Archive for July, 2008

This is the 35th in our summer series in which we are pulling hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

Today we decided to turn to Victory Euro Mats to draw our card from the PBS Dispenser.

He was hesitant to get involved at all, but we reminded him that August 1 is his namesake’s “soft deadline” for picking his new team, and this might be a good way to help the process along. Victory Euro Mats thought that was a great idea, and agreed that whichever card he picked would be the team that real-life Mats would sign with.

There were a lot of teams to choose from:

Victory Euro Mats spent some time swimming in the offers coming from all across the league, and just when we were about to completely lose all interest and give up hope of ever gaining some closure here, he finally drew a card. And frankly, our questions remain just as unanswered as they were before we started. You see, he drew a Dustin Penner card. A Dustin Penner Ducks card.

So which is it, Mats? Ducks? Or Oilers? Wait, you know what? We don’t care.


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This is the 34th in our summer series in which we are pulling hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

If there is one thing this PBS series is teaching us, it’s that hockey card writers are a sly bunch. Case in point, this card:

From the front, it looks like a basic card celebrating the accomplishments of one J.S. Giguere. From the back, however:

Yes, that does say, “When he’s on”… We’re pretty confident the genius behind this passive aggressive gem was hoping he had enough card space to write, “When he’s on, Giguere is highly capable of stopping pucks with his enormously outsized padding. When he’s off, he ducks.”

And yes, we did just resort to making fun of Jiggy for ducking. But you know what? It’s 11 o’clock on a worknight, it’s July 30th and hockey is still 40+ days away, we’re drunk off the awesomeness that is the first BLT of the summer, and Giguere stole Marty’s 2003 Conn Smythe.

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This is the 33rd in our summer series in which we’re pulling hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

When the Devils and Flames met this past season, Chico Resch went on one of his trademarked rambling asides about the exotic pets Robyn Regehr had as a youngster, growing up, as he did, in exotic locales with his missionary parents. There was something about a monkey, but Chico was significantly more taken with the notion that Regehr had a pet tiger. It was touch-and-go for a while during the broadcast, as it seemed we were going to lose Chico to the romantic notion of having a pet tiger. And in a summertime exclusive, IPB and the PBS series has an exclusive look at other hockey players whose pets blow Chico’s mind.

Niklas Lidstrom: Harp Seal As a wee bairn in Sweden, Nick Lidstrom cherished his favorite seal, Humperdink. Everywhere he went, he insisted Humperdink be allowed to go with him, except for the one place Humperdink most wanted to follow — on the ice. Sadly, Humperdink was bitten by a rabid bat during a summer visit to the Lidstrom family fishing cabin, and in his ensuing madness, attacked young Nicky. This is why Lidstrom excels on the ice as an adult — he’s psychologically so much more stable in the one place where Humperdink could never get at him.

Joe Thornton: Heirloom Chickens Thornton can’t get enough of his beloved Welsummer chickens, Jojo and Coco. Their distinctive terra cotta brown eggs are gifts his teammates are perhaps a little tired of finding in their dressing stalls. Jumbo Joe loves the saving money by not buying eggs at the store, and to repay Jojo and Coco for their generousness, he allows them to roam free in his house, rather than living in a coop. The damage they might do to the superstar’s house is outweighed by Joe’s own fear of being cooped in himself.

Ray Emery: Common Housecat Chico, like everyone else, has had his head turned by tales of Emery’s douchey pet python (or whatever it is), but will be bowled over when he discovers that Emery does not, in fact, actually own that snake. He only rents it. In real life, his pet is much less toolish: a regular old orange tabby alley cat, adopted from an Ottawa-area PetSmart.

Martin Erat: Angora Rabbit Erat’s hometown of Trebic is well-known as the Angora Capital of the Czech Republic thanks to the efforts of Father Zdeno, the 12th Century monk who imported 500 angora rabbits to the area. The wild rabbits overrun the city and its surrounds, but are treated as sacred and thus not hunted or disturbed in any way. As a way of remembering his homeland while playing in the United States, the city fathers presented Erat with a matching pair upon his being drafted in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Erat accepted the gift so as not to appear rude, but after getting the obscenely soft pets home, quickly became a rabbit enthusiast.

Philippe Boucher: Red Fox “Sweets to the sweets,” said the pet store attendant to Philippe Boucher when he dropped in one lonely day at the mall, “Have a fox.”

Sid Crosby: Origami Frog Because of constant demands on his time from a young age, Crosby was never allowed to get a proper pet. He found an origami frog in a wastepaper basket in a hockey rink after a junior junior figure skating tournament. For years he was hesitant to name the frog, fearful of it being taken away from him after he formed a lasting bond with it. It wasn’t until his 12th birthday that he bestowed the name Braydon Clawforth on the paper animal. Clawforth lives in a terrarium in Crosby’s room, and is fed exactly 87 pellets of imaginary frog food a week.

Zigmund Palffy: Luminescent Jellyfish Remember that dude in the metallic pom-pom-esque, multicolored wig who used to come to Devils-Islanders games at CAA in a Palffy sweater? Ziggy liked him so much that he got a pet to match the wig.

Travis Zajac: Julio the Rock Shrimp It needs no explanation.

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This is the 32nd in our summer series in which we’re pulling hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

In today’s comment thread on the post with our latest podcast, there was some discussion of our disparaging tone about Fedor Fedorov. Caitlin suggested that we should create a cocktail in his honor, to make it more palatable in the unlikely event that he ends up being a frequent topic of conversation in this coming season. As if on cue, Pookie discovered a cocktail recipe on one of our very favorite foodie blogs; she suggested we make this cocktail ASAP, and maybe dedicate it to Fedorov. The recipe, for the “American Flyer”, calls for champagne, which we don’t have on hand, but we do have Prosecco, a substitution that made us think maybe we could claim the drink for ourselves. Claim it, and dub it the Flyin’ Fedorov’s Flyin’ Fedor. Perfect!

Flyin\' Fedorov\'s Flyin\' Fedor, times three

Flyin' Fedorov's Flyin' Fedor, times three

And whaddaya know? The PBS Dispenser tonight gave us an extremely rare card from the almost unheard-of “O-Pook-Chee” line, totally coincidentally for Fedor Fedorov himself! We love it when things work out like that.

Fedor Fedorov

Hott Prospect: Fedor Fedorov

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IPB Hour: Episode 8

It’s a gray and dreary day here at stately IPB Manor. The rainy skies, combined with yesterday’s Autumn-in-July harvest of early-ripening pumpkins, has us thinking hockey hockey hockey.

What a perfect time for a podcast! Listen as we go stir-crazy, listen as ominous thunder punctuates our prognostications for the new season, listen as we watch a deer in our backyard. Yes, you heard us! Listen to us watch a deer! We dare you to find hockey commentary like that elsewhere!

You can download this episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

IPB Hour Episode Eight; 23 min.

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Remember how yesterday we waxed poetic about those days when a blog post idea just finds us, instead of us having to labor excessively to produce something half-assed? Well guess what, Gentle Reader! It happened again today! We were finishing up dinner and something marvelous happened: we either stumbled across some old pictures on one of our laptops from our trip to training camp last year, or we had the TV on and it was set to TCM while they were showing the James Cagney movie G-Men. One of those things. We’re not saying which one. At any rate, we realized we simply had to share these photos of the Devils in their full training-camp splendor, to help brighten these brutally hockeyless dog days of summer.

The first thing we saw at training camp that day lo so many months ago was the boys doing some loosely-organized stretching. Here’s Paulie Martin, notorious non-stretcher, in the background leaning against that column, doing his best to limber up his hamstrings while the coaching staff mills about in the foreground.

That Paulie! He’s such a hard worker!

Meanwhile, Zach and Travis were at the other side of the training facility, Zach in his black woolen turtleneck and Travis in gray sweats. While Captain Fuck This Shit wandered between them, conducting their stretches, Travis worked his stretchy rope things attached to the wall, and Zach defiantly held his indian clubs at his side.

“Can’t make me do indian club stretching!” he snotted, but one stern look from Langer made Zach fall into line.

The Devils have the finest indian club facilities in the NHL, it should be noted. No one else works the indian clubs with the kind of focus and dedication that the Devils training staff has, and that’s why you see so few indian-club related injuries on the Devils in comparison to other teams. Also that’s why you see the Devils so far surpassing all other teams in the areas of hockey that require the skills needed to wave bowling pins around one’s head.

Once most of the stretching was done, Coach Robinson did a little mano-a-mano work with Johnny Oduya to practice the best way to respond when you’ve dropped your stick in the middle of intense pressure in your own defensive zone. Because Whitey is a seasoned vet, he already knows to roll around on the floor in a panic, so he was able to opt out of the drill. You can see him in the background, staying warm with the jumprope.

Whitey was looking every which kind of hot in his short shorts and midriff-baring top, especially when Coach Sutter strutted through in his tight gray sweatpants. Grrrowl!

That’s a lot of hott!

So while it was really awesome to get to see world-class athletes working out with state-of-the-art equipment, the real highlight of our trip to training camp was when the fighting practice started. Ever wonder why the Devils are such feared heavyweights? Because they are students of aesthetics; they value the art of fisticuffs, and the traditions. Behold:

The blows they land are not as important as the composition they strike. Function follows form when you’re a Devils goon. And look at the classroom environment! The boys drape themselves over the high-tech gym apparati like pommel horses and lightly-stuffed gym mats, and soak up every pearl of wisdom bestowed upon them by Coach Sutter. There’s a reason the Devils were a playoff team last season — the seeds of success were planted in the early days of the preseason.

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This is the 31st in our summer series in which we are drawing hockey cards at random from a box and then writing about them.

Being a hockey blogger is hard work, especially in the thick of the off-season. Even with a gimmick like Project Bicycle Spoke in place, it’s still not easy for us to come up with things to write every day. Some days are a real fight for us. But the difficult times are all worth it in exchange for the wonderful days, when a blog post finds its way to us on angel’s wings. Today is one of the good days.

You see, Gentle Reader, we have recently found a friend who is willing to serve as the no-kill shelter for hockey cards that have already been written about in Project Bicycle Spoke. Devils season ticketholder, card collector, and IPB Irregular Pam has given our discarded, unloved cards a safe, happy home, and she actually felt compelled to send us something in return (totally unnecessary, we might add — those cards were just piling up with the dust bunnies under our couch). Her thank you gift to us? Stepping in and serving as the Guest PBS Dispenser, by sending us scans of this amazing, autographed-in-person card:

Gentle Reader, we are speechless. In a good way. This is perhaps the single most magnificent thing we have ever seen. It is quite possible that this is a picture of an actual Muppet Baby version of Pando. Look at how his helmet is all askew! It’s trying to give us a peek of the numbers/letters he’s shaved incorrectly into his Muppet Baby hair! Look at how he was supposedly a “strong offensive contributor” for the Terriers! Look at how squirmy and uncomfortable he looks having his picture taken! He can’t wait to join the Devils and hate talking about himself during intermission interviews! This is like PandoNation’s archeological excavation of Troy — we look at this card and think to ourselves, “I have gazed on the face of Agamemnon.”

A million, zillion, gajillion IPBucks to Pam for this amazing discovery. We are humbled.

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