Sunday, December 30

SOY UN PERDEDOR (repeat and fade)

I remember during the summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea…I was watching boxing and the Canadian boxer (I believe it was Lennox Lewis) absolutely beat the shit out of his opponent. I remember as Lewis rained down blow after blow feeling incredibly sorry for the kid (he was beating). There was no pride in being beaten by the man who would go on to win Gold (for Canada…and later be the Heavyweight champ of the world) just humiliation at the men beating him with his fists.
Cut to 1998 or 1999: I am watching my team (your team) the Toronto Maple Leafs against the St. Louis Blues. We have Felix Potvin in the net. I don’t remember the game or even who won; what I do remember is the goal by Al Mac. It was the end of the 2nd…with 8 seconds or so to go…Mac takes a stride over the red line and casually, harmlessly takes a shot a Potvin. It wasn’t a booming Mac shot, nothing was going 102 miles an hour, it was a dump in. Admittedly it dropped on Potvin…and bounced, perhaps it even went up on its side. Granted the puck took on Phil Niekro like dynamics…the point is…it went in.
I remember thinking “uh oh’ as the puck bounced. And…’oh shit’ as it went in.
Last I heard Potvin was playing goal for the Horcona C.H. Jaca in the Superliga Espanola de Hockey Hielo in Spain (a league about as popular as a Culture Club comeback tour). And before you ask…there are no chants of ‘Gatto, gatto, gatto’ from the Eagles faithful as even there Potvin is playing back up for Juan Carlos Gonzalez del le Serras.
I have no doubt had Potvin stopped that shot that he would still be in the NHL.
My point is confidence, and on this fine Sunday; the last of 2007, there is no doubt in my mind that Andrew Raycroft is that Korean boxer. I don’t know if Raycroft is Potvin yet but all I can suggest to him is, aprenda cómo decir, perro pardon me los teamates... pero estoy terrible apesadumbrado que yo dejado en otra meta suave... apenas en caso de que usted realiza que... soy un goalie shitty.

It behooves me at this point to say that I don’t solely blame Raycroft for last night’s debacle or for the last few games. In fact for the first time in months and months (certainly this season) I feel for him. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I feel for him in a Chaka Khan way (Baby, baby, when I look at you I get a warm feeling inside, there’s something about the things you do, that keeps me satisfied) but I feel for him the same way I feel for the Korean boxer. My heart breaks for a defeated man.
Raycroft looked genuinely shocked when that first goal went in. This is the time to get wins, steal games. Stand on your fucking head, stack the pads and show the bobble heads at MLSE that they backed the wrong horse. A wraparound goal from the other teams checking line? Either you are not doing enough squat thrusts or it’s going to be one of those games. I don’t know about any of you…but I knew it was the latter.

I am a believer in making the best of any situation, and a massive believer in doling out the middle finger with aplomb. I would seize Toskala’s groin as the golden egg that it is. The perfect time to raise the flag and say ‘fuck you’ without really having to say the words. Of course, the other option is terrible rebound control, going down to early, an inherent inability to anticipate plays, weakness high on the glove side. And a moustache.

I remember Potvin eventually quit on the team, the same way Shane Corson did. I can and could always forgive an L but there is something despicable and low about quitting on your teammates. It’s like humping your best friend’s girl: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. As much as I want to see Raycroft run out of town, I don’t think he would quit on this team. Quite frankly I was surprised to hear Raycroft say this yesterday, "It wasn't what we drew up beforehand, it got a little out of control there in the second, lots of penalties. You can't give them that many." For Raycroft that’s tantamount to, “3 minutes of 5 on 3? What the fuck do you expect?” And he was right of course.

What bothers me is that I really like the team we have on the ice. We’re still perhaps three, definitely two moves away from another 100+ point campaign…but there is clearly chemistry going on. This looks like a team who like each other. And when the team is clicking, its playoff ready for sure. What these millionaire dummies have to realize is that unless they get their shit together on the regular…that there are going to be changes. And that means one of two things…either say Hejdå to Mats, Zijte blaze to Kaberle and Qosh sau bolyngdar to Antropov. Or get ready to see the return of Travis Green.
I don’t know about you but I am not ready for either option.

State of the Oilers Address: Suckin'

Wild 5, Oil 4 (OT)

I hope Wash is refreshed and ready to assume the mantle as HS, HS's lead Oiler correspondent, because I may never post again. Leave me the fuck alone, Greener (just getting it out of the way now)!

The Oilers were officially eliminated from the playoffs last night. Yes they were, go check again. But, putting a new twist on an old trick, the blame for last night's collapse has to go to MacT. This is not a lame "fire MacT" post, like you're likely to read on any number of Oiler blogs on any given day. I'm a big MacT fan. I think the guy has an attention to detail that 90% of the coaches in this league don't, and he can teach the game. But he's got to take some of the blame for last night.

I don't want to talk about the ref's, or the phantom penalty in overtime (apparently you can't touch Gaborik). I don't want to talk about the Penner disallowed goal (it was the right call), or the Backstrom save on Brodziak. Neither were plays that cost you a game that you're leading by three goals. Momentum is an imaginary, self-induced phenomenon. I hate when players talk about a big play giving the other team momentum. It's a fucking head game. If you want to stop momentum or take momentum back, then DO IT - with your actions on the ice. What the fuck? Some supernatural force blows into the arena, and then everybody on the bench turns to each other and says "Oh geez boys, let's just hold the fort here until this momentum dies down." Stop fucking thinking about it and PLAY HOCKEY!

But back to MacT. The game was played at a very high tempo last night, and the Wild have four lines that can skate. At 4-1, the Oilers were still rolling four lines. As soon as Rolston scored to make it 4-2 (late in the 2nd), MacT, knowing his team had blown leads in three straight games, played it cautious and shortened his bench. With Pitkanen leaving the game, the Oilers were short a defensemen and now going with 9 forwards. The pace was frenetic in the third period, with very few whistles, and the Oilers just couldn't match the Wild. Frankly, they looked tired and a step slow. After a Christmas break they shouldn't have been, and none of the ice-time totals were too out of whack, with the exception of Souray playing 28 minutes and change. The fourth line of Nilsson (4:00 of ice time), Thoresen (4:25), and Stortini (2:52) did not play badly. In fact, Nilsson made a couple of nice plays on the backcheck. So why the benching? And why the hell is Stortini dressed when Sanderson is healthy? The guy is an average AHL player and brings NOTHING to the table. He played 2:52 last night! Why is he dressed if he's not going to play? Are you telling me that adding Sanderson to that line wouldn't have given them a different dimension, and a reliable veteran that could have enabled them to contribute more.

I know you want your best players playing more minutes, and that the horrible defensive zone coverage (like the 4th goal, where all five Wild players went to the net!) was also to blame for the loss, but this is a team with a flawed and unbalanced roster. In a game like that, against a great skating team, Zack Stortini (who CAN'T SKATE) should be in a suit. Did MacT not read the lineup card? Boogaard wasn't dressed, and Todd Fedoruk is still sorting out whether he needs to wear a visor to protect the metal plates in his face. The only thing that guy is fighting is Hemochromatosis.

Where is this team going? Are we trying to win now and make the playoffs, or are we trying to develop our young players? If it's the former, then last night's lineup is curious. If it's the latter, then MacT's decisions were just as curious. It seems the team is stuck between mindsets.

Oh, yeah. Welcome back "Chopper".

Saturday, December 29

The State of the Blog Address

Funny thing happened on the way to me not posting for a week: Other people did. Wow, it seems that dreams can come true. I guess Christmas really is
a phony, sanctimonious, solely commercial cash-grab the most wonderful time of the year, because my still excellent beard and I received what we wanted most, which is also the rarely heard 13th verse to "The 12 Days of Christmas": He Score, He Shoot posters posting. Note: when I refer to my beard, I am in fact referring to my facial hair, not any kind of non-closeted heterosexual relationship. Or am I?

Norte, writing as well as me, about The Only Team That Matters, whilst using visual aids almost as well as me. Moose, writing a howler about how the Oilers are portrayed by a scurvaceous Edmonton media, thereby copying any number of my posts about the Toronto same. And Washingtron writing absolutely his best post, which would be a much bigger compliment, if, since we started this blog, he'd written more than 4 of them. But look, I'm not complaining. Not about that, anyway.

Truth be told, I wasn't as hands-off the blog as it seems. Peer behind the curtain and you'd have seen me hard at work to make my three fellow posters look as good as they think they do. I've had to do A LOT of HTML surgery on their posts this week. Moose, Norte and Wash know so little about internet code, they look like me 4 months ago. ZING! Take that you "can't make my pictures line up" peons.

Hey, let's thank some people out there! It's the end of the year and so it may be appropriate to wave warmly at some of the people who make writing He Score, He Shoot the only thing that keeps my friendship with Moose alive. You know who you are. OK, you don't. SO HERE YOU ARE!:

Loser Domi. You clearly rule any number of things, not un-including a take so dry that James Bond orders you as a drink in bars. You always read, and you always comment, and you are friends with us.

PPP at Pension Plan Puppets. Lots of support, reads us, links to us, and writes a blog so well that I don't even want to call it a blog. His page is so sexy that it's like a wet t-shirt contest, except all the girls in it wear glasses. PPP loves the Leafs so much, his alarm clock is Andy Frost.

Ken at Hockey Narrative. I go to Ken's page every day, and every day it's interesting. He'll write things about teams I could give a shit about, like Calgary, or anyone else in the NHL besides the Leafs, and I'm invested. Ken has that excellent "could write a book" way of writing that Moose sometimes has, when Moose isn't trying to be funny. Ken doesn't fuck around in his posts, and I'm not even sure he has a sense of humor, and he's still funnier than Moose. Go there if you can read.

The guy in Hong Kong. Dude, I have no idea who you are. You never comment, you haven't entered our contest, you're funnier than Moose, but in spite of all that, I see that you come to the site everyday or so, which clearly makes you a stud on the blueline. (Alternate nickname: Powerplay quarterback). Your pick.

Jared from Die Hard Blue and White. Jared is a clean living minimalist who tries to get his laundry whiter than white, and sounds like the type of super-nice guy who'd take any of us out for a beer if he heard we were coming to London, Ontario. The kind of guy you want on your Rec League team, not just because of what he can do on the ice, but because he's fun and cool on the bench before, during and after the game.

The homestyles over at Irreverant Oiler Fans. This is another great blog. They get in their jokes and burns, but if you are currently waiting for your acceptance letter from M.I.T., prepare to read naked. They have a great blend of left and right brain hockey analysis, and they gave us a shout of exposure a while ago, which helped a lot. If they tried to go surfing, they'd make it up on their feet their first try.

Along those same lines but clearly with better taste in teams is my main man Ninja at Raking Leafs. It's the kind of blog that you look at when you're thinking of starting a blog and you go "I want it like that!" And then you start your blog and fail miserably to make it that good and you have to talk to Moose every day because of it. Wait, all that was about me. Ninja and Raking Leafs = Major.

Four Habs Fans. A bunch of guys who write the shit out of their blog, and judging from the sheer volume of stripper pictures on the site, they do that writing from table 7 at Maison Du Sexe on St. Catherines Street. I wish I were that smart. These guys really love the Canadiens and it shows, which is fun to read. They were also cool enough to cross the floor and mention HS/HS in a super complimentary way. Did they take the easy road and burn us because we love the Leafs? No. And you know why? Because those guys are completely secure with the size of their dicks, and drive nice cars with half a mind to nabbing some pussy, and half a mind on environmental fuel consumption. What do you call guys like that? I call them heroes.

All of you. There are tons of you who come and read us all the time, and for us it's always exciting. You could comment a little more, but, you know, a mother just has to accept her children. You're all slender and good looking and know 6 totally different margarita recipes off the top of your heads. You could wear the same pants you did in high school, and you've always thought about volunteering to read to blind people at the CNIB. You can roof it back hander, and the only reason you wear the 'A' instead of the 'C' is because you gave it up to someone you thought deserved it more. Extra orange slices from Me, Norte, Wash and Moose to all of you guys.

MID SEASON: We definitely need more holidays where raw egg drinks are served.

Yesterday I woke up from a terrible dream. I had dreamt that we had played two games back to back with Andrew Raycroft in the net. In my dream we lose both games. First I dreamt that we lost in overtime to the Isles. With that male-on-top-of-a-wedding-cake Mike Comrie scoring the overtime winner. Off a Blake turnover, and did I mention with Andrew Raycroft in the net…with a moustache no less. I'm sure I had cold sweat pouring down my face most of the night. And then my dream continued and we lost to the Flyers, in a game that could only be described as lifeless. The game against the Flyers was like I can’t believe it’s not butter. Or a Mr. Mister album. Worse yet, the Leafs were celery salt.
I don't mind waking up to find that both games weren't some horrible dreams but in fact reality. I can even forgive the mustache...what I cant forgive is how Andrew Raycroft can make ordinary players look like they have soft hands.

Mike Comrie.

I know I’m all spazzed out on tryptofan and tray after tray of Pot of Gold and Turtles, extra cranberry sauce. Giblets. (My family do the traditional bird: swan. Done up with stuff that goes with the big bird...can I have more neck? I won’t lie, I’m a fixins man, walking that fine line where gravy becomes beverage.) My point is this....even with that weighing heavy on my belt and conscience…I know an .882 save percentage isn’t exactly sizzling.
The Todd Ford, Justin Pogge, Scott Clemenson domino that leads to Andrew Raycroft is troubling. With yet another reason to hate men's groins: number 1 goaler Tosakala and his tenderoni zoni are day to day. Andrew Raycroft as our number one is about as good an idea as the Black Snake Moan video game (for PS2).
‘Kay I’m out of jokes.
Two weeks ago my team, your team: the Toronto Maple Leafs were a team on the road to recovery. On the impressive wingspan of Mats Sundin it began to look like a team with an identity. Secondary scoring, first rate defense, A+ goaltending…the holy trinity right there.
You always hear about captain of captains, the Moose, Messier, calling guys out in the dressing room. Like the roll call at the beginning of Hill Street Blues: Blake, Tucker, Bell, Wellwood, Kilger, Ponikarovsky? Uh...hello...what are you guys doing? Finish a play…injured, not injured…I am not giving a shit.

As the year comes to an end...I would just like to thank my three fellow posters: Greener, Moose and Washingtron (see below) for posting with me and making me look good post after post after post.

Friday, December 28

The Kids Are Alright

Great minds do indeed think alike (and cheer for the Oilers). Washingtron's piece about recycled headlines forced me to dust off a post that I quashed back in pre-season. I know authors at newspapers don't write their own headlines, but what does that really say? If you're a headline writer, all you do is write headlines! C'mon, man. Three words: mail, it, in. How many times do you reckon the crack staff at the Edmonton Sun has dusted off this old gem: "ALES IN WONDERLAND?"

Remember those old disks of 'clip art' you used to buy for desktop publishing purposes? Well, I've come to the conclusion that the writers at the Edmonton Sun and Edmonton Journal have a stock file of headlines that they pluck from depending on the game story.

"Hey who got the game winner for the Oil tonight? Stortini?" Easy...ZACK ATTACK!

What's that? Pitkanen had three points? JONI ON THE SPOT!

What a job that must be. Just pick a player of focus and there's some not-so-clever play on words that these guys can come up with in a matter of seconds.

Dick Tarnstrom pots the winner...TRICKY DICK! Although a headline writing connoisseur would save that for a Tarnstrom hat-trick. Waste not.

Dustin Penner scores in overtime? PENNER FROM HEAVEN!

Sam Gagner scores in the shootout...PLAY IT AGAIN SAM...I mean any moron can come up with that one.

Kyle Brodziak continues his three game scoring streak: HOT BRODZ!

Andrew Cogliano is named first star of the game? VITAL COG

Denis Grebeshkov has his usual stellar game...GREBESH-COUGHS IT UP!

Personally, I'm a little disappointed there hasn't been an opportunity to unveil what is sure to be a headline mainstay: HIP HIP SOURAY!

So there you have it readers, that's all I got. Now it's your turn, we want your best (and by best I mean worst) Oiler or Leafs headlines. Greener has already given me the exceptionally trad, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (Mark Bell). Tell you what, I'm offering an autographed Washingtron head-shot for the best Alexei Ponikarovsky or Carlo Colaiacovo headline. Saucy.

For what it's worth, tomorrow night will be Ethan "Chopper" Moreau's return to the lineup after missing 113 consecutive games. Take this one to the bank for the morning edition: CHOPPING AT THE BIT!

EDIT (6:36PM):
About 45 minutes after I finished this post, I decided to log on to the Oilers website to see if I could get some audio clips about tomorrow's game against Minneso...OH MY GOD!

Thursday, December 27

I Don't Think the Who Even Liked Hockey

Dearest Readers. Imagine my surprise when I logged into HS/HS this mid afternoon to write a scathing dressing down of the current state of hockey media only to find Moose, hero to all, had already done something along those same lines. Great minds think alike and also cheer for the Oilers. Not to fear though! While this type of miniature setback would normally have caused me to not only not write an article but also to never log into the site again, instead I shall forge ahead and instead turn this post-boxing-day day into an anti hockey news pile on. Besides, if Moose and I continue writing two articles a day each for the next three weeks on how we don't like the way our team is covered by the media we will still be about thirty articles shy of Greener's current record. And so...

I would like to officially strike "The Kids Are Just Alright" from the hockey writers lexicon of lame standby cliche's. Today in the Edmonton Sun there were two references to that song in two SEPARATE articles. And this was the second time that this had happened, the other in the Edmonton Journal when Cogliano and Gagner were making their bids. Second time. Let me clarify, the second time that song had been referenced TWICE on ONE day in two SEPARATE articles. That's not including the multitude of times its appeared the rest of the year. Check this out!

Feb 07, Linda Cohn, ESPN "WHO are you? These Pens are Alright!"
Sep 07, Larry Wigge, "In Chicago, these kids are alright!"
Nov 07, Mcleans Magazine "Hockey's new face, the kids are alright"
Feb 07, "Hit on Drury tough to call; Kids are alright"
Mar 07, CanesCountry "The Kids Are Alright"
Nov 07, "These kids are ALRIGHT!"
Jan 07, "Future of hockey: The Kids Are Alright"
Dec 07, "Young unassuming defenders tearing it up for preds, the kids are alright"

That took me three minutes to find. That's one page on google. There are over 9000 results that come up with "NHL" and "Kids are alright" as the search words. That's not including the numerous "plays" on the title. I know I know, newsflash, sports reporters are lazy? They use cliche ridden ridiculous hyperbole? Say it ain't so! But in the ongoing quest by league commissioner Gary Bettman to "grow the NHL brand" by finally expanding to Tijuana or the Sudan where hockey really belongs, there has been a big push on improving the media coverage. Take, for example, the riveting "on the bench" mid period interviews conducted by all FSN broadcasts. I for one was tired of waiting till intermission to hear a heavily accented "its a team effort" from a sweaty breathless Finn. Or, and I'm sure Moose will correct me here, but I believe its the St. Louis broadcasts, they jam a reporter in the teeny space between the benches, where he can't really interview people because of the glass, and he can't really hear what's being said on the benches because of the glass and the fans. All Access indeed! Just a squinty bald guy with his finger in his ear speculating wildly based on the face he saw the backup goalie make while reaching for a gatorade.

What I feel the league should be doing is working with the players to improve their intervieweeism. Cliche answers to cliche questions in the NHL have become an epidemic. This is well trodden ground here I know but my god, I don't even listen to my own players being interviewed anymore! Hockey interviews are like watching a split screen of two people on the phone having two completely different conversations. Gene Principe (that paragon of hard nosed journalism) will fire off a question about a cheap hit in the first, Steve Staios will respond by talking about ice fishing in the off season, Gene will make a hesitant attempt at sticking to his guns and looking for an answer, Staios will barrel forward and reveal that his defensive partner is quote "good" unquote, after which Principe will conclude by randomly singing happy birthday to the play by play guy and we'll cut to commercial to the tune of Roger Daltry informing us that,apparently, the kids are alright.

After watching Sam Gagner interviewed a few days before christmas I turned to my dad and said "Not many personalities in the game of hockey, huh?" The last good answer to a question I heard had to be when Doug Weight was an Oiler. I don't know if there's been anyone even remotely interesting since. That's not counting Georges Laraque. I think he got a free pass because he was mildly retarded and sounded like Andre the Giant choking on a loaf of bread.

So maybe its not the media's fault. Maybe the players are just boring. Maybe it does get tricky to write articles every day for 300 days (if you're a Canadian writer) or 34 days (if you're in the Carolina's) and you're not getting any help from the people you're supposed to be covering. Well that's why I say just quit it. Let the people come here for their "news"! We at HS/HS will endeavor to not use cliche's. Maybe we'll even create some new ones. I'm sure there's something to be drawn about the state of the game from "Love Shack" by the B52's, I'll read the liner notes now... hmmmm. Nope. This might be harder than I thought...

Wednesday, December 26

You Might Be A Homer

I watch a lot of hockey. The "Center Ice" package has made my life immeasurably more enjoyable. At the same time, it's caused me to spend a little more time than I ever imagined pretending I'm a sound engineer. Some of you know the routine, don't you?

1) Pause DVR
2) Log on to
3) Click "Listen Live!"
4) Un-pause DVR
5) Hit mute button.
6) Spend a few minutes trying to perfectly synchronize ten second-delayed audio with action on television.

The commentary that comes with almost any hockey broadcast originating in the United States is unbearable. The broadcast team usually consists of the city's baseball play-by-play man (slumming during his off-season), accompanied by a nondescript former hockey player. Usually a back-up goalie or a colorful 4th liner who can spit out hockey-isms like "That puck has to go deep!" and "That's a good active stick!" I suppose that's all par for the course, but it's the root, root, root, for the home team shit that makes me boil. I don't know about you, but when I listen to a game, I'm not looking for a couple buddies to high-five with after a goal. I want someone to give me information and compliment the action, not jam the Kool-Aid down my throat.

Look, I get it. You're paid by the team, you travel with the team, you've seen most of the team naked in the showers, Jonathan Cheechoo scrubs your back with the loofa - I don't care. As Frank Deford once said, "Never forget that no matter how much fans love their team, they're also the first to criticize...except Greener and Norte". The point is, fans WANT tough love, not a bunch of homers and apologists who are afraid to be critical of players for fear that they'll be excluded from the Texas Hold 'Em game on the plane ride home.

The other day I was watching a game where a player on Team A had a partial breakaway. The defenceman on Team B tried to get back and break-up the play, causing the other player to fall down and lose the puck. No penalty was called. The announcers for Team A were predictably screaming for a penalty shot, and couldn't believe there was no call. I quickly switched over to the other feed for the game, where the announcers for Team B were talking about a "great defensive play." Hilariously ridiculous.

Let's examine some more of the classic signs.

"You might be a homer if..."

You can't be bothered: Nothing shows you're so fundamentally crap at your job as mispronouncing players' names. So let me get this straight - when I'm watching a Detroit Red Wings game, Valterri Filppula just rolls off the tongue, but the best player on my team is named Alex Hemsky? He should be easy to remember, he's the guy who scored the goal that knocked you out of the playoffs two years ago. No? Nothing? Jarret Stoll is not one of the Staal brothers. It's pronounced 'stole'. Andrew COG-LEE-ON-OH. I know it's fun to cop that lame Italian accent and talk like you're from the 'old world' but it's not Cogliani, or Conigliari. For fucks sake, what's gonna happen when he plays on a line with Pisani? The other day the studio host for the Colorado Avalanche told me Steve Avery was called for roughing. Really? At least pick a baseball player who's still playing if you're gonna fuck that up. Note to all broadcasters: The names on the roster aren't an interpretive exercise, full of typos, or open to poetic license. If you can learn the names of all your boys you can learn the names of mine.

You spell team with 'we': "Big faceoff here. We need a goal." No we fucking don't. Stop pretending you're a member of the team. You're a lazy, balding, middle-aged man who's vicariously living his man-love sports fantasy through a bunch of guys who tolerate you so they don't get fined.

You complain about the referee: I know, I know, your team doesn't take penalties. My team are a bunch of cheaters. One night, I actually heard Randy Hahn and Marty McSorley (of the San Jose Sharks) insinuate the referee was fixing the game, and say he "should be embarrassed to go home to his wife and children." The Sharks were losing 3-0. Go figure. The best part about this behavior is it's usually followed by a back-handed apology with about 6 minutes left in the third period. Something like, "Hey, but let's not take anything away from the (insert name of team that's winning). They've played a good game tonight."

I don't get your inside jokes: I don't know what Nicolas Havelid's favorite movie is, how much Filip Kuba's suit cost, or the name of Phil Kessel's dog. Therefore, to me, "I'll bet Steve doesn't think THAT tastes like cinnamon," is an idiotic, and slightly homo-erotic, non sequitur. Hey asshole, don't talk like millions of us aren't in the room.

You call players by their nickname during live play: Remember when Peter, Anton, and Marian Stastny used to play on the same line with the Nordiques? Well, apparently now when a team has two players with the same FIRST name, it's confusing. Which surely must explain why, "Little Joe streaks down the right side and drops it for Big Joe." Or maybe it's because 'Pavelski' and 'Thornton' just aren't cute enough! Do you ever here Joe Bowen call Tomas Kaberle 'Kabs,' or Chris Cuthbert say, "Heater throws it behind the net to Spez?" No, because it sounds fucking stupid.

And, you might be a homer if...

You work for the Minnesota Wild: I hope everyone gets the experience of watching/listening to Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay (an ex-Oiler). Every Brian Rolston shot is a volcanic eruption, every Marian Gaborik pass is a laser beam of perfection, and every Keith Carney dump-in is pure genius. Holy shit, call me when you win something. Anything.

Saturday, December 22


Poetic justice isn’t just some crap movie staring the least terrible Jackson: its a rule of life. Much like, if not exactly like, shit happens. It’s a concept; an idea that gets written in italics. If Britney Spears were talking about it she would be chewing gum and doing quotations in the air with her fingers. If Britney Spears were talking about it she wouldn’t be wearing any panties.
Poetic justice in action occurred 34 seconds into overtime tonight. The planets aligned as Pavel Kubina with a slapper as pure and strong as a glacial stream got it past Vokoun, nothing but net as they say; on the PP to boot. If the Gods of TV at HNIC weren’t so gung-ho to switch the feed over to the Chicago/otowa game I perhaps may have been able to see the replay of the goal. I don’t think it was a tip or a screen. Regardless the W went to the rightful goalie.

Snapping streaks like snapping towels leaves a little welt on your ass cheek. It's called grit. Considering all Bryan McCabe was doing tonight was asking people to sign his cast…I thought we were sound yet again defensively. Admittedly I did catch myself cringing, Aki Berg style, whenever a certain member of the defense corps handled the puck. I wont say who but I’ll give you a hint, his name rhymes with Ozniewski.
Overall I liked their play although 30 shots is more than enough. Once again Toskala makes it look easy and makes JFJ look like a genius. Between you me and the lamppost…Tosakla just moved past Jiri Chra and into a tie with Bunny Larocque for my 7th favorite Leaf goaler of all time.

And Wellwood? With that sweet, innocent face, like a half melted pat of
butter, I could never stay angry at you.I just want to tuck him in and read him
Goodnight Moon. I love you little buddy…ssshhh…
(Gets up quietly, turns off the light, turns on the night light, and backs out of the room)

MacT to Oilers: All I want for xmas is a motherf**king goal!!!!

Merry Xmas! It's me! Washingtron! I'm still alive! First off, I'm sure the two of you readers that aren't Greener (read Greener's dad and girlfriend) have been wondering where I've been. Its been a long stretch without some of my good ole puff pieces about myself. Well, truth be told I was first too depressed by the Oilers terrible start to bring myself to talk about the millions of things that everyone else was talking about. I couldn't think of anything else to type but "Dustin Penner isn't worth the money!" or "Daryl Katz wants to buy the team and I like that about him!". Well with all the injuries finally clearing up and the team starting to be an exciting one to watch every other game or so I'm re-inspired. "But wait!" you say. The Oil have been on the comeback trail for quite some time, why haven't you been writing in the interim? Easy. To spite Greener.

So, as its been one hundred years since my last post I'm going to bullet point a few things out there based on notes I had made over the last few months. I should add, I'm making those notes up. This is mostly gonna be old news. Olde Thyme Newsery. So imagine the gentle whirr of a film projector and read this in your best nasally fast talking debonaire brylcream announcer voice...

  • First and foremost: Newsflash Liam Reddox. You don't get to wear #85. I feel the Oilers have done what can only be described as the opposite of retiring a jersey number. They filthified it by draping it on the most undeserving player in the Oilers system. My favorite player ever to don those hallowed Oil silks, Petr Klima, now stands no chance of having that 85 hanging in the rafters where it belongs. Why? Because its been defiled by that red headed stepchild perennial training camp cut Liam Reddox. Liam, why did you even choose 85!? Petr defected from Czechoslovakia that year, he earned it! He had to rip his nice new winter jacket on some razor wire fence someplace and sleep in the back of a potato truck and wear fake moustaches and leave his friend the forger, who went blind from doing all that close up work, in a barn while he tried to fly to safety in a stolen prop plane! You weren't even born yet!

  • Second and foremost. Chris Simon. Way I see it, no blood was drawn, that's a 2 minute minor. Easy. Calling for more than 30 games? That's just gonna get you on the "To Be Stomped" list he has tatooed on his left ankle.

  • Third. Joni Pitkanen is terrible looking. I am back in Edmonton for Xmas and who should I see at the Elephant & Castle last night after the game but Joni Pitkanen. This was odd because first of all, he looks 16, second, I always think a big tall defenceman is gonna be solid looking, this guy is reedier than I get at a library. Now that's the kinda joke this site's been missing the last couple months. Third, he is currently the face of the "Come watch the Oilers here" ad campaign of teeny table top tent poster type things. So he's in the bar that's using him as poster boy trollin for poon. And ugh. It ain't pretty. His skating stride is the most attractive part about him. I have included a picture of him below. Truth be told though, man he's exciting to watch. Current favorite player on the team. Just don't look too close.

  • I've been wanting to blog about this next thing for some time, though evidently not enough to actually do that. I'm surprised no one else has been talking about it, to me its the biggest thing to happen this season. The trade. Maybe even bigger than when the Oil sent the Great One packing. Sidney Crosby for Alexander Ovechkin straight across. Never in my wildest dreams did I see this one coming! It seems to make perfect sense I guess. Both are rated 99, neither team was doing particularly well, but for Computer George McPhee to talk Computer Ray Shero into this thing is a feat. Needless to say, my NHL 08 dynasty league has been rocked to the core...

That's it. I promise to write more often, and maybe next time I might even write about something real. But probably not. To both of those things I just said.


Thursday, December 20

Moose Droppings

How's The Sewer?

Now, I'm not going to say, "I told you so." I'm going to say, "What are you, fucking stupid? Of course Scott Niedermayer came back." For someone who thinks Kevin Lowe is a shitty GM, Brian Burke sure likes a lot of Lowe's ex-players. Chris Pronger, Todd Marchant, and now Doug Weight. So that was the best deal that the world's greatest GM could make?

Scott Niedermayer is a great player, and I know any deal Burke made would have been viewed as: Asset A for Asset B + Scott Niedermayer, so it will be viewed as a win for the Ducks. But is it really? Why doesn't anyone take this idiot to task? You know, the guy who said Kevin Lowe was running his team into the sewer? I presume by "his team" he meant the Ducks. He scoffed at the contract that Lowe gave Penner, then turned around and gave the same money to a decrepit Todd Bertuzzi, a guy whose career ended as soon as Steve Moore's head hit the ice. In case any of you can't count to five, don't worry, Bertuzzi has 4 goals.

So let's see, in an effort to clear cap space for Niedermayer's return, he first gave away a legitimate starting goalie (Bryzgalov), a move which he tried to paint as an altruistic move on his part to help further Bryzgalov's career. I assume when he waives Sean O'Donnell after the Christmas roster freeze, he'll be adopting a young Sudanese boy to play on the Ducks third pairing. The cap hit is only 33 cents a day.

Now he's traded away Andy McDonald to rent Doug Weight for a few months. That move, plus the small one he'll make after Christmas, will enable him to make the mistake of throwing $5 million at Corey Perry over a long-term deal, plus, it frees up some money if Selanne wants to come back this season. So looking ahead to next year, Niedermayer will have retired for good, he'll have Getzlaf, Perry and Kunitz as the only three guys that can score, no cap room, and he'll be forced to give away more assets for nothing in order to free-up cap space. Awesome. I hope George Parros and his Yanni-esque mustache are ready for 2nd line duty. Shit, that offends me...and I'm Greek!

Alpha Mails

Sometimes, listening to hockey pundits makes me a bit aggressive. I generally think I know more than them anyway, but on those days when I have too much time on my hands I feel the need to prove it. So a few months ago, I e-mailed Terry Jones at the Edmonton Sun after a piece he wrote about Daryl Katz that wasn't particularly kind to the man who will soon own the Edmonton Oilers. It seems particularly relevant again:


You're doing an excellent job of being a mouthpiece forthe EIG. Keep up the good work. It's not at all objective journalism, but who cares, right? I noticed when Cal Nichols was advocating Chris Pronger should divorce his wife, rather than leave the Oilers, you were pretty silent. Are you upset because Katz is willing to do everything they aren't? Spend to the cap, build an arena with his own money and make this team a winner? Or do you advocate the people of Edmonton paying for the new arena? Which, if you listen to a word the mayor says, is inevitable. If you do, then write that in your next piece so we know where you stand.

I admire the EIG for what they did. I always will. But it's time to stand up and lead, or get out the way. You act like Katz is selfish businessman. What are EIG? The ones who don't want to sell, don't because of the brand association with the Oilers and what it does for THEIR wallets. Nothing else. If it was about winning and the fans and the city, THEY would have said the same things Katz said yesterday. Have they ever committed to that, Terry? Or are they just entitled to keep lining their pockets indefinitely because they saved this team once. Anyway...I know you gotta go....Cal Nichols on line two, eh?

Wow, I'm a dick. But you gotta admit, I was right. Nichols even said so in his statement, that it was "time to pass the torch." And what was ultimately the main factor that swayed the EIG partners to sell this time? A restructured deal that resulted in more money for the shareholders. Really? Rich men persuaded by more money? At any rate, below is Terry Jones' reply:


I don't usually save e-mails but I'm going to save this one. When this all shakes down I'll reply.


I'm still waiting for my follow up Jonesy.


Okay...shit happens. And when shit happens, that shit (that happens) is usually the worst case scenario shit. Ponikarovsky and his laissez faire handling of the puck was (we're talking worst case scenarios here) the shit. His stick getting lifted was the happens. Or perhaps the goal was the happens. (I don't know about you but the second Stillman lifted his stick I said "Oh no" out loud.)
Regardless of shit versus happens....what we witnessed Tuesday night was 85 seconds of shit happening. Yes, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Merry Christmas...hope the Goat Horns are the correct fit. But lets not forget, it was the Hurricanes who scored two goals and then won in overtime, not Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Don't even get me started on the officiating (which was so awful I cant believe Kerry Fraser wasn't out on the ice watching Wayne fucking Gretzky circumsize Dougie Gilmour with the end of his stick.)
I told you not to get me started.

Sometimes the Gods just love making shit happen. What bothers me the most is that Toskala doesn't get his rightful W.

(And for what its worth. what bugs me about Chris Simon is that his suspension, although the longest in league history, means he will be back on the ice before McCabe.)


Kari fucking Ramo. Perhaps this is just a paranoid statement but are the Leafs the only team that cant capitalize on inferior goaltending? (I mean Kari Fucking Ramo is 2-4 in six, in the AHL)The fact that Ramo surfed his first NHL game into a W while Toskala once again stands on his head only to receive another L (and thats on top of 5 double pad stackers) is disgraceful.
Note to Leafs....perhaps its a good idea to put some guys in front of the net.

On the positive side. I'm loving Gill and Kubina. And the line of Steen, Stajan and Devereaux have been great too. Most importantly, the PK keeps looking better and better too.
Negatively. Where the hell is Darcy? I was surprised to hear his name called late in the second as I didn't know he was even playing. And is it just me or does Wellwood look like he is holding onto the puck too long? I wont rag on Blake...cos he has cancer.
But the PP? Suffice it to burns when they PP.

Monday, December 17

Chris Simon Leaves Team, Will Be Dropped on Iraq

Thoughtful bon vivant Chris Simon was given a paid leave of absence yesterday by the gentlemen's club he belongs to, to, you know, do his thing, travel a little, and just find himself. I've had jobs in the past where I wanted to do all those things. I should have known that all you had to do to get that was to try to chop someones foot off.

Maybe this is a little TMI, but I've never even thought about it. Never have I been at work and thought, "You know what needs to happen right here? A foot needs to get chopped off!" Not once have I ever dreamed of it. I'm sorry everyone. Your disappointment in me is punishment enough.

There is some debate so far as to how many games Simon will have to lose to pay for his latest act of criminal-genius insanity. Ken, over at the always excellent Hockey Narrative has a great post about the whole incident, and how that debate is shaping up. He suspects that Simon will get nailed, not just because of the nature of the action, but how the whole hockey world is rallying around common sense to condemn Simon's anti-footwork.

Personally I think this is the end of Simon's career. Read up on what he's been suspended for, you'll be shocked. He has a long history of on-ice viciousness. In fact, I think he actually killed and ate Sjohn Podein. If they made a movie about him, it'd get a hard 'R' for excessive violence and it'd be called, "Blood Hunter". Or, "Blood Hunter 2: Kill Shot". Or, "Oh God, He Just Chopped My Foot Off!". No one under the age of 100 allowed without parent.
No matter how many off-ice praises Charles Wang, Ted Nolan and Garth Snow heap on him, the fact is, Chris Simon is a fucking menace in a hockey rink, and for every ten goals he scores he has to try and end someones career/life. I am all for tolerance and second chances, but this is ridiculous. At this rate, I doubt this guy could even be a Philadelphia Flyer.

The horribleness of the crime was really brought home to me by the usually level headed Moose who said to me when we first heard of it, "I'm all for something terrible happening to Jarkko Ruutu, but this is too much." He then went on to say, "Greener, I so, so respect you as a man, a writer and as a hockey player. In fact, I love you. I really, really love you!" True story.

So lets see what happens. The pressure is major on Colin Campbell to get this right. I say Simon gets the season. Then next year, he'll look great in a Nottingham Panthers uniform.

Sunday, December 16

Leafs: Lose Game. Bryan McCabe: Destroys Hand. Kerry Fraser: Still Joke

I watched the Leafs lose in Montreal at Moose's house on Saturday. We had just played a hockey game that morning, and after cleaning up, I met him at his house. I brought over 2 burritos that I just bought at Benito's Taco's, the one on Beverly. I got Moose a bean and cheese and I had the machaca. I forgot Moose's side of rice, but remembered my small guacamole. I brought my own hot sauce from home, just because I'm like that.

We then watched a hockey game where one team (ie: Leafs) were totally in it the whole way save for a couple of awful lucky bouncers like the rotten first Koivu one. When Don Cherry pointed out at intermission that Koivu didn't celebrate the goal because he's unhappy in Montreal, Moose wisely screamed that it was more likely not celebrated because Koivu knew lucky Finnish bullshit when he scores it.
It was one of those games that the score doesn't give a very accurate gauge of how the teams played. This could have gone either way. That's not to take anything away from the Habs; they played exactly the way they had to, for 60 minutes, to beat a team like the Leafs. I've written very well about the Habs before; that they play way, way, way bigger than they are. Like, did you ever see that episode of "Planet Earth" where the ants attacked the tiger? Yes you did. On Saturday night.

I'm now going to write something that everyone in the world knows: Kerry Fraser is a rotten referee, father and person, and he should be forced into a life of drug addiction. It's THE LEAST he deserves. If not for jerk-with-a-mustache Rob Shick, Kerry Fraser would still be the worst ref in the NHL, but the thing that lives under that hairdo doesn't have the credibility he (holy shit!) once had. And thank Christ for it. You get cut from refereeing the Stanley Cup playoffs for a reason, as Fraser did last spring. I guess Bettman actually watched a hockey game that Fraser ruined, which basically means any game he participates in. Bettman then surprised the hockey world by actually doing something right for the game, and sent Fraser back to Philly early for a rinse, blow-dry and set.

Case in point, last Saturday. Andrei Kostitsyn CLEARLY reaches around McCabe, grabs him into the glass IN FRONT OF "referee" Fraser, no call- wow what a surprise, a Leaf gets murdered on the ice and Kerry doesn't call it. Then just to shit on the sundae, the laziest man in North America unless you're a Montreal stripper Alex Kovalev, takes it down and scores. Great work Kerry. And by great work, I mean go fuck yourself. McCabe breaks three bones in his hand and is out for 6-8 weeks. Meanwhile, Kerry Fraser is allowed behind the wheel of a motor vehicle! Where is the justice?!

Carey Price played well again, but wasn't really tested all that much to warrant a second game star by HNIC. The show is already building this kids' legend and all I have to say about it right now is that he's going to look great in a Colorado Avalanche uniform.

Saturday, December 15

Sour Grapes of Wrath

Habs 4, Leafs 1

I'm sitting with Greener having just watched tonight's game, and I want to warn readers for what's about to happen. Hint: It begins with Kerry and ends with Fraser. Greener takes losses hard, I mean at one point when it was 3-0, his girlfriend called him about plans for dinner and he told her he was going to waterboard her when he got home.

So needless to say his heart is currently in as many pieces as Brian McCabe's hand, and his blood-pressure is rising at the rate of Hal Gill's ice-time.

Stay tuned readers!

Thursday, December 13

Back-scratcher? Back-scratcher!

On January 10, in the Roman calender year of 2008, I, Greener, along with a select group of "friends", and 20,000 odd others will be the luckiest people on Earth. That is because, on that day, in a little barn we call Le Centre du Staple, we will be standing in the presence of some of the greatest men on the planet. Socrates? Aristotle? Da Vinci? Take a seat you immigrants, I'm speaking of The Toronto Maple Leafs.

This whole town has been waiting for the Leafs to come back for over 4 years. This is because up until last week, the unofficial schedule maker for the NHL was named Lou Lamoriello, who has been telling his bathhouse buddy Gary Bettman that he doesn't want to play any away games that aren't an afternoon cycling trip away from the Continental Arena (brisk cycling, I concede). You see in the NHL, the fans, the paying customers, haven't been allowed to see who we want to see, no-ooo. The Leafs? Please. Sidney Crosby? Why don't we just dream about ice-cream and rainbows. No, we in L.A. should consider ourselves lucky enough to see Dallas Stars sub-humans Jeff Halpern and Stu Barnes 20 times a year.

OK. Back to before. The year was 2003. The date, November the 14. And awesome Maple Leaf stalwarts Sundin, Kaberle, McCabe, Nolan, Renberg, Mogilny came back from a 4-1 deficit going into the third to take it to overtime 4-4. There were so many Leafs jerseys in the rink that the "Go Leafs, Go!" chant was louder than whatever unimaginable chant the Kings fans said. McCabe looked shocked during warm ups at how many Leaf sweaters were pressed up against the glass, and when he skated past, he tapped his stick against it in appreciation. It was a magical night that concluded with people lauding each other from their car windows as we drove home down Olympic Avenue.

Which brings us to this:

This is a countdown to game time when the Toronto Maple Leafs face the Los Angeles Kings. This is as pure an expression of joy as I can share with you. Please become used to it. You'll be seeing it a lot in the next 26 days. I urge you not to fear its power or exquisite dimensions, but to simply embrace it to your large bosoms. I want you to see beyond its the perfect truth which it represents.

Wednesday, December 12

Posters Desperate to Ruin He Score, He Shoot

Do you know anyone in your life who has a real good thing going and just doesn't seem to do the best things for themselves? Someone who doesn't take advantage of a great situation or just lets the opportunity to rule just pass them by? Well, now you know two.

We have about two dozen people to write posts on two different teams in two different conferences in one of the most prestigious leagues in the world about a game that is played almost everywhere, but for some reason we here at HS/HS just have a problem taking any of those concepts and turning them into what you, the laymen, would call, "A New Post". Or "Something to Read". Or, "Something New to Read". Or "Something New Written By Those Lazy Assholes Over at That Blog I Used to Visit". It pisses me off there aren't more posts. 10 minutes ago when I started this one, I actually said to myself that I should get Loser Domi on here to write. She's someone who puts stuff up. If she wrote 1 thing, that would be 100% more than some people put up here in a month. At the time I was 90% kidding. Dix minutos later I'm 90% serious.


I watched the Leafs/Lightning game today and I don't know what is more perfect, manly and excellent: The way the Leafs played that game, or my current playoff beard. At any other time, my beard would take this one in a walk, but not this time. THAT is how great the Leafs played.
Facing "Worlds Greatest Dad" Vincent Lacavalier, who has 807 points on the year, the Leafs kept him to 2 shots and a -1 in the game; and this is a guy who had almost almost 23 minutes in ice-time.
The Leaf PK kept the T-Bay 0 for 5, while the powerplay looked dynamic for the first time this season going 2/3. That's (64...65...) 66%! Every line scored, including the forth line as Kilger gets two. The bomb pass from Kaberle to Sundin for the breakaway backhander was just so classic for both of them.

7 1/2 WEEKS: Almost as Sexy as You Think

This week (or so) in Maple Leaf hockey. In the tough shit category, the Bruins trapped the shit out of the Leafs and we lost 2 to 1. That was an awful game. So much so that I missed half the game as I got caught up watching American Gladiators on ESPN4. The only thing that bothers me more than never getting the opportunity to compete in The Eliminator against Nitro, Turbo and Laser is losing 2 points to a team in the same division.

Tuesday: …someone remind John Tortorella that he owes the swear jar 10 bucks after this little bon mots Tuesday night, “"They gave us an old-fashioned shitkicking,"
He was right of course. The Leafs did put the boots to the Lightning. Almost as adroitly as Greener’s clever bitch slap that he gave to Moose and Washingtron (see post above).
Most encouraging things I saw were two of the goals scored. Specifically the two by Sundin and Antropov: on the power play no less. Which at something like 3 for the past 36 was about as hot as Ruth Gordon on fake ecstacy. Anyone else hear Greg Millen query, “Can you imagine how good the Leafs would be if they ever got the power play rollin?” Indeed.
And Wellwood’s pass through the crease? Ooh baby. And I don’t really give a care how homo-erotic it sounds when I say I could watch Wellwood cross-crease to Antropov 24-7, 3-6-5.
And I daren’t say too much but Antropov getting his 15th goal of the year. That's all I am going to say.

Reason #3059 Why I love Mats Sundin: First and foremost the look on his face as he skated towards Kaberle to celebrate that perfect pass. (To score his 15th of the year as well. Can you say MVP?) Truth be told the play started with a pass from Toskala. Hey guess what? Perfect stretch pass + Mats Sundin partial breakaway + backhand deke = John Tortorella takes his pocket knife out and slits Johan Holmqvist’s nostril open Chinatown style between periods.
And Chad Kilger? Looking sharp with two goals. For the record Hal Gill, after his two assists in the game, ties his total assist output for all of last season.
Two words; Blake and Stajan.

Two more words: Bates Battaglia
Yet two more: Waivers Wednesday

Below. You do the math.



Saturday, December 8

Bruins Desperate to Ruin Rask

Distant Bruin North Star Tuukka Rask will get to wear the pinnie that reads "It's Up to You Tonight!" against the Leafs at ACC. You know, if there's one thing young goalies really thrive on, it's their team throwing them to the wolves and giving them too much pressure and responsibility too early in their careers. No wait, how does that go again? Oh yeah, throwing a young goalie to the wolves and giving them too much pressure and responsibility too early is the total best way to ruin their careers.

Young goalies are like crocodile eggs. Keep them nice and cool in the nest for a while and they all turn out male. Get a little too much heat on there, and they all turn out female. And with the desperate state of the Bruins goaltending department, I think what we might be looking at a here is a female crocodile.

The Bruins traded for bullet-headed, "What About Me?" award winner Alex Auld this week to stop the bleeding, but they're in trouble. Manny Fernandez is on a conditioning stint in the minors, but with a herniated disc, he's still weeks away. Tim "Tahwmus" Thomas pulled his groin out in New Jersey, so he's out for a while. It's now up to Auld and Rask. A young guy like Rask has got to know he's the future of the team and will want to show the Bruins everything he's got. Boston brass know this but are in too hot a situation to try and time out his enthusiasm. And poor Alex Auld. Once again he's in a three-way dogfight for a long-lasting job, which seems to be his story everywhere he goes.

All this makes you appreciate the pace the Leafs are going at with Justin Pogge. Barring tragedy, he'll not see any Leaf ice time this year, and even then, I bet JFJ brings up Scott Clemensen first. The kid must be chomping at the bit right now watching Rask get NHL experience. Seeing as how the Leafs chose him over Rask, he's got to feel that he's better than the Fin. Which is good, I want him thinking that. Hopefully there's a bird in his ear reminding him that discretion is the better part of valor. No, not that. All dressed up and nowhere to go. No, no. Idle Hands Go to the Genitals. Yes, that's the one.

So Boston's kind of reeling right now. Look for the Leafs to push a lot of traffic in Rask's crease. The Toronto media loved that Rask stood on his head and beat the Boys last time, so the Leafs are desperate not to read those same lazy headlines again.
I think Blake gets a couple tonight. It's time.

UNSEXY POST GAME UPDATE: Rask didn't even play! Awesome! Boston started trapping IN THE FIRST PERIOD! Awesome! Claude Julien keeps his miserable job for another bad-for-the-game day. Awesome!

UNSEXY POST GAME UPDATE 2: In spite of update 1, everything else I said was right on the money. So, there's that.

Friday, December 7

Tonight: Blogging Live From Oil Country!

Authors Note: Oil Country = My Couch

Welcome to a HS, HS first. Tonight, I'll be captivating our readers with real(slow)-time updates from the game between the Oil and Blues. You'll get critical analysis, useless facts, and the odd profanity laced rant that Rod and Morley just can't give you.

The big news tonight, of course, is the healthy scratches: Raffi Torres and Jarret Stoll. MacT singled them out as the culprits in Penguins third period comeback on Wednesday, and has chosen to go with Thoresen and Liam Reddox, who will be making his NHL debut. This is a major story, and big gamble, in a pivotal game for the Oilers.

Here we go...

- Liam Reddox looks like a 13-year-old boy, which seems fitting because the expression on his face suggests that he wants his mommy.

- An early 2-on-1 for Nilsson and Gagner goes awry, as Nilsson entertains the Blues defense with a display of useless stickhandling.

- MOMMY! On his first shift, Reddox takes a feed from behind the net and almost scores on a backhander.

- First Oiler PP huffs and puffs, but no dice. Sheldon Souray is due back next week Oiler fans.

- Shawn Horcoff hits the post; in the 'Newer' NHL that would have scored.

- Ah, the obligatory press box shot of Torres and Stoll who look to be in good spirits after seeing the Oilers first power play.

- Blues 1, Oil 0: Brad Boyes scores his 16th goal of the year! Are you fucking serious?

- Hannu Toivonen looks utterly clueless in goal. He seems bothered by all the pucks that are hitting him. Unfortunately, the Oilers don't seem bothered with firing them into his logo.

- Blues 1, Oil 1: A little bit of Hemmer magic. He draws three Blues and dishes to 'Mr. Hockey' Shawn Horcoff (Gordie doesn't need it anymore, he's like 90), who fires it top shelf.

- Do you think Shawn Horcoff reads the papers? I'm just wondering, because after every goal he turns to the crowd with that "How 'bout now, bitches?" look on his face.

End of 1st: Looks like the Horcoff-Hemsky-Penner line is going to carry a lot of the load tonight. Reddox looks lively; I'm feeling a Pisani goal here.

2nd period:

The Blues trot out their equally sucky PP, and the Oilers kill off a penalty. We'll be 29th in no time.

- Like right now. Liam Reddox draws a penalty with some good work in the corner...

- Well, almost. Hannu Toivonen does his best impersonation of a beached whale in the Blues crease and the Oilers can't put it home through a throng of bodies.

- Incidentally, the only players in the NHL with more goals than Brad Boyes are named Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, Lecavalier, Alfredsson, Zetterberg and Nash. He's been traded by the Leafs, Sharks, and Bruins in just the last 4 years. He'd look GREAT in a Leafs uniform.

- Oilers on their heels as Garon holds the fort; another penalty coming to the Oilers.

- Up pops a graphic on the Blues "Veteran Leaders," featuring Keith Tkachuk, Paul Kariya, and Doug Weight. It doesn't exactly inspire memories of the Yalta Conference, but whatever.

- Cogliano, doing his best Russ "I skate faster than the puck" Courtnall act, can't get a handle on the puck, and a 2-on-1 chance goes by the wayside.

End of the 2nd: Holy it over? If you're bored out of your gord right now, then I'm doing my job.

Hey HS, HS fans! Ever wonder what it's like to get tea-bagged by Norte's two-year-old son? Well, that's just one of the many possible prizes up for grabs in OUR CONTEST. Check it out! The winner will be announced on January 1st, when we roll out our new banner.

3rd period:

- Blues 2, Oil 1: After the 30th ranked Oiler PP did jack shit, the 29th ranked Blues PP delivers, as 'Mr Hockey' Brad Boyes (what has Horcoff done for me lately?) scores his 17th of the year.

- Blues 3, Oil 1: Winston Churchill (a.k.a. Doug Weight) scores his first goal of the year 56 seconds later.

A "must score" PP coming up for the Oilers; 14 minutes to go....they don't score.

- Hannu Toivonen should be an the ECHL. Christ he's awful, and the Oilers are letting him off the hook. Nobody driving to the net to collect the garbage he's left.

- Hey fans, did I mention our CONTEST? You could win lunch with Greener at Tito's Taco's - on you, of course! What are you waiting for?

- Looks like MacT has gambled and lost tonight. The team had been playing well, and after the tough loss to Pittsburgh it seemed like an overreaction to bench Torres and Stoll.

- Blues 3, Oil 2: Gagner jumps on a turnover and fires a perfect shot-pass to Nilsson who finishes with aplomb. 7 minutes to go.

Oilers were staring .500 in the face on Wednesday night, now they need a goal or they'll head out on a tough 3 game road trip at 3 games below .500.

- Blues 4, Oil 2: Cock teasers.

I don't want to blow things out of proportion with 50 games to go, but that third period against the Penguins may have been a turning point in the season. It's tougher for young teams to get those things out of their heads. They need to halt this slide quickly or it could turn into a 5 or 6 gamer.

- Blues 4, Oil 3: Just to make themsleves (and me) feel worse, Marty Reasoner scores with the net empty on a feed from Horcoff.

Wow. Mad final seconds, and a moment that perfectly captures the evening, as Gilbert hits Toivonen's blocker with a shot that the Finn is still looking for. Game over.

Well folks, much like MacT's coaching hunch, I think this has been a rousing failure. Happy Holidays!