Wednesday, October 31

a (home game) + b (lose by 6) = c (bag skate)

Paul Maurice bag skated The Leafs on Wednesday and if you don't know what it means to get bag skated, then clearly your boss has never tried to kill you. Reading a post about bag skating is as close as fatso's like you and me will ever get to having our lungs pulled out through our thighs in a freezer by a guy named Paul.

Coming off their latest ACC points-punt, The Leafs were punished the worst way known. No, not by having Washingtron show you and your girlfriend how well developed his quads are, but by repetitve, body-killing skating drills. There's a scene of it in the semi-true/everyone in it but the lead is Canadian movie, "Miracle". When Kurt Russell skates the players over and over saying "Again". That's what The Leafs did today, but with turns. And less plaid jackets.

Does bag skating work? Don't know. It could be seen as a team builder, like "Look what we went through! Wow, we made it! We're warriors!". It might be used as a preventative, like, "Hey let's actually try to win this game that we are playing instead of fucking around in front of our fans who've suffered enough, because if we don't, we might get bag skated!"

Here is some footage shot of the what The Leafs went through today at Ricoh Coliseum:

Tragically, right after this was filmed, Ivan Drago appeared and killed Rick Ley.

Monday, October 29

Lowlights of Lowlights

Well, Fuck. There's a game on my Tivo right now. Apparently the score of the game is: one team 7, the other team 1. One time when I was 10, I was wrestling with my Dad and he accidentally hit me in the balls. I cried for about 20 minutes. I wish I was as strong as that boy right now.

I Tivo'd the game while I was at work and looked forward to watching it all day, and why not? 2 game win streak...and a good two game win streak, not the bad kind. Wait, is there a bad kind of win streak? Whatever. Two great games played by a team finding itself after a rough start and some shitty injuries.

I didn't watch it right away, I got home and ate dinner first, not wanting to be distracted with petty things like basic human sustenance. Upon finishing, I began to get ready to have some fun. Leafs game. Yes! But seconds from starting, my phone rang and I had to take it so I went into my office. While on the phone I mindlessly clicked around on the internet. One of the clicks was a hockey news site I look at. The second it opened, this headline hit me in the eyeballs:

Caps cautiously optimistic after thrashing

My mind raced. Panic in my brain: What?! Who?! Thrashing?!

I realized that I had just read something about the Leaf game I was about to watch. Not wanting to ruin the game for myself, I of course read the first line of the article:

There's nothing like a 7-1 victory to turn a season around - at least, that's what the Washington Capitals are hoping.

At first I was pissed that I now knew even more about the game. My mind tried to take that piss and turn it into lemonade by reasoning that:

  • a) The Capitals had gotten thrashed by the Leafs, yet were strangely optimistic about it.
  • b) That the Capitals were going to take this unbelievable road beating as a positive, and were going to use that as the turning point for the season.
Christ, those Tony Robbins cassettes have really paid off for Glen Hanlon. He's such a ray of sunshine! He's the type of person you see on daytime talk shows saying that getting a terminal disease was the best thing that ever happened to them because now they see what life's all about! Wow, inspirational!

I went into the other room and told my girlfriend that I was pissed off because I knew the outcome of the Leaf game: that they'd murdered the Capitals 7-1. She thought I'd be happy. I wasn't. How many times do you get to see that many goals? Not many. There were lots of games I'd seen the opposite happen to the Leafs, and I had to be surprised live by every single one of them. But now? Thanks a lot asshole Universe!

An hour later I was over it and put the game on. A bad omen was presented to me when the wizards who run NHL Center Ice decided that the Leafs TV broadcast of the game would be too entertaining, insightful and professional to carry, so instead they play the local Washington Comcast Sportsnet broadcast. Oh yay, that means I get to watch a pre-game package about Steve Eminger! Did you know that his game day meal is chicken and pasta, and that his favorite color is brown?!

The puck drops and I wait for the Leafs to begin padding their stats the action to start. The Capitals score first on a Leafs give away up the middle to the slot that would shame someone in MY league, and the Caps instantly put it behind Vesa Toskala. Alright, no problem. The article said 7-1, that's their 1. Now, on to the 7!
31 seconds later Jason Blake and the King of Kings Mats Sundin get together and allow Ponikarovsky to score. Nice. Fists pumped, I am digging it! Jesus, 6 more of this feeling? Who am I, Johnny Depp? I laugh at Olaf Kolzig and command him to take his 43 year old ass back to New Zealand or wherever the fuck he's from. This is the ACC, Kolzilla, it's going to be a long ni oh no the Caps just scored again.

I instantly realize what has happened. I press pause, and go into my office. I click on the link again and read the rest of the first paragraph:

"...we've played like that for the past four or five games," said Capitals coach Glen Hanlon after his team dominated the Maple Leafs 7-1 in Toronto on Monday night. "But the pucks just weren't going in."

Oh. Oh I see. It was the Leafs who...who uh, got thrashed. By the Washington Capitals. Right, right. I understand now. The Universe has taught me an important lesson. I feel like Alanis Morissette.

And here I have sat since that time. I'm going to bed soon. I have to work in the morning. I've just ordered some Tony Robbins cassettes for the car, so that'll be good. And tomorrow I'm going to call the New Zealand consulate, and see what it's like down there this time of year.

Sunday, October 28

Highlights of Highlights.

Imagine, if you will, my blog entry today like a scratch and sniff sticker that is all sniffed out. What I mean by that is that due to circumstance beyond my control I had to yet again watch Game In An Hour on Leafs TV. Now I am not complaining. I love watching the Leafs play and not to sound corny…but I would take them anywhere at anytime, quite frankly, I would take the Toronto Maple Leafs home to meet the folks.

The problem is that I missed Game In An Hour....and had to catch the highlights of the game. So I may be purple but I am no longer grape, you know?

Anybody who knows me knows how much I love watching the games best live. (Jersey on, representin the 416 (and the 905, 647) If you can’t be there live then the next best thing is Hockey Night In Canada. A show so good it’s tied with Arrested Development as best show ever. And anyone who feels that way knows how egregious it is to miss Coach’s Corner. And no disrespect to Harry Bowen, holy mackinaw, I love that man like air, but HNIC…that’s the show.
So forgive me for writing a blog on some highlights but I love writing this.

I think you can tell a lot about a team when they are down. And last night I was happy to see that the Leafs looked relaxed down the one goal. They weren’t running around and that looked good. I love when I watch the game and nobody looks like a passenger. It’s simple. Play like this, win the game.
It’s great to see that our young guys are coming through big for us. Nice to see John Pohl score, and like Tlusty, another game winner. It was a wicked shot too. The short pocket, the OHL corner, as it were. It was an ugly shot…like funk played well on the bass. John Pohl must see Tlusty and Gamache in his dreams. He impressed me with that goal scorer’s goal.
And is it just me or does the A look good on Antropov…it may be too early to order the solid gold cuff links…but he sure looks like an assistant captain. I agree with Greener, Antropov looks important every time he is on the ice. And ladies and gentlemen...(and by that I mean gentlemen) mark November 6th on your calendars…it’s the day that Mark Bell returns. It’s a game against the team from ottawa so you know it’s going to be good.
As a real Leafs fan I can’t tell you how good it feels to wonder where you’re going to put Mark Bell. How you are going to fit Kyle Wellwood in. Where Darcy will go when his knee heals. I wonder at what game Carlo Colaiacovo will return...look great for a period and a half and then get inured. I heard that he lives in his mum's basement and all he does all day is eat chips and watch the Price Is Right.

And Jeers to the Rangers...proof that you cannot purchase chemistry.

Saturday, October 27

Leafs: "Ohhh, You Need the Defense to Play Too? Why Didn't You Just Say So?"

What do they say? The best offense is a good defense? Or is it the best 'D' a good 'O'? Whatever it is, the NHL's best offense went up against the best Defense in New York tonight. And while it's part of Newton's Law's that states that equal opposing forces produce no motion, you throw in Pavel Kubina's best game as a Leaf and the active sticks of Gill, Woz, and White, and I'll show you some motion! It's in this bottle here and it's labeled Leafs 4, Rangers 1! Actually, it doesn't say that, and that's lotion, but still, Leafs 4, Rangers 1!

What an unbelievable difference when everyone comes back and helps out. Considering the Leafs are without their #'s 2 and 3 defensemen, things were steady for most of the game save the first period, and even then there was no panic as the Rangers shot 11 times at Toskala to the Leafs 5 on Lundqvist. Gill didn't look great at first, I've seen decks with less lumber, but he stood strong from the second out and blocked a bunch of shots in the third. Ian White looks smart-I mean on the ice- and he's become super trustworthy out there in all situations.

Vesa Toskala is now finally the Leafs #1 goalie. Paul Maurice said that no one would take the 1 spot until they stole a game for the Leafs. While Toskala didn't have to steal this one outright, he did do the hockey equivalent of dining and dashing by keeping the Leafs well in it until they started to play the way they can, and going on to win the game. Even when things are crazy in his crease, he always seems to know where the puck is and where he is in relation to the net.

Also: I'd like it if the Leafs could start now on a 70 game road trip. No, I'm just saying.

In a sideways related note: Who the hell is directing the Coaches Corner segment? They've got an entire set to play with, yet the camera's pushing in so tight that it looks like Ron MacLean is in Don Cherry's lap. A few weeks ago, they must have had the camera locked off because the tops of their heads were cut off for 6 minutes. On the upside, we had the entire lower third of the screen to peruse one of the tables they have for sale this season at The Brick. It was only after one of Don Cherry's video's did someone realize how shit the shot was and re-set the camera. For such an open ended segment it's ridiculously claustrophobic. God forbid that Cherry has to hold up a pair of pads or a picture because that means Ron MacLean has to leave the room.


We're lucky enough to be getting a lot of new readers to He Score, He Shoot!. We really want to encourage everyone of you to let us know who you are, where you're from, and what you like (Me, Norte, Wash), and what you hate (Moose). I know hate is a strong word, but it really, really applies here. So please get back to us. We really appreciate your coming.

Thursday, October 25

Dear Leafs, Please Stay Like That For 71 Games. Love, Greener and Norte

I'm not sure if I can outdo Norte's game summary found below (what can I do, the little prick can write) but I'll try. A fucking Goddamn great game played by the Leafs tonight. All segments of the team did their job, on a team that often figures someone else'll take care of that. Scorers scored, Defense got sticks in the way and cleared pucks. Toskala looked smooth and confident. And everybody came back to help out every one else.
What can you say about Jiri Tlusty, seen here living all of my all of his dreams. 19 year old kid gets called up and scores two goals in his first NHL game. That wrist shot to the far corner for his second goal was an unbelievable. It exploded off his stick and had to be hit perfectly or Fleury makes that save. He looked great out there with Steen/Stajan/Gamache (who I'm starting to do drawings of during class on my binder).
Along those same lines, I've been happy watching Anton Stralman. He wasn't out much tonight, but played 15 minutes on Saturday, including overtime and never looked out of place. The knock on Stralman is that he has absolutely no physical dimension to his game. Well, the only thing Thomas Kaberle hits on game night is the hay after the game, and I don't hear a lot of complaining about him. Besides, the kid has to get the feel for what it means to play over here. Give him some time to get bigger and fully confident and we'll see what happens.

Nik Antropov looks important every time he's on the ice. I know, it still surprises me too, but game after game it's there and I'm getting used to it. Look, if motherfucking Dan Cleary, who was taken one year ahead and three spots after Antropov can wipe this jiz from his jeans and be hailed a great player and a difference maker, why can't Antropov? Pat Quinn resisted all kinds of offers for him for years, most memorably from the Flyers who wanted to trade Eric Lindros to the Leafs, but Quinn never budged. Is this why? Wait, don't answer because I don't care. It's just great to see.
Antropov has taken truckloads of shit from the Toronto press and selected asshole fans over the years and I've never heard him complain or badmouth anyone. He deserves this success. The Leafs deserve this success. His patience with the puck going to the net on the first Steen goal was so beautiful. That's how important players look in games.

As always, Mats is just such a stud and I want to put him inside me. He does more with his back to the ice than most players do at full stride on a breakaway. He makes me so proud he's this team's Captain. He just IS a Captain. Every team gets one, but very few teams have one. It's like the difference between a house and a home. And Mats is home.


A big ‘atta boy’ to Jiri Tlusty for scoring two goals in his NHL debut. The first Leaf to do so since Nikolai Borschevsky. And a game winner to boot. Looked like he had some speed which is always nice to see in a Leafs uniform. That sweet cross ice pass from Kubina (nobody is more shocked than me) that Tlusty caught and took off. Bamn...sweet, smart deque. Solid shot. To quote Tlusty himself (after tonight’s game) “Kubee make pass, I take puck get goal, happy team win.” Gezundheit.

To me this was the most important game of the year. After the game against Atlanta. This is the confidence builder. The game to build the season off of. Great way to start a road trip. All signs seem to be pointing to yes. Because I truly believe that this is the real Toronto Maple Leafs. This team. Keeping a team like the Pens to 25 shots.
Anybody else getting the feeling that Steen tying the game was not only great for getting the Leafs back into the game but also a huge goal for Steen himself?
I also gotta say that I love the youthful enthusiasm that Tlusty and Gamache display and bring to the line up. They are and it is the perfect anecdote to the Leafs right now. Remind them to have fun. And side note to the organ player at the ACC. Blister in the Sun is the absolute worst song I have ever heard to rally a team and crowd. Particularly playing it as poorly as you did tonight. Twice in the third period. The only name you need to know in Sports Arena inspirational music: 2 Unlimited.
Regardless, it was definitely Hall Gill’s best game of the year. Perhaps playing more minutes is the key to Gill’s success. I thought defensive zone coverage was particularly good tonight. The back end was terrific (sexy) and all three zones were really clicking tonight. The third man was perfect (not sexy). I also think that this was their best period of the year (kinda sexy.) And Toskala at a .920 save percentage looks like the real deal number one goalie that he is. (Just please don’t play the puck anymore.) And as usual Captain Toronto, soup schiller, denture wearer, a man so white that cocaine tells him to get a tan, Mats Sundin. 75% on face-offs. That’s just gorgeous numbers. God bless you Mats Sundin…you and all who sail in you. When he and Kaberle are all bang bang…pinpoint, half boards to the point…it’s my favourite cycle since Lance Armstrong last won the Tour. I wish Mats Sundin was the President of Canada.
I even liked Paul Maurice’s tie. What else can I say? Welcome back Devereuax.

Wednesday, October 24

MacT to fans: "Everything's fine!"

As the great scholar and poet Fry from Futurama once said, "Nothing's wrong with anything." And I'm sure that's where Kevin Lowe and MacT thought up the poison being poured into the ears of Oiler fans. I know its early in the season but last nights game, amidst all the foufarou of Smitty's homecoming, stood as an important benchmark for me, a game I'd circled at the start of the season and not just because of the return of the human hair waterfall. The team has been plagued by the same thing which plagued them since the loss of their C'less captain, a lack of heart. I know, obvious yes? But if you look at the games so far this year, unless the team is down and desperate we're not seeing any emotion. There are still no hits save for when Zack "I was the WWF's Brooklyn Brawler in the early 90's" Stortini is on the ice and sure, there have been some slick moves and moments of excitement otherwise, but boy oh boy, this team doesn't have a heart. It doesn't help that our hopeful heart replacement has been sidelined by a nagging ankle, or that our hometown hero (of being overpaid for having a disease) is out forever, or that our veteran stud free agent signing is now on the IR list, OR that the majority of our team is comprised of elementary school kids. But I've seen it, the talent is there. So surely on this night, when the old soul of our team showed up, surely THIS game would be the one we've been waiting for all year. Right? RIGHT!? Nope. First period, no one shows up, Oilers fail once more.

Back in that glory year a little ways back all our semi-vets, Stoll, Horc, etc, played wonderfully! Career years! What did that team have that this one doesn't? Okay, yes, the best defenceman in the league, sure, but I value that SOB for more than his play, it was his leadership that made the difference. We had Smitty leading by example, Pronger leading by example and with his voice, and Peca/J Smith/Roli leading in a variety of ways. Now, what, Ales Hemsky with an A?
So, we were lacking that leader last year, we're sure as heck lacking it this year without Los Mulletos, so we need to look to our coaches, right? Surely MacT can chuck us on his back and carry us to the promised land, right? Two points. First, power play. Yes, its been dismal. Barren. Worst ever. An embarrasment. It loses us games and momentum. And our answer to that? Keep on plugging away! Lose Pitkanen and Souray on the point? Put in Grebeshkov and Stoll and keep shooting from the point! Hey! Put Hemmer up on the half boards and then everyone else stand in non-shooting positions! Like two guys behind the net! Then, when Hemmer skates to the faceoff dot and back he can.... pass it down low so we lose it! Or, up to the point, so we can shoot it from there some more. Have there been any adjustments? Have we tried working from down low like Calgary did when they destroyed us with the same play four times? Nope! Half boards, point shot, half boards, point shot. You gotta know Simmer's tickled that it ain't his fault anymore.
And the second point relates directly to that mention of the Calgary game. We got scored on the exact same way, and there were countless other opportunities from the same play, over and over and over again Where's that adjustment? Did Calgary crack the code? Turns out there's one play where if you carry the puck behind the net and pass it in front there's no defending it. They finally found the foolproof way to score! Like the one timer in ever iteration of video hockey ever! Darnit! Leave it to Keenan. Come to think of it, I've seen goals against from that same play in at least three games. Is that the defencemen or the coach? Where does that blame lie?
It feels like the team is stagnating. We've had a huge swing in rosters over the last 8 years under MacT's tutelage and we've failed pretty much every year with the exception of the year we had the best defenceman in the league on our team and career years from the entire roster. So what's the through line here? I hate to say it because I enjoy the guy's interviews and the fact that his skin matches his hair perfectly, but maybe MacT's gotta go. And don't tell me that its early, and that the team is plagued by injuries, and that its a young team, and blah blah blah. Our players are not playing to their potential, none of them, is the entire team just having another off year? Gee, tough luck for us! Or does there have to be a shake up? What do we have to lose other than the rest of our games?
I dunno, what are your thoughts?

Monday, October 22

Leafs: Take Penalties, Get Injured

Yes, the Giant from Twin Peaks had called it. It is happening again. The Leafs slow and steady fast and furious rush to the trainers table is well under way and proceeding nicely. Our number two center our number 3/4 defenceman and now our number 2 winger and heart and soul player Darcy Tucker is out with knee damage. Question: Do other teams get injuries? I've never heard of any. I don't hear about other teams that get hurt the way the Leafs do. A few years ago Michael Renberg almost had to have his hand cut off because of an infected blister he had got aggravated while tying his skates. The Leafs led the league in man games to injury and yet Howard Berger is allowed to walk around with his hair parted in the center. Where is God now?

The Leafs cannot stop taking penalties and therefore won't stop losing. If you give teams 10 power plays, you're going to lose the game. That's how this all works. On Saturday against Chicago things were rolling along great for a period and a half, looked good. Goalie making saves, scoring, hey, short handed! Blake awesome, Antropov wicked, Steenoh god it's 5 on 3 powerplay. Kaberle breaks his stick on the kill, goal. Thirty seconds later, goal. Two goals in 30 seconds. We're running around, we lose 6-4.

Anton Stralman is called up for Tuesday against the horrible Thrashers. Toskala probably starts. The Leafs will win. 4-2.


(For what its worth I have to begin by apologizing that its me again. Its disgraceful actually. So because of it I will begin with a few cheap shots at my co-conspirators.)

Any real Leafs fan is gonna tell you that they bleed blue. I would at least. And perhaps there is some truth in that as I can validate that real Edmonton Oilers fans, Moose and Washingtron, are indeed, oily. Cheap shot, yes. Truth, yes. And I know Greener well enough to know that if he could only stop googling his own name long enough he would agree too.
So losing Darcy Tucker is balls. No matter how you cut it. One game, one week, two minutes. Those are seriously man lost games when he is not on the ice. The question is…how could Darcy Tucker not be your favorite player, regardless of team affiliation?

Darcy and his bum knee: the knee the other joints are suddenly calling Bobby Orr, is out with the mysterious indefinitely injury. A word that always makes me think of that scene in Three Amigos, “infamous, infamous’. Tucker who described the injury as "slight damage to some ligaments.” Also promised us, an eye-brow cocked like Roger Moore’s, “It's nothing that's broken or anything so hopefully it'll heal quick." I believe he also said that with an English accent.
What scares me about the word indefinitely, especially when it comes to the Leafs is that like the ubiquitous upper body injury, indefinitely, could mean one game or the reason our once promising first rounder was let go on waivers 5 years later. (Ring, ring. Hello Carlo Colaiacovo, its Norte…do you wanna go to Square One Mall and buy some shoes at Aldo?) Seriously though Tucker, Colaiacovo, Wellwood, Bell. If that’s not the roll call for a rallying point…then there is something wrong in that dressing room.

I don’t really want to talk about the other night’s game. Suffice it to say that it made me sigh a lot. One thing that bothers me about games like that is how they’ll suddenly start shaking up the lines because of it. I like Gamache a lot. And he and Stajan looked good most nights (although I must admit Darcy looked like a half inflated balloon on some nights). All bets are on about who will fill Tuckers role on the line. Most likely Boyd Devereaux (who is coming off his own injury woes.) On the first power play unit. Well that’s anybody’s guess.
I will hold any further comments…until after tomorrow’s game. I will say that I think the goaltender tag team should stop. I think its time to put Toskala in and keep him in. We have to come up big…and by a big I don’t mean scoring 8 goals. I mean score three and maybe give them one. No penalties. Its Atlanta…there is no reason we couldn’t all be thinking the S word.

Dr. Hans Brimmel. Inventor of the shut-out. (Dr Hans Brimmel inventor of the shout out not pictured)

Thursday, October 18

I have heard of fashionably late, but this is ridiculous.

One thing you dummies don’t know about me is that I buy Leafs jerseys. I like Leafs jerseys. I have a lot of them. I don’t like new jerseys either. And by new jerseys I don’t mean New Jersey’s…I mean second hand jerseys. Jerseys with personal baggage. I once bought a sweet away Vaive for ten bucks in a Goodwill in cottage country. I have a Valk for crying out loud.
But my new favourite is a sweet Clark home jersey I bought this past pre-season. For some reason I am kind of proud to say that I only paid 99 cents for it. And yes it’s a little big and admittedly the sleeves are deceptively short. But its quality workmanship all the way. The name is perfectly stitched on as are the 17’s…all three of them. Best of all…it’s a C. My first.
It’s become my sweater of choice to watch the games in, and before you ask, Yes, I do wear a Leafs jersey every game…what’s it too ya? Wanna fight about it?
That’s even if that’s a Game In A Hour on Leafs TV (which is on in like fifteen minutes so I gotta make this brief) On Saturdays my two year old son and I wear matching jerseys (although sometimes he is in Maple Leafs pajamas.) If I had a pair, I would wear them too.

I avoided the Leafs game against Carolina. Thankfully I was spared having to go through that by a taunting email from a fan of the team from ottawa. One thing you can always count on from an ottawa team fan is their inherent asshol-ed-ness. A beating as bad as we received that night, they couldn’t not gloat. I did however catch the game against the Islanders. And the Pens. And Montreal. My point is this…and I gotta make this brief cos the game is on in like 2 minutes. I like a lot of what I am seeing. I love the way Gamache plays, thinks, interviews. This kid really impresses me. As does Stajan…who is very good friends with a very good friend of mine…I met him in a Sunglass Hut once. He was playing in St John's at the time. He was just some little kid. Come to think of it it was in the same mall where I met man-boy Kaberle.

I like the way Sundin has been playing. Although he was on the ice for a bunch of horrendous goals the other night. I thought Sundin lost a step last season. It looks like he has it back.
They’re a frustrating bunch because when they look like they’re having fun and its clicking…they’re a good team and fun to watch. And then they’re just suddenly all wrong. I often catch myself saying oh no to know one in particular. Defensively they’re horrendous. Kabina was starting to remind me of Aki Berg out there. He’s been much worse than McCabe (who I will get to in a moment) And man-child Kaberle looks lazy out there. That’s the first time I have ever said that about Kaberle. Who I still say has the best first pass in the NHL. The Pens made them run around. But forgive me Leaf Nation but I really enjoyed watching Crosby play. I am thrilled that he is going to be on many Team Canada’s to come.

What has bothered me is how, and did anyone else notice this, the teams we were playing kept starting their back ups with us. And I know that’s not like intentionally walking a guy in baseball seems disrespectful. Speaking of goalies. I think both have played well. You can’t really blame either Toskala or Raycroft outright. Toskala looks like the real deal most nights. His positioning is amazing. He reminds me of Ed Belfour when he was playing well. Perfect positioning. And Raycroft looked great the other night. You certainly can’t blame him for the loss. This leads me, of course, to Bryan McCabe. The last guy to score on a Leaf net minder. Just in case you didn’t catch it…Bryan McCabe scored the winning goal last game. Yes…now seems like the perfect time to jump at him. Throw insults at him. Boo him everytime he touches the puck. Bring up his salary: something like that at 7.12 a year…he should be Chris Pronger. Something like…at 7.12 a year…you get could 16 Simon Gamaches. Something like at 7.12 a year you could get the Sedin Twins, an Ovechkin, 2 Francois Beauchemin’s and still have room to be able to get Marcel Hossa to call Marian Hossa and bum some money off him. All for 1 Bryan McCabe. Yes you could think all that…or I could for you, as I just did, your welcome. But don’t. This is the time to rally around him. I’m sorry that’s just how I feel. McCabe needs our love right now. I am glad he is on my team and not your team….and it’s only a real douchebag that would say the things that are clearly bothering him. The things that made Darcy come out and defend his friend and teammate.
He will bounce back. And every real fan knows that. McCabe died a thousand worse deaths (because of that goal) than you and anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand hockey or sports or competition in general. And by the way you’re not really that welcome back on the Leafs bandwagon (…from which I will not jump) when you jump back on. These are the same people who booed Larry Murphy right out of a Leafs jersey.

LARRY MURPHY (Larry Murphy not pictured)

Wednesday, October 17

Lack of faith in Oilers proven accurate by Oilers faithful

Ya ever hear the one about the seperated shoulder? Its children went on to murder the pets! Obscure enough for ya? Shablam dear readers. Obscurity is what I'm here to deliver. And if potentially ambiguous divorce jokes aren't enough, I'm actually going to use that very lame opener as the thesis statement for the following short but probably awesome article.

Yes. Stud defenceman and shots (wide of the net) leader Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely with a seperated shoulder. Its gonna be tough to get a lot of flex in the stick with that joint on the fritz. Evidently he suffered it on Hockey Night in Canada against Vancouver last saturday. I could've imagined maybe a badly burned face from being so embarassed, or even maybe a sprained eyelid from rolling his eyes back in his head after every whistle, but no, the ole shoulder bones ain't what they used to be and now we have no masterful power play quarterback... oh wait.

So maybe this looks bad for the Oilers chances in the near future. In an uncharacteristic move I'm going to try a little positive spin on this and put forth that it may actually help the team's power play a little. It will certainly force them to find some other option on the PP, which is something they've not been prone to doing. The opposing PK will just be standing up around the blue line around Steve Staios (cleverly wearing the number 44 and sitting on Ladislav Smid's shoulders in a classic sheep in wolves clothing maneuver) wondering why the puck isn't there all the time like in every one of the last games. And Sheldon has rapidly risen to the top of the own-zone-giveaway-turns-to-game-winning-goal or OZGTTGWG stat so we may even be a little better off in our own zone. In trying to pronounce that stat out loud I choked on my own tongue, died, went to heaven and was tasked with returning here to continue my vague observations and scathing repartee on what is shaping up to be another one of those years for us. Wait. That might not have been heaven.

Good luck fellas, you're gonna need it...

Tuesday, October 16

A Week to Remember!

Oh what a week this has been! I've got good news, and better news. To start, the good news. I just started a new job which is awesome! The only thing that doesn't turn my frown upside down is that because of it I've been super lax in posting, which is bad, but I'll change that. And now the great news: Well you know it by now! First, we lose on HNIC in overtime by putting it into our own net! THEN, I wake up and find myself married to Moose, someone I once saw a homeless guy give money to. THEN, to cap it all off, I get criticized in print by Washingtron, a guy so lazy he brings crutches to the airport so a middle-aged Mexican woman can push him in a wheelchair to his gate. Oh! My Word! My's just spinning!
(Fanning self)

A Thousand Pardons

Hey readers! just wanted to pass along some apologies from the other posters here at HSHS, who apparently can't find time in their "busy" schedules to come in here and jot any of their precious thoughts down. There ARE new posts coming, I've been assured. I'm assuming it has something to do with the fact that both teams we endeavor to cover here have been crapping all over themselves thusfar into the season. Well, that and the fact that Moose and Greener (pictured below) have run off to Canada to get married, and if I'm not mistaken Norte is their best man. Way I hear it, in more ways than one. So wish them your heartiest congrats, and we'll talk soon!

Thursday, October 11

Steve Downie Hits NHL Checking, ends its career...

Hello Readers!
After watching the first four games of the NHL season, well, the Oilers first four games, I'm sorry to report that as far as hitting in the regular season goes... Prognosis Negative. In four games I've seen exactly one, ONE hit. Detroit defenceman Somebody-or-other sorta pushed Sam Gagner backwards as he was skating in front of him. This didn't stop the FSN Detroit play by play guy from expounding on the "huge" "hit" laid out on "Hemsky". They showed the replay fifteen times and the guy was still saying Hemsky. You could see Gagner's name on his sweater for heaven's sake! I digress...

The complete lack of hitting has been responsible for the Oilers lacklustre performance in the past two games. It's a rare occasion to play dump and chase and win possession just by skating at the puck and not at least bumping anyone. I vote for calling it dump, bump and chase. Also, as my BFF DJ Luigi said recently, you can't properly forecheck without laying any body down. I believe I paraphrased that, because "laying any body down" sorta makes it seem like he was coming onto me, and I don't think he was. Point being, as he said and I agree, I'm sick of seeing Penner charge into the zone and love tap the defenceman with the puck. Isn't he supposed to be a big bruiser? He is great at using his body to maintain possession but I've not seen him hit a single player, make them hear footsteps (which are louder when wearing skates), force mistakes! I'm looking greatly forward to seeing Penner step up and be the power forward he's been billed as. Standing in front of the net ineffectually does not count.

And yet I'm not panicking here, the Oilers looked pretty bad the last two games. Again, I steal from my friend, "They looked like when you go to the bathroom and forget to pause NHL 08 and you come back and the computers been having their way with you." But somehow, only losing 2-0 against one of the best goaltenders in the league doesn't sting so bad. Considering all the chances they had my worries are alleviated in so far as our goaltending is concerned. Last year Roli started the season out great as well, I remember Kelly Hrudey showing a replay of a save and saying that Roli's glove hand was the best in the division, even better than Kippers! The fact no one in the studio agreed is not the point. He looked good. And this year with Garon playing well behind him I'm not worried that burnout will be a factor the way it was last year. So, y'know, we got that going for us... which is good.

I digress again! Man, you start out trying to write a post about the state of hitting in today's NHL and you wind up writing about your own team's recent woes. Bah!

In the first four games, I've seen one hit. That's counting both teams. Its the reason Raffi Torres is stinking, the reason Penner's not as involved, one of the reason's our defence is having so many troubles (the defencemen being the other reasons). It's got me wondering if it has anything to do with the two big hits in the preseason. If the needle's swung too far the other way now, where player's are "respecting" each other to the point of playing bullfighter defence (ole!) and never finishing checks because what if their head is down? What if they turn into the check? What if you get sent down to the minors with a career long suspension? Case in point, Derek Boogard didn't injure a single Oilers player last night. I didn't even see him hit someone! That's why he wasn't out there much. The Wild had the game in hand pretty much from the start, there's no way he was as bad a liabilty as the Oilers PP was. And yet, he wasn't out there running ruffshod over a tender, gentle, miniscule, baby bird crop of Oil youngsters, softening them up for the next 7 games they'll play againts each other this season.

So what. Right? I guess its better that these players don't have to worry about having their heads taken off. Yeah, a big open ice hit is fun to see, in a slow motion car crash or any episode of Jackass kinda way, but is it really worth it? I put forth that it is! Hits are important! We're constantly making rule changes and adding perks and removing danger for these guys who are making millions of dollars for playing a game! The stakes should be that high! Gone are the low salaries, but gone too are any of the bummers of the job! No more busrides and per diems, no! Chartered private planes, the best hotels, catered foods. Optional pre game skates! More offensive zone to play in! The fanciest dressing room in the league! Free parking at the coliseum! Smaller goalie equipment, but extra pads for everyone else! More referee's so no one gives you a boo boo behind the play! No high sticking, no elbowing, no charging, no crescent kicking with the blade out, no boarding, no checking from behind. So, have millions of dollars, free food, more days off than on, summer off IF YOU'RE CRAPPY!, and we'll do our best to make the job as cushy as possible, k?

That's just my opinion. Well, I'm off! Late for an appointment with my therapist!

Wednesday, October 10

Cancer Can Be Beaten. Also, So Can Howard Berger

There's a very powerful video on TSN right now. It's about the cancer/hockey connection, and how the disease has impacted our game. The segment is wonderful. What you think will be sullen and tragic, is amazing, positive and full of hope. Cullen, Lemieux, Koivu and Kessel are all NHL'ers who've faced cancer and beaten it. Your heart soars at the end when Darren Drager speaks of the current conditions of those guys. All cancer free. Please watch it here.

I'd love to place the blame on The Leafs 7-1, uh, loss to the Hurricanes on Jason Blake's cancer announcement. I'm not sure how having your friend and teammate crying because of a cancer diagnosis isn't supposed to be a distraction. Jesus Christ, when a rumor of a trade surfaces, teams lose focus and lose. Only the most fervent of Leafs haters could lose sight of that possibility. Yes...I'm right, because Howard Berger did.

Lusting to be validated by someone, anyone, he does it himself, by going, "Hey everybody! All summer I was telling you that The Leafs sucked, and look, there's proof!" because they lost big at the ACC. To further his "point", he actually goes back to last season and quotes a bunch of blow-out loses the Leafs suffered over the course of the year, because of course, only bad teams get blown-out. Hey Howard, what happened to The Leafs during the '82 season? Oh my God, that '47 squad really sucked balls! Howard Berger is the type of guy who always gets invited to a first party, but never a second. As a teenager he probably challenged girls to arm wrestling contests, and rubbed their noses in the loss.

The Leafs were listless and never appeared in it. Toskala made some good saves, but the endless power plays are going to catch up to you, and with that in effect, the game just went from bad to worse to ridiculous. Sparkplug Simon Gamache has been called up, and Paul Maurice did a lot of line juggling at practice today. Ponikarovski was hurt during some contact with Chad Kilger, so we'll see if Gamache steps in to his spot. Anton Stralman, already must be realizing how smart he was that he didn't go crying back to Sweden when he didn't make the team out of camp, because he got a call too. The Islander game tomorrow is a good one to get re-set and find their form.

Leafs fans always get criticized for "planning the parade route" when the team wins. Isn't it equally ridiculous to eviscerate The Leafs for a loss? Especially after only 4 games of the regular season?

Monday, October 8

Hockey 2, Cancer 0

Desperate Disease Turns To Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Mario Lemiuex. Saku Koivu. Now, Jason Blake.

In the aftermath of learning the news today, I was taken back to what now seems like a very bizarre conversation I had with Greener on Thursday. Following the first two Ottawa games, I said to him, "Blake didn't look very good out there." He said, "In what way?" To which I had no real substantive response. "I don't know, he just seems a little off - not like himself. Maybe he's nervous." To which Greener said, "Or maybe he has Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia."

In all seriousness, I only make jokes because Cancer has affected me and my life very deeply (as it has Greener). Sometimes, being light hearted is a remedy no doctor can provide. It's likely that Cancer has been a part of your life in some way too. Whether it's a loved one, a friend, or just someone you admire, the disease has probably affected you or someone you know. If it hasn't, it will. It's just an unfortunate reality of living on this planet. Blame it on our toxified environment, the industrial revolution, Howard Berger, whomever you like. But take a few moments and devote a thought, not just to Jason Blake, but to all your fellow human beings who face this disease - and do something good for the planet today.

Good luck, Jason.

Keeping Things in Perspective

Writing a hockey blog is fun, and it's great to be able to directly insinuate that the Montreal Canadiens have a collective Napoleon Complex or that the female division of the Gillette family of products really needs to do some test marketing in the Ottawa area.

It's awesome to rave about a great performance or goal, and rant about overpaid defense or slow glove hand. But the reality of the situation is that Jason Blake has leukemia, and that is extraordinarily bad. I don't mean it's bad for me, Leafs fanatic. I don't mean it's bad for the team, who need his goal scoring. It's just goddamn bad for a guy and his family. It's a rare form of it called Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, which apparently is not as malicious as other forms of the disease, so that's a plus. Also it was caught early, so there is that.

When you first hear about it, the Leafs fan in you rises to your throat and you are tempted to consider the long term ramifications of this situation. But then thank God, reality takes over and you do away with with such small minded thinking like a hockey team is the most important thing in the world. At any other time I'd fight to tell you that. Now though, whatever.

I wrote about Fernando Pisani getting sick a month or two ago, and now Jason Blake. Take a second to give a thought about those two guys, who work like dogs to give us some pleasure from our respective teams. Put some good energy out there, don't yell at someone today, and, I don't know, send $5 to the Canadian Cancer Society or something.

Toronto Maple Leafs (Greener) continue to get bad news

I am not a heartless man, and this is not a comedy post. I don't have the balls for that just now. I saw this as I checked my morning Edmonton papers online and thought I'd for sure see something about it on HSHS but as there isn't, I'll just report it.

Jason Blake has been diagnosed with leukemia.

Now according to him and his specialists there is no reason to expect he won't be able to play and continue to for a long time to come. It is a highly treatable form of the disease and as such doesn't seem to be worrying him altogether.

One would think THAT would give me free reign to scat and beepop all up and down Greener's face about the man games missed and the IR curse that seems to hover over the leafs like the pre-pubescent star of an elementary school production of Peter Pan, just crying and wetting itself. Thankully, I have more respect for humanity than that.

In all honesty, I'm sure everyone here at HSHS is sending their well wishes and positive thoughts to Jason and his family. And to a lesser degree, to Greener and Norte.

Saturday, October 6

OK, This is Some Bullshit

Alright, this was the cover of the lowest common denominator newspaper Toronto Sun yesterday. This is after the first two games of the season, where the Leafs took the Eastern Champions, and one of the most deadly teams in the league to two one-goal games:

Ok. This is some fuckin bullshit. You cannot absolutely tell me that this wasn't something that was planned in advance. This is some of the most cynical, biased reporting I have ever seen. By cynical I don't mean that it isn't positive and gung-ho about the Leafs chances. I mean that it is so clearly thought up to take advantage of a situation and exploit the passions of the Leaf fan base who have no option but to coin up and sup from the trough of such slop. No option because this is the only thing that gets printed about the Leafs in Toronto.

I only realized this after I moved away. The hysteria that surrounds the team astounds me. The microscopic detail that each and every move the team makes is claustrophobic at best, strangulating at worst.

I've written here before about the typical Toronto media response to Leaf woes, and I especially wrote the shit out of this article about its main asshole proponent, Howard Berger. A man who right at this moment, has spaghetti sauce in his mustache. There is such a culture of "EVERYTHING WITH THE LEAFS IS HORRIBLE! RUN!", that I'm not surprised that fans go apeshit during free-agency, or that they do the absolute most despicable thing you can do at a game (besides pound on the glass): boo your own team. The three lowest forms of life are 3) Glass pounders. 2) Home team boo'ers. 1)Radio DJ's. 1 being the lowest. Guess where Howard Berger is?

Now I'm not absolving the average fan's behavior. It's not the media's fault for him/her being a stupid sheep with an ATM card. The fan has to take responsibility for themselves, and stop being such a gullible robot being taken advantage of by people who want them listen to their radio show, or buy their rag of a newspaper. It's just really, really hard for them to do that due to the consistency of the message beamed at them every day, all year long.

The sad thing about all of this is that the fan's dilemma comes out of a great thing: Total love for the Toronto Maple Leafs. That fact makes the people who exploit them all the worse.

Friday, October 5


Lowe contract extension coming today

Much to the delight of Brian Burke, Darcy Regier, and free agents eveywhere, the Edmonton Oilers are expected to announce a contract extension for GM Kevin Lowe on Saturday.

Count me among the few in the 'thumbs up' camp. I know the majority of those in the Oiler blogosphere are against it, and mainly for two reasons - the Pronger trade and the Smyth trade. I'll have a more detailed analysis tomorrow, but suffice to say that good GM's don't make decisions with their heart. Quite simply that's the difference between irrational fans and good hockey operations executives. Besides, lets see how the Oiler lynch mob feels if the Robert Nilsson of last night can bring that for 82 games.

More tomorrow.


NORTE: Dispatch, this desk. First and foremost I have to say that I decided to write only after watching both hockey games this past Wednesday and Thursday. I needed to see some film. Remember, I didn’t watch any of the pre-season games. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I would be looking at the two games as a harbinger of things to come but…I needed to get myself acclimated. This is my team of ifs remember. (I must also mention that in the meantime I was bitten by a Spider. And I can sadly report that unless oozing copious amounts of yellow-y-ish goo out of a this is what you get in my house when you spill paint in the garage sized welt counts as a special power…that mine didn’t take. Although my right foot looks exactly like a surgical glove blown up a little.

So yes the first two games of the season…unfortunately one of the games was commentated on by Pierre Maguire. And when you expect Joe Bowen and you get Pierre Maguire that’s like expecting a set of golf clubs for Christmas and getting Chlamydia instead. I wont say I dislike Pierre Maguire, he and his exaggerated pronunciation of names and his invisible rimmed glasses, but Pierre Maguire is the ottawa senators of hockey commentating.

Now, without telling tales out of school, and I say this whilst whispering and hanging my head in shame, I am friends with senators fans. Believe me that is not easy for me to admit. I’m like the Fonz trying to say the word wrong. I will say that the only reason I can be friends with them is because of who we were before the teams inception. Because…Jesus Christ…oh my God…in strictly hockey terms, there is nothing worse on this earth than a senators fan. They’re GDCSers. Every last one of them…and I don’t care if that means your grandmother. I can say that because a senators fan would never read this blog. First of all its not in French and second of all…their captain looks like the kind of guy who was a tattle-tale when he was a kid. With that little, white face. That’s just one of the things that make me want to slap the shit out of it. Every time he scores I think how dare he? Like he is an affront to hockey. The man gets booed in his own building…wait…what was the question?

I thought it was a good move to put Raycroft in for the first game. For lots of reasons. First of all…I am uncomfortable with the notion of just handing over a number one position (which is as sexy as it sounds) to anyone. One of the perks that Toskala received when the Leafs got him was an immediate 2 year contract extension. Goaltenders are like babies. When they’re crying for something…its okay for them to suffer a bit. You can’t give in right away. Secondly Raycroft played great against the sens the opening game of last season. There was no reason he couldn’t repeat that. I thought he played alright. At times he looked good…but just like last year, I wondered why he didn’t stop the shots that were goals. I know that Raycroft, no matter how the matter is dealt with, is going to come back and bite us in the ass. This isn’t Michel Tellqvist here. He’s only 25 and could become a great goalie. My problem with Raycroft is that he seems a little laizez faire. He’s a really laid back guy and perhaps that sense of urgency is what I miss in his goaltending. Regardless…Paul Maurice had nothing to lose. If the sens came out, Heatley all spazzed out listening to heavy metal on his brand new 45 million dollar Ipod and destroyed us…then you haven’t shaken your new baby goaltender number 1. It’s only the back up goalie’s confidence that’s broken. But who cares about his spirit because at 2.5 a year you don’t want him anyway.

I will say, and this gauls me to my marrow, that it was a genius move for the ottawa team to sign Heatley. He deserves every last penny they pay him. Set your game to franchise mode with him. A pure goal scorer like that. I recently saw an interview with Mike Milbury where he said if he could go back, he would sign Heatley instead of Dipietro. Even though Dipietro clearly has the makings of a great goaltender.
Quite frankly the better Raycroft plays the better it is for the Leafs as a whole. (Which isn’t as sexy as it sounds.) If he wins games, good. If he gets more confident and pushes Toskala to win, good. If Raycroft becomes a tradable commodity, good. Again with my team of ifs…if we can hold off until trade deadline and he plays well, I believe we could actually get something more in return than the 5 cents (where applicable.)

I was not as disheartened as I thought I might be. For two losses I thought there were tons to be happy about. I loved the speed I saw in Blake. It was such a nice surprise to see a Leaf win a race to the puck. Two goals from Antropov is nice to see too, the part of me that is glass is half empty hopes its just not another 12 games before we see another. Toskala looked like the real deal though. His positioning was impeccable. Even though he was a little far back in the crease for the winning goal, I blame that on man-mountain Hall Gill. I am a Grant Fuhr man, I like goalies who shut it down when they need to.
Not being able to hold the lead is troubling. As is the PP and PK. The last six minutes of game two were quite frankly nauseating….three penalties in a row like that…but 0 for 14 is an uglier stat I believe. My wife, who clearly has a thing for 5 foot 9 cuties kept saying to me, Darcy must be sick. I haven’t heard his name the whole game. And Pony? Where were they? I really think that the game on Saturday with Montreal will show the real Toronto Maple Leafs. I think the team is two good players away from making a real run but they’re a better team than last year. Although I am also on three different medications because of my spider bite. Two more salves and I’ll get the next one free.

And now because I know that Moose and Wash havent read this far. And for those of you who stay until the final credit: I present, Mike Comrie, New York Islander.

I Watched "30 Rock" Last Night!

While the Leafs are 0-2 this season for winning games, I am 1-1 for watching them. I quite excellently have an 80 HR. TIVO. When I bought it, the sales guy told me I'd be hard pressed to ever fill it up. My friend Kris, who, I guess in an effort to save time for chest shaving, bought a 30 HR. He looked upon me with envy. 80 HR's? That'll record everything! NOTHING will ever get erased! Never! Right? Wrong.

Last night, I TIVO'd the second in the home/home against the Senators. I looked at the first few minutes of it, or tried to before I realized that that involved looking at the pre-game faces of the fat, hairy Senator fans. And their husbands. Yes, that's a cheap joke, but, you know, it's true. So I turned it off to watch for later. Moose and I had an early game to play last night, and I had to get ready here, then leave early to account for traffic. We won, it was my birthday, team played well, I played well, looked forward to watching the game when I got home. Oh no I didn't.

The game, TIVO'd just hours before, was gone. Erased. Wiped from the memory like so many Moose give-aways up the middle.

But, I did see most of game one, and as I said, I was happy with the Leafs performance overall. To just not get steamrolled by the Senators is tough enough, and in three games played against them this (pre)season, the Leafs have lost by one goal each time, twice in overtime. The first line came in as promised, with Antropov looking confident for two goals. Kaberle looked average with two bad give-aways. Tucker is still AWOL but Wozniewski looked great. Although I don't know how long the pairing with Hall Gill will last.

Tommorow night is Montreal. A team that last year had a surprising amount of swagger. But you know it's just over-compensation. They're like the short guy in the bar who wears his shirt too small to show off his little muscles. The girl he's with is wearing lucite shoes and too much Victoria's Secret perfume. After he leaves, you hear screeching tires pulling out of the parking lot, and you just know it's him driving away in his '98 Mustang. The one he sprung extra for for the striping package.

Thursday, October 4

Oilers Win Opener, No One Shocked but Roli!

Wow. The season is now open, please form an orderly line and take a number. If your number is 16, you're a winner! A winner of hockey games that is! Sorry, that was hardly even a complete thought much less a joke. I'm just so out of breath from jumping up and down. As there's going to be one million pages written tomorrow recapping the game, in fact there are probably a lot already since I had to watch the game tivo'd, I'm just gonna timbit review this bad boy. Naughty! Naughty! Keep in mind, as a true Oiler fan I can only really dole out criticism. I don't even want to! It's just habit!

You know what those delicately glazed cakey wonders means... TIMBITS!

1. I was starting to get pretty nervous about this Penner character already. First two periods he struck me a lot like Lupul did, which is to say hardly at all. Slow, waiting for the play to come to him, weak wide wristers. Then, I started seeing what he brings. In the third he started using that massive body for good! Or sexy evil! Heck, we cycled the puck last year almost constantly, I don't remember any Oiler ever winning one of those battles along the boards. Suddenly we got a guy who can go chase it when the puck slides aimlessly from a failed Hemmer move through the middle, or a super hard completely wide Horcoff snap shot.

2. Roli! 3 posts aside (we got 2, so like, c'mon), he was looking hot tracking pucks through traffic and when something did come at him, he generally sucked it into himself the way Greener does with a Tito's taco. That was nice to see. And he won a shootout! I didn't know he could do that! But man did he get caught cheating on the tying shot, huh? I saw that he was sneaking a peek at some answers written inside that glovehand, and at one point he unrolled a laminated sheet of answers from his mouth ala Chevy Chase in Spies Like Us.

3. So, was that an A I saw on Souray's jersey? Quite the leadership there with a minute left. One other knock on the man, I don't think anyone cares how hard you can shoot at the boards. It seems he's been reading the seventy four tome series of novels the Edmonton media has written about his "howitzer" rather than practicing his aim. That being said I was pretty disappointed with the Pits. I've wanted him on the team since his draft year and he had a lackluster, uneven game. He seemed like the rookie out there, on a night when Gilbert was shining jumping up into the crease and relative rookie Greene was knocking Thornton off the puck with ease, Pitkanen was throwing weird tentative passes to no one in particular and was slow making decisions in his end. Plus side? I think those jitters come with the new defence partners, they'll dissolve in the next couple games. That and his dump and chase plays were a delight!

4. Last criticism, power play. The first power play looked great, every one after looked like a bunch of lost boys. No. Neither Corey nor Corey. Even sadder. Even sadder than the Corey's current lives. What worried me was that they were running the exact same plays as last years terrible poo stain of a PP. Yes, keep passing to Souray, they'll never guess he's gonna shoot it. They just cycle way on the outside of the zone, no one moving into the slot or either face off circle, passing and not skating. Oh they'll collapse after the shot, but why not suck the D up to the telegraphed Souray shot, and try a cross seam pass? Half the time Souray was shooting it there wasn't even a Penner in the way! Horcoff tipped more shots than Penner did! I'm saying this once and never again, imagine if Smyth has been in front on any of those Souray shots... shawing!

5. News flash, the youngsters were great. Friggin hell! It was like the old Murphy-Gelinas-Graves youngsters just givin her out there. I think this ushers in a new era of fourth line thinking. It seems that the fourth line has long been made up of defensive minded grinders who can get out, bang, and not cost the team a goal. No longer. With the new NHL and the need to develop from within the ranks, AND the insane amount of young players stepping straight in and contributing, why not give those skill guys the fourth line. If the fourth line is gonna be a liability one way or another, I'd rather see a fast skating bunch of rooks free wheeling and making a mistake than waiting to see which tough heart on his sleeve guy trip on his own blueline.

6. You know how you're not in the pre-season anymore? There weren't any career ending injuries doled out by big dumb guys trying to make teams!

Finally, Happy Birthday to Greener! I regret that I can't make it to the big party. You're a good friend and I hope you have a great birthday! Many happy returns and here's the gayest cake I could find, you ole gay-wad you!

Kevin Lowe: "We're All Gonna Die"

Lowe Responds; Pre-Game Notes

Kevin Lowe went on Tencer's show last night and of course Brian Burke came up, here's some snippets of what he had to say:

"I suspect that through all this, all the barbs that he's throwing at us and at me, is that he's sort of insinuating that Dustin Penner isn't a very good hockey player. Time will tell. I hope that Dustin Penner is reading between the lines and is using that as motivation to shove it to you know where."

I would say the exact opposite is true. If he's such a mediocre player and someone wants to pay him $4 million, AND toss you three draft picks? Shut-up and laugh all the way to the bank. At this point he's acting like the guy who just got dumped by his girlfriend and invoking the "I didn't like her anyway," excuse.

"People need to know that he really thrives on this stuff and is a little bit of a media junkie and loves the attention. I get a lot of calls from people in the hockey business; they think that he's known for going over the top and being a bit of an egomaniac and he's just further proving that that's the case."

How lucky is Chris Pronger? He's already been replaced as Public Enemy #1 in his General Manager. When do we play the Ducks?

"In the meantime he's goin' around being a bit of a blowhard. Clearly having just won the Stanley Cup I guess he figures pretty comfortable that he can go around and spend a little more time doing that."

Yeah, success will do that to a man. You should see Greener. He wins two or three faceoffs in-a-row and he comes back to the bench yappin like he's Mark Messier.

"What he's insinuating, to me anyways, is that I shouldn't do this to him because he's my friend. In other words I shouldn't try to improve the Edmonton Oilers because I'm his friend. The reality is that I have very few friends in the game. You know what life's all about you get a little bit older and you have your family and a couple of friends and then life ends."

Well, thanks very much, Kevin. I was all excited about the season opener tonight, but now I think I'm going to go spend these last fleeting moments with my loved ones before the cloak of death shrouds me in darkness.

Lowe also added: "I mean I'm already 48 years old, I don't have much time left." Clearly a wink-wink, nod-nod, towards pending RFA's Jason Spezza and Alex Ovechkin if I ever heard one.

Notes: Moreau will not play tonight. He tried to skate this morning but still too painful to push off. Forward lines shuffled a bit; expected to look as such:

Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky
Torres - Stoll - Nilsson
Sanderson - Reasoner - Brodziak
Jacques - Cogliano - Gagner

4th line is very interesting. Suspect they will get sheltered minutes against Sharks 3rd or 4th lines. I hope we don't get killed.

Washingtron Right About Everything!

Well well well... lookee here! Hey Moose! Guess who was 100% correct about an Oilers related thing? Washingtron! That's who! Somehow, in an article in which I guessed 5 different potential captains for our beloved Oil, I managed to get everything completely right in every way. I should take this time now to urge you not to re-read the related post. I think we should all bask in the glory of my accuracy rather than look too closely at any "claims" some awesome "writer" "may" have "made".

Wednesday, October 3

Burke on TSN, Alberta Cows Give Sour Milk

Brian Burke was on TSN yesterday giving an in depth interview with James Duthie. Question: What's that big, grey, thick-skinned animal who they say legend has it "never forgets"? Yes, that's right, it's Brian Burke. To suggest that Burke has forgiven and forgotten about losing Dustin Penner to an offer sheet given by Kevin Lowe is like saying that Penner is a little peeved about getting a 1000% raise from a little over 400 thousand bucks, to a little over 4 million.

Burke (left, from the interview), seen here frightening me, was asked about how he felt about Kevin Lowe. Said Burke, "If I had run my team into the sewer like that I wouldn't throw a grenade at the other 29 teams and my own indirectly," all this making James Duthie laugh nervously.
Taking offense at this, Burke then reached through the screen and grabbed Duthie by his tie. He yelled "Gutless puke!" in Duthie's face, at which point, Duthie puked.

Burke stormed from the studio, taking half a mo to push a young boys' ice cream cone into the lads face. Plunging into the Pacific Ocean, he emerged in Tokyo and cut a devastating swath of destruction not seen in Japan since, well, surprisingly,
ever. As bursts of laser-flames erupted from his feral mouth, he could be heard screaming about how he now understood what "...that other genius" Mozart went through all those times getting F'd over by that loser Salieri.

With a mighty leap he flew over Europe and landed in England where, for good measure, he took time to kill the owners of a London pub who served him a bad kidney pie last week when his Ducks were there to play the Kings. Once again using his Burke Powers, he jumped across the Atlantic, landing in Alberta where he took the most gigantic wiz into Alberta tourist mecca Lake Louise, thereby ruining it for generations to come.

Jumping one last time, he came to rest in Anaheim, taking shelter from the harangues of NHL GM'dom on the U.S. Navy weapons test site he calls home.

Tuesday, October 2


Norte: Dispatch, this desk. I promised someone I would curb my sailor talk, apparently I swear a lot, so forgive me if you are reading this, but let me tell you bitches something. It's only one more sleep until the season starts.

That’s right dummies….hockey season starts tomorrow. I say hockey season cos everybody knows, the pre-season means nothing. It’s like watching fireworks on TV or brushing your teeth with your finger. Truth be told I didn’t watch any games. And quite frankly Vesa Toskala doesn’t have to win a single game in pre-season. Not one game. That’s how little the games mean. Of course alternately I don’t give a rat’s ass that the Ottawa team went 7 and 0. Or that their back up goalie went un-defeated. Their back up no less, as their number one goalie was probably too busy crashing his Ferrari or buying ugly clothes to play any of the games. And hey does anyone else wonder what convicted rapist he is going to want to paint on his mask this year? I digress. I don’t like pre-season games. You know what they’re like. They’re like playing video game hockey with your girlfriend.

This year excites me with the Leafs. My only problem is that I find when I think of my team this year, the word if comes up a lot. If we don’t lose lose the entire team to injuries. If Toskala shines as a number 1. If Mccabe regains his form. If Antropov, if Steen, if Wellwood. Shit even if Paul Maurice. I do think this is a playoff team and if bitches, if…a playoff team by March.

On another note. I have been hearing the question posed a few different times. Is Eric Lindros hall of fame material?

I would like to ring in with my opinion. Eric Lindros, for all intents and purposes should have been a Hall of Famer. Could have been too. But Eric Lindros is not hall of fame caliber. You want a far more difficult question…is Luc Robitaille? Regardless….I think that if Eric Lindros had actually become a Quebec Nordique instead of a Flyer, I believe he would be a Hall of Famer today. I really do think his career would have been different having not gotten mixed up with Bobby Clarke. Also….everybody knows that the reason Mark Messier was left off the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team in 98 was so that Lindros could step up and lead, (Messier style). And he didn’t. He would be a Hall of Famer if he'd of scored in the shootout against Hasek. Cos' we all know that Mark Messier would’ve, and then Mess would’ve basically forced Marc Crawford to put Gretzky on, and he would’ve scored.

On another note, my wife told me a story that in like 1996 Eric Lindros once spent a drunken night in a bar in cottage country trying to pick her up. The whole night he kept asking her if she knew who he was. He failed. Quite frankly a Hall of Famer would have sealed the deal. I know for a fact that if it was Peter Stastny trying to pick her up that night they would have had sex. Gretzky woulda had her bareback. That’s a Hall of Famer.

And on a sad note. Joe Bowen and Harry Neale’s last call together will be the Toronto-Detroit game. Joe Bowen could class up anything he’s so good…but he and Neale were like PB and J. Or Good Cop/Bad Cop. So…Holy Mackinaw that’s shitty news. Greg Millen is good. He's a goalie.