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Your weekly Chewable (Jack Adams edition)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The media has already begun to ponder Cory Clouston's odds in the Jack Adams race at the end of the season. The latest coach of the Senators has seen some success during this season, working with a hodge-podge of a club that at the moment, is in the playoff hunt (although the likelihood of any post-season triumphs is obviously questionable).

Take your chewable in small bites this week: 1) Will Cory Clouston get a shot at the Jack Adams if the Sens make the playoffs; 2) Regardless of whether he has a chance to win it or not, expectations for the young coach are bound to rise, and fan support is still at a very fragile stage (see ticket sales). Can he continue to handle the pressure?

More later.

Blind Item: The Ego Edition

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Which high-ranked player has decided that he's worthy of superstar treatment before he reaches the NHL?

Oh, those junior boys. When they show a spark, the grateful masses are willing to kowtow to them, and perhaps even break the law. You'd think said players would show a little low-key gratitude. Think again.

Nothing really new under the sun here. A local bar is looking the other way while this underage shining star (and his teammates) enjoy a few cocktails. After all, when the flashbulbs go off around this kid in June, the joint can say they knew him when. Let's just hope they don't say it to a police officer.

Anyway, our young friend was recently spotted at his watering hole of choice, and apparently he wasn't in the mood for a quiet night. When he asked a busy employee who was not tending the bar for drinks, he was politely instructed to ask the bartender (who was in the immediate vicinity) for help. Well, that reply didn't sit well at all.

"Do you know who I am? I am the biggest mother(expletive) in here. If I want alcohol I will go behind the bar and take it myself," the player said. The employee once again explained the situation. No dice. "Seriously, man, I will knock you out," the player replied. Hmmm -- perhaps he was going to take a page from a recent teammate of his who's been in the news lately?

The employee quickly removed himself from the situation, but our boy wasn't done with him for the night.

Last call at the establishment came and went -- the star decided he needed more booze. He demanded that the employee serve him a beer. He's denied. The place has been emptied out of its alcohol for that night. The employee is reminded by the player of his status and adds that "(he) doesn't even pay for drinks (here)." It's worth mentioning that he felt the need to get in the employee's face to relay this information. Once again, he's turned away.

"I know for a fact there's booze back there," the player shouted -- and he was off. He shoved his way into a staff area where he managed to get his hands on a 26 oz. bottle of vodka. He was determined to flee with it, but was pulled back by his friends and out of the bar...sans liquor. As for the bar, they're likely to keep playing dumb. Why would they stop now?

Like I said -- nothing new under the sun, especially on this side of the border. We've all heard these tales, yet many continue to be swept under the rug. Why? Because the media loves to the sell the image of squeaky-clean, bright-eyed boys entering the NHL, filled with awe, innocence and humility. Don't you believe it. It's just a little something to remember, when you see many cameras focusing in on this kid -- and countless others -- at the 2010 Entry Draft.

More later.

Hockey goals for Haiti?

Friday, January 15, 2010

An injured girl lies on the side of the road, as she is attended to after an earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Last night, Montreal Canadiens enforcer Georges Laraque dedicated his first goal as a Hab "to all the Haitians who are looking for (family and friends)."

Your question of the day: Do you think this little girl in the photo -- or any others searching within the mass devastation of Haiti right now -- give a damn?

To backtrack a bit: Laraque is of Haitian descent. His parents were born there, and he still has relatives who reside on the island. One would correctly assume that he would be extremely concerned about the ongoing rescue efforts. And naturally, sports media, who live to tie their trite existence to something with far more gravitas, grabbed ahold of this story with both hands. In short: Georges scored a big goal, and that should make everyone feel a bit better about a monumental disaster that's likely killed thousands of people. Of course, the press ate it up. From Elliotte Friedman's Twitter feed:

"That goal by Laraque was his first as a Canadien -- and his first shot on goal all year. After Haitian earthquake, it's a nice moment."

And from La Presse's Marc Antoine Godin:

"HABS WIN 5-3: George Laraque scores his first goal as a Canadien. 'With all that happens in Haiti, it couldn't happen at a better time.'"

(Stevenson's tie-in story in its entirety can be found at the first link above.)

Hey boys, you know what was a nice moment that couldn't have happened at a better time? The NHL's decision to donate $100,000 to UNICEF for Haitian relief.

I don't want to crack on Laraque too much, because I don't know if he's planning any additional efforts or fundraising on his own. But last night's post-game events -- particularly the media's fawning and their aggravating attempts at a tie-in -- really rubbed me the wrong way. Scoring a goal may have lifted Laraque's heart, but it did nothing for the emotions or the massive burden of the Haitian people. I know it's a stupid thing to ask of sports, but please -- try and keep it in perspective.

More later.

Futures bets of yore

Friday, January 08, 2010

Do you require a figurative wallop to your genitalia in order to close out the week? This might do it.

These futures lines were taken from the MGM Grand in Vegas by yours truly, on the 18th of January, 2009. I'd like to believe (and The Driver would tell you) that the Chargers at 10-1 look mighty tasty right now. But I don't know -- it's hard for me to trust a head coach who wears an octogenarian's knee-highs around his neck (and let's not get into his challenge/time management issues).

Random question of the day

Monday, January 04, 2010

Can anyone tell me why this is acceptable:

DON BRENNAN: Speaking of being on the road, I'm on my way to Frisby tires on just 3O of them. Excuse me a second. "HEY LADY. DON'T LEAN ON YOUR HORN AND SCOWL AT ME. THERE'S A REASON I'M DRIVING SLOWLY, YOU B---H." I don't see the Spezza and Alfredsson injuries slowing the local heroes down too much. They can plod along well enough to stay in the thick of things playing the Little General's system.

Just thought I'd ask.

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.