Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Near Eve

I used to spend more time with the hockey video games, playing at least three or four complete seasons each year in college, editing every single player in the revelatory NHL 2k3, and conducting weekend "legends" tournaments alongside my regular season in ESPN NHL Hockey.

EA's NHL 10 is the best, by far, of all of the hockey games I've ever played, and I've barely made it past the second period of about 12 games so far. Such is the world of parenthood.

Thanks to the Internet, and some finely honed Geeking skills, I've popped in some pretty good sliders, found the "ultimate" rosters (although ultimate sometimes means John Tavares is centering the Isles' first line), and enjoyed what I can to this point. This afternoon, with the day off from work and the boys sleeping, I managed a 0-0 draw through 37 minutes with the Oilers, only to have a wrist shot hop over Rick D's (I'll probably do the properly sim/dork thing and start Biron to start my "season") shoulder at the exact moment a bedroom door opened and "good morning!" echoed through the house.

Tonight, I will get the bastards back, at least for a period or so ... .

As realistically non-realistic as NHL 10 is, it can't really tell us anything about the state of the Islanders, although my lack of finish on the sticks draws an eerie parallel to the boys in royal blue (I never, never use the "new" jerseys, always sticking with the soon-to-be mainstream alternate). Still, it's fun to think my trance-like repose in front of the sorely out-of-date SDTV might give us some glimpse into the coming season.

A few things I've noticed.

1. The Isles can skate with just about any team, but not Evgeni Malkin.

2. No Finnish. Even the probably-overrated-estimated-we-just-don't-know Tavares CAP can't bury anything but wide-open chances. Thankfully there's Mark Streit and a generous deflection engine.

3. We're going to lose every single fight this season. Or, I need to practice this new fighting system, which makes no sense to me right now.

4. The Ramones will bring the Isles out onto the ice at the newly named "Long Island Arena" every home game. Or not. (wishful thinking)

5. We. will. get. Dion. Phaneuf.

Saturday Night

Because sometimes the stars align even for one of the world's least-connected people, me, the Mediocre One and I have managed to get ahold of some veddy goot tickets for the home opener. No liveblogging, but I will get back on Sunday with the full report.

I haven't been this excited for a hockey game since I went to a bar in Ithaca to watch game five of the 2002 playoffs against the Leafs. I spent the whole night standing under a tiny television, crowding a table full of college students watching basketball on the "big" TV, clutching a series of beers, and yelling at some poor college kid who had the nerve to come down from Cornell to watch the game alone and root for the Leafs in my presence on that fateful, stupid night.

I'm pretty sure I told him he had "personally disgusted me and ruined hockey for at least five years in one fell swoop with his sickening display of ignorance, cockiness, and stupidity." And I'm pretty sure that was in reaction to one muted fist pump when the game finally ended. And then he ran out and my friends roped me into playing pool while I bitched and challenged them to "man up!" and play bubble hockey.


Here's the songs my kids demand to hear when the snow starts to fall.

See you Saturday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mark Streit: not Dion Phaneuf

Jaffe doesn't like it. But he didn't skate away like little Celine either. (see what I did there?)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hey, we have a blog

First, good to have hockey back. I spent an hour yesterday watching fights, reading about NHL 10, and looking for Google images of the Broome Dusters.

We're off to a quick start
"Keep your head up, or something," said the hockey fan. We hear that 15 to 20 times a year now, as we sort through the wreckage of another hit to the head. Dion Phaneuf hit Kyle Oh!poso last night, in a game you likely didn't see, but have been reading about all day if you're sick like me and not doing a shit's bit worth of work. Puck Daddy is dissecting.

I'm going to ignore most of the central debates because they've been covered pretty well by Puck Daddy, by the more lucid reader's comments, and by other voices in the web-o-sphere. That said, I think it was a legal hit of a defenseless player, and it should have been answered with a crosscheck to Phaneuf's forehead.

Phaneuf is garbage, but some Isles fans are delusional
Chris Pronger does this shit. Phaneuf does this shit routinely. Lesser names do the same shit hoping they'll get paid the same as Phaneuf or Pronger. It is part of the game.

But so is this: fighting.

Phaneuf is garbage for backing out of the fight with Morency. He's not dumb, he's just garbage. And if you've already written somewhere on the web that you think it's shit when a "clean hit" is answered with a fight, you're garbage too.

When the fuck should players fight? Because "when you're angry because someone just laid out a teammate" seems like a pretty fucking good time to fight to me. I think it's a lot better time than "when you're bored" or "when your team is losing and you haven't played in 22 minutes." Blatant cheap shots and borderline massive hits that leave people semi-conscious or knocked out cold (which usually look like cheap shots in the heat of the moment) are, I would think, the most ideal times of all to drop the gloves. So kudos to Morency, and fuck you, Phaneuf.

I'm going to jerk off to Elisha Cuthbert tonight. And that's the crudest thing I can think of right now. I need some coffee.

Isles fans: stop
"I'm growing to hate Scott Gordon and Garth Snow for not having a goon. This would have never happened with Cairns on the ice!!!!"


Dion Phaneuf is 6'3", 214 lbs. He hits the shit out of people, albeit sometimes when they're being checked by two of his teammates, one of whom already crosschecked him from behind. And sometimes he even fights. He gets paid millions of dollars to do this.

Do you really, really think having Don Brashear on the bench would have stopped Phaneuf from blindsiding Oh!poso? Motherfucker wouldn't even fight Morency, who (ok, he's a bit of hopeful fighter, but still) checks in at 5'10", 196 lbs. And he didn't have to. Brashear comes over the boards and Phaneuf would skate until the ice melted.

This team needs to get good at hockey. They will do this by bringing in good players. If those good players exhibit some toughness, that's wonderful. And they are auditioning some middle/upper-middle weights.

You don't need a full-fledged heavyweight in the NHL. Most of the guys taking cheap shots at your best players are shitheads like Phaneuf, or other middleweights who a) get some ice time, or b) think they're "pests." Pests run away from heavyweights. You keep a couple of mid-level guys around to punch Sean Avery and, I think, that's enough.

Anyway, welcome back hockey.

Here's to hoping Kyle O is 100 percent. Go Isles.