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Monday, June 30, 2008

Apologies for our absence -- The Driver and I were out in Winnipeg for a wedding (not ours), and yours truly served as a bridesmaid (cease your snickering). My partner for the event beared somewhat of a resemblance to Ryan Getzlaf, which was a little odd. I would've made mention of it, but he was from Connecticut and didn't appear to know much about the NHL. (I didn't even need to add that last part of the sentence, did I?)

Anyway, there's a few things rolling around in our head at the moment -- we just got back from the Sens' development camp, and well...the word "crapfest" was being thrown around a lot. Also have some belated thoughts on McGrattAn's departure/Spezza's future. In short, expect a Deglaze in the next 12 hours.

More later.

PTI and E:60 are filmed in Medicine Hat

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I don't know where to begin with this (although they're right about No.4 and No.5).

Old and busted wants in?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From the "Oooh, he wants us!" files (courtesy of Globe On Hockey):

The word out of Pittsburgh is that veteran forward Gary Roberts will not return for another season with the Penguins. Roberts, 42, has been telling friends that he would like to continue playing, but only if he's wanted by either the Ottawa Senators or Toronto Maple Leafs.

Related: Commence Melnyk's freakouts

Players expected to attend (schedule details follow below):

30 *Brian Elliott G 6’3 186 23 Binghamton (AHL), Ottawa (NHL) 2003 draft, 291st overall
35 Justin Pagliero G 6’ 195 24 Niagara University (NCAA) 2008, free agent

45 Erik Karlsson D 5’10 157 18 Frolunda HC (Sweden), Sweden (U-18) 2008 draft, 15th overall
46 Patrick Wiercioch D 6’3 178 17 Omaha (USHL) 2008 draft, 42nd overall
51 *Derek Smith D 6’ 210 25 Elmira (ECHL), Binghamton (AHL) 2007, free agent
55 *Brian Lee D 6’3 190 21 Binghamton (AHL), Ottawa (NHL) 2005 draft, 9th overall
57 *Mattias Karlsson D 6’2 220 23 Bjorkloven (Sweden), Farjestads BK (Sweden), Binghamton (AHL) 2003 draft, 135th overall
59 *Tomas Kudelka D 6’1 176 21 Elmira (ECHL), Binghamton (AHL) 2005 draft, 136th overall
62 *Eric Gryba D 6’3 215 20 Boston University (NCAA) 2006 draft, 68th overall
68 Mitch Ganzak D 5’11 200 24 U. Miami (Ohio) (NCAA), Manitoba (AHL) 2008, free agent
69 Zach Miskovic D 6’1 185 23 St. Lawrence University (NCAA) 2008, free agent
70 *Ben Blood D 6’3 212 19 Des Moines (USHL), Indiana (USHL) 2007 draft, 120th overall
74 Mark Borowiecki D 6’1 175 19 Smiths Falls (CJHL) 2008 draft, 139th overall

18 Jesse Winchester C 6’ 200 24 Colgate (NCAA), Ottawa (NHL) 2008, free agent
41 Alexander Nikulin C 6’1 192 22 Binghamton (AHL), Ottawa (NHL) 2004 draft, 122nd overall
42 *Jim O’Brien C 6’2 184 19 Seattle (WHL) 2007 draft, 29th overall
43 Peter Regin C 6’1 185 22 Timra IK (Sweden), Denmark (WC) 2004 draft, 87th overall
47 Zack Smith C 6’2 202 20 Swift Current (WHL), Manitoba (AHL) 2008 draft, 79th overall
50 *Shawn Weller LW 6’2 205 21 Elmira (ECHL), Binghamton (AHL) 2004 draft, 77th overall
52 *Colin Greening C/LW 6’2 210 22 Cornell (NCAA) 2005 draft, 204th overall
53 *Ilya Zubov C 6’ 176 21 Binghamton (AHL), Ottawa (NHL) 2005 draft, 98th overall
56 *Kaspars Daugavins LW 5’11 181 20 Mississauga (OHL), Binghamton (AHL) 2006 draft, 91st overall
58 *Cody Bass C 6’ 209 21 Binghamton (AHL), Ottawa (NHL) 2005 draft, 95th overall
65 Ruslan Bashkirov LW 5’11 186 19 Khimik Moscow (Russia) 2007 draft, 60th overall
67 *Louie Caporusso C 5’10 185 19 U. Michigan (NCAA) 2007 draft, 90th overall
68 *Erik Condra RW 6’ 202 21 Notre Dame (NCAA) 2006 draft, 211th overall
71 *Nick Foligno LW 6’ 188 20 Binghamton (AHL), Ottawa (NHL) 2006 draft, 28th overall
72 Andre Petersson RW 5’9 169 17 HV 71 Jr. (Sweden) 2008 draft, 109th overall
73 Derek Grant C 6’3 190 18 Langley (BCHL) 2008 draft, 119th overall

Highlights of the Senators development camp schedule:
- On-ice training every day at the Bell Sensplex, starting Tuesday, June 24, at 1:30 p.m., with the exception of the two days with 3-on-3 tournaments.
- Two 3-on-3 tournaments at the Bell Sensplex on Friday, June 27, at 9:30 a.m. and Monday, June 30, at 9:30 a.m.
- Off-ice workouts at Scotiabank Place the mornings of June 25, 26, 28 and 29.
- A vision training session at Dynamic Edge Sports Vision Training Centre – Bell Sensplex
- A Dragon Boating outing with the Ottawa Dragon Boating Foundation on June 25 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- A specialized healthy eating/cooking seminar held by culinary experts at The Urban Element on Parkdale Avenue.
- All on-ice workouts, including the two 3-on-3 tournaments, are open to the public.

It looks like the octogenarian* dynamo known as Gary Roberts is cutting ties with Pittsburgh, leaving him free and clear to be obsessed about by Ottawa (and its front office) come July 1.

Few teams have experienced such internal trauma over a player they weren't able to obtain. This time around, it's Gary's choice again, and God only knows what he'll decide to do -- there's no Joe Nieuwendyk around to hold hands with. ("I know -- let's go to Florida together!") Seriously -- did that really happen?

Anyway, I fully expect everyone in this city to begin tripping out over this news. Sigh. As if Ottawa weren't annoying enough.


* I know Roberts is 42, but the man dealt with minor a case of pneumonia during the playoffs. Who gets pneumonia in the spring? Next I'll be finding out that he buttons his pants under his chin.

Hockey Player For Life

Monday, June 23, 2008

Here's something a bit different that we wanted to share...

TUC reader Howard Shapiro is a children's book author and a hockey fan. His latest work, Hockey Player For Life (with a foreword written by Keith Primeau), is a follow-up to a previous work called Hockey Days. Here's a brief intro from the book's media release:

The story features the main character from 'Hockey Days', Tom Leonard who is now 13 years old, as he becomes his AA hockey team's 'can't miss kid.' Along the way to the NHL, Tom hits a few road bumps and it takes his best friend Terry Adamson, who is the team's worst player, and Tom's mom and dad to teach him what it means to be a hockey player for life.

Howard had a friend produce a video that uses speed painting technology to help promote the book -- be sure to check it out below.

Hockey Player For Life will be released on October 7th (available at Amazon.com), and is aimed at 11-15 year-olds. To learn more, head over the book's website.

...because the draft had an overabundance of moustache representation, and to my knowledge, we were nowhere near a gay bar.

By now you've probably heard about the enormous cluster(expletive) which occurred when the NHL hung our Internet access at this year's Entry Draft out to dry. We weren't hooked up again until late into Day 2 -- by that time, the Scott Norwood Section (representing for Kukla's Korner) felt as overhyped and ineffective as a Wade Redden-Andrej Meszaros pairing. Explanations, updates and apologies were very few and far between (it's worth noting that the online access was also down for Day 1 of last year's draft in Columbus). This inconvenience left a fair amount of time for fuming, gossiping and general observation of a bizarre nature. Although it pales in comparison to the scope of the event, one of The Other TSN's favourite moments occurred when a local writer (who's been under the gun lately) went running past while exclaiming, "This is so exciting!" All that was missing was a starched pinafore, balled fists and a Shirley Temple wig. Oh, and in case you were wondering: The real secret behind Detroit's front office success? Pistachios. Lots of them.

Speaking of Detroit, it was entertaining to see which teams were following their line of thinking at the draft. It's part of the new NHL -- "Success According To (current Cup champions)." Now to be fair, the Red Wings are the only team capable of laying any type of claim to the word "dynasty" right now. But for teams playing catch-up, the situation becomes more interesting...particularly when you're talking about the backpedaling that's involved.

Take, for example, James Duthie's interview with Senators GM Bryan Murray, post-No.1 pick. In the first round, Ottawa took Swedish defenceman Erik Karlsson, and traded up in the draft to do so. The blueliner is listed as being 5' 11" and 165 lbs (apparently the scouting reports left out the "soaking wet" part). Karlsson is labeled as a two-way defenceman with great mobility and passing skills, which allegedly makes up for his lack of size.

The Sens' first-round picks in last two years were Jim O'Brien ('07) and Nick Foligno ('06). Both are at least 6 feet, and Foligno, who was present during draft proceedings, has noticeably bulked up during the off-season. Duthie asked Murray point-blank about his sudden about-face. "You sat with me here last year, and said that big, strong players win championships." Pea Soup's response was unremarkable -- something to the effect of going after the best players available -- but you can't help but think Murray was suddenly willing to change his mindset, after witnessing what Detroit accomplished with mobile defencemen that didn't share DNA with a California Redwood.

All teams will try to mimic the moves of a Cup champion to some degree, but the Senators' feeble attempts seem far more blatant. It's like following fashion -- right now, Detroit's haute couture (bank says that's the first time that sentence has been written). Ottawa is like the chick in Des Moines with a scrunchie in her hair, flipping through a March '99 issue of Cosmopolitian. The Sens lack an identity of their own, but they're also behind on the trends and incapable of figuring out what works for them.

Oh, and about that Chris Kelly signing? Sure, it's nice to retain the speed and PK ability, but what's up with paying above the position? Now Ottawa is paying Mike Fisher as if he's a No. 2 centre, and Kelly as if he's a No. 3 -- yet neither puts up the offensive totals required (47 and 30 points respectively last season) to hold those roles on a permanent basis. But that doesn't mean we won't see both of them in said spots next year, right? Good times!

More later.

P.S. Something that definitely wasn't expected -- TUC received a lot of praise from various media (who will remain anonymous) for this controversial post. It was bizarre, but very nice to know that the effort was appreciated.

Post coming later on this aft -- just tying up some loose ends. Stay tuned...

Who wants to drink with Bettman?

Friday, June 20, 2008

A semi-interesting day as the media and league pours into Ottawa for the draft...

I spent the early afternoon at the top prospects luncheon -- have you ever seen a 45-year-old print writer attempt to use a cloth napkin? High comedy. Every media member came out to ask their repetitive questions, goober over wide-eyed prospects in golf shirts and gorge on an overabundance of food -- including a Beavertails station (yes, seriously). I should be telling you something about the prospects that really stood out -- honestly, I was distracted for a period by the sight of Pierre McGuire in a plaid shirt that must have been regurgitated upon by an Easter egg (oh, and flip flops). The interviews I did manage to snag (post-media scarf) will be available on KK, so keep an eye on their site throughout the day.

Patrick, my KK/The Other TSN partner made it out to the media reception at the Heart & Crown last night -- I was not in attendance. For the record, I drink about as often as Patrick's country legally elects a president. P did manage to keep me in the loop via text, describing the party as featuring "general oddities and lameness", as well as the surprising news that commissioner Gary Bettman made an appearance. (At this point, I should mention last night's invite specified that beer was free.) How do you think that would've gone?

"Hey...hey Gare...whenareyougonna...let the...the Winnipeg...back in?"

(slumping over Bettman's shoulder) "Now, this is the guy...this guy right here...he's the guy..."

(5 seconds later)

"(Expletive) you!"

Damnit, I really should've gone.

TUC's master glossary

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

As TUC welcomes our visitors from Kukla's Korner, we realized there will be numerous inside references that are foreign to new readers -- hence this glossary. Surely we must've left a few things out, so watch for this list to grow in the near future.

Angelina Jolie -- Sidney Crosby (on account of his lips)
BR -- Bad Religion
Binkie -- Bryan Smolinski
Boosh -- (to) hit
Butterknife Row -- press box
Cotton Hill (a.k.a. Shin Jelly) -- Peter Forsberg (there's not enough space to explain this one -- just click here.)
(The) Count/Count Von Count -- Colby Armstrong
Gangrel -- Mats Sundin
(To) Get down -- place a bet
Jackie O -- Lou Lamoriello (on account of his wide-set eyes)
Lakehead Boy -- a player hailing from Thunder Bay, Ontario
Land of Staalapalooza -- Thunder Bay, Ontario
(The) Manatee (a.k.a. The Swiss Sea Cow) -- Martin Gerber (on account of his sweeping overhead glove saves which reminded me of the manatees I swam with in Central Florida during a trip in '07)
Paul Bearer -- Ken Hitchcock
Paulie Walnuts -- Marc Crawford
Pea Soup -- Bryan Murray (it came out in a PPV feature that it's his favourite type of soup)
Scott Norwood Section (a.k.a. Team Scott Norwood/The Other TSN) -- freelance sportswriters who sit in the far-right section of the Senators' press box
(Annika) Sorenstam's Brother -- Daniel Alfredsson
The Driver -- TUC's long-time boyfriend (he wants to post, but is perpetually denied permission due to my fear of him filling the blog with San Diego Chargers propaganda)
Throwing gang signs -- when a member of the television media grasps their microphone while sticking out one or more fingers in an awkward fashion
Toby Jug -- Jacques Martin
Verbal humping -- When a media member praises a player or team to excess

The secret's out...

Monday, June 16, 2008

You wanted to know -- now we can tell you...

The charter members of the Scott Norwood Section are proudly covering the 2008 NHL Entry Draft for...

We're unbelievably thrilled about this, and hope to see all of you on Friday.

A few belated thoughts on the hiring of Craig Hartsburg as the Senators' latest head coach:

It's funny how some NHL experience will placate people -- regardless of how unsuccessful it was. Hartsburg served unremarkable tenures in both Chicago and Anaheim before his extended stint in the OHL. So where were the most shining points on his resume achieved? At the world juniors -- specifically in '07 and '08 when he headed up the team and came home both times with gold.

You know what? That's lovely. Hell, some might even call it impressive. But that's not the NHL.

People will say that winning is the ultimate goal -- medal or Cup, it doesn't matter. With teenagers, however, there is a Sword of Damocles that you can whip out at any time. In short: Bust your ass, or you won't be getting a sniff of the NHL in this lifetime. THAT is the ultimate goal for a kid in the juniors. Everything else is a bonus. Common sense dictates this little ace up the sleeve doesn't work for professionals -- particularly ones that have suddenly gained the reputation of behaving like shiftless layabouts.

Will Hartsburg work out? No one knows. Here's a better question: With the way this offseason seems to be shaking out, does it really matter right now?

So where does this leave Pat Burns? Not here obviously, and that's extremely unfortunate. More intriguing perhaps is that he (or his name, for that matter) has not popped up in any other hirings around the league. There has been some swirling speculation on his absence in the proceedings -- let's hope it's only something as trivial as Jackie Lou LamoriellO not wanting to pony him up.

(Aside: What's with the "Jackie", you ask? I've maintained for some time that the Devils GM would look like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis if you slammed a bouffant wig and pillbox hat on his head. Lou's eyes are so wide-set, they're practically on either side of his face.)

Meanwhile, the other junior boy previously in the running -- Pete DeBoer -- got a free trip to Barbados out of Eugene Melnyk before heading off to experience the mad hotness that is the Toby Jug. I can't wait to see how that turns out.

More later.

Somebody save Jarome!

Friday, June 13, 2008

From last night's NHL Awards:

Good God -- even being gazed upon by Elisha Cuthbert looks like it requires a dose of amoxicillin immediately afterward.

P.S. We should probably get on a Deglaze, but we're waiting for the media to decide who the next coach is. If you keeping throwing out names and the Sens eventually pick one, it's still considered a scoop, right? Look out now -- Craig Hartsburg's a badass: Rub him the wrong way and he'll force you to sit on the floor. No word if he then proceeds to hold the plate of post-practice orange slices ever so tantalizingly out of reach.

More later.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Why does the CBC want to upset us this way?

15 days until the Draft. Just saying.

How about Scott Oake referencing Darren McCarty's substance abuse issues in front of his children? I put that on par with Elliotte Friedman asking Crosby if he was satisfied after the Penguins clinched the Eastern conference. Both were total head-in-hands moments, albeit for different reasons.

Your "f*cking right" on camera this year came courtesy of Henrik Zetterberg. And they say the Euros don't care about the Cup.

A little bit of weirdness: I went check out ESPN.com's post-game coverage -- I hovered my cursor over the on-ice team photo on the front page, and received a click-prompt. It took me to this. Just had to sneak some football in there somewhere, I guess.

CBC's disco montage at the end made my bloody teeth hurt. Definitely the wrong note to send viewers out on. Still going to miss Bob Cole, though. And one final thing -- what was with Don Cherry and the stuffed animals/puppets this year? It was like he was morphing into The Friendly Giant.

Speaking of which...

Now that's how you end a night on the CBC. More later.

Murray shoots down the Hotstove

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

An exerpt from Ken Warren's piece in today's Citizen:

Yesterday, the Lightning issued a release that stated Tortorella wouldn't be back next year, giving him the opportunity to shop himself around.

But Murray, speaking to the Team 1200-AM yesterday before the Lightning issued their release, answered indirectly to speculation he wanted Tortorella to gain his freedom so he could interview him.

"I heard I was waiting for a particular guy on another team ... that's not true," Murray said. "Very definitely the people I'm talking to, I've got permission to talk to, and, at this point in time, I'm going to hire one of them."

Murray says he will cut down his list and bring "one or two" candidates back next week for a second round of interviews.

The plan has always been to have a coach in place before the NHL entry draft at Scotiabank Place June 20-21, but Murray insists he isn't going to rush.

And in case you needed a refresher on the current candidates (again -- according to Murray's claims):

Senators general manager Bryan Murray is expected to talk today with Peter DeBoer, coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers, and Murray has also acknowledged interviewing Bob Hartley and Craig Hartsburg for the position.

Kevin Dineen, the former Senator who has spent the past three seasons as coach of the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League, may also have spoken to Murray about the job.

Just a thought: Can you imagine what it would be like having Tortorella here, and Ron Wilson in Toronto? It'd be a total media bitch-fest, 24-7.

That'll happen...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don Cherry shouldn't gesticulate on live television after midnight. For the record, he wasn't talking about Crosby (or Gary Bettman, for that matter).

P.S. What's with that little bottle on the table? Anyone want to take a stab at it?

How much just to climb Chara?

Monday, June 02, 2008

This is pretty sweet -- from Allan Maki at Globe On Hockey:

You can find the most unusual things on e-Bay, such as a 6-foot-9 NHL defenceman willing to auction himself off as a climbing partner on a trek to the top of Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro.

And you probably thought bidding on a 14-year-old box of Corn Flakes (with Roberto Clemente's picture on it) was a trifle odd?

Zdeno Chara, the Boston Bruins' Mount Everest of defencemen, has put his services up for bidding on a six-day journey for the benefit of Right To Play, the organization that brings sports and hope to young children in disadvantaged areas throughout the world.

Joining Chara will be Calgary Flames' defenceman Robyn Regehr, who was motivated when two of his former teammates, Andrew Ference and Steve Montador, spent time with kids in Tanzania last summer.

Chara and Regeher (sic) will visit children in the Mozambique capital of Maputo in late June before moving on to mountain quest beginning June 30. Chara has stated that his goal is to raise roughly $100,000 (US) which, according to Right To Play, amounts to $5 for every foot he climbs.

In a taped message on his website, Chara said: “Right To Play is a terrific cause and this will be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure covered by TV Crews from NHL Productions to be shown later on NHL Network.”

Chara's idea is so compelling the NHL should consider getting more of its name players to rent themselves out, for various causes. Just think how much money could be raised by having NHL fans bid on:

Sean Avery cleaning out your garage, attic or basement. (“Hey Sean, get those engine parts to the dump, will ya? And don't slack off.”)

Dominik Hasek reading bedtime stories to your kids. (“Mommy, what's the funny man saying?”)

Georges Laraque settling a dispute with your annoying neighbour. (“Well, if that's the way you want it, Bob, you can talk to my good friend Georges.”)

Or how about this?

Having NHL commissioner Gary Bettman clean those hard-to-reach places behind your bathroom bowl.

See now, I'd totally bid on the Hasek idea. I'd pay him to answer my phone and talk to telemarketers. No joke -- I had part of a Hasek interview as the voice mail on my cell phone for nearly two years...callers either loved it or lost it during messages. High comedy.

P.S. The Bruins' release on Chara's trek can be found here.

· Break out the lighters, because it's time for a power ballad. And I don't really give a damn if you think I'm jinxing the Red Wings -- it was about time I broke this out. Best moments: The shot of Kolzig (just brutal) and Scotty Bowman in his red blazer. Dude looks like he works for an airline in that thing.


· I was watching National Geographic yesterday and caught a show called The Real Football Factories International -- have you seen this? It's freaking nuts. It investigates and follows the hardcore groups of fans (known as "firms") who follow soccer teams worldwide. These guys will organize their fights in advance with rival fans (usually armed with rocks and wood), and won't hesitate to carry guns (with the camera onboard as one group left a game, their bus was shot at several times). Many in yesterday's ep (which concentrated on Brazil) readily admitted that they would kill and were willing to die for their respective team. It was totally psychotic, yet completely fascinating. Here's a clip:


I had no idea this had happened until I checked out his website, but Russ Rankin (formally of Good Riddance and current lead singer of Only Crime) is working as a scout for the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. Something tells me the guy on the other side of the Cup in that photo may have a little to do with it (the Niedermayer brothers own a portion of the club).

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your response to the last post (SLC's commentary over at Five For Smiting was particularly appreciated). I promise to get to your e-mails ASAP. Thanks again.