Jersey: 2005-06 Bakersfield Condors GW

How was your Christmas? Mine was Jersey-tastic!!! Welcome to the newest arrival: 2005-06 Bakersfield Condors Steve Howard Game Worn Jersey

(click photos to enlarge)
Condors Front

Steve Howard is a career minor leaguer, who played in six different leagues. This year he is playing fin Columbus, GA for the Columbus Cottonmouths. Other than that, I know nothing about him.

Condors Back

I’ve never been to Bakersfield, I’ve never seen the Condors play, and have no clue about how they are doing this season, or frankly, any other season. Except one.

Sleeve

The Condors will always hold a special place in my heart, thanks to Ken Baker. Baker played goal for Colgate College before becoming fed up with the hockey life, and quit to get into journalism (entertainment journalism, but still). Later, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and had successful surgery to have it removed. Then, in 2001, he decided to give playing goal one more shot, aiming to play under a pro contract. He found a home in Bakersfield (not that far from home) and worked his ass off to get a spot on the team. What happened next is a great story, which he wrote a book about, called, “They Don’t Play Hockey in Heaven” It’s a hell of a read, and the ending has made me a ‘fan’ of the Condors ever since. One day I plan to get to Bakersfield to see a game. Can you guess what I’ll wear?

This jersey was a Christmas present for my girlfriend, Meg. Talk about knowing what to get. She was worried I wouldn’t like it, but I freaking love it. Thanks, Meg!

Also, checkout Bobblehead on Condors, a Bakersfield Condors blog.


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Hockey Day Works Out

Hockey Day in Colorado went pretty well, overall. Even though the Ducks haven’t figured out that you can zoom in on a game once in a while, they sure put up a hell of a fight. But the Avs pulled it out in a shootout, and Peter Budaj is making out goaltender questions less worrisome, and more of a question of finances. Somehow, Cory Perry was the first star of the game, with 1 ASSIST!! (WTF?!?!?).

Also, Alanah at Canucks and Beyond was liveblogging the entire programming day of the CBC. She also had a trivia question an hour. I snuck in and got the last two, earning me the title of Trivia God. If Alanah says it, you had better not argue. Trivia God. I like the sound of that.

I may have to get some better cable at some point, because I do feel like I missed out a little bit. HNIC(anada) has to be pretty fun, so if you missed it, click around the sidebar over there on the left, and check out how others spent their time.

Quick shout to Curtis Leschyshyn on Altitude, the Avs TV network. Tonight, he was filling in for Peter McNab as the color commentator, and was great to listen to. Frankly, I liked his work better than McNab.


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Hockey Day in Colorado

If you haven’t been bludgeoned to death with it so far, today is Hockey Day in Canada, another day for Canada to sell itself more hockey. I don’t have the Center Ice package (sorry, but I have my reasons), so I can’t join all of the northern fans (that includes upstate NY, MI and various other border areas) in sitting on the couch, eating junk food, and swilling beer until I explode. I will leave that to Alanah (not that she needs my links, now that she’s all famous), and the more geographically qualified. What I will be doing is sitting on my couch watching the Avs play the Ducks. If that isn’t enough for you, I went down to Old Chicago after work today (short day) and watched the Penguins win, and Sidney Crosby try to act tough. If you can even remotely lip read, you know that clean image of his is all surface.

Ducks vs. Avs. A month ago, that would have been way too intimidating. Tonight, it’s only kind of intimidating. Pronger is out, Giguere is out, Earl Sleek barely mentions the Avs. Something can really happen with this game. If the Avs come up with a win, it will be out of hard work, making up for last game.

So it’s Hockey Day in Canada, with it’s fancy logo, and it’s crazy Coach’s Corner, and it’s all Canadian lineup. Big deal. Tonight, we have Avs vs Ducks, Denver University vs Niagara (not broadcast…DAMN!), and plenty of cold beer. Who needs the CBC?


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Refs

In the style of Clerks, by Kevin Smith, I bring you…

Refs

INT. HOCKEY RINK
We are in a commercial time out, and the two refs skate over to the penalty box to get a drink of water.


JOHN
Can you believe that? Talk about obvious.

PETER
Yeah, good call there.

JOHN
Well, it was pretty obvious. I just never understand why they argue when it’s that obvious.

PETER
Hey, let me ask you something.

JOHN
Yeah?

PETER
Who do you think would be a better skater? Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker?

JOHN
Seriously?

PETER
Well, yeah.

JOHN
Vader.

PETER
What? You need your head checked.

JOHN
Hey, you asked.

PETER
Vader is so stiff.

JOHN
You’d be stiff in all that armor.

PETER
True, but come on. It’s Luke Skywalker.

JOHN
He came from a desert planet.

PETER
And they don’t have hockey in the desert?

JOHN
If you are going to use the Phoenix Coyotes as an argument in this, I think you should reevaluate your position.

PETER
OK, I’ll give you that, but he’s pretty good on his feet, he is a quick learner, and he’s got some serious drive. Kid’s a natural at everything he does.

JOHN
Let’s think about this for a moment. Vader has all this armor on. It has to weigh more then most goalie equipment out there. He has to have some sort of help staying balanced and upright.

PETER
What, like gyroscopes?

JOHN
Or whatever you have in a galaxy far, far away that works like a gyroscope. Something. Aside from that, he’s still a jedi, which means he has to kick some serious ass on his own.

PETER
True, but for pure speed and enthusiasm part of it, I have to give the edge to Skywalker.

JOHN
Enthusiasm only counts for so much. Vader has a veteran presence you just can’t deny. He owns the intangibles. And if he doesn’t own them, he is just the man to take them.

PETER
(puts the water bottle back)
Well, I wouldn’t want to be checked by him.

JOHN
Word.

PETER
But I wouldn’t want to be checked by Chewbacca either.

JOHN
(puts his water bottle back)
I don’t think I would worry about that.

PETER
Why not?

JOHN
(starts to skate off to the face off circle)
Everyone knows, wookies can’t skate.


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Good Blogs on Small Islands

James Mirtle put out a list of blogs on his Globe and Mail “blog” of 10 blogs “of note.” It points out the big guns, the blogs who get a lot of attention, but don’t need the help. Just like a hockey game, someone needs the two points more then the other guy. The big guns are big already. Let’s shine some light on the lesser known.

Wild Puck Banter – When the season started, Roy of WPB started doing game recaps. After a while, it burned him out, and that is where he really found his voice. Roy has a take on things, a sense of humor, and a good eye for hockey. He doesn’t get the attention he deserves.

Theory of Ice – This is one of the most interesting new blogs around. Following the Montreal Canadiens, “E” (the author) also keeps things interesting with compelling theories about the overall picture of the game. Get over there, something exciting is happening.

Scarlett Ice – Women in hockey blogging doesn’t surprise me. Go to a game, and see how many passionate female fans there are. Even if the NHL is an all male league, there is women’s hockey everywhere. And there are a lot of bloggers who happen to be women. Sherry is one of the best. She follows the Ottawa Senators, and has a great sense of humor (some would say you have to). She also contributes to HLOG (Hockey Ladies of Greatness) and could probably drink you under the table.

Waiting for Stanley – Still a damn good blog. Zanstorm has taken over the reigns here, but these guys were a real inspiration to me when I was starting out. Along the off season, we kept each other going and cracked each other up. In the Great Sidebar Wars of 2006, they won hands down.

Army of the Ohio – I still don’t get the title, but I get the blog. The Blue Jackets are lucky to have this blog around and on their side. Just plain well done. Nuff’ said.

There are more. Plenty more. This is just a small sampling of the good stuff. Go read these blogs, tell them you are listening to what they have to say. believe me, it makes a difference.

2nd (?) Best Game if the Year

There are things that don’t happen at the Pepsi Center. There are things that die off into the thin air we have up here that you expect in other places. The chants flashed on the scoreboard are picked up for a moment, the music is left to play without any reaction. Goals by opponents are met with silence, instead of emotion. Fans of the away team are left to their own devices.

Tonight was completely different.

Of all the games I have been to at the Pepsi Center, this was the best. The Avs worked their asses off through 2 periods, fell apart in the third (but still tried) and took it to the shootout. The SO goal by Sakic was such an emotional high for the crowd, the loss was only a sting. Peter Budaj came out and made a case for taking over the starting position, making some seriously flashy saves at the right time. The chants of “Let’s Go, Red Wings” were met with even louder “Red Wings Suck!” I know I will be soothing this throaht all day. I had the people in front of me cracking up with outbursts like “Check Chelios, he’s too old to skate,” and “Don’t forget your walker, Chelios!” Not too inventive, but fun. In fact, now that I think about it, Chelios is the one who drew most of my ire tonight. Him and Datsyuk. Why Datsyuk? Beats me. Chelios springs from the World Cup of Hockey 2004, where he was always three feet from doing any work. (Sidenote: A guy sitting two seats over recognized me from the WCH2004. Small hockey world, eh?)

The only way I would have been happier with the game is if the Avs had come out with the two points, or if the Avs hadn’t fallen apart at the end so bad. We need the points more than the Wings do, and the third period was all Avs putting themselves in jeopardy, not the Wings doing anything special. Tonight was a night where I felt like going to the Can was the only reasonable thing to do, one of the few when I would have felt like I missed out on something great. The presentation, the lack of replays, the things the Avs screw up when they have a home game, none of that made any difference. It was just the Avs versus the Evil Empire. And I was glad to be there.

That is how a rivalry should feel.

P.S. 2nd best, you ask? I think the next game against the Wings here (Jan 20th) is going to be even better. Want to guess where I’m going to be?


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Finally, the Wings

It’s been way to long. Halfway through the season, and just now, we are getting to the Wings. There was a time when you couldn’t walk down the streets in Denver wearing a Wings jersey. The rivalry, which used to be spelled with a capital R, has cooled off considerably. It’s hard to take it seriously any more. After all, what is Draper’s face compared to Moore’s neck? Does that sound cold? No more cold than turning right around and hiring Brad May. How would Wings fans have felt if they had hired Adam Deadmarsh for the 1996-97 season? (Don’t you Wings fans tell me it would never happen. You don’t run the joint)

But in the end, it’s pretty hard to get the bile up for some of the teams in the Northwest division. The Oilers are just so cute, and the Wild, I mean, come on, what’s there to be mad at. They have the neatest little jerseys. The Canucks? If the Avs can’t be bothered to care, why should the rest of us? As for the Flames, nothing doing. There just isn’t enough anger in this division for the Avs. It almost makes you jealous of the Battle of Alberta. The Pacific division has some serious proximity, with L.A., Anaheim, and San Jose. They can make up for the rest. The Wings and Predators have more of a rivalry these days.

Last year, around this time, I was in Norfolk, VA with a show. One night I went into a grocery store after a stick and puck season at the rink. I was wearing a Ducks jersey (the old one) that day. The guy who was working the check out kind of laughed at my jersey. We chatted hockey for a moment, until he told me he was a Wings fan. “Too bad,” I said. “I’m an Avs fan.” That ended our conversation. I didn’t want to talk to him, I didn’t want to hand him my money, and I suspect the feeling was mutual. We were done. He didn’t tell me my total, I just swiped my card and left.

That’s how a rivalry should feel.

For the next day or so, I’m staying away from the more angry of Wings blogs. I’m thinking about going to the game, but I may have to go to the Czech hockey bar instead, just to be around the fans there. I can imagine how much they must loathe the Wings. I sure miss that. Tomorrow is going to be good for my hockey life.


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What To Do About Jose

The Avs hit the halfway mark last night, playing game 41 last night against the Wild. It was a great game, for both teams, ending 2-1 in a shootout. Manny Fernandez was great, as was Jose Theodore Peter Budaj, who had to stand on his head a couple of times. Theodore Budaj looked really good the night before, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Yep that Theodore Budaj is looking pretty good right now.

So, obviously, I’m not happy with the Jose. Nope, never have been, never will be. I admit my bias up front, and can’t see that changing any time soon. Theodore is a bust. He has played some good games for the Avs, but they don’t happen enough. This is a case where the numbers do tell most of the story:

Record GAA SV% One Goal Losses Salary
Theodore 9-10-1 3.10 .899 8 5.5 million
Budaj 12-8-1 2.41 .910 4 600,000



Here’s another part of the story. In Theodore’s last game, he was pulled from the net (Dec. 27th against Dallas). He let in 5 goals on 22 shots. Not a good night, but there is a lot more to the story.

  • The Avs scored four goals against Marty Turco. If you get four against Marty Turco, you count yourself lucky. The offense did their job.
  • Dallas was hit with an injury bug. Modano was out, along with Brenden Morrow, Eric Lindros (surprise, surprise) and Steve Ott. That depleted the Stars of a lot of talent, and $8.775 million in salary for the night (for a little perspective).
  • The Avs were leading the game at two different points, holding a 2-1 lead and later, up to a 4-2 lead. Both leads slipped away.


Here’s the part of the story the numbers don’t tell. When the fifth and final goal of the night for Jose went in, the crowd booed him. They booed him off the ice. The money guy, the guy who was the big trade, the future of the team, was booed off the ice. And that may not be unusual where you are from, but here, it is. Here, going to a game is like going to a tea party. It’s quiet and polite. I’ve heard about the Ottawa Senators games, and they must be more exciting than here (more on that later). Budaj came in, and he got cheered. I was watching the game that night at SoBo 151 (the Czech hockey bar) and the place cheered when they pulled Theodore. When a goalie gets pulled, there should be silence from the home fans. Not this night, and deservedly so.

I had wondered if Pierre Lacroix and Francois Giguere would get the message from the fans. Apparently, they have. Peter Budaj has gotten the starts in the last five games. The first two came with losses against the St. Louis Blues, but Budaj played pretty evenly. The second loss was a 2-0 game. If you can’t score against St. Louis, don’t blame your goalie. Budaj has won his last three games, and last nights win against the Wild was quite a showing. Holding them to one goal in regulation play and one goal in the shootout, he has been rolling like never before. The complaints I had about him with his rebound control seem to have disappeared, and unlike his high priced cohort, he is getting better all the time.

So, back to the original question, what to do about Jose? If Jose is here next season, you can kiss that sellout streak goodbye (oops, too late). In fact, there are many factors involved, but I take a special pride and joy in the fact that the streak ended on Theodore’s watch rather than David Aebischer’s. The fans expect the poor performance from Jose. They know what’s coming. I don’t want to go to a game he starts in, because I don’t feel I’m going to get my money’s worth. The problem is, if Theodore isn’t here next season, it’s like Lacroix is admitting he made a mistake in bringing Theodore in (which he did). But the time for pride is long gone. Pure value for money, Theodore is a bust.

Buying out Theodore would result in getting back about 4 million in cap space for next season. With some of the other contracts that are ending, that gives the Avs some serious space to work with. Also, with the bonus money payed to Rob Blake and Joe Sakic this season counting against the cap (4.6 million), this would leave the team with a ton of cash to work with (I think the cap will go down nest year, considering the attendance issues reported around the league. That bonus money may come in very handy as padding). And there are going to be some available goaltenders next year. I never thought I would say this, but how about Marty Biron? If the Sabres don’t win a cup, he’s going to be gone, if he doesn’t get traded at the deadline.

Theodore is a bigger bust this year than any on the Avs roster. If you want to tell me you knew this would happen, go for it. So did I. Whoopie. It wasn’t a hard call. What surprised me is how good Budaj has been. Legitimate number 1? I don’t know about that yet, but he sure is better than Theodore.

Then again, who isn’t?


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Hockey Night Part 2

Hockey Night is a take off on Sports Night, which was written by Aaron Sorkin (West Wing, Studio 60) . Sorkin has a very distinct style. After the first post, I thought about what else I would do with another scene. It’s pretty fun to write, and so I share.
INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE OF VISITORS DRESSING ROOM OF A LARGE HOCKEY ARENA
DAN is standing outside of the locker room, pacing a bit, waiting for Ted, who shows up now.

DAN
Hey.

TED
Hey.

DAN
Can we talk?

TED
Yeah.

DAN
Out here.
(they walk to the stands. on the way…)

TED
Hey, I was eating with Hacksaw, and you know what he did? He ordered a salad, and instead of chicken on it, he tried to order tofu.

DAN
(stops) Why do you always do that?

TED
Do what?

DAN
I want to talk to you, and before I can, you start talking about something entirely different.

TED
I’m making conversation.

DAN
We’re about to have a conversation. You are making conversation on the way to a conversation?

TED
Yes.

DAN
Why?

TED
I don’t know. It just fills the time a little.

DAN
Just stop doing it, alright?

TED
OK.

DAN
(beat) Really? Tofu?

TED
Yeah.

DAN
But he’s a big boy. What, 220?

TED
230.

DAN
Tofu.

TED
Yeah.

DAN
On a salad?

TED
I know.

DAN
Huh. (beat) I think I’m getting traded.

TED
Why do you think that.

DAN
It’s a vibe I have.

TED
A vibe.

DAN
Yeah, a vibe.

TED
What kicked off this vibe?

DAN
What, I can’t just have a vibe? I can’t just get a feeling for this kind of thing?

TED
No, you can’t. You never do. Something happens, or someone says something, and all of a sudden, you start going completely neurotic and obsessive about it. Remember when you tripped over the blue line on the breakaway last month. You avoided things that were blue for weeks. Your sticks are blue. So no, you can not have a vibe. It isn’t healthy. Now, tell me what happened.

DAN
After the game yesterday, one of the reporters asked me what I thought about the Kings.

TED
(pause) And?

DAN
He asked me about the Kings.

TED
Dan.

DAN
I wasn’t thinking anything about the Kings, but then I did start thinking about the Kings, and realized I would be a good fit for them on the second line, and we could use a defensman or two, which they have about thirty or so in their system. It would be the perfect fit.

TED
Dan.

DAN
I don’t know what this guy knows, but he knew something. I’m getting traded.

TED
This was yesterday?

DAN
Yes.

TED
Do you remember the guys name?

DAN
Al something.

TED
Al Shorner?

DAN
Yeah, that was it. Al Shorner.

TED
Al Shorner, who writes for the L.A. Register.

DAN
He does?

TED
Yeah, he does. You know we play L.A. in a week, right?

DAN
We do?

TED
Yes.

DAN
So what was he doing there? We weren’t in L.A. What gives?

TED
We were in Anaheim.

DAN
Huh. (beat) It was the way he asked.

TED
(starts walking back to the dressing room) You need help.

DAN
(to himself) Huh.
(beat)
Tofu.

FADE OUT

Inspired by Ken Levine and his Sorkin post

Moving the Feed

So, I am trying to move my RSS feed over to Feedburner.  I don’t think that means anything to anyone, unless things don’t work the way they are supposed to.  But such as it is, the new feed is listed in the lower right sidebar, or here.  Just copy that link into your feedreader or widget, and away you go.  All others should be getting redirected automatically, unless things go completely wrong.  In which case I will be embarrassed, but not as bad as Patrick Stefan was last night.  Ray Ferraro, get a grip.  That wasn’t the most ridiculous.  This was.  Yeah.  To put that in context, try this.