“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

August 29, 2007

Be Still My Beating...Uh...Heart

It was very tempting. Yesterday was Tuesday, which, as many of you know, is the day I toss all class aside and gratuitously post pictures of scantily clad women, combined with links about hockey girlfriends and other related meaninglessness.

Well, yesterday, I had to take a break out of respect for my ex-girlfriend, who is also now Sean Avery's ex-girlfriend. If I want to win her back, I really need to clean up my act and look respectable. And maybe get a job. And some money.

I'll have to take it one step at a time.

Anyway, if she still isn't returning my phone calls by next Tuesday, I guess I'll just have to go back to my old dirty ways. Let's hope she's just lost her cell phone or her voicemail is broken. I hear it's entirely possible that 1400 messages in 12 hours can do that---not that I know how that might have happened.

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August 27, 2007

Bert Prepares For Civil Reaming

Sure, a two-year, $8 million dollar contract sounds nice, but Todd Bertuzzi isn't quite high on life yet. There's one little thing left for him to think about: the civil suit against him from former Avalanche player Steve Moore.

You may remember Moore from his only on-ice highlight reel, the one where he got punched from behind then pushed to the ice face-first, his neck broken and his life nearly over.

You may also remember Bertuzzi from a significant highlight reel from his career, the one where he works up some fake tears and a fake apology for almost killing another NHL player in front of thousands of people.

Though long delayed, the Moore suit against "Bert" is proceeding, and is expected to start in the coming months. With video evidence like this, it doesn't look too good for Brian Burke's favorite son.

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August 24, 2007

Daydreamin' Terry

Don't hold your breath, Terry. Don't hold your breath.

photo courtesy Predators.com


August 22, 2007

Will Bettman Bet It All On Las Vegas?

photo courtesy SharksPage.com

When I hear the name Las Vegas, the very first thought that comes to my mind is hockey. The hot weather, the complete lack of snowfall, the legalized and rampant gambling...how could a person NOT think about the National Hockey League when they think about Las Vegas?

In an effort to satisfy the panicked frenzy for hockey among local residents, Harrah's (the casino and hotel giant) is selflessly planning to construct a brand new arena just off the Vegas Strip by 2010. It's not about money. They just want the puck-crazed populace of Sin City to be happy.

What's curious about the stadium plan is where it will be located. Despite being only one block east of the Strip, the black heart and twisted soul of Las Vegas, it will actually be outside city limits, thus crushing the mayor's dreams of having a "downtown" arena. Like Vegas has a downtown anyway.

Gary Bettman's plans won't be crushed, though. He's no doubt happier than a pig in, well, you know what. After all, nothing could be more in line with his grand vision of never-ending NHL expansion than a major league ice hockey team based in a city that has no winter, no local water supply nor any significant precipitation at all, let alone snow. How could that possibly be a bad idea?

If they need a good name for the team, I have a suggestion: The Craps.

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August 21, 2007

Gratuitous Tuesday: CuthDuff Edition

As per usual, not much is going on in the world of professional hockey these days. The offseason is in full-swing, ESPN keeps posting stupid articles that you have to pay to read and the Nashville Predators are still screwed.

Speaking of screwing things, Elisha Cuthbert was in the news recently, having just signed on to play Tim Allen's daughter in a movie about a serial monogamist whose apparent death creates a firestorm among the females in and out of his life. That doesn't really have anything to do with hockey, but this does. The UK tabloid website Holy Moly quotes Cuthbert talking about hockey blogging and then immediately mocks her for it. How they managed to mock hockey AND my future wife in the same sentence is both impossible to understand and impossible to forgive. Holy Moly, this means war.

Oh, and in the world of puck bunny Hilary Duff, it appears that the press in India---of all places---has become really obsessed with her lately. Weird.

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August 19, 2007

Players Diss NHL, Head For Europe

What's the hottest trend among some NHL players right now? Not playing in the NHL.

This offseason, several players of varying name recognition have decided to take their show on the road---the long road across the Atlantic to Europe, that is.

For the most part it's been players nobody seems to want, like Alexei Yashin and Ed Belfour, guys with no takers during the free agent signing period.

But also on the list of defectors is Alexander Svitov, the young Russian center who recently signed a new two-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Apparently the word "contract" has a slightly different meaning in his language, because Svitov has also just signed on to play for his hometown Russian Super League team Avangard Omsk. Either he's going to have the most intense travel itinerary known to man or the Blue Jackets are going to have to find themselves a new center.

New Jackets GM Scott Howson reacted by saying:

"While this news comes as a disappointment, it creates an opportunity for other players when we open training camp next month."

Yeah, the opportunity to play on a lousy team with no hope of making the playoffs EVER. Thanks, Alex!

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August 16, 2007

Gratuitous Tuesday (Two Days Late)

Yeah, I know. It's Thursday. I said last Tuesday I was going to post more pictures of nice, respectable women wearing hockey-related clothing (or barely wearing it) and I totally slacked. I had every intention of making it a new Tuesday tradition (at least during the off season) and I failed miserably. I can't even be petty and tactless on a regular basis.

I promise, in the future, to be more consistent in my posting of young female hockey fans showing their team spirit. I know that's what you want. And sure, With Leather already does something like that and I'm totally stealing their idea, but I swear the pictures I post will always be hockey related, so that makes what I'm doing totally different. Totally different.

Oh yeah, links. You probably want links, too, don't you? Well, here's a good one:

The venerable sports blog Our Book Of Scrap is running a tourney pitting the hottest sports wives and girlfriends against each other to determine who is the hottest of them all. This week they're featuring a semi-final battle royale between the two reigning queens of Puck Bunnydom: Willa Ford and my ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert. You know who I voted for.

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August 15, 2007

Hockey Bloggers Are Sarcastic

Barry Melrose Rocks posted "A Handy Guide For Beginners: Hockey Blogging" on Monday and it's definitely worth a read. I have to admit that DLS is guilty of at least three of the things snidely listed as common themes among hockey blogs. The Ballhype links, the funny captions (or word bubbles, in my case) and the random chicks. What can I say? Guilty as charged.

I must say I'm honored to be indirectly called out by a blog whose name pays homage to Mr. Melrose's testicles. That is what the word "rocks" means, right?

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August 14, 2007

Pardon The Boredom

There just isn't a lot to be cynical about in the hockey world right now, with the ongoing league-wide ban on interesting news still, apparently, in full effect. When the NHL gives me something to roll my eyes at, I'll start posting again.

Until then, everyone should get a new hobby like I did. Dancing.


August 8, 2007

Bobby Orr Needs A Movie

The greatest athletes in professional sports eventually get movies made about them. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jim Thorpe, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, etc. Make a big enough impression on your respective sport, some day you'll get a biopic in your name.

It's high time we saw a movie about Bobby Orr.

Statistically, Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player of all time, but hockey fans know, deep down, that the title of "The Greatest" really belongs to Bobby Orr. In the current NHL, where defensemen either shoot all the time or defend all the time (never both), a true two-way player like Orr no longer exists. Ray Bourque may have been the last of that rare breed. Orr transcended all positions, and revolutionized the game long before Gretzky ever came around.

So, it's obvious Bobby Orr needs a movie. A big movie, a Hollywood blockbuster to draw in American fans and really pump interest in the sad but hopeful NHL.

The obvious question: who would play Orr?

In order to ensure box office success, it would have to be a popular, youngish superstar, healthy enough to play a convincing athlete but still relatively good-looking to pull in the ladies. The obvious choice? Matt Damon.

Matt Damon is not only the hottest commodity in Hollywood right now, but he happens to look a hell of a lot like Bobby Orr. Damon has boyish good looks much like Orr did throughout his career. Rowr. And of course, Damon is also very athletic, which would make portraying a super-skilled hockey player like Orr all the easier.

So, it's clear: Bobby Orr needs a movie and Matt Damon needs to play Bobby Orr. How could that possibly be a bad idea?

As you go to ponder my true genius for a while, I leave you with this, a great example of Bobby Orr's genius on the ice, both offensively and defensively. Truly the greatest hockey player ever.

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August 7, 2007

Random News Tuesday

It's Tuesday, so it's time again for a random picture of a nice young lady showing (among other things) her support for a National Hockey League team.

In other news:

A recent convert to the Puck Bunny lifestyle, Hilary Duff has been spotted in Edmonton of all places, this time serving food at a homeless shelter. That's all well and good, Hil, but I'd prefer you got back to taking photos like these. Which is the true service to mankind? I think we all know the answer to that.

Ducks goalie and recent Stanley Cup winner Jean-Sebastian Giguere is now recovering from sports hernia surgery. As a recent recipient of hernia surgery myself (true story), I can say that he'll be in no small amount of pain for at least a few days. After that he can resume whatever unsafe physical activity caused the problem in the first place, just like I have.

And finally, Kevin Lowe is still a dick.

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August 6, 2007

Lowe And Behold: Brooks Comes To Edmonton GM's Defense

Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe has grabbed headlines this summer for his outrageous restricted free agent offer sheets. First he targeted Thomas Vanek of the Sabres, to no avail. Then he tossed $21 million at Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Ducks, knowing that team was up against the salary cap and probably couldn't afford to match the inflated, totally ridiculous terms.

Sure, Lowe and Edmonton get a talented young player in Penner, but at the price of $21 million and THREE first round draft picks. Considering the likely poor showing the Oilers will make over the next three seasons due to a serious lack of depth, those picks should be very high, and the upcoming draft pools are slated to be stocked full of talent. The clear winner in this nasty situation is Anaheim.

Is Lowe and idiot? Larry Brooks of the New York Post says "Heck No!":

But the offer sheet to Penner was right out of the Group II, 101A syllabus. Lowe found a player he liked on a team that was up against the hard cap and thus vulnerable. Such a move is not only not outside the spirit of the CBA, it is codified by the labor agreement.

Oh sure, Lowe was not breaking any rules, but he WAS being an idiot. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Lowe has sacrificed the future of his team for immediate gain---and extremely limited immediate gain at that. The Oilers, even with Penner, still lack depth at all positions and should have no trouble finishing at the bottom of the Northwest Division again this year.

And Brooks seems to gloss over the fact that Lowe specifically targeted the Ducks because of their cap space problem. The move reeks of malicious intent. While that may be okay under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, or even encouraged (parity is king, of course), that doesn't make it a smart decision, nor does it make it popular among other GMs.

Larry Brooks (and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix) can make all the excuses he wants. Kevin Lowe is a dick, and he'll definitely pay for it down the road.

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August 3, 2007

Portrait Of An Artist: Pavel Bure

It's Friday, it's the off-season, and it's a slow news day. Because of this, I'll take the time to explore a little bit of recent hockey history to pass the time.

The careers of most great artists can be divided into "periods," long or brief spans of time in which they explored different styles and techniques and then moved on to something greater or different. Picasso had, among others, his "Blue Period" and then later his better-known "Analytic Cubism Period." Pollack had his "Springs Period" and later his famous "Drip Period."

If you consider great goal-scorers in the National Hockey League to be artists, then Pavel Bure should be considered the greatest hockey artist of the 1990s. His creativity and skill with a puck outclassed his opponents year in and year out. In two consecutive seasons (1992-93 and 1993-94), the young Bure scored 60 goals with the Vancouver Canucks. In 1997-98, after a lockout and some injury problems, he scored 51.

All great artists must change their surrounding environment sometime, and Bure did just that when he was traded to the Florida Panthers in 1998-99 after refusing to play for Vancouver any longer.

This, his "Florida Period," saw Bure mature as a player and develop into a true scoring phenomenon. In a league dominated by defensive plays like the trap and the collapsing box, Bure had no trouble racking up the points. In 1999-00, he scored 58 goals. In 2000-01, he scored 59 goals and 92 points---on a horrible team where the second-best player, Viktor Kozlov, scored only 37 points.

Bure was a true master. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by chronic knee injuries, and his true potential was never fully realized, despite his career total of 437 goals in 702 games.

In order for everyone to grasp the greatness of Pavel Bure, I submit to you a sample of his work during his superb "Florida Period." Enjoy.

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August 2, 2007

Frei Tells Old Farts: Get The Hell Out!

Terry Frei, Denver Post and ESPN columnist, has now cast himself as an emperor overseeing a gladiator battle. With the simple gesture of a thumbs-down, Frei can dispatch anyone to instant death.

In this case, he's dispatching hockey players to the death of their careers.

Who makes his hit list? Well, let's say the guys he chose to call out aren't exactly tough to guess:

  • Eric Lindros
  • Jeremy Roenick
  • Patrice Brisebois
  • Pierre Turgeon
  • Michael Peca
  • and Peter Forsberg
Finally somebody has the guts to say Jeremy Roenick should retire. We haven't been hearing those rumors for months already, so Frei's recommendation is really courageous when you think about it.

And Forsberg? Who's that guy? I heard his ankles already retired two years ago.

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When Bunnies Attack! Part II

I have to admit, my original post about the lovely ladies, or "Puck Bunnies," of professional hockey piqued my interest. Well, it piqued something. But in the pursuit of full disclosure, I must confess I was intrigued by the idea of hockey players having groupies. Hockey players are pretty boring, you know.

In my research of the subject, I stumbled across an entire underworld of actual and would-be hockey groupies, a whole Puck Bunny community, dedicated to drooling all over attractive (and unattractive, sorry TooToo) professional hockey players.

For example, there are message boards like Bunny Heaven and Bunnies World, Yahoo Groups like NHL's Hot Hockey Players and even a whole blog.

There is at least one sociological research paper written about Bunnies, though I'm not sure I understand how they can be just a myth since I've written multiple blog posts about them.

And there are even self-described "Puck Bunny Watchers."

All in all, a fascinating subculture of the hockey world. I guess you could label me a "Bunny Watcher" as well, though I prefer "creepy stalker." Has more of a ring to it.

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August 1, 2007

Rangers To Avery: We Hate You, Welcome Back

Despite badmouthing the crap out of him during arbitration, and having to pay $600k more than they wanted to, the Rangers has signed Sean Avery to a new contract. The calm, mature center went into the hearing seeking a perfectly reasonable $2.6 million salary, but the judge ruled that $1.9 million would be more appropriate. How unfair.

During the announcement of the signing, Rags GM Glen Sather said,

"We are pleased to have Sean under contract and are looking forward to him returning with the same passion and enthusiasm he brought to our team last year," Sather said. "He is a terrific competitor, who we expect to play a significant role in a successful season."

Which seems to differ only slightly from what he said about Avery during the arbitration hearing:

"[Avery is] a reasonably effective player as well as a detriment to the team. Avery is not a mature player. He plays, at times, like an individual rather than a member of a team."

So obviously Sather is not in any way being inconsistent with his comments. And I bet Avery will feel extremely comfortable playing for the Rangers this coming season, confident in the knowledge that his boss has nothing but respect and admiration for him. It seems like everything is going to work out just fine.

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