Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hit Squad For God

Vatican Commandos' Jim Spad and Richard Hall (aka Moby)

The Vatican Commandos are better known now for the Moby connection, but when I was first getting into the Connecticut hardcore punk scene in the early 80's, they were easily one of upper-echelon bands within the scene. Besides the catchy name, they had cool t-shirts and stickers, which was pretty important back then, and their records were all pretty good-- plus, they had three of them, which was way more records than anyone else had. I mean, three records for a punk band back then was practically pushing Rush-like levels, now that I think about it.

Not only were the Vatican Commandos the first punk band I ever saw, they were also the first band I ever interviewed for Run It, the crummy punk zine I was writing at the time. Sometime later, after my zine got better established, I was able to put out a compilation of Ct. bands, called Make It Work. Jim Spadaccini, the Vatican Commandos' bass player, helped me a lot with getting the record mastered and pressed, so I had the Vatican Commandos tracks lead off the record and gave Jim production credit.

Kill From The Heart (and subsequently references like the Vatican Commandos page on Wikipedia) lists the VC singer as "Chuck Weaver", but in fact his name was Chuck Wheat. I'd always figured this was some kind of stage name (like a take-off on Buckwheat), until I called Chuck's house once. I was working on putting together the lyric sheet for the record, and Jim Spad told me, "You gotta call Chuck to get the lyrics to the songs-- he's the only one who knows them." His dad answered the phone, very properly, "Hello, Wheat residence." It turns out Chuck's name really was Charles Wheat(!).

Vatican Commandos photos taken from Kill From The Heart

For a while, KFTH was one of the only web sites where you could read about bands like this, but lately there's been a surge of info about the Vatican Commandos on the web. A couple of weeks ago a blog called "Good Bad Music for Bad Bad Times" put up a pretty good post on the Vatican Commandos' "Point Me To The End" EP-- the record I put out, "Make It Work", even earned a mention in the post, which is a first. There's also a Vatican Commandos page on MySpace that was started by a fan not too long ago. If you want still more new info, you can also read an entry from January that Moby wrote for his weepy little journal, about the Vatican Commandos' first show ever, although that's not entirely recommended.

"Hit Squad For God", the Vatican Commandos' first record, is a damn good representative of early 80's American hardcore. Besides the punchy title track ("We're the hit squad for God! Hit squad for God!"), there's a couple of funny songs on the record, "Wonder Bread" ("Everyone says it tastes good/It killed off my neighborhood/You don't know what it's made of... it lasts forever") and "Housewives on Valium", which were fairly well-known at the time. "Let Down Again", off the band's second record "Just A Frisbee", shows them starting to go metal, and by the time "Point Me To The End" came out in '84, the Vatican Commandos had pretty much evolved into speed-metal band with punk undertones, though they were still not bad.

From the "Hit Squad For God" 7-inch EP
Hit Squad For God
Wonder Bread
It's So Scary
Your Way

From the "Just A Frisbee" 7-inch EP
Let Down Again

From the "Point Me To The End" 12-inch EP
Point Me To The End pts. 1 & 2
D.W.I. (502)
Same Old Story

(The "Hit Squad For God" songs are from the VC page on MySpace, while the "Just A Frisbee" track is from 7-Inch Punk, and the "Point Me To The End" songs are from the "Good Bad Music" blog post.)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ak Bars up 2-0 in RSL semi-finals

Avangard, Metallurg tied 1-1

Two of the best-looking jerseys in Russia: Metallurg vs. Avangard, 3-30-07

Top-seed Ak Bars Kazan has been beating up on #6 CSKA (Central Army) in the Russian Super League semi-finals so far, winning the first two games by scores of 5-2 and 4-2 while taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five match-up.

Ak Bars' high-powered offense features Russia's premier scoring line in Alexei Morozov (who's been battling the flu), Danis Zaripov, and Sergei Zinovjev, but it's lesser-known forward Alexander Stepanov who's been leading the way so far against CSKA, with 2 goals and 2 assists over the two games.

Meanwhile, #2 Metallurg Magnitogorsk and #4 Avangard Omsk are tied in their semi-final series at a game apiece, with Metallurg winning game one yesterday, 3-1, and Avangard taking game two earlier today, 2-1. The main story of this series so far has been the play of Metallurg goalie Travis Scott, who was the RSL leader in goals-against average during the regular season (1.61 in 45 games).

To see the semi-final round standings as of today's games, click here.

Vyacheslav Bykov on the cover of Soviet Sport
after game one controversy

Central Army head coach Vyacheslav Bykov caused a stir during CSKA's game one 5-2 loss at Ak Bars, after drawing a misconduct penalty for delay of game when he momentarily withdrew his team from the ice in protest of the officiating.

CSKA was frustrated by the officiating throughout the game, with the CSKA bench having already been giving one misconduct earlier for chirping at the referee. Then at the mid-way point of the second period, CSKA defensman Jan Platil disagreed with another call and refused to take his seat in the penalty box. Bykov, who is also the head coach of the Russian National Team, backed his player up and took his team off the ice.

The game report in Sport Express said that at first it looked like Bykov was going to send his entire team to the locker room, with CSKA already down 4-0. Bykov later denied this, though he did say, "This is hockey, and emotions are a part of the game."

Getting your ass beat and then going away quietly is not a part of the game, apparently.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

'Lessard for MVP' campaign gains momentum

#11 Francis Lessard (Chris Rutsch photo)

Hot on the heels of yet another multi-point game for Wolf Pack forward Francis Lessard, a campaign touting Lessard (3g - 6a - 247 PIMs) for 2007 AHL MVP has been picking up steam.

I mean, the man's got a ton of offensive flair, and more skating skill than (Dale Purinton + Jed Ortmeyer)³. What more do you want?

click to see full page

Read the "official" Wolf Pack press release (via the almighty Pack Attack dot org)

Read the Manchester Monarchs' hairbrained copy-cat scheme (it'll help, in order to get the joke better)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Greatest Fake Husker Du Song Ever

Disclaimer: This isn't really the best fake Hüsker Dü song ever (actually, it's probably the worst), but since I don't have mp3 copies of M.O.T.O.'s "Bright Sunshiny Skull" or "Candy Apple Wig", it'll have to do.

The Posies, "Grant Hart" (click on link to play)

I can’t cry, I can’t apply a word to sum it up
Under stress I can’t repress the moment it erupts
Hear the sound of paper drums and shredded paper voice
Got to turn up 'Keep Hanging On' as if I had a choice

Prairie fires and pitchfork choirs inspire as they create
Turn it up, it’s too far down, until we can relate
Minnesota new day rising first day in the store
Take the couch at someone’s house and wait around to score

Nervous children making millions: you owe it all to them
Power trios with big-ass deals: you opened for it then
I can see, I can see, I can see it all with my one good eye
For a start take two Grant Harts and call me when you die

(Part whatever of a continuing series, whatever whatever. Man, those are some sucky lyrics)

Wednesday Morning Coming Down

Dubielewicz in a scramble (Photo: Rich Stieglitz/BST)

Midnight games are one thing, but morning games just don't feel like hockey. By the looks of things the Bridgeport Sound Tigers didn't feel like playing hockey this morning, either, as the Hartford Wolf Pack took an 11 AM game from the Sound Tigers in a laugher, 7-2.

Five Wolf Pack players had multiple-point games in this one, including Alex Bourret (2g, 1a), Lauri Korpikoski (1g, 2a), and Francis Lessard (1g, 1a). Korpikoski banked one in off Wade Dubielwicz's skate from behind the net to start off the Wolf Pack scoring, 2:03 into the contest, and Korpikoski also had a beautiful set-up on one of Bourret's goals later in the game. Lessard, the Pack's enforcer, had a nice rush in the first period to set up a goal by Greg Moore, and it was Lessard's wrist shot that went past Dubielewicz shoulder high late in the second period that gave final proof that it wasn't the Bridgeport goalie's day.

The Sound Tigers' Dubielewicz and Jeff Tambellini had just played a game for the Islanders in New York the night before, and while Thumbellina bounced back for this morning's game and was his usual pesky self, scoring both of Bridgeport's goals, Dubielewicz gave up 6 goals on 24 shots and was pulled after the second period.

Hartford's starting goaltender, Al Montoya, was replaced by Chris Holt at the start of the third period also, though the guess is that Montoya was being given a rest, with the game already well in hand.

With all of the player movement that the Sound Tigers had just gone through, a number of their players didn't show up on the pronounciation sheet that gets handed out before each game. It was either that, or perhaps an early-morning hangover, that caused Wolf Pack PA announcer Don Steele to totally butcher some of the Bridgeport player's names throughout the game, most noteably Sergei Ogorodnikov's. I guess Don's lucky that the Sound Tigers scratched Dustin VanBallegooie, or there might've been some serious trouble.

I'm just saying, things could've been ugly, that's all.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pack Back In Second

Hulk smash things! Me grimace like Hulk!

After a horrendous 5-2 loss to the Worcester Sharks on Friday, the Hartford Wolf Pack took their three-game losing streak on the road over the weekend and won two games, against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Providence Bruins.

Chris Holt was given the start in net against Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, with Al Montoya getting scratched for the night after being pulled in both of his previous two starts. Newcomer Andrew Gallant (since released) served as the back-up goalie, wearing number 96 (!).

The Wolf Pack took a 4-1 lead into the third period, but the Penguins scored twice in the third to close the gap and make the final score 4-3.

Those WBS Penguins Booster Club members are freakin' ruthless

Al Montoya was back in net against Providence on Sunday and responded admirably by shutting out the Bruins, 1-0. Alex Bourret's second period goal turned out to be all that the Pack needed. Brandon Dubinsky assisted on Bourret's goal, giving him points in all three of this past week's games (2g, 2a).

The loss was Providence's third in a row, allowing the Wolf Pack to leapfrog over the Bruins and into second in the division, three points ahead of Providence.

SInce this post is fairly skimpy on game details, I'll try to make up for it by closing things off with a couple of ugly jerseys from the teams that the Wolf Pack laid to waste over the weekend.

Providence Bruins '07 St. Pat's jersey

WBS Penguins '99-'00 tie-dye warmup jersey

Quinnipiac's Cashman nets first career pro point

Reid Cashman (Q.U. photo)

Former Quinnipiac Bobcats team captain Reid Cashman, who had signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs just last week, scored his first pro point in his first professional game with the AHL Toronto Marlies on Sunday.

The Red Wing, Minnesota, native assisted on a third period goal by Erik Westrum in the Marlies' 5-3 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Cashman, a defenseman who finished up his career with Quinnipiac nine days ago, totalled 148 points (including 125 assists) in 151 games played with the Bobcats. While at Quinnipiac he was a Hobey Baker finalist and a Division I All-American.

Rock Cats snub Wolf Pack?

Click to see the whole flyer

The New Britain Rock Cats had a table set up at the Wolf Pack home game vs. Worcester on Friday night, handing out schedules and stuff for the upcoming Rock Cats season that opens on April 5th.

One of the flyers being handed out was for "Hockey Night at New Britain Stadium", announcing "a pre-game ceremony in recognition of the Hartford Whalers" and showing Rocky in the upper right-hand corner wearing a Whalers jersey (click here to see a scan of the flyer, or click on the image above).

I'm wondering why the Rock Cats are honoring the Hartford Whalers-- a team that's been out of business for ten years and can hardly return the favor-- when there's a fellow minor league club in the Hartford Wolf Pack operating not even 12 miles away from New Britain Stadium.

I'm sure a "Wolf Pack Night" at a Rock Cats game would work out well, with the Wolf Pack being able to send over a couple of players and a mascot to sign autographs and help with the event. Who from the non-existant Hartford Whalers is going to be on hand for "Hockey Night"?

Obviously, the Rock Cats are finding it easier to wring a few more dollars out of a nostalgia trip for all of the former Whalers fans in the area-- who will no doubt show up in their moldy old green jerseys that night and act like they're really proving something-- than to have a promotional night recognizing an active hockey team that's right next door to them. A team, mind you, that lets the Rock Cats use their home games as a place to hand out crummy "Whalers Night" flyers.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ak Bars, Avangard advance to Russian semis

Metallurg already in; one series still to be decided

Metallurg's fuzzy mascot-type guy greeting goalie Anton Khudobin

Ak Bars Kazan and Avangard Omsk each finished off their Russian Super League best-of-five quarter-final rounds yesterday in four games, 3 games to 1, with game four in each series needing overtime. #1 Ak Bars knocked off #8 Khimik, while Alexei Cherepanov's #2 Avangard squad eliminated the #7 Lokomotiv team of Semen Varlamov, Alexei Mikhnov, and Evgeny Artyukhin.

Ak Bars and Avangard will be joined in the semi-final round by Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Evgeni Malkin's former team. #4 Metallurg finished off a sweep of #5 Sibir Novosibirsk on Friday and are undefeated in the playoffs so far, having also swept their first-round series against HC MVD.

One quarter-final round series, #3 Salavat Yulayev vs. #6 Central Army, remains undecided, and will go to a deciding game five on Monday. For the complete quarter-final round standings as of today, click here.

Ak Bars' Danis Zaripov scoring the series-clinching goal in OT
against Khimik (Andrey Yegorov/Sport Express photo)

With Avangard advancing into the semis, Alexei Cherepanov gets another crack at surpassing Sergei Samsonov's 18-and-under goal-scoring record, which Cherepanov tied on Wednesday. Cherepanov (along with former Vancouver Canuck Artem Chubarov) assisted on the goal by Pavel Rosa that forced overtime against Lokomotiv yesterday, with Avangard defenseman Kiril Koltsov, another player formerly in the Canucks' system, getting the OT winner.

One of my favorite goals of the playoffs so far, from March 23rd by Metallurg's Jan Marek (one of the players that the Rangers traded away for Sean Avery):

Metallurg's Evgeny Gladskikh (yet another Canucks draftee) receives a long pass up-ice, dekes his way past one defender, and then fakes the Sibir goalie far out of the crease before sending the puck back to the onrushing Marek, who scores into a wide-open net.

- -

Vitali Yeremeyev, Dynamo Moscow

In other RSL news, Dynamo Moscow announced this weekend that they have re-signed goalie Vitali Yeremeyev (ex-NY Rangers/Hartford Wolf Pack) to a new two-year deal. Said team president Mikhail Golovkov, "Vitali is one of the best goaltenders in the Super League, and had for many years given reliablility and stability to the Dynamo team. Signing him to a new contract was therefore one of our priorities."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bringing Back the Balls to Rock

Finnish cheese-metal band Lordi broke out with two major events this week-- the release in the U.S. of their new album, and being announced as one of the headliners of the 2007 OzzFest tour-- so even if you've never heard of Lordi before (like me, five minutes ago), you're forgiven. Just don't tell Satan, or whomever.

Any band that's willing to look this ridiculous and have lyrics like "The devil is a loser and he's my bitch" is going to be funny-- for at least a coupla seconds, anyway-- so I'm willing to overlook the fact that Lordi's songs are a bit underpowered and their foam-monster-costume shtick isn't anything new. I mean, they're no Goblin Cock, but then again, who is? (Joe Maddalena is not allowed to answer that question.)

In the meantime, check out some of the goodies, before the Teezar revival gains momentum and knocks Lordi off the charts entirely.


Lordi, "Hard Rock Hallelujah"
(The song that won Lordi the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest)


Lordi, "The Devil Is a Loser" video

Lordi, "Would You Love a Monsterman" video

Note that both of these clips have a way better picture quality than the average YouTube video.

Also, don't be afraid to check out the official Lordi web site. It is for sure a monstrous hard-rock explosion!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tank vs. Sharks

Lauri Korpikoski (Heather Rutsch photo)

The Hartford Wolf Pack once again showed what happens when you only play 20 minutes of hockey in a 60-minute game, getting wiped out at home tonight by the Worcester Sharks, 5-2.

The Wolf Pack seemed to dominate the game in the early going, outshooting the Sharks 16-3 in the first period and eventually building a 2-0 lead. But Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss grew stronger as the game went on, while Pack goalie Al Montoya only seemed to get weaker. Non-stop horrible defensive plays by Hartford right in front of their own net didn't help matters much, and Worcester scored four unanswered goals in the second period, leading to Montoya getting pulled for the second time in his last two starts. An empty-net goal by Graham Mink in the third period, his second of the game, sealed the win for Worcester.


Brandon Dubinsky, in his first game back with the Wolf Pack since being reassigned by the Rangers three days earlier, was the offensive standout for Hartford, a fairly unlikely occurance. Dubinsky made a great play in setting up the Pack's first goal, faking Greiss out of his crease and sending a pass behind Greiss over to Craig Weller, who had an easy tap-in for the score. Dubinsky then scored the Pack's second goal, coming early in the second period when Dale Purinton sent a home run pass the length of the ice ahead to Dubinsky, who then juked several times before sliding the puck in behind Greiss.

The loss was the third in a row for the Wolf Pack, Hartford's first three-game losing streak since the awful first month of the season back in October. After rising through the division and into contention for first place by the end of February, the Wolf Pack are now dangerously close to falling out of a playoff spot in the bunched-up Atlantic Division. With tonight's win, Worcester now holds the fourth and final playoff spot, only two points behind third-place Hartford and mere percentage points ahead of fifth-place Lowell.

Wolf Pack feeding Rangers with NHL-level talent

Rangers forward/2007 AHL All-Star Ryan Callahan

Bruce Berlet in the Hartford Courant, March 23 2007:

The Wolf Pack have never had as many burgeoning NHL players as they do now.

Jed Ortmeyer, Brad Isbister, Daniel Girardi, Ryan Callahan and Steve Valiquette are now appearing on Broadway after stays on Asylum and Trumbull. Dave Liffiton and Brandon Dubinsky just returned from the Rangers, rejoining Nigel Dawes and Jarkko Immonen. And Fedor Tyutin, Blair Betts, Ryan Hollweg and Thomas Pock played for the Pack before reaching or returning to the NHL.

"It definitely was a lot easier coming in knowing a lot of the guys from Hartford," Callahan said of his third call-up last week. "It makes you feel a lot more comfortable, and I think it's pretty special. It shows how good we're doing in Hartford."

The Rangers wanted the youngsters to remain with the Pack earlier in the season, but injuries to Tyutin, Darius Kasparaitis, Sandis Ozolinsh, Brendan Shanahan, Kevin Weekes, Marcel Hossa, Karel Rachunek and Martin Straka forced their hand. Girardi has been a mainstay since being called up four days before he was to play in the AHL All-Star Game with Callahan, the Pack's leading scorer who got his first two NHL goals Saturday. The Pack grads have helped the Rangers' 8-1-3 resurgence since the Feb. 27 trade deadline that has moved them to seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Goalie Steve Valiquette

"Not that you ever wish for injuries, but in one way, I was hoping some of the Hartford players got more of a realistic look," Rangers assistant general manager Don Maloney said. "The Hartford recalls have been tremendous, and it's really a credit to the coaching staff. The depth of the organization has been exposed, in a positive way.

"Girardi is playing like a five-year pro, as steady and reliable as they come. If you give Callahan good ice time, he'll be a productive player. Immonen and Dubinsky have been good, Dawes is waiting his turn again, and Liffiton brought an element that we didn't have, toughness and grit. The quality of the call-ups is better than ever, and I think we're going to have at least a half-dozen guys from Hartford who are going to be regular NHL players in the next year or two, as opposed to short-term fill-ins."

Rangers coach Tom Renney said the newest Pack alums have provided some impetus to the rest of the team after serving an apprenticeship in Hartford.

"The kids can now step in, and the veterans can say, `Wow, we're not going to miss a beat,'" Renney said. "We could have made the mistake of having some of them here early in the year playing limited time and not getting NHL-quality coaching they've got.

"That would have hurt us, but now we're seeing the dividends of the young guys being much better players. They have certainly provided a spark and the youthfulness and excitement of putting the Rangers jersey on and playing big games that our older guys can identify with, appreciate and respect. The young guys have been real contributors and given our veteran players no issues, nothing to worry about, in terms of whether they can participate."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What Next For The Wolf Pack?

From the Hartford Courant, March 22nd:

The Connecticut Development Authority's decision to have a partnership of Lawrence R. Gottesdiener's Northland Investment Corp. and AEG Worldwide assume the lease of the building from the city through its expiration in 2013 put the immediate future of pro hockey in Hartford in question.

Sims Hinds, senior vice president of business development for AEG Facilities, said, "We'd love to see the Wolf Pack stay. That's our option A. They're already a known entity that built up a loyal fan base that has an affinity for the Rangers, so it would make sense for us to be able to keep them at the Civic Center first. But if MSG decides to move their affiliation, we'll work aggressively with the league to make sure a franchise fills the gap as soon as it becomes open."

AEG owns the Manchester Monarchs, one of the most successful AHL franchises on and off the ice in their six-year history in New Hampshire. AHL rules prohibit someone from owning more than one team, so to keep the status quo, AEG would operate the Civic Center with MSG owning the team.

MSG and the Wolf Pack have territorial rights to Hartford, so if they don't agree to that arrangement, they would have to make an affiliation swap or replace it with a team in the ECHL, which is at a lower level. The ECHL has a team in Reading, Pa., that is owned by AEG, but multi-team ownership is allowed in that league.

AHL president and CEO Dave Andrews said the league doesn't have a role in Hartford until MSG decides its course of action. But he emphasized he would like to see the Rangers stay.

"We absolutely want a team in Hartford, and I'd like to see the Hartford Wolf Pack remain in Hartford," Andrews said. "There's no question they have put a good, solid competitive product in the facility from day one. They're a good partner in our league, and Hartford is a very important market to the AHL.

"I think the most likely scenario is AEG will enter into negotiations with the Wolf Pack to remain there," Andrews said. "I think that's what both sides would like to do and what the Wolf Pack's objective would be. I don't know why either side would be looking to do something different when there's an existing entity where the on-ice product has been very successful and the location is good for the Rangers."

Rangers defenseman/2007 AHL All-Star Dan Girardi

Meanwhile, where the Rangers' AHL-level prospects will end up playing next season is still an open question.

A week or so ago, on his blog, Patrick Williams discussed the Edmonton Oilers opening up an affiliation with Springfield next season, and how not having a full AHL affiliate affected the Oilers this year:

... This hodge-podge of a few players here, a few players there, is not the long-term route to go for the Oilers.

Injuries forced the Oilers this week to recall defenceman Bryan Young this week, he of eight career AHL games and a youngster who spent the bulk of his season skating for Stockton of the ECHL.

Said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish to the Edmonton Sun: "We’re totally running out of bodies. We don’t have any defensemen left. We’ve got Bryan Young, who will be called up. Outside of that, maybe a junior."

Granted, the Oilers' current situation is more severe than normal, but this is where a deeply well-stocked organization benefits the NHL club.

Williams also had some pointed words yesterday for the Whalers hangers-on:

The anti-Wolf Pack rheteoric among some quarters of the Hartford populace would be amusing were it not so misinformed. As for those fans who think that this development could mean that the NHL would return to Hartford, we offer these questions and observations:

Click here to read the rest of what Williams wrote.

Alexei Cherepanov Sets Another Scoring Record

Alexei Cherepanov, Avangard Omsk

Top Russian prospect Alexei Cherepanov scored his third goal of the Russian Super League playoffs yesterday, giving him 21 goals on the year and equalling Sergei Samsonov's RSL record (set in '95-'96) for most goals in one season by a player 18-years-and-under (regular season and playoffs combined).

Cherepanov's Avangard Omsk team lost their game yesterday to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, 4-3, evening their second-round series at one game apiece. Both Ak Bars Kazan and Metallurg Magnitogorsk have 2-0 leads in their best-of-5 second-round matches, with one other series tied at 1-1 (to see the complete standings, click here).

Here are a couple of videos from my YouTube account, showing second-round action from the Russian playoffs.

The first video shows Nikolai Kulemin (drafted 44th by the Toronto Maple Leafs in '06) of Metallurg Magnitogorsk scoring against Sibir Novosibirsk in game one of their series a couple of days ago (March 20th). Metallurg goalie Travis Scott makes a save, with Metallurg's Jan Marek picking up the rebound and sending the puck up-ice to Kulemin. Kulemin then splits two defenders and scores while falling down.

This next video shows Alexei Kaigorodov (the player that Ottawa traded to Phoenix a couple of months ago, after Kaigorodov refused an assignment to Binghamton of the AHL and instead went back to Russia) drawing a penalty and then taking a penalty shot in yesterday's second game of the Metallurg Mk - Sibir series. Kaigorodov's penalty shot attempt is stopped by the Sibir goalie, Sergei Nikolaev.

Greatest Wire Cover Ever

New Bomb Turks (Photo: Jay Brown )

Though it's hard to go against the classic Minor Threat version of 12XU, I'm siding with the New Bomb Turks, whose cover of "Mr. Suit" swings harder than Ray Charles falling out of a DC-10.

New Bomb Turks, "Mr. Suit" (click link to play)

I'm tired of being told what to think
I'm tired of being told what to do
I'm tired of fucking phonies
That's right, I'm sick of you

I said no, no, no, no, no, no, Mr. Suit

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Green Meanies Get Their Way

From the Hartford Courant, March 21 2007:

New Managers Picked For Civic Center

The state today picked a partnership of downtown's largest property owner and a prominent sports and entertainment company to run the Hartford Civic Center through 2013.

The decision to dump the current operator, Madison Square Garden, throws into doubt the immediate future of minor league hockey in Hartford and the future of the Hartford Wolf Pack specifically. Although a consultant for the authority told the board last week that minor league teams were easily movable and generally available, he also said that MSG was the only bidder who could guarantee a team on the ice for the upcoming season.

Dubi over at Blueshirt Bulletin had this to say: "While the new group wants to keep the Wolf Pack in Hartford, all indications are that MSG does not want to keep their AHL affiliate in a building they do not run... someone here at the Garden just quietly shook his head when the possibility of staying on in Hartford was mentioned."

Of course, over at the Official Hartford Whalers Booster Club message board, they're busy hyperventalting and seeing sighns from God, while the forum moderator is being kept very busy editing every other post because of foul language (though not spelling errors, obviously) and general semi-retarded behaviour.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kicking a Couple Around

Why's that goalie so short?

A few more goofy-looking jerseys from this season; a couple of these were found through tips from Jerseys and Hockey Love blog, and the message board.

Milwaukee Admirals St. Patrick's Day jersey

Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees Budweiser jersey

Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees New Year's jersey

Rocky Mt. Rage St. Patrick's Day jersey

Rocky Mt. Rage Mardi Gras jersey

Laredo Bucks Valentine's Day jersey

Laredo Bucks alternate jersey

Semin, Ovechkin to play for Russian National Team

Alexander Semin, as quoted in Sport Express, 3/19/07:

"Alexander Ovechkin and I are making plans to play for the Russian National Team in the upcoming World Championships, and we've already booked plane tickets for Moscow for April 10th.

"I will be rooting against Pittsburgh in the first round, so that Malkin can also join the team. If Montreal doesn't make the playoffs, that would also be good, as there is Andrei Markov. Who else? Alexander Frolov-- if Los Angeles doesn't make the playoffs, I think that he will also join the team.

"I would very much like to see Maxim Avinogenov, but there isn't much hope for that, as I don't think Buffalo will lose in the first round.

"What I say won't make any difference, though, as the players aren't the ones picking the team. All we can do is show up ready to play if we're asked."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Greatest Ex-Bruins Goalie Song Ever

Chixdiggit, "(I Feel Like) (Gerry) Cheevers (Stitch Marks on My Heart)" (click on link to play)

Saw a picture yesterday
Of a guy who used to play
For the Boston Bruins
And in school I always drew him
He had the longest undefeated streak
For every shot that hit his cheek
He drew on a stitch mark
And I think he played with Brad Park

I feel like Gerry Cheevers
I got stitch marks on my heart
Just like Gerry Cheevers

Saw a picture yesterday
Of a guy who used to play
For the Boston Bruins
And in school I always drew him
He wore a mask just like my heart
He had stitch marks on every part
And he wore number 30
That's how old you were when you met me

I feel like Gerry Cheevers
I got stitch marks on my heart
Just like Gerry Cheevers

I feel like Gerry Cheevers (I got stitch marks on my heart)

(Part three of an ongoing series; parts one and two are here and here)

Vladimir Vorobiev interview in Sport Express

Vladimir Vorobiev, Ak Bars Kazan (Photo:

It may not seem like much of a read, but whenever a former Hartford Wolf Pack player has an interview in Sport Express, it's news around here.

Vladimir Vorobiev of Ak Bars Kazan, discussing first-place Ak Bars' upcoming second round playoff series against eighth-place Khimik:

Did you follow the first round series between Khimik and Severstal?
Absolutely, with great interest, as I very much wanted Severstal to win. I am from Cherepovets, so I was hoping to face Severstal in the second round so that I could pay a visit to my parents.

Is the fact that Khimik's first round series went the full five games, while Ak Bars swept their series in three, give an advantage to your team; or, is it the opposite, with this meaning that Khimik will be in better playing shape?
That's not easy to say. Obviously, Khimik used up more of themselves in their first round, so maybe that will give us a small advantage.

Are you concerned about the top line of Khimik (teammates Albert Leschev and Sergei Mozyakin were both in the top 5 in the RSL in scoring), and how your team will match up against them and try to disrupt them?
I don't think that we will focus only on their top players, but instead we will as usual prepare for their team as a whole.

Vorobiev in last year's RSL playoffs against Yaroslavl

A year ago, it was from precisely this point that Ak Bars began to play its best hockey, and went on to become the Russian champions. How do you see your team now as the playoffs go on?
It's too difficult to compare what we did in the first round last year with how we did against Metallurg Novokuznetsk this year. We advanced through the first round this year, 3 games to none, and that's the main thing.

How would you describe your opponent in this round?
Khimik is a very strong, agile team, with a number of good players both on offense and on defense. They have two very good goaltenders. It is a difficult task ahead of us, but we will stick to our resolve.

Vladimir Vorobiev's Wolf Pack career: 113 points in 121 games,
plus 19 points (11g, 8a) in 15 playoff games

Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's The Oil

Nigel Dawes (Chris Rutsch photo)

It was hard to tell from watching last night's Hartford Wolf Pack - Springfield Falcons game who the last-place team was, as the Wolf Pack spent most of the first two periods getting pushed around by the lowly Falcons, with the Pack losing, 5-2.

Eric Healey scored the Falcons' two first-period goals, the second one coming on what might've been a fluke bounce. With the Falcons on an odd-man rush, Healey carried the puck into the Pack zone down the left-hand side. A Hartford player belly-flopped onto the ice in front of Healey to try to break up the play, but Healey shot the puck anyway. One of the Springfield radio guys said afterwards that it looked like the puck bounced off the Pack player's skate before getting past Al Montoya.

Alex Bourret (thatsa niiiiice) scored his first Hartford goal to put the Pack on the board early in the second period, but the Falcons scored two more times after that: the first on a great medium-range wrist shot from a tough angle by Stephen (Reecky Booby) Baby, with the Wolf Pack on a penalty kill and showing no intention of playing any defense at all, and the second by David Spina on a breakaway with just 16 seconds to go in the period, on a low shot that Montoya barely sniffed at.

The Wolf Pack put Chris Holt in net to start the third period, and then Hartford closed the gap a little bit when newcomer Darin Olver scored to make it 4-2 at 8:34 of the third. The Pack put together three or four good chances after that to try to make it a one-goal game, but were unable to get the puck in the net.

The Falcons' Mike Egener was involved in two fights in this game-- early in the second period with Dane Byers, and again in the second period after taking a slashing call against Hugh Jessiman-- and both times Egener bear-hugged his opponent to the ground, rather than stand up like a man and throw punches. It's no suprise, then, that a creampuff like Egener has an ice cream sundae named after him:

Beginning Monday, February 26, 2007, Friendly's will introduce the Ut-O-Eggy-O Sundae, a delicious ice cream sundae created by Springfield Falcons defenseman, #48 Mike Egener. The sundae, a combination of all Egener's favorites, contains three flavors of ice cream - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Coffee and Nuts Over Caramel, four toppings - caramel, marshmallow, chocolate sauce and crushed Oreo's, and finishes with whipped topping and a cherry.

Sounds pretty gay to me.

Francis Lessard grabbed Joe Rullier by the collar and challenged him to a fight twice in the third period, though I'm not sure what exactly that was about. As is usual, Rullier slunk away both times, but then had plenty of shit to say after the referees were safely between him and Lessard.

Oh, yeah-- the Falcons had a live band, the teenaged-looking Gone by Daylight, playing throughout the game yesterday, which was pretty neat. I can't say much for Gone by Daylight's regular material, which is kinda Jimmy Eat World-ish indie/emo rock, but the stuff they played in-between their actual songs (snippets of AC/DC covers, some loose instrumental jams, and stuff like that) was way more than decent.

The big news in Springfield this weekend is an upcoming affiliation switch for the Falcons, from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Edmonton Oilers, which supposedly the Falcons will be ready to announce on Monday. Apparently there's no love left for the Lightning in Springfield, as the Springfield Republican's Fran Sypek put it this way:

The affiliation between the Springfield Falcons and Tampa Bay Lightning, which started with so much promise when it was forged in 2004, is coming to an abrupt end.

The Falcons have scheduled a major press conference Monday at noon at the MassMutual Center to announce they will part ways with the Lightning and have the Edmonton Oilers as their NHL partner.

Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon, who has been working overtime to save a franchise that has been plagued by poor on-ice performance and dwindling attendance, would have dealt with major issues trying to sell another season of a Lightning affiliation to his fan base had he not decided on a change.

The Falcons will miss the American Hockey League's Calder Cup playoffs for the fourth straight season and sixth time in the past seven seasons. Only Albany, which has missed the past six seasons, has a worse track record.

Said Sypek, in another column in today's Republican, "Tampa Bay promised the Falcons a rose garden, but what they got instead was a patch of weeds."

Old Falcons jersey / New Falcons jersey

If there's one good thing that the Lightning brought to Springfield, though, it was a considerable upgrade to the Falcons' ridiculously bright-looking former jerseys, by adding the Lightning's darker colors and a new logo. Hey, doesn't that count for something?

Ryan Callahan (center), after scoring his first NHL goal yesterday

In other news, Ryan Callahan had 2 goals in the Rangers' win against the Bruins yesterday, logging 7 shots on goal in just 12 minutes of ice time, as well as a 5-minute fighting major. Blueshirt Bulletin gave a good report on Callahan's previous game, one day earlier ("Ryan Callahan played over fifteen minutes of highly effective ice time on the second line with Matt Cullen and Sean Avery, who were both superb in this game as well. He hits, he shoots, he skates -- the guy is a keeper"). My guess would be that Callahan won't be back in Hartford this year unless the Rangers miss the playoffs.

("New Falcons jersey" photo by Chris Rutsch)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell

Alexander Galimov of Lokomotiv takes a swing at Dynamo's Dimitry Shitikov
in the opening game of their first round series

The first round of the Russian Super League playoffs is nearly complete, with the series between Khimik and Severstal being the only one to require a deciding fifth game, which will be played tomorrow (March 17th).

The teams that have advanced into the second round so far are Avangard, Salavat Yulaev, Metallurg Mk, Lokomotiv, CSKA (Central Army), defending champion Ak Bars, and Sibir. The second round is scheduled to start on March 20th.

Mika Hannula of Lokomotiv: 35 rubles and an
ice pack to my name

Avangard completed their three-game sweep of Vityaz Chekhov on Wednesday, with Alexei Cherepanov sitting out the third game after getting wacked by Reid Simpson in game two. The two teams finished game three without incident, with Simpson taking one minor penalty.

Talking about Cherepanov's leg injury in Sport Express folowing game three, Avangard head coach Valeri Belousov said, "The thigh won't heal in one day. He's walking around so far, although he's limping. He'll be ready by the next round."

Originally, it was feared that Cherepanov (predicted by some to be the top pick in the upcoming '07 NHL Entry Draft) may have injured his hip, but an MRI showed only that Cherepanov had an "internal hematoma", which I'm pretty sure is just a fancy way of saying he has a really bad bruise.

The Cherepanov - Simpson incident wasn't the only run-in between Avangard and Vityaz during their series. An apparent dirty hit during the first game by Vityaz's Boris Mironov (ex-NY Rangers) on Avangard's Anton Kuryanov, which only drew a minor penalty at the time, was later reviewed by the league, resulting in a reprimand for the referee and a suspension for Mironov.

Canucks prospect Kiril Koltsov (Avangard) takes one for the team

Just in case anyone wants some musical accompaniment while getting psyched for the second round of the Russian playoffs (yeah, sure), here's the Avangard theme song. I suppose you could try to sing along, but at 5:44 it's a bit long-winded.

Песня фанатов Авангард (click on link to play)

I tried to find some Russian punk rock mp3's-- all the better for getting riled-up-- but the few that I found were all pretty weak, with weird effects pedals and crap like that. I do have one song from a Russian skinhead/Oi! band called Молот (The Hammer), but I'm fairly sure they're nationalists, so you can skip over this one if that isn't your thing*.

Молот - Наш Марш ("Our Marsh")

I've also downloaded some Alexei Cherepanov videos from the first round against Vityaz to my YouTube account. The first video is an assist on a nice pass from behind the net to Anton Kuryanov in game one, and the second video is the goal that Cherepanov scored in game two, minutes before he was taken out by Reid Simpson.

Cherepanov assist vs. Vityaz 3-11-07

Cherepanov goal vs. Vityaz 3-12-07

There's also another Cherepanov video (from Russian TV) that was just loaded on to YouTube earlier today, showing all of Cherepanov's points in the first round as well as the injury. The video goes by quickly, but it's still worth a look.

Cherepanov first round highlights

*Or if you're not into weak Rusted Root-sounding intros-- though once you get past that, it's not a bad song