TDD: Umm… Yeah…

I flew into (sunny) Tampa, FL yesterday, drove down to Ft. Myers today, and just got around my laptop. The drive was filled with XM Radio, shouting, yelling, cheering, confusion, and insects. So I just have a little brain and awareness to post a few thoughts on the trades that happened:

Brad May: Good. Get out. I don’t care what you brought to the Avs. It would never be enough. The second biggest mistake of the Pierre Lacroix era (hint: number 1 had better get bought out this off season). Getting a third goalie is a good move, as there is no Kolesnik to step in anymore. The Avs were one injury away from dressing Tyler Weiman (who I like, but is not ready for the big time just yet).

Scott Parker: Huh. OK. He was with the Avs, racked up some PIM, and that’s great, but he only played 11 games this year for the Sharks, and 10 last season. So, huh.

Ryan Smyth: No matter what has happened to the Avs, no matter the goaltending issues, no matter missing the playoffs, no matter the boneheaded moves all around, Francois Giguere is not as big of a dumbass Kevin Lowe. Joe Sakic remains an Av.

Martin Biron: If I were Biron, I would be pissed as hell. He doesn’t get traded all year, he works hard, gets punched in the face by Ray Emery, and gets traded to the Flyers? Who are done in a few games anyways? Pissed. AND he got traded for a bag of pucks. Crazy.

Ty Conklin: He is the bag of pucks. Who in Buffalo is happy about this?

Todd Bertuzzi: Someone remind me to shake the hand of Jacques Martin in Florida. If I didn’t like the Red Wings before (and I did not), I have focus for my hate now. Thanks boys.

Boston must be pissed off about now, for trading away the team.

Dallas should be less quiet now.

Overall, a pretty good day. I have to sleep now. There are lizards outside, where yesterday, there was just snow. There is humidity, where there was dry. It’s all very confusing.

Finding the Blogs

Today, Zanstorm over at Waiting for Stanley points out a tip he got from Greg at The Fourth Period about a Devils blog he didn’t know about, called 2 Man Advantage. (Follow that?) I didn’t know about it either. And on 2 Man, they have links to some New York Islanders blogs I had never heard of (like The Drive for Five and The View from Section 317).

And that is a big problem.

The hockey blogosphere feels large when I just don’t have time to read everything I want to. And there are more and more hockey blogs starting all the time. It doesn’t matter if the season is mostly over, there is plenty of hockey left, and plenty of hockey to write about. There are all kinds of ideas and styles and thoughts out there. There are more on the way.

That’s the way it should be.

But if you can’t find out about the blogs that are out there, you have no opportunity to read the good stuff. I remember a few months ago, some bloggers were talking about the lack of blogs for certain teams. They were pointing to the Phoenix Coyotes as a perfect example. But not long ago, I found out about One Fan’s Perspective, and I only found out about it thanks to a link to my blog. That there was one islanders blog (Islanders Army) was a surprise enough, but now I find out there are more and more cropping up. Did you know there is a Battle of New York blog? Heck, did you know there is a Battle of New York at all? But there is nowhere to find this stuff. James Mirtle has a big blog listing, but it isn’t enough. Only one Islanders and one Devils blogs are listed, and none for the Coyotes. Minnesota Wild? None (I have 2 in my blogroll). St. Louis Blues? One. There are new blogs cropping up all the time. Some stay, some go, but they are out there. If nobody is reading them, they will go away even faster, and writers who are just finding their voices are going to give up.

Independent hockey blogging reminds me a lot of the music industry several years ago. The power and control during the vast majority of the recording industries lifespan was controlled by a few record labels. The rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the artists themselves were the tools of the trade. Large acts were going bankrupt while industry barons kept all the cash (sound familiar, like before there ever was an NHLPA, or the WHA came to be?). To “make it in the business,” you had to send off a cassette of your little four track demo off to the record company, hope that someone listens to it, and then hope they are in a good mood and maybe like it enough not to just blow you off. What changed the industry wasn’t iTunes, or the internet, or even indie labels. It was inexpensive recording software. All of a sudden, bands didn’t need to pony up big dollars to get into a recording studio. The bedroom studio was suddenly just as usable as the big multi-track studios. Bands could record, produce, and come up with a complete product they could sell themselves. The large record labels became less necessary, and smaller labels found a way to exist, by not having to pay as much for the recording of the music, and could focus on the promoting. iTunes, internet distribution, podcasting, all of it was made possible by putting control of the medium in the hands of the artists themselves.

Hockey writing is in the same place right now. What was once limited to the few is now in the hands of the many. The individual has power now. The medium of blogging gives that power. It allows the writer to be read by as many people as can find that writing. It’s up to the writer to get them to stick around. But getting the word out there that hockey blogging is going on is only part of the struggle. Part of it is telling the world where the good stuff is, where the new stuff is, and where the exciting stuff is happening. Finding a good blog, or a good piece of writing is not as easy as it sounds. You have to wade through a lot of noise, things that seem related but aren’t, the things that get in the way of reading the good stuff. And there is plenty of good stuff out there, and a lot of good stuff yet to be written.

Where do I have to go to find out about the hockey blogs? Google blog search? Imprecise at best. Technorati? Have you seen how many errors and issues there are with that service? isn’t much better. I have not been able to update my address there yet, and there are plenty of bloggers who don’t even know it exists. The closest thing you can find is other blogger’s blogrolls (those lists of blogs on the sides), but that is a tangled web to be sure.

There should be a useful place to find out about hockey blogs. Something substantial, where you can update links as they change, and something that helps maintain itself. Something where you don’t have to be on anyone’s good side to get a link. If I, or anyone, were to attempt maintaining a blogroll with every hockey blog in it, there wouldn’t be any time for actually writing about hockey. But there has to be something that can be done.

Jeez, was that my outside voice?

Hope Springs in Turtles

The Czech hockey bar was a decent time tonight. The Avs-centric crowd was most likely at the game, or hiding their heads at their homes tonight. There was a contingent of Habs fans in the back, watching their team squeak past the Predators in the shootout. They were more vocal and active then the Avs fans tonight. Maybe it’s the time of the season, or maybe it’s being resigned to being out of the playoffs. Maybe it’s just being worn down by a team you have defended and cheered on and justified for all season long, and this is where you are at. When the guy next to me at the bar asked for his check, I taunted him. I told him how great it would be when the Avs came back, and how stealing two points after being down three to nothing was going to be so sweet. And that is when the Avs scored.

They gave me hope tonight. At least, hope to climb a little, hope they could pull off two points they didn’t deserve. Hope that two stale periods of hockey could be overcome, and a comeback could be mounted. The hope for the season is all but over, but to have a small victory, just two points that may not matter, two points that could put you up for a moment, two points you could look back on and see that the team you wanted so much for could have had at other times, it would have been so sweet.

The Avs have been a two period hockey team all season. Over and over, you could see it happening, two good periods, and one that gave the game away. Tonight, they were a one period hockey team. If that period would have come at the beginning, I could have had the standard night of confusion, frustration and aggravation I have had all season. But it had to come at the end, when all was supposed to be lost, when it was all over but the crying. They gave me hope, and then they dashed it.

The last thing I want to be is a sunny weather blogger. There are too many fans who only love a team when they win. Some of the fans at Le Can are like that, only active during a lead, and only cheering when they don’t look like they are backing a loser. I have heard fans booing the team they wear the jersey of, and they look ridiculous for it. That isn’t me. I am not a fan of a few of the players on the team, but at times, they all give me hope. Hockey is partially about hope. That hope, sometimes, comes along in the third period. And sometimes, like tonight, that hope is dashed. It sure is fun to ride that hope, though, no matter the outcome.

And if hope can spring in turtles, it can spring in me too.

(if you are wondering about the title, and are thinking, “hey, dumbass, that isn’t the saying,” I know. It comes from the most excellent comedian John Bowman. He toured with Louis Black for a while, and is funny as hell. If you have a chance, check him out, or pick up his CD. If you are a fan for the art form that is stand up comedy, he is a treasure)

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What the?

The ballet opens tomorrow night, and while the schedule has not been extreme, our first night of work, striking the opera, ended only a few hours before returning to start setting up the ballet.  That first day pretty much kicked my ass, and I haven’t been able to watch much hockey, nor have the brain to write anything witty. Excuse me for not posting, but the quality of my blather would have been worse than normal.  I think I saved you the pain and suffering.

I have been trying to put together a few posts here and there about hockey blogging in general.  From what I have seen, the conversation about bloggers and their relative merits comes up every once in a while, and while it amounts to very little, this time, it got me thinking about the medium as a whole.  I can’t say there’s anything profound, but at least this time, I feel I got something out of it.  When I figure out how to say how I feel about it all, I’ll put it up.

Last night, after I should have gone to bed, I revisited the archives of a few blogs that were grabing my attention when I first started this little venture.  The off season was a pretty funny time for a few of the blogs.  If you have a chance, find a few blogs in the blogrolls that you find interesting, and go back to August and Spetember, before there were points and pain, before the season took any shape at all.  There is some great stuff out there.

Tonight, I will be at the Czech hockey bar, watching the Avs take on the Wild.  I expect a good game, good beer, and perhaps getting my head back in the hockey blogging game. 

BTW:  I think I stayed at the ESPNZone for about 20 minutes before I had to leave.  Between the manufactured yelling for the TV cameras, overcrowding, overpriced beer and food, and general lack of any interest of hockey by the crowd at large, I had to get the hell out.  If I set foot in another ESPNZone (the Bristol Cafe) any time soon, it had better have some good hockey games.  Old Chicago was a much better choice for the evening. 

Going to ESPNZone, May Feel Dirty

Ever since the start of the season, I haven’t had much interest in ESPN.  Even though the falling out of the NHL and ESPN started as the lockout ended, this year, the love is not there between myself and the Boys from Bristol. 

Tonight, Altitude (the local cable sports channel owned by the Avs ownership) will be broadcasting from the downtown Denver ESPNZone.  Again, civic duty compells me to do the right thing and go, but something about it feels unclean.  I will report back later.

 Tomorrow starts a week of living at work, as the opera finishes it’s run, and the ballet starts moving in on Monday.  After that, I go to Ft. Myers, FL to do about a week and a half on tour.  Posts from here will get a little slow and strange.  I don’t even think I will be able to see any Avs games in Florida.  It could be the break I need, but I will most likely be flying as the trade deadline comes to a close.  It’s not easy being a hockey fan when you travel.  Unless you are traveling to a game.  Then it freaking rocks.

Forsberg Should Stay

Last night, I was talking on the phone to MegMegMeg, and she brought up how she just wished Forsberg would do what he was going to do.

I said, “He should stay in Philly. He should stay with his team. He would never have to buy a beer in a Philly bar ever again.”

That may not be much motivation for a star hockey player, but for me, hell yeah. I may even be able to tolerate some seriously hideous places with that kind of deal (because I would be drunk).

But seriously, look at the situation. Forsberg signed on the dotted line. His contract expires at the end of the season, and he is wanted back. He could go somewhere else and play for a Cup, even get a few players worth their salt back (most likely not, since who wants to give up good players for one player in a Cup run), and then sign with Philly again. But the thing that hasn’t factored into all of the rumors is. he has the “C”

It’s one thing to be a rent a player for a team. It’s all good and fine, but he is the team captain. He has a certain responsibility to the team that no other player has. In a town that has come so close in the past, and is watching their team fall so low, to watch their big dream skate off to greener pastures for a one off, it would be heart breaking. Even if Forsberg resigned, what would his return be like? Would the Flyers fans, who have watched players of great skill before suffer and toil because they believed in the team, welcome him back with open arms? Maybe.

But if you look at the year he has had, and the questions about his ankles, maybe finishing out of the playoffs, resting for a while, and seeing who comes along with a very high draft pick (if they still own one) may be just the thing he needs. Cups are great things, but so are ankles, and a shot next season. A cup this year is no guarantee, and it would be hard to turn down a shot at playing for one next season.

If that were the case, I’d buy him that beer. Hell yeah.

Another Suck Night for Versus

I didn’t think I would have to do this so soon again. I really didn’t want to have to, but someone needs to be the voice of the people here.

Versus, can you please stop sucking so hard?

Maybe it’s this team calling the action, but there was a game played that seemed to be interrupting their little chat. All you hear about through the game is the blather of empty words, doing their best to ignore the action on the ice.

For some reason, they keep trying to tell us stories about the players, but they want to tell us about all 40 players in the game. When there is a shot on goal, I do not care about the 4th line winger who came off the ice two shifts ago. Not when there was a shot on goal, and a great save.

How about Clement at the start of the first intermission report? “This is our studio.” Good job there, Clement. This is our studio. This is a monkey, that is a bad haircut. I like cake, lights are bright.

And what about some of these verbal assaults:

“One nothing An..Uh.Colorado.”

“The puck went off the ref..uh..linesman.”

This one my be the line of the night. “They are starting to bump uglies in Denver.” Seriously, they said that. Do they even know what that means?

After that, I had to put a tape in the VCR, just in case Beezer said something even stupider.

Here’s Beezer in the 3rd period. “Try something harder, buddy, that’s not going in.”

These guys need to get laid. Sorry, they do. John Vanbiesbrouck and Chris Simpson should either be given an award or taken out and shot. It was a command performance of sexual innuendo, and complete and total lack of hockey coverage.

Versus needs to sit down a test audience of hockey fans, and play them a few broadcasts. I highly recommend they include tonight’s game. Awful and wonderful, all at the same time. Wonderful for the wrong reasons.

I bust on Versus chops quite a bit. I don’t care for the quality of the job they do, and even with the improvements they have made, they still have plenty of work to do. Instead of just bitching about them, I think I should break down some improvements they can make. Soon, I promise.

Thanks for the laughs tonight, Versus. It certainly was interesting.

Avs – Stars – Dammit

So, yesterday, I taped the Avs – Stars game to watch when I go home from work. The only mistake I made was not coming directly home to watch it. Instead, I went by the bookstore, wearing my Avs jersey, where a random person blew the outcome for me.

“Oh, yeah. They lost.”

I watched about a minute of the game. I had to turn it off.

I feel it’s my civic duty as a hockey blogger to watch every game this season, and I still may watch this 7-5 loss, but I may not. I may record over it with some fine Cartoon Network fare, or maybe some Blue’s Clues, if that even still exists, some serious comfort TV.

Because, right now, it’s pure blind hope that is keeping the season alive for me right now. Not even playoff hope, because even if the Avs made it to the playoffs, they would go nowhere. Just pure blind hope not to fall to low in the standings, to be able to say, at the end of the season, something roughly like, “if only they had that one last piece.” I want to feel like everything was one tiny step away from glory, and not what the season is winding down into.

I don’t want to be looking forward to a high draft pick.

NHL Highlights On The Way

Eric at Off Wing Opinion reports that the NHL is in talks with Versus about a daily NHL highlights show.  starting next season.

Now, I know I had nothing to do with it, and maybe Eric had nothing to do with it, but it sure is fun to speculate. I would seriously doubt that anyone from the league reads my blog, even though I would believe they keep an eye on Off Wing. 

But the timing of the thing does make me smile a little. 

I’d still like to see a DIY version, though.

Avs vs Thrasher: huh…

I was considering plunking down the hard earned dollars to go to the game tonight at The Can, but decided against it. Instead, I spent the pregame surrounded by Avs fans at the downtown Old Chicago (the one with a non-descript Avs player painted on the side of the building), and the rest of the game around no one at the same Old Chicago.

At least they didn’t run out of beer. And Prince did not play during the intermission.

Jose Theodore got the start in goal. I could end my post there, but he made it one whole period. One. 3 goals on 11 shots. Budaj stepped in, allowing 2 goals on 20 shot. The fair thing to say is that Theo did not let in two soft goals (only the first one). The other fair thing to say is that Theo let in 3 goals on 11 shots, and did not make it past one period.

As far as I am concerned, the future is bright for the Avs, but the present is not. I feel the team has more talent than they are given credit for, but do not show it often enough. For some reason, the Avs do not reach down into the well that makes a team NHL caliber.

So, in summary, Kari played well, the Avs took a lot of shots without results, Budaj MAY be the goaltender of the future, May is not, and never was, the solution, the Avs could do worse than sign Samsonov off of waivers, and this post is not allowed to be quoted.

Thats is all.