There Is Other Hockey

There are games other than the Winter Classic, you know. And I’m at one.

Go Avs!

Avs Beat Detroit, And It Feels Good. Although….

Not to be “that guy” or anything, but the Avs beating the Red Wings may have been able to look a little better in the doing. I mean, I’m not as curmudgeony as this guy, but still (Shane, I kid)

I missed the first two periods of the game thanks to a paying job (hey, if I could blog and podcast for a living, trust me, I would), but I caught the third period on. And I was worried the entire way. Here’s why:

  • The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup by having a purpose to their plays. Tonight, the Avs did not. Things happened for the Avs when they had a reason to what they were doing. Instead of shoving the puck up ice just to get it a little farther up ice, a pass would tend to work out. Often, there would be a player open for a pass, but a basic clearing attempt was made that would wind up on a Red Wing stick. Lack of purpose in Avalanche gave the Wings more chances than hard work. Desperation has it’s place, but not like this.
  • Look, the Wings punched a few Avs in the face and got away with it. But Lappy wasn’t just selling the punch he received, he was rolling back prices like a US auto maker (hey, the Detroit auto show was cancelled. Best part of the city taken away). And hey, a few non calls went the Avs way as well. But a punch in the face 15 seconds after the whistle doesn’t deserve a “hey buddy.” A call maybe?
  • Know what to do when a top two defenseman loses his stick. Don’t make him ask for a stick. Seriously, I heard Adam Foote ask for a stick, and I was watching the game on my laptop.
  • Tyler Arnason. Hit the damn net. Two successive shots go wide of the net on either side. Number one center? I’m fed up with this mouth breather.
  • A Red Wing breaking up the center alone should be unacceptable. Look, they are going to complete their passes. Never assume they won’t.

I have no idea how Peter Budaj looked in the second when three goals against happened in four minutes, but I will assume he was awesome and was let down by the defense, because he was AWESOME in the third, and the shootout. Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years.

The victory in the shootout was a solid victory for the Avs. Detroit and their fans will take a point out of the game as being a condolence, but in the end, it is empty to losing to an Avalanche team that isn’t that far removed from the team that was swept out of the playoffs last season. Sure, they got a point, but it doesn’t mean anything to them. The Wings will make the playoffs, we all know that. “Giving up” one point is meaningless to the Avs and Avs fans. Taking two points from the game, knocking on the playoff door, and doing it without a center worth mentioning is more important than anything the Wings get. The Wings will not need one point to make the playoffs, they will get plenty from the rest of their division. This is a victory that Avs fans should be proud of.

Nuff said. I have to go to Tempe, AZ. Wish me luck.

Beckford-Tseu Alaska Aces GW Jersey: Merry Christmas to Me

One of the great things about shopping for me on christmas is that you can’t go wrong with a jersey (unless it’s a Wings jersey, then forget it, you are dead to me). This one is a fine example of what works:

Chris Beckford-Tseu Game Worn 2007-08 Alaska Aces

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First off, I don’t have any jerseys of this color.

Second, I saw Mr. Beckford-Tseu at St. Louis Blues training camp, and thought he had great work ethic. I liked his play.

Third, he won a Kelly Cup in the ECHL.

Fourth, can you imagine the travel this jersey has seen?

Fifth, it has a Union sponsor patch and the 20th Anniversary of the ECHL patch. See?

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Sixth, his name is huge.

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Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, eh?

note: I am going to see the Aces on my west coast hockey tour, but not as many times, thanks to the Fresno Falcons folding.

Feed Reader Reader: Avs Headline Snapshot

This is something I have thought about doing for a few years, but haven’t done, mostly because I’m lazy, or dumb, or both. Here are little snapshots of what my feed reader is showing.

And if you can’t tell what the hell I’m talking about and you are reading this in an rss reader, then you should go to the original post. Your reader may not be showing you the images of the headlines.

Here we go:

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Get back to me when you have a definition.
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Look, there he is. He’s in the corner, holding his arm. And if you had looked at the previous headline, you may have found him. You know, getting an x-ray.

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Jeez, who isn’t?
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How about an alternative headline? “Avs Give Coyotes Point.”

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Ummm….. This is a headline? That Crosby can score? How about a real headline? “Crosby punches balls, grows some.”
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That worked out, didn’t it? Avs score 5 goals, to get the win when Raycroft is in net and lets in four, but score none against the Panthers when Budaj lets in three. Must be Budaj. Right. Love that math.

Folks, this is the easiest thing ever. And fun.  I’ll do it again soon.

Happy Holidays, JAHL Style

Merry Christmas, everyone, plus whatever you celebrate at this time of year. And here is a jersey to get you in the mood (or take you out of it):

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No, that is not game worn, and yes, it is on tour with us. Enjoy.

West Coast Hockey Tour Monkey Wrench 1: Fresno Falcons Fold

My West Coast Hockey Tour has hit it’s first scheduling hiccup, as the Fresno Falcons, part of the ECHL, folded today due to financial issues. This is the second team to fold mid-season in the ECHL (the Augusta Lynx being the first of the season). Fans of the Falcons thought they could save the team from extinction by going to city hall today, but there was no stopping this.  The team was reportedly losing $10,000 dollars a game.  This is small change compared to teams like the Coyotes (who can’t even remember where they put their wallets), but to an operation as small as this, it’s huge money.

This leaves me with some room on my plate. What should I do now to fill the gap? Two days off between Bakersfield and Stockton. Maybe a stop in Fresno to talk to the mourning fans?

Update: Please take the time to read the comments below.  There is some good stuff.

Bitter Over the Shootout, Party of One

Via Kuklas, this is what we get from the St. Petersburg Times (by Damian Cristodero):

The shootout must go. It is an argument that will fall on deaf ears. The fans love it, and if the fans love it, the league loves it, too. But after what happened Thursday in the Lightning’s shootout loss to the Avalanche, it should be clear the shootout is evil.

You know what, let’s just stop there. This article is a freaking joke. I understand not liking the outcome of the game, nor the goal that was awarded (if the puck didn’t cross the line, a “goal” is pretty empty), but the complaint sounds worse than a Breeders reunion tour. If the same thing would have happened in overtime, the same ruling would have applied, and the game would have ended. And just because the vast majority of the fans don’t know the rule, you can bet the goaltenders around the league know it.

But the main reason this falls on deaf ears is that, for the Lightning, it’s a meaningless point. They didn’t give a point to a Conference rival, that point goes to the west. And the Lightning are the worst team in the league, and will most likely stay that way the rest of the season. The chances that they get into the playoffs are the same as me growing my hair back. It’s not going to happen. They have the worst goals for, are tied for last with the Islanders (who have more wins), and can’t even beat the Thrashers. What is a win in the shootout against the Avalanche going to give the Lightning? A sense of well being? A new direction? Something to build on? No, it’s going to give them a point that is worth less than stock in AIG. No one is going to listen.

This, of course, makes me laugh:

Forget whether it was the right call. No one who really appreciates hockey can believe that was a satisfying outcome: a game determined by a goal that never happened.

Actually, I would say that the most important thing is that you make the right call. Sure, a goal with a puck that isn’t in the net isn’t satisfying, but two points sure is (which I’m guessing is his point). And you have to give the two points to the right team. Make the wrong call, and you put that in jeopardy. The shootout could have ended in the Avs favor anyways, but like a lot of hockey “controversies” debated, this one wasn’t completely decided by the right or wrong call. The Lightning could have tied the shootout by scoring. They didn’t.

Can we finish out on a high note? No matter the context, this is just plain weird:

Maybe you kiss your sister now and then. It’s better than swallowing something so unappetizing.

Dude…

Tampa To Hire, Fire Entire League

Kukla’s Korner pointed me to this. From Lightning Strikes:

The Tampa Bay Lightning placed Jussi Jokinen on waivers at noon Friday. We will know whether he clears or is picked up by another team at noon Saturday. Jokinen has six goals but zero in his past 15 games.

I mentioned last night in my Sundin post that the Lightning aren’t team building, they are going to sign or trade for every single NHL player, then waive them. And lo and behold, they do it again. There should be a blog just keeping up with the evolving roster and staff of the Lightning.

And this is a dumb question, one that points out the obvious, but still: How is a fan base supposed to get behind a team like this? It’s one thing to build for the future, but when you have no path, no one is going to follow. You can make the jerseys, sign the guys, even lose games left and right. But if you have no respect for the franchise, neither will the fans.

Thank God That’s Over: Sundin Signs With Canucks

You know, this has been way too long in the making. I feel like I have been held hostage by uninteresting Sundin talk for way to long. Finally, Mats Sundin has signed with the Vancouver Canucks. And you know what, I am not trembling in my boots. Here’s why:

While 28 teams have been moving forward as a team and building a relationship (30 minus the Stars who were held hostage by Sean Avery and the Lightning who are signing then waiving the entire league), Mats has been sitting on his backside, not playing hockey. It’s been like his own little lockout, and it hasn’t been helpful to him, nor the people who have done this before. The Ducks are a good example. How about Forsberg? At least he has some time to get in game mode, and become part of the team, but still, hockey is a full time gig. It isn’t the old days anymore.

And this is what the Canucks need? A high priced center? The cap hit should be (I think) $5.5 million, putting the Canucks within $2 million of the cap. Not a lot of room if something doesn’t work out. Fine that’s a calculated risk. Whatever. It’s their choice.

He ended the season with a bunch of groin issues.

They still have to get through two of the toughest teams in the league, San Jose and Detroit. This won’t be easy.

I know, Mats is an upgrade no matter what line you stick him on, and if he weren’t a good player, no one would be courting him (wait, that last bit may be a stretch). And I know he has been on two broken teams through his career. But I am not all that worked up over this signing.

But you know what, there is one spot I know this is a match made in heaven. Mats Sundin has never won a Stanley Cup. And neither have the Canucks.

Why I Love the Minors

How many hockey fights have I seen live this year? One, maybe two. Not like this. From tonight’s Colorado Eagles vs. Oklahoma City Blazers game.

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Drop puck, drop gloves, drop puck, drop gloves, drop puck, drop gloves.

69 penalty minutes.