Thursday, July 31

BLACK AND WHITE: Not Just 2 Colors In A Rainbow

Not to get all sociopolitical on you (even though my Masters from the University of Laval (Go Rouge et Or!) dealt with that very subject), but I have no problem with things that are black and white. In fact there are many things that I would say I adore and perhaps even love that are black and white: soccer balls for example. Maltese Falcon is also good. And really what would a chessboard be without black and white but a piece of wood with some shit on it?
I also really like when people are black and white with their thoughts and feelings. Just give it to me straight people.

Recently a person I have been friends with for years dropped me as a friend on Facebook. When I realized and wrote to them to ask them what was up? their response back: fuck you. Which I appreciated because with fuck you, you know where you stand.
Which is precisely why the Mats Sundin situation has actually started to bother me. His waivering and deadline of August 1st are tantamount to a piss off or a frig you. Not so much black and white as dark grey and burnt sienna. Give it to us straight Mats.

I appreciate that he considers himself a Torontonian. As one myself I understand the pride to be able to say that, and with Mats its easy to see how sincere such a statement is. I don't see it as toadying or placating us before he signs with another team (and as of this morning I read that there may be as many as 6 in the running) but it reminds me of something that happened to me in the 1990's. A woman I was dating broke up with me by saying to me, 'I love you, I just want to fuck more people.' And just like that woman, I know Mats still loves us and that really he just wants to fuck more people. Which I understand - the problem I do have is that in doing so Mats is treating the Leafs like every other team in the league, and quite frankly, if that is the case Mats, then you will never again be allowed to touch our frilly unmentionables.

In trying to once again acclimate myself with Hockey, the goings on, the bloodlettings, the remarkably boring July’s etc, I find that I spend a lot time reading: (which really is a testament to how much I love this team when reading has replaced looking at pornography and illegal downloading as the number one thing I do on the internet. Sad really because that’s like buying Playboy for the articles, which is a disgrace no matter how you slice it.) Blogs, columns and a lot of comments by a lot of homers proving two things: 1) that hockey, like national pride, is a unifying force and 2) that some of you people are really just stupid bastards.
The prevailing thought amongst said stupid bastards is that without Mats Toronto will be in the running for the Tumble for Taveres, the Header for Hedman or the Collapse for Cowen (or whatever other clever turn of phrase the hitmakers over at PPP come up with) and that what the team should really do is lose on purpose. I can think of few things worse than losing on purpose even if that means Magnus Svensson Paajarvi.

Monday, July 28

HS/HS Radio 5: ALIVE!

Ask any parent if they have a favorite among their kids, and they will all say the same thing: "Impossible!", unless you ask Moose's mom, in which case she says "Greg!"

Ask me the same question about my beauties, the HS/HS Podcast Quintuplets, and I say, unequivocally, "What does quintuplets mean?" Then, after I'm told, I go, "Oh, numbers 1-4 were all fine. Nice and tall, with nice strong teeth...but number 5...he's something else!"

HS/HS Podcast 5 is the photo of the girl from graduation in your parents photo album who your mother always asks what ever became of her. The question drives you crazy because you always wonder the same thing, and also because your mom has that weird thing when she talks where she whistles through her teeth every time she says the letter 's'.

Besides the awesomeness, you get to hear how I say the word Raleigh apparently weird, and what it sounds like when I'm not in a good mood when talking to Moose, which is what it sounds like every time I'm with Moose.

Click here to experience love as never before. And barring that, then to listen to a hockey podcast

And just because I'm like that, I've included a picture of the poster to a movie Moose and I made a long time ago. We went to a very liberal college where we were encouraged to find ourselves through creativity. Well, we did that, to the tune of $29,000,000 opening weekend (1990 dollars). Not too shabby.

Overall the production went fairly smooth. Alan Young gave Moose a lot of good direction in their scenes, but when it came to me, well lets just say that Rudy Vallee should learn to keep his hands to himself!

Monday, July 21


Special thanks to all of you who've flooded the HS/HS offices with calls, e-mails, and flowers this week. I'm happy I can finally allay your fears...we're fine. Greener and I have just been on a little vacation, recharging the batteries and getting a little 'me' time.

As we navigate the hockey-less waters of Summer, we're quickly approaching the the one-year anniversary of HS/HS on August 6th. So, we thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look back. As one of Greener's favorite hockey coaches once said, "Don't forget where you came from, chump." Well, we haven't. So we've gone back through the archives and pulled out some of our early stuff. You know, the stuff that made us big...before we were big.

Now don't think of these as a re-runs. Remember when Arrested Development was the best show on television that nobody watched? Then is got cancelled (because nobody watched) and everyone (who never watched it) was outraged? Suddenly, boxed sets of Arrested Development became the best selling DVD's on the market. Well, think of this as your HS/HS Season 1 Boxed Set.

Episode 1: While trying to enjoy a hockey game, Moose snaps after enduring 3 hours of homerific blathering.

(Originally aired December 26th, 2007):

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

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

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

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

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

Let's examine some more of the classic signs.

"You might be a homer if..."

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

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

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

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

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

And, you might be a homer if...

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

All The News That's Fit To Vaknat

One of the great opportunities in life one may be fortunate enough to experience is to travel. To go to another country can be a joyful emotional journey, and not just because you've gotten away with taking advantage of your friends Greener, Chemmy and mf37. No, it's because one of the most amazing things in the world is discovering that, in spite of some cosmetic cultural differences, people all over the world are basically just the same.

We all put our pants on one leg at a time. We all call our Mom's on Mother's day. We all have hockey journalists who lie and make shit up because they have a deadlines to meet. I've always heard that Sweden was really similar to Canada. You know, there's a lot of trees there, it's cold in winter and lush in summer. That's one reason Swedes like playing there. Another is that they can count on the lazy, ill-informed Leafs journalists to mimic their lazy, ill-informed Nordic counterparts. See? No more homesickness!

The story of Sundin signing with the Canucks may, in the end, become true. It's an easy story to write when the person in question will receive 20 million dollars for writing his name. Not surprisingly, I subscribe to all the Swedish dailies, so trust me, friends. Click below and see I know what I'm talking about:

Friday, July 11

Ray Emery: Мудак

The delightful taste of crow is resonating in the mouth of Ray "Na, Na, Goodbye" Emery right now with news that he's signed a deal to play in Russia's new Continental League, or, as it's known around the world, "The-who-in-the-what-now?"

Ole' Razor locker-room cancered himself out of an NHL career last season, going from undisputed #1 goalie to undisputed #1 guy to get to work late and leave early. When you act the way Ray did in the NHL, it is a VERY short Hummer ride from Stanley Cup final to only 3 teams calling you as a free agent; and then to only offer you training camp tryouts.

Emery's agent, J.P. Barry, had this to say through surely clenched teeth:

"Unfortunately, it's only been a short time since the buyout and there isn't anybody willing to give (Emery) a second chance at this time, I think if people knew the things that he's done over the last little while to turn the corner, there might be more interest out there."
Those little things include not rolling through stop signs or spitting inside the Rideau Center.

We'll see how smug Ray is when he's eating yet another bowl of potato soup made by the team chef. A woman who also doubles as the coaches mother. What's the over/under on how fast Ray learns the Russian version of the fuck you middle finger and gives it to the crowd? The home crowd.

Monday, July 7

HS/HS Radio 4: The Sounds of Summer

There are a lot of great #4's out there in the world; Bobby Orr, The Fantastic Four, me...the list goes on and on...and stops at this podcast.

It's the dog days of summer now and that means a young bloggers fancy turns to things other than being stuck in your office recording a podcast with a guy wearing a shirt he stole from the cowboy from the Village People. But look, you don't come to me with your problems, do you?

So presenting HS/HS Radio 4. Click right on this spot to hear what it sounds like when two men sharing too small a space have to turn off the air conditioning because it'd make too much noise in the microphones.

Please do something close to enjoying what you can, and leave us some comments while you're at it. It'd really pick up our spirits. On the upside, our promotional He Score, He Shoot 8x10's just came in! Here's a sneak peak!:

Friday, July 4


Wednesday, July 2


Fletchie Got Fingered

Has that one been used yet? You would think something that obvious would've been in Greener's wheelhouse. But, as usual, he's doggin' it over there at PPP.

So the first couple days of free agency are in the books, and there was the usual cluster of good and bad signings. By now you've heard all the criticism of the Jeff Finger signing, so I don't want to pile on. But I do have to take issue with the way Fletcher and Wilson defended the signing. After I texted Greener about the signing, I got the expected "Who the fuck is Jeff Finger?" question. I told him he was a solid defenseman, but a mostly a third pairing guy who played against the other teams' bottom six. So, I was more than a little surprised to hear Fletcher and Wilson trumpeting him as a world-class shutdown guy, who Joel Quenneville threw out there against Thorton and Iginla every chance he got. I mean, I watch hockey. I'm sure at one point or another he HAD to play against those guys, but for Wilson to say he was the guy that was out there when he used Thornton is a bit misleading. Could it be that the Sharks were at home and had the last change? Maybe Wilson WANTED that match-up! I find it hard to believe that Brett Clark, Kurt Sauer, Scott Hannan or Adam Foote weren't getting that assignment.

The money is what it is. With the cap rising every year and the competition for NHL calibre players being what it is, all these guys are gonna get paid. Was it an overpay? Sure. Were the Leafs the only club to overpay for a mediocre player these past few days? Hell no. I'm just calling bullshit on the rationale.

Some thoughts on the last few days:

Atlanta: One of these days I'm gonna do a ranking of all 30 GM's in the league. When I do, #29 and #30 will look something like this: Whoever is the GM of the Florida Panthers, and Don Waddell. His lone signing thus far is Ron Hainsey at $4.5m per. That's a guy who didn't score a single even strength goal last year. And how do you go 3 years without getting a center for Kovalchuk and/or Hossa? I smell an overpay for Brendan Morrison coming.

Boston: Once considered the favorites to sign Hossa, they were never really in the running, but did grab Michael Ryder ($12m/3yrs). He's a guy worth taking a chance on, as he's still young (28) and can deliver at even strength. With significant power play time he could get back to 30 goals.

Buffalo: Patrick Lalime = Home Run.

Carolina: Traded pending UFA Erik Cole for enigmatic Joni Pitkanen (now on his third team at age 25), and made a nice little move in bringing Josef Melichar back from Europe for $1m. They have enough depth upfront to subtract Cole, and signed Pitkanen to an affordable deal ($12m/3yrs)...can't argue with the reasoning given the makeup of their roster.

Calgary: Let me tell you why I hate agents. Plucky 4th liner Curtis Glencross wanted to be an Oiler. After his late season surge last year, the Oilers wanted him back, but his agent thought he could hit a homerun in the UFA insanity. So what happens? A fourth liner got fourth line offers, and by the time they realized they had lost the bet, the Oilers were looking to clear cap room in anticipation of signing Marian Hossa. He got the same money the Oilers Calgary. Good job. Good signing for Calgary, who also picked up Rene Bourque via trade to help upgrade their bottom six forwards.

Chicago: Brian Campbell got Nick Lidstrom money, and Huet got $5.6 million while they still have Khabibulin under contract for another year. I'm all for making a splash, just make sure there's some fucking water in the pool first.

Columbus: Had a ton of cap room and wanted to be aggressive, but didn't make the big score they set out to. Added Huselius and Commodore via free agency, and traded for Raffi Torres, Fedor Tyutin, and Christian Backman. Out went the inconsistent Zherdev and Dan Fritsche, who for some reason is always "highly touted." Add that to the acquisition of Umberger at the draft and the Jackets are much improved. Scott Howson is doing good things there.

Colorado: Took care of their own (Wolski, Liles, Foote) and then took care of Toronto's cast-offs (Tucker and Raycroft). I can't possibly imagine that they are going to go into the season with Budaj and Raycroft. Oh, and to quote Greener, "at least the rest of the West can breathe easy now that Jeff Finger has gone to the East."

Dallas: I gotta say, while everyone is going on about awarding the 2009 Cup to Detroit, the Stars (who took Detroit to 6 in the CF) made themselves better by signing Sean Avery. Sure the Cup champs added another star player, but what better way to counteract that then signing the one guy who makes his living by feasting on star players. Can you imagine Steve Ott and Sean Avery together? Holy shit. They'll add another scorer at the deadline and be a legit threat in the West again.

Detroit: The Hossa thing is incredible. I applaud him for leaving $70 million on the table and years of security. He really does want to win. That said, we often talk about athletes having a short window to make their money, and Hossa is now one hit away from having that window close. In that respect it's a ballsy gamble on his part. As I wrote a while back, Hossa is perfect when he doesn't have to be THE man (like in Pittsburgh). I think he's smart enough (or pussy enough) to know that, and having Datsyuk and Zetterberg alongside was a big factor in his decision not to go to Edmonton.

Edmonton: Phew! By all accounts they were Hossa's next choice. Sure it's a little disappointing to not get the big fish, if for nothing other than the message it would have sent the rest of the league. But, it would have been a nightmare contract, and a lot of roster gutting would have taken place to fit him under the cap. Even without Hossa, the Oilers emerged as one of the most improved teams thus far, getting Cole, Brule, and Visnovsky for underachievers Torres, Stoll, Pitkanen, and Greene. Still shopping for a couple UFA's including Jagr. Can't wait for that long awaited Hemsky-Jags reunion.

Florida: If Jeff Finger's deal had you confused, Rostislav Olesz's 6yr/$16m deal had to be the 2nd biggest "WTF?" deal of the week. Cory Stillman is a decent signing, which begs the question...why does Cory Stillman want to play for the Florida Panthers.

Los Angeles: Still need to spend $14 million just to get to the salary floor, which explains why the took Denis Gauthier off the Flyers hands. Come and get Dwayne Roloson's $3.667 cap hit Deano!

Minnesota: Nice trade to pick up Marek Zidlicky, but failed to do anything to replace the lost offense of Demitra and Rolston. Thank god the Oilers didn't blow their load all over Hossa's face, because now the queue for Marian Gaborik can start right behind Daryl Katz...or Ken Holland. Can't see him staying...and he's a much better player than Hossa.

New York Islanders: Gotta hand it to Garth Snow, he's really fighting an uphill battle in getting players to come to that franchise, but he makes some shrewd moves and doesn't overpay (drastically) for free agents. Picked up Doug Weight and power play linchpin Mark Streit. After much mockery, I find myself rooting for Snow.

New York Rangers: Surprised that they gave up on Tyutin (to Clb for Zherdev) and can't believe they let that idiot Avery go. You can't dispute what he did for that team. Added some big bodies for the 4th line (Voros and Rissmiller) and shored-up the blueline by re-signing Rozsival and getting Redden. Intriguing moves and more to come.

Ottawa: Alex Auld? Shean Donovan? No help on defence? The window is closing fast on this groups' chances to win a Cup. Has the hate quotient just gone up with the addition of Jarkko Ruutu?

Phoenix: Seem to be getting universal praise for the bargain signing of Kurt Sauer ($1.75m per year). Calm's Kurt Sauer.

Pittsburgh: Got Malkin locked-up (good) and probably overpaid for Orpik (bad), but if I'm Ray Shero I'd be a little offended by Hossa's decision to jump across the aisle. Did he not think he could win in Pittsburgh? Let me guess, he'd rather live in Murdertown than Pittsburgh?

Tampa Bay: You know guys, there's going to be free agents NEXT year too! Now it appears they want to trade their only good puck moving defenseman (Boyle) who they just signed 4 months ago? Call me stupid, but I don't think Jay Feaster is calling the shots anymore.

Vancouver: Mike Gillis - #28 with a bullet! Really? $10 million for Mats Sundin? A David Backes offer sheet for $2.5 million? Hilarious. At least now I won't have to endure anymore references to GM's "pulling a Kevin Lowe" when it comes to stupid offer sheets. Meanwhile, Roberto Luongo is aging as we speak.

I swear there's a podcast coming this week, none of which will be devoted to bad Jeff Finger puns.