Thursday, September 28, 2006
Finally, Reality Check and his daughter Poke Check are hitting the road for a three day tournament in Oshawa Ontario.
I am just as excited as the kid for this first one. The Typhoons have but two games under their belt so far this season - two exhibition losses last weekend - so we're about to find out what this team is made of real fast. The 3 teams we'll be facing are the host Oshawa Lady Generals (the name cracks me up too!), the Durham West Lightening, and a team from London (could be the Lady Knights - who knows!). There are 8 teams in the tourney. If we manage a pair of wins, we'll qualify for the semi final Saturday, and hopefully onto the final Sunday morning.
The girls had a bit of a rough go last weekend. Beleive it or not, the penalty crachdown has made it's way into boys and girls organized hockey. It's kinda nuts if you ask me. In the first game my kid had a minor for holding, two for slashing, five for fighting, an instigator and a game misconduct! No really, she gets called about three times a year, usually tripping when she's flustered. Each game had a total of 6 calls between the two teams.
A funny thing happened on the way to Montreal last weekend - I got lost - and I never get lost. I've been to Montreal a hundred times and know that section of it well enough, but it seems they renamed an eexit or something and correcting my slip cost me 45 minutes of discovering newfound La Belle Province territory.
By the time I got Poke Check to the game, two minutes had elapsed in the second period. She made quite an entrance to the game. After skating to her bench from behind the net, she was put on the ice on the very next shift. A team mate had come off the ice hobbling and my daughter was sent out to replace her. Trouble was, her teams bench door was inside the blue line, and she entered the ice offside as her team iced the puck. Smartly, she quickly tagged up while grabbing the loose puck. With no one near her, she broke in alone and rung one off the post. Unfortunately, that was her best chance of the game.
Tomorrow morning, we're leaving five hours early for a three hour drive just to make sure I don't get lost again! I'll wrap up the weekend Sunday night once we're home.
I took some quick pics of the jersey for TL. I don't yet have an answer on availability or price, but I should soon.
First tourneys are scary - I don't know what to expect yet of this team but I'm staying positive. Hey, I'm tied for first in the WFS pool, aren't I?
Of Internet Blogging, Misguided Satirical Anger, and Annonymous Commenting ( Or Take Yourself By The Hand Buddy - You have Little To Add!)
Late last Tuesday evening I posted a satirical blog based around Tie Domi's unfortunate descent from former NHLer to current fodder for gossip mongers. If you've gone over it, you likely got that it was hardly meant to be taken seriously, or taken for truth in any way shape or form. If you missed that, consider this a disclaimer.
Regular readers of EOTP (yes, all six of you) have without a doubt seen my twisted takes on the unbeleivable before the Domi crank. Recently, I've perused such tangents, sounding off on the likes of Charles Wang and Bobby Clarke, just to name two.
When I composed the Domi rant, with late night, speedstream maliciousness, I put little thought into what was behind it. In short, I was motivated by a well of anger. Earlier in the week, I had praised Domi for neatly ending his career with class and dignity in a manner respectful of the game and it's fans. Little did I suspect he would so soon make me want to eat my words. I did make small mention at the end of my piece about a certain blonde political bimbo of the worst sort who had been linked to him romantically. I offhandedly treated it as a mere rumour, plain and simple.
Within days of that post came news of the whole sordid affair. It has littered newspapers going on days now, frequently hitting the jackpot frontpage in a sad testament to what many (sometimes myself included) consider entertainment or news.
The mocked up front page Citizen joke I used atop of the blog was something that sat in my files for six months. It alluded to Domi's sexual preferences, in a spoof of his macho image. Hey, I thought it was a hoot!
With the recent news very much in mind, an idea peactically unleashed itself.
Combined with the anger inside me, it led to the page you all read. There were many reasons for that anger. I'll get to them soon.
I am guilty of not including the above disclaimer prior to launching the bomb that was my rant.
The point of the posting was in questioning the necessity of such news. Did we really need to read every ounce of dirty laundry involving these celebrity's private lives. I admit that to many, it makes for some compelling dialogue and discourse. There seemed to be an overwhelming curiosity and thirst for these alleged accusations and way too personal details. Though the acts and deeds mentioned were Tie Domi's doings, they seemed to be media fed, sadly, by his scorned ex-Mrs. in retaliation for a number of personal atrocities and attacks. I will not be getting into them.
Do I think it is any of our business? Surely not! Why the details, and the he done's - she said's, of a marriage can find their way into the public record is incomprehensible. Aren't separation agreements and divorce settlements not a private sealed document. Should they not be, in an attempt to protect the integrity of all involved parties not to mention the integrity surrounding the procedure itself. It amazes me that all this dirt is not simply leaked, but forcefed in spoonfuls and launched outward at all media outlets slobbering for the sordid details.
My biggest concern in all this, is for the children of the couple. Obviously these two partners have come to deserve each other, but shouldn't the legal process spare them the public embarrassment of having idiots for parents. Their three kids will now forever be marked by all this. It's bad enough when your parents fight and argue in front of you. It's another depth of scar altogether when the entire country gets to sit in and watch!
Of course the zeal of media does not pause to ponder these querries - it's just not their job. These two airheaded parents, with lines marked in the ground and heels dug in for the battle, never stopped to consider their offspring either. It's difficult to pinpoint who blew off the greater of responsabilities when all parties here are guilty as hell of simply thinking of themselves, money, and winning whatever petty battleground was leftover in the shambles of the relationship. It's all one big crying shame. Trouble is, it happens daily, everywhere.
Now to reconsider the "twist" post, in this light, I am positive that none of what I've just mentionned was reflected in it's content. My sarcasm, unfortunately brought it down to a much lower level. Don't confuse my clarification as an outright apology for it. As a writer who often goes on instinct, I'll be hellbent to impose reigns on what I often confuse as creativity. I'll live with my mistakes. As long as I allow myself the opportunity to keep making more.
Like I said before, I've learnt something about disclaimers. Next time I get horizontal on my psychiatrist's couch, I'll be sure to ask why I resort to sarcastic mode when dealing with the onslaught of left field suckerpunches the world delivers to itself on a daily basis. We all have our ways of coping.
The prime reason I am going to these lengths to explain the Domi disaster and the merit of my muse behind it, is that I was litterally taken to task on it by a reader in the name of an annonymous commenter. As I was still fuming from the post, I shot off an equally thoughtless F-bomb of a response to the comment - which I had deleted upon receipt. I later deleted my own inadequate reply. I do regret both actions. I should have read the comment more than twice before ditching it and adding mine. In short, I stupidly attacked it's annonimity rather than it's point. Not that annonymous commenting has any worth, mind you. It's gutless as hell and reeks of insecurity.
To put it mildly though, the reader attempted to K.O. me in about 3 short, pointless sentences. My integrity was rightfully questioned. I was not only drilled for my POV, or lack of one, the reader masterfully used my own words to nail me - namely, the quote from my profile that says: "I speak from the point of view of facts moreso than opinion...". I'll give him that attempt. Nice try!
The reader began the rag on me with something akin to "I'll put in down to not having been laid in a while", as an excuse for my being so pent up and pissed. How weak of him! He must be familiar with that circumstance to drop it on me. Just for the record, my annonymous friend, if my sex life were any more complete, I'd need to be twins. I've no complaints being called "God" now and again, and I won't trade the juice on my tongue for your mechanical masturbation anytime soon.
Most jerkoffs never identify themselves. So I'll get reported based on content. Big woop! Been there, still here!
The reader then went on to slamming my hometown before alluding that a writer who professes the things I claim to stand for, should be above such low brow musings. The reader made reference to dead brain cells of late night thoughts being better left to the meanderings of staggering bar patrons after a few too many.
Hey bug off! That's when I do my most pointed, uninhibited, and observational thinking, I think!
Interestingly, the reader made mention of two locals bars here in town (none of which I'd ever frequented). I originally assumed it identified the reader as a local who very likely knows me personally. From the gist of the comment, to it's well executed prose, it eliminated all but possibly three people who I know that could write it with any measure of literate composure.
After much reconsideration, I deduced that it would hardly be who I thought. They would never ram my hometown in that manner.
Unwittingly, I imagine I made the "I've been called an idiot" part of my profile into fact now also.
I'm not sure that the explanation I've offered here clears up the difference between fact and my opinion. If I've only managed to uncloud the motivation, however misguided one annonymous blogger feels it may be, behind the piece, that's half the battle I guess.
The shrink with the straightjacket and the 6 pack shares no responsability for this one. It was all mine. You learn. You fight back.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Some things should just stay in the closet!
Recently retired former Toronto Maple Leaf enforcer Tie Domi may have wished he had not scorned his now ex-wife Leanne Domi. Maybe he owes her a favor for attempting to cover up his sexuality by blaming Belinda Stronarch for their breakup. Mrs Domi was likely thinking of her children when she dragged out the age old infidelity angle, saving her ex-husband from embarrassment.
Unbeknowst the either of them, the shit is about to hit the fan courtesy of a snooping Ottawa Citizen reporter. A source close to TSN has leaked information that Domi wanted the TSN job badly in order to be close to gay lover Tony Twist, a former enforcer himself with the St. Louis Blues. The source, who did not want to be identified as Bruce Garrioch, says the couple met inside the Penalty Box, which is not an area near the rink surface, but a little known gay bar in Toronto frequented by homosexual hockey goons with a slightly offbeat love for the rough stuff. Arrarently, Domi was seen crying in Twist's arms the night he was jilted by Daniel Alfredsson. "He had it bad for Alfie", said the mole, "but then Daniel cut his hair and Tie went to pieces. He was so lonely, he sent letters of apology to Ulf Samuelsson, and begged forgiveness and struck up a friendship".
Domi and Samuelsson were fast friends, but it all ended when Ulf apparently got wind that Tie was only using him to learn Swedish pickup lines he would later use on Alfredsson.
"All he ever talked about was Alfredsson ass", said Samuelsson through an interpreter.
The Citizen tried corraborating the story with Domi's former Leafs team mates, but only Doug Gilmour was slightly approachable. When Gilmour was asked about the scandal he had only this to say:
"Look, the story's so fucking old it has dust on it. I didn't touch her, I wasn't sued, and I was traded to Calgary for no other reason than Coxe, Corkery, and Mike Bullard!"
Getting back to Twist, regulars at the Penalty Box offered a small glimpse into the goon's tryst with Domi. Stephane, a waiter/buffer/fluffer at the Box said often the pair would slip incognito into a champagne room where squeals would soon be heard. When a crowd would gather to watch, Domi would threaten to punch out the entire establishment, before being overtaken with Twist's charms.
"Tony would get behind him and grab him in a headlock, reach around Tie and tweak his nipple 360 degrees", says Stephane. "Just when Tie would begin struggling like a wet boar in a quicksand, Tony would...."
Okay that's enough. We get the picture!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Major progress has been made in Jen Seaborn's search for information on her distant cousin Jim Seaborn.
If you were following a few blogs back, Ms Seaborn is trying to piece together all she can regarding a cousin three generations removed, who had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup in the 1914-15 season.
Jim Seaborn was a defenseman with that years Vancouver Millionaires championship team, and Ms. Seaborn has enlisted me to aid in finding out information on the player and the person her cousin Jim was.
After a multitude of internet searches, I was able to determine that Jim had likely only played for the Millionaires in that one season. In the above picture, you will see Jim as the ninth player counter clockwise, in ovals, on this postcard celebrating the 1915 Stanley Cup win. Few other pictures of Jim exist. It has been determined that he had previously played for the Portland Rosebuds (Buckaroos) and was enlisted in WWI for ten years, returning to play in 1925 for Duluth of the AHA (American Hockey Association). He went on to play for St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, and the Kansas City Pla Mors of the AHA, where he retired in 1932.
Jim Seaborn died, at the age of 72, in 1964.
With the help of some of my research, Jen has been able to connect to a Mrs. Audrey Keyes of Aiken, Georgia, who is the daughter of Jim Seaborn. She has also been linked to the daughter of a second cousin of Jim, via a newspaper article in the Vancouver Provincial published recently, that she was unaware of. Mrs Sue Kane was in the news recently as she had discovered Jim Seaborn's name on the Cup, inside the bowl, no less.
Mrs Kane is a second cousin twice removed, of Jim Seaborn, and was notified of Mrs. Keyes discovery via the internet. It occured when Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrew Ladd visited Richmond B.C, with Lord Stanley's mug.
The inscription of Jim Seaborn's name is clearly seen in the above photo, on the inside of the bowl.
Jen Seaborn would be appreciative of any additional information in regards to Jim, whether it be new photos, U.S. sensus information, or information pertaining to the years of Jim Seaborn's life from 1932 to 1964.
Anyone with leads in these areas can drop a comment in my box and I will forward them along.
Your help is greatly appreciated.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Some random thoughts on tonights Habs - Leafs tilt.
Habs are now 0-4 in preseason. I am worried yet. No. If they play like this in December? Yup!
Both teams were missing their most important element tonight. Mats Sundin and Andrei Markov. I'm not kidding.
Toronto has a heck of a line with Steen-Suglobov-Stajan. They were all over, all night. Suglobov especially excelled in both ends and has the quickness to play in todays game.
The Habs best rookie was again Guillaume Latendresse. Though he registered no points, he was omnipresent on the Habs first two goals, making a big hit to set up the first, and screening Raycroft on the second. He set himself up well for some good scoring chances and could have notched a couple if not for Raycroft.
Sheldon Souray and Craig Rivet were jittery playing next to green rookies who do not belong and have no chance of making the team.
Koivu started the game strong but tired in the third. Ryder was on his usual firing game and Chris Higgins looks in mid season form already. Expect more than you'd think from this guy this year.
Hal Gill is your new Aki Berg. Rookies were giving him fits. He took one bad call and argued it, which only made him lookworse in my eyes.
Chad Kilger was solid, smart and hitting all he could. I miss this Cornwallite on the Habs. A more well rounded player than most imagine he is.
Kovalev and Samsonov found no synchronism with Corey Locke as their center.
Raycroft was just good. He stopped the initial shots he could see, but still scrambles way too much in traffic. He seems to lose the puck quite easily. The jury is still out.
During a stretch in the second period, the Habs were all over the Leafs. The Buds were called for five straight penalties and Montreal moved ahead 2-1.
Andy Woznuts, whatever his name is...had good moments and brutal moments.
Christobal Huet is not yet himself as weird goals kept him from his steady, calm self. Stajan's goal was a case in point. The play seemed dead when Stajan was falling to the ice. Everyone gave on him and batted the puck in with the heel of his stick.
The Leafs third goal was a double babmington racket deflection that no goalie could stop without the luck of it hitting him.
The Habs best defenseman on the night was Mark Streit, with a goal and two assists.
Habs coach Guy Carbonneau sat out C Mike Ribeiro as he was not happy with his effort in previous game or in practice. Not the way to start the year.
My assessment overall is this for both teams simply based on tonight's game. Toronto is very fast on the forecheck - even with this lineup. The D minus Kubina, Kaberle and McCabe was slow. I beleive they may be better than most people think. Montreal have an abundance of speed up front. When on their game, they draw penalties and throw other teams out of synch. If they fail to do this they will be flat. Once the D pairing are stabilized, they will be much better all around. The Canadiens time for experiments however, is now over and it is time to get serious.
Friday, September 22, 2006
On my blog to do list of works in progress was a general appreciation page on the retirement of Ken Dryden and Serge Savard's jersey numbers. I watched the press briefing on it earlier in the week and made some mental notes on things that were said at the conference announcement.
Scanning the official Habs site days ago, I happened upon these two pics. I thought that they simply said it better than I ever could. I scrapped my planned piece. This made easy work of it.
This is called confidence. Ability, faith, call it what you will. These two ooozed cool on the Canadiens teams of the 1970's.
Imagine a goalie showing this nonchalance today? Imagine him playing for Keenan?
When Dryden pulled this beauty of a shot from an envelope he had with him and displayed it to the gathered media, the press room broke out in fits of laughter.
"You can’t lean on your stick as a goalie unless the puck is at the other end of the ice," laughed Dryden, before pulling out a nonchalant picture of himself looking on from his crease, comfortably leaning on his crossbar as he admired Savard fending off a forechecker.
"Do I look nervous here to you?" asked a smiling Dryden as he again pointed to the photo. "This really says it all. When Serge had the puck on his stick, I knew it was going to leave the zone."
RC NOTE - I am requesting the assistance of anyone willing to help someone out by doing a little internet detective investigating. I'm asking this on behalf of a reader who queried me by e-mail in regards to a post gathering dust in my archives concerning the Vancouver Millionaires Stanley Cup win in 1914-15. It certainly picked my curiosity to say the least. The letter from one Jen Seaborn read:
Your page on the Vancouver Millionaires was a great read. Do you know which player is which in the team photo and is it possible to have a version of it enlarged? As you have probably noticed, one of the team members and I share a surname. Jim Seaborn was a cousin. I have always thought the fact that he was on a Stanley Cup winning team is amazing. Are there any other sources of information you could recommend for researching him?
I quickly replied to Ms. Seaborn inform her that the pictured player was none other than the legendary Cyclone Taylor, and unfortunately not her cousin Jim.
I offered to help out in any way I could in regards to hockey research, noting that "internet databases are relatively new and not that deep". In short, there may not be all that much out there in cyberland that isn't incomplete, dubious, or redundant. I asked that she share any known information on her cousin that may help me point my searches in the right direction.
Ms. Seaborn replied enthusiastically within a day and supplied the following information. I was stunned, primed, and on the case. Her letter included many facts both clear and hazy. Jen obviously wants badly to ascertain that it is in fact her cousin ( removed by genarations) whose name is on Lord Stanley's mug! Hey, who wouldn't!
She also seems highly intent on piecing together a somewhat fragmented family tree over the past one hundred years.
I have no definitive proof that my cousin Jim Seaborn and the Jim Seaborn on the Stanley Cup are the same man. However, hypothesis is supported by the following items:
• Cousin Jim was born in 1892 making him about 23 in 1915 – the right age to be playing professional hockey;
• Known to be very athletic – born out by item after item in the Winnipeg newspapers;
• Seaborn is a fairly rare name;
• My daddy said that the Jim Seaborn on the Stanley Cup is Cousin Jim
Unfortunately I know very little about Cousin Jim and his branch of the family, but will share the relevant bits identified to date. James "Big Jim" Seaborn was born in Manitoba March 6, 1892 in Manitoba, the 4th of 8 children. Parents were Thomas James and Elizabeth (Neely) Seaborn.
My dad told me that his father told him that Jim was a professional hockey player and won just about every athletic competition open to him from a very young age. Other branches of the family might have memorabilia. My branch currently has unsubstantiated rumor. I will email a cousin in BC and see if she heard anything about Jim or knows where there might be some memorabilia lying around.
An article in the Vancouver Courier, dated March 24, 2005 says that "Jimmy Seaborn" moved from Portland before beginning the 1914-15 season with the Millionaires. I see only one Seaborn in the 1910 US census in Oregon; CC Seaborn roomed at a boarding house in Portland ans was born in Illinois in about 1871. (That would have made C.C. 45 years of age when Jim was 23 in 1915- RC) There were pro hockey teams operating in Portland at the time so Jim could well have been playing for one of them. Jim was still in Winnipeg in 1911 when he appeared in the census with his family on Boyd Street. The 1921 census is not yet available. However, Jim's branch of the family does have ties to the Vancouver area as this is where his father died (1926) and two of his sisters were married (1925 and 1927). It seems that many folks from Winnipeg moved to Vancouver so these family events may or may not be any relevance to Jim playing there. The 1921 census is not yet open to the public.
From my end, I was able to inform her and confirm much of what we'd already both known.
Jim Seaborn never played in the league known as the NHL. He is likely not one of the pictured players in the Millionaires group photo at my blog - the most common known shot of that team. As the Stanley Cup has 12 names engraved including Jim, this photo has only 8 players abd was likely taken at the start of their innaugural season before others players were added, purchased, or traded for to fill the lineup.
Through a multitute of old time semi pro hockey league databases I was able to conclude that Jim was a defenseman and played for five teams in the CHL from 1925 to 1932. The most complete profile was from the Hockey Database website I'm sure many of us use for an occasional resourse. On this link you will find his stats and follow his career from city to city. I consider this crucial information, especially his final, second stop in Kansas City, as he may have returned there at age 40 for reasons of family moreso than hockey. I just guessing, mind you, but I imagine it a calcualted one.
By the way, not bad stats for a defenseman of that era.
The CHL in it's day did have many individual awards, none of which Jim won. Also making information hard to come by, is the fact that those small American hockey leagues shifted teams quite often in search of stability in those years.
I was not able to come up with any playing information or stats for the years prior to 1915 and betwen that year and 1925. That missing decade surely holds clues as to where Jim Seaborn may have settled and raised family.
Most interseting note of my search so far was finding a Vancouver Province article dated this August 24, 2006. It may be what started family members searching for background on Seaborn to begin with.
The article details the findings of a Richmond B.C. woman named Audrey Keyes, 63, when Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrew Ladd took the Cup home that day to his hometown celebration. Upon Mrs. Keyes discovering her cousin Seaborn's name on the mug, a story was issued in the paper. The article drew attention from a woman from the Prairie named Sue Kane, 74, who got in touch with Keyes alerting her that they were long lost cousins who shared the Seaborn ancestry. It told that they would be reuniting soon and that they were both curious to find missing links in Jim's story as well as the shared family tree.
Jen is currently scouring the sensus' taken in a multitute of northwest U. S. and Canadian cities. Many of these do not release information for up to 100 years, I am told. As she backtracks through her ancestry, clues as to Jim Seaborn's path through life, will surely reveal themselves.
I will keep posting on this subject for as long as the search goes on.
I am wishing that all bloggers who come in contact with this post tag along with the search and comment findings or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know of any search engines, websites, or databases that could help this progress along, I would appreciate each singlelead you can offer.
I'm sure Jen would appreciate it more than you can imagine.
Drop me a line.
A few thoughts on some preseason action over that last two nights.
While I was searching for a still shot of Evgeni Malkin's cartwheel facesmack over John LeClair's rutspread boardkiss, I found this link to a video of it shot from different angles, but not before Waiting For Stanley beat me to posting it. Check it out! It's a classic bettered only by the Tucker faceplant pictured above! (Note to WFS - A good Friday photo caption, I think! It's all yours.)
Had to laugh during last nights Leafs-Sens tilt. I'm hoping Sens prospect Cory Pecker makes the cut. With Mike Peca on the Leafs side, could we all hope for a Peca-Pecker knucklefest? I'd love to hear any announcer spout, "Pecker and Peca are going head to head!"
Are thinned out rosters making the Bruins look good or the Habs look bad? Of course it's only the preseason, but in Montreal, as in Toronto, every game matters. Coach Carbonneau's head will be guided to the guillotine by opening game if this keeps up.
In Ottawa, all the hype over Alexei Kaigodorov is turning out to be just that. Seems Kangaroorov steers three strides from the boards at all times and fears wrinkling his jersey. John Muckler will soon start to take less stock in his European scouts words if this guy doesn't pan out. His buildup in the nation capital described him as the second coming of another Alexei, the once highly anticipated and now Islander playoff phantom Yashin. They may be right for all the wrong reasons.
Out west, Petr Sykora and Alex Tanguay have done well in debuts with the Oilers and Flames respectively. The Battle of Alberta needed OT to settle the score tonight. Both clubs looked well matched and feisty in their typically contested manner.
Will Roberto Luongo continue his trend of making bad teams simply average in Vancouver. Everything is in place to suggest so. The worrying continues while the Canucks are rebuilding. Waiting For Stanley? Aren't we all!
A curious situation may emerge in the Big Smoke with a three way goaltenting tangle shaping up. What happens if both Mikael Tellqvist and J.S. Aubin outshine Andrew Raycroft? John Ferguson Jr.'s expensive and highly touted reclammation project may be his undoing at seasons end.
I'm keeping a close (not closed) eye on the performances of Jose Theodore in the Avs preseason. So far so good for Theo, as he has been solid in back to backs against Dallas and Detroit. That good news for TL at Jersey's and Hockey Love, as Theo looks to reclaim his elite goalie status after being relegated to media sideshow putz all in the space of one year.
File this one under blog posts I never thought I'd write!
As everyone with a heart for Canadian hockey knows, Tie Domi has called it a career this week. With the Toronto Maple Leafs having bought out the remainder of his contract, this news takes no one by surprise. What caught me off guard, was my own reaction to the news.
Although it became pretty evident last year that Domi 's days in the new free skating NHL were dwindling, I still secretly hoped that the Leafs or another team of Tie's suiting would give him one last go around. As it turned out, Domi only saw himself wearing the blue and white, or nothing at all.
During the Albanian Assasin's career, I must admit I was never the greatest fan of his. I often took the opportunity to point out that the scrambled letters to his full name spelled out ME IDIOT! I was like many people who were not Leafs fans: I tolerated his manic gestures because he was damn colourful on and off the ice.
Leaf nation adored him. He was a catalyst and an unofficial captain in many regards. He battled not only every opponant worthy of him, he also battled his own admittedly mince talent to become a more complete player. He earned every ounce of respect due him. His battles with Bob Probert are legendary amongst fans of fisticuffs. He was a passionate combattant in the four corners of the rink. Domi loved his fans and respected the game that gave him noteriety with same zest he played the game.
Much of this was already in plain view before this weeks announcement.
When a career winds down and tribute pours forth, it often alters ones perception and assessment of a player. This occured to me as read more and more on the man. I had a chance to ponder some facts I already knew and some that crept up on me that I'd been unaware of in regards to his career.
I'd known Tie had played his thousanth game last season. I didn't know he sat 10th on the Leafs for all time games played. That's quite an achievement. Worthy, in my opinion, of a jersey honour in the rafters of the ACC, especially for a player of his type.
I didn't know he was so close to overtaking his hero Tiger Williams for 2nd place on the all-time penalty minutes list. Domi can be proud he sits third.
Domi mentioned the Scott Neidermayer incident at the press conference as his biggest regret. Taking that opportunity to list it as the one thing he would undo, took guts and class.
In looking back over his days in the league, he stressed that he is proof positive that any kid can make the big league with enough heart and effort. I hope a million Canadian kids heard that loud and clear.
He dropped the name of the Senator's Chris Neil in reference to how a player has to continuously work his game to remain an NHLer. A classy tip of the hat that touched Neil a day later when he corroborated the story of his first encounter with Domi. Funny to hear that both share an appreciation for each other.
Domi will now be working at TSN as an analyst and commentator. My hope is that he takes the Don Cherry approach and holds nothing back as he runs with the pro-Canadian hockey mantle I'm sure he will soon he handed.
Hopefully, when he rides off into the sunset, it will not be on top Belinda Stronarch!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The good - Saku is back and showing no signs the eye injury suffered last season is impairing him any.
While a preseason opening loss to the Bruins was not the way the Canadiens had hoped to kick off the 2006-07 season, the sight of captain Saku Koivu at his usual post Tuesday night had everyone in both the Bell Centre and the Habs’ dressing room breathing a collective sigh of relief.
Skating on a line with usual sidekicks Michael Ryder and Christopher Higgins, the Canadiens’ captain was up to his old tricks, helping set up Ryder early in the second period for the Canadiens’ first goal of 2006-07. While Koivu would have much preferred a different outcome to open the preseason than a 5-2 loss to the Bruins, he was glad to finally get his first taste of game action.
"The eye felt fine," said Koivu, who is also adapting to the use of a new larger visor that comes down lower and closer to his face. "It’s going to take some time for me to feel really comfortable but it reacted well. I had to look down at the puck a few times but that’s just going to take some getting used to.
"Saku has a lot of character. He works hard and he’s our leader, our captain," reaffirmed Steve Begin. "He answered the call and we obviously need him out there. He suffered a serious injury, but knowing Saku, he’ll do everything he possibly can to never let that show."
As for the game itself, it played out as a preseason game often does. Timing issues, rookie mistakes, and general cohesion ruled the evening.
With the Canadiens dressing only 11 regulars, many rookies were given a shot at a longer stay with the team.
Most did not fare too well as the Habs got into early penalty trouble and never recovered. Craig Rivet, who can always be counted on to take bad calls due to overexhuberance, replayed the old movie midway in the first, receiving four minutes for holding and hooking infractions. Within minutes the Bruins were up by two and the Habs fate was soon sealed. After another call resulted in the Bruins third goal, it was pretty much game over.
Defenseman Jon Gleed and Ryan O'Byrne had trouble on penalty kills clearing the net. Gleed himself, was caught way out of position on two Bruins goals.
Beginning with the second period, the Habs settled down some when Koivu set up Ryder nicely to put the home team on the board.
Guillaume Latendresse and Carey Price impressed the most amongst Habs rookies. The enigmatic Latendresse made a nice split of the Boston D when he was hauled down. On the ensuing penalty shot, he threw some nifty moves that didn't fool Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, but it was something to see nonetheless. Latendresse made amends in the third, one-timing a powerful Bossy-like wrister past a rookie Bruins goalie to make the game closer.
Price was even more on the mark, stopping 21 of 22 Bruins shots fired at him, including a robbery of a save on Glen Murray point blank.
In all the Habs were outshot by the Bruins, 38 to 21, a stat explained by the 13 penalties taken in the contest. The more disciplined Boston team were handed 6 calls.
The Canadiens line of Kovalev-Samsonov-Ribeiro did not dress but should see action in tomorrow nights contest.
Coach Guy Carbonneau cited inexperience as well as indiscipline for the loss.
It is with deep regret that the Montreal Canadiens announce the passing of Floyd Curry, who died peacefully at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Montreal Saturday morning.
Born in Chapleau, Ontario, on August 11, 1925, Curry spent his entire 11-year NHL career with the Canadiens. Before joining the Canadiens, he won the Memorial Cup with the Oshawa Generals in 1944 and the Allan Cup in 1947. His four Stanley Cups made him one of a handful of players to have won a championship at all three levels.
The reliable right winger enjoyed his most productive season in 1951-52, when he notched a personal best 20 goals and 38 points. He carried that momentum into the postseason that year when he tied for the NHL playoff scoring lead with seven points in 11 playoff games. He played 601 games with the Canadiens, amassing 105 goals and 204 points. In 91 playoff games, Curry scored 23 goals and recorded a total of 40 points.
Perhaps his most memorable moment came when he recorded the only hat trick of his career with Queen Elizabeth in attendance on October 29, 1951 as the Habs defeated the New York Rangers 6-1 at the Forum.
Following his playing career, Curry coached the Montreal Royals before returning to the Canadiens family where he spent over four decades in various front office capacities including Director of sales and later as the team’s travel secretary.
One of Curry's duties while employed with the Canadiens was to scout the teams prospects at each level and report back to the team on their progression. During the 1970-71 campaign, Curry took in many of the Nova Scotia Voyageurs games. The Habs main farm team that year (the Canadiens had several) was an average squad just meandering over the.500 mark, as they were pretty thin on defense. Curry watched road games and reported to the Habs brass that the only thing keeping the Voyageurs from losing was the play of rookie goalie Ken Dryden. Curry was so high on Dryden, who was making 45 to 50 saves a night, that he told one reporter than if Dryden were in the NHL at present, he would guide whichever team he was playing for straight to the Stanley Cup. No mean prediction!
Dryden of course, likely due to Curry's evaluation, found himself in Montreal with 6 games to go in the season and played well enough to wrestle the starting goalie's job away from Rogie Vachon. The rest, as we all know, is history!
Curry is survived by his wife of 61 years, June, his children Dawn and Candace and several grandchildren
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Habs open up their preseason schedule tonight, hosting the Boston Bruins in the first of back-to-back matchups at the Bell Centre.
Captain Saku Koivu will be seeing game action for the first time since suffering an eye injury in the first round series against the Hurricanes last spring. With Christopher Higgins and Michael Ryder on his wings, the trio will look to build on the chemistry from last season. Forwards Ben Maxwell and Matt D’Agostini as well as defensemen Ryan O’Byrne and Jon Gleed will all be introducing themselves to the Bell Centre crowd tonight. Maxwell and D’Agostini will skate with Guillaume Latendresse, who is in his second tour of duty at the Canadiens’ training camp. Last year, the right-winger, now 19, notched five points in four preseason games.
Not in the lineup in the Bruins’ 5-0 loss to the Devils on Sunday, Phil Kessel, Boston’s first choice in the 2006 draft, will also be making his preseason debut. The fifth overall pick back in June, Kessel will center Marco Sturm and Glen Murray.
Cristobal Huet will get the honor of being in nets when the first puck drops tonight. The Grenoble, France native will share the goaltending duties with Carey Price, who will take over mid-way through the game.
The news out of the Canadiens camp so far concerning Koivu has been encouraging. Other than the fact he will need cataract surgery at seasons end, Koivu has been his regular self on the ice and in scrimmages. On most days, he has been described by those on hand as the best and most determined player on the ice. In other words, his usual self.
In regards to Latendresse, those stating he was the odds on favorite to make the team after last years excellent camp are now reserving their judgement for a later date. Seems Giu's maturity and consistancy are in question, with his health being of secondary concerns at this moment. From the sound of it, Latendresse could either become the next Stephane Richer, 50 goal scorer, or the next Stephane Richer, the moody winger with a million doallar talent on a ten cent head. Time will tell.
Back after the game with a report.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I thought I'd give a little peak into NHL.com and check out some team collectibles and memorabilia. I was suprised to see how much stuff (read junk) that was on display and up for sale. Not much of it is cheap either. Cruising throught the Habs section I found some 212 items. These pictured pieces are the high and lowpoints of the set.
From left to right, top to bottom:
1-The atrocious pink womens replica jerseys - you'll never see these on a guy, ever!
2-Habs dynasty banner - you won't find these at BuffaloSabres.com.
3-Montreal Canadiens bucket - there's a joke here I don't get.
4-Autographed Henri Richard photo - fifty bucks, divided by eleven Cups
5-Doug Gilmour Habs card set - 20 in all - too bad he didn't get here earlier!
6-Gold Habs watch - how much time left till the next Cup?
7-Numbered T Shirts - way cool and cheaper than a jersey. I'll take three!
8-Habs Poker Chips / Card set - If Doug Harvey was still alive he'd own these and get them signed by Tocchet
9-Jose Theodore action figure - same pose as plain clothes version that has him wiping out on his front steps.
10-Pete Mahovlich action figure - why the Little M, where's Frank?
11-Habs Bendo - Looks just like Ribeiro and whines if squeezed.
12-Guy Carbonneau RC - $14.99 in Montreal, $5.99 in Dallas, $1.99 everywhere else.
I imagine each teams site has a whack of these items for sale. My search for Leafs crying towels white screened my comp before it crashed, so I'm not going there again! I did find a nifty Pat Quinn windup doll that spewed excuses with each crank and some Mighty Duck balloons that claimed to be "Unprickable by Brian Burke!"
Friday, September 15, 2006
A recent snafu at a Toronto radio station almost ended in tragedy this week when a life long Toronto Maple Leafs supporter took to the QEW in a mad rush to beat what was in essense a non existant ticket line.
A DJ at Toronto's Q 107 inadvertantly cued up the wrong file tape during a morning show this past Thursday. DJ Craven Morehead now says he feels terrible that his slip up almost ended the life of a Leaf Nation die hard.
During the morning show's sports segment, Moorehead was about to air an interview with newly signed Matt Stajan when he accidently ran an archived commercial from 1993 announcing a Friday morning on sale date for Leaf tickets to the 1993 Stanley Cup final.
As we all know, the Leafs just missed out on the historic date, but their appearance in the seventh game of that years quarter final necessitated the on sale date announcement. The unfortunate slip of the archived advertisement was immediatly corrected on air, but not before one Basil McDowell ran out the door in haste.
McDowell, who suffers from a bevy of mental disabilities, including Terret Syndrome - brought on by that very same '93 final, burst out the door of his mothers basement apartment where he resides. Anxious to be the first in line for the precious tickets, an armed with 6 jars worth of small change, the Leafs die hard hit the highway pointing his Prozak enlightened gaze at the CN Tower in the distance.
Within minutes, McDowell, who also suffers from dementia, was clipped slightly by a passing SUV and shoved off to the roadside.
The driver of the SUV stopped to assist but not before a Toronto Sun media type snapped this pic and got McDowell's story and comment.
"I'm okay. I'm alright", said the rider of the 1967 Zelco Speedster Special.
"Bastard, cocksucker ran me off the motherfucking, godamn road. I won't get my frigging, motherfucking Leafs tickets now cause of that fuckfaced cuntlicking asshole whore of a son of a bitch bastard asshole. I'm shitfucked and reamed now. I almost hope they lose lose to those prima donna skankeating bastard L.A. faggot fucking whoremastering jerkoff jizz swallowing Kings".
"Is this gonna be in the fucking nightly cocksucking shitass news....Hi Mom!"
Moorehead will apparently make a donation to the charity of McDowell choice.
Bobby Clarke's Audi suffered the wrath of Dave Nonis' anger Friday afternoon.
Before matching the Flyers offer sheet to Ryan Kesler, the Canucks GM hopped a red eye to the city of brotherly love looking to settle the score with the former Flyers captain.
A witness at the scene of this meltdown said Nonis was chasing Clarke all over Philly when he spotted the renegade GM heading into a drug store to buy some Pepto Bismol on the city's outskirts. It is said that Nonis' was practically frothing at the mouth when he spied Clarke, who ran off like the chickenshit he always was whenever fights broke out around him back in the Broad Street Bullies glory days.
While Clarke hid out at a nearly Toys R Us disguised under an Islanders cap, Nonis went balistic and emerged from Home Depot with five pick axes under his arm.
He approached Clarke's Audi and literally went to town on it shouting after each swing of the axe," Don't. Fuck. With. Canucks. Again."
Nonis then walked calmy and nonchalant to his car and scooted off, not to be seen again.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Philadelphia Flyers outspoken GM Bobby Clarke has had a busy week.
After a long summer of negotiations, the GM basically caved and gave winger Simon Gagne both the dollars and length he was looking for. It surprised many who saw Gagne as a potential training camp holdout. The way the two parties had been talking, the gap between offers was of canyon like proportions.
Within days of the Gagne news, Clarke, who all along had been claiming money was tight, did another pirouette into senselessness and tended an offer sheet to Canucks RFA Ryan Kesler to the tune of 1.9M.
He then spent the following day deflecting criticism he felt was unwarranted. In an interview on TSN, Clarke was in vintage vilifying form. Here are some of the better quotes he unleashed.
"I don't give a fricking excrement (expletive altered) if nobody likes me, I could care less. But they shouldn't be getting mad at me, I didn't put the rule in the collective bargaining agreement. If they're mad, they should call Bettman and complain to him. He's in charge of the rules, not me. I didn't realize there were some rules we're not allowed to use."
"I'm trying to make my team better. There's a rule that says we can put out offer sheets. So I did it. You know, it's funny, they made new rules so we're operating in a system where we all get to spend the same amount of money. Those are the rules. We all live by them. No one can accuse Philadelphia of spending more money than everyone else now. But when I go and use a rule that is there, everybody is all over me about it."
"To me, our thinking is completely backward. I lost Kim Johnsson to free agency because the Minnesota Wild gave him $4.8 million. Well, the Flyers had to give revenue sharing money to Minnesota and other teams and I don't like that but it's the rules. And then Minnesota takes that money and signs my player and there are no rules to say I can keep him if I match. I wish I had all the options with Kim Johnsson that Vancouver has with Kesler. They can match and keep him or they can let him go. It's up to them."
"Everyone says it's causing salaries to go up. That's crap. We've all got salary caps and if it is true it drives up salaries, well, doesn't Boston signing (Zdeno) Chara to a $7 million deal or Chicago signing (Martin) Havlat to a $6 million deal drive up salaries, too? Give me a break.
Earlier in the day, Clarke met with captain Keith Primeau over beers at Schultzies Bar to discuss the players plans on returning to action. Rosie the Bartender, with a keen ear for gossip, relates the following exchanges between the GM and the captain.
KP: I'm feeling really good.
BC: How many ya had?
KP: No, I mean I feel I can practice now - with the team!
BC: That's not what you said yesterday.
KP: What did I say yesterday?
BC: Just the opposite.That you felt like crap.You were leaning towards retiring. (Shot upside the head by Clarke) Remember?
KP: No, I feel good I never said that! I said...
BC: You think you can practice. Well that's just fucking gr...do you know I'm signing Simon, right?
KP: Simon...? (Another whack to the temple) Oh, that Simon!
BC: Yeah I'm committed now. Face it, you can't play. You're done. We're done with you!
KP: I can so! (Thump) I could beat you at a game of pool.
BC: Okay, for chrissakes! We'll decide it that way then!
KP: Hey, I never said that! (Twack)
BC: Rack 'em up, pussy! Sorry, did I hit you with the cue?
KP: Nice break! Hey, watch it (Crack) with that flipping (Crunch) cue.
BC: Go ahead, you're low.
KP: I'm feeling a tad dizzy, Bobby! (Thump) Three ball in the corner.
BC: Nice try, you shot at the 6, by the way!
KP: Well how many balls are the same color?
BC: All of 'em Keith! We're playing 9 ball, remember?
KP: Am I high or low? (Thwack, Thump)
BC: Keith! It's nine ball, ya doze!
KP: Okay then, why do I count 13 then?
BC: Listen, ( Crack) you hard headed (Thump) sonafabitch! (Crunch) You're gonna quit (Pop) like I told you, (Twack) dammit. Okay?
KP: (Getting off the floor) Did I win?
BC: Yeah Keith, you did. Kicked my ass too. You win. You can retire, I won't stop you now.
KP: That's geat Bobby, thanks man. Hey, got anything for a killer headache?
God bless you, Charles Wang! I thank the Lord for you!
No, not for what you've done for the Islanders, but for the service you have provided to the hockey writers establishment - especially us online bloggers. I have nearly 753 questions as to why you pulled off this deal, starting with "Why didn't you do it sooner this summer?"
You have kickstarted a somewhat dormant blogger industry.
"Just when I thought you couldn't get any dumber, you go and do something like this. . . and totally redeem yourself!" - Jeff Daniels to Jim Carrey, Dumb and Dumber
You have done for us what the Clinton/Lewinski scandal did for late nite talk shows and comedians worldwide in one gesture.
Have a cigar!
Everybody's talking about you, man. The blogger traffic will quadruple and newsprint will be eaten up.
You are killing so many trees, you ought to make a donation to rainforest preservation.
Please keep us guessing as to your next move. Where can I buy that ventriloquist doll of you and Garth?
Pretty much every blog I checked out in the past 24 has an analysis of the DiPietro contract. I got a call late yesterday afternoon alerting me to the news.I jumped on my comp faster than Hugh Hefner with a fistful of Viagra on a playmate.
By nighttime, the news was everywhere. Tapeleg at Jerseys and Hockey Love was on you. Zandstrom at Waiting For Stanley was already slicin' and dicin'. Sleek was all over you at Battle of California. Mirtle and Kukla got in on the act within minutes.
I'm dying to hear comments from Neil Smith, Pat Lafontaine, Ted Nolan and Bryan Trottier, not to mention Mad Mike Milbury himself.
Keep up the great work Mr. Wang, our rubber check is in the mail!
I am rewriting the lyrics to the Gilligan's Island theme song in honour of you. I will post it soon as it is complete.
I will be sure to e-mail GM Snow at this address: email@example.com , to further the other 751 questions I have. Hope he's not feeling too deluged these days.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Where to start eh?
Mark down September 12, 2006, down on your NHL history calendars as a twilight zone day for all times.
In no particular order, Mike Keenan crawled out of hiding to throw more twists into an already incomprehensible denoument on the issue of resignation / firing / plank walk. An average goalie was given a contract of never before seen stupity in length and dollars courtesy of the - no surprise here - New York Gilligan's Islanders. A restricted free agent was tendered a contract by a team other than the one holding his rights - a post lockout first. And lo and behold, the Leafs won something.
No this was no pickles before bedtime induced hallucinogenic stroll through the evening sports news - it all happened in actual real time during the last 24 hours.
We'll start with Keenan. The Iron Mike held a press conference to announce that the terms of his supposed willingful but oddly timed resignation had been reached amicably. Usually such a thing needs no negotiating, but this is no usual case involving a dethroned GM. Little mention was made as to why all of this had to come about. No explanation why, that upon a so-called surprise resignation, a successor was prompto announced.
Keenan was esquisitely polite and likely took a week out just to seethe. He swung no hooks, leveled no scores, and belittled what I think of him as a man by falling off the radar of truth in an effort to remain a commodity in the NHL coaching ranks. Jacques Martin was never mentioned and he publicly thanked a man who'd fired him for doing a pretty good job in the given timeframe. For wilting out, I now rename him Ironed Mike!
On Long Island, the magical mystery tour that remains the Islanders, signed goalie Rick DiPietro for the balance of eternity, almost. The maybe one day star will receive a whopping $67.5M over a 15 year spread whether he is dead or alive. This is astronomically absurd for more reasons than there are adjectives for the word idiot. Like my kid enjoys saying, "This is dumber than stupid!"
TSN's Bob McKenzie, put it this way."This contract, outlandish as it may be, won't hamstring the franchise as badly as Alexei Yashin's 10-year deal, but it is symptomatic of an NHL club that is, at best, non-traditonal, and at worst, totally dysfunctional. Make no mistake, this was a Charles Wang production from start to finish. Neophyte GM Garth Snow was only along for the ride".
In my opinion, even if this mess works out, it could be trouble. What happens if, say in five years, DiPietro pans out to become the elite goalie of the league. While earning the roughly 4M per annum, another goalie warrants 8M from his team as it's best player. Does DiPietro hence, become underpaid? For a decade of the deal? Trouble brewing.
The goalie is being quoted in the most polished of spit shined spins as saying something akin to "I always wanted to be an Islander for life!" Really! Like who in their right fisherman's boat has ever said that!
Wang, for the sake of hell, has learned little from the "Cash In By Yashin" that has never given the club an once of dividend.
Obviously, this story cannot be simply contained by one mere blog post. I'll have to save the boiling thrust of adjectives likened to this monstrosity of whiplash common sense for another post sometime soon.
In Philadelphia, the ever clever GM Bob Clarke, who recently back noosed himself into the Simon Gagne, tended a 1.9M offer sheet to Canucks RFA Ryan Kesler. Vancouver will obviously match it, awaiting the day not too far from now when Flyer future stars Jeff Carter and Mike Richards reach RFA status themselves. Canucks GM Dave Nonis can extract a hellish payback by signing either to a larger bait, thus sending Clarke and his Flyers into the upper nether regions of salary cap madness.
Once a twit, always a twit!
Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won the Cup. Okay, not that cup.
In an all-rookie tournament at Toronto's Ricoh Colosseum, the Buds rookies took the Habs hopefuls by a 3-2 margin. They now lay claim to the Rookie Cup cup, thingy...whatever it's called. Who cares?
It is said that the Leafs team averaged something like 15 months of age older per player than the Hab iced team - but that's picking at straws. I've always said, all that matters is Cups. Well now the Leafs have one. Place it next to a cup of Tim Hortons in importance.
I must, for the sake of my own sanity, end this post with a little long overdue common sense. The Montreal Canadiens will finally retire the jersey numbers worn by goalie Ken Dryden (as long as he doesn't win the Liberals leadership nomination) and former GM and legendary defenseman Serge Savard. 'Bout time!
Now where did I put that vice?
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Here's one from the stranger than weird file.
I don't know about anyone else, but I often dream the craziest things. As I spend lots of time thinking about hockey or music, it isn't odd for me to wake up and have dreamy recollections of being onstage, or coaching or playing my favorite game.
Often subtle details of previous days events work their way into my subconcious mind. Bits of a conversation. A thought of old friends I haven't seen in years. An insinuating fear of something totally harmless that has parlayed it's way into my sleeping state.
Upon waking up, if I do so slowly, I can usually recall much of it with vivid fragmentation. And no, I don't do and never did do drugs. I might have enjoyed them too much!
During a period of my life, years ago, I started having violence ridden nightmares that shook me awake in pools of sweat. They were occuring randomly, it seemed at first. One day I put two and two together and realized that each time this was happening, I had eaten pickles before bedtime. It sounded crazy to me, but then one night I tested the theory and woke in a cold shiver at 2 A.M. wondering where the teal coloured cows that were trying to trample me had went. That was it for pickles for me!
At a doctor's checkup a week or so later I dared ask if I was losing my mind. The good Doc replied that it made perfect sense as vinegar in pickles thins out blood. While it flows to the brain still, during the subconscious state, speeding up as it has been thinned, it leads to wild and reckless dreaded thoughts. Okay, gotcha Doc!
Recently my wife began buying these huge dills for the kids - they love 'em it seems. I warned them, scared them pretty good actually, with my tales of what they'd done to me years ago. No pickles after supertime. No problem, they said.
Why I went and ate some the other night was pure foolishness. I knew better and failed to take my own advice.
How my nightmare came about had to do with a random slice of conversation that same day that I shared with a buddy over coffee. I was bringing up some old baseball lore involving Bill Veeck and the Chicago White Sox.
Veeck, (pronounced Veck) was the owner of the Sox from the mid forties until the early eighties, I believe. He was a nutball, master of wacky promotions, and an all out lunatic. In the late seventies he'd engineered the "Disco Demolition" night between games of a doubleheader at the old Comisky Park. It led to a riot in which the astro turf ended being ripped to shreds by overzealous rockers intent on sending disco a message. Did I mention Veeck was a radical thinker.
In the earlier years of his ownership, when baseball rules were lax, he once signed a midget named Eddie Lebel (close enough!) prior to a game with the intent of using him as a pinch hitter in a bases loaded situation. Inevitably, Lebel would leave the bat squarely on his tiny shoulders to allow the winning run to walk across the plate. Lebel's strike zone was the width of the plate times the area between his knees and the letters of his jersey. Pretty much impossible to hit on a midget. Veeck's instruction to Lebel was simply "Swing once and I'll f***ing kill ya!"
When a scenario produced the intended result, fans in the stands went wild with laughter. MLB was not so amused. They fined him, changed the rule overnight, and suspended the reckless owner.
While discussing this with my buddy, the obvious question came up. Had anything like this ever occured in hockey?
A flagrant twisting of a rulebook loophole that led to such a prank being pulled on an unsuspecting league. I recalled to him tales of Roger Neilson's junior days behind the Peterborough Petes bench. Old Roger had stunts a many up his sleeve including paying kids to pelt the ice with raw eggs to delay the game, pulling goalies who would leave their sticks in the crease, and the age old ploy of purposely putting too many men on the ice in a game's dying moments while shorthanded in order to protect a lead without being further penalized. Only two calls can be served at once!
When they say Neilson was a pioneer in the game, they're not kidding!
How this all worked it's way into my thoughts while dreaming is anybody's guess!
The other night, I was quite strung out from a series of long days. I had been up for close to 20 hours and was working on a blog post while having a few beers. I started to get a headache and reached for the always trusty Advil Migraines I keep at my handy disposal. As the ache in my head was taking it's time to fade away, I realized I probably hadn't eaten a bite in almost six hours. I went to the fridge to grab something when I saw those tasty giant dills. I gobbled one down hungrily while chasing away the notion of what could happen without much thought.
About 5 A.M. that morning, I'd been asleep a whole hour maybe, when the nightmare woke me up. This time it wasn't scary by any means, just twisted beyond intelligible logic. I was sweating some, smirking a bit, and wondering where in God's notions do I get such streams of subconciousness.
I couldn't recall each singular detail but my dream originated, it seems, with the idea of a hockey Eddie Lebel. Somehow the Toronto Maple Leafs had secretly signed a player no one knew the slightest detail about. They'd kept his identity a total mystery until the Stanley Cup final against the Canadiens. This of course is so impossible for every reason imaginable, but obviously dreams are that way.
Once the Leafs quickly fell down three games to one, they unveiled their secret weapon - a 700 lb goalie they discovered chowing down donuts at a nearby Tim Horton's during the pre-season. The nameless cellulite sensation enabled the Leafs to tie the series in a short span of four days. The hero was an overnight media sensation and the press wanted to know every detail about him.
His back to back shutouts had made him front page news across the nation. The Habs were stuped for a way to beat him and pourred over every detail looking for a way to slip one by him.
As he became a media darling, corporations rushed to get him to sign endorsement deals in a scurry of behind the scenes activity. The tonage in goalie gear was not that media savvy and let it slip that enjoyed farting before players came near the crease area.
With the seventh game of the final gone into scoreless double OT, the fat stopper let what little concentration he hardly needed slip. On occasion he had developped a tendency to lift his left leg in order to rip a stinker. He noticed it was cracking up fans behing the goal who claimed they could both hear and smell the stenchy rippage from as far back as ten rows.
While entertaining them he was caught unware of a breaking two on one. He lifted the leg ready to let one go again when a shot found it's way to him. The fans screaming and yelling alerted him just in time as he fell to the ice like beached whale. He'd made the save but the puck lay resting unsmothered on the goal line. A referee behind the net, squeezed his nostrils while holding the whistle between his lips, hesistating the call the play dead. As the large man attempted to get up, a loud barking hyena like sound broke the silence. The dormant puck, breezed past the red line, a victim of a not so subtle burst of methane. The ref pointed to puck and as he was about to blow the whistle gaged and fell over.
Damnit, this where I woke up from the dream. I'd assume the Habs went on to win after the goal was declared.
I went to the washroom mirror, smirk still intact on my grin.
Geez, that was a wild dream I thought. The only thing it had to do with anything real was consistancy!
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Well what do you know, my kid made it!
With lots of sweat, hustle and hard work she managed to squeeze her way onto a talent laden squad of young sweathearts. Let the fun begin.
I really mean it!
My winter is going to be a whirlwind for sure. On the team, parents share various responsabilities to the extent that there actually becomes a team off ice keeping it all running smoothly for our girls.
Last season I was handed the task of writing up summaries for games and had quite a blast. This year I will also be filling the teams official site with content. Talk about a juggled portfolio!
The team looks pretty good on paper. We are retaining 8 of the ten girls from last seasons team while adding 7 more who impressed the coaching staff. I don't envy the coaches job of having to choose his players. Especially after the obligatory sleepless night that always follows such things. He had it quite tough this year.
One thing seems clear - we will be a grittier squad. Lots of kids with no quit made an impact on the decisions and i can't wait to see them in action. It all starts tomorrow with the initial team meeting a first practice.
Due to team discretion rules and the David Frost types of the world, I won't ever be mentioning girls names in EOTP, but I will randomly update the odd thing or two as a distraction to the NHL content in here. A nice change of pace from time to time.
What all this activity will do to me is spread my posts in here a little thinner. This might be the editor I've always needed to cut me off when I get those longwinded notions to post essays on the history of the vulcanized rubber puck or something equally trivial.
Gotta go. That bald guy with my straightjacket is calling my name!
I was recently perusing throught my fave sites, when a post on Habsblog bit my nipple and chewed it.
Yeah, I flew into a rage!
Had it! Enough, I thought!
For some background into my deepest cranium irritations, I'm not a fan of Idols, Canadian or American. Reality TV is the NHL. Gossip columnists eat at my last raw nerve. Blog B.S. is a radar wave to a loser of miniscule insight. Get the drift?
Simply put - I want to talk hockey, without ifs ands or buts. Gimme facts and real reality.
I won't copy the entire post's comments here. Suffice to say that this was the drop that made the bucket over flow.
The blog post title was this:
Jason Woolley Possibly Signing With Habs
Posted on September 7th, 2006.
RDS and La Presse report the Canadiens are in negotiations with Defensemen Jason Woolley.
Woolley would fill the hole left by Francis Bouillon’s injury. At 37 years of age he is no spring chicken but comes with 15 years of NHL experience.His price can’t be too high.
Temporary fix or permanent solution? Or is he just one part of a multiplayer deal that will see more players swapped?
After numerous exchanges, two bloggers exchanged these thoughts.
7 Rob Posted on September 8th, 2006 at 9:59 pm. About 'Jason Woolley possibly signing with Habs'.
Just as a reminder to all those in Montreal who have the audacity to criticize Bob Gainey that it was 7 Stanley Cups that he won as a player (3 more than Wayne Gretzky and 4 more than Patrick Roy), 1 Stanley Cup and a President’s Trophy as a GM, 4 Frank J. Selke Trophies, and 1 Conn Smythe Trophy. He was also given the title of the world’s best all-around player by Viktor Tikhonov, the legendary coach of the Soviet Union who knew a thing or two about hockey; on the other hand, the Soviets never accepted the idea that Wayne Gretzky was ever the greatest hockey player in the world.
Any team of that era would have given just about anything to get Gainey on their team, but he stayed and played his entire career in Montreal (ie. not New York or Los Angeles.) The same is now true with respect to his being General Manager of the Canadiens so give the guy some respect. If Gainey decides to make any moves as a GM, you can be sure that we are only going to hear about it after the papers are signed.
8 jack tornton Posted on September 8th, 2006 at 11:11 pm. About 'Jason Woolley possibly signing with Habs'.
thsi aint goin to happen(PERIOD)
9 Rob Posted on September 9th, 2006 at 12:46 am. About 'Jason Woolley possibly signing with Habs'.
sorry, jack tornton, you are misunderstanding what I am saying. You did manage to spell three words properly, however.
HERE IS WHERE I COME IN: ATTITUDE AND ALL
Ok, Rob - I'm slammin' ya into the boards high stick and all on this one! (No offense meant - my name is also Rob)
I'm not gonna defend Jack T here. He can do that himself quite adequately, I'm sure.
So he mispelled the word "this" ! BFD! His comment of "this ain't gonna happen" was in response to the post question and not to you.
Once you sober up, or get off drugs and rid yourself of paranoia, you'll see that you and Jack actually share the same opinion. You fool!
While you're in therapy, grap a copy of the NHL Guide and Record Book, and look a few things up. Gainey won 5 Cups not 7, Roy won 4 Cups not 3.
While I know of no GM better suited to the Habs than Gainey, it would be of sound knowledge for all to comprehend that past achievements are just that. Bob is working with the same new CBA as 29 other GM's and it takes some getting used to. He can no longer buy up whatever talent is available like he did in Dallas, with deep pocketed owners.
The Game Has Changed!
This is not meant as a slander to Gainey's credibility. In the few years he has been in charge, he has turned the team around. Anyone doubting that simply doesn't know the game - point blank.
What is slowly becoming apparent now, is the difference between a good GM and an organization that has limitless dollars to spend. In today's reality, GM's such as Pierre Lacroix (who curiously resigned), Bobby Clarke (over spends then gets tight), John Muckler (underestimates the market), and John Ferguson Jr. (totally clueless) are all in need of conspicuous evaluation. The best GM in the game may well be the patient Gainey or the Ducks Brian Burke. Time will tell, and we are in different times now.
Using past accomplishments as a gauge is of little worth.
While I'm on this rant let me mention that there still is no news on Jason Woolley - surprised anyone?
As goes the motto: If you're hearing about it - it ain't gonna happen!
Trust me, Woolley will likely fall into the same file as Dumont, Gagne, Marleau, Elias, and Lecavalier.
All the names that were banterred about in here in the past never came to fruition!
This site's traffic meter relies heavily on rumour based comment. I'll eventually be censored for stating such truth, but I don't care one iota.
If the regular bloggers here care about such things, I find we would all be best off commenting on fact rather than fiction.
I'm in here to talk about the team the Habs have now.
Anything else is rather irrelevant.
If you are Paris or Britney minded, share your thoughts elsewhere in gossip blogs, and let's keep this a game blog, hockey orientated, and somewhat fact based.
To drill this point home - Gagne to the Habs for Bonk, even up.
Now get a life!
( l to r: the kid, Chipchura, Kostitsyn, Latendresse)
Don't call me overanxious, I just wanted to be the first one to declare this:
IT'S HOCKEY SEASON, DAMNIT!
How do I know?
Two things: In today's Journal de Montreal there were six, count 'em, six pages dedicated to hockey - mostly to the Habs rookie camp and mini tournament.
Also, my daughter has survived the first two tryout sessions for the PeeWee BB Typhoons travel team - the final roster may be set tomorrow.
So from my standpoint, it's game on, big time!
Before I get to the Canadiens news, I thought I'd share some of what goes on during the kids camp.
This tryout is a weird one. Our town sits right on the Canada / U.S. border and the region of protected players actually stretches into the States. Why that is, is because each city or town with a team has so many miles of radius from which players are allowed to be culled from. Ours happens to extend over the borderline. Usually, that is of little consequence, as only one or two players may benefit by crossing over each year. This season however, the American age groups have been straddled back one year in order to be in sync with Canadians. This has left a group of 12 year old American girls with no team south of here to play for due to lack of participants. A dozen of them are trying out with us, possibly beating my daughter out for a spot.
Ask me if I'm happy about that?
On the first day, there were 33 girls going through the drills, including four goalies. Tonight we had roughly seven or eight players missing from the first day. I counted 25 skaters who are left to vie for the 4 defense and 9 forward positions remaining.
There are ten girls remaining from my daughters Atom A team that graduated to PeeWee this year and the bulk of the better players seem to be from the younger girls group as opposed to those who have a year of PeeWee house behind them. My daughters coach from last season is the same, and my kid adores playing for him. A likely scenario is that there are 5 openings at the very least and possibly 7 to 8 tops. My girl is far from a shoe-in at this point. This Dad is kinda nervous, worried.
My daughter has been doing well on the ice, and in a funny way, handling the pressure better than I.
Hopefully, it all works out tomorrow.
Now on to the Habs.
The rookie camp has been open for a few days now and tonight is the start of the rookie tournament versus the Leafs, Panthers, and a team from York University. The York squad was a last minute addition as the Ottawa Senators bowed out of this years annual ritual as they were not able to come up with enough North American prospects to ice a team. I know you might be thinking that is a joke - it's not. Most of their prospcts are overseas and not under contract. They are not subject to the same retainment rights as skaters on this side of the ocean, thus there is no hurry to gauge them or get them under contract.
Of the team the Habs are taking to Toronto, 8 of the 25 players are training camp invitees. These teams are difficult to judge as not all of an organizations best prospects are there. As these games are of little benefit to prospects already pencilled into NHL starting lineups, certain players sit it out, making it somewhat hazy as to which teams have better talent on the way.
The articles in today's Journal concentrated on three players given the best shot at making the team. The feature article focused on last seasons training camp sensation Guillaume Latendresse, and that he feels he must put the past behind him and focus on the present. Latendresse clarified the concussion rumours he allegedly suffered during the Junior Team Canada camp two months back. He had created much consternation when he left camp early and the C-word was brought up in the media. The prospect assured the assembled media that he was simply suffering from severe headaches and suffered no concussion-like symptoms. As he had been there before in junior, he was confident he could make the distinction.
Latendresse went on to mention that new coach Guy Carbonneau has often spoken of a roster spot being left open grabs by a rookie. The burly left winger appeared much more mature in dealing with the mass of microphones while he stated his intention to seize his opportunity.
The piece in question went on to mention that it would hardly hurt Latendresse to make the most of his final season of junior eligibility and that Kyle Chipchura and Andrei Kostitsyn were the odds on favorites to make the team. The paper, in typical Quebec media mentality, did not fail to put in a good word for the constant progression made by locals Maxim Lapierre and Jonathan Ferland the past two seasons in the AHL. Both could be called long shots at best, but their stats do testify to an upgraded status. Their burden is that there are so many quality candidates ahead of them.
Carbonneau was asked who he thought may surprise in the coming weeks. The coach brought up Latendresse's name while leaving the door completely open to anyone and everyone. He mentioned how he had once stolen a veterans job and that Mike Keane, in the late '80's, had caught everyone off guard by making the team as a virtual training camp walk on.
Admitting that he knew only what had been told to him about Latendresse, he reiterated that the same challenge awaited Mikhail Grabovski and Chipchura.
The day's best piece concerned Grabovski speed of light adaptation to the Montreal media. The 22 year old who recently signed a three year deal seemed a little shell shocked at the throng of mics pointed his way. The Belarusian blue chip made sure to tell everyone that he felt ready to jump straight in the bigs and that his goal was to win the Stanley Cup. Trouble is, that was the answer to a question Grabovski was not asked. Though his command of the english tongue surprised many, his perception has a way to go apparently.
When asked which Habs prospect fans best keep an eye on, the Canadiens director of scouting Trevor Timmins unhesitatingly suggested Grabovski, as the most likely to surprise, before mentioning others. GM Bob Gainey it has been often told, is quite high on Chipchura as being the most NHL ready prospect.
In passing, I must mention that the name of Jason Wooley was nowhere to be seen. Columnist Yvon Pedneault brought up Jason Allison's name in regards to a "Koivu worst case scenario" as a player who is getting cheaper by the day and can produce PP points with ease.
In bringing up the former Leaf, Pedneault cautioned that Allison is a player who is totally oblivious to team concepts. Take that any way you will. He stated that last season, what made Allison attractive to many teams including the Leafs, was that his bonus clauses fell into a salary cap loophole. Players who have 400 games played but spent 100 days on the injury list the season prior are eligible for a particular bonus outside the cap.
Allison does not have the same luxury this time around and that may explain why teams have so far steered clear of him.