Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Next Stop Nowhere

I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn’t work. As soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality
Chris Holt (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack rolled to their second straight pre-season win last night, for whatever that's worth, beating the Springfield Falcons in Springfield, 5-3. Chris "Five" Holt staked the Falcons to an early 2-0 lead, allowing goals on the first two shots he faced, but he nevertheless played solidly after that. Lee Falardeau, who'd impressed no one up til now this pre-season, made up for it a bit by sparking Hartford's comeback with two third-period goals, the first one coming on a strong individual effort when Falardeau stole the puck in the Springfield zone and crashed in hard towards the net.

This game was even more than your typical trip to Springfield, the city that time forgot after about 1981 or so. For starters, the Falcons were filming a TV commercial at the game for their new slogan, "Big Time Fun!". Based upon an almost laughable premise that makes the arena's Jumbotron a part of the sales pitch ("Big city, big building, big screen"), the commercial is built around a shot of a section full of fans cheering on the Falcons and then screaming in unison, "Big time fun!" Not a bad idea, although they literally had to ask the whole building to move into one section in order to create a supposedly "candid" shot of a lens-ful of people having fun at a Falcons game. The sight of a few Springfield fans proclaiming themselves "big time" while the rest of the building around them lay dark and empty was enough irony for me for one day.

I don’t have a microwave but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit
The Falcons' in-game MC, Shaggy. What the fuck's with this guy?

One cool thing the Falcons have this year is a drum section in the mezzanine above Section 20. There was a group of about 5 or 6 percussionists that would start jamming out during breaks in the game action, sorta like at a college football game. A lot further down on the coolness scale is longtime Falcons' MC "Shaggy", a local FM radio fop who seems to think he's a Scooby Doo character, complete with That 70's Hair. I know that the Wolf Pack's own in-game MC, Damon Squat, is also a disc jockey, but at least Damon's career wouldn't be threatened by a pair of scissors.

The Falcons have a defenseman named Dufresne, so whenever he'd have the puck I'd amuse myself by shouting out "Dufresne, party of two. Dufresne, party of two. Who can eat at a time like this? People are missing!" You're not alone-- no one sitting near me seemed to get the joke, either.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Finz or Fonz?

The Hartford Wolf Pack hammered the Worcester Sharks last night, 4-1, in a pre-season game held at the International Skating Center in Simsbury, Ct.

A sloppily-played first period by the Wolf Pack, combined with some stellar play by Sharks goalie Rob "DikLikar" McVicar in net (playing well above his career ECHL'er status for the first period-and-a-half, before being spelled by runty Ryan MacDonald) kept the game scoreless early on. Hartford's dominance began to show in the second period, though, as the Pack broke through with two goals to take a 2-0 lead, outshooting the Sharks, 20-3.

Marvin "Gumby Legs" Degon made the score 3-1 for Hartford late in the third period when he fired the puck home from the right face-off circle during a 5-on-3 power play. The Pack's 4th and final goal of the night, credited to Martin Richter after originally being given to Mark Lee, was a fluky goal that clanked off the post and involved a conference between the refs to confirm that it had gone in.

Al Montoya played the entire game in net for the Wolf Pack (with Chris Holt as the back-up) and looked quick and sharp for the most part, though he's kept his tendency to wander around a little bit.

Ryan Constant getting ready to throw down (Chris Rutsch photo)

The only fight of the game was between Hartford's Ryan Constant, a Cree Indian, and Worcester's Brennan Evans. Both players threw their helmets to the ice right after dropping the gloves, which will be a common sight this year with the new mandatory visors rule. Evans is almost half-a-foot taller than Constant, but Constant held his ground well and even got in the best punch of the fight, an upper-cut that snapped Evans' head back.

The Worcester Sharks are new to the AHL this year, having been the Cleveland Barons, while the old Worcester Ice Cats are now playing in Peoria as the Rivermen. The Worcester mascot, "Finz", is one of the dorkiest-looking mascots that I've ever seen, though he would probably look better with some sort of shark body instead of just a jersey and a fin. Unlike his relative, Fonz-- who was always somewhat of a sissy, despite his leather biker look and all-- Finz is also a poor sport and a bad example for children:

Finz steals some kid's lunch money, then pisses on his homework

Just like the real Sharks players would, Finz loses to a bunch of girls
at tug-o-war

Finz gets busted by Officer Willie for pushing dope outside the school


Unlike the Fonz, the Finz is not cool.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's a slow day at Deadspin...

Here, you throw this away it's Will Leitch's turn to stand out front and hand out flyers.

Unless Can't Stop The Bleeding means something different when he calls Leitch "The Human Whoopee Cushion".

(image via Adfreak and Thadeus Maximus)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shady Hockey Returns To Danbury

Danbury Ice Arena

The Danbury Ice Arena, the former home of the UHL's Danbury Trashers (and if you don't know what happened to them, you can click here and start reading), may be back in the pro hockey business this season-- albeit with a team in the semi-pro North Eastern Hockey League, a shady league with a dubious track record.

From today's Danbury News-Times:

Apparently there won't be much of a hiatus in professional hockey for Danbury.

The New England Stars were accepted into the North Eastern Hockey League on Tuesday and the franchise will begin playing in the 2006-07 season.

"It's expected to fill the hockey void for the people in the city of Danbury," said Stephan Seeger, the Stars' general manager.

Much of that void was created after the Danbury Trashers suspended operations in June after just two seasons in the United Hockey League.

Seeger, who declined to name the Stars' owners, said the management group is based out of the Stamford, Greenwich and New Canaan area.

Seeger said the group was looking to bring another professional hockey team to Connecticut and Danbury became the logical town after the Trashers ceased operations.

The Stars are scheduled to play a shortened 10-game home schedule at the Danbury Ice Arena for the 2006-07 season, which runs November through April. After the league re-evaluates the franchise at the end of the season, a full schedule of home games likely will be played for the 2007-08 season.

Some fans, however, are a little doubtful about the longevity of the newly formed four-team NEHL.

"A lot of the fans that I've talked to are very skeptical about this new league," said Danbury resident Peter Valenzon, who regularly attended Trashers games the past two seasons. "It seems a little unstable, but I'll come to check it out when they come here."

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the North Eastern Hockey League (which I suppose is just about everybody), the league was founded by would-be hockey player and entrepreneur Jim Cashman. Cashman, who has played in a handful of games-- literally seven or eight-- in various low-level minor pro leagues like the WPHL and CHL back in the 90's, not only runs the NEHL but is also the coach and team captain of one of its teams.

The NEHL has already sputtered through one financially troubled season, in '03-'04, then remained dormant in '04-'05 before attempting to regroup for the '05-'06 season as the Continental Professional Hockey League, to no avail (the season was cancelled after 6 games).

Although the league promotes itself as "A-level minor league hockey", it's really a semi-pro, "weekend only" league, featuring 16-man rosters stocked with marginal players. I followed the league for a little bit during their first season, mostly because the league had a team from Connecticut (in name only, it turned out), and the game scores were typically of the 13-9, 11-10, double-digit variety.

Here's how the NEHL describes itself on its own web site:

The North Eastern Hockey League is a high scoring, fast paced league using NHL rules with a few variations. In the first season, games averaged 15 goals per game between both teams. The NEHL is based on affordability for both the owner and the fans.

Players in the NEHL make between $30 and $100 per game depending on the team/market/owner. A great benefit to the NEHL for players is that they can work on their day-to-day jobs and still spend quality time with their family. With games on weekends only, players have plenty of time with family and their non-hockey jobs.

The "League Mission", as stated on their web site, is to provide "high quality entertainment that is very family affordable for the fans of each city. With ticket prices between $8 and $12 we feel this is very inexpensive and affordable to any family." With college and high school hockey available around the state, providing more-interesting hockey for much less, or even free, what's the point?

Here's how one commenter on the Danbury News-Times web site described the league (completely unverified, of course, but still funny):

This league is a joke, and the owner of the league is a crook. He has had 2 other leagues that folded, and owes money to former players. Let me ask you this: whatever happened to the Connecticut Cougars of this league? You might also ask him what happened to his Gulf Coast Hockey League.

One obvious question that comes to mind after reading the News-Times article is, why would the New England Stars GM decline to name who the team's owners are?

"We're here to provide fun, safe, affordable entertainment for the families in Danbury, and we hope that they'll come out with their kids to the games and support us."

"Who do you work for?"

"Um, I'd rather not say."

Good luck, Danbury.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Would You Wear This Jersey?

Las Vegas Thunder '96-'97 Valentine's Day jersey

These are all actual, game-worn jerseys that I found through the many web sites and photo albums maintained on the Internet by game-worn jersey collectors. Most of these are of the "One-Game Wonder" variety-- not referring to the "one-day wonder" NHL players that I just posted about, but meaning one-off commemorative jerseys that are worn for just one game or so, then usually auctioned off for charity (the plaid Bob Uecker jerseys that the Milwaukee Admirals wore for a weekend last season are an example of this). Some of these jerseys, though, are the everyday game jerseys worn by that particular team throughout the entire season... if you can imagine that.

So here they are, from the ones that I was able find (and I'm sure there are many more examples out there)-- the worst of the worst, the baddest of the bad:

Seattle Thunderbirds '00 "70's Night" jersey
Complete with afro on the team mascot logo, and a peace sign patch on the hem

Charlotte Checkers (ECHL) David St. Germain '03-'04 jersey
(collector: cote67)
Great, if you want to go to the game looking like a
picnic tablecloth

Abilene Aviators (WPHL) Craig Perrett '98-'99 jersey

Louisville Riverfrogs (ECHL) '97-'98 jersey

Milwaukee Admirals Kevin Dean '01-'02 Christmas jersey
(collector: markski)

Milwaukee Admirals Peter Smrek '02-'03 Christmas jersey
(collector: markski)

Milwaukee Admirals Petr Sachl '00-'01 "Tie Dye" jersey
(collector: markski)
While a bunch of teams have all used this tie-dye design,
I still say that the MilAds are way ahead of the field when it
comes to silly-looking jerseys

San Antonio Iguanas (CHL) Paul Buczkowski '00-'01 Thanksgiving jersey
(collector: soonerfan65)

San Diego Gulls (ECHL) '04-'05 jersey
(collector: nhlmvp70)

Landshut Cannibals (DEL) Mark Lamb '97-'98 jersey
(collector: tigerlady)
European jerseys should almost be off-limits for being
universally goofy, but I think this one deserves special
mention just for the little cannibal guy running around on it

Nürnberg Ice Tigers (DEL) Chris Luongo '02-'03 jersey
(collector: tigerlady)
Awesome jersey + mister+lady+jeans = crap

Bodens IK (Sweden) '00-'01 jersey
(collector: nik)

Essen Moskitos (DEL) Tray Tuomite '03-'04 Christmas jersey
(collector: kiki)
A wacky European jersey,
and it's a Christmas jersey, too? Jackpot!!

Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL) Jamie Storr "Old-Time Hockey" jersey
(collector: pelts35)

Las Vegas Thunder (IHL) '95-'96 Tie Dye jersey

Portland Pirates (AHL) Jeff Paul '98-'99 Halloween jersey
(collector: themurphycollection)

Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL) '06-'07 Halloween "Texas" jersey

Knoxville Speed (UHL) Riley Nelson '01-'02 jersey
Like the Checkers picnic table jersey, only less creative

Pensacola Ice Pilots (ECHL) Dan Marcotte '97-'98 "Mardi Gras" jersey
(collector: mattbiggs)

Pensacola Ice Pilots Jeremy Van Hoof '01-'02 St. Patrick's Day jersey
(collector: mattbiggs)

Madison Monsters (UHL) Chris Newans '98-'99 jersey
(collector: mike)

Utah Grizzlies (AHL) Jean-Marc Pelletier '04-'05 Christmas jersey
(collector: pelts35)

Utah Grizzlies Jean-Marc Pelletier '04-'05 Halloween jersey
(collector: pelts35)
I know, I know-- I own one that's kinda similar...

As an added bonus, check out these hideous Laredo Bucks (CHL) jerseys...

Christmas jersey

Halloween jersey

Happy collecting!