Friday, August 31, 2007

The Ice Is In SBP. The Beer In My Fridge Is Cold And Crisp. It's Getting Closer...

The Sens have put the ice into SBP with the new logo taking center stage. (Click on link to find the gallery page) The problem with the logo is that it doesn't exactly fit. Same thing happens when you go to and you look at the line of logo's at the top of the page. They had to crush the Sens logo to make it fit and it looks mighty awkward. We wouldn't be having this problem with the circular profile logo now would we?

But who really gives a shit at this point. It's been decided so it's time to live with it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Top Ten Reasons The NHL Is Still A Must Watch

1. George Parros’ moustache.

2. Mike Commodore’s Red Afro.

3. Ray Emery’s wardrobe.

4. Ray Emery beating up fellow goalie Martin Biron and then taking on enforcer Andrew Peters, smiling through it all.

5. The Red Wing’s sweaters. No matter how many times they wash them, they still look as dirty and menacing as they did in the 60’s and 70’s.

6. Mike Keenan still gets jobs. Nothing better for storm chasers.

7. Screw everyone else. Dominik Hasek is still playing and proving that he is the best goalie to ever live.

8. Ted Nolan. He's good.

9. The Toronto Maple Leafs. What a continuous circus. Much like the Canadian political party, Bloc Quebecois, they take themselves way too seriously while everyone else couldn’t give a s*!t.
10. Pierre McGuire. TSN analyst calls games from the benches, takes a stick in the dome and keeps on talking about how much he loves the game. Fun to watch.

Vancouver Unveils Yet Another Uniform

There was more speculation about this uniform than any other this summer, particularly because I think Vancouver fans are the most rabid in all of hockey. The city is so laid back but they freaking love their Canucks even though the team has never achieved anything beyond two Cup final appearances.

Anyways, I think the uniforms look swell. Like most people I would have preferred the original stick logo on the front but I think the Orca is a decent logo and the sweater overrall is an ideal compromise between the old and the new. I do like the city name on the front and the horizontal stripes but they should have shrunk the logo a bit. Like trying to buy property in Kitsilano, there's just no acreage left.

Let's hope that the Canucks just stick with this jersey for better or worse. Fans must feel like they get an expansion team every ten years with all the colour and logo changes that have gone on. How many different designs has Trevor Linden wore?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Miss Teen USA 2007 - South Carolina answers a question

I feel sorry for this girl but it's too much to pass up for a laugh. "Such to speak... US Americans..." An instant classic.

K Lowe: The New Mike Milbury

Directionless. Impulsive. Short-Sighted. Temperamental.

All these adjectives certainly describe "Mad" Mike Milbury's reign over the New York Islanders through most of the 90's and 00's. Now that Milbury is absent from the annual golf meetings ... errr.... general managers meetings, we can now easily slide these descriptions over to Edmonton pariah Kevin Lowe.

Now, how did this happen exactly? K-Lowe as a player for the dynasty Oilers was a calming influence on the ice for almost twenty NHL seasons. Smooth and poised, the bilingual K-Lowe slid into Glen Sather's throne in Oiltown with ease and had the enthusiastic support of the fanbase. Why would he be any different in the GM's chair than he was on the ice?

In fact, K-Lowe had it all, well almost, just a short year ago when his team signed Chris Pronger and Mike Peca and marched all the way to the Cup final with a K-Lowe acquisition in goal, Dwayne Roloson. Then the bottom fell out. Big time.

Pronger demanded a trade and Lowe gave it to him, acquiring two promising players in Ladislav Smid and Joffrey Lupul. Smid turned out to be good but Lupul flopped in his hometown. In fact, the whole team never recovered from Pronger's absence and fell to the bottom of the league.

This made Lowe panic. The whole Ryan Smyth farce was the first true sign of "Milbury Madness". Smyth was willing to sign a contract with the only team he's ever played for but Lowe was balking at the money. Instead he dumped him to the Islanders for prospects Ryan O'Marra, Robert Nilsson and a first rounder. There were reports that many other GM's would have offered much more to Lowe but were not aware that Smyth was on the market.

"I want to be very clear that making this trade today is a hockey decision. It was not financial" said Lowe the day of the trade. Curiously, Lowe then spent the first portion of this summer trying desperately to re-sign Smyth for more than the same amount of money he balked at previously because team and fan morale were at an all time low without their heart and soul. To top things off, Lowe was unable to lure any free agents to Edmonton during the initial signing craze so he panicked and dealt Lupul and captain Jason Smith to Philadelphia for underachieving prospect Joni Pitkanen. Steve Staios immediately grumbled to the media that the players were unhappy with this trade, further eroding morale in the organization.

Then Lowe decided to start cherrypicking other team's players by offering not one but two monumental offer sheets to Thomas Vanek of Buffalo and Dustin Penner of Anaheim respectively. He woefully misjudged the Vanek situation. Buffalo had already lost Chris Drury and Daniel Briere and were not about to let Vanek go with so much cap space left to play with. Buffalo even told Lowe directly that they would match but Lowe bulldozed through, achieving only the ignomous feat of driving up salaries across the league. Lowe finally realized how to utilize the offer sheet system by nabbing Penner from the cap challenged Ducks.

So where does that leave the Oilers? Basically nowhere. Most publications are picking the Oil to miss the playoffs. Sheldon Souray was the lone impact free agent to sign in Edmonton but that's because Lowe offered what no other team would dare: five years and $27 million. The Oil do have some good prospects in the system and could contend in the future but it seems like the Oil have been doing that since 1995. Finally breaking through to the final in 06 should have pushed the team into regular contention but instead the rebuilding continues.

If Lowe had just seen the signs and paid Smyth in the first place, then maybe other players could point to the stability and skill of the Oilers and want to play there despite the travel and the weather. Trading two heart and soul players within months of each other can only lead to erosion in the locker room - the exact same thing that Mike Milbury did year after year in Long Island. Let's hope that Kevin Lowe just had a bad year (along with his bad haircut: dude, you're bald, just shave it down to the bone and get it over with) and gets the Oilers back to where they should be - kicking Flames butt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Classic Quotes

Here's another rancid batch of quotes from some of the best smack talkers (Mathew Barnaby) in the league over the years.

"To get my paycheque for two weeks, my family must work 200 years in Slovakia."

- Pavol Demitra of St.Louis talks about his 1.1 million-a-year contract in 1999.

"Cornelius, as we like to call him, gets under your skin. Planet of the Apes. Look at him. Seriously. He looks like Cornelius."

- Mathew Barnaby, then of the Penguins, on his bitter enemy Lyle Odelein.

"I scored on Tommy just to get my confidence going."

- Onetime Edmonton Oiler defenseman Scott Ferguson explains why he accidentally scored on his own goalie, Tommy Salo. The next game, Ferguson scored his first goal of the 2003-2004 season, and his first in 49 games.

"You give a hundred and twenty percent of your soul, you give up your family life, and then they kick you in the balls."

- Mike Keenan upon being fired by the Chicago Blackhawks as their coach and GM in 1992.

"The only difference between the Coyotes and 'Days of Our Lives' is that nobody has been shot on our team yet."

- Jeremy Roenick gets off a good blast about his own troubled Coyotes team in 2001.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Training Camp Dates For All 30 Teams - Shotgun Start For Ducks and Jackets

Can't wait for something ... anything to happen? Training camps are right around the corner and over at TSN they have a nice concise list of training camp opening dates. In a strange twist, the best team and arguably the worst team from 2007 are opening their camps first, a full three days before anyone else. The Ducks and the Blue Jackets open for business September 10 while most other teams open on the 13th and 14th. The Jackets will need the extra work and coach Ken Hitchcock has promised that camp will be gruelling.

"It doesn't sound like there will be a grace period," defenseman Duvie Westcott said with a chuckle. "I'm thinking it'll be two-on-two battle drills in the corner right from the start.

"Call the doctors and tell them to have the needle and thread ready."

While I wish the Jackets all the best in the world, do you think the fans will really go crazy for a Ken Hitchcock coached team? Sure, they might win a few more games but it will be like watching molasses. The trap is alive and well as long as Jacques Martin, Jacques Lemaire, Alain Vigneault and Hitchcock are around. At least the Jackets have nicer jerseys to look at.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Tampa Bay Lightning Jerseys. ... More of the same

These new Tampa uniforms are virtually the same style as Ottawa's, right down to the blocks of colour on the sleeves and the way the middle block runs up under the arm. I think these are an improvement for Tampa but certainly no home run fashion wise.

All of these new uniform styles remind me of the mid 1990's when a lot of teams changed up their templates with some flashy stripes and swooshes and gimmicky "modern features". In retrospect, we tend to laugh at those designs because they are such a departure from good taste. I'm positive that many of these new 2008 designs will suffer the same historical fate as the examples below.

Notice that all three of these examples used non-linear stripe patterns. In the new styles, they are leaving the fronts of the jerseys empty but filling the underarms with colour swooshes and putting non-linear stripes on the pants and socks.

Thanks to NHL Uniforms and Drop The Pucks for the images. Also check out Bleu, Blanc et Rouge for the up-to-date new uniforms section.

They're growing on me..

Friday, August 24, 2007

Goal Judges Are Pissed Off - And Banished To The Rafters Like Pigeons

Great article here by Tim Panaccio over at Hockey Buzz on the decision by the NHL to remove the goal judges from behind the nets and put them in the press box where they can press their little button. Why? So the teams can sell the goal judge boxes as premium seating. The Flyers have already jumped on the gravy train as you will see.

Roster Problems for the Sens

Barring any major move by GM Bryan Murray before training camp, this is what the Sens will probably look like to start the season on the road in Toronto.

Line 1. Eaves – Spezza – Heatley
Line 2. Vermette – Fisher – Alfredsson
Line 3. Donovan - Kelly – Neil
Line 4. Hennessy – McAmmond – Schubert

Spare: McGratton

Def. Pairings

Redden – Meszaros
Phillips – Volchenkov
Corvo – Nycholat

Spare: Richardson



What becomes clear very quickly is that this team needs another top six forward and probably another physical stay-at-home defenceman.

Eaves is a risky proposition on the first line because the team wants him to blossom into a scorer but the role on that line calls out for someone who is defence first. Maybe Shean Donovan is a better fit but it’s hard to give a career third liner first line minutes every night.

Fisher and Alfredsson are another strange combo who don’t really seem to click together the way they should. Vermette is also a mystery man because he has all the tools but can’t seem to rise above being a penalty killing specialist. His forays into offense always seem awkward and he misses more chances than anyone on the roster. He might be a better fit on the third line.

Kelly and McAmmond look to be locks as third and fourth line centres while it’s probably time for talented youngster Hennessy to make the jump to the NHL. Ideally, the Sens would like to have Schubert back on defense but that leaves too big a hole up front. They obviously don’t want to commit to giving McGratton 82 games and it’s a crapshoot whether or not some of the prospects like Cody Bass, Nick Foligno and Shawn Weller are ready for prime time. Schubert provides plenty of hard hits and muscle on the fourth line while Nycholat looks to be a reasonable solution as a sixth defenseman in lieu of a quality veteran.

On defense, it looks like Redden will be forced to find chemistry with Meszaros. Both of those players were mediocre last season but in reality, there is no other fit currently on the roster. You can’t break up the excellent Phillips/Volchenkov combo and Corvo is too fragile and jittery to command top minutes.

Who should we get?

In an ideal fantasy situation, Bryan Murray would just open the cash drawer and sign Peter Forsberg and Danny Markov. That would solve the roster problem but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. There’s not much left in the free agent pool that would really help the Sens.

Eric Lindros would be an interesting addition but it looks like he is on the verge of retiring to work for the NHLPA full-time. Despite his reputation as being injury prone, Lindros is still a quality player when his body allows him and he would add some size to the wings. Mike Johnson could play effective minutes on the fourth line but something about him is just too ordinary to bother. Dave Scatchard might be the guy some team picks up and gets really lucky with. Ottawa once tried to trade for Scatchard but those executives are long gone.

It looks as if Murray will wait until after training camp to see if some of the youngsters show they’re ready. But one thing is for sure: the current roster has too many holes to be considered a favourite just yet. They will still rely too much on one line to score and the top six forward positions desperately need a seasoned veteran to help Alfie and company. Bill Guerin would have been ideal but perhaps the Sens can entertain some trade options to bolster the group. As you know, almost every team believes they can compete in October but by the time December rolls around, about six teams will be looking to dump bodies overboard.

Sometimes it pays to be patient.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hockey Socks Take 2

Oh shit! In my previous post I pointed out the socks as being one of the nice features of the new uniform. Except I didn't do my homework properly. I only saw a picture of the front of the socks with the traditional horizontal stripes. To my horror, I finally saw an image of the back of the socks and it seems somebody was influenced by old Houston Astro's uni's and the movie Tron when they designed these.
They are straight up awful. Why break up the stripes? Were you going for an action figure look?

On a more positive note, here's a closer look at the numbering and lettering which I absolutely love. They actually look a little like Team Canada jerseys from behind.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Threads - Good and Bad

Okay, first off:
The Good:

1. The Pants - The side striping on the pants is excellent. Very old school with two matching red and white stripes.
2. The Shoulder Patch - The Retro "O" is a great idea and introduces for the first time the barber pole into the Sens uni's.
3. The Socks - Classic and simple. Awesome.
4. The Colours - Glad they stuck with red and white.
5. The Numbers - Looks sharp on both sweaters.
The BAD:
1. No striping on the bottom - The fronts are just too bare without some vertical striping on the bottom of the sweater. Gives them that "pajama look". Like they are just practice jerseys.
2. No Side Profile Logo - Just like that, the Sen's classiest symbol is wiped off the face of the earth. Instead we are subjected to a "meaner" looking Roman Soldier... oops!... we are now supposed to refer to him as the "Warrior". Whatever.
3. The Dreaded Underarm Syndrome - Apparently most teams are choosing to highlight the underarms of new jerseys by adding a triangle of colour there. Somehow this is more important than traditional horizontal stripes on the bottoms of the jerseys. Utter crap.
4. The New Logo - It's not that bad but it's not that great either. My eyes are always drawn to the overall shape of this logo which makes it awkward appearing. It's sharp and thin at the top and fat and blobby at the bottom. They should have just taken out the "O" segment and just had his head. Then the logo would look cleaner and more proportioned.
Overall: It's a disappointment for sure. The white jerseys look so unsubstantial that they seem like practice jerseys. The red ones look a little sharper and I do like the shoulder patches as well as the sleeve colour distinctions. It has a bit of a barber pole vibe which I dig.
The true disappointment is the lack of the original side profile logo which would have looked gorgeous on those white jerseys. I look at it as another lost opportunity. These were designed for kids (and probably by kids) with a few touches thrown in to satiate the hardcore hockey fan.
They are not "disastrous" but they aren't that hot either.

More Unreliable and Shoddy Pay-Per-View Games on the Sked

According to the Ottawa Sun, Sens fans are going to be asked to shell out for seven PPV games over the five that "broadcast" last year. I put "broadcast" in quotation marks because as anyone who watched the games knows, the new venture was sometimes a mess. Not only were the games not offered in High Definition (so far, they're not this year either) but the feed would often freeze and the audio would cut in and out prompting many customers to demand refunds.

At least this year's games are going to be spread out more than last year's. Of course, the Sens are trying to capitalize on the Crosby phenomenon and have made the Penguins visit to Ottawa in November a PPV. They also managed to throw in a Leafs game at the end of the season.

It's not that I'm completely against PPV. It seems like a reasonable way to make money for the organization but seven games is at least two too many. Plus, customers should receive a quality broadcast without fear of interruption. Putting the games on an HD channel should be the top priority for the club.
Stay tuned for images of the new Sens jerseys to be unveiled today at 4 o'clock.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Could Have Been?

Now that a real string of the new NHL jerseys are about to be unveiled in the coming month, including Ottawa tomorrow (Wed. 22 Aug.), it's interesting to read Paul Lukas' recent article on ESPN about jersey designs that were proposed but never implemented. All four major sports are covered by Lukas (of the essential Uni Watch blog). Check out this mind-blowingl design for the Blues that would have went down in the annals of ugly sweaters if Mike Keenan hadn't brought down the hammer on the idea. Wow.

Daily Classic Quotes - Roger Neilson Edition

Roger Neilson was about as colourful as they come. Here's three good zingers from the legendary coach:

"Al's about as sincere as Liz Taylor saying 'ouch' on her honeymoon."

- Roger Neilson joking about Alan Eagleson at a light hearted roast in 1983. Neilson's comments were ironically prophetic as Eagleson was later convicted and sent to jail in the nineties for stealing pension funds from players during his reign as president of the Players Association.

"I was a little worried about the drinking, but they assured me they would be drinking everywhere we went."

- Roger Neilson, while coaching the Flyers, on his players wish to spend four off days in New Orleans.

"There are two things I don't want to know - how they make hot dogs and what goes on in the NHL office."

- Roger Neilson lobbing some smack at the league executives.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Daily Classic Quotes - Sens Edition

The Senators have had a short history, but a colourful one. Here's some of the more classic all-time quotes concerning the franchise, starting off with a few beauties from former Sens defenceman Ken Hammond.

"Now we know what the survivors of the Titanic felt like."

- Ken Hammond, a member of the Ottawa Senators for their first season in 1992-1993 when they finished with a record of 10 wins, 70 losses and 4 ties.

"Look, if I'd known Mullen was open, I never would've passed it to Stevens."

- Ken Hammond, former Ottawa Senators defenceman, analyzing a boneheaded play he made during the 1994-95 season. He passed the puck out of his own zone as Pittsburgh Penguins Kevin Stevens and Joey Mullen moved in to forecheck. Stevens intercepted the pass, fired it to Mullen, who scored.

"The crooks showed some taste."

- Former Ottawa Senators assistant coach E.J. McGuire, referring to thieves who only left the game tapes behind when they stole equipment from the Senators video room in 1994.

"I really couldn't give a shit what you people have to say."

- Senators goalie Tom Barrasso throws down an S-bomb on a stunned Scott Oake who is interviewing him live nation-wide on Hockey Night in Canada during the Leafs-Sens playoff series in 2000.

"Mother Teresa would have a bad reputation in Ottawa. You can't go down the street and so much as sneeze without something going wrong."

- NY Islanders GM Mike Milbury goes nutzoid on Ottawa while trying to defend his decision to obtain the much maligned Alexei Yashin from the Senators on June 23, 2001.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Daily Classic Quotes - The Sexist Edition

Here's another disastrous collection of quotes from current and former NHL personalities. This time we get their feelings on the fairer sex. They range from the outright offensive and sexist ramblings of Harold Ballard to the comical takes of Mike Keane and Gino Odjick on the women in their life.

"Women are also capable of being mean. When she calls me two hours before a game to say, 'Tonight I'm going out with a guy, it's not easy to concentrate, especially when I know the guy."
- Martin Brodeur, referring to his (then) wife. Brodeur had recently had an affair with his wife's sister.

"I'm into guns, I'm really infatuated with women and I like to socialize a lot."
- Steve McKenna, then a Penguins winger, discussing his hobbies with the Hockey News.

"There are no better women in North America than in Montreal. Pittsburgh is terrible. The good cities are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Montreal, and Toronto."
- Derek Sanderson, a winger for the Bruins in the '70s, talks about women.

"She will tell you to fuck off every once in a while."
- Mike Keane, then with Colorado, describing his spirited 100-year-old grandmother.

"Women are good for only one thing - lying on their backs."
-Harold Ballard, former Toronto Maple Leafs owner, in a candid moment, speaking to journalist Barbara Frum.

"She won't be able to play bingo or shop for a whole month. Maybe Colin (Campbell) will get what he deserves when I tell her she can't play bingo or go to the stores. My advice to him is to run."
-Gino Odjick, while with the Montreal Canadiens, on his suspension without pay and how his wife Jolene might react to NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell's decision.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Daily Classic Quotes

Another round of classic quotes from some damaged minds.

"My nose has been broken so many times, I don't even smell or breathe through it anymore."

- Tiger Williams, the NHL's all-time penalty minutes leader.

"Los Angeles. That means I can fly to L.A. and check out the women."

- Brent Gretzky, Wayne's younger brother, upon hearing Wayne was traded from Edmonton to L.A. in August 1988.

"The first thing I saw was a big fat cop eating a jelly donut. Then I stood around signing autographs for the other poor guys in there."

- Dino Ciccarelli of the Minnesota North Stars describing his two hours in jail after being charged and convicted for hitting Toronto defenseman Luke Richardson twice over the head with his stick during a game in 1988.

"We drink all their beer, win the game, beat them up and no one go to jail. Good times."

-Andre 'Moose' Dupont describes facing the opposition while with the notorious Philadelphia Flyers of the 70's.

Another Fashion Victim

What a joke. Take a look at these horrific duds. The orange on the sleeves is gruesome and the piping on the shoulders is strictly amateur hour. In ten years, these jerseys will be laughed at much like we now laugh at the Captain Highliner jerseys they wore in the 90's. Talk about going in reverse.
Newsday has an article about the new jerseys. They actually talk about how the Isles are sticking to tradition with the new uni's. What the fuck are they talking about?
Also Bleu Blanc et Rouge has a running ticker on all the new jersey designs as they get released or leak.

Sam Pollock 1925 - 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Daily Classic Quotes - Mark Messier Edition

I'll be posting some great hockey quotes (semi) daily for the rest of the summer. Many of these are taken from the previous incarnation of Black Aces which I ran from 2003 -2006. What better way than to start off with some famous quotes about my favourite all-time player, Mark Messier.

"Fuck off!"
- Jeremy Roenick of the Chicago Blackhawks screams this audibly after Mark Messier steamrolled him during game four of their playoff series in 1990. Messier single handedly won the game for the Oilers by scoring a hat-trick, an assist and breaking two sticks over Denis Savard and Doug Wilson as well as elbowing Dirk Graham in the jaw. He also took a stick in the throat from Wilson just seconds before scoring his third goal.

"That Messier! That Messier! He knocked three of our guys out of the game. Three! That was ...that was ... Amazing!"
-The late Bob Johnson, then coach of the Calgary Flames, comments on Edmonton Oiler Mark Messier injuring three of his players - Al MacInnis, Mike Eaves and Paul Reinhart - in one playoff game in the mid 1980's.

"Jimmy Carson is no longer with us because he couldn't stand the heat... He didn't like Messier always saying he'd beat the shit out of him if he didn't produce."
- Glen Sather explaining why winger Jimmy Carson walked out on the Oilers during the 89-90 season. Mark Messier captained the Oilers to the Stanley Cup at the end of that year.

Gretzky Associates Himself With Worst Band in Music History

Say it ain’t so Wayne! That was one of the many headlines across Canada when Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky was traded to La La Land in August of 1988. It could apply now as well.

Gretzky is making an appearance with poodle rockers Nickelback in their new video for “Rockstar”. As if this song wasn’t bad enough (don’t they already have a video for this?), now we have to endure one of Canada’s greatest icons being associated with Canada’s biggest musical embarrassment to date, and I’m including Celine Dion and Our Lady Peace.

Other celebrities included in this stinker are Gene Simmons of Kiss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., psychotic right winger and killer of defenseless animals Ted Nugent (the Nuge!), as well as Grant Hill and a few other has beens.

As if being caught up in a mind blowing gambling scandal thanks to his buddy Rick Tochett and coaching the dreadful Phoenix Coyotes wasn’t enough to further devalue the Great One. Now he is on videotape lyp-synching moronic lyrics written by perma-goatee Chad “RockstarKroeger and his band of rich poseurs putting out music that is so produced and compressed with 35 separate guitar tracks that it sounds like it was played by a vending machine computer. But I guess the kids want what the kids want – corny ballads and weak rock anthems.

Please Wayne. I’m begging you. I still have tons of respect for everything you’ve done and the hours of joy I had watching my beloved Oilers in the 80’s. I even tolerated watching you make an ass of yourself on All My Children and watched that Saturday Night Live episode you hosted, not once, but twice! I struggled through your thousands of commercials telling me to buy trucks and take Tylenol and wear Roots. But this! I can’t tolerate it. Nickelback is out to destroy rock and roll as we used to know it. Can’t you see. They pretend to be like Nirvana but they’re really just a weak version of Foreigner with distortion pedals, bad haircuts and goatees and grade 2 poems masquerading as lyrics. Please Wayne! Don’t make me hate you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Sens Logo's Revealed Part Two

While yesterday we saw the new Sens logo's registered with the trademark office (see one entry below), they were only in black and white. Over at SensNation they have posted the colorized versions (seen below). Now I'm not sure where they got them (perhaps they are paint shop or an official leak) but you can bet that they are pretty close to the real deal. They definitely look better in color but I'm still not sold on the new side profile logo. Why mess with a classic design? Here they are.

What do you think? Hit the comments section for more feedback.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Sens Logo’s Revealed! For Real This Time.

Well, this is as official as you can get because these logo’s have been trademarked by Capital Sports and Entertainment. You can go see them for yourself over at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website here. Just type in Capital Sports and Entertainment in the search field and you can see the logo’s the Sens registered with the Federal Government body.

Of course, these don’t have the colours yet but you can imagine them in red, black and gold fairly easily.

What are my thoughts? I’m not a huge fan of the side profile logo even though it could be much worse. I always thought the original side profile logo was classy and sharp. This new one is a bit too rounded and it looks like the guy has a broom end on his helmet. I do like the fact that the circular logo represents the letter “O” a little better than the original but to me the logo looks too much like something advertising a casino or the official City of Ottawa logo. It may grow on me much like the “3D facing you” logo seen above.

As for my first reaction to the new 3D logo seen on Black Aces a few weeks ago, I initially spit coffee all over my computer screen in disgust but I grew to like the sharpness of it, as well as the flowing cape on his shoulders. Regardless, the logo’s are now more “child-friendly” but they haven’t done a complete butcher job either. I just wonder why the need to have a new logo at all?

Anyways, some dude on the sportsnet forums found this site with a bit of smart detective work. I’m sure Roy Mlakar will be pissed at the Feds once these logo’s make the internet rounds, but relax Roy, we’re all pissed at the feds for one reason or another. But does that Sens logo look a little like Stephen Harper? Hmmm…

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Celebrating 19 Years of Peter Pocklington Being An A-Hole

It's almost like every kid who was a hockey fan in the 80's has had a similar moment. All over the internet, people are rekindling horrible memories of Wayne Gretzky being traded by Peter Pocklington to the L.A. Kings 19 years ago today. I might as well chip in.

I still have the front page clipping from the Ottawa Citizen where I learned that my hero was leaving the Oilers. I only had two favourite teams then - the Oilers and the Red Wings. The Red Wings were terrible at the time but the Oilers ruled over everybody. I actually started crying. Like a freaking baby. It was almost like losing a family member. Seriously. How could this disaster happen?

Basically because Peter Pocklington was a heartless capitalist. He owned the biggest meat packing plant in Alberta and proceeded to wage a war with his employee's union by bringing in replacement workers during a strike in 1986. This ego-driven war eventually crippled the business and Pocklington decided to cash in on Wayne Gretzky. It was that simple. He needed money and he sold the greatest player to ever live to future convict Bruce McNall. Nice move. He eventually had to sell the Oil after threatening the entire community by saying he wanted to move the team to Houston.

The craziest part of the story to me is the underhanded tactics Pocklington used to move Wayne. Nobody in the hockey department wanted to trade Gretzky. Gretzky himself was planning on raising his family in Edmonton. But Pocklington floated the idea to Gretzky's father and then, worst of all, allowed McNall to meet with Wayne in L. A. During this meeting, Pocklington called McNall's office and pretended not to know that Wayne was there. McNall put Pocklington on speaker phone where he went into a tirade against Gretzky. This then spurred Wayne into asking for a trade thereby allowing Pocklington to claim to the media that it was Wayne who wanted to be moved. Bullshit.

McNall and Pocklington obviously set this up in such a way that Wayne would have no choice but to ask for a trade.

And so we sit back and celebrate Peter Puck in all his infamy.

Trivia: After the Oilers won their first Cup, Pocklington gave his players the traditional Stanley Cup ring. Only problem was, the diamonds were fakes. Gretzky and some of his teammates actually had to pay to have the fake diamonds replaced with real ones! Now that's class!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Luke Richardson = Reggie Dunlop?

Just some tidbits for the midweek:

Luke Richardson, hometown Ottawa boy and once the victim of a Dino Ciccarelli stick to the head in the 80's (Dino actually served jail time for it) has signed for one year with Ottawa. Last season he was a player-coach with Tampa Bay which basically makes him Reggie Dunlop. Hopefully he'll see some ice time and incite some mind blowing violence.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that Russia bound Oleg "Freakin" Saprykin is pissed about his experience in Ottawa. Meanwhile, two other Russians will be in training camp this year - Ilya Zubov and Alex Nikulin. Zubov especially is supposed to be pretty decent. Let's hope they don't have Mark Gandler as an agent.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

(Very) Early Prognostications (Is that how you spell it?) – NorthEast Division

Daydreaming is free; and that’s a good thing because in between paychecks I don’t have a pot to piss in. So how about we try and get an early line on how those summer lineups will do when the ice freezes and Gary Bettman’s tie is as tight as a hangman’s noose. First off: the Northeast, in order of expected finish.

1. Buffalo

Yes, some key people have left. Actually, two of their most key people left, but the Sabres will still win the division. Why? They have too much to prove after a season where the whole organization thought they were Stanley Cup bound. The Sabres collapse against the Senators sent shock waves through the fan base and iconoclastic general manager Darcy Regier was too stunned to try and work out contracts with Daniel Briere and Chris Drury. But those losses may actually help in the long run. Now instead of having to overpay for the two superstars (Philadelphia and the Rangers took care of that), the Sabres can now give star minutes to players like Thomas Vanek, Maxim Afinogenov (probably the most improved player in the league), Derek Roy, Drew Stafford and the hopefully healthy Tim Connolly. In Connolly’s case in particular, the Sabres have a secret weapon that everyone seems to have forgotten about. Connolly is capable of scoring over a 100 points if his brain isn’t totally destroyed after some nasty concussions.

If anyone can pick up the moping Sabres faithful, it’s coach Lindy Ruff who has somehow avoided being tuned out by his players for almost ten years. The Sabres still have speed and above all, great goaltending in Ryan Miller. They also have over $5 million in cap space for the trade deadline. They will be good. Very good.

2. Ottawa

This team still has it all in spades but their biggest foe is the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover. Edmonton and Carolina were colossal flops after fighting for the Cup in 2006 and the Senators will have to avoid getting snared in that trap. What they have going for them in this regard is a new voice in the dressing room. New coach John Paddock is in and Bryan Murray is upstairs eating popcorn. Usually in these cases, a new coach can light a fire under a team who might be complacent. It’s almost as if players have to prove themselves again under new eyes although Paddock has been an assistant coach the last two seasons. Not one to crack jokes to the media, Paddock is about as serious as they come. The only person who smiles less is Brian Burke and he is scientifically unable to do so. Look for the Sens to come out strong, coast a bit and then crank it up the last two months. Daniel Alfreddson will be on a mission to win the Cup after coming so close last year. The Sens also have a lot of young players who are bound to improve, like Ray Emery, Patrick Eaves, Chris Kelly, Christoph Schubert, Andrej Meszaros and Antoine Vermette. If Spezza can stay healthy, he’ll cash in a 100 points easily and help Dany Heatley get a third straight 50 goal season.

3. Boston

To be honest, I have no damn clue how this team will play. On paper, they look like a playoff team but Boston always finds ways to botch their season. They finally got a goaltender in Manny Fernandez but all signs point to him being some kind of a prima-donna. All he did was complain in Minnesota about this and that but he’s going to face more shots in Beantown than he did in Minnesota where Jacques Lemaire literally built a brick wall in front of him. On defence, the Bruins have Zdeno Chara but not much else. The forwards are a little top heavy with not much on the third or fourth lines but what a couple of top lines they do have. New coach Claude Julien will make sure the team plays a boring neutral zone trap game but that will probably help them in the standings. On paper, they’re better than Toronto and Montreal but they make me awful nervous. At least they got nice uniforms again.

4. Toronto

The quest for the Cup continues. Yah right. The Leafs have about as much chance of winning the Cup this year as Montreal and that’s not very promising. Jason Blake was a smart pickup but that only pushes Darcy Tucker to the third best forward on the team. If Tucker is your third best forward, you’re in deep shit. Mats Sundin is still a great player but he is being wasted in Toronto. Bryan McCabe continues to be an expensive burden for the blueline along with Pavel Kubina. Tomas Kaberle is decent but is way too overrated by the media machine in Hogtown. John Ferguson Jr. made a nice move in getting Vesa Toskala to take over from Andrew “The new Jim Carey” Raycroft and acquiring the troubled but promising Mark Bell ( the Toronto bars are anticipating his arrival). Other than that, the Leafs have to rely on their heart and grit to make the playoffs which they usually have in spades. Paul Maurice will have his hands full again to make this work.

5. Montreal

Montreal has been in a funk for over ten years now and it doesn’t look to be getting any better. Their star players are just ordinary stars and their role players are just average as well. They do not have any outstanding qualities in their lineup and it’s been that way for a long time. In the past, they at least had Sheldon Souray’s canon from the point on the power play but now that is replaced by the timid but reliable Roman Hamrlik. Bringing in Bryan Smolinski for $2 million was a terrible move. He replaces Radek Bonk but Smolinski has nothing left in his game. Bob Gainey failed to get Michael Ryder under contract for any length of time and he might walk out the door after the season. Patrice Brisebois was brought in for what seems like a farewell tour in the arena he was once booed out of. It’s puzzling to me that Montreal can’t acquire good players to build on some of their assets. Mike Komisarek is an excellent defenseman and Christopher Higgins is a rising forward. They do have goalie Carey Price in their system but not much else after him. At least Habs fans know that the hot dogs will be good. That’s about all they can count on this season.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Summertime Blues

Not much is happening in the NHL except Kevin Lowe pissing everyone and their grandmother off. Now I'm not a big fight guy but I like the odd flare-up, especially when it turns into a gong show. Everyone still has the recent Ottawa -Buffalo brawl in their memories but how about this all out scrap between the Sens and Flyers in 2004. Just to kick things back into shape after a hot long weekend.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Top Tens: Who’s On Thin Ice In 07-08?

1. John Ferguson Jr. – General Manager – Toronto Maple Leafs

No one has been so precariously close to the edge of being fired than JFJR. You have to feel sorry for a guy who is being undercut by ownership in a very public attempt to bring in a “mature hockey advisor” to oversee JF’s work. Talks with ex-Ottawa GM John Muckler seem to have cooled so maybe ownership is scratching the idea for now. But what remains is a very fragile situation where the team is headed nowhere quickly without recourse to rebuild due to some very heavy contracts to the likes of Bryan McCabe and Pavel Kubina. Everyone knows the team needs to rebuild, even Ferguson himself. But he may not be around to help.

2. John Stevens – Head Coach - Philadelphia Flyers

John Stevens seems like a man with no clear personality. He is stoic and icy but not in a Scotty Bowman way. It just doesn’t seem right for him to be in charge of a newly revamped Philly squad with (now) huge expectations. It may be unfair to say, but some guys just seem like career assistant coaches and that’s what strikes me about Stevens. After spending a ton of bucks in the offseason, Flyers fans are going to be frothing at the mouth for a winning team. If they get off to another slow start, look for Paul Holmgren to bring in a more experienced guy. Mike Keenan would have been ideal.

3. Kevin Lowe – General Manager – Edmonton Oilers

He put his ass on the line this summer, enraging the elite cabal of NHL general managers by throwing around ridiculous offer sheets. He did snag Dustin Penner but we must remember that he traded Ryan Smyth because of money and then offered him even more bucks when Smyth was a UFA. It’s a good thing Smyth didn’t end up going to the Flames or there would have been hell to pay. Then he trades the last remaining heart and soul Oiler, captain Jason Smith and pisses off his remaining roster in the process. If, as rumoured, new ownership comes in to Oil country, Lowe could be on his way out, especially if Joni Pitkanen and Dustin Penner tank the way Joffrey Lupul did. Stay tuned.

4. Tom Renney – Head Coach – New York Rangers

At first this choice may seem stupid but things can change awful fast in the Big Apple. Glen Sather is not one to sit and wait out a crisis. The Rangers have been built to win this year with both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury coming on board. Sather will be super sensitive to the notion that high priced free agents always flop in NYC and he will not hesitate to dispatch Renney back to the pile if things don’t work out.

5. Craig MacTavish – Head Coach – Edmonton Oilers

Mac T is a good coach but he might fall victim to the whirlwind that Kevin Lowe has created. Lowe could fire Mac T if the Oil fail coming out of the gate (to save his own ass) or more likely, exit along with Lowe in an ownership change.

6. Ron Wilson – Head Coach – San Jose Sharks

Ron Wilson has a history of burning out the teams he coaches. He gets good results in his first few years but diminishing returns thereafter. Witness Anaheim and Washington in the 90’s. Unfortunately, the Sharks have underachieved in the playoffs and there are now hints of a sour relationship between Wilson and once-franchise player Patrick Marleau. This does not bode well despite the fact that Wilson got an extension on his contract. He might get one more year but he had better win in the playoffs or it will be obvious that his players have tuned him out.

7. Jacques Martin – General Manager/Head Coach – Florida Panthers

Mike Keenan was shown the door because he did not see eye to eye with his coach Martin. That’s not surprising since both men are stubborn to the point of self-destruction. Keenan engulfs the castle in flames with his antics but Martin does it in a more sly way. He doesn’t change, no matter the circumstances. Much like Roger Nielson before him, he’d rather lose 2-1 than win 6-5. Now that he is running the whole organization, he has stocked up on his favourite hockey players - defensively responsible Europeans – and has shown no willingness to let his players free from the neutral zone trap system. Jay Bouwmeester would be getting way more points on any other team but now he’s turning into Charlie Huddy with faster legs. Martin must make a push for the playoffs or he could be looking for work very soon.

8. Doug Risebrough – General Manager – Minnesota Wild

It is now time for the Minnesota organization to reward its fans with some high-calibre, exciting and winning hockey. It’s not Doug’s fault that his best player, Marion Gaborik, has a wonky groin but he still has to take responsibility for the Wild being an average team in the same time frame that the Nashville Predators turned into a contender. How long can he keep his job? Honestly. Him and Jacques Lemaire have been there forever and all they have created is a lesser version of the New Jersey Devils. Maybe the Wild need some fresh ideas.

9. Wayne Gretzky – Head Coach – Phoenix Coyotes

I know, I know. Nobody is going to fire Wayne Gretzky. But he might decide to step down if the Coyotes go into the tank once again. Everybody wants him to do well, including myself. But maybe it’s not in the cards. He might be more suited to management.

10. Nashville Predators

Now that William “Boots” Del Biaggio has a huge slice of the team, the Predators are still in danger of relocation. Granted the fans have shown a huge willingness to buy tickets during a crisis situation but what happens when the fear goes away. Boots has an arena in Kansas City ready to go and he has the money to buy out the other investors at any moments notice. I like the fact that Gary Bettman stuck up for the city of Nashville and their hockey team because a league should stick by its franchises, even in the midst of a shiticane like the Preds just went through. But too many people have been trying to rip them from Music City. Until further notice, the Preds are skating on thin ice.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Top Tens: Most Overpaid Players

1. Kimmo Timonen - Philadelphia: 07-08 - $8 mill. (Cap Hit $6.333 mill.)

This outrageous signing by Philadelphia was the shocker of the summer to this modest scribe. 6 years at an average of $6 million for a player who has never been past the first round of the playoffs and has one goal in 16 playoff games (as well as a minus 4 rating) is simply too much to pay. Granted, Timonen is highly thought of around the league but he is not even in the top ten as far as defenseman go. Yet he is now the highest paid D-man in the league. Ahead of Nicklas Lidstrom. Ahead of Scott Niedermayer. Astounding.

2. Robert Lang – Chicago: 07-08 - $4 mill. (Cap Hit $4 mill.)

A lumbering playmaker, Lang is already 36 and is not getting any faster. This is a poor replacement for losing Michael Handzus to L.A.

3. Bryan McCabe - Toronto: 07-08 - $7.150 mill. (Cap Hit $5.75 mill.)

Unbelievably, Toronto still has to ante up for another four seasons for the mistake prone McCabe. Sure he's got a cannon from the point but how many goals does he cost you? Plenty. Because of contracts like this, Toronto is stuck in neutral.

4. Roman Hamrlik - Montreal: 07-08 - $5.500 mill. (Cap Hit $5.5 mill.)

Montreal is quickly becoming the Edmonton of the east. They have to overpay athletes to play in their zoo. Hamrlik has one goal in 55 playoff games. GM Bob Gainey has turned into the biggest disappointment in the NHL. They are treading water by signing Hamrlik and Bryan Smolinski.

5. Daniel Briere - Philadelphia: 07-08 - $10 mill. (Cap Hit $6.5 mill.)

That's just too much money. Way too much. He is not a top five player in the league.

6. Scott Gomez – New York Rangers: 07-08 - $10 mill. (Cap Hit $7.357 mill.)

Same thing here.

7. Craig Rivet – San Jose Sharks: 07-08 - $3.5 mill. (Cap Hit $3.5 mill.)

Sure he's a leader but you don't pay $3.5 million for intangibles. Prudent sense dictates that Doug Wilson could have signed Rivet for $2 million a season.

8. Jose Theodore – Colorado Avalanche: 07-08 - $6 mill. (Cap Hit $5.333 mill.)

It's hard to fault the Avalanche. Theodore was once an MVP but sadly has fallen on hard times. Luckily they only have one more year to bear on this dud.

9. Markus Naslund – Vancouver Canucks: 07-08 - $6 mill. (Cap Hit $6 mill.)

Naslund looks disinterested lately. Probably because Vancouver has the dullest system in the league. He is just biding his time until he can either go back to Europe, retire, or sign with a team who still believes in scoring goals.

10. Ruslan Fedotenko – New York Islanders: 07-08 - $2.9 mill. (Cap Hit $2.9 mill.)

Fedotenko has scored over twenty goals just once in his career. Last season he had 12. So Garth Snow gives him $3 million. Makes perfect sense.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Reveals Continue

These Boston uni's were some of the first new jerseys to be released so this is probably old news to a lot of people but it shows that at least some teams know what they're doing when it comes to fulfilling their obligation to their fan base (well they did trade Joe Thornton away in his MVP year). The Bruins didn't go for some new flashy design but instead brought it back to the Bobby Orr days and maintained the traditional striping. Blog site Bleu, Blanc et Rouge has a nice ticker going on revealing the new jersey designs as they are released or leaked.

The Blue Jackets jersey's also look great.

The Kings on the other hand ... horrific.