Why is Tapeleg Smiling?

And why is he speaking in the third person.

Because Jose Theodore is out the door.

From the Denver Post (which is not the AP, so I can quote the story):

Talks between the Avalanche and Jose Theodore have broken down, and it now appears the veteran goalie will test the NHL open market beginning Tuesday.

Good. Don’t let the door hit you.

Oh, is that mean? Is that harsh? Whatever. He can keep on walking.

I’m embroiled in work this week, so my “analysis” (ie: reasons I ain’t crying) will have to wait until the weekend. But for now, I can not wait to write “Theodore has his usual meltdown,” and he isn’t in an Avalanche uniform.

Mind you, it isn’t July 1st yet, so he could still be signed. Oh, now I am sad.

Draft Day and Happy B-Day, JAHL

It’s time for the NHL Draft, and I am woefully unprepared. Luckily, since the Avs traded away their first round pick – if they even had one (I told you I was unprepared) – there is little I have to know today.

For anything I really need to know about the Avalanche and their draft, I can turn to the excellent blog Colorado Avalanche Prospects. Jori keeps us updated on all the action around the leagues pertaining to players in the Avs system. I don’t know how many other teams have a blog like this, but it’s unique as far as I have seen. If you are interested in Avalanche prospects, go check it out.

Last year, I was able to attend the draft, so I had all my reading material ready. This year, I busted ass on the drive from Tampa to Washington DC, just to get here in time. Aside from XM Radio, I have very little idea of what to expect, other than the obvious conclusion that Samkos is going to be selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Either that, or they wasted a lot of money in web development.

As a side note, and to stoke my own vanity, today is also the second anniversary of Jerseys and Hockey Love. Two years in blogging years feels like about 14 in real life (any real connection between blog years and dog years is strictly coincidental), and if I were to have an honest assessment of this past year of blogging, it would be a little disappointing on my end. I feel like I had things I wanted to say, but felt I shouldn’t, and that, as necessary as it was at the time, took too much time off from writing. if I had kept the pace, I feel like JAHL would be a little better place, and the quality of writing would have been better. I also miss some of the humor that I used to bring to the blog, that has fallen by the wayside (aka, I used to be funnier).

For what it’s worth, I plan to do more. By more, I mean that I have a new (hockey related) project in the making, and it’s going to need some help. I should be ready to announce what I plan on doing in about a month (hey, that’s better than Battlestar Galactia).

I do want to thank the people who read this blog, and especially the people who comment. I started Jerseys and Hockey Love to talk about hockey, and even though a blog is more of a one way conversation, it’s the commenters that make it fun. If you haven’t commented here before, take the ten seconds to say hi, and make sure to comment on other blogs. It makes the bloggers feel like they are fighting the good fight.

Community

Maybe it’s the offseason looming, or maybe I’m just getting more and more frustrated lately, but I’ve really been concerned with the lack of a community in the hockey blogging world. Sure, there are little networks, focused around blogrolls and individual teams, like the Oilogosphere, one of the tightest knit groups around. I mean, they even play street hockey against each other.

MSM sports journalists have a forum and site to go to for discussion of the issues, stories, or just plain BS that relates to them. Bloggers are a technical enough bunch, but really haven’t had a place to go.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but haven’t had the (insert excuse here) to do. In other words, I haven’t stepped up to the plate.

Let’s celebrate a few people who have:

First off, we have Bethany from Bethany’s Hockey Rants. She has started a social network for hockey bloggers. It’s brand new, and a little rough around the edges, but it’s there, and it’s waiting for you. Go sign up, and contribute. It will only live off the strength of the membership. Plus, it takes a serious commitment to set up something like this, so kudos to Bethany for doing this.

You can find it at:

http://hockeybloggers.ning.com/

Next up is Greg Wyshynski from Puck Daddy. He’s been linking to the good stuff all over the hockey blogging universe, more so than a lot of the larger blogs. He certainly deserves credit. Thanks, Greg.

Puck Daddy can be found here.

Having a hockey blogging community doesn’t mean we all have to get along, agree, or even like the same things. I disagree with many of the things that the Avalanche bloggers say (and agree with plenty of it, too), but that makes for some good discussion.

NHL Awards Ceremony: Well, That was Crap.

The NHL Awards ceremony shown – eventually – on Versus, went off without a hitch without Stompin’ Tom Connors showing America what he does best. I was pretty upset, his performance being the single reason I tuned in at all. OK, that isn’t completely true. I tuned in because there is no hockey action, other than Playstation and what I am playing on Monday nights here in Tampa (breaking news: I suck, but I have a wicked backhand). While I’m looking forward to having a little downtime and recharging the blogging batteries, if there is something hockey realated on – other than another half hour special about Sidney Crosby – I’m going to watch it.

Frankly, the NHL should recognize that by putting on a show that doesn’t blow. I know, it’s an awards show, and it isn’t what these guys are good at. They aren’t actors, and they shouldn’t be expected to be exciting and entertaining in this forum. But damn it, how many of these things are we going to watch if they keep turning out to be crap like this? Want to see what an awards show really looks like? Tune in to the Tony Awards Sunday. They know how to put on a show. Watch as they showcase the Musicals that are up for awards, without being dull, unfunny, or over-wrought with what doesn’t matter. Oh, and for an industry that is firmly planted in “flash and trash” entertainment, they can show you the highlights without ruining them with overused effects and crappy video editing.

Fine, let’s put our money where out mouth is. Let’s improve the NHL Awards.

First, what to cut:

The Kids: Look, if you want to keep the kids who are giving the awards to the players, fine, they are kind of fun. And by kind of, I mean that they are great for the atmosphere, but nothing else. I don’t care what they have to say, I don’t need to see them read a teleprompter (painful), and I certainly don’t need to see them struggle through a highlight reel introduction. And by the way, whoever wrote those introductions should be shot. Either that, or sent to Upper Deck to write the ass kissing that you find on the back of a hockey card. Back to the kids, we do not need to talk to them. Remember the old adage, children should be seen not heard at awards shows? Exactly. If I need to find out anything interesting about the kids, I’ll know when they are elegeble for the draft.

Comedy: If you want to be funny, then be funny. I am all for some comedy at the awards, but please, have a professional do it. Not Ron McLean, who is only funny when Don Cherry is ripping on him. Rules of the trade, do not make the straight man do the job of the funny guy. The obvious choice here is Stephen Colbert, and after that, find some comedians who love hockey. American Hockey Fan could help in this regard. Hell, I wrote a few zingers for last years awards ceremony, and with the endless silliness that NHL players provide each season, there should be plenty to riff on, or make skits out of. The “jokes” were atrocious, and I think I deserve better.

Presenters: Just make it simple. Players, former players, current and former coaches, and broadcasters. People we can all recognize. Don’t put television actors that half you audience don’t know. And either have some dignity, or go completely the other way. Want to generate buzz? Make Sean Avery hand out the Vezina. There, I just doubled the ratings. And by the way, if you want to have Cammi Granato present an award, I am all for it. I think she absolutely rocks. But spend a couple of bucks and get her a nice dress. She deserves better.

Lifetime Achievement Award: This was a nice touch, and really, is there a more deserving guy than Gordie Howe? But the presentation was garbage. The whole thing took about two minutes longer than it should have, and everyone was talking to Gordie, telling him about his accomplishments. Don’t tell him, he knows what he did. Tell us. You can tell him how much you appreciate his career and accomplishments, but tell us about why he is getting the award. It’s semantics, but it’s important. Hey, while you are at it, you don’t make Gordie Howe wait to address the hockey nation. You just plain don’t. It’s disrespectful to a guy that you are honoring. He should be allowed to sit in his seat and bask in the glory, then after you go through the rundown and congratulations, he comes up to the stage and gives his speech. This was an uncomfortable way of doing things.

Great, now with what to add:

Skits: Look, a short skit or two, done well, wouldn’t kill anyone. Live humor may not go over well (case in point, tonight), but a few well produced gags could go a long way to lighten things up, and make for a more entertaining evening.

Take it outside the theater: Did anything look more claustrophobic than that stuffy theater? It looked cold, small, and uncomfortable. How about a few interviews with hockey personalities or stars about hockey? If the NHL is going to pimp stars writing blogs, why not talk to them about their favorite awards nominee? See, simple, entertaining, and gets us away from the theater while still celebrating the game and the players. Hey, Mike Myers is handing the NHL all the promotion it can stand right now. Where is the capitalization?

Award Descriptions: This isn’t a show for the casual fan, but if any were tuning in, they probably don’t know what the awards are, and after that show, they probably still don’t. Just say what the award is for, as in:

The Lady Byng award for the player least like Sean Avery.

or

The Norris Award, for the defenseman with the most points.

or

The Vezina, for Martin Brodeur, whether he deserves it or not.

Something.

Spell Check: Lindstrom? Really? The NHL misspells the name of an award recipient on the back of a jersey? There is no excuse. It’s an embarrassment, and someone should get their asses handed to them. How many people saw and handled that jersey before it made it to the stage? I’ve seen breakdowns like that in theater before, but this is really pushing it. Want to see what I mean? Check out this post from the HLOG for the photo evidence.

This was just off the top of my head. These guys have had months to plan this thing, and this was all they did.

Perhaps you think I am being a little harsh. After all, this isn’t an organization that is used to producing televised entertainment on a regular basis. Wait, they aren’t a group who has ever done an awards show before. Oh, never mind.

NHL, do a better job next year. Versus, put it on the air on time. That is all.

Can the NHL and Versus do Anything Right?

It’s 7:03 PM, and I, like at least seven other many people across America, an I’m watching the Draft Lottery on Versus.

Simply put, what the hell is going on? This isn’t even the CBC, it’s TSN.

7:05 PM and we now have the correct feed, too late to see Stompin’ Tom Connors.

I’m so damn mad at Versus right now. Is it too much to ask that Versus either looks at what it’s broadcasting? It’s a slap in the face to hockey fans in America. Canadian hockey fans, don’t blame the fans, we have idiots in charge of the broadcasts.

I’m sure there is going to be some kind of explanation that makes sense, other than someone being an idiot.

A request, Canadian hockey fans. Someone put Stompin Tom on YouTube. We deserve to see it.

Finally, A Team I Like Wins!!!

After all the disappointment the hockey season, along with a few other sports this year, have brought, it’s about time someone I wanted to win a championship came through for me.

The Cincinnati Cyclones beat the Las Vegas Wranglers 3-1 last night to win the ECHL Kelly Cup four games to two. The Cyclones are a great story, shutting down for a few years, then coming back after the AHL abandoned the city for good. The Cyclones were barely drawing over a thousand fans a game, but this year, they had the best record in the ECHL, and stormed through the league (55-12-1-4 for 115 points). Last night, they won in front of 12,722 fans, the largest crowd in ECHL playoff history.

Cincinnati has it’s own bit of minor league hockey history:

It is the first time in 35 years that a Cincinnati pro hockey team has competed in its league finals. The last team to compete for a championship was the 1973 Cincinnati Swords, which captured the AHL’s Calder Cup in five games over Nova Scotia. It was the first time since April 3, 1955—that a champion from the Queen City was crowned in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Mohawks won a seventh game against the Troy Bruins for the IHL’s Turner Cup championship.

And of course, Cincinnati was home to the WHA Cincinnati Stingers. You still see some of the old jerseys floating around
The Cyclones are the first minor league team I ever saw, and they helped get me hooked. I even own a jersey:

200806061207
This would be Dean Stork’s jersey, who is the assistant coach of the team.

200806061208

Congratulations, Cyclones.

Bettman Snubs the Penguins (Revised for More Accuracy)

Last night, I knew there was something missing in the presentation of the Stanley Cup. Traditionally, Gary Bettman congratulates the losing team for a great playoff run, but not last night. The most Bettman said was “It takes two great teams to compete for this marvelous trophy.” Then he moved on to the Red Wings, not mentioning the Penguins by name. And on their home ice, no less.

Mr. Bettman loves to act out in subtile ways on his feelings, so you have to wonder if this was a passive aggressive way at taking a shot at Pittsburgh. To not even congratulate the team when their fans are staying around for the opposing team to skate with the Cup is pretty crude. Even if he just forgot, that’s a pretty big snub.

You can find the video of the post game presentation here. I am not embedding it, for obvious reasons.

Edit:Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski has by back here, because he informs me that the Penguins were given props in post game celebration, before the Conn Smythe trophy was handed out.  If I recall correctly, that isn’t the place he normally does it.  The sequence in the past was Smythe, congrats losers, Cup presentation.  I still think it’s a snub, but it isn’t as egregious as I thought.  I stand corrected though.

Minor League Update

So, the Cup has been handed out, but there are still some championships being played out. The Cincinnati Cyclones are up 3 games to 2 against the Las Vegas Wranglers in the ECHL, and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins are down 3 games to none to the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. After that, some stuff is going on.

The Youngstown Steelhounds found out they are not going to be part of the Central Hockey League, via a press release. As anything with hockey, it seems that money is the problem. The Steelhounds had already started selling season tickets for next year, so that puts them in a bad situation. The fans aren’t happy.

The Iowa Stars are no longer the Iowa Stars, after they have dropped their affiliation with Dallas, and have picked up the Anaheim Ducks as the new parent team. A new name, logo, and team colors should be coming soon.

The Austin Ice Bats (Central Hockey League) isn’t playing nest season, due to a lack of rink. Why should you care? Do you enjoy books? The book Zamboni Rodeo was about the Ice Bats, and while not a storied franchise, they have earned their spot. They may be better off, though. I skated with the team after a game, and it was the absolute worst ice I have ever been on.

The IHL (the make believe version of the International Hockey League) has announced their schedule for next season, which means they are still sticking with six teams. Unless the Steelhounds are able to get in there, this should be an embarrassment. While they may not tickle the radar of fans of the NHL, teams like the Fort Wayne Komets, Kalamazoo Wings, and the Flint Generals are as important, not only to the cities where they reside, but also in the grand scheme of hockey. These are teams that have a history, have persevered, and have fans just a as passionate as any team in the NHL.

Nothing new about Colorado Eagles player Les Borsheim, but the doctors are saying his surgery went well. After that, time will tell.

Expect more updates from the wacky world of minor league hockey, the best value on ice, through the offseason.

Stanley Cup: Bummer

First off, congratulation to the Detroit Red Wings. After winning the Presidents Trophy enough times, they have certainly earned it. They fought hard, played well, and all that.

After that—–

Crap.

Look, I don’t care what the Red Wings fans think about my choice of teams, and I do not care what the classless fans have to say. There are some decent people who are Red Wings fans, and I welcome their input, but after that, I do not care. It’s the jerks that get all the airtime, and they should find a venue that let’s them be jerks as much as they feel like. Start a blog, I did.

I am finding out something about myself in this moment. It isn’t so much the players, and it isn’t even the uniform, that I hate to see win the Cup. They actually earned it. It’s the fans who act like jackasses I hate to see get to bask in it’s glory. They behave like they were on the ice, and they use the term “we” way too often. I don’t think that bad behavior should be rewarded, and too often, it is. Fans who waive their fingers in other fans faces deserve to have them bitten off.

I would remind the Red Wings fans that they hold a very classy individual, Steve Yzerman, in a very high regard, they should emulate him. Don’t act like a jerk. Parity means nothing is forever.

As for the game itself, the Penguins, as much as they own the victory of Game 5, they own the defeat of Game 6. They were owned much of the third period, Fleury knocked in the game winning goal with his own ass, and the chances the Pens had were never used.

For the wings. Osgood stole a goal from Gary Roberts, who played 7:14 and had one of the best scoring chances of the game.

That’s it, the season is over. The cup is handed out, and nothing is going to be the same starting tomorrow. The Wings team that won, the Penguins team that lost, none of the 30 teams are going to be the same. As of this moment, thirty teams are in the mix.

Go.

Oh, What a Night.

Game 5 just ended, and I am so tired. I have to be up at 5:15 AM, so I have little to say.

The Stanley Cup Finals are still on. That makes me happy.