Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pack Dumped by Devils

Chris Rutsch photo

Tonight's Pack game was a boring-as-hell matchup against the Lowell Devils (imagine that), with the Wolf Pack able to muster only 9 shots on goal over the first two periods, on their way to a lackluster 2-1 loss. I can only remember one or two games past the opening month-and-a-half of the season where the Wolf Pack were outshot by the other team, yet in this game Hartford went what might've been 7 or 8 minutes in the last half of the second period without recording a shot on net.

Al Montoya let in two goals on the first two Lowell shots in the second period, and that was pretty much the game right there. The first goal came after Martin Richter was completely undressed, leading to a scoring chance and an ensuing rebound. Montoya then lost his footing and fell down as he moved out to play the puck, leaving Richter to stand in front of the mostly unguarded net, allowing Lowell's Rod Pelley to score. It wasn't the only time that Montoya fell down entirely on his own tonight, either.

Lowell's second goal came on a deflection of a Nik Bergfors shot by Ryan Murphy, which was hardly Montoya's fault. Just a few seconds later, the Wolf Pack scored their only goal of the night when Hugh Jessiman beat 6'-7" bag-of-bones Olli Malmivaara to a loose puck in front of the Lowell net, with Jessiman reaching forward and softly nudging the puck past a napping Jordan Parise.

Dane Byers had the only fight of the game, early in the third period against Olivier Magnan. Magnan lost his balance in the early going, giving Byers an opening that he took advantage of. Magnan ended up covering up to save himself further punishment, which earned a couple of f-words and a turtle-like taunting gesture from Byers.

Borat! High five! (Chris Rutsch photo, finally)

Alex Bourret played in his first game for the Wolf Pack since being acquired by the Rangers in a trade for Pascal Dupuis. Ryan Constant also played, having just been called up from Charlotte. Don't ask me if they played OK or not, because I was asleep. When Hugh Jessiman is the star of the game (handing out the best hit of the game, besides scoring the only Hartford goal), you know you're in trouble. David Liffiton and Ivan Baranka were among the Wolf Pack players who weren't making everyone cringe through most of the game.

Referee Jamie Koharski made three phantom calls against the Wolf Pack in the first period, then had his mouth bloodied midway through the second period when he was caught between two players' sticks along the boards near the Wolf Pack bench. Koharski ended up taking the last half of the second period off, although nobody seemed to miss him that much.

The Wolf Pack play their next four games on the road, where they are 19-8, versus 15-16 at home.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Elvis Is Watching

...and he doesn't want anyone to get hurt.

(Photo found at Not For Hire blog. I think the guy from the blog took the photo himself.)

(Photo: Rich Stieglitz/Bgpt Sound Tigers)

Meanwhile, the Hartford Wolf Pack took on the Creamsicles in Bridgeport yesterday and won, 5-1, to finish out their second straight undefeated weekend. Al Montoya has now allowed only 9 goals in his last 7 starts, and the Wolf Pack have won their last six in a row by a combined score of 26-6.

Oh, and cool it with the fighting, everyone. Remember-- Elvis is watching.

UPDATE 2/27 - Click on the photo below to watch the Fox 61 Sports highlights on the Sound Tigers - Wolf Pack game, including video of the fight between Jason Pitton and Jake Taylor:

Click to start video

You didn't think I was serious about the "no fighting" stuff, did you? Geez!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sure, We Had Knives Around

Goalie fight!! (Chris Rutsch photo)

A day after trouncing the Lowell Devils, 6-1, in a road game on Friday, the Hartford Wolf Pack manhandled the Norfolk Admirals at home on Saturday, 5-1, in a game where fighting broke out on no less than seven different occasions. 18 fighting majors were handed out, along with 5 game misconducts and over 200 minutes in penalties.

I'm guessing that the take down in Norfolk this morning is along the lines of, "We toughed it out all night against a good team on the road and stood up for ourselves admirably," but no way. Norfolk came into last night's game with the best record in the AHL (39-14-4-1, 83 pts.), and with ten players on their roster in double-figures in goal scoring, but were pounded up-and-down the ice the entire game by the Wolf Pack, in nearly every category.

Dane Byers put the Pack on the board first, on a nice shot that looked like it skipped past Admirals goalie Corey Crawford, and then Lauri Korpikoski sent home a rifle shot from the left hand side that almost punched a hole in the net and made it 2-0. Korpikoski has turned up his game a lot as of late, setting aside his former puck-hogging ways to become more of a set-up man within the offense (something like 10 assists, along with 3 goals, in his last 10 or 11 games), while continuing to forecheck well and play his usual solid game defensively.

Carl Corazzini scored for Norfolk midway through the second period to make the score 2-1, with Kris Versteeg causing two Wolf Pack players to fall down in his wake as he juked his way up the ice to set up the goal. For a while it almost looked like this game might follow the pattern of the last game against Norfolk in Hartford this season, when the Wolf Pack also took a 2-0 lead in the first period but wound up losing the game in overtime. But then Nigel Dawes ended that doubt quickly, scoring at the 16:18 mark of the second period to make it 3-1, which is when all hell broke loose.

Dawes goes after Craig MacDonald (Chris Rutsch photo)

Just as Dawes raised his arms to celebrate the goal, Norfolk's Craig MacDonald took a chop at Dawes from behind, Dale Hunter-on-Pierre Turgeon style. Dawes immediately spun around and started hammering away at MacDonald, wrestling MacDonald to the ice. While the other players were pushing and shoving each other, Al Montoya skated down from his end of the ice and threw his gloves and helmet down near the right face-off circle, challenging Corey Crawford to a fight. Knowing they'd be ejected, Montoya and Crawford went at it.

Montoya v. Crawford (Heather and Chris Rutsch photos)

Hugh Jessiman scored two minutes later to make it 4-1 Hartford, Jessiman's first goal for the Pack since the opening night of the season. Ryan Callahan's set up was the whole story here, as Callahan drew the defender in with a beautiful spin move to his backhand side and then slid the puck over to Jessiman.

Jarkko Immonen finished off the scoring for the Wolf Pack 10 minutes into the third period, on a nice pass from Korpikoski, but not before more fighting broke out. First, Dane Byers squared off against Jordan Hendry about a half-minute before Immonen's goal, with Hendry showing how much he fights like a girl. Then, a couple of minutes later, another major brawl broke out when Ryan Callahan started to duke it out with a Norfolk player (I think it was Danny Richmond), followed by almost every skater on the ice pairing up for their own bouts. Lifetime goon Reed Low started a fight with Corey Potter, which really wasn't fair, but Potter stood his ground well and Low ended up getting ejected for instigating and secondary altercation. A bunch of the players ended up in a big pigpile, and then just as all of the fights were winding down, Dave Liffiton suddenly jumped after Adam Berti, with both Berti and Liffiton getting ejected.

I think this was when Jim Schoenfeld started yapping over the glass divider at Norfolk coach Mike Haviland, which went on for almost a full minute and was pretty amusing. At one point it looked like Schoenfeld told Wolf Pack assistant J.J. Daigneault to step away, so Daigneault might've been putting in his two cents also.

Dale Purinton (5) and Dave Koci (3) (Chris Rutsch photo)

Norfolk's David Koci fought three times in this game, though he was charitably only given a roughing minor for his third fight (against Francis Lessard), avoiding the automatic suspension that I believe comes with three fighting majors in one game. Koci and Lessard dropped the gloves 1:04 after the opening puck drop, with Lessard doing most of the damage despite Koci trying to claw at him several times during the fight with his fingernails (ironic, because Koci supposedly spent the rest of the game trying to call out Purinton and Lessard as "chickens" or something). Koci and Purinton fought in the second period, with Koci getting a misconduct after he tried to toss around one of the linesman in order to get at Purinton after the fight was over. Purinton gave a couple of Rick Flair-like "Whooo!"'s after that one, once again playing up to the crowd as he skated to the penalty box, which seems to be a new wrinkle of his.

Lessard and Koci had the last fight of the game, although each player only received roughing minors (a double-minor in Lessard's case). Koci made Lessard skate at nearly full speed around the length of the rink in order to start things off, with Lessard then losing his balance with the first punch he threw as the fight ended up pretty much just being a wrestling match.

Lessard - Koci pt. 1 / Byers - Hendry

Potter - Low / Jessiman - Fraser
(Chris Rutsch photos)

Al Montoya was given the first star of the game, coming out onto the ice to throw a t-shirt into the crowd while wearing flip-flops and shorts.

Darius Kasparaitis skated during pre-game warmups but didn't play, and Brad Isbister is said to be on his way down from New York in time to play agaisnt Bridgeport later this afternoon.

I'm hoping to have a link to some video by the end of the day.

UPDATE 3:24pm - Until I can find something better, these YouTube videos will have to do for now:

Fan video #1 (4:03) - Screaming girls soundtrack
Fan video #2 (2:00) - Pantera soundtrack

UPDATE 8:54pm - The Wolf Pack Booster Club site has put up some TV picture-quality videos of some of the fights from last night's game (that's Montoya throwing a haymaker in a still shot from one of the videos, below). Either click on the picture below, or click here to go to the videos page.

Click to go to video page

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Jagr wants to play for Czechs in Moscow

Jaromir Jagr

After the Czech Republic's bronze medal finish at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Jaromir Jagr all but announced his retirement from international competition, saying, "The time has come to leave."

Jagr now seems to be reconsidering, however. Interviewed by Sport Express after the Rangers' 5-3 loss against the Flyers a week ago (ironically, a game during which Jagr appeared to strain his shoulder on a hit from Derian Hatcher), Jagr said that he would be ready to play for the Czech Republic at the World Championships in April.

Sport Express quotes Jagr as saying, "I am well aware that the World Championships will be in Moscow this year. I can tell you that Russia is very dear to me, from the time during the lockout when I played for Omsk, and even when I (briefly trained) there last year.

"It may be a bit early to talk about this. Last year I said I would leave the national team, for specific reasons, some of them subjective (a falling-out that Jagr had with the Czech head coach is said to be one reason). I am ready to reconsider my decision. I have been contacted by the Czech Hockey Federation a number of times, but it is necessary for me to think this through first."

Jagr added that, "as a professional", his priority is to concentrate on helping the Rangers make the playoffs. The Rangers, who currently stand in 12th place in their conference, would have to miss the post-season in order for Jagr to be available to play in Moscow in April.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Why Meat Eaters Prevail

No doubt a testimonial to the ol' 8-Foot Beef Stick...

Yeeaahhhh.... Lost Weekend

Brandon Dubinsky: Think I'm gonna crash (Chris Rutsch photo)

Seeing as I've obviously skipped over a few games since my last post, I'll try to put together some sort of late re-cap of the previous weekend's Wolf Pack games, for posterior posterity's sake if nothing else...

All three of Hartford's games last week were against division foes, as would also have been a fourth game against Lowell on Valentine's Day that was snowed out (goddamned Cupid ruins everything). The Wolf Pack swept all three games-- a 3-0 shutout victory over Worcester on Friday (2/16), and then back-to-back, home-and-home wins against the Providence Bruins on Saturday and Sunday (2/17, 2/18). This was actually a pretty good turn-around for the Wolf Pack in the month of February, as the Pack had started the month off losing 3 out of 4 and hadn't scored more than 2 goals in any of those four games.

The Wolf Pack dominated in their 3-0 win over the Sharks, holding Worcester to only 15 shots on goal. Bryce Lampman was accidentally hit in the face with a stick past the midway point of the first period, and ended up going to the hospital to get his eye checked out. Brad Isbister scored on the ensuing 5-minute major, giving the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead at the time. Dwight Helminen scored the second goal for the Wolf Pack, finally getting a bit of luck that has mostly eluded him this season when a rebound bounced right back onto his stick. The Pack's third goal came on a nice set-up by Dane Byers, as Byers held the puck just long enough to get the goalie out of position before passing the puck a few feet over to his right to Lauri Korpikoski, who scored.

Sharks acting all friendly and shit

Dale Purinton fought Worcester's Brad Staubitz twice, including an all-out brawl in the second period that resulted in Staubitz getting tossed from the game. Just as the two were squaring off for the second time, Staubitz grabbed Purinton by the shoulders and pulled Dale down to the ice. Staubitz could've waited for Dale to get up, but instead he started to pound his fists into Dale's back, which seemed kinda punky to me. Brandon Dubinsky then tried to help Dale out by jumping onto Staubitz from behind, earning a game misconduct for third man in. Purinton was pissed off at this point, and started blindly hammering Staubitz non-stop as soon as he was able to regain his footing, to the point where a couple of Purinton's punches even seemed to hit Dubinsky. Once he had finished Staubitz off, Purinton then waved to the crowd on his way to the penalty box.

Nigel Dawes recorded 5 shots on goal against the Sharks but otherwise seemed kinda snake-bitten, including being on the receiving end of the the best check of the game when Worcester's Justin "Dick" Kurtz plastered Dawes against the boards with a Kasparaitis-like hip check.

Francis Lessard: Come on, that's not really high-sticking, now
is it?!? (Chris Rutsch photo)

I missed the Pack's next home game-- on the 17th, against Providence-- because I was on a flight headed to South Carolina for a vacation. I had a connection in Atlanta along the way, meaning that for about an hour-and-a-half on Saturday, Atlanta was the Center of the Blogging Universe. Anyway, Hartford polished off the Bruins, 3-2, holding on to win after scoring three goals in the first period.

Brad Isbister scored twice against Providence, giving him goals in three straight games and fueling speculation afterwards that he would be the player called up to replace the fallen Brendan Shanahan, which is exactly what ended up happening. Former top pick Hugh Jessiman (ECHL: 20 games, 12 goals, 10 assists - AHL: 25 games, 1 goal, 4 assists - NHL: No Future) was called up to Hartford from Charlotte.

Ryan Callahan strikes back (Chris Rutsch photo)

Ryan Callahan scored two goals in the Pack's 4-1 win in Providence on Sunday, capping off the undefeated weekend for Hartford. Former Yalie Alex Westlund, up for a brief spell from Charlotte with Steve Valiquette still in New York, got his first start in net for the Wolf Pack, in a game that had only three minor penalties total.

Providence then shut out Portland, 4-0, on Wednesday (2/21) to move back into second place in the division, ahead of Hartford by one point (though the Pack still have 3 games in hand over Providence).

(Post title is a reference to my favorite C2D song-- not that I expect anyone to really care at this point)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Looking For Something Clean

Copyright's Christian Thor Valdson and Tom Anselmi (ex-Slow), July '01
(Photo: Jenny Yuen/Chart Attack)

A couple of things that I pretty much know to be facts--

The best Canadian invention of all time: Hockey.

The best Canadian band of all time: Slow.

Not only have most people never even heard of Slow, for years I was thinking that I would never hear their records again, either-- until a post on another blog came along to save the day.

I'm pretty sure that I first found out about Slow through some Canadian fanzine or other; it seemed like all the zines from western Canada were pretty funny and cool back then, and there were a number of Canadian bands that I remember being into at the time, like D.O.A., Asexuals, S.N.F.U., and the Stretch Marks. So, when I saw the first Slow single at a record store when it came out in '85, I snapped it up, even though the cover art looked pretty stupid.

Despite the dumb-looking front cover (and back cover drawing of the band members sitting on a couch or something wasn't all that great, either), the song ("I Broke the Circle") was awesome: punk enough, but with a Grand Funk "We're An American Band"-type hard rock groove to it. There were enough novelty aspects to the song (having a girl coo, "Wrong number, baby", during one of the non-choruses was pretty hilarious) to give the impression that Slow didn't take themselves too seriously-- an important point-- and the "Uh-uh" bridge towards the end of the song was masterful.

Still, "I Broke the Circle" was practically a throwaway compared to the heaviness of the record that followed. "Against the Glass" came out in '86, and again, the cover art (a nondescript photo of some scruffy-looking youths standing inside an old barn or abandoned factory or something) didn't give much of a clue to what was on the vinyl.

Image from Model Citizen

If you took the best elements from a bunch of the records that I was really into up to that point-- Squirrel Bait's "Skag Heaven", Negative Approach's "Tied Down", SS Decontrol's "Get It Away"-- and put them all in one place, that would be "Against the Glass". "In Deep" even sounds like the direction I could imagine SSD taking after "Get It Away", instead of the cruddy "Howie Rock" crap that they actually put out.

I liked "Against the Glass" so much that I even bought two copies, when a couple of years later I found a copy in a used bin that ended up being in better shape than my original. All of this, plus a tape I had of a couple of other Slow songs (including a cover of Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog"), disappeared years ago, either through mysterious misfortune or while moving from one town to another.

In any case, I lost track of Slow after that (as well as one of the first post-Slow projects, Tankhog), and was completely unaware of other post-Slow bands like Circle C and Copyright. Circle C was apparently even given a hefty six-figure advance by Geffen, releasing an album (which quickly disappeared) on the same week in 1991 that Geffen released "Nevermind" (which sucked, by the way).

About ten years ago, a book on Canadian rock bands was published that took the name of a Slow song-- Have Not Been The Same-- to use as its title, but I missed out on seeing that one, also. Once I became more internet-savvy a handful of years ago, I tried to track down information on the band that way, but I guess I wasn't all that smart yet. In any case, typing "Slow" into a Google search doesn't really get you anywhere.

Then last month, completely by accident, I stumbled onto a post about Slow on a blog called Model Citizen... Zero Discipline-- including a whole bunch of MP3's, no less!! As you can see by some of the comments attached to that post, there are a number of people who were just as happy to find this stuff as I was.

From the Against the Glass 12" EP (1986):

Slow - Against the Glass

Slow - In Deep

Slow - Have Not Been The Same

From the "I Broke the Circle" 45 (1985):

Slow - I Broke the Circle

I took a few of the MP3's and saved them to my newly-minted Vox account, so you can click on the above links to hear each song.

My thanks go out to Model Citizen for posting all of this stuff for me to swipe; you can check out lots more (like Circle C and Copyright songs) by going to their original blog post.

UPDATE - Slow, "Have Not Been The Same" video!

Also, here's a direct link to the original video, although the YouTube version has pretty good quality (thanks to From Blown Speakers - check out their blog post, too, it's excellent):

Slow - Have Not Been The Same (video)

Through the same link, you can also find videos from D.O.A., Tankhog, NoMeansNo, 3 Inches of Blood, and others.

UPDATE 3/25/07 - I found this great mention of Slow in a comment string on some other blog:

I called Slow the greatest rock and roll band of all time because they made one glorious album/EP and one great single, did one tour, then called it quits leaving a beautiful corpse.

They also singlehandedly shut down a showcase for Vancouver bands at Expo 86 after singer Tom Anselmi devoted their set to hurling abuse at the crowd and disrobing. Best of all, they gave as their reason for splitting up, the fact that if being a band meant having to tour Eastern Canada again they'd just as soon not be a band.

I was at their lone Ottawa show, fourth on the bill at a 5 Arlington punk show. They so offended the other bands playing that night that after one of their amps blew no one would lend them another and they were forced to pack up after three songs.

Like I said, the greatest rock and roll band ever.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Who Are You and Why Am I Here?

Void (photo: Jim Saah/Dischord Records)

Dischord Records has recently posted a shitload of MP3's on their web site (thanks to Vinyl Mine for the tip). Now everyone can go to the downloads page, scroll all the way to the bottom, and click on the button that looks like this: hear one of the most awesome blasts in the history of recorded music.

Don't forget to check out the YouTube video, as well.

Deadspinners Get All Hot and Bothered

It's funny how Will Leitch and Deadspin spend a lot of time acting as if they're above ESPN, sports columnists, beat writers, and the rest of the mainstream sports media; yet, as soon as they get a plug from any one of those places, they practically drool all over themselves while mentioning it.

The above video was taken by some random Deadspinner, using his camera phone or something (probably because he was too busy jerking off to hit the "record" button on his DVR). Apparently, some sorry-ass talking head mentioned Deadspin on TV-- a moment so memorable that it had to be recorded for posterity and posted on YouTube for every other dipshit to get all warm and fuzzy over.

Of course, Deadspin jumped on this video and have kept it posted in their top stories section for 5 days straight now. Because what other sports stories have happened in the past week that are more important than Deadspin talking about themselves?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I Am... I Said

Not even the chair

The Hartford Wolf Pack got blown out by the Springfield Falcons on Saturday night, 5-2, ending the lowly Falcons' 9-game losing streak and dropping Hartford's record so far in the month of February to 1-3.

It was also "Rob Murray Night" in Springfield, as the Falcons honored their former team captain (now an assistant coach with Providence) with a pre-game ceremony that delayed the start of the game by a good 30 minutes ("Murray scored 16 goals in 56 games with the Moncton Hawks in '92-'93..." OK, OK, drop the puck already). Murray, who seems like a decent enough guy (he was sitting two tables away at the restaurant we were at before the game), was given a chair that had been re-upholstered with one of his old Falcons game jerseys, and then his #23 was raised to the rafters; good thing that "We Are The Champions" is such a short song, since the ceiling in Springfield isn't really all that far above the ice.

In any case, the Wolf Pack players had to skate their warm-up laps while navigating the carpeting and furniture that was still being carried away from their end of the ice, and then quickly found themselves behind in the score once the game started. Kyle Wanvig put the Falcons on the board only 1:10 after the opening puck drop, and then Springfield scored again just past the mid-way point of the first period, to take an early 2-0 lead.

Springfield's second goal came on a nice pass by Matt Smaby, who deftly stepped past a Wolf Pack defender and sent the puck over to Daniel Corso, as the Falcons easily played tic-tac-toe around the Hartford penalty-killing unit.

Not even two minutes after the Falcons' second goal, a major brawl broke out in the Wolf Pack end. First, David Liffiton was creamed from behind as he was skating backwards at speed along the blue line, taken down by either a leg-whip or a clothesline. Seconds later, with Liffiton still laying on the ice, Wanvig skated straight through the crease and steam-rolled Steve Valiquette. Liffiton ended up fighting Wanvig, who lost his jersey in the fight. The pushing and shoving still hadn't settled down when Dane Byers and Brandon Elliot started to go at it, each of them drawing a game misconduct for "secondary altercation". Wanvig was given roughing and charging minors, along with a fighting major.

Ryan Callahan was also involved in the rough stuff-- taking a few swings in defense of his goalie, Valiquette, though drawing no penalty-- as well as laying out at least three hard checks during what was a fairly physical first period for him. Callahan also recorded 7 shots on goal for the game.

Kyle Wanvig getting smacked by Dane Byers (Photo: Jessica Hill/Springfield Republican)

Hartford tied the game, 2-2, with two goals in the second period. The first goal came on the power play, with Brad Isbister tipping home a hard shot by Marvin Degon. Greg Moore then scored a short-handed goal three minutes later, set up on a nice pass by Lauri Korpikoski from the left-hand side of the goal mouth.

Trailing 3-2 midway through the third period, Hartford had a golden opportunity to tie the game during a full two-minute 5-on-3, with Daniel Corso and Norm Milley both drawing hooking minors at the 10:44 mark. Ryan Callahan then seemed to score early in the power play to tie the game, but the goal was waved off, with the referee, Chris Ciamaga, saying that the puck was kicked.

A video from has several slow-motion replays that seem to show that Callahan did use a kicking motion, though his skate was tripped up by Dan Cavanaugh's stick.

Callahan No Goal (Windows Media Player)

Ten seconds after the 5-on-3 expired, Springfield scored again, with Wanvig completing the hat trick. The Falcons added an empty-net goal with a minute-and-a-half left, scoring on all three of their shots on goal in the third period.

Francis Lessard provided one of the few third-period bright spots for the Wolf Pack, pummeling the Falcon's Rosie O'DonHill in the last half-minute of the game, though O'DonHill got in a couple of good punches of her own. The fight had the Springfield fans on their feet, pumped up over their last-place team's first win in weeks; the cops had even thrown out a couple of Falcons fans earlier in the third period, for shouting go-fuck-yourselves at Wolf Pack fans (we were just across the aisle from them) and what not.

Anyway, in honor of the laid-back Springfield fans who never like to swear (and Rob Murray's nice chair), here's Neil Diamond:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rangers rooked by Kings for Avery

Sean Avery, NYR (#16)

...At least, so says Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period.

The Rangers' "youth movement" showed some visible progress last season, with Wolf Pack alums like Dominic Moore, Jed Ortmeyer, Blair Betts, and Ryan Hollweg all making significant contributions. Then Moore was traded away last summer (for marginal veteran Adam Hall), and none of the candidates from this year's promising batch of rookies were given any kind of reasonable shot at sticking with the big club early in the season (Nigel Dawes and Jarkko Immonen being two examples). Throw in the addition of 31-year-old Jason Krog, claimed off waivers while younger centermen bided their time in Hartford, and it seemed like the Rangers had put their youth movement on hold.

Now comes the trade for Avery, at the expense of more prospects-- namely Jan Marek (43 points in 42 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk so far this season) and Marc-Andre Cliche (36 points in 35 games for Lewiston of the QMJHL). As someone else pointed out, the Kings let Craig Conroy go to the Flames the other week for a lot less than the Rangers gave up for Avery.

Here's Bernstein's take, from a Los Angeles perspective:

On Monday afternoon, (Kings GM) Dean Lombardi fooled a team, the New York Rangers, into taking Sean Avery off his hands and actually gave back a player off its NHL roster (RW Jason Ward) and a couple of mid-level prospects to boot (junior Marc Andre Cliché and European Jan Marek).

Lombardi would have been the winner of the deal if he got back a bag of pucks and two broken sticks for Avery.

Avery doesn't have the offensive skill to play on the powerplay, he's a mediocre penalty killer and his decision making is among the worst in the league. His stay in Los Angeles has proven that he's a third line player with a terrible attitude. As marginal as his play was on the ice, he was far worse off it. Sean Avery was a snarling, nasty man in a Kings locker room of decent guys. Despite denials you might hear publicly, he was universally disliked by the team.

There's that old saying "addition by subtraction" and the Kings have added so much by taking this player off their roster.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the response to the trade by Rangers followers was as uninspiring as it was unoriginal.

Q: Which of the Rangers web pundits (bloggers, message board hacks, and so forth), within hours of the announcement, gave the same mindless reaction to the Sean Avery trade?

A: Pretty much all of them.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Shy From The Neck Up

D-Lee of Red and Black Hockey has tagged me to join in on Jes Gőlbez's "If I Were A Hockey Player" thingy. Please note that I tried to keep my answers as realistic as possible.

If I Were A Russian Hockey Player

Team: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Russian Super League. Drafted by the
NY Rangers ahead of Marek Svatos but after Eric Himelfarb, at least
Uniform number: 2
Position: Stay-at-home defenseman; the coach calls me up on game
days and tells me to stay home
Gets paid with: Black market household appliances and car care
kits still in the box
Nicknames: "Zuke", "Хитрожопый", "The Second Coming of
Wicked Awesome"
Dream linemates/pairings: Maxim Kondratiev or Fedor Tyutin
Rounding out the PP up for drinks after the game: Andrei Nazarov,
Fedor Fedorov, Ilya Kovalchuk
Job: Handing out the Sudafed, staying behind while the rest of the team takes the ice to make sure the locker room isn't bugged
Signature move: Going for the deke on the breakaway, then losing the puck and falling flat on my ass
Strengths: Keeping myself handy with the stick tape, knowing
where to find the good vodka
Weaknessess: Letting the puck out of the zone, unwillingness to
accept an assignment to the minor-league affiliate
Injury problems: Occasional itchy, watery eyes; dry skin in the winter
Equipment: Leftover Cold War nukes and pucks baked in Chernobyl
Nemesis: Whomever it was that knicked my passport
Scandal involvement: Attending a State Dinner at the Vladimir Putin residence and steadfastly refusing to touch any of the food
Who I'd face in the Stanley Cup Finals: With my luck, probably some non-prestigious one-season wonder from the Western Conference that nobody wants to watch, like San Jose or Anaheim or something. Fuck them
What I'd do with the Stanley Cup after our victory: Try to hold it so that the fingerprints and smudges would always end up on the rings that have the Islanders and Philadelphia
Would the media love me or hate me? Depends-- are any of them Colin McEnroe?

Tagged: Ritch at American Hockey Fan, Patricia at 2 Man Advantage, Jay Hinman.

Hide The Children

In a recent post on Jerseys and Hockey Love, Tapeleg brings to our attention the Rocky Mountain Rage's Christmas jersey, and for that he deserves some thanks, since it is one of the more remarkably hideous jerseys that I've ever seen.

Of course, with me it also begs another question:

Why does the Rocky Mountain Rage mascot look so much like a satantic Ernie?

Monday, February 05, 2007

It Begins Now

John Stabb, Gov't Issue (photo source: Kill From The Heart)

Little-known fact: I can be heard singing along to "It Begins Now" on a Gov't Issue record.

While this is probably not as cool as the kid I used to know (named Tim, from Michigan) who appeared on the picture sleeve for G.I.'s "Make An Effort" EP, it might make for an interesting story, anyway.

G.I. was touring for one of their albums at the time, and I got to hang out with them for a few days, even sleeping on the same floor after one of their tour stops. Before their show at CBGB's, Tom Lyle overheard John Stabb telling me that the show was going to be recorded for a live album and snarled, "We don't want people at the show to know, because then they'll shout things and ruin the tape."

Though an awesome guitar player, Tom was a bit of a jerk, by the way. It was obvious that he wanted the band to become more commercially accepted, and Stabb's flakiness didn't always fit in with the plan. When I interviewed G.I. before the show, for some reason Tom thought I was from a radio station and talked very professionally. When he found out that the interview was only for a fanzine, he got ticked off and walked out of the room (though no one else in the band seemed to care).

Anyway, during the show, Stabb made some jokes on stage about Brian Baker and Dag Nasty, which pissed off Tom Lyle and were later edited out for the record. (I know this, because I was given a copy of the original soundboard tape, which I still have.)

Being the smart-ass that I was, this gave me an idea. During the next song, "It Begins Now", Stabb held the mic out to me during every chorus, so towards the end of the song I started shouting, "Dag Nasty rules!" Stabb replied, "Shut up!" and "No they don't!", but kept holding the mic out to me anyway. Oddly enough, they left this part on the record.

When the record (the Strange Wine EP) came out, they had over-dubbed Jay Robbins saying "Here's the punchline to that little joke"-- which never happened during the live show-- to cover up Stabb's anti-Brian Baker intro.

Strange Wine was re-issued a few years ago, this time as the complete CB's show from that day (August 30th, 1987); I don't own the re-issue, so I don't know if it's been re-edited.

For anyone who's thinking to themselves, "Who the hell are Government Issue?"-- which I'm sure is probably most of you-- here's an MP3 that you can click on, from :30 Under DC:

Gov't Issue, "Familiar" (Joy Ride LP, 1984)

Also, here's the track with me doing the sing-along, "It Begins Now":

Gov't Issue, "It Begins Now" (live)

To read more about G.I.-- one of my top five favorite bands of all time-- click here for a piece that ran in an issue of Punk Planet.

(Dueling post titles with Greg from The Post-Pessimist Association)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

There are some issues here...

...and it's not just that Vladimir Vorobiev is getting hardly any votes.

The Hartford Wolf Pack's "10 Years, 1 Mission" site is accepting votes for the Wolf Pack All-Decade Team, but you're only allowed to vote for one player. Not an entire line-up of players (goalie, defensemen, forwards), but just a single All-Time Player.

Of course, this means that most people are going to vote for their one most favorite player-- most likely a forward-- and players like Tomas Kloucek and Lawrence Nycholat, who might've otherwise gotten a ton of votes each as All-Decade defensemen, aren't going to get very many votes at all. Hey, wait a minute-- Tomas Kloucek isn't even on the ballot! That's just wrong.

In any case, here would be my picks for the Wolf Pack All-Decade Team:

Dan Cloutier

Derek Armstrong
Brad Smyth
Ken Gernander

Tomas Kloucek
Lawrence Nycholat

Picked regardless of position (L - R - C), by the way.

I would've liked to have found a way to include Johan Witehall and/or Marc Savard at forward, but it's pretty much impossible to go against what Armstrong, Smyth, and Gernander accomplished during their careers in Hartford.

The most talented player ever to put on a Wolf Pack jersey may have been Mike York, actually, but he wasn't around long enough (5 goals in only 9 total games with Hartford in '98-'99).

And, yes, Igor Ulanov did suit up for the Wolf Pack once (for six games back in '01-'02), but I'm trying to forget about it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Death By Chocolate

Alexandre Giroux's second-period goal (Chris Rutsch photo)

Last night's fast-paced Hartford Wolf Pack - Hershey Bears game was a fun one to watch for the first couple of periods, as the Wolf Pack stayed even-up with a pretty good Hershey team. The third period was a different story, though, with the Pack skating around aimlessly like they didn't have a clue what they were doing most of the time, and Hershey ended up winning, 2-1, snapping Hartford's 5-game win streak.

Frederic Cassivi was the main story, as the Bears' goalie made most of his 37 saves look easy. Cassivi was playing in his first game back after missing a month-and-a-half to an injury, and while he seemed a bit winded after Hartford put up a strong flurry to end the second period, it otherwise seemed like Cassivi hardly broke a sweat all night.

Hershey's first goal was practically gift-wrapped, as a Wolf Pack miscue midway through the second period left Alexandre Giroux and Chad Wiseman (both former Pack players) bearing down alone on Al Montoya, with nobody else between them and the net. Giroux's shot seemed to bank off the post and Montoya, and tied the game at 1-1.

Later on in the second period, it looked like the Wolf Pack had scored, but the red light stayed on for only a moment while play continued, with the call eventually being "no goal". From where I was sitting-- literally four seats away from the left-hand side of the net-- it seemed obvious that the puck hit the bottom of the net about two feet inside the left post and bounced out. Hardly anyone else saw it that way, though, and the goal judge told referee Terry Koharski (who basically had another sucky game, what else is new) that he had hit the button by accident.

It went in like this, I tell ya

Al Montoya seemed shaken up after being crashed into while making a stop in the third period, getting up off the ice slowly and then appearing a bit hobbled during the next two stoppages. In any case, Alex Westlund (Yale '99 and a Russian vet) was called up from Charlotte, perhaps as some insurance.

Al Montoya's engagement was announced on the video board during the game, which will probably mean the end of the free rides he's been getting from one or two you-know-who's that post on the Joker's board and

In other news, Fox 61's Rich Coppola aired a 2-1/2 minute segment on the Wolf Pack a couple of weeks back, which you can watch if you click on the link below.

Click here to load video

Watch closely during the Ryan Callahan interview, and you'll see a clip of a great play that Brandon Dubinsky made against Providence in early January, freezing the puck down low against Hannu Toivonen before threading a nice pass to Callahan for the goal.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Let's Dress Up the Naked Truth

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

McDonald's finally comes clean (to the Europeans, at least) in this series of magazine ads created in Budapest, Hungary (source: Ads of the World, natch).

Each ad is meant to placed over two pages in a magazine, so that when you turn the page, the answer to the mystery is revealed ("Chicken" and "Beef", supposedly-- click the images to see the full print ads).

There was also a third ad made-- for McDonald's fries-- but I'm not sure why they even bothered; I mean, really, fries aren't all that hard to figure out.