Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

One Potato

For the Hartford Wolf Pack home game against the Manchester Monarchs this Saturday, the first 5000 fans through the door will receive a commemorative "Wolf Pack-themed Mr. Potato Head".

Rumor has it that this promotion had to be re-scheduled from an earlier date, after the Wolf Pack's initial order for "the goofy-looking guy with the big nose and plastic ears" resulted in a whole shipment of these:

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Ding-a-Ling

Peoria Rivermen lineup card, 11/24/06 (Peoria Journal Star photo)

I read about this story through Michael Fornabaio's Soundin' Off blog over the weekend, and figured it was worth a mention (besides the fact that it includes a couple of names from Wolf Pack history).

From Dave Eminian's (Peoria Journal Star) Peoria Rivermen blog, Cleve's World:

Peoria right wing Charles Linglet's name was incompletely listed ("Ling") on the lineup card turned in by the Peoria Rivermen before their game against Omaha on Friday. By rule, the Rivermen were allowed to use a player named Ling. But not a player named Linglet, because the latter was not in the official lineup.

So, 8 seconds into the game, officials sent Linglet off the Rivermen bench, ruling he was ineligible to play.

In such cases, teams do not get to replace an ineligible player, either. You play the game a man short on the bench.

Omaha head coach Ryan McGill waited until the opening puck was dropped, then handed his lineup sheet to referee Frederick L’Ecuyler, who skated to the Rivermen bench and had an exchange in French with Linglet:

"He showed the lineup sheet and said my name wasn’t spelled out there, then said, 'Hey, you’re out of the game'", Linglet said. "So I just got up and left. I’ve never seen that happen."

Rivermen head coach Dave Baseggio and assistant coach Brent Thompson (who filled out the card) apologized to Linglet afterward.

"Omaha called it to the referee’s attention, which is their right by the rules," Baseggio said. "Ultimately, it’s my job to double-check the lineup card and tonight I didn’t."

Brent Thompson (Hartford Wolf Pack) slugging it out with Aaron
Downey (Providence Bruins), '98-'99 (Diane Sobolewski photo)

Eminian goes on to mention some instances where similar lineup card snafus occured:

In 1991-92 in the IHL, Rivermen coach Harold Snepsts’ lineup card listed winger Kyle Reeves, but not All-Star defenseman Dominic Lavoie. When the game started, Reeves was in the broadcast booth doing commentary with Rivermen radio voice Norm Ulrich, while Lavoie was playing in the game.

A few minutes later, Lavoie was out, taking Reeves’ place on the radio broadcast. And Reeves, since his name WAS listed, hurried to the locker room, dressed, and played.

Michael Fornabaio offers his own example:

It's reminiscent of one of the weirdest games the Sound Tigers ever played, Nov. 23, 2003, against Binghamton. Cole Jarrett banked a pass off Dieter Kochan into his own net for the first stoppage of the game, at which point Binghamtom coach John Paddock pointed out that Bridgeport coach Greg Cronin had circled Rob Collins' number on the starting lineup instead of Mattias Weinhandl's. A little later, Peter Smrek shot a puck through the goal netting for Bingo and didn't get the goal; Bridgeport won 2-1.

In case you're keeping track, all of these stories involve names from Wolf Pack history-- Ryan McGill, head coach '02-'05; Brent Thompson, defenseman '97-'99; John Paddock, head coach '99-'02; and Peter Smrek, defenseman '00-'02.

Speaking of names from the past, Wolf Pack fans may be suprised to find out that Johan Holmqvist, the "Swedish Sieve", comes in at #2 on James Mirtle's list of The Best Players You've Never Heard Of.

Sayeth James:

I'm honestly surprised Holmqvist never made more of an impact in his time with the New York Rangers organization, as he's looked terrific this season.

I'm glad he's playing much better now, but the worst player in Wolf Pack history?-- Holmqvist gets my vote, hands down.

The Bryce Is Right

Bryce Lampman (#26) after scoring the first of two goals (Photo:

I guess when you chose to follow a below-.400 team thru miserable traffic for a road game in a gloomy town at an arena that's a bit like a Brachs Malt Egg (shiny and alluring on the outside, dumb and dense as rocks on the inside), you're hoping for a little bit of luck. Luck, so that maybe the team will win the game and make your expense and effort worthwhile. Enough luck, also, so that the old guy next to you who keeps whistling and clapping loudly every few seconds finally gets tired in the third period and shuts the hell up, and so the mice scurrying under the seats finally go away. Hey, DCU Center-- would it be too difficult for you to hire an exterminator sometime soon? Appreciate it, thanks. That'd be cool for when I come back someday, seeing as I'm all lucky now and stuff, not to mention that fucking bored.

As luck would have it, the Hartford Wolf Pack put together their third win in a row on Sunday, travelling up to Worcester to beat the Sharks in a rousing back-and-forth contest, 6-5. The Pack were tied or trailing for most of the game until Bryce Lampman's two third-period goals carried them into OT, after which Jarkko Immonen scored the game-winner in overtime, his second goal of the night.

Lampman has been on a bit of a roll lately, notching 3 goals and 3 assists over his last three games. When I pointed this out to Mrs. Brushback after the game, she said back, "Yeah, but I bet he was still a minus tonight," and sure enough, he was (-1). About the only Pack defenseman who wasn't a minus was Ivan Baranka, who also had 2 assists. Well, Martin Richter was a +1 also, even if he didn't play all that well.

On the face-off, left to right: Dawes (#9), Immonen, and Callahan (#24). #23 is Ivan Baranka. (Photo:

Also on a major roll is the Wolf Pack top line of Ryan Callahan, Jarkko Immonen, and Nigel Dawes, accounting for 8 points (3g, 5a) and 13 shots on goal in this game. By themselves, Immonen and Callahan combined for 11 goals in the Pack's four games this week, with Dawes notching 6 assists in that span.

Al Montoya lasted the whole game in net, after not playing since being pulled in two straight starts earlier in the week. Montoya's play was still shaky, and he seems to use "drop to the ice" as a first option on most save attempts, leaving himself scrambling to stop any second chances for the opposition. I think it's telling that Montoya is the first-round draft pick and the organization's #1 goalie prospect, but it was the veteran Valiquette who started in net on Friday and Saturday, when the Pack needed to win the most.

Al Montoya (Photo:

As for the aforementioned DCU Center (which used to be called the Centrum Centre-- swear to God!), it's got a number of good things going for it; the parking, the facade, the lobby, the video board, the lighting, and the concessions are all top-notch. Inside the arena, though, is where things take a tumble-- mostly with the seating areas, which are both odd and uncomfortable. The way the rink is wedged into the floor space makes for less than a perfect fit, so the seating rows on the glass at the end of each rink start above the boards, just like they used to in New Haven (by coincidence, another SMG-run facility). By contrast, the seats on the corners are set well back from the glass, also like New Haven, and the chairs all around are too close together and low to the ground (which maybe explains why the mice are so short).

Worcester has just one Zamboni to clean the ice between periods (at least it's a real Zamboni, and not an Olympia), meaning less time for contests during the intermissions, so they hold some of the on-ice promotions (like throwing t-shirts into the crowd) during the game itself, which makes for an odd sight while the players are still skating around the rink.

Benny Hahnna, banzai scout master (Photo:

Worcester also has Benny Hahnna, the Banzai Scout Master, who sucessfully led his section into doing "the wave" on the count of three, even if none of the other sections bothered to follow suit. Rock on, Benny! One-two-three!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Bell Is a Cup Until It Is Struck

Craig Weller's game-winning goal (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack won two games in a row for the first time this season after defeating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at home on Saturday, 3-2.

The Pack scored first when Dan Girardi turned around Bridgeport's Luch Aquino as he was streaking towards the net on a breakaway, with Girardi then jump-starting the Wolf Pack on a breakaway of their own by sending a long pass up-ice to Ryan Callahan, who flicked the puck past Wade Dubielewicz from a tricky angle from the right-hand side of the net. The goal by Callahan-- his 8th in his last 7 games-- meant that, thru Friday's 3-2 win in Providence and Wednesday's 5-4 loss to Worcester, the Wolf Pack saw a stretch of 2-plus games where all of their goals (8) were scored by either Callahan or Jarkko Immonen.

Ryan Callahan sends the puck past Dubielewicz (Chris Rutsch photo)

Bryce Lampman, who notched two assists in the win against Providence, kept the puck bouncing his way again in this game when he scored midway through the second period to put Hartford up, 2-0. It was sort of a flukey goal that came when Lampman, standing against the boards and all the way out by the blue line (near where the Wolf Pack penalty box is), sent the puck on-net through three Bridgeport defenders. After the puck went in, Dubielewicz slammed his stick to the ice, seemingly frustrated by either his own inattention or the lack of effort by the Sound Tigers players in front of him.

Blake "Perry" Comeau scored for Bridgeport early in the third to make the score 2-1, and then the Sound Tigers tied the game with only 20 seconds left on a shorthanded tally by Eric Boguniecki that actually wasn't a shorthanded tally, as Dubielewicz was sitting on the Bridgeport bench for an extra attacker.

Then, in the overtime period, Ivan Baranka did an awesome job keeping the puck away from two Bridgeport defenders near the crease before sending a backwards pass over to Craig Weller, who scored the game-winner 3:11 into OT. It was Baranka's first game back since missing 10 or so games due to an injury, and he also was awarded the "Check of the Game" on the video board (for a couple of glancing blows on two Brigeport players, but at least he was hitting somebody).

Nigel Dawes was kept off the scoresheet (after scoring 4 points over his last two games), but he was still a major force during the game, creating several breakaways and odd-man rushes as well as showing off his amazing wrist shot (5 shots on net). He and Ryan Callahan both gave solid all-around efforts, banging bodies and knocking Bridgeport players off their skates for most of the night, too.

Dawes tangling with Bgpt's Mark Wotton (Chris Rutsch photo)

The win helped the Wolf Pack raise their record to a paltry 7-12, still well behind Springfield and Lowell for last place in the division. However, the Pack are 3-1 against Bridgeport this season in the all-important race for the "imaginary" Geico Cup-- a hunk of metal that I can say actually exists now that I've seen it in the Wolf Pack offices, next to Jason LaBarbera's '03-'04 MVP trophy. I was even told that the office employees sometimes use the Geico Cup to serve Cheerios in, just to make it feel more useful.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Who You Calling an "Ex-Leaf"??

Actor Tom Cavanaugh (Photo: Russ Martin/The Star, thru JABS)

By now, I'm sure that some of you have seen the story about "Breakfast with Scot" (covered in Can't Stop The Bleeding, Just Another Blog On Sports, and elsewhere), a movie being filmed in Ontario about a gay hockey player and his lawyer boyfriend raising an 11-year-old boy together.

Here's how TSN in Canada posted the story:

Unfortunately, the TSN story links to the TSN player profile of Tom Cavanagh, who plays in the AHL for the Worcester Sharks (note the one less "u" in his name) and who is neither an ex-Leaf nor gay as far as we know (though he does play for Worcester, so anything's possible).

The "other" Tom Cavanagh

Perhaps TSN should stick to curling or whatever else it is they cover up there; it's not like hockey is all that big in Canada, anyway.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Swimming with the Sharks

Ryan "Who da man" Callahan getting knocked around; Koharski
then called a roughing penalty on Callahan (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack found themselves down three goals quickly to the Worcester Sharks last night and still nearly pulled off a comeback, eventually losing by a score of 5-4. The fifth Worcester goal came at 18:28 of the final period, when Wolf Pack defenseman Bryce Lampman juggled the puck on his stick and into his own net.

The game was another Jamie Koharski-reffed gem, with 17 power plays called leading to 6 power-play goals between the two teams (all four Wolf Pack goals came on the power play). Hartford out-shot Worcester 47-31, including 19-5 in the third period.

Al Montoya gave up three goals in the first 15 minutes and was pulled for the second straight game, although at least 2 of the goals he surrended were slightly re-directed by either a stick or a skate. Steve Valiquette filled in for Montoya the rest of the way, making 20 of 22 saves and earning the third star of the game even though he was feeling under the weather-- at one point taking off his mask and glove and throwing up on the ice, which I don't think I've ever seen a player do during a game before*.

With the Pack down 4-1 in the second period, Ryan Callahan almost single-handedly led the Wolf Pack's comeback charge. At 18:17 of the second period, Callahan scored the first of his three consecutive power-play goals on the night when he slid the puck across the crease and the Sharks' Brennan Evans put his stick down to the ice in an attempt to block Callahan's pass, accidentally tipping the puck in behind Worcester goalie Dimitri Patzold.

Callahan scored again to start off the third period, making the score 4-3, and then, after Lampman's bobble made it 5-3 Sharks, Callahan netted his second hat trick of the season during a 6-on-4 with 8 seconds left.

Brad Is-a-buster (Heather Rutsch photo)

Newly-acquired Brad Isbister (rhymes with DustBuster, cuz they both suck) was credited with 3 shots on net, but wasn't much of a factor.

Said assistant coach Ken Gernander in today's Courant, about Ryan Callahan-- "You can talk positives about him all day. It's pretty evident he's a hungry player. He's got a nose for the net, good hands to finish and plays with courage. He's not afraid to go in the hard areas in front and take a whack to get the job done or finish checks in the neutral zone."

Dan Girardi assisted on all three of Callahan's scores, giving Girardi eight assists in his last five games. Nigel Dawes added two assists of his own, and now has three points in his first three games with the Pack since being sent down from the Rangers.

The only fight of the game happened two minutes into the first period, when Worcester's Glenn Olson and Hartford's Dale Purinton (back on defense, after playing at forward for a stretch of games) held a light scrum in the corner next to the Hartford net. It was probably the most boring fight I've seen all year, as Dale-- who rates alongside Richard Scott as one of the best enforcers in Wolf Pack history-- just doesn't seem to have it anymore (either that, or he's protecting his face for his future career as Jason Lee's stunt double).

Dale Purinton's shoving match with Glenn Olson (Heather Rutsch photo)

During the game, the video board flashed the message: "The Wolf Pack are 4-4-1 in their last 9 games". There was a time when that would've been considered an off month, but coming on the heels of a 1-6 start, it's now something to brag about.

*Maybe I was wrong when I said that Worcester's jerseys wouldn't make anyone puke?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

One of Ours For One of Theirs

Jakub Petruzalek (Chris Rutsch photo)

The New York Rangers today swapped 21-year-old Czech forward Jakub Petruzalek to the Carolina Hurricanes for 29-year-old Canadian do-nothing Brad Isbister.

Petruzalek, a 9th-round pick with an AHL contract and virtually no leverage, has been bounced around this year between Charlotte and Hartford, totalling 12 points in 13 games between the two teams. Not a likely NHL-er, Petruzalek accepted an AHL contract to come over from the Czech Republic to play in Hartford this year, and now finds himself unceremoniously sent down the river to another organization.

Isbister, a veteran of 467 games in the NHL, has been playing this year with the Albany River Rats and will report to the Hartford Wolf Pack, where apparently he's to provide some veteran stability to a 5-11 team laden with youngsters. One can only guess that Isbister also provides some type of insurance at forward for the parent Rangers-- otherwise, as Dubi at Blueshirt Bulletin puts it, if all they were looking to do was put some veterans on the Wolf Pack, they could've continued to sign bums like Chris Ferraro for free.

Basically, a Wolf Pack team with hardly any Europeans-- much less a single Russian player-- gets another big, useless, underachieving North American guy that we can all boo heavily until the day he either scores a goal or beats up somebody.

In Thanksgiving news, today I bought a really big turkey, which I promptly nicknamed Hugh Jessiman.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Picking Up Sluts Ain't The Half Of It

Thanks go out to the terminally amusing Yes But No But Yes, who, besides reminding us about the Billy Idol Christmas album-- "Thanks for destroying another part of my childhood Billy... I liked you better when you were shooting heroin and screwing hookers"-- also show the way to this awesome little Tattoo Maker that you can get your kids for Christmas:

Age: 6-12 years


Open up your very own pretend play tattoo parlor. This easy-to-use tattoo maker kit includes an electronic tattoo pen and funky stencils. Using soft, safe pulsating action, the tattoo pen creates realistic, washable designs with dramatic effects. Requires two AA batteries (not included).

The web site this is from,, is real-- I shit you not. They even have a list of written testimonials from actual customers:

What could be more reassuring than that?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Greatest Danger Could Be Your Stupidity, pt. 2

I'm guessing Gary Bettman gets this fortune all the time (

From Steve Zipay's column in Newsday today, about the NHL's continued fascination with form-fitting jerseys:

When the announcement arrived last week that the NHL and Reebok were partnering to open a flagship retail store in Manhattan next fall, the signal was unmistakable. New, sleeker jerseys designed by Reebok are coming-- as will the uproar from hockey traditionalists.

The snug sweaters that would be tucked into uniform pants could be unveiled at the All-Star Game in Dallas, we hear, and depending on the reaction, could be worn by all clubs as soon as the start of the 2007-08 season.

Officials originally wanted to launch the post-lockout league with a tighter, stretchy fabric that hugs equipment, like the NFL, but held off to preserve some visual attachment to the pre-lockout game.

In addition to a sexier look, NHL executives have said the style would further prevent players from using the looser, outside-the-shorts jerseys for hooking and obstruction. Maybe.

But let's cut to the chase. It's always about the money. The NHL is counting on a double revenue stream: Younger fans will buy the new merchandise (although some husky older ones might find the new duds a little tight around the tummy, right?) and voila! The current jerseys will instantly become retro and trigger a separate revenue stream.

And, a response from Hockeybird-- perhaps the funniest thing I read all day:

Zipay hits it on the head: the NHL has given up on the traditional crowd-- you fickle fans were the ones that really destroyed the game-- and is trying to remake the game of hockey from the bottom up.

When I was nine-years-old, I had a oversized Wayne Gretzky jersey that I literally could have pitched a tent with because it was so big, but nothing brought me more joy than that huge and loose team sweater. Think my future nine-year-old son is going to be equally excited by his form-fitting metrosexual Evgeni Malkin jersey? The one that's going to pin his wet and uncomfortable equipment to his body-- correction, his growing body, which means I'll have to buy him a new Malkin jersey every season.

Thanks, new NHL.

Waltz Across Texas

San Antonio's Mike Ricci (40) and Jakub Koreis (29) bear down
on Wolf Pack goalie Al Montoya (Darren Abate/Rampage photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack came away with a split of two road games in Texas this weekend, losing to the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday but coming back to win aginst the Houston Aeros on Sunday.

Dwight Helminen scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute left in the third period in the 4-3 win against Houston, as the Wolf Pack trailed twice in this game (2-1 and then 3-2). Dale Purinton tallied two goals for Hartford.

Steve Valiquette replaced Al Montoya in net after the first period, with Montoya giving up 2 goals on only 5 shots. Francis Lessard-- in his first game after missing the last 8 due to an elbow laceration-- fought the Aeros' fake Russian, Joey Tetarenko, twice in the first 9 minutes, with Lessard drawing a misconduct in the second fight for throwing a few extra blows after the fact. Dane Byers and Brandon Dubinsky were also ejected with game misconducts in the first period, for third man in and attempt to injure.

Dane Byers tangles with Houston's Clayton Stoner

In Saturday's game in San Antonio against the Rampage, Jarkko Immonen netted the only goal for the Wolf Pack, scoring with just a few seconds left in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. The game stayed tied until San Antonio's Yanik Lehoux scored his second of the game with less than 3-1/2 minutes left in the third period, and then the Rampage added an empty net goal to make the final score 3-1.

Just for ha-ha's, here's a look at some of the goofy-looking specialty jerseys that the Rampage have worn over the past few seasons, thanks to Darren Abate's amazing photo gallery:

Rampage "Fiesta" jersey

Rampage St. Patrick's Day jersey

Rampage "Rodeo" jersey

Avangard - NY Rangers match being discussed

Jaromir Jagr defending against Evgeni Malkin, Avangard vs. Metallurg '04-'05

Avangard Omsk of the Russian Super League will be unveiling a new Avangard Arena in September 2007, and plans are already in the works for an exhibition match between the New York Rangers and Avangard to open the building, according to a news item that ran in Sport Express yesterday.

Avangard Omsk, of course, is the team that Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr played for during the '04-'05 lockout season.

From the article:

The Avangard Arena will open its doors on September 1st of next year, possibly to the arrival of the NHL's New York Rangers, led by Jaromir Jagr.

According to information learned by SE correspondent Constantine Ivigina, active negotiations are currently being conducted towards this end, although it is still too early for any specific announcement.

Omsk had already finished the early stages of the arena's construction back in June, and the 10,000-seat sports complex will be one of only a handful of its size in the Russian Super League.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

You Better Shut The Oven, You're Wasting All The Gas

Syracuse's Ty Conklin, getting schooled as always

As if there wasn't enough reason to be bummed out by the forever rancid state of hockey marketing, now the Philadelphia Phantoms are experimenting with goal posts that light up.

Says the manufacturer, Litnets (link via Scarlett Ice), the goal nets "contain thousands of miniature light emitting diodes (LEDs) in the posts and crossbar that are triggered by the goal judge."

Actually, until I actually see this travesty in person, I'm not sure which is more ridiculous-looking-- a goal net that lights up, or "Phlex", the Philadelphia Phantoms' mascot:

I guess there must be tons of people in the greater Philadelphia area who think it's cool to have a mascot dressed in what looks like something Rev. Norb used to wear.

Thanks to Mr. Guch for adding the superfluous red circle-- frickin' pea-brain! Duh!

Don't Sweat the Technique

Just in time for the holidays-- genuine Christmas rapping paper:

This shit's making me giggle, I swear.

(Created by Simon Hill Design, link via Crackers United)

Friday, November 17, 2006

David Blaine To Do Something Stupid

Hi, I'm a dork

Pseudo-magician David Blaine has another stunt planned for next week, involving him hanging on a hook 40 feet in the air while falling asleep for three days, or something like that. I guess Criss Angel is whipping his butt so bad right now, he's gotta do something.

I'll admit to really digging the card tricks early on, but David Blaine's career has since been reduced to him trying to get away with doing as little magic as possible.

Here are some of David Blaine's other "tricks", taken from an article that ran earlier today in Reuters:

Watch me prove I can't get out of this

    Spending 61 hours inside a block of ice
    Buried in a coffin for one week
    Living one week underwater in a clear sphere
    Spending 44 days in a box in mid-air over the Thames River

If you think about other famous magicians, going back to Houdini and guys like that, they made a name for themselves by getting locked inside something and then getting out-- not by getting locked inside something and then just staying there. What kind of a magic trick is that?

"How's that magician guy doing?"
"Umm, he's still in the box."
(days later)
"Okay, how's he doing now?"
"I think he's still in the box."
"Damn, does this guy suck, or what?!"

Presenting David Blaine, the World's Most Boring Magician.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Stars Get Off The Ground

Danbury News-Times photo

The New England Stars are off to a 2-0 start on the fledgling NEHL season, winning their home opener yesterday at the Danbury Ice Arena over the Findlay (Ohio) Freedom. Perhaps indicative of the talent level of the 4-team league, the Stars outshot the Freedom 64-20 on their way to a 14-1 rout, scoring 7 times in the second period and 5 times in the third.

The game drew a healthy crowd of 1300 fans, including many holdovers from the Danbury Trashers' crew of fans in Section 102, according to a story today in the Danbury News-Times:

With Section 102 shouting at Freedom players and directly at Findlay goalie Dennis Canfield, the Stars scored again. Dave LoPresti found the back of the net on a one-timer from Chris Seifert at 15:47 of the first period.

When Canfield was briefly injured on a slashing penalty, the section gave the visiting goalie a standing 10-count before a mock sympathy call upon his standing up.

"This is good for the core group of fans," said Rick Ziegler of West Haven and a proud resident of Section 102. "To be honest, we were all skeptical, but so far, so good."

"We're just rolling it over like a pension plan," said Ziegler, who, like many in the section, still proudly wear their Trashers jerseys. "Noise, that's what were known for in this section."

Danbury News-Times photo

Findlay came into yesterday's game undefeated at 2-0, while the Stars had won their season opener a week earlier against the Mohawk Valley IceCats, 12-2.

For some much better photos of the game, go to

Get That Thing Outta My Face

I received this in an e-mail from the Springfield Falcons today:

After listening to the concerns and complaints from our fans, effective immediately the Springfield Falcons will stop selling the horns at all games. We said at the beginning of the season we would monitor the feedback from our fans and it is obvious that despite the fact that the horns are popular items with our young fans that they are too annoying and affect the enjoyment of our other customers.

Thank you,

Bruce Landon
President & General Manager

Thank you, Springfield Falcons!

I'm guessing that MC Doofus with the 70's haircut is still acceptable, though, right?

Pack Downed By Devils

Dale gives a Devil his due (Chris Rutsch photo)

As could have been predicted, the Hartford Wolf Pack failed to capitalize on any momentum from their blowout win over San Antonio the night before, dropping a late-afternoon Sunday home game to the Lowell Devils, 4-1.

Brandon Dubinsky put the Pack on the board first, 4:08 into the first period, but Lowell responded with a power-play goal three minutes later. Dale Purinton continues to hold the team back when it's least convenient, as he was the man in the box (serving a slashing minor) when Lowell scored.

At one point late in the second period Hartford had a 25-10 shot advantage despite trailing in the game, 2-1. That's when Lowell scored their third goal to make it 3-1, sending Steve Valiquette to the bench in favor of Al Montoya. Montoya kept a lid on the Devils for the rest of the game, stopping 8 of 8 shots, but the final tally of the game came an empty-net goal by Lowell with 2 minutes left.

Jordan Parise shuts the gate on Dane Byers (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Pack coaching staff had promised some changes after the 4-3 loss to Norfolk a week ago, but since then, pretty much nothing significant has really happened; Brandon Dubinsky and (especially) Hugh Jessiman continue to disappear at times, while Jakub Petruzalek was called up from Charlotte, only to be scratched for both games this weekend. Chris Ferraro continues to sit in the stands at every game, still unsigned to the PTO contract that was all-but-announced earlier in the week (not that he's the solution, anyway). Nigel Dawes is due back in Hartford from the Rangers any minute now, if you read Blueshirt Bulletin and Hockeybird, while, according to those same sources, Darius Kasparaitis was seen packing his equipment after the Lowell game and is said to be on his way out. Kasparaitis was even more jovial than usual during the pre-game skate, perhaps suggesting that he knew some good news at the time.

Darius Kasparaitis clearing out Aaron Voros (Chris Rutsch photo)

The Pack now have five days off (which reminds me to update the schedule in the sidebar), before taking on San Antonio and Houston in Texas next weekend.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Remembering The Alamo

Heather Rutsch photo

The Hartford Wolf Pack, who started the weekend averaging not even 2 goals per game (1.83) and clicking at less than 10% on their power play (8-for-82), mauled the visiting San Antonio Rampage on Saturday night, 9-3, scoring 5 power-play goals.

After the game, the Wolf Pack borrowed the Rangers' raised-stick salute at center ice, which was most likely Darius Kasparaitis' idea (supposedly he had lobbied for the salute after the Wolf Pack won his first game here, but team captain Craig Weller shot it down).

Mike Morrison was in net for San Antonio for 8 of the Wolf Pack goals, as Hartford scored 4 in the first and 4 in the second. Morrison was 10-4-2 in 21 games for the Western Conference champion Edmonton Oilers last season, but has been shitty so far this year (0-3 with a 6.13 GAA and .790 sv pct for the Phoenix Coyotes).

Ryan Callahan (Chris Rutsch photo)

Ryan "Who da man" Callahan netted a hat trick, Dwight Helminen scored two goals, and Lauri Korpikoski added 3 assists. The Hartford blueline was represented heavily on the scoresheet as well, as Dan Girardi tied a team record (Derek Armstrong 11/14/98) with 5 assists, while Marvin Degon had a goal and an assist and even Darius Kasparaitis chipped in two points.

Lee Falardeau leaving that a-hole Tyson Nash in his wake (Chris Rutsch photo)

With a roster stocked with NHL veterans, the Rampage have hardly been the patsies of late that they were in last night's game, having a 3-game win streak snapped in Worcester the night before despite scoring 3 goals in 4 minutes against the Sharks. Coming into last night's game, San Antonio had 5 players on their roster with 8 points or more (including Jeff Taffe, Yanick Lehoux, and Tyson Nash), while the Wolf Pack had only one player with as many as 7 (Ryan Callahan).

The Rampage also have a "Burrito Sundays" promotion, where you can take your ticket stub from any Sunday home game that the Rampage win and get a free dungbag before the end of the month from Chipotle's.

That's a hefty-looking burrito, my friend.

Friday, November 10, 2006

As Smart As Geek Is Chic Right Now

Bow chica bow-wow

I swiped these photos from LifeClever (link via Brand Flakes For Breakfast), which has an article announcing Fantastic Man, an upscale new magazine, as "A fashion magazine for guys who hate fashion magazines".

If that were true, wouldn't the magazine get up by itself and throw itself in the trash?

Now, that would be something worth paying $19.99 for!

Presumably not worth paying $19.99 for

Besides, everything I needed to know about being "manly" that I didn't already get from reading Conflict and Touch and Go years ago, I learned from Esquire's The Rules: Things a Man Should Know About Drinking:

There is no such thing as a chocolate martini.

Visiting the pub will be cheaper in the long run if you tip the bartender regularly and more generously than is necessary.

For the sake of the children, leave the pistol at home.

Never order a frozen drink in a place that serves pickled eggs.

Actually, never order a frozen drink.

It's also not a bad idea to eschew the pickled pigs' feet, although their presence is fairly strong evidence that you've accidentally stumbled upon a real tavern.

Avoid bars that use plastic cups, bars whose bathrooms consist soley of a trough-style urinal, bars with chicken wire protecting the band, bars where Patrick Swayze is the bouncer.

There is rarely any genuine need to shout "Skal!" "Na zdorovye!" "Slainte!" "Bottom's up!" or "Down the hatch!"

Grappa is to lighter fluid as ouzo is to lighter fluid.

Hungarian proverb: If three men tell you that you are drunk, lie down.

Every man should know how to make at least one drink from a foreign country, preferably one taught to him by a local female with whom he has had a complicated, unresolved, and quite possibly dangerous dalliance.

Pick up your drinks before moving the table.

On those chrome, hourglass-shaped bar measuring cups, the big side is the jigger. The little side is the pony. Never use the pony.

There is nothing cheeky and clever you can say to a female bartender that she hasn't already heard from some other schmuck before you.

Shun novelty. Suspect innovation.

No one but the bouncer cares how tough you are, and he already knows you're not that tough.

There is no upside to karaoke.

Instead of trying to remember whether it's "beer before liquor" or the other way around, just be an adult and stick to one or the other.

Here's one more that I just made up myself: You don't need to be drunk to have an excuse to tell upscale men's fashion magazines and their dumb moustache photos to stuff it.

Kill Some Piss-Ants For Jesus

For a good number of years, my Yahoo! e-mail account stayed perfectly spam-free, while all along other people were telling me they had to delete sometimes a dozen or more spam e-mails from their inboxes every day. My luck ran out eventually, though, and so now I'm just like everyone else who gets those crappy junk e-mails by the handfuls, usually with subject lines referring to health products or enhancements of some sort. (Actually, now that I think about it, I started getting all this garbage around the time that I was becoming more active with Blogger; damn those web-crawling spam-bots!)

Just recently, though, I started getting spam with a different approach-- stuff about "Judah" and "Jerusalem" and so forth, written with all sorts of flowery language. Not that it works; I still send the e-mails right to the junk pile without opening them, but it still seems like a funny idea to me: Born-Again Spam, combining the worst elements of religion and advertising in order to better annoy the fuck out of everybody.

Speaking of e-mails, I received one today from the folks at MeiGray, who have apparently harnessed the heretofore improbable ability to buy time ("Own a piece of Panthers History!").

Thanks anyway, MeiGray, but even if I could actually buy a particular moment in time, "in Florida, a short while ago" would be pretty close to last on the list.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

That's Dispirit

Hartford's lackluster 4-0 loss to the W-B/S Penguins earlier tonight didn't give much to talk about, so I'll try not to dwell on it too much.

Pissing and moaning about the officiating never accomplishes anything, but it doesn't just happen that the games that are the least fun to watch generally suffer because poor officiating. That was the case tonight, as Jamie Koharski made one befuddling call after another. 10 of the first 13 minor penalties called went against the Wolf Pack, and then it swung the other way, with 5 straight whistles going against the Penguins. All in all, Wilkes-Barre scored 2 power play goals (in 12 attempts), with the Wolf Pack going 0-for-9 on the power play.

The chance to check out talked-about Oilers prospects Rob Schremp and Alexei Mikhnov was one reason to stay awake during this game, and Schremp represented himself well enough, with 2 third-period assists and a selection as the third star of the game. Alexei Mikhnov isn't easy to miss on the ice, being 6'-5", but he didn't seem to get very much ice time, having just been sent down by Edmonton a few days before. Still, Mikhnov assisted on the first W-B/S goal.

Alexei Mikhnov

Darius Kasparaitis was back to his usual disruptive self, dishing out some good hits including a beauty of a hip check that catapulted one Penguins player (I didn't catch his number) end-over-end onto the ice. At the end of the second period, Dane Byers missed a good scoring opportunity and then immediately afterwards was boarded into the glass by Marc Pouliot, leading to Byers trying to pummel Pouliot and drawing two roughing minors for his trouble. That was one of the only interesting moments in the game for the Wolf Pack side, besides the very end of the game, when a puck fired at Al Montoya well after the whistle led to some pushing and shoving, including both goalies (Montoya and Andrew Penner) trying to stare each other down from behind their respective blue lines.

Dale Purinton again played at forward in this game, and it's been said that the Wolf Pack have also signed Chris Ferraro (another forward). Meanwhile, Mark Lee and Zdenek Bahensky continue to fritter away down in Charlotte.

UPDATE 11/9/06 - Some quotes from today's Courant article:

"I hope Koharski didn't get paid for that game," a Pack player said.

Wolf Pack coach Jim Schoenfeld said, "The official saw them one way, and we thought some could have been not called... right at the end of the second period we thought they probably had the worst hit of the game (on Dane Byers), and instead we ended up short-handed and they score."

Captain Craig Weller said some "pretty suspect" calls helped exhaust the Pack.

"We thought they could have got five minutes on the hit on Byers," Weller said. "It's hard to play a game like that because you have to use certain guys to kill penalties, so you wear out parts of your lineup."

Schoenfeld said defenseman Darius Kasparaitis is expected to play the two weekend games before the Rangers decide his future. If he's placed on waivers and not claimed, he could remain in New York or return to Hartford.

UPDATE AGAIN -Even the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader seems to feel Koharski got it wrong:

The second period ended with Pouliot drilling Hartford’s Dane Byers into the boards from behind. Koharski could have given Pouliot a major penalty for boarding. Instead he gave Pouliot a minor and Byers a double minor for roughing Pouliot after the play.

After that, Koharski seemed to realize just how out of whack his calls were because he immediately called five straight penalties on the Penguins.