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That Josh McDaniels is an emeffing pistol

Friday, November 27, 2009

In case you missed it last night...

Here's my favourite babyface coach (sorry Clouston) losing it on my beloved Denver Broncos after they failed to score two TDs in the first quarter. The icing on the cake: This segment was played as a taped bit. It wasn't live. (Warning: Audio isn't overly loud, but is still NSFW.)

Taking a stand on sitting

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There certainly are some interesting issues facing Ottawa Senators head coach Cory Clouston these days, but thanks to some lineup changes (yet again), it might be time to deal with the latest pink elephant in the room.

On the recent "embarrassment of riches" front, Clouston seemed pleased with the performance of his rotating bench-warmers. From Ken Warren of the Citizen:

While Ryan Shannon, Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester have taken turns sitting out through much of the season, all three were flying in Monday’s 4-3 overtime win over Washington. Together, they produced Regin’s first- period goal.

In the third period, Shannon and Regin served as wingers for Mike Fisher on a line that dominated. That trio played together at practice Tuesday before the team left for Newark.

“They played with a lot more intensity, they were stronger on the puck, and that’s one of the biggest things,” Clouston said of Shannon and Regin. “Neither one of them is a big, strong, physical guy, so if they don’t have an intensity around the puck, they get pushed off. For the most part, it looked like they wanted it more than the guys they were going against. They have to continue to do that.”

Then Warren punctuates it all by stating what we've all been thinking -- the following sentence is brought to you by Marcus Allen (CBS Sports):

Based on performance Monday, Jonathan Cheechoo, who continues to struggle, should have been the odd man out.

You can understand to a degree why Cheechoo has yet to ride the pine: 1) He was part of one of the biggest trades in recent team history and there's a immediate negative perception if you're blatantly admitting one of your pieces isn't working out; 2) He's a former 56-goal scorer and 3) He carries a cap hit of 3 million USD.

Too bad there's a legitimate argument for all three of these reasons.

While Cheechoo may sport the red, white and gold these days, he was a less-than-desired player within the trade. His name was consistently brought up during the rumour-mongering, and Murray always seemed to refuse. It was only after the dangling of Milan Michalek that Ottawa acquiesced. Furthermore, Murray immediately talked down expectations of No. 41 in the capital, most notably during preseason radio interviews where he viewed Jonathan's monster season of yore as an aberration, and not the norm (based on his history of injuries alone, you can understand why he took that tone).

The third reason is always the hardest for people to justify -- the paycheque.

It's always easier to watch a player making less than a million take a seat in the press box. They're usually the faces in the crowd -- no-name pieces to the rest of the league's observers, and perhaps even on a two-way contract. However, in Cheechoo's case, his benching would cause the media to sit up and take notice -- regardless of the fact that he's been relegated to fourth-line duties on a regular basis. The news outlets would report it, and it "doesn't look good."

News flash: Neither does Cheechoo's play, and people have noticed.

Memo to the Senators -- take the media heat for 5 minutes and try something new. Bench Jonathan Cheechoo for a game. You've given him time to show you what he can (or rather, can't) do. It's time to take a stand and sit him. After all, you've tried everything else. What harm could it do?

More later.

Did Sidney Crosby have plastic surgery?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Place this one under the header of "Adventures in Creative Contest Marketing."

I found this on the website for Wild Wing" -- a chain of Canadian restaurants specializing in the flapping part of the chicken that serves as a general accompaniment to beer. Anyway, as I clicked onto the page, the header left me rather perplexed. A contest for a No. 87 jersey -- baby blue in colour, dangerously similar to the Pittsburgh throwbacks? Penguins championship slogans on the bottom? A bad Photoshop attempt at someone who's supposed to look like Sidney? (Ed. Note: You'll notice they forgot the lipstick.) Yet, there's no mention of Crosby, the NHL, or the Penguins proper anywhere in the advertisement. Funny that.

The rules and regulations state that the prize is a "Sidney Crosby signed heritage jersey ... This deluxe framed piece features a Sidney Crosby signed heritage jersey combined with a custom Wild Wing plaque."

Oooh, classy.

Apparently someone is trying to get out paying for the use of Crosby's image and NHL signage. Too bad the results are more than suspect (not to mention laughable).

The rewind version...

Poor, old (well, he's 34), slow Shean Donovan. It's apparently hard to give him love, which I discovered after the Penguins' Matt Cooke took out No. 10's knee for an extended period of time. Yes, the Senators eventually ended up winning that game quite handily against Pittsburgh. The thing was, the Pens ran out a D that was about as effective as a bunch of ex-ECHLers on a peach schnapps bender (yeah, you know it happens). I'm usually shy on sports betting when it comes to the NHL, but even I was tempted to get down on the home team that night.

So when I felt that the loss of Donovan was more relevant than an uneven matchup vs. Pittsburgh, I was rather surprised by the reaction of Senators fans. How dare I defend Shean Donovan, a player who, when he's in the lineup, saw the Sens go 8-3-1 during his 12 games played this season. "But he's been a healthy scratch," they insisted. Oh well, God freaking forbid we question a first-year coach on his decision-making skills. Here are your alternatives in that doomed-to-the-press-box troika: Jesse Winchester and Ryan Shannon. I'm not saying any NHL expert picks Donovan as MVP of the team, but he has played a far more responsible game than the others (Shannon in particular), and could have been viewed as an underrated piece for the club, especially considering his price tag.

Of course, when I pointed this out to the Donovan naysayers, no one could make a case for the other two as viable replacements for the old bugger. Chew on that.

Scrapping over sticks? Seriously?

Friday, November 20, 2009

You never know what's going to happen on late-night Centre Ice. I caught this as it actually occurred at the end of the Tampa Bay-Anaheim game last night, so I can tell you that the YouTube footage doesn't do it justice -- there were serious punches being thrown. For the record, Scott Niedermayer was trying to give the stick to a female fan (yes I know, insert punchline here).

I realize he may not think it's his place, but Niedermayer went right to the post-game ice interview afterward, and in my opinion, should have said something while in front of the mic. Even a feeble request to squelch the behaviour because it's not cool/safe would have been a smart (and noticeable) move.

Footage of the skirmish is available here.

(Rack bump to @Kingscast over at Twitter for unearthing the footage.)