Tag Archives: Washington Capitals

The Ego Of Larry Brooks

Love when the weather is guy is wrong the wrong way! 5-10 cm’s my butt!

Love Larry Brooks article today, it’s so self serving it’s actually funny.

“The marketing people are suggesting that the Jan. 1, 2010 extravaganza might be held in Las Vegas, or at the Rose Bowl, sexy sites that have absolutely nothing to do with the league or the sport.
Would the league get a one-day bump and terrific TV ratings for a neutral-site outdoor game between the Penguins and Caps? No doubt. But would the day advance the league’s interests beyond a one-and-done? Would the showcase improve the state of either franchise? The answers are no and no.”

I agree, an oudoor game in either place would be dumb.

” Now that it has a hit on its hands, the NHL should whenever possible use the Winter Classic as a vehicle to help needy markets and franchises.”

I totally agree.

“Which is why next season’s Winter Classic should be played in New York between the Islanders New York Islanders and Rangers New York Rangers , whether at this new rich mans’ palace masquerading as Yankee Stadium or at the Mets New York Mets ‘ new ballpark with the stigmatized name, or in Central Park. ”

Huh? Needy markets and franchises, got it. New York??? New York is as needy a market as Toronto is or Montreal for that matter!

“No franchise in the league needs more help than the Islanders, the team that time has forgotten. And no city could do more with the spotlight than New York. The biggest market could use some love once in a while, too.”

What???? the team that time has forgotten? What is Larry smoking. The Isles are owned by the one guy Larry bashes more then Bettman! New York is now the “biggest market?” by virtue of what? That there are three teams in the greater Manhattan area? Let’s see the Rangers do well, granted. Very well. The other 2 get pretty poor support. Before you go blaming the arena for the Isles trouble, look at the Devils, who are in a brand new arena. In terms of percentage of the building is full the Devils rank 22nd! Based on overall average which is a tad hard to judge because no 2 arenas have the same capacity, the Devils are 25th!

“A Jan. 1, 2010 outdoors Battle of New York would energize and elevate the Islanders. It would give this woebegone club a spotlight event. It would put hockey on the back page in New York, and not only for a day, but for a number of days. The event should feature a Legends Game modeled after the Heritage Classic the Oilers hosted on Nov. 22, 2003.”

And, what would an event like that be without Scroodge telling everyone how BAD all things related to the game are??? I mean can’t you just imagine, the game in New York and one guy booing loudly from the pressbox??? The game would be on the back page for sure, what would Larry’s headline be? NHL players party hard on Park Avenue?

“But a New York-New York Bowl would benefit the league’s most important American market. That in itself would benefit the league. And this game would benefit the Islanders New York Islanders , the team that time has not only forgotten, but the franchise that is running out of time.”

Excuse me, the most important market? What is that based on? What criteria other then the location of the games most vocal critic determines “the most important market?” What about Detroit, Chicago, Boston or Minnesota?

“The NHL has an opportunity here. It can sell out and chase ephemeral glory in Pasadena or Las Vegas or some other exotic location. Or it can celebrate New York while coming to the aid of one of its historically greatest franchises. Seems like it should be a relatively simple call.”

Here is the funny part. I have no objection with the game going to New York. I think the Rangers hosting a game would be fantastic. I do think though that these criteria as defined by the Ego are nuts. I wouldn’t have the Rangers play the Isles, I would sooner do the Capitals (I mean the best player in the league is on that team, why not display the best you have to offer?) then the Isles. The league is going to play an exhibition game in Kansas City to come to the aid of the Isles (and of course the LA Kings who manage the building in KC right!!?? That will certainly force the good folks of Nassau to build the Isles a new building so that sir Charles can hand out some more 15 year contracts. Oh wait, isn’t the Isles trainer about ready to take over as the next GM??? I am sorry Isles fan, our leafs have a longer drought then you do, I used to be a huge isles fan (I still have a Mike Bossy poster around somewhere)….but Brook’s arguments are nothing but self serving.

I mean wouldn’t this be the type of news the league would dream of if the big game where in New York?:

“You know, we feel very strongly that the situation in Phoenix and Tampa Bay -and affecting other cash-poor franchises – could be avoided if only the NHL had a salary cap.”

Again, to put the game in New York is fine. To do so for the reasons Brooks states would be as ludicrous as the personal agenda items veiled as stories in Brook’s articles.

You can read the ego here

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Kaberle, Modano, Hull, Avery, Rentals, Caps & Raps… Oh My

I love this quote from Bruce Arthur. Can’t you just picture the scene in the Leafs locker-room, all the regular’s are gathered around Kaberle’s locker, they ask him about his NTC:

“”We haven’t spoke about anything, and obviously my status stays the same,” Kaberle said with an air of finality. “We can talk about tonight’s game if you guys want to.”

After a pause, one sharp reporter said, “Not really.”

That is right out of a SNL skit… whom do you think the “sharp reporter” 10:1 Howie 5:1 Jonas

Oh to be on the Dallas Stars next flight with Modano and Brett Hull… Let’s see, sitting in 11 a is Mike Modano, here is your boarding pass and in 11 C is Brett Hull, here you go…

“”I think we would have analyzed (the signing) a little bit more over the summer before you go into the free-agent market. Do a little more homework and detailed analysis (and get the opinions) of players who have played with him, or how guys feel about it,” said Wednesday the 19-year veteran.
“It could have been avoided, I think, but I think (co-GM) Brett (Hull) felt having him as a teammate (while with the Detroit Red Wings), he saw something in him. “Talent-wise, he’s a very skilled kid. But I think character-wise and his personality didn’t blend with the criteria that we’ve always had as Dallas Stars. Since Bob Gainey was here, we implemented a kind of personality and character-figure in Tom Hicks. That’s kind of where it went off and tail-spinned, and got corrected.”

One word…. Ouch…Gotta love when a guy like Modano suggests that maybe, just maybe it would be a good idea to do some , ummmm, what’s the word for it, oh yeah HOMEWORK before signing a player…. The fact that he references Bob Gainey is even more classic.

Good job of accumulating a list of rental players from Kevin Allen in his USA Today hockey blog:
Jay Bouwmeester (Florida)
Keith Tkachuk (St. Louis Blues)
Mathieu Schneider (Atlanta)
Andy McDonald (St. Louis)
Nik Antropov (Toronto)
Doug Weight (New York Islanders)
Bill Guerin (New York Islanders)
Gaborik (Minnesota)
Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo)
Sean O’Donnell (Los Angeles)

Another great quote: “Citing declining sales, the CBC has pulled out as a carrier of Toronto Blue Jays telecasts.” William Houston, Globe and Mail. There is no surprise that the CBC balked at a rate of $150k per game to broadcast the Jays games. “Beeston said 145 of the Jays’ 162 games will be televised, 125 on Sportsnet, which is owned by Jays proprietor Rogers Communications, and 20 on TSN.” By the way, did anyone else here this gem from Mr. Beeston while on with Pad Thai (Watters) and Brady ” I am almost finished writing up the job description for Blue Jays President.” Please, someone tell me just how long that should take and what Mr. Beeston (whom I am a huge fan of) has been doing since he took the job???? I guess with the rate of signings and trades he realizes there is no rush to do…..ummmmmm, anything

A subject that drives Howard Berger nuts seems to have been resolved in the media’s favor in Montreal:

“Growing weary of widespread rumours and gossip surrounding injured players, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau on Wednesday said anyone sidelined indefinitely will now have the nature of their injuries released to the media. No longer will the team report such players have upper- or lower-body injuries.Carbonneau said the decision was reached following a meeting between himself, general manager Bob Gainey, vice-president (hockey operations) Julien BriseBois and the team’s communications department.”

I have heard the arguments from both sides. The anti-reveal argument is if you reveal a player’s injury the opposing teams will attack that injury every chance they can. The pro-reveal argument is simply, we have a job to do and you shouldn’t hide information from us. If the former is true then the injuries shouldn’t be revealed, the hell with the latter.

Tonight’s shows on both stations were the worst I have heard since I have been pre-viewing/reviewing the drive home radio shows on both the Fan and 640, The interview with Steve Nash was pretty dull and almost unlistenable seeing how Nash sounded like he was in an aquarium for it. Kudos to Mccown and Kelley for interviewing an athlete (they rarely do) and for admitting that they taped it earlier (not that it would have made a difference to any of us listening), which they also rarely do. Those who preceded Nash and followed were equally as uninteresting. Over on 640 the lineup with the exception of Dean Lombardi was really dull. Perhaps it was the cold weather, but it seemed to be a night when both stations should have punted. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

You know the old saying about a sucker being born every second…
“Sources say the team is expected to be sold within the next two months with current owner Jerry Moyes retaining as much as 20 percent.” That according to Darren Dreger, speaking on the issue of the Phoenix Coyotes. With all the issues facing this team, most importantly a 30 year lease with brutal terms (no parking revenue for the team AND a share of each ticket sold being shared with the city) it’s hard to phathom who would buy the team. That is not to suggest that the team isn’t valuable. Truth is many would leaf fans would gladly change rosters wth the Yotes in a heartbeat… Why someone would buy this team is beyond me…especially right now…

Hats off to Jay Triano for finding Andrea Bargnani’s game. Man, anyone else see him put up 31 tonight in another loosing effort?? Quite an impressive showing for the Big Euro.

If you are a hockey fan, you had to watch, with a smile on your face the play as the Caps defeated the Pens 6-3 tonight. Way to go AO and my adopted 2nd team the Washington Capitals!

Have a good night all

One For The Files From Simmons

I am in grumpy mood today for some reason…. First these two idiots who work in my building insisted on pushing the elevator up button after seeing it was full and then laughed there way on it. These two “lovely” (think Owen’s mama in Throw Momma From the Train) had 2 giant starbucks drinks in their paws. Know this, the Starbuck’s closest to my office is usually slower then Brad Marsh on a break out. So if these two had time to wait at starbucks they clearly could have waited for the next F@!#$!@ elevator! Then, to top it off, I am getting inundated with freind requests on facebook from people I have no clue who they are. This is on my personal account, and face it I am just not popular enough to garner any attention. If you want to be my friend for some reason…tell me why or at the very least who the F#@$#@ you are!

Ok…. So, little TSM get’s the Sun delivered every am to follow up on the Logos in the sports section. The sun does a great job at showing team logo’s for results and he likes that… So I get an early glimpse at that one daily before the others. Not sure if you caught this gem from Simmons on why he thinks Burke’s job is going to be especially challenging (I wonder if he will remember that when he carves him):

“Another truth: If you actually study how bad teams become good teams in the NHL, you quickly realize how few draft picks actually make a difference. The Flyers have only one player on their team from their past five drafts. The Capitals have four, but three are stars in Ovechkin, defenceman Mike Green and centre Nicklas Backstrom. The Bruins use only one first-round starter from the past six drafts.”

Fascinating. So the Leafs are screwed because they don’t have the picks, (which few stellar teams apparently use anyway) and because they don’t have the building blocks. The one team not mentioned in any of Simmons’s theories is of course Detroit. Why would he mention them anyway? What have they done?

Coming up later today, the worst article written in 2009….

Silence On A Snowy Night In Toronto

Man, I thought it was quiet over the holidays, there is nothing but crickets tonight. Everyone must be gassing up their snow-blowers (look out mr. Sakic). It is dead tonight. Not one interesting thing in one paper, in one media outlet anywhere(it is 12:20 am right now)

So here are some random thoughts:

Leafs were lousy last night vs. the Panthers. I have no problem with the losing. This is the first time in a long time where they didn’t even bother to show up. I sense another long skate in practice coming up.

To boo or not to boo. I am pretty tired of this argument. With very little exception every player who returns to their old team should expect to get razzed a little. Is it right? Who knows. It sports. As Seinfeld said, we don’t root for a player we root for a jersey. When the player changes teams he who we used to cheer for we now boo. McCabe made a lot of dough here, and really made his career here. Others have been treated way worse.

One of the reasons he was a thorn in the public’s side is that he just wasn’t that bright. He would have done much better with a no -comment, ummmm whenever he was asked a question. For him to call out Leaf Fans who may boo Sundin is just another example of the lack of brains in his melon. To say it’s ok to me just not Mats is just dumb. Who do you think you are? You don’t need to take one for him anymore. Fans are going to do what they want to do, so mind your own business. I give him credit for this, he said that he waived his NTC clause because he didn’t want to hijack the team. He is the only player who last year said, if there is a deal there to be made bring it to me. The reality is no one wanted him.

Is it just me, or is anyone else out there really hoping the Buds honor not only Team Canada but also Pat Quinn. I know there is no Saturday home game for a bit. I hope, the next chance they get they really whoop it up for old Pat.

I loved the Winter Classic. The all star games excites me about as much as going to the dentist. Really, if you are doing one, why the other? I know, it’s a big sponsor event for the league… The debate about who should be on the team or not is about as interesting as the never ending debate about fighting in hockey. Someone a hell of a lot smarter then me (and that is a BIG group) has to be able to come up with a better format then the current all star bore.

The fact that the NHL Poster boy isn’t Alexander Ovechkin is just a crock. There is no better player in the game right now then AO. The race isn’t close. As good as some of the other younger guys are, AO is the man. I find it hard to watch non-leaf games, but I do to try to keep an eye on the younger talent and other on-goings in the game (sorry Howie). I really try to watch as many Caps games as I can to catch a glimpse of AO on the ice.

Anyone else been listening to Roscoe Toth on the fan this week? He is miffed at all the attention the WJC’s get. He goes to a ton of junior games all season long (good for him) and feels that the folks who rave about junior hockey for these 2 weeks aren’t real junior hockey fans. Guess what? He is right. Compare if you will the NCAA basketball tournament. Those of you reading this from work, turn left, now turn right, how many people around you enter some sort of NCAA basketball tourney pool? Of those, how many are die hard fans all season long??? Fans get caught up in the hype, and we Canadians have such an inferiority complex that we will really pay attention in those areas where we may actually excel. I think it’s great Roscoe goes to a couple of junior games a week. If the local GTA area teams want to drum up support, look at this little gem. My son is in 3 different hockey programs right now. We get all kinds of stuff in the mail as a result. We have never, ever seen or heard a thing from any of the teams in our area. If those teams want to increase their fan base there is a huge hockey market they don’t tap into right in front of them.

Former Detroit Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli had his son in-law on his coaching staff for the past 0-16 campaign. After a loss on Dec 21, Rob Parker an eight year vet with the Detroit News, asked Marinelli in the post game press conference if Marinelli “wished his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator?” As a result of that question, Parker was demoted from from columnist to general assignment reporter. Parker, as a result of that demotion resigned. I, as you may recall lived in the burbs of Detroit for several years. Mrs. TSM was born and raised there and both little TSM’s were born there as well. I have never been a Parker fan (surprised? I love sooooo many columnists…)I will say this, Parker has written and said a hell of a lot worse things then this. To lose his job, in this economy, in that market for this comment is so thin skinned it is hard to believe. Parker has said that he will remain in Detroit. That whittles his writing options down to 1 (the Free Press is owned by the same company as the News), The Oakland Press at least as far as local papers go. He does do some work on ESPN. Here is hoping that he finds work really soon….

Since I started this blog I have had the good fortune to chat with some folks who cover the NHL. I asked one today to assess for those of us up here the seasons of Mr. Tucker and Mr. Raycroft in Colorado thus far. His response:

“Tucker has looked slow and taken lots of bad penalties. Raycroft is
6-1, maybe the most deceptive won-lost record of all time so far, but
wins are wins.”

Hope you all have an easy commute tomorrow. Sounds like the roads in the GTA are going to be hell

Leafs Injury Update

TSN is reporting that…

Matt Stajan will be out at least a week with an eye injury, he will be seen by doctors on Monday. He was hit by a soccer ball while warming up.

Winger Jamal Mayers will play Sunday against the Capitals. 

Defenceman Luke Schenn is still at least 10 days away from returning to the lineup.

LT

Feel Good Stories In The NHL

We are surrounded by bad news. Don’t dare watch the nightly news these days without a handful of Tums. From coast to coast, north to south, and east to west there just isn’t too much to smile about out there. This appears to be especially true in the world of sports. Players entering rehab, shooting themselves, making lewd comments about ex-girlfriends etc. are easy front news stories. History will remember this time if for nothing else as the train wreck generation. We love bad news about someone else. A crash on the highway stops traffic the other direction so people can stop and take a real good look. Enough, you get the point.

2 stories recently involving NHL clubs caught my eye and in the spirit of the holidays i thought it was a good time to share with those out there not familiar.

The obvious one involves the Chicago Blackhawks. The team was in town to play the Buds and were supposed to fly back to Chicago the next morning. However, the team’s general manger Dale Tallon was heading to northern Ontario to attend the wake for his father who had just died. The players, acting on their own accord altered the plans to return to Chicago. Instead they were able to arrange for a practice in Toronto the next morning and pay out of their own pockets for 2 buses to drive them north to attend the wake.

“I thought to myself, ‘What is this? Am I back in Chicago?’ ” Tallon said. “They started coming in and, wow. My mother, she gets the hockey package and watches all the games, it was so great for her. She was having such a hard time with it, we all were, but to see that, it was so heartwarming and it really took the edge off everything. That was the buzz the rest of the night. My dad was a hockey player and there were pictures of him when he was a young player, so the guys were looking at all the pictures and stuff. It was really cool.
It makes you feel good about the character of our team and the homework we’ve done as a staff in drafting and getting these players. They’re genuinely good kids. It makes you feel good about our young population, to make the decision they did.”

The story doesn’t end there. Not sure how many of you have been up to Gravenhurst, where the wake was, but at 9pm on a Sunday night there just isn’t a whole of choice when it comes to dining options. The players headed for the golden arches and the coaches to Harvey’s.

“There weren’t a lot of people in the restaurant and the players said they barely were recognized as they ordered. “I’d say there were about 10 people there, maybe,” Sharp said. “I don’t know if they were surprised and knew we were an NHL team, or if they were just surprised a bus load of guys came in in their suits.” What did happen was the players acted like kids when they saw a display of hockey cards that McDonald’s was giving with the purchase of meals.”It was cool when you walked in, there were all these hockey cards on the wall because it was a giveaway and if you bought a Happy Meal you got a set of cards,” Sharp said. “So right away everyone was looking to see if they were in this set of cards. But it was just Kane and (Jonathan) Toews and maybe (Nikolai) Khabibulin. I think it was just the three of them.” The players filled the restaurant, eating their burgers and fries as people in the store finally began to sense this was the Chicago Blackhawks eating in their little town. “It was pretty funny because most guys don’t eat McDonald’s,” Bolland said. “The last time I had McDonald’s was, I think, last summer.””Not to sound like I’m a health nut or anything, but I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s in years,” Sharp said. “It was funny to see guys like Dunc (Keith) and Ben Eager, guys that really, really take care of themselves and watch what they eat, sitting there eating chicken nuggets and Big Macs.”

Try to imagine the scene of that Mcdonald’s on that Sunday night in cottage country. It’s 9pm and there are 10 people in the restaurant. Suddenly 2 greyhound buses unload and a ton of guys in suits enter the um, restaurant and end up ordering happy meals so they can get the hockey cards! Grown men, making serious coin, buying happy meals so they can play with hockey cards. This is what the game should be. It is nice to hear that beneath it all, the business can step aside if only for a day and the guys can be the decent people we always hear about and then be kids at heart loving the game they play as much as we who watch it do.

You can read more from the story here

The second story happened in Washington DC. Imagine you are 26 years old, working for an NHL club when you are sitting in your cubicle, doing your job producing the team’s website when the GM appears at your desk to tell you that you need to get suited up for the game that night. Now I am sure many of us out there have had a similar dream (save for the web producer part). I am sure we have all at one point in our lives envisioned the GM of our team asking us (why us?) to suit up for the big game. Well, Brett Leonhardt lived the dream for all of us. The pride of Waterloo Ontario has been fortunate enough to play goal the for the caps when needed in practice. However, with Jose Theodore out with an injury and the third-string goalie Simeon Varlamov stuck in air transit McPhee was stuck. What else is a GM to do but walk down the hall and tap the 6’7 web producer on the shoulder?

“Before the game, (the players) were telling me, ‘Be yourself. You’ve been doing this your whole life. They made me feel really comfortable. In the warmup, I didn’t want them to not shoot their hardest because it was me. I tried to challenge them and help them get them ready for the game. (The players) were awesome. They couldn’t have been better. I’ve practiced a couple times with the team, so the guys were familiar with me, and I travel with the team because I do the Web site. The guys were cheering and high-fiving me.”

Brett got to sit on the bench in full equipment, jersey on for about 30 minutes of real time, just over 10 minutes of the first period when Varlamov showed up. What did the 26 year old do when he got relieved? Showered, dressed and headed up to the press box to do his job!

Can you imagine a better holiday present then that. Here is hoping someone took lots of pictures and video for him to show his kids and grand kids. One that day, Brett Leonhardt was able to live the dream so many of us lived. Quite a lesson for all of us this time of year to teach our kids. Keep dreaming, you never know who is going to come tap you on the shoulder at your cubicle to get ready for the big game.

TSM is trying to confirm whether he had to sign a contract and got paid for one day as an NHler. If not I am hoping that Glen Healy steps in and gets the kid his due!

Happy Monday to all…

Capitals and Alex back on track

So good to see Alexander Ovechkin lead the Caps back in to the weiner circle after a bad outing to open the season. AO had a pair of goals, much to the dismay of Grapes.

“Jose Theodore, was pulled in the second period of his Capitals debut after allowing four goals Friday night in a 7-4 loss at Atlanta. And the 2002 league MVP got off to a terrible start against Chicago, too, allowing a goal between his legs on the first shot he faced, 26 seconds in.”

That is not good. I wonder how long the Caps will go with Jose, wonder if these two teams could hook up in a deal for Khabibulin…. Let the tongues start to wag.