Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

...because having houseguests chews it when you want to update the blog.

The NHL's 2006-07 schedule came out this week, and in my opinion it bit in a big way. I'm convinced that the league is going to see the repercussions of this eventually. I understand that Leafs and Habs fans like to see their teams in the city, and Zdeno Chara's first visit back will be a big deal. But the novelty wears off fast, especially if you attend a lot of games as I do. Combine this with the Senators' selective pricing program (of which Leafs and Habs games are sold at a premium), and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

This trend has produced another curious factor that we have recently seen in free agency -- player ignorance. Not from the league, but from the fans. How many times did you hear during a signing or trade in the last few weeks, "I don't know much about this player"? What were the odds that they were coming to your team from the other conference? Pretty high, I suspect. If you don't see the teams, you can't learn about other players' idiosyncrasies with any kind of regularity unless you have the Centre Ice package. Not everyone can afford that luxury.

I understand why the league made the schedule this way: It reduces travel wear on the players, and it's a feeble attempt to produce rivalries (an intangible that can't be forced). But you can shove the Northeast division down my throat only so far before I'm going to revolt. I say that as a non-paying fan with a seat in the press box, and as someone that chooses to shell out for tickets regularly so I can cut loose. Given the choice between the third Leafs, Habs, Bruins or Sabres game at Scotiabank Place, I am more likely to select the Sharks at home -- via remote.

Speaking of the press box, one of the biggest unannounced signings to the Senators will directly be affecting that aspect of the team and arena's experience. The team is bringing in Brian Morris as a member of media relations -- he used to perform the same task with the Lynx for several years. I have privately said in the past to anyone who would listen that the Lynx had the best media relations reps in the city. They were always courteous, appreciative and willing to help out the little (wo)man on the totem pole. Brian was a huge part of that, and I am thrilled that he's joining the Sens, because they could really benefit from his finesse and genuine manner. The Senators' press box is not the friendliest place on the planet. Having someone like Brian in there will make my life a lot easier.

(Aside -- one of the most honest documentations about life in the press box can be found here. I couldn't resist commenting on the post -- you can find my thoughts located three-quarters of the way down the page).

Finally, a column preview: This week my editor asked me to write about the absence of the Renegades, now that the CFL season is under way. I asked if I would receive extra pay for character work, because it was a strain for me to feign interest in Canadian football. Then I told him I was joking. (I wasn't.)

I went out to Frank Clair Stadium, accompanied by The Driver and a Sun photographer. The Driver eventually found an open door, so we decided to explore (read: trespass).

What a horribly depressing place, not to mention hot as hell, given the weather yesterday. After I had concluded my work, all three of us went to leave when we made the unfortunate discovery that the door had been locked.

We were trapped inside. Now there's a marketing technique that Lonie never thought to use.

The rusted chain link, the concrete and the hot sun with no shade for refuge. It was like freaking Guantanamo North. Luckily I tracked down a number for security and someone arrived to release us. Apparently the door had been opened to allow a former 'Gade to come by and pick up some equipment he had left behind. (He couldn't get a replacement? God, being a CFL player must suck.) Needless to say, it provided a convenient excuse to give my editor when I was late for deadline.

More later. Have a decent weekend, Cynics.

16 responses to "Friday afternoon deglaze"

  1. re: Security at Lansdowne Park

    No surprise you found an open door! Security at the Civic Centre & Frank Clair stadium is ... well, there is none.

    Why pay anything for 67's games, football games, trade shows, or anything else?

    The only time there's security is during Super Ex, when they fence up the place like Gitmo.

    (I heard that security is bad because it's a public building -- and they have to keep it open to the public. True?)


  2. Security told me they had opened the door because they were expecting the former player. Normally everything would be locked up tighter than a tomb. I can attest to this, because when I was trapped inside, every door, gate and fence was locked. As soon as the player left, the locked the door, leaving us inside. They had no idea someone else had entered the building at that time.

    The Universal Cynic

  3. The NHL schedule has sucked for years! They claim the league is just too large to have a balanced sched and they want to create inter division rivalries.

    Econy always seems to take precedence over the fans. Rivalries are created in the playoffs and hardly during regular season play. Not seeing the Red Wings ( or - insert fav team) in your building for three years is ludicrous. It could happen that a player, due to this absurdity, may never set foot in aparticular arena for reasons of untimely injury, trades and free agency. Imagine how stupid it would be to realize that say, Alexander Ovechkin in 20+ plus years of play, never skated on Minnesota ice. It could happen!

    That could be a subject of a future thread - 10 things that piss us off about the NHL. From the shootout and extra point given in OT to to that lameass delay of game call that messes with the outcome of games.

    And whoa! I never thought FCS would be likened to Hotel California!

    reality check

  4. No offense, but I doubt I'll be reading your Sunday column if you were roped into writing a story about the Renegades.

    I didn't care about them when they existed...why would I (or anybody else, really) care about them now that they are gone?

    You know it's a slow sports week when you're sleuthing around Frank Clair to find some material...



  5. That's really fair, Wardo. That's exactly the reason why you should read the column -- I didn't give you the full story. The column is about Renegade indifference -- mine, and everyone else's. Is it really going to take that much away from your life? Besides, how many of uninteresting Simmons topics have you sat down to check out in your lifetime? My columns aren't even 1/5th the length of his.

    P.S. This wasn't a slow news week, but this was what my editor wanted.

    The Universal Cynic

  6. Ha ha! All right, all right. Geez. You made me feel like a big jerk.

    But man, the Renegades? This is asking a lot. I'm mad at your editor...



  7. Damn, and I didn't even come down that hard.

    Go ahead and tell my editor that you're pissed on Sunday. No worries.

    The Universal Cynic

  8. A P.S., though - I never read Simmons' football articles either. And his NBA stuff is a near thing with me - if he doesn't catch my attention, it's, "Bo-oring!" and off to something else.

    It's not like I worship at the altar of Simmons!

    What is your editor's email? Is it possible to surreptitiously send a message - "Hey! I hate the Renegades - why is Erin writing about it?" - without him knowing you orchestrated it?



  9. I'll hook you up. Watch your email.

    BTW, if you don't read the football, and it's hit or miss with the basketball, what are you reading of Simmons'? Baseball and pop culture?

    The Universal Cynic

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


  11. I'm a baseball fan, so yes - I read everything he writes on that. Every pop culture piece he writes, I read. Basketball - well, I guess I read more than I'm letting on. His top-40 tradeable guys, MVP arguments, playoff breakdowns...I guess it's mostly the football stuff I can't stand. Reading his breakdown of the spreads and whatnot, I couldn't care less. I can't get into football.

    It's funny though, I know more about the Celtics and Clippers because I read his articles more than I do the Raptors coverage. (I was amazed at how much he hated the Villanueva trade - I definitely didn't see that opinion in the Canadian press)

    Simmons is mostly about the pop culture, I think. I can't decide if he's a sportswriter who writes about pop culture, or a pop culture writer who writes about sports.

    The reason I got hooked on him in the first place were his funny movie reviews, his stories about Vegas, and Red Sox stuff. Oh, and the mailbag, of course. Lately though, he's subbing in these live chat transcriptions all the time - I get the sense he's out of ideas, so he has to play off the initiative of the internet chatters. He's playing off their comments instead of coming up with his own...

    Anyway, enough about him. Like I said, still my favourite, but he's lost a few steps. He remains the only guy like him on the net doing what he does. You'd think there'd be some others like him by now.


  12. I agree it sucks not to know much about the new guy's on the block, but hey at least the stats are out there for all to see. Still, even if we did not see so much of our conference rivals, with over 30 teams in the NHL, there is no way we can appreciate the nuances of every trade. I mean that does not even take into account all the AHL players.

    That said, I'd love to see more cross conference games!!! Bring on the Oilers, the Wings, and the Flames!!! There is history to be made here, like the Oilers winning streak against the Sens, and of course Detroit/Habs match ups.




  13. I should add, I don't really want to know more about Corbo, after looking him up on the WWW.

    According to some reports, he punched a girl for accusing him of fondling her in a bar. Assuming he was guilty, he does not really sound like the kind of guy you want on your team. I mean, I might actually find myself cheering when the other team beats the guy up.


  14. OMG, he fondled a girl! And in a bar to boot! What could have brought that on ? Lynch the perv!

    reality check

  15. Does everyone have such short memories? We discussed this at the height of free agency. And RC, it doesn't matter what brought it on, the result (and accompanying charges) make the story relevant. Corvo plead guilty and served 30 whole hours of community service for his little stunt.


    BOSTON - A minor league hockey player from New Hampshire has been charged with punching and kicking a woman in a Boston restaurant.

    Joseph Corvo, 25, of Manchester, N.H., was arraigned Wednesday on charges of assault and battery, indecent assault and battery, and assault with a dangerous weapon. He was released on $5,000 bail.

    Corvo, who plays for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, was at Trio, a restaurant in the city's Leather District, early Wednesday morning when he grabbed the buttocks of a 34-year old Boston woman, Suffolk prosecutors said.

    Trio employees told Corvo to leave the restaurant but he allegedly returned, approached the woman near a bathroom, punched her in the face, then kicked her ws| treated at Massachusetts General Hospital, authorities said.

    Corvo, of Oak Park, Ill., left the scene but was arrested at another bar a short time later.

    Corvo, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound defenseman, is the Monarchs' leading scorer this season with five goals and 14 points in 12 games. He is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 25 for a pretrial conference.

    Monarchs and Kings said they were gathering facts on the incident. The Monarchs had no comment on whether Corvo would play Friday night.

    The Universal Cynic

  16. My comment had only to do with the fondling - no one in their right mind would condone the violence!

    The punishment hardly sounds like it fit the crime - we could go on forever about the inequities of the justice system. 30 hours of CS is a damn joke.

    But...it's over and done with and he's in Ottawa to play hockey. No one brings up the fact Craig McTavish once kiled someone driving drunk. There was hardly fairness there also. After a spell it is time to move on.

    reality check