Thursday, May 27, 2010

From The Archives: The DGB Leafs/Kings game six liveblog

Spoiler alert: This guy plays a role
"From the Archives" is a new feature that will examine famous moments in hockey history by revisiting the original DGB blog content that covered them. Today's post is from May, 1993.

Wait, what? A blog archive from almost 20 years ago? That's right. A lot of you kids don't know this, but sports blogging has been around for a long time.

Well before the internet even existed, diehard sports fans like me were posting our thoughts for the world -- it was just done a little bit differently than today. For example, back in the day we "blogged" by writing in longhand in pen in a spiral notebook. If you wanted to add a photo, you cut one out of a magazine. When you were done, you "posted" your content by taping it to your front window. If other people liked your work, they would link to it by drawing an arrow pointing to your house and taping it to their own window.

Not many people noticed what you wrote, but occasionally somebody would wander by and read a few words. Then they'd usually roll their eyes, ring your doorbell, wait for you to open the door, and then drag you into the street to beat you up. So in that sense, not much has really changed.

So anyway, let's dive into the DGB archives. Today we'll travel back exactly seventeen years ago - May 27, 1993. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in Los Angeles, playing the Kings in Game Six of the Western Conference final. The Leafs hold a 3-2 series lead and are one win away from meeting the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup finals. And a young DGB was liveblogging every moment.

We'll pick up the action late in the third period, with the Leafs trailing 4-3.

1:38 a.m. - Wow, is it ever late. I guess that's what happens when you've got a west coast game that doesn't start until 11:00 in the east. If this game goes to overtime I'm going to be completely exhausted tomorrow. I hope I'm not too sleepy for football practice, given my role as the star quarterback. I'd hate to disappoint my loving and devoted girlfriend, every member of the cheerleading squad.

1:40 a.m. - Hey, still, these late games are way better than playing in the middle of the afternoon, am I right? Man. I don't know why NBA fans put up with that.

1:42 a.m. - OK, back to the game. The Kings are still holding on to their one-goal lead. The Leafs look exhausted, which I suppose is to be expected. After winning two consecutive seven-game series, they're now playing their 20th game in 39 nights. It's a stretch of games that's literally unprecedented in NHL history, and you have to figure they're running on fumes.

It would have been nice for them to get some rest during this run, but then again what's the league supposed to do -- take a week off in the middle of the playoffs for no reason? Good luck sustaining any interest if you did that.

1:45 a.m. - Leafs still trailing. I know I shouldn't look ahead, but I can't help but think we'd have a great chance against the Habs in the finals. Don't get me wrong, the Habs are a great team and will no doubt be making regular appearances in the conference finals for years to come. But they've also been on an incredible streak of good luck -- they've won an amazing seven straight OT games this post-season. Seven! There's simply no way that can continue in the next round.

I guess what I'm saying is I don't see the Habs beating either of these teams in the finals unless something completely miraculous happens.

1:46 a.m. - Hey, totally off-topic, but have you noticed how Marty McSorley never seems to get any air under his shots? I have a friend who works on the Kings' equipment staff, I'm going to call him up after this series and suggest Marty start using a bigger curve on his stick.

1:48 a.m. - Two minutes left. It's now or never for the Leafs. If they're going to make history tonight, somebody has to step up right now.

1:49 a.m. - Felix Potvin stops a Kings 3-on-2 with 90 seconds left. He quickly plays it up to Gilmour, then heads for the bench. The Leafs are pressing as Wendel Clark hits the ice as the sixth attacker. Dougie finds him with a seeing eye pass... and Wendel is all alone at the top of the circle!

1:49 a.m. - Clark winds...

1:49 a.m. - Clark shoots...

(Editor's note: The notebook's next few pages are stuck together. Skipping ahead a bit.)

1:53 a.m. - (Extinguishes cigarette.)

1:55 a.m. - Wendel Clark is simply unstoppable tonight. That was his third goal, and they've all been beauties. This might be the greatest game of his career. Hell, it might be the greatest game of any Leaf's career, ever. He's single-handedly willing the Leafs into the finals, and there's not a damn thing the Kings can do about it.

Mark my words: the Leafs are winning this game in overtime on their first even-strength shift.

1:57 a.m. - Holy crap... Glenn Anderson just drove Rob Blake headfirst into the end boards in the dying seconds of regulation. He got two minutes for boarding, and the Kings will start OT on the powerplay.

Now look, some Leaf fans are going to complain about a penalty being handed out this late in a crucial game. But I'm going to defend the referee, whoever that is tonight. What Anderson did is a penalty. Period. It's right there in the rulebook. And you have to call it, even if it's an important game. Nay, you have to call it because it's an important game. The rules are the rules, and you can't ignore them just because you have to make an unpopular call.

1:58 a.m. - Turns out the referee tonight is Kerry Fraser, by the way. Just making a note of it for the sake of completeness, I'm sure it won't end up being important.

2:00 a.m. - And we're into the intermission.

2:10 a.m. - Ugh. CBC is killing time before OT by showing us a bunch of Habs propaganda. They're doing features on some of their all-time greats. It's pretty standard stuff, although I did learn one thing: Did you know that former Habs tough guy John Ferguson has a son who was dropped down a flight of stairs as a baby, fifteen different times? Inspiring story. I wish them all the best.

2:12 a.m. - So nervous... We're one goal away from a trip the Stanley Cup finals. We just need to kill this penalty.

2:15 a.m. - And we're back. Here goes nothing.

2:17 a.m. - My god. Wayne Gretzky just high-sticked Doug Gilmour right in the face! Dougie is bleeding all over the ice. I don't have to tell you what that means: It's going to be five minutes and a game, since that's what the rulebook says and is how it's been called every single other time it's happened all year.

2:18 a.m. - I mean, I really can't overstate how incredible this turn of events is. Wayne Gretzky is going to get kicked out of this game. They'll play four-on-four for a few more seconds, and then the Leafs will have an extended powerplay.

2:18 a.m. - Look, not to get ahead of myself here, but good God almighty, the Leafs are going to score on this powerplay. There's no doubt in my mind. Wendel is unstoppable tonight. He's going to score, the Leafs are going to win the game, and then they're going to play the Montreal Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. I am literally seconds away from experiencing what will no doubt stand as the greatest moment of my young life.

2:19 a.m. - Hm, it's taking a lot longer than usual to call this penalty.

2:19 a.m. - One more thought while they clear up whatever minor procedural matter is causing this delay. This highsticking major on Wayne Gretzky, the announcement of which is no doubt a mere formality, is going to go down as one of the most stunning calls in NHL history. It will be discussed for decades. And Kerry Fraser is going to be the one to make it.

Imagine how he feels right now. With 20,000 fans in the building and millions more watching on TV, he's been handed a chance to make one of the toughest calls in league history. This is the moment that every official in every sport dreams of. This exact moment is why you ever pick up that whistle in the first place.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: For the rest of hockey history, whenever you hear the phrase "Cowardly referee who stares down the biggest call of his career and chokes on his whistle and then lies about it", you will immediately think: "The exact opposite of Kerry Fraser".

2:20 a.m. - Um, why is Wayne Gretzky taking the faceoff?


2:20 a.m. - Oh god, he didn't call it. He didn't call it he didn't call it he didn't call it he didn't call it...

(Editor's note: That goes on for several dozen pages. I'm just going to skip ahead.)

2:22 a.m. - Hockey gods? Can we talk?

Look, I understand what's happening here. Kerry Fraser just refused to call an obvious penalty that could have helped send the Leafs to an historic showdown with the Canadiens for the Stanley Cup. I see what you're doing, and I know where this is going. I know the Leafs are going to lose this game now. Every Leaf fan knows it. In fact, there's really no reason to string us along. You might as well just have the goal happen right now.

But first, just one request: Have it be somebody other than Gretzky who scores, OK? Anyone but the guy who's still got Dougie's blood on his stick. That's not to much to ask, is it?

I'm so young and full of hope right now. My whole life as a hockey fan is spread out before me. So much optimism. So much possibility. And I can't help but feel like this could be a turning point, hockey gods. If you let Gretzky score right here, I'm going to have to go ahead and assume that you hate Leaf fans and want us to suffer forever. And I don't know if I could handle that.

But I do know this: I really don't want to turn into some bitter, burnt out Leaf fan who rants about things that happened a generation ago in a way that starts off funny but gradually just makes everyone around him uncomfortable. Don't let that happen to me, hockey gods. Please.

Just not Gretzky. Anyone but Gretzky.

2:23 a.m. - Of course.

2:24 a.m. - I will not cry. You will not get that satisfaction, hockey gods. Not tonight.

(Editor's note: The next few entries are hard to read. I must have spilled a glass of water on them or something.)

2:32 a.m. - You know what? This isn't the end of this series. Sure, it's a terrible way to lose. Sure, it will probably cost Kerry Fraser his career because even the zero-accountability NHL wouldn't try to defend this level of incompetence and will no doubt fire him first thing tomorrow morning.

But I'm not going to let this get me down. After all, I still have a lot going for me. The Blue Jays continue to dominate against smaller markets like Boston. Letterman's new show will debut soon and wipe Leno off the air for good. And Chinese Democracy should be out by the end of the year.

And most important of all: There's still game seven, Saturday night at the Gardens. The Leafs still have a shot. They may win. They may lose. But they still have a shot.

And I'll tell you this much: Wayne Gretzky just used up a lifetime worth of luck tonight. If he's going to be a factor in game seven, he better be ready to play the best game of his career. Because if there's any justice left in the world, his days of lucky fluke goals are over.

Leafs in seven, baby. They're winning this series, and then they're beating the Habs. The dynasty begins now. The Maple Leafs are winning the Stanley Cup.

Because, man... god help me if they don't.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Habs eulogy, with full "Felt like 93" lyrics

After several false starts, rewrites, and accusations of being cursed, the Habs eulogy is live at Puck Daddy. You can head over and read it there now.

Included in the post is the latest Bloge Salming masterpiece, "Felt Like '93". You can watch it below, along with the full lyrics. (But go watch the original first if you've never seen it.)

Felt Like '93 - The lyrics

I believed it was meant to be
And it felt a little bit like 93
With flailing hands we held them high
But then the Flyers came along and they made us cry
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

Here's a rap from the rubble of Montreal
Where we used to expect that we'd win it all
The cigars got lit and the champagne flowed
But I guess you could say that was a long time ago

These days the forum ghosts have got pretty quiet
So when we win a round then it's time to riot
I thought we used to brag about 24?
Guess it don't take as much to impress us anymore

"Because we were the eight seed, that's the reason."
Well, yeah, because we sucked for most of the season
From October through March it was losing streaks
But then we got hot for three whole weeks.

Now we're all in love with Jaroslav Halak
Going to pay big dollars now to bring him back
But you're a Hab for life, bro, we got your back
Of course we said the same thing to Georges Laraque

You have one bad game and when you leave the ice
You're going to hear us chanting loud for Carey Price
But don't blame us it's just how we roll
We can be a little tough on the guys in goal

We might be hard to please but now we're rubbin'
One or two out to PK Subban
We know that his defence can be pretty bad
But he's still the best prospect we've ever had

You see we don't draft guys who can help win games
But we do draft guys who have got french names
And that's why this year will always make us smile
Cause we're not getting this close again for a while.

I believed it was meant to be
But instead we got sent home in round three
Our flailing hands are held up high
While the cop sprays pepper spray in our eyes
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

So here's a little shout out from around the league
From the fans out there of the other teams
Let's raise a glass and send up a call
And make sure they can hear us out in Montreal

This is for the Habs fans with the attitude
For the guys getting drunk and acting rude
For the US anthems that you booed
For the tiny little hot dogs you call food

For the fans who act like they think they're better
For making our school kids read The Sweater
For the pomp and the hype and the made up curses
For the punched out linesmen and the stolen purses

For the nightly pre-game banner raisings
For the nightly post-game frat boy tasings
For the loudmouth fans and their ole oles
For the loser rubbing shoe polish on his face

For the centennial and for your barber poles
For your ghosts and your luck and your waived off goals
For the dives and the faking that made us sick
For Too Many Men, and for McSorley's stick

For the non-stop talk about 24
For the knowledge that you're never going to win one more
For the broken windows and the burnt out cabs
Shout it one more time y'all, [bleep] the Habs

I believed it was meant to be
But our forwards look a little like five-foot-three
So let's find some old guy
And raise another number up to the sky
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

I believed it was meant to be
But instead we got a Puck Daddy eulogy
So let's watch the police helicopter in the sky
And party on the streets and try not to die.
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

Visit Bloge Salming to download the MP3.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Other ways the NHL is trying to attract new referees

The Swedish league rulebook includes a minor
penalty for executing the Randy Savage elbow drop.
While it was lost in the playoff hype, the NHL made some history last week when they announced the hiring of their first European referee. Marcus Vinnerborg is a veteran of the Swedish elite league who is well-respected in his home country for his rare ability to make difficult decisions in less than six months.

While it's always nice to see a barrier broken, the story also illustrates the difficulty the league is having in filling out its referee roster. The league needs more officials than ever thanks to expansion and the two-man system, but with several veterans retiring it's become a significant challenge to find enough qualified referee.

That's why I'm happy to report that the league is getting creative. Looking outside of North America is just the first step in a detailed new program the league has launched to help it attract and retain enough referees.

Other steps include:
  • The league will no longer limit hiring pool to officials who hate the Vancouver Canucks; just detesting them will now be good enough.

  • Officials will now be allowed to supplement income by keeping all the change Flyers fans throw at them.

  • The league will no longer cut costs on uniforms by only hiring officials who are already employees of Foot Locker.

  • Get with the times by allowing all referees to telecommute from home once a week.

  • Reduce the length of the overly complicated application form by getting rid of questions like "Can you tell the difference between the numbers 32 and 36?", since really, when is that ever going to come up?

  • Maybe return the calls of this Tim Donaghy guy; he claims to have all sort of ideas about how officials can increase their income.

  • Install a pre-game open bar in the officials' locker room, replacing the current cash bar.

  • Referees will now be allowed to order an in-depth video replay review of those two hot chicks in section 203.

  • Start paying every official a $10 cash bonus for every too-many-men penalty they call. (Note: Rule enacted prior to 2010 playoffs.)

  • In addition to the special plaque and the Swiss Chalet gift certificate, the employee of month will now also earn one free swing at Maxim Lapierre.

  • The popular "Kiss Cam" feature will no longer include hidden camera footage form the previous night of the home team's star player making out with the referee's wife.

  • Outsource the whole damn thing to India.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Like a Bettman: What does Gary do all day?

Gary Bettman has been making the media rounds recently, including his annual awkward mess of an interview on Hockey Night in Canada. His PR tour continued recently with an stop at your local sports radio station, where he was asked the question on all our minds: What exactly does he do all day?

I have to admit, I have a little more respect for him after hearing his answer.

(Special thanks to Steve Warne of the Team 1200 for his voiceover work. And remember, every time you go a full day without visiting Bloge Salming a Habs fan sets a dumpster on fire.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why are the Ottawa Senators losing money?

Melnyk was devastated to learn the post
would not include any Heatley jokes.
According to news reports, the Ottawa Senators lost money this season for the second year in a row. When I first read that, I assumed it was a mistake. I'm sure most of you did too.

After all, the game is booming in Canada. TV ratings are soaring, the dollar is strong, and there's even talk of adding more teams in the Great White North. How is it possible that a team in a city that unironically calls itself "Hockey Country" could be losing money?

Unfortunately, it's true. And after crunching some numbers and holding off-the-record discussions with several front office staff, I think I know why.
  • That whole "Alexei Kovalev will act like he vaguely gives a crap or your money back" promotion was probably a bad idea.

  • Foolishly bet Mike Fisher $100 that he wouldn't have the guts to ask out the next former reality show C-lister who walked through the door.

  • Probably should have listened to Andy Sutton and ensured that financial advisors were, in fact, experts.

  • Fans must remember that markets like Toronto and Montreal have certain geographical advantages, such as a larger population base, a more established business community, and an arena that's actually accessible by paved roads.

  • Were stuck paying Jonathan Cheechoo's $3.5 million annual salary, which over the course of the entire season worked out to $7 million per goal.

  • Owner Eugene Melnyk in unconcerned about profits and won't hesitate to spend money because he is completely committed to bringing a championship to the city of Ottawa, or at least that's what he told everyone when he showed up for that one game five months ago.

  • It gets expensive sending a new floral arrangement to Matt Carkner's widow every time Colton Orr comes to town.

  • What, you think designing a new uniform every three months is free?

  • Every time he sees the "how acquired" line in Chris Campoli's media guide bio, Bryan Murray throws another plasma TV through the press box window.

  • The dismissal of longtime club president Roy Mlakar had a devastating impact on revenues from the office swear jar.

  • An increasingly desperate desire to please fans lead to an irresponsible series of costly giveaways. (Wait, I'm sorry, that was meant for the list of "Reasons the Senators should trade Jason Spezza".)

  • For several games in December, briefly exceeded operations budget by hiring a second goddamned parking lot attendant.

  • Are still paying the buyout on the Crazy Fat Motivational Gladiator Guy's contract.

  • What can we say, elite goaltending ain't cheap.

  • Gosh, we have no idea. After all, Ottawa is such an amazing sports town.

  • That futuristic biomechanical exoskeleton we had to install in Daniel Alfredsson after the Mark Bell hit takes like a million batteries.

  • In hindsight, Spartacat's "Crowned Rack of Lamb with Saffron Rice and Apricot-Mint Sauce Master Blaster" probably would have still been popular if we'd just used hot dogs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Boston Bruins excuses

Everyone agreed his Marc Savard
impression was bang-on.
The Boston Bruins' recent loss to the Flyers has earned them a special place in history. By blowing a 3-0 lead in both the series and the decisive game seven, the Bruins have laid a legitimate claim to the title of the NHL's all-time greatest collapse -- and maybe even in all of sports.

What went wrong? Plenty, as it turns out. And since there's no question that devastated Bruins fans deserve an explanation, I set out to determine what happened. After several days of in-depth interviews with Bruins players and staff, I think I have a pretty good handle on why the Bruins fell apart the way they did.

And to be honest, after compiling this list I'm not sure I can blame them.
  • Probably shouldn't have believed Daniel Carcillo when he swore to us that conference semifinal series were best-of-five.

  • We were hoping to draw energy from home crowd, but instead they spent the entire game sitting in silence waiting for Bill Simmons to tell them what to chant.

  • Were getting tired of seeing lazy media and bloggers refer to every blown second-period lead as an "epic collapse"; wanted to remind everyone what that phrase really means.

  • Tricky Flyers play totally different indoors.

  • Just weren't able to shut down opposition scorers during the four minutes a night that Zdeno Chara isn't on the ice.

  • Some fans from Buffalo coughed on us in round one; may have picked up that "inevitable devastating soul-crushing defeat" virus that everyone in that city seems to have.

  • Claude Julien would like to someday pursue a career in television, and blowing a game seven with an inexcusable too-many-men penalty seems to be a great way to do that.

  • Didn't know how best to attack Flyers net, thanks to lazy scouts who only filed reports on the top ten goalies on the depth chart.

  • Figured we could get away with it, since Boston sports fans aren't the type of people who would witness a a 3-0 series comeback and then go on and on about it non-stop for years until everyone else in the sports world wanted to set them on fire.

  • It's probably wishful thinking, but can't help but wonder if having some sort of dynamic 22-year-old sniper on the first line would have come in handy.

  • Younger players were distracted by the excitement of seeing Sea Bass from "Dumb and Dumber" wandering around the pressbox.

  • Yeah, like you'd want to be anywhere near Montreal these days.

  • Every time coach Julien tried to give a firey speech about how the Bruins franchise demands excellence from all players at all times, everyone would get distracted by Tim Thomas sitting at the back of the room noisily eating a bag of $100 bills.

  • In hindsight, the "What Would Lebron Do?" bracelets may have been a mistake.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The horrible truth behind Montreal's miracle run

Oops. My bad.
The Montreal Canadiens are on one of the most stunning playoff runs in NHL history. After beating the Penguins tonight, they've now eliminated both the #1 seed and the defending champ, not to mention both of the game's biggest stars. Nobody can figure out how this is happening.

I think I know. And I think it's something I did. Let me explain.

The background: On April 21, the Caps beat the Habs 6-3 in game four of their first round series. It was an easy win, and it gave Washington a 3-1 lead in a series that everyone agreed was over.

The next day I got an e-mail from Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy, asking if Bloge Salming and I would be willing to write the 2009-2010 Montreal Canadiens eulogy. I agreed, and immediately started working on a thorough curb-stomping of the Habs and their wreck of a season. Oh, it was going to be glorious. It had a joke about riots, a Carey Price joke, a slightly different joke about riots, a shoe polish joke, and a joke about riots that was the same as the first one but used slightly different words. There was a good chance that once it was published, the Canadiens franchise would simply fold from the shame.

Three games later, the Caps had been stunned and Montreal was on their way to round two.

So I shelved the eulogy. No point, right? I'd have to rewrite it, but I had plenty of time. The Habs had earned four more games. Maybe even five. So I waited until Sunday, the day after the Penguins pushed Montreal to the brink of elimination. Then I fired up the eulogy and started reworking it.

Two games later, the Penguins are done and Montreal is in the conference finals for the first time since 1993.

Do you see what's happening here? Montreal is 5-0 when I'm working on their eulogy, and 3-6 when I'm not. Somehow, some way, my unfinished eulogy is changing the course of hockey history. It's become the official good luck charm of the 2009-2010 Montreal Canadiens. And if I don't put a stop to this now, it's going to single-handedly win the Habs a Stanley Cup.

Now, I've just entered my fourth decade of being a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan, so I think it goes without saying that the hockey gods hate me, and high-five each other when ever they notice I'm sad. That much is a given. But are they punishing me? Is this their twisted idea of redemption? Could I have really wielded this awesome power all along?

I don't know. And I'm really not sure what to do. Should I delete the file? Do I have to set my computer on fire? Should I keep writing, just to see what happens?

I've been burdened with an awesome responsibility, and as Wendel is my witness I do not know what to do next. Help me, DGB readers. What should I do now?

A few other thoughts on the Habs:
  • I tweeted this during the game, but the two guys who calls games for the Habs on the radio are the biggest homers I've ever heard -- and this is from somebody who grew up listening to Joe Bowen and is exposed to Dean Brown on a regular basis.

    Apparently it's Rick Moffat and Murray Wilson. And here's an actual transcript of them calling a Montreal goal: "YAAAYYYY!" These guys make Rick Jeanneret cringe.

    Look, I understand that local guys are allowed to wander off the path of strict objectivity from time to time. I'm fine with that. But is this some southern US market that desperately needs to sell the excitement of the game, or is it Montreal? Do Habs fans really go for this sort of thing? I really thought they'd be the last ones to need this sort of act.

  • Since the last time the Leafs played a playoff game, we've seen the Red Mile, the Blue Mile, the Sens Mile, the declaration of "Canucks Day" after just one round, and now downtown Montreal being shut down before every playoff game.

    So... we can all just admit now that the whole "Leaf fans are lame because they honk horns on Yonge St after playoff wins" thing was BS, right? The idea that there was something wrong with being happy that your team won in the playoffs was stupid all along, but like so many media cliches it was an easy way for dumb people to get in a few shots at Leaf fans. But the gig is up, right? We all agree that we're never going to hear about this again? OK, just making sure.

  • Speaking of my passive-aggressive persecution complex... The Habs have now won two seven-game series to advance to the conference finals. Nobody saw this coming. It's been an exhilarating and borderline ridiculous ride, the kind of thing that most hockey fans only get to experience once in a generation.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's a part of me that sincerely hopes they lose in the next round after an obvious penalty goes uncalled by a referee staring right at it, just so I can spend the next 17 years feigning confusion over why Habs fans don't just get over it.

  • Finally (with a glove tap to Jeffler), this happened. Who says Twitter isn't a valuable tool for finding out what's truly important in the world?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chris Kunitz: The man, the legend, the (sort of) cousin.

"Oh this? Yeah I carry it around
pretty much every summer."
I generally don't root for many non-Leafs. To be honest, I'd be perfectly happy if all 29 of the other teams' planes were involved in a fiery mid-air collision, since I'm pretty sure that in a league with only one team the Leafs would have a decent chance of making the conference finals.

But I have a few exceptions, and one is for family. That's why I'll always support the Penguins winger Chris Kunitz. As the Official Cousin of DGB, Kunitz gets a steady dose of karma. After all, he has the same aunt and uncle as my wife. Or maybe it's a grandparent. Or something. I wasn't really paying attention. But the point is: We're practically brothers!

So I do cheer for Chris Kunitz. And you know what? You should too. Because even if he's not vaguely kind of related to you, he has a lot going for him. Here's a list of some of the reasons you should join me in the unofficial Chris Kunitz appreciation society.
  • Whenever he feels the need to "accidentally" stomp on the back of somebody's leg, is always considerate enough to minimize impact by choosing a player who couldn't possibly get any slower anyway.

  • When playing Xbox at Sideny Crosby's place, he always makes sure to keep his voice down so that Old Man Lemieux doesn't come down and start yelling at everyone in his bathrobe again.

  • As a practical joke while in Anaheim, once convinced Ryan Getzlaf not to bother shaving his head since the bald spot wasn't really all that noticeable.

  • As a teenager, somehow managed to stay focused on his hockey development despite the many distractions and temptations available to a young man growing up in rural Saskatchewan.

  • Wins the Stanley Cup pretty much every year.

  • As part of expanding team leadership role, volunteered to explain to a confused Alexei Ponikarovsky that even though the regular season was over the team still had more games to play.

  • Hockey historians believe his all-time NHL record for "most times being involved in a waiver claim involving the Anaheim Ducks and Atlanta Thrashers" may never be broken.

  • Has never, as far as we know, ruptured anyone's testicle.

  • If economists' worst fears are realized and the global economy spirals into a period of hyperinflation, eventually his $3.5M salary won't seem all that bad.

  • Can't really prove this, but my guess is that he'd know how change a flat tire in less than 40 minutes.

  • If the Penguins win another championship this year, he's privately pledged to receive the Stanley Cup, skate a few strides with it, and then immediately use it to beat Matt Cooke to death at center ice.

  • You just know that he's eventually going to be responsible for the most memorable mispronunciation of Bob Cole's career.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Other Daniel Carcillo lies

"Flyer fans will react rationally to this post
in the comment section. Ha, lied again!"
Tonight's game two of the Flyers/Bruins series included a controversial first period play that saw Daniel Carcillo flop to the ice clutching his head after a Steve Begin hit to his shoulder. Combined with his attempt to draw a high-sticking penalty against the Devils in the first round after being struck in the hand, Carcillo is quickly earning a reputation as one of the league's most notorious fakers.

Now Carcillo is certainly not the league's only diver, and some might argue that he's simply doing his job -- trying to gain an advantage for his team through any means possible. But sadly, these two incidents haven't happened in isolation. League sources have told me that this is actually part of a pattern of habitual dishonesty on Carcillo's part.

A quick review of recent incidents seems to support that. Here are just ten more recent examples of Daniel Carcillo's lies.
  • Has described his facial hair as a "child molestor's moustache", when it's actually more of a "child molestor's van dyke".

  • Has been heard referring to the Philadelphia Flyers as "a tough but honorable team with a reputation for playing the game the right way", when in fact that was only true up until March 4, 2009.

  • Upon hearing "Free to Be" during a pre-game warmup in Toronto this year, referred to it as "not the worst song I've ever heard".

  • Told officials that he had been bitten by Marc Savard during a first period scrum tonight; in actuality, Savard has been taking all his meals through a straw since early March.

  • Told the Hockey News his favorite movie was Old School; is actually Fritz Lang's 1922 silent classic Dr. Mabuse der Spieler.

  • Was once overheard describing the Potvin/Hextall fight as "a draw".

  • During a poker game on a team flight, once bet out like he had hit his flush on the river when he totally hadn't.

  • Swore to Scott Hartnell that he had no idea why Jeff Carter's toothbrush kept turning up in his bathroom.

  • During the last few months of the Flyers season, frequently pretended he knew what that backup goalie's name was.

  • When asked tonight by reporters if the Flyers can still win their series against the Bruins, replied "yes".