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From December 30th

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The December 30th column, in its entirety, as I intended for it to read:

When the Ottawa Senators re-signed Ray Emery to a 3-year, 9.5 million dollar contract in July (all terms US), they knew it would involve risks rarely associated with your run-of-the-mill goaltender.

Now amidst a firestorm of Ray-related drama, you have to wonder what each party was truly expecting from the deal. From Emery’s end, it doesn’t seem difficult to figure out.

Ray Emery remains anointed as one of the best goaltenders the Sens have possessed in modern team history for an obvious reason: He was the premier netminder during the team’s most successful playoff run to date. And while his play during the Anaheim series didn’t display the consistency shown through the first three rounds, he couldn’t be solely blamed for Ottawa’s eventual downfall. Few people were willing to blame Ray for anything last season – after all, he was looked upon as the catalyst behind the Sens’ regular season turnaround (a sentiment exacerbated by the team’s improved play during the same period). Many also knew that he was playing hurt, and would likely require some rehabilitation and repair during the summer.

When the 2007-’08 season kicked off with the Sens’ so-called No. 1 goalie still healing on the bench, many assumed that the 25-year-old was simply keeping the seat warm for Martin Gerber. No one realized at the time that Emery was also apparently making the same assumption, and now he appears determined to maintain that viewpoint, despite the change in circumstances. The fiery netminder currently behaves as if his play from the previous year has earned him top billing, no questions asked – an incorrect presumption to be sure. That was then, this is now. And you need not look far for recent evidence.

When given the opportunity, No. 1 has rarely shown flashes of last season’s success. His record stands at 5-3-3 with a 2.88 GAA and .891 save percentage. And while head coach John Paddock didn’t overly chastise Emery for his most recent performance against Chicago, the current backup displayed suspect positioning and poor lateral movement throughout the game.

The young goaltender would likely be given additional opportunities to gain back his form if he showed some enthusiasm in practice – a subject that has come up time and again via John Paddock since October. Apparently Emery felt the constant demands were open to interpretation when he decided to throw a diva-like fit (which included the tossing of his stick into the stands) during Thursday’s practice.

Paddock may continue to claim that effort takes precedence over time spent in practice – Emery has been observed arriving late and leaving the ice quickly on many occasions. Perhaps this is the coach’s way of going easy on someone who’s already been placed under the gun. However, it’s safe to say that not a single NHL player overcame the odds by putting their nose to the grindstone for a mere 10 minutes per day. Would it really make a difference if Emery only worked hard in short spurts? It’d be a start, but are we expected to be placated with a backstopper’s baby steps when he should know better by now? It shouldn’t have to be this hard.

Unfortunately, the fact remains that Ray Emery is making it hard on himself and his teammates by refusing to put in the work necessary to earn back the No. 1 spot -- meanwhile, the truculent ‘tender continues to act as if such efforts are unwarranted and aggravating. Very few players are privileged enough to stand on the merits of previous achievements, because yesterday’s NHL history is rarely today’s reality. All that’s left to ask is, “What have you done for us lately, Ray?” Right now, Sens observers would be hard pressed to find a positive answer.

Template issues

Thursday, December 06, 2007

We're dealing with some stuff over here, so we'll be offline for the rest of the day until we have it sorted out.

Just saying...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

During the last 7 games:

Shean Donovan -- 0 points -3

Mike Fisher -- 0 points - 8

Chris Kelly -- 1 assist -6

Dean McAmmond -- 2 assists -2

Randy Robitaille -- 1 assist -5

Antoine Vermette -- 2 points -5

A must-read

Monday, December 03, 2007

I apologize for getting to this late, but if you haven't seen this piece from Heather Mallick of CBC News, you need to read it. I understand that it pertains to a highly controversial topic and there is a definite viewpoint being expressed in the column. However, there is a bigger issue at stake and it will become blatantly evident if you keep an open mind.

If you wish to read the column on its original page and the comments that follow, click here.


I hate picking on women. We're born at a disadvantage and in our wild flailing to stay afloat, we make such easy targets. But really, do the wives and girlfriends of the Ottawa Senators have to dress up in matching pink team sweaters and call their ad hoc union "The Better Halves?"

It's bad enough that these women have hooked up with bruised artist-athletes with careers of inevitably brief span, sold by hockey corporations as if they were cans of Spam, shipped around the continent without notice, thus dooming their wives' careers from the start. But must The Better Halves bully young pregnant women during their own brush with greatness? I'd like to ask the nice ladies about this, but these shy creatures are as hard to track down as the tiny, near-extinct, muntjac deer.
The Better Half way

The Better Halves are giving a third of the proceeds of this year's $50,000 Christmas Tree raffle to First Place Pregnancy Centre, an Ottawa anti-abortion group run by Pentecostal Christians.

Planned Parenthood Ottawa is upset, in its customary polite way, and sent out a press release protesting charity money going to a group that is not what people might think it is.

Here's the context: There are thousands of these centres across North America. They're known in the business as CPCs, as they usually have names resembling Crisis Pregnancy Centre. They have cute websites designed to appeal to teenage girls, lots of advice about boys — giggle — and sites on MySpace. They take great care to look like kindly counselling centres. In fact, they exist solely to prevent abortion.

Planned Parenthood told me it frequently talks to women who went to these apparently welcoming places for counselling on the three options — abortion, adoption and parenting. The group says women report feeling badly treated.
Charity's rewards

The problem is worse than just some hockey fans inadvertently donating to a cause they may oppose — that is a personal issue between a fan and her team (in my case, the Canadiens). What irks is that our tax dollars are involved.

The raffle money is channelled through the Sens Foundation, the team's registered charity arm, which is matching every dollar raised by The Better Halves.

Not only does the foundation, which normally does good — make that wonderful — things appear to be breaking Revenue Canada's rules for charities, it is breaking its own rules.

Both the taxman and the foundation agree that donations can only support registered charities. They can't support "political or lobby" or "advocacy or special interest groups." And they shouldn't.

As a pro-choice woman, I write and speak about abortion rights and donate money. But I don't get a tax break and would ridicule the suggestion. Half the joy of activism is its utter lack of reward. The other half is the cold rain leaking down your spine and into your cold, sodden jeans at a demonstration on a wet Wednesday on the Legislature's muddy lawn. There's no life like it.
First Place link lesson

I had an initially cheerful phone interview with Sens Foundation president Dave Ready, who said the Better Halves, when asked to choose three charities, chose:

* First Place.
* Kids Help Phone.
* Harmony House (a women's shelter).

First Place was "in line with our mandate," he said. "We did due diligence and checked that it's a charity."

"You went to the website?" I asked.


"Did you check on the links?"


We went through the First Place site links together. There's a standard disclaimer but First Place hopes we'll find them "helpful." I told Ready that some of the news headlines appeared to be libellous, particularly the ones linking corporations that make birth control drugs to the Jewish Holocaust and one drug itself to Nazi death camps. Others were grotesque: "One baby in 30 left alive after medical abortion" turns out to be an absurd, unsubstantiated anonymous "news story" in a British entertainment magazine.

You're also guided to a donation page for the American Life League, a hardline group based outside Washington. There's a shop, admittedly very funny, that sells "Abortion is mean" T-shirts for two-year-olds.

They offer booklets explaining that abortion is wrong even in the case of incest. They tell members to scare away raped children outside abortion clinics. They call RU-486 "the anti-human pesticide." They offer sample letters to the editor to send to outlets that employ, I imagine, columnists like me. One begins: "Planned Parenthood is not 'a good guy.'"

Ready gets more and more quiet as we track this. Soon he is desperate to get off the phone. He will not let me talk to a Better Half, who might well explain that she hadn't known that First Place is financed by the Bethel Pentecostal Church in Ottawa and its mission — declared on the Bethel website but nowhere on the First Place site — is not just anti-abortion but anti-birth control.
Who says what

Revenue Canada tells me that First Place is not a registered charity.

Terri Mazik, executive director of First Place, sent out a press release attacking "our colleagues at Planned Parenthood" for their press release. She says First Place makes its position clear by saying it doesn't do "abortion referrals," ignoring the fact that no one does. Referrals aren't necessary; all anyone needs is to be guided to a phone book.

Her website and her press release are full of fact-concealing cotton puffery. But why conceal them? This is Canada. Say what you want, but on your own dime.

I don't know how the Sens Foundation got itself into this mess, which will surely lead to some hard questions from Revenue Canada.

CBC TV is about to show a new soap/drama series similar to Britain's notorious Footballers' Wives, called MVP. It's about the women known as — sorry — "puck bunnies."

Were the Better Halves abortion hardliners or innocent bunnies when they offered their money to this weird organization? Does the Sens Foundation's "due diligence" include Google searches?

This whole matter is a soap opera, and I expect the Foundation and Revenue Canada to call a halt. But, unlike in a soap opera, everyone came out of this with real damage: the Better Halves, the Sens Foundation and its wonderful Roger's House for dying children, the unaware raffle ticket buyers, Kids Help Phone, Harmony House and most of all, the confused, friendless young women who may want to consider the option of abortion but are going to be lied to and maybe bullied out of it.

You may have noticed the glossed-over blogger segment on Hockey Night In Canada, prior to the Leafs-Pens game. Not much new under the sun there, although it should be ironically noted that Elliotte Friedman took part in the piece. Friedman is a moderator on the Sportsjournalists.com message boards -- a gathering place for mainstream sports media that's well-known for viciously denouncing bloggers.


Keep in mind that the Sens have another PPV coming up this Friday (from Dallas). What adventures will this broadcast bring? God only knows, given the history thus far. Just remember what Jim Steel (the team's VP of broadcasting services) said during the last snafu:

"I'm committed to doing HD (for pay-per-view broadcasts this season,)" he said. "I wish I hadn't (agreed, given what happened.)"

That's the kind of sentiment you want to see expressed, right? We pity your regret over attempting to give your customers what they want, Mr. Steel. Your fans regret that the team implemented pay-per-view in the first place.

Butterknife Row on meth and espresso

Friday, November 30, 2007

Apparently objectivity is subjective on some press rows. By the way, you just know Gord Wilson has broken out that dance in the SBP booth once or twice (bonus points for the tissue dab on the television screen).

[Thanks to The Beautiful Game for the clip.]

Requiring time, love and tenderness

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Okay, so I know you're waiting for a post. The problem is I'm forced to divide material between here and the column, largely due to the Sens giving me little to write about. That's right kids -- your NHL team of choice has gone from potential contender to ploddingly boring and craptastic. To put it bluntly, the Sens are the Michael Bolton of the league. (There's a retro-Alfie cullet* comparison in there somewhere, but I don't have time to break it down for you at present.)

One more thing -- do you think Jim Rome can discuss the late Sean Taylor without dropping Metallica lyrics? "My lifestyle determines my deathstyle"? That's from Frantic -- and I only know that because I saw Some Kind Of Monster. I don't own the St. Anger album, I swear. Anyway, not to be an a-hole about the topic, but Rome's broken out that line so many times lately, I was beginning to wonder if he was going to start with the "Fran-tic-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tock" bit.

More later.


*Cullet = Curly mullet. Wake up, Mensas.

The ominous word

Saturday, November 24, 2007

...is coming. Soon.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

TUC is on hiatus until further notice. I know a lot of you have inquiries, and frankly I cannot keep up with your e-mails. I'm kindly asking all of you to be patient and calm down -- I don't know when I'll be back yet.

Thank you for your patience.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

This episode of Leftovers is coming to you live from the Scott Norwood Section of Butterknife Row...yes, it's that time again. Check out tonight's quote of the night at the bottom of the post.

We were intrigued by the reaction of media outside of the nation’s capital yesterday, after Dany Heatley’s 6-year, 45 million dollar (all terms US) was announced. Inevitably, when the signing of one occurs, the questions surrounding another begin – in this case the player being referenced was Wade Redden. What? I think local media thankfully possesses enough scruples not to make the same inquiry. Reason being? The general aura around Wade Redden has changed in Ottawa. Fans were left nonplussed after his subpar season last year, particularly after his pockets were lined with 6.5 million dollars’ worth of money from the franchise. Combine that with the uncomfortable events of this summer regarding No. 6’s status with the team, and you can certain that fans had not only understood that Redden’s days were numbered with the team, but were in preference with that general mode of thinking. Furthermore, why was Heatley’s contract considered to be the catalyst for these observations? Couldn’t they see the writing on the wall after the signing of Mike Fisher?

Re: Wednesday’s game vs. Toronto – apparently, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Sens can’t capitalize on a 5-on-3, Chris Kelly can’t bury a breakaway if his life depended on it, and the ACC’s organist likes to break out Toto’s Hold The Line when it’s appropriate…wait…what? While we weren’t impressed on the whole (and apparently neither was Alvin), the Manatee definitely deserves some acknowledgment, because there’s been an obvious shift in his play. His movements are far crisper, his positioning has improved greatly (he’s no longer cowering in the back of the net), and his glove has been working overtime with great results. Long live the Seacow’s renaissance.

Finally, you may have heard some players grumbling over the new sweaters and their inability to allow their equipment to dry properly. While the new jerseys are undoubtedly here to stay, we were rather perplexed by Eric Duhatschek’s take on the issue last week. The Globe And Mail writer wondered aloud if the new sweaters would go the way of the NBA’s synthetic ball from last season. The difference is that the new sweaters included new designs (and in some cases, new logos) for all 30 teams – in short, it amounted to a massive marketing campaign for the NHL. The jerseys weren’t simply relevant to the players; they had to work for the fans as well. It isn’t as if the NBA began selling basketballs in the shape of a trapezoid by the boatload to their fans – their alteration was far more subtle, and never involved the consumer of their product.

Quote Of The Night (overheard on Butterknife Row): "This game's like a banana...it starts high, then goes down low." What the (expletive) does that mean? By the way, take this down for future reference: TUC is one head taller than Leafs' GM John Ferguson Jr., and nearly two heads taller than CBC play-by-play man Bob Cole...who might be a fan of the Mystic Tan. Just saying.

And just for the hell of it, here's your Toto refresher for the evening (which means we get to have a Toto tag...whee!):


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

From TSN.ca:

Sources tell TSN Dany Heatley has agreed to a 6-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators believed to average between $7.5 and $8 million per year.

Although details of the structure remain confidential, sources say it's similar to the contract Daniel Briere signed in Philadelphia in terms of a heavily weighted salary at the front of the contract that ratchets downward, making the cap hit the team will absorb more attractive.

The on again - off again negotiation resumed this afternoon with the Senators tabling an offer that the two sides used as the base to avoid tonight's season opening deadline.

UPDATE (the full breakdown -- now official):

Dany Heatley has agreed to a six-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators, averaging $7.5 million per year with a no movement clause.

The contract will pay Heatley $5 million in signing bonus money next July 1 and $5 million in salary for $10 million in total next season, $4 million in signing bonus money on July 1, 2009 and $4 million in salary for $8 million total in Year 2, $8 million in Year 3, $8 million in the fourth year, $6 million in Year 5 and $5 million in Year 6.

The $9 million in signing bonus payable on consecutive July 1's means $14 million is payable within one year of the deal on a July 1 to July 1 basis.

''We were able to work on a structure throughout the day and were able to find a structure that works for both,'' said Heatley's agent J.P Barry.

''Dany is very excited. He's had nothing but success in Ottawa and he's thrilled to be on board long term with one of the best teams in hockey,'' Barry added.

Monday morning deglaze

Monday, October 01, 2007

Two events I'm relieved are over: The Sens' pre-season and The Presidents Cup (a.k.a. Canadian golf Jesus v. American golf Jesus...at least on Sunday). One should not be listening to putter talk from Montreal in the afternoon on Team 1200, only to come home at night and watch Sens games on Rogers 22. Blech.

The pre-season is incapable of holding my interest for extended periods, but this Manatee storyline has the potential to get interesting with Ray Emery not ready for game play just yet. Contrary to popular belief, there are many persons of interest pulling for Gerber to succeed, and it has little to do with earning his keep. Emery may be considered the better goaltender in the city, but the issues he creates -- both publicly and privately -- do not strike the correct cohesive balance for this team (and we have provided the controversial reasons why in the past, albeit in an extremely roundabout manner).

Meanwhile, you have to think the one guy who might be getting anxious about the Dany Heatley negotiations (or lack thereof) is Daniel Alfredsson. Alfie committed to Ottawa for a lengthy period with a contract that now looks like a relatively frugal investment. He'll be making $5.451 million this season, and provides a salary cap hit of only $4.339 (according to NHLnumbers.com). His option years begin in 09/10, and the team's makeup could look drastically different by then -- particularly if the worst occurs and the team loses both Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.

Speaking of future team makeup, the shortsightedness of some local media never ceases to amaze me. According to one talking head, Ottawa, over the course of the season, will gear up to trade Andrej Meszaros and Joe Corvo for forward building blocks while letting Wade Redden walk at the end of the season. How many quality offensive defensemen do they think the Sens will be hoarding in Binghamton? Are they going to clone Brian Lee? (Oh Jesus, I can't believe I said that.)

And finally, you know the normally placid LoCal fans in San Diego must be getting restless if they start chanting "Marty" in the fourth quarter. With the Bolts currently sitting at 1-3 (last in the division!), The Driver is in disbelief and has ceased wearing his Chargers hat out in public (he's gearing up to pull a hamstring, jumping off the bandwagon that fast). I know people are calling for Norv's head*, but the head coach midseason firing is something of a rarity in the NFL. Regardless, it's going to get oogly...can't wait. (I can say this now, before Denver goes 2-3 next week after the D inevitably throws up all over itself once more. O John Lynch, where art thou? Oh, and guess who they're playing in Week 5? LT can chew it.)

More later.


* About Norv's head: Back in the day when he was coaching Washington, if you called Rome and referred to Turner as a "pineapple", Jim would hang up on you (funny as it was). Not to be insensitive, but I think it's less about the face, and more about the neck -- it almost looks like an octogenerian's knee-high stocking when it gets bunched around their ankle.

Downie gets 20

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's hardly a slap on the wrist, but is the amount enough to deter others? It's as if the league chose the exact middle ground, in order to encourage additional debate.

From TSN.ca:

The National Hockey League has handed down its verdict on the Flyers' Steve Downie.

Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, has suspended Downie for 20-games for his vicious hit on Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond in Thursday's exhibition game.

The Flyers were leading 2-1 when, at the 2:39 mark of the second, Downie skated the length of the ice and took a run at McAmmond, who had just released the puck while circling behind the Flyers' net and was met by Downie coming around the other side. Downie also appeared to leave his feet as he flattened the veteran.

The jarring hit came moments after Downie had been checked into the glass by Ottawa's Christoph Schubert in the Senators' zone.

The 20-year-old prospect gained a reputation at the junior level for some nasty play, but following Thursday's game said the hit wasn't pre-meditated, nor did he intend to go for McAmmond's head.

The troglodyte's interpretation

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

From the HF Boards:

I don't understand all the negativity (especially from Flyers fans). This hit was awesome. Notice I didn't say the injury was. I've seen several hits very similar to this where the recipient doesn't get hurt, and play goes on. The hit in and of itself was a little late, and he did ever so barely leave his feet. People are acting like he threw a blatant elbow at McAmmond's head while going full speed. Come on now. He lined him up and finished a big hit, and unfortunately McAmmond was injured. Lets not make this out to be more than it is. The problem is it has received so much attention that Downie will likely get a suspension far longer than what he deserves here. That being said, I like the kid, and I love his intensity, and I hope this doesn't hurt his chances of making the squad. He's the type of guy you should love to have on your team.

Awesome. Now can we just have someone explain how Steve Downie was just playing "Canadian hockey" by "finishing (his) check"? (The latter quote is his own explanation, by the way.) You've got to leave it all on the ice, right? You have to be willing to do what the other guy won't -- you've got to be physical.

I guess it's all open for interpretation -- and Downie should be viewed as a kid with a bit of an "edge". What a role model for the NHL and Canadian hockey.

P.S. I understand McGrattan's anger, but his post-game comments were foolish. He'll feel the hammer for that, no doubt.

Leftovers (abridged version)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Well, Roy Mlakar may assume fans don't want to discuss the future, but if that were the case, would The Man be on the job? From Darren Dreger at TSN.ca:

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is expected to meet with Dany Heatley's agent, J.P. Barry on Thursday in Ottawa.

And based on preliminary discussions, the Senators are aware of Heatley's expectations.

It's believed that Heatley is seeking an average salary of $8.5 million and a multi-year term similar to what Daniel Briere, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez agreed to this summer.

The question is, will Eugene Melnyk pay it?

Former Senator Zdeno Chara was allowed to walk into free agency and was immediately snapped up by the Boston Bruins.

Ottawa refused to overspend to hold on to the giant defenceman, focusing instead on signing veteran blueliner Wade Redden. In light of the struggles that Chara and the Bruins were forced to deal with last season, one might wonder if on some days Chara wishes he had a mulligan!

Ottawa remains a powerhouse and Heatley is one of the Senators' most feared players on offence.

With back-to-back 50-goal seasons, his stock has never been higher. If that trend continues as an unrestricted free agent, Heatley will challenge, if not surpass, Sidney Crosby's average of $8.7 million.

Thursday's meeting between owner and agent could go a long way in determining Heatley's future in Ottawa.

I'll be shocked if they hammer something out in time, but if fans want Heatley to stay, this is the right course of action to take -- and allowing the media to get a sniff of pro-active behaviour will always garner brownie points.


Another day, another application of the hammer from Alvin, although you may not have caught this one if you weren't paying attention. We'll be the first to admit that we had reservations about his promotion to head coach (and still do), but damned if he doesn't make things interesting. Today's quote was far more subtle. Here's Ray on his wrist:

"I'm just working hard at getting back right now. I obviously want to get some games in, but I've got to make sure that I'm not going to get hurt when I get in there," said Emery. "I'm close, but I'm not where I want to be as far as playing a game. It's kind of frustrating for me right now, but I'll get in there."

And here's Alvin's response:

"I think his wrist is fine, watching him a little bit in practice," said Paddock. "He's not taking shots like he did last year where he was always favouring it. I think it's just a matter of feeling comfortable with being back in the live competition.

"It's (about) where (he's) at and feeling comfortable. It's not injuring the hand, it's just about facing shooters and not wanting to embarrass himself. It's as much that as anything."

Paddock basically said it was all in Ray's noodle. Fabulous. I'm waiting for the day when he warns Ray openly that the Manatee is warming up to bitch-slap him with his flippers, because you know he's out for that No. 1 spot.

I honestly can't believe that all fans aren't as gung-ho about Paddock's call-outs as I am. (In case you missed Sunday's paper, it was the topic of this week's column.) I came across one blog that questioned Paddock's treatment of Nick Foligno due to rookie's age (Foligno is 19). Seriously? Foligno's cockiness was palpable in June at the rookie camp, despite his average-to-subpar outing. Then when training camp hit, a hefty portion of the media were ready to anoint him to the squad, similar to Alexei Kaigorodov last year. Ten to one says that rubbed Alvin the wrong way from the get-go. Is that Foligno's fault? No. But if word has it that he's the next big thing for the Sens (and he's content to act like it), he'd better bring it. Or else.


That'll have to do for now. The Driver and I are heading out of town for a bit, so this place will be quiet until the weekend at the latest, although I don't want to stay silent for that long. I keep hoping that the pre-season will be over when we return -- idle wishes, I suppose. Be good, and I'll talk to you in a few days...yeah hey.

Blind items

Monday, September 24, 2007

(If the following rubs you the wrong way, take it up with these kids. They're my sources.)

While there have been suggestions in the past that NHL pugilists should be tested for steroids, there are other substances that may be of interest to bloodhounds like Dick Pound. Last season, one scrapper was rumoured to be dabbling in something resembling powdered sugar before his morning practices -- and he wasn't putting it on his french toast.

And some local juice...

Which gimpy-footed Swede might require more than a phone call from Ottawa's team captain to convince him to play in the capital? He has claimed privately in the past that of all NHL cities, he hates playing in Ottawa the most.

Where your season ticket money goes

Saturday, September 22, 2007

...if you're an Islanders fan, at least. From TMZ.com:

Some girls get jewelry or clothes from their boyfriends on their birthdays -- not Hilary Duff. The Duffster -- who turns 20 on September 28 -- received an early birthday present from hockey player boyfriend Mike Comrie this week.

Comrie told her that he had left the gift in the garage at Duff's sister Haylie's house. "I opened the garage and I was just, like, shocked, just standing there," Duff told People.

The hunky puckster surprised the teen queen with a $100,000 Mercedes-Benz G-class SUV. "I've driven it tons," said Duff of the grand gift. "When I called him I was like, 'You're crazy! It's perfect!'

P.S. "Duffster"? "Puckster"? Blech.

Oh, really?

Friday, September 21, 2007

The following is a transcript taken from a mid-intermission interview with Sens' president Roy Mlakar, during the Sens-Capitals game on Rogers 22 last night. This was the answer given when the issue of potential future free agents Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza (UFA and RFA respectively) came up:

"Quite frankly, I find it amusing that the media has continued to talk about what’s going to happen after this great year, because I think the fans want to see what’s going to happen (this year). We’ve kept the core of the team together -- (GM) Bryan (Murray’s) done a hell of a job getting most of the guys back into the fold. Getting (Mike) Fisher long-term is tremendous. Not too many people have done what Mike (Fisher) has done here. Getting Chris Phillips done and (Anton) Volchenkov done long-term and just coming back as a Stanley Cup (participating) team, I think the fans are really excited. They really don’t want to hear what’s going to go on a year from now."

So are we to assume if the media chose not to discuss the futures of Wade Redden, Dany Heatley, Chris Kelly, Jason Spezza etc., that the fans wouldn't do it on their own? We're led to believe that fans don't wish to contemplate the future, or readily admit that their beloved team may ultimately have one more serious kick at the can before the vultures begin counting down the days to Dany Heatley's first day of freedom in July '08? Perhaps I should forward some choice missives from my inbox to members of the Sens' front office, because when it comes to my readers at least, the future -- and its relevance -- is now. The ironic thing is, as a columnist, I've barely brought the issue up with the exception of two Mike Fisher-based columns in the span of three months. The e-mails I've been receiving of late are totally unsolicited, but nearly all have inquired about the futures of the Senators' UFAs and RFAs.

Ottawa fans aren't about to take the Scarlett O'Hara approach of, "I won't think about that today; I'll think about it tomorrow." The potential loss of a back-to-back 50 goal scorer is an ominous threat to any team, regardless of when it will occur (and keep in mind that No. 15 is only one of many issues). If Heatley doesn't produce, Ottawa will be bitter over their "last big chance" potentially being wasted. If he thrives, they'll eventually be heartbroken because they know he'll be impossible to keep. I know we all like to question the fans' intelligence, but they're more than capable of coming to these conclusions on their own while discussing them to a vast degree, despite what may happen this season. Fans will want to know what's going on, and more importantly, they're eager to learn about the future of Dany Heatley and others in this city (if any). Frankly, to suggest otherwise borders on a high level of naivete.

Otherwise known as Lincoln Scofield

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We call him The Manatee. The Driver refers to him as Dominic Purcell. Whatever you want to call him, the Sens No. 2 goalie began making his case last night with an eye-popping 52 saves vs. the Flyers in London, ON last night. And yes, we know it's preseason, but it should be noted that Gerber's positioning, which has often been called into question, was spot on Tuesday night. There were rebounds aplenty, but he always seemed to know where they were going. This is what we were hoping for. We've got our fingers crossed that he keeps it up.

P.S. Dean Brown got a smirk out of me when he referenced Brian Lee giving the "hairy eyeball" to Steve Downie, then said that if Lee actually possessed a hairy eyeball (literally), it would be his only body part to ever require shaving. Gord then piped up to claim that Lee "looks like a ten-year-old".

NHL Winter Classic: Frosty event, hot ticket

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

From the NHL's Public Relations department:


"Demonstrating once again that our fans are the most passionate in sports, more than 42,000 tickets to the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic were sold in the first 30 minutes of availability this morning. Due to the overwhelming demand, plus our commitment to Sabres and Penguins season ticket holders, the Buffalo Bills and sponsors of the event, we are currently sold out. If additional tickets become available, we'll release the information at a later date."

From Chris Stevenson:

The Senators just announced the first game of their pay-per-view package this year, Nov. 22 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will be available in high definition. That's what a lot of fans have been asking for, and rightly so, when you have to ante up $10.95 to see the game.

Senators VP of broadcasting Jim Steel said the club is looking into showing more of the other six games on Sens TV in HD. “We expect the majority, if not all, of the Sens TV games will be available in HD,” he said.

When the hell is this going to end? Now Bryan Murray is enlisting the help of Daniel Alfredsson in an attempt to woo Peter Forsberg to the capital with a well-timed phone call. What is this, junior high? Why doesn't Alfie just send a folded note with the traditional "Do you like me?" query, followed by boxes labelled "yes" and "no". And you just know that Forsberg, being the crafty bugger that he is, will return it with an additional square created (and checked) that reads, "I don't know." Of course, said note will need to be passed through Toronto and snickered at for the full effect.

Keep in mind that Forsberg is recovering from ankle surgery (again), but will still expect the Brinks truck to back up, regardless of the situation. Not to be overly harsh, but the only way I'd consider this is if Peter literally removed all problems, and surgically attached his knees to his feet like Cotton Hill. Think about it: He could skate around headbutting players (read: Sidney Crosby) in the stomach and groin with no remorse. Words cannot express how badly I would like to see that happen.

P.S. I know his feet are torched as well. When it's time for those to go, that's when Ottawa can ship him to the Leafs for their turn.

P.P.S. Doesn't the cartoon version of Jimmy Carter look just a bit like Bryan Murray? C'mon...I know you see it.

Perception is nine-tenths of reality

Monday, September 17, 2007

Some additional thoughts regarding the long-term lockup of Mike Fisher:

Although I wasn't able to fit it into the column (see previous post), one thought that stuck out in my mind pre-signing was the perception of Fisher if he were to, for lack of a better term, go to war with the Senators over a paycheque. Fisher's aura in Ottawa is so massive and sparkling that the idea of it taking a hit for the sake of coin seems practically unfathomable. I wonder if this issue was brought up during his personal negotiations, and if Fisher and Todd Reynolds (his agent) deemed it best to finish the deal a) to avoid any distractions and b) help to protect the centre's image as the eternal good guy -- particularly when you've got Dany Heatley already imposing major restrictions on negotiations.

Fisher's signing already seems to have earned him major brownie points with fans -- as if it were humanly possible to possess any more -- and thanks to Scott Hartnell's similar salary (which I also wrote about in late June but am unable to unearth the link, so you'll have to trust me), a five-year $21 million deal seems like great value. Here's how it'll shake out:

'08-09 $6 million (includes a 1 million dollar signing bonus)

'09-10 $4 million

10-11 $4 million

11-12 $4 million

12-13 $3 million

And remember, it was reported that the first three years included a no-trade clause, according to Chris Stevenson.

So what does this mean? Let's break it down:

1) It seems blatantly obvious that the Sens are looking to keep Alfredsson and Fisher in the red, black and white for life. Fisher will have one more boatload contract after the five years is up (barring catastrophe), and then it will be a smooth ride into the twilight of his career. Ottawa knows Fisher is their golden child, and they'd happily kick sand in the faces of all teams who were looking to seduce No. 12, come July '08. Both sides walk away from the table looking good -- it was a total win-win. For now.

2) This pretty much signals the death knell for Wade Redden's career in Ottawa -- but to be fair, you should have heard that bell ring when Brian Lee's name was called in this city two years ago at the Draft. They knew this was coming. We all knew this was coming. Redden's salary (both present and upcoming) has become increasingly difficult to justify, and the awkwardness of this summer's attempted trade will not be easy to squelch.

3) $6 million dollars next season for a player who will be considered the No. 2 centre this year -- a situation largely due to Paddock currently running low on options. Does Fisher need to begin scoring? You bet your demi-deity-worshipping ass he does -- and it has to start yesterday. 48 points for 1.5 million dollars seemed like a good deal on paper. But you can count me as one of the few who has always insisted that the 27-year-old needed to find the back of the net more often, which is a difficult sentiment to express in a city that is so enamoured with one player. And you can trust that despite all the love, if he is unable to put points on the board for whatever reason...you WILL begin to hear about it eventually, especially if both Redden and Heatley are lost to free agency.

Here's my column from yesterday.

Here's the news:

From TSN.ca:

It looks as though Mike Fisher won't be going anywhere for a while.

Fisher has signed a five-year, $21 million extension with the Ottawa Senators.

Fisher scored 22 goals and dished out 26 assists in 68 games with the Senators last year. In 384 career NHL games Fisher has totals of 92 goals and 100 assists and a +49 rating.

The 27-year-old centre was slated to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2007-08 season. Dany Heatley, Wade Redden and Chris Kelly will also be unrestricted after the season.

Thank you. Oh yeah...and the signing? That's some nice work. Some thoughts on getting Fisher locked up coming later today.

UPDATE: Chris Stevenson is reporting that the first three years of Fisher's new contract feature a no-trade clause.

Not to go all "back in the day" on you, but I remember when Fan Fest was referred to as "open practice", and basically it was the sleepy heathens of Kanata who came out to check out the new meat on a Sunday instead of receiving communion. A couple hundred people would show up, the team would run through drills, and you'd have a scrimmage at the end. Frankly, I can't believe how big it's gotten -- with activities, face painting, handouts at the door...you'd think an actual game was taking place. Not to mention the fact that 90% of the lower bowl was filled (seriously), and at least one-third of the second. The concessions were open...there were lineups in the womens' concourse bathrooms for Christ's sakes.

And while I missed the intimacy of the smaller events of yore, the larger crowd brought with it some elements I wasn't expecting (more on that later).

Basically the morning for me entailed calling out numerical troikas in the manner of locker combinations, or really buggered up measurements. Paddock had the lines all over the place (with the exception of one). Combos included:

- Heatley-Spezza-Dimitrakos (Dimitrakos served as a warm body for the majority of ths scrimmage that could keep up with the pace. Other than that, I wasn't overly impressed.)

- Donovan-Eaves-Kelly

- Foligno-Alfredsson-Daugavins (it's blatantly obvious that they're desperate for someone to hang long-term with Alfie and wish for Foligno to play that role. If it happens, I'll eat my Arizona State ballcap -- it's the closest thing to non-animated progeny that I own.)


-Eaves-Kelly-Dimitrakos (Eaves is on a short leash -- he needs to step it up.)

- Zubov, Neil, Donati (weird)

There were two defensive pairing that stuck out like a sore thumb: Phillips-Lee and at one point, Meszaros-Corvo. Look that last duo up in the dictionary -- you'll find it under "masochism".

As for basic vibe:

- (insert obvious Manatee on brink of distinction crack here) To put it bluntly, he looked like hell. Plodding movement, poor positioning and timing...it's not looking good.

- For the Meszaros haters (and I know we have a few here): You won't be shocked to hear that he's picked up where he left off from last season.

- Alfredsson's ready to go. Didn't miss a beat, and looked in season-form. Phillips also appeared prepped for the year to start.

- Spezza was actually booed for a giveaway (backwards pass). The reaction was surprising; the catalyst was not.

- By now you've likely heard about the Yablonski-Neil fight. Yablonski definitely got the better of No. 25. (At one point The Driver yelped, "Watch the orbital bone -- we need him!") Apparently this wasn't enough to sell people on the one they obviously must refer to as "Yabs" -- he was being heckled mercilessly towards the end of the scrimmage by two dudes at the glass. The Corvo-Neil dustup was slightly entertaining as well, with No. 7 delivering a punch to the back of Neil's head.

- McGrattan knows he's in trouble. He's doing everything he can to prevent it (including scoring a goal yesterday).

- Neil and Hamel have a noticeable chemistry and read each other quite well.

It was difficult to get a proper read on true lines because the combos were changing constantly. I'm hoping to have a better assessment once the preseason begins.

More later.

Dave Trembley's meltdown

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Here's the footage from last night of former Lynx manager Dave Trembley in a decent meltdown.

I think I can fully consider myself a Manatee convert these days -- the guy plays dressup, line dances and then drops this yesterday:

Goalie Martin Gerber has worn a black mask void of any Senators logos when he's skated with teammates at the Bell Sensplex.


So, as some have suggested, is the blank mask a silent statement of Gerber's desire for a trade, like the plain white one Martin Biron wore in Buffalo last year (he was finally moved at the trade deadline)?

"That's B.S.," said Gerber, who has been getting ready for Ottawa's training camp, which begins today.

"I'm trying the newest model from Itech. We're just working on this one and the one for games should be ready by now. This was just to try it out and see if it works.

9.8 out of 10. .2 deduction for offering an explanation.

P.S. To learn of the origins of the Manatee moniker -- click on the March '07 archives and scroll down to the March 22 post entitled, "Leftovers".

Remember: I'm freelance

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

*shuffling feet and softly whistling*

Here are the new Binghamton jerseys, and they had us until we saw the sleeves. What is that -- freshly threshed wheat?

...because we've never heard of this team.

· Alright, it may not officially be fall proper, but it's close enough for us...and that means two things: The return of regular Deglazes and the beginning of the NFL season. Full disclosure: TUC HQ has always shown a high personal preference of football over hockey for obvious reasons. Firstly, football is always much more of an event than your run-of-the-mill NHL game could ever hope to achieve. The majority of games take place on one day, which provokes an insane buildup. Combine this with a much shorter season, a one-and-done playoff format, a product that translates beautifully to television and the high prevalence of HD broadcasts...in short, the NFL kicks the NHL's ass up, down and sideways. Apologies for overstating the obvious.

Of course, we spent Sunday watching our beloved Broncos break the hearts of thousands of Leaf fans masquerading as Buffalo supporters. A couple of thoughts: Sophomore QB Jay Cutler (a.k.a. The Cutlet) is half asskicker, half myocardial infarction inducer with an arm that won't quit -- sometimes we want to high-five the hand attached to said arm, and sometimes we want to break off the arm and beat him with it. And have you seen his team photo yet? He looks like that kid you knew in high school who was obsessed with first-person shooter video games (and always rumoured to have been caught enjoying a Sears catalogue a bit too much in his parents' rec room). As for Travis Henry (a.k.a. Nouveau Shawn Kemp), we were initally concerned, but can't complain about 139 yards (an average of 6 per carry) on his first outing. No TDs, but you know one's coming -- the guy knows a thing or two about scoring. (I'm sorry, that was way too easy.)

· As for the Senators -- with a fairly successful rookie tournament completed and players beginning to trickle for training camp, you'd assume there would be a high sense of optimism surrounding the beginning of the season. Not on this end. Let's see...we've had Ray Emery's recent traffic incident, the Manatee is pulling a Martin Biron (scroll to last paragraph), constant speculation regarding the futures of players like Jason Spezza (potential RFA), Mike Fisher and Dany Heatley (potential UFAs of the big fish variety). In addition, one player has been engaging in some heavy-handed irony regarding his long-term status with the team. Outwardly, it would appear he wishes to stay. Whispers and actions indicate otherwise. This is an awful lot of drama to contend with in mid-September. We don't envy Bryan Murray's position right now.

· You may have noticed that nothing was mentioned in this space regarding the alleged last game played by the Ottawa Lynx (the Triple-A version, anyway). What am I supposed to say? Am I supposed to comment on the ridiculous nature of Ottawans who throw their support behind a quality product when it's too late? Am I expected to reference the pathetic nature of certain media members in the past who were heard openly complaining about being "forced" to attend the Lynx' annual Media Day? What about the outlets that regularly chose not to cover home games? What about the radio stations that treated game coverage as an open mic night for their on-air staff?

Here's what I will say: The Lynx -- staff, players and front office -- have been an outright pleasure to deal with. The level of courtesy and respect shown by all of them should never go ignored, and I will always be grateful for all of their help and kindness. They were, and are, the best team in the city to deal with. No contest.

And to wrap up today, let's close out with an e-mail from Blair in Burlington:

"Ever heard of an HBO show called 'The Wire'? There is a drug dealing kid on there who is a dead ringer for Ray Emery."

Blair sent this link (as well as this one) to solidify his point. Point taken.

Screaming behind our hands

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pink elephant in the room! Pink elephant in the room!

P.S. "Old bag of bones?" What kind of smack is that?

[Photo credit: Ottawa Citizen]

Things we're enjoying right now

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

* LOLJocks -- In the spirit of LOLCats, this is pretty self-expanatory.

* West Side Slant -- This is a SoCal friend of ours from the Rome days of yore. Plenty of vitriol on the NBA and NFL to be found here.

* BetUS.com -- It's that time of year when you feel the urge to get down, and this site has all the action involving any possible sport you follow, and that includes futures bets. For the record, they've got the Sens at +800 right now, and Anaheim at +450. Go check it out.

* NHL Top Shelf - A newer site with message boards for all 30 teams, news and blog links.

Oh, we KNOW what they were smoking

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The NHL continued its seemingly one-a-day new uniform rollout yesterday with a trip back across the border to Vancouver. Granted, we weren't sure what to expect -- the hockey stick logo of yore (with blue and green colouring) has been a wildly popular retro favourite, yet remained as an alternate (think along the lines of the San Diego Chargers' powder blues).

And so, after much speculation, here it is (click to enlarge):

Oh. My. God.

What the (expletive) is that? What on Earth would possess someone to plaster bold lettering of a frighteningly nondescript nature on the chest of a sweater...that already had a logo on it? Is that even a font? If it is, it should be called "Canadian", because it's the most boring lettering I've ever seen. Why did they do this? Did they think the logo wasn't enough for us to recognize the team as the Canucks? Was this done for Bob Cole's benefit? If so, dude has some serious pull.

(In all seriousness, we know the name is meant as a nod to the Millionaires and WHL Canucks, but come on -- would it kill to have an eye for aesthetics?)

The thing upsetting us the most about this move is that we really don't have a problem with the sweater, other than the lettering. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that it could have been our favourite of the newly unveiled jerseys thus far, and that includes Ottawa's. Going with the blue and green was a smart move, and you'll note that they have a full stripe across the bottom (despite the rounded edge) and horizontal stripes on the sleeves, which frankly makes all the difference in the world. We've never been big fans of the orca logo, but we can live with it -- and they've included the hockey stick on the shoulder patch.

It kind of reminds us of watching Bob Ross paint those amazing pictures where, "in our world, there's a happy little cloud." He would paint along happily for about 23 minutes until he had this killer nature scene -- then all of a sudden he would bust out a brush, load it up with thalo green and draw a big freaking tree right down the centre of the canvas. And you just know everyone is screaming at their television sets, "Stop it! You're RUINING IT!" Those letters on the new Van sweaters are the equivalent of Bob Ross's giant tree in his paintings. Sometimes, you have to know when to put the brush down...or in this case, the heat press.

P.S. Note that this is our first Bob Ross tag. God willing, there will be more.

We came, we saw...we bought the t-shirt (and were given another one for free).

How lovely of the Hockey Hall Of Fame to dig this out of the Corporate Sponsor Du Jour's closet for today. The team's name is not engraved on it yet (really, do you want to see that?). I was privy once again to some hilarity courtesy of the HHOF staff (who once infamously told me that they had no clue where the Presidents' Trophy was). A rep was on hand, so I approached him and asked about the chunk of crystal located on the base. He went into a spiel about it being "low grade lead crystal" (only the best for our sport), and then...

Me: "I see...but does it represent anything?"

HHOF Rep: (totally perplexed) "I dunno...ice?"

Epic. I love these people. I'm going to write a sitcom for them and sell it to the CBC.

The foyer had a nice display of the new jerseys, and as we entered, they were sporting the All-Star versions. It was the first opportunity for the public to get their hands (literally) on the new material, and these dummies were being felt up so much, you'd think Scarlett Johansson was under the sweater. The material really is lighter, with a blatantly visible mesh. It's quite pliable and stretchy, which isn't something one would assume with polyester. That being said, they are slimmer and should be avoided by the bloated and, uh, pleasantly plump.

Oh yeah, don't think we forgot about the dummy's nonexistent face. We're dying to Photoshop the hell out of that.

A shot of the crowd aimed towards the back (I was lurking on the second level). Make no mistake -- there a lot of people who are desperate for the season to begin.

The stage (lighting was atrocious).

It felt like forever before we were able to finally see the jerseys, but it's worth mentioning that Murray received a standing ovation, which was quite nice.

Apologies for the blur. For me, this was the best improvement. The slimmed down numbers and lettering are a great upgrade.

Alright, so here's the red (home) version. You'll note that we've been subjected to the same rounded bottom on the sweater that you may have seen on other teams' jerseys. No sir, I don't like it. It looks like an untucked shirttail. And while the colour is blatant, the lack of any other pattern makes it look like a practice jersey. However, the biggest faux pas in my opinion, was the decision to place the "O" patch on the shoulder. It doesn't mesh with the logo's design, and is begging to be mocked by those who don't know (or appreciate) history. They'll call it a zero -- to represent the number of Cups the modern-day team has won. It's a marketing company's job to overthink and cover all the bases. They definitely missed this one.

The rear view.

The closeup.

Here's your new white (away) jersey. Note the use of the second logo (now referred to as the "primary" logo). It's worth mentioning that the new stylized profile logo was nowhere to be seen today, although according to a handout, it "will appear on some 'classic' Senators merchandise". The lack of flesh tone in the face is far more obvious on the white as well. Ironically, I heard a few people say they preferred the white over the red, which has never been the case. Until now.

Again from the back. That chick getting in the way of the photo? Yeah, that'd be me (wide awake, trust).

So how does this look on everyday merch? Here's one of the first hats (in Sensations). The embroidery is very odd -- it's not a gradual buildup. In fact, it almost looks like the face was placed on like an iron-in patch.

And after eons, the merch department finally came correct with a simple t-shirt for women. The logo is made up of a mosaic of tiny, slightly sparkled dots. Not cheesy, not prissy...it hits the right note for basic womens' gear. About bloody time.

Finally, here was the shirt they were handing out at the door as fans exited. I was surprised to see it had the new logo on it, which I thought was quite sporting of them. If anything, a gratis garment would have been an excuse to pawn off the old merch onto the masses.

So, what do you think? Yay, nay or get the (expletive) on with it?

More later.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Alright, so we've been relatively absent for the past little bit -- mostly for good reason. The news coming out has been a vast vortex of crap, and uh, well...The Driver's Mom was hit by a car. Seriously. Thankfully she's going to be alright, but it's taken up a lot of our time. Strangely enough, this is a far more common occurrence in the Lakehead than one might think. When I was in high school, two kids were hit by cars. Well...rather, one was hit by a bus, and the other by a hearse (sans casket). He was fine, and we were given four years' worth of punchlines from the incident. Good times.

Anyway, we're off to the SBP this aft to observe the uniform unveiling. We're generally not big fans of change, but will attempt to keep an open mind. Expect a synopsis this evening. You can find our initial thoughts on this event here.

Also, the Sens PPV schedule was released today -- seven games this year, up from five. Here they are (with credit to Chris Stevenson's blog):

Nov. 22 home against Pittsburgh
Dec. 7 @ Dallas
Jan. 4 @ Buffalo
Jan. 29 @ NYI
Feb. 28 @ Philly
March 11, home against Boston
April 3 @ Toronto.

Yeah, you can trust we have thoughts on this as well. More later.

The Forsberg angles

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Which side are you more likely to fall on? This one from yesterday, or the one that appeared today? We think it's pointless conversation, and therefore the second piece seems far more along the lines of our thinking on this subject.

P.S. When is everyone going to stop looking at Martin Gerber as a bank account that the team is not allowed to draw on? Hello -- you would need someone to replace him before you could make a trade. Not to be an a-hole about it, but I hope he torches Emery in camp just to make things interesting.

The logos (reprise)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Here's what appeared in the Sun today:

As you can see, the "cartoon" logo has been confirmed. And while I'm all for freshening up the original logo (right), his cape positioning is bothering me. The degree of the arc appears the same as the uh, brush thingie, but based on the placement it seems much longer and extreme (cape, not brush). That being said, I think both are growing on me. I'll give them a B-.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Here's your Hilary Duff-Mike Comrie confirmation, for those of you who care about this stuff. How pissed do you think the oversexed Ottawa media is about this (read: not me)? No Comrie = No Duff = No stalker-like sightings at the SBP. Boo! Hiss!

P.S. More photos of the happy couple can be found here.

P.P.S. Hilary Duff must be about 4 feet tall. Just saying.

Martin Gerber wants you to love him...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

...but if you won't, his overseas Swiss fan club will. How can such a feat be accomplished? Well, by dressing up like an 1890's goldrush Klondike pimp and line dancing, of course. Peter Schaefer would've been so jealous of this get-up, it's not even funny. And no, I'm not mixing prescription meds -- just see for yourself. Count me in as pro-Manatee from this moment forward, because this is one of the most messed up things I've ever seen. Here's the Swiss-German explanation from Gerber's authorized fansite:

Am vergangenen Sonntag, 8. Juli 2007 fand in der Westernstadt "Fraumatt-City" in Dürrenroth das Fanfest für die Mitglieder des Fanclubs "Let's go Tinu" mit Tinu Gerber statt.

Trotz einiger Regentropfen gab es viele zufriedene Coboys und Cowgirls und natürlich einige waschechte Indianer.

I love this. Someone get me "Let's Go Tinu" on a t-shirt.

(Want more pics? Go here.)

Meh. M-E-H.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Because there's not a lot to talk about, posters at the HFBoards are focusing on the Sens' potential new uniforms and tweaked logo. One poster claims to have found the new logo at the bottom of the Sens' website. When we went to see if it was there, we weren't able to find anything. However, since we've personally seen this logo before, we think it's a safe bet that this is what you'll be seeing in less than two months. The new one's on the left, and the old version's on the right.

As you can see (at least we hope), it's a very minor alteration. The Senator is now facing a smidge more to the side, his chin was raised, additional, uh, cape is visible, and his helmet almost looks like it's covering more of his face. This led The Driver to remark, "It looks like he's wearing a hoodie." I can also tell you from memory that the brush-thing (such technical terms being used on here today) on his helmet seems more prominent and full.

The one thing that's bothering me is that the logo looks less pissed off and intense. If the damned thing could talk, I picture it saying, "Yeah...I'll play hockey. Or not. Whatever." I expect the logo to reflect the red-assed nature of this franchise and its fans. It needs a 25% bitterness upgrade.

Here we go again...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Why does this matter? Why do people obsess about this guy so much? I've become convinced from a blogging aspect, some people choose to attack him so fervently because they're desperate for attention. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve criticism, but come on -- do you really need to be throwing all your effort into slagging a person who's not that relevant in the grand scheme of things?

P.S. This is about as important as the controversy itself, but I can confirm to you that's definitely him in the second picture.

The house that Wade built

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Interesting to see this little bit of news finally surface:

As he builds a new house in Kelowna, B.C., this summer, Wade Redden is suddenly thinking about where he's going to winter.

Sources tell TUC that Wade's 6,500 sq. foot beast of a house will be completed next year -- right around the time when unrestricted free agency begins.

P.S. In an interview, you should always look for a tell. Because it's the weekend, we'll point it out for you:

The "it's a great team" reason on the list for wanting to stay is in danger of meeting with an eraser.

"There are a lot of issues going on in Ottawa," said Redden.

In honour of The Simpsons Movie opening today, I thought I'd try and find at least some clips from my favourite episode, "Lisa's Rival" -- an episode that's been quoted in this house for years. "Cat! Deer! Old man!"

Marge: Homer, I really appreciate you making dinner, but this food
tastes a little strange.
Lisa: It hurts my teeth.
Homer: That's because I've loaded it with sugar!
[holds up bag containing "Farmer Homer's Sweet Sweet Sugar"]
Marge, our ship has come in! I found five hundred pounds of
sugar [to Bart, sly] in the forest [to Marge] that I'm going to
sell directly to the consumer! All for a low, low price of one
dollar per pound.
Marge: But the grocery store sells sugar for thirty-five cents a pound.
Lisa: And it doesn't have nails and broken glass in it.
Homer: Those are prizes! [eats a mouthful] Ooh, a blasting cap.

Staalapalooza takes it on the road

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

For the masses of cynics who felt the need to forward us this story...

From TSN.ca:

LUTSEN, Minn. (CP-AP) - Brothers Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes and Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins were among 14 people arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after a weekend party.

The incident early Saturday morning occurred at the Lutsen Resort and Sea Villas, about 90 minutes south of the Thunder Bay, Ont., hometown of the Staal brothers. They were gathered there for 22-year-old Eric Staal's bachelor party. Jordan is 18.

''I'm sure that everyone involved is embarrassed about the incident - as they should be,'' Rick Curran, the agent for both players, told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. ''Not to take anything away from the seriousness of it, it's what can happen when you get any group of 15 to 20 people together and there's loud noise.''


According to a release from the Cook County Sheriff's Office sent out Wednesday, police began receiving complaints at 12:30 a.m. of ''approximately 20 people screaming, yelling, and playing loud music.'' The group was warned by police around 12:50 a.m. to quiet down ''or they may be removed from the property, issued citations/arrested, and/or deported from the country.''

Curran said both players were among those who obeyed the first police warnings.

''Unfortunately, those that did get up and go to bed when first warned about the noise, including Eric and Jordan, are still among those that were woken up and asked to leave the hotel,'' said Curran.

Around 3 a.m., according to the Sheriff's new release, the group was ordered to leave the resort with the help of ''Cook County Sheriff deputies, a Minnesota state patrol trooper, and a United States border patrol agent.''

''After leaving the property, the group gathered on Highway 61 and began harassing passing motorists,'' the Sheriff's release said. ''At approximately 4 a.m. the suspects were placed under arrest for disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. Some of the suspects fled in to the nearby woods.''

The Staal brothers were among the 14 men arrested. Eric Staal was among the 10 who spent the night in jail. Jordan Staal was released after booking but not before being charged with consumption of alcohol while under 21 years of age, in addition to disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process.

Eric Staal is to be married in August.

Just some background -- Lutsen is a year-round ski resort that's frequented by many young Thunder Bayans who are looking for a place to party during the weekends. You go, a bunch of your friends rent a condo -- in the winter, you get loaded and ski, and in the summer, you get loaded and ride the alpine slide. Good times all around.

We really are perplexed by the harrassment of motorists on Highway 61 -- it's a two-lane highway with sparse traffic and if you're not careful, you're liable to take an 40 ft. plunge into Lake Superior -- especially at night. But speaking from *cough* experience...the Cook County cops are not to be trifled with, and it really doesn't surprise us that they were thrown in jail for their actions. Ray Shero may be irked now -- he should just thank his lucky stars Eric didn't stop and bring Jordan into the Grand Portage Casino first.