Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Producer of Greatest Video Hockey Game Ever that isn't NHL 94 is an Islanders guy

This explains a lot. Right now I am taking the Sound Tigers through the Calder Cup playoffs with Kyle Oh!poso and Tambellini leading the way. This game (played here on the XBox $399) gets better with the subtle tweaks included in the ongoing roster updates offered by EA (EA Canada to be specific, which seems to make a difference), and defies the long-standing EA tradition of churning out occasionally passable games with little or no "love" of the game contained within.

NHL 08 is a winner. And, now I ask your cooperation in keeping my wife away from this blog as I do not want to be cut off for the next 40 years.

Nerd on.

Monday, April 28, 2008

You call that a playoff beard?

I don't wanna get all Vogue on the blog, but what the hell is going on on Jaromir Jagr's face?

I'd only noticed the stupid-looking thing on his chin until Game 1's postgame interview, when I realized that it was merely the continuation of the Hitlerian theme started under his nose. That's just horrifying. If I were his teammate (probably not gonna happen, but you never know), I'd take him aside, knock him unconscious (after goading him into trying to throw a punch at me, resulting in him missing wildly and separating his shoulder), and shave whatever that is off for his own good. Or else, to paraphrase "Uncle" Buck Russell (a/k/a Moley Russell's wart), I'd give him a two-dollar Metrocard and tell him to go downtown and have a rat gnaw that thing off his face.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Had to share this one ...


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

yes, I believe this does it

This this this, and yes, this.

I can't even make fun of this, because I simply don't have the talent to write or do anything funnier than what this man does on his own.

Let's just say I will be thinking of this and smiling for a long time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Paul Stewart is funny

Former Broome Duster Paul Stewart, who once fought the real Ogilthorpe (Goldie Goldthorpe) at a Christmas party, has uttered the defining Sean Avery line, "Sean Avery is like a case of jock rash. It's there, it bothers you, and eventually you have to just play through it."

You'll find it here, in The New Yorker, of all places.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Is It Too Much to Ask?

Look, I recognize that hockey is not the most popular sport in the world. I accept that if I want to see hockey highlights on Sportscenter in the regular season, I have to (a) wait until about two-thirds of the way into the show and (b) not flip, because they could come at any moment and be done in ten seconds (fill in sex-related joke here). I'm cool with that. Those are the rules.

But is it completely out of the realm of possibility for sportscasters to make some effort to learn how to pronounce the names of hockey players? Tonight, I was watching ESPN News and they ran this 30-second lead-in package recapping the Canadiens/Bruins series. That was nice of them to show some interest in the NHL playoffs, I thought. This should be a good recap of the first two periods. Of course, it ends up being just the goals, so I see Komisarek's goal, Mark Streit's ridiculous shaming of the Bruins' defense, and then a goal by someone called "Andrei KAH-stisen." Really? That's how you roll? Is Ka-STEET-zin really that hard to figure out? And it's not like Andrei and Sergei have been quiet this series. Probably should know that name by now, sport. Or at least come close.

Of course, such a scenario plays out what I have to assume is every night on some sportscast somewhere. It just doesn't seem like the sports departments want to put all that much effort into learning funny-sounding names. Which is why I would like to suggest that, as part of his efforts to get the NHL more exposure--and more good exposure--Gary Bettman should hire someone whose sole purpose is to go across the country and visit every working sportscaster in America. This person would sit down with the sportscaster and slowly go through some of the more difficult names in the NHL. It shouldn't take more than a half-hour of the sportscaster's time. And it will prevent millions of hockey fans from losing their minds when their favorite players' names are mangled in the 30 seconds per sportscast that hockey is mentioned.

For the record, I could make myself available for said job. And I could start immediately, since the Predators' defeat leaves me with precious little interest in watching hockey for the rest of the playoffs. Feel free to contact me c/o The Palm Isle.

MIDNIGHT UPDATE: ESPN News guy now goes with Ko-STEET-zin. Slight progress being made. Also made aware of this, which I guess no one reads. Still willing to enforce the guide in person, though. Call me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hot to Trotz

I don't know how you can root against a team coached by a man who looks like Barry Trotz. The mere sight of him brings me a sense of joy that carries me through the day.

Luckily, the Predators, who are what the Islanders could have been this year, are scrappy enough that they're likable even without Barry No-Neck. And after a few bad breaks and some sloppy play in the first two games in Detroit, the Preds came storming back in Game 3 with the most exciting nine seconds in Nashville since, well, since the last time something exciting happened in contemporary country music. Then they came out strong last night and held on for dear life for the bulk of the game to even the series at two apiece. And Vince Gill was there to see it all. I bet he let out a high-pitched whoop when the game ended.

I don't know if they'll be able to win the best-of-3 with Detroit, but at least they're putting up a helluva fight for a low seed (yeah, I'm looking at you, Ottawa). And it's fun to chant "Let's Go Predators," because, let's face it, in these Chris Hansen-loving times, we don't get a chance to cheer for predators enough.

Plus, it's always fun to root for the underdog. Cue Sly and the Family Stone's "Underdog" (the Dirtbombs' cover rejected because they're from Detroit).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A crisis in hockey writing (with bonus: "Dave Maloney is an idiot")

(see amendments to the bottom of the post, 5:57 p.m.)

The ongoing disaster and oh!ffence to the game that is Larry Brooks.

Typically, I am the first to jump on the Canadian media for vilifying what it views as non-traditional markets and dumb American fans (a true fan of the Nashville Predators has to overcome many more obstacles to his fanhood than a Maple Leafs fan living in Hogtown -- a point easily lost on most of the Canadian media), but the reaction this week to the "Avery Clarification" has been overwhelmingly dumb in the States, and remarkably measured and smart in Canada. And this outburst of terrible writing has driven me to do something I'd rather not -- support Gary Bettman, which I found myself doing for a flicker last night during the Wild/Avs game.

Dear Larry Brooks, stop arguing the NHL "changed" the rule or wrote a new rule because of Sean Avery's little goal-crease dance. In a rare moment of clarity and responsiveness, the league clarified an existing rule -- unsportsmanlike conduct -- to include instances such as this, which had never come up before because Sean Avery is the perfect storm of douchebaggery and defies previously held human expectations.

There is no new rule. And, the oh!fficials in the game warned Avery in the act and told him they would call unsportsmanlike if he proceeded. The league simply backed them up post hoc. Even the oh!fficials were right! It's Christmas in hockeyland!

The same writers would have bitched about the league's inactivity and lack of responsiveness if this was ignored.

Sports journalism is a waste.

Another tired argument: This one I saw from Jim Kelley yesterday. He argues you can't call Avery's mime dance a "mockery" in a league allowing face washes, hits on the boards, and various other minor acts of violence throughout the playoffs. Oh, and he remembered to bring up the boot-stomping incidents, which, if I recall, led to significant suspensions for the oh!ffending players. The people who cry when Sean Avery gets the hose because he has a history of being an asshole are the same people who said Chris Simon should be put out on the ice floe because he is a repeat oh!ffender. Well, Sean Avery is a repeat asshole, hence the attention.

Kelley may actually have a good point, but he's not smart enough to know it, and masks it by trying to defend Avery's actions with the "if the league lets everybody do dumb things, they can't single out this dumb thing " argument.

Wrong. That's exactly what leagues (all sporting leagues) and officials are charged with accomplishing. Saying "I agree with Sean Avery because I disagree with Chris Neil" is incongruous and wrong. You deal with these on a case-by-case basis, because they are different actions. I can say, "I think Chris Neil shouldn't be penalized for punching players in the back of the head because I think a moderate level of violence is acceptable in an intense, physical environment, although I think the officials should warn him should he do it more than once; I also think they should take into consideration how hard he punches the player." And that's assuming the officials see him do it, which Kelley doesn't address! Similarly, I can say, "I think Chris Neil should be penalized for throwing a flying elbow at someone's head, as well as I think Dion Phaneuf should have been penalized for head-ramming Patrick Marleau the other night -- because these plays are far more inherently dangerous than face washes and rabbit punches to the back of helmets."

Also, bringing up the Roger Neilson and Hasek incidents is pointless, because the Hasek thing became a rule, and resulted in a near-equal amount of criticism to Hasek at the time. Or, at least consternation. Hasek isn't a petulant asshole, so people didn't accuse him of "mockery," but your history as a player and a person is an integral part of how you are perceived and how you will be dealt with in the working environment. To assume otherwise is baiting the reader.

So, I will say, with that cleared up, "Sean Avery's actions in front of Martin Brodeur constitute unsportsmanslike conduct and are not consistent with the spirit of competition. And because he consistently shows himself to be an asshole, someone big should punch him in the face." That is reasonable. So is calling it a mockery, because he was dancing around like a three-year-old asking for mommy's attention. I've seen it. I know it.

Go Devils.

Amended at 1:19 p.m.

Why I don't write about hockey professionally, Exhibit E

John Buccigross nails it. Much shorter, too.

"New Jersey vs. New York Rangers
What stands out in this series is Sean Avery's bizarre "Dancing With The Stars" routine with Martin Brodeur in Game 3. There is a term for him -- clown. That kind of stuff, coupled with the detached demeanor Avery seems to have toward the rest of the team's battles, has the potential to drain the Rangers. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, and maybe his teammates are largely ignoring him, but playoff hockey is difficult enough without having to try to manage some out-of-control, fall-out frat boy. It's even worse when he drags Brodeur into his sideshow. He's the Terrell Owens of the NHL, polluting the Rangers with his individuality. Can you imagine what Scott Stevens would have done had he seen Avery waving his stick like a giant windshield wiper in Brodeur's face? That also is partially an indictment of the contsruction of the Devils' roster."

Another amendment, 5:57 p.m.

Dave Maloney is an idiot. He was on HNIC radio using Kelley's "Roger Neilson was considered a genius when he 'tested the limits'" argument.

Yes, he was. Because people did not universally hate Roger Neilson. He was, at times, a creative, sly, and entertaining individual who devised some clever, funny (the flag on the stick), and memorable methods that created some pleasant and memorable memories for hockey fans. Sean Avery says things about players' families and acts like a jerkoff every time he is on the ice. He dives, whines, cries, and wears emo douche clothing. Roger Neilson didn't do these things. He coached hockey, revolutionized advanced scouting, and wore crazy ties.

Comparing Roger Neilson to Sean Avery is stupid. Dave Maloney is stupid. The Rangers suck.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vs. is a disaster

What comes out of this animal's ass/what fills Gary Bettman's brain

(a better use for Sean Avery)

I'm not going to make any snarky comments about the Vs. in-studio show, because I don't watch it, and don't generally care to watch any in-studio shows unless Butch Goring and a baggie of Angel Dust are involved, but I am going to do my best to address this debacle (and, with all apologies to Tom Glavine, I firmly understand that amongst life's matters of importance, this does not register ... but this is a hockey blog and the NHL is a business that generates billions (millions?) of dollars, so I will not ignore stupidity when it is displayed).

Vs. is showing the Red Wings/Predators tonight, in New York, whilst the Penguins/Senators are playing.

In some strange way I am grateful if only because this will save me from the inevitable headache a Vs. in-game broadcast brings, but really, I wanted to see the Penguins and Senators play their hockey game tonight. There are myriad reasons. Among them, I live on the East Coast and am therefore exposed to these teams to a greater degree than I am the Predators and Red Wings (which is not to say I don't want to see that game either. I do. In fact, given the choice to watch both games I may have ended up watching the Wings/Preds because it turns out to be a better game). Genny Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Heatley, Fleury, and the graceful ballet of Jason Spezza are others.

I remember, in the salad days, when ESPN would constantly, incessantly, unforgivably choose to show a Red Wings/Anybody playoff game on their national broadcast, fucking blacking out a regional game and pissing off everyone. Bettman apparently was equally as pissed off as the fans, because he moved the league to Vs., and subsequently started a network for the league (the NHL Network), to avoid this problem and the many others generated by ESPN (like, um, well, let's see, I've got to ... there weren't any besides the owners not getting the sweetheart deal they wanted coming out of the lockout).

And -- get this -- at the time of the decision, although I disagreed on economic principle (which, because I know less about economics than your pets, doesn't carry a lot of weight), I didn't mind the idea of a smaller network taking hockey into its cradle and treating the game with all of the passion you would expect from a channel that previously showed fishing and hunting shows.

But what we have now is the same coverage we had on ESPN, with worse production values, no daily 30-minute highlight show (broadcast even on off days during the high point of the ESPN/NHL relationship), and bull riding for a bookend.

Vs. can't go regional? Fine. Put the Fucking Penguins game on the NHL Network, the league's Very Own Station, instead of showing the Top 10 Saves of 1993. And, (dear fictional reader) don't tell me there's a licensing issue, or blackout issue, or something else I have to Google, keeping the game off of the Network -- fix it. Or -- and I may regret writing this -- give me a $50 Centre Ice option to watch the home broadcast of every playoff game.

Get creative. If freedom is having nothing to lose, I would say the NHL has some freedom in the American TV/Internet market.

(leaving you on a better note ...)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Fan of "The Palm Isle" Writes

Actually, my sister's boyfriend emailed me about hockey. Almost the same thing. Anyway, not a lot to write about so I figured I'd post his email:

I thought I couldn't hate Sean Avery any more than I already did.....and then this playoff series with the Devils started. As if it's not bad enough that he has 3 goals in the series already (including the one he just scored), Vs just showed the tactics he uses to screen Brodeur. He stands in front of the goal FACING Brodeur, not watching the play at all and just waves his stick in the air and in Brodeur's face (which I didn't even think was legal, I just thought you could stand in front of the goalie). If I was Brodeur, I would have taken my stick between Avery's legs and given him a nice uppercut a long time ago....

On the flip side, I am sure you haven't gotten to see much of the Boston/Montreal series, but since it's local, I have gotten to see almost every minute. It has been one of the hardest hitting series I have ever watched. And I knew these teams hated each other, but I didn't know it was to this effect. Of course, the fact that Montreal is 10-0 in the season series so far causes a lot of Boston desperation that adds to it. I also have heard as many homer-type comments as I have from the Boston announcing team. It's also great watching tonight's game - which is in Boston - and hear the Canadiens' fans singing completely drown out the home crown. They booed Chara every time he touched the puck in Montreal, and they are so loud that you can clearly hear him being booed by Montreal fans in his own building. Good stuff.

I've also decided that I am rooting for the Caps out of the East - there are very few things that are as exciting to watch as an Ovechkin goal, especially in the playoffs. I would love to watch an Ovechkin/Malkin showdown in the 2nd round (plus, that would mean that Washington would have eliminated Philly, which is never a bad thing).

That is all from hockey central. Until next time,

J Digga

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thoughts as I clean my golf clubs

First, listen to this. Two weeks ago, my washing machine broke. It was fixed. The next week, the dryer broke. It was fixed. Last week, after four days of clean clothes and happy wife (Jesus God, don't type that into Google like I did if you're at work), we came home to find that our dog had chased something (most likely a mouse) into the laundry room, where he proceeded to search for the mouse a) in all three hoses attached to the washer, b) in the aluminum dryer vent pipe, and c) under the floor.

I fixed it all.

And this morning I woke up to my wife, the Upstate Ice Girl, telling me, "there's no pressure on the hot water." Mother F. I have a hallergy to this fucking house.

Cleaning out the cobwebs.

"Wang encouraged by play of youngsters"

That's the headline in Newsday today. My god. When I worked at The Daily Star in Oneonta, New York, a copy editor wrote a cuthead (headline for a photo) over an elderly woman mowing her lawn: "Old Fashioned Trim."

Thankfully, I was working that evening, and, thankfully, I have a sick mind, so that didn't find it's way into print. I guess I should have been working this weekend on the Island.

Also, after reading the Hummer challenge thing, I wonder a) how come they didn't decide on an official tiebreaker, and b) how I could ever have written anything about the Great Rivalry losing its luster. I apologize with all of my heart. Today, I'm going to give the finger to someone with a Rangers sticker on their car. And then I'm going to settle in tonight, fire up the XBox $399, and give those jerkoffs a virtual pounding.

I think that's it. Revised rankings for playoffs have me rooting for the Caps and Predators (not only for Mr. Bad Example, but also for every Canadian asshole who disparaged the non-traditional markets this year and before -- and to think we let you have a baseball team ...). And, of course, I will be cheering lustily for the Devils for the next week or so.

Drive on.


After the Rangers lost to the Devils in the shootout yesterday, I was doubly pleased, because (a) the Rangers lost, which is always exciting, even in a meaningless shootout and (b) the loss meant that, by my accounting, the Islanders won the Hummer Metro Ice Challenge (the Isles and Rangers finished tied in points, but the Isles win on tiebreakers--total wins and won the head-to-head against the Rangers). I know, I know. I shouldn't be excited about things like that. But this season, I will take what I can get.

Then, because I didn't watch the postgame show, I discovered this morning that MSG declared the Rangers the winner and gave their charity the money.

Um, as the kids say, WTF?

Seriously, that's disgraceful. Chris Botta sums it up here. Get outraged, America.

And let's go, gulp, Devils.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Needed to See Sean Avery Get Punched.

So I went onto Youtube and this made me laugh instead.

Anyway, I can't be to depressed about the B squad losing. In all honesty, it was nice to see a few creative plays out there. The kids are a little more fun to watch, if not as good, as their major league counterparts.

The Howie and Billy Flirt of the Game
I'd like to first open this to sponsorship as next season I hope to make this a regular installment on the blog. Tonight's bit of flirty dialogue came as the culmination of banter involving the league MVP. Billy, who thought it should be Ovechkin, was relentless in his teasing of Howie for not agreeing. These juicy lines came in the third period after hearing that Ovechkin had scored "again".
Billy: (In a high, whiny voice) "You're going to change you vote!"
Howie: "I can be bought..."
This was no doubt followed by off-camera winking, smiles and slapping each other. Again, any sponsors should please contact the Rev. Zamboni.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thinking in western

Loyal reader will remember I promised a run down of my possible rooting tendencies in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs. I have temporarily lost all interest in hockey (Opening Day in baseball and Closing Day in Islanders Country playing their respective roles), but I can summon at least a few lines for our potential Stanley Cup champions.

Standings as of April 1, 2008.

1. Detroit. Sure. I thought Mike Babcock was kind of a pussy until I saw a closeup of his face and heard him talk. He looks like he should be holding an ax and chasing some college girls through the woods.
Seed: Number two. And making that ax joke and using the word "seed" immediately after seems a tad tasteless. Huzzah.

2. San Jose. Reason #3,456 I edit community college publications for a living and fail at fantasy hockey every fucking year (save 2001): I spent the three months prior to the Brian Campbell trade telling everyone I thought he was overrated and soft. Wrong. Turns out the Sabres suck, and he's better than I thought. Thank God baseball is here.
Seed: An Ambivalent four. They have ugly jerseys, but they have Roenick. Tie down your water bottles.

3. Minnesota. The most popular regional franchise that garners the least amount of national media attention in sports. I used them on a video game for a bit. Jacques Lemaire is a good coach, if you like soccer.
Seed: Who cares? Number three.

4. Anaheim. Unlikable. Boring. Violent. Bearded. Burked. Fuck this team.
Seed: Eight.

5. Dallas. I know nothing about this team, except that Brad Richards and Brett Hull are involved. I liked Brendan Morrow for awhile, but that was because I thought he was Jamie Langenbrunner.
Seed: Seriously, I don't have a number one seed. It sure as hell isn't Dallas. Number one.

6. Colorado. The most frustrating part of the Avs (dumb fucking name BTW)/Red Wings series of the 90s was that I hated both of the fuckers. And all of the fuckers involved. Now? I don't care, again. I'm sure Peter Stastny is good, but I spent so much time yelling at his father on video games, I can't yet accept his son's arrival. And Foppa sounds like a golf shot.
Seed: What's left? Five.

7. Calgary. Keenan is still a Ranger to me. Iginla is good, but Sutter is an annoying twat. If he were my father, I would have asked Roger Neilson to adopt me.
Seed: Six. Dion Phaneuf is dating Elisha Cuthbert. Make it a seven.

8. Vancouver. If Phaneuf stayed in his room jerking it to old Ron Duguay posters and dropping the resulting flotsam in Eric Godard's suitcase, Vancouver would chime in at seven, because they're drab, dumb, and have the world's best ex-Islander.
Seed: Six. Dig the unis though, so they may win a few re-seeded tiebreakers.

The Rest: I think Nashville and/or Edmonton can still slip into the playoffs. I'll be pulling for Nashville because Mr. Bad Example sets the precedent. And Edmonton fans are much more entertaining when they suffer.