Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shut Your Yap : Lightning Bandwagon Fan Edition

Photo by Linda Hamilton

This Shut Your Yap goes out to all of the bandwagon fans who are starting to show up at the St. Pete Times Forum for games again. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy to have more people in attendance. Butts in the seats means more money being spent in the building means more money being spent to better the team and the facilities. A winning team doesn’t just bring in new fans, though. A winning team brings back the people who got into hockey for a brief period in 2004 when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup. After that came the lockout and an extensive period of sucking, so they moved on to some other team. Now they’re back. They wear their 2004 merchandise and it still looks to be in mint condition. Like it’s been sitting in a drawer for the last almost 7 years. Or they’re wearing brand new gear that just had the tags removed. These are the people who sit behind you and complain about the play of every single guy on the team… except their favorite. And can’t tell the difference between Pavel Kubina and Victor Hedman. Or thinks they can do so much better than the guys on the ice. These are the people who spent most of the third period of last night’s loss to the Islanders BOOING the Lightning.

There are some things that are guaranteed to get me riled up at sporting events. One is uber obnoxious visiting fans. Another is booing your own team. Yes, last night’s game was very frustrating. Yes, I yelled at the Lightning from my seat in the upper level and voiced that frustration. But I would NEVER think of booing them. You haven’t been to a game in 7 years? You have no right to boo. I voluntarily spent money and have been supporting the team when they have missed the playoffs during the last four years. I have been there when they have been the worst team in the league. I’ve been there when they have been the second worst team in the league. I knew it was futile most of the time, but I never stopped cheering. I never stopped hoping for victory. I never stopped wearing my team colors.

Sports are cyclical. Hockey exemplifies this because any team can win on any given night. Any team has the chance to make the post season and win the Stanley Cup. It has nothing to do with hockey, but one of my favorite books is “The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn. There is a quote that goes like this:

“You may glory in a team triumphant,… But you fall in love with a team in defeat.”

I love my team. I’ve been there for the highs and the more recent extreme lows. If you’re going to waltz in and out when the standings favor them, have more respect for the guys on the ice when you do make your cameo appearances.

Monday, March 21, 2011

When Should You Worry?

Photo by Me

Spring Training is the kind of thing where everyone can just sit back and relax. It's Florida in the spring time and the weather is fantastic. You can drink beer and eat hot dogs at 1 in the afternoon. The games don't matter. The closer we get to opening day, the harder it is to keep some nagging questions out of my head. Yes, it is nearly impossible for a Red Sox fan to just sit back and enjoy the silence. I'm pretty sure that when you're born a Sox fan or find your way into it, a certain part of your brain reserved specifically reserved for paranoia kicks into overdrive.

But seriously.. when do we worry about Papelbon? How many blown saves before it's time to really be concerned? Is Bard ready to assume the role of closer if he needed to? What about Bobby Jenks? What happened to the untouchable closer of just a few years ago? Will we ever see him again? What about Josh Beckett? Is Wake done? Can we be confident in the catching tandem behind the plate?

This is where Spring Training is terrible for RSN paranoia. It's basically a two month long science project. I can pretty much see opening day from here, though. In spite of all the paranoia and questioning, I can't wait. Baseball that counts. The Red Sox back on the field. That thought stops all of the questioning... at least for a little while.

Friday, March 18, 2011

We Can Rebuild Them. We Have The Technology.

Photo by Me

I had a really interesting conversation with my friend Linda yesterday. It was about the Lightning and the types of merchandise sold in the St. Pete Times Forum. On the terrace level, there is a small team store that mostly sells jerseys and things for the visiting teams that are coming into town. Linda found out that that store is going to be closed come next season and only Lightning merchandise will be sold in the building. I think it's a good idea. She thought that excluding the merchandise for other teams means losing a lot of money. A lot of visiting fans come to town, especially fans of the Canadian teams. While I see her point, I can't help but disagree.

An example was brought up was the Florida Panthers. I have never been to their arena in Sunrise, but Linda likes their team store in that it sells things for all of the other teams in the league. Now, I know there are Panthers fans out there and I don't want what I'm about to say to be insulting. HOWEVER. Visiting teams' fans seem to make up a larger portion of the attendance than Panthers fans. In that situation, it makes business sense to market to them. The Lightning still attract a lot of out of towners, probably because so many Floridians are from somewhere else. If the ownership is spending so much money to re-do the building and improve the product on the ice it makes sense that they want to establish themselves on their own.

A lot has been made about the new owners and management of the team using teams like the Detroit Red Wings as a template for how they want the Lightning to be viewed. Part of doing that is breaking away from the stigma that the Sun Belt expansion teams carry with them. It means establishing their own identity and creating a legacy and mystique of an older franchise. Visiting fans are more than welcome to come to Tampa and spend their money in the Lightning's arena. I see nothing wrong with them not being able to stock up on new gear while they're there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Than A Game

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images. Used without permission)

We all love our sports. I know I have been called obsessed more than a few times. It's also been brought to my attention that sometimes it's silly to get so emotionally involved in silly games. And maybe it is. But I can't fault the Red Sox or the Lightning in using their higher profile to raise awareness and money to help those in need.

Last year, Lightning Captain Vincent Lecavalier and several of his teammates participated in the first ever Tampa Bay's Cut for a Cure. Local business owners, professional athletes, and high profile members of the community were sponsored via donations. They then had their heads shaved to raise awareness and funds for The Pediatric Cancer Foundation and the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer & Blood Disorders Center at All Children's Hospital. This year seven current players and one Lightning alumni from the Stanley Cup winning team are participating: Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman, Ryan Malone, Mike Smith, Stan Neckar, & Nate Thompson. As great as my grief will be at seeing Nate Thompson's gorgeous hair vanish, I can't argue with the cause. Good for you, boys.

The Red Sox have also stepped up this week to raise money for the Red Cross' efforts to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami ravaged nation of Japan. Japan and America are linked, especially when it comes to our love of the game of baseball. There have been many great players from Japan who have shaped what our past time is. I can't even imagine what the Japanese players who are here for Spring Training have gone through when it comes to seeing what is happening to their homeland and to their family and friends. Red Sox pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa, and Itsuki Shoda were all outside of City of Palms park before last night's game against the Yankees collecting donations from the fans. All of the money donated there and through the Red Sox Foundation will be directed to the Red Cross' relief efforts. If that isn't a worthy cause, I don't know what is.

I don't make a lot of money. But there is no way I can sit back and do nothing. Every dollar helps. If I can give, so can you.

To sponsor a Lightning player visit: Tampa Bay's Cut For a Cure

To help the Red Sox Foundation & Red Cross help Japan visit: Red Sox Foundation

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Training Adventures

Photo by Me

A weather report was announced during today's Red Sox vs. Pirates game at McKechnie Field. It was 32 and rainy in Pittsburgh. 36 and rainy in Boston. There in Bradenton? It was 74 degrees, sunny, and not a cloud in the sky. That pretty much sums up the whole day. I ended up talking to dozens of fellow Sox fans about the gorgeous weather in the stands, on the concourse, in line for the ladies room. Everyone had smiles on their faces, SPH 50 in one hand, and large cheap beers in the other. Everyone kept smiling even after the Pirates scored 6 runs in one inning and Sox ended up with the loss.

Everyone seems to wait impatiently for pitchers and catchers to report. After that, it's an impatient wait for opening day. I know the Spring Training games don't matter in the standings, but it was nice to sit still for an afternoon and enjoy it for what it is. Baseball. Sunshine. Cold beer, hot dogs, and peanuts from the concession stand. Blue skies, green grass, and a red clay diamond. The crack of the bat and the thump of baseballs in leather gloves. The boys of summer taking the field once again. I didn't want the day to end.

I want to try and make it when the Red Sox are back in Bradenton next Saturday. I hadn't been to a live baseball game since last July and I desperately want more. Play ball, indeed.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Photo by Me

Tomorrow. Real, live Red Sox baseball for the first time in 2011.

Now I have to quell my excitement long enough to get to sleep. Damn Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images. Used without Permission.

A lot has been written about Zdeno Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty on Tuesday. Most of it by wiser and more articulate people than I. More thoughts sprang into my head today with the news that the Lightning's Pavel Kubina was suspended for three games for an elbow to Dave Bolland's head in last night's game against the Blackhawks. Chara's hit gave Pacioretty a grade 3 concussion and broke his fourth vertebrate. Chara was not suspended. Chara was not even fined.

I'm not suggesting that Chara is a dirty player, not by any means. I'm also not saying that he went after Pacioretty with the intent to injure. But the 7th anniversary of Todd Bertuzzi sucker punching Steve Moore in the back of the head and breaking his neck in a fall to the ice is upon us. One of the ugliest moments for the NHL in recent memory and another horrific injury is putting the sport of hockey on the front page for all of the wrong reasons again. Luckily, Pacioretty was released from the hospital today. Luckily, he isn't paralyzed. Unluckily, we don't know if he will ever be able to play hockey again. A 22 year old kid might have had his livelihood taken away from him. At this point, I think intent has to be thrown out the window. No matter who was the one on the giving end of that hit, the league should do something. To show that actions like that, routine hockey play that it may be, cannot and will not be tolerated. Instead, the only message that comes across is that it will take someone dying on the ice before their disciplinary system achieves any sort of consistency.

Just to recap: Sean Avery was suspended 6 games for lewd comments to the press. Pavel Kubina was suspended 3 games for an elbow to the head. Zdeno Chara is not punished when a colleague has a broken neck and Matt Cooke is still at large with no repercussions. It's a joke, but I don't feel much like laughing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You Know We Love You Madly

Photo by Me

Maybe it's the weather starting to creep above 80 degrees. Maybe it's the endless cloud free blue skies of Florida at this time of year. Maybe it's the azaleas starting to bloom. All signs are saying that spring is here. Some people see these things as a signal to return to the beaches or pools. Me? There is nothing I would rather be doing right now than sitting in the stands of a ballpark with a cold beer in hand. The baseball jonesing has kicked in big time.

It's looking like I'll be heading down to Bradenton and the Pittsburgh Pirate's spring training ball park when the Red Sox are there this Sunday. And possible next Saturday. I was lucky enough to go to Fort Myers and City of Palms Park two years ago and it was a wonderful time. I hope to make it down to the new mini- Fenway next year, but Bradenton will just have to do for now. The weather looks to be beautiful, and when you're a member of Red Sox Nation you know there are going to be lots of fellow fans there with you.

Plus, I'll be able to drink at 1 in the afternoon without judgment. Ahhhhh, spring.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Photo by AP Photos. Used without permission.

A lot of thoughts have been running through my head since I got home from the Lightning's shoot out loss to the Capitals. Frustration at the shoot out order for the Bolts. Elation at my team getting on the score board first. Utter rage at the blown call on Vinny's disallowed goal. One thing keeps coming to mind though.

Earlier today, I said that tonight's game would set the tone for the rest of the Lightning's season. For good or bad. This was going to be an indication of how things were going to play out through the remaining games. My own words are haunting me a bit, if I'm being honest.

The Caps still have a number of games left against division leaders, so it's really possible that the Lightning can climb back up into the standings. I need to stay positive and hope that my team can prove me wrong. That they can get healthier and come back with a vengeance. This is not the time of the season to go into a tail spin.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ole Ole Ole Ole

Photo by Me

The Lightning lost 4-2 to the Canadiens last night. I had the most fun I have had at a game in quite a while last night. Conflicting statements, but both of them are true. A lot of the northern NHL teams bring out a fair amount of fans for the visiting team, especially the Canadian teams. There are a lot of snowbirds who live down here for parts of the year. There were a lot of red Habs jerseys spread out over the entire arena. When I sat down with my friend Linda for the start of the game, I groaned inwardly. There were several older gentlemen sitting next to us with a Canadian flag already in hand. I was expecting another experience like when Detroit came to town a few weeks ago.

Instead of a depressing evening while watching the Lightning lose their third straight, it was actually a lot of fun. There was a family sitting in front of us who were from Newfoundland and were there cheering on Teddy Purcell. The gentleman sitting right next to us was hilarious. We laughed and cheered and enjoyed the game together.

It reminded me that even though hockey fans have different allegiances to teams, it is a bit of a brotherhood. It's the least popular of the big four pro sports leagues here in America. It's kind of the punk rock of the sports world to the NFL's Top 40 charts. You meet a hockey fan, you meet a friend. Last night reinforced that when fans of the opposing team were cheering for Dwayne Roloson's saves or when a Lightning player would have a good shot or play.

Three home games over the coming week, so I'm sure to have more to write about. Hopefully it will be more geared towards Lightning victories.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Redemption Song

Photo by Linda Hamilton. Used with permission.

Two frustrating losses for the Bolts in the past two nights. Losses to Philadelphia and Boston, two of the teams they are fighting with for position at the top of the Eastern Conference. Games you never want to see your team lose, especially in games where the offense has seemingly dried up. The team is beaten up and bruised and broken down with injuries. It's tough going, that's for sure.

This isn't going to be one of those updates though. There was a bright spot in tonight's game against the Bruins. The play of one Mr. Mike Smith. Smitty had not played an NHL game since early December and he showed some brilliance on many of his saves this evening. It was only one game, but his trip to the AHL seems to have been a powerful motivator.

During an interview showed in the first period, Mike mentioned that he never thought he would play in a Lightning sweater again after he was placed on waivers. The hockey gods have seen fit to give him another chance. I think Smitty has all of the tools to be a very successful goaltender, things have just not fallen into place during his time in Tampa. He's a good guy and I really hope this late season redemption will set him on a better path. For the Lightning's sake in the standings and for his own future in the league.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This Month's "Shut Your Yap"

Photo by Linda Hamilton. Used with permission

It's been a while since our last "Shut your yap", but I am in the mood to channel the spirit of former Lightning coach John Tortorella and go to town. So here we go...

Difference of opinions are at the heart of sports fandom. Red Sox vs. Yankees, Lightning vs. Caps, Habs vs. Bruins. There are a lot of people out there in the world who don't agree with you, no matter your team affiliation. Hell, there are a lot of people who are fans of my teams that I don't agree with as well. Everyone has opinions and chances are there are a lot of people out there who think you're full of crap. I bring this up today because someone defriended me on Facebook because they were terribly offended by my saying I don't think the Lightning should try to bring Brad Richards back to town in the off season. Yes, you read that correctly. I was unfriended for speaking my mind.

Unless your name is Steve Yzerman or Theo Epstein, none of our opinions or ideas have any bearing on what our teams will actually do in the real world. On the fan level, it's purely a discussion. It's nothing personal, it's just what I think and would prefer that my team does this summer. The Lightning's coach and I might share a last name, but no one from the Forum is calling and asking my take on anything. The same as you. We like to fancy ourselves as being tuned in to what's going on with our teams, especially when we have technology like we do. The fact of the matter is we don't know everything. No matter how knowledgeable or how many people we know in the organization.

Sports are about competition but they are also a lot about arguments. As a fan, we have to be able to step back and not let our hearts be involved in every single comment or word spoken about our teams or our favorite players. If I allowed myself to be wounded by every negative thing fellow members of Red Sox Nation have said about Jason Varitek's play in the last few years, I wouldn't talk to any one about baseball. I value the words and thoughts of my RSN brethren too much to walk away. While we might not always agree, it never hurts to share thoughts.

I guess it comes down to this. We can be sensitive when it comes to our sports loyalties but at the end of the day it's just words. If you allow words to cut you that deeply, maybe you should find a less strenuous hobby.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday!

At 6:22 am this morning, I became an aunt. My sister and her husband have welcomed a healthy, beautiful baby boy into the world. It was so exciting to finally meet him. He is really tiny and very sleepy. And super cute.

I wore a Red Sox t shirt to the hospital this morning when we were seeing him for the first time. Between that and the Wally toy waiting for him at home, I am doing my part to set him on the right path. I plan on giving him the same freedom my dad gave me when it comes to baseball. You can root for whoever you want. Except the Yankees. There might be some gentle cajoling towards the boys in red socks, not going to lie.

But now? Sleep.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Duke of Flatbush

The Brooklyn Dodgers are revered in the house I grew up in. Especially the World Series winning 1955 team. My father grew up a Dodgers fan in Brooklyn at that time. As a result, I grew up hearing his stories about that team and that time in the city. The Dodgers have become a part of my own baseball traditions. I always re-read "The Boys of Summer" by Roger Kahn before the start of Spring Training. I wear a #42 pin on my favorite jacket, surrounded by the pins for all of my favorite bands.

That reverence is one of the reasons I was so sad to learn of Duke Snider's passing today at the age of 84. The last of the regular starting Boys of Summer is gone. He goes to join Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Junior Gilliam, Billy Cox, Carl Furillo, and Jackie Robinson in baseball heaven.

I think it speaks of the timelessness of baseball and the men that play the game between generations. I never saw the Duke play a single game, but the news of his death brought tears to my eyes. In that way, baseball is eternal and its legends never really die. And that immortality is rather comforting.

Rest in peace, Mr. Snider. There's plenty of spectacular center field catches to be made in the hereafter.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Going The Distance

Photo by Me

I missed out on the Lightning's 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils last night because I needed a good night's sleep. For the first time ever, I was participating in a race. As part of pirate season here in Tampa, the Gasparilla Distance Classic is held over a weekend. There are several races and I did one this morning.

Ok, so just a 5k. And I walked the whole thing. But I walked fast and I never stopped once.
I received a medal for finishing. After the race I got to thinking. It's the first "prize" I have ever received for an athletic event. I received trophies for dance recitals and things like that, but never a race. I wore my Lightning St. Patrick's Day hat and hauled my butt 3.1 miles along Bayshore Boulevard. I am tired, have some blisters, but very proud that I finished.

Next plan? Keep walking. Keep moving. I want to do the Warrior Dash in Lake Wales early next year. Now.. Zzzzz...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thrice As Nice

Photo by AP Photos. Used without permission.

I was more than a little concerned for the Lightning going into last night's game against Phoenix. The long home stand seemed to be taking it's toll, especially in late losses to Philly and Florida. Let's not even talk about the absolute beating at the hands of the Red Wings. The Coyotes were riding an eight game winning streak as they came into town. I was ready to settle in for a bit of a battle. And then Teddy Purcell scored his first of the night just shy of two minutes into the game.

And the goals kept right on coming. 5 in the first period alone. Teddy ended up scoring his first career NHL hat trick. Marty St. Louis scored two goals and Steve Stamkos scored one to break their goalless stretch. Vincent Lecavalier came out of nowhere and had a five point night. They looked amazing. And it was great to have that kind of dominance on display again.

A night removed from the game, I can't help but tell myself that Phoenix had just played a game the night before in Philly. That Jason Labarbera had only played 8 minutes of game action for quite some time. I'm trying not to get too excited, especially with the re-surging Devils in town for a contest tomorrow night. I'm trying to be levelheaded. But then I say screw it. Last night was great. It was just what the Lightning and myself needed.

The NHL trade market is heading up ahead of Monday's deadline. It will be interesting to see what Stevie Y has in store before then. Now could be the time when the Bolts get that missing piece to really help them in a run for the Cup.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Today is the 31st anniversary if the USA Hockey team's defeat of the Soviet Union at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. I have developed a bit of a tradition every February 22nd. I watch "Miracle" and the HBO sports documentary on that team and the gold medal run. It might seem odd that something that happened before I was born has such huge meaning for me. I look at it this way. It was a moment in time where the sport of ice hockey, always the perennial after thought in American sports culture, meant so much to the entire nation. So much so that it has been voted the biggest sports moment of the 20th century.

It's definitely a moment that will never be duplicated in the Olympics, especially as long as professional athletes participate in the ice hockey tournament. I got a bit of a glimpse of what it might have been like during Team USA's 2010 run at the Vancouver games. Canada was the big red monster then. Stocked with household name talent. Team USA might have had NHL'ers, but none of the name recognition of Sidney Crosby or Brodeur or Toews. I had people coming out of the woodwork to talk hockey with me. Gold medal game didn't go the same way as 1980, but it was inspirational and hopeful to me as an American hockey fan nonetheless.

But today, the recognition has to go to those 20 guys and the coach who made it possible 31 years ago today. Without them, USA's national hockey program would look very different. That game will forever serve as a reminder that the impossible can happen. And we should always believe in miracles.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Heritage Classic

Photo by Getty Images. Used without permission.

It seems kind of odd that Hockey Day in America culminated with an outdoor game being played in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Odd until you really start to think about the sport itself. The roots of the game are in Canada, that will never change. Seeing the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadians playing on an outdoor rink was amazing. You know more than one guy on both benches was flashing back to their youth spent on the pond learning the game. It's nostalgic and romantic, that's for sure. The Heritage Classic was amazing. It's always great to see such love and respect for a sport that is close to my own heart.

One of the most interesting things about the coverage of Hockey Day in America was seeing all of the different and varied places that were celebrating. Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, Florida. Hockey might be Canada's game, but that game is growing in the USA and in some very unexpected places. It will be interesting to see how the NHL changes as a result in the years to come.

I would like to see the NHL continue with the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic as annual outdoor events. It's unconventional and has always come off really well. This year's Winter Classic might have been doused with rain and today's Heritage Classic might have been so cold that the ice was fragile, but I was glued to the television. I was by the TV most of the day, actually. Note to the NHL: If the NFL has a lost season due to collective bargaining issues, do Hockey Days in America more often. It was fantastic. Promote, promote, promote.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love Is Our Resistance

Photo by AP Photos. Used without permission

"You may glory in a team triumphant,... But you fall in love with a team in defeat."

Roger Kahn wrote the above about the Brooklyn Dodgers in his amazing book "The Boys of Summer". When spring training rolls around, I always pull that book out and re-read it. To get ready for the summer and baseball and the Dodgers that my dad grew up with. The quote I used has always stuck out to me because it really is true. It's easy to be a fan of a team that wins all the time. That has dozens of championships or rings or trophies. It's easy because your loyalty is never tested.

Following a team that has a history of loss and defeat and disappointment can make you very bitter. But it also makes you resilient and makes it very difficult for you to give up on your teams. The Red Sox & Lightning have taught me that over the years. The Jaguars have taught me that. FSU has taught me that.

The Lightning may have been crushed by the Red Wings on Thursday night, but I'll be back in the stands for tonight's game. Wearing my gear and cheering my heart out. The Shawshank Redemption been on tv and in the hearts if a lot of my Red Sox brethren lately. It's definitely what I need to remember going into hockey's stretch run to the playoffs. Hope is a good thing. As long as we have that, anything is possible.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And I'll Find Strength In Pain

Photo by Linda Hamilton. "The Faces of Lightning Hockey"

Tonight was the most depressing experience I have had at a Lightning game in a very long time. Not since OK Hockey and Brian Lawton and having 40+ defensemen suiting up for the team in a single season. The Red Wings were in town, the media was hyping things out of control since it was Stevie Y versus his former team. And it felt like I was in Detroit. There were that many red jerseys in the stands. There were that many people cheering each Red Wing goal. There were three octopi thrown onto TAMPA ice. It made me absolutely sick to my stomach.

I understand that the Lightning will never have as many fans as an Original Six team. There's too much history there. It's complicated further by the fact that so many people who live in Florida are from somewhere else originally. They might locate and adopt local teams, but they keep their allegiances to the teams they grew up with. I can't point fingers there, I'm from somewhere else originally. I live in Tampa but maintain my loyalty to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Boston Red Sox. It's just frustrating. Really really frustrating.

This is when we have to take the advice of the coaches and players. Forget about this game and move on to the next one. Tomorrow is another day to regroup and move forward. Another day for the guys on the injured list to get a little bit healthier. There's another game on Saturday. And I'm pretty sure I won't be surrounded by a sea of Panthers jerseys then.

Smooth Operator

Photo by AP Photos. Used without Permission

Tonight the Lightning play the Red Wings down at the Forum. The 2nd place teams from both conferences are facing off. And all the media can seem to talk about is how Lightning GM and Red Wings Legend Steve Yzerman feels about the match up.

Stevie Y is being diplomatically detached, saying it's just another game. He's not giving any flowery speeches about his Hall of Fame career in the Motor City. The only goal he has been verbal about is focusing on the Lightning securing a spot in the playoffs.

Damn. He is one suave mofo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It Feels Like Years Since It's Been Here

Photo by Jim Davis / Boston Globe. Used without permission

I was absolutely transfixed by this photo on It looks like a painting. All of the bright promises of spring training when the ball players take the field for another summer. I write about hockey a lot. It's no wonder, I have season tickets to the team in the city where I live. I attend a lot of the events. My hockey fandom is like punk rock. Fast, passionate, unpredictable.

But come February, an old love always comes back into the picture. Baseball was the first sport I learned to love. And my heart is so glad seeing the Red Sox on the green grass in Fort Myers. Their return has also brought me the first spring pictures of Jason Varitek. Which is always a good thing. It wouldn't be quite the same if he were in another team's uniform.

The Boston media is swirling and there are some trying to stir up controversy already. I'm not paying any mind. Baseball is back. And it doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Boucher Cubed

Photo by Getty Images. Used without permission.

The last time that Brian Boucher, Guy Boucher, and Me Boucher were in the same building together the Lightning won 4-0. Unfortunately forces did not align in the Bolts' favor again tonight. The game remained tied through overtime and the shoot out went 7 rounds before Philly got the extra point. The game definitely lived up to the hype of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference clashing, that's for sure. It's also encouraging that the Lightning were down 3-1 in the second before moving to tie things up. They're dealing with a rash of injuries, so you can't help but wonder if things might had been different if all of our guys were healthy.

Not that I haven't been impressed with the AHL call ups. I was impressed with Johan Harju during training camp and thought he was pretty close to making the main club squad during the season. Big congratulations to Mike Vernace on his first NHL point with an assist on Teddy Purcell's goal.

It's disappointing, but it is what it is. I'm sitting here finishing some warm milk in my Shakespearean insult coffee mug. All of those insults are way too nice for the Flyers. I officially have a new loathe of my hockey life. It's going to be very interesting to see how things end up over the rest of the regular season. Very interesting indeed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love You 'Til The End

I don't think that it's any coincidence that the official start of Spring Training and Valentine's Day come so close together. Nothing really happened down in Fort Myers today as team physicals aren't until tomorrow and the first game isn't until the end of the month. Symbolically? It's the start of another love affair with the game of baseball. I am very excited.

In the meantime, the Lightning's ten game home stand over the month of February is most than half done. It's too early to say they have definitely earned a spot in the playoffs, but if they can keep winning it's definitely a possibility. There have been a few injuries, but hopefully we'll be getting guys like Malone and Lundin back when they are needed most.

Short entry. I was out last night at the Flogging Molly show and I am still riding that high. A great, great start to the week. Keep it going, Bolts. Beat the Flyers tomorrow.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why I Hate "The Wave"

Photo by Me

There are a few things in the sporting world that I hate with a real fiery passion. The New York Yankees. The New Jersey Devils. The Instigator Rule. An old nemesis has recently come to the forefront again since it has been performed en masse at the past two Lightning games. That's right. The Wave. Apparently it's the 1980s again and no one told me. I hate The Wave in football. I hate it in baseball. For a while, hockey has been safe out of it's grasp. But now? Now nothing is sacred.

I know what you're thinking. "But The Wave is a fun thing to do to pass the time at a sporting event!". And sure, it might be fun for you. However, if I am sitting behind you trying to watch the Lightning bring the puck into the offensive zone and take a shot on goal I want to see it. I don't want to see your back and arms waving around just as Steven Stamkos lets loose on the puck. The same goes for baseball. Some of us find the sport interesting and want to pay attention to the pitches or the at bat. It's disrespectful to your fellow fans who also shelled out their hard earned money for their ticket. I'm also pretty sure that you came to the stadium/ballpark/arena to watch the event. Not to do the wave. SIT DOWN.

Not to mention, I think it's pretty disrespectful to the players on the field or ice who are busting their asses for your entertainment. To me, the wave says the crowd is looking for other ways to pass the time because what's going on in the game is boring. At tonight's game, the wave made several passes around the arena before dying out when Marty St. Louis broke into the Carolina zone with the puck. Hockey moves fast, you should pay attention in case you miss something. SIT DOWN.

It's 2011. The Wave is high entertainment value for you? Really? SIT DOWN.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Beat On The Brat

Photo by Getty Images

A little late chiming in on Matt Cooke's latest run in with the NHL Disciplinary system. For those that missed it, the following hit took place on Fedor Tyutin of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night:

2 days after that, Cooke was suspended four games. And there has been a lot of outrage. Deserved outrage in my opinion. Cooke has built up a large resume of "questionable" hits and incidents in the last few years. He clipped Alex Ovechkin's skates when the Pens played the Capitals on Sunday. And now this. Cooke will forfeit over $80,000 of his salary during that suspension. I have to wonder, if losing that amount of money isn't enough to make this guy reconsider how he plays what will?

I'm also shaking my head at the NHL for not taking a firm stand on this guy's behavior. When Sean Avery stood in front of Martin Brodeur's net waving his arms and stick around to obstruct his view, the NHL put an official rule on the books making that act illegal in the sport. They are very lucky that Tyutin's neck wasn't broken or worse. It took them years to recover from the Todd Bertuzzi/ Steve Moore incident and all the bad press. Not to mention the end of Steve Moore's playing career. Is it going to take someone being paralyzed or killed on the ice before Bettman deigns to stop such dirty play?

20 year NHL veteran Ken Daneyko stated that the NHL should declare on open season on Cooke for one week. That any player who hit him or fought him, whatever.. no matter what, they would not get suspended. He sees that as the only way that might stop Cooke from playing dirty for the rest of the career. I'm inclined to agree. According to the rules, players have no real recourse against Cooke and the league that governs them isn't protecting them. If he faced regular tastes of his own medicine, I bet we would be seeing a much different Cookie on the ice.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Are you F**king Kidding Me?

Photo by Me

That sucked. Really. I don't remember the last time I was THAT angry at a game. And I never leave games. I suppose I only have myself to blame for my own masochism. But that was... without a doubt... the worst officiating in a Lightning game I have seen in a very long time.

Yeah, I might have lost some class by responding to the Sabres' fans cheer with "No Cup Buffalo!". But during a streak of 12 home games I was bound to snap sooner or later.

As I was driving home from that gruesome defeat, John Fogerty's "Centerfield" came on my iPod. I remembered that there is a truck filled with Red Sox equipment heading south and I had to smile.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just Can't Wait To Get On The Road Again

Photo by Steve Silva /

Truck Day is a difficult thing to explain to non baseball fans. Well, more specifically non Red Sox fans. Simply put, Truck day is the day in February where a big 18 wheeler gets loaded up with all of the uniforms, bats, vacuum cleaners , etc and starts the journey down to Florida. Truck Day means Spring Training is just around the corner and with it, the boys of summer coming back into our lives for another year.

Yeah, I know it's silly to get excited about a truck. Pitchers and catchers don't officially report for a few more days and we're even further away from Opening Day. We haven't exactly had a blisteringly cold winter here in Florida, but I am ready for baseball. Forget Punxsutawney Phil, THIS is a sure sign of spring. It means that soon we'll hear the sounds of bats cracking and the sharp thumps of baseballs in leather gloves. Soon the Red Sox will be back out on the diamond, and how can that be a bad thing?

I think that Truck Day has taken on a special meaning for Red Sox nation because we are so intensely involved with this team. We eat, sleep, and breathe them 12 months a year. Truck Day means that Next Year is here. And with the line up that Theo & Co. put together in the off season, who wouldn't be excited by that?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our Trophy Is Better Than Yours

Photo by Me

Everyone else was focused on the Super Bowl this evening. And I can't lie, I had the game on the tv. Today's main sporting event was the Lightning hosting the St. Louis Blues this afternoon. I made sure to get there early as the Stanley Cup was in front of the arena for three hours before puck drop. The Cup was in town last season, but you couldn't get anywhere near it. The last time I got to touch it was 2004 before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Not only did I touch it then, I gave it a big kiss. Today, we were able to get really close and I got a bunch of great pictures. It is an absolutely stunning trophy.

My bias really started to come out while watching the presentation of the Lombardi trophy after Green Bay became Super Bowl Champs. The Stanley Cup is the best trophy in sports. Not just because part of the trophy is over 100 years old. Not because it's made of sterling silver. Because of what it means and because of how hard it is to win it. And when your team does win it, every person gets 24 hours with it. Every single member of that team gets their name engraved on it. As Marty St. Louis and Tim Taylor said after the Lightning won, that team walks together forever on the Stanley Cup. For all to see.

The Stanley Cup is also a guaranteed way to make a tough hockey player verklempt and speechless. THAT is how much it means.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

If I Fall Back Down

Photo by: AP Photos

Being a Red Sox fan has done a lot of really positive things for me when it comes to my rooting for my teams. I am insanely loyal, almost to a fault. I am very invested in my teams. My family has had Jacksonville Jaguars season tickets since the inception of the team. When I moved to Tampa, one of my goals was to buy season tickets for the Lightning and I have been a season ticket holder for the last two years. I continue to hope and believe that my teams can achieve until they have been mathematically eliminated or things are so bad there's no possible way a playoff berth can be won.

Unfortunately, there is a darker side to having a deep seated Red Sox fandom in your brain. The sinking feeling there behind all of the good stuff, that the other shoe will drop. Especially when things are going well and your team is winning. The Lightning were riding a 6 game winning streak going in to last night's game against the Capitals. They soundly beat Philly on Tuesday and the Flyers have the best record in the Eastern Conference. All that success just made me terrified of meeting the Capitals. Things had been going TOO well. It's times like this that I hate being right.

Some of my friends are blaming the new logo being announced this week and being placed all around the arena. Pretty much the only place where the old logo is still being used is on the jerseys the Lightning will play out the rest of the season in. The idea is that the Bolts had a good thing going and all of the change messed with the ju-ju. I don't know if I would put last night's loss on the altar of the supernatural just yet. Things weren't sharp. The defense just wasn't there. When a team as fast and creative as the Capitals comes to town, you have to keep the puck away from them. And nothing seemed to work.

A win would have been good. We're getting to the point in the season where it would be pretty difficult for a division rival to overcome a 7 point deficit in the standings. It's also impossible to win every single game. I would really have liked to come out with the two points last night though.

A few random thoughts about the game:

When did Teddy Purcell become such a sniper? He has been really impressive the past two games.

Steve Downie was like a wild beast let loose from a cage last night. Good to see him playing with that edge, it was really missed when he was injured.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Yes. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is spending $35 million of his own money to completely redo the St. Pete Times Forum.

The news broke yesterday and I am still blown away. All the fans were told to make sure we are in our seats early before tomorrow night's game against the Capitals for a special video presentation. After a week of surprises, who knows what is coming next?

I said it on Facebook and I said it on Twitter and I'll say it again. I haven't felt THIS good about the Lightning since the 2004 playoffs.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

For Amy. And Isaias. And Sue. And Dziadzius. And Aunt Barbara.

To say that everyone's lives have been touched by cancer is a huge understatement. Mine definitely has, so my friend Amy's cause is very close to my heart. See, her cousin's son Isaias lost his battle in 2009. Just days before his 10th birthday. Amy used him as the inspiration behind Project Cupid, which is having it's second charity date auction event this Friday night at Whiskey Park in Boston.

More information can be found at:

If you are in the area, definitely try to attend. You can bid on dates with some eligible bachelors and bachelorettes. There will also be a ton of memorabilia and gifts up for auction. I know the Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics have all donated items. 100% of the proceeds go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

If you can't be there in person, you can donate via the website: Any amount can help, no matter how small.

To paraphrase Amy's husband Josh and my brother from another mother: This is why we fight. In memory of those who have lost their battles and in hope for a future where a cure will be found.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Photo by AP Photos

It's late and I need to get to bed, but I am still riding high on the Lightning's 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. I had concerns about this game. The team hadn't played since the 25th and in all of the post practice stories from today Coach Boucher said they were sluggish. I guess that wore off pretty quickly with Teddy Purcell's goal 19 seconds in to the game.

Dwayne Roloson posts his 4th shutout in 11 games. Purcell has two goals. Steve Downie manages not to fight someone. Steven Stamkos scored his league leading 39th goal of the season. This was a match up of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference and for tonight, mine came out on top. The Flyers come back to town in a few weeks, so that one should be interesting.

One of the most encouraging things I noticed about tonight's game was that the home fans outweighed the visiting fans. For big markets this seems like no big deal. But for a Sunbelt team, in state with as many transplants as Florida has it is a huge deal. The building had some of the old energy back in it. It's bringing back a lot of good memories. Tonight, I am happy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

This Month's "Shut Your Yap"

Photo by AP Photos

Big news broke in Tampa today. The Lightning unveiled new uniforms that will go into rotation next season as well as a whole new philosophy and direction for the franchise. The surprising reaction from a lot of fans has led me to a new feature on the blog. The back story goes like this. During the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, then Philadelphia Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock allegedly mouthed off at a Lightning player during Game 2 of the series. The next day, then Lightning head coach John Tortorella used a media interview to fire back at Hitch and take some of the heat off his players. His rant went on for a while, but the three words that have lived on in Lightning history were "Shut your yap!".

This month's Shut Your Yap is going out to all of the people who have spent all day bashing the new jerseys and the new logos. It's not the end of the hockey world in Tampa Bay because you don't like them. When OK Hockey was holding the reins two years ago, this franchise was close to flat lining. Now we have an owner, CEO, and GM who are all committed to a fresh start. I can't blame them for wanting some new branding to go along with it.

I know some of the knee jerk reaction has to come out of the fact that people don't like change. Especially not when it comes to sports. Now, I love the Lightning and have to have an open minded approach to the 1990s NHL expansion. We wouldn't have a team otherwise. I can appreciate how things have been streamlined and the dated font for the "Tampa Bay" being gone. This is a jersey that can still be used in 40 or 50 years without looking that out of place. Yes, I have been a fan of the all black home uniforms and will miss the silver incorporated throughout. But I can understand how these new uniforms will stand the test of time. No one says the Maple Leafs or Red Wings (two teams whose unis the new ones have been compared to today) need to change their logos or styles. I hope that these will do the same for the Lightning.

It's also hard to argue with the new direction for the team when the guys at the top plan to honestly show the fans how much they appreciate us. From what I've read, the plan is for every season ticket holder to receive one of the blue home jerseys for next season. Every jersey will have a special season ticket holder's patch on it and will include a microchip that can be scanned for special privileges in the arena. Some of those being 25% off of all concessions and 35% off of all merchandise in the building.

To all those who are speaking out so loudly in opposition to the change.. (LINDA HAMILTON ;) ), give it a chance. Give it a few days or weeks and see how you feel about them then. I hate the current third jerseys and you don't see me tearing my hair out about it. Change can be good. This is something that can carry us in to the future. If you can't find it in you to give it a chance, the other option is for you to shut your yap.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

So Sing To Me A Song From Yesterday

Being computer-less for a few nights made me really sit back and relax. Several movies, home cooked meals, laundry. About the time I was giving myself a home pedicure on Thursday night I started thinking about sports and information. Things move so fast it's amazing. That morning The Hockey News said something on twitter about how Matt Cooke is a victim of the culture perpetuated in hockey. That the way he plays is perpetuated by the call for brutality. By the afternoon, NESN had posted an article in response. Everything moves so fast and reactions move so quickly. It makes me wonder how things were before entirely live broadcasts, Facebook, & ESPN.

One of my rituals before and during Spring Training is re-reading "The Boys of Summer" by Roger Kahn. There are stories of how you could walk the streets of your neighborhood during the summer and always keep tabs on the games being played. Everyone's radio would be tuned in and the play by play would waft out through the open windows. People got their info that way, newspapers, and word of mouth. I have to wonder if the instantaneous transfer of information is that much better. Always having access to what is going on can be desensitizing.

We're tuned in to our teams 24/7. A constant stream of information from the computer, print, and television. All this info takes us further behind the curtain than ever before. It's great in helping you find out more about players who aren't interviewed in the papers as much and what's going on with the organization. HBO's coverage of the winter classic highlighted the ice crews and equipment managers. I might be romanticizing a time that I never lived through because with the good comes the bad. A lot of unflattering news also comes to light.

Good God. I'm waxing poetic about baseball when I'm still days away from Truck Day. These last few weeks are going to be tough.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is it a fantasy draft if it was acutally taking place live?

Got my computer back today after getting worked on. It was actually kind of nice to disconnect from everything for a few days. Even that didn't stop me from writing. There will probably be two new posts tonight as I transfer things over from my notebook. Anyways, last night was the first ever All Star Fantasy draft. Team Lidstrom & Team Staal chose from the selected all star players to comprise their individual teams. These teams will stick together for the Skills Competition tonight and the All Star Game itself tomorrow. I jotted down my thoughts while watching. Here you go:

- I have my ice cold Lightning beer much filled with Brooklyn 2 & ready for the draft. Ready for playground justice.

-I like the blue jerseys! This is cheesy but mmm beer.

- Marty's totally going for Stamkos..... Oh! I was right. Oh, Kaner going "Should we take your boy?"

- Ovie looks weird cleanshaven. And he was hanging out in an airport bar? Shocker!

- Daniel is the first Sedin selected. Will the twins be split? Are we sure THAT is Daniel?

- The twins are apart! Twin fight! Twin smack talk!

- Marty is the spokesman now? Oh, I called him picking Thomas. UVM!

- Too many children of the corn! (side note: that is what I call the Staals)

- Henrik Lundqvist always looks ready for a GQ photoshoot.

- Toews looks pissed! Patrick Sharp looks like a catalog model.

- Aw, I wish Dan Boyle was with Marty. I miss him.

- If they have to take a Pen, I'm ok with Flower.

- Jeff Skinner is a baby. I feel old. He looks 12.

- Is Ovie sleeping?

-Marty is the spokesman! Ugh, Richards.

- Get a haircut, Letang.

- Good for Yandle. 44 points for a D-man? Amazing. Wish the city would support the Coyotes.

- Were he not a Flyer, I might like Giroux.

- Havlat has a very well groomed beard. It is Mike Lowell - esque in it's exactness.

- This is supposed to last until 9:30?

-Elias still looks like a gnome. Nice sweater though.

- I would take all of those guys before Kessel. But what do I know?

- Get Duchene & Stasny on the same team. We need an All Star Bang Bang Dance!

- I don't underappreciate (some name. Seriously. I can't read my own handwriting). You bastard.

-No! No bang bang dance!

- Kessel last. I called it! Good night!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Technical Difficulties

If my computer had to pick a time to have issues, at least it's during the All Star Break.
So, yeah. Hopefully I'll be back soon and not be out too much cash.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Sports are cyclical. That's just the way it goes. Teams triumph, teams struggle, teams rebuild. Every once and a while, you get a squad that's different. That's got a certain something. A spark, whatever you want to call it. Sometimes you are lucky enough to be a fan of a team that just has something special. After the Lightning's 2-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on their way into the All Star Break, I realized that I am starting to get that feeling about the 2010- 2011 Bolts.

It's not always the championship winning teams that leave a mark on your memory. The 2002-2003 Lightning made it to the second round of the playoffs in dramatic overtime fashion only to lose to the New Jersey Devils. The 2010 Boston Red Sox, ravaged by injuries but still finding a way to win. Not with big names like Pedroia or Youkilis. But with names like Kalish or McDonald or Nava.

Then there are the teams that do have that spark and do win the championship. The 25 Idiots who brought the Red Sox their first World Series title in 86 years. The 2004 Stanley Cup winning Tampa Bay Lightning who shocked everyone into believing they were for real. The picture in this post is from a practice before Game 7 of the Cup Finals of that year. It certainly was a miracle. This year's Lightning squad has the makings of one of the teams that will live on in my memory. And I can't wait for the rest of the season to play out.

This is what gave me that feeling about this team. Yes, I know it's weird.

Monday, January 24, 2011

20 Days Until Pitchers & Catchers means...

"I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring... "

Been a long day and no hockey tonight for me. Since we are within spitting distance of truck day, time for another baseball movie recommendation. Bull Durham. Seriously. If you haven't seen it, do so immediately.

It also gives you something to quote during games when every single member of a team gathers around the pitcher's mound. "Candlesticks make a nice gift.."

" It's a long season and you gotta trust. I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm putting this whole town in my rearview mirror

Photo by Me

I missed the Lightning's blowout 7-1 victory of the Atlanta Thrashers due to feeling like crud warmed over. I went to Islands of Adventure yesterday and must have spent too much time in the chilly air in Hogsmeade. Or inhaled something on a roller coaster.

I spent the evening curled up on the couch watching the copy of "The Town" that Netflix sent my way. Really enjoyed it. I took some NyQuil, and I'm wondering if I'll wake up with a Boston accent.

The mood was ruined a bit in certain parts by my yelling out "STOP SHOOTING FENWAY PARK!". That's all I'll say, don't feel like being yelled at for spoilers.

I am aware I am a nerd.

Friday, January 21, 2011

These Exiled Years

Some hot stove news broke this evening that I definitely wasn't expecting. I had seen rumblings that the Rays were kicking Johnny Damon's tires to see if they wanted to give him a go. A few hours later, it comes out that not only have they signed Damon but... Manny Ramirez. Yes. THAT Manny Ramirez.

It's easier with Damon. He's not in a Yankee uniform anymore, so a lot of the animosity is gone. I'm not going to give him a standing ovation, but I'm not going to boo and yell obscenities. It's difficult for some people to understand, and it might seem childish. Damon signed with the Yankees in 2005 and played for the Tigers after that. I think after the 2004 World Series, Red Sox fans held the 25 members of that team in such high regard that such a level of betrayal is difficult to get over. At least it has been for me. Johnny is in the sunset of his career and I hope he can end it on a good note. Just not when the Rays are playing the Sox. Call it vindictive. I can't fully forgive. And I definitely haven't forgotten.

Manny, Manny, Manny. As complicated as things were with Damon after he left the Red Sox, there were quite a few complications while Manny was still IN Boston. My honest reaction to hear about his signing was "Ha! How the mighty have fallen!". And then I got quiet. And then I got pretty sad. Manny meant a lot to Red Sox Nation and to the team in his tenure there. For all of the crazy shenanigans, he and Ortiz were the best hitting tandem I can remember seeing. And you don't forget that. I'll never boo Manny. I appreciate his contributions too much to do that. It's just too... complicated.

Trying to snag tickets to a game when the Red Sox play the Pirates in Bradenton during Spring Training. Hopefully the Pirates virtual waiting room will be kinder.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Everything I Do Is To Try & Make Me Good Enough For You

There has been a big marketing push leading up to the 2011 NHL All Star Game in Raleigh at the end of this month. The league has teamed up with famous comic book legend Stan Lee for "The Guardian Project". The basic idea is that a superhero is created for every team in the league to... well. We're not really sure what it's for. Other than look a bit silly on paper so far.

Today, Yahoo's Puck Daddy posted an article where they spoke with the Chief Creative Officer for the Guardian Project and he wasn't really giving up much info. Apparently there is a big origin back story, but one main thing stuck out to me. Mr. Creative said that the project wasn't really all about hockey. A sports league's big marketing project has seemingly very little do with the sport that they play. I thought the point of ad campaigns were to sell the product they were promoting.

A lot of the big hockey fans I know have been very skeptical about this whole thing. I am proud of the NHL for branching out and doing something different. Going on HBO's 24/7 was brilliant and beautiful. They were the first league to use pink sticks as a promotion for breast cancer awareness. Clearly, they are not afraid of blazing a trail. Moves like this just seem be to extra frustrating because a) it doesn't seem to take into account the hardcore fans they already have and b) it's difficult to see exactly how these superheroes will promote the league outside of having some logos on their tights.

More HBO tv time. Less.. whatever the hell the guy in the picture is supposed to be.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Of All Stars & Defensemen

A typical conversation between me and my brother from another mother:

Me: what should i write about in my blog tonight?

Josh Blue: me. i'm an awesome subject

Me: but what about you?

JB: how awesome i am. fuck that dude on Chuck. write about how the red wings got fucking robbed in the all-star game or, a piece on lidstrom, being named captain of the all-star squad

Me: you are the second person saying i should write about the all star captains but i don't want to write about eric staal. the staals creep me out

fuck the other guy. it's all about the greatness of lidstrom,
one of the ...5 best? of all time?

Me: d men?arguably i'd have to look at the numbers

JB: gretzky, mario, howe,

Me: i believe it was the players who voted on the captains and that speaks volumes

JB: gretzky, mario, howe, orr....

Me: i'll throw richard in there. i recommend the movie "the rocket"

JB: goalies?

Me: .roy, brodeur, throw in some sawchuck. maybe plante. you're catching me off the cuff lol

JB: lidstrom top 10 of all time?

Me: for defensemen or just position players

JB: i mean, definitely the greatest defenseman of his era

Me: oh no doubt. just hard when you put it up against some of those names

JB: so then you compare him against the best of all time

Me: this is where i think it's difficult to compare players from drastically different eras of hockey sometimes

JB: orr? bourque? stevens?

Me: unlike baseball, which is pretty much the same as it's always been. excepting PEDs

JB: coffey?

AB: skates are different. they used to play with uncurved sticks. al macinnis

JB: Brian Leetch

AB: surprised you didn't throw chelios in there, red wing boy

JBChris Chelios - 3 time norris winner

AB: what about denis potvin? or if we're going really old school.. Eddie Shore

JB: larry robinson

AB: yup

JB: harvey. but you see...only ones i think touch lidstrom are orr, maybe bourque

Me: scott niedermayer

JB: macinnis oh, one of my faves: housely

Me:you can even divide things up more. cause you can't always compare more offensive defensemen. i am a nerd!

JB: yea, but still.. orr and lidstrom - then everyone else

AB: i could just copy and paste this conversation into my blog, you know

JB: true but honestly, there is a gap: orr and lidstrom, then you talk about the rest
(just take out my bad typing)

Me: i miss scott stevens' hits

JB: he was perfect in the devil's scheme

Me: i hate the trap though. don't let me close this without copying it

JB: okay product of a system, or just thrived under that system

AB: well he did play a large part of his career in new jersey. and the devs were using it by the time he got there. i'd say he thrived with it. because he was much more offensively minded earlier in his career. i need beer to figure this out. mm eddie cahill. sorry. lol

JB: lol

Me: now i want to watch miracle

JB: admission: i like mystery alaska more than i like miracle. miracle had the more preditable ending

Me: uh


Me:i seriously am going to copy this whole thing in. haha

JB: correct my mistakes

this is running just like most of the rambling conversations we had while i was up there

JB: my brain is a scary place. i just went toe to toe with a yankees fan: i argued olerud was better than mattingly. i thought he was going to have a heart attack

Me:one less yankees fan

JB: jumping off. say hi to your readers for me

-Fin -