...because it's St. Urho's Day. I suggest you go take it out on a grasshopper.
I twittered about it on Friday, but in case you missed it -- the NHL announced late last week that the 2009 NHL Awards will be held in Las Vegas -- the first of a three-year stint that will take place at the Palms Casino. Apparently the league assumed that screaming, "Hey! We're still culturally relevant!" would have seemed too desperate (bonus points if done outside of ESPN's headquarters).
I'm kind of interested to see how the media handles this prurient overload of sorts. Vegas for the awards show on the 18th of June, followed by the Entry Draft in Montreal beginning only eight days later on the 26th? Hmmm...any early guesses on which journalist attempts to slide in a visit to the Spearmint Rhino/Club Super Sexe on their expense account? ("No, really -- it was a business lunch!")
Long story short: You can replace a 54-40 appearance with watching Sidney Crosby attempt a showgirl-esque strut -- it's still going to suck.
And I'll just put this out there now, seeing as I've already received a few e-mails: No, I haven't even considered starting a bracket yet. I usually end up doing around 4 or 5 -- I'm planning at least one "Sports Gal/stupid chick" special, where I select winners solely based on dominant animals and colour preferences (bank says this ends up being the most successful sheet). FYI: Seeing as I'm not an American, my preferred schools come from connections to alumni or faculty. These include Arizona State, Cornell, Duke, and UCLA. Yes, I understand what my odds are like in that grouping, but the Blue Devils remain as my least favourite of the four (somewhere, Dick Vitale just had a seizure). On the plus side, it does give me an excuse to reset a classic Pete Gillen clip. BEAVAH! Ahem. Sorry.
...because it's St. Urho's Day. I suggest you go take it out on a grasshopper.
Yep, it's looking that way. Despite having their playoff hopes all but dashed, it stands to reason that the Senators will remove the "interim" tag from Cory Clouston's job title next season. This boy wonder (who's actually 39 but appears to have serious embryonic tendencies) has likely done enough in the organization's eyes to warrant a legitimate shot at a full season.
When Clouston was hired, I expressed my unhappiness to friends about the timing of the move. Basically I pictured it playing out like this: There were enough games left in the season for the Sens to show some life, and therefore encourage the front office to keep Clouston on. However, there was nothing preventing the team from tanking again after the summer break, and I wasn't convinced that Clouston had a worthy bag of tricks to pull a team out of the slump (it's a different story when you're attempting to accomplish it, and you're no longer the "fresh face"). Then what happens? Are you forced to pull the trigger yet again, ending up with another former employee on tab? Hell, I was already making Raiders jokes before the last firing.
Like so many other facets of their franchise, the Sens don't have a lot of options in this area. There's no cap on coaching, but to fork out big cash for a name only to potentially end up with the same result is a moot point. In short, don't expect to see Pat Quinn's Party Bus (credit SLC) roll up to SBP any time soon. It'll continue to be discussed -- mostly because we have nothing else to talk about -- but bank says it's a done deal.
On the plus side, if it doesn't work out, they can donate Clouston to stem cell research and keep Alfie going for an additional 3-5 years.
See you Monday-ish. More later.
It wouldn't be the Ottawa media if they didn't have someone to bag on, right? Apparently this is considered a topic because the Sens are still in the running for the playoffs from a mathematical standpoint. Sigh. Someone do me a favour and bump up tonight's game by a couple of hours.
You can't tell me that "Jackie" Lou LamoriellO* isn't prone to a bit of a smirk when he sees other teams attempt to pull off a late-season coaching change. Does anyone really think having Bob Gainey behind the bench will make a difference for the Habs?
*If you're new, TUC has insisted in the past that Lamoriello's wideset eyes give off a vibe of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. All he needed was the bouffant 1960's hair and a triple strand of pearls, right? Well, go check today's "Relevant Photo of the Moment" for one hot mess of a mash-up. Warning: You may want to put down your breakfast first.
(Ed. Note: In case you missed it...see below.)
The rankings are out from Bizjournals on 122 sports franchises from the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL -- the Ottawa Senators placed 68th on the list this year. Here's a quick and dirty breakdown of the formula used to determine the rankings:
Half of a team’s score was determined by its level of success on the field, court or ice. Bizjournals’ formula considered each franchise’s win-loss record, average margin of victory (or defeat), and playoff results.
The other half was determined by a team’s relative success in business. The formula analyzed average home attendance, the percentage of available seats sold for home games, and the increase (or decline) in a franchise’s value from 2007 to 2008. The latter was based on annual estimates published by Forbes magazine.
Here's the Sens' writeup:
68. Ottawa Senators (NHL)
Score: 49.46 points (out of 100)
Rank in sport: 18 (of 30 NHL teams)
On-ice performance: 31-39-9 record, average margin of minus-0.44 goals per game
Business performance: 19,465 attendance per home game, 100.0% of capacity, gain of 12% in franchise value
Keep in mind -- these numbers are for last season. Can't wait to see next year's ranking.
Other notables include Montreal (No. 4), Chicago (No. 24), Calgary (No. 27), Vancouver (No. 53), Edmonton (No. 61), Toronto (No. 64), Columbus (No. 114), Atlanta (No. 119) and the New York Islanders (No. 121 -- only the Detroit Lions were worse).
From Garrioch at OTP:
Wilson claims to not care about the media and then says he thinks the media in Ottawa is looking for mock Gerber.
Fans would be intrigued to see how Gerber does. It's no wonder attendance is slipping in the NHL. Guys like this genius behind the Toronto bench don't get it. They don't get it all. When there are empty seats in buildings around the league a genius like Wilson might understand selling the game. It's the story everybody wants to see.
Mock? I don't know how effective they'd be at it, but bank says some barbs would be thrown. As for Gerber being the selling point behind a Battle of Ontario match-up -- good God. Isn't the tradition and majesty of hatred enough?
Hmm...I guess not. Capital Tickets is reporting "fewer than 2,500 tickets remaining" for tonight's game. Rock that walk-up crowd, Ottawa!
Bunch of freaking ruiners. From Sportsnet:
Martin Gerber will not face his old team tonight, as Ron Wilson announced that Curtis Joseph will start in goal tonight against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
Wilson said that he set his goaltender rotation last week and Gerber is slated to play tomorrow against the New York Islanders. Joseph was in goal at Scotiabank Place nine days ago, when the Leafs defeated the Sens 4-3 in OT.
In other news, Jason Smith's buggered knee will keep him out of the lineup for 10-14 days -- hence the call-up of the Babyface. Sigh. Bad times.
He's not on The Team yet, but here's hoping. The Driver, during Saturday's game vs. the Sabres:
(CBC showing replay of Buffalo goal; Galley commenting on Elliott's error)
The Driver: "Brian Elliott? That's not his name!"
TUC: (confused) "Uh, yeah it is."
The Driver: "I thought his name was Billy Elliott?"
TUC: "No, that's a movie about an Irish kid who wants to become a ballet dancer."
The Driver: "Hmmph. I'd sooner have him in net right now."
Yeah, so you'll notice a few changes around the joint. I finally gave in to the new Blogger (which drove me mad for most of the weekend), due to my inability to change anything on the old site. In short, if you had previously asked me to give you some link love and I didn't, that was the reason why. You'll see that you're now able to view the Twitter updates right from here -- I did this after hearing that many of you were into it, but didn't want to bother with accounts and other pages...so there you go. Expect it -- like the blog -- to delve into non-sports topics. I don't know how busy I'll be on it for the meantime, but I imagine it'll be fairly handy when the draft rolls around. As for that blue box in the top right-hand corner: It's supposed to be "about me", but after three years, I think you have it down (Bad Religion, general punk rock, hockey, So Cal, media mockery -- lather, rinse, repeat). I'll be using it for weird little blurbs that don't really fit anywhere else for the meantime. More changes may be coming, depending on my mood. Consider yourselves warned.
Love it? Hate it? Feel like telling me to eff off because you're bitter about dealing with Daylight Saving Time, and need someone to take it out on? Have at it in the comments, or as always, drop an e-mail.
P.S.: SLC sees the template's name, then takes the ball and runs with it in 3...2...
Not to be vulgar, but I'm pretty sure Shean Donovan took an aisle's worth of feminine paper up his nose tonight. Oh, and Sportsnet, you can ease up with the "Watch It Clot" Cam at any time. Thank God that wasn't in HD.
Is Pascal Leclaire a delicate hothouse orchid? From Don Brennan:
"You guys have to be fair to him," Murray said when asked if he believes Leclaire can withstand the intense heat that will be on him as the No. 1 goalie in this hockey market. "Who puts the pressure on him? People care, people want to see us win. Pascal will come in here and there will be some pressure on him.
"But I talked to people that I know in the business and that have been around him. They all think that he is a No. 1 guy. We hope the mental part of the game goes along with it."
Yeah, because we're all familiar with the brutal scrutiny of the Ottawa media -- they'll really mess with your mind. That being said, remember what happened to the Manatee when he was subjected to the journalistic equivalent of a Bic lighter at 50 paces? Now we have to "hope" that the new guy doesn't have head issues as well. Stellar.
The AHL has suspended the Norfolk Admirals' forward 20 games for deliberately striking an official with his stick.
Late in the third period of the Admirals' game against the Hershey Bears on February 28, Downie slashed linesman Mike Hamilton before a face-off. Downie was given a game misconduct at the time, and the AHL announced Thursday he was being suspended.
Now let's all sit back and wait for the Don Cherry-esque explanation: "Sean Avery is a borderline psychotic who needed anger management and behavioural therapy! Steve Downie is just a troubled youth! Stevie won TWO gold medals with Team Canada at the WJC's, and that makes him infallible in this country! Just give the proper haircut and make sure he's in bed by 10 p.m. every night -- that'll set him right!"
Hmmm...that's probably a tad verbose for the old boy, but you get the idea.
If you're looking for me today, I'm over here.
Alrighty then -- Ryan Miller after a coat of whitewash probably looks better than I do at the present. I'm battling a fever that's either going to cook me or kill me (I know -- from a hygienic standpoint, it's preferable if the latter comes before the former). I actually had to dispatch The Driver to the Land of Staalapalooza on a solo jaunt, because I'm too buggered to travel.
Anyway, the idea of handling the trade deadline in 140-character chunks while in my present condition seemed like a good one, so I'll be using Twitter Mobile from the comfort of my bed for tomorrow. I have no idea what to make of this, and frankly it all seems a bit self-serving, but at this point I couldn't give an arse.
You can keep tabs on the madness through various ways: If you have a Twitter account, you can become a follower by searching my name or "universalcynic" -- this way you'll get the updates as they happen. If you don't feel like creating an account, you can just come to the site as you see fit -- you'll find it right here.
Jai ho, emeffers....see you tomorrow.