Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pack beat Sound Tigers, 3-2

Death to false metal Al Montoya (Chris Rutsch photo)

Any doubts that I might've had about Al Montoya before this season started were pretty much erased Saturday night, as he played a spectacular game in beating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 3-2. Montoya stoned any scoring opportunities the Sound Tigers had all night-- cutting down angles instantly, seeing the puck well in traffic, and showing some amazing athletic moves and quickness-- and didn't let a puck get past him until Bridgeport's 51st shot of the game trickled underneath his pads with only about 3-1/2 minutes left in 3rd period. Bridgeport's second goal was practically meaningless, coming with 8 seconds left after Hartford had already sealed the win on an empty-netter by Ryan Hollweg.

The jig is up, the point is moot, I got a fuschia latex suit Petr Prucha

With the Rangers wanting to take a closer look at recent acquisitions Fedor Fedorov and Jeff Taffe by giving them some ice time in New York, Czech forward Petr Prucha was sent down to Hartford in order that he could continue to play regularly as well. In his Wolf Pack debut last night, Prucha right away showed the skills that make him an impact player, scoring 8 minutes into the game when he drew two Bridgeport defenders out of position, faking Rob Collins into moving towards the middle while Prucha was already darting behind him and burying the puck past Wade Dubielewicz, the Bridgeport goalie. This came right after Prucha had created an earlier scoring chance that led to his taking a quick, hard shot from the slot, only Dubielewicz was able to stop him that time. Prucha showed more skating strength and quickness later in the game when he stripped one Bridgeport player of the puck and then in the same move split two defenders to set up a breakaway chance.

(I'd been practicing the proper pronounciation of "Prucha" all day, supposedly with the hard "ch" that only Eastern Europeans know how to do, but still couldn't get it right. The Wolf Pack PA announcer, Don Steele, just used the generic "PRU-ka".)

The game also featured the first fight I've seen all season, after 6 games already, when Ryan Hollweg beat up Kevin Colley with about 8 minutes to go in the third period. As soon as the gloves were dropped, Hollweg quicky tied up Colley by his jersey and then pulled Colley's jersey over his head (the old Stu Grimson move), so that Colley was barely able to get in even one punch the entire fight. Hollweg's goal late in the game came when Prucha carried the puck down the right-hand side and selflessly slid the puck over to Hollweg as the two of them skated mostly alone towards the undefended Bridgeport net, allowing the gritty forward the easy empty-netter.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Jeff Hamilton released by Ak Bars Kazan

Summer was a waste

Former Hartford Wolf Pack forward Jeff Hamilton has been let go by his Russian club, Ak Bars Kazan.

From the Russian site

"On Thursday, forward Jeff Hamilton was let go from Ak Bars. A member of the bronze medal-winning Team USA at the World Championships in 2004, Hamilton played in 8 games for the team from Kazan, collecting not a single point while totalling 16 penalty minutes. The coaching staff made the decision to part with the American after Ak Bars' most recent two games, against Yaroslavl and Moscow."

Hamilton, who played high school and college hockey in Connecticut, holds the AHL record for most game-winning goals in a season (15 with Bridgeport in '03-'04). He was one of the top scorers on the Wolf Pack last year (53 points in 60 games) and a first-team AHL All-Star after leading the AHL in goals with 43 the year before. Obviously he could still be a very productive AHL player if any team chooses to sign him.

(Apologies for re-using the photo above, but I couldn't find a single picture of Hamilton playing for Ak Bars, for whom he wore #50. He mustn't have been getting much ice time.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

End of the line for the Russian Rocket?

Pavel Bure

According to several reports, Pavel Bure is about to be named General Manager of the Russian Olympic hockey team, in effect signaling his retirement from playing professional hockey. The following was taken from an interview with Bure in Sport Express:

If you are designated to be the General Manager of the Olympic team, will this signal the end of your career as a player?
I won't be able to say for sure until after I complete a forthcoming medical examination in North America (already scheduled for November). But if I had to take a guess based on the most recent X-rays, the diagnosis will not be a positive one. Nevertheless, I still hope that I have a chance to play again.

When did you learn of this proposal to become General Manager?
Apparently after learning about the X-rays, the President of the Russian Hockey Federation, Alexander Steblin, figured that I would not be able to join Team Russian at the Olympics in Torino as a player. And so, I was offered the post of General Manager.

Have you given a preliminary agreement?
I have been given the projected agreement, which I will study together with the lawyers and my advisers. I think everything will be settled within the next few days.

If you sign the agreement, what will be your plans on how to build the team?
Thus far, I have not completely thought this out. I can tell you that as soon as everything is in place, I will be able to describe my plans. Although I already have some ideas, nevertheless.

click here for Pavel Bure's player profile on

UPDATE: Here's a really awesome Pavel Bure highlight reel from when he was with the Canucks, which I found thanks to Tom Benjamin's NHL Weblog.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Apparently, Christian Dube Doesn't Care What You Think

Dope smokin' moron, don't make me yawn
Christian Dube models his SafetyDent. We're not freaking kidding!!

In between the photos of hockey forwards playing in Switzerland with their stupid-looking mouthpieces, there's a lot of cool stuff to be found on the Internet (and I'll get to the site that caused me to reminisce about Christian Dube in just a second). The following are some darn good web sites that I've stumbled onto in the past month or so, and while none of them are necessarily new, I've heard little enough about them before, which makes me want to highlight them here.

Hockey Draft Central is an amazingly informative site that provides an easily-navigated historical reference on the NHL Entry Draft, sorted by team or by draft year. Besides some interesting historical oddities, like the profile of Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, a 1984 draftee, you can also look up information on the yearly drafts from a number of different angles-- which year's drafts contained the most Hall-of Famers or All-Stars, or how many players from a particular year's draft are still active in the NHL, or how many players in a given year were drafted out of high school. The site is a work in progress and they've only completed 1963 through 1985 so far, so you won't be able to look up any of the Rangers' top draft picks from the 1990's that haven't panned out (Pavel Brendl? Christian Dube? Manny Malhotra? Jamie Skidmark?), for instance. Other than that, there's just about every other detail that you could think to ask for, including detailed yearly stats and awards for the players' careers up to the time they were drafted, decorated with team logos and so forth.

NHL Uniforms has illustrations of pretty much every jersey every used in the NHL going back to 1917, which makes it a really fun site to just browse around on. Not everything on the site is in plain view, intentionally, so as you're looking around you'll stumble onto some cool things, like the jerseys that the Quebec Nordiques never had a chance to wear. Or try to imagine Tony Twist trading punches in this East Coast League-looking jersey from '95-'96, which were prepared for the St. Louis Blues but never actually worn by the team (supposedly because coach Mike Keenan put his foot down and wouldn't allow it):

There's no mass appeal/Carton's asleep at the wheel

If you look at the pictures from the more recent decades closely enough you can see the manufacturer's logo on them, which can help if you have a souvenir NHL jersey from the '80s or '90s made by Starter, Nike, Pro Player, or whomever, and you'd like to figure out approximately which year the jersey might be from.

Bush League Factor is an often hilarious site that assigns ratings to minor league hockey team logos, based on various different factors. Perhaps not a suprise to anyone but Paul Lukas, the lowest-ranked team logo is from Connecticut's own Danbury Trashers:

Checking his stash by the trash on St. Mark's Place
"It's a fucking trash can! And is it my imagination or do the arms look like Mickey Mouse's?"

Bush League Factor gives poor marks to another local team, the Springfield Falcons. Scott reviews the Falcons' newest logo, but also has this to say about their previous logo:

I don't FEEL tardy...
"That one featured lettering that looked like something a high-school kid doodled in his notebook in the mid-80's. Not to mention that something about the eyebrow (think about that one for a second: the bird had eyebrows)..."

Whether you agree or disagree, it makes for some interesting (and damn funny) reading.

By the way, there's a new link in the sidebar for CtWebLogs, which as you can probably figure out is a site that monitors a whole bunch of Connecticut blog sites. Give it a look-- it's a good site, and they do a really nice job.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Norwich Navigators change name, get mistaken for Arena Football League team

The Norwich (Ct.) Navigators, the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, recently announced that they have changed their name to the Connecticut Defenders. A "Name That Team" contest is being faulted for the inherently silly new nickname.

Can anybody tell me what's wrong with this picture? Defenders I'm just standing up for my rights as a consumer D-Fens

According to a team spokesperson, the new name and logo "reflects the core of what Southeastern Connecticut represents -- the Sub Base" (the Naval Submarine Base in New London, Ct.), neglecting to mention that the new name also signals a marketing strategy intended to minimize the team's direct association with Norwich, a city that is generally regarded as being somewhat of a dump.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fedorov recalled by Rangers

This is the Minneapolis police, the party is over Chris Rutsch/HWP photo

Taken from the New York Rangers' press release, 10/25/05:

The New York Rangers announced today that the club has signed forward Fedor Fedorov to a NHL contract and has recalled him from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League.

Fedorov, 24, has skated in five games with the Wolf Pack this season, registering one goal and four assists. He is tied for the Wolf Pack team lead in assists (four) and points (five). Fedorov joined the Rangers this morning and participated in the club's on-ice practice.

Fedorov was a restricted free agent in Vancouver, and was traded to the Rangers when the Canucks wouldn't meet his demands for a one-way contract. Fedorov was playing in Hartford on a professional try-out contract, which the Wolf Pack had released him from earlier today.

Dale Purinton continues to yo-yo back and forth, as the Rangers have sent him back to Hartford again only days after bringing him to New York.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tyutin, Kondratiev, Fedor Fedorov are Olympic candidates

Fedor Fedorov, Team Russia Fedor Fedorov

Former Hartford Wolf Pack defensemen (and current New York Rangers) Fedor Tyutin and Maxim Kondratiev, as well as current Wolf Pack forward Fedor Fedorov, are on the list that is being submitted to the 2006 Olympic committee on Monday of the 77 candidates for the Russian Olympic hockey team.

Other players of note on the list include goaltenders Evgeni Nabokov and Nikolai Khabibulin, defensemen Darius Kasparaitis, Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Zubov, Oleg Tverdovsky, Alexei Zhitnik, and Igor Ulanov, and forwards Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin, Maxim Afinogenov, Sergei Fedorov, Alex Kovalev, Pavel Datsyuk, Sergei Samsonov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Mogilny, and Sergei Brylin.

There was talk from the Russian coaches that this year's team might be made up of 55% NHL players and 45% Russian Super League players, but the list looks far heavier with NHL players to me. Off the top of my head, one name that sticks out for not being on the list is Ruslan Fedotenko, whatever that's worth. For a complete and fully translated list (which I'm too lazy to do at this point), keep an eye on Russian Hockey Digest, as I presume they'll be posting it soon.

Hartford squeaks past Hershey, 6-5

Rock, Scissors, Gun I Wear Glasses In The Most Brutal Sport Ever Invented

The Hartford Wolf Pack halted a 3-game losing streak by beating the Hershey Bears in Hershey yesterday, 6-5. Hartford had a 6-2 lead at one point in the game, scoring two goals in the first 43 seconds of the third period, but had to hold on to win as Hershey, the Washington Capitals' affiliate, tallied the game's final three goals. The Wolf Pack were outshot in the game, 46-24, and were on the penalty kill 12 times. Hershey's Lawrence Nycholat scored a goal and an assist against his former team, while Nigel Dawes and Jarkko Immonen were among the goal scorers for the Wolf Pack. Fedor Fedorov had an assist, after scoring a goal in a loss to Springfield the night before.

Chess is the word

With the Wolf Pack struggling, it might be a good time for us to get on the Charlotte Checkers bandwagon. Charlotte, the Rangers/Wolf Pack affiliate in the ECHL, started off the ECHL season this week with 2 straight wins. Charlotte is where Austrian goalie Bernd Bruckler, who impressed in his one game with the Wolf Pack earlier this month, ended up.

Steve Valiquette in goal for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl against Molot Perm

Former Wolf Pack goalie Steve Valiquette (above) is still playing well for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the Russian Super League. Valiquette has a 2.06 GAA and .913 save percentage in 15 games, not including today's 2-2 tie against Ak Bars Kazan, the team that Lokomotiv is chasing for 3rd place in the RSL. Another former AHL goalie who is doing well in the RSL is Travis Scott, who played 8 seasons in the AHL, most recently for the San Antonio Rampage and the Manchester Monarchs. Playing for Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, Scott has a 1.06 GAA and .954 save percentage, and leads the league with 5 shutouts. Ilya Kovalchuk is still the top RSL goal scorer with 8, despite having last played in Russia on October 4th.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Some talk of NHL - IIHF series

The least we can do is wave to each other

The IIHF and the NHL have reached a "fundamental agreement" about an annual play-off between the winner of the Stanley Cup and the winner of the European Champions Cup, according to a report on the web site of the Finnish hockey team, Karpat.

Karpat is the Finnish participant in the second European Champions Cup, taking place in St. Petersburg, Russia, January 5-8, 2006.

The report quotes Szymon Szemberg, the press agent for the Int'l Ice Hockey Federation, as saying to Finnish journalists, "It is difficult to say specifically when this match will take place, but it is already assured that the idea of conducting a yearly match between the championship teams of two continents is a close as ever to being realized."

The idea of an NHL - IIHF playoff has been tossed around before, being met with understandable skepticism (as in this article from three years ago), but obviously the situation is different now. The mass of NHL players who went over to Europe during the lockout last year removed some of the barriers of understanding between North American and European hockey fans, while the NHL's desire to market the league in new ways after the end of the lockout will provide some impetus for an NHL/European playoff also.

Molot Perm vs. Central Army, Russian Super League

I have yet to find any reaction in the North American media to this admittedly low-level announcement, possibly hinting at a continued Canadian/American disinterest in the idea. Additionally, an article in Sport Express over in Russia expresses some legitimate concerns about such a playoff. For instance, if Dynamo Moscow were to win the European Champions Cup and become the European representative in the proposed series, would they be allowed to play, considering that Russia didn't ratify the NHL - IIHF transfer agreement? Also, this wouldn't be like the Olympics, when each country gets to compete with all of their best players on hand. Asking a European team to represent its homeland against an NHL team that could have some of its own countrymen on its roster seems like an innacurate matchup to me. One could also wonder how the European players in the NHL would feel if they had to square off in a challenge match against their former club from their home country.

UPDATE 10/23/05 -10/23/05
This quote in Sport Express today, from IIHF President Rene Fasel, confirms that an NHL - IIHL playoff is being discussed:

"I can confirm at this time that work on organizing a match between the winner of the European Champions Cup and the winner of the Stanley Cup is moving forward. As it is known, this idea is not new, and has come up repeatedly. But now the situation in the world of hockey has changed, and it is easy to see the possibilities of conducting a match like this. In November there is a meeting planned between me and commissioner Gary Bettman, and this proposal will be on the agenda."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Andrei Nazarov to Rangers?

Bow To No Man
Beating on midgets makes me laugh

With Dale Purinton serving a 10-game suspension and Peter Worrell trying to lose weight in the minors, there are rumors that the Rangers are interested in bringing Russian forward Andrei Nazarov to New York to be the team's enforcer. The Star Tribune, a Minneapolis paper, had this brief note on Sunday: "The Rangers have inquired about Wild bruiser Andrei Nazarov." A few days later, the Journal News, a Westchester paper, printed this blurb: "Reports out of Minnesota have the Rangers interested in Wild left wing Andrei Nazarov... The Wild were one of several teams to have a scout at last night's (Rangers-Panthers) game."

Nazarov, who played for Avangard Omsk during the lockout last season but received a one-year suspension after a run-in with a referee, is currently in Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire's dog house, having played in only one game for the Wild this season. In that game Nazarov took a bad penalty, and has been a scratch ever since. Nazarov has a one-way contract worth $625,000, meaning that he'd have to clear waivers if the Wild were to try to send him down, and then he'd earn his NHL salary while in the minors, thus explaining the Wild's interest in trading him.

The following interview with Nazarov appeared recently on the Russian site, Sport-Express:

What sort of mood do you find yourself in?
Not a very happy one. Any professional who finds himself sitting most of the time would not consider himself a happy person. Besides, being fond of Russia. Minnesota is not a bad state for hockey, but nevertheless it is pretty dull here. It is not like Moscow or Omsk, where I played last season. On the whole, I have to assume responsibility for the situation that has lead to me playing in only one game. I do not have any leverage considering my past history, and I must recognize my place on this team.

The head coach of Minnesota, Jacques Lemaire, was always considered a supporter of "enforcers". Why does he not have confidence in you?
I'm not going to argue with Lemaire, who is a strong coach. We are not a team of stars, but om recent years the club has had success. This, obviously, is to Lemaire's credit.

In the local press it has been said that a number of clubs are interested in you, headed by the Rangers. Is it possible that the fans might see you play again with Jaromir Jagr, only this time in New York instead of Omsk?
I know about the interest on the side of the Rangers. Moreover, in the summer I was close to signing a contract with the Rangers, but I decided to take the best deal financially, which proved to be with Minnesota.

Do you regret that now?
There is a common saying, everything that is not done is for the best.

And now there is no one in New York to protect Jagr?
It seems that way, yes. Dale Purinton was disqualified for 10 games for poking another player in the eye during a fight. The Rangers are evaluating Peter Worrell in their system, but I have heard that it is not going well for him with their farm club.

I was told recently that during the lockout, Peter put on a lot of weight, almost to 150 kg (over 300 lbs), so when the season began he was not ready.

Doesn't it make sense in this situation for you to call Jagr in order to speed up a trade?
No, in the NHL that would not be acceptable.

But they will be advised by Jagr about acquiring protection for him?
That is completely possible. If the Rangers have already contacted Minnesota, this means that Jagr has already voiced his opinion in this regard. I know that in Omsk, Jagr repeatedly indicated that he felt very comfortable on the ice, knowing that I was around.

It is known that you and Kasparitis do not have the warmest relationship, as we all remember with the two of you from a game between Ak Bars and Avangard. Is Darius capable of vetoing your trade to the Rangers?
I actually can't say that I'm a friend of Darius, even despite the fact that we both began our careers with Dynamo. But, I assume in the NHL there is no place for such personal grievences. We are all professionals, I hope, understanding that we have the same goals. ("I do not have the right to interfere with the team's policy," was Kasparitis' comment to Sport-Express on the situation.)

How do you explain the sharp reduction in the number of fights this season?
I can assure you that this will be temporary. We are all adapting to the new rules. As soon as the situation is back to normal, "enforcers" will return to their previous significant roles. Plus, I know very well the special traits of Canadian coaches. As soon as they start to lose regularly, they begin to remember all about using their fighters.

Which of your fellow players do you consider to be contenders as the number one fighter in the NHL?
This could be a long discussion. In previous years, for myself I considered Brashear, Laraque, and the very same Peter Worrell. However, it's too early to tell in the present season, therefore I'm in no hurry with any ratings.

One last question. What do you predict will happen between you and Minnesota?
I assume now my chance of being traded as fifty-fifty. Either they decide to play me, or else very quickly they will trade me. For as long as I stay with the team and remain on the bench, there is no one-- either the club, the coaches, or myself-- who benefits.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Lowell 3, Hartford 2, shouting "Brendl sucks" 29

Secret Agent Inspector Rock Bernd Bruckler

I didn't know a thing about goalie Bernd Bruckler before tonight's game, only that the Wolf Pack had just signed him to a PTO earlier in the week, when Kevin Weekes got injured in New York and Al Montoya went to the Rangers to take his place. Bruckler is an Austrian who spent a year in the USHL (American juniors) before playing 4 years with the University of Wisconsin, and he looked really sharp tonight, despite coming out on the losing end of things against Lowell, 3-2. Bruckler looked very quick and agile, and seemed equally adept at stopping shots with either his stick or his glove, either when standing up or while down on the ice. Maybe it'll be Chris Holt (who can't stop any shot above his waist, it seems) who will be sent away when Montoya comes back, but I doubt it. Hopefully they at least find room for Bruckler in Charlotte.

The Wolf Pack took a 2-0 lead in the first period on a neat short-handed goal (set up by Jarkko Immonen) off a wicked wrist shot by Daniel Sparre, and then a goal by Immonen as he stood just outside the goal crease, flipping the puck up and over Vitaly Kolesnik (the Lock Monster goalie) from point-blank range.

Fedor Fedorov got a ton of ice time, even late in the game on the penalty kill, and assisted on Immonen's goal to earn the 3rd star of the game, while Bruckler was rewarded with the 2nd star (the official score sheet gives the 2nd star to Boychuk, though. Whatever, it hardly matters).

Whaddya mean, I'm not in shape?-- round is a shape Pavel Brendl

If anyone is wondering where Pavel Brendl has ended up (and probably nobody is)-- well, he's playing for Lowell, after stinking it up in training camp for Carolina and blowing a chance at a million-dollar contract. Brendl, if you'll recall, was the Rangers' 1st round pick in '99 (the 4th player taken overall), and later went to Philadelphia in the Lindros trade. It was fun to boo Brendl for a while, whenever he came back to Hartford as a member of the Phantoms (the Flyers' AHL affiliate), but since then his career has gone downhill faster than Rosie O'Donnell on rollerskates, and heckling Brendl now is about the same as heckling the Special Olympics. Brendl ended up bouncing around from one "B"-league European team to another (4 or 5 in all, I think) during the lockout last year, even flunking at least one physical along the way.

"Red and Black Hockey" had this appraisal of Brendl's effort during training camp:

Brendl is absolutely HORRIBLE. I focused on him for a little while, and I watched him hanging out by the Florida blue line, while Florida was down in our end having an unofficial powerplay. I'm not kidding. He was just STANDING there, 100 feet away from the action. He did this on two different occasions. He's a bum. A total bum. Oodles of raw talent, but no drive. We've been overly patient with this guy, and he hasn't paid dividends. We need to relegate him to Lowell, or maybe even release him outright.

Well, he ended up in Lowell, where so far in two games he has a goal and an assist with an "even" plus/minus, which are not bad numbers. There must be a really good Krispy Kreme shop in Lowell, or something.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Purinton returns, Wolf Pack lose 2-1

If it's what it takes, we're ready to fight Tonight marked the return to the ice of Dale Purinton, just a few days after being handed a 10-game suspension by the NHL for viciously poking Colton Orr (who sucks anyway-- sorry, GoonBlog) in the eye during a Rangers - Bruins pre-season game. Nearly five seasons have passed since Purinton last played in the AHL (racking up 886 penalty minutes in 135 games for the Wolf Pack between '97 and '01), and while he didn't poke anyone in the eye or pull anyone's hair in the game against Springfield tonight, he didn't do much of anything else, either. Dale skated horribly, falling down a couple of times (as if that's anything new, I guess), misplayed the puck a few times (once trying to put a slap shot on a floating puck that team-mate Colby Genoway was already lining up for a shot), and didn't really hit anyone hard all night. The one good thing Dale managed was when, late in the third period, he swept away a loose puck that had trickled behind goalie Chris Holt and was laying all alone in the crease. The Wolf Pack lost to Nick "Two Teeth" Tarnasky and the Springfield Falcons anyway, 2-1.

Fedor Fedorov was voted the second star of the game again, though he didn't really deserve it (no points, -1), and he was even completely dumped over the boards into the Springfield bench on one of his first shifts of the game, which I'd think is a little embarassing. Chris Holt started out woefully in goal, giving up 2 relatively weak goals on the first three Springfield shots, but obviously played well enough after that.

Small Ball of A Man Lettuce entertain you

It turns out that the Wolf Pack's new "Let Us Entertain You" slogan is named after a crappy Robbie Williams song --hey, how was I supposed to know? What I do know is that I've been to four games so far this season (two pre-season games and both regular season games so far), and I've yet to see a single fight, which is someone else's idea of entertainment I guess.

Speaking of fighters and fighting, word is spreading quickly that Peter Worrell hasn't played in any games for the Pack yet this year because he's got a ton of weight to lose, and that as soon as he's back into playing shape he'll be ticketed for the Rangers anyway.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wu-Tang Clannad Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit

All the best bands are affiliated with Satan
(Search engine disclaimer: Post not actually about Wu-Tang Clan)

The other day some semi-troll on the Matador Records message board started a somewhat pointless thread about bands that have a food or beverage in their names, which I then started goofing on by posting a bunch of silly names that I made up ("Neko Quesadilla" ha ha ha... Stop it! I'm dying over here!!). It brought to mind an equally meaningless exercise that was in Chunklet 'zine many years ago, involving putting different band names together in order to create an even more annoying band name. The idea was to keep the names basically the same, though changing the spelling around to make for a better fit was okay, with extra credit being given for names that were willfully obscure and/or insulting.

The following list is result of many minutes spent thinking not doing anything useful, obviously:

Blink 182 Live Crew
Bikini Killdozer
Lynyrd SkyN.E.R.D.
Screeching Dweezil Zappa
Joan of Arcwelder

They seem to really love each other Disco Stu loves disco music
Milli Vanelly
Color Me Badd Religion
Ozzy Osbourne Against
Rodan Fogelberg
Wu-Tang Clannad
dis- Association

When Good Things Happen To Bad People Love Songs For The Retarded
India.REO Speedwagon
Soul II Soul Asylum
Kingdom Come'shell Ndegeocello
Antioch Aerosmith
Livingston Taylor Dayne
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead Milkmen

Submitting your own examples is greatly encouraged, if however unlikely.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Wolf Pack win opener, 4-3

Chris Rutsch photo/HWP

On the night they hung former captain Ken Gernander's #12 from the rafters, the Wolf Pack went out and took care of business on the ice, scoring the final three goals of the game in beating the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday, 4-3. Jarkko Immonen scored the winning goal with :52 left in regulation, re-directing Joe Rullier's slap shot taken from outside the face-off circle.

Immonen and the recently required Fedor Fedorov showed why it'll be a good idea to check out a few Wolf Pack games early this year, while both of these guys are still in a Hartford uniform. Not since the 1999 - 2000 Calder Cup year, I think-- when Hartford had Alexandre Daigle, Brad Smyth, and Derek Armstrong together on the roster for the first 15 games of the season, before Daigle was called up to the Rangers-- has there been a combination of players on the Wolf Pack with this much high-end scoring potential.

Sleeping Nights of Jesus Fedorov (#81), with Metallurg

Fedorov assisted on two goals and was selected the 2nd star of the game; Immonen's two goals earned him the 1st star. After a timid start in the first period, Fedorov a number of times showed flashes that hinted at his immense potential, although he didn't play the body but maybe once all night, and he had one annoying puck-hogging moment where he circled completely around the net while the rest of his teammates watched. Immonen had his own puck-hogging moment during the game, also, but it'll probably only be a short while before he's in a Ranger uniform, with lesser talents like Jamie Lundmark (until he gets traded), Blair Betts, and Ryan Hollweg in New York ahead of him. No less an expert than Hockey Rodent (I mean, why take my word on it, right?) had this to say about Immonen recently: "Immonen is a guy I cannot wait to watch... Immonen's upside at the moment remains unlimited."

Heard you been to college Jark the Shark

If it was up to me, Joe Rullier would've been voted a star of the game before Fedorov, as he played an absolutely ferocious game, helping out on offense while playing near-perfect defense and decking almost every Monarchs player that got in his way. Nigel Dawes played a steady game, also. Fight fans might like to know that Dale Purinton and Peter Worrell were both in the building, though they sat in the stands as scratches, as did 6'-6", 265-lb Steve MacIntyre.

Chad Wiseman, a 25-goal scorer in the past for the Pack whom I believe is wearing the "C" this year, was hit in the face by a deflected shot in the second period and had to leave the game. It's likely that he'll require surgery.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wolf Pack get Fedor Fedorov... maybe

You're always up to no damn good, up to my neck in Hollywood

On Friday, the Rangers traded hot-and-cold prospect Josef Balej and a conditional draft pick to the Vancouver Canucks for hot-and-cold prospect Fedor Fedorov, the younger brother of Sergei Fedorov. Jes Gőlbez, who knows all the important hockey stuff that no one else knows, summed up the trade from the Vancouver perspective this way: "Balej had a golden opportunity to make a weak Rangers squad and couldn't do it. So, the Canucks trade one floating malcontent for another, except the floating malcontent we get has less potential."

The official press release says that Fedorov will play in Hartford, though indications were that Fedorov demanded a trade because Vancouver refused to give him a one-way contract. Only the day before, Fedorov had left the Canucks to work out with the Vancouver Giants, the local Canadian junior team.

Needless to say, Fedorov brings a bit of baggage with him, including the label of being soft and a cherry-picker. Over this past summer, Fedorov walked away from Spartak, his Russian club, in order to join Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The dispute eventually had to be settled in arbitration, and included an episode where the Russian club (Spartak) completely lost contact with Fedorov-- in effect, Fedorov was missing for about a week. Fedorov was also scratched for one game against the Czechs during the 2005 World Championships in April/May, and while Fedorov was playing in the AHL a couple of years ago with the Manitoba Moose, he received a 10-game suspension for curfew violations, as well as a letter from PETA for being seen wearing a fur coat around town (the fur turned out to be fake).

Burgermeister Meisterburger
Fedor squaring off against Vladislav Boulin

From a article, titled "The Ultimate Enigma":

"Time and time again, Fedorov has proven to be a hockey team's ultimate dream, while simultaneously being its worst nightmare. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, he has shown the offensive ability to dominate a game and the potential to be a superstar in the NHL. Yet on some nights... well, as Brian Burke recently told reporters after watching Fedorov play for the Moose, "You couldn't have found him on the ice with a pair of binoculars and a bloodhound."

"Obviously, I have some bad habits," Fedorov acknowledged.

Kovalchuk might switch Russian teams

When Squirrels Play Chicken A report on the Russian web site says that Ilya Kovalchuk is interested in playing for Avangard Omsk, if a deal with Atlanta falls through:

Ilya Kovalchuk has reported that, if he does not sign a new agreement with Atlanta, then in December he may play for Avangard Omsk. As reported in Sport-Express, Kovalchuk noted that his agreement with Khimik is active only until December 1st, and he confirmed that, if in the next few days he cannot conclude a contract with Atlanta, he will spend the entire season in Russia. "My agent is conducting negotiations with Khimik and Avangard, so that if I do not sign with the Thrashers, I will continue my career with one of those teams", added Kovalchuk.

Meanwhile, Russian Hockey Digest has translated a nice Sport-Express interview with Kovalchuk, conducted just before Ilya's recent trip to the United States.

That's Entertainment
Kolvalchuk's brief "Paul Weller/early Jam" phase

Kovalchuk rumors continue hot and heavy, with some saying that Kovalchuk has signed with Atlanta already, while others are saying that Kovalchuk is ready to hop a plane back to Russia as early as Sunday.

UPDATE 10/8/05 1:15pm - Worded along the same lines as the story from the evening before, there is an announcement on saying that Kovalchuk's deal with Atlanta is done, pending League approval.

Added 10/9/05 - Kovalchuk is spending a couple of days in Moscow and Tver, and will return to Atlanta during the day on Monday. His first game with Atlanta will be on Wednesday against Montreal. This info is from a Soviet Sport interview, where Kovalchuk also said that he trained each day while he was in New York, and that he's fully ready to play. His final stats with Khimik this year: 11 games, 8 goals, 5 assists (13 points).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bits and Pieces pt. 2

Russian Hockey Digest, on opening night in the NHL: "Seems like the new rules are written for Russians."

That's When I Reach For My Revolver Alex Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin: 2 goals in NHL debut, +1
Pavel Datsyuk: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2

Pavel Bure considers comeback - I found this quote from Bure on one of the Russian web sites:

In the beginning of November, Pavel Bure, who continues to rehab after a severe injury, plans to depart to North America for an evaluation. "After the inspection is carried out, it will give me my answer if I will be allowed to continue my career. I thus far feel well, although I am nevertheless not ready enough so that I could begin to play."

Then there was another quote, this one from Ilya Kovalchuk. I had added it as an update yesterday to the "Kovalchuk returns to U.S. next week" post, but I don't know if too many people continue to scroll down to check out older posts:

"I will return to Moscow on 10 October and then will be ready to give to you the answer, where I will continue career."

I know that doesn't sound like much of a quote; however, this past Sunday a source on Hockey Rodent was insisting that Kovalchuk was already stateside, when the RSL scoresheets proved that Kovalchuk did indeed stay in Russia until after Oct. 4th. I just figured I'd throw out what Kovalchuk's intended travel plans are, if only to give others the chance to pick nits again.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

We have to be better, we live here

Half-naked and three-quarters wasted Springfield, Mass.

They say that Springfield exists only to make Lowell look pretty. However, the Springfield Civic Center by itself is looking pretty darn spiffy these days, thanks to an impressive renovation. Actually, it's called the Mass Manure Center now, or some such shit (Wheee, I made a pun! I'm P.J. freaking O'Rourke!). Anyone who had been to the Mass Manure Center when it still looked like a high school gymnasium might be suprised to find that there's a modern video scoreboard hanging from the rafters now, replacing the old picture boards with the "Lite Brite" L.E.D.-enhanced retro '70s styled "Pong"-type graphics that they used to have. The building looks almost completely different, inside and out. Well, except for those chicken-wire fence-looking things in each corner of the arena near the ceiling, but you can't get rid of all the ugly, lest people forget they're still in Springfield.

The Laughing Stock of Indie Rock Jebediah Springfield (not really)

I was at the Mass Manure Center yesterday because I was watching the Wolf Pack lose to the Springfield Falcons in an exhibition game, 5-4. Hardly anyone else was in attendance to be able take notice of the new surroundings, as there were literally only about 50 people in the stands when the puck was dropped, though it filled in a bit later on. Maybe everyone besides us knew not to show up early because of the retarded nu-metal crap they still play over the loudspeakers during the pre-game warm-ups. I mean, I know we're in Massachusetts, but it's still not as if anyone needs to hear three different Staind songs in the same 20 minutes (Wheee, I dropped a band name! I'm Chuckie freaking Klosterman!)

Fewer people in the stands meant more of a chance for us to snag errant practice pucks during the warm-ups, though, so we snagged three of those, which put us up about 2 for the night on Chris Holt, the Wolf Pack goalie. Holt has now given up 10 goals in the two pre-season games I've been to, which maybe explains why his jersey number is 8-1. Holt did get a lot of rubber thrown at him, though; Hartford took an early 2-0 lead, but then were outshot in the second period something like 18-6, as the Falcons scored three goals in the period.

She works at Orange Julius but it's also a Dairy Queen Colby Genoway

The game was supposedly on the B2 Network that the AHL is using for internet video broadcasts now, but I only saw one small video camera on hand, so it couldn't have been much of a feed. As for the Wolf Pack, Alex Giroux scored again, and Colby Genoway continues to play well this pre-season, scoring the 4th goal for Hartford that sent the game into OT. I could go out on a limb right now and say that Jake Taylor might not be such a liability as this season progresses. No such luck with Martin Grenier, though.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

"The greatest danger could be your stupidity"

...or so said a fortune cookie that I read once. Something tells me that Gary Bettman gets this fortune in his cookie all the time.

It's 1980, can't you afford a fucking haircut?

The photo above is of NY Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, trying out the new form-fitting jersey that the NHL wants all their goalies to wear, supposedly so they'll stop fewer pucks. Never mind that I've never seen a piece of cloth hanging a few inches from underneath a player's armpit have the ability to stop a hard rubber puck moving 90 miles-per-hour. Never mind that, when a shot is directed at their body, goalies will tuck their elbows in close anyway (as Sidearm Delivery's favorite goalie, "Psycho Dan" Cloutier, is doing here), which makes the width of their jersey meaningless.

My god can beat up your god

At the most, all this will do is increase merchandising sales by giving the teams another special jersey to sell, while serving as a very visible reminder to casual fans that the NHL is really, really trying to increase scoring. Of course, if the NHL really is serious about wanting to increase scoring, they could create a lot more open ice just by widening the rinks an extra 15 feet to the European dimensions. It'll take a lot more than fortune cookies for that to happen, though.