Stupid Freebees

Is there no end to the stupid crap they give you at hockey games? No, there is not. They could have given us a puck, but no, they give us an Alex Tanguay nesting doll.

Tanguay Nesting Dolls

Seriously, I could not come up with that. Who brought this idea up in a meeting? Are they still with the company? I hope not. Scary, huh?

I have two.

Armenian Hockey Vodka

I’m packing up everything I own to go back on tour for at least 6 months, if not longer. I figured I would take a few pictures of the hockey stuff I own, just to put up here.

This is Armenian Vodka, in a goalie shaped bottle.

Armenian Hockey Vodka

I don’t know much more about it, not why it has a Canada sticker, when it’s from Armenia. Go figure.

Just So’s You Don’t Forget

Avs Banners

Just a reminder. Carry on.


Feed readers: Click here to see the picture. You know you want to.

My Drinking Buddy, Greg

This is Greg from the Post-Pessimist Association.

Drinking Buddy

Greg and I drink beer, good beer. We talk hockey, we talk about growing up in Colorado. We even talk about IBM. Go figure. Greg and I like to meet up at the Czech hockey bar and drink Czech beer. Greg, frankly, rocks.

If you are in Atlanta, buy this man a beer. He has to work in Television. He deserves your beer money.

RBK EDGE System ON Display

At the NHL Draft in Columbus, Reebok was showing off their new RBK EDGE system of player equipment. I got some photos to share with you all. This is going to be a pretty photo heavy post, so get ready. All photos are clickable to make bigger. And please, do not post these photos elsewhere without a little credit. Thanks.

Meet Joe RBK (That’s what I’m calling him, your everyplayer. How you doing Joe?

Joe RBK

Let’s start with the pants…

pants

Notice the white tabs at the bottom of the pants? Those are Velcro straps for tightening the leg of the pants around the thigh.

Pants Leg Adjust

The tab you see here at hip lever is more like a flap. It has male and female Velcro, like a flap or the covers of a book (I’m searching for a good description) to close around the top of the pants leg. This is so you can adjust the length of the pants to suit your body. With the double Velcro, it looks pretty secure, and it was difficult enough to open. I believe it will do a good job of holding the pants legs into place, but under playing conditions, with sweat and other moisture, will it hold up. The doubled up nature of the Velcro is a good idea though. I wonder how much adjustment you would get with that tab/flap. An inch or two?

Obviously, the pants will need some sort of shell to go over it, or that ventilated plastic cup in the front is going to draw a lot of attention. I did not give the cup a good check out, I figure you can do that once these things come out if you are that interested.

Sock Tab

The socks are held in place with another Velcro tab, built into the pants. If you look inside the pants leg, you can see the little blue line. That’s the top of the socks. That means they are freaking long. Like mid thigh long. So my question is this. Are there going to have to be different lengths of socks for each players height? The socks are not the knit material of today, but more of a stretchy material found on the undershirts you find today.

Speaking of undershirts…

Undershirt

This was one of the cooler parts for me. I like the design here, although, I must admit, after looking at it again, I wonder how this shirt with all it’s padding is going to work with older shoulder pads. Still, I like the concept here. I think referees, who don’t wear shoulder pads, would really like these. Perhaps they should strike a deal with RBK.

So, what does it all look like on a player? Glad you asked.

Player Front Top

Player Front Bottom

Hey, your socks are slipping a bit there, big guy.

Player Rear

Overall, not bad. The equipment looks like it is going to be more fun than the old pants designs, and I want one of those undershirts bad. But you can see how the whole thing is treated like a system. It looks like the tucking the jersey into the pants thing was a myth, or RBK would have done it to their models. And with that fully dressed model, it doesn’t look like he has elbow pads on. Remember how the players at the All Star Game looked? Like Robocop. Time will tell, but at least this is a start.

Hey look, new jerseys.

Both Jerseys on Display

Well, what do you think?


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A Favorite Photo from the Draft

I love this picture…

Cup Keeper and I

Yes, that’s Phil Pritchard, Keeper of the Cup. He was a little embarrassed when I said he was almost as famous as the Cup itself. He noticed my jersey, and told me that hockey in Russia is almost as good as hockey is here. He wasn’t really working the crowd, but he was happy enough to take a picture with me.
If you want to find out about the jersey I’m wearing, click here.

Feed readers: To see the picture, click here.


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Cool Swag

Hey, know what I got at the Draft?

Rally Towel

Jealous?


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Breakfast at the Airport

Written at 7:15 AM at the airport, uploaded when I got internet access.

5:30 AM came quickly this morning. My flight home leaves at 8:15 and gets in at 9:something, getting there virtually before it leaves. If you were at the airport this morning, and didn’t know the NHL Draft was going on, you would know something was different, if only due to the unusual number of very tall people. Tall, young people. It’s hard sometimes to remember these guys are just kids.

Everywhere, hockey people are streaming by, with telltale signs of a life in hockey. RBK bags with team logos carried on shoulders indicate the carrier is a draftee. A man walks by, saying something in French, and I look at the woman he is talking to, and she has a Canadiens bag. Three tables over, two men in Oilers polo shirts are having breakfast. A man in a Manitoba Moose shirt walks by. As I was checking out of my hotel, two men were leaving with Kamloops Blazers bags. I knew there were few people outside of hockey who knew what Kamloops was, or who the Blazers are. Everywhere I look, I see hockey.

I haven’t felt this close to the game in a while. In a few hours, I go back to life without hockey, and I think I’m going to have separation anxiety. Free agency is the next event, but I will be sitting by the computer, waiting for news, rather than being there, almost a part of it. In fact, on free agency day, I will most likely be flying to Louisville, KY, to go back on tour for a while. The next week is going to be about packing up my apartment, putting my stuff in storage, and getting the hell out of Dodge for a while. More than the change in lifestyle, I am more curious what the lack of hockey over the off-season is going to be like. Then I have to figure out how to get my hockey fix. Slingbox with the hockey package? Touring will take me through Dallas, Minnesota, Detroit (yuck), and Pittsburgh in the winter, so there won’t be a lack of hockey around. What it won’t do is let me easily watch my Avs. Technology is going to be my savior on this one.

But now the draft is over, and it’s time to let it go. But as soon as I see a big guy with floppy hair come walking by, I wonder, who was he drafted by?

Update at 10:48 AM: I have made it safely back to Chez-Tapeleg, or as it should be better known, Le Can Annex. As walking through the concourse in Columbus, I saw Canucks and Coyotes logos, as hockey people got to go home for a short break. I had the aisle seat of a two seat row, and my neighbor was already sitting down. When I put my laptop bag in the overhead, I saw the luggage tag on his briefcase. San Jose Sharks. We both read the draft articles in the Columbus Dispatch, and went about our business. He seemed a little interested when I started watching the 1994 Stanley Cup Final Game 7 on my ipod ($1.99 on itunes, hockey fans), but he soon sacked out. I didn’t want to make him feel obligated to talk hockey, so I waited until we started our final decent to say, “So, how did the draft go for you?” He was a little surprised I knew he was a hockey guy, but he introduced himself and we chatted for about 15 minutes. I don’t want to put what he said here, as I did not tell him I would put anything in writing (I mentioned I had a blog, but that was all), but I will say that he was very nice, and he did emphasize that scouting was a team effort. Aside from that, I really shouldn’t say more.

Turn Out the Lights…

If I hadn’t been there, I would have never guessed that there had been a major sports draft held at the Nationwide Arena today. Everything is back to life as usual in the arena district, which is to say, the bars are working, there are no hockey jerseys to be seen, and the arena itself is shut down.

Not that there is any reason to worry. The draft happened to be scheduled at the same time as Comfest, a multi-day food, beer and music festival, and also at the same time as the Gay Pride celebration. Columbus likes to party, and only a few blocks from the arena, the party is still in full swing. Walking around the arena district at 9:00 at night, I felt very alone, being the only one wearing a hockey jersey. The occasional group would walk by with a weak “Go Blue Jackets,” but you could tell their minds were on dancing, plastic mugs filled with cheap beer, and the late night bravado only a popular street festival could bring, not hockey.

It is a far cry from only eleven hours ago, when the second round started, and the flair gave way to speedy picks, mispronounced names, weak applause for the few picks who were around, and jeering on a slightly smaller scale afforded a Leafs – Ducks mid-season game. Those who were there had a great time, but walking into the arena, you knew the main event was over. The press tables, busy with activity and near jogging to get to stories, was only half full. The upper seating bowl was closed off, affording the faithful a closer look than the night before, but with the understanding that they were the only ones who cared. Rounds passed by at a clip so fast and expected, that when the Ottawa Senators called a time out in the sixth round, the crowd booed them for slowing down the pace. By 2:30 the draft was over, and the party was ready to move down the street.

Columbus did a great job of putting on the draft. Player signings, helpful staff, every need taken care of for the fan. When the draft ended, the NHL thanked everyone who made the draft possible, excluding the fans themselves. The Jackets did not forget their fans, and poured out the thanks, in words and in actions. If anything, Columbus will be keeping the fans who attended for a long time.

The players, media, staff, most everyone who flew in for the draft are gone, deciding to go home and be around their families or in their comfort zones before the next crazy period starts up, only a week away. I can tell you that the Toronto Sun still has a few people here, as I just ran into them as I was leaving the bar. I would have gone home too, but I stayed to the bitter end, and saw the Jackets draft the last pick. There aren’t that many people who can say that. I know, I saw them there. If I had left before it was over, I would have kicked myself for it. For my first draft, I had an amazing time.

The draft made me feel like I was involved in hockey again. I haven’t felt so involved since the end of the Avalanche season. Sure, I cared about the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals, I was riveted, glued to my seat, and was ecstatic that the Ducks won it all. But being at the draft, being there with the players, the fans, the media, shaking the hands of a few of the draftees, touching the Stanley Cup, it made me feel like hockey was back on, like it hadn’t shut down for the year. I thought last offseason was long, I can’t imagine what it will be like this time around.

There is a Rangers fan in the hotel bar. Thursday night, he was coherent and chatty. Tonight, I asked him if he had a good time. He said, “No.” He was unhappy with the Cherepanov pick, saying the kid has no defense, and that he is snotty about hockey like most Russians (not my stance, but OK, whatever). The Rangers fan was tired, you could see it in his eyes, and more than a little mad about what had happened at the draft. To come all this way, pay for a hotel and whatever travel, he didn’t get the things he thought the team he loves needed. I was ready to go to my room, and excused myself to pack, early flight and all that. As I left, I told him to take care, and he said to me, “Hey, see you next year.” That is a happy Rangers fan. Great Draft.


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New Blue Jackets Jersey: Not Exactly Slimming

Before the first round was complete, it was time to leave, as hunger and annoyance was starting to set in (How freaking long can one round take?) On the way out, I decided to stop and check out the new Blue Jackets jerseys. They even let me try one on.

(Click on any picture to make it larger, if you can stand it)
CBJ Front

It makes me look like I have no hair. What is this? Oh, wait…

Know what part I didn’t care for? No, that’s not a shirt underneath…

The Collar Says What

That’s part of the jersey. (I am wearing a dark shirt, so look for the line above the NHL logo for the cutoff point).  I don’t really care for it, but it didn’t touch the throat as I thought it would. I was expecting a choking effect, but was happy to find otherwise. I’m not sure how that’s going to look with the Bruins jersey with the lace up on the front. But I do approve the design of their jerseys.

I do a little dance on the catwalk…

CBJ Back

The shape isn’t as bad as I expected, but owning one would motivate me more to work on losing the beer gut. It certainly isn’t the traditional jersey cut, and I love the cut of the old jerseys. It’s part of why I own so many. I suspect those audience members who like the covering or blanket-like effect of the current jerseys will not be to thrilled with these. Notice how high the fight strap is (bottom of the numbers). On a taller player with shoulder pads, that thing is going to be up way there. I didn’t check out how long the strap is, but I assume Zdeno Chara is going to need one three feet long.

The new material is a winner in my book. It was soft (still not as soft as the Lutch Russian jerseys I have), felt durable, and didn’t seem as prone to snags as the Air-Knit of current jerseys. A snag can ruin a good jersey, especially a game worn (you just can’t stop thinking about it). I can’t talk about the moisture resistance part, as I did not have a cup of water handy.

I did have a source, who shall remain anonymous (unless he wishes otherwise) that told me the replica jerseys (which will not be called replica), will have a printed patch, not a stitched patch. They are still, make a funny noise, and look like garbage. I am guessing that this is to get people to but the authentic jerseys. I also expect the reason will be the cost associated with making real patches at the price point of the new jerseys. Not exactly a crowd pleaser.

But I’m just a fan. I’m not the guy in pads trying to play in the thing. I would imagine that the thing would look better with shoulder pads on, but not so much with large elbow pads on. Look at the All Star Game to see what I mean. Most of the players looked like Robocop.

I took a lot of pictures of the new RBK EDGE system of pads, and will share them soon. For now, my jerseys review stands at a middle of the road 3 out of a possible 5 fight straps. Not a major for cross checking, but not an overtime game winning goal either.


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