Monday, November 28, 2005

the newest B.J.

Damn skippy. After the computer drafted my team and gave me B.J. Ryan in MVP 2005 as my closer I turned to my friend and said that the Jays should pick this guy up. He responded with "really?"

The next day the New York Daily News reported that the Jays had signed him to a big contract. I thought, "wow, I'm smart" but then realized that the story could be a ploy to get the Mets to sign Wagner, or at least drive up Wagner's price.

I now don't care. I'd don't know if I'd rather have Ryan over Burnett, because it looks like this signing will prevent the Jays from getting Burnett. And although Burnett has a live arm, the scarcity of good free agents might just drive up the price of the few that are good.

But this allows Batista to get out of the pen, and possibly moved for a bat, which would be ideal. The Jays need a bat, Koskie wasn't up to the task last year, Hillenbrand was great, but the power loss of Delgado was felt. One more bat. I'm going to silently wish for one more bat.

In fact, I've just looked at the Jay lineup, I seriously don't think that they're going to sign Burnett if they have already signed Ryan. Halladay, Lilly, Chacin, Towers, and Bush/Downs could round out the rotation. Course, if I'm wrong, I'd love to be wrong. In fact, if they do sign Burnett, there is a Latin phrase that would apply to me,

non omnis moriar : I shall not wholly die

Sunday, November 27, 2005

blind partisanship

I noticed something kinda off about Alex Ovechkin during some of his shootouts. This is the best picture I could find of him during one, and it's pretty tough to see it here, but; Ovechkin goes down the ice with his tongue hanging out. Look for it if you can catch Washington in a shootout, he's usually the first shooter. He goes down the ice with his tongue is a wagging. Sorta like another an ex-Washington basketball star.

Speaking of basketball, the Raptors suck this year. Suck suck suck. Don't take it personal fans, and don't take it out on me, I'm just the messenger. Don't worry though, this Friday (December 2) should be a good battle of ineptitude between the Hawks and the Raptors.

Leafs had a big win last night. Now some people might assume that because I said the Raptors suck, and then started the next paragraph about the Leafs, and since they're both under the MLSE umbrella, that because the Raptors suck the Leafs are doing well. That is just plain wrong, and quite frankly, an incorrect assumption. Leafs are quietly doing their thing yo. Wellwood looks good with SundSteen, Allison between the towers seems to fly, because they're all three moving at about the same mach speed on the ice. If O'Niell and Lindros can get some chemistry between them, that's three capable scoring lines. Chad Kilger has scored 2 goals in two games. What is up?

28 shooter is what is up. Last night, like any social butterfly, I sat down with a friend, some beer, and watched hockey and basketball until I couldn't take it anymore. Pretty much the only thind distinguishing a Saturday night from any other night is the beer. Anyway's last night, Dave Maloney, the play-by-play man for the Rangers put together the best speech humanly possible for the Malik goal. And I quote Maloney as Malik picks up the puck and skates down;

Malik has not scored this year. In on Kolzig, fakes it, aaaaahhhhhhhh, aaaaahhhhhhhh. Oh Malik went between his legs, and the Rangers win it in a shootout.

After the game, Malik said that he saw the move done in the Czech Republic last year and had tried it in practices. He probably didn't do well in practices as Renney selected him to shoot in the 15th round. As Jagr said, "you have to have guts to do that move. In front of 20,000 people watching you, it's not that easy to do." (AP)

A side note, Jason Strudwick was named alternate captain in light of Rucchin sitting out his second straight game. Captaincy is a big deal in the NHL, Luke Richardson resigned his captainship of the Blue Jackets before last nights game against the Blues. Richardson said that it's not about playing time, but rather that he just felt that he didn't deserve the position of Captain. I feel that Nash is too young right now, not to mention injured, to take over the captaincy (see Tampa Bay and Lecavalier). I don't think it will go to Vyborny, but it probably will go to Foote. Although I wouldn't be surprised if they pulled a Ranger and rolled with three alternates.

Tutelary adj 1 : having the guardianship of a person or a thing tutelary goddess>
2 : of or relating to a guardian

Friday, November 25, 2005

Where the sun?

It sure did get right into mid-winter temperatures round up here in Ottawa, eh?
-15 with the windchill? Check.
Drivers still thinking it's a dry summer day when really there's snow and ice on the road? Check.
New York Rangers leading the Eastern Conference? Check.

And there you have it. Sure, Ottawa might have 6 (yes SIX) games in hand on them, but lets give credit to where the schedule is weird, Ottawa has played the least amount of games in the NHL as of this day. Although it's not all due to the wonky Olympic season schedule, Ottawa's game versus the Florida Panthers was postponed on October 22nd.

But back to those hard skating Rangers. Tom Renney has them doing something right, I remember watching them play against the Leafs and thinking that they were skating hard. In another game against the Penguins, the Pittsburgh colour commentator remarked on how hard the Ranger team skates. They're young, they're fresh. And they have no captain. Rucchin, Jagr, and Kasparaitis all wear the 'A'. I wonder how other many teams are captainless this year, if there are any? Anyways, Jagr said some interesting things after last nights 6-3 over the Atlanta Thrashers.

"I don't know how to explain this exactly, but when you play against Atlanta, it's not very hard hockey," Jagr said. "It's a lot of skating. You've got to be very careful not to miss your chances, or they'll go the other way. They've got such talented scorers, they can make you pay." (AP)

Which is a backhanded compliment I guess. But this must be the Dr. Jekyll version of Atlanta, there have been games this year where all they do is skate into people. Mr. Hyde version of Atlanta must be the team that played against the Leafs earlier this year in October.

Back to the Rangers, it seems as though they do have a sense of perspective. Said Jagr: "The confidence is here for a reason: because we don't play bad hockey. We can beat, I'm not saying anybody, but it's close. We haven't faced Ottawa, but we've played some pretty good teams."

1 : boiling, agitated
2 : characterized by ebullience

About Ted Saskin's Majority Approval. Here's some math in regards to the secret ballot results of September 12, 2005. PricewaterhouseCoopers states 85% approval with majority of 37 votes in.
20 is a majority of 37.
85% of 20 is 17.
17 in favour, if every other vote is against it, 20 against.
Which means that it is conceivable that he gets the boot. Just saying things can be spun in different ways. December 16th is the deadline for receiving votes.
As you were.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Welcome to the Joey Joe Joe Show

This sign was enough to get a couple of guys kicked out of the Raptor game last week. They weren't being obnoxious, distracting, or any sort of a problem. They simply put up this sign during stoppages in play. Security that kicked them out said that the section was complaining; yet no one in their section appeared to be. In fact, as they were being escorted out of the building, everyone was booing security.

In this case security exhibited a classic case of this is our answer, it's a blatant lie, but there's nothing you can do about it. Must be nice to be able to abuse power.

Speaking of stupid, here's something I've found out. I had my issues with the Vince Carter trade of last year, and I mentioned something that REALLY pissed me off about the trade, but could never find concrete evidence to prove me right.

Thanks to I can see that the Raptors sit 12th out of 30 teams in terms of payroll. The sad sack Knicks have twice as much payroll it seems. Some real ugly contracts there. It seems that they're on the hook for Alan Houston's contract at about $20 million. Ugh.

Here's what I found out that irks me. The Raptors are paying Alonzo Mourning $4 million dollars over the next two years. He's only costing Miami 1 million and change. The third biggest contract on the Raptors this year is Lamond Murray. He's getting over $5 million from the Raptors and just over $1 million from the Nets, who he plays for.

Alonzo Mourning never played for the Raptors. Murray left the organization this past off-season and called the franchise incompetent in an article with a major New York newspaper.

Rob Babcock. Noticed you abandoned your blog on the Raptors website. You might as well put up your resume there instead. I'll admit that the draft picks this past season are turning out better than expected (considering people expected them to be worthless, it wouldn't take much for them to be better) but you're showing no sense of a plan for this team. At least Isiah Thomas has the excuse of being crazy; I don't think you're crazy. I think you're a rational man who just happens to be absolutely foolish as a general manager. I think Ed Stafanksi (GM of the Nets) summed it up best last year after the deal that sent Vince Carter to the Nets.

You never know if a team is going to say 'no' unless you ask them.

: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do

As a side, there's a link at the bottom of the front page of the Toronto Raptor website to the NBA Fan Code of Conduct. The Raptors and Miami are the only two teams to have that link. To put it in perspective, the Detroit Pistons (home of the famous brawl between fans and Pacers) don't have a link.

Joey Graham's new nickname should be the Joey Joe Joe show.

Monday, November 21, 2005

rock and a hard place

Ok, here's the deal. I don't want to be one of those guys who are just a critic. I especially try to avoid criticism of the pundits in the mainstream media because usually they have an agenda of sorts.

A little history. I'm from Toronto, so Leafs fan in enemy territory here. Toronto pundits (the Strachans, Simmons, Coxs) are almost all, to a man, serious critics of the Leafs. Enough history.

On to the present. The Ottawa journalists (at least the sports ones) are collectively, to a man, pure cheerleaders for the Senators. Which is great, seeing as the team is doing well and all in this new NHL. They even had a recent article where their coach, Bryan Murray, criticized Steve Yzerman's comments. Murray, speaking lightly I can only hope, called Yzerman senile.

Now Murray and Yzerman know each other well I hope, for Yzerman captained the Murray led Red Wings for a few years. Yzerman is the Captain. And the Sens are doing well, and the Red Wings are too, but I take serious consideration to the man on the team that is doing well and still has legitimate concerns to the coach who is doing well and is being fed softballs by the journalists.

So here I am, stuck in a town of a rival team where everybody is just gaga in love with each other, and having a favourite team where people can find something wrong with the way Sundin ties his skates. Which is worse? Never good to choose between extremes, I choose balance.

Lindros captured the situation best on Saturday night, after a 5-1 beating of the Thrashers. After the game he was talking to Ron MacLean and was told about Steve Larmer's resignation from the NHLPA. I believe Lindros' said, in a despondent voice,

Geez, Saturday night in Toronto we win 5-1 and we get this.

Inferring that it's rarely easy for Leaf players in speaking with the press. I don't want rah-rah cheerleading, just maybe some non-agenda reporting of the game once in a while.

Anyways, what spurred this post was a CBC show about the secret Mulroney tapes. He called the Ottawa press gallery, after he was elected, indolent.

I feel that applies currently to the sports guys. Way to go guys, keep up the Ottawa tradition.

Indolent adj 1 a : causing little or no pain b : slow to develop or heal 2 a : averse to activity, effort, or movement : habitually lazy b : conducing to or encouraging laziness c : exhibiting indolence

Saturday, November 19, 2005

process of elimination

This is Mike Hasenfratz. He is dancing. Nothing personal Mike, but you've just been caught in a coincidence.

Apparently Steve Yzerman reads my blog, or great minds think alike. Because Stevie Y is a great mind. Flattery aside, Mr. Yzerman came out and lambasted the new NHL, and more specifically, the penalty calling. Sound familiar?

So what? Anyone who watches hockey will notice the increase in penalties. Neither Stevie nor myself are saying anything of note. But wait.

Stevie speaks out after a Thursday (17 November) night’s loss against the Oilers. Up 3-1 in the third period, the Red Wings decided to allow 4 straight goals to the Oil, managed to tie it at 5 with two late goals of their own, and then lost it 6-5 in overtime.

Wonderful recap Hoss, not to mention a few days old. But wait, here's what Yzerman said after the game.

"I'll just use Mathieu Schneider's penalty as an example. He steps up and takes his guy out, and his stick gets caught and the crowd cheers so the referee puts his hand up. There has to be some discretion. The referees have to use some judgment on what is a penalty and what is not. They've taken judgment out of it and I think it's somewhat made it easy on the referees just to call anything, because there is no judgment.

"Good referees used to have good judgment. Now they've taken that out of the game. I'm not saying I'm blaming the referees for it, I just feel the whole thing has to be adjusted and they have to look at this seriously. They can't continue to call irrelevant things that have no business being called."

Wonderful, most major websites with hockey focus will have a link to an article with those quotes. I got it from TSN. I also got the box score from TSN. Just checked the referees, you know, for shits and giggles. Anyway, they were, Stephane Auger and Mike Hasenfratz.

Hasenfratz. I've officially got my eye on you and not in a sexual, hey-baby-come’ ere -a-minute type eye on you. You're on the radar for bad officiating. Stevie Y and me say so.

Catechize 1 : to instruct systematically especially by questions, answers, and explanations and corrections; specifically : to give religious instruction in such a manner
2 : to question systematically or searchingly

Friday, November 11, 2005

are zebra's blind?

Because with all these new rules in the new NHL, some of these younger refs do appear to be. They are making some really horrid calls. For example, Wednesday night in Florida, the Rangers were playing the Panthers and down by a goal late in the third period. They got the puck behind the Florida net, and then threw it across the crease. The Panther player Serge Payer, made a great defensive play to block, tie up the Ranger player from shooting the puck. I see a referee’s hand go up, and they called Payer for holding the stick. Payer had both of his hands on his own stick. He was tying up the Ranger player's stick as the pass comes across. And they call him for holding. Just bullshit. These are the names of the two guys who were calling that game, Mike Hasenfratz and Shane Heyer. Don't be surprised if you
a) Don’t see these guys ever, especially not refereeing a playoff game
b) See these guys at the centre of some controversy.

Anyways, it's not completely their fault. The two-ref system has increased the amount of younger refs. But man, they're making some big calls. I just heard Joe Bowen comment on a referee going into the Carolina Hurricane dressing room after a game against the Leafs on November 3rd, to apologize to the 'Canes and specifically Eric Cole, for calling a diving penalty on Eric Cole while he was on a breakaway late in the game. A breakaway that could have gotten him the hat trick. Anyways, the Cane's won that game against the Leafs, so it's not really a big deal. Imagine if they called that and the 'Canes were losing? For those of you who like coincidences, so far into tonight’s game and including his last game against Buffalo, Eric Cole has had 3 penalty shots handed to him. Karma? I think not. Sounds more like hush money to me.

Evince vb 1 : to constitute outward evidence of 2 : to display clearly: Reveal

And here's a random quote that I found in my notebook today.

'Patty Keane was stupid on purpose, which was the case for most women in Midland City. The women all had big minds because they were big animals, but they did not use them much for this reason: unusual ideas could make enemies, and women, if they were going to achieve any sort of comfort and safety, needed all the friends they could get.
So in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking and then they thought that too.' - Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

can't sleep, clown'll eat me

It started when a friend of mine and I decided to draft a fantasy team and simulate a season in NHL 06 instead of writing a story for a short story contest.

Well, it probably started before that. But lets just say that this week it started when video games took precedence over literary creativity.

It ended at about 5 am last night. As I was waiting for a friend from class to message me with some of his answers for an assignment I had due today, I decided to simulate a NBA season by drafting an NBA team. After all, it was opening night in the NBA last night.

It hit me as I was leaving my 8:30 am class today. A class that I tried to sleep through most of, although I did hand said assignment in.

What is it? Is it that I have a greater tendency to talk out loud to myself when sleep deprived? Well, yes that is true. It seems that my inner monologue/dialogue tends to overflow the levees of social norms to a greater extent when the tides of sleep don't get a chance to settle. At one point a person stood up, looked around frantically and queried, or more accurately exclaimed "Who are you talking to!?" That person was in my head. He also made me laugh, and it seems upon reflection, at myself.

No, that's not it. What it is, is this: if television is a drug, it's probably marijuana. The gateway drug. If television is a Mary Jane, then Xbox (or video games) are hard drugs like cocaine or heroin. You can just keep going and going. Lets examine some of the common attributes between the hard drugs and video games. For this purpose, I will use Xbox and cocaine as the drugs of choice.

Pupils dilate with light from television.
Can use for excessive hours without noticing the affects of fatigue.
Prone to talking to oneself, muttering and constantly talking, if to no one else than to the TV.
Alertness when you first start slowly fades until action picks up again.
After prolonged use, posture weakens, destroying the lower back.
After spending many days at home playing games, friends and family begin to get concerned and try to intervene. You shout back at them “leave me alone!” Which, of course, is exactly the opposite of what they do next. A few weeks later you find yourself in a remarkably soothing setting, sitting under a tree, talking to an attendant named Juan who is under strict orders to monitor you. You know why he’s there, but you still enjoy the human company. You find yourself smoking and wondering what happened those last few years. You don’t even know why you played vids so much, it’s not like you have any memories from the game playing. You’re home for one year before you decide you don’t even miss the vids and you get back your Xbox from your mother. Two weeks later you’re sitting under a tree talking to Juan again.

Pupils dilate.
Can use for excessive hours without noticing the affects of fatigue.
Prone to talking to oneself, muttering and constantly talking, if to no one else than to the TV or any inanimate object, real or perceived.
Alertness when you first start slowly fades until you line up again.
After prolonged use, posture weakens, destroying the lower back.
Rehab. Relapse. Repeat.

A very scientific study. I'm nothing if not thorough. A good man, and thorough. Consequences of combining hard drugs and video games is at least two days without sleep and three days before you realize you haven't had any food either. Not that I would know.

quiescent adj 1 : marked by inactivity or repose : tranquilly at rest 2 : causing no trouble or symptoms.