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

Yet again...too little, too late.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Randball reports that members of the Stanley Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes team will finally be meeting with President Bush during a White House ceremony on Friday. What could these two parties possibly have in common, other than mediocre popularity ratings? Ten to one says Bush attempts to sport the Cup as a hat, injures his neck and subsequently blames Canada for it.

Bill Simmons chronicled the Super Bowl's Media Day in pictures, and check out who made it into his second shot (click on this link or the photo for a closer look):

It's the pads

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

About tonight...

- I loved the Armed Forces Recognition Night – the television media wearing the yellow ribbon pins, the shots of the military members and their families in the seats…very nice and extremely respectful.

- Credit where credit is due – his positioning was sometimes shaky and his play on the rebounds was questionable, but Gerber got it done. Swiss golf claps to him (of the unassuming and neutral type). Also nice to see him get lots of congrats from the rest of the team.

- I was screaming, “skate!” at Heatley on a short-handed chance – what the hell was I thinking? Obviously I should have been saying, “glide”, or rather, “float”.

- Since Saturday, we’ve had games on the CBC, A-Channel, and Sportsnet. Dean Brown called all three. Say it with me: JAM PLAY! The lack of variation (and repeated use of catch phrases) is apparently getting to The Driver. Here was the exchange at TUC HQ:

Me: “How much would you pay me to silently place a jar of Smuckers in front of Dean Brown the next time I’m in the press box?”

The Driver: “Just push all of his papers to one side (gesturing with his hands)…’JAM PLAY! JAM PLAY!’ Then knock off his headphones. Or gather all his papers in a pile (gestures suggest making a large mess) – ‘SCRAMMMBBBLE!’”

"Scrammmbbble"? How retro. I think Dean Brown has legitimately affected The Driver's sanity this week. I'll be sending any invoices I receive from the Royal Ottawa to the Team 1200 if it comes to that.

- Garry Galley referenced Alex Ovechkin’s tinted visor, and how there’s a desire for it not to go darker a) due to safety reasons and b) because fans want to see his face, as he’s a marketable member of the league. Uh, I don’t think NFL has ever experienced the latter issue with premier RB LaDainian Tomlinson, and his visor is practically opaque. Tomlinson apparently receives special permission from the league to wear the visor due to eye sensitivity and migraine issues (although this is difficult to formally verify). If that's the case, why isn't he seen sporting sunglasses on the sidelines? San Diego isn't the cloudiest of cities.

- About the hooking issue: The non-call discussions are getting to the point where you begin to wonder if some want to see legitimate hooking, in order to justify the penalties. How utterly nonsensical. The current situation isn’t ideal, but if all involved are forced to tolerate it, why don’t we have everyone keep their sticks on the ice and call it a day?

- I liked Dany Heatley admitting that he was keeping tabs on the scoring race during an intermission interview. So often it’s, “Oh, I don’t pay attention to that type of thing…I’m just trying to play my game.” Whatever. As usual, the truth sounds better and is far more interesting.

We're not trying to tease the guy, but sometimes Gary Galley says something and we're left completely baffled. It's been happening so often lately that we're decided to start a Galleyisms list. Here are the more recent ones:

-- The bending of China

-- Describing Boston during the post-game discussions on Saturday: "They were playing 'kiddie bar the door'."

-- After Schubert's hit on Donald Brashear tonight: "There's a saying -- 'Sometimes you should let sleeping dogs sleep.'"

If you can think of any others, let us know.

You know you've sold out when Maxim identifies you with an expletive-included moniker. You may recognize this woman -- she's the one that made headlines when her...shall we say...succinct t-shirt made it onto network television (you can view the video below). When we originally saw this chick, we assumed she was on the Bolivian Marching Powder*, but to be fair, we assume that about a lot of people at NFL games -- especially when they look like this.

Anyway, Maxim online has taken to the Saints supporter. She's done a photo shoot and video for the site -- we get the Jeff Feagles thing, but why is she bagging on Angelina Jolie's kids? You can find the rest of her shoot here -- kiss the rest of your workday goodbye.


* Do the kids still call it this, or are we supposed to make some sort of Lohan-Strawberry Quik reference now?

Monday morning clippage

Monday, January 29, 2007

- Pity sports media and their mounds of lost luggage -- Sportsnet

- You want that William "Refrigerator" Perry autograph? You're going to need to buy 600 cans of soup first -- CBS2Chicago

- The NBA All-Star Game in Vegas wants your money...just as long as you're a somebody -- Las Vegas Review-Journal

- What the hell is this? A puffer fish? -- Lake Erie Monsters official website

- If it were up to Damien Cox, Lips Crosby would not be puckering up to the Hart Trophy in June -- The Spin (Toronto Star)

- Sabres fans coming off as a-holes in the Western Conference -- German Village Media

- "You're with me, Democrat." (We could've said, "You're with me, donkey", but that's just going overboard for a Monday) -- The Big Lead


Saturday, January 27, 2007

The "R" stands for redundant. The league inexplicably has taken to visiting fan message boards to advertise their games on NBC.

Guerilla marketing or a train wreck in progress? It took place on a Flyers board, so you can probably guess what happened. Check it out here.

(Thanks to Patrick Williams for bringing this to our attention.)


Friday, January 26, 2007

The Team 1200's Garry Galley shakes his ass on Ellen. While Galley's face isn't visible, you can catch him getting into it from the :33 to the :25 second mark (on the right, grey sweater with white t-shirt peeking out).

If you can't view the clip, go here. I don't know what's more amusing -- the clip, or someone claiming to be Liam Maguire who's running smack on the commentary thread.

Also, here's a synopsis of Stephen Colbert engaging Oshawa's mayor into an OHL rivalry. I've PVRed this ep and haven't watched it in its entirety, but I did see a portion of the interview with Spirit head coach Bob Mancini -- Colbert was inquiring about forechecking and the trap. Pretty funny. Tom Pyatt also got a mention, which is probably the closest we're going to get to a Staalapalooza reference on Comedy Central.

Spotlight on Randball and Kent

Thursday, January 25, 2007

We've added some new links to the blog. One of the notable additions is Randball -- a great blog from Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Rand has taken notice of one of TUC's lesser known members today -- check it out. We originally posted the above picture in June, when Kent made short work of Garrioch's entry draft predictions.

Kent is easily the bitchiest member of TUC's household, and basically threatens to kick the crap out of anything that moves on a daily basis. His usual victim is his "girlfriend" Roxy -- see the syrupy photo below from last Easter. He's relaxing with her in this pic, but 98 per cent of the time, he's trying to scratch her face off. We don't advocate violence against females, but somehow we doubt that such a situation has ever been posted as a blind item over at On The DL.

...left to their own devices, and an overwhelming urge to criticize.

I'm not proclaiming the YoungStars game to be the most thrilling event on the planet -- it barely held my attention. But the ideas being bandied about for improving it are bordering on the nonsensical. What's even more perplexing is that some deem them to be feasible and attractive options.

The idea getting the most attention lately was put forward by an SI.com writer, who thinks the NHL should replace the YoungStars game with the CHL's top prospects game. He argues that it would be a chance to see a emotional game with players who will eventually star in the league. Here's a quote:

"It would be a chance for fans to see a first-class, full-of-passion game and to get a first look at guys who'll one day star in the league, rather than a second look at guys who are already not-quite all-stars in the NHL. It would be cool for the prospects, too, a taste of the big-time."

An online demi-deity added his two cents on his Globe and Mail blog:

"Sounds like a terrific idea to me. In fact, why not go one better and bring in the top prospects from the NCAA ranks and have them all, er, "get it on" prior to the NHL skill(zzz) competition. As Kennedy notes, the game would attract a lot of NHL scouts and add just a dash of intensity to the all-star festivities."


Uh, excuse me boys -- last time I checked, we had an annual event that featured top Canadian junior and NCAA prospects, and even included some of the best to offer from overseas. It's a major event -- it usually runs over ten days or so during the holidays. You might know it better as the World Junior Hockey Championships. It features a lot of those passion-filled games that you're seeking, with a lot more on the line than a simple moral and verbal victory. If scouts want to get a look at their potential players of the future, this is one of the best places to do it.

Furthermore, where exactly do prospects fit into an NHL All-Star weekend? Prospects are just that -- they may have been drafted by an NHL team, but who's to say they're going to be successful? Why are we showing off players that may not see a day in a professional uniform to an NHL-expectant crowd? I understand that they are talented and for some of them, it may be a near-sure thing. But nothing is certain until they play in the big league. YoungStars have jumped through the required hoops -- they've made enough of a mark within their neophyte NHL careers to be noticed. They deserve the opportunity to be shown off, and they've earned the recognition. Prospects will get the chance...when and if they play in the NHL.

Now can we please get back to the regularly scheduled NHL programming before any more of these "creative" ideas surface?

[Sources: SI.com and The Globe and Mail]

One word: REACH!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Some people aren't content with a subpar commercial -- they need to make it completely nonsensical. Dennis Green's post-game conference on its own is still strong, though. Remember, one more win, and the Bears will have their asses respectively crowned. There's a visual you didn't need on a Wednesday aft.

During a mini-Hotstove last night, Scott Morrison said that Gary Bettman and the NHL had conducted fan polls "which overwhelmingly indicated that fans wished for the schedule to remain 'status quo'".

Who are these fans -- Leaf supporters in Ottawa? And more importantly, where are the results of these polls?

TSN has reported that the NHL schedule will follow its current format for at least one more year: Eight divisional games, four games against each conference opponent outside the division, and selected teams from the opposite conference, once a season.

The biggest wrinkle seems to involve the last bit -- it's preventing the Western part of North America from seeing Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby on a regular basis. In fact, as it stands, those on the left coast get the kids once every three years. That's due to the way the schedule rotates for the inter-conference matchups. Say, for example, in Ottawa -- last year, we had San Jose, L.A. and other teams from the Pacific division come to play the Sens at home. This year we have no games against the Pacific division at all, which means next year, the Sens will travel to play the Pacific teams.

But here's where the problem lies in respect to Hockey Day in Canada: Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver are all in the Northwest division. Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal are all in the Northeast division. In 2005-06, the Eastern Canadian teams went on the road to play the Western ones. In 2006-07, it was reversed -- the Western teams came to play the Eastern teams.

Next year should be the season of the "skip" -- the two divisions do not play each other at all. And due to the odd number of teams in each division (three and three), one team will have to go cross-conference in order to facilitate a traditional Hockey Day in Canada.

As I pointed out earlier, next year will be the Northeast division's turn to visit the Pacific division. The Pacific, on the other hand, will head out to Southeast division territory.

So what do you think will happen? Do you think they'll tweak the sched to allow HDIC to occur as usual, or will this schedule of stupidity continue to reign supreme?

...because everyone's seemingly desperate for something to talk about.

· Hello, Media? Sanity here. Since when is the half-baked idea of throwing Jason Spezza to the wolves considered to be new? Who are all these fans that are proclaiming that there's no place for Spezza in a complete lineup? I love how in the time that this kettle went from a simmer to a full boil, the media made it sound as if fans were burning Spezza effigies at the SBP, and placing homemade placards around Kanata condemning him (this has happened to other members of the organization in the past). I was seeking at least some of these signs -- similar to when people were calling for Jacques Martin's head. None of them were to be found.

Eventually I asked a friend where all this so-called Spezza hatred was coming from. The answer? The radio. Now I should explain that I don't listen to much of the Team these days. If anything, I may catch a bit of J.R. and Galley in the late aft, but even that tends to be sporadic. Listening to radio personalities finding hilarity in viewing women sporting Chad Johnson and Reggie Bush jerseys qualifies as a murder defense.

Anyway, I'm getting off track. Back to Spezza...

Let me get this straight: No 1. centre gets injured, team plays well without him, radio talk begins regarding player's worth, and the media reacts like this?

I get that they're desperate for something to talk about -- don't misconstrue that as sympathy, but I do understand to a degree. How does a little chatter go from restless discussion to the insinuation that Jason Spezza will be "understandably" driven to the trade-demanding diva route?

I hope others can give the kid a bit more credit than that.

Spezza knows what's expected of him. Undoubtedly he will be on a short leash when he returns, and the events of the past week have amplified his expectations and shortcomings to the nth degree. No one's debating that he needs to remain consistent, become defensively responsible and grow into a leader of the franchise. But he's also a playmaker who's 23 years old. He's going to (expletive) up, and there are plenty of other teams that are willing to have him do so in their respective uniforms.

The kid is staying -- deal with it. In the meantime, please stop fanning the flames of stupidity.

· Last Friday, I was out with The Driver running some errands, and stopped into Pesto's on Hazeldean.

(Aside: Pesto's, for those from The Land of Staalapalooza, has become my Nucci's/Maltese's replacement, although they lack a bakery. In spite of this, their gnocchi and various sauces still rate a full five Boo Boo avatars. I can't explain my joy at finding them, because I was convinced for nearly a decade that Ottawans wouldn't know an Italian deli if it smacked them upside the arse.)

Anyway, Pesto's is known in Kanata as one of those "spot the Senators" hotspots. In the near four years that I've lived out here, I have yet to see a player in the deli... until last week.

So why is a so-called media member making a big deal about seeing a player out and about?

Here's why: I didn't say a word to Fisher. In fact, I never talk to the players if I can at all help it.

For the record, he was not wearing his "Full Contact Fishing" hat. Do you think it's advisable for someone as injury-prone as No. 12 to engage in "full contact fishing"? I'd hope he'd mix in a life jacket before considering it.

Anyway, back to the story... I don't talk to the players, because it has never been essential to the column. The premise has always been to write from the fans' perspective -- fans view from afar. Generally, I'm not a fan of interviews, and rarely do I enjoy reading them -- especially those pertaining to hockey. And even when you make the effort to engage the subject in a different subject, they still can spit out the same cliches. There have been exceptions for me. Some of the most notable were the American-born players that attended the 2005 Entry Draft. Players like Jack Skille, Jack Johnson, Ryan Stoa, and yes, even Brian Lee gave wonderfully articulate and well-thought answers to my questions. I was incredibly impressed with them.

I remember reading Bill Simmons once stating that he didn't like doing interviews because it ruined the mystique -- you have one impression of a player in your head, and if you talk to them, and they let you down, it completely messes with your perception. I agree with that to a point. Unfortunately in this business, you still manage to discover things about players that disappoint you -- even without speaking a word to them -- and it alters the way you previously thought of the players.

How does everyone feel about player interviews? Is there something you'd like to know about someone that has yet to have been asked?

And finally -- who noticed during the Pats-Colts game that Phil Simms was advising the Colts that "Change is good, but bad for (Indy)" and "(Peyton Manning) must play the same, but different"? What exactly resides in that oversized melon of his? Helium? Sawdust?

More later.

Deglaze delay

Monday, January 22, 2007

(These girls look like they know their way around the steam settings. For an explanation, keep reading.)

Okay, sorry...we've caught up with stuff and it's been kind of quiet around here. But we'll be back with a fresh Deglaze on...Tuesday. Yeah, Tuesday sounds decent. We'll engage in media torching, Mike Fisher sightings and the likelihood that Phil Simms has turned into Yogi Berra (probability: extremely high).

Before we split, we need to pass this on -- one of our friends attended the Team 1200's Super Bowl Getaway Party on Sunday. He declared it to be highly snooze-worthy, but he did text us this little gem: Apparently blonde women (we're assuming they were Bud Girls) were handing out iron-on patches, and he actually roped one of them into searching the party for a usable iron. Pulchritude and pant ironing? What more could you want from a Super Bowl bash?

See you Tuesday.

Patrick Roy faces assault charges

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Roy is the coach and owner of the Quebec City Remparts, of the QMJHL. He is accused of hitting an opposing team's owner following a game that took place in Chicoutimi.

More details can be found here.

Uh...that's the wrong team, dear

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

And a very good morning to you too.

Want to guess who New England Patriots' QB Tom Brady has rebounded with? Scoreboard, Dimpled Chin. The only way Bridget Moynahan is going to top this is with a Brangelina threesome. One thing though: If this is true, why the hell is Gisele mounting Peyton's alabaster mascot (in the nude, no less)? The least she could do is smack its ass a few times, just to show she means business. Bloody turncoat trollop. We only wish the Patriots were playing Denver this week, because we'd be bleeding the Elway jokes for all they were worth.

[Credit: Page Six]


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I was listening the pre-game show in the car, and the round table was discussing Daniel Alfredsson's skate problems (and solutions), as documented in the Sun today. Garry Galley then said that "(he didn't) understand why those in the NHL wouldn't bend both sides of China to get what was required for Alfredsson."

"Bend both sides of China"? Is this one of those buggered Eastern Ontario euphemisms I have yet to come across until now? On the plus side, in the 15 or so minutes I listened, no one dropped a "real good" or "folks".


Well, not quite. If you're watching 24 (what the hell's wrong with you if you aren't?), you may have noticed a familiar face. One of the terrorists (the bomb assembler) was being played by Shaun Majumder, who's known for his work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Majumder's character Raj Binder did a comical interview with the Sens last year. Use this link and scroll down to February 3, 2006 for a refresher.

And am I the only person who thinks that the Assad character's delivery is reminiscent of the late Billy Van? I think The Driver saw it too.

We're officially a toddler

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hey, it's our first anniversary and we're not feeling self-serving! Pull up a chair, watch some Bad Religion (it kicks into high gear at 1:17) and prep the metal horns, because we have some thank yous to dish out.

To the New York Times, Slate, Deadspin, The Globe and Mail and the rest that we know we're forgetting -- thanks for the expected and unexpected publicity. A number of you helped make Dress Up Jake the world's most popular non-animated running serial involving a NFL figurine (seriously)! We couldn't have done it without you.

To the countless blogs who give us love -- there's no way I could include all of you. You're awesome.

We can't neglect to mention the following people/groups/sites:

The Sun -- they let people think I'm a member of the media (which may be true, but after nearly two years is still hard to comprehend);

The Hater Nation for helping me understand that Butterknife Row is like dealing with The Bish times a thousand, and for getting the ball rolling on the CFL cheerleading fiasco, which was our most popular post of the year;

SLAM's Patrick Williams for his advice;

Leaf Club for being objective when necessary;

Eyes On The Prize for being a regular supporter and always discussion-worthy;

Battle of Ontario for acting as a DMZ between Leafs and Sens fans;

(the apparently and sadly defunct) Hockey Country for providing us with quality Sens analysis;

Scarlett Ice for being a female blogger and getting it. Easier said than done.

To the NHL franchises who visit us: Thanks for stopping by -- now get away from the USC Song Girl video.

To the media who drop in: Thanks for your interest. Aren't you on deadline?

To my lovely sources, who should be playing shows, bagging on STOC or naming their unborn sons, "Bart". Don't worry, they'll never find you.

And last, but not least, to The Driver, who helps me ponder the mysteries of the universe -- like why Eric Duhatschek tilts his head during his Satellite Hotstove segment. (Does he demand to be filmed from only one side, like Barbra Streisand?)

Basically over the past year, I've attempted to have this space represent me as closely as possible -- that's why it's named after a Bad Religion B-side, and not a Trooper album (the column's name is Hot Shots, which coming from Thunder Bay, is slightly appropriate and incredibly funny). The band was the reason why I found Jim Rome, which eventually led to the Sun. They're still my greatest influence (you can't go wrong with punks that are NHL fans and Ph.Ds -- okay, one Ph.D), even when they're trying to get me to put "Impeach Bettman" stickers on my laptop. I owe a lot to them.

In closing...

Thank you to everyone that reads the blog, the column, either or, or both. I don't know what's meant for me, but I can only hope to climb to the lofty heights of previous Thunder Bay-born female Ottawa Sun sports columnists -- perhaps like this one, who went topless in Hollow Man 2. (Warning: slightly NSFW)

(Didn't see that one coming, did ya?)

Remember, it's okay to write about hockey with a sense of humour, not hokeyness. It's okay to not like everything you see or read. It's okay to dislike the media. It's okay to be a media member and pull for a specific team. It's okay to get extremely pissed off at that team, and state so. And most importantly of all, it's okay to be cynical.

Thanks again.

Yeah hey,


Sunday afternoon deglaze

Sunday, January 14, 2007

...because SoCals have their own way of welcoming David Beckham's wife.

· The travesty...the lunacy...I'm still in disbelief. On a day where the CBC has gained momentum and legitimately positive media for their annual event known as Hockey Day in Canada, they decided to show the Ottawa-Montreal game at 2 pm in standard definition. This wouldn't be as shocking if a) the network hadn't previously been broadcasting the rest of the day in high definition, (which they had) and b) if other games (Toronto-Van and Calgary-Edmonton) had been given equally subpar treatment (which they weren't). All other games and coverage were in high definition.

Let's allow The Driver to take over for a moment here -- he slipped out to the Superstore at around 1:30 pm, and returned with the following reaction just after the Sens' game began:

"Oh, what the (expletive)? I'm forced to view Nelson, BC and Dick Irvin's liver spots in HD, but the game -- the most important part of the day -- isn't given the same treatment?"

Exactly. We don't want to hear about expense, broadcasting trucks or any other pedestrian excuse. CBC has built it up as an important day -- all three games should have been in HD. No excuses.

And as a partially-related final kick in the teeth -- I switched over to NBC to check out the Philly-Pittsburgh tilt. There Sidney Crosby was, in all his pillow-lipped, Angelina Jolie-esque HD glory. I think he's switched lip balms, by the way.

Okay, we're keeping this short -- there's football on. Speaking of which, when did Steve McNair go from a flak jacket or similar, to wrapping his torso in a goose-down duvet? It looked like dude had the bedding department from Bed, Bath and Beyond shoved down his jersey yesterday.

Bring on the clippage...

· Does this girl look like she knows her multiplication tables to you? The Hater Nation names SI.com columnist Jenn "Cowgirl" Sterger (pictured centre) as their Sports Figure of the Year. Maybe now we can find out where she gets those neat sequin appliques -- The Hater Nation

· Buzzsaw Nation says whew...or rather, "Whis". -- TSN

· Spartacat and the Senators offend the Habs organization. I'm sorry, are we allowed to talk about this? -- Ottawa Sun

· The Canucks finally get some attention -- FOX Sports

· An interview with Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. We're all for reading stories about a pissed-off Al Michaels -- The Big Lead

· The Philadelphia Eagles are currently twiddling their thumbs and attempting to look busy -- Philadelphia Eagles official website

More later.

It's naptime in the Land of The Buzzsaw

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Is Mike Sherman on his way to becoming the new coach of the Arizona Cardinals? Profootballtalk.com says yes. Now I really need for San Diego to win this weekend, because this news is going to kill The Driver.

The NHL has just released their holiday numbers for merchandise sales, and the Rangers took home top prize. The Blueshirts were the favourite of online holiday shoppers during the month of December. However, Buffalo experienced the highest increase of team sales on NHL.com for the third consecutive month compared to last year, with an increase of 214%.

The rest of the league isn't faring badly either. Edmonton's merch sales are up 128% from last year, and Carolina's have increased 117%. Other increases that were notable in December: Atlanta (75%), Washington (61%), Pittsburgh (59%), New York Rangers (54%), Anaheim (54%), Montreal (47%), Minnesota (36%), Florida (35%) and San Jose (35%).

However, don't assume that these were solely jersey purchases. DVDs were in high demand on NHL.com. The two top-selling items were distinctively retro: The Philadelphia Flyers 10 Greatest Games DVD set and NHL's Greatest Moments.

Meanwhile, here are your top-selling player jerseys on shop.nhl.com for December '06:

1. Sidney Crosby
2. Henrik Lundqvist
3. Jaromir Jagr
4. Joe Sakic
5. Alexander Ovechkin
6. Brendan Shanahan
7. Peter Forsberg
8. Mike Modano
9. Martin Brodeur
10. Vincent Lacavalier
11. Ilya Kovalchuk
12. Rick DiPietro
13. Patrice Bergeron
14. Simon Gagne
15. Nicklas Lidstrom
16. Henrik Zetterberg
17. Joe Thornton
18. Mats Sundin
19. Zdeno Chara
20. Markus Naslund
21. Paul Kariya

From Chris Stevenson's blog:

"I'm doing the Team 1200's Over The Edge show and Dean Brown just told us Senators D Anton Volchenkov left the ice at the Senators morning skate in Manhattan in preparation for tonight's game against the Rangers. Volchenkov was in some difficulty Tuesday night when he was hit by a shot. Christoph Schubert has been taking Volchenkov's reps with Chris Phillips."

Nothing has been updated on the media line post-practice, and Antoine Vermette is still listed as a game-day decision.

AHL All-Star Classic

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's nice to see a piece written about an All-Star game without reading the name, "Rory Fitzpatrick". Check out this blog entry from Patrick Williams about the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic (that's a mouthful).

Too much time on their hands

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Honestly, it was way easier to put the Jake Plummer figurine in a martini glass.

A Tony Romo "playoff figure" has been posted on eBay, with the uh..doll..being manipulated to appear as the rookie did during the infamous tackle at the goal line (after the more-infamous missed snap).

The figurine is fully encased in plastic, and the current high bid is 51.00 USD. Try and restrain yourselves.

[Credit: Deadspin]

In case you missed it, here's the Mad TV appearance featuring Tom Kostopoulos, Sean Avery and Scott Thornton that aired over the weekend.

Adult search engine Booble (warning: NSFW) is claiming that in spite of their willingness to grossly overpay CBS for an opportunity to advertise their site during the Super Bowl broadcast, the American network has turned them down.

Site founder Bob Smart claims that he was willing to pony up $50 million to the broadcaster (regular fees during the Super Bowl run at approximately $2.6 million per spot).

Here's a sampling of one of the ads.

[Credit: TMZ]

Monday morning deglaze

Monday, January 08, 2007

...because Gary Bettman's schedule makers need to shake themselves.

I received a number of text messages over this weekend -- most asking if I was attending the Senators games versus New Jersey and Philly respectively. Pfft...cynics, please. As if I was going to sacrifice NFL wild-card weekend for some run-of-the-mill Eastern Conference matchups. That being said, I succumbed to a comforter-induced coma during two of the four games (KC-Indy and NE-Jets), and woke up 90 seconds before the fourth quarter ended. Lesson learned, I guess. But a side note here -- I was rummaging through the back of my closet and came across a Jeff Garcia San Fran jersey that I picked up years ago in NoCal. I was thinking to myself -- "For years, it would've been lunacy to wear this. 10 to 1 says I see someone sporting one today at the game."

And I did -- they stuck out like sore thumbs, but they were wearing 49ers jerseys, all emblazoned with No. 5. You don't see that happen in the NHL. Like when Alexandre Daigle decided to allow people mention his name again without doing a spit take (during the year before the lockout when he put up 51 points with the Wild), you didn't see Ottawa fans busting out Peace Tower sweaters at the Xcel Energy Center.

(Aside -- Yes, I own football jerseys, but I don't wear them in public...except for when Denver plays in the Super Bowl -- then I break out the special Elway one. But something tells me I'll be won't be wearing that one for a while. Unless I decide to get married in it, of course.)

As for the games themselves, all I have to say is this: I led that Tony Romo backlash bandwagon for a reason, and now the damned thing is longer than the Orient Express. Also, somewhere, possibly above the 49th parallel, there's a hammered kicker who skated off with a 2.5 million dollar signing bonus that's laughing his ass off.

I was going to write a piece about the possibility of Ray Emery going to the All-Star game, but at the time, I thought it might be premature. I'm glad to see that someone did, however. Overall, I have mixed feelings on the matter. I believe that Ray deserves to go, and it would please me immensely to see him selected. On the other hand, I worry about his overall health, and the idea of letting him out of the Sens' sight, even for a weekend worries me. (Remember what happened when we let another goaltender go and play somewhere else at almost the same time, last year?) Obviously the Sens have to play the role of the cool, nonchalant girlfriend if it comes down to it. ("Yeah sweetie, go have fun with the boys!" Meanwhile said chick is praying their guy isn't involved with anything that entails riding hammered on a golf cart, all slutted up with three strippers/humiliating florescent pink cocktails and condom wrappers caught in the wheel wells. Dallas is bad enough -- imagine if it were in Tampa? By the way, how much cash would you pony up to hear John Muckler call Ray, "sweetie"? If I were lit enough, I might break out a red bill. Mucks will be tossing down $2 million and uttering every syrupy moniker in the book to get Emery to stay this summer if he keeps it up. Mark my words.)

In short, the All-Star game (in spite of its lack of seriousness), is like letting Ray attend a three-day bachelor party, and we're the spastic brides-to-be. If he's selected, have to we let him go and hope nothing horrible happens -- although it's tempting to pull an Eva Longoria on our Tony Parker. Remember who the backup goaltender is...and that's right -- Gerber's the backup! The second someone of significance admits it, I swear to God I'm going to cackle with glee -- kind of like Robert Knepper's character on Prison Break.

(And that'll be the first and last time I compare my behaviour to T-Bag's.)

And finally...

Whose country is it? Remind me again, TSN! Bill Simmons has tackled these annoying Chevrolet commercials in his columns (you can find a refresher below -- God help you if you need it), but now there's a Canadian version. Essentially all they did was swap out the photos of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. for some stock footage of snow, and vintage shots of Bobby Orr. (Honestly, aren't those the only big differences between our two nations?) My favourite part of the Canadian version displays a man holding a sleeping baby, with the tagline, "Our Purpose." I'm so relieved to discover that my objective as a Canadian is now clear. I'm either supposed to be: a) sleeping b) procreating or c) drooling uncontrollably on someone's shoulder. Why are American car companies trying to turn me into Britney Spears?

More later.

Tom Pyatt and Marc Staal return home

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Here's a decent piece from the The Chronicle-Journal's Emmanuel Moutsatsos, detailing the WJC through the eyes of Thunder Bay participants Tom Pyatt and Marc Staal.

I expect F-bombs from Steve Downie

Saturday, January 06, 2007

In case you missed it, here's Jonathan Toews giving his uncensored thoughts on Canada's gold medal victory at the WJC during a live TSN broadcast -- love the face afterwards.

Jim Lampley and Candice Sanders update

Thursday, January 04, 2007


TMZ has unearthed more details regarding Jim Lampley's arrest, and the allegations brought forth by Lampley's fiancee, Candice Sanders -- a former Miss USA California (shown above).

Sanders claimed that Lampley became drunk on vodka and whiskey after a New Year's Eve dinner at their shared apartment, and "was also high on pot". Lampley's 14-year-old son Aaron was also in attendance.

Trouble began after Sanders wished to finish viewing a movie, causing Lampley to pull her from the sofa and chase her around the apartment.

Sanders says at that point all hell broke loose. She alleges, "He grabbed me and threw me against a wall. He then threw me against another wall. He then threw me against the door and I collapsed."

Just a hunch, but we're guessing they weren't watching Ocean's Eleven.

You can find the rest of the story here.

[Credit: TMZ]

Update #2: Lampley made a statement today:

"I am innocent of the charge of domestic abuse that has been leveled against me and will vigorously defend myself," Lampley said. "I have tremendous respect for the justice system as a whole and for the San Diego courts and District Attorney's office specifically.

"I'm confident that the process will prove that I'm not guilty of this charge. I thank my friends and family for their support during this difficult time, and ask for the understanding and patience from the media until my legal situation allows me to discuss this in more depth."

Sanders was also in court on Thursday to request a permanent restraining order against Lampley, and the judge granted that request.

Update #3: Candice Sanders had her previous marriage to a Jehovah's Witness named Marlon Muller annulled, because Muller refused to have "marital sexual relations" with her. Apparently Muller's decision hinged on his religious beliefs. You can read more about it here.

P.S. Here's some better photos of Sanders -- credit to West Side Slant for unearthing these.

And I thought that building in Germany where they held last year's World Cup was freaky.

Kansas City entices the Penguins with free rent and brand new blinding building

[Credit: TSN]

P.S. Here's a comparison photo of the FIFA World Cup Stadium (in red mode):

Boxing commentator, Olympic broadcasting regular and sportscasting veteran Jim Lampley was arrested Wednesday night on felony charges of domestic abuse, according to TMZ.com.

He faces one felony count of domestic abuse / corporal injury, as well as two misdemeanor counts of violating a restraining order and preventing a witness from testifying.

[Credit: TMZ]

Well, that's one way for Chris Neil to become the face of the franchise.

Someone march the Red Army in front of the SBP tomorrow, because it's blatantly evident that Ottawa likes a certain Commie (please, for the love of God, tell me that's his moniker).

No. 89 was cheered repeatedly and made his presence known with two assists. Early impressions have been encouraging -- he keeps his stick down, and always looks prepared to take the puck. We think he'll be a nice fit, so golf claps go out to Muckler for making the move.

Best quote from The Driver tonight: "I wanna trade (Joe) Corvo to Phoenix for Kaigorodov so we can fleece someone else with him."

Speaking of which, after a brutal turnover from No. 7 in the first, TSN had the maligned defenseman's quote from yesterday's Citizen all prepped and ready to go, the minute he returned to the bench. In case you missed it, here's what appeared below Corvo's face during his closeup time:

"Maybe I'll get moved to forward, I'm playing so bad defensively."

Someone get the kid a psychologist. But honestly, we can't say we're surprised. Kings fans warned us about Corvo's play, and well, we discovered the now-defunct corvosucks.com page (made by an L.A. fan) a long time ago.

In other news, Brent Wallace broke the story about Ray Emery receiving a three-foot ball python (yet unnamed) as a Christmas gift from his parents. How does a 24-year-old goaltender making less than a million dollars this year have everything already?

More later.

Don't worry Penguins fans, I'm sure he's just there for the barbeque.

Lemieux meets with Kansas City officials

Mario Lemieux will meet with Kansas City officials Wednesday as part of the process of evaluating future options for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

[Credit: TSN]

Update: Penguins fans attempted to whine on this blog, claiming that TSN didn't mention that there will also be another meeting in Pittsburgh to discuss other options. I was forced to delete the comment because said commentator neglected to read this, which was easily found within the same link posted above:

The meeting comes ahead of a scheduled get together with state and local government officials in Pittsburgh, who are keen to discuss "Plan B" to try and keep the Penguins from leaving.

Once again: We ask you to read, THINK, and then post a comment. Not hard.

The Sens have traded their disgruntled and highly disappointing Russian prospect Alexei Kaigorodov (Evgeni Malkin No. 2 my ass, HF Boards) to Phoenix for Mike Comrie.

Mike Comrie (along with Shane Doan) will be unrestricted free agents at the end of this year, but the price for Doan would have dealt a significant blow to the Sens' roster. Comrie has recovered well from his fractured foot, recording 11 points in 9 games.

Ultimately this is a better choice than Petr Nedved, and takes care of the embarrassing problem of Kaigorodov. How effective Comrie is in a Sens uniform remains to be seen, however.

To relive memories of Kaigorodov (which sounds like a sauce you can buy at Loblaws), go here. Also, here's the link to the column I wrote about the alleged white knight in the preseason.

Not-so-shocking SoCals

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

You can always count on us to bring you the latest in prurient cheerleader behaviour. Seeing as this took place during an American college football game (albeit a relevant one), we doubt that the local media who tends to obsess about this sort of thing won't mention it until at least the end of the week. Enjoy.

[We knew about the footage, but credit to The Hater Nation for finding it on YouTube.]

The positive: The Senators did not end up with Petr Nedved...Edmonton did.

The negative: Hands up those who trust the Senators to make the right move at the expense of one of the current roster members, based on past history?

P.S. For a refresher course on John Muckler's roster alterations during his tenure as Senators' GM, go here.

...because we love it when local media gesticulates with their middle fingers.

So, things have been rather quiet around here because we got stuck in Toronto on our way back from the land of Staalapalooza. Brutal times. Whatever, let's get started.

· "We are all one, it can't be undone -- we're stuck -- there's no future!"

(Sorry, I've been exposed to a large amount of Quality Soft Core lately. And yes, I know I'm already breaking one of my New Year's resolutions...but to be fair, I listed this one under possible.)

I'm sorry, but I see there being a big problem if Brian Lee isn't even playing within the second pairing of American defensemen at the World Juniors (and yes, I know the Americans have a deep defensive core, but this is Lee's third trip to the WJC, and he was drafted 9th overall in '05, for Christ's sakes). It took a lot of strength last week in the column to ponder how he was supposed to be like Wade Redden, and then make the pylon reference (re: Lee's error during the German OT goal). Obviously I figured the Redden critics were going to immediately point out the glaring similarities. I'm actually shocked no one called me on it. But to be fair, if Lee truly is claimed to be a No.6 cutout, where the hell is his PP time?

Then there's this discussion, brought on by a) the play of Lee and b) the continuing emergence of Marc Staal (whom Ottawa passed on in '05 and was ultimately taken by the Rangers).

How funny that people are discussing this now, when I brought it up over six months ago.

(Aside -- When I pointed this out to The Driver he said, "You're sounding more and more like the local media each day.")

And before anyone plays the "see how they do in the NHL" card, keep in mind that Ottawa also could have taken Anze Kopitar in that draft, and passed. L.A. picked him up (and is using him with noticeable success), as well as Jack Johnson (courtesy of Carolina, who ultimately will be a force to be reckoned with when he joins the team). Not a bad year.

I've firmly believed for some time that Lee should be dangled as potential package trade bait -- the Senators have too many inconsistent offensive defensemen as it stands. Granted, he's not doing much to sell himself these days, which seems to follow the lines of the Sens' luck of late.

· Capitals' goon Donald Brashear gets one freaking game for sucker-punching Aaron Ward. Remember boys, you can slash them in the face, punch them without remorse or warning, or even potentially dry hump them in front of an arena full of fans -- and the league's commissioner -- just as long as your victim pops right up after you're done.

· The readers had some interesting reactions to my proclamation that I was going to follow a secondary (and perhaps tertiary) team. One opinion I couldn't understand expressed that there would be difficulty following the games and storylines taking place in another city. Um, not when there's Centre Ice, the Internet and countless message boards/blogs. This isn't the 1960's, cynics. There's so much information available that it's easy to keep tabs on other franchises. You may have also noticed that the teams listed (Chicago and Minnesota) were from the Western Conference. There's a reason for that: Eastern Conference burnout. And ultimately, I just miss my Binkie. The Driver has been attempting to sell me on Dean McAmmond as a possible replacement. I'm not buying it.

· I was glad when Peter Schaefer resigned in Ottawa when he clearly had the option to look elsewhere, but there's one thing about him that irritates the hell out of me: He doesn't shoot enough. (I know, "Sincerely, Marcus Allen -- CBS Sports.") Before Christmas, I was watching Rogers Overtime, and they did a feature on Schaefer. Peter pointed out that people have been on him since junior to shoot more, but he never listened, and just does things his own way. Obviously, I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of what he said.

I found this to be a very hardheaded approach to take. Remember when people were telling Jason Spezza to shoot on the net more often? Remember what happened when he started? No one's suggesting that Schaefer should attempt to morph into a wannabe sniper (although I doubt anyone would complain if he did), but success can occur when you actually do decide to take someone's advice. Sometimes they can see things that you can't.

And now, your clippage...

· Arizona QB Matt Leinart attempts to go long on Britney Spears? -- Perez Hilton

· Not all Americans dislike hockey -- the late President Gerald Ford was an Oilers fan -- Edmonton Journal

· The Penguins turn Mellon Arena into a college flophouse, all in the name of marketing -- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

· Hockey monikers (I still like Cal Clutterbuck best) -- SI

More later.

As if the Broncos didn't have a bad enough day yesterday.

CB Darrent Williams shot and killed early this morning.

Williams teamed with Champ Bailey to give Denver one of the NFL's top cornerback tandems. Williams finished the season with 88 tackles, 78 of them solo, and four interceptions.