Archive for the ‘SPECTRE Saturday’ Category

Another All-Star Game has come and gone, and as much as the NHL would like us to believe that Ovie was the star of the show, and as much as Chara attempted to prove the league wrong, we believe the true winner of the weekend was Stinger. Katebits brought some fabulous pictures of him to our attention, and the Versus feed showed footage of him cheering rinkside at least five times. It got us thinking back to the lock-out, when (along with Morgan, Boomer, and our friend Paul) we wrote a fake season to make up for the one we lost. One of Schnookie’s assigned match-ups included the Blue Jackets, and halfway through a hockeyless year, it was tough to find inspiration; she turned to the first logical place — the mascot’s bio on the Blue Jacket’s website. The following is the content from the bio (circa 2005) along with Schnookie’s commentary (in italics). It’s as timely now as it was then. (Also, the only updating done to the bio for 2009 is that “Marc Denis” is replaced with “Pascal Leclaire”. We’re pretty sure Mason checks it out before every game, waiting to see his name in the bright lights of Stinger’s bio.)

Player Stats

Name: Stinger

Position: Mascot

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’9″ (from the bottom of his feet to the tip of his antennae)

Weight: Don’t ask

Birthdate: 7/4/1999 [My God. I feel so old.]

Hometown: Columbus, OH


Foods: Shark Flambe, Thunderburg Soup [Who doesn’t love Thunderburg soup? Now, Thunderbug soup, on the other hand, is much more of an acquired taste.], Predator Purée and Broiled Duck

Drink: Bug Juice

Book: Any books from the “Brady Brady” series by Mary Shaw

Movie: “A Bug’s Life”

Car: Blue Jackets FANBONI [Henceforth my Prius shall be known as a FANBONI. That is not a word that gets enough everyday use.]

Hobbies: Buzzing around the interNET, Brushing his teeth [This almost doesn’t warrant a comment. I just wanted to make sure you noticed Stinger’s hobby is BRUSHING HIS TEETH. Do kids actually fall for this?], Reading [Which is not as favorite a hobby as brushing his teeth…] and Visiting boys and girls at schools and hospitals.

Player: Marc Denis (#30) — because he’s as quick as a bee and plays like a butterfly [and he’s the only Blue Jacket anyone has ever heard of]! It doesn’t hurt that Stinger was showcased on Marc’s helmet for the first three seasons. [Maybe Marc Denis could fill up some of that spare time he’s so notorious for by brushing his teeth more often.]

Career Notes

If Big Bird and Bart Simpson collided in the rink, the resulting character might just be Stinger. [O-kaaaaay…] Kids will love his hug-ability. [Shouldn’t that read: “BUG-ability?”] Adults will take to his irrepressible irreverence. Stinger has something for everyone!

While Stinger is definitely mischievous, we can’t lose sight that his antics are always focused on the opponent’s mascot. [Harvey the Hound, I’m looking at you. And Thunderbutt. But good old T.B.’s antics tend to be inwardly focused, bordering on scary self-hate…] While he certainly interacts in a fun, positive way with home team supporters, the other teams’ mascots and fans are always the recipients of his impish charm. [Is that what the kids are calling it these days?]

Just take a look at him. Slender and fast as can be, Stinger projects a fun and engaging image-almost a Jim Carey like quality. [Oh my God!! A Jim Carey sighting! Someone call the Capitals – I’m sure they’d love to have him back.] And what Stinger lacks in stature, he makes up for in attitude-and that attitude just screams “Rock Star.” [Uh huh. That’s exactly what I was thinking. I think it’s the brushing his teeth that gives him that edge.] He’s the center of attention wherever he goes!

He may taunt and tease the opponent, but he’s a regular do-gooder when it comes to his hometown, whether he’s supporting Children’s Hospital or rallying behind youth hockey.

In his case, being a bug has its advantages. Through his antics, Stinger buzzes, flies and stings, just like his real-life counterparts. Fans will see him as friendly and michevious. [Sic. I’m hoping kids will be inspired by Stinger’s tooth-brushing ways and overlook his propensity not to spell-check documents he is posting on an NHL team’s official website. His mouth may be hygienic, but his professionalism is sorely lacking. Also, I’m really drawing a blank trying to think of a real-life bug I think of as “friendly” and “mischievous” that isn’t a lightning bug (already taken, her mate already served up in a soup in Stinger’s “Favorites” section) or a lady bug (kind of girly for a hockey team, even one based in Columbus).] Opponents will fear his “sting.”

And while Stinger is a tough guy, he’s also an underdog. [Umm… How? Is this an admission that he sucks, even by modern-day mascot standards?] This adds another aspect to his likable nature. It’s through his “tough but tender” persona that Stinger is sure to succeed in winning over fans.


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SPECTRE Saturday

By Schnookie, Week 7

November 26, 2004
Sharks 6
Stars 2

The Stars were optimistic they might actually get some offense out of Jason Arnott tonight, as he appeared healthy just before the start of the game. However, during the elaborate player introductions, he was incapacitated by what can only be described as a freak shark attack. The shark that did the attacking: the giant, red-eyed, steam-belching head the San Jose players skate out of in their home arena. The freakishness: the game was in Dallas. No one was quite sure how Arnott managed it, but the Stars trainer said resignedly, “If anyone can get bitten by a giant papier mache shark head while it’s hanging from the ceiling in another arena, it’s Arnie.” The Sharks got six goals from six different players, while the Stars got both of their goals from Mike Modano, who skated 50 minutes in the hopes that he might get some overtime pay. After the game, Modano finally admitted the cause of his financial difficulties (after a year of bizarre public disclosures that he is financially insolvent, and yes, he’d like to use that as his excuse for playing so poorly, but no, he won’t talk about it any more than that) – he invested all of his money into the Marty Turco’s Vezina Trophies Museum.

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SPECTRE Saturday

By Morgan, Week Five

November 16, 2004
Senators 0
Devils 15

This is the last Devils game I get to do until Week 12 so I’m going all out! The Swamp was rocking tonight, as the greatest fans in hockey came out in droves for the Doc Emrick bobblehead promotion. The popcorn was fresh and full of buttery goodness, and there was excitement in the air. Dominik Hasek pulled his “groin” in warm ups, and spent the rest of the night betting on trotters at the Big M. The Devils struck early as Wade Redden had a clearing pass intercepted by Jay Pandolfo fifteen seconds into the contest. Pando snapped a beautiful wrist shot top shelf passed the stunned Martin Prusek. “Prussie should have seen that coming,” said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, “He’s been here long enough to know what Wade does against the Devils.” The Senators tried to mount a counter attack, but were frustrated by the Devils tough defense. Finally, declaring himself “bored”, Devils defenseman Scott Niedermayer corralled the puck in his own end, rushed the puck end to end and roofed it past a continually stunned Martin Prusek. When Wade Redden yelled at Nieder that he could “so never do that again,” the smooth skating defenseman corralled the face off, skated behind his own net, rushed the puck end to end and scored on his back hand. “Way to go Wade!” chided his Senator teammates. (more…)

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SPECTRE Saturday

From Week 2 by Schnookie:

From the Diary of Jason Arnott

Wednesday, October 20

Dear Diary,

Today the boys and I were at home to play the Predators. I was feeling a lot better after my gardening accident, and was getting over the thing with the blimp in Phoenix (the training staff thought I’d be out for a bunch of time, but I’ve been through worse. Like that whole bleeding nearly to death thing when I was chopping wood with my hunting knife. Remember that, Diary? Good times…), so I was really excited to finally get to play some hockey! I mean, how can I become the dominant 50-point centre I used to be if I’m not playing regularly? I need to turn my health problems around ninety degrees if I want to help my team. So anyway, I was totally fired up to play the Predators, because I think they might be in our division, but I’m not entirely sure because, seriously, who can keep the divisions straight? But then the strangest thing happened, and I swear, Diary, I don’t think things like this happen to anybody else but me! I was putting on my skates before morning practice, and had my laces all wrapped around my fingers so I could tie my skates on tight, and wouldn’t you know it but the laces got pulled too tight, and the tips of two of my fingers came off. It didn’t hurt, and really, they weren’t bleeding too much, so I just wadded some toilet paper on the stumps (if you can even call fingers missing their tips “stumps”) and went out for practice. I’ve heard someone say once that hindsight is 20/20, and they were probably right, although sometimes I think it might be more like 20/15, but that’s not the point. What I mean to say, Diary, is that maybe I should have considered using band-aids on the wounds, or at least mentioned something to the trainers so they could have taped the toilet paper into place. But I didn’t, and at some point during practice, the toilet paper came off the fresh wounds. As you know, the insides of my gloves are pretty skanky, and sure enough, I got an infection in both fingers. A bad one. It moved pretty quickly, and by game time I was in the hospital with my arm swollen up like, well, a blimp. The doctors say they found the problem in time and were able to fix it up or something all medical like that, and I shouldn’t miss too much action – maybe like, a couple of weeks, but it totally sucked that I couldn’t play. We won the game, 4-2, thanks to the greatest goaltender of all time, Marty Turco, who skated at forward tonight because he’s sooooo good at stick-handling, and who didn’t score any goals, but he could have if he was Mike Modano. That’s how good Turco is.

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Week 4 by Pookie
November 3, 2004
Bruins 4
Rangers 1

Before the game, Mike O’Connell looked over the SPECTRE reports from the previous weeks and realized the Rangers were skating a retired player – Mark Messier. “That’s not fair,” he thought. And then it hit him. If the Rangers were getting away with it, what was to stop the Bruins from skating one of their retired players? A few quick phone calls later, O’Connell announced to Hal Gill that he was being sent down in order to open up a spot on D. “I mean, come on Hal,” the GM said to the 6’ 5” player, “if ever there was a player I thought wouldn’t actually become a regular in this line-up it’s you, so get outta here.” Skating in Gill’s place was none other than hockey’s greatest hero who’s name doesn’t rhyme with Blayne Blretzky or Blario Blemiuex, Ray Bourque.

Although he skated slower than molasses (but not slower than molasses in January, mind you; it was more like molasses in mid-to-late November) he was still better than every player on the ice wearing a blue shirt. Following the match, Dunham was asked if he was intimidated facing one of the greatest the game has ever seen. “Not really,” said Dunham, “I know I can’t stop the puck whether it’s Ray Bourque shooting or,” pointing to a roll of balled-up used tape, “that shooting, so I’m kinda outta luck one way of the other. Right?”

Overhearing this exchange, Sather quickly went to the rule book to see if the Rangers could legally skate wads of used tape.

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On the eve of the lockout we, along with three friends, were directionless, despondent and disoriented — what we were to do without hockey?! The answer came in a flip comment made by Terry Frei in a “What’s A Fan To Do?” column: form a fantasy fantasy hockey league. He meant it in a stats driven way, but we’re all writers and dreamers, so we decided to write what we thought would happen if the season would have been played. Using the 2004-2005 schedule, we divvied up the games amongst the five of us, leaving us with about 5-7 games a week (for all you math nerds, two of the original SPECTERites dropped out, but we divvied the schedule amongst the original seven). We instituted one rule: you had to give a final score for every game you were assigned; other than that, you could write whatever you wanted. Because we’re writers and dreamers what happened over the course of that year of missing hockey was a 175,000-word, 500-page masterpiece of collaborative writing. This summer we’ll be excerpting highlights from SPECTRE every Saturday. If you’d like to read the document in full, you may view it here. Be forewarned SPECTRE did not age well, and didn’t reach full steam until about Week 3 or so. We’ll be pulling out the choices bits for you to read here, and we hope you enjoy them.

This week’s SPECTRE Saturday is a smorgasbord of entries from the first few weeks.

Morgan, Week 1
October 15, 2004
Blackhawks 1
Blues 5

Keith Tkachuk continued his tradition of fast starts in nearly meaningless games by netting the natural hat trick on his first three shots against a clearly overmatched ‘Hawks team. After a time out, Hawks goalie Jocelyn Thibault donned a helmet painted to look like the Finnish flag, and Tkachuk missed the net the rest of the night. Due to more cost cutting measures by Blackhawk’s President Bill Wirtz, Chicago’s games were no longer broadcast in any media. Mr. Wirtz appeared before a crowd of Hawks fans who had read about the game in the paper and said that the game was “a lot closer than 5-1”. He then turned to an assistant and whispered, “Are they buying that?”

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