Archive for December, 2009

Merry Pucking Christmas

December 24, 2009
Bruins Christmas

So do I, kids. So do I.

Just a Happy Holidays to all the HGW family and friends out there on this, Christmas Eve. Too much going on for any real articles to be written but we’ll see you on the other side with regularly scheduled programming and, hopefully, fistfuls of Bruins and hockey related goodies in our greasy little mitts.

Don’t forget to leave out some cookies and milk.

The Fat Man needs to eat.

Advertisements

New Sand’n Oates

December 17, 2009

So the holiday crush both at home and work has put quite the dent in my available time and energy for keeping up around here and elsewhere on the informational back roads I frequent. Of course, there’s been a lot happening of note so I thought I might offer a few summary style morsels to try and stay up to speed on what’s been going down.

  • First off, Mark Stuart. The man sometimes called The Caveman will be missing 4-6 weeks thanks to a broken sternum, an injury I had no idea even occurred during the loss to the Flyers on Monday because Stuart finished the game out. Tough man, I know. The loss hurts as he has been a rock on defense. It ends his iron man streak at 192 games. Adam McQuaid and Andy Wozniewski, both D-men, have been recalled from Providence on an emergency basis as the status of Dennis Wideman is also in question as the B’s head out to Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Friday.
  • Speaking of which. If you haven’t been visiting A Little Chippy lately and checking out the marvelous stuff new friend KofC has been posting leading up to the contest, then you’re missing out on something special. Her blog is a fascinating, unique take on the World of Hockey that has had our attention from day one. Suffice to say it’s literate, intelligent, funny and unlike anything else you’re going to find on the sporting blogscape. She graces us with her presence here from time to time with astute commentary and has directed traffic with links and even a recent mention on Kukla’s Korner. As a crossover Blackhawks and Bruins fan who appreciates the history of both teams, she’s done some excellent daily work counting down the day’s to tomorrow night’s contest which is a Must See Event in both our worlds.

    Tip of the Cap, K, and thanks.

  • File under Have You Seen This? The live webcam from Fenway Park showing ongoing construction for the Winter Classic. I’m just old enough to think this is the coolest thing ever and, fully admit, were it not for time constraints would spent countless hours just staring at it watching the build progress. I’m just glad it’s a wide shot, as familair as I am with folks in the trades here in town, so we don’t have to deal with an overwhelming amount of plumber’s crack. Full credit to the NHL on this one for the cam and the wealth of information on their Winter Classic page. I know it’s all hype but it’s good hype and I can’t seem to get enough of it.
  • Alright, then, since I mentioned Fenway Park. The Red Sox. I’ll never have time for a baseball blog and have only done a minimum amount of baseball writing in my career but you know I’m a fan and I can’t resist commenting on all the moves yesterday as the sox bring in John Lackey and Mike Cameron and all but say farewell to Jason Bay and, shortly, Mike Lowell. The times they are a changin’ and right now here’s how I see the Sox starting line-up for 2010.

    Batting Order:

    1. Jacoby Ellsbury LF
    2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
    3. Kevin Youkilis 3B
    4. Victor Martinez C
    5. David Ortiz DH
    6. Mike Cameron CF
    7. J.D. Drew RF
    8. Marco Scutaro SS
    9. Casy Kotchman 1B

    Starting Rotation:

    1. Josh Beckett
    2. John Lackey
    3. John Lester
    4. Daisuke Matsuzaka
    5. Clay Buchholz

    Bullpen: Still in flux but anchored by Jonathan Papelbon as closer and Daniel Bard as set-up. The role of Tim Wakefield as starter or relief is now sort of unclear.

    A decent but not spectacular hitting lin-up with admittedly few holes in it. A fantastic starting rotation that ensures opposing teams will see a good to great starter every single game they face the Sox. Pitching and defense appears to be the order of the day as both the infield and outfield have been bolstered by quality defenders. I’d like to see a little more in the bullpen. Interesting to say the least.

  • So that’s all for now but I hope to be back in action as much as possible, time permitting, this weekend, certainly with my take on the B’s – ‘Hawks game tomorrow night. Until then, Feliz Navidad.

    Separated At Birth

    December 15, 2009
    Scott Hartnell's Hair

    Scott Hartnell

    Bernadette Peters Hair

    Bernadette Peters

    26 More Years of Hell

    December 12, 2009
      If there is, in fact, a Heaven and a Hell, all we know for sure is that Hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Phoenix.” Hunter S. Thompson

    Well, this is stupid.

    The NHL and some gang of stunted-brained roundheads called Ice Edge Holdings have decided that the solution to the embarrassing problem of the Phoenix Coyotes, as financially and competitively non-viable a franchise as any professional sports league has ever seen outside of MLS, is to keep them in Glendale.

    For another 26 years.

    Yes, folks, Ice Edge, four mouth breathing financial inbreds from the U.S. and Canada, actually believe that the Phoenix Coyotes can be successful in the desert with better management and promotion.

    Are you fucking kidding me? This is a team that has, in the 12 seasons since moving from Winnipeg, posted a .501 winning percentage, near exactly the definition of mediocrity. They have not qualified for the playoffs since the 2001-02 season, which was their best, when they managed 40 wins and a sixth place conference seeding. That’s seven straight years out of the post-season, folks.

    The people of Arizona have responded with appropriate apathy, this year more so than ever. Through 16 home games in the 2009-10 season the ‘Yotes had averaged an abysmal 9774, 55.9 % of their 17,000 plus capacity. Have I already used the word embarrassing? Last in the league, obviously, and 5,000 attendees fewer than the next most pathetic team team is beyond embarrassing. It’s untenable, unworkable and completely hopeless.

    The financial mess that’s led them to this point is well documented and to rehash it would put me off me off my lunch, quite frankly. On May 5th of this year the team filed for Bankruptcy and after months of tedious legal wranglings, sale propositions and potential relocation offers, the team was officially sold to the NHL on November 3rd for $140 million dollars. Deptuy Commissioner of the NHL Bill Daly promptly announced, “It remains the NHL’s intention upon taking control of the club, to stabilize the club’s operations and, as quickly as possible, to resell the club to a new owner who is committed to operating the club in the Glendale/Phoenix market.”

    Enter Ice Edge who’s cheif executive officer/screwhead Anthony LeBlanc happily tells us “Ice Edge has committed to keep the Coyotes in Glendale for the remaining term of the original lease.”

    Which is 26 years.

    Right.

    Even Wayne Gretzky couldn’t save this team, people. The time has come to call it a night. Let the tumbleweeds blow through the ill named Jobing.com Arena and move that team northwards to place where people actually care about and know hockey.

    Bring Back The Jets.

    If You Build It, They Will Come

    December 11, 2009

    To drop the puck on New Year’s Day.

    Winter Classic Trucks Arrive At Fenway Park

    Layin' it down

    Construction has begun on the rink that the Bruins and Flyers will skate on for this year’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

    21 days and counting.

    Deja Toronto

    December 10, 2009

    Mark Stuart vs. Jamal Mayers

    I don’t think much needs to be said prior to this one at the Garden tonight.

    Aside from it being a very odd scheduling quirk that has the Bruins playing consecutive home games against the same opponent spaced five days apart, with the Leafs actually playing two other contests during the period that the B’s rested. Monday’s win against Atlanta and last night’s 3-2 victory over the Islanders, both taking place at the Air Canada Centre, were a nice bounce back for the Leafs considering the brutal defeat they suffered in Boston last Saturday.

    So there’s little need to rehash either the pre-game hype or the post-game revelry from a Boston perspective. Much of those notes still apply to tonight’s contest except it might be the Torontonians with a wee bit of a burr under their saddle in this one.

    And, sigh, yes, there’s the Phil Kessel thing still out there. I’m hoping we can all grow up a bit and have all of that out of our system already because another spate of catcalls and booing is not only unwarranted, it’s just flat out boring. Do we not have better things to worry about than this kid? He’s actually gone scoreless since hearing the rain of jeers on Saturday so I guess it’s had an effect, maybe. Who really cares, if you ask me.

    Maybe it’s just me but I say folks had their fun now let’s be adults and act like we’ve been there before.

    Fight Watch: Will Thornton and Orr do it again? Something tells me yes and, if so, it may be spectacular again. Other than that, all the usual suspects are again on the list, including Mike Komisarek who, I always say, is ripe for an ass beating every day of the week.

    Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask.

    FOTY: Not From The NHL

    December 9, 2009

    Not yet, anyway.

    Nothing I’ve seen in any league beats this one right here from the AHL. Jeremy Yablonski of the Binghamton Senators and Jon Mirasty of the Syracuse Crunch.

    I’ll let the video speak for itself.

    As I said when I posted it on the AHL Fight Page, I’m not sure I’ll ever need to post another fight after that one. I’ve got a black eye from just watching it.

    That’s Stock vs. Peat territory, that is.

    Hats off, gentlemen.

    That Was It

    December 6, 2009

    That was what I wanted to see.

    What we all wanted to see.

    Marc Savard Hat Trick

    Marc Savard's hat trick was only part of the reason the Bruins won.

    Shawn Thornton vs Colton Orr

    This was the other.

    Not just the seven goals and the complete domination of another team up and down the ice, because let’s face it, the Leafs just aren’t that good. And no, not the dramatic return and utter failure of Phil Kessel in a Toronto uniform. No, it was the effort, the passion, the emotion and the drive to win. That was what we needed to see from this team. It was what was missing last night in Montreal. It’s what the B’s need to win. Period.

    Some random observations:

  • The scraps had to happen. They had to. Shawn Thornton throwing down with Colton Orr in the first, one of the most dangerous fighters in the league, showed us and all of his teammates that it was time to get to work. The guys all followed suit, just like I’d hoped, and they found the fight inside them and brought it to the Leafs. Mark Stuart, Steve Begin, Andrew Ference. Everyone had a little of the nasty in them tonight. Result: Win. Not a coincidence.

  • Is Tuukka Rask and his consistent, calm play now pushing Tim Thomas for the lead role in this goaltending tandem? Not yet, I don’t think. I mean, we’re talking about last year’s Vezina winner and a guy with less than 20 starts in the NHL here. Still, when I say not yet, you know the issue is on the horizon. Rask looks like the real deal and them more we see of him the less we seem to doubt that.
  • Phil Kessel. Yawn. You see, folks? It ain’t no thang. Two shots on net, a -3 and much of the night spent making little circles in the ice just inside the blue line looking for a late coming point man to dump off to. Not. A. Factor. And it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise because, as I said, he is what he is. You want that over Krejci or Lucic or Savard? Then you’re an idiot. All of you who spent the night booing and chanting his name I hope you got it out of your system. Now get a fucking life and let’s move on. We’ve got a hockey season to worry about.
  • Loved seeing Savard’s hat trick, the joy on the guy’s face for all the world to see. Does this man love being a Bruin or what?
  • Chara’s line: 1 goal, 1 assist, +4, 2 blocked shots, 2 hits, over 22 minutes on the ice and an unknown number of stitches in that split lip. Not too shabby.
  • Both Leafs goals were total garbage time. They really shouldn’t count in any of the official stat columns for the contest.
  • Great freakin’ game all around.

    What say we do it again on Thursday?

    Kessel Comin’

    December 5, 2009
    Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs

    Phil Kessel Returns To Boston Tonight.

    Much ballyhooed, much hyped, highly anticipated.

    All the cliched terms apply.

    Phil Kessel is back in Boston wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey and the town is abuzz. There is no need to rehash the details of his somewhat unpleasant departure, but suffice to say all eyes are on the Garden tonight to see what happens and, chances are, a lot will. For many reasons.

    Not the least of which is the ornery mood the Bruins should be in after their humiliating ass beating in Montreal last night. If they’re not in an ornery mood then I have some serious questions to ask some folks, believe me. In any case, see Fight Watch at the end of this post for more on what I hope to see go down in this one.

    As for Kessel, well, I’m not as fired up as some folks are, that’s for sure. I find some of the fanboy hatred for the guy I’ve seen expressed on from various sources a bit childish to be honest. But then Kessel never inspired much emotion in me one way or the other when he was here so it’s hard to get too fired up about him now that he’s wearing different laundry. Let’s be honest, folks, this isn’t Roger Clemens to the Yankees. For chrissakes, he was only here for three years. It’s just a case of a moderately talented youngster that a team couldn’t sign that they traded away for pretty decent value in return. End result is exactly the cap room you need to keep players like David Krejci and Milan Lucic in town.

    I ask you, would you prefer Kessel over either of those? Or over Marc Savard, who just signed an extension. How about a future extension of Zdeno Chara? If you sign Phil Kessel you might not be able to do all of those things and I, for one, think that’s a mistake. In terms of importance to the team, I think Kessel ranks behind all of those players and, for that matter, Tukka Rask as well if you’re looking toward the future.

    So I ask again, why all the Kessel hate? It seems a bit forced if you ask me. You have to see the guy for what he was; an extremely young, very talented, utterly one dimensional forward with the ability to score goals and no desire to work to prevent them. And that’s it. Questions about his character are really completely pointless at age 21, folks. Guys with the maturity of Patrice Bergeron at that age are pretty rare and if you’re looking for sage wisdom and depth of character from a guy a few years removed from high school, you’re barking up the wrong telephone pole.

    So the guy wanted out of town and he wanted to get paid. So fucking what? You want to take that personally, well, grab that custom Black and Gold jersey of yours with your own name sewn on the back and head out of your mom’s basement over to the Garden with a bucket full of boos and have at it. Me, I have a game to watch.

    It’s an interesting one, for sure, but I won’t be watching with any silly foaming at the mouth rage to see Kessel fail or get pummeled by a big hit other than I wll any other guy wearing the blue and white. The Bruins don’t need to crush Phil Kessel, they need to win.

    Remember, folks.

    This ain’t Montreal. This is Boston.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Fight Watch: Good lord, please, let this be what I’m hoping for. A buzz in the air, the humiliated Bruins in Boston in front of the home crowd, the Leafs with a fair share of rumblers, and a history of some feisty play between the two this year. I’m really hoping for a classic game with a shitload of emotion to feed into some real scraps.

    The Leafs come in with 24 fighting majors tying them for second in the league. Colton Orr is the obvious leader in that department and is as tough as it gets but there are no shortage of other candidates in Jamal Mayers, Luke Schenn, Garney Exelby and Mike Homosarek. Even Phil the Thrill has one official bout this season.

    The Bruins I hope to see answer the bell include, of course, Shawn Thornton, Byron Bitz, Mark Stuart, Steve Begin and the newly recalled Johnny Boychuk who will suit up in favor of Matt Hunwick tonight. Hell, maybe it’s time we saw Big Z show some snarl. You gotta do what you gotta do, boys.

    So do it.

    Centennial Slaughter

    December 5, 2009
    Montreal Canadiens Celebrate Their Centennial

    Claude Lemieux and Lyle Odelein returned just to laugh at the Bruins.

    This wasn’t Bruins – Canadiens.

    I don’t know what it was, mind you, but it wasn’t Bruins – Canadiens in any way that would make sense to anyone familiar with the age old rivalry. No, it was more like some sort of Twilight Zone, Bizarro World Freak Show Nightmare than it was any sort of Old Time Hockey between two of the oldest and most bitter enemies the Original Six has to offer.

    For one thing, there wasn’t a single fight.

    I know. Deplorable. Disgusting. A total abomination of all that is good.

    I’m glad you agree.

    I really thought there would be, though. The way they lined up at the beginning the tension in the air was palpable. The B’s 4th line of Steve Begin, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille lines up against Maxim Lapierre, Georges Laraque and Marc-Andre Bergeron. Everyone seems to be yapping. Begin is yammering at Lapierre, perhaps discussing how he is now the Face of the New NHL Pussy. Thornton is chatting away with 7th defenseman turned left wing Bergeron which prompts BGL to switch wings before the face-off, essentially signaling to every living soul watching that “It’s on.” There is more discussion. Of a nature that we can all surely guess. The puck drops.

    Then nothing.

    No scraps, no payoff to the tense lead in. Absolutely nothing. Not a sausage. Unbelievable. Did Thornton turn down Laraque, as he did Cam Janssen at the opening draw of that St. Louis game last week? If so, I have to say it’s a disturbing trend. I mean, just for old times sake, for the spirit of the thing. Drop ’em at center and square off. Give everyone a little something for their hard earned money, guys. Sheesh.

    The game, as you may know, went downhill from there, at least from the visiting Bruins perspective. The Habs, buoyed by all the historical celebration and the ghosts of so many great legends in attendance, came out flying and destroyed the hapless, clumsy B’s, who couldn’t seem to get out of their own way all night. Carey Price was spectacular early on and Mike Cammalleri had a hat trick in the second period and it was officially no contest. Though it seemed the Habs had scored 100 goals to celebrate their Centennial, the end result was n equally resounding 5-1 whuppin’ of their Black and Gold rivals.

    Boston was given numerous chances to get into the game through the officials who, oddly enough, did not get the Ghosts of the Forum memo and awarded the Bruins not one but two 5 on 3 man advantages, one of which was for a full 2 minutes. At one point the B’s actually were skating 6 on 3 for an extended shift as Tukka Rask (replacing the hapless Tim Thomas for the third) went off the ice for an extra attacker as yet another minor penalty was called on the Canadiens. The Habs killed all the penalties, providing a major momentum boost.

    I know. I said it was a strange game. At one point the penalty boxes were overflowing, four Habs stuffed into one. And there hadn’t been a single fight.

    In the end, it was an embarrassing game for the Bruins. Blown out of the Molson Centre to the ringing sounds of the Montreal crowd singing their favorite homoerotic tune, ‘Ole-Ole_Ole-Ole, and kissing one another on the cheeks in the stands, gloriously enjoying the victory that brings them to within a game of the coveted .500 mark and vaults them out of 13th place in the conference. For this Habs team, it’s a significant achievement.

    For the Bruins and their fans, there is a bit of head scratching and hope that on a night when Jean Beliveau and Guy LaFleur and Patrick Roy are not in attendance to shame the Habs into playing a decent game, the outcome might be bit more realistic. There’s also the hope they might decide to show some balls, as well, and actually accept a challenge or two to inspire the team.

    Meanwhile, lets send this one back to the Parallel Universe that it came from.

    P.S. Is it time to discuss what exactly the fuck Byron Bitz is still doing skating on Marc Savard’s line? I mean, I love Bitzy for his guts and work ethic and relentless grinding but your team leading world class set up man might need a little more firepower on his wing if you actually want him to be effective.

    Just saying.