Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Original New Haven UHL'er Ivanans let go by Montreal

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time
Raitis Ivanans (in red) fighting Zdeno Chara

Raitis Ivanans, an original member of the defunct New Haven Knights of the UHL, was released by the Montreal Canadiens earlier this week. The Canadiens declined to give the 27-year-old defenseman a qualifiying offer, thus making him a free agent.

Ivanas, a native of Riga, Latvia, played in 66 games for the Knights (the last team to play in the old New Haven Coliseum) during their inagural season in 2000-2001. His 270 penalty minutes led the team, and his 14 points (4g, 10a) were a career high. Ivanas started his pro career in the UHL in '97-'98, eventually battling his way up to the NHL and the Montreal Canadiens this past season, where he saw action in 4 games but was hampered by a broken orbital bone suffered in his second game of the season, while fighting Ottawa's Zdeno Chara.

By my reckoning, Ivanas is only the second player from the New Haven Knights to eventually make it to the NHL; Garret Burnett, who played in four games with the Knights in '01-'02 and was a member of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in '03-'04, is the other.

If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you
From habsblog

A very fast skater for his size (6'-4", 265 lbs), it's been said that Ivanans could outskate even Tomas Plekanec, his team-mate with the Hamilton Bulldogs who once won the Fastest Skater competition at the AHL All-Star Game.

For a Latvian news story (in Russian) about Ivanans' release, click here.

UPDATE 7/13/06 - Ivanans has signed a one-year deal with the LA Kings. Possibly this means he'll spend some time in Manchester and face the Wolf Pack this year?

Fargin' Ice-Hole

I went to an audition the other day, they were casting 13 people to be clouds. 14 people showed up, it was overcast

Vermont inventor creates backyard Zamboni

East Montpelier, Vt. (AP) June 28, 2006 - Damian Renzello has created the ultimate outdoor backyard dream machine for ice lovers — the backyard Zamboni.

He has mounted a snow blower on the front of a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle, added an ice scraper blade underneath and mounted a water tank connected to pipes and hoses that lays down a film of water to create a glass-like finish to outdoor ice.

Called the Bambini Revolution, the machine will sell for about $30,000 to outdoor ice skating enthusiasts.

And he notes the Bambini is an all-purpose machine. It can serve as a snowblower to clear a driveway, it can mow a lawn in summer and it can spread liquid fertilizer from its tank.


There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting

As long as it doesn't explode and set your place on fire, then I guess you're all set.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

You Cannot Be Serious

My girlfriend bought me a down jacket, she said it fit my personality
Graham Poll hanging his nuts out in public

From the Associated Press, June 29, 2006--

Referee quits after World Cup mistake:

English referee Graham Poll is quitting international officiating, saying Thursday that he considered retiring from all soccer after his blunder.

"Certainly what happened a week ago is something I deeply regret... what I did was an error in law, and for that there can be no dispute."

Poll said he did not realize he made a mistake until told after the match. Several sleepless nights and thoughts of retirement followed.

"The first two or three days you think about retirement, you think it's all gone wrong, and you start to doubt your ability," he said.

"It's time for me to let go of the mistake; nobody got hurt from the error, nobody died. ...

"We say in life one thing goes wrong it's unlucky, if two things go wrong then maybe you're really unlucky, but if it's three then you have to look at yourself and say something isn't quite right."


Poll's blunder?

Poll showed a Croatian player three yellow cards before sending him off in a World Cup match, which meant a Croatian player stayed on the field three minutes longer than he should have. The result of the match was not affected and Croatia was eliminated.

I think if Graham Poll were Harry Dumas, he'd have thrown himself in front of a bus about a hundred times by now.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Report says Sushinsky to stay in Russia

My whole family is lactose intolerant and when we take pictures we can't say cheese
Maxim Sushinsky skating for Dynamo

According to a story that appeared this afternoon in Sport Express, Maxim Sushinsky has agreed to a deal with SKA St. Petersburg after nearly two months' of negotiations, and will be signing a contract with the Russian Super League team within the next few days.

SKA team president Boris Vinokur had made it a priority to sign Sushinsky away from Dynamo Moscow at the start of the current off-season (see: SKA Vows To Sign Sushinsky, May 23 '06). Sushinsky, a St. Petersburg native and a former captain of Team Russia, had previously announced an interest in returning to the NHL next season, possibly with the New York Rangers or his former team, the Minnesota Wild.

Rachunek Checks Back In

I realized I was dyslexic when I went to a toga party dressed as a goat

Czech-born defenseman Karel Rachunek, a rugged two-way defensman with plenty of offensive ability (+55 and 101 pts in 258 NHL games), has re-signed with the New York Rangers, according to a report that ran in the Newark Star-Ledger:

They cannot announce it officially until July 1, but the Rangers have signed their own restricted free-agent defenseman, Karel Rachunek, who played the past two seasons in Russia.

When you click on the link, you may be asked to enter some info before you're taken to the story, but you really don't have to bother, as it's just the above paragraph buried at the bottom of a larger article on Rangers/Wolf Pack defenseman Mark Staal.

There's been no mention of this so far on any of the Russian sites, despite Rachunek having played in the Russian Super League with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl the past two seasons. You can click here to see the hokej.cz (Czech) version of the story (which includes some extra commentary at the bottom), which I found via Hockey Rodent.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flight 71 Cleared For Landing

A lot of people are afraid of heights. I'm afraid of widths

The photo above (which I've used before) shows Evgeni Malkin in mid-flight just before scoring against Kazakhstan during the IIHF World Championships in Latvia. Malkin stole the puck at center ice, then slid his way past goalie Roman Medvedev before being tripped up moments before he sent the puck into the net.

Below is a full-length video of that goal (double-click the arrow, slowly, to start the video). The video clip is 1:21 long, but the last 15 seconds of the video is when you'll find the best slow-motion replay angle of the aeronautics being pulled off by Malkin.



There's also another great Malkin highlight video on YouTube, which Off-Wing Opinion has linked to, that shows almost 5 minutes of pretty much nothing but fantastic goals, one right after another-- many of them from the Russian Super League. I think there's a clip of a fight somewhere towards the end, also. If you haven't seen the video yet, it's worth checking out.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Chubarov Stays Put

Life sucks, get a fucking helmet, okay?
Artem Chubarov (#90) with Avangard last season, breaking
in against Lokomotiv's Steve Valiquette


When an item about former Canuck Artem Chubarov appeared earlier today in Sport Express, I figured it was relevant enough to post here. When I followed the story back to its North American source, though, it turned out to be a week-old story from the Vancouver Province.

Still, for the sake of our few Vancouver friends (most likely meaning Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed, Jason Schreurs, and no one else), I'll post it anyway:

With a new transfer agreement between the NHL and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation nearly completed -- and the rumour of an $11-million-US salary cap in the Russian Super League -- there was a chance that Artem Chubarov would return to the Canucks.

Not quite yet. Chubarov, 26, who turned down a $742,000 U.S. qualifying offer from Vancouver last summer to play for Avangard Omsk, has agreed to another deal there.

"The chances of him coming back are good, but it won't be next year," Canucks general manager Dave Nonis said Thursday. "He signed a contract that pays him pretty good money."


I feel much better now.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Future Russian Ranger Artem Anisimov



In the second round of yesterday's NHL Entry Draft, the New York Rangers were able to grab 6'-4", 191-lb. center Artem Anisimov, out of Yaroslavl, Russia. Anisimov had been ranked 6th among Russian players prior to the draft, and actually ended up being the 5th Russian player picked overall, though he fell quite a number of spots-- possibly as much as 30 places. Continued concern over Russia's participation in the NHL - IIHF player transfer agreement seems to have been the main reason for Anisimov falling into the second round, but in any case, this should turn out to be a bit of good fortune for the Rangers.

This past season, Anisimov posted 15 goals and 12 assists (27 points) in 32 games for Lokomotiv-2 of the Russian "3rd" league (junior level). In international under-18 tournaments for Team Russia, Anisimov collected 6 goals and 8 assists (14 points) and was a combined +9 in 18 games.

Anisimov was one of three players from Lokomotiv-2 to go in the draft's top 60 players; the other two were goalie Semen Varlamov (first round, Capitals) and LW Alexander Vasyunov (second round, Devils).


Anisimov (#12) in '05-'06

Artem's prospect profile on russianprospects.com ("possesses imposing size and is also an impressive package of speed and technical ability") is subscription-only for another few months, but Russian Prospects did provide a preview of the Russian players in the draft for Hockey's Future. Here's what was written about Anisimov:

Artem Anisimov finished his draft year off with an average performance at the U18 WJC. The young center did not deliver a consistent performance, impressing in the game against the Czechs, but failing to make a significant impact in the games either against Canada or the US. He understands the game well and has an impressive vision of the ice. Additionally, he possesses a very impressive wrist shot which is one of his main weapons. Still, besides the strengths, Anisimov needs to bulk up and improve his physical presence, as the young prospect hardly ever competes next to the boards. His lack of mass has also hurt him at the faceoff circle, as he just doesn't yet have the upper body strength. Still, while Anisimov is more raw than some of the other prospects, he has shown a wealth of potential at the international tournaments and even found himself making his Super League debut this season for Lokomotiv.

UPDATE 7/5/06 - Here's another evaluation of Anisimov, from a "Russian 2006 Draft Review" that appeared on Hockey's Future:

Anisimov is another representative of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and another draftee who has a lot to prove and a lot of work to do before he can compete for a spot on the roster. He was one of the prime players on Lokomotiv’s farm team and showed up in the Super League for 10 regular season games posting just one assist. Anisimov has a solid frame (6’3 187), exceptional playmaking abilities for a player of his age and great passing skills. Anisimov is a player similar in a similar vein as Evgeni Malkin, but he’s got a very long way to go to even come close to matching Malkin’s skills.

Anisimov has been actively involved in international tournaments making team Russia for four such forums over the past year. He was constantly delivering strong performances always being one of the go-to players on the team.

The Tverdovsky Dynasty

I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order
Oleg Tverdovsky with the Stanley Cup, NJ Devils, 2003

Even though he didn't play much at all in the Finals against Edmonton this year (appearing in one game in the Finals, five in the playoffs all together), Oleg Tverdovsky still stands as a member of this year's Stanley Cup champions, the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tverdovsky also won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003, meaning that (with 2005 being the lockout year), Oleg has been on two of the last three Stanley Cup-winning teams.

My neighbor asked if he could use my lawnmower and I told him of course he could, so long as he didn't take it off my lawn
Tverdovsky winning the RSL championship with Omsk, 2004

In between winning the Stanley Cup in '03 and '06, Tverdovsky played two seasons with Avangard Omsk over in the Russian Super League. Avangard Omsk won the Russian title in 2004, making it three years out of four that Tverdovsky's team has won its League's championship.

Happy motoring on the freeway which is already in progress
Tverdovsky (#70) and the 2006 Stanley Cup champion Hurricanes

As the RSL champs in '04, Avangard qualified for the IIHF's European Champions Cup tournament (a tournament that includes the title-holders from six different European leagues) in 2005, which Avangard then won. The ECC tournament takes less than a week to play out, and is hardly the two-month-long grind that the Stanley Cup playoffs are, so depending upon how you want to look at it, Tverdovsky has won four championship Cups (or three) over the last four years running.

Tverdovsky made mention of this feat in Sport Express, after Carolina's victory last week: "It is unbelievable to me that in the last four years, my teams have won four finals. Maybe this will sound cocky, but let's see if anyone else can repeat this!"

Tverdovsky, who was born in Ukraine, is one of handful of Soviet-born/Russian players to have been on two Stanley Cup-winning teams as a player. Sergei Fedorov and Igor Larionov each won three Cups (over six years) playing for the Detroit Red Wings, while Slava Fetisov won two as a player with Detroit and one as a coach with New Jersey.

Canada's bigger, and we're on top. If this was prison, the U.S. would be our bitch You don't talk to me that way! I am a division manager! I drive a Dodge Stratus!
Boyd Kane, seen with the captain's "C", like it or not

In what remains one of the world's enduring mysteries (along with crop circles, Easter Island, and Stonehenge), as was commented on here earlier, "Void" Kane has been on the AHL Calder Cup championship team two years in a row-- with the Philadelphia Phantoms in '05 and with Hershey in '06.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Because McDonald's Hates Competition

Why you clownin' me, clown?

'Canes Crack The Cup

My father always used to say, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. That was before the accident





Bret Hedican with the Stanley Cup at the North Carolina General Assembly

This may or may not be accurate, but who knows...

From a story in Sport Express, about the NHL Awards ceremony last night in Vancouver (within which the Sport Express reporter also describes Rod Brind'Amour's red bowtie as "looking no more out of place on him than on a dump truck"):

Eric Staal brought the Stanley Cup to the ceremony and, after modestly looking downward, he acknowledged that the Carolina players* already had time to break it. A very pronounced crack could be seen on the Cup, and the legendary trophy has now been sent to Toronto for repairs.

*Actually, the description used in the article was more like "blockheads" (оболтусы), but not being sure of the exact translation, I'm applying the benefit of the doubt here

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sucks To Be A Duck

So all my friends have kids now... which I think is rude
Try not to look stupid... OK, try harder

James Mirtle calls attention to the unspectacular new colors that the Anaheim Ducks will be wearing next season, and I'll agree that, while not a complete disaster, they don't look so hot, either.

However, the NHL Ducks weren't the only Ducks to unveil new designer duds this week. Presenting...

...your 2006 Oregon Ducks!

If the terrorists hated freedom, the Netherlands would be fucking dust!
What the cluck?!?

Sez GoDucks.com,

The University of Oregon football team will utilize a new look in 2006 that promises to be unique in the world of college football as well as striving to enhance the performance of those players wearing them.

The Ducks’ game-day apparel will consist of four different colors of jerseys and pants to go along with three different helmets Oregon is expected to wear at some point during the coming season.


I guess if having more helmets than you know what to do with doesn't seem stupid enough already, then wearing jerseys that look like a cross between "Rollerball" and "The Return of The Fly" would be no big deal, either.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Evgeni Malkin signs with Pittsburgh

What I really need is a woman who loves me for my money but doesn't understand math

Originally posted Monday June 19 10:01 PM

From Sport Express, just a short while ago:

19-year-old Team Russia forward Evgeni Malkin has signed a three-year contract with the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.

According to Sergei Isakov, an agent for Malkin
(who has also represented Alexander Ovechkin), Evgeni has signed for the maximum amount allowed for a rookie.

As part of his preparations for next season, Malkin will begin training with Metallurg Magnitogorsk
(his former team over in Russia). "I intend to leave for overseas during the first few days of August", Malkin told Sport Express correspondent Aleksandr Shapiro.

UPDATE - June 21

An item appearing today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette denies the report of Malkin's signing, while at the same time confirming the details of the deal as contained in the Russian report and acknowledging that the signing is only a matter of time:

The Penguins shouldn't have any trouble working out a contract with center Evgeni Malkin. But contrary to reports out of Russia yesterday, they haven't done it yet.

Mostly because they are not allowed to, and won't be until all parties -- the NHL, the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Russian Hockey Federation -- formally sign the transfer agreement that clears the way for Malkin, and other Russian players, to come to North America.

Although owners of teams in the Russian Super League unanimously endorsed the transfer agreement Friday, NHL clubs are barred from signing players like Malkin, the Penguins' No. 1 draft choice in 2004, until the relevant documents are signed.

The Web site for Malkin's Super League club, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, carried a story yesterday saying that Malkin has agreed to a contract with the Penguins.

That is, at least, a bit premature, although there isn't much suspense about the contract Malkin will receive once negotiations begin. It will be for three years -- the NHL's labor deal mandates for those for entry-level players -- and should pay him $984,2000 per season, the maximum allowed by the collective bargaining agreement for players in his draft class.

Malkin, 19, also will be eligible for a signing bonus of up to 10 percent of his salary and some other bonuses, most based on performance.


I think the Pittsburgh paper is splitting hairs at this point. Since Malkin probably won't actually put pen to paper until he arrives in the U.S. in August, he can have an agreement with the Penguins and in effect be "signed" regardless of the technicalities.

If I remember correctly, when Ovechkin reached his contract agreement with the Capitals last summer, it was announced that he had finally "signed" with the NHL. Then, when he actually put his name in ink on the contract after his arrival on these shores sometime afterwards, that was announced also.

UPDATE 8/8/06 - "Malkin's agent, Sergei Isakov, asserted last week that Malkin 'back in the beginning of June had signed the standard three-year rookie contract with Pittsburgh'." Gazeta.ru 8/7/06

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New Rules To Hinder Europeans In Upcoming Draft


Bottom's up

From "New rule may temper appetite for Europeans", Columbus Dispatch, 6/18/06, written by Michael Arace:

It used to be that a team could draft a European player, leave him unsigned and let him sit in Sweden, Finland or wherever. NHL teams maintained rights to these players until the players turned age 31. League GMs could keep tabs on the player. When he was deemed ready, or needed, he was signed and brought to North America.

Now, it appears the collective bargaining agreement born of the lockout also will have an impact on the draft.

"We’re all looking at European players a little differently than we did before," Atlanta Thrashers general manager Don Waddell said.

"You can’t draft a European player and park him overseas anymore," said David Poile, GM of the Nashville Predators. "We’ll have to wait and see what effect that has on the draft."

The new agreement calls for teams to sign European draft picks within a span of two years. Any unsigned players re-enter the draft pool. Put another way: European draft picks are now treated exactly like North American picks.

"It was a CBA issue, and it was a decision made to put players here and in Europe on a more level field with regard to negotiating rights," said Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner.

The IIHF transfer agreement, redrawn in 2005, includes another wrinkle that makes NHL teams take a harder look at European prospects. The agreement now includes fees to be levied against NHL teams for taking a European draft pick and placing him in the minor leagues.

"The IIHF has always been fine about players who are ready for the NHL coming over," Daly said. "But they thought it was detrimental to European leagues to have players signing before they were ready for the NHL and being brought over. The fee structure was a key initiative to getting a new transfer agreement done."



Russia's Nikolai Kulemin (#14)

Jim Clark, the Blue Jackets’ executive vice president and assistant GM who makes regular trips to Europe to scout, said Columbus’ pre-draft meetings have taken on a new bent.

"The scouting staff has to be more accountable now," Clark said. "Aside from all the work of rating and ranking talent, you’re also going to try to determine if these kids have the motivation to sign, or if they’re going to stay in Europe. And European players, now, after the age of 22, don’t have to be drafted anymore. They’re free agents. That’s new."

This is merely a turn in the cycle. There were 142 Europeans drafted in 2000 and they represented nearly half of the draft crop that year. The number has ticked down to 97 Europeans, or 33 percent, drafted in 2004. The trend is about to be artificially enhanced.

Next week, the later rounds are going to roll around and, all things being equal, the tendency will be to take a North American over a European.

"Before, you could draft a European kid, put him in the bank and cash in when he was ready," said Waddell, the Atlanta GM. "Now, you’ve got to have a pretty good feeling on a kid. You can’t just put him in deposit."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Alexei Morozov signs 3-year deal with Ak Bars

I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out
Alexei Morozov

From an item that appeared earlier today in Sport Express:

Forward Alexei Morozov, a member of the '05-'06 Russian championship team Ak Bars who collected six trophies in the Russian Super League based on his play this past season, signed a new three-year contract with the Kazan club.

"I weighed the options, where it would be best for me to play. Ak Bars held all of the advantages for me. I didn't see any sense in making a change, and because of that, I decided not to wait until July 1st-- when Pittsburgh's rights to me in the NHL expire, and I would become an unrestricted free agent overseas. I very much want to win another championship with Ak Bars."

"We still have a definite interest in Morozov", Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero acknowledged three days ago. "He's a good player, but the entire question is at what cost. In this case, a long-term contract would be a large risk."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

New Wave As The Next Guy

This is either:

A.) Just about the best rawk video featuring hockey players to come out so far this year;

or

B.) Just about the only video I've seen so far this year that didn't have a cameo from David Cross in it.

Buzzcocks, "Wish I Never Loved You" (from their 2006 album, "Flat-Pack Philosophy")



(Sorry about the iffy picture quality, but it isn't my fault. If you have QuickTime, you can go to the Buzzcocks' web site and download a better version.)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Russia Ratifies IIHF - NHL Agreement

I think it should be evident by now, but I'm as lost as anyone

From the RIA (Russian News and Information Agency), 6/16/06:

The Russian Hockey Federation, in a session held on Friday, unanimously supported the ratification of the player transfer agreement with the National Hockey League. Thus, Russia will now join in the agreement between the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) and the NHL, already enacted for a year. The terms of the ratification will be decided by RHF President Vadislav Tretiak.

See also: Tretiak's Compromise, 6/11/06

Ghana Fly Now

The words I thought I brought I left behind, so never mind

Upsets are a big part of what makes tournaments worth following (witness the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament), and if that's true, then the World Cup football tournament just got a whole lot more interesting.

Only a short while ago this afternoon, the Czech Republic lost to underdog Ghana, 2-0. The Czech Republic came into the World Cup ranked 2nd in the world, trouncing 5th-ranked USA in their World Cup opening match, 3-0. Meanwhile, Ghana is barely ranked in the top 50 and hadn't beaten a European team in over 30 years.

Even if you're not completely into a particular sport (and I'll admit that I'm that way with soccer football), you can still find yourself being drawn in by the storyline as a major tournament or sporting event unfolds. Even more so with international tournaments, where the differences between the countries' training programs, economies, forms of government, even the continents they're on, can be immense. The World Cup is easily one of those events where just the basic make-up of the tournament creates a breeding ground for memorable, wacked-out things to happen.



Oh, Balls!

In other news, thanks go to Off Wing Opinion, for pointing out that the balls being used during World Cup matches are made differently from regular soccer balls, causing them to flutter:

The new Adidas Teamgeist football, as it is called, has 14 panels instead of the 26 or 32 that traditionally create the hexagonal pattern. Fewer panels means fewer seams, which will make the ball behave more like a baseball.

Complex whirls of air cause a spinning ball to drift toward the side that's spinning away from the ball's direction of movement. A ball that's not spinning can bounce around unpredictably. Pitchers rely on this physics when throwing knuckleballs.


This seems like unnecessary trickery to me. Soccer Football has always been marketed as a "grassroots"-type of sport, I thought-- one where the kids in the sandlots could play using the same basic equipment that the top players in the world use. It doesn't seem fair to start using drastically different balls in the World Cup than are used during the rest of the year, in order to cross-up the goalies. This is almost like Major League Baseball using baseballs with different stitches just for the World Series, or the NFL using a different style of football just for the Super Bowl. I don't get it.

Friday, June 16, 2006

To Hell With the IHL

I'm a comedian and a poet, so anything that doesn't get a laugh is a poem

The Hershey Bears defended the honor of the original AHL last night, defeating IHL interlopers the Milwaukee Admirals in Milwaukee, 5-1, to win the 2006 Calder Cup championship in six games.

The win was Hershey's ninth AHL championship, tying them with the Cleveland Barons for the most championships in League history-- although the Barons' record remains somewhat in dispute, since it conflicts with the ironclad rule that no team from Cleveland will ever win anything.

The Admirals were attempting to become the 4th former International Hockey League team to win the Calder Cup in the 5 years since the American Hockey League absorbed the bankrupt and miserable IHL after the 2000-2001 season. Ex-IHL teams won the AHL title in each of the first three seasons after the IHL folded: Chicago in 2002, Houston in 2003, and Milwaukee in 2004.

Fittingly, the Hershey Bears are the oldest franchise in the AHL, with a history that dates back to the 1901 season, when Chris Chelios played goalie for one game with the Bears or slept with a hot dog vendor or something like that. In any case, it was a long time ago.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Whalers Fans Leave Their Holes, Fail To See Their Shadows

... meaning 9 more years of whining about there not being an NHL team in Hartford.

It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens
Vows not to put on pants until the Whalers return

Don Ho can sign autographs 3.4 times faster than Efrem Zimbalist Jr
The team left, and took my socks with 'em

Guys who shave their heads completely bald... they're so ashamed they lost eleven hairs, they try to turn it to some kind of a masculine statement. I say hey, you goofy-lookin' baldy-headed fuck!
"Sellout crowds and Stanley Cup Finals games are overrated! BRING BACK THE WHALE!!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Today's Timely Tip: Give the Gift of the Turd Burglar

I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it

If you're stuck with having friends or family members or anything like that, chances are pretty good that eventually you'll be forced to go out and buy one of them a gift for some reason. This week it's "Dads and Grads", next week it'll probably be Christmas or something. I know, it sucks, but what are you gonna do? If there's someone on your list who's a pet owner with an old hockey stick just laying around that they don't know what to do with-- heck, I know a dozen people just like that, myself-- shop no more, my friend. If you've got $12.99 (plus shipping and handling, naturally), then the Turd Burglar is just the ticket!

I'd like to give myself all the credit for finding this marvel of modern ingenuity, but I actually stumbled onto it while flipping through the local "alternative news & arts weekly" (I was tempted to call it the local "gay/alternative news & arts weekly", except that I'm P.C. like a motherfucker). Apparently, you just slide the Turd Burglar onto the blade of an ordinary hockey stick, and with a bit of backyard practice you'll soon be flipping turds like Bobby Flay at a buffalo chip convention!

Of course, there's a handy Turd Burglar web site, www.tburglar.com, which is there to provide lots of useful information:

Installation Directions

Insert the toe of the hockey stick blade into the channel of the Turd Burglar and pull it towards you until it is in correct position on the blade. Make sure it's centered or favoring a slight forward position. Most turd launches will be from the forward third of the Turd Burglar for best results.

Technique

Once the Turd Burglar is properly attached to your standard hockey stick, gingerly approach a pile of dog poop in your yard. Be careful of where you step. If you are uncomfortable with your skill level, a FREE piece of Practice Poop has been provided and yard games have been developed for your excrement merriment. Don't go around launching dog crap all over the place.

With a slight sawing motion, slide the leading edge under the poop like a spatchula. Once the poop is resting in the cradle of the Turd Burglar, it's ready for "lift-off".


The web site has a section of games to try with your Turd Burglar, including "Poop, Pass & Flick - a distance and accuracy drill".

Need some convicing before buying one for yourself? Well, if you're from Eastern Canada, at the bottom of one of the web pages you'll find all of the convincing you'll need:

Quebec is where millions of French-Canadians live. A high percentage of French-Canadians own dogs and coincidentally, still have possession of their hockey sticks from their "glory days" of youth, stored in their garage or basement with all the sports uniforms that no longer fit them. French-Canadians are among the world's top poop flingers and adapt themselves, quite readily, to the required wrist shot technique in using a Turd Burglar.

www.signswithanattitude.com

As an added side benefit, you may even find yourself making friends again with those pesky neighbors that never liked you anyway, because of your stupid dog that leaves big piles of crap all over the place. Just be careful-- the more friends you make, the more gifts you'll have to buy when it's gift-giving time again next year!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Whaler Whiners Get Ink North of the Border

Here's the chair and here's the rope
Crowd shot taken during Arch St. Tavern's June 10th "Whalers Night"

From an article titled "Fans in Hartford, Conn., bittersweet over Hurricanes Stanley Cup run", June 10th, Canadian Press:

EDMONTON (CP) - If the Carolina Hurricanes win the Stanley Cup, there are some hardcore hockey fans in Hartford, Conn., who hope they take that great big silver mug and pound it out their blowhole.

It's been almost a decade since the Hartford Whalers left the northeast U.S. insurance capital to Raleigh, N.C., to become the Hurricanes. On Tobacco Road, the 'Canes contended for the Stanley Cup in 2002 and now lead the Edmonton Oilers in this year's NHL final series.

Al Victor, president of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club, admits he is a tormented man. "In my heart this will always be my team. Their roots are in Hartford, so it's bittersweet," said Victor, whose recreation room is a shrine to the team, filled with memorabilia and game-worn jerseys and painted in Whaler blue, grey and green.

Bob Rumbold is more bitter than sweet. "We're watching our franchise win the damn title and they're in sunny Carolina. It's unbelievable," he said. "The sentiment here is it should be going on across the street."

The Whalers played their last game on April 13, 1997, after then-owner and current 'Canes owner Peter Karmanos hit an impasse with politicians over financing for a new rink to replace the aging Hartford Civic Center. The Tampa Bay Lightning came to town that black April for the Whalers' final game. A message was painted on the Civic Center ice saying Thanks for the Memories.

Outside, fans got on hands and knees on the pavement to sign an oversized sheet of paper labelled the Whailing Wall to protest the move. Back inside, the stands were a sea of whale jerseys. Some fans refused to quit, two of them holding a sign that read We Believe.

Rumbold, a local TV sportscaster at Fox 61, was there with his young family. "We had two kids there with tears in their eyes. My daughter had a (Geoff) Sanderson jersey. She never wore it again."

Others have never forgiven or forgotten. Today, Whaler fan websites feature flash graphics of a whale eating Karmanos or a harpoon being run through his head. "To have Mr. Karmanos' name on the cup would turn my stomach," said Victor.

After the Whalers left, Victor's booster club peaked at 1,000 members, then dwindled to 13. There are now 65, many of them, says Victor, who enjoyed watching the Whalers as kids and want a franchise back.

One of them is Peter Morosky, who works in Norwich but often drives the 80 kilometres to attend booster club meetings. With the 'Canes in the final, Morosky doesn't play the what-if game. "You can only imagine what might have been. It's not something I dwell on."

In the sports world, Hartford is in the no-man's land between New York and Boston. Since the Whalers' demise, some fans have drifted to longtime Whaler rivals the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. The city now has an American Hockey League team, the Wolf Pack, and Whaler jerseys can often be spotted in the crowds. The booster club makes annual trips to other NHL cities to watch games. They went once to Raleigh but didn't have the heart to go back.

In Hartford this week there's no sign their old team is close to winning it all. No one walks around with jerseys. There are no car flags. The Whalers glorious quarter-century history has been reduced to an afterthought tagline on sports reports about the Hurricanes, said Victor.

"It is what it is," added Rumbold. "It's bittersweet. There are some people who still root for (the Hurricanes) to win and other people in this town who think they can't lose enough."


If I had make one correction, it would be to point out that "Whalers jerseys can often be spotted at Wolf Pack games" is about as accurate as "Martians can often be spotted at the 7-11", but I guess I can live with it.

You can also check out A Whalers Fan's Worst Nightmare-- a post that I wrote a couple of days before the Canadian Press story-- to get a somewhat different (though in some ways similar) version of this never-ending fairy tale.

Danbury Trashers Suspend Operations

Street people are savage, down on the scene

This was just announced hours ago, on the UHL web site:

LAKE ST. LOUIS, MO June 12, 2006 - The United Hockey League (UHL) announced Monday that the Adirondack Frostbite and Danbury Trashers have suspended operations. The teams will not compete during the 2006-07 season.

"Both organizations made a business decision to not participate in the league for the upcoming season," stated Richard Brosal, UHL President/CEO. "The Frostbite were not able to secure a lease with the Glens Falls Civic Center. Without their closest geographical rival in the league, the Trashers made a financial decision to suspend their operations."

A draft will be conducted later this week to disperse the players from the 2005-06 final rosters of both clubs.


Obviously, the "closest geographical rival" excuse makes for a prettier press release than "facing the possibility of having its assets frozen while the team's owner awaits trial on racketeering charges."

More Details of Trashers' Salary Cap Schemes

Obsessed with the excess but stuffed with a crumb, the lessons progress less as professors succumb
James Galante (seated) with UHL President Richard Brosal

From a June 10th article written by Brian Saxton of the Danbury News-Times:

James Galante's dream team, the Danbury Trashers, found itself skating on thin ice Friday with allegations that several of the hockey players and their wives were made part of a plan to defraud the United Hockey League.

Although the families were not identified in the federal indictments, investigators said Galante paid certain players and their spouses with trash company checks, even though they did not work for any of his trash businesses. Investigators said Galante's overall scheme was designed to circumvent the United Hockey League's salary cap.

According to the indictments, five hockey players and their spouses were added to the payrolls of the various companies owned by Galante, even though the players were receiving regular salaries from the Trashers' team account.

One player during the 2004-05 season was allegedly added to the books as a "salesman" for Diversified Waste Disposal and given a DWD check at the end of the month, as well as one from the hockey team.

In 2004, the wife of another hockey player was added to the payroll of Automated Waste Disposal at a yearly salary of $74,000, even though she never worked there.

"The checks from the trash hauling company and the Danbury Trashers would often be personally delivered to the players by Ronald Zollo," said the indictments (Zollo is the controller for Automated Waste Disposal). "Typically, these checks were signed by James Galante or Ronald Zollo."

Along with faxing misleading salary reports to the UHL, Galante's plan enabled some of his carting companies to provide certain players with additional checks, purportedly for a housing allowance.

Investigators said that by under-reporting the players' salaries to the UHL, the defendants avoided the assessment of a monetary fine by the UHL or the imposition of another penalty such as the loss of games.

UHL spokesman Brian Werger would only say that the league was aware of the indictment, and that the Trashers remain a part of the league and "part of the scheduling process" for next year.


Here are some more excellent Trashers-related articles from the Danbury News-Times, from the past several days:

Trashers' future unclear after owner's indictment

Trashers fall under dark cloud

Also, now is probably a good time to pick up your Danbury Trashers team card set, before the speculators snatch all of them up...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Danbury Trashers Accused of Salary-Cap Fraud

So many eager sinners, only 7 deadly sins Hell’s so God damn crowded that there’s no one getting in
Todd Stirling

Folllowing the arrest on Friday of team owner James Galante on federal charges, the Danbury Trashers have found themselves in still more deep doo-doo.

Through a federal indictment, the Trashers have been accused of hiding a team payroll of almost $750,000-- playing in a league (the UHL) that has a salary cap of $275,000-- through phony jobs and under-the-table payments.

From SI.com and the Associated Press:

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) June 10, 2006 -- The Danbury Trashers marketed themselves as a team in a rough-and-tumble minor league that would play dirty to win. Prosecutors say they also broke federal law.

The team, owner James Galante and former coach J. Todd Stirling were accused Friday of defrauding the United Hockey League, violating its salary cap by giving some players and their wives no-show jobs with Galante's trash-hauling companies. They are also accused of hiding improper payments as "housing allowances."

"In fact, in the 2004-2005 season, this scheme allowed James Galante to pay three key players on the Danbury Trashers a salary of approximately $100,000 each, when the UHL salary cap was only approximately $275,000 for the entire team for the regular season," a federal indictment stated.

With the improper payments included, the team's payroll actually approached $750,000 that year, prosecutors said.

The charges are part of an investigation into organized crime and Galante's trash hauling businesses. Galante, Stirling and 27 other people face federal charges.

"I don't think salary cap circumvention is going to be a federal crime in most cases," U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said, noting that the salary allegations spun off from the larger mob case. "I would like to think most professional sports team owners aren't facing indictment for racketeering," O'Connor said. "This is somewhat of an unusual circumstance."

Stirling, son of former New York Islanders coach Steve Stirling
(Steve Stirling being recently named the head coach of the AHL's Springfield Falcons), faces six counts of wire fraud related to the faxing of weekly salary-cap reports to league offices in Missouri. The players involved were not charged, and were identified in the indictment only as "Hockey Player A" through "Hockey Player E."

The players or their wives were put on the payrolls as salespeople for various companies owned by Galante, but performed no services for those companies, according to the indictment. They were also given checks as housing allowances although the team had already paid for their housing, according to the indictment.

The five players subpoenaed in the investigation included Wayne Gretzky's brother Brent, a former Trasher player, according to someone with direct knowledge of the case who spoke to The Associated Press in March on condition of anonymity because grand jury matters are secret by law.

Former Trashers Jay Murphy, Jim Duhart and Scott Sterling were also subpoenaed, the source said. The fifth player, Jeff Daw, said Friday he was also part of the investigation, but would not comment on the specifics. He acknowledged that it is hard for many UHL players to make ends meet on a minor-league salary.

"It's tough," he said. "It's not as tough for guys who are single, but for guys who are married, you have a little bit more responsibility."

The United Hockey League, which traces its roots to 1991, has 14 teams in seven states. The Trashers joined the league in 2004 and quickly made headlines when Galante was fined an undisclosed amount for hitting a referee after a particularly violent game in December of that year.

In a Trashers promotional video seized by the FBI and reviewed by The Associated Press, the team played up its image as the most violent team in professional hockey. A player is shown learning hand-to-hand combat and, at one point, the camera pans over blood stains on the ice.

Galante played up that persona in the video. He shouts menacing demands at one point, similar to the threats he barks in FBI wiretaps played in court Friday.

Prosecutors allege that by underreporting the players' salaries, the team not only avoided UHL fines for violating the salary cap, but also were able to seek "a higher percentage of skilled players" in the 2004-05 season. The Trashers finished second in their division that year. This season, they reached the Colonial Cup Finals of the 14-team league.

Daw said he is worried about what the federal case will mean for the future of hockey in Danbury, where he has played for two seasons. "I think a lot of guys are hoping the team will be back," he said. "For the minors, it's been a great place to play."


While I've yet to see the "hand-to-hand combat" promotional video mentioned in the above article, you can click here to see the Danbury Trashers' "Hell On Ice" promotional video (for Windows Media Player).

Tretiak's Compromise

I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Four Tretiak photos in two weeks-- what other blog has that?

On Friday, the recently-elected President of the Russian Hockey Federation, Vadislav Tretiak, announced that he had reached an agreement in principle among the teams of the Russian Super League, for Russia to sign-on to the player transfer agreement between the IIHF and the NHL. Up until now, Russia has abstained from signing the agreement, maintaining that it didn't provide enough compensation for their players who leave for the NHL.

As part of his plan to strengthen the Russian National hockey program, Tretiak is also moving forward with new regulations designed to further limit the number of roster spots given to foreign-born players by the Russian Super League teams, in order to allow more of Russia's young players a chance to develop within the League. Tretiak also wants to expand the eligibility of non-Russian Soviet-born players, those who were born within the Soviet Union during its existance prior to 1991 yet outside of the country of Russia itself, to play for the Russian National Team.

Tretiak's proposals must be ratified by the Russian Hockey Federation council, which is meeting on June 16th, before becoming official.

Said Tretiak:

"We have no disagreement between the teams. From now on, all teams and the Russian Hockey Federation will be united as a family, with the primary goal of returning the Russian National Team to superiority at the 2007 World Championships in Moscow, as well as the prominent tournaments that follow, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"Perhaps the most important result of today's session was persuading all of the clubs to agree that it is necessary for us to sign an agreement with the NHL. By not signing the agreement, we risk not having our NHL players on the National Team at the 2007 World Championships, in Moscow.

"We simply cannot continue to lose players and not receive any money for them. The current transfer agreement with the NHL expires this year. Right now, a hockey player, even while still under contract with a Russian team, can leave for America to the NHL completely free of charge. But if we enter into the agreement with the NHL, which could happen as soon as June 17th, then for any players we would receive $200,000. The fee for a player of the level of Evgeni Malkin would be arranged seperately, where it's likely that we could receive even more. If we sign a new agreement, then it's probable that we will receive an additional $3 milliion to go towards the development of youth hockey. Europe as a whole will receive $12 million. This money will be distributed based on the quality of hockey players who leave from one country or another to go play in the NHL.

"I can also say that the 'foreign player tax' will be lowered. However, this tax is needed to improve the level of National Hockey, in order to train more Russian goaltenders and players."


(Originally, there was to be a tax to the Russian teams, starting in '06-'07, on foreign players in the Russian Super League of 9 million rubles-- about $330,000 US-- per goalie, and 1.5 million rubles-- about $55,000 US-- per skater. These proposed amounts will now be reduced to about half, and the tax on goalies who already are under contract will be reduced to 1.5 million rubles. There is also the suggestion of allowing a 4th foreign player, above the current limit of three, depending upon whether or not the player has played 200 games in the NHL.)

"A hockey player who has a Russian passport, but has already played for the National Team of another country, will be eligible after two years to play for the Russian National Team once he forgoes his 'hockey citizenship' to the other country in writing."

(The current regulation, put in place by the IIHF in 2003, stating that if a hockey player wanted to switch national teams, he would have to submit leaving his former team in writing, then wait 4 years after obtaining a passport in the new country. Supposedly, there was a case similar to this involving Mikhail Nemirovsky a couple of years ago.)

All of the information above was compiled from stories that appeared in gazeta.ru, Sport Express, and the RIA

Friday, June 09, 2006

Galante Arrested Today, Danbury Trashers Named As Defendants



From CNN.com and the Hartford Courant:

NEW HAVEN, CONN. (AP) June 9, 2006 1:28pm EDT - The reputed boss of the Genovese crime family, a former Waterbury mayor and the owner of a Danbury trashing hauling business were among more than a dozen people arrested Friday in a federal investigation into the mob's influence over the region's trash hauling industry.

Federal authorities were discussing plans to take over operations at the trash hauling businesses, which handle garbage pickup for thousands of residents and businesses in about 20 southwest Connecticut towns, according to an attorney for the companies.

James Galante was arrested at his Danbury trash hauling company, Automated Waste Disposal, according to his attorney, Hugh Keefe. James Pickerstein, an attorney for Galante's businesses, confirmed that several employees were also arrested along with him.

The federal Organized Crime Strike Force is investigating a so-called "property rights" scheme in which trash haulers carve out routes for each other and agree not to poach customers. That scheme, investigators say, drives up prices for customers and is enforced by violence.

Galante owns or has ties to at least 25 of about 60 companies under scrutiny in the case. His attorneys say he is an honest businessman known for his civic work in Danbury. He also owns the Danbury Trashers, a minor league hockey team in the United Hockey League. The team is named as a defendant in the case.


Galante's UHL team, the Danbury Trashers, reached the UHL's Colonial Cup finals this season, losing in five games to the Kalamazoo Wings.

Galante's racing team, led by top local Modified driver Ted Christopher (who drives Winston Cup cars occasionally), was also involved in the arrest. Federal marshalls seized all of Christopher's race cars and equipment at his shop earlier this morning.

Related:

Trashing Danbury 3/31/06

FBI's Galante probe includes UHL players 3/18/06

FBI Probe Of Danbury Trashers Owner Widens 11/29/05

Danbury Trashers' Owner Targeted By Feds 7/21/05

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Whalers Fan's Worst Nightmare



Even though the Hartford Whalers moved away 9 years ago, their diehard fans in Connecticut cling to the team's fading legacy much in the same way a wad of gum sticks to a hot sidewalk.

This year's Stanley Cup Finals, like the 2002 Cup Finals before them, are earning more than a casual interest from old-time Connecticut hockey fans, as the following lines from a column written by Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant seem to suggest:

Twelve years ago, it would have been a sublime idea for Hartford hockey fans.

The Stanley Cup finals, Chris Pronger on the ice and Chuck Kaiton behind the microphone. The voice of the franchise describing a title run, the franchise savior leading his team to a championship.

The fantasy is coming true. Thirteen years after he was drafted by the Whalers and 11 years after he was traded to St. Louis, Pronger is in the finals for the first time.

And his Edmonton Oilers are facing the former Whalers. Kaiton is one of the few remaining links, still calling games for the Carolina Hurricanes nine years after the franchise left Hartford.

For the post-lockout NHL, this is hardly a marquee Stanley Cup matchup. But for anyone with a Whalers jersey still hanging in their closet, there is a rooting interest in the Oilers-Hurricanes series.


However, Doyle's relatively mild tone barely scratches the surface of the turmoil being felt by the old Whalers fans. Carolina's success in being up 2 games to none is tearing their hearts out, and they are almost literally out for blood.

Check out the following quotes from members of the Hartford Whalers Booster Club (yes, it still exists), from the official Booster Club web site. These are not the rantings of your typical Internet trolls, but the actual thoughts of former NHL season ticket holders, who post on the Whalers Booster Club message board in-between feedings from the men in the clean white coats, apparently:

"Our worst hockey nightmare is about to be realized! What's worse than losing your team? Watching it win the Cup in its new market. Nordiques fans know that feeling, and I think we're next.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think the Hurricanes are going to win the Stanley Cup. Honestly, I wish I could feel as though this was still my team. But except for Wally and Skip behind the bench, and Chuck upstairs, this just isn't our Whalers. But boy...what a scene it will be to see Karmanos hold the Cup over his head. I almost hope he drops it...almost...but of course I wish no ill will towards the greatest trophy in the world.

"I'm just sitting here shaking my head. It's going to happen. It COULD have happened here, but it's going to happen in Raleigh. In the meantime, just be prepared for what's on the hockey horizon. The call that Chuck's been dying to deliver for 27 years is on the tip of his tongue... LONG LIVE THE WHALE!!!"
- -

"What an awful game to watch tonight. Alot of Whaler references throughout the game. At one point Mike Emrick said Whaler fans maybe even more than Hurricanes fans are rooting for the Stanley Cup. Which is totally wrong but whatever I still like Emrick as an announcer.

They showed Karmonos giddy in his little booth. Then John Davidson talks about the growth of Raleigh as a city and fan base and everything. I'm at work and I'm screaming at the TV I can't stand it. Why do I even watch it just gets me more upset. The Whalers in the Finals!? As a kid it was my dream but this is more of a nightmare..these aren't my Whalers."
- -

"Their attendance still sucked up until about halfway through the season. The supposed growth in the fanbase is just bandwagon fans who will be gone once they suck again."
- -

"Add me to the list of those thinking that is will happen this year. I just can't see the Oilers beating them. I think I may actually shed some tears when it happens...and they will not be tears of joy."
- -

"Anybody else see Kid Rock in Karmanos' suite? Pathetic on both ends. Yeah, I was actually watching that instead of the game, too. The faces they made when they realized what was going on was priceless. Kid Rock? Well, if you saw the baffoon who yells, 'THAT'S ANOTHER CAROLINA HURRICANES GOAL!!!' on their Jumbotron after the fog horn for each and every freaking goal, you could understand why they would have Kid Rock in the owners suite. LONG LIVE THE WHALE!!!"
- -

"I hate the NHL. I was a huge Hartford Whalers fan from when I moved to CT at age 5 in 1986 until the day they moved when I attended the last game. I didn't even watch hockey for two years after the Whale left, and since then have tried desperately to get back into it. I watch a little of the playoffs every year, but it hasn't been the same since.

"This might be the last straw. If the Hurricanes with the Cup, which I think they will, I may never watch another NHL game. It sickens me that teams like Tampa and Carolina, which have no business even having teams, are winning cups, while great hockey cities like Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver fail. It sickens me even more that great hockey cities like Hartford, Quebec, and Winnipeg don't have teams while cities like Phoenix, Anaheim, and Nashville do, and that the North Stars could leave Minnesota without a team for so many years.

"I hate the NHL for ruining my favorite sport, and I hate the Hurricanes for finding success after dumping Hartford. If someone who was such a passionate hockey fan only 10 years ago feels this way, it's no wonder the league is failing.

"Go Oilers... because I hope that I don't have to abandon the NHL for good."


Whalers patch logo (at top) taken from whalershockey.com

Tretiak: "Bettman won't let one Russian go"


Vadislav Tretiak

Yesterday, Sport Express printed an interview with Vadilsav Tretiak, President of the Russian Hockey Federation, upon his return to Moscow after meeting with Gary Bettman in New York.

Earlier today, Russian Hockey Digest posted a translation, which saved me the trouble (though I did touch it up a bit).

Tretiak's comments:

"I met with the NHL commissioner Gary Bettman; he received me very well during my stay, but he also emphasized that the NHL doesn’t make a practice of meeting representatives of other National Federations. Bettman said that they made an exception for Russia because Russia is not just a country, but a sports empire with long-term hockey traditions, to which they in North America regard with great admiration and respect.

"Among the topics discussed there was a discussion of a collaboration between the National Teams as well as the clubs, to revive the series such as the one between Russia and Team Canada. From Bettman’s point of view, these days it is hard to organize the games between the National Teams, but he proposed to organize a joint training camp of several teams from both leagues, Russian and American, so that teams could play against each other.

"Besides, the main discussion was about the agreement that NHL signed with IIHF, and IIHF signed with European Hockey Federations. As is well known, Russia didn’t sign this agreement. The main point of the agreement is that the NHL pays a certain amount of money for each player, and the amount is always the same, regardless of the situation of the player involved. Of course, we disagreed with this, which is why former president Steblin refused to sign the agreement. We are trying to defend our position: if NHL wants to sign players who have active contracts in Russia, they have to deal directly with clubs of these players. NHL defends the point that the agreement is already signed with the IIHF, which means that any other questions are not of their concern.

"Bettman unequivocally stated that if Russia does not sign the agreement, not one Russian player in the NHL would be allowed to go to the 2007 World Championships, which are to be played in Moscow.

"Ovechkin was allowed to go to the 2006 World Championship in Riga, which Bettman reminded me about it right away, and told me that this occurred only because of personal respect to me. He repeated twice that such exceptions will no longer take place."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Thank God And Greyhound He's Gone

I got drunk in Canada. I was there for 2 days but I was drunk there for 4 days. I guess it was with the time difference or something

"Rod Brind'Amour scored off a fluky mistake with 31.1 seconds left after Edmonton's backup goalie botched an exchange behind the net, and the Hurricanes beat the Oilers 5-4 Monday night.

With overtime looming, Conklin went behind the net to play the puck on a seemingly routine play. But he appeared to cross up teammate Jason Smith with a backhanded pass, the puck deflecting off Smith's stick and sliding in front of an open net.

Brind'Amour scored his second goal of the night -- and he'll never get an easier one. Smith dove in a futile attempt to knock the puck away and Conklin was still coming around from behind the net when it crossed the line." -AP story


With Jussi Markkanen in net, the Oilers aren't faring any better in Game Two, currently down 3-0 after two periods.

Conklin's mis-play on Monday night, along with someone's comment on another blog saying "These aren't goalies from the AHL we're talking about", reminded me that Conklin did play in the AHL this year-- with the Hartford Wolf Pack, no less, on a 2-game rehab stint.

Wolf Pack fans couldn't wait for him to leave town then, either:

(from Pack Conked by Phantoms, 3-2 - Dec. 11 '05)

"One of the memories that Conklin will leave for Wolf Pack fans of his two-day conditioning stint in Hartford will be his misadventures while handling the puck. His mind shuts down whenever there's a loose puck to play in front of him. At one point during the game Conklin made a save and looked as if he was going to drop the puck back to one of his defensemen who was skating out from behind the net. Then Conklin changed his mind mid-drop, deciding instead to try to clear the puck up ice out of the zone and sending a fluttering pass right to a Phantoms player, leading to a shot on goal. More than a few times this weekend Conklin left the net unattended in order to play loose pucks that he would've been better off not bothering with, including in the Springfield game where he had to make a head-first dive in order to cover up the puck because he had roamed too far out of the net; and then in last night's game, skating out all the way to the blue line to play the puck along the left boards when there were 3 or 4 other players in the area."

Could Conklin be the worst goalie to ever don pads?

Hollweg’s All Wet

Swiss cheese is a rip-off-- it's is the only cheese you can bite and miss
Ryan Hollweg (middle, in white) (Chris Rutsch photo)

From Dick Weiss’ column in this past Sunday’s New York Daily News:

The Rangers were hoping that rookie Ryan Hollweg would turn out to be a real whiz, but this probably wasn't what they had in mind.

The Score has learned that Hollweg showed up at The Stephen Talkhouse on Long Island over Memorial Day weekend and turned the club's bar area into his own private urinal, according to an unlucky fan.

"I went up to him and started talking to him about the Rangers," says a 25-year-old female fan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Then I noticed something dripping on my feet and I thought he was spilling his drink. But then I realized he was urinating.

"Most beers aren't that warm."

She added that Hollweg had been drinking, but up to that point had been a perfect gentleman and was "speaking coherently."

The alleged game misconduct took place on Saturday night of the holiday weekend and sent the Blueshirt diehard scurrying for cover - and in search of a bar employee.

Nick Kraus, a promoter at the club, says that the woman complained to him about the incident, but that when he went looking for Hollweg, the alleged pee-brain had left the premises.

"I've heard of things like that at other places, but not here," Kraus said, adding that he had seen Hollweg in the club earlier in the evening and that "eight or nine" club revelers had pointed out the Ranger to him.

Kraus said the fan in question is a regular at the club, and that other Rangers - most notably Mark Messier about three years ago - occasionally frequent the establishment.

Hollweg, through a Rangers spokesperson, claims the story is a prime example of yellow journalism. The Ranger rookie says he was at the Talkhouse with his girlfriend and a group of friends, but did not have a conversation with anyone outside of his group.

The fan says she wishes no ill will on Hollweg and will continue to root for her team.

"I love the Rangers," she said. "I just thought it was disgusting. It's not something you expect someone to do."


I guess this means that Ty Conklin wasn’t the only player from this year’s Wolf Pack roster to piss all over himself recently.

Nazarov Smells Blood

My hair has a mind of its own. For instance, the other day it went bowling without me
Andrei Nazarov (62) vs. old hippie Bob Probert

Here's what Andrei Nazarov, who never seems at a loss for a quote, had to say to Sport Express about Monday night's Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals, which saw Dwayne Roloson being lost to Edmonton because of an injury suffered in a collision with Carolina's Andrew Ladd:

"It's debatable whether Ladd intentionally or unintentionally crashed into Roloson the way that he did, or if Ladd could've lowered his center of gravity and softened his impact with Roloson-- who, by the way, is a very pleasant and friendly fellow, with whom I began the season in Minnesota.

"Game Two of the series will be played straight-up, I assume. But if Edmonton loses again, then in the third game, they will have the Carolina players in their sights-- most of all, Ladd.

"Georges Laraque, in my opinion, is the toughest enforcer in the NHL. Possibly he tries to take Ladd out, or perhaps more directly, they target Carolina's goaltender.

Satire is tragedy plus time
Recipe for Disaster: Ty Conklin in for Roloson

"Laraque has no equal in close combat. He has the ideal fighter's size and balance, and can do damage with both hands, especially the left. I've heard that his parents are from Jamaica, and among his ancestors were pirates from that region. It would seem that he is an innate warrior.

"My advice to Carolina: first, do not dress Ladd for Game Three. Second, keep your back-up goaltender ready..."


I'm not sure if any of Nazarov's statements can hold water, but I think they're amusing to read nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

NHL Teams To Face Off Against Russian Super League


Vadislav Tretiak

From the English version of the RIA web site:

MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA) - The Soviet-era battle for world hockey supremacy is set to resume again after officials agreed on a series of exhibition matches between top teams from Russia's Super League and the NHL.

The agreement was clinched at talks in New York between Vladislav Tretyak, Russia's hockey commissar, and top officials from the National Hockey League (NHL) including Commissioner Gary Bettman, the Russian Hockey Federation (RHF) said Tuesday.

"The sides have agreed to exchange exhibition matches next season," press secretary Vladimir Gerasimov said. "The schedule and teams have yet to be determined."

Tretyak, who was last month elected the head of the RHF, also discussed the possibility of Russia's joining an agreement between the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the NHL that regulates transfers between European clubs and the American league, RHF press secretary Gerasimov said.

The three-time Olympic gold medallist - a legendary goalie who played in the Summit Series and the first Russian to be named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto - is believed to want to step up cooperation with the NHL.

NHL executive vice president Bill Daly will visit Moscow in September at Tretyak's invitation, Gerasimov said.

Bryzgalov: "It's not impossible that I would play in Russia"

And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. Great. That means I'll have to sit through the Ice Capades again. It's not worth it
Ilya Bryzgalov

A short while ago, Sport Express posted an interview with Anaheim goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in which Bryzgalov talked about many things, ranging from Socrates and objective reality, to the stereotypical Russian view of Americans as being dullards ("There are different Americans, just as there are different Russians"). Bryzgalov also gave a nod to the Oilers, saying that in the end, "Edmonton proved to be stronger than us" (this, despite Bryzgalov being quoted after Game Four as saying, "It's obvious we've played better than Edmonton in all four games so far").

Given Bryzgalov's current status as a free agent (having just finished a one-year option on his contract with Anaheim), the interviewer tried to press the issue of Bryzgalov possibly considering a return to play in the Russian Super League-- something he hasn't done since playing in his hometown for Lada Togliatti in '00-'01 (Bryzgalov played for Cincinnati in the AHL during the lockout).

Here's what Bryzgalov had to say (mind you, this isn't one long answer by Bryzgalov, but instead was taken from a number of quotes, as he was asked the same question several times):

"My contract with Anaheim has ended. As the saying goes, now I am a free man. I do not even have an offer yet from Anaheim. We have not talked, though eventually we will. What's important to me now is that I am free to make my own decision on where to play. I can't say that it's impossible that I would play in the Russian Super League. If a very interesting proposal from Russia came about, then it is possible that I would consider it. If I were unhappy about something here, then why not return home?

"It's difficult to talk about this now, until I've talked with the team (Anaheim) about this. If Anaheim insisted on a specific dollar amount that wasn't acceptable to me, and they were unwilling to concede any further, then, yes, I would entertain contract offers from Russia.

"In answer to your question, I will say this: If, in the beginning of July when I go to Russia, I still don't have a contract with Anaheim, then it is possible that I will begin to talk with other people."