Tag Archives: nhl

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

blue-jackets

It took seven long years, but now it has happened. The last NHL  team that had never qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs is going to the postseason.

I grew up in Newark, Ohio. Columbus was very close to home. I can hardly believe that there is a major league sports team there, but they are about to make hockey really fun to watch for a month.

Congratulations Blue Jackets. Give us a nice run, we will be following every face-off.

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Thursday Thirteen: Stanley Cup Playoff Edition.

That card made so many dreams come true for me.  My two all time favorite players, together, with a piece of their game used jerseys, with a repair stitch on the Hasek?  Beyond perfect.

And now it begins.  The 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The best two months in sports, with the greatest trophy on Earth at the end.  These would be my druthers, in order, which means they probably won’t happen.

1. Stu finally gets his name etched on the Cup.  Dallas is good enough, but they will need a whole lotta luck.  Especially starting off against the Ducks.  Ouch.

2. The Dominator comes big, for his second ring.  Red Wings fly back to the top of the heap.  Hasek cements his legend.

3. The Big O in Washington lights the hockey world on fire, and makes a miracle run with a team that hasn’t seen the postseason in years.  The Crystal Wall has the Habs looking silly for trading him.

4.  Those Habs bring the Cup back home with a vengeance.  Montreal is one of the funkiest cities on the planet, and when it comes to this sport… no one does the voo doo like they do.

5. A Wild party breaks out.  Minnesota has a champion.  With bright red and green jerseys.  Yikes.

6. Teal glory, Sharks eat all.

7. Calgary makes it a Canadian Cup after all these years.  Three chances for the land that invented the game, it’s about time.

8.  Ottawa finally grows a pair for the win.   Not gonna happen, but I do love me some Spezza.

9. Tennessee proves that country music and good hockey belong in the same city.

10.  The Yankees lose!

11.  The Yankees lose!

12.  The Yankees lose!

13.  I come to my senses and explain why we switched sports for a second.  I won’t be rooting for any of the seven teams that I did not mention.  Which means one of them will surely win it all.   Happy Thursday Thirteen everyone, see you at the rink!

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Sidney Who?

p1 p2 p4win

The barn was burning last night, and my voice is long gone from the festivities.  The photographs are by Alan Diaz, and the top three are thumbnails if you need to see the proof with more detail.  Sidney Crosby, already anointed as the next big thing, got smacked around OUR house like a felt-covered stuffed mouse.  A Pittsburgh Penguins black and gold scratching post.  David Booth looked like the world-beating all-star, and Sid remained a kid for one more night.

I have mad respect for the man, he looks great on the highlights.  I have confidence that he will become the legend that the media is already labeling him.  But last night, from five feet away, he looked human to me.

My life is blessed enough to have included in-person viewings of a few homosapiens that appear to be endowed with some sort of “extra” ability when they strap on skates and swoop across the ice with a stick in their hand.  These are my choices for the most legendary examples:

1. Pavel Bure.  I swear he is a vampire.  Russia is close enough to Transylvania for me.  We worked for the arena for two years just to see him skate practice.  His ankles do things that none have ever done before.  Too bad his knees couldn’t keep up.  I doubt we will ever see a more exciting hockey player again.

2. Paul Coffey.  Imagine this.  You are 35 years old.  Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Very important game, against the team your fans love to hate most.  You are in front of your goalie, and the puck squirts free at your feet.  You instantly react, clearing the puck from danger.  You slam dunk it, right into your own net.  Ouch.  Then you have the talent, will, and pure unadulterated killer instinct that allows you to weave the length of the ice, using four men a decade younger than yourself like orange cones in an obstacle course, and pop one top shelf on the other side of the rink for the win.  Both nets, one period.  When it matters most.  Paul Coffey was smooth as fresh cream, and clutch as it gets.

3. Mario Lemieux.  We saw him beat the Beezer on a penalty shot in the Miami Arena.  It was supposedly his last regular season game ever.  We saw Stu Barnes and the rat pack pull off one of the biggest upsets in NHL history the year before, and enjoyed the exquisite ruckus that falls out in a town when the opposing royalty gets knocked off the throne.  But.  He is the greatest player ever.  I never much cared for Gretzky.

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Killer Hockey Trade!

star

Time to see that pose with Stu Barnes underneath.  Brad Richards (and Johan Holmqvist) to the Dallas Stars for Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, and Jeff Halpern.  The deal is done, and I love the move.  They kept the fishsticks, and now Stu has his sights set straight on the heart of the Cup.

Word.

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The Dumbest Use of Technology in Sports History.

allstar

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I have seen Stanley C. Panther up close and personal, and the 56th NHL All Star Game has him beat, by far, in one important category.  Clownshoes.

Before I cut loose the barn doors and flat out rant, let me assure you that the game was perhaps the most entertaining midseason exhibition ever.  It actually seemed like it meant a little something in the end.  It featured a huge comeback by the West, a thrilling late lead change, and the showcasing of Rick Nash the True Stud.  It even got the crowd in Atlanta all loud and hollerin’, as their favored Eastern Conference All-Stars buried a final biscuit with 20 seconds left for the win.

Now let’s talk clownshoes.  Versus Channel had the bright idea to install some kind of bluetooth voyeur contraption in the goalie masks.  Rick DiPietro and Manny Legace were stupid enough to fall for it.  We are all enriched this morning, since it was the dumbest use of technology in sports history.  Our entire living room exploded in belly laughs and shouts of disbelief.  It went down like this.

Doc Emrick decided to start prodding DiPietro for comments as soon as they dropped the puck to start the game.  It was a classic WTF moment:

Doc: So there is some talk about you getting banged up in the Skills competition last night.  How serious is your injury?

DiPietro:  Ah, I’m a little bit nicked but…   Oof!

Yes, sportsfans, it’s true.  12 seconds.  A new record for the fastest goal in NHL All-Star history, courtesy of the dumbest use of technology in sports history.  Later in the game, when the contest was on the line, Legace actually carried on a decent conversation for a while.  Then he gave up the tying goal in the middle of his reflections on a future as a sportscaster.  Not yet Manny, focus on the puck.

Hilarious, gut-busting, wonderful stuff.  Thanks to Versus Channel, thanks to the NHL, thanks to the two netminders who gave us such wonderful memories.  A good time was had by all.

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Pleasant Distractions Necessary for Survival.

watt

(found Watt object from hootpage.com)

Modern life is tough.  These big brains, combined with a monetary system fueled by addictive consumer culture, piloted by people with emotional maturity equivalent to an inbred poodle?  Things get messy and difficult to cope with.

So we distract ourselves with hobbies and fanatical dedication to things that always pick us up.  I use punk rock and trading cards sometimes:

http://entertainment.upperdeck.com/vs/en/news/article.aspx?aid=2385

I use sports alot too, and so does Watt.  One time we were shooting the shit on the sidewalk the afternoon before a show in 1991.  It was the day before D. Boon’s birthday and Watt was hurting.  We were also talking basketball.

“No Hoops, No Hope.” Watt sighed.

Our heartbroken hero is one of the most intelligent humans I have had the pleasure to meet, and he knew the deal.  When life gives you something you really don’t like that you simply must endure, focus on something that keeps the joy in the tank.  Watt and his best friend the great artist Raymond Pettibon are hooked on high school basketball in LA to keep their mind off things.  I follow pro baseball and hockey for the same reasons.  And last night’s games flooded me with healing grins all the way to the center of my being, even though the work day had left much to be desired.

Pleasant Distractions are necessary for survival, especially when it comes to a healthy soul.

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It begins again, and I might burst.

stu

(The greatest triumph of my artistic life, winning the Draw Your Own Card contest for the 1999/2000 Upper Deck MVP hockey set.)

I am in bunches this morning.  It’s one of those rare days when the world seems brand new and full of unlimited possibility.  Well, I guess those days happen to me at least three times a week, but today is different.

The hockey season starts tonight.  So do the MLB playoffs.  I am a huge sports fan, and it doesn’t get any better than that.  Unless it includes rubber rats.

Why do I hook my passionate heart onto the activities of a set of grown men in other cities that I will never meet?  It’s the legends, the myths, the poetry in motion, and the final score.  I think we follow sports as a vestigial function carried over from the hunter gatherer days.  I’m sure the stories used to go “Big Forehead jumped from the rock, flat onto the deer’s back, and dropped it with a single blow to the ear.  It was his twelfth consecutive kill, making him the best hunter in the league this season.”

Now we tell tales of batting average and shoot-out goals.

Sports also has the incredible appeal of finality.  Too many things in life are forever grey.  At the end of the game, the score is black and white. 

Did I say poetry in motion?  That’s my favorite part.  It is pure, since it is spontaneous.  While competing at the highest level, the athelete doesn’t get to edit the moves.  Humans putting their entire being into action trying to win a sporting event is really fun to watch.

Especially on the first day of a new season.

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