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Generations of Kings fans across the street from Staples Center, at L.A. Live. I also saw some extremely novice skaters texting on a packed rink. If that's not SoCal, I don't know what is.

Welcome to 2010, Cynics. This month marks the fourth anniversary of the blog (ack). If you're old-school, thanks for sticking around. Neophytes, continue to come around and make your presence known. There's a lot to cover, so let's go quick hit style, shall we?

* Mike Fisher's impending nuptials to Carrie Underwood got absolutely no play on ESPN -- interpret how you wish. However, Brett Favre's brouhaha with Brad Childress regarding his attempted removal during the Carolina game? 5 goddamned days of coverage -- and none of it new. Also, no one at ESPN is allowed to express any opinion about the NFL without deferring to Adam Schefter first. Imagine Bob MacKenzie sitting on the set of TSN while wearing a papal mitre. That's what it was like.

* More on the mighty No. 12: If you're a Senators fan who's upset about him not making the cut for the Olympics, you should shake yourself. Remember what happened to a certain Czech goaltender of yore when he played for Ottawa? Fisher is one of the club's biggest offensive threats right now (Christ, I can't believe I'm typing that) and any additional play -- regardless of importance -- only affords more chances for injury. It's not like he's prone to getting hurt, right? Right?

* News flash: At this point in time, L.A. Kings fans are better than the vast majority of Senators fans. Why? Oh, I don't know -- it's the little things. Things like everyone standing up and cheering when a goal is scored, and having people stay to watch when the good guys are a goal behind in the third (as opposed to running for their cars). Last time I checked, Los Angeles traffic was far worse than anything coming out of Kanata.

* I don't know what Kings fans are going to think of this (I was hesitant to bring it up to Hetson when I saw him) but Jonathan Quick sometimes reminds me of the Manatee, Martin Gerber. His positioning isn't always the greatest, and he's fluid as opposed to maintaining sharp movement. However, he makes up for it by having a strong glove hand and some of the best flexibility I've seen since Dominik Hasek. It also doesn't hurt that he's got some young, mobile defence in front of him. I was so pumped to hear that Drew Doughty made the Olympic team -- the kid truly is something special, and his finesse with the puck continues to improve. He's going to have an amazing career in front of him.

* On the WJC front: Why is everyone so surprised by the disappointing play of Senators prospect D Jared Cowen? Sure, the kid started off the season well, but he's been unbelievably subpar for the Spokane Chiefs in the past few months -- poor mobility (as has been stated in Saskatoon) and he's become the master of bonehead penalties. Pay attention to your own, kids, regardless of where they are right now. It doesn't begin and end with the O and Q. (And yes, I know there's still plenty of time for him to repair his game. That wasn't the point of this rant.)

* Watching Switzerland goaltender Benjamin Conz is hilarious. The kid gets so deep in the net, his ass is practically touching the back of the cage. Perhaps playing so far inward wasn't just a Gerber thing -- maybe it's a Swiss thing.

Anyway, there's more on the way, including my detailed thoughts on what's really going wrong at SBP. But for right now, I'll leave you with two musical interludes. First, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Hardcore Medley (tracks 2,3 and 4) which pairs nicely with a 90 mph jaunt down the 405 through Orange County. Bringing up the rear is Fugazi's KYEO -- a song I tend to sing (and bugger the hell out of) when I'm lit up. Happy New Year, everyone. More to come -- stay tuned....

P.S.: As promised, I'm back on Twitter, so feel free to bug me over there as well.

4 responses to "Bits & Pieces (your 2010 SW U.S. edition)"

  1. Welcome back! You were missed.

    Cowen looks like what he is - an 18 year old at a tournament traditionally dominated by 19 year olds. Add in the fact that he is a big kid, (the big bodied kids always take longer to come around athletically) and his fairly recent ACL surgery, and you have what you have. Apparently he looked fine in the camp, but struggled once the exhibition games started and the speedy Euros arrived.

    Bottom line - the Senators took a risk when they took a kid coming off an injury like that. You have to take risks in the draft sometimes if you want rewards, but this tournament is a reality check for Senators fans (and the GM as well) if they had any illusions that Cowen could come in next year and compete for a spot. He will need his last year of junior, plus a year in the AHL, before he might be ready.

    When you write about what is wrong at SBP, though, be fair and give a shoutout to what is right. Cory Clouston is doing a great job keeping a rather pedestrian lineup in the playoff hunt. Sure, he has been helped by the fact that the Eastern Conference sucks, but given the injuries the team has suffered, and the lack of consistent goaltending (again), it is a miracle that they are in contention. He is squeezing solid contributions out of the lesser lights, whereas the last few coaches simply lived and died with the top 6-8 guys. If he can pilot this team to a playoff berth through that ugly, road-heavy second half schedule, he should get some Adams Trophy votes.

    Finally, while I thought Fisher deserved a spot, I can live with the fact that Brenden Morrow got it instead. Team Canada will not live and die by who their designated checker is on the fourth line. The issue will be scoring, and whether or not Marty Brodeur has one more big tournament left in his 37 year old body. I am seriously worried about playing the Americans, and getting stoned by Thomas or Miller.

    Dennis Prouse

  2. Sorry, D -- when I meant what was wrong at SBP, I was speaking in regards to the atmosphere, crowd behaviour and overall in-game experience. Thanks for the welcome back, though. :)

    The Universal Cynic

  3. Good point - the Senators' game day "presentation", as they call it in the business, is getting seriously stale. If you ever read, "Ice to Eskimos", by sports marketing guru Jon Spoelstra, he talks about improving the value to customers through stuff like better in game presentation, better giveaways at the games, etc. Improving the overall entertainment value of going to a game would go a long way to helping the Senators' attendance woes. You get to see games in other cities, so you would be better positioned to say how it could be improved.

    Dennis Prouse

  4. WB Erin.

    As a more or less frequent drive to SBP, there are a few things I'd like to see as far as improvements.

    New Jumobtron please!
    Have you freaking seen the one at Staples Center? Or even at the Bell Center or Excel Energy Center? State of the art, massive screens, stereo sound and you can see it throughout the rink. Ours is sad. Not "Sophie's Choice" sad but "old pair of sneakers that you just can't bring yourself to throw out" sad.

    Less lameness, k thxbye.

    By this I mean:

    Lose the Goodies, it's really lame, really bad and ugh.
    Lose Spartacat on the Jumbotron too. Everything is so stale and contrived...show highlights of the Senators, of other teams, of the Canadian Juniors...

    The horn...I can't stand the horn. I mean, Chris Kelly scores a goal and some lunatic goes BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    for like 30 seconds. You don't NEED the horn. Just a cool sound effect does it, there's one rink that does this "BlooooSWISH" sound when a goal is scored, kinda electronic-like. Great stuff.

    The violin guy was awesome, where is he?

    Fisher was never going to make the team.
    The Eastern Conference really is terrible. There are three (well four if you like Boston) elite teams in there in Washington, Pittsburgh and New Jersey.

    Clouston needs to take a valium, he looks like he's about to pop a gasket out there.