Friday, August 31

Leafs Sign Salmalaane...Salmalini...Salmonienien... a New Guy!

The Leafs have signed miniature skill forward Tony Salmelainen. Not a giant of a man, after going from Chicago to Montreal in the Samsonov trade, the Canadiens cut him after about 12 seconds because at 5'9, he outright would have been the tallest player on the team. That would have thrown the team size curve way off for those guys, and they would have had to order a new sweater (size M), and then they'd have to raise the top of the Bell Center doorways, and that's just so much more hassle for Bob Gainey.

So we have him on a one year, two-way deal which means that he'll challenge B. Battaglia and B. Deveraux for a forth line depth job. At worst he'll be a great call-up when, as usual, we go down with 1,000 man games to injury. He'll be a dependable, super-fast guy whose seen NHL games. Can't be bad.

The original report I heard on
Salmelainen was that he's got crazy skills but is a bit soft; perfect for the Euro game, but not the NHL. Now I'm seeing that he has a surprising insanity streak, as evidenced by this report from Finland:

Oooooo-k. So he's nuts, what of it? Take it up with him and you'll obviously get a garbage can in the head. The little twerp can fight too, and I look sooo forward to seeing a feather-weight division death match when he kicks the life out of fellow little-person Mike Comrie.
The gold helmet he's wearing is for the most points on the team or something. It makes him look like Mordred from Excalibur:

Tuesday, August 28

Teams Canada

Next month is the 20th anniversary of Team Canada winning the '87 Canada Cup in Hamilton. This series was monumental for Canadians and hockey in general, and I'm sure we'll have lots to write about it as that date approaches. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll write something because...well, who else is going to do it?
Anyway, thinking of Team Canada's past and present- the Super Series going on right now in Russia- here's a great video of the 2002 version TC winning the gold against Team USA. This game almost killed me watching it, I was so nervous. It was amazing in so many ways: Lemieux could barely walk, and that pump fake on the pass from Pronger for the Kariya goal was so perfect and simple and brilliant. Sakic's wrist shot from the point, Brodeur. Also, listen to how great Bob Cole's game call is! I can't remember when he was better (certainly not since, anyways).
This stuff is so important to me, I have the three game VHS box-set of the series which I've never opened. I've wanted to watch them many times, but I just can't. Still in it's original wrapping. Much like Moose's hymen.

Sunday, August 26

Leafs 07/08 Trailer: Prepare to Get Hard

The five greatest films of all time:

5. Annie Hall
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
3. Modern Times
2. The Godfather Part II
1. The Toronto Maple Leafs 07/08 Season Trailer

Wednesday, August 22

Hey, Pappy! Welcome to Suckville.

Tales From a Beer League...

Fresh off an electric 0-3 start in our Thursday night league, the Pacific Maple Leafs are badly in need of a boost. Instead, Greener's dad is in town and coming to watch him play for the first time. Normally you couldn't put more pressure on Greener than he puts on himself, but this is dad. A former legendary netminder. The man who tried to mold his sons in the image of Syl Apps. The man who actually invented the phrase "Jesus H. Christ" (look it up). How can you not feel the nerves?

So, as Greener suits up beneath the scrutinizing eye of his proud father, sweat dripping down the tip of his masculine Jewish nose, squeezing his stick like 'Espo' squeezing that rose stem in '72, what will happen next?

Will Greener:

A) Embarrass himself, then feign injury?

B) Play a blinder, like Gretzky in Game 7 vs. the Leafs?

C) Leave to go have a steak?

Of course there's always scenario 'D', which sees Greener's dad suiting up to play after our goalie fails to show up for the second straight week. Watch the short side, pops.

Tuesday, August 21


NORTE: Dispatch, this desk. I have something akin to an ice cream headache on my left elbow. You might say tennis elbow, and I might say back to you, thats none of your damn business.

They only thing I hate more than famous people are those people who care about famous people. Let me tell you haircuts something....I don’t give a shit who you are. I have encountered famous people and have been faced by most of them. Meat Loaf told me I suffered from adult acne. Billy Barty punched me in the nuts, twice. Clara Peller once spat in my face. John Malcovich beat up my cousin and made me watch. Al Waxman (who our Canadian readers will remember as Larry King on the King of Kensington. My American readers would know him from Cagney and Lacey, I think he was Cagney) touched me in my special place. But hockey players are different.

I will tell a story that my brother, to this day, will swear on a stack of a thousand Satanic bibles didn’t happen. We’re talking circa November 1982. Eye of the Tiger was quickly replacing Physical by Olivia Newton John as my favorite song of all time. I was 10 and probably the greatest ten year old goalie in the world. Wayne Gretzky was with the boys on the bus in GWG. That’s Great Western Garment, bitches. The previous spring, the upstart Vancouver Canucks made it to the finals. Assistant coached by white flag waver and future cancer victim Roger Nielson. First lined by Thomas Gradin, Stan Smyl and Ivan Boldirev. Free moustache rides via human eyebrow Harold Snepts. That was the year that Dave Samenko head butted Tiger Williams in the clinch. And has there been a more awkwardly named tandem of Glen Hanlon and Richard ‘No Relation’ Brodeur? I dont think so. And incidently Glen Hanlon is a redhead so you know what that means?

I digress. My family were on vacation and staying in a hotel. My father, a man so charming he sweats oil, finagled the wait staff in the restaurant to bring me and my brother our breakfast (Steak and Eggs: the real breakfast of champions) to the room. In bed, as it were. That morning the waitress told us that the Vancouver Canucks were downstairs in the restaurant having breakfast. (They were there to play in the Darcy Rota Invitational. An annual golf game for charity held, (shrugs) annually. Apparently Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) was a big problem in Darcy’s hometown of Prince George until he started the charity.

At the time I happened to love that Vancouver Canucks team. With a jersey so putrid it should come with an apology. I wanted to meet them. Shit…I had bet Gerald Plowman one dollar that they would beat the Islanders that year. Cos I thought they would. As I jumped brother, who my parents put in charge, wouldn't let me go by myself and said he would go with me, only after the Superfriends was over. So I sat there watching him watching the superfriends and as they defeated Sinestro, Grodd and Brainiac, I could feel my childhood dreams slipping away. Wonder Twin powers activate; Shape of a teardrop, form of a weeping child. By the time it was over, the Canucks had moved on.

If you knew my brother, I’m sorry.

I did however work in a shoe store in the 90s and once sold Tomas Kaberle and his lady a very fine pair of pointy stiletto boots. Let me tell you about him. He’s like a gigantic 8 year old. I wanted to muss his hair. He said to me, “Yes…coach tell me shoot more…so I shoot more.”

I was happier to meet him than I was the Pope. Don’t know if that says more about me or the Pope.


Portrait of the Blogger as a Young Goalie

Monday, August 20

Eklund and Hockeybuzz: Plugged In!

Greener here. Just catching up on what's happening in the hockey world, and there's only one place to turn to for that:! When I think of ear-to-the-ground hockey reporting and good writing, there's only one name, EKLUND!:

Wow, it sure is hot out there.... It's weird writing about hockey when it's soooo hot...
Taking the kids to the beach today. Boy, I love my family... They think it's real hot
too! Phew! What a scorcher...

Leaving my phone off to spend time with the kids I love... Boy, I love 'em...
Here are some tidbits I picked up, while manning the phones this morning...

Rumours swirling...9:15 am...
Peca to the Leafs (e4). This won't go away...Where there's smoke...
Kubina to Chicago (e4). The Leafs want prospects, Chi-town's got'em...

Update 9:32 am
Peca to Florida (e4). A source tells me Jaques Martin loves Peca, could be in the bag...

Update 9:44 am
Peca to 'Yotes (e4). A source tells me that Wayne Gretzky has always admired Peca. Wow,
imagine Peca and Doan together...

Update 9:55 am
I love spending time at the beach. I Love it.

Update 10:12 am
Huge deal brewing! 5 teams! Big stars you thought would never be moved! This could
change the NHL as we know it!!!!!!!! More later...

Update 10:17
Kubina to 'Nucks (e4). Two of my sources giving me conflicting says
the 'Yotes (e4), the other says the 'Nucks (e4). Can you imagine a Cup parade down Robson,
it'd be like me and my kids at the beach...

Update 10:21
Peca to Real Madrid (e4). R.M. General Manager Alberto Herreros has never heard of Peca,
but with the loss of Beckham, what choice does he have???...


Friday, August 17

Face Off: Gretzky Edition!

Here's a new feature on HS,HS! called "Face Off!" In Face Off, we'll each describe in agonizing, amusing, and in Moose's article, boring detail about coming face to face with a real, live star of the greatest league of any kind, anywhere, the NHL.

Since this is the premiere article in the series, what better way to start off than with a tale of personal encounter with the premier hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky. Right. That's just what I was thinking, there would be no better way.

The time, 1 and a half years ago. Le place, The Kings' practice facility in El Segundo, California. It was sometime in the mid-morning. I had just finished playing and was in the parking lot loading my car with all my gear. With me, my friend Devo; a slight, sickly, observant type, who, when asked to participate as a writer in this blog, gave it not more than a moments thought and completely refused.

So we're talking away, loading our stuff; Devo using both hands to load his 16 pound stick into the car, when suddenly the Crips or the Bloods decided to roll up and shoot us. It must have been one of them because up pulls the sickest, blackest, 24" rimmed out Range Rover anyone has ever seen. This thing was a black hole for energy. As it sapped up my remaining apres skate strength, I made a brief mental note to try and fall post shooting into a position comfortable for sleeping. As I thought this, I heard Devo quietly say,
"Holy shit, it's Gretzky."
"What?" I said.
"It's Gretzky." He replied.
The Range Rover now parked beside us, the driver door opens and out steps the most illustrious spokesperson the GWG Jeans company ever had.
Now, I was never really a big Gretzky fan. I even hated him after he stabbed Doug Gilmour in the face with a high stick that Kerry Fraser "decided not to call" leaving Gretzky on the ice to score the game winner against The Leafs, thereby not allowing us to go to the final against Montreal. So anyway, that's how I feel about him, but still, it's Gretzky, right?
"Wayne." I call out.
A LOT of seconds go by.
"Hey, Wayne."
Somewhere, a clock in a belltower starts to ring... A snooze button is pressed by a sleepy owner for the forth time... A young child grows another inch...
Gretzky just turned and walked and walked and walked away.
"Holy shit," I said, "I just got snubbed by Gretzky."
I got nothing from ol' Wayner. The Boy on the Bus, Daoust skates, Titan stick, 50/39. Nothing.

That's it for this edition of "FACE OFF". Please join us for future installments which will probably include:

NORTE, talking about meeting, I don't know, some guy once.
WASH, talking about seeing Messier snap Craig Muni's balls in the shower with a wet towel-whip.
MOOSE, who cares.

Watch here as Gretzky pretends to drive a Ford:

Thursday, August 16


Goalers? We don't need no stinkin' goalers!

Thanks to the hundreds of people who flooded my inbox calling attention to the fact that I did not select any goalies for my 'Dream Team'. While that may look like an oversight, it was in oversight. I forgot. But, that only goes to show how highly I rate my team. Plus my coach, Keith Jones, is such a visionary that he likes to play with an extra attacker for all 60 minutes:

Sixth Attacker: Yaron Tilles.

While his NHL career was derailed by drinking, marriage and a general apathetic attitude towards hockey, the former San Diego State netminder plays as a defenceman on our beer league team and performed superbly when we didn't have a goalie and had to ice an extra skater instead. I think he got a shutout by standing in front of the net and miming movements from old Darren Pang highlights. Additionally, Tilles doesn't ever come off the ice, so he's perfectly suited to the role.

If I must...

Easiest Job of All Time

Time for me to weigh in with my NHL Dream Team since everyone else seems to be doing it. Note to you all, were you to jump off a bridge, just swim to your left because here I come! Furthermore, despite the fact that I've handcuffed my team to only people who have ever played for the Oilers, this one was super easy. Blogging rules.

1st Line - Klima - Klima - Klima

Now, I know what you're thinking, Klima at center? Well, with his occasional strength on the puck and sometimes selfless play he'd actually be quite good there. I once saw him pass to another player! Imagine how hard that must have been for him! I mean, you're on the ice, you have the puck, you know that with the tiniest ounce of expended energy you could easily go end to end (a feat in itself when you've never even been in your own end) and yet, whether it was one too many during the pregame skate or losing sight of the puck while yawning and accidentally sending it linemateward, you dip a toe into that pool we all call teamwork. Sadly, you find that this pool has not been chlorinated in a while and instantly remove it vowing never to tread in those murky waters again. Still. Imagine!
2nd Line - Klima - Klima - Klima

A perfect compliment to the strenghts and weaknesses of the first line. And how can a team match up against two all-Klima lines? Answer? They wouldn't have to! At most only two Klima's in six would show up anyway, lulling the opposing team into a deep, dream-filled sleep, a gauzy landscape of sno-cones and puck-bunnies, whilst any of the third line Klima's mails the puck into the net.
3rd Line - Klima - Klima - Alexei Kaigorodov
This one's a no brainer.
4th Line - Klima - Klima - Klima

A crushing, grinding, defensive force and perhaps the one for which three Klima's are best suited considering the amount of time spent on the fourth line when actually sent out on the ice at all. These would be the benched Klima's, and who better to play a semi-defensive role than a talented group of forwards who have nothing to do but watch the other team play. Assuming this line stayed on the bench and didn't wander into the Gold Club section and have at the buffet, this truly would be a line to be reckoned with.

Goal - Jaoquin Gage - Pokey Reddick
There! Done it! Easy! And anyone who dares disagree with this can go straight to hell! That means you Greener!


Fuck You, Howard Berger

I just read another worthless article written by the wretched Howard Berger. A mustachioed load with a pinched face and surely a Molson Canadian golf shirt that he got in a SWAG bag at celebrity pro-am in Thunder Bay 8 years ago. The fact that he's spent 19 years in radio is testament to how shitty a writer he is. I have worked in radio- it is the gutter.

In my summer hockey famine I just desperately want to read fresh posts about hockey and The Leafs, so I end up reading things like Howard Berger. It's like living at the dump; you're not getting any real food, so you eat garbage. In the article, Berger claims that he "laughed his tail off" while reading an article another pile wrote, this one Allan Maki at the Globe and Mail, mocking Leafs fan reaction about an informal Leaf skate at our practice arena, Lakeshore Lions. Apparently - and this is the funny part- people in Toronto love hockey and the Leafs so much that we get excited when hockey season approaches, and we renew our love for our team! Hilarious! What a laugh-riot! Stop, my sides!

First of all, Howard, you wrote an article about another article where you ended up quoting just about the whole goddamn thing. Good "work" dude. Boy are you dedicated! Secondly, just a note of explanation for you and your bro Maki, what the two of you winners mocked right there, that's called PASSION. PASSION is a great thing to have with anything, and an amazing thing to have with sports, you stupid McDouche.
He then goes on to write a sigh heavy bit about how it's the same-ole'-same-ole' with The Leafs in the run-up to the new season. Obviously Howard is out of touch with the concept of passion as he goes on to say,

"'s the same routine every year. The early-birds are swarmed by notebooks, cameras and microphones -- mouthing platitudes about the team and how the coming season will be special. Tucker routinely mentions how he likes the make-up of the group in the dressing room; Nik Antropov ponders a season devoid of injury; ditto for Carlo Colaiacovo. Any additions to the team (Jason Blake this summer) talk for a third time of how excited they are to join a franchise with such a storied history -- repeating what they said the night they were acquired..."

Jesus, Howard, we're so sorry, are we keeping you from something? Passion is clearly what Howard has lost for this game and this team long ago. He's so far past giving a shit, he can barely hide it's absence. What's worse, he actually stoops and mocks people who've never lost the thrill that our team gives to us, win or lose, year after year. Incidentally, all the things mentioned by those above Leafs are the same things mentioned by 29 non Stanley Cup winning teams in August. As well as non Pennant/Super Bowl/World Cup/Formula 1/Iditarod/Survivor squad. That's called the way the game is played. Why is that such a problem for him?

I don't know, maybe I'm thinking too emotionally about this. Maybe I should sympathize with Howard. All he gets to do is spend time watching, talking to, and traveling with some of the greatest athletes in the world playing for one of the most storied teams on Earth. That's tough. Poor guy. But seriously, fuck you.

Wednesday, August 15

Fine. It's me.

Hey Readers!

Man, I have long wanted to greet people that way. It's the second time I've ever done it, the first of course being when I delivered the keynote speech to the Midwest Mentalist and Palmists Association (MMaPA) in a very well appointed DoubleTree Hotel just off Highway 84 near Twin Falls, Idaho. And in order to set the tone of this blog early I will not be making a "palmist" follow up joke. This is not for lack of available options, rather I'm trying to class up He Score, He Shoot! You're all safe with me.

Now, I am an Oiler fan and have been since I was a teensy boy growing up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. My parents were very close with Eva Pocklington, wife of Peter Pocklington, the megalomaniacal-Mr. Burn'sesque-meat-tycoon and former Oiler owner/tyrant. This meant that my first ever Oilers game was one where I sat in the owner's box and ate free popcorn as the Oilers, and yes it was the 80's super Oiler's, won the game and I got to go down into the dressing room to meet the team, have a bunch of jersey's and sticks signed (more on these in posts to come) and shake the hand of Mr. Wayne Gretzky himself. So. What choice did I have? Couple that with the Oilers actually winning all the time. It's like getting born into being a Yankee's fan. You've got it easy from day one! And you don't have to explain that you're actually from Minnesota but have some thin thread of a connection to the Yankee's so you get to cheer for them. Horse Hockey, I say! I had Oiler fan parents and I inherited one of the most dominant teams in any sport in history. Not counting the 1554 Teotihuacan Iron Hawks (pictured right) who won eighteen Goat Head Polo championships in a row. But that hardly counts, they had the great winged serpent Quatziquatl on their side. Now that's a classy joke!

This proximity to the Oiler ownership also meant I had some inside info on a variety of the going's on about which I'll be blogging as we go. I know some things that Peter said about Gretz around the time of the trade. Things that will shock and amaze you! I've got some wonderful inside stories about the greatest hockey player of all time, Petr Klima! I recall with great specificity the collection of Nintendo games Zack Pocklington had, and can describe in detail his awesome GI Joe Aircraft Carrier.

And to anyone worried that two of us bloggers being Oilers fans will lead to repetitive stuff, don't you fret! My posts will differ from the Moose's in that they will be based NOT on well researched fact but rather will be wildly speculative and completely baseless. Who doesn't love that!?

Alright, I'm exhausted by myself. Seeya Readers! My first actual post to come... "Petr Klima, best defector in NHL history?"

Go Iron Hawks!

Monday, August 13

From First to Worst

Seeing as Moose and Norte have taken the time to create their NHL Dream Team, I was super gung-ho on doing my own...for 3 seconds. Until I realized that beyond some disparities, it'd just basically be a combination of both lists; but more like Norte's, as his was funny and comprehensive, and Moose's was just all Oilers with a couple of 70's Habs thrown on for color. You'd just read it and go, "wow, the other guy chose Gretzky as his #1 center too! How readable!" So, I'm just going to flip it.
Moose created his 82-0 squad, so here is a squad I think would go 0-82. The worst team possible. What should I call them...hmm, I don't know, just for no reason, how about "The Moose"?
As you'll see, there are many reasons for my nominations: lack of talent, waste of talent, locker room/chemistry killer, bitch, etc. Some guys are bad, some are "good", but they all have one thing in common: they suck my balls. I'm sure you get it. Have "fun".

Forwards: Line 1:

C- Brent Gretzky
RW- Alexandre Daigle
LW- Marc Crawford

You can just hear the Esposito brothers at the '92 draft talking about Brent:

Phil: "Yo, we gotta da next pick atta number-a 49. Lets take-a da Gretzky kid!"

Tony: "Eh, yo, ah don-no, I hear he's no Wayne!"

Phil: "Eh ca-man, Tone-Provalone, how bad could he be?!"

Bad. When the best thing in your hockey career is playing brother #2 in a cereal commercial, you officially suck balls.

Daigle sucks so amazingly because he has talent but absolutely no heart. None. None at all. Nano-bots pump his watery blood through his body. How can you not fail when, before you've played one NHL minute, you start your career with hubris when you say, "Nobody remembers the #2 pick." Um, well, I remember him. His name is Chris Pronger, and he won the Stanley Cup two months ago.

They say that good players make bad coaches; That bad players coach the best...the exception being Mark Crawford. A bad player and bad coach. The man who put Ray Bourque in the shootout for Team Canada in the '98 Olympics instead of Gretzky. A man whose voice is so high and reedy, if you were in a car with him, you wouldn't be able to hear him because his vocal chords vibrate at the same frequency as 4 steel-belted radial tires.

Forwards: Line 2:

C- Jeremy Roenick
LW- Anson Carter
RW- Mariusz Czerkawski

Where to start with Roenick. A great player, but someone who only cares about himself, and his place in history. He wasted an entire season with the Kings -who brought him in with great expectation- because, get ready for it, HE COULDN'T GET HIS SKATES PROPERLY SHARPENED.

"I was never able to get my skates cut at the angle I need,” Roenick lamented. “I need a different angle than most players, and I never could get my skates sharpened the way I need them and that really messed up my skating. It’s the biggest reason I haven’t been able to get untracked.”

That's a quote. His nothing season effectively killed Andy Murray's job behind the Kings bench. They fired him and brought in Marc Crawford. See above. Roenick gets scratched from games and then leaves the team to go to a restaurant for steak and wine. The Kings then waive him. Somewhere, Hobey Baker begins to cry.

Carter. Disinterested, bored, and lazy. Came to the Kings in 2003/4, played 15 games, and got a point. One point. A single point. ANYONE could go out there and get one point. The puck bounces off you and you get a point! He then went to Vancouver and played with the Sedins. Scored 33 goals with their help. Held out next season, didn't re-sign with them. Maybe he thought the Sedins were moving to Columbus, because that's where he ended up. 10 goals. Nice.

Mariusz Czerkawski. Former Leaf, former Oiler, current loser. Speed, accurate shot, invisible man. Could play, but just doesn't want to. Doesn't really care what happens at work every day. He makes being a loser boring.

Forwards: Line 3:

Chris Gratton
Keith Tkachuk
RW- Colton Orr

Gratton. What an unbelievable waste. A number three pick, he had (has) it all: Size, hands, talent, and A LOT of frequent flyer miles between all the teams he's played for. Does he just not care? Does he just want to get by, cash a cheque and that's it? The answer is yes.

So many people covet
Keith Tkachuk, and I don't know why. He can't win anything, and he never will. Does he look like a captain to you? Not to me. He talks like a winner and never delivers. The type of guy who'd disappear for a year because he couldn't get his stick taped properly.

Colton Orr. Simply can not play hockey.

Forwards: Line: 4:

C- Mike Comrie
LW- Robert Reichel
RW- Cummy Burton

Mike Comrie acts and plays like he was rich growing up. Guess what? He was. He's a little rich-bitch who will never find an NHL home. Teams know about him now, and he will see a lot of 1 year deals for the rest of his "career". This guy is like some shit.

Robert Reichel. After a good start in Calgary, he soon found his dreary form, and wasted a couple of Leafs years. Rob Reichel is the hockey equivalent of ordering a beer in a bar and getting a bowl of cream-of-wheat.

Cummy Burton. You heard me. Cummy Burton.

Hey look, it's Cummy

Defense: Line 1:

LD - Cory Cross
RD- Marty Howe

When he was with the Leafs, I feared for our very franchise every time he went near the puck. Slipped through the cracks at every level. Moose and I have talked about him a lot; we shipped him to the Rangers and they dumped (duped) him over to the Oilers. Moose feels the same as I do, and let me tell you, that never happens.

Was Marty Howe the one with the moustache? It doesn't really matter, because karmically, he was. When your dad is known as Mr. Hockey, you should really try and end up being Mr. Insurance or Mr. Hardware Supply. I would trust Colleen with the puck before him. The Howe family equivalent of Keith Gretzky.

Defense: Line 2:

LD - Gary Suter
RD- Darius Kaspairitis

Somewhere, right at this moment, Gary Suter is cutting someones face open with a high stick. The thing is, he's probably in a movie theater. Hey Wayne, how's your back? Paul, how's your jaw? Here he is trying to chop Andre Lomakin's head off:

Does anyone get less respect from his peers -well, besides Moose- than Darius Kaspairitis? Reviled by players, he brings his whole team down with his assholeness. When you're on a team with a guy like this it's depressing because you know you're going to have to scrum with the opposition to defend him, when in fact you don't blame them for wanting to kill him. He's also here in the hopes that Suter will cross check him in the back during practice and Kaspairitis will then kick his head in.

Defense: Line 3:

LD- Stan Neckar
RD - Lance Pitlick

Can anyone in the world tell me why these two guys were in the NHL? Did they do anything to make a team better? I thought not. If a hockey team is like a house, then Stan Neckar and Lance Pitlick are beige carpeting.


Patrick Lalime
Roman Chechmanek

This could have been easier. I could have chosen any number of Hardy Astrom types who played a brutal stand-up style in an era full of bad goaltending. But I'm going to a more modern level of bad.

Patrick Lalime. Proto-typical Ottawa Senators choker; looks fine for a while, but then, uh-oh, it's ham sandwich time! His death-knell came to me as the soothing game call of ESPN's Steve Levy when he screamed after Lalime's SECOND allowed goal, and Joe Nieuwendyk's FIRST of the opening frame, "...and it's getting away from La-lime early!" True story: When I'm feeling at my worst, when I feel like I'm at my absolute lowest, I think of that, and I start to laugh.

I saw Chechmanek play a lot when he was with the Kings. Every time he went to play the puck, 20,000 people at the Staples center gasped in anticipation of another brutal turnover for a goal. To say that the flags were at half mast upstairs with ole' Roman would be putting it lightly. Lets just say that right now he's living with his Mother in Gottwaldov, likes sitting in the sun in the garden, and drinks a lot of milky tea.

The Dauminator

Oilers hire Rob Daum (finally).

Over the last decade or so, it seems Rob Daum's name has been mentioned every time there was an opening in the Oilers organization. So it was hardly a surprise when they chose Daum to replace Craig Simpson today. Daum has had success at every level, including the WHL, AHL and as long time coach at the University of Alberta. He has held coaching and GM duties with Prince Albert, Swift Current and Lethbridge of the WHL and most recently coached the Minnesota Wild's top affiliate in Houston.

While it was good to see the Oilers go outside the family circle to hire a new assistant, Daum is not without his links to other members of the staff. Assistant Coach Billy Moores coached Daum as a player at U of A; and while serving as Head Coach in Lethbridge one of Daum's assistants was Jeff Truitt, who was hired as Assistant Coach to Kelly Buchberger with the Oilers top affiliate in Springfield this season.

Daum will be primarily in charge of game planning/scouting the Oilers opponents, and prepping the team accordingly. Billy Moores will continue his role in-charge of the 5-0n-5 preparation, while dipping into the special teams along with MacT. Charlie Huddy who was previously responsible for Daum's new duties, will now be freed up to spend more time molding a defence corps which, among the nine bodies, has four new faces and five players with less than 3 years experience.

Sunday, August 12


Hell Hath No Fury Like A Finn Scorned...

Let's do this. Norte's 'Dream Team' got me riled up (it probably sent Jari Kurri off on an eating binge). So, I feel the need to respond with my own. While I will adhere to Norte's rule of players playing their natural position, I'm taking it to a new level. This is a real TEAM, not just a bunch of Hall of Fame inductees lined up at every position. Teams need chemistry; foot soldiers; guys to do the dirty work. Therefore some of my selections may not necessarily be the best that ever played their respective positions, but, they are guys who I feel are/were among the best at what they do/did. Guys with special skill-sets that are intrinsic to team success. Here we go...

Line #1:

LW - Ryan Smyth
C - Wayne Gretzky
RW - Jari Kurri

This might be the perfect line. Before you roll your eyes and call me a homer, consider this: Gretzky and Kurri were at their best with a guy who could 'plug' a little; someone with a little grit. Esa Tikkanen, for example, was the best foil they had. His dirty work as the disturber on that line, allowed them the space and time to work the magic. Mike Krushelnyski once scored 43 goals with them by just going to the net with his stick down. While I considered Bert Olmstead for the prized spot on the left flank, Ryan Smyth is quite simply the best at what he does - retrieving loose pucks, deflections, and collecting garbage. He's one of the best corner-men in the history of the game, and he has no peers in his 'office' in front of the net. Imagine 'Captain Canada' in front of the net and Gretzky behind it. Combine that with arguably the best pure shooter the game has ever seen and this line would flirt with 200 goals a season.

When it comes to building a dream team, you can't have 99 without 17. It's kinda like having just one of the Sedin brothers. Pointless, Norte...pointless.

Line #2:

LW - Mark Messier
C - Mario Lemieux
RW - Guy Lafleur

Silky, smooth skill between a pair of bats outta hell. Most people forget that Messier was a natural left winger that was converted into a center several years into his Oiler career (my scouting department is better than Norte's, therefore this has to be considered the steal of the draft). This line speaks for itself really.

Line #3:

LW - Frank Mahovlich
C - Jean Beliveau
RW - Maurice Richard

After the first two units run you ragged, these three beasts jump over the boards. A trio that's big, strong, and can all skate. Each of them scored a least 47 goals at one time in their career, and each of them excelled in the playoffs.

Interesting note: I once read that Mahovlich, who is considered one of the greatest Leaf players ever, felt that he never reached his potential with Toronto because of the pressure that Punch Imlach put on him. According to 'The Big M', his constant battles with the legendary Leafs coach sapped his enjoyment of the game. The stats seem to bear this out (slightly), as his career best totals came in Montreal later in his career.

Line #4:

LW - Bob Gainey
C - Dave Keon
RW - Claude Provost

The shutdown line nonpareil. Throw these guys out against the other teams' best line and relax. Dave Keon, one of the best two-way players in history, anchors the unit. Keon was a great skater, and could do a little bit of everything - score, kill penalties, and had that lethal backhand.

Legendary Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov called Bob Gainey they world's best all-around player. The NHL practically invented the Selke Trophy to honor him. A great leader, with a superb wrist shot to boot, he also scored over 20 goals four times.

On the right, we have another defensive stalwart in Claude Provost. Provost garnered a lot of attention throughout his career for making Bobby Hull his bitch. Montreal coach Toe Blake assigned Provost the task of shadowing the Hawks winger, which he carried out with aplomb. He once held Bobby Hull to ONE SHOT, in an entire playoff series.

Pairing #1:

LD - Bobby Orr
RD - Doug Harvey

The best pure offensive defenceman and the most complete defenceman to ever play. Orr needs no words. My team has 'dream' doctors too, so his knees are just fine.

Harvey was a leader, a PP quarterback, a shot blocker...he did it all. I once saw him do a spin-o-rama at the point (to avoid a rushing checker) that would make Denis Savard blush...he scored on the play too. Sick.

Pairing #2:

LD - Larry Robinson
RD - Paul Coffey

Robinson was a sight to behold. A huge man who could rush the puck, hit like a wrecking ball, and could be just about the nastiest SOB you ever saw. 'Big Bird' had a long fuse, but when he dropped the gloves you had little chance. My dad (from Montreal) regaled me with many tales of the great Canadiens teams from the 50's, 60's and 70's, but one of his favorite moments came when the Habs met the 'Broadstreet Bullies' in the 1976 playoffs. Robinson destroyed Flyers enforcer (er, goon) Dave Schultz and led Montreal to a sweep of the two-time defending Cup champs. I had never seen it until I found it on Youtube while writing this. Wow. Watch:

Phew, that was fun. Remember bench clearing brawls? Crazy. Oh yeah, Paul Coffey...

A member of the Mensa Society, Paul Coffey rivaled Jean Beliveau as the most fluid, beautiful skater in the game. Effortless. A pure offensive defenceman, he was probably on the cusp of eclipsing Orr as the best offensive d-man (the guy scored 48 goals in one a defenceman!) but lacked the drive to reach his potential. Orr was undoubtedly a better all-around player, but Coffey was near his equal offensively. Blasphemous, I know.

Pairing #3:

LD - Chris Pronger
RD - Scott Niedermayer

Geez, I could have just cut and pasted from the Ducks media guide...

As much as it pains me to say it, Chris Pronger is the best defencemen of the last 20 years, and I don't think it's close. Bourque? Lidstrom? They're good, but Pronger is better. I had the privilege to watch Pronger for 100+ games in an Oiler uniform and I've never seen a player who understands the position like he does. His reads are impeccable, his stick positioning is perfect, and his passes are flawless. Orr and Coffey had physical gifts that changed the game and made them great, Pronger has a mental gift. He sees the game like nobody else and he doesn't make mistakes. Of course, packaging that cerebral side into a 6'6", 240 pound frame with a mean streak and a booming shot doesn't hurt. His only weakness was the leash his wife had around his nutsack.

It's scary to think that Scott Niedermayer might still be underrated. I mean they guy did play in New Jersey and Anaheim. Can you imagine if he played in a major Canadian market? Exceptional speed and agility that made him impossible to beat 1-on-1, and great instincts for the game. A complete defencemen...the modern day Doug Harvey if you will.

Pretty sure this team goes 82-0...unless my coach, Keith Jones, screws it up.

Saturday, August 11

Klima II: The Early Years

Just like our fourth 'mystery' blogger, apparently MIA in Brooklyn, here's a couple of world-class slackers:

Klima (right) playing for Litvinov (in Czechoslovakia) along with Leafs draft pick and former Oiler, Vladimir "Rosie" Ruzicka (center).

Don't Believe The Hype

Tales From A Beer League...

I read somewhere (oh yeah, here) that you can't beat 'Greener' on a face-off. Well, in the midst of our 8-3 drubbing on Thursday night I heard a couple of fans behind our bench making comparisons with NHL face-off king Yanic Perrault:

Fan #1: "For fucks sake, is this guy ever going to win a draw?"

Fan #2: "Yeah, he's not exactly Yanic Perrault, is he?"

It seems you actually CAN win a face-off from Greener. A lot of them.

I don't want to disparage the guy too much, he does in fact have his nights of Jarret Stoll-like magic when he'll go 21-for-23. On Thursday his magic made our puck possession disappear. However, I must say he is very coachable and takes instructions well. Late in the third period, while lining up behind him, I said "One fucking time, Greener!"...right on my tape.

Friday, August 10



NORTE: Dispatch; this desk. Time; well…right now really. One minute ago I was playing air synthesizer to an Electric Light Orchestra song. A minute before that I was I was thinking that I wished I could breakdance. 28 seconds before that I was thinking about Breakdancing. Three hours ago, I put on a belt. At around noon, I took a pee pee. Right before that though, I thought that I should…that I would…at some point today and just for the record, regarding my all history dream team, write down their stats. Their best stats from their beast season. Pure numbers. Like the Dewey decimal but far less interesting. So here it is: carry the one bitches. Carry the one.

RW: 1968 – 1969 model/ 58 GOALS, 49 ASS

C: 1981 – 1982 model/ 92 GOALS, 120 ASS

LW: 1952 – 1953 model/ 49 GOALS, 46 ASS

RW: 1983 – 1984 model/ 56 GOALS, 65 ASS

C: 1988 – 1989 model/ 85 GOALS, 114 ASS

LW: 1976 – 1977 model/ 56 GOALS, 80 ASS

RW: 1971 – 1972 model/ 43 GOALS, 53 ASS

C: 1968 – 1969 model/ 76 GOALS, 76 ASS

LW: 1981 – 1982 model/ 64 GOALS, 83 ASS

RW: 1991 – 1992 model/ 53 GOALS, 37 ASS

C: 1979 – 1980 model/ 53 GOALS, 84 ASS

LW: 1954 – 1955 model 36 GOALS, 36 ASS

D: 1970 – 1971 model/ 37 GOALS, 102 ASS

1985 – 1986 model/ 48 GOALS, 90 ASS

1983 – 1984 model/ 31 GOALS, 65 ASS

1978 - 1979 model/ 31 GOALS, 70 ASS

1976 – 1977 model/ 19 GOALS, 65 ASS

1976 - 1977 model/ 12 GOALS, 66 ASS

1956 – 1957 model/ 6 GOALS, 44 ASS

1999 – 2000 model/ 20 GOALS, 53 ASS

G:1997 – 1998 model/ 43 WINS, 17 LOSES – 1.89 GAA

2000 – 2001 model/ 40 WINS, 13 LOSES – 2.21 GAA

Thursday, August 9


NORTE: Dispatch. This desk. I’m wearing a pink shirt.

1988 was a leap year. It was also the same year that the Soviet Union began its program of economic restructuring, Perestroika, with legistration initiated by Premier Gorbachev. Also that year we were struck by the tragedy in Taiwan when President Chiang Ching-kuo suddenly died in Taipei. But secretly and guiltily happy for ingoing Vice-President Lee Teng-hui. That year even God was shocked when on his television show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart confessed to an unspecified sin. It was later revealed to be an affair with a prostitute named Debra Murphee. Said liaison making Swaggart leave the pulpit. Temporarily.

And of course who could forget that at the same time The Great Seto Bridge was opening to traffic in Japan, the Oscars were being swept by Bernardo Bertolucci and his Last Emperor.

On a sadder note: Amazing Spiderman #300 was released that year. It featured Spiderman’s first fight with his arch-nemesis Venom or Eddie Brock.

But the most memorable. Certainly the most tragic, much much sadder them the death of thousands of protestors in Burma, now known as Myanmar during anti-government demonstrations. Was the news that broke the morning of August 9 1988.

I was in a Shoppers Drug Mart shoplifting a bottle of Paco Rabanne cologne when I caught the front page of the paper. The crumpled tissue, bloodshot eyes, Slavic nose, wardrobe by Alexander Julian. I promised Mess I wouldn’t do this: Wayne Gretzky, fancy dresser, hometown boy, corporate shill, greatest hockey player ever. That’s ever, bitches. Ever. Traded to the LA KINGS. I felt like I got kicked in the nuts. And I knew, even then, that I would never forget that moment.

Moose Droppings...

Random thoughts from Oil Country:

- Simpson Joins HNIC

More than a few fans rejoiced yesterday when Assistant Coach Craig Simpson decided to return to the broadcast booth with Hockey Night In Canada. The man who was universally blamed for the Oilers' inept power-play last season, now becomes the second best broadcaster in his family, behind his sister Christine. In truth, Simpson took too much of the blame for the PP woes and got none of the credit for the PK, which was ranked #1 or #2 in the league for the majority of the season. The Oilers have started the search for a new Assistant Coach whose primary job will be to master the phrase "Hemsky to Souray."

One of my lasting memories of Craig Simpson as a player came during the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals. With the Oilers leading the series 3-0 but trailing the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 4, Simpson scored to tie the game just moments before the famous power failure in Boston Garden. Because the score was tied, the game was called and the series switched back to Edmonton where the Oilers were able to complete the 'five game sweep' on home ice.

- "He's Ricci Ugly"

After careful calculations, I've determined that I think about the Edmonton Oilers 37% of the time I'm awake. With that kind of quantity, you've got to surrender some quality. Today I was thinking about who the worst Edmonton Oiler of all-time was. I'm pretty sure it was Gord Mark. Playing just 30 games from 1993-95, Mark impersonated an orange cone on the blueline, and bore a striking resemblance to the character 'Sloth' from the movie "Goonies" (not to be confused with the character 'Chunk', from whom you should never take legal advice, lest you end up 'blogging' for a career).

- Glenn Anderson

On several occasions I've had conversations with people (okay, Greener) who seem to think the players of today are much better than past generations simply on the basis of athleticism. This usually leads to Greener embarrassing himself by talking in inferences about the 80's Oilers, which he never saw play because he was too busy walking the streets of Soho in his beret, and painting "Chinese Money." But I digress. If there is anyone out there who thinks those Oilers couldn't stick with the Ovechkin's and Crosby's of today, I give you Glenn Anderson. Skilled, fearless, speed to burn and more jam than this.

It's a crime that this man is not in the Hall of Fame:

I Promised Moose I Wouldn't Do This

19 years ago today.

Also: Gretz TOTALLY snubbed me in the Kings practice facility 1 year ago.

Go Norte! Go Norte!

NORTE: Dispatch; this desk. It's Wednesday and that stabbing pain from yesterday has now moved from my neck to my pancreas. Norte is the name, please don't wear it out.

(Pause for applause)

Today I was walking with my 22 month old son and he and I were chatting. I must tell you that we were also dressed exactly the same; black low top converse, army fatigue shorts, ironic t shirts. We knew we looked good. We were discussing who the all time greatest guitar player ever was. We were agreeing to disagree, realizing that ones man's Eddie Van Halen is another man's Yngwie Malmsteen, when one of us…I wont mention who, (me), brought up the idea of the all history dream team. And before you go and bastardize Abbot and Costello and say The Who's Pete Townsend's on first…let me tell you that we are no longer talking about guitar players…we're talking about the NHL here bitches. That's the National Hockey League, national.

The bigs.

At one point during the conversation my son fell asleep. I continued walking with him of course. Cos seriously no matter how hard I shake him, he just won't wake up. (Just in case you didn't know…that was a physical abuse joke at my own expense.) Regardless…as we strolled past the discount nail salons and sex shops, amid the clutter that's exactly the same in every city on earth, I began to amass my dream team. A few times I lost track and began to wonder just how many sex shops are needed on one city block….because let me tell you…I walked past a lot of them. Also, no pun intended but, there is a huge market in rubber penises. If I had a lot of money, that's what I would invest in, rubber penis production. So amid the sexy accoutrement in the windows as we strolled past, the lines began forming in my head. My only proviso was that they had to play their actual positions. Of course the names started coming at me. And let's face it; some names are more obvious than others. To take a page from the sex shops, Gretzky, for example, would be handcuffs. Mink lined. Michel Goulet on the other hand, as a selection, would be Nipple Clamps. I mean he had a moustache, didn't he? Marcel Dionne would be anal beads: small ones. I won't even get into the Pocket Rocket. Regardless.

My first line would consist of…on left wing, Bobby Hull. I heard he would practice in the off season by shooting pucks made of iron.

On center: It's Gretzky. No two ways about it. The greatest. Put the word in italics. The greatest.

On right wing. Gordie Howe. Would you really want to follow the puck into the corner with Gordie fucking Howe?

My second line (which I have dubbed The French Connection line) consists of…on left wing: Mr. nipple clamps himself, free moustache ride Michel Goulet.

Center: Mario Lemieux. Another obvious choice I know…he's like Gretzky. A set of handcuffs….pardon me, les handcuff.

Right Wing: The Flower, Guy Lefleur. Two minute for looking so good. Are you kidding me….him coming down the wing, sans helmet, his gorgeous toupee super glued down. That summa-ma-bitch can give you a knuckle sandwich, a Stanley Cup ring on every finger.

Third line: Sergio Momesso…no…just kidding. Hey right here I would love to say Jari Kurri…cos I am so needy that I want Moose to like me. But since they have to play their actual positions…I'll say Frank Mahovlich.

Centered by the Trashman! Or is it trashcan…? No it's the trashman. For all Esposito did during the summit series alone. Up to, and including this:

Right Wing. Mike Bossy. For some reason I feel sorry for Mike Bossy. But he was amazing. Almost as good, in the early 80's with that Titan stick, as Gretzky. I heard he was a chain smoker and smoked between periods. That's kinda awesome. Mike Bossy at the smoking door.

The 4th line: Look a dream fourth line left wing would be Gilbert Perrault or Sittler…fuck Ron Francis, Adam Oates (who I think is underrated) but…it's gotta be a true left winger. I have to go with Gary Roberts here. There are better scoring left wingers but I'm going with Roberts. Centered by another guy I feel sorry for. Drafted number 2 behind Lafleur. Marcel Dionne. The man literally was the top of a hockey trophy tall. I heard he collects everything he can find from mid 20th Century Danish designer Børge Mogensen.

Right wing…I really really wanted to put Mike Gartner here…another choice could be Jagr. But I am going with Maurice Richard.

On defense: 1. LD Number 4, Bobby Orr. RD Number 7, Paul Coffey

2nd. LD, Mr. Raymond Bourque. RD. Dennis Potvin.

3rd . LD, Big Bird, Larry Robinson. I heard that when the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 76 -77. They were invited to meet then President Gerald Ford…and Robinson wore a brown tuxedo. He also had a moustache. Beside him I have to go with my hometown boy. I have one word for you Borje!

4th line: Doug Harvey and Niklas Lidstrom.

Goalies. If this was based on who had the wickedest mask…it would be Mike Palmateer hands down. Sadly we have to expand the criteria…so I am going to go with Martin Brodeur and Pat Roy.

Wednesday, August 8

Talkin' Bout My (post 67) Generation

In the 1990's I remember once seeing an almost comically overweight man wearing a t-shirt, Christo sized, that said: I MAY BE FAT BUT YOU’RE UGLY AND I CAN DIET.

I've never forgotten him or his shirt, which used a complete bolt of fabric to state, louder than anything else I’ve ever seen ironed-on, that this man was happy or at least satisfied with mediocrity.

There is something special about being satisfied with mediocrity and by special I mean the way fish served in restaurants on Monday becomes Friday's Lunch Special special. And by that I am not suggesting that mediocrity is a strictly piscine concern. Rather that, like 5 day old salmon, it stinks.


Minus the fact that not accepting the middle of the road usually means you get labeled a troublemaker and a bad influence from an early age, I think in a strictly hockey schematic, not accepting mediocrity is precisely what separates the bandwagon from the jumpers. As one of the post-67 Generation I’ve been force-fed mediocrity like an ass-sandwich my whole life. And an ass-sandwich, no matter how you slice it, still tastes of ass.

As a Leaf fan, it's MLSE (the worse acronym to hit Toronto since SARS) that are the terrible lunch ladies serving us this current steaming bowl. Let me tell you, even a mountain of salt can’t make Jonus Hoglund, for example, taste anything other than what he was: canned potatoes. In a purely Dickensian way, let me say to MLSE, "Please sirs, I don’t want some more".

The Leafs remind me of the James Bond franchise: while they were once Sean Connery, right now they're Timothy Dalton, and even the theme song is crappy. The last time they were any real threat was 93, and that team was like a mid-period Roger Moore – a little older, surprisingly good but a little too close to ridiculously lapelled jackets and leathery skin for my liking. Of course in that one Kerry Fraser stars as the villain allowing Gretzky to basically perform a bris on Dougie. My wrath is still incurred on that one; I have keyed that man’s hairdo a thousand times in my head.

I've loved this team my entire post '67 life, and doing that has left me eating more crow than Lance Armstrong. But I mean, what are you gonna do? Watch curling? A sport whose only cultural significance is that it’s the only time you’ll ever feel comfortable hearing the word "H-aaaarrrdddd!" screamed on television while sitting with your Grandma.

Tuesday, August 7

My Top 5 Hockey Moments With Moose and Norte

Ahhh, Moose and Norte, I wouldn't call them "friends" so much as I'd call them "two individuals I co-write a hockey blog with". Two men who are interesting in their own right, just not to me.

Here are 5 hockey related moments I've shared with these, people:

5. Moose Ruins New Jersey

Now this doesn't mean that he ruined the state of New Jersey, although he could. He just f'd a new jersey I got. The same jersey as his, as well. We had our team jersey's made up, and while practicing, he hooked me from behind, and scratched a 5.5 Modano swath across the logo. Hey thanks pal! Great work!

4. Playing NHL '03 With Norte.

Visiting him, and playing an ancient version of the NHL series while his wife and baby slept behind us. Trying not to freak out and wake everyone up as we scored genius goals. Trust me, we scored genius goals.

3. Moose Misses Primary Assist on Championship Goal

Just for fun Moose and I joined a team a guy he works with has. They needed help and we gave it to them, getting them to the final. Overtime in the last game, I'm on the back door and Moose sends a cross crease pass to me, right on the tape...that is if I had tape on my ankles. I whiff in vain at the "pass" as it goes by me into the corner. I turn around, dig it out, and send a bullet right on the stick of my winger who taps it in for the championship winning goal. We didn't talk the whole way home.

2. Greener/Norte go to HHOF

We went to the HHOF in Toronto and had a fantastic time. One of the highlights in a day full of them was when we did the goalie simulation thing where you have to stop five pucks "shot" at you by Gretzky and Messier on the fly. We told the guy to set it to All-Star. I did well, saving 4/5. Norte ruled by scoring a perfect 5. I have pictures of it which are a little blurry because I was laughing so much.

1. Giving Moose a Concussion

Moose actually has skill in hockey, and occasionally makes a good play. After one of these moments, he came to the bench and I tapped him on the top of the helmet in praise. Suddenly Moose goes out and it looks like the Red Wings bench when they had to V-Fib Jiri Fischer. He played the rest of the game in a haze and seemed mad at me for hurting him on purpose. My feelings about it were, since I was getting credit for it, I wish I had.

So there's my top 5. Looking back, Norte is a rad guy and is hilarious fun to hang out with. Moose lives near me and plays Defense.