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Archive for June, 2008

This is the 16th in our summer series in which we are pulling hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

1. When he finally cut it off, he had his mullet woven into a heart-shaped throw pillow, which is now nestled amongst a collection of needlepoint pillows on a settee in the conservatory at Mario Lemieux’s house. Sidney Crosby is terrified of it, as he insists it hisses whenever he walks by.

2. He has never learned which chess pieces do what. When playing, he merely apes his opponent’s most recent move. This doesn’t stop him from wagering huge amounts on every chess game he plays.

3. He used to explain to friends that his favorite thing about playing in New York City was the giant, cigar-chomping rats. It took an embarrassingly long time for him to realize that was Glen Sather.

4. As the years have gone by, he has gotten fewer and fewer participants for his Greatest Most Jagriffic Amazing Floating Craps Game; at this point, Jagr is forced to hold the game as an annual event that coincides with the circus coming to MSG, as the elephants are the only ones who will still join in.

5. He has a deathly phobia of Samoans.

6. If any one NHLer’s life should be made into a ballet, his is not it.

7. If any one NHLer’s life should be made into a baseball game, his is it.

8. He is unable to resist shiny objects, and often has to be stopped by teammates from trying to clothe himself entirely in aluminum foil.

9. He frequents the Met Museum, always making a big show of paying four times the suggested entrance fee. He doesn’t, however, ever return his button for recycling.

10. He can’t swim.

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This is the 15th in our summer series where we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

You know you’re in a bad place as an NHLer when this is the exchange that follows drawing your card out of the PBS dispenser:

Pookie: It’s Bill Guerin.

[Pause]

Pookie: As an Islander.

[Pause]

Pookie: Like how I have to specify which team he’s on for this one?

To be fair, the back of the card says this:

Playing for his fourth team in the last three seasons, Guerin appears to have found himself a home on the Isle, with a point-per-game start to the 2007-08 season.

To which Schnookie had to say, “But what about the end of the season?”

We checked, and it turns out he scored goals in six of his first ten games (during which he was also minus), then failed to score in the next 13 (during which he was even more minus). That’s funny — the card didn’t mention that. The card also doesn’t mention that Schnookie beat him up at the recent Draft.

Our picture of this card is fairly crappy because we’re too lazy to scan it and too lazy to try to get the camera to focus. Because we’re doing things the Butthead way. We were very impressionable young fans back when he hit 29 goals with a goodly number of games left in the season, then proclaimed, “If I don’t get 30, I’m stupid.” We all know how that turned out (if you don’t, you can guess). And so, doing things the Butthead way, we’ll say that if we can’t finish this post, we’re

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This is the 14th in our summer series where we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

There is a scant handful of Maple Leafs that we can stomach — namely, that Stajan guy and that Newberry guy, because we once misheard the play-by-play on CBC and thought they were talking about a player named Blueberry Stajan. Who wouldn’t cheer for Blueberry Stajan? Anyway, Alex Steen is borderline likable to us, but for the same hockey-centric sort of reason we like Blueberry. You see, Gentle Reader, there was a marvelous interview with Travis this past season that went a bit like this:

Interviewer: You grew up in Winnipeg, a fan of the Jets.

Travis: Yeah.

Interviewer: Are you excited tonight to be playing the Leafs, so you can talk to Alex Steen and tell him how much of a fan of his father’s you were when you were growing up?

Travis: [Thinking] The fuck? [Aloud] I played youth hockey with Alex. I used to talk to him all the time when we were growing up.

Interviewer: But have you talked to him recently?

Travis: Uhhh… no. No I haven’t.

Interviewer: So you must be really excited to be playing the Leafs tonight, so you can tell Alex how much his dad meant to you.

Travis: Look, I’m not a very smart guy, but I’m starting to think I’m not as dumb as you are…

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This is the 13th in our summer series where we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

Like every NHL fan these days, we have recently found ourselves discussing which free agents we’re hoping our team will acquire. A few days ago, we had this terrible exchange:

Pookie: It’s a bleak scene out there. Of course, it’s a pretty bleak scene in the Devils dressing room. I’m going to try and let go and let Devils. It’s not like I love the current incarnation so much I don’t want the “chemistry” (HA!) messed with. As long as Marty, Paulie and Zach are still there, I’m cool with it.

Schnookie: It’s so weird that we finally had a team devoid of malcontents, and they SUCKED.

Schnookie: Oh crap. I forgot about the obvious signing. Crap crap crap crap crap. HOLIK. There’s NO WAY we get him, right? We have too many defensive centers. And we have one with size in Zubrus. Tell me we’re not getting him. We don’t have anywhere to go with Brylin! Where would we put Holik? We have size in Travis, too! PLEASE tell me we’re not getting him. I’ll take ANY other FA. I’ll take DARCY TUCKER.

Pookie: It’s a bleak scene out there.

So there you go: in the grand game of UFA-signing “Death Is Not An Option”, Darcy Tucker beats Bobby Holik. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Now that we’ve drawn Tucker from our PBS dispenser (and really, is this a sign?), maybe it’s time to consider some other “Death Is Not An Option” UFA pairings. (And it should be noted that we’re getting these free agent names from this site; if any of these guys aren’t available, don’t blame us.)

Darius Kasparaitis v. Richard Matvichuk Okay, neither of these guys are actually NHLers anymore, and honestly, we don’t have any idea where Kasparaitis even is these days. But during last year’s training camp we saw, with our own eyes, Matvichuk turn to a fellow Devils d-man and say, of a simple drill he was failing to master, “Does this seem ass-backwards to you?” No, Matvichuk, we’re afraid you’re the only one who thought playing defense was ass-backwards. Which is why we called you “Matvisuck”. Yeah, we’re 12. What of it? On the flip side, Kasparaitis was, in his heyday, a dirty player with some serious off-ice issues. Because death isn’t an option — and only because death isn’t an option — we’re going with Matvichuk. He didn’t complain when Lou buried him on the IR two years ago, and didn’t complain when he spent last season drawing his paycheck in Lowell. But only because death isn’t an option.

Wade Brookbank v. Miroslav Satan This is a battle of Devils powers — the Power of the Less Talented Brother (in this case, the rare and exotic less talented older brother) pitted against the Power of “Wouldn’t Be Funny If Satan Was A Devil”? Since we, and we can only assume Lou as well, have never thought it would be funny if Satan was a Devil and are frankly well sick of hearing that old trope, we’re going to give Brookbank the edge here. We’re a little concerned that there could be anyone less talented than Sheldon Brookbank let alone his own brother, but as we said, death is not an option.

Wade Brookbank v. Geoff Sanderson This is a battle of extreme Devils powers — the Power of the Less Talented Brother pitted against the Power of the Less Talented Cousin. In one corner we’ve got the aforementioned older, less talented brother, and in the other corner we’ve got Sanderson, who is, according to wikipedia (which is never wrong), the Brookbank cousin. He isn’t, though, less talented. In fact, he’s considerably more talented, a fact that should disqualify him from this contest. However, he’s totally washed-up. It’s a tough call, but turning to an existing brother/cousin dynamic in the Devils system (Mike and Mark Pandolfo), we’ll go with Wade here. Because seriously, Mike is a billion times better than Mark, right?

Brendan Shanahan v. Gary Roberts v. Chris Chelios Lou is very uncomfortable with players older than he is, so we’re not too worried about any of these guys.

Brad Isbister v. Raitis Ivanans This is a dream match-up for anyone who’s ever played the “I’m going on a picnic” game using NHLers names (and we know you all have). It’s so hard to choose just one “I” name. Surely Lou’s got cap space for both these guys, right? And room in the press box for them when it’s time to actually play hockey?

Todd Fedoruk v. Jesse Boulerice Hey, we just chose two “I” guys, surely we get a pass on this one! No? Well, then, we choose death. It’s a bleak scene out there.

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This is the 12th in our summer series where we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

Beginning five years ago, IPB had a dream. A dream that involved the Devils trading for Marco Sturm. You see, Gentle Reader, we had a power over Sharks forwards, a power to draw them to the Devils if we just wished for them hard enough. For years and years we’d been targeting Jeff Friesen, and in the summer of 2002, the sheer force of our psychic energies made it happen. Sure, he was coming from the Ducks, but dude. We’d been yearning for him when he was a Shark. And in the end, look how it turned out! Flush with success, we shifted our focus to Marco Sturm. Speedy, defensively awesome, pleasant-looking, durable, German… what’s not to love? Well, today’s draw from the PBS dispenser is throwing into sharp relief what the Devils still lack:

Where did things go wrong for us?

The Bruins acquired Sturm, Brad Stuart, and Wayne Primeau for Joe Thornton. Dude, Sharks, we totally wouldn’t have made you package those other guys just to get us to take Sturm off your hands. We would have happily given you the playmaking center you were looking for, but the one we would have given you is an actual proven winner. Ahem. So yeah, in our alternate universe, we gave the Sharks Gomez and replaced Pando’s BFF with a newer, better BFF. Just imagine: a checking line featuring Pando, Madden, and Sturm. No one would ever score against us! Of course, our alternate universe still has a little bit of reality in it — because Sturm is a natural winger and Madden’s a natural center, we’d surely have both of them playing out of their element, just because that’s the Devils way. Sturm would center, Madden would take the left side, and Pando (glorious Pando) would stay on the right. And they’d finish every season in a three-way tie for the Selke. The Devils would deliberately take penalties just to get our run-and-gun PK on the ice. Top lines the league over would get the “Sturm Line Flu”. What a wonderful alternate universe this is. And meanwhile, the Sharks wouldn’t be able to blame their top center for playoff failures, because he’s already a two-time Stanley Cup champ, so they’d have to run Patty Marleau out of town much faster… We think he’d look great in red and black, come to think of it.

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This is the eleventh in our summer series where we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

Take One:

Ugh.

*Clank!*

This is the eleventh in our summer series where we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

Take Two:

That’s better.

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This is the tenth in our summer series where we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

When we moved into stately IPB Manor, we began drawing up some elaborate plans for how to best utilize the 1/2 acre of property that came with it. Naturally, our heads quickly filled with thoughts of starting up our own living history farm, with heirloom oxen, authentic smokehouses, and maize mazes. That didn’t seem quite unique enough to this area (throw a rock and you hit a living history farm) — we needed something with more pizazz, more razzle-dazzle. We needed a reproduction Angle-Saxon burial ground, like the one at Sutton Hoo (thus stately IPB Manor’s alter ego, Maple Hoo). Plans for the living history farm stalled when we surmised that suburban [Small Town, USA] wasn’t zoned for heirloom oxen. The hoo was put on hold when we discovered digging holes big enough for bare root treelings was hard enough; excavating enough ground to accommodate a longship was more than we’re looking to do just now. While we ponder these surefire schemes for turning stately IPB Manor into a moneymaking boon, we find ourselves always looking for other potential ventures. So when we drew tonight’s card, we couldn’t help but jump right into formulating plans for a new attraction:

A Soviet-style mausoleum filled with the embalmed bodies of deceased NHLers.

Surely that’s what Upper Deck had in mind when it superimposed Heatley’s picture over what is clearly the wall of a Soviet mausoleum. We’re pretty sure we can see the tips of Lenin’s shoes down in one corner. Being that both of us have experienced the thrills and chills Lenin’s Tomb, we can tell you there’s big demand for embalmed body viewing (in certain places, in certain eras). We understand there are several obstacles standing between us and this dream. For starters, we might have to nix the authentic 18th-century smokehouse to make room for it. Secondly, there aren’t any mausoleum material suppliers in our area. If you know of where we can get some Soviet-gray monument-grade marble wholesale, give us a ring at 1-800-DEAD-NHL. Thirdly, Dany Heatley is still very much alive. Given that he’s three years younger than the youngest of us, there’s a very good chance we might make these plans only to not have the chance to go through with it. Given how striking this card is, we think it might be a risk worth taking. In fact, we’re calling our lawyer now to have our respective wills altered to specify our estates be used for this venture in the very likely event that we predecease Mr. Heatley. The future generations at stately IPB Manor deserve it!

Post Script: For your continued reading pleasure, there is new content over at ModFan, as we’re presenting several days of “Better Know A UFA” in anticipation of the hockey holiday known as “July 1st”. The first installment takes a look at Mike Commodore and Brian Campbell.

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