Thursday, December 31, 2009

NEWSFLASH: the refs give gio the shaft (AGAIN)

i'm heading down to the 'dome tonight with two of my favorite people in the universe to watch the suddenly hot flambés play the truly unfortunate greasers.... i'll tell you what, though: our recent wins have been closely fought, hard-hitting matches against mediocre (at best, in the case of the northerners) teams and not downright domination in any shape of the word. unless you're talking about dion over kopitar.... cause that was a HIT. ;)

if you're looking for me, i'll be the half-cut idiot in the #5 GIO jersey with the stupid cardboard new years hat.... ;)

anyhow. a quick note on last night's game:

i've mentioned before how utterly shafted gio gets when it comes to officiating. it's actually kindof hilarity, at this point, cause i don't think i've ever seen a player draw the short stick as often, where the zebras are concerned....

historically, there was the one (ahhh, infamy) from dec 29/08, where veilleux scored for the wild but play continued; the whistle didn't blow until gio tossed the puck over the glass, drawing a delay of game penalty. after review, the goal was awarded but somehow the penalty stood and gio sat in the box into the third period.... the refs admitted in the post-game that they'd screwed up and were hella glad that neither the PP nor the PK resulted in a score. hello insult ? meet injury.

a few weeks ago (and maybe someone can remind me what game it was so i can post the highlight here), gio took a stick in the face and the refs called a two-minute minor on the opposition. #5 was CLEARLY bleeding from the mouth, and our captain was vocalizing his case, but the refs still didn't add on the extra two.... NHL RULE 60.2: Any contact made by a stick on an opponent above the shoulders is prohibited and a minor penalty shall be imposed. apparently (this was news to me), the second minor for drawing blood, on said high-stick, is awarded by referee's discretion. hm.... well ---here's the thing about that regulation: this particular instance (when it was my boy giordano who was bleeding) is the ONLY TIME i've EVER seen a dude take a stick in the face, bleed, and NOT have the aggressor get the extra two. EVER.

classic giordano.

last night was the best, though, i gotta say.... after the puck jumped gio's stick at the blueline, and with dustin brown in position to take off towards kiprusoff, my #5 takes a stick infraction (hooking/tripping). but... but wait !!! brown is awarded a penalty shot ?!?! how the hell do ya FIGURE ??!? well here's the thing: if I knew it shouldn't have been a penalty shot, my thinking is that the current era of national hockey league referees and linesmen might want to re-read the effin' rulebook:


In cases where a player is fouled from behind (Rule 91(b)), four criteria must be met in order for the Referee to award a penalty shot:

  1. The infraction must have taken place in the opponent's half of the ice, i.e. over the center red line.
  2. The infraction must have been committed from behind.
  3. The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck) must have been denied a reasonable chance to score.

    (NOTE) The fact that he got a shot off does not automatically eliminate this play from the penalty shot consideration criteria. If the foul was from behind and he was denied a "more" reasonable scoring opportunity due to the foul, then the penalty shot should be awarded.

  4. The player in possession and control (or, in the judgment of the Referee, clearly would have obtained possession and control of the puck) must have had no opposing player between himself and the goalkeeper.
let's break this down a little bit, in the case of last night's game --exhibit A:

1. the infraction occurs on the WRONG side of the red line.
2. infraction is committed from behind (okay, fine, sure...)
3. hard to say if dustin brown was denied a reasonable chance to score, being that he's A HECKUVA LONG WAY FROM THE NET !!!!
4. this one's the kicker for me: i'd like to think that jokinen, in full stride (as seen above), would most certainly have made it back to finish the play between brown and miikka kiprusoff. if gio had neither tripped nor hooked the LA player, brown still would have had to get his feet going and his speed up, by which time jokinen would most definitely have been in his way.....

no matter. brown whiffed the shot, gio avoided the box, and the flames won the game.
let's hope tonight can go as well !!!!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

i guess i should weigh in.....

so the canadian olympic team will be announced in an hour and therefore this is my last shot at throwing in my two cents before the deadline. my selections make up a bit of a frankenteam, but i think they belong together and could win a gold.... so when yzerman goes a different direction (and no doubt he will), i'll spend two weeks in february arguing that MY team canada includes shane effing doan and i still think he's got captaincy potential....

realistically, i'm not sure i've really thought about it enough to be attempting this with any kind of respectable authority, but here goes:

1. brodeur, luongo, fleury
way too easy. if the goalies actually deviate from this list, my jaw will hit the floor. i would've said cam ward over fleury in the summer but a terrible start to the season, coupled with the truly unfortunate thigh laceration. make the selection for team canada's netminders wayyyy obvious.

2. heatley - thornton - marleau
i'm not a big fan of heatley as a person, and i'm not a huge fan of the other two as players.... but as a trio i have to admit that these three just work. they work the way that iginla doesn't work with nash and crosby, and the way ovechkin works with semin and will also probably work with malkin or kovalchuk.... so i say bring the sharks' top line as a unit.... annd DONE.

3. nash - iginla - crosby
look. all these three dudes are gonna be in vancouver in february so you might as well put'em on a line together and just hope they don't get scored on.

4. getzlaf - perry - ????
this is tough cause there are so few natural lefts in the league that heatley and nash would both probably look pretty good on this line. and hey, if you take heatley off the top line then there's really no need to buy marleau a ticket to vancouver. so i get a little stuck on this one.

5. j.staal - doan - d.cleary
call me crazy but i had my eyes open at the olympic camp and these three made up the best line out there. it's a grind line that can score, in my opinion. sign me up ---i wanna watch these guys play together every night.

6. keith - seabrook
(see #1) ... i actually think that there's something to be said about keeping defensive pairings together cause there has to be an innate sense of where your partner is/is gonna be in order to keep pucks out of nets. for the same reason, i would probably name both shea weber AND dan hamhuis to this team but since it's such a longshot, let's just presume that stevie Y is smart enough to keep AT LEAST these two together. as a side note, i realize now why i so often refer to brent seabrook as keith seabrook (and it's not ONLY because his little bro is a baby flame).

7. jaybouw - pronger
this is tough for me cause i cannot STAND "elbows" but i figure i should get used to it now cause he's gonna be on this team and he's admittedly not a terrible defender. jaybouw's been struggling as of late but he'll be fine. to imagine stevie Y continuing without either of these two is a joke.

8. boyle - weber
i take boyle over mike green and i take shea weber over pretty much everyone else: niedermeyer and regehr included.... i still maintain that if dan boyle had subbed in for an injured chris pronger in the 06 olympics, we would've medalled....

alts: mike green

ps: if dion makes the team, i will be wicked upset with everybody hockey-canada related.


16/23 isn't TOO bad. 70%.

eric staal scares me a bit, his stats haven't been great this year (but admittedly i haven't had a chance to see him play much).

i guess if i really sit and think about it, jordan staal is a poor man's mike richards --so stevie Y did the right thing there.

as they were announcing the team it occurred to me that if heatley or thornton gets injured, team canada is now carrying patty marleau for no reason.

i realized at 10am that i'd totally overlooked niedermeyer (the guy i'd favoured as the captain back in the summer, being that he's the most decorated hockey player of all time) but i didn't notice the omission of toews until they called his name. meh... at least the oversights were made by ME and not stevie Y.

i'm a bit surprised at the selection of doughty over jaybouw, mind you. i'm not saying it was a mis-step (not yet, anywasy) but i'm definitely suggesting that it made my face screw all up and my brow furrow. on the other hand, boyle over green (in my humble opinion) was the right choice and i was overjoyed when they announced the shark's name..... i seriously WOOHOO'd. like.... LOUD. after further consideration, i realize that doughty is kindof a nice combination of green's offense and jaybouw's puck moving.... so maybe stevie Y actually put some thought into it and didn't select doughty at 9am this morning with the stand-by paper-and-hat method...

this team will take some getting used to.

Monday, December 21, 2009

monday randoms: "a valiant effort..."

as mikeH alluded to in the previous post, i have been away in vegas on a bit of a thelma, thelma, & louise style vacation for a few days.... and while we DID indulge in the colossal-sized slushy drinks with an outrageous amount of booze, neither me nor my friends are the gambling types (we ended up three bucks down, and i'm pretty sure we topped out up $2.61). also, i didn't get the chance to watch any hockey at all, so i 'm suffering from a bit of withdrawl... by the sounds of it, missing a couple of last weeks' flames games might have been a good idea. still, i caught the women's game (canada v. USA) last week and will check out the juniors play finland tomorrow... aaaand of course, there's the new year's eve tilt against the greasers that i attend every year (which i'm SUUUPER excited about). so there will be hockey upcoming, to be sure....

other random monday things to discuss:

1. GIO
while i didn't see anything other than a handful of highlights, i understand that my boy gio had a bit of a career game v. the kings.... the comment thread over at kent's place indicates that i might've missed a pretty good opportunity to enjoy watching #5 throw some weight around, dodge the people's elbow, and also to see mike keenan eating crow on the subject.... ;) on another tack, do you ever notice how the world tends to evoke thoughts and memories when you're not stuck inside your day-to-day activities ? well, thank you las vegas for reminding me of this, as i stood across from the bellagio watching the dancing fountains:

2. THE SWEDISH CHEF (aka: børk børk børk)
i give mikeH full props for writing an email to the org last week, but i REALLY want to give my new pal deliciouscorn a MASSIVE hat tip for helping us on our latest mission: to have the swedish chef tune played by the organist in the 'dome and get the crowd respond with "bork bork bork" (or the norwegian/danish way that mikeH likes to spell it, seen above -----i like the look of that but i just don't have the heart to tell'im that ø is not in the swedish alphabet.... a more accurate spelling would be bårk bårk bårk but i'm guessing only shep would understand how to correctly pronounce this... buuuuuuuut i digress...).

it turns out that DC doesn't just KNOW the organ player, he IS the organ player.... is that rad, or WHAT ?!? i have absolutely no idea what would have turned him onto reading htp (unless my pal sjc had something to do with it, which is totally possible) but welcome, welcome, welcome !!! apparently the swedish chef chant took it's inaugural spin out of the pressbox against the preds on saturday with two minutes left in the third, and was largely overlooked due to the intense audience concentration on the on-ice action (ie: the flames trying to equalize with time running out)... it sounds to me that mikeH got himself a seat in the bleeders JUST to hear history in the making, but managed to also miss it..... the good news is that, according to DC, the "director" (i'm guessing floor director or the like) called the tune "a valiant effort" and it'll get another go during upcoming home games. he even showed the "other" organist how to play it.... :) ENORMOUS fait accomplis from this end. we'll give the iggy holler a run for it's money yet, friends..... *curtsey*

3. birthdays
so it's my birthday today which means i'm old. pretty much that's it except i'd like to acknowledge that via text message and over on the ol' facebook, i got some nice wishes from my friends, my pal strombo, some of my blogmates, and an especially amusing note from awildermode:

"Happy Birthday to the most awesome person I have never met. ;)"

HILARIOUS. i'll be down at the ol' ship & anchor tonight for some celebratory bevvies. odds are that you'll be able to find me by simply asking around if you were interested in swinging by... hey, the place ain't that big.

4. johnson pardy
nothing really to say, here, other than i always like to mention my most favorite of pairings. also ? if johnson's not improving then at least he's started to contribute offensively, and hopefully pardy's fully healed and back in the lineup. hey, remember that.... what's his name.... sarich ? i wonder what happened to that dude.

5. fisher-underwood nuptuals
start the countdown today on how long before mike fisher asks to be traded to the preds.... apparently he and country music starlet, carrie underwood, are officially engaged.... hm. that means that her elusiveness on ellen a few weeks ago was just that. fairly devious for a devout christian, methinks... ;) ffwd to 1:40 ish to see her both gush about ottawa's #12 and define the term "backhanded compliment." also ? as mentioned on one of those gossip blogs, she'd better not change her name... only one carrie fisher should be allowed in this galaxy....

6. A-O
caught this little gem on puck daddy today. ovie (who i love, don't get me wrong) proves that anybody can model with the right stylist, good lighting, and a talented photographer.... my level of curiosity surrounding the ink on his back reminds me just how badly i STILL want to know why the hell lombo writes HENHENHEN on his sticks. cause he still does down in the desert, fyi.... i know cause i watch.

k, well that's it for now.
see you all soon !!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

While the cat's away...

...mikeH gets to play. With WI drinking two foot tall, slushy cocktails in Vegas this week, and considering I managed to snake a ticket to last night's game (thanks half-price), I figure I might have stored up enough minor points to add a little something to the blogosphere. Always good to see a win. Here we go:

GIO!!! - Okay, so I may not have quite as desperate a crush on this guy as my respected blog colleague, but I have to say, he is sure fun to watch. J.Bo and Gio are by far our strongest defensive pairing, and got the start last night. Then watching Gio throw some pasting hits was just spectacular. Twice he lost a glove from the impact (maybe his grandma could sew a string on them), but every hit was clean and set the tone for the whole team. All I know is Dustin Brown is probably being treated for a case of PGSD (Post-Gio-Stress-Disorder).

Johnson Pardy - When Aaron Johnson leveled Oscar Moller in the open ice, all you heard from me and my buddy was, "Welcome to the Johnson Pardy!" Sure I may be biased, but that interference call was bullshit, the puck was right there.

Pocketdawes - Another tally for pocketdawes off a beauty pass from Lanks, and the "second" line continues to click. Other Pocketdawes discussion below...

Børk, børk, børk - as usual, my favourite swede had a good game, even if he didn't hit the score sheet. I e-mailed the team last week to put forward WI's suggestion that the organist learns the Swedish Chef music, so that when they play it the crowd can cheer, "Børk, børk, børk," at the appropriate time. I'll follow up if I get any sort of response from the team's entertainment people.

In non-Flames hockey info, WI, myself and a couple of WI's buddies (Em and Lori) caught the Canadian National Women's team vs. the US at the 'dome on Tuesday night. All I can say is, if those were the two best women's teams in the world, then Canada is #1. Hayley Wickenheiser plays a whole different game; her passes are so fast, her teammates sometimes have trouble getting control. If Canada has a weakness, its that they play a rough and tumble game, which in women's hockey earns you serious penalty minutes. Can't wait to watch them in the Olympics.

At the women's game, we stopped for a few of that favourite Saddledome treat, Pocket Dawgs. It wasn't particularly busy around the kiosk, so WI had a chance to fully inform the manager of the numerous sponsorship opportunities available with Nigel Dawes. It was a lot like this:

"Seriously, all you need to do is change ONE LETTER, and pocket dawgs become pocketdawes! You could donate to charity or give a discount whenever pocketdawes scores. The possibilities are endless!"

Okay, maybe I didn't actually hear the convo, but she was pretty excited and I have to say, pocketdawes is a solid nickname.

It was also recommended to me that I should replace my imaginary girlfriend (you probably haven't met her) with #12, Meaghan Mikkelson (D) (interview clip) from the Canadian squad. Now, Meaghan is in fact a real person, so I am going to limit myself to saying that she's hot and loves hockey, so she's aces in my book. Good luck to her and the team, and I'll be cheering at the TV when she's on the ice. I will be in Van during the games, but with tickets being complicated and expensive, not likely I'll get to see them in person. Still, if anyone has a good idea for a fan nickname for Meaghan that I can shout from the stands, I'm taking suggestions.

Looking forward to afternoon hockey this weekend and the Canadian Junior squad on Tuesday where we'll get to see a little action from Nemisz. Go Flames!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

just for kicks....

i found this little gem this morning and i gotta say, it makes me love nystrom just a little bit more... if you ask ME, his answers are pretty much bang on.... ;) also, freddan's been a favorite of mine for ages and i like him even more now: i fully respect his logic (and humour) in this clip....

aaaaaand brandon prust proves undenyably that he's just a caveman deep down inside.

huge matchup against the avs tonight.
fingers crossed...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

i have interesting friends (aka: slow news day)

i got the most unbelievably hilarious text message yesterday:

"have you ever heard of a guy named pat lafontaine ?"

uh.... uh-hunh. ummm.... the dude's an effin' HALL OF FAMER.... not to mention that when i was young and my brother and i would play hand-hockey with the neighbourhood kids in my basement (picture it: one-on-one, hands and knees, rolled up sock for a puck) and i was ALWAYS NYI. what can i say, my brother was bigger than me and therefore had veto on being the flames. ;)

anyhow, i'm not sure why but a buddy of mine apparently spent the day with the dude at his house on long island. i'm guessing it was for some tv thing (my friend is known to occasionally tote a wickedly high-end pro camera) but he says there are a ton of photos he took cause he was constantly thinking of me [um, obviously he was thinking of me because he's working my dreamjob]..... for some reason, i feel a little weird posting his personal snapshots here so let me just describe them to you, instead.

the first pic is a team USA jersey, framed and signed by what i presume to be the entire 1984 olympic team. according to my buddy, ol'patty went to the attic and put on his sarajevo jersey for the first time since... the second pic is of the priceless hockey relics above his fireplace: there are some vintage skates and gloves, and what i dare say would be a game-worn lafleur jersey. apparently there are some good stories involved with the items....

anyhow, the pic that i WILL post is this one cause it's pretty beautiful ---like a painting. i guess if you're a hockey legend, you can afford a kickass home on a lake. ;)
*sigh* now i kinda miss that guy....

Thursday, December 10, 2009


at the 'dome, the dawgs are ALWAYS winning....

i'll give full credit to awildermode for making up the nickname "backelhinney", but i came up with "pocketdawes" all by myself, and i'm awfully proud of it... i told my buddy jho, the other day, that it was the best nickname of all time but he seemed to think that king tut still holds that title (i totally disagree, mind you).

last night, my friend fwy gave me a pair of bleeders and so mikeH and i braved the snow to watch the flames play the thrashers. i think it was the altitude (coupled with the zillion 'dome pints that i ingested along the way) that made me tell everyone in section 303 about nigel's new moniker. i'll be honest, though, they were amused.... Interestingly, another pal o'mine, bennie, sent me the following in an email this morning:

"So I went to the game last night and had really sweet seats the the fan960 gave me. Lower bowl 20th row in a corner. Man are they ever quiet down there. I’m used to sitting 18 rows up in sec225. Anyway, I’ve got a few heroins into me and when dawes scored I stood up and tried to start a pocketdawes chant. Crickets. No one joined in. got a few laughs though. that nickname rules. ;)"

pockedawes, the way mikeH likes him: with mustard and cheese.
(big-ups to my bro for the p'shopping)

on another tack, i've got hand it to ken king for walking along the 'concourse' in the 300's about halfway through the third period. seriously, that's a really good way for the organization's president to get accosted by drunks [so, obviously, i took this incredible opportunity to ask a question for my pal in SoCal]. The exchange went a little bit like this:

"excuse me, sorry.... mr. king ?"

kk, not looking even the slightest bit put out (though, admittedly, not overly excited), acknowledged me with something like, "hi there."

"i just wanted to ask you when you think #14 will be raised to the rafters ?"

kk paused at this, and replied something that i would have probably remembered after the first two or three beers, but after four i'm afraid his initial response has gotten lost in the recesses of my brain.... he continued, "well, some time needs to pass."

"not too much time, i hope...." i said with a grin, "cause you gotta retire 14 before 12."

he smiled a little, i said thanks, and i went back to the chair i was occupying (which was totally not assigned to me). his response leads me to believe that fleury will most likely get his jersey retired eventually, but that it might take another few seasons.... i suppose that's fair ---after all, theo only just got reinstated by the league 3 months ago, after being suspended for six years.... ;)

onwards and upwards, i guess....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

if you don't adore giordano, this post might make you puke.... ;)

while i've really liked the guy since his multi-game call-up in 2005/2006, it was just over a year now since i announced mark giordano was my favorite current flames player, and decided that it would be his nickname adorning my favorite jersey (sooooo, we can call it our anniversary, if you like)... ;)

alot of people think that my devotion is based on his rugged good looks and strong italian roots, his uncanny ability to grow a 5 o'clock shadow at 10am, his resemblence to mr. bean, and the way he skates with his tongue out (concentrating like a five year old). the truth is: i'm thoroughly amused by gio's antics but let's not mistake my fascination with him for my fondness for forsberg ---which is a totally different kindof thing... ;) i love gio because he's always been a positionally solid defenseman with a great outlet pass, who makes WAY more great decisions than he does bad, and can skate his way out of trouble.... he's a dude that's overcome going undrafted and is probably the only player to ever roll the dice against darryl sutter and WIN... oh, and he's pretty affordable in the salary cap era.

convincing other folks of my boy's greatness wasn't always easy, but i sure did my best to get the word out.... what can i say ? i've always pulled for the underdog, and gio has made a career out of being an underrated player... bear in mind that his last coach pretty much called him out for getting hisself clutterbucked.

in the past few seasons, gio has climbed his way from undrafted torontonian, to farm-team regular, to russian league ground-stander, to 3rd pairing-low minutes defender to punching bag (keenan era), to goon, to a guy who regularly lines up beside one of the league's elite: jay bouwmeester... and let's be honest, friends: he doesn't look out of place in that 20-or-so minutes per night role on a division-leading team's top pairing (note to anybody who thinks 4 & 5 are NOT the team's top two ? dream on.....) .....ahhhh, it's like watching a flower bloom: soooo beautiful.

one of my alltime favorite blogger quotes came from kyle [and it's been so long i can't even remember what kyle's website was] who said very aptly, "I'd rank our defence as Phaneuf, (Robyn) Regehr, Hamrlik, Ference, Warrener, Giordano, Ritchie (Regehr), You, Me, Darryl Sutter, Zyuzin." while this was written as a comment on how godawful zyuzin was (is?), it still listed gio as a mid-range defender at quite a young age....

well, i was just alerted to the presence of a public loveletter to my boy gio that was printed in an actual semi-respectable publication (thanks to olddog for the heads-up) where he gets some serious love from his peers... allz i gotta say is that it's about freakin' time.... ;)

i'll cut and paste it here, for those future days when it's no longer a vyable link (it's just that good).


Keeping track of his old pals, Craig Conroy remembers tuning in one night.

This is early 2006-07, and Conroy, then with the Los Angeles Kings, eagerly watches the Calgary Flames visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

One new face dazzles him.

“He scored two goals,” Conroy recalls. “I thought, ‘Wow. Who is this guy? Giordano? Never heard of him.’ ”

At that, the geyser of gushing becomes completely uncorked.

“Now? Just to see how good he is on a daily basis . . . . ”

Kind words, which is Conroy’s hallmark.

But before you smirk and slot this warm — and getting warmer — appraisal of Mark Giordano into the Conroy-being-Conroy file, know this: buzz is widespread.

Columbus Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, the other morning, is asked about Calgary’s defence. He responds by singling out Giordano. Calls him underrated.

Two weeks ago at Anaheim, Flames coach Brent Sutter, after fielding the obligatory queries regarding Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester, takes happy hold of a Giordano question and whacks it out of the park.

“He’s probably been one of our most steady guys, right from the get-go,” starts Sutter, whose Flames next face the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night. “He can skate. He can move the puck. He’s a battler. He gets into the areas you need a defenceman to go into. He wants to be the first guy on the puck when he’s playing in his zone.

“He’s been a real, real good player for us — very solid.”

No argument there.

In 26 outings, Giordano has suffered only five minus nights — nothing worse than minus-one, and none in the past month.

But talking about his fine play isn’t easy for Giordano. And not only because Aaron Johnson and Adam Pardy are cackling nearby.

Is he at least proud of his progress? He waves it off.

“Once you start thinking like that, you get too comfortable where you are. You hear a lot of positive talk. When you hear something good from your coach, it goes a long way.”

And, as Sutter notes, the 26-year-old has been sturdy since September. While star forwards struggled in the early going, while high-profile defencemen hiccuped through adjustments, Giordano smoothly left the gate.

He, however, had had as much to worry about as anyone else, after losing the final months of last National Hockey League season because of injury. He needed to prove himself. Again. To another coach.

Cutting short his campaign had been Minnesota thumper Cal Clutterbuck, who pasted him.

(Then-boss Mike Keenan publicly scolded his defenceman for being unprepared for the lick. “I don’t blame myself — it was a hockey play,” Giordano says now. “I had the puck, I tried to make a play, he hit me.”)

The resulting ripped-up shoulder tendon required surgery.

The resulting lineup hole required Jordan Leopold’s addition.

“Everyone talks about (losing Rene Bourque and Regehr to injuries down the stretch) . . . but, to me, I think Gio was the key to the whole thing,” says Conroy. “I said it last year and I’ll say it again — he brings so much more than people give him credit for. He finds you, when you’re open, in stride, on your tape. And he gets back to get the puck quick. As a centre, I’m coming back to support him and he beats a lot of guys on his own down low. That creates time and space for the rest of us to get out of the zone.

“Very under-rated in my opinion.”

While modest in self-assessment — “We’re only 20-some games in . . . I’ve felt pretty good” — Giordano’s best asset is unwithering fearlessness. Not in a brawling sort of way, although he has shucked his gloves twice this season.

But in a gimme-the-puck sort of way.

At his first camp, it was obvious (even to reporters) that he played without pause. Unlike other young blueliners, there was never a hot-potato aspect to Giordano’s approach.

“I have to want the puck. It’s part of my game — I have to want to make plays,” says the Toronto native. “When I’m not playing well, that’s exactly what happens — you shy away from taking chances, you shy away from wanting to make plays. That’s when you hesitate, and that’s when guys in this league will jump all over you.”

Meaning swagger stays at the top of his priority list.

There is no substitute for poise, Giordano knows.

“Confidence, that’s the biggest thing. One year, a guy will be top of the league, the next year, he won’t. Why is it? It’s not because his skill’s gone away. It’s because his confidence has gone away, right?”

Averaging 19 minutes nightly, Giordano, who represents a cap hit of $892,000 US for this season and next, has supplied eight points and a plus-three rating.

Which makes him, what exactly?

A No. 5 defenceman? A No. 4?

A No. 3 on another team perhaps?

Giordano declines to play along.

“I don’t want to define myself in a certain role,” he says. “The thing with me, I just want to be solid every game, be a big part of it every game.

“I don’t want to be considered just an extra depth guy or anything like that.”

----scott cruikshank, calgary herald dec 1/09

eff, yeah people !!! bring on the love for my BOY !!!!

ps: i'm guessing there will be a zillion posts and texts tomorrow to alert me to this article, cause there's a whole helluva lot of people that see gio and think wi.... which i'm undenyably proud of, btw. also proud that when you google-image "mark giordano" at the bottom of the first page is the separated at birth that i did a few years back...


ps: gio, if you're reading this: i want my jersey signed. ;)

Monday, November 30, 2009

monday randoms: into december....!

another week of monday randoms and we'll be into december. god, that's frightening.... :) without further ado, here are the thoroughly unimportant things rolling around in my grey matter.
  • you really gotta give it to those 'rider fans.... on their way east on highway #1 at 9am, i passed a green minivan with saskatchewan plates. the passengers looked fairly hungover and hugely disappointed, and freshly decalled on the back windshield were the words "THE 13th VAN." way to take a kick in the groin with dignity, friends...
***UPDATE: it's now becoming clear that 'rider fans refer to themselves (ie: the crowd) as the 13th man.... ohhhh, jeeeez... damian durant was even quoted on friday as saying "I hope to see a home game and green throughout,'' said Durant. "I want our 13th man to be present. It's huge for us to have this game here because this is Rider Nation Part Two.'' i hope there's a lot of room for tongue in those cheeks cause that nickname just received a whole new significance.... i guess that explains how the drunk travellers from the city that rhymes with fun managed to decal their vehicle so effin' quickly !!!! i guess they're gonna have to re-name the fans "the 14th man." ahhhhh, damn you poetic justice !!!
  • the grade eight style rubber sparkly bracelets finally all made it to my left wrist after the win in detroit on friday night. the first one is already back on the right wrist after the victory in columbus.... if you have no idea what i'm talking about, that's probably best. if you're curious, it looks a little something like this:

  • i am a complete and total loser. most of you already knew this
  • i'm still thinking about trying to hook up a blogger meet-up over the xmas season. i'm totally open to dates and games but i'm thinkin' that december 23rd v. the blues looks kinda decent.... monday, december 28th v. the oilers looks like a fantastic opportunity, being that the game is in edmonton, but it's currently not televised. thoughts ? if there's interest, we could go to flames central or the like. if there's no interest then i bet mikeH and i will just watch it from one of our sofas, like usual.... ;)
  • while i REALLY like the resilience the flames showed in their comeback against the redwings and the jackets, i really DON'T like the way they tend to give up two goals for the price of one, these days...
  • jamie lundmark pretty much lost a game for us last week by sending an errant pass out of the corner onto the stick of the opposition (if only i could remember what team that was). i guess he felt bad about it cause he pretty much WON a game for us in the shootout on saturday.... ;)
  • for those of you following along at home, theoren fleury's book has (apparently, according to #14) sold 75,000 copies. also ? he's taking acting lessons. insert your own joke here.
  • if i liked pat quinn at all, i'd probably feel bad for him by now..... just when you think the oilers couldn't get any worse, comrie gets mono, hemsky tears his labrum, khabibooboo's contract is already looking ridiculous (havlat, anyone ?), and pisani's back on the shelf with his gut issues... the best part ? tambellini hasn't done a goddamn thing about it.
  • has their xmas gift spree on. my favorite was the video for the jerseys: they talk alot about the "authentic" jerseys, and the "premiere" jerseys but (even though the little giggling girlish tart is wearing one) they never mention the "ice flirt" by name. i wonder why ??!? ;)
  • has anyone else noticed that pocketdawes has been on FIRE since receiving his new nickname ? ;)
  • last, but certainly not least, congratulations to the entire calgary flames organization for bringing the team to top spot in the NW; two points and two games in hand over the avs. we're also tied for second in the conference, though chicago's holding two wins against us for a stronghold on that position. five points behind the sharks with three games in hand means that if the flames can continue a string of victories, we could feasibly take top spot in the league by xmas....
okay that's it for now. back to work....
have an awesome week, everyone !!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

About blogging from Toronto, then some actual Flames stuff on Jokinen and Phaneuf

The price I pay for being a Flames fan in Toronto is higher than the $229 per year I pay for Centre Ice. I also lose a lot of sleep, because games rarely start before 9 p.m. And, as a result of not having other fans to watch games with, I've taken to PVRing the things and watching late, late into the night, not live, and urging hometown friends like WI to NOT TEXT ME ANYTHING ABOUT THE RESULT. And, of course, because I'm not watching live, I'm not participating in the game thread over at Matchsticks and Gasoline, which is usually where I get my motivation to write.

Anyway, oddly, my motivation today is the Stampeders-less Grey Cup I'm sitting through. So, I'm here now, and I have a couple of thoughts past the rare nugget I throw into comments at the various quality Flames blogging locations that I frequent:

1. Four games ago, I yelled at the TV for the first time this year, and did it several times, always at Olli Jokinen. I went to bed grumbling, wondering how this was ever going to work out. Then, the last three games, it's like he realized he'd better mix some good plays in with the bad if he ever wants another NHL contract. (Perhaps WI should take credit.)

I still suspect this is a temporary dip into the pool of respectability, but something that has me quite chuffed is that his biggest improvement has been in the field of "vision." The pass to Boyd last night on the 3-2 goal against Columbus was, frankly, phenomenal. As was the rush on the play at the end of the Anaheim game (the one where I was yelling at him), where he knew Jarome Iginla was going to be in the slot on the tying goal, and found him with a perfect pass.

He's doing a lot of this in crucial moments as well. So: Keep it up, big guy! And, if you don't, I'll still get a kick out of calling you Sex Panther.

2. About a month ago, I noticed that Dion Phaneuf no longer had an "A" on his uniform, anywhere. Last year he had it at home and on the road, and to start this year he was wearing it at home at handing it over on the road. The guy wearing it now, of course, is Jay Bouwmeester. I can't say this is a surprise, given the clear division of skills and maturity between the two players, but I think it also says a lot about how the Sutters are seeing the future. And I think it's a lot like Matt sees it. (Update: The Flames say this is about expanding the leadership group, and Craig Conroy says Phaneuf is fine with it.)

I've long argued here that the Flames ought not give up on Phaneuf's potential, and I'm pleased that he's showed clear improvement this year under Brent Sutter and Ryan McGill. I also know that teams like the Detroit Red Wings do well with more than one star-level-paid defenceman. But I didn't know, till he got to Calgary, what a crazy talent Jay Bouwmeester really is.

He does make Phaneuf expendable.

flambés v. les vestons bleus: in noodles we trust

i didn't think they had it in'em.

early in the third period, with the team looking quite lackluster and the jackets defense continually besting the flames' O, i was resigned to the loss. i was mourning for backelhinney ---who had a pretty seriously good first period and (although he let in a bit of a softie) deserved AT LEAST a point from the well-matched game.... i was already making the "back to back" excuse in my head and wondering what else was on the telly.

"i'm gonna have a ten minute nap," said my roommate, "and when i wake up, the game'll be tied and my cab'll be here."

"fat chance," i thought to myself, "this game is soooo OVER."

well, thank goodness i was totally, utterly, and completely WRONG. ;) my reaction to boyder's tally was a relatively calm head-nod with a "well there you go" face, but i actually roused my roomie from his slumber with my outburst following the pocketdawes goal.... he was beyond amused and vowed to make more pre-sleep predictions in the future.... "well, your cab's not here yet," i proclaimed just before the doorbell rang. ;)

though backelhinney has gotten a lot of criticism on blogs and message boards, i think the guy's doing a pretty solid job (and it seems as though don cherry agrees with me). i did a little bit of research on the unfavorable situations the flames threw him into last season, and noted that the results were less than encouraging.... my hypothesis was that if cumac were ever placed in a position to win, he would....

over the summer, goaltending coach david marcoux was replaced by former backup [note: that's one of my favorite links of alltime] and all-around good dude, jamie mclennan, aka: noodles. last season he tagged along with the C's as the "head of goaltender development" (though some joker on tsn put "head of goaltender equipment" on the ticker).... it's still a bit of a mystery to me what exactly is going on in the netminding department of the flames behind closed doors, but something is affecting the play of both kiprusoff and backelhinney ---and the coach seems like the most likely of sources. as for my hypothesis above, in an article on, noodles refutes the theory, stating "It’s not about placing him in the right situation, it’s about him earning it. Any situation he’s in, he’s got to rise to the challenge... That’s his job. Curtis has definitely given himself a right to play."


while i've been pondering it for weeks now, ron maclean straight up announced last night that "jamie mclennan is the secret to goaltender success in calgary." simply by reviewing the play of both kipps and cumac, one would think this statement is accurate.... kipper has never looked positionally stronger, and seems to be handling the puck far more often and with way more accuracy..... over on the gamethread at m&g (which i thoroughly monopolized last night), commenter dph noted that he'd heard "an interesting interview with Kipper where he said that Noodles knew more about trends of different guys shooting habits then anyone he’d worked with." well, if there's truth in that, then perhaps this past summer, darryl sutter made an epic hiring of heroically understated proportions (akin to the kiprusoff and bourque trades).

plus he's a hilarious interview, an all-around good guy, and has astroboy hair.
wait.... is noodles single ?!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

flames v. 'yotes: accountability

okay, this is starting to get seriously annoying....

the general manager of the calgary flames hired his brother to be the squad's head coach and the two of them preached that there would need to be accountability for all players and personnel... well, we're 23 games in (that's more than a quarter season) and olli jokinen is still getting some pretty sweet icetime, alongside the captain, even though he's probably one of the worst forwards on the ice every single night. i presume the fact that the flambés are still notching Ws is the only thing keeping him away from the third line.... well, that and the general sutter hubris; there's no way a guy that darryl deemed to be worth 5.5 mil/year + matt lombardi, jim vandermeer & a 1st round draft pick should be playing on the third line. ever.

nothing new here.

what IS a little bit interesting is that the mainstream sports media refuses to take this particular angle on the subject, even though it's become painfully (and i mean PAINFULLY) clear that olli isn't going to amount to a whole heckuva lot here in cowtown. they keep referring to him as "snakebitten" when he consistantly fans on a shots infront of downed goalies and gaping nets, and he's hit more posts than a web surfer.... yet we keep getting told that he's about to turn a corner.... that he's on the verge of being an elite centreman on a stanley cup contending team... but if you look at his stats, he's a career -85 and good portion of his tallies ---almost a THIRD-- have historically been on the powerplay (which is not likely to occur with calgary's horrendous man-advantage record)....
[note: if he actually WERE to turn a corner, i will gladly take all of this back]

it sortof reminds me how last year, the MSM kept informing the general public that bertuzzi was awesome, and i saw enough #7 jerseys at the 'dome to believe their message was getting through.... i can see how he might have had some memorable offensive moments, and i guess he put up relatively decent numbers for a 1.9 million dollar guy, but he was largely useless in the neutral zone and a terrible, horrible backchecker. it seems to me, however, that the sportswriters and radio personnel that we've grown to trust neglected to mention that ol' sparklepants left his mojo back in vancouver 2003....

well, last night i was listening to the fan960's postgame and i was kindof surprised to hear the following (i believe it was rob kerr, but i could be mistaken) in the out of town scoreboard segment, regarding the detroit/atlanta matchup:
"it goes without saying that todd bertuzzi was held scoreless"
um.... seriously ??!?! for a public sports personality to figuratively kick big bert in the groin mere months after repeatedly telling the fans how talented (albeit covertly) the power forward can be, seemed like a pretty enormous statement on what kind of crap they regularly feed the hungry fanbase.... and totally applies to the current jokinen debacle.

as i mention in my post below, anton effin' strålman has put up better numbers than the wildcard this year....

where' the accountability in THAT ?!?!?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

flames v. ducks: righting the ship

i've really only got a couple of game notes from last night's tilt at the pond, and i think there were a LOT of positives to take away from the third period (aka: the third mini-game). i can't wait til the floodgates open up behind some of these middling opposing goalies and we can actually get some goals. certainly wasn't for a lack of effort in anaheim, that's for damn sure....

i know i'm the biggest giordano supporter in the universe but the little things he was doing right a year ago (that made me want his name on my jersey) are taking over his game. sure, he's still prone to making occasional errors [so is jaybouw, who's widely considered to be one of the league's best] but he is SO SOUND positionally, and SO SMART with the puck that some really good things are starting to happen. he's listed as having 4 shots on goal last night, but i think i saw about twice that number of well-aimed bullets come off of gio's stick.

being a solid defenseman makes your partner that much stronger, and pairing gio with pardy was definitely a good call by brent/mcgill cause the young newfoundlander is starting to reap the benefits. i think pardy had his best game last night; i'm fairly sure that he saw some tougher than usual competition and was hella strong on the puck.

right now i see dion as the biggest problem on the blueline and it seems to me that it's a confidence issue. if there's any truth to the "selfish" comments or the presumption that he's disliked by his fellow Dmen, then perhaps dion's not the happiest guy in calgary right now (hollywood starlet girlfriend or NOT). he certainly refuses to engage the body infront of the net, and seems to defer to the point slapper at every turn (especially on the PP ---this HAS to stop). like they're discussing over at M&G today: i just don't see the accountability. if i were coaching this team, dion (not sjöström) would be sitting for a game.

as for my favorite of whipping boys, i think jokinen had a decent match last night. unlike #3, the wildcard was attempting hits, and being a bit more creative with the puck. the pass to glenX for the breakaway goal was pure genius, and the pass to iggy for the tying goal in the third was also well-played. while i still see him flat-footed more often than i'd like, he's unquestionably improving ---even if it IS baby steps...

the officiating in the game last night was some of the worst i've seen in ages. i really hope that whomever is in charge (this is me being too lazy to look it up) has a look at that game and points some things out to their minions.... a BLATANT non-call as glenX was tripped up coming out of the zone on a PK, and i really don't know how ANYONE (much less the refs) could have missed the guy holding sarich's stick behind the net. sarich was pretty much two-handed YANKING on his stick and the duck player still had a hold of it.... aaaaand if there was ever a textbook case of dangerous goaltender interference, it was corey perry's first offense last night. the second one (the one that led to an on-ice scuffle and offsetting minors to phaneuf and boynton) was clearly of jokinen's doing....

the other talking points of the game were:
  • iggy not taking the shootout
  • mcgrattan and prust drawing in over sjöström
for the first, i gotta say that it was probably a mistake (even though i was all for sitting the captain, who's got a terrible shootout %, at the time)... with bourque and sjöström out of the lineup, iggy's probably a better bet than dawes for the first man.... though i think giving jokinen and glenX the nod was the right call... ultimately, i think the flames had better start practicing the shootout (there's no way we do now), cause those are some seriously big points to lose come the end of the season....

as for the second point , i truly think that freddan's unwell. maybe he had the sniffles or perhaps he's a little extra bruised somewhere but i don't see how that guy getting pressbox time over prust AND mcgrattan is a hockey decision. while he's no longer considered first line material (*snicker*), his +/- 8:00 per night is over twice that of the other two players; i simply don't understand why brent would essentially limit himself to three lines by giving the swede the night off....

still no word on bourque's injuries.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

monday randoms:

thank goodness that mikeH came along when he did cause i got so busy hangin' with my new bff, the third richest dude in canada (galen weston), that i didn't have much of a chance to write anything over here at hit the post.... okay, it's not entirely true ---we didn't do much hangin' out, me and G, but i DID meet the guy this week and i gotta say that for a billionaire he's pretty chill. awesome, awesome guy...

as for hockey-related stuff, i've come up with the following tidbits:

  • mike comrie has been diagnosed with mononucleosis (aka: the kissing disease) which essentially means that he's out of the lineup for at least a month, even if he feels up to playing, to avoid damaging his spleen. this is, of course, the latest in a string of illnesses befalling the northern greasers, and terrible news to both pat quinn and hilary duff.... while there's no indication the duffster is symptomatic of the orally transmitted sickness, it could really knock out the entire cast of gossip girl (what with all the onscreen and offscreen romances). i'd do a chart but it seems like a lot of work... suffice it to say that if comrie's infected and smooching with duff, well duff's character (olivia) is smooching dan AND vanessa on the show. offscreen, the guy that plays dan is making out with the girl who plays serena, and the girl that plays vanessa is swappin' spit with the guy that plays chuck bass. going back to onscreen, serena's about to start neckin' with nate, and chuck bass is on-and-off with blair. if you've managed to follow this at all, it's totally feasible that the entire cast of the hit CW teendrama gets knocked out by the mono supplied to them by some dude from a hockey team in edmonton.
  • i'm trying to be positive about olli jokinen but he's not making it very easy for me... i was reading some old blogs and found a most hilarious post over at the guerrilla sports network's now defunct original site. let's just say that i would like to dub joker the flames' new official "tester of post and crossbar structural integrity." another thing that struck me late last night was the following:

  • if you take note, one set of those stats belong to the wildcard. the other ? anton effin' strålman. yeah, that's right: one set of stats belongs to a guy we traded two roster players and a first rounder (and pay 5.5 million dollars) and the other set belong to a guy we traded for a 3rd round draft pick, and who makes less than a mil. same stats, pretty much. oh, and one guy plays with jarome iginla and the other guy plays defense for the columbus bluejackets.... it's a pretty dismal state of affairs, if you ask me... for the record ? the guy with the better shooting % and fewer penalty minutes is strålman. ugh.
  • the good news is that iggy is positively on FIRE and both glenX and mossy showed some signs of life against the kings on saturday. also notable about this game was that the flames were able to come out victorious in an afternoon game.... ;)
  • bummer that the stamps didn't beat the 'riders, but in flamesville that's probably good news... thanks to mikeH for making me believe that this superstition is actually based in reality... also ? i'm hoping that chris getzlaf is the only getzlaf who does damage against a calgary-based team this week....
  • how good is rich peverley ?? my old roommate's cousin has as many points as heatley and is really helping me stay in the running for my pool....
  • the blackhawks' swing thru the NW ended with six points in three games.... they thoroughly embarassed calgary, then won a couple of tighter ones against deadmonton and the ugly nucklings.... i'm pretty sure chicago's the real deal (and marian hossa isn't even healthy yet). cup contender to be sure.... and yet another reason to think that you gotta hit rock bottom and get a high draft pick to win a championship....
okay, that's about it... it was a slow news week....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Superstitions: Stamps vs. Flames

Although I am a fan on the Flames, I like to spend time during the offseason on the benches at McMahon stadium. Now, I've heard a lot of hockey fans tell me that football is boring/dumb/sucks, and its hard to argue with personal taste (unless you like baseball). For those people, I offer this scenario: Sunny summer evening, $17 ticket, Spolumbos italian sausage in the right hand, frosty cold Molson product in the left, and brutal, ritualized violence. It makes life worth living.

I know that WI has numerous Flames superstitions; jrXL vs. Gio, jrXL washing, tupperware(?), the black aces, and right now she is passing plastic bangles from one wrist to the other with every win/loss. So when WI was good enough to come along on my second seat this summer, she offered this comment:

"I'm sorry, but I find it hard to cheer for the Stamps. Any season where they're winning the Flames can't get it together."

I'd like to have her on our side this Sunday, so I ran the numbers. To prove that the guys at M&G aren't the only ones who can post mathy stuff, try this on:

I took some artistic license with the axes and had to smooth out the line for the strike season, but it sure looks impressive and carries an air of statistical authority. When I run the correlation, it comes out to -0.3. A weak negative correlation, but she's not completely wrong. Damn.

Then I thought, what about the championships? Maybe both teams have won at the same time, erasing the possibility of a link. Now, the CFL only has 8 teams, so winning a Grey Cup isn't nearly as unlikely as winning an NHL championship. Also, the Flames sample size is a little small, so for hockey I went with divisional champsionships and Grey Cups for the Stamps. Here they are:

Again, it would seem that the two teams cannot have good seasons in concert. This is all unfortunately in support of WI's assertion, so I guess I'll have to let her cheer against my team this afternoon.

Just don't wear green. Only douchebags wear green.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Post: Hail to the Chief

As previously mentioned by wi, I have tons of useless things to say, and now she's given me a piece of the internet to dump them on. Without further ado...

I attended a luncheon today where Ken King was the keynote. I've heard Ken several times over the years, and he is an excellent speaker and ambassador for hockey and his teams. He looks to be in better shape every time I see him, and he's pretty proud to be 60 pounds lighter (good on him I say).

So Mr. King was a little cautious about the potential for media in the room; he said that after one of these engagements, he got back to the office and the girl at the front desk was reading notes from his speech off a blog. Lucky for him, he won't get this until the next day. Most of the talk was general thoughts on success in business and life. Sincere, well delivered, and valuable. Nothing too earth shattering, and he only really dealt with hockey in the q&a. The hockey related highlights:

New Arena - 3-5 years they plan to roll out a complete proposal. Two potential sites both located near the 'dome with the land already in hand. He got ahead of the important question ("Who's gonna to pay for it?"), and just asked that people don't pre-judge the proposal before its made. He thinks everyone has an opinion of the public value of a new facility, but he doesn't want to presume a financing structure at this stage. In support of the discussion, apparently 1.8 million people travel through the 'dome every year among all of its various events. As for the Saddledome, it would be "decommissioned from its current use". Let's just say the monster truck rally might need to find a new barn.

Hamilton Blackberries (or maybe, RIMjobs?) - He was asked why the Flames voted against Balsillie's proposal (since the BoG vote was unanimous against). The meetings are confidential, but he had an interesting take on the role of the league. He said when you attend the meeting, you have 30 people all working together as partners to make the NHL the best it can be, and then as soon as you leave the room you want nothing more than to destroy those 29 opponents. He suggested that it takes a special kind of trust to make that type of partnership operate, so you need to know that the rules are going to be followed. Balsillie was flaunting those rules before he was even part of the group. That said, he does think that Balsillie will some day obtain a team through a more "conventional" process.

Winnipeg Nordiques/Quebec Jets - At the end of the discussion on a theoretical Hamilton team, there was a little follow up convo on the potential impacts on Buffalo, the large number of Flames jerseys in the stands last Friday, and whether the Flames were the "Switzerland" of the NHL (i.e. when your home team isn't playing, you cheer for the Flames). Out of this came the comment that the most likely new Canadian franchise would be Quebec City. Apparently, french language television generates quite a bit of revenue, which is currently the exclusive domain of the Habs. According to Mr. King, tv revenue is second only to ticket sales in team economics, and Quebec City should have enough of both to harbour a team. News is not so good for the 'peg. The quote was something along the lines of, "If you could run a team on emotional capital, Winnipeg would have two." Unfortunately, that's just not enough.

A-town Heat - The Heat are apparently averaging around 3,000 per game, with a break-even of 3,200 or so, therefore currently running a deficit. They are working on some joint marketing with Chilliwack, as it would seem the two teams are competing for the same butts anyways.

Flu Shots - Not much here that hasn't already been overcooked, but he just went back over the decisions to say at that moment in time it made logical sense to have a family clinic for the team, and no one was ever trying to slip one past or step in front of a person with greater need. Besides the team themselves, 15 children under 5-years, 3 pregnant women, and 3 at-risk people with other illness were part of the "family" that were immunized.

There you go, not too punchy, but at least its long and dull. Sad to say I didn't win the pair of tickets to tonight's game (or the autographed Kipper jersey) that he gave away, so I'll be parked in front of the tube. Thanks again WI for the room to breathe.

Go Flames Go!!!

flames v. hawks: NEWSFLASH !!!

i'm at work in the midst of a meeting as we speak.... ie: this will be devastatingly short.

i feel kinda bad that there will be little-to-no hoopla about this announcement, but good friend and sometimes commenter, mikeH, will be joining the hitthepost fold since he's suitably funny and likes the flames (and over on this site that's MORE than ample in the way of credentials....).

i'm sure duncan will be thrilled to have a collegue who also uses capital letters and proper punctuation.... ;)

so mikeH went to some ken king speechy q&a thing today and emailed me a shitload of notes, to which i said "jeez, man.... post that drivel YOURSELF." ipso facto: welcome to the team, mikeH !!!!

as for the game tonight, the 'hawks have been like water to the flames in the past year or so, and i expect a good match (if not two points)... a little tidbit of insider information came to me a few days ago stating that our good pal robyn regehr has been playing with quite the bum elbow for a couple of weeks.... it's the right one. let's see if it's bugging him during play, shall we ?

go flames GO !!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the flames, by number

1. if things continue status quo, i doubt backelhinney will see game action until november 28th in columbus ---the second game of a back to back (same ol' story...). the first game's in detroit, though, so: fair enough

3. dion did not have a good game tonight. again. he kindof reminds me of the first line in the chorus of a paula abdul song.... and i don't think comparing dion phaneuf to a paula abdul song is wrong in the slightest.... ;)

4. think about this: on the trade deadline last year, we dealt defensive prospect ryan wilson to the avs (with lawrence nycholat, who we picked up off of waivers) for jordan leopold. in the summer, we turned around and traded leopold to the panthers for the rights to negotiate with jay bouwmeester.... so technically: ryan wilson for jaybouw. good trade. buuuuuuut it didn't look so good tonight....
[ps: i'm gonna have to stop saying that we got leopold for a sack of pucks...]

5. gio skates with his tongue out probably nine times out of ten when he's breaking out of the zone.... it's cute. ;)

6. sarich laid one of his best ever hits tonight just before the final buzzer, but it had nothing on the windexing he demonstrated back in the playoffs a couple of years ago [a "career hit", if there ever was one]:

7. adam pardy is from bonavista newfoundland.... i just figured you might not have heard that yet today.... ;)

8. have a safe trip out west. say hi to backlund and aulie for me. see you soon, i figure.

10: i would imagine mcG draws back in next game, both to try to punch up byfuglien and cause i bet the coach think the flames played better with him on the bench.... [hell, I'M superstitious so it wouldn't be fair to think otherwise...]

11. freddan didn't have the best game; he got relegated to the fourth line from the "first," and played about seven minutes (down from an average of about twelve-ish). also ? i've really warmed up to calling him freddan. that's how he signs his blogs....

12. december 21 is my birthday, so i'm keenly aware that the world is supposed to end on that day in 2012. mm/dd for this is 12/21, which is suitable cause it feels like bad things are gonna happen when those two are on the ice together.... hence: the apocolypse line [i would also accept the doomsday line]... it works especially well with glencross on the wing cause then it's 12/21/20(12) ....i haven't seen the movie but i figure iggy's like the john cusack character, who presumeably comes out A-OK in the end. ;)

15. brand new nickname for #15 and i think it attests to his size, AND how much of a treat he is at the 'dome: pocketdawes. (d)awesome, right ??? how did we not think of this before ??!? ;)

16. there must be some kind of pledge, by the band of zebras that inhabit the ice, to never call a penalty if the dude drawing it is wearing #16 in a flaming C. boyd gets mugged play after play, night after night and rarely draws a call. i bet this gets pretty annoying.

17. i think bourque's tilt in the last seconds of tonight's game was selfish, and i think that he'll skate extra hard for it in the morning.... cause i'm sure brent was STOKED that he had 6 seconds to tie the game and one of his top players not only spent it in the lockerroom, but the faceoff came all the way back to the flames' zone.

bourque gets two points here in 'by the numbers' cause i've been wanting to say this for awhile. i REALLY would LOVE it if the organist at the 'dome learned how to play the beginning of this song, so that at the end the crowd could yell #17's name in unison. RIGHT ?!? ;)

18. i miss you..... <3

20. in the poll on the flames website, glenX is the fan favorite to play the wing on the apocolypse line (see #12) at 28.49%. [interestingly, dawes takes second at 24.53%, even though he's never played on that line, to my knowledge].

21. he shaved the moustache and lost the mojo. wait. there was no mojo... *le sigh*.... didn't anyone explain to olli how MOvember works ?!?! there's still like two weeks to go !!!!! i'm gonna try to be nice to this jokinen guy, so i WILL say that he drew two defenders to him on the half wall tonight, allowing iggy to waltz into the slot on the first goal.... and also ? in describing jokinen today, my pops stated, "he often shows some incredible flashes of mediocrity."

22. langks did not have his best game ever but i gotta say i think he might be the best positional forward on the team. seriously, the guy is so AWARE.....

23. i think the line of nystrom, boyd, and moss (if given time to meld) could be akin to the glenX, conroy, moss line of last season.

24. best fourth liner centre in the league, i'd say.

25. shades of the dreamcrusher [note: it's from my original eponymous blog] ... mossy's been pretty effin' quiet of late. i hope it doesn't continue....

28. oohhhhhhhh, reggie.... i'm not sure if his pure suckage tonight was cause he was covering for dion's suckage, or if it was the other way around... no matter which way you look at it, re-pairing the blueliners might not be far away....

33. according to my roommate, prust didn't win a fight, he lost a cuddle match.

34. kippy had an off night, and it was still pretty freakin' good.

44. i'm still waiting for an injury on D so this guy will draw in... when he does, i hope it's on a pairing with #7 cause i think it would be rad to see a johnson-pardy matchup. i'll go to a johnson pardy !!! ;)

[*whew* !!!! that was a tough excercise....]

so i haven't written in awhile.....

and i'm not going to now.

here's something for your amusement.... thanks to mikeH for sending it to me. :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

danton comes "clean" and other things we already knew

i'm a day late on this one but to be totally fair ----who cares ?

mike danton (born michael jefferson) has a non-contagious case of the crazies and sat down with the hardest hitting interviewer in the nation, nick kypreos. the allure of this tabloid-news story is found in it's lunacy; danton says a lot of things that either don't make sense or entirely contradict previous/later statements ---like how hiring a hitman could be a "cry for help," if he honestly believed that there was another hitman coming from canada to end his life ?

*shakes head*
there are more holes in this narrative than a wheel of swiss....

i'm quite fascinated by the tale, largely because i can't help but think of it as the poor man's rise and fall of theoren fleury (and i'm not the only one)... yet, while i find myself pulling for theo to succeed, i couldn't care less about where danton ends up... where i see theo as charismatic, virtuous, and earnest (if not simply a good anectodalist), i see danton as manipulative, deceptive, and delusional..... it's not even so much that i think danton's lying, i just don't know if he can see past what he's been told to believe.... theo is slaying his beasts, while danton is still hiding from them....

sportsnet continuously aired teasers for the kypreos/danton interview, during the flames v. canadiens game on tuesday, and these ads became fodder for the beer-guzzling roomful of people i had over. some of the highlights (lowlights ?):

"d'you think danton'll go back to the nhl ?"

"naaaa.... i don't think any teams are THAT bad..."

"if he comes back, will he actually hit guys on the ice, or will he hire someone else to do it ?"

"maybe they should hire danton to coach the hitmen...."

while i'm writing this, i'm listening to the sportsnet interview ----i'm not interested enough in the character that is 'mike danton' to take the time to actually watch it... plus, he's got one of those faces that an old friend of mine used to refer to as "punchable." i'm sortof wincing at the the clichés.... the one-liner danton uses to describe the entire murder-for-hire situation, "it wasn't a very good use of judgement," seems like an understatement here and unfortunatly seems to be a recurring theme in mike danton's life....

best of luck to the guy, though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

jersey debacle pt6: decryption

when i was in high school, somebody gave me a tip on essay writing: if you can't convince'em, confuse'em. i'm certainly not suggesting that it was his intention but the most recent email i received from the flames' director of retail follows this motto to a tee... if anyone can decode the letter below, or glean any actual information whatsoever from the words contained within, i implore you to explain them to me in the comments section.....


"I don’t look at this as a trivial issue and don’t view this as a waste of time at all. I always appreciate any feedback from our fans and take every e-mail very seriously.

Just to clarify something that may not seem like a big deal, but the Vintage jersey that the Club is wearing on the ice is not considered to be our Third jersey because it is only being worn for five games this season to honor our 30th Anniversary. Any other Club has the opportunity to wear their actual 3rd jersey for a maximum of 18 home games. There were several different reasons that we made the decision not to order the Women’s Vintage jersey for this season. We did not order this jersey just to “unload” our Home jersey which accounts for about 95% of our jersey sales. Unfortunately it takes Reebok approximately 6 months to produce new jerseys so we would not be able to receive our order until after the regular season. I apologize that we did not offer a Women’s version of the Vintage jersey this season but we are already making plans to order a Ladies Vintage jersey for next season.

I appreciate your feedback and I’m sorry that we are unable to fill your request for this season.

Thank you very much for taking the time to make us aware of this."


clear as mud, mr.gibbs.... clear as mud.
what mr.gibbs ACTUALLY clarifies:
  • that, to be technically considered a "third" jersey, a specific design needs to be worn for more than five games and less than 18 home games in a particular season... i'm not sure if this is the letter of the law but he seems to know some rules that i sure don't...
  • that i should never again refer to the vintage retro-throwback jersey as the "third" jersey.... at least, i shouldn't until next year when i'm led to believe it will officially become the flames' "third" jersey. this information makes the linked wikipedia article incorrect (y'know.... like where they list the calgary flames as one of the teams that released a third jersey in 2009-2010).
  • that i will definitely not be getting this jersey in a women's cut this season, and if the "plans" are executed in a timely fashion, i might get this jersey in a women's cut sometime in 10/11.
  • that there were "several different reasons" that the organization made the decision not to order the women's vintage for this season. unfortunately, i'm still not sure what even one of those reasons might be.
  • that it takes reebok 6 months to produce a new jersey, which obviously means that about eight months ago, the flames must have ordered the vintage-throwback in mens' and childrens' sizes. i might point out that the womens' could surely have been ordered at the same time. heck, i was informed by the nhl store in nyc in early august that the flames would be seeing a 1989 re-release style jersey.... that would've brought the jersey in just after xmas if i was the very first person to know....
  • that the home jersey accounts for 95% of jersey sales. well, how many other effin' jerseys ARE THERE ??! i mean, the away jersey wouldn't go over too well in the C of red and the numbers probably aren't in for the mens' retro throwback.... so yeah. no shit. 5% of jersey sales = away jerseys, practice jerseys, the ice flirt jersey and the be luv'd jersey i suppose. what a joke. i could've told you that none of those would sell.

can someone please tell me if it's rude to send any more correspondance with this guy ? cause i'm just sick of gettin' the run-around on this issue and i'd kindof like some actual answers....

thanks for your input, friends.

flames v. habs postgame: credit

for me, this was the best game of the season thusfar, and not only cause i had some of my favorite hockey-loving people over to watch it... ;)

it is starting to look like brent sutter might just have something with his particular brand of hard-battling practices... let's face it: jarome iginla wasn't doing so well this season until a mystery teammate blackened his eye a week and a half ago, and now our captain's in almost-vintage form. sure he's never been a quick starter and the shiner coincided with november, but we should still credit that confidential flame for knocking iggy back into gear (via his FACE). ;)

speaking of credit, it's probably way too early to say for sure but i really want to give some props to jamie mclennan for at least HELPING to get kippy's game to where it is, currently. i can't even imagine what noodles offers miikka in the way of tips, other than poring over video and pointing out tendencies & the like, but perhaps it's just the easy climate in goalieville that's working.... and i don't know if you guys noticed but that was quite the long pass that kipper shot last night; from behind his net to halak's trapezoid.... SOMEONE's teaching him these turco-like moves !!! plus, if anyone's the authority on how to take out opponents with your stick, or the best way to spend the last shift of your career, then we've definitely got the right goaltending coach.... not to mention that the habs' netminding world is crumbling under david marcoux....

over on the blueline, credit is due to SOMEBODY for getting dion back to being a halfway decent defenseman and i'd like to give it up to ryan mcgill. i liked him from the get-go when i saw him running drills in rookie camp (meticulous and patient, but insistant on accuracy). phaneuf was an absolute MANIAC last night, laying out hits like he was getting paid per inch of opponent air.... some really nice, hard, clean collisions that prompted comments in the gamethread of M&G like "wow. phaneuf says hi," and "who pissed off dion tonight.... jesus." he and regehr are solidifying, to be sure, and gio and pardy are looking miiiiighty steady out there. other than sarich being hot and cold (and the fact that jaybouw should probably get the credit for just being awesome straight up), the D is starting to look like it should: among the league's best.

as for my favorite blueliner, i'm not sure why nobody mentioned that gio was on after hours last week, even though i'm pretty sure everyone knew i was in missouri... you can watch it here if you're so inclined... the mark giordano drinking game: do a shot every time he says "great experience." speaking of gio, while watching that video i was reminded of an email thread between me and randy sportak in june of 2008 after #5's sojurn with moscow dynamo. even though i was heralding gio's talents way back then, sportak offered some "wisdom" that reads pretty funny nowadays:

"My point is this, Giordano is a 5/6 d-man who struggles in his own
zone, has OK offensive skills and is a good enough skater to sometimes
make up for his positional flaws. It'll take a big step for him to be
a regular in the top-4, although he's very good for the second PP

"People have actually emailed me saying he'd fit in well with Phaneuf
on a full-time basis — seriously. What do you think their plus-minus
would be? I'm thinking a good golf score.

"Also, fans complain the Flames have too man guys on one-way deals,
meaning far too little actual competition and opportunity for young
players to make the jump. Yet, figure Sutter should have given a depth
defenceman who was a press box regular a one-way deal and guarantee
he'd be playing in the top six?"

this last line is especially wicked when daz signed anders eriksson's one wayer mere days later.... ugh. they were sure some dark times... and i'd still like to understand how jim playfair has a job with this organization when mcgill is just now undoing all the things that playfair/keenan had done.

but alas.
credit to daz for making the change.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

jersey debacle pt5: rebuttal

my latest letter --a rebuttal to the flames' director of retail's response to the ken king email. i honestly see this situation going nowhere fast, but here's to one last kick at the can:

I thank you kindly for your response, and i apologize for wasting your time on such trivialities but please understand that this "issue" is actually quite an enormous deal to me, especially after discovering that Calgary is (surprisingly!) one of the few NHL clubs that doesn't offer its' female fans the team's Alternate jersey.

The Heritage Sweater, while totally unoffensive and quite design-friendly, does not allow for lettering on the back (which is largely why i've been chomping at the bit for over a year in anticipation of the Flames' Third jersey).

Am I correct in understanding, from your email, that there is currently an overstock of the ladies' Home jerseys (both with screened and crested logos), and the desire to 'unload' them is the main reason for not ordering the Third jersey in a womens' cut ? ie: if a customer wants a womens' cut flaming C JERSEY, the organization would prefer them to either leave with the Home model, or walk out empty-handed ? In my limited research of sales at the fanattic and jersey city (among other apparel-selling retailers), the womens' cut Home jersey does quite well, sales-wise, so not ordering the Third seems short-sighted from my vantage point (especially in a jersey-obsessed market like calgary as it closes in on the christmas sales season). Isn't the whole point of designing and marketing third jerseys simply to sell more jerseys ??? Admittedly, i don't have all of the information/numbers on the subject, which is why i'm surely annoying the heck out of you.

Ultimately, my original query still stands: will these EVER be available for purchase ?

Again, I thank you for your time --