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Archive for the ‘Dallas Stars’ Category

Before we launch into tonight’s open thread, we have a few thoughts:

1. You know what sounds really disgusting? Having a broken — or even partially broken — kneecap. Zubrus has our sympathy, at least when we’re not throwing up from how disgusting that sounds.

2. One of the reasons we love this time of year is that we cash in all our credit card reward points and spend it all on Williams Sonoma Christmas candies. The crown jewel of those candies is the Peppermint Hot Chocolate, and last night we broke into our stash, thereby officially kicking off the holiday season at stately IPB Manor.

November 20 2009

We aren’t complete Christmas freaks, though — we only staged this photo on that “5 Golden Rings” dessert plate because we just bought it and haven’t found a cupboard place for it. It was sitting on the counter, and it was closing in on midnight, and we hadn’t taken our 365 picture for the day. We’re just lazy.

So when we bought the hot chocolate, we decided that it was going to be a couple of weeks before we were going to get around to making marshmallows, so it made sense to buy some of the gourmet marshmallows Williams Sonoma sells. We had to choose between chocolate and vanilla flavored ones, and opted for vanilla. As it turns out, they did not taste like vanilla. You know what’s even more disgusting than a broken kneecap? Peppermint hot chocolate with butterscotch marshmallows.

3. We kind of had no idea the Devils were playing the Stars tonight. WOO HOOO! Patty and Myra and Hub and the Kid are all gonna be cryin’ into the butterscotch/peppermint hot chocolate Gatorade of losers tonight, while we drink deep from the flagon of Champagne of winners.*

*Or vice versa. We’ll see.

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We’re reporting from the belly of the beast here tonight — watching the Devils vs. Stars in Dallas with Patty (in Dallas) of Penalty Killing. We’re pretending to be reasonable adults who can socialize nicely while watching our favorite teams but… Look at that hobo! Seriously, though, this situation is far too stressful to allow for the full game diary treatment, so we’ll be checking in with periodic woolgathering about the game and the experience of watching from behind enemy lines. Wish us luck! Or wish Patty luck. Depending on the score, of course.

6:10 PM Just for the record, we’re only getting this on the Dallas feed (and it’s not in HD). If Doc and Chico say anything interesting, be sure to let us know. Whose great idea was it to fly to Dallas to watch the Stars play in Newark, anyway?

6:12 PM Langer scores on what seems to have been a pretty stoppable backhand. Schnookie: “WOOOOOO!!!! YES!!!!” Patty: “*Stony silence*” Schnookie: “I’ll pack my bags…”

6:19 PM Things are awkward here when Patty flubs a pass to Paulie at the point on the PP. We sigh aggrievedly at his ineptitude, mutter something about him being fired, then realize we need to add an “Elias” every time we talk directly to the Patty on the TV.

6:23 PM Just when we’re not so sure about this Letourneau-Leblond kid (maybe he’d be more comfortable if he wasn’t being forced to cut the Letourneau so the Devils can save on their sweater letter budget), and have written off the fourth line of him, Rupper, and Clarkson, Rupper has a snazzy shift of smart defensive plays, sassy offensive plays and adroit skating. Does this mean he’s good, or does it mean that Clarkson and Leblond are just so bad that he looks good?

And as we’re pondering Rupper’s abilities, Ralph and Razor are talking about the Langenbrunner trade (seven years ago!); in their reminiscence, they mention Langer scoring from center ice for the Stars agains Osgood. Patty: “I remember that! I was such a new fan then that I didn’t realize it was bad to let goals in from there.” Heh. We all seem to have learned about that from Osgood.

6:38 PM The Devils are on the PP again and are repeatedly firing long shots directly into the penalty killers standing motionless in front of them. Razor says something about how great the shot blocking for the Stars has been this period, and we can only assume the Stars players are thinking, “We get credit for blocks on those? The guys are literally just tossing pucks straight into us.” Meanwhile, the Devils are thinking, “How are we supposed to tell the difference between the white sweaters and the white ice?”

7:06 PM We are deeply immersed in the important business of eating crudites and dip for dinner, but we notice when Razor breaks down a Stars offensive chance that involved all three forwards collapsing behind the net and then coughing up the puck when there turns out to be no one in the crease to receive the inevitable pass out in front. The play is apparently very characteristic of the Stars, and happens to be one we Devils fans know all too well. Razor posits that if they ever turn the nets around to face the end boards, there will be a lot of guys who will end up scoring a lot more goals. We can actually really get behind this idea.

7:09 PM The Devils have a genius new strategy — send two guys with no finish (i.e. Madden and Paulie) barreling down the ice at the goalie. The goalie will sit back thinking neither one could possibly score! Then… Voila! Devils score!

7:12 PM Someone doesn’t like us saying he doesn’t have finish and puts another away. 3-0 Devils. Hm… This has us thinking of a genius new strategy. That Parise kid? He’s got no finish.

7:13 PM Rats. The Stars pull Turco. The Devils never score on the second goalie to enter a game. Poop.

7:30 PM The payoff for not getting the Devils feed tonight is hearing Razor refer to Travis Zajac as an “alpha male”. Travis Zajac. Our Travis Zajac. Yeah.

7:54 PM Oddly enough, the zany, wild, crazy play that ended the second period did not pick up where it left off when the puck was dropped for the third.

8:06 PM Zach’s like, “Who’s the Alpha Male now, Robin?!” Travis: “I’m Batman.” We’re pretty sure that goal was a direct response to the highlight reel of “the future superstar, Parise” on the Stars pre-game show that featured shots of Zach scoring on an empty net and clips of Brylin chipping the puck off-sides.

8:07 PM Clarkson’s added a new shot to his repertoire — a long shot from the face-off dots. It’s the anti-Clarkaround, and it’s (so far this season) a zillion times more effective.

8:30 PM Wowza! We were not expecting anyone other than Elias and Parise to score this season. We were not expecting a 5-0 beat down tonight. We were not expecting to ever see Marty get within 5 shutouts of the record. Dare we say it? We’re pleasantly surprised all around!

And so our vacation (in Dallas) is pretty much at an end. We’d like to thank Caitlin, Myra (& Hub and Kid) and especially Patty, for making our time here so fabulous!

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Here we go, Game 2 of the Official Series We Care About — Go Pens! Go Stars! We’ll be filling this with what little thoughts pop into our heads as we watch the games today and tonight.

— This game has been a game of extremes: Extreme craptitude by Hossa, extreme awesomeness by Malkin and Sid; extreme coolness from Doc, extreme annoyingness by Pierre who’s decided it’s not enough to over-pronounce the French names and is now attempting to add some “Swedish” flair to Lundqvist.

— We learn that Sid requested there be no white-out in the crowd today. We’re hoping this is just the beginning of Sid flexing his divo muscles. Next up, he’ll demand the crowd wear only lilac. Then he’ll threaten to not skate unless every other seat is occupied by a shih tzu wearing a top hat. Finally, he’ll refuse to leave the dressing room unless the entirety of the upper deck is filled with pure white roses with the thorns removed.

— Just as we’re reliving Pierre’s awesome “Finno-Pierre” pronunciation of Jarko Rutuu in last year’s Playoffs (it sounded a little like “yahrkhuuu rrrhuttttuahwah”) he shocks us with this analysis: “I think that that # 87 had a lot to do with turning this franchise [the Penguins] around.” Wha-huh? Next up he’ll tell us the team with the most goals at the end of the game wins!

— Gronk scores for a case of sod! Woo-hoo! It’s a good thing he did, too, since we were getting to the hair-tearing-out-point with the Pens. Throughout the entire Devils series all we wanted to see was some players getting to the puck around the net. The Pens were doing that, then stopping to say, “Hey, look, we got he puck!” without following up on the play, as if to prove we have to be more specific in our directions. It was a tiresome little game, and we’re glad Jordan Staal had had enough of it!

— Mike Richter, makes Boomer’s day, by appearing on the intermission show to discuss his business ventures to fund green companies while encouraging major sports leagues to go greener. Despite her Devils fan-ness, Boomer will never forget that Richter was her first hockey true love. As an eco-conscious person herself (she spent her morning attempting to fix a leak in one of her five rain barrels) this whole segment is like a Cupid’s arrow making a direct hit on her heart. Meanwhile, Pierre continues to make himself look like an idiot by looking bored and asking Richter derisively, “Do you really think this will work?!” Also, he reduces the NHL players’ attempt to go carbon neutral by giggling over the Niedermayer brothers driving to games in a *scoff scoff* hybrid car. He also spews some nonsense about them drinking their Starbucks coffee out of “cups that can be refashioned into… um… other cups!” Meanwhile, we wonder why the Niedermayer brothers weren’t brining their own refillable cups to Starbucks in the first place. Do they want our Earth to die?

— Adam Hall scores for a case of sod-filled Tastykakes! The empty netter seals the Game 2 win for the Pens. We are loving this series so far!

— We’ll admit we very much enjoyed seeing Laraque appear of out nowhere to help Hal Gill defend Fleury there after the final whistle. Heh.

— Is it just us, or did Pierre look a little sad that Malone took the time to give Gronk a buddy-buddy facewash just before the post-game interview but didn’t give Pierre a second glance?

— We realize that Jordan Staal is the Pookie of the Staal brothers. The third of four, he doesn’t have the special status of being oldest or youngest, and Marc is most likely more concerned with framing his life in relation to his older brother not his parents. Pookie is fairly certain this means Gronk must be the smartest, most wonderful of the Staal children. Schnookie is concerned that this makes her the Marc Staal of the Ookie Family. “Does this mean I’m the one who looks like an especially inbred Prince Harry?” she asks. Pookie hates to be the one to tell her, but… yes.

— We will now take a brief intermission (if you can call a four hour break a “brief intermission”) but will return for the drop of the puck for the late game. Go Stars!

— Aaaaaand, we’re back! Go Stars!

— This game is giving us an opportunity to see how the Hockey Gods feel about defense. In one corner we have the Hero of Defense, Sergei Zubov. In the opposite corner we have the Zero of Defense, Brian “Spin-o-Rama O’ Despair” Campbell. Who will prevail?

— Schnookie is momentarily distracted from the game by a kamikaze bug that dive-bombs the back of her throat. Her surprised hacking drowns out the sound of the VS announcers. Pookie wonders if she can train an army of bugs to execute that move on command every time Pierre gets airtime.

— Anyone who doubts the power of recessive colors making the crowd look smaller should take a look at the wide angle of the sea of dark teal sweaters at the Shark Tank. Maybe it’s the lighting at the arena, but from far out, the building looks like swath of empty seats. Did Sid demand that this game be played without fans?

— We are assuming, after the Sharks score their second goal of the game on a breakaway, that Turco is thinking of his choice to try to race the attacking skater to the puck, “If I could go back, I might do that differently.”

— The VS intermission show reveals quite the shocker from the postgame comments following G1 of this series. What a surprise — Ron Wilson is blaming Patrick Marleau for the Sharks’ problems.

— Allow us to go out on a limb here and say that the Stars are looking really good. For all that they were in a deep and terrible swoon to end the season, they’re remarkably mentally resilient now. We’re ever so happy to have picked them as our favorite WC playoff team. Of course, there are still three minutes left in the third period as we say this, so if the Sharks end up coming back and winning this game, you can blame us.

— And even with us declaring this one over with a bit of time left in the final frame, the Stars still pull out the decisive win. No offense to our good friends who are pulling for the Sharks, but we’re delighted. It’s another great day of hockey!

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— We talked a big game last night about caring about the match-up tonight — Penguins vs. Rangers and Stars vs. Sharks. Now’s the test of whether we can talk the talk.

— Sid Crosby is usually so accommodating to fans, so can he please keep those of us who get these games in HD in mind when “growing” his “facial hair”?

— Keith Jones announces in the pre-game that this series includes “eight superstars I’d pay money to see play”. Huh? We do a quick count and come up with six, if we stretch the term “superstar” to include Marc-Andre Fleury and Scott Gomez. Surely Jonesy can’t be including Shanahan and Drury on that list, can he?

— Blersus shows us the large crowd taking in the video feed on the rolling lawns around Mellon Arena and segues into talking about how ESPN the Magazine ranked Pittsburgh #1 in Fan Relations. Blersus explains that part of this is because of the “arena experience” at the Igloo and how while it has its perks, it’s a great place for watching hockey. Well, as long as we’re not getting pelted with beer-soaked mouse pads, we agree!

— The Rangers are criticized for not having a great penalty kill against the Devils in Round 1. Seriously people, the laptop we’re typing this on could have killed the NJ “power play”.

— Riddle us this, Batman. Why are the Bruins roundly blamed for playing soul-killing hockey and the Rangers are just playing “a mature defensive game”?

— Why does Hockey want us to hate it? Why?! Seriously, we have other things we can be doing, Hockey. There’s Katamari to be played, Season 5 of “The Wire” to be caught up on, vegetable plants to watch growing. Any old time you want to start having Good triumph over Evil, that’d be great with us. This Rangers 1, Penguins 0 thing just isn’t cutting it.

— We’re writing this game off, anyway, though, as the Pens have had nine days off. Nine! Sid’s probably forgotten how to pass in that time off!

— We’re speechless. Jonesy’s “ShoutyShoutShout” Segment — er, pardon us, “Odd Man Rush” segment — is about Johan Franzen, who’s nickname is “The Mule”. Jonsey shouts, “I looked it up in the dictionary and a mule is… half-horse and half-donkey!!!.” We looked up Jonsey in the OED (nerd-alert: Stately IPB Manor is home to a complete, unabridged, gazillion-volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary) and learned he’s half-dullard and half-nincompoop. You learn something new every day.

— Rangers 2, Penguins 0. Looks like we picked the wrong day to stop soldering our eyeballs in disgust over bad hockey.

— We can hear it, ever so softly, ringing in our ears. The siren song of the Katamari. Naa-na-na-na-na-na-na-na….

— Rangers 3, Penguins 0. We have no words for how over this we are. T-Minus 1 hour, 45 minutes ’til the Stars start.

— We’ve noticed an phenomenon with our Wii. When playing “Super Mario Galaxy”, all Pookie has to do to win a level is to get to breaking point and say out loud, “I hate this game and I’m turning off as soon as I die next.” It’s like the Wii hears her and feels threatened, that it might never be powered on again, left to molder and grow dusty before finally being tossed in the trash. It then serves up some softball levels to lure Pookie into playing some more. This game is like our Wii. Just as we are going to switch inputs to the PS2, the Penguins pop in two quick goals, one by the Other Superpest and one off a beautiful feed from Sid. Sweet! Still… that Katamari music is still running through our heads, and if this starts to look bleak again, we will not hesitate to turn the game off. Are you listening, TV?

— The “Bud Light At-A-Glance” is a bit too ironical for us — it obscures 1/3 of the screen keeping us from seeing the action for the amount of time it’s up on the screen.

— Speaking of screens, there’s some weird smudge on our TV that we can’t see to wipe off… Oh! That’s just Sid’s “facial hair”.

— OK, Hockey, this is more like it! Two more quick goals and it’s Pens 4, Rangers 3. However, we could still turn on Katamari whenever we feel like it, so don’t get complacent, Hockey!

— Also, we’re gobsmacked that we forgot one of the greatest things about hockey in our 118 Reasons We Love Hockey Series — people dressed as the Stanley Cup. We catch a glimpse of a man in the crowd wearing a tin-foil Cup head-dress. While it follows the pretty standard “full head Cup costume” template, the wearer has gone the extra step to sport a Lone Ranger mask under the eye-hole. This attention to detail delights us. However, it’s not as good as the fan we saw at Game 7 of the SCF in 2003 who rocked the very rare, and awesomely sublime “full body Cup costume”. He was wearing a giant garbage can with arm-holes cut in it and could barely move, but he was still the toast of every section he teetered past.

— WOOOOO!!! That’s RAWK! That’s one a beauty of a shot, and a beauty of a goal celebration. No concussions, no showboating, no skating past one’s teammates. That’s what we like to see!

— Wow. That game turned out awwwwesome! Good thing we didn’t turn it off. That said, we’ll have the Xbox controllers in hand at the start of the next game just in case.

— We are treated to one of those oddly satisfying TCM-ish filler spots that feature some odd history lesson about hockey. In this case, the subject is Red Berenson, famous to Devils fan as the man who put the finishing touch on the chip on John Madden’s shoulder by suggesting, horror of horrors, that Maddog maybe consider writing up a resume upon finishing his last year of eligibility since he wasn’t going to get drafted. The clip ends and we cut to Keith Jones saying he knew the fun fact about Berenson’s biggest night in the NHL because the only homework he did in college was to look up what happened on the day he was born; of course he skipped the news sections and went straight to the sports page, where the hockey column was all about what Berenson had accomplished that day. Now if only VS wouldn’t command Jonsey to ape Cherry, he’d be adorable! He’d almost be like Kelly Hrudey South!

— We’re having a little trouble getting into the late game here, perhaps still on a bit of a high from the Pens win, but we have to say, whoever thought to assign Andy Brickley to the Stahs/Shahks series has genius bits.

— Whoops. We take back everything nice we said about Jonesy. In the second intermission of the Stahs/Shahks tilt, he tells us that Marty Turco’s stickhandling was “the focal point you had to focus your eyes on” during the first round. Sigh.

— We feel compelled to write an open letter to the Stars about the third period:

Dear Stars,

We have learned, after a long, painful season with the Devils, that trying to play an entire period in your own zone is really not a great game plan. Oops. Now you’ve learned it too.

Kind Regards,
The -Ookies

— Okay, after looking totally disinterested in trying to win the hockey game, the Stars figured their shit out and took care of things quickly in OT, making this into a decidedly wonderful night of hockey. Since this playoffs has been characterized by wild mood swings from “fantastically enjoyable” to “utterly craptastic”, this bodes poorly for tomorrow. Considering these are the two series we really care about, we’ll take it, though.

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