”

Sure, Khabby, do what you want, but that was Hinote’s goal. That night was really Blake’s night, scoring his 199th and 200th goals. Blake tied it up at 19:03 of the 3rd. But for my money, that was Hinote’s night. Who else could you be happier for? Clutch scoring, not really Hinote’s game, but it sure was then.

I sure hope the fans in St. Louis know what they are getting. One hell of a hockey player.

Special thanks to the Significant Lighting Person (IE girlfriend) for getting this for me. She was trying for another at first (huge sale at Meigray), but it had flown to someone else. They would be jealous now, mark my words. A three jersey birthday, with this being the creme’-de-la-creme’. What more could a person ask for?

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Avalanche Lines part 1

This is something I’ve been avoiding, partly because things are still a little up in the air, and partly because I will not be right. But if I wasn’t willing to stick my neck out, I should have just written a diary. Since this is my first time doing this, don’t expect too much out of me.

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Andrew Brunette Joe Sakic Milan Hejduk
Wojtek Wolski Paul Stastny Marek Svatos
Steve Konowalchuk Tyler Arnason Ian Laperriere
Antti Laaksonen Pierre Turgeon Cody McCormick
Brett McLean
Defence Defence
Jordan Leopold John-Michael Liles
Karlis Skrastins Ossi Vaananen
Patrice Brisebois Brett Clark
Ken Klee Kurt Sauer
Goal
Jose Theodore
Peter Budaj

Now, before you start laughing, hear me out. That second line is a severe if. Huge if. And why would I do something like that? Simple, I want to see a youth line. I want to see what some young guys can do on a team that has been relying on the older core to get the job done for too long. I want to see something beyond just plugging in a stat and seeing what happens (remember 2003-04, the coming of Kariya and Selanne? Remember how well that worked?). We don’t know if Stastny or Wolski will crack the lineup (Stastny, probably not, Wolski, most likely) , but the door is open. We also don’t know of Svatos is going to re-sign, but Terry Frei seems to think so. So there will be some serious modification to the forward lines, but it’s what I would like to see happen. Don’t freak out on me too much. Brett McLean will probably be in there, rather than Stastny (I haven’t completely lost my mind), but next year, Arnason gets the boot, and if Stastny does well in Lowell Albany, expect a full time call up. I don’t expect (hope) to see too much of May.
Arnason is getting buried on the third line until we see if he can be motivated. With as cap strapped as the Avs are, if you signed on the dotted line, and you don’t do your job, expect to be on wavers quickly.
McCormick could shift around, depending on performance.
Swap Konowalchuk with Wolski any time you want. But Konowalchuk may be the anchor Arnason needs, or we need for Arnason (not the same thing)

Leopold will be out for the first several games this year, including training camp. That’s going to put him well behind when he does join the team. Kurt Sauer will probably be his replacement, but it could be Klee. Klee. Why did the Avs sign him? Hell, his signing was buried deep in the announcement that Budaj got re-signed. Why bother? Unless he’s going to play punch-in-the-face, he is a boat anchor. Someone tell me why. Really, your comments on this are welcome.

The biggest question mark is in goal. That is not a sentence that should be used when you are spending $5.5 million on one goalie. If he makes a comeback, it would save the Avs from themselves. My belief is that he could, if he starts working on the weaknesses that have climbed into his game. If he doesn’t, we have Budaj to back him up, and then nothing. And Budaj may be better then Sauve, but he is not a solid number 1.

Intangibles
From last season, too many Avs took the lockout off. We saw what a difference that made, especially when you look at all the young players league wide who came into the spotlight last year (do you think a solid year in Lowell helped Eric Staal?) Sakic, Blake, Tanguay (6 games played), Brunette, Laaksonen, Laperriere, Turgeon, and Brisebois (10 games played). That’s a lot of time missed, from a lot of players who were expected to perform. I’m not interested in making Ken Hitchcock excuses here. What I am saying is we get to see what happens to those players who are back in step with the rest of the league.

Also, don’t forget that this is a new look Avs. This is not the same high flying team as before, and should not be treated as such. How they will be coached is going to be interesting. The Q is used to the old Avs and the Old St. Louis Blues. Is he going to try to make this team like his Blues were? How will The Mountain (GM Giguere/Pres Lacroix) react to all this? Heck, how will the fans react?

So that’s it in a nut shell. That is me sticking my neck out there to get chopped off. I’d love to hear what you think. Or, if you really feel the need, point and laugh. Leave a comment or two. You’d be hard pressed to embarrass yourself any more than I have.

Special thanks to Earl (my nae is) Sleek at the Battle of California for the html work on the table. Go to the Battle site by one person.

Want to Know What Makes me Happy?

David Frost arrested for sexual assault

This should surprise no one. It’s about time. Via the CBC:

Frost, 39, was charged with 12 counts of sexual exploitation and one count of
assault of seven victims – four males and three females between the ages of 14
and 16.

I hope this guy gets the book thrown at him. I can’t stand him. If he did this, I hope he rots.

This is one of those things that is too important to go away quietly. Just ask Sheldon Kennedy.

(Sure, innocent until proven guilty. I understand that. I hope he’s convicted.)

If you don’t know anything about Sheldon Kennedy, click here. You really should.

Marek Svatos: The Conundrum

I was reading through the Avalanche media guide at the bar the other day, and I came across this little bit about Marek Svatos:

2002-2003: Sustained his third separated shoulder injury in a three-week span on
Jan. 23… Forced to undergo season-ending surgery in late January, ending
his AHL rookie season.

Three separated shoulders in three weeks? If you don’t know what a shoulder separation is, check out what WebMD has to say:

A shoulder separation is the partial or complete separation of two parts of the shoulder: the collarbone (clavicle) and the end of the shoulder blade (acromion).

The collarbone and the shoulder blade (scapula) are connected by the acromioclavicular (AC)joint, which is held together primarily by the acromioclavicular (AC) and the coracoclavicular (CC). In a shoulder separation (also called an acromioclavicular joint injury), these ligaments are partially or completely torn.

There’s a grading of injury severity, basically from bad to worst., and they list treatment options. And you don’t have surgery unless it’s really bad. What they don’t tell you is how much you recover from it. Or if, like a concussion, you are more injury prone in that area. That would be nice to know.

Note: Last years injury was a broken shoulder, not a separation, but it did require surgery. He also missed the opener with a groin problem.

Reading that bit from the media guide was a bit of a shocker. I didn’t know much about him, just that he was a valuable member of the team, a high scoring rookie, and then when we needed him most, he was gone. So here we are, waiting for the Avs to sign him, wondering what the difficulty is, and suddenly, things make a little more sense.

Let’s say you are the Avalanche. You have this really gifted forward on your hands, but he hasn’t played an entire season. His agent is asking for money and time (I don’t know what his agent is asking for, but what else do agents ask for?), and you have a few hard salary cap questions to answer. Now, the money may not be a problem for you. You can afford a million or so, but maybe you don’t want to do that for three years. For the scoring ability, you would pay it, but what happens if he goes down? Do you want that kind of commitment to someone who might not make it to the playoffs, much less the next season? If I were the Avs, I would want to do a one year deal with options over the next three. That would be a good lockup, showing enough commitment, but being realistic about Svatos’ situation.

If I were Svatos, I would want the longer term lockup, and if injuries happen, you still have your team to go back to. If you are the agent, you want cash on the barrel-head, not options. You want your player to get the best deal out there, and with a scoring touch like this kid has, you can wait out the team. But we have seen how well that works from the past. Pierre Lacroix is not one to be jerked around. He holds on to that sort of thing.

So what happens is the Avs walk away? Enter Wojtek Wolski. Wols plays faster than his 6′-3″, 200lb frame. He can score, won the OHL Most Outstanding Player award, and is young and coming up fast. Do we want him to make the jump from the OHL to the NHL? No, a year in Lowell Albany would do him some good. And Marek Svatos can buy us that time. I would love to see Svatos healthy and an Av, but what we need is a player who can stick it out. What we don’t need is another Peter Forsberg. I like Forsberg, when he’s healthy, but that hasn’t been the case lately. Philadelphia go bitten by it, as I had figured was going to happen. So do we just wait for Svatos to do the same thing next season as this one? Or his previous NHL season? Or his 2002-2003 season in Hershey?

So there are two things that make it easier to walk away from Svatos. One is that Wolski is as good as he seams (I think he is), and becomes the new Svatos. The other is for Paul Stastny to be the next Wolski. Stastny shows promise, and has gotten better every year he’s played. He may go down to the minors right away, but that might not be a bad thing. A little development before running him over with the freight train wouldn’t hurt.

Can we walk away from Svatos? Yes. Could it bite us in the ass? Yes, absolutely, but those are chances you have to take. There is no way to look into that crystal ball and tell. When everyone is looking at the Avs, and touting scoring stats, there are some serious ‘intangibles’ worth talking about. All you can do is make an informed decision, based on what you know. And the more I look at it, the more I think the Avs are making a decision, (or at least can live with the decision) rather than letting something slip away.

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Jerseys Around the Web

There has been a lot of activity on the hockey jersey front lately, and I would be remiss in not bringing it to you. From the Bloggers you know and love:

Reality Check at Eyes on the Prize tells the tale of how a certain prized jersey came into his possession. Jerseys aren’t just clothes, they are stories too.

Post-Pessimist has a collection of game-worn jerseys from all over the world. He also gets best title: I Buy Clothing Worn By Other Men. He now also is a regular on Hockey Rants.

Roy at Wild Puck Banter has his list of top five jerseys. Oddly enough, his own Minnesota Wild are not on the list. But check out number 2. Wow.

Wicked Bruins Fan has a bit of news about the Bruins jerseys. A few changes for next season.

Ingmar at Ingmar Berman Shoots… And Scores!!! is a photoshop genius. Go and scroll around, click some links to jerseys on the right, and diffidently check out this one. And this one. How can I convince him to make a JAHL jersey?
As ever, I encourage you to click around these blogs, and read a few archived items. You don’t know what you might have missed.

Finally, Paul at Kukla’s Korner had a pointer to this article, in which a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle tells us why we shouldn’t be wearing sports jerseys. Hockey jerseys are left alone, due to, I’m quite certain, the fact that they would have to endure my wrath. I wasn’t even asked for a rebuttal. But here it is:

“You, sir, are wrong. So there. And, you suck.”

So now we take the JAHL Hockey Jersey Quiz. This is how many hours a day you should be wearing a hockey jersey:

We start with a base of 0 hours and work our way up.

Is it the hockey season? Add 2 hours.
Is it game day? Add 3.5 hours.
Are you going to the game? add 2 hours.
Are you going to a home game? add drive time.
Are you going to an away game? Add 2 hours if you like to piss off the opposing fans, zero hours if you haven’t got the guts.
Are you going to the bar afterwords? Add all time at the bar, plus all time you don’t remember.
Are you allowed to wear a hockey jersey at work? Add all time worked, minus lunch break (No mustard stains on the jersey please)
Is it summer? Subtract all time spent outside (we aren’t slave drives here), unless you live above 7,000 feet, then subtract half the time spent outside.
Do you skate? Add all time on the ice.
Are you a woman? Add one quarter more hours to the total. Hockey jerseys look great on women.
Does the jersey have a name on the back? Add 1 hour
Is it an obscure player whose stats you can rattle off on demand? Add 1 hour, or 2 if you have lots of hubris.
Did the player on the back just move to another city? Add .5 hours
Did he move within your division? Never mind. That sucks.
Did he move to a hated rival? Cross out his name with red paint, and spray “sucks” over his number. There’s no use in wasting a perfectly good jersey.
Do you read books at home? Add all reading time. Why curl up in a blanket when you have a jersey?
Are you unhappy with the management of your team? Add 1 hour of out and about time. Tell anyone who brings up the team.
Are you Canadian? Subtract 2 hours. Why do you need to wear a jersey all day? You are hockey.

If you took this test, and have too many hours than are in a day, you should get another jersey. They go great with everything.

Huge Update: It turns out I didn’t have to convince Ingmar to make a JAHL jersey, he just went off and made one. With his permission, I’m going to add it to my blog, but until then, check it out here. This thing kicks serious ass.

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Start Them Early

Yesterday was my niece’s 2nd birthday, which was a great chance to get her on the path of good and true Avs fan. If you don’t start early, they may turn bad, like becoming a Canucks fan.

Tell me that isn’t cute:
Zoe Jersey 2

Zoe Jersey one

Unusual things to do with the lace in front:
Zoe Loves the Lace

Pick out the 2 year old (Hint: try the one with the most hair)
Ultimate Fans

Happy Birthday, Zoe!

Jersey: USA! USA! USA!

There’s only one picture of this jersey, so click it to make it bigger:

USA

This is my USA Hockey jersey. And before you go off about USA Hockey, and USA vs. Canada, know two things: 1) I have 2 Canada hockey jerseys, and 2) I am a USA Hockey member. So there. This was pretty much known as the women’s style of jersey. The men never (to my knowledge) wore this jersey. I think the NTDP U-17 wear it, but I’d have to look at some of my photos from Hockey Day in Michigan last year. If you didn’t know, I have a penchant for jerseys with laces in front. I want the Avs to do a regular jersey with laces in front. The P-Bruins did, and it kicked ass.

The patches were all added to the jersey afterward. From left shoulder, across the chest, to the right shoulder: 1) Lake Placid winter Olympics 25th anniversary patch, 2) World Cup of Hockey 2004, 3) Authentic 1980 Lake Placid patch, and 4) US Olympic Training Center, Lake Placid. The training center in Colorado Springs does not have patches, and to me, that is a travesty. This jersey was purchased in Lake Placid, NY, which is just an amazing place. I want to do a travel guide to Lake Placid for hockey post. You can skate on the Olympic Oval (outdoor speed skating), or rent the Herb Brooks Arena for an hour. It’s just an amazing place.

This jersey doesn’t get worn enough. There’s something about wearing a jersey with USA on it that reminds me of those people who wear stars and stripes button up short sleeve shirts. But I did wear it in Lake Placid when I saw the USA Women play a men’s league team from Vermont. The men were clearly out played, and probably a little surprised at how fast the smaller womens team was. I have never seen a womens team play with such intensity, and there are a lot of NHL teams that could take the lesson.

In short, you can sneer at USA Hockey all you want. You can say crap like “Damn Americans.” (Not here though, this is Hockey Love) You can tell me how the Americans will never catch up to the Canadians in any number of formulas, graphs, or stats. And it won’t matter. After that, you need to go see a USA Hockey kids game (or a Hockey Canada kids game), then tell me USA Hockey sucks. And you will feel a little part of your heart shrink.

Quick note: A story that, to me, didn’t get enough attention was the hiring of Mark Johnson, he of the Miracle on Ice team, will be the new head coach of the USA Women’s Olympic team. If you don’t know him, he has been head coach of the University of Wisconsin’s women’s hockey team since 2002, and won the NCAA championship this year. In the book, The Boys of Winter, Johnson talks about what it’s like to be head coach of a womens team. There were, at first, mixed emotions, on both sides of the whistle. Then he grew to love it, and found a better hockey environment with the women’s teams. The USA position was made a part time job, which is probably a good thing for Johnson, so he can stay with the Badgers. Johnson, to me, is the perfect choice for the job.

Denial: Not Just a Yes/No Question

Zanstorm is in denial. Poor guy. Take a look at these bobbleheads I whipped up for him. I’m not saying he is a drunk, or even touches the stuff (lush), but I am sure he knows who drives the bus around his blog. Just go to the very bottom of the page, and check out the credits. Oh, Captain, His Captain.

My blog, on the other hand, is powered by whimsy, madness, and hockey love. To that end, I give you the JAHL Bobbleheads:

Tapeleg Avs Bobblehead Home Tapeleg Avs Bobblehead Away

Home and Away

But, everybody knows, nothing says hockey better than a 3rd jersey:

Tapeleg Avs Bobblehead 3rd

Third

Please, Bobble responsibly.

Side note: It may seam like this is just bloggers posting back and forth for our own jollies. I’m really OK with that. This is what is going to keep me going through the offseason, until they announce that they cannot sign Svatos. I had tried to do blogs before, but have never been able to stick with it. In fact, this is the most I’ve ever done. You can consider this my offseason training. I consider it fun, and a little funny. If you don’t like it, come back closer to the season. If you do, stick around. More jerseys, hockey talk, humor, and me just being stupid coming your way. Glad to have you along. I’m having a good time, hope you are too.