Category Archives: hockey

inside the mind of a backup goaltender

warning:  lot’s of dropping of the F-bomb in this comic…

osgord.edit.

but it made me laugh… because seriously, I’ve watched them sitting there, waiting, knowing there’s no chance they are going to see action tonight, or this week, or barely a few times this season.  click thru only if you promise not to be offended.

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657 channels and no Caps

ok, that’s not entirely true — the Caps are on Versus again, and it’s not part of our cable package.  we pay enough for cable, and we wouldn’t get a whole lot out of the mid-tier/”premium” pack — but ARGGH.

Versus is your source for Bull Riding, NHL Hockey, and Tour de France Cycling.  I’m pretty sure killer will agree with me that only one of those is a sport.  Why would I pay an extra $5/month to get this waste of broadcast bandwidth?

it’s not that there isn’t hockey on TV tonight — Russia vs. Belarus is on “US”, “Universal Sports”, which seems to be NBC-backed (hello!  they carry NHL, don’t they?) and mostly runs snowboarding, curling, and super-giant slalom (skiing).  now, the bright-shining Canadian core deep within me is really quite taken by the fact that there is a channel that covers curling (and I actually watched the Canadian women put Spot Rock to the Chinese a few weeks ago), but it’s outweighed by the fact that this apparent throw-away channel DOESN’T COVER HOCKEY.

my other alternative tonight (as I’ve already missed the opening face-off, and my personal pizza is still in the oven) is to buy the NHL GameCenter Playoffs Day Pass for $19.95.  ($19.95!!?!) apparently that does not come with $19.95 worth of beer, so after my pizza I might head over to a local sports bar…

or maybe I’ll just sit and listen to the game, the way kids used to a hundred years ago.  I remember stories my grandfather used to tell — his family sitting by the warmth of the fire, gathering around their laptop, listening as the game streamed to them over the Intertubes (as it was called then).  ah, the good old days.

[update: cripe!  missed the first 6 minutes and the first goal.  the play-by-play feed didn’t start at 7:00 (or 7:05) — Go Caps!]

[update:  so I go to a local ‘sports’ bar, watch the game, and the satellite feed repeatedly dropped due to rain.  unfortunately the feed was fine when the Pens scored the winning goal.]

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fireworks, revisited

It’s a rare night, sitting alone at home, watching the Leafs play the Caps on TV.  At the intermission, they flashback to a man named Sawchuck; Terry “Gordon” Sawchuck — I wonder if he was listed in the Barenaked-liner-notes with all the other great Canadian (and international) Gordons…  “gordon howe” — yes.  “veal gordon bleu” — yes.  but “terry gordon sawchuck”? — tragically (gordon downie), he was not.

[and the commentator just seqeue’d with , “that night in Toronto…”  :P]

But dude; Sawchuck barely wore a facemask — and he was a goalie.  To see the footage of him and Bower; I mean, they had big leg pads, but their shoulder and chest pads were hardly more substantial than the rest of the players, and that’s way less than I wear when I get out on the ice.

Anyhow; so many of the hits on this blog are the Hockey Songs…  it seemed fitting to revisit this song.

Fireworks — The Tragically Hip:

If there’s a goal that everyone remembers it was back in ole’ 72
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember was sitting beside you

You said you didn’t give a fuck about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

As I said in the original post, this is the adolescent view of the Canada Cup; Paul Henderson and Bobby Orr and all that.

Isn’t it amazing anything’s accomplished
When the little sensation gets in your way
Not one ambition whisperin’ over your shoulder
Isn’t it amazing you can do anything

That’s the chorus.  Not so exciting to read, but in the song it’s a little more enthusiastic: “Isn’t it amazing (?); You can do anything (!)”

We hung out together every single moment
Cause that’s what we thought married people do
Complete with the grip of artificial chaos
And believing in the country of me and you

Crisis of faith and crisis in the Kremlin
And yea we’d heard all of that before
It’s wintertime, the house is solitude with options
And loosening the grip on a fake cold war

Anyone who has lived with someone else in a committed relationship can relate to that… (no?)

[repeat chorus]

Next to your comrades in the national fitness program
Caught in some eternal flexed-arm hang
Droppin’ to the mat in a fit of laughter
Showed no patience, tolerance or restraint

OK, so this is something that is uniquely Canadian.  We had the National Fitness Program when I was in school; it was a yearly measurement of physical fitness for which you were awarded a Bronze, Silver, or Gold badge.  Kind of like a Boy/Girl Scout merit badge, but in your school phys-ed program.  I like to think I got a Gold once, but I’m sure if I did it would be in my momento-box (and there is none).  I remember the “flexed-arm hang” as some kind of torture-test;

Fireworks exploding in the distance
Temporary towers soar

Fireworks emulating heaven
Til there are no stars anymore

Fireworks aiming straight at heaven
Temporary towers soar

Til there are no stars shining up in heaven
Til there are no stars anymore

.

Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish
When the little sensation gets in your way
No ambition whisperin’ over your shoulder
Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish, eh
This one thing probably never goes away
I think this one thing is always supposed to stay
This one thing doesn’t have to go away

“This one thing” being that original thing — the goal that everyone remembers, the sense of unlimited possibilities, of national pride, of sitting beside that blasphemous girl, of finding true love… the fireworks.  Great song.

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Wendel Clark

“Several years ago when I retired as a player, I stated the two proudest moments of my hockey career were when I was drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs and second, the day I was named captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs,” Clark said during a brief speech. “Tonight’s the official hat trick.” [link]

That night (last night) was the night his number was retired with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I guess this is proof that I wasn’t a Leafs fan in the 80’s, because I don’t remember him as a big enforcer.  When I think “wild-eyed 5-minute major for fighting”, I think Tie Domi.  But You-Tube has plenty of reminders of just how much this guy gave for the game, and for the Leafs.  I do remember the McSorley/Gilmour debacle, as that was the year I became a Leafs fan.

[man, at 0:41 there is a moment when McSorley looks like he could have gone end-over-end, and Clark would have had the better of him…  all but for 1/16th of an edge of ice.]

Before that, in the 80’s, when I wasn’t much of a fan, my new friends at summer camp tried to convince me that Wendel Clarke was their uncle.  It didn’t take much convincing, since I was all like “Wendel who?”  And it turns out that the joke was really on me, as they were “Clarke” and he was “Clark”, but that didn’t stop me from asking how their uncle was doing…  I guess the joke continues to be on me.

It’s weird being in Washington, and having the captian here be number 17 with the name Clark; now there’s hardly a game that goes by that I don’t think about Mr. Wendel.

Also makes me wonder if time will be so kind to Mr. Sundin, who has clearly been one of the most prolific Leafs, but who is leaving under such strained circumstances.

Whatev; looks like Gilmour is getting his due — his number will be raised in Toronto on Jan. 31.

More Wendel — All Heart:

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reasons to keep your head up

I figured my boys might like this one…  this was posted under the heading Does anyone else miss Belak?.

Leafs are 1-0-0.  WOOT.

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Best Post of All Time

… for me at least…  I can’t believe the continuing number of hits I get on the whole “Best Hockey Songs of All Time” series.  Even when it’s not a lot, they generally rank quite high.

So maybe it’s time for a “Best Hockey Songs of 2008/2009” thread… I’m open to suggestions.  I should probably eliminate any of the songs on last years list; although that cuts out a bunch of really great hockey songs.

Add your votes for “best hockey songs of all time” to the comments.

from last year…

Best Hockey Songs of All Time

#1: Fifty Mission Cap

#2: Hockey Night In Canada Theme

#3: Lonely End of the Rink

#4: Heaven Is A Better Place Today

#5: Good Old Hockey Game

#6: Fireworks

#7 The Kid Is Hot Tonight

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Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey

— the name of an economics paper by Haisken-DeNew and Vorell (two Germans); and surprisingly no mention of whether anyone has done similar studies of European hockey.

Tyler Cowen summarized the paper thusly:

In other words, there are substantial incentives for violence in hockey.

Well, duh.

But not just strategic incentives or marketing incentives, this study demonstrates that there are monetary incentives for players to be violent, “These estimated per-fight premia, depending on fight success ($10,000 to $18,000), are even higher than those for an additional point made.”

I don’t think this argument holds up if you look at the list of top-paid players. Are there any in the top-10 that are drop-the-gloves fighters? I’m guessing it’s all big-scorers and goalies.

And then the paper outlines financial penalties against players and teams that should effectively offset the incentives:

By introducing a “fight fine” of twice the maximum potential gain ($36,000) and adding this amount to salaries paid for the team salary cap (fines would be 6.7% of the team salary cap or the average wage of 2 players), then all involved would have either little or no incentives to allow fighting to continue.

— finally ridding fighting from hockey, I suppose. No question as to whether that is a desirable thing for the game, but given the introductory paragraph it’s clear these guys don’t think much of the North American enforcement-style game.

A good discussion follows in MR’s comments — if you a fan of the game, check them out.
Another interesting response
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