All Things Hockey In The Carolinas

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sweet Jesus! They've done it again...

Yep. It's the bobblehead thing. Again.

What is with this team? I know, I know... It's a bobblehead, it isn't supposed to look exactly like the player. But shouldn't it at least look a little like the player?

As you will recall, I have previously delved into the subject of Canes bobbleheads. And I've discovered that lately, they appear to be modeled after various political figures. The most glaring example was that of Cam Ward's bobblehead:

Well, as you can see, the Cam Ward bobblehead was clearly modeled after Barack Obama. There's just no denying it. But what the hell? Given Obama's popularity back then, I guess it helped marketing. But I wonder if there was not some backlash over this.

Let's face it: The South is generally a conservative area. And the Canes are located well below the Mason-Dixon line. So maybe modeling Hurricane bobbleheads after a black socialist wasn't such a hot idea after all. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but I am a conspiratorial kinda guy. So I am thinking that maybe the Ocama bobblehead might've drawn Gale Force Holdings some complaints. I suggest this, because what other explanation could there be for their latest foray into bobblehead-dom?

In case you haven't seen it, the Canes have now released their first soon-to-be-found-on-EBay chotchke of the year. It is an Eric Cole bobblehead. Of course, one has to wonder about the irony/symbolism of making a bobblehead of a guy that broke his neck a coupla years ago, but I digress...

The point of this diatribe/conspiracy theory is that apparently, the Canes have decided that they needed to be "Fair and Balanced". Maybe practice a little bobblehead fairness doctrine. Because they sure went the other way with the Cole chotchke. Yep, you guessed it. The Cole chotchke is the spitting image of George W. Bush:

Seriously. Maybe you think I am nuts, but this CAN NOT be a coincidence. Two bobbleheads - Two presidents. Think about it.

Of course, there are other possibilities. Given how bad this season is going for the Canes, maybe they had other subliminal messages in mind:

I'll let you decide...

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Fail... The final frontier.
These are the follies of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Their '09 mission is:
To give up strange, new soft goals,
To commit new turnovers, new defensive breakdowns...
To boldly FAIL like no team has FAILED before!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

It is Official: The Canes are the worst team in the NHL

11 in a row. Lost to the Leafs. Epic Fail.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NHL Awards 2010 Hart Trophy to Barack Obama

Dateline New York
October 12, 2009

In a stunning development, the NHL on Sunday announced that it has awarded the 2009/2010 Hart Trophy to current U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama seemed shocked by his selection for this award when he gave a prepared statement to the media at a press conference in the White House press room this morning. “This was not something that I was expecting - something that I was expecting. However, I am humbled by this honor, and hope that ... um ... I can live up to whatever ideals ... um... for which this... this award stands. I’d like to sincerely thank the NHA for this honor. Pause for applause, nod at camera and smile humbly. Oh, sorry. Dammit Rahm! Did you put that on my teleprompter?”

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was quick to defend President Obama’s selection as this year's league MVP. “I know that there is a vast right wing conspiracy that will try to capitalize on the fact that until receiving this award, President Obama was not even aware that the NBL still existed. However, the truth is that the President has DirecTV, which doesn’t carry Versus. Therefore, in the unlikely event that the President had been made aware that a professional hockey game was occurring, he couldn’t have watched the game anyway; even if he had wanted to. Those despicable conservatives will stoop to any level to try to cheapen this awe inspiring, and well deserved achievement by our President.”

However, not everyone was as enthusiastic with Obama’s selection. “I think it’s perplexing”, said Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford. “I understand that the league is focused on maximizing its exposure in the U.S. market. And I understand that it was a great accomplishment for Barack Obama to become the first black president of the United States. I can certainly respect that. But, this seems mighty premature to me. I mean, the season has just started and Obama doesn’t even play the game! If the league wanted to make some sort of international or racial statement by awarding the Hart Trophy to a guy who's dad was African and who wasn’t born in the United States, they could’ve just given it to Jerome Iginla.”

Despite the furor, Commissioner Gary Bettman was adamant that the selection was appropriate. “The selection of President Obama for this award is in recognition for the many, many great things that he has yet to do for this sport over the years. And while he has never actually played the game, or even watched a game, he nonetheless has the potential to someday play hockey. And if he were to ever decide to play, we just know his play would surely be deserving of this award. Therefore, we hope that this award inspires him to someday actually try hockey, or maybe at least catch a game on television if he should happen to find himself in one of the few cable markets where Versus is available. Also, since he is from Chicago, his selection dovetails nicely with the league’s ongoing efforts to promote Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the young stars of the Chicago Blackhawks, as they help resurrect that once proud franchise.”

This explanation did not satisfy some conservative pundits, such as Fox News’ Glenn Beck. “It’s just not right!” said an emotional Beck. “Isn’t hockey that obscure Canadian sport? If anything, a U.S. President should be getting a nice Capitalistic award like the Cy Young, not some socialist Canadian trophy.” Beck then dabbed his eyes and sobbed, “I’m sorry. I’m just a Patriot who loves his country.”

Last year’s recipient, Washington Capitals Forward Alexander Ovechkin, was mysteriously detained by immigration officials at Dulles International Airport on Sunday evening, and was unavailable for comment as of press time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The first Photochop of 2009/2010

It's about that time boys and girls! The 2009/2010 NHL season is nearly begun! What madness awaits us? Time will tell. Friday can't come quick enough...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I've Got No Motivation

I hate the offseason.

Like most fans, I really want to see some live action hockey again. I miss it. And it makes it worse reading these little local blurb newspaper articles about how the guys are skating before camp, etc. It whets the appetite, yet all the while serving as a reminder that we are still a month away from real hockey.

I also hate having to watch stale reruns of games on the NHL network for my hockey fix. I've been compelled to watch the NHL network's replay of the 2009 playoffs and it is killing me. For some reason, it just doesn't feel right watching a game where you already know what is going to happen. What is even worse is that I find myself watching these games and coming up with various snarky insights, but realize that I am about 3 months too late to post them here with any impact or relevancy. And that is the point of this otherwise pointless post:

I've got no motivation.

This is why the blog has been woefully underutilized lately. I could blame it on the offseason, but surely I could find something to bitch/snark about. I mean, any half ass worth his salt come come up with something silly to post about the terms of the Marion Hossa deal: "Does a 4-year supply of 'Geritol' count against the salary cap?" Or maybe a disturbing photoshop of Gary Bettman peeling and feeding Sydney Crosby grapes from the Stanley Cup? Or maybe even a cheap joke: "How many Nick Wallins does it take to change a lightbulb? None, he wasn't going to light the lamp anymore anyway!" Surely I could come up with something...

But I've got no current motivation.

I could blame this on the summer and all the distractions (it sure is nice outside). I could blame it on being busy at work (and I am). I could blame it on the pressures of taking care of a 7 month old kid (what is that peculiar smell?). But I won't. Mainly, I've just been lazy, I guess.

But fear not. Though we may be in the hockey doldrums, I assure you that once the season starts, there will be plenty of snark and gripe to go around. My motivation will return. Soon, we will be back in full swing here at C.O.I. In fact, I've got a couple of post ideas with potential that I have been toying about with.

But we'll save those for when I am properly motivated.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Checking out Hurricanes memorabilia for sale on Craigslist

It's still summer. There's still no fresh hockey games on TV to watch. I've read Canes Country already today and I'm up to speed on the hockey happenings. It's slow at work on a lazy Friday afternoon - so what to do? Let's check out what there is for sale on the Raleigh craigslist for sale items under the search term: "Hurricanes".

Among the goods:
"All prices negotiable
Go Canes Go 99.9 The Fan Sign $7
10th Anniversary Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind'Amour Figurine $20
Carolina Hurricanes Grey Chevy Hat $5
Rod Brind'Amour Player Poster $15"

OK so this dude basically has saved up everything they give out at the front door of the games and is now trying to sell them for ridiculous prices. I got a better idea. How about I take a dump in a box, slap a Canes logo on it and then sell it to you for $20? Can deliver, ship, or you can pick up. All prices negotiable.

Next up:


"Pictured at the bottom of the page is a brand new, bright red, 100% cotton, one size fits all, Devon & Jones ball cap. I received it as a gift, but have plenty of other caps. It would be a perfect addition to your NC STATE / NCSU or Carolina Hurricanes wardrobe. "
image 1297121420-0
OK, WTF? You actually think someone will be foolish enough to buy this shitty red hat with nothing on it? By including NCSU or the Carolina Hurricanes in your description, you imply that fans of those teams would like this? If someone bought this for me, I think my reaction would be: "I'd rather have a terd in a box with a Canes logo on it.".

Moving on.
"I have some Eric Stahl posters from the 2003 season I believe it was. These were a one time printing. in great condition."
Sweet! Eric Stahl! He's like my favorite player ever! Well worth $100, much less $5!!! What a steal!

"Rare Carolina Hurricanes Snow Globe. Only 2,006 made. Players are Eric Staal, Rod Brind'Amour, and Cam Ward. "
image 1261160984-0
Actually, this is pretty freakin sweet. Somebody buy this for me, please.

Is it October yet?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Is it too early to award NHL Executive of the Year for 2009-2010 to Jim Rutherford? Aaron Ward returns to Carolina in trade for Patrick Eaves.

(Bruins site)

Jimmy Rutherford contines his bang-up job this summer today by trading out a dissapointing player in Patrick Eaves for an old fan-favorite in Aaron Ward.

Add that to his re-signing of crucial free agents in LaRose, Cole and Ruutu as well as bringing on tough new players in Andrew Alberts and Greek Lightning, and you've got a boner-fied threat to the Eastern Conference champs once again. Seriously, if last year's team could take it all the way to the Conference finals - what are the chances of heading back with a stronger version of the same team? Pretty damn good if you ask me.

Now, in regards to Punch-Gate - (Aaron Ward becoming a teammate of the guy that cold-cocked him), it's going to be a non-issue between the two players. But you'd better believe that the media will cook up a storm about it. Count on it. (Hi Canada!)

Welcome home Aaron, enjoy actually getting to live in your new house!

Aaron joins my buddy Brandon in Buffalo for a cocktail during an off-night, 2006.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tracking the European's off-season - fun with Google Translator

There's only so much that us hockey fanatics can find in the doldrums of summer to feed our fixes. Will he or won't he sign in X location? Will they or won't they trade X player? Well I'm to the point where exploring other platforms to get my pucky news is going on.

While I didn't necessarily find any surprising, up-to-date news on any of our Swedes, Russians or Finns - I did find a few gems to share with you.

Last March, Tuomo Ruutu was apparently voted as the top sexy single in Finland but he's not just a hockey player. No, he's a "puck lion":
"'s readers have chosen the Finnish sexy sinkuiksi puck lion Tuomo screen, and the singer Jenni Vartiainen. Vastaajia viehättää Tuomo Ruudussa muun muassa hänen komeutensa ja hymynsä. Respondents attracts Tuomo screen, including his komeutensa and hymynsä. Urosleijonaa äänesti 29 prosenttia lukijoista. The male lion has voted 29 per cent readers. - Aggressiivisuus ja intohimo jäällä saavat tämän naisen pauloihinsa. - Aggression and passion on the ice to this woman pauloihinsa. Vapaalla Tuomo taas on todella rento ja hyvin pukeutuva mies, yksi äänestäjistä perusteli valintaansa. Free Tuomo again is really cool and well dress male, one for the voters to justify their choice. " - Google Translation of some Finn celebrity site

Yeah, I have the same problem all the time with women being drawn to mykomeutensa and hymynsa. I feel your pain, Tuomo. Pimpin' ain't easy.

Next up I found a blog from some Swedes about Nic Wallin and their adventures in Raleigh going to the games at the RBC Center:

"In the parking lot were several groups that proposed the grill and enjoyed a cold Pilsner in the spring sun. It also has different sheets contests where you could measure its kind shoots or shoot dot on a paper canvas. There is also a live band to entertain the audience while waiting for OFF. Hockey is a stunt here and I do not see why not Elitserien clubs do not follow the concept." - Kuriren blog from Sweden

Yes you see - it's not so much - "C'mon boys, let's throw some brats on the grill and toss back a few brew-hahas before the game" - it's better described as "proposing" the grill. Is the contest he's talking about cornhole? I haven't the slightest.

Is it October yet? Crap.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Proper hazing to welcome Andrew Alberts & Tom Kostopoulos to the Canes

My boy Jimmy has come through with some clutch signings in the month of July with Erik Cole and Chad LaRose both returning. But today I welcome in D-man Andrew Alberts and forward Tom Kostopoulos to Carolina the only way I know how: by making fun of them.

To Tommy the Greek Kostopoulos: First off - you sound great and I vaguely remember you as a Hab. My boys from FHF dig you so that goes a long way. But I'm concerned that living and playing in the South around all these fun bars and nice women's fashion stores may drive you to be an accomplice to more purse thefts. Yes I know that HE didn't steal the purse that night in Tampa Bay, but hey - guilt by association when something as embarrassing as that happens.

So you're a prankster, eh? Is someone going to have to lock you in your hotel room every time the Canes play Lightning in Tampa?

What the hell is going on with your last name? The letter "O" makes an appearance like 8 freaking times. But it is easy to come up with nicknames with a name like that. It happened spontaneously at 850 the Buzz's post about him today. I'm still fond of my Flight of the Conchords reference; "They call me the Hip-Hop-Kostopoulos, my lyrics are bottomless". So uh, yeah welcome aboard. Do good, please.

To Andrew Alberts: It took a minute, but I figured out why I remembered him:

Of course! He's the one that Scott Walker looked up a foot to and still beat his ass. But he's a hitter and someone who's finally a "defensive" defenseman. There hasn't been a d-man acquisition in a long time that was "D" first in Carolina, it seems. What is it like having two first names? At least those two aren't "Harry" and "Dick". Alberts can join in the "dude, I know how that feels" fun whenever someone has another gruesome injury on the Hurricanes this year:
(from his Boston days, apparently)

Pretty kickass July. Nice weather, fun weekends and the band is back together with a good fresh beat added in. Well done, Jimmy Boy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Summer to all

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Repost! Ovechkin Eliminated from Playoffs; Bettman Cancels Remainder of 2008 NHL Playoffs; Awards Cup to Ottawa Senators Instead

[For shits and giggles, I thought I'd repost last year's post decrying the elimination of the Ovenchicken from the playoffs. Yes, some of the references are dated by a year, but it just seemed appropriate to air it out once again. -EOH]

Dateline: Toronto

In a move unprecedented in professional sports, the NHL today cancelled the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs; opting instead to simply award the Stanley Cup to the Ottawa Senators next Tuesday. “Going forward, we just felt that this move was the best course for both the league and its fans”, said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "Without Ovechkin to look forward to, there's nothing left that's worth seeing. And without that magnificent Russian scoring machine, what will the NHL beat writers possibly write about. Who in their right mind would want to read a hockey article that wasn't all about the wonderful Ovechkin? Certainly not me..."

As for awarding the cup to Ottawa, Bettman said it just felt like the right thing to do. "They've got such talented players and they've worked so hard. You just feel bad for them. Plus, they are a Canadian team, so the vast majority of our fanbase will be somewhat pleased. Just think what would've happened to me if I'd just given the cup back to those NASCAR loving hicks in Carolina", remarked Bettman. "You'd find my burned out carcass nailed to a tree outside of Moose Twat, British Columbia if I'd done that. And I'll be damned if I'm gonna give Lord Stanley's cereal bowl to those quiche eating surrender monkeys in Quebec either."

However, some NHL owners and General Managers were visibly outraged. “I think this really stinks”, said Cliff Fletcher, Interim General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “If any team deserves to just be handed the Stanley Cup, it is the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s not like we have the talent to win it by ourselves. Jesus, our coach is Paul Maurice for god’s sake. But Ottawa? Their Captain is from Sweden and their Goaltender is friggin Swiss! I’d rather see my daughter in a whorehouse than see Daniel Alfredsson’s name on our cup.” Fletcher bristled at the suggestion that the Maple Leaf’s Captain was also Swedish. “That’s a lie! This is Mats Sundin you’re talking about! Sundin not Sedin! How dare you criticize Mats Sundin! Mats Sundin is as Canadian as baseball and apple pie. All he’s ever done is given his heart and soul to our beloved Maple Leafs, and you reward him by questioning his Canadian heritage? Damn you all! Damn you all to hell!!!” Future Maple Leafs GM Jim Rutherford had no comment on the cancellation, but did mutter something unintelligible about Peter Laviolette, a tire iron and a garbage dumpster.

Other General Managers were also perplexed by the move. “I don’t know how the league can just arbitrarily award the Stanley Cup to some team other than the Red Wings”, said Detroit General Manager Ken Holland. “If the cup belongs anywhere, it is in Detroit. It’s a natural fit: Detroit is known worldwide as ‘Hockey Town’. And this place is such a crime infested sh*thole, we could use any help we can get to take our residents’ mind off the high unemployment rate and the rest of their miserable existence. By the way, you aren’t going to print that last part are you?”

Montreal Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau also weighed in strongly on the matter, saying: "Rezendez vous, parlez vous, voulez vous couche' avec moi, ce soi. Chateau Marcel Marceau escargot. Oui, oui mon cherie. Quiche vichyssoise! Inspector Clouseau. American pig dog! Ptooey!". He then smeared white makeup on his face, put on a black outfit with a striped shirt and funny hat, and tried to storm silently out of the room; but was thwarted when he encountered what appeared to be a very strong headwind. Unable to make headway, he became temporarily trapped in what might've been a glass box, before slowly pulling himself out of the room by means of an apparently invisible rope.

Oddly, Buffalo Sabres coach, Lindy Ruff’s response to the news was uncharacteristically calm: “This is B*llsh*T!!!” roared Ruff. “$#@%! *&%^, #*&#, *&%#ing bleep! We *&%#ing sucked way *&%#ing worse than those arrogant *&%#ing Ottawa Senators did! In fact, they were so *&%#ing arrogant they had *&%#ing champagne in their *&%#ing lockerroom before game four against the *&%#ing Penguins. They *&%#ing knew they were going to be awarded the *&%#ing cup. The league *&%#ing hates us. Everybody *&%#ing hates us. We get no *&%#ing respect. Their all out to get us. Well I'll just have somebody take out Spezza's knee or Heatley's achilles tendon and see how they *&%#ing like it. That's old time hockey right there. How Ottawa gets a cup without even putting a skate in the crease is beyond me. *&%# off and die!"

This unexpected cancellation comes on the immediate heels of the Philadelphia Flyer’s overtime, game-seven defeat of the Washington Capitals and the corresponding elimination of the NHL’s new poster boy Alexander Ovechkin. But despite increasingly strong outcries from the players and team executives to continue the playoffs as scheduled, the league remained firm in it’s position. “I mean, without Alexander Ovechkin in the mix, what’s the point”, said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Sure, Sidney Crosby was still in the hunt, but he’s like so ‘last year’. That’s not to knock Sid or anything. He’s still got those juicy lips and a wicked wrist shot, but let’s face it; he’s no Alex Ovechkin. With that nut-hair beard and Russian accent, Ovi’s so dreamy I could just scream. And besides, given the NHL’s abysmal Nielson ratings, and the fact that Versus is only available in 16 U.S. households, it’s not like anybody will notice the difference anyway. ”

The Commissioner’s attempts to justify the action did little to allay the ire of angry team officials. “So this whole thing was because Gary went and got himself all butthurt that his Russian boy toy got eliminated?” stormed Leafs GM Fletcher. Well, we’ve got a Russian too, but I didn’t see that rat faced little bastard cancelling the season back in January when the Leafs were out of contention! Hell, you want Russian? How about Alexei Ponikarovsky? You can’t get anymore Russian than ‘Alexei Ponikarovsky’. Sh*t fire, I'll bet every one of you a shiny new quarter with a beaver on the back that you can't even pronounce Ponikarovsky! Hell, ‘Alexander’ could be damn near anything, except maybe Chinese or Korean. But Alexei? ... THAT’s pure Russian.” When asked his thoughts on Fletcher's Russian theory, Rutherford simply smiled and said, "Samsonov".

Meanwhile, the sporadic cable network Versus scrambled to fill its now vacant evening lineup. “Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘scrambling’”, remarked Jamie Davis, President of Versus Network. “We’ve got plenty of PBR Bullriding footage that’s just begging to be aired. And we’ve got years of old Tour de France highlights that we can, uh... recycle, pardon the pun. While we here at Versus are deeply disappointed that we will not have any more exciting NHL action to broadcast this spring; we are excited about the huge increase in ratings that PBR Bullriding and pre-recorded European Bicycling are sure to garner in these time slots...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Scott Walker: Hockey Mutant!

Meet Scott Walker. He was once an ordinary man, like you and I. But fate intervened. And with one sphincter rattling bitch slap, he became "Walkerine". His skeleton may be adamantium alloy, but his balls are 100% brass. Don't make him angry, Penguins. You wouldn't like him when he's angry...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Monday, May 11, 2009

On the Walker punching Aaron Ward ordeal

Flashback time: Sunday September 28, 2008.

The Philadelphia Flyers were in town to play the Hurricanes in a pre-season tilt. Matt Cullen, who everyone was still being precocious with after returning from double concussions, was blind-sided by Nate Guenin of the Flyers with a vicious hit. Scott Walker immediately went after Guenin and began punching him rabidly.
Walker injured his hand on the play - required ligament surgery - and was out the first six weeks of the season. As he neared his return to the line-up, he dropped this gem:
""People say should I have gotten in the fight," he said. "I try to look back and say what would have I have done different? I think if the same thing happened today I would do it again."
- Canes Now blog entry

Last night in Boston, Walker stood by those six-month old comments and again stepped up for Matt Cullen. While all the focus has been squarely on Walker dropping A-Ward like a limp noodle (rightfully so) - not many people have mentioned Matt Cullen in this discussion.

Ward was all over Cullen as he has been on many of the players in this series. Aaron is great at what he does. But the in-game and post-whistle potshots have been going on for all five games with Ward and the majority of his teammates all being guilty of it. If you watch around the 0:07 mark of this video, you can see Ward violently cross checking Matt Cullen in the head:

Also not mentioned today was the Chuck Kobasew cross check to the back of Erik Cole's head. No one needs reminding of the history behind Cole's neck. How much crap did they think the Hurricanes were going to take before they retaliated? Carolina usually takes the high road and lets their skill-game do the talking. But they've got a Tim Conboy, they've got a Tim Gleason and they've got a Scott Walker ready to do some wailing if need be.

While I wish Aaron Ward would have been better prepared for the punch, Scott was just doing what he's wanted to do all along. Aaron Ward was ready to go with Matt Cullen, but when Walker skates over - he wouldn't drop the gloves and he got what was coming to him.

Thanks to Jon Turpin from HurricanesInsider for sending the image along.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Did anybody actually think that the NHL would let the Canes eliminate Boston without a fight? I certainly didn't. But I didn't think the league would be so obvious about it. But I guess that desperate times calls for desperate measures.

Let's face the facts:

As much as we all love hockey, the truth is that it is run like a second rate league. And I won't even go into the whole abysmal TV deal bit (that's a whole 'nother rant...). But I do want to point out a major difference between the NHL and the other major sports leagues. In the other leagues (NFL, NBA, etc.), the rules don't change for the playoffs. A penalty is still a penalty. A foul is still a foul. However, in the NHL, the powers that be have decided that in the playoffs, what was a penalty in the regular season is somehow not a penalty now. Case in point: this Bruins/Canes series.

In a previous game, Eric Staal got the puck and a step on the defender and was clear for a breakaway. The defender reached out and literally grabbed a double handful of Staal's jersey and nearly turned him around. This is a penalty right? Wrong. No call.

In game 3, a Canes player was hooked down blatantly in front of the Bruin net, and the defender actually threw his arms up in disgust because he knew he was going to get a penalty. Tripping and/or hooking are penalties right? Wrong. No call.

Taking a high shot to Cole in the back (remember that broken neck Cole had a coupla years ago boys and girls? Boston does..) behind the play? Not a penalty in the playoffs according to the NHL. [Edit: Yes, I did see Jussi Jokinen slash Chara on the foot with no penalty. I'd almost bet that Jokinen will draw a suspension, while Stuart will get nothing for cheapshotting Erik Cole. But I digress again...]

To quote John Forslund: That's playoff hockey baby!

Yep, the rules change in the playoffs. And it sucks. Worse, it makes the league look like the joke it has become. Worse, it penalizes the teams that build their roster around speed and skill (which is what people want to see) while benefitting teams that build their roster for big, slow and lazy players (which is what people don't want to see). But you already knew that.

Now I know I'll take some heat for bitching about officiating. It is the easy way out, more often than not. I'll draw the usual "sour grapes" comments and "blame game" whining from the usual suspects. But the truth is that EVERY SINGLE HOCKEY FAN IN NORTH AMERICA knows that NHL officiating sucks at the best of times. And while to date, the officiating has not seriously affected this particular playoff series, it has had the potential to do so. And that is simply unacceptable in a so-called "professional" league, IMHO. Especially when the advantage has been so obviously one-sided.

Don't believe me? See for yourself:

According to Toronto, in the playoffs (and if you are not an "Original Six" franchise), this is not a goal; despite the half an inch of visible white between the puck and the goal line.

Worse, the league isn't even trying to hide their obvious desire to see Boston (Original Six Franchise, BTW...) make it to the ECF for their desired Chara - Crosby/Ovenchicken showdown. In fact, they are damn near flaunting it.

Don't believe me? Check the box score for the game tonight. Specifically, look who they assigned to call the game. Yep: Watson and Peel.

Does everybody here remember Peel?

In case you've forgotten, he was the guy who called the phantom dive on Erik Cole to deny Staal a hat trick (on an empty net goal in the last 30 seconds of a game no less...) a couple of years back. The call was so obviously bad that Peel himself actually even apologized to Cole for the call at the next Canes game he officiated.

As if that isn't bad enough, the NHL has paired him with Brad Watson tonight:

Any non-Cane fans may be wondering why Watson is so bad. However, there isn't a Caniac alive who doesn't know exactly where I am going with this one. So for the non-Caniacs, check this jewel out:

And that was just one of TWO completely bullshit diving penalties that Watson called on the Canes that game. (Not to mention the other stinkers called in that one.) Worse, the officiating played a part in our loss in that game; which may not seem like a big deal now, until you remember that we missed the playoffs by 1 lousy point last year...

Now given Watson's well known propensity to call completely phantom bullshit penalties on the Canes, you'd think that assigning Watson to call such a critical game would be the last thing the NHL would do. If nothing else, you'd think the league would keep him away from the Canes to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in such an important game. Letting Brad Watson officiate a Canes playoff game is like the NFL assigning Ed Hochuli to work a Denver/San Diego playoff game. It doesn't even pass the smell test. Yet, there he is - out there blowing on his whistle like a runaway freight train...

But this is the NHL. The No Honor League. And predictably, the Bruins have gotten a truckload of power plays tonight. There is just no way the NHL could forget Watson's history with the Canes when they made this assignment. Nor is there any excuse for this assignment.

So to the NHL, I say this:

If you want to pick and choose who gets to play for the cup, just scrap the playoff system and adopt the BCS structure. That way, you can cherry pick your beloved Original Six matchups and your Ovenchicken/Crosby matchups and save us "small market" fans the expense of playoff tickets. It's not like you need the revenue, eh?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Little Memo for GM of the year JR

Hallelujah in the name of all that is Jussi Jokinen. Holy guacamole does this guy know when to score goals in the playoffs. Timmy Thomas, do me a favor and ask Marty Brodeur how his own heart tasted - because Jussi Jokinen will carve yours out with a spoon and feed it to you. That goal already adds to the instant classics from this post-season that shall live on in Caniac folklore forever:

So Jim Rutherford is getting plenty of sunshine blown up his butt here lately for being so shrewd as to shed two dead contracts - Wade Brookbank and Josef Melichar - while also adding Jussi Jokinen in the February trade. Add that to the unpopular (at the time) decision that Jimmy Boy made to can Laviolette in favor of Paul Maurice back in December. He traded for Erik Cole and immediately the team steamrolled into the post-season. Certainly a candidate for a GM of the year award, you think?

Something else he's golden at is contract negotiations with his players. Chad LaRose was at an impasse the summer of 2008 with signing his RFA deal to remain with the Canes. The stalled talks happened because Rutherford wanted to pay Rosey 4th line duty money - and Chad knew that he was worth more than whatever he'd get from JR. #59 was on the top line with Staal and Whitney for a good portion of the Devils series. GM Jim knew that he could pay so little to receive so much. While that sort of pisses me off because you all know about my absurd Chad LaRose man-crush - you have to respect a boss of company who runs it so successfully while staying so frugal in this craphole of an economy.

So LaRose only signed a one year deal at .875mil and will be an un-restricted free agent this summer. After having a career year and being a key cog on the team for three seasons - he could easily choose to sign somewhere else where they'd pay him what he deserves.

But I wouldn't count on that happening. My boy Jimmy will probably figure out a way to keep him, Ruutu and Jokinen on the team and still stay low-budge.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holy crap a;lkhqpiohqgh;ad

I totally hurt my knee last night jumping up and down after Joki's game-winner last night.

lawdahmercy I'll check back with whatever loyal few of you remain here on Thursday!

(image via Russo's Rants the Wild beat-writer, 'preciateyanow)

Friday, April 17, 2009

It was just one game, yo - Canes vs. Devils playoffs 2009

All I have to say about it right now is this:

I sat in the RBC Center both Game One and Game Two of Round One in 2006. I watched the Hurricanes not show up for game one and lose 6-1 or 5-1, (or something, I don't do stats. Sue me.) to the Habs. What happened after that?

Anything can happen.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Da preview: Playoffs Round One - Hurricanes vs. Devils 2009 Edition

For this round of playoff preview fun, we bring together two bloggers from each respective fanbase. Yours truly will cover the Hurricanes while some other dude named Greg Wyshynski reminisces about his boring-ass favorite hockey team. Enjoy.

The month was April. The year of our Lord was 2001. The scene was set in Barry's favorite town, Newark, NJ.

Wyshynski: The New Jersey Devils were defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Carolina Hurricanes were the annoying jerkweed eight seed trying to ruin their fun.

During the regular season, it was easy to be intimidated by the Canes ... what with former Hobey Baker winner Scott Pellerin and the unstoppable Rob DiMaio on the roster. And Carolina also had Arturs Irbe between the pipes, which might have fucking mattered if the Devils were the Red Wings.

The Devils won the first three games of the series, as Bobby Holik scored two game-winning goals. It's performances like that which eventually earned him a $97 million contract from the Rangers to be their checking center.

Then things got annoying, as the Hurricanes won two in a row and made a series out of things. Then the Devils ended it in Game 6, as human rag doll Sergei Brylin had the game-winner and Marty Brodeur huffed and puffed his way to a 5-1 win.

Of course, the series is most memorable for Scott Stevens forever altering the career of Shane Willis with a clean and completely legal hit, and then sending Ron Francis somewhere near Pluto with a check later in the series. Sure, Stevens would later get a karmic kick in the ass when he himself suffered a career-ending concussion. But no one remembers when the wrecking ball stopped working; just how it wrecked'um.

Suddenly, you are whisked away on a magical flying cheeseburger that lands at the RBC Center grounds in Raleigh. The April month was the same but 2006 'twas the year.

McBrayer: The Devils came into the playoffs on some kind of ridonkulous winning streak which continued with a 4-0 sweep over the NY Rangers. Marty Brodeur was busy being Marty Brodeur and the Devils were resilient on playing trappy hockey despite "The New NHL" and it's wide open, supposedly exciting fresh style. The Devils fans were happy and were busy doing fun things like arguing over which turnpike exit is cooler errr going to the beach errrrr driving to New York City? I'm clueless.

Meanwhile, the folks down in Carolina were busy tailgating their asses off and celebrating their come from behind win over the Habs and Cristofail Huet in the first round. The weather in NC is outstanding this time of year and if/when the Canes make the playoffs, the bandwagon overflows in Raleigh. Visiting teams' fans generally love coming to the RBC Center for the post-season just to see/experience the massive tailgate party that is a Hurricanes pre-game tailgate. You can also expect your NCSU Wolfpack football fans who laid the groundwork for the RBC Center/Carter-Findley grounds to show up and appreciate the festivities.

So as the Hurricanes held home ice with the #2 seed, the first game was in Raleigh. As Carolina seemed to barely sneak by the Canadiens, the common conception was that #30 and the Devils would continue their steam-rolling buzzsaw.

Not so fast.

Eric Staal, Cory Stillman and what seemed like 1/2 the team all scored easily against Marty in a 6-0 game one victory. Game Two was one for the ages. It was an evenly played and equally checked game that ended with Scott Gomez scoring a fluky deflection with half a minute left. But Eric Staal and his oh-face managed to score a garbage goal with one second left in regulation to send it to overtime. Niclas Wallin (AKA the 3rd pairing defenseman who's slightly overpaid but sometimes is awesome) snuck in on a breakway from a Rod Brind'amour pass and slid the puck under Brodeur for one hell of a finish to one hell of game.

The series seemed to weigh in the Hurricanes' favor after that game as they went onto a confidence building 4-1 series victory before the seven game, Eastern Conference semifinal series with Buffalo.

Pictured: a young Martin Brodeur searches for inspiration among his peers.

The magical flying cheeseburger quickly absorbs you (and your ugly ass playoff beard) to present day, April of 2009.

Wyshynski: as a Devils fan, my first thought on the series is that the Hurricanes are not from New York or Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, so I wonder what the attendance will be for the first two home games ...

My second thought is this: The Devils are, without question, a team built for the postseason. They've got more ugly veterans with their minds on the money than the worst strip club in town. One assumes they'll answer the bell.

Did I like the way they finished? Nope. They played inconsistent, downright awful hockey at times, and Marty looked like what we all figured Scott Clemmensen would look like when he replaced Marty. I'll say that losing Patrik Elias for a few games through things into chaos, because for all the good numbers the team put up its offense is about as deep as the psychological underpinnings of "High School Musical." The third one.

The Devils will win the series if they can solve Cam Ward, which no one's really been able to in the second half, and if they're special teams outplay the Carolina Hurricanes in four of the seven games -- and that's a tall order.

I'm optimistic as a fan that the Devils will look like the team that chewed bubble gum and kicked ass earlier this season, and that Brodeur's rust will be gone and his rest will pay off.

I'm pessimistic as an individual with free thought.

Wyshynski's Prediction: Canes in 6.

McBrayer: Historically speaking, when the Hurricanes decide that they want to be in the postseason - they're going to rip shit up. Since 2002, the Hurricanes have only been to the big dance twice but both times skirted all the way to the SC Finals. When they're in - hold onto your nips.

Between the Hurricanes/Old Fatasses, the four games played during this regular season were all rather impressive for the Canes, not including the final game last Saturday that saw backup goalie Michael Leighton have a few "D'oh!" moments. Yes, the 3rd game featured Kevin Weekes in goal for Jersey and a team that was probably hungover as hell from the previous evening. But Carolina matches up fairly even statistically speaking with Jersey's finest.

I'm sure that it's really intimidating on opposing teams at The Rock but Coach Brent Sutter and his gang had better be glad that they hold home-ice advantage in the series. Because three games of ear-splitting, building-shaking and decibel-record-setting raucous at the RBC Center are easier than four games.

Many pundits have the Canes listed among teams on the Upset Watch for this year's playoffs. While I don't think it would be an upset - the Hurricanes should win this series based on team play alone over the past two-ish months. With the likes of Joni Pitkanen / Anton Babchuk / Jose Corvo patrolling the blue line and creating offense, Carolina has too much fire power on all lines for Brodeur and the Devils to overcome. Cam Ward is somehow playing even better than he was during his rookie year Conn Smythe run if that is even possible.

I'm biased but I'm right.
McBrayer's Prediction: Canes in 6

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Anton Babchuk is your Daddy

Random Thoughts - Pre Playoffs Edition

Wow, what a difference a month makes. Who in God's green earth would have thought that the Canes would be fighting for home ice in the postseason, much less clinching a playoff birth with several games remaining in the reggie season? What a ride it has been for this team and the fans. Together, they've been through a river of doodie and came out somehow smelling like roses.

- I've been to the majority of the home games over this stretch and it has been some of the most fun I've ever had. The Rangers game from Thursday 4/2 during the third period in particular was an extremely memorable occasion. The 3rd period as Brindy and LaRose scored seconds apart was extreme elation and it gave me the shivers as the entire building was shaking from crowd response alone. My ears were ringing all night after the game and a little still the following morning. It would have been interesting to see the 'ol decibel meter during that ruckus. That's what its all about, dude.

- Months ago, I was at a game - maybe it was the Maple Leafs, can't really remember. But I was wearing one of my Brind'amour jerseys as he was still in his sucktastic slump. Some fans of the visiting team who were enjoying their adult beverages perhaps a bit too much were having fun yelling at me that it's time for Rod to hang up the skates and retire. I just laughed it off, did the 'ol cheers to them and carried on. I had the same thoughts of course and others probably shared the sentiment. But all along, I kept saying this:

"I don't care if he does have the worst +/- in the NHL, if your team is in the playoffs - you want a Rod Brind'amour on the team, warts and all."

Halle-lu-jah that he turned it around as he couldn't have picked a better time. As soon as he kicked his game back in gear, the team followed suit and every team they played - they ripped them a new one. Welcome back Roddy. Glad you're along for the ride and knowing your style - you'll sign a contract extension to play well into your late 40's.

- Chad LaRose is all that is man. Loved his "Day In The Life" that aired on the NHL Network too. He could have his own reality show and it would blow American Idol and Dancing With the Stars ratings away. Because many of you already know this, but when Chad LaRose is on a breakaway - he doesn't have to deke, the ice just shifts accordingly out of fear alone. Oh yeah, and he's about to get PAID this summer, son.

- OK - time to stop blowing sunshine up your butts for a minute. Lost amidst all the happy winning good times here lately - Sergei Samsonov has been stinking it up. We know enough based on his history that he's going to have hot and cold spells. He's only got two points in his past five games with an even +/- when the majority of the team has benefited from the beatdowns of other teams. Beyond the stats - if you just watch him he appears to have no confidence, turns the puck over and looks real loose trying to connect on passes. At what point do we worry about this? I know he can be as flaky as all hell, but damn. When Cullen returns to the line-up - do you keep Sammy in the line-up?

- Back to the sunshiney thoughts. I have no problem with admitting when I'm wrong about something. Though I never really came out and said that the Paul Maurice hiring was a terrible idea, a certain other writer for this blog did in more ways than one. I was certainly skeptical of Mo - but he has earned a new contract and proved many of the doubters wrong. East of Here - got anything to say in response?

- In regards to playoffs tickets, I'm thrilled that they are selling out so quickly. I decided in March to re-up for next year's season ticket package (and "iced my price" for the following two seasons). With that happening, the budget isn't ready to allow playoff ticket purchases. While I shall do my best to attend one game in the 1st round, I have no problem with enjoying the games on the home TV with good friends and good beverages.

- For those who may have missed it: I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Carrie Milbank over at Barry Melrose Rocks. Do check it out please.

I leave you today with a NSFW, yet side-splittingly funny Billy Mays "KABOOM!" re-dub. I've already shown it to many of my friends but I just can't get enough of it. Enjoy:

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Yep. Clinched. We are going to the playoffs.

Little E says "BRING IT!!!"

Playoffs baby.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Politics of Bobbleheads

As you all already know, I really hate bobbleheads. In fact, by now you probably think I have some weird sort of obsessive/compulsive, Paula Abdul stalker kinda thing about bobbleheads. But, I assure you I don't. I just don't like them. They are creepy.

But having said that, I simply can't resist breaking down the bobbleheads/figurines/chotchkes that the Canes give away. Mainly because it is so easy and fun to do. However, about a week or two ago, I sat down to analyze the Cam Ward bobblehead. At the outset, I took a look at the picture of the thing:

I stared at it for about a second and a half and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew EXACTLY who that bobblehead was modeled after. It was unmistakable. It was uncanny. But it couldn't be. It just couldn't. But oh holy shit it was! It is beyond doubt. That's not Cam Ward. It's Barack-frigging-Obama!

Tell me it ain't? You can't!!!

Now if it'd been anyone but Obama, I might've been able to chalk this up to some one in a million coincidence. But, when I went to photochop the damn graphic above, it was a perfect match. Seriously, I cut out a picture of Obama, and pasted it over the bobblehead Cam-face and it fit perfectly without any alterations. Even the ears matched up perfect. Just like Disney hides pictures of tits and weiners in their kiddie movies, somebody tried to slip this one past us. And initially, I thought this was a brilliant coup d'etat. I mean, come on! They put out an Obama hockey bobblehead! That is a pretty slick joke. But...

The more I thought about it, the lamer it got. And here's why: They were lazy. They didn't develop the plan far enough. And as a result, they missed a bundle of punchlines. It could've been sweeter than Yoo-Hoo. But they fell short. If I were in charge of designing surrepticiously political-oriented bobbleheads, I'd have knocked this one out of the park. How so? Allow me to 'splain it to you:

First off, there's no symmetry here. Barack Obama as a goalie? It's just wrong. It's too random. It makes no sense. Nobody is gullible enough to believe that. How the hell can you try to pass off Barack Obama as a goalie, when the whole world knows he's a left winger?

This got me to thinking. What if they modeled all the bobbleheads after political figures? What would you come up with? For me it was easy. I already knew the perfect political fantasy lineup:

This is a no brainer. Can there be any better prototypical left winger than Che' Guevara? Of course not. Look at that playoff beard and Mexi-mullet. He'd have rocked in the NHL. And judging from the number of people he apparently sent to the firing squads, you know he'd have to have a pretty wicked shot. Yes, I know... When you look at the numbers, Stalin was a more prolific shooter, but he just doesn't have the appeal that Che' does with the younger demographic. Nowadays, the NHL is all about marketing. And with Che's track record with T-Shirt sales, you know that dude would move a mountain of replica jerseys. The dude is money in the bank!
Imagine the confidence of streaking down the ice, with Uncle Jesse on your wing. He's the ultimate right winger. Sure, he'd never be a natural scorer like John F. Kennedy (LW) was; but the guy knew how to get results. He would win every single faceoff. And unlike John Edwards (LW), he would never get kicked out of the faceoff circle for cheating. Of course, he'd be less successful defensively now that the league has done away with obstruction. But back in the day, he'd have been a one-man neutral zone trap. In fact, with his record of blocking things, he could probably even play goal. But either way, you know he'd always have your back. Unless you are Anson Carter, but that's another story altogether...

There's not much more you could say about McCain. He is about as close a thing to center that we've seen in quite a while. Overall, he'd be a hard, dependable worker. And he could play well with most anybody. You need guys like that on your team. The only problem you'd have with him is that if he ever took a penalty, it'd get pretty damn ugly. After his time spent in the Hanoi Hilton, you sure as hell wouldn't want to be the unlucky ref that tried to put him in the box.

And finally, your goalie would be Hillary Clinton. Nothing deters scoring like that face. I mean, who in their right mind would want to score on that? In fact, nobody in their right mind would even go near her crease. So she'd be a natural in goal. Of course, this leads us to the logical question to wrap up this post: If Hillary Clinton was an NHL goalie, who would her ironic bobblehead look like?

Monica Lewinsky perhaps? Think of the possibilities...