Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Rangers trade Murray for Hossa

Fanzines are cheap I know Garth Murray

Link to NY Rangers press release

That's Hossa as in Marcel Hossa, who was with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Montreal Canadiens, and not Marian Hossa, who was with the Ottawa Senators before they traded him for Donny Wheatley. I hate it when people can't get the players' names straight. Jeez!

After Garth Murray's first couple of seasons with the Wolf Pack, along with a fairly promising 20-game stint with the Rangers in '03-'04, I thought that Murray had a pretty good chance of developing into a strong NHL checking forward with the ability to drop the gloves and stick up for his teammates, as well as score a goal every so often. Then with Hartford last year Murray missed a chunk of the season with an injury, and didn't seem his old self once he came back. Reports were that he had a better than decent camp this year with the Rangers, although he was scratched for the one Pack pre-season game that I went to a couple of nights ago, so I hadn't seen him play yet this season. I'm not happy to see Murray go, since he has the type of grit that seems to be lacking on the Rangers' roster this year, but it's hard to complain about getting someone with the offensive skills of Marcel Hossa in return.

Driver Not Wanted

Little old lady got mutilated late last night Not a Trashers employee, it turns out

This is a notice that was posted on the Danbury Trashers web site:

BUS DRIVER WANTED
The Danbury Trashers, proud members of the United Hockey League are in search of a bus driver to transport the Danbury Trashers on road trips during the 2005-06 season. Interested candidates require a CDL with passenger endorsement.
Send resume to info@danburytrashers.com.


Thankfully, it turned out to be just an employment notice. Because when I first read it, knowing of the Danbury Trashers' checkered past history, I thought that the team bus driver had maybe off'ed somebody and was actually, you know, wanted.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kovalchuk returns to U.S. next week

Theologians, they don't know nothing about my soul Two days after Ilya Kovalchuk took over the goal-scoring lead in the RSL with 2 goals against SKA-St. Petersburg, giving him 7 goals in 8 games so far this season, it is being reported by several Russian news sources (including this article in gazeta.ru) that Kovalchuk will be flying back to the States after Khimik's October 4th match against Ak Bars Kazan.

Kovalchuk's planned one-week stay in New York is primarily for the birth of his child, but it also coincides with the October 5th deadline faced by Atlanta by which to sign Kovalchuk. On October 5th the NHL regular season begins, and if Kovalchuk plays another game in Russia after that, he must first clear waivers before returning to play in the NHL.

Said Kovalchuk, "Everthing must be decided upon this week. After the match against Kazan I will take a flight overseas, for the birth of my girl. I will stay in America approximately one week. The chances of my signing a contract with the Thrashers are about 50 - 50. If it becomes impossible to negotiate a deal with Atlanta, then I will remain in Russia. I see nothing terrible in this, therefore I could very easily play a little in my homeland."

On the Kovalchuk web site, kovy.ru, there's an entry titled "On October 4, Will Kovalchuk Conduct Last Match With Khimik?", which surmises that it is "a complete possibility that in America he will place signature under contract with Atlanta." A report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that Atlanta is willing to give Kovalchuk a five-year contract for $28.5 million ($5.7 million per season). It is thought that Kovalchuk wants and is worth $7 million per season, but there are only so many teams left with that much room under the cap, with the beginning of the season only days away.

UPDATE 10/5/05 - A quote from Ilya Kovalchuk, found on gazeta.ru:

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

Wolf Pack now 2-0 in the pre-season

I grew up in denial and went to school in Massachusetts








Steve MacIntyre (in green): "Hulk like puck! Puck Hulk's friend!"



Chris Rutsch photo

Bolstered by a goal from "Captain Caveman", Steve MacIntyre, the Hartford Wolf Pack managed to beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a pre-season game in Simsbury tonight, 6-5 after an overtime shoot-out, despite a very shaky performance by goalie Chris Holt. It was Hartford's second victory of the pre-season, having beaten the Providence Bruins 8-0 the night before. Holt, who is slated to be the back-up to Al Montoya in Hartford this season, had a miserable game while handling the puck like it was a wet bar of soap, as goals trickled in beneath his pads, off his glove, and even rebounding straight back off his stick and into the net once. Despite all of his mishaps, Holt remained in net the entire game, keeping tonight's second-string goalie, Michael Mole, firmly rooted on the bench... which was too bad. "Mike Mole in goal"-- who wouldn't want to see that?

I was keeping an eye on two of the Rangers' younger defensive prospects, Ivan Baranka and Jonathan Paiement, as they skated in tonight's match against the Sound Tigers, but the two new players who stood out the most were Jerramie Domish and Jay LaTulippe. LaTulippe, a smallish center from Clarkson, scored a goal and showed himself to be a very quick and agile skater, while Domish, a 5'9" defenseman who spent time in both the ECHL and the AHL as a rookie last year, played a very solid, gritty game offensively and defensively. The best it will probably get either of them is a bus ticket to Charlotte and the ECHL Checkers, but they played well nevertheless.

Kicked out of the Webelos
Tie Domish, Coffee and a Domish, Nostra-Domish... take your pick

Peter Worrell was in the house, so to speak, though he watched the game from the stands as a scratch. Also scratched were Josef Balej, Garth Murray, Al Montoya, Bryce Lampman, and pretty much all of the better players who will be on the Pack roster this year (except for Alexandre Giroux, who played and scored a goal in regulation and also during the shoot-out).

Monday, September 26, 2005

In Russia, everything's illegal

Silly rabbit, tripping is for teenagers



Pavel Datsyuk, you're a bad man




Presumably to be filed under That Horse Has Already Left The Barn:

About an hour ago in Gazeta.ru there appeared the following statement, given by the Vice President of the Russian Hockey League, Vladimir Shalayev, regarding the dispute that is still in ongoing arbitration between Avangard Omsk and Dynamo Moscow over Pavel Datsyuk:

"In general, agent activity is forbidden by Russian legislation. This is instituted in the Super League by the corporate agreement between the clubs. Any other way is incomprehensible. Why, then, did the leaders of Avangard and Dynamo chose to conduct negotiations with Gary Greenstin (Datsyuk's agent), who does not have a license to work in Russia? From his interview for a Detroit newspaper, it became clear that Greenstin desired only to raise the price of Datsyuk. This behaviour casts a shadow upon all remaining people of this profession. Soon the Russian Hockey League will develop new, more rigid requirements for the work of agents in Russia so that in similar cases this no longer would be repeated."

So there you have it-- it was all the shifty American's fault! Now that we have that settled...

In other news from the Super League, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl currently sits in first place with a 6-0-0-1 record. Lokomotiv is led by former Hartford Wolf Pack goalie Steve Valiquette (have I mentioned that before?), who is 6th in the Super League with a 1.80 GAA and .924 save pct. over 5 games. Evgeni Malkin of Metallurg Magnitogorsk (and the Pittsburgh Penguins, eventually) leads the league so far in scoring with 10 points (4g, 6a); Ilya Kovalchuk of Khimik is only a little bit further down the list with 7 points (5g, 2a).

Tell Deadspin to go screw!

fuck deadspin.com

It appears that the folks at Deadspin aren't brave enough to allow a place at the end of each post for readers of their site to leave comments. But, you can still leave them a quick comment to let them know how you feel, anyway!

Seems like one of the Deadspin writers has started a fake blog at MLBlogs.com (as opposed to a fake blog at Deadspin.com, I guess), and the comment option is activated. You might have to fill out a short registration form in order to leave a comment, but it's worth it.

Make us proud!

UPDATE 6:21pm - Apparently, Deadspin's fake blog on MLBlogs has been taken down. According to this post on Can't Stop The Bleeding, and by Deadspin's own somewhat indirect admission, it orignally featured a Hilter joke and a bunch of other Nazi crap, as if that's funny.

Remember the names of everyone who's been telling you that Deadspin is the greatest web site since sliced bread, so that later you can remind them every so often of just how wrong they were.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

My XFL

Gotta Gotta Sinking Feeling

The NHL and Gary Bettman recently unveiled their new "My NHL" promotional campaign, featuring a series of glossy video ads. Already ad #1 of 5 is stirring controversy, not just because it's stupid and deserves your scorn, but because it shows a woman in lingerie helping a "Hockey Warrior" put on his shoulder pads. Predictably, some little old lady is waging a protest against the NHL because of the ads, to which I say, if cancelling an entire season didn't kill the NHL, how much damage do you think a handful of grandmas writing letters is going to cause?

If Gary Bettman thinks it's a good idea to herald the NHL entering a brand new age in 2005-2006 with ads that look like one of Ratt's music videos from 1984, then good luck with that I guess. Seeing an ad of a woman in a locker room helping a hockey player get dressed reminded me of the promotional ads that the XFL used to produce, showing cheerleaders doing pole dances in the kitchen while chopping up cucumbers and crap like that. Hey, maybe Jeremy Roenick will wear a jersey this season that says "He Hate Me" on the back? Or (even worse) Keith Tkachuk wearing one that has a picture of a pot roast and says "He Ate Me" on it. Well, it was just a thought.

Speaking of thoughts, has anyone else besides me noticed that the URL of New York Rangers UK spells out "NYRangerSuk"? Okay, I was just asking.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Ovechkin Makes Pre-Season Debut

R-r-r-r-rubber biscuit

After sitting out the first two pre-season games, Alexander Ovechkin made his NHL pre-season debut on Wednesday night, as the Washington Capitals were shutout by Buffalo before a very small crowd. (The Peerless Prognosticator gives a fairly detailed wrap-up.) Ovechkin played only a minor role in the game, drawing a holding penalty 26 seconds into the contest, but used a nifty move to score during the shoot-out after regulation.

Ovechkin later gave an interview to Sport Express (under the somewhat biased headline, "Dynamo is much stronger than Washington"), which I have done my best to translate here:

Now that you have your first impressions of the NHL, do you think it will be hard for you to become accustomed to this type of hockey?
I don't think so. I'm already almost there. However, this game returned to normal only in the third period. There was hardly any time to adjust to my team-mates, because in the first two periods there were constant substitutions.

But do you still feel the difference from the Russian league, and in what ways?
First, in the size of the (smaller NHL) rink. Because of this, the game is harder. The same hook, which the opponents were using on me, would have gone unnoticed in the Super League, but here it was an automatic penalty.

Does the level of your current team compare with Dynamo?
With last year's Dynamo team, certainly not. There were many more good players on that team, because of the NHL lockout. But it is useless to compare, because this is an entirely different situation. For example, in Russia, once you return a pass you can relax, but here it is not possible for you to lose your concentration for one second. I realized this after the first shift.

Glen Hanlon (the Capitals' coach) had you sit out until the home game. Are you disappointed to play before so few fans?
It is not up to me to be disappointed. Certainly, I have a desire to prove myself. I hope that I will be able to excite the fans once the season begins. This is only the preseason, and coaches use these games to evaluate all the players on their team, and sometimes the best players rest.

Will they always use you in the shoot-out?
I don't think so. When I played with Dynamo, they did not entrust me with that-- after the first two times, I was told never again.

But Hanlon doesn't know that. If you tell him that you regularly took part in the shoot-out, after today's game he will believe you.
I have a rule, to never tell the coaches what to do.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Sidney Crosby Media Blitz Is Getting Out Of Hand

You're still curious, that's why you worry us

When you read this bulleted item that appeared on Deadspin this morning, you might click on the link thinking that it leads to a seasoned analysis of what seems to have been an off-night suffered by Sidney Crosby in his NHL pre-season debut:

• NHL: Penguins’ celebrated draft pick less than terrific in overtime loss to Bruins. Hockey, we’ve missed you, you big lug.

I mean, Deadspin is a vastly superior web site/fake sports blog with a ton of resources, right? Presumably they've tracked down a blog entry that can give us some useful insight on Crosby's initial game experience in the NHL-- did he seem to be skating well with his linemates, did he get much ice time on special teams, did he show any positioning flaws or other mistakes-- stuff like that. Instead, what you get is an crappy wire report posted by some blog on the gawd-awful Least Useable Network:

Sidney Crosby scores an assist in his Penguins pre-season debut tonight in their minor league affiliate host city Scranton, Pennsylvania.

"The boss" said he was impressed, but Mario had doubled up his young protoge scoring 2 assists in the OT loss to the Boston Bruins.

"I was anxious to get started," Crosby said. "There was so much anticipation. I wanted to get in the routine of playing games. It was just nice to be on a team, not competing against these guys in camp (but) trying to work together to win."


And that's it-- completely unremarkable, and nothing anywhere near a description of a "less than terrific" performance by Crosby... just some blowhard at Deadspin trying to make controversy out of nothing, it seems. Linking directly to the wire story would've had the exact same effect, seeing that the blog entry had no extra commentary, except that Deadspin has an obvious interest in shilling for Most Valuable Network, for whatever reason.

If anyone feels like reading a different blogger's viewpoint of how Crosby's debut went, try this blog entry and the Providence Journal story found here, for starters. There's also tsn.ca's story, with this quote from Lemieux: ""He was one of the best players out there, skating-wise and handling the puck."

On a separate note, I'd like to give my personal thanks to all of the blog writers who have lined up in nearly unanimous numbers (Can't Stop The Bleeding being the lone exception) to champion Deadspin to their readers as being a great web site, instead of the big pile of suck that it actually is.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Datsyuk signs with Detroit

We had a gun in the glovebox, we had some sweet stuff tucked into our socks











Pavel Datsyuk at the airport, on his way back to Detroit. Or it could just be an old photo of him in a Moscow bus station, waiting for the next bus to Novosibirsk.


From Soviet Sport, Sept. 21 (translated by Russian Hockey Digest):

Pavel Datsyuk: On Monday night we agreed on everything with Detroit. Am I satisfied? You know, there are unpleasant feelings left that everything went the way it did. I’m very sorry for Russian hockey fans. I wasn’t going to play on anybody’s feelings. But I didn’t expect that the situation would be so tense. Thanks to everyone who supported me. And, of course, thanks to Detroit management that they awaited me for two weeks since they made an offer to me. They showed that they hoped, counted on me and would like to see me in the lineup. When am I going to the US? I would like to arrive in Detroit by the end of the week, in order to adapt faster due to time-zone changes, and start preparing for the season.

Datsyuk was still without an official Russian contract while the dispute between Avangard and Dynamo remained stalled in arbitration, so Detroit was able to take advantage of that (without being in violation of Bettman's memo ordering the NHL clubs to stay away from players who are under contract with a Russian team) and get a deal done.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Big Snake Update

I hate music, it's got too many notes

Hartford Wolf Pack fans might remember a forward named Robin Big Snake, who had a tryout with the Wolf Pack last pre-season but was cut on one of the final days of training camp. Not a couple of weeks after that, Big Snake was bounced from his Canadian junior team, the Portland Winter Hawks, for insubordination. He ended up finishing the season in juniors with the Owen Sound Attack, scoring 20 goals in 48 games.

It turns out that Robin Big Snake was in camp this month with the Detroit Red Wings and might have another shot at playing in the AHL this year, according to an article that appeared last week in the Detroit News:

Robin Big Snake is attracting a lot of attention around training camp for his name and style of play. Big Snake, a 6-foot, 219-pound forward who is in camp on a tryout basis, made two big hits on Chris Chelios during a scrimmage and was one of the better players at the prospects camp.

Big Snake, 21, is from the Siksika Nation, which is an hour east of Calgary. He is half-Cree and half-Blackfoot. "I get a lot of that (questions about the name). Big Snake is a pretty cool name and I'm very proud of my name."

If Big Snake continues to impress, he could end up with the Wings' minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids.


The Kids Will Have Their Say Big Snake (in white) slugging it out in juniors

The Red Wings released Big Snake on Saturday (3 days after the article was written), but the Griffins don't open camp for a few more days, so I supposed it's still possible that he could end up skating with them later in the week. As a 21-year-old, he has no more junior eligibility left.

At the very least, whomever Big Snake ends up playing for will be in line to sell an awful lot of t-shirts and jerseys.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Jeff Jacobs has another dumb idea

His vocal chords are made of gold, he just looks a little too old Ron Francis

This paragraph is from a column that ran in the Hartford Courant recently, written by noted Whalers hag Jeff Jacobs, on the retirement of former Whalers captain Ron Francis from the Carolina Hurricanes:

"Now it's time to look after him. It's time for MSG to retire Francis' No. 10 before one of the Wolf Pack games this season. It doesn't matter that they are a Rangers affiliate. All that matters is that it is Hartford and it is hockey and nobody ever meant more to the game in this town."

I was never really a Whalers fan, and since Francis was “another team’s player” his retirement didn’t draw as much interest from me as the retirements of other players, like the Rangers’ Mark Messier and Ken Gernander. I can admit that Francis had an exceptional NHL career (579 goals, ranked 3rd in games played and 4th in points), but the owner of the Whalers scurried out of town like a cockroach and left Hartford for dead well over 8 years ago. Besides the fact that I think every one of Jeff Jack-offs' "Bring Back The Whalers" rants are stupid anyway, I think this is a dumb idea because, as Jacobs himself pointed out, the Rangers are in the building now. Is Baltimore going to let the Indianapolis Colts hang any of their players' numbers in the Ravens' stadium when the time comes?

I think the manner in which the Whalers left everyone in this town high and dry, and the manner in which most diehard Whalers fans refuse to support the hockey team playing in Hartford now, should make people think twice before mumbling that we should hang up the numbers of any more ex-Whaler players.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Datsyuk: "I do not want to go into arbitration"

I was chewing gum for something to do

Pavel Datsyuk, as quoted on the Russian site gazeta.ru:

"I want under no circumstances to go into arbitration. I did not want for my matter be examined in the court of law. Let Dynamo and Avangard settle the matter peacefully between themselves. Or, they will go into arbitration, not to resolve my matter, but to introduce changes or additions into the League regulations.

"To play with Avangard was my personal choice, and now I want to carry out my commitment to Omsk. I signed a worthy contract with the Hawks (Avangard Omsk). I did not have any remaining obligations with Dynamo. When I concluded the agreement with Omsk, it was then that both sides were brought into the situation. But I did not place a black mark against the Dynamo Moscow club, by leaving them. Instead, I took a new step towards my goal, by accepting to play for the Hawks."

Datsyuk conceded that it was still possible for him to leave for North America: "Now that this situation has occurred, I can't say for sure that I will remain in Russia. I do not know which directions all of those involved will decide to take afterwards."

The scheduled arbitration hearing in the Avangard/Dynamo dispute over Datsyuk had been rescheduled from the 13th to the 20th, because the League officials have been in Portugal attending meetings with the IIHF regarding the Olympics and other matters. The officials who would be ruling on the Datsyuk case also want the extra time to examine the paperwork involved, to see whether or not Dynamo has filed its contract offers to Datsyuk correctly.

As for the other prominent Russian holdout, Ilya Kovalchuk, his contract talks with Atlanta have stalled to the point that Thrashers GM Don Waddell may fly to Russia to meet with Kovalchuk personally.

In the meantime I would like to say that tomorrow's Pavel Datsyuk announcement on this blog site has been cancelled, as I am starting to run out of photos to use.

UPDATE 9/16/05: Russian Hockey Digest has posted a better version of Datsyuk's comments, taken from the original interview with Soviet Sport.

UPDATE 9/20/05: The arbitration has been continued to another date, according to this brief report in gazeta.ru:

The PKHL arbitration committee conducted its session on Tuesday. The examination of Pavel Datsyuk's matter has been transferred. The precise date of the next session in this matter will be named tomorrow.

Also, Red Wings GM Ken Holland is quoted as saying on Monday that he believes Datsyuk will be back in Detroit sometime next week, and that he will play in the NHL this season. Holland acknowledged that he hasn't spoken with Datsyuk since Sept. 5th, but that he's had recent conversations with Datsyuk's agent.

See? Cats CAN drive cars!

"Inventor denies using dead cats for fuel"

German says alternative diesel uses waste paper products, possibly a toad

BERLIN (Reuters) Sept. 14, 2005 - A German inventor said he has developed a method to produce crude oil products from waste that he believes can be an answer to the soaring costs of fuel, but denied a German newspaper story implying he also used dead cats.

There's the Germans, let's run them over

"I use paper, plastics, textiles and rubbish," Koch told Reuters. "It’s an alternative fuel that is friendly for the environment. But it’s complete nonsense to suggest dead cats. I’ve never used cats and would never think of that. At most the odd toad may have jumped in."

Bild on Tuesday wrote a headline: "German inventor can turn cats into fuel -- for a tank he needs 20 cats." The paper on Wednesday followed up with a story entitled: "Can you really make fuel out of cats?" A spokesman for Bild told Reuters the story was meant to show that cat remains could "in theory" be used to make fuel with Koch’s patented method. The author of the story said Koch had never told him directly that he had used dead cats as the story implied.

"I drive my normal diesel-powered car with this mixture,” Koch is quoted saying in Bild, next to a large picture of a kitten. "I have gone 170,000 km (106,000 miles) without a problem."


I'll be back in a flash with some cash and some dudes and a gun

It's the part about tossing in the odd toad that slays me. "Sorry, Kermit-- I gotta get to work!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bits and Pieces

This was supposed to be a party







Ilya Kovalchuk in uniform for Khimik vs. Metallurg Magnitogorsk

These are some bits of information that I picked up from the Russian web sites-- nothing too serious:

Having played 3 games so far in the Russian Super League regular season, Ilya Kovalchuk claims "he is ready only at 50% of his best form". According to the game recap I was reading for yesterday's game, when Kovalchuk took the ice in the middle of the second period, "the early-'90s smash hit by The Combination, 'American Fight', was played in the arena" (a musical reference to his contract hold-out with Atlanta). Must be a Russian thing, because I can't find anything about that song anywhere-- unless they were one of the bands on Brian Sinclair's Serendipity label, which would mean that no one anywhere has ever heard of them.

Kovalchuk isn't the only out-of-shape European player, it seems. There's a mention in gazeta.ru today of Jaromir Jagr just recently flying out of Prague to join the New York Rangers' training camp, and Jagr is quoted as saying that he has not been able to train normally for the upcoming NHL season because of his finger that was cracked in two places during the World Championships in Austria back in May. The article suggests that Jagr has put on some weight.

On the web site of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the Russian team that former Hartford Wolf Pack goalie Steve Valiquette plays for, there's a poll for fans to vote for their favorite Lokomotiv player. If any Wolf Pack fans want to cast some votes for Steve, click here to be taken to the ballot, where you'll see something that looks like "No. 40 BANHKETT CTHB" at the top (that's "Steve Valikett" in Russian). So far Valiquette is 3rd in the voting, behind Karel Rachunek and Vladimir Antipov.

Who pays attention to these things, anyway?

I'm pretty sure that people generally don't bother to click on any of the links that I post here, so I've decided to highlight some of my favorite sites in a little more detail. Maybe it'll encourage some people to check these sites out (I'm sure most of them already have plenty of readers, but still); at the least, I'll be able to point out some of the sites that I like but haven't added to the blog roll just yet (because I think the blog roll list looks dumb when it gets too long, and I wanna keep things looking spiffy around here).

Byron Crawford.com kills me, but then I'm not uptight like most people are. Check out Taco Bell haters for starters, and if you think that's funny then try Does Kanye bufu John Legend?. Maybe this is a hip-hop site, but his reviews of indie rock stuff like The New Pornographers' latest CD always crack me up.

Geek On Stun can get pretty silly at times, but they've been on a serious roll lately with posts like We Don't Give A Shit What It Plays and Gashapon A Go Go ("At times like these, when people are suffering, crass consumerism for plastic shit is more important than ever"). Just start from the top and read the whole site-- it's a total riot.

Sports blogs are pretty dense in general (especially the ones on the Most Valuable Network, which should be avoided like cancer). Two that I've found that are actually somewhat clever are Heels, Sox & Steelers and Red and Black Hockey. If you find any others that don't suck, please feel free to pass them along.

Goonblog is relatively new, but it looks pretty sharp so far, plus it's mostly about hockey fights so it can't be all that bad. At the tail end of one of his recent posts, Chris asks an interesting question that some of you might want to go onto his site to comment on: "Why are guys that have been in the NHL reluctant to drop 'em in the AHL?"

This might be pretty sorry on my part, but almost every Friday I check out Tale of Two Cities' Blue States Lose, a "gallery of fucked-up hipsters" (i.e. photos of some really drugged-up fruity-looking people) punctuated with cruel descriptions like, "We can't say we were wondering what a hipster Coyote Ugly would look like, but at least we now know that it would look around 73% retarded."

Hallmonitor is one of the few music blogs that I check out regularly, only because the guy knows how to write, and it's a really good-looking site, too. The sparse black-and-white layout reminds me of some of the fanzines that I used to like years ago.

Zisk actually still is a fanzine, and Zisk Online is the blog that goes with it. If you just read the blog, you're missing out on half the site; there's tons of good stuff over in the "Previous Issues" section, which is an archive of all of the print issues of Zisk, the zine. Zisk is also an offshoot of Go Metric!, a long-running publication that's always been one of the best music zines out there.

And, as always, Can't Stop The Bleeding and Agony Shorthand are my two favorite blog reads; all the best blog writers are people who used to do punk fanzines, anyway. (To hell with all those self-whoring, market-positioning "Internet Writer" stooges!) Agony Shorthand had a post about a month ago on obscure fanzines from the '80s and '90s that was pretty interesting, especially in the comments string. Can't Stop The Bleeding can match any site for serious sports commentary, but also has endless amount of quick jabs like Buster Douglas Boxing Never Got A Sniff and Gift Horse, Meet Mouth to be even more worthwhile.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The latest on Datsyuk

Send lawyers, guns, and money-- the shit has hit the fan

These are some statements that I pulled from an article in Soviet Sport, dated September 12:

"Today's position of Avangard is: we sent in three statements already to the PHL, indicating that Dynamo did not carry out a new contract with respect to Datsyuk according to PHL regulations, since the proposal was not granted in written form within the 10-day period. We ask the PHL to make a decision in accordance with the law, and they promised to examine the question in arbitration next Tuesday before the supervisory board of the Super League. It is already clear that Pavel will not participate in the match between Avangard and Dynamo on Sept. 12."

"Detroit: '$7.6 million for two years, or play in Russia!' The Vice President of Detroit, Jim Devellano, placed the ultimatum before Pavel: either sign an NHL contract for the money that we give, or remain in Russia. The American media is reporting that Devellano has gotten tired of the commotion around Datsyuk, and will not increase the contract proposal. $3.8 million per year will make Pavel the second-most wage earner on the club. 'This is good money for Datsyuk', said Jim Devellano. '$3.8 million is 10% of the club's payroll. Pavel is an excellent young player, and he is important to us. But because of our playoff failures in 2003 and 2004, the entire coaching staff was let go. Datsyuk scored 0 goals in those 16 playoff games. If Russia offered him $6 million, let him play there, and I'll drive him to the airport. We do not intend to change our conditions.'"

"The Michigan newspapers also quote some anonymous Detroit players expressing bewilderment that Datsyuk can request more than $2.5 million per year. In response to a question posed by the Detroit News, 66% of Detroit fans would rather the team allow Datsyuk to leave, and instead use the money to sign other players. It is obvious that Detroit will not make any more concessions to Datsyuk. If he decides to return to the NHL, they will accept him with open arms. If not, they will forget about him until the following spring."


Even though I tend to side with the Russians more than most people, I think it's good that Detroit is sticking to its guns now, if only to establish a precedent favorable to the other NHL clubs that might later find themselves in a similar situation.

For more on Datsyuk and the Russians, scroll down to the Datsyuk back to Dynamo? post, which has been recently updated.

Friday, September 09, 2005

New Lows In Fake Blogging

Run you through a paper shredder, duct tape you to Eddie Vedder
(The creepy kids at deadspin.net are fucking pissed)

The sports blogs that I like reading the most are all lacking a bit of polish, but that’s one reason why they‘re interesting. Nothing spoils a good read quite like professionalism and attention to detail. However, if you want your blog-reading enjoyment obscured even further, behind bogus irony and shitloads of annoying advertising, then that’s where Deadspin.com comes in handy.

If the newly-launched Deadspin was just another irritating revenue-oriented mainstream web site pretending to be hip then I could ignore it, just like I ignore Stylus. Deadspin, though, pretends to be a blog, but isn't. Compare their personal profile to one like mine, for example, and you can easily see the difference. Besides that, you'll find on Deadspin's pages almost none of the basic template features found in a true blog.

Deadspin claims, "We’re not some lame-ass ESPN Hollywood Tom Brady’s-schtupping-Annabeth-Gish Culture of Sports pap either", yet they have an archive category labeled "Groupies", and for not caring about who's having sex with NFL quarterbacks, they seem pretty proud of their stupid Ron Mexico reference. (Considering that Deadspin has seperate Editing, Advertising, and Business Development staff, meaning lots of free time left for writing, you'd think they could come up with some better jokes).

Perhaps knowing that their writing sucks, Deadspin puts a lot of effort into begging for bloggers to send in their posts. Not only is Deadspin trying to break in and grab all the blog traffic and blog ad revenue that it can by pretending to be a blog, they want to do it using your blog's articles. In the hope that you won't complain, they spend a lot of time handing out pats on the back to all the blogs that they're stealing ideas from. (The post where the guy congratulates Yard Work for its header photos is about the dumbest thing I read all week.) There's even a Deadspin "Guide to the Web", which is hardly anything more than a mirror image of a Technorati search using Deadspin's URL.

Deadspin champions itself as "Sports news without access, favor, or discretion." Seeing as how they've yet to feature much original writing or actually break a story themselves-- doing almost nothing other than post links to other blog's stories-- perhaps they should change their slogan to "Sports news without any actual meaningful involvement on our part."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Here to Play, Here to Stay

Can't see the forest for the fires

This is the Carolina Hurricanes' new slogan; I first caught a wiff of this on the fine Hurricanes blog, Red and Black Hockey (the companion site, Red and Black is the new black and red is excellent, too).

Here is a list of the different cities that the New England Whalers - Hartford Whalers - Carolina Hurricanes franchise has played in over the course of their history, to my best recollection:

1972- Boston (Ma.) Garden
1974- Springfield (Ma.), if only briefly
1975- Harford (Ct.) Civic Center
1978- Springfield (Ma.), after the HCC roof collapses on Jan. 18; team is forced to play in minor league arena for two seasons
1980- Hartford (Ct.) Civic Center again, after repairs are completed. Team also moves from WHA to NHL after 1979 season
1997- Greensboro (NC), after courting several cities (most notably Columbus, OH) during move from Hartford
1999- Raleigh (NC)

This team doesn't exactly have "Here to Stay" in their bloodline, do they? It's no wonder that they feel their fans need some type of reassurance.

Not only that, but (as originally pointed out in "How's It Goin', Pete?") the flag that's attached to a hockey stick in the logo isn't really a hurricane warning flag (which is two red-and-black boxes); the logo is more like a triangular gale warning flag combined with a storm warning flag.

Datsyuk back to Dynamo?

I don't FEEL tardy

There is a story that appeared this morning on at least a couple of Russian news sites, including Soviet Sport and Sport Express, that Dynamo has matched Avangard's offer to Pavel Datsyuk, and thus will be able to retain him.

Dynamo had an initial agreement with Datsyuk that they then backed out of, by offering a follow-up contract that did not have all of the conditions of the preliminary agreement. Datsyuk took the opportunity to instead sign a multi-million dollar deal with Avangard, which happened on Monday, but Dynamo still had 10 days to match the offer. Now it appears that some Dynamo team sponsors have stepped up to help sweeten the pot, and so at noon today in Moscow (4am our time), Dynamo presented a matching offer to Avangard and RSL officials that should allow Dynamo to retain Datsyuk.

Dynamo Moscow

"A warning shot over the bow" (additional thoughts, same day,
3:05pm
):

A mention within a post on Blueshirt Bulletin (and my subsequent comment on that post), pointing out the disparity between the reaction to the Datsyuk signing and the Kovalchuk signing, made me want to add some more thoughts here. I think one of the reasons the Datsyuk signing is causing extra concern is because Datsyuk was able to get twice as much money over in Russia (according to some reports I read) than his NHL team was willing to pay. This is a signal that the Russian league is able to shell out some big money in order to keep its star players at home. This could have a big effect on NHL rosters. With the new CBA and $39 million salary cap now in place in the NHL, and with Russia being able to successfully remove itself from participating in the player transfer agreement between the NHL and Europe (a bold tactic that many thought to be reckless at the time, but one that's turning out to be a skillful and extremely crucial move), the parameters are in place for the Russian teams to be able to step up and make a strong effort in "defending their borders." North American fans shouldn't be lulled into thinking that the Russian Super League is some backwoods league, with only sub-standard players making sub-standard wages; the Russian clubs are showing that they're willing to compete with the NHL for quality Russian-born players, and this could be a reversal of the trend over the last many years when it was a given that almost all of Russia's star players would leave to go play overseas.

New Wave As The Next Guy UPDATE - 9/11/05:

Mark Spurrier tipped me off to an article in the Detroit News which agrees the Russians have the money to sign quality NHL players, and also describes the "Yankees/Red Sox-like rivalry" between Dynamo and Avangard as being a part of the Datsyuk saga:

"Dynamo and Avangard have gone at each other before over top Russian hockey players, and now they're going after Datsyuk... Avangard Omsk's ownership is one of the two wealthiest in Russian hockey. To achieve its goals, Avangard Omsk is willing to spend almost any amount of money and try any ploy. That's why Avangard is making such a huge effort to acquire a player of Datsyuk's caliber -- to match and ultimately surpass Dynamo...

What should trouble the Red Wings and every other NHL team trying to sign its quality players, especially those with a Russian heritage: The changing face of Russia has created billionaires with sporting instincts who can afford anybody they covet-- Russian, Czech, Swede or American. Omsk is in Siberia but it's not in the dark ages-- and Avangard can afford to pay Datsyuk whatever it wants, if it wants.

The only caps in Russia are fur."


The Avangard-Dynamo rivalry is something that I had discussed in a post from a couple of months ago, Drop That Puck (go to the eurohockey.net link labeled "Avangard Omsk Declare War on Russian Champions").

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Journalism Is Very Overrated

I stumbled across this article the other day on FOXSports.com...

Oooohh, tough guy The Year's Most Overrated Players
by Dayn Perry

If they were a band, they'd be Coldplay. Yep, it's the top 10 most overrated players for 2005 ...

1. Scott Podsednik, LF, White Sox
2. Carlos Beltran, CF, Mets
3. Hank Blalock, 3B, Rangers
4. Kevin Millar, 1B, Red Sox
5. Victor Zambrano, SP, Mets
6. C.C. Sabathia, SP, Indians
7. Zack Greinke, SP, Royals
8. Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Mariners
9. Sean Casey, 1B, Reds
10. Ryan Klesko, LF, Padres


Some points of my own:
1) "Dayn"-- I'm guessing that's like "Taylor Dayne", only a bit less masculine?
2) "If they were a band, they'd be Coldplay." Yeah, and if they were a weak-ass writing cliché, they'd be the "I think this is a hep band reference" analogy (already adequately discussed in Can't Stop The Bleeding's "Worst SportsCenter Analogy Of All-Time" post from a week ago).
3) Ichiro's production might be down this year, but one of the primary objectives in baseball is getting hits, and when you look at the players who have had the most hits in one major league season, Ichiro is the only one on there who played after 1930. If someone is expecting him to hit 50 home runs then they're the one with the problem.
4) Who's even rating guys like Ryan Klesko, never mind over-rating him?

I read a ton of articles everyday written by dipshits like Dayn (is it just "Dan", or "Dane"? Never mind, it's gay either way)-- guys who have a certain amount of space to fill every week, so the sooner they come up with some stupid idea the better. A lot of it is 20/20 hindsight on past trades and draft picks that they probably approved of when they first took place, or fake "edgy" stuff like "Why no one wants to play on the same team with so-and-so" that they make up just to appear controversial. Hey, I'm full of crap most of the time, too, but I'm not a trained professional-- I'm doing this just as a goof.

For example: (exit stage right...)

Denver Dies

We're feeling good from the pills we took, awww baby don't gimme that look The mayor of Denver, I think

(AP) Sept. 6, 2005 -- Denver died Friday at Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital of complications from treatment for cancer. Denver's death was first reported by "Entertainment Tonight."

Denver had also undergone quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year. Denver was 70.


First New Orleans practically becomes a ghost town, and now I read that the city of Denver has died. I don't know where trouble is going to land next, but if I lived anywhere near Whitney Houston (or even Alan Houston) I'd be pretty scared right now.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Pavel Datsyuk signs with Avangard

Barnaby, Hardly Working

It is being reported by Soviet Sport that Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, so far unable to complete his contract negotiations with the NHL club, could sign to play with Avangard Omsk of the Russian Super League within a day. Up 'til now, Datsyuk has been playing in the Russian pre-season with Dynamo Moscow while the negotiations with Detroit were ongoing. Here's how some of the Soviet Sport article reads, to the best of my meager translating abilities (which means, taking the jumbled mush that Babel Fish spits out and making coherent sentences out of it):

Datsyuk - In The "Advance Guard"?

Today it must be decided what Russian club will claim the best player in the Super League. As it has become known for "Soviet Sport", the most valuable player in Russia of the past season, Pavel Datsyuk, can continue his career not in Detroit, not with Dynamo, but in Omsk with the "Advance Guard" (Avangard). Yesterday evening, the player and his agent conducted negotiations with the Team President of Hawks ("Russian Hawks" is another nickname for Avangard Omsk). During the day yesterday, it became known that the position of Detroit is that the General Manager, Ken Holland, was inclined to the opinion that they cannot complete a deal with the best hockey player in the Super League this past season... The team can afford the money- this past season, Detroit were considered the richest club in the NHL- but they are limited to a wage ceiling of $39 million. Because of that, Holland maintains that the club cannot sign a contract of Pavel's worth in this year. The team will retain the rights to Datsuk for two more seasons, and the negotiations will continue in the following year. Also yesterday it became known that Datsyuk might not proceed just with an "insurance" contract (one that he can back out of), but a genuine contract with a Russian team.

To Datsyuk, it doesn't make sense to arrive at training camp in Detroit without a contract. Pavel is no novice, but one of the best forwards in the game, and has nothing to prove. But for him to wait one-and-a-half months, while the window in Russia is now open, does not also make sense. Pavel is close to his optimum playing form now, but a prolonged absence of play will take away from his preparation for the Olympics. In a press release given to all outlets of the North American media, which Soviet Sport was given on Thursday, the following statement was highlighted: "If, by the 5th of September, when the Russian season begins, if we do not have an agreement with Detroit, then we will play the entire season in the Super League." Datsyuk has an agreement with Dynamo, but the club has made a follow-up offer with less advantageous conditions. Thus, Avangard Omsk left a tempting contract proposal with Datsyuk's agent. There are also signs from Detroit that the NHL club hasn't given up on signing a contract with its most promising forward. The final confirmation of whether Datsyuk leaves the NHL to play with Avangard, or remains with Dynamo, won't be learned until tomorrow at 2:00pm Moscow time, when all claims in the Super League must be completed.


Update 9/5/05 2:14pm:
Datsyuk has put his signature on a contract with Avengard Omsk, according to this article (rian.ru): "As reported by the news agency RIA on Monday in the press-service of professional hockey leagues (PKHL), the Omsk hockey club officially presented the signed contract with the player, who now can be declared for Avangard." The article states that Dynamo has 10 days to respond, though from reading the article I'm not sure why. It also isn't mentioned if there is an "out" clause in the contract for Datsyuk to be able to go back to the NHL this season, though I'm guessing that there isn't.

Rock Cats eliminated

I wish I was a little dumber, having a root beer, enjoying my summer
Pat Neshek says "Fuck you" to Akron and the 2005 season

Going into yesterday's action, New Britain stood two games out of second place with two games left, meaning the next Trenton win or the next New Britain loss would clinch a playoff spot for Trenton. Well, we got both in one day, as Trenton beat Harrisburg on Sunday while New Britain lost to Binghamton, and so now all that's left of the Eastern League season for the Rock Cats is to play out the final game of the regular season today and then pack their bags.

Less that four weeks ago, after New Britain had just lost 5 home games in a row and were 11 games under .500, I figured that it would almost be out of the picture for the Rock Cats to get back to .500 and into playoff contention. That's exactly what they did, though, as New Britain had a .500 record (70-70) before yesterday, and the team stayed in contention for a playoff spot until the next-to-last day of the season.

A couple of other positive notes: the Rock Cats' Danny Matienzo was the Eastern League's Player of the Week for August 22-28, and Rock Cats reliever Pat Neschek did end up passing grouchy bastard Justin Kaye in the EL saves standings, 24 to 22.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hamilton and Giroux signed by Ak Bars

I wish I wasn't such a nerd, everyone I see I feel like flipping the bird Ray Giroux, with Albany

After Ak Bars had claimed a couple of days earlier (and was reported here) that they were not interested in Jeff Hamilton, it has since been announced in Sport-Express and on the Ak Bars Kazan web site that Ak Bars has indeed signed Jeff Hamilton and Raymond Giroux. Giroux is a veteran defenseman who, just like Jeff Hamilton, played his college hockey at Yale University and later spent time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers; Giroux played in the AHL with the Houston Aeros last season. While Hamilton wasn't listed as a free agent on "Team Tracker" (though he obviously was, if he was in negotiations with a Russian team), Giroux is listed as one of the Minnesota Wild's unrestricted free agents.

Both Hamilton and Giroux have been first-team AHL All-Stars, and either player would have been a key addition to any organization's AHL squad. Perhaps one of the reasons why neither of them had been signed to a North American club as of this late a date is the new rule that any AHL player making over $75,000 must clear waivers first if they are to be called up to the NHL. In the event that a player is claimed off waivers, half of his salary counts against his former team's cap. Most likely the main purpose of this rule is to discourage NHL teams from trying to save a bit of cap money by stashing NHL-caliber players in the minors while fully intending to call them up later. However, the rule also has a dual effect in that it keeps AHL rosters younger by working against veteran players like Giroux and Hamilton-- players who can typically spend a number of years as All-Stars in the AHL, making $100,000 or more each year, while getting the occasional call-up to the NHL. The AHL seems more than willing to go in a younger, more developmental direction, especially as the league has already made reductions in the number of veteran players that each team is allowed to dress for each game, perhaps out of fear of becoming an IHL-like resting place for players who had long ago passed by their chance of making it in the NHL. It shouldn't be all that suprising, then, that even with the NHL back in business, some very good AHL players are now working overseas.

UPDATE - 9/11/05:

Thanks to a link in Tom Benjamin's NHL Weblog (spurred by a comment of mine to one of his posts, it seems), which lead to me finding this Toronto Star article, Baffling clause drives role players to European clubs:

"At issue is a clause within the agreement that has earned scant public attention. It falls under the category of minor-league compensation and is the newly created 're-entry waiver.'

Simply put, if a player is subject to waivers—- typically meaning he has at least three years' professional experience—- and is making more than $75,000 (all figures U.S.) at the minor-league level, he can not move freely between the NHL and the American Hockey League. If he is demoted to the AHL, he must clear waivers before he can be recalled.

The kicker is this: if he is claimed by another team, the team that lost him must pay half his NHL salary and that money — which would be at least $225,000 — would also count against the salary cap of the team that lost the player. So, in other words, an NHL team loses the player, the money and the room under its $39 million cap. The result of that has been a virtual cap of $75,000 on the money being offered on two-way contracts.

The result, too, is that players are signing in Europe-— at least 10 have bolted since the CBA was unveiled-— where a player the calibre of a Druken or a Hedin can earn guaranteed salaries between $100,000 and $200,000, all or most of it tax-free, along with benefits that include accommodation and a vehicle.

If a player is making an economic decision, it's tough for the NHL to compete. A team could guarantee a player more at the minor-league level but that would virtually ensure that a demotion to the AHL is permanent. Teams, many of which are precariously close to the salary cap, aren't going to risk going over for a player who is a typically a role player at the big-league level.

'If you clear waivers on the way down, you're not coming back up,' said Leafs enforcer Nathan Perrott, who is trying to negotiate his way out of a two-year contract. 'If you go down, you're stuck.'

Friday, September 02, 2005

Jeff Hamilton jilted by Ak Bars

Nobody ever listens to me, I'm like a Leonard Cohen record

Jeff Hamilton, who was second in points on the Hartford Wolf Pack last year, apparently just recently tried to catch on with Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League but couldn't. The Russian site sport-express.ru posted this bit of news earlier today, under the heading, "Jeff Hamilton from the AHL club Hartford will not play on Ak Panther":

Said the Vice President of the Kazan club, Ravil Shavaleyev, "There actually was a proposal made to have this player on the Panthers (Ak Bars), but then to us it became unnecessary; therefore we forego Hamilton." Thus, Ak Panther remains as before, with only one foreign player, Canadian goalie Fred Brathwaite.

Hamilton lead the AHL with 43 goals playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in '03-'04, and also set an AHL single-season record for game-winning goals that year with 15. Last year ('04-'05) he signed on with Hartford after the start of the regular season and posted 52 points (23 goals, including another 10 game-winners, and 29 assists) despite missing about 20 games. At the time, it was understood that Hamilton was able to sign an AHL contract with Hartford only because of the NHL lockout, and that he would still be New York Islanders property once the lockout was over. Because of that I'd have to presume that this year Hamilton would be back with the Islanders and playing in Bridgeport again, except that he's not yet listed on either roster (Islanders or Bridgeport), or on tsn.ca's NHL "Team Tracker" next to either the Islanders or the Rangers as a free agent. On top of that, his player profile on tsn.ca is listed under "Islanders", but reads "New York Rangers". Geez, doesn't anybody want this guy on their team?