Tug of War

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Good Stuff

Fighting in hockey is a tug of war of affection for me.  Last night’s action provided perfect examples as to why.

During the Leaf game (a spectacular game btw) Keith Aulie got into it with Scott Hartnell and KO’d the stooge (Sorry Scott; but I hate your team so I have to call you names). It was awesome.  This kid in his first NHL fight took on an established power forward who is a  regular scraper (49 career fights) and took him down.  What a lift to the team… the Leafs weren’t going to get bullied out of this building.  I found myself jumping out of my seat, cheering on Muhammad Aulie and feeling good that he laid a beating on Hartnell.  It was a good fight, not one of those prearranged goon fights that happen so regularly. Fights like these don’t bother me. Hartnell is hard-nosed (not a goon) and Aulie rarely fights; the fight happened spontaneously and nobody got hurt.

On the other side of the rope in Edmonton, Taylor Hall had his first career fight with Derek Dorset of Columbus.  Hall also decided to go up against a regular scraper (41 NHL fights), but this fight didn’t have a happy ending.  Taylor Hall lost the fight and hurt his ankle when his skate twisted as he was taken down.  He left the arena in a cast and who knows how serious the injury will be or how long the lowly Oilers will be without the young star.  A huge loss for the Oilers and the NHL.

These two fights sum up the problem that the NHL has with fighting in hockey.  I don’t like fighting, I think it takes attention away from the parts of the game that make it so wonderful.  The amount of skill necessary to be a good hockey player is enormous; shooting, hitting, passing, stick handling and to do it all while having to do something so unnatural like skating is crazy!  No other sport is like it.  When a fight happens it interrupts it all.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting to see two guys go at it and it can lift a teams emotion; but it’s car accident exciting.  It appeals to our dark side and I hate that about my favorite game.

Last night the Leafs dressed a team minus a stereo typical “tough guy”, no Colton Orr and no Jay Rosehill.  But I still think the Leafs dressed a tough team.  We had guys in the lineup that could step up and not allow the team to be intimidated and it was a great hockey game.  The fight added to the entertainment; I felt it meant something to the flow of the game.  Having Orr in there fighting O’Donnell in a meaningless scrap would have just slowed it down and irritated me.  The bottom line is that I was so happy to see Joey Crabb dressed instead of Rosehill because at least Crabb can put one in the net.

Now, if the NHL would man up (ironically) and recognize that hockey fights don’t really do anything to help the game and decided that maybe a game misconduct penalty would be appropriate for a player who involves themself in a fight I think the game would have the best of both worlds.  Fights would still happen; but they would be a result of the action not the result of an obligation of two paid goons and there would be more skill in the game; there are no Goons on the perpetual Stanley Cup contending Detroit Red Wings!  And please don’t give me the crap about how dirty players would take out all the stars because “stick-work” would increase; the new rules on head shots and zero tolerance of stick infractions would be penalize teams for dirty play and the added skill would increase scoring making teams pay for taking dumb penalties.  No need for the players to “police” themselves.

The true fact of the matter is that the best hockey is played without fighting.  Watch the Olympics and the Playoffs and tell me different, if you do then you’ve taken too many shots to the head.

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Deadline Dud

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Good Stuff

The media hype for the trade deadline has become so big that it now sets up the day to be a failure of excitement.  For the last few years the media build up to the trade deadline has been getting bigger and bigger.  The hype obviously works because I – like so many other hockey fans – tuned to TSN and the Fan 590 all day waiting for the big trade that would turn the Leafs around and take us to the promise land.

We got a 7th round pick for John Mitchell.  YAY!

That being said, there have been some surprising trades over the last month taking most of the flare out of deadline day action.  I still can’t believe Pittsburg landed Neal and Colorado traded Stewart or even that the Leafs managed to land 2 first round picks for this years draft.

The two biggest moves on deadline day were Jason Arnott to Washington and Dustin Penner to LA.  I like these players for these teams.  Penner is going to do great in LA.  He’s huge and dominant when motivated… remember how effective he was for Anaheim when they won their cup?  Same with Arnott for Washington; a huge center that will really give the other Capital players some room, he has also scored a Stanley Cup winning goal.

All in all, a boring day.

Here are some trades bands have made to improve their rosters:

Winners:

  • Pearl Jam traded Drummer Dave Krusen for Jack Irons, who would be traded for ex Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron.
  • Nirvana trade drummer Chad Channing for Dave Grohl.
  • The most famous trade, the Beatles traded Pete Best for Ringo Starr.
  • Metallica trade Dave Mustaine for Kirk Hammett (courtesy of forkstuckintheroad)
  • Green Day traded John Kiffmeyer for Tré Cool in 1990 (courtesy of forkstuckintheroad)

Losers:

  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers traded John Frusciante for Dave Navarro (thank god they traded back for John!)
  • Van Halen traded David Lee Roth for Sammy Hagar
  • Slash, Izzy, Duff and everyone else from Gn’R for all the other jobbers Axel hired.
  • Metallica traded Jason Newsted for Robert Trujillo (Trujillo is awesome, just not in Metallica)

If you can think of anymore big band trades leave them in the comments section.

Sellouts!

Posted: February 23, 2011 in Weird

Jeez, in my business if you do stuff like this you lose all your credibility… not in pro sports.  It’s almost expected that an athlete should endorse anything for money.  Do you think Sundin and Gretzky actually eat Big Macs?

I wonder if Janet Gretzky calls him “Mr. Fancy Stick” in bed?  Hilariously awkward.

And in honor of the Leafs/Habs game tomorrow:

God could we use Sundin now… GO LEAFS GO!

Grabo should grab the A in Toronto

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Good Stuff

Ok, sorry about this; but I have to do a post about the Leafs.

The talk in town is that Kaberle will be traded to the Bruins.  It could happen anytime and if it does and the Leafs do not give Kaberle’s assistant capitan designation to Mikhail Grabovski somebody is smoking crack in Leaf Land (or even more crack then usual).

My argument is this:

  • He plays both ends of the ice and now even kills penalties.
  • He is the team leading scorer and has been consistent all year-long.
  • He came to camp prepared to improve his game and brings it every night.
  • He plays hard in the corners and scores big goals.
  • Based on his improved English and that his Canadian girlfriend had his baby; he has obviously worked hard to fit into the culture of Toronto.
  • Above all, he leads by example and is looking a lot like Doug Gilmour doing it.

Check out his winning goal from last night.  A great solo effort and coming a shift after he was nailed on a big hit by Chara (1:30):

GRABO FOR THE A!!

Do Ju-no about the Juno Cup

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Good Stuff

Well, the Juno’s (Canadian Music Awards for anyone who may not know) are just around the corner and that means that it’s time for the Juno Cup (in my opinion the best part about the Juno’s).

The Juno Cup is a charity hockey game that pits Juno nominated artists against NHL alumni.  Usually the organizers of the event (Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo and Chris Topping from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Science – CARAS-) pick NHLers that are from the city that hosts the Juno Awards.  This year the game is in Toronto which means the NHL talent is extraordinary.  Check out this list of talent, with more to be annonced:

Gary Roberts – ’89 Stanley Cup winner with Calgary Flames, and former Toronto Maple Leaf
Gary Leeman – ’93 Stanley Cup winner with the Habs, and former Leaf
Mark Napier – Two-time Stanley Cup winner (Montreal and Edmonton)
Paul Coffey – Hockey Hall of Fame, 2004
Brad Dalgarno – NY Islander’s first round pick and seven-season veteran

Here are a few of the artists playing:

Jim Cuddy – 11-time JUNO Award winner with Blue Rodeo
Andrew Scott and Chris Murphy – Members of the JUNO Award-winning group, Sloan
Jon Gallant – Seven-time JUNO Award winner with Billy Talent
Peter Kesper – Two-time JUNO Award nominee with NQ Arbuckle (in goal)
Sarah Harmer – 2011 JUNO Award nominee

Last Tuesday we had a mini “training camp” – more like a press conference – to promote the event.  We got together and did a few drills, shot targets and played a little game, it was great.  Paul Coffey said I could dangle!  He also told me his son was a big fan of the band and that he didn’t believe him when he said he’d be skating with a guy from Billy Talent.  Here’s the proof… hilarious:

Here is an interview from the event, apparently I’m rainbow coloured:

And some other stories and pics about the event:

http://www.chartattack.com/photos/2011/feb/11/juno-cup-2011-training-camp

http://news.nationalpost.com/photo_gallery/photos-juno-cup-training-camp/

http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/935348–shinny-with-the-stars

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/video/nhl-and-music-stars-gear-up-for-juno-cup/article1899435/

 

Cat Fight

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Good Stuff

After the Rick Dipietro vs. Brent Johnson and the Tim Thomas vs. Carey Price goalie fights this past week, talk about goalie fights have been all the rage in the hockey world.

My favorite of all time has to be the Felix Potvin vs. Ron Hextall fight way back on November 10th 1996.  I remember the fight quite clearly.  I was watching the game in the bar at West Wood Arena in Toronto.  My mens league hockey team The Knights played there.  Our team would sit in the bar after the game eating wings, drinking beer and watching sports.  Usually it was football because it was a Sunday league; but for some reason the Leafs/Flyers game was on the tube.

The game ended – the Leafs lost surprise, surprise – and then a scrum broke out.  It’s funny when you’re at a bar with a hockey game on the TV; if a fight breaks out everyone stops what they are doing and focuses on the action.  Even if they don’t like that part of the game.  Anyway, everyone sees Hextall skating down the ice to fight and I’m sure we thought that Potvin was a dead man.  We couldn’t believe what unfolded.  Here’s the video:

Potvin (when your wearing blue and white coloured glasses) kicked his ass!  He split him open above the eye.

Did anyone notice that John Kordic was playing for the the Flyers?  He’s a topic for a whole other blog.

Here are some other good videos:

Goalies and Drummers

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Good Stuff, Weird

Rick DiPietro of the Islanders got KO’d last night by Penguin Brent Johnson in a goalie scrap.  It was the first goalie fight I had seen in a while.  Here’s the video:

I may be a bit of a hypocrite, but I love goalie fights (in general I think hockey could do without fighting).  They always seem awkward and funny… like a sumo suit fight:

After I saw this fight last night I began to think about how different goalies are and the type of people who choose to be them.  It’s such a lonely position with so much pressure.  The goalie looks different, skates different and are probably one of the most talked about players on the team.  You always hear how the goalies are the weird guys.

Drummers remind me of goalies.  They’re the only guy in the band who sits, they bash and crash and don’t have to worry about melody or harmony, they carry all the pressure to keep the band together because if the drummer screws up everybody notices. They are also the lone guy doing what he does in the band (with the rare exception of course – Kylesa, The Band, Slipknot).

Our first full US tour was opening for the Buzzcocks in 2003 and I remember Pete Shelly in his little British voice telling me that the drummers are the most important, they are the conductors of the band.  This couldn’t be any more true especially with the Buzzcocks, they would just blast threw their set and it never mattered if the guitar or bass players made mistakes because the drummer Phil Barker would always hold it together.  He was also a bit of weird guy (check out his side project – Think/Tank) but in a good way.

Our drummer – God bless him – is definitely a strange one.  For years whenever he would meet people he would introduce himself in a monotone robot voice saying, “hello, my name is Aaron, I am a robot”. people would always laugh; but what a first impression!

With Goalies and Drummers I think it’s awesome and sort of courageous to volunteer to all the pressure of their positions. And as for the weirdness, that makes them so much cooler.

Here are my two favourite drummer videos ever:

And arguably the best drummer ever: