Sorting through this NHLPA mess

Monday, August 31, 2009

If you live in my house, you would've heard that Paul Kelly was fired yesterday. If you aren't me, then you probably were staring at me cross-eyed as I attempted to explain the significance of this move. Here I've attempted to give the basics on this situation and why the average fan should care.

Who: Executive director of the NHLPA, Paul Kelly, interim ombudsman Buzz Hargrove, general counsel Ian Penny.

When/Where: Yesterday at 3:30 in the morning in Chicago.

What happened:
Paul Kelly was fired yesterday. The decision came from executive board which is made up of 30 player representatives.

Why? That’s the million dollar question. Nobody knows exactly why Kelly was fired.

Of course that doesn’t mean we can't speculate, right? Among the more interesting theories/questions out there:
  • TSN has said that some inside the NHLPA thought Kelly wasn’t doing enough to get to know the players and/or was too close to Bettman and Daly.
  • Was Kelly fired because he actually did his job instead of simply being a mouthpiece? That was one question posed one of the talkshows that I happened to overhear (I can't remember which). They seemed to feel on the show that Kelly was fired because he was doing his job. Because he had opinions and would voice them. They claim the NHLPA's board didn't like this.
  • What about Ian Penny who is currently sitting in as the interim exec director? He's had issues with Kelly before and now he has his job. Coincidence?
  • What of Buzz Hargrove the former president of CAW? Apparently his report on Kelly's (alleged) flaws played a large role in the executive board's nearly unanimous decision to fire Kelly. What will his role be in the post-Kelly NHLPA?
WAIT! This Kelly guy was close to Bettman?! Say no more! Allegedly. But let’s also contrast that with Kelly’s predecessor, Bob Goodenow, who apparently couldn’t even sit at the same table as Bettman during negotiations for the current CBA. Fractured relations between the head of the NHLPA and the head of the NHL aren’t good either. Obviously I don’t know the exact nature of Kelly’s relationship with Bettman, but it seems to me that it would be important for the head of the NHLPA and the NHL to at least sit at the same table.

So why would the average fan give a damn about this? Kelly wanted to work with the NHL in a constructive manner. Now that he is out and we know that guys like Hargrove tend to take a hardline approach, we can expect the NHLPA to assume a more rigid stance once the CBA can be renegotiated in 2011. Which means.....

....We could be in for another lockout, right? Quite possibly, yes. The NHLPA had the opportunity to re-open the CBA this year but they optioned not to. Keep in mind though, that that decision came under Kelly. Under a new executive director who is willing to take a hardliner approach, we could very well be in for another lockout.

And that’s....bad? Yes. Not only is a lockout sucky for the fans, but a second lockout could be devastating for the league (particularly for franchises that are currently struggling to survive). The Preds on the Glass and the Program offered up the ultimate doomsday scenerio. Granted it's an absolute worst case scenerio (for Bettman anyway), but it's interesting to think about where the NHL could potentially end up.

What do the actual players think of this? So far I've only heard Ilya Kovalchuk call the current CBA "dumb". Past that, I don't know what anyone else thinks. But it's not exactly comforting to see a player like Kovalchuk calling the CBA dumb.

More reading: Ken Campbell details why this matters to fans. Sportnets explains the situation in more detail. Down Goes Brown has has his own take. Worth the read if you want to be amused for a change.

Oh Roger... how could you?

No. He hasn't lost. We're several hours away before he gets onto Arthur Ashe at the US Open and if he loses in the first round then... well, then he probably deserves it.

I'm talking about this:

Photo from here.

Not. Not Roger smiling. Look at the shirt. LOOK AT THE SHIRT. Oh Roger... you injure me with that shirt. INJURE ME, I SAY!

Bell Centre tour pics!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I was going to go all "squee" over the mini thing the Habs website had of Jaro. And then I wa sgoing to mention that Boivin might be out as president of the Habs. And then I was going to mention that Schneider has gone to the Canucks, nothing is confirmed about Tanguay signing with the Bolts and Lang might be given a tryout with the Habs this season. However, I got the pics from Grrreg of the Bell Centre tour and they're way more awesome than Tanguay.

So. My faves:

I have never ever ever seen the Bell Centre this empty before. It's pretty cool.


This little sign appeared as you go out onto the press gallery. I felt so important *G*

Now tell me the press doesn't get the most awesome view.

A corner of the players alumni lounge. Apparently Beliveau's family always hangs out here

That torch thing

TADA! The Habs dressing room!

Now if I was a rookie walking out here onto the ice with 20,000 people screaming, I'd be seriously freaked out. As it was, I was just a hockey fan seriously freaked out at the idea of walking out onto where the ice would be.


Friday, August 28, 2009

You heard me. Let me say it again. Because it sounds just so darn good*


It started last night when CTV aired Team Canada's scrimmage online. Live hockey!! It was... well, it was a scrimmage. But it was still LIVE HOCKEY. Sure there was very little to like from seeing Crysob score in the shootout (and on his own goalie too). And I did decide to nickname the five goalies: Floppy Flambe, Boring Marty, Faily Wardy, Shrimpy (Mason) and....Fwap (Luongo). Or in shorter form: Floppy, Boring, Faily, Shrimpy and Fwap. Sounds like the seven dwarves. Kinda.

By the way... there is something kinda pathetic about Heatley being booed by the people in his hometown.


Today I met up with Grrreg and we headed off to take a tour of the Bell Centre. I had no idea that you could take a tour of the Bell Centre. To sum it up quickly: It was flipping awesome. We were in the press gallery (I want a job in the press just so I can get that view of the ice. AWESOME). We were in several other VIP lounges (including where all the little kidlets of the players hang out). We walked through the press room where the coaches have to sit after games. It's a lot smaller than it looks on TV.... we saw some random thing about Youppi. And yes, we were in the Habs dressing room. Sooooooo awesome. I think the most awesome part was when we left the dressing room and got to walk out (a bit) onto where the ice was. I kinda got chills imagining what it would be like to walk out there with 20,000 + people screaming. Awesomeness. I didn't have my camera but I'm bugging Grrreg for his pictures so I'll have something up then!

Hilarious bit: there was a woman and I guess her mom or something who were Leafs fans. Her kid however was a Habs fan. And damn, did he know his stuff (he was 10). We were looking at this photo of a pile of players when they were like... in their 60s and older. And the kid recognized almost all of them. For the records, I failed to recognize my own (distant) relative in the photo. I fail.


The day wouldnt' be complete without some live hockey, right? And where does one find live hockey in AUGUST? Why at a Juniors pre-season game of course! HAHAHAHA! Yup, it was off to the Juniors pre-season game which was... well, a pre-season game. But actually you wouldn't necessarily know that early on as there was lots of hitting, good energy from the players and the crowd. I'm hoping the two Juniors who got smashed up aren't seriously injured. They didn't look so good as they were walking off the ice... It's supposed to be a pre-season game, people. Ick. Anyway... the Juniors took 12 penalties and their goalies faced 30 shots compared to just 2 penalties for Gatineau who's two goalies faced just 16 shots. Thankfully for the Juniors, they got all the lucky breaks and scored 3 un-answered goals before Gatineau finally got one on a 5 on 3 PP in the 3rd. They got in another one off of Etienne Marcoux and promptly had their little celebration right in front of me. Can we say "not impressed in the least?" But the important thing is the Juniors won for me and I'm happy!

Oh yeah.. and the Sox won. Yay!

*yes, we're in that stage in the season where we're really excited to see hockey.

Caption of the Day: Orientation camp is fuuuun. Not.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Okay so while I said I wouldn't pay any more attention the Olympics for now.. I couldn't help myself as they were broadcasting their scrimmage live. Yes. Live hockey. First time since... the Stanley Keg. ANYWAY.... rather than focus on all the annoying stuff, I went around looking at the pics that have come out on at the camp. There was just too much fun to be had with them.

Like this one:

Babcock: blah blah blah TEAM CANADA blah blah blah
Nash: if I stare really hard maybe it will look like I'm listening to him.
Iggy: must.not.fall.asleep.
Crysob: oh. my.god. did he just say I have a heavy butt? I DO NOT!

And this one:

Heatley: *on the phone to his agent* quick. Get me outta here. Babcock hates me. I have dimished role in the shootout drills. HELP!

And this one:

Babcock: NO LUCIC! You aren't supposed to beat him up. He's your teammate!!!!
Lucic: Sorry coach! Automatic response, you know?

Random Wednesday: taking a break from all this Canada stuff

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Because we're already off on the whole Olympics stuff and I'm ready to kick a baby Leaf right's time to see what the Europeans are up to.

  • Alexander "I'm not Ovie" Avtsin made it to no. 6 on Ryan Kenndey's Hot List of players we want to see in the NHL one day. I'm thinking perhaps Ovie's endorsement might have helped get Avitsin noticed a bit over here *g* Even if judging from the year he had last year, we really do want to see him in the NHL one day.

  • I had no idea Kovalchuk had two kids already.... he's like... how old?

  • "I used to be called young before. But then a different generation comes. Guys born in 1991 are drafted now. I am eight years older than they are... We are all growing up. Life does not stand still. Right now I am at the peak of [my game]. I will be "old" when I am 35." [from here] Oh. Okay then. Wait a sec. You're only twenty-six?! Yeah, you're real "old", dude. NOT.

  • Am I the only one who finds this kinda funny?

    Q. What did a year in America give you from a life perspective?

    Nikita Filatov: I went through a school of life in Syracuse when I was playing for the farm club. I lived there in an apartment all by myself. How was in it Russia before then? You come home, there is a plate in front of you. And there [it was different]. You come from practice, then go to a store and cook [for yourself]. You hold the phone to your ear. Moscow is on the other line giving you instructions how to fry potatoes.

    I know what he means, but the mental images of this 18 year old toothpick of a kid trying to get instructions on how to fry a potatoe from his mom in Moscow is kinda hilarious. Sorry Filatov... *g*

  • Speaking of Ovie and cooking... the dude is apparently going to cook for other people in this restaurant somewhere in Russia for something? Let's hope he can fry a potatoe.

  • Apparently Hudler can't play in the KHL. The IIHF has not granted him a transfer card which means he's not allowed to play in any sanction games (which apparently cover KHL games). This could be interesting if not for the fact that NHL seems to not really care about Hudler at this point and the KHL basically doesn't give a damn about what the IIHF says. So I really don't think this is anything to get excited over. They'll appeal the decision and win or lose, Hudler will stay put in Russia.

  • Okay. I can't help this: I have to admit that I am thoroughly enjoying the soap opera that is the Ottawa Senators. I was going to curse them for not getting rid of Heatley, but if this keeps up then this year will be FULL of drama. This could be a lot of fun. What? I like laughing at the Sens. Sue me.

Quote of the Day: It's obvious. Jumbo Joe is Canadian

[interview on my comp of Jumbo Joe and Marleau after both were stripped of their letters]

TSN guy: So how does it feel that the Sharks don't feel like you're a leader on this team? [read: how does it feel that your team is fed up with you choking in the playoffs?]

Jumbo Joe: Oh it's okay *smiles* *shrugs*

My mom: Let me guess. He's Canadian.

Me: umm yeah.

My mom: I knew it. His totally nonchalant attitude kinda gave it away. He was just like "ah, yeah, whatever. I'll go with whatever you guys decide". I feel kinda bad for him. He seems like a nice guy from the three seconds that I've just seen of him.

Me: Did I ever tell you what he said about Halak after our baby Slovak goalie stole the win for the Habs........?

My mom is so funny sometimes.....

Ya couldn't let me enjoy Roger's win, eh hockey?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nooooo. You just had to come out with some completely annoying stuff today.

  1. They are canning the idea of the Habs hosting the Caps in the Olympic Stadium in the possible even that the Alouettes go deep in the playoffs. Heck with that. The Alouettes flipping better win the cup thing for this. WIN OR ELSE FEEL MY WRATH. RAR!

  2. There are rumors that Patrick Marleau wouldn't wave his NTC that would've resulted in Heatley being shipped off to San Jose. If this is true, I am now holding Marleau personally responsible for my mental health which will surely decline as I have to put up with Heatley staying in the same division as my team. Then again, that whole deal was supposed to have involved three teams possibly including our dear Habs (and if the rumors are true, our poor Jaro). So it's almost just as well that Marleau wouldn't wave it. But still. Now you know who to blame when Heatley drives you up the wall with his whining in about.... three or so weeks time.

  3. The are Wings fans who are STILL complaining about Crysob not shaking Nick's hand at the end of Game 7. Look, I'm just as bitter about that win as the next non-Pens fan... but really.... that is just ridiculous. Get over it. It's one thing to joke about it, but to continue to whine about it? Enough is enough.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

After a tough game which saw some great shots, Roger finally made an error and sent the ball into the net. Game, Novak Djokovic. Raising his hands up to the sky, Nole thanked the tennis gods for handing him a win. With this victory, Nole had now won....

photo from here.

..................his first - and only - game of the first set. HUZZAH!


Roger just had to play really good tennis in the first set, which, coupled with Nole playing like crap, equaled an easy 6-1 first set win. Nole fought back in the second set - including breaking Roger's serve. But ultimately it didn't do much and Roger broke back, leveled the set, broke again and won the match 6-1, 7-5.

So way to go Roger. It's your first title as a new daddy. I'm sure the twins are over the moon. Well, actually, the one over the moon was Roger who was all smiles as he got talking about the twinsies. Anyway....You're now just one Master Series win away from tying Agassi's record of 17 MS' wins. Yay!

Photo from: AP

Roger: Hey, Nole, that's a nice flower vase you got there...
Nole: Wanna swtich? I've always wanted a pretty punch bowl. Please?
Roger: thanks. I think I'll store the twins bottles in this one.

Roundup of EP's Saturday

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today didn't promise to be a good sports day. After the major Soxfail last night (which we are now denying happened) and the prospect of Muzzy taking down Roger, I was ready to skip this sports thing and just entertain the guests who were coming.

Apparently sports thought otherwise.

The Sox were clearly didn't want to get killed by their own crowd by losing again to the Yankees so instead they decided to win. And minus some major Ellsfail, it was a great win at 14-1. Yeah. I'm kind of afraid of tomorrow's game. It'll end up like 30-29 or something. So, thank you Sox for being angry enough to want to win. And thank you, Yankees, for leaving your brains at the hotel. It was nice.

Anyway... Back in Cincy where the Fab Four (which is really only comprised of two fab guys, one almost fab guy and one guy who gets called "toothface" at times) were going at it in the semis, we had some interesting results.

Last year, we saw Rafa's awesome summer come to a halt as Nole beat him and then promptly... .blew it completely to the-yet-great-Muzzy. Roger had long since disappeared into oblivion.

THIS YEAR everyone was touting Muzzy to win again as he had pretty much blown everyone else out of the water last week in Montreal (and Roger blew himself out of the water). Yeah well, Roger decided that after that little backhanded compliment he gave to Muzzy at the beginning of the week ("He’s [Muz] almost won everything there is to win except, let’s say US Open and the Masters") it was time to back up said "compliment" by actually beating Muz. Shocker, I know. It was a pretty nice win too at 6-2 7-6(8). THANK YOU ROGER! Finally.

Roger is going to get Nole in the finals after the latter decided he too would like to snap an ugly losing streak. Oddly enough, the last time that Nole won a match against Rafa was at... well, Cincy last year. Oops. It was a really solid win at 6-1 6-4. Ow, Rafa...

Do you think Rafa means it when he says

I’m very happy today, more than yesterday. No. 3 is a very good number too.

I get the odd feeling that he really doesn't mind being no. 3 all that much....

hockey notes from Quebec City

Friday, August 21, 2009

So I was in Quebec City for the last two days for a mini vacation. Despite the fact that the Nordiques aren't a team anymore there were still minor hockey notes worth reporting:
  • Are the Nordiques really gone? You wouldn't know it but the amount of stuff that they sell. Keychains, mugs, jerseys, shirts, magnets, etc, etc, etc. Jeez. If you didn't know anything about hockey you wouldn't know that they didn't have a team.

  • I also stepped into my favorite hockey store in the old city and noticed that they sold Remparts shirts. At least they're supporting the team that they still have.

  • The tour guide - yeah, I took a tour - was rather fond of mentioing that Quebec City did indeed win a Stanley Cup. With the Quebec Bulldogs. Sadly for the tour guide, this info wasn't new to me and I failed to be overly impressed. Sorry.

  • I found TSN on my TV in the hotel and caught Burke attempting to make some symphony analogy with the Leafs. It didn't work and at least Burke admitted that he had no clue what he was talking about. But I died laughing at him anyway. I think a better analogy would've been "trainwreck".

  • I didn't buy my pre-rec Habs item in QC this time. Instead I bought a keychain with a team canada jersey on it. The guy was smart enough not to offer the Nordiques keychain to me. I wanted so badly to buy the Ovie jersey but I ran out of money. Also... I really wanted to ask the guy why they were selling Leafs hats and Yankees stuff. It was gross.

  • I stuck out my tongue at the Voltigeurs on my way up and on the back from Quebec City.

  • The vending machine didn't take my Habs dollar. It took my other normal boring dollar but not my pretty Habs dollar. I think it's pro-grammed to be pro-Nordiques.

  • Cameron Frye gathered a pile of female hockey fans and asked them to name 5 reasons why they loved hockey. Some great answers can be seen here (what? You honestly thought you'd get something NOT random from me? HAHAHAHA)
And finally, I'd like to offer my deepest sympathies to Jose Theodore's family. If you missed it, Jose's 2 month old son died the other day. Details - as far as I know - weren't given.

Quote of the Day: It's a miracle Safin has lasted this long

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Q. Were you describing yourself as maybe someone that finds it sometimes stressful and doesn’t enjoy those moments always?

MARAT SAFIN: I don’t like any sports. For example, I would not play soccer. I would not play hockey. Basketball I hate. I never watch any sports on TV. It’s amazing, and I’m a tennis player.

But I don’t like it, the competition. For example, if I have to play soccer against neighborhood, I will play for ten minutes and then I get bored. I’m not a player.

Q. How did you last this long at this level?

MARAT SAFIN: It’s a miracle, huh? It’s a miracle.

Aww, Safin, you're making me sad and I never got to watch you when you were good =(

I am going to puke...

Monday, August 17, 2009

The title says it all I'm afraid.....

Thanks to the H Does NOT Stand for Habs for the pic.

I believe this drawing I did a few months back is suddenly very relavent:

Pssst Carey

Sunday, August 16, 2009

....happy birthday!

Umm yeah, I kinda didn't know it was his birthday until like... right now and I figured if Jaro got a random "happy birthday" then Pricey should too. So yeah.

(clearly it's time for me to stop surfing the web and go to sleep)

And the new world no. 2 is...



Now, Rafa, please win next week. And Roger AND Rafa... Please do better in the US Open. I do not want Muz sitting on the top of the rankings when he has no freaking Grand Slams to his name. And no, Muzzy will not win the US Open. Roger will have it because he knows I won't be there live so it's okay for him to win.

ARGH. My tennis world is crashing down around me now.


What an up and down day it was yesterday

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Now that I'm awake and can think a little clearer:

Aside from TMF losing in epic proportions... We had some other faily tennis news:

  • Muz won against Davydenko. Yeah. Saw it live. No, nobody cared about Muz. Everyone came to see Roger. And plus, everyone was baking in the sun and they were too hot to cheer on Muzzy.
  • Rafa lost to Delpo. Not like we were expecting anything different but it was still sad to see Rafa fail so sadly in the second set. I'm chalking it up to rust. He didn't look in pain to me but he was hitting everything long and wide and into the net. Rust. Rust. Rust. FIX IT SOON. Or else you'll end up with Roger in the semi-finals at the US Open. DO YOU WAN THAT RAFA? Because I don't. There can be nothing less than a Roger/Rafa FINAL.
  • And Nole failed against Andy not-Murray. As Dootsiez put it on All I Need is a Picket Fence:

    Over the last 18 months, Novak Djokovic has somehow managed to slump from “the Australian Open champ”, to “the perennial semifinalist", to “Jo-Willy Tsonga’s bitch“, to “momentarily the second best player on clay“, to “the quarterfinals or earlier guy“, and now to “three times Andy Roddick’s bridesmaid“

    Way to go Nole. NOT. You epic fail. So glad I'm not a huge fan of yours otherwise I'd be ripping out my hair.
  • in one not faily bit of tennis... My former Serbian canuck who is partnered with a Serbian won the doubles match to set up a semi-final match with... whoever won that match I saw yesterday. Knowles and umm... Buphati. Or something.
And baseball tried to fail too....

Amidst all this fail, here came the Soxies who are battling it out with the Texas Rangers for a wild card to the playoffs. And here came the top of the 9th with the failsox down by two runs. Oh here we go again.... Haven't we seen this movie before? It something like "Sox forget how to get runs in". But of course they couldn't just get struck out in quick fashion. No. Ortiz and Tek had to get on base. Ells who wasn't supposed to be on there shows up. Oh good. Maybe EP will get to look at her favorite Soxie at the very least. Not that EP needs to see more grumpy people. Oh what's this?! Ells gets a run in? OH so now the Sox are only down by one run? YAY! Of course the happiness didn't last. Oh no. The Woodthing struck out in a spectacularly sad fashion. 1 out.

And... oh dear baseball gods, what the hell is this? STICKBUG is going on base instead of Tek? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? The Stickbug doesn't even look like he's capable of running...Here comes Pedroia... omg he hits the ball! Omg run CLAY! YOU EPIC IDIOT RUN! DAMN. POINT PROVEN! THE STICKBUG CAN NOT RUN TO SAVE HIS LIFE OR THE GAME. Well, he would've made if he had known that the ball hadn't been caught as he initially thought. But still.. He was so floppy and flaily and faily at running. Plus he dove head first into home. Bad idea, Stickbug. Don't break your neck, you twerp. 2 out.

At this point, EP nearly died as Martinez wound up with two strikes against.... one strike away from the an epically faily night for EP. Stupid Sox. Stupid Stickbug. Stupid game. Stupid failtennis too. ARGH. OMG MARTINEZ JUST HIT THE BLOODY BALL. OMG IT'S A FAIR BALL. OMG THE SOX JUST GOT TWO RUNS IN. OMG THE SOX ARE WINNING?! OMG. EP died at this point of a heart attack. Hah! Of course they didn't stop there. That wouldn't be fun. No, Jbay sends Martinez to home. Then Drew homers! 8-4! Then some guy strikes out. Then the Sox win after the shell shocked Rangers fail to get any runs in in the 9th. HAH. HAH. HAH. SOX WIN! HAAAAAAAAAH! What an epically awesome way to end last night. EAT THAT YOU FAIL TENNIS!


  • We got D'agger back for one year (why all the one year deals, Bob?)
  • Happy birthday Gorges (that was the 14th)
  • Guy Boucher still scares me. But I wish him good luck with his coaching! (bringing this up as I just heard his loooong interview on Habs Inside/Out)

Well... the good news is I saw Roger...

Friday, August 14, 2009

...the bad news is that he choked like someone stuffed one of those oversized tennis balls down his throat and lost the 3rd set after being up BY TWO BREAKS.


Clearly, I am not allowed to watch Roger live anymore. Which is a real pity because he's just so much more awesome when you see him in person.

*sobs more*

How could you, Roger? How could you? You are breaking my heart.... And I can't even stare at my favorite Soxie tonight as he decided to take the night off. Bah!

Oh well. At least I have PICTURES of ROGER though. There really no such thing as a bad picture of Roger. He is just so... photogenic. Go look! XD

So.... yeah... GO ANYBODY BUT MUZZY! Hopefully Rafa. But I'll take the Real Andy or Nole or even Delpo. Or heck, I'll cheer on the Chubby French Dude too. Just not Muzzy.

Oh hey! Who's going to see Roger tomorrow?!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

OH YEAH! The dudes in charge of the schedule decided to be nice to me and saw to it that I'd be watching Roger tomorrow. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

Anyway... So over the last couple of days, it was really "let's see how many times we can make countrymen play each other".
  • Nadal took on Ferrer last night and won in 36 minutes. Mainly because the wrong Spaniard had the knee problems and had to retire.
  • Nadal next faced the not-Spanish Philippe Pet..shc..Petschner... Petzschner... and won.
  • Tsonga faced Simon tonight and the Chubby French Dude won. I loved how they were both yelling and making faces... and then they promptly kissed and made up at the end (hmm, I'll be honest though, it wasn't anything like the kiss Monfils gave Simon a few months ago).
  • Roger faced poor Stan and he promptly beat poor Stan. Both were seriously cranky tonight though and as the errors piled up they were yelling away. They bothed also piled on the "oh why me?" looks. So cute.
  • Delpo, Nole, Muz, and Davydenko all made it through without playing their countrymen (mainly 'cause Muz doesn't have any Brits to play and all the other Argentine's have disappeared)
  • Verdasco and Roddick also had a great match which I missed most of...
Tomorrow I will get some doubles match that I might skip, Muz vs Davy aaaaaaaaandddddd Roger vs the CFD! AIEEEEEE! =)

Oh and... Look. We love Roger:

This picture is so full of win

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

...even if poor Niemeyer wasn't. But he gets major bonus points for showing up to his match against Roger in this:

Photograph by: THE GAZETTE/Alle McInnis

YAY! How could I have ever said a mean thing about this guy? He is CLEARLY full of win. Just not in tennis exactly...

What is almost as cool as live hockey?!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Yup. So for anyone who cares, the Rogers Cup is in town for the week. This means BIG tennis names come to my hockey city at a time when us hockey fans are ready to check ourselves into the insane asylum because there is no hockey. Because all the big names are so cool, they got a bye into the second round which meant us people watching the first round didn't get to see them on Monday. HOWEVER! All was not lost! Nope. Mr. Marat "I have Anger Management Issues" Safin saved the night by blowing up when he lost to the Monfils dude. Not the highest quality match ever but totally fun just the same. I loved it when Safin blew up and tried to homer one of the balls. He should've takened up baseball instead *g*

Monfils vs Safin

My session was supposed to include Gilles "EP still hates you for knocking out Roger last year" Simon and Frank "Umm I'm the top ranked Canadian guy at 105th in the world. Yay?" Dancevic but the weather didn't cooperate so we left after the match being delayed TWICE.

I'm was a little mopey because STAN was playing in the earlier part of the day on Monday while ROGER was going to be playing on Tueday NIGHT when I had tix for the afternoon.... but as it happened, I was supposed to end up with Muz and Nole instead. Of course I was really worried about the weather and how that would screw up my plans to see these guys but I worried pretty much for naught.

Today started off with Hewitt and Ferrero. I was hoping for a bit more from Hewitt but it was not to be and he lost to Ferrero. No worries! Muz was next! Oh wait, I don't like Muz... But Muz is a talented player and now I can say I've seen (and quietly) booed Muz. It's nothing personal Muz. It's just you know.... you're not nice to Roger. ANYWAY. Muzzy smushed Chardy and the hot weather smushed me... And I wanted to smush those annoying group of kids across the court who kept screaming "ANDY MURRAY". Poop. At there were long rallies! And no more fail dropshots of last night. And no more failsmashes from earlier.

Chardy and Muz at the coin toss

Because the weather stopped working after Muz won, we had to wait an HOUR before Nole could come back onto the court and win.

I am the weather. I suck.

So after wondering if the weather would clear up... It did! So they dried the court up...

They dry the courts with a billion of these things!

And play got underway!

I am Super Novak! POW!

Umm excuse me? Umm over here! Yeah. I exist you know *pouts*

Anyway... despite actually liking Nole, I had a problem. Because Nole was playing a canuck. Never heard of poor Peter Polansky before today (and apparently neither had the umpire as he kept on forgetting his name *G*). I didn't really know who to cheer for. It wasn't easy. Mind you...we Canadians are NOT patriotic about our tennis. Mainly because we suck at tennis. But we tried to back our guys a bit. Even if they were getting beat up. Simon ended up decimating Dancevic after I left yesterday, Polansky put up a good fight - probably the best out of the three Canucks even if I missed most of Roger/Niemeyer match - but lost in straight sets... and Niemeyer? Well, he was killed tonight by the Fed. Speaking of which....

While I was trying to cheer for Polansky while hoping that Nole would win so I could go home and eat dinner (it was 6:00 by this time), guess who showed up in the box seats not that far from me? ROGER! HE WAS THERE. Probably like... 50 feet from me. I was going to be content with being in the same city as him but NO. He just had to SHOW UP! I guess he was wondering how long Nole was going to take... While the stupid rules said I wasn't allowed to use my awesome camera during the match, I just ignored it and took a pic of Roger anyway. It's Roger. I may not get a chance to take a pic of the TMF (the Mighty Fed) this close again. Behold:

I am Roger. I am reading something. You can see my perfect hair through the glass even

So really, spent a good part of Nole's match looking at Roger. Didn't want to get into any trouble (the dudes are seriously strict at this stupid event) so I didn't take any more pics of the TMF. So sorry to my Canuck and to Nole. You're just not in the same level of awesomness as the TMF.

CONLUSION: I LOVE LIVE TENNIS! Even if it follow no time frame whatsoever. And even though the weather can screw you over. And even if they hire dumbos. I will be back Friday with a final assement =)

Two random things:
  • There were WAAAAAAAAY too many people in Yankees stuff. There was a kid in a Crysob shirt. And there was a guy in a Leafs hat. I went insane.
  • However, I did see this among the items that they were randomly auctioning off:
OVIE!!!! There was some Crysob failthing too but Ovie was cooler. Obviously.

Stewie is staying!

Monday, August 10, 2009

WHAT TOOK SO LONG?!!!!! Whatever. Doesn't matter. Stewie is OFFICIALLY staying!

Canadiens General Manager Bob Gainey announced Monday the signing of forward Gregory Stewart to a one-year contract (2009-10). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Last season, Stewart took part in 17 of the Canadiens’ final 25 regular-season contests after being recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs on February 17. In 2008-09, the 23-year-old registered one point (1 assist) with 32 penalty minutes and averaged 8:36 of ice time in 20 contests with Montreal. He also scored 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) and posted a plus-8 rating while leading the Hamilton Bulldogs with 170 penalty minutes in 51 AHL games. Stewart skated in two NHL (Canadiens) and two AHL (Hamilton) playoff games in 2008-09.

In 2007-08, in his first AHL campaign, Stewart amassed 17 points (10 goals, 7 assists) and served 137 penalty minutes in 69 games with Hamilton. The 6-2, 200-pound right-winger completed the season by making his NHL debut with the Canadiens on April 5, 2008.

Born in Kitchener, Ontario, Stewart was selected in the eighth round by the Canadiens, 246th overall, at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.


Why this Phoenix thing has Canadians mad

Sunday, August 9, 2009

So I knew my previous post about wishing for a separate league for Canadian teams would raise some hell. I was sort of prepared for it. But I wasn't exactly prepared to be told that I was acting like a bit of a snob about the sport. It surprised me because I never considered myself a hockey snob before. As far as most Canadian fans go, I always thought I was very open. But upon thinking about, I had to admit that I was coming to this issue with a certain bias. It got me thinking about what hockey meant to Canadians and why we were so upset over this issue.

Even before I started following NHL hockey, I grew up hearing about hockey. I grew up with this belief that hockey somehow our sport. Regardless of whether I watched it, it was still my country's sport. It was still something that country did. It didn't necessarily mean that we were always the best (although we really wanted to be) or that other countries shouldn't be allowed to play the game. But there was this underlying belief that we Canadians had some type of special connection with the sport. I'm not saying that we're right to hold these beliefs but that's the way it is around here.

Canadians are not blatant about their patriotism. That is a fact. We do not often go on TV and start saying things like "We're proud to be Canadian" or similar things. We seem to find it slightly distasteful. However, there is one thing that pretty much every Canadian will get behind. And that is hockey. When I got into watching the Habs, I wasn't at all prepared for the legions and legions of fans of the team. I was quite honestly shocked. Having the whole city back a hockey team seemed crazy to me (who always seemed to get into things that nobody else seemed to like). But it was crazy awesome. It was crazy awesome that people of all kinds of different backgrounds would get together and talk about this team. I met people from Germany and the UK - people who hadnt' really heard of hockey before coming here - who watched the team. Look at poor Nazem Kadri, the Leafs top draft pick this year. His family is from Lebanon. His grandparents had never heard of hockey before. Apparently they know all about hockey now and they watch him all the time. Hockey is something that Canadians - who generally prefer to keep to themselves - will actually bond together over.

Now bring in Gary Bettman. Since Bettman has been commisioner, four teams have been added to the NHL (two appeared to already be in the works just before he came in) as well as four teams have been relocated (two from Canada). With the exception of the Wild, all these teams are in non-traditional hockey markets. Dallas, Phoenix, Nashville, Tampa Bay.... these cities dont' even get snow (and no, it's not exactly a sticking point for Canadians but it sums up our feeling about these teams). But it's not necessarily the untraditionalness of the franchise locations that's irksome to Canadians.

I think there really is a feeling that "our" sport is being taken away from us to a certain degree. We see all these teams going into markets in the USA. We see OUR teams leaving OUR country for the USA. We have to sit by and watch as our former teams either gain success in another place (like the Avs) or struggle epically to get people in the building (like the Coyotes). We see our players, players who many of us watched and supported as juniors, players who WE developed, leave in droves for teams in the USA - either because they were drafted by one of the 24 American teams or sought the nice big payrolls with American teams (that latter problem has been solved to a certain degree by the salary cap although Canadian teams are still at a disadvantage). We feel like they're trying to take over and push us out. Some of us feel like they're trying to turn it into a hockey version of the MLB, NBA or the NFL- which are very "American". We don't like it. We're not anti-American. We don't hate our neighbors. But when we see these teams in places where nobody goes to watch them and we see the league repeatedly defend them and say that it's feasible to keep a team in there, we wonder why our neighbors are being so mean to us.

Isn't it enough that you have your own sports? We wonder. You have the MLB, the NFL and the NBA. We admit that the NBA is YOUR sport. We admit that Toronto's NBA and MLB teams suck. You may have ruined my baseball team, but you can keep your streroid ridden MLB. And by all means keep your NFL too. But why are you trying to take away OUR sport from us? Why do we have to BEG for a chance to get another team in our country? We might not have the oodles of money that you have (err had) but we love our teams. It sounds cheesy but it's true.

It's hard for other people to get why we get up in arms about hockey. To most other people it's just a sport. But for Canadians, it's more than that. It's something we bond over. It's the one thing we're not shy to be patriotic about - and that is seriously saying something. So when we feel that the league is trying to take take away or hog a game that means way more than Bettman can understand, it makes us mad.

Make it Seven a new league?

A few days ago I picked up the book "A Hundred Years of Glory" from the library. It's about the Canadiens (duh) and it goes through their history. Of the many interesting bits in the book, one that caught my interest was the creation of the NHL. I'm sure I had heard about it before, but this was really the first time that I was paying attention. Basically, Eddie Livingstone, who owned a team in Toronto, got into a dispute with the four other teams in the NHA. Instead of suspending Livingstone from their league, the other owners created a new league - the NHL - and excluded Livingstone.

After reading the latest in this whole Phoenix soap opera - in which the BOG voted 26-0 against Balsillie owning a NHL team with the Bruins and Wild stating that they don't want Basillie to own a team because they don't think he is trustworthy - I have to ask: Why can't we just create our own league and leave out Bettman and all these teams that are failing epically because they're in places where the majority of people dont' care? Why do we have to put up with this crap from Bettman and co?

Bettman seems to be trying to create a hockey version of the MLB and the NBA. The only problem is, it's not working very well because well, hockey isn't particularly big in places like Phoenix. The situation with these teams - which isn't limited to Phoenix, but is definitely highlighted by this franchise - is getting ridiculous at this point. There is no reason why teams who are doing well financially (particularly those here in Canada) should be trying to pay life support for floundering teams in the desert or on the beach. And there is no reason why they should even be in that market when someone is offering to spend a lot of money to move them to a city in which people might actually want to go watch them (shocker, I know).

A report in 2008 has the six Canadian teams generating a third of the league's ticket revenue. Another report from the year before, had the Leafs paying up between 9 and 10 million to the league's revenue sharing fund (which is apparently the most of the Canadian teams). So Canadian teams pay to keep the Phoenix and Atlantas teams alive and what do we get for it? We get to watch our money go down the drain as these teams lose millions of a year. We get to watch as the players that we spend years developing get to play for these crappy teams who wind up dead last. And we get to hear people tell us that it's not financially feasible to have teams in Canada.

If Canada can have it's own (American/Canadian) football league then I think Canada can definitely support it's own hockey league. Sure, it'd be be smaller. Sorta. We could add teams in Winnepeg, Hamilton and Quebec City among other places and once Gary's Sunbelt League fails, then we'd just absorb the not faily teams. We'd probably have way less money to spend on players (which is fine. Who getting paid 10 million dollars a year makes you a better player?). But we'd have people who cared. We would have people filling the buildings. And in this perfect hypothetical scenerio, we wouldn't have another version of Gary Bettman.

Look, I get that there's a lot of logistics into forming a seperate league but it's something to ask least talk about for the heck of it. I'm just getting seriously fed up of Bettman and his stupid ideas. And if the BOG wasn't stuck inside Bettman's pocket, then I'd say they should stand up to him as well.

Edit: Here's a lovely rant by number31 on the same topic. And Preds on the Glass has an interesting "nightmare" scenerio for Bettman.

Quote of the Day

Friday, August 7, 2009

Some poor stinker who commented on a TSN story about the WJC (who's summer camp got underway this week) had this to say:

As much as I love the world juniors more than anything, I really don't care about the summer camp. Its summer, can we go...two weeks without talking about hockey?

I had to mention it here because I think it's like the antithesis of what happens on this blog. It may be hot outside and there may be very little hockey being played, but that is no excuse not to talk about the wonderful sport. There is no offseason.

Oh look who just turned 2


He doesn't deserve half the attention that he gets around here but myeh, I was bored so I drew this:

I wonder if Teddy and Blankie will be making a special appearance at that Sid the Kid Hall of Fame thing? I mean, the dryer that he destroyed with pucks is going to be there (DRYER ABUSE!).


Oh look, some (minor) recognition for Jaro!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Normally I wouldn't be paying these lists of the top 10 players from each country that the NHL has been releasing but when they mention my little Slovak goalie, I have to say something, right? Right. Here's the list from the NHL (with a little editting from yours truly).

1. Zdeno Chara, D, Boston — Chara, the two-time winner of EP's "Ugh, can we pretend he doesn't exist?" list. And he is generally disliked with a small passion here on Shifts and Sets.

2. Marian Hossa, F, Chicago — Recent surgery to repair a small tear in his right rotator cuff certainly won’t keep him off the "what a douchebag" talks that continue to swil since he dumped the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Detroit Red Wings and then dumped them for a stupid contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

3. Marian Gaborik, F, New York Rangers — The two-time NHL All-Star has reached 30 goals in five of his eight seasons. We suspect that he would have a lot more if he wasn't always broken.

4. Pavol Demitra, F, Vancouver — In his first season with the Canucks, EP had no idea that he existed until the playoffs hit.

5. Michal Handzus, F, Los Angeles — The 6-foot-4, 218-pound center is frequently forgotten by EP.

6. Lubomir Visnovsky, D, Edmonton — A dislocated shoulder limited him to 50 games in 2008-09, but he still produced many tongue injuries as people tried to figure out how to say his name.

7. Andrej Meszaros, D, Tampa Bay — He was another poor soul who was forced to play in the sandy beaches of Tampa Bay. We almost feel bad for him.

8. Milan Jurcina, D, Washington — Jurcina appeared in a career-high 79 games last season and set personal highs in assists (11) and points (14). He was first on the Caps and among Slovaks with 131 blocked shots and second with 157 hits. We would like to thank him for giving our little goalie a nice WIN over the Caps when he tripped up Sergei who still managed to score the game winner.

9. Marek Svatos, F, Colorado — The 27-year-old, a top-six forward with the Avalanche, has registered at least 30 points in his four NHL seasons.blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

10. Jaroslav Halak, G, Montreal — The 271st pick in the 2003 Entry Draft took over as the backup to Carey Price following the trade of Cristobal Huet. He went 18-14-1 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 34 games last season (not bad when you consider just how much NOBODY showed up to play when he was in nets!), and played for Slovakia at the 2007 World Championship. He also participated in the 2009 World Championship were he was Avery'd upside the head by his own teammate. We still wuv our little goalie very muchly and we would appreciate it if the stupid idiots would stop trying to turn him into tradebait.

Huzzah for Jaro!

The Federer twins will get a playmate!

I know it's not my style, but I really do have to give a *squeak* to Stan (aka Switzerland's OTHER tennis player) who's girlfriend will be expecting a kid in February. Yay! If you've ever seen a picture of Stan a baby... Let's just say he was adorable. I'm SURE his kid will inherit some of that baby cuteness.

Okay that was my ridiculously stupid fangirl moment of the year.

Enjoy it while it lasts because tomorrow I'm going back to dissing Crysob (it's his birthday so he deserves an extra dose of dissing). Bwahahahahahahahahah...

Simmy changed his name

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Varlamov changed the Anglicization of his first name from "Simeon" to "Semyon" because "Семён" = "Semyon" and not "Simeon" (really, one day I want know who comes up with these funny Anglicizations for the Russian players names). So he's Semyon Varlamov now.

I'm still calling him Simmy. If I'm going to change his name to anything, it's going to be "Twitchy" because he twitches when he's just standing there.

What I really want to know is, when will Crosby change his name to Crysob?

YES, it's a sloooooooow news day here. Sue me.

No NHL hockey = we talk about the Olympics instead

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

So amidsts my attempt to complain about my dislike of most Canadian players vs my love for Markov and Ovie, someone decided it would be better to talk about the Olympics themselves and whether NHLers should be allowed to play (which I admit, was a smart move to try to bring some umm intelligent converastion to this blog). Basically we ended up with what I thought were two solid arguments for and against allowing NHLers (and other pros) into the Games.

Why we should keep the pros out

First off, the Olympics were initially supposed to be for amateurs only. When Pierre de Coubertin first thought about reviving the Olympics in the 19th century, there was a concept that letting the professionals play was giving them a huge advantage over those weren't professionals. This idea of fairness apparently went so far that there was even the thought that allowing people to train or practice amounted to cheating. Okay, so maybe that's getting a little extreme, but letting the pros play gives a huge advantage to countries such as Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, USA, Czech Republic who spend a lot of time developing top tier players. We can already see in the World Championship what affect the pros can have. The "big six" (the teams I just listed) dominate the field completely and that is usually without the aid of their top players. If Canada and Russia can come away with 12-1 victories over their opponents without their best players, what's going to happen when they do add in their best players? Do we really need to see these countries decimating countries like Estonia and Itlay 50-0? Is that fair? Yes, some countries will be better than others, but do we really need to see a huge blowout like that?

There are examples in other sports where countries are not allowed to field their best players per se. In football (soccer) countries are only allowed to send three players over the age of 23 to the games. This greatly levels the playing field and has allowed countries that would never have a chance to win the World Cup, to win the Olympics. The pros aren't left out at all as they've got the World Cup (and their continental championships as well) to participate in. Perhaps a similar format should be done for hockey so other countries can at least have a minimal chance. Countries like Canada really would have no issue in fielding a very strong team regardless of whether they were complete amateurs, semi-pros, or all under 23.

From an NHL point of view: I think it's safe to assume that there will be a lot of extra exhausted players this season. The NHL schedule has been condensed to allow for a two week break for the Olympics (with the Canucks getting it the worst with a 14 game roadtrip spanning before and after the Olympics). Injuries incured during the Olympics could cripple an NHL team depending on who gets injured. We know what happened to the Habs when Markov was injured at the end of the regular season. What could happen if he gets injured during the Olympics? I'll eat my hat if a team with a high proportion of key players at the Games goes far into the Stanley Cup finals. It's an exhausting enough run without the Games.

Why the pros should stay

If we use Coubertin's defition of an amateur, then nobody in the Olympics now are amateurs. Athletes spend years training and praciting for the Olympics. Many participate in other events for their sport. All athletes that make it to the Olympics have sponsors - which is neccessary so they can train. Almost all the sports in the Olympics now have professionals playing in them.

Adding the top players in the world to the Olympics brings in more interest from the public. It's probably safe to assume that not as many people would watch the hockey at the Olympics if countries fielded teams of relative nobodies. Allowing the best players in the world to participate in one of the bigeest sporting events, gets more people interested in it. Yes, you all know that I would watch hockey at the Olympics if they were relative nobodies, but would the rest of Canada do it? Would the rest of the world do it? We say we like hockey here in Canada, but really, we like our NHL hockey. Most people I talk to have NO idea that the AHL exists forget the CHL. Love him or really hate his guts, a lot of people will tune into the Olympics to watch Crysob because he's Crysob,"Savior of the Puffles" and "Whiner of the NHL".

Don't forget that the Olympics need people to watch and be interested in the event because it costs a hell of a lot of money to put on. They need sponsors of their own to run the event. They need to ensure that they get money from people and to do that, they need people to be interested in the games. If nobody is watching because the sports are filled with nobodies, then they'll be in trouble.

What I want to see

I'm going to shoot my previous argument in the foot, but the Olympics aren't a big deal for me. While the first ever hockey game that I watched was that gold medal game between Canada and the USA, it took me six more years before I fell in love with NHL hockey. I don't remember anything from that final in Salt Lake City other than I wanted it to end really badly. For me, I'd rather see my team win the Stanley Cup over my country winning a gold medal at the Olympics.

That being said, I'd like to see the World Championship become more important. Right now the Worlds are just "eh". Nobody pays them much attention - probably because the rosters are filled with sulking NHLers who missed out on the playoffs which happen to be going on at the same time as the Worlds. The only truly big international event for hockey is the Olympics right now. I'd prefer to see the Worlds become more important with the best of the best being able to participate in it. If this happens, then I'd like to see limited NHL/KHL/pro players in the Olympics (or at least a way to make the playing field more level in some shape or form).

These potential Olympic rosters are messing with my brain

Monday, August 3, 2009

Yeah, so some other countries have released their initial list of players for the Olympics. And this whole international thing is messing with me.

  • The idea of my Slovak goalie playing on the same team as Chara and Hossa freaks me out. Then again, I don't see that idiot Surovy on the list so at least our poor goalie won't have to worry about being Avery'd at the camp....

  • Finland seems to have invited just about every player that they could think of (that would be 46 people in all). There were total not surprises (hi Koivu and Koivu Jr!) and some minor surprises (umm who's idea was it to invite Vesa "King of the Failtenders" Toskala and Jarkko Ruutu?!)

  • And oh my god... Team Russia is going to SO mess with my mind. Markov has been invited. Kovy has been invited (huh?!). Obviously Ovie, Semin and Ilya have been invited. Eggplant and the not-so-injured Gonchar are invited. Even Simmy got invited!

  • I'm freaking out now because I can just see how I'm going to react: "GO MARKOV! Wait. No. That's one of Canada's players he just robbed. Someone crush Crysob! Yay Ovie scored on Floppy Flambe! Oh wait.....damn..... screw this Olympics thing. I quit. GO HABS GO!"

  • I hate the Olympics already.

Hey Heatley!

If your idiotic team tries to use my team as a means to ship you off to the Shark Tank, I will hunt you down and smack you with a plastic spoon.

You have been warned.

So much for that special French Canadian rule

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The next time someome whines that the only reason why the Habs were good for so long was because they were allowed to grab the two best players from Quebec, show them this awesome article at Habs Eyes on the Prize. It basically debunks the long standing idea that this special rule was what gave the Habs their success from the '50s to the 70s.

Basically, yes, there was a rule that said once a year the Habs were allowed to go out and get the exclusive rights to two players from Quebec. HOWEVER they were not allowed to take a player who had already signed a confirmation form with any other team (up until the '60s, teams signed amateurs to confirmation or C-forms. Apparently Bobby Orr wasn't even 12 years old when he signed a c-form with the Bruins). So really, this rule didn't help the Habs because by the time they were allowed to protect two players, they and the other teams had already picked up the best players. It's like saying now "oh sure, you can have the exclusive rights to two Quebec players but you have to wait until AFTER the draft". From what I can gather, none (or nobody of particular note) of the players selected through this special draft ever played in the NHL.

My favorite bit about the article is that they attribute the success of the team not to that stupid rule (which didn't help them one bit) but because of guys like Toe Blake, Elmer Lach and of course Maurice Richard (who the Habs tried to dump because he had a lot of injuries early on!!). But the best bit? The Leafs actually had hired Dick Irvin AND Frank Selke but they fired them and the Habs promptly hired them. Oops. So really, the next time a Leafs fan whines about this special rule, tell them "Hmm nope, that rule didn't help us one bit, but you guys helped us a lot by firing Irvin and Selke!"