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...Seeing as that the guys on the pre-game show went on about Ray Emery's new mask for 25 minutes tonight.

Here's the scoop: Ray has added a new mask to his collection, and the latest motif includes an artist's rendering of Mike Tyson. Now to be fair, Ray has had other boxers on his mask in the past, including Jack Johnson.

But that wasn't enough to stem the criticism of the round table, who questioned Ray's choice of "role models" and what type of message he was sending to the younger fans.

First of all -- if you can find me a child under the age of 10 that even knows who Mike Tyson is, I'll be shocked. Second of all, were people more concerned with what someone like Ron Hextall wore on his mask, as opposed to his psychotic behaviour on the ice?

Ray hasn't had one of his infamous meltdowns since he made the permanent move from Binghamton up to Ottawa. I'm always more concerned with how a player performs on the ice, as opposed to his personal preferences off of it. And doesn't that opinion hold some weight, considering I'm a female with a very strong opinion about Mike Tyson?

Furthermore, it's believed that the club and/or the league, may have a problem with this choice, similar to the incident a couple of weeks ago when Emery chose to dye his hair blond, and then quickly reverted back to black. Then there was the issue of Ray's tattoos, which also garnered an unfavourable review.

Who's running this team? George Steinbrenner?

Look -- I'm inclined to believe (and it's been stated several times) that Emery is a different cat. He's been having a difficult time of it lately -- he is making his first start tonight since January 7, when he was pulled after sacrificing 4 goals in 12 shots. Wouldn't his confidence be assisted if he was truly allowed to be himself?

I think the media is reading entirely too much into this. Watch them all trip out over the "magical" mask if Ray pulls off a win tonight.

P.S. I can't explain the photo. I just liked it. And admit it -- you were shocked to see that Tyson could carry Maradona. You'll be pondering that for a while.

Greetings from Butterknife Row

Friday, January 27, 2006

Here's a comment I overheard in the press box on Thursday:

"Why does the NHL record hits? They should record posts instead."

You want the league to record the number of times a player hits the post? Granted, the NHL records everything else, but why would you want or need this as a stat? Do you want to know how well a certain player would favour at horseshoes? How often he was almost able to capitalize?

At least the hit count provides a measure of a player's grit and physicality. You know -- stats that actually matter.

ESPN SportsNation poll

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I love the ESPN SportsNation polls -- they provide an accurate picture of how a nation feels about any particular subject. There are the overall numbers for the U.S and international voters, but there's also a breakdown of how each state chose to vote. And that's where things can get interesting.

Tuesday's question was an intriguing one: Who is the most dominating in their particular sport? The Carolina Hurricanes (huh?), Detroit Pistons, Tiger Woods or UConn?

First of all, my nose was put out of joint by the thought of the Hurricanes dominating anyone in the league. They can be considered an elite team, similar to Ottawa, Detroit, Dallas and the like. The NHL is not Carolina, and everyone else. Whatever.

After 85,000+ votes, here was the breakdown: North Carolina was completely split between the 'Canes (33%), Pistons (33%) and Tiger (30%). UConn pulled down 3%.

How interesting.

How do you think the results in NC would've turned out, had ESPN not listed UConn, but instead chose a certain ACC team in the poll?

Like Duke, for example?

You can't tell me that if Duke was included, that they wouldn't have run away with the results. Most probably gave away their vote to either the Pistons or Tiger for this reason alone.

And as much as 'Canes Fan may claim otherwise, they need to resign themselves to the fact that they are a basketball-oriented state.

Worse still for both Carolina and the NHL, the only state other than NC that registered double digits for the Hurricanes was South Carolina, with 13%. All other states posted numbers between 2-5%.

It doesn't help to once again demonstrate how little of an inroad the NHL has made into the U.S. But it's made worse by the fact that ESPN chose to include a team in their polling that few care about, regardless of how well they are doing in the standings.

With all the timing of drunken virgin teenagers experimenting with the rhythm method, Mario Lemieux decided to draw the curtains on his 17-year career, and announced his retirement today.

Unfortunately for the NHL, the city of Pittsburgh currently finds itself in the grips of Steeler Mania, with their beloved football team heading to the Super Bowl XL. My Pittsburgh source gave me the lowdown on the local reaction:

"Mario's retirement is being overshadowed by the Steelers. The afternoon drive out I listened to the talk radio. They all had open lines for discussion, but the majority of today's debate was dominated by whether or not the Steelers should wear white or black shirts in Superbowl extra large.

That's right. Jersey color seems more important to the local media.

WTAE-TV (the local ABC affiliate) didn't even broadcast Mario's press conference in its entirety. They broke away after the question portion, but stressed the conference was already being shown streaming video on their website.

Fox Sports Pittsburgh carried the whole conference and aired several highlight shows to Mario after 7."

Being mired in all of this mess is the question of how Sidney Crosby will adjust to becoming the heir apparent, with "his" team in turmoil and a significant game versus Alexander Ovechkin tomorrow.

We know Canada will be watching. Pittsburgh? That's anyone's guess. They could be too busy playing with the inanimate Al Jolson lookalike sporting the Jennifer Lopez eyelashes.

Thanks for the nightmares, Deadspin.

Monday morning deglaze

Monday, January 23, 2006

Scrape, heat and repeat...

· By the dying minutes of the 2nd quarter in the AFC Championship Game, Steelers LB Joey Porter had Jake Plummer in a supine position, giggling maniacally while shaving satanic symbols and/or Steelers logos into the QB's beard. It kinda went downhill from there. Enjoy your newfound free time, Jake. I want to see that cart bursting with beard products.

Oh, and there was another game too. Sea...hawks? Never heard of them. Welcome to the Janice Soprano of Super Bowl matchups. Offense and defense abound, but you're still going to need four Keith's to get it up for this one. See you in two weeks.

· Daniel Alfredsson claims that winning the Cup without facing the Leafs in the playoffs wouldn't tarnish a championship. Au contraire, mon captaine. I have to believe that no one would completely give this team their due if they hadn't been subjected to the zenith of physical and mental battles. We need to see if the Leafs are still the beasts of old in the post-season. And of course, we need to see if the Leafs can even make it into the post-season.

(I've heard that Alfredsson is quite the ping-pong player and was hoping to go with an ass-paddling pun. This was the closest photo I could find. I imagine to get paddled with a racquet would cost extra. And hurt more. Hmmm.)

· Matt in Denver on the show today, regarding Kobe's 81 points during the Toronto-Lakers game on Sunday: "I thought he was going to catch Wilt -- he was 19 points short in the game, and oh...about 19,000 short in the bedroom." Nice one, goober.

Sundin: "I'm in a Flank -2 position"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Bolstered by the mainstream use of 24 lingo (see Simmons' Friday mailbag) it's quite probable that Sundin was crying "Flank 2", or rather "Flank -2" after the money shot that the Sens dropped on the Leafs at the SBP.

(Flank -2, 'cause Mats lacks the help on either side. Get it? Oh, bloody hell...)

Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to slag the Leafs this Sunday, or a more appropriate chance to drop a drastic, yet legitimate idea on the delusional Leafs Nation.

Naturally, they didn't take to it too kindly:

"I'll will put this simply: Are you NUTS?! Win 5 in a row, they are cup bound. Lose 5 in a row, time to dismantle the team. Streaks happen in sports, get over it."

And that's one of the more objective responses.

What do these fans want? What did they expect? With the loss of Roberts and Nieuwendyk came a softness that this team hasn't experienced in years. JFJ assembled a bloated, patchwork offense that can't capitalize, let alone string together a number of victories. Their defense is hideous, and their No. 1 goaltender is bordering on octogenerian territory. Wouldn't it stand to reason to take their most habitually valuable player and get something for him while they can? The likelihood of the Leafs making the playoffs is growing slimmer by the day. JFJ would have to do something drastic in order to save his job. The chances of them pulling off a trade that could improve their situation in the short term is unlikely, but it would ultimately benefit them in the long term. No doubt about it.

Anna Benson ups her VD odds

Saturday, January 21, 2006

After being disappointed by the news that the Orioles had traded away Lynx favourite John Maine (as well as former Orioles' closer Jorge Julio), I was not prepared to discover who was coming the other way.

Mr. Anna Benson.

Granted, I imagine Anna's husband will work his way into a starting position in Baltimore, but it doesn't solve my problem of all my male colleagues praying for another Tommy John surgery that would require a lengthy rehabilitation in Ottawa. You know, anything to spice up those sparse Lynx media gatherings. I could only hope that one of Hayden Penn's balls would drill her right in the windpipe, given the chance.

Wow, that's one of the more unintentionally dirty-sounding things I've written in a while.

Garry Galley's buggered new math

Friday, January 20, 2006

In the middle of the Senators' pre-game show on The Team 1200 Garry Galley dropped this gem, in regards to the recent story of Brian Berard testing positive for steroids:

"There are roughly 750 players in the league, so if 12 per cent of them test positive, we are looking at about 14 players testing positive."

Galley...you might want to keep that helmet on a while longer.

*** Thanks to my wingman Josh for this tidbit -- I missed it because I was too busy zoning out to pre-game Pennywise.

What is this -- sarcasm?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

From Steve Simmons' column today:
"Sid (The Kid) Crosby is quickly browning off old-style NHL traditionalists with his consistent whining and good for him for not getting in line, which is the hockey way ..."

Just let that marinate for a bit.