“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

September 28, 2007

Learn Almost Nothing New About Me

I was asked to do a quick "interview" (more like a questionnaire) for a site called BlogInterviewer.com. If you're interested, check it out here.

It will take you all of about two seconds to read.

Then give me the "thumbs up" rating and go about your business.

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September 26, 2007

Bill Wirtz Makes Me Feel Like An Ass

Two days ago, in a blog post about Patrick "Gretzky" Kane's loose lips, I made a reference to the Blackhawks as "undeniably the worst-run and least-promising franchise" in the entire NHL.

Today, Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz died of cancer.

Now I feel like an ass.

It's not that I'm wrong, the Blackhawks really ARE the worst-run, least-promising franchise in the entire NHL. And it's also true that Wirtz was a really terrible hockey owner, a guy that tried to run a sports team like a Wal-Mart---spend nothing on the people that work there and desperately cling to the bottom line. It works for discount superstores, but not for NHL franchises. Wirtz destroyed what once was a great and glorious tradition in Chicago.

But Wirtz wasn't just a hockey owner, he was also a really generous philanthropist. While he wrung the Blackhawks free of talent and fans with his spendthrift ways, he instead spent money doing what really matters---helping other people.

So rest in peace, Dollar Bill. Let's hope your charity work continues on in your absence, and let's hope the Blackhawks someday recover from your presence.
And let's hope Patrick Kane learns to keep his mouth shut.

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September 25, 2007

Gratuitous Tuesday: In The Duff

If there's one thing everybody in the entire world knows to be true, it's this: young, attractive, filthy rich celebrities really NEED very expensive presents from other rich celebrities.

Case in point: young Hilary Duff just celebrated her 20th birthday (god bless her) and her filthy rich boyfriend Mike Comrie came up big (so to speak). Obviously in the giving mood, he sprung (sorry) for a pretty impressive present. If there's one thing a 20 year-old girl needs more than anything else in the world, it's a $100,000 Mercedes SUV. If anyone can really appreciate the value of something like that, it's an almost-still-a-teen pop princess.

Anyway, it's not all glamor and fun in the world of Duffrie™ though (trademark Dear Lord Stanley 2007). No, sometimes they have to slum it out and get their hands dirty. Sometimes Hilary has to sit in the stands at Islanders games and watch Mikie Poo and his teammates duke it out with the entire Rangers team. And then watch him score the game-winner. What a tough life.

Let's just hope Hilary plays it safe in that new ride of hers. We wouldn't want to see her do something she'll probably regret.

I'd hate that.

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September 24, 2007

Patrick Kane Is Humble

Look, Greg at the Fanhouse may take issue with Patrick Kane comparing himself and fellow Blackhawks teammate Jonathan "Broken" Toews to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but not me. I think Kane was right on.

Yes, it's true that Jordan and Pippen won multiple national championships with the Bulls and became icons through a ton of hard work and dedication to success over the course of long NBA careers. Yes, it's also true that Toews and Kane have yet to play a single regular season game in the NHL. And yes, it's absolutely true that the young superstars-in-the-making will be suiting up for what is undeniably the worst-run and least-promising franchise in the entire league. But you just can't argue with a statement like that.

Patrick Kane, welcome to the NHL. You may not have actually played in it yet, but you're already well on your way to filling the very large shoes former 'Hawk Jeremy Roenick still refuses to take off.

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September 23, 2007

Lightning Struck By Freak Injury

Dan Boyle, the high-scoring, highly-effective defensive star of the Tampa Bay Lightning won't be scoring any more goals for a little while. In a brief lapse of attention, he managed to drop a skate on himself in the locker room, cutting a tendon in his wrist.

Now he'll need surgery and rehab time.


In other cheerful news for the Lightning, they lost their pre-season game against the Capitals and Vincent Lecavalier, their 50 goal-scorer, left early with one of those pesky "undisclosed upper body" injuries. Not good.

I have a feeling they'll be losing a lot more games to the Capitals if this injury bug keeps up. It could only get worse for the Lightning if Martin St. Louis hits his head walking under a locker room bench.

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September 20, 2007

Breaking: As In, His Finger - Toews Out

Jonathan "Stubby" Toews, the Blackhawks' super prospect and god among men, won't be playing any hockey for about three weeks. The genius managed to break his index finger in last night's pre-season game against the Blue Jackets (the 'Hawks lost 4-3).

That's a bummer for Chicago in a season that will likely be more or less horrible no matter what. They're doomed. Might as well just admit it, kill Toews as a sacrifice to the Hockey Gods, and move on.

The quicker the better.

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September 18, 2007

Breaking: Jonathan Toews Scores First Ever NHL Goal OMG WTF

photo courtesy Terry Gilliam/AP. No, not the same guy.


Sure, it's not really a goal because it's just the pre-season, but uber-prospect Jonathan Toews has scored his first ever goal against another team that also plays in the NHL. As of this moment, his Chicago Blackhawks are leading the Blue Jackets 4-2 in the third period.

Holy crap he's the second coming of Sidney Crosby, I just freakin' know it!

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Gratuitous Tuesday

I've got nothing today. Take this, you pervs:

Polish hockey player Krzysztof Oliwa courtesy of RobertLaska.com

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NHL Owners Eager To Discuss Further Ruining Of The League

Get the coffee and the donuts ready, there's gonna be a meetin'! The NHL owners will meet today in the NHL's Board Of Governors meeting in Chicago. What better place to discuss ruining the league even more than in a city that boasts a ruined hockey franchise? These metaphors write themselves, people.

The big topic on the agenda will be the ludicrous scheduling format the league has endured for two years and that will run its course again this season. Last year the move to drop the format lost by one vote, and Eastern Conference teams generally favor the division-heavy set up. Because they're incredibly selfless, those teams will likely vote in favor of keeping the format once again. The owners won't actually vote on it until December, though.

Also to be discussed: league expansion. Just when you thought things couldn't get any dumber in Nashville, just wait until the league sets up shop in Kansas City and Las Vegas. Even though other cities like Seattle and Winnipeg will also be brought up, my money is on Gary Bettman granting franchises in stupid places rather than smart places. That's just how he rolls, ya'll.

Maybe while they're at it, the owners could widen the goals, change the jerseys again and maybe strike a television rights deal with Versus for another decade. Why stop at expansion and bad scheduling?

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September 13, 2007

New Uniforms: Toronto Sticks To Tradition, Colorado Screws The Pooch

Well, there were two RBK Edge "uniform system" unveilings yesterday, with one being a minor success and the other an unmitigated disaster.

First of all, let me congratulate the five of the Original Six for their conservative approach to the new jersey designs. Sure, some would argue that the past is boring, but the past is what gives all professional sports the meaning they have. That and steroids. But mostly it's a respect for tradition that ties fans together and gives a sport its cultural weight. Boston, the Rangers, Detroit, Montreal and now Toronto have all maintained their uniform traditions with subtle, hard-to-notice changes to old-school looks. Response among Maple Leafs fans has been generally positive so far. The Blackhawks, the only team that could conceivably ruin the streak, release their new look tomorrow on September 14th. Let's hope for the best.

On the flip side is the Colorado Avalanche. They screwed up big time. Like Florida, Nashville and the Islanders before them, they went in an entirely wrong direction with the new look of their uniforms. For a complete breakdown, check out my post at Mile High Hockey. It's a bloodbath, let me warn you.

There are still eleven teams to reveal their new looks. Let's hope for the best but expect the worst---something, say, Blackhawks fans will have no trouble with.

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September 11, 2007

Gratuitous Tuesday Returns!

It's been so long. I hope we're never apart like this ever again.

First off, Willa Ford has graduated from the lower ranks of "hockey girlfriend" to the higher echelon of "hockey wife" by finally marrying Mike Modano. That's great for her, but what is he going to do when all that Playboyity wears off of her? Poor guy. At any rate, at least the wedding spawned some horrendous celebrity web site headlines. Gross.

Hilary Duff, current owner of Mike Comrie's manhood, decided to avoid all the hub bub in Las Vegas during the MTV Music Awards and instead took refuge in Toronto, where all celebrities go to get nasty when Vegas just won't do.

In legal news, Rich Tocchet got two years of probation for being a bookie douche bag, but his alleged partner/confidant/gambling buddy Janet Jones-Gretzky was never in any danger of being charged. That's great for her, and keeps her steroid-loving husband happy, too.

Finally, Mats Sundin has a hot new girlfriend, and apparently it's huge news to the Toronto Sun, just like it should be. Nothing is more important than how somebody's short-term trophy girlfriend looks in a hoodie and sweat pants. Rowr!!

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September 4, 2007

Jeremy Roenick Reluctantly Bows To Unending Demand He Keep Playing

photo courtesy of
Jeremy Roenick retired earlier this summer. Then today, he unretired. That's how he rolls, get used to it.

Roenick, who put up a truly dominant performance last season with the Phoenix Coyotes (70 games, 28 points), could no longer resist the unceasing calls for him to stay just one more season in the NHL. He has signed a one-year deal with the San Jose Sharks, who apparently no longer have any interest in finding young, talented players.

Roenick used to be good. Not only did he score a lot of goals, he also caused a video game sensation by being the best player by far on the hallowed Sega Genesis game NHL '94. Even with a humble 87 rating, he crushed the opposition and scored at will. I can't count the number of times I broke Wayne Gretzky's skull with a Jeremy Roenick elbow check and made Curtis Joseph look stupid with a ridiculous breakaway deke.

Those were the days when Roenick was a hockey god. Now, not so much.

All he really has going for himself now is a legacy of loud-mouthed buffoonery and silly antics. Granted, Roenick's got about 15,000 times more personality than anybody currently playing in the NHL (other than Captain Charisma himself, Sidney Crosby). After he drops dead on the ice sometime in late November he'll truly be missed. By somebody I'm sure.

NOTE: Due to the Labor Day holiday, there will be no Gratuitous Tuesday post this week. Unless I suddenly become far more mature in the next seven days, that feature will resume as normal next week.

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Turgeon To Shock The Hockey World With Official Retirement

Even though the Denver Post reported that Pierre Turgeon was on the cusp of announcing his official retirement from the NHL back in June, it appears the would-be Hall of Famer has finally gotten around to it.

According to various sources, Turgeon will officially announce the end of his hockey career on Wednesday.

Though he did score 1,327 points in 1,294 games, his lack of a Stanley Cup ring and any substantial hardware other than a Lady Byng has some wondering if he'll make the Hall Of Fame cut. I'm sure he will, but just in case, I offer this trophy as a parting gift. Nice knowing you, Sweet Pete.

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The World's Tiniest Violin Plays Just For John Tavares

photo courtesy Jeff McIntosh
Poor John Tavares.

Because his birthday is September 20th, the young hockey standout won't qualify for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft---he'll be five days short of his 18th birthday on the league's qualification date of September 15th and therefore ineligible.

Sure he's still just 16, and yeah, it's conceivable that his development as a top-tier hockey player has barely even begun, but Tavares wants to be drafted NOW. He just can't handle the idea of having to wait like anyone else in his position.

"I'm seeing all my peers get drafted and get experience at NHL camps and learning and getting better,'' he said. ''For me, I've still got to wait two years with players who haven't yet played a game in the OHL or the CHL yet."

How horrible it must be to have to endure those pathetic plebes who fill the junior ranks simply because they had the misfortune of being a couple of years behind Tavares. Those pathetic children aren't fit to clean his skates.

To free him of the horrible confines of the junior leagues, Tavares' agent Bryan Deasley is seeking for his client an exception to the NHL Draft rules. If granted, Tavares will be allowed to enter the 2008 NHL Draft, a year earlier than anyone else with his birth date.

But don't be fooled into thinking that Tavares and his agent want to help other players with the same birthday-related misfortune as him make an early Draft appearance as well. No no. They just want special treatment for John.

''We are not looking for anything other than an exceptional status consideration from the league,'' [Deasley] said. ''Every once in a while a player comes along that compels us to look at things more clearly and differently - outside the box.''

And in case you're slow, that rare player is none other than Tavares, of course.

Now, I understand that John Tavares is a good hockey player, and he could one day be truly great. But the little brat is just 16, and has a long way to go until he starts taking Chris Pronger elbows to the head. He's still a kid, and obviously a bratty one at that. Having to wait a couple more years before cashing in his first big signing bonus won't kill him.

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September 2, 2007

Pavel Bure Wins Soccer Hooligan Impersonation Case

Dear Lord Stanley is a big fan of Pavel Bure. He's A-OK.

But those dirty bastards at British Airways don't recognize the grand legacy of embarrassed goalies he left back on the ice of so many North American hockey rinks. In fact, they don't recognize him at all. Last October, Bure was barred from boarding a flight from Moscow to London because the pilot believed him to be a soccer hooligan.

Though I'm unfamiliar with the intricacies of British Airways passenger profiling techniques (here in America we only bar people who look Arabic), I imagine the pilot was just a little paranoid in his assumption that Bure was on his way to England to throw chairs and break bottles over the heads of Manchester United supporters. But you never know.

Anyway, a Moscow district court ruled in favor of Bure, awarding him 67,000 rubles for his troubles, which British Airways will now have to pay, even though they weren't represented at the hearing because their lawyer was sick. Or maybe poisoned. Such is the legal system of Russia, it seems.

At any rate, Dear Lord Stanley congratulates Bure on his victory and hopes he will use the money to buy a new knee so he can come back and play in the NHL.

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