Monday, 28 September 2009

Ch-ch-changes!

Hey all!
We're moving. As in blog-moving. Check it out!
lovelovelove,
Kylie & Mer

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Douche-Bag-Dany Days

I can't remember where I found this, but it makes me cry laughing. If you made it, you're a genius.

Dear Douche-Bag-Dany,
You stuck-up, self-absorbed douche-bag. I have two choice words for you; you can use your limited imagination and figure out which ones they are. (Hint: they rhyme with 'Duck poo')
Have fun in California princess,
Mer

On the bright side, only 15 days until the Dany-free Senators hit the ice for REAL hockey games. Maybe, by then, they'll have sorted out the joke show they call their pre-season roster.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

17 Again

It's seventeen days until the beginning of the hockey season! You know what that means, right?

Or do you?

You might think you know, but I'll bet you're wrong. Unless you think it's...


VALERY KHARLAMOV DAYS!!!
This is when I expect anyone born after 1985 to go, "Um, who?" And you're kind of (totally) justified, since Val died in 1981. If you want to know all about him in that ye-old-bio-and-stats way, I suggest you click here.

Now, the reason it is Valery Kharlamov Days today instead of, say, Petr Sykora Days or Ilya Kovalchuk Days today, is because Kharlamov was THE number 17, kind of the way Maurice Richard was THE number 9 or how Steve Yzerman was THE number 19. Sykora and Kovalchuk wear 17 and Evgeni Malkin wears the reverse (71) to honour Kharlamov. And they do not do so without good reason: Valery Kharlamov is a Russian Hockey Legend. One could even say he is THE Russian Hockey Legend. Heck, he was so popular that my mother remembered knowing who he was during the 1972 Summit Series... (And my mum? Not really a hockey fan, despite growing up in Montreal during the 1970s - what was wrong with her, I will never know...)

Kharlamov began playing professionally with CKSA Moscow in 1967 and was an integral part of the Russian national teams that won Olympic gold in 1972 and 1976. He was also part of the 1980 Olympic team that lost in the gold medal game to the USA "Miracle" team. In his 14-year career, he won three Olympic medals (two gold, one silver), 8 world championships and 11 national championships... Sick. Just sick. Where was Canada??? Oh, right, we were the NHL. Right. Sorry. Back to Val...

His career was cut tragically short by the fatal car-accident in August of 1981. He was only 33. He is interred in Novokuntsevskoe Cemetery in Moscow. If you're ever, you know, in the area and you want to check it out, I'd love a photo. Seriously.

His legacy lives on on the backs of a handful of NHL jerseys, and in the form of a trophy (the Kharlamov Trophy is award every year to the best Russian NHLer as voted by all Russian players in the NHL) and a division of the KHL.

Even 28 years after his death, Kharlamov remains one of the most recognizable names in Russian hockey. He was post-humously inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.

So, with all due respect to my beloved Petr Gunn and the lovely Ilya Kovalchuk:

Happy Valery Kharlamov Days, Everyone!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Pez Days/A Somewhat Deranged Open-Letter-Rant to the Ottawa Senators

It is Jason Spezza Days
until the beginning of the hockey season!
Hello, Adorable!

I am feeling insanely lazy, so y'all can read all about him here. It occured to me today, during a conversation with a friend of mine, that I really must seem like I'm all about the Pittsburgh Penguins. While I love them dearly, and I am utterly infatuated with Kristopher Letang, this idea that the Penguins come first for me? That could not be further from the truth. Sure, they made the league's most incredible comeback of 2009. Sure, I cried at work when Sid raised the Cup. And sure, I fully kissed the Cup last month at the HHOF.

(In all fairness, it wasn't the REAL Cup, that was in Nova Scotia with a certain Mr. Sidney Crosby.)

You'd think that my loyalty was to the Penguins, but no. It would be too easy. I've been a Pens fans since the Cold War (since before said friend with whom I was conversing was born, actually). It would make sense if I could just cheer for them. I mean, I like winners. What better winners are there than Cup Champions? I even tried (for all of sixty utterly gut-wrenching minutes of play) to cheer for the Pens over the Senators in game 2 of the first round of the 2008 playoffs. Logically, I knew the Sens would lose. And yet, I could find no joy in the Pens scoring. None. Not even an iota of joy. I would break into wide smiles anytime the Pens turned over the puck or allowed a Senator a shot on goal. I knew the Sens were going to lose, but I couldn't cheer against them. I can't. Ever. It's like trying to root for the USA over Canada in the gold medal game of the Olympics. NEVER. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

Did I mention, we got tickets to the Pens-Sens game in Mellon Arena on Christmas Eve Eve? Merry Christmas to ME!!! I get to see some of my best friends and my two favourite NHL teams all in one day! I honestly don't need anything else for Christmas. (Unless, you really want to buy my love and then I'll take a Sens hat-trick and a 2003 Lambo, but mostly that game should be gift enough for me :P)

Thing is, I will be wearing my Sens jersey, my HEATLEY jersey no less, in Mellon Arena. I'm prepared for the comments. I have my bodyguards enlisted. I hope they knew what they're in for... At some point, I'll take wagers on how many negative comments I get. Over-under is yet to be determined... but due to a very well-publicized trade the other day, I no longer have an easy-as-pie favourite Senator. This is problematic for me because I like having favourites.

After about 3 seconds of consideration, I decided that, on account of how he handled the shitstorm of criticism he took last season for not being God's One True Gift to Hockey, and by virtue of the fact that he took so much of said verbal abuse in stride and responded with unparralled calm and class, before answering his doubters by going out and playing his ass off, Jason Spezza is, until further notice, my new favourite Senator. And, to pre-empt the inevitable question, no, I don't care about the trade that made this new faovurite-ism necessary.

Okay, who am I even kidding?!? ... OBVIOUSLY, I CARE. My former-favourite-turned-league-wide-douche-bag-joke-show is gone. Goodbye and good riddance. I don't want to talk about how we gave up a 40-goal guy (who can be a 50-goal guy) for two 12-goal guys. In my heart of hearts, I know that this is still a good thing. I think. I hope. Even if we're the laughingstock of the league and we got bitch-slapped by the freaking SHARKS in the trade. At the end of the day, I know our season would have been shot to hell if Dany Heatley had stayed on the team, so cutting him loose, like amputating a limb infected with necrotizing faciitis, was a necessary sacrifice.

Cory, it's up to you to prove that this was in the best interest of the team. You better take us to a freaking conference final to prove that your decision not to play Heater last spring (therefor spurring his subsequent trade request) was done in the interest of the Greater Good.

This is the Greater Good.
This is always the Greater Good.
ALWAYS.

As much as it's been a lovely Summer of WOOOOO in Pittsburgh, we are now merely nineteen days away from a new hockey season, and in that new season I have not written off my boys in red. As of October 3rd, I do not want to hear about Sidney Crosby's day with the Cup. Or how he cut a fucking cake with a sword. I mean, WHO DOES THAT??? HONESTLY? No, I want to daydream about next summer, about how Nick Foligno will celebrate winnng the Cup by remembering his late mother, and how Ryan Shannon will take it home to some insignificant town in Conneticut and celebrate with school children and midget players, and how someone will leak photos of Daniel Alfredsson's kids dropping the Cup in their kiddie-pool.

Now, I know the Cup is a lot to ask for. So, it's not like I'm asking for THAT straight up. But keep your eye on the prize, boys... Eye. Prize. Stanley. CUP. (DOOOOO IIIITTTTTTT!!!) Realistically, if my boys in red can please just focus on winning a few dozen games, that would be awesome. Kthxbai.

Now, how, you ask, are we going to do that? Let me tell you how... or, well, why there is a faint hope that we can.

These fine young men are (from L to R): Sens goal- tending prospects, Robin Lehner, Linden Rowat and Andrew Volkening.

Hello my lovelies. Can you stop Mr. Puck? Please say yes. You'll be my new favourite Senators if you can shut down Sid and Geno. Also, Linden, sweetheart? You need to meet my friend Lauren. She will coddle you accordingly. Even if you are a Sens prospect.

Goal-tending. It's sort of a running joke (albeit a bad one than makes me want to raid Kylie's stash of Dramamine) that it's not Ottawa if there isn't a 'goal-tending situation.' Honestly, I can't tell you the last time, if ever, that I felt any degree of loyalty and/or faith in Ottawa's goalie. It may have been back for that split second when Dominik HaĊĦek played for us... and even then, he was getting old, one could even say past his prime. Still, looking at the roster that season makes me CRY. Look at the names... LOOK. AT. THE. NAMES.

HEATLEY. Alfredsson. Spezza. CHARA. EAVES. Fisher. Neil. HAVLAT. HASEK. McGRATTEN. Volchekov. REDDEN. So many names... good names...

For the most part, they were in their prime. But in Ottawa we are used to having our boys FAIL to live up to their potential. And we're even more used to having shit-all between the pipes. We do not have a bona fide starting goal-tender. We rotate through guys who will be career back-ups and we hope they can do the job long enough for us to find someone mediocre to pick up when their save percentage dips below 0.800... We've been doing this for years. And we wonder why we suck? We. Need. A. Franchise. Goalie.

Having a good, SOLID, goalie, even if he's not a Hall of Famer, is crucial. I mean, Chris Osgood is not the best goalie EVER, but he's SOLID. He's a keeper. Marc-Andre Fleury sits on the puck from time to time. Sometimes this strategy is not so great (2004 WJC and the 2008 SCF, anyone?) and sometimes it's not so bad (2009 SCF). But, to be fair, the kid has a Championship ring, so he can't be half bad. Even a guy like Rat Bastard Cam Ward, who won his first Cup in his ROOKIE SEASON, has clearly been doing something right. I mean, it's not RBCW's fault that the Canes' defence fell apart in the 2009 ECF or that the offence slept through being swept by the Pens. Cam was still awake. Poor guy was pretty much on his own though. He is SOLID. He has been with the team for four straight seasons. When was the last time Ottawa had the same starting goalie for two straight seasons?

If we review some of Ottawa's recent gems, what do we have? Ray Emery? Diva. Darth Gerber? Errrrrrrrrr... can we not go there? I don't want to be mean. Brian Elliot? Sort of solid. Maybe? Could be. But I feel like we should know by now. He's 24. And then there's Pascal Laclaire. The jokes I heard in Syracuse alone made me wary of this trade. Fine, he was out of a starting gig in Ohio because of Steve Mason, who has what may end up being generational talent between the pipes. But STILL. For a guy who was drafted eighth overall (and I am refering to Laclaire, NOT Mason, who went 69th OA) this is not the kind of demotion one wants to advertize on their resume. When I went to see the Crunch (three days after the trade-deadline) there were jokes about Laclaire missing games because of having colds. And breaking nails. And pulling muscles most of us don't know exist. I can't be sure if it was your usual slagging on your under-performing guy, or if it was indicative of a more systemic problem Laclaire has. Jury's out on Pascal. I'll reserve judgement until we're 20 games into the season, but so far, I'm not sold. Verdict? Ottawa goal-tending is about as solid as Delta, B.C. during the Big One.*

*For those of you who don't know Vancouver geography, Delta is aptly named because it is a river DELTA and therefor pretty much MUD. During the Big One, the ground will undoubtedly liquefy and we can kiss a massive municipailty in the Lower Mainland goodbye as it disintergrates into the Pacific Ocean. That is how solid Ottawa's goal-tending is.

What has rekindled my faint semblance of faith in this alltogether hopeless situation, is due to the burst of raw talent Robin Lehner, the Sens' second-round pick last June, showed in the Kitchener Prospect Tournament last week. If this is some indication of what we have to look forward to, we might have someone decent in goal in the 2011-2012 season. Or sooner.




If the prospects tournament games are any indication, Robin Lehner is catching onto the the 'North American game' a lot faster than anyone thought he would. In a couple of solid games in the Kitchener Prospects Tournament (the other teams participating were the Baby Bruins, Baby Leafs, and Baby Penguins), Lehner stopped 40 of the Pens' 41 shots, helping the Sens to a 4-1 win, then stopped 26 of 27 shots in a game against the Leafs three nights later. The Sens won 7-1. Oh, how I wish I could say that more often.

Until further notice, and as insanely unrealistic as it is to do so, I am rooting for Robin Lehner to start in net in Ottawa. Sorry Brian Elliot. Screw you, Pascal Laclaire. I like my goalies young and hot and capable of making 66 saves on 68 shots in two games. I don't give a shit if he's only 18. I also don't care if this was just a prospects tourney. And I REALLY don't care if he's never played in North America. He'll learn fast. He clearly already is learning fast. I don't want to lose him to the Soo Greyhounds. Oh, and add him on facebook. Just for kicks.

Speaking of fun Sens-related-stuff, Nick Foligno has a blog this season. It's almost as good as a Heatley Twitter would be if it was in the spirit of the pre-2009-trade-deadline Brian Burke Twitter. I am so not funny enough to do a parody twitter, or I'd have one of Dany Dearest (the @*#&er).

Right, so, back to the point which was Jason Spezza.


Jason, darling,
I have great expectations of you this season. I think the the demise of the CASH line is a blessing in disguise. For you, in particular. Last season you took a lot of criticism, with a touch of class I did not know you had. I was impressed. I've always had a bit of trouble with you getting cute with the puck and dangling it a little too dangerously as you try (unsuccessfully) to channel Mario Lemieux or Sidney Crosby, and I feel like sometimes you need a kick in the ass and a reminder to keep it simple. That all said, I did appreciate your work ethic last year. I also appreciate how you've just kept to yourself and worked your butt off this summer as your former-linemate has been the centre of the most ridiculous NHL media-circus NOT involving the American judicial system. And, if you'll post a point a game through the first half of the season, I can even forgive you the hideous house you bought in Westboro and how it kind of uglies up my old neighbourhood.

Talk to Cheechoo about the scoring thing. I'm sure he'd like to have another 50-goal season. Figure something out. You're a good play-maker. You made Heater a wicked sniper, you can do the same for Cheech.

Now, can we talk about attitude, please? Jason, I love your attitude and how you are always so freaking happy-go-lucky. Now, how can we get some of those good vibes in the locker room? You guys have so much experience in that dressing room right now, it hurts me. It doesn't matter that we're down a 50-goal guy (it's not like he's done it since 2007 anyways). Hockey is a team sport for a reason. So find some chemistry (I know it's there somewhere) and tell the coaches to take some chances on some young guys. I mean look at who just won the Cup. Look at their roster. Look at how young they are. You have Alfie and Kovie to play big-daddy to the team. Now all you need are some gritty little f*ckers like TK and Max Tablot. Nick Foligno and Ryan Shannon aren't QUITE that calibre of kick-ass, but honestly, Shannon plays like he's got nothing to lose and everything to prove, and I love that.

Oh, and please tell Cory to give Jared Cowen a chance. WAC will hate seeing him in a Sens sweater, but she'd hate seeing him suck even more. I'd rather she has to hate seeing him succeed than have her disappointed by him never making it to the big league. And I know she's enough of a hockey fan to want him to make it, even if she loathes the team he's been drafted to. Plus, I promised to coddle him and make him one of my favourites. And we need some young blood. Badly. I know he's VERY young for a d-man... but pretty please? At least ask Cory to give him a good shot?

Thanks Jason. Really. You're my favourite Senator now. (Okay, so maybe I love Alfie and Ryan Shannon and Mike Fisher, too, but I'll defend you most vehemently when haters start their ranting.) Please don't let me down.

Sincerely,
Mer

Colby Armstrong Days



Sorry I'm a little late with Colby Armstrong Days. I spent day number 20 of our summer countdown working in the not-so-lovely City of Philadelphia. While I was there, I learned a few important things.

1) Philadelphia smells like a sewer. Or maybe it's Scott Hartnell.

2) I love accents, but I hate a Philadelphia accent.

3) It is not always sunny in Philadelphia.

4) Philly cheesesteaks are pretty good. Delicious, actually.

5) I'd never played before Friday, but I'm actually pretty good at Texas Hold 'Em.


I couldn't let Colby Armstrong Days pass us by without showing my boy some love. I'm a new hockey fan, so besides Jaromir Jagr, Colby was my first favorite hockey player. I'm a football fan by birth and a hockey fan by choice, so Colby will always have a special place in my heart, no matter what sweater he is wearing. I still remember where I was and what I was doing when I found out Colby got traded. Definition of sad day.




-Born November 23, 1982
-Hails from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan
-Played for the Red Deer Rebsls in the WHL
-Drafted in the first round, 21 OA, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
-Scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal game of the 2007 IIHF World Championships










Lord a mercy, I miss him!
















My favorite Hot Seat of all time...





I still hold out hope that Colby will one day wear the black and Vegas gold again....

Friday, 11 September 2009

Brooks Laich Days


By the time you read this, I will be on my way to the land of leadership and cheesesteaks. I hope I survive....


Three weeks. 21 days. There is ice at Mellon Arena. We're actually going to make it through this Stanley Cup summer without dying from hockey withdrawal. I'm really proud of us. I myself didn't know if I could do it. Brooks Laich is proud of us, too.








-Born June 23, 1983 in Wawota, Saskatchewan
-Drafted in the 6th round, 193rd OA in 2001 by the Ottawa Senators
-Made made his NHL debut with Ottawa at New Jersey on February 3, 2004
-Traded to the Capitals on February 18, 2004
-Won a silver medal with Canada at the 2003 World Junior Championship











Brooks Laich plays for the Washington Capitals and I like that. Yeah, I like the Caps. There, I said it. Well, I like (most of) their players. However, I don't want them to win. I want Mike Green to score a lot of goals, but still lose. How that is supposed to work, I have no idea. In any case, I will be seeing Brooks Laich and his best buddy in two weeks. I'm trying to figure out how not to squeal too much. So far, I haven't gotten that one nailed down yet.











Brooks Laich is the peanut-butter to Mike Green's jelly. The milk to his cookies, the peas to his carrots. If you love the boy, you have to love his best friend, right? Right. Why? I said so, that's why.

We also like pretty boys and Brooks is one of those. We so picked the right sport to fall in love with.

You know what else? Brooks makes fun of Mike a lot, which I love. If there's one thing I love more than Mike Green, it's making fun of him. What can I say, the kid is an easy target. I'd like to buy Brooks a beer for making fun of Mike as much as he does.







You know you want to see this again.




Cribs Version 2.0




Cribs Version 3.0. Apparently, Brooks enjoys moving...



Cribs Version 3.1





Squeeeeeeeeeal!

I know you've already seen this, but watch it again.





The Pens report for training camp on Saturday.

I will be there on Sunday. I can almost smell the ice....


Thursday, 10 September 2009

The deifnition of Ironic

As the world gets bigger and faster and people travel more and connect in heretofore unimagined ways (Did anyone in scifi ever invent Twitter? Seriously?) I think it's interesting that we've begun to shrink as a society again. You can only expand so far before everything begins to contract (or implode) again. This time, it's interesting because it's networking that has been the focus of these sites. Keeping track of people. Meeting new people. Knowing what's going on. Telling everyone the innane BS that's running through your own mind. It's self-indulgence at it's scariest.

But it's a global village. And you can only connect so many people before the people who created you connect to it as well. Before your parents join facebook... My lovely friend Lauren's parents are now both on facebook. This has provided us with endless amusement. I think it's an affliction people are beginning to have to deal with in masses... and the coping mechanisms are downright hilarious. This is probably the best thing I've seen today. This is a close second. If you look up ironic in my personal dictionary, this will be there as the definition.

I only have one thing to say:

Dearest Papa,
Thanks for being technologically illiterate.
love,
your kid

Monday, 7 September 2009

What's Past is Prologue

Am I about to bastardize a Shakespearean metaphor for the purposes of making some lame-ass hockey analogy? Oh, you bet I am.

"...she that from whom
We all were sea-swallow'd, though some cast again

(And by that destiny) to perform an act
Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come,

In yours and my discharge."
What's past is prologue. Story of my life, and of a lot of people's lives, I expect. This idea is probably most poignantly related to one person's life. The idea that what's passed is merely the prelude of what is to come. How often do I wish to structure my life in such a manner, for everything I've experienced to simply be the exposition of my own adventure tale? Most days.

For one young man, I feel like what's past is merely the prologue to his real story. Or I hope it is at least. This is probably the most unorthodox "So-and-So Days" post of the summer, but it's almost fitting since the subject of today's post has already had a less-than-average hockey career.

...

The other day was Stefan Legein Days (he wore 26 last year in Syracuse), but somehow, my heart just wasn't in it, sort of like his heart wasn't into going to Traverse City last summer for the Columbus Blue Jackets' training camp.

Then today, I saw this, and it reinvigorated my faith in this young man, and the sport of ice hockey and my love the Columbus Blue Jackets franchise for, as Stefan says, "being so patient" about his somewhat unorthodox journey to the pros. (There is a God, his name is Scott Howson.)

Stefan Who, you may be asking? If you know me well, you know the name, if not, well then let me introduce you to one of the most spunky players I've ever seen hit the ice. Spunky, but storied, even at only 20 years of age.

After being drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft (37th OA) to the Columbus Blue Jackets, playing a kick ass season (but missed the end of it due to injury), he retired. At 19. Last August (2008) no one knew what to make of it. I still don't really know what to make of it. I'd like to think that it's as simple as him having been burnt out and needing a break. I mean, how many 19-year-olds question their chosen life paths? The only difference for Legein was that his decision to question his future made headlines on NHL.com and TSN and warranted an article on the Bleacher Report. (I tried to find links to the original Globe and Mail article, but this was the best I could find.)

This year the news is a little different. If you're too lazy to click on the link and read the whole article, I'll summarize the important part right now: Stefan Legein scored Columbus' only goal in a prospects game against Minnesota. I seriously couldn't be happier. Honestly. Not even if Kris Letang showed up at my door (IN VANCOUVER) to deliver my season tickets to the Pens. Note the various impossibilities in that sentence and then extrapolate my degree of happiness about this...

So, how did this whole love affair begin? Because clearly it's not in my nature to simply pick my favourites based on their decision to retire and their subsequent under-dog status. (And YES, he is one of my favourites. In fact, he currently holds the number two spot, right below Kris Letang, because Dany Heatley has some serious grovelling in the form of winning the Rocket Richard Trophy and maybe the Art Ross before he gets back in my good books...)

Legein is one of my favourites because of the 2008 WJC. He was James Duthie's 'wounded cowboy'. The best 2:39 minutes of WJC coverage ever is of him being interviewed after winning gold in Pardubice. He got hurt doing something like THIS ----------->

Did I mention he's about 5'9"? Yeah, cause he doesn't PLAY like he's an inch taller than me. He plays like he's about 6'3" - he plays hard, he plays dirty when he needs to and he'll drop the gloves when the game requires it of him.

He was out with said shoulder injury for a few months and just made it back for OHL playoffs. That summer though, he decided to retire. I don't know why, and I kind of don't want to know why he did it, all that matters is that about four months later, he decided it had been a bit hasty and signed with the Syracuse Crunch. He played his first regular season pro gam with the Crunch this past January and then broke his finger in his second game back.

Now, this is where his story and my story become intertwined in a strange way. When I found out he'd come out of retirement, I said fuck it and bought a ticket to visit my family in New York. I was homesick anyways. I wanted to see them. I needed out of Vancouver's interminable rain... And I didn't know if I'd ever get to see him play again, so I bought a plane ticket to JFK and train tickets 'home' to upstate. Then I got a ticket to the Crunch game against the Baby Pens in Onodaga Arena in Syracuse, pulled on my Sykora jersey and then spent the entire first period trying to explain to season ticket holders why I was cheering for both teams.

I went to that game to see Legein play. I went to New York to see him play. The whole trip I decided to take down to DC, a trip that changed my life forever, was merely a side trip I decided to take when I figured I was close and the Penguins were playing the Capitals and was there anyone crazy enough to meet me there to go to see the game.

And there was.

And the rest is history.

But it's important that Stefan Legein was the catalyst. He plays a strange, crucial role in my own story, and in a strange way, even though I've only met him for a couple of minutes after that game in Syracuse as he signed my Team Canada jersey, my heart is completely invested in his success. I want to see him make the game's most incredible comeback. I want to see him be the AHL's player of the year. I want to haul ass to Columbus, Ohio or to wherever his first NHL game is when he finally gets called up JUST so that I'm there, so that I can cheer for him in his first game in the big league. Even if I have to go alone like I did in Syracuse. Somehow, I can already justify buying his jersey and waiting in the bitter cold for him to sign it like I did last February.

Now, I do not go all fan girl on ANYONE. Ask around, I go mute. Or I just don't care. But Stefan makes me Squee like I'm thirteen. I just want to hug him and tell him he's awesome and I'm proud of him and I know it's irrational, but I just want him to be happy. I want him to succeed. And it makes no sense, and he's never going to be a superstar like Sidney Crosby, but maybe, one day, he'll be a superstar like Max Talbot, and score a couple of clutch goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.

What's passed is simply the prologue to his story, as everything before this past year is the prologue to my own story. I wrote months ago, after seeing him play, that the hardest part of life is writing your own happy ending. There is nothing more difficult that figuring out what you want, but there is nothing simpler than going after it, no matter the hurdles, once you figure out what it is that you want. I hope he knows what he's in for... and when he says things like this?

"There's just nowhere else I'd rather be than Traverse City. Waking up at 6:45 a.m. and getting the crap beat out of you on the ice by opposing players just trying to make a living. That's how I know that I'm back for good." -- Stefan Legein
That's how I know he's back on the right path, kind of the same way I've finally found my own path (however much I have to hack through the creative thicket with my own, personal machete). And I couldn't be happier for him.

So, cheer for the Syracuse Crunch this season, if you don't have an AHL-love. Or just cheer for Legein... because enough people will be cheering for the Crunch's other big name forward...

Because, you were looking for more reasons than THIS to get you to a Crunch game ...

Dearest Stefan,
Best of luck this season. I'll be cheering for you and checking your stats online every game-night. Oh, and I'll see you in Hershey on December 26th. Please don't break anything before then, okay? Or get called up to Columbus. I can't afford another jersey or a plane ticket to Ohio this fall. You have plenty of time for that in the 2010-2011 season when I'll be a couple hours away in Pittsburgh. Then I'll come to as many of your games as I can. I promise.
lovelovelove,
Mer

Dear Max Talbot, We dare you...

In honour of Maxime Talbot Days, we have something a little different, because, well, Max is a little different. And because he always listens when we write him little love-notes during games daring him to score, we figured why not write him some pseudo-fan-mail? We know he's on vacay, but hey, who doesn't love getting fan mail?



Cher Maxime,

You know you're the shit. We don't have to tell you that you rock, because you pretty much remind us of that fact every time we're tempted to forget that you're an integral part of the Penguins. Half the time we're waiting for Sid to score a clutch go-ahead goal in the third period of an all-important playoff game, it's your bad hands that somehow find the puck and score a somewhat unbelievable goal to secure a W for the team. What makes it all the more unbelievable is that it's you scoring that goal, and not Sid or Geno or even Petr Sykora. And for all those goals, we want to say thanks. And we owe you about eight or nine shots of tequila next time we see you on Carson Street. (Don't worry, babe, we can drink you under the table... at least, we're pretty sure we can... we're willing to risk losing just to find out.) I mean, those two goals game seven? Those are going down history. Whever someone talks about the 2009 Cup Final, your name will be the one they say with awe-struck disbelief. Because fourth line centres don't usually score their team's only goals in games that big. Except you. You always tend to score those goals, don't you? You live off the adrenaline rush. You love being that guy who shows up for big games.

We all wish you could show up like that every game, but if you did that in every game, you wouldn't be you, now would you? We love you for being full of ten times more leadership than Mike Richards, as you took your junior team to back-to-back championships in the QMJHL and won yourself consecutive Guy Lafleur Trophies. We love you for having played for Team Canada and for treating baby Sidney like he was your dorky little Anglo brother. And we love you for being that eigth-round pick who drank his way through three seasons in the AHL before making the jump to the NHL. You live it up, no matter where you are. You show up, you play, and you throw the effing after-party. You do it all. Maybe you aren't captain of the Penguins (hell, you don't WANT the responsibility, do you?) but you are the eye of that storm. When things look hopeless, you somehow find the calm in the centre of the storm, you pull some unreal game-tying goal out of thin air with 34.8 seconds to spare, and you take an elimination game of the Stanley Cup final into overtime so your boys at least have a shot of winning the game and the Cup.

Sure, you didn't win the Cup that year, but honestly, if you had, you'd have had a heart attack. We all would have. It would have been a little too insane, even for you or I. But this year, when you told the media that all you wanted was to meet Marian Hossa in the handshake line and tell him he picked the wrong team? That's when I knew. That's when I knew that you, and you alone, if necessary, would win the Cup. You would make sure the Penguins won the Cup, if only to show Hossa who the real winners were, and what faith and loyalty and perserverance count for. And you won it. You went out there and scored when no one else seemed capable of it. You went out and you pretty much single-handedly won the Pens the Cup - as much as any one player can single-handedly win a hockey game or a Stanley Cup. You had the whole team behind you, but you were the one who found the net. You were the one who scored those clutch goals. You were the one chanelling the heros of Cup-finals Past.

Mesdames et monsieurs, I believe the word is FUCK YEAH!!!

No one wants to think that this is it, that you may never win it again, so they play it cool on their day with the Cup. Except you. You lived it up this summer and threw a massive party in Lemoyne and then showed up to help everyone who ever played in the Q celebrate the big win. How many days with the Cup did you crash??? As much as we can all understand that you're just the centre of the party and you just want to be there with everyone to celebrate, we all know your overzealousness to spend time with Stanley betrays a tiny fear that you, like Billy Guerin, may not win it again until you're nearly forty and you get traded at the deadline to some young dream team with the NHL's hottest young talent where you fit amazingly into the top line with their playboy centre and help take that team to their first Cup championship in nearly two decades. If ever.

We think that unlike Grandpa Guerin, you'll win it again soon. Maybe even next June? (You know that whole winning-the-Cup-on-home-ice-to-give-Mellon-Arena-a-proper-send-off plan? Yeah, we haven't forgotten, and we know you'd love to write that storybook ending, you die-hard romantic fool!) Ray Shero isn't going to trade you, not when Sykora's not coming back. Sure, you don't put up numbers like Petr-Gunn, but, like Sykie, you're there when it counts. You're worth infinitely more than your weight in vegas gold. And even though your numbers in the regular season are never, ever going to win you the Art Ross, you'll always be a superstar in Pittsburgh. No one cares about numbers. Pens fans care more about you shushing Philly and showing up, guns ablazing, to elimination games. If you score when it counts, no one will remember that you only scored 12 goals in the regular season last year. They'll rememeber that you scored 8 goals in the post season, and 4 of those in the Cup final series, and two of those in game seven, when Sid and Geno couldn't score to win the Cup. But you could. And you did.

Sid and Geno are like the foundations of some really epic monument to hockey, kind of like the Egyptian Sphinx or something... And if they're the body, you're kind of like the Sphinx's broken nose. They score all season, and play like beasts when they are, and they set up everything the team is capable of accomplishing. No one forgets what a huge part of the team they are, and no one ever will. But you're like the nose: it's extraneous enough that a huge chunk of it can fall off and the monument itself remains unaffected. But it's that broken chunk, it's almost what's not there, like your regular season scoring, that defines the nose. What remains is not much, but it's what everyone remembers about the Sphinx. The broken nose.

Last December, the Pens signed you to a contract extension through the 2010-2011 season. We like this. All of Pittsburgh does (well, all of the Burgh that watches hockey). We know you'll be in rehab until November, but if you could please be on the ice on December 23rd, and maybe at Diesel after you kick the Sens' asses, we'll make sure we have enough in our wallets to get you properly trashed. We'll even walk you home and tuck you in at the end of the night. We may raide your cupboards for Poptarts before we head back to our hotel, though, just so you're prepared. (We like the strawberry kind.) We get weird cravings when we're drunk...

In any case, keep up the good work. We love you. And we're so not kidding about those shots of tequila. Or about about you winning the Cup in Mellon Arena next June. We dare you not to do it. You can't say no now, can you? Didn't think so.

all our lovelovelove,
The Black Aces


p.s. When you're playing the first, last and only Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final Mellon Arena will ever host, remember who it was who put the idea in your head. We'll take six seats in the WI2, please and thank you and a bottle of Crown Royal.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Craig Adams Days

I have to work all weekend, so we have a guest poster today. Big thanks to Erika for helping me continue the summer feature!


There are 27 Days left till the start of the season.
And you know what that means!


Craig Adams was born April 26, 1977 in Seria, Brunei, but was raised in Calgary, Alberta.

He graduated from Harvard in 1999.


He was drafted 223rd overall by the Hartford Whalers in 1996, giving him the distinction of being the last player ever drafted by the Whalers.


The rule with Mr. Adams is this: if he switches teams, he’s gonna win the Cup. Well, at least 66% of the time…and as Pens fans, we like those odds :)
He was traded to Carolina just before their Stanley Cup winning 2005-06 season. Then he was traded to Chicago the next year…where he didn’t win the Cup…and then Ray “Jesus of Hockey GMs” Shero picked Craig up off waivers…and the Penguins proceeded to BAMF their way to the Stanley Cup…just saying…
Along those same lines, Craig had never had an NHL playoff point. Ever. Until he became a Penguin. Then he—boom—got 5 of them. And 3 of them were goals. The Penguins are magical…MAGICAL!

Oh yeah:


I know he hasn't been on the team long, but I already have a favorite Craig memory! I went to the LA Kings game at Mellon (sidenote: i adore the Kings). In the third period, the Pens were down 2 men for almost 2 minutes. Craig's stick broke. Then he blocked 3 FREAKING SHOTS...NO STICKKKKK!!!! Thus:


I love that Craig is kinda the best role player ever. He's a solid 4th line center (he can play right wing, too) and gets down and dirty in the corners. No fear. None at all.

He's also been known to throw down.
...
VICIOUSLY
...

TAKE YOUR HELMET OFF, BITCH!! :)


And this one is so freaking awesome.



I LOVE YOU, CRAIGSY!!!!
His wife, Anne, is the daughter of the former governor of Massachusetts and US Ambassabor to Canada. Apparently, the union was politically motivated. lol.



He also has an adorable son, Rhys.



AWWWWWWWW!!!!




He also has a daughter, Francesca, who was born in May.
Oh....and Pens won the Cup!


Friday, 4 September 2009

Eric Godard Days

I can't believe we are 28 days away from the start of the season. It almost doesn't seem possible. Training camp opens next weekend and the puck will drop on the first pre-season game in two weeks - it's almost hockey time!

I am often asked who my favorite Penguin is. My typical response is, "Like a mother, I can't choose a favorite - I love them all equally." However, if I were forced to choose, I would have to bestow this great honor upon one Eric Godard. I. Love. This Man. I am proud to admit that he is the love of my Penguins life.



Eric was born in Vernon, British Columbia on March 7, 1980.

He Played three seasons for Lethbridge Hurricanes of WHL from 1997-00, tallying 15 points with 549 penalty minutes in 133 games. He led the WHL in penalty minutes with 310 during the 1999-00 season.

Eric went undrafted and was signed as a restricted free agent by the Florida Panthers on September 24, 1999. After spending three seasons in the AHL, he was traded to the Islanders in June of 2002.















He made his NHL debut with the Islanders on October 17, 2002 and scored first NHL goal on December 19, 2005 against Toronto.

In August of 2006, Eric was signed as a free agent by my beloved Calgary Flames.

On July 1, 2008, the hockey gods smiled on me and Eric signed a three-year deal with the Pens.

During the 2008-09 season, Eric had a career-high, 21 fights (swoooon!)







I enjoyed this beautiful display from my seat in E4....















Steve MacIntyre was sidelined for 26 games after Eric broke his orbital bone. Sorry about your luck, sir.





You know by now how I feel about hockey players with children.

Eric with the children is almost too much for me to handle.








Eric and Miikka, be still my heart!











I wouldn't let anyone else get away with this. Not even Mike Green.







And this, my friends, is one of the many reasons why I will always love Eric Godard...




LATE EDITS


I was so overwhelmed by my love for Eric, that I forgot some things in the original post...


Thanks to Susan for remding me that Eric already had his day with the Cup!


There he goes again with the children. STOP IT.

Wait, nevermind. Please don't.