Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Can't Athletes be People Too?

Phoenix Coyotes winger Paul Bissonnette recently made an appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM station on the Scott Ferrell show. He did what any good guest on the Howard Stern Network should do – he talked about getting laid. Yes that’s right sex. With women. God forbid.

As I was driving home tonight I heard Ferrell losing his mind. Now I turned it on in the middle of his rant but from what I can tell after Bissonnette’s honest, refreshing and entertaining interview irate listeners started emailing the Coyotes franchise complaining they were offended.

Can I just take a moment to touch on the fact that if you are listening to the Howard Stern Station and you are offended by words like sex, pussy and tits – you are clearly an idiot. Now let’s also briefly mention that if you spend 20 or 30 minutes of your life composing an email of complaint instead of taking 1 second of your life to put yourself out of your own misery and change the channel you are a self-loathing, miserable, douche.

Now to the real heart of the matter - Paul Bissonnette should not get grief for his interview. Not from the Coyotes or the NHL or fans of hockey. He's not a liability to the league he’s an asset!

Bissonette’s on twitter and, unlike 90% of the other NHLers on there, he’s not afraid to use it. Biznasty2point0, as he goes by, has over 45,000 followers. Ryan Kesler, a forward with the number one team in the league only has 21,000. Michael Grabner a scoring machine and hottest rookie in the league right now has 7,000.

So why does a 4th liner on a bankrupt team in the desert have more followers than NHL poster boys? Because he’s honest and interesting. I started following Biz on twitter because people kept retweeting his tweets and they were funny. I was pleasantly surprised he was an NHL player. And I’m willing to bet there’s a good number of his followers that are discovering the NHL because of Biznasty’s twitter. So you should thank him, Bettman.

How many more cocktail waitresses does Tiger Woods have to bang before we realize that professional athletes who make millions a year are doing exactly what ANY of us would do with that money, talent and fame – enjoying it.

It’s so ridiculous to me that there are still people out there that expect athletes to be these immaculate versions of human beings.

Remember when Tiger Woods cheating hit the media? Remember how he handle it with rehearsed, vague, inoffensive and insincere statements? Remember when David Letterman was caught cheating? Remember how he just went on the air and admitted he’d done it, it was a screw up and his wife was pissed? Did you know David Letterman’s ratings shot up after that?

Clearly people appreciate honesty & candor. So I can't be the only one who realizes that if we not only allowed these celebrities and athletes to be normal human beings but also embraced them for it, we'd all be better off.

The NHL loves Sid the Kid as the face of the sport not just because he’s the best player in the world but because of this squeaky clean public persona. It’s the one part of him I don’t like. I mean, not that I’d kick him out of bed for it or anything, but Sidney’s scripted, bland interviews are not nearly as engaging as Biznasty waxing poetic about girls in yoga pants.

I’m sure Sidney Crosby is an actual human being when the cameras are off. I’m sure he sleeps with women and gets drunk and does all the things that any 20-something male with a giant paycheck and a very pretty face should do. But I appreciate Paul Bissonnette for not being afraid to publicly be what we all know (but won't admit) professional athletes are – women-loving, partying, opinionated, normal people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Louis has Vancouver Singing the Blues

We're Learning to Handle Hiccups
This is one of the key things that has changed in Vancouver's game this season. When we fall behind, we don't immeadiately fall apart. Despite blips... okay fatal flaws... on our PK and Luongo's retro puck handling skills (you know from when he sucked worse than this year) we came back. Canucks didn't give up. Lu shook it off. This is further proof we're not the team we used to be. We bounce back - and it takes minutes, not games. This is a good sign. Yes we lost but the Canucks of yesteryear would have lost by more.

Monkey Stat on our Back
When we started this game in St. Louis we hadn't won a game when trailing after the first 20. We still haven't. I hate stats.

Let's Not Panic
We have to remember that this really is not a big deal. So Bobby Lu's streak ends here. That means we get to see his new goalie mask in action! We're still number one in the league. The LEAGUE people - with 81 points. Philly is 4 points behind us. Also, Canucks lead the league in scoring with 192 goals. In 2nd place is Detroit with 187. I love stats!

D is for Decimated
We lost Alberts - again. With a broken wrist he's out indefinitely. (new twitter rumors say it is not broken although I heard Av say it was in interview) Hamhuis, Ballard and Edler are not set to return any time soon. And now there are rumors of a Salo injury. I hope that's a joke - it sounds like a joke. Av has announced that Yann Sauve is being called up from the Moose. To say we're scraping the bottom of the barrel is probably accurate right about now.

Sauve means Save in French!
Yann Sauve was drafted 41st overall by the Canucks. He's not exactly a two-way defenseman, but he's big and skates well. At this point what else can we ask for? And even if Sauve’s offensive game is not as developed as we may like, his name is French for Save so that can only mean he's going to save us... right? Save us from losing one more. It would be horrendous to slip into 2nd overall. How horrible. Yann, it's all up to you buddy! No pressure. Get it done.

My Canucks 3 Stars of the Game
1) Andrew Alberts because I feel sorry for the big lug. If you seen him and his gimp wrist around Vancouver, give him a hug. Tell him Concretefluff sent you.
2) Bieksa for being a lean mean skating machine who just never gives up.
3) Luongo - also known as Lulongo by stupid American Announcers. Sure he totally shit the bed on the Steen goal but he shook it off and went on to be the main reason the game was as close as it was. Great job Bobby Lu!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 is the new 1977

If you watch this week's hockey highlights, 2011 looks more like 1977. I feel like I should be wearing bell bottoms not yoga pants.

Honestly when the Boston-Montreal slamfest happened I was amused. It was unexpected. It was unheard of (in the last 10 - 20 years or so) and it seemed harmless enough. I joked about Johnson and Depietra starting a new trend since they were the first goalies to drop the gloves.

But after the Penguins- Islanders slamfest last night I am no longer amused.

The Islanders took that to a whole new level. And it wasn't pretty. It wasn't classy. It shouldn't be without heavy repercussions.

I get retribution is a part of hockey. I fully understand that it's not going to go anywhere no matter what the NHL does. But just like anything, there is a right and wrong way to handle it.

In the "right" category - the way the Penguins handled the retribution on Steckel for giving Crosby a concussion. They dropped the gloves and duked it out and it ended there. Steckel manned up (unlike Steve Moore way back when) and faced his punishment.

The Isles wanted revenge on both Brent Johnson and Maxime Talbot for the goalie fight and the questionable hit. Fine. So if the fact that the Isles scored 6 goals before the 2nd was over wasn't good enough for them, then engage Talbot in a fight, engaged Johnson in a fight AND THEN MOVE ON.

That would have been the right thing to do and clearly the Islanders - as their season record shows - are all about the "wrong" thing (losing a lot and winning without class).

I don't want to go into all the gory details - although you can find them here and a million other places on the net. Here's what I do want to point out. This is the National Hockey League's opportunity to do the right thing.

The NHL has been acting like a shitty parent. Randomly tossing around punishments with no rhyme or reason. You can't keep blaming/punishing Cooke cuz he's the bad kid but cutting Getzlaf and Steckel and others slack because they're "normally such good boys". A hit that is dangerous is a hit that is dangerous - no matter the intention the injury (and the anger of the team losing a player) is real.

Matt Martin's sucker punch of Max Talbot can in NO WAY be overlooked. The fact that Talbot skated away - unlike Moore - should NOT be a factor. If the league lets the extent of an injury be the leading factor in punishment instead of the dangerous act then it's the same as a judge saying "I know you shot a gun at this guy's face but you missed so it's fine."

The league may want to turn their famous blind-eye to the Gillies hit on Tangradi but they definitely shouldn't ignore the way Gillies kept attacking the guy who was clearly injured and fighting for consciousness. The only thing more offensive and classless than that, is Gillies moustache.

I'm not sure how big a suspension should be handed down to Hayley. The recent AHL call-up was like a rabid dog out there swinging at everything in a Pens jersey. I find it mostly just disturbing that the kid really thought that was the best way to make his NHL debut. Sure right now the Isles fans - all 12 of them - think he's a rockstar but 2 seasons from now he'll be begrudgingly looked at as their version of Cooke/Avery/Carcillo. Is that really a reputation that a boy dreams about earning?

The Penguins Godard leaving the bench was ridiculous. Johnson clearly proved prior that he could handle himself in a fight. But that said I couldn’t imagine the anger, fear and frustration that had developed at that point. Godard should get his mandatory suspension but Bylsma should be left out of it. If you penalize Bylsma you really have to look at the lack of control Capuano had over his team too. No one left the bench but just about every Islander was out of control. I believe Crawford took a hit (fine) for Bertuzzi's actions - the league should consider depleting Capuano's pocketbook for the Martin sucker punch too. That is if they feel like being consistent and making a statement that may stop this from happening in the future.

Come on NHL, let's put a stop to the time warp. Maybe everything old should not be new again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Canucks Ducks Recap

Okay my lovely Verizon Wireless phone roams on Telus in Canada – for some reason this means I have absolutely ZERO reception in Rogers Arena (Rogers Arena, Telus roaming... Coincidence? Doubt it) So I couldn’t tweet everything I wanted to about the Anaheim-Vancouver game I attended.

Without further adieu here are my thoughts.

We Need Alberts
Alberts is not afraid to hit. In fact he seems to like it and he’s definitely good at it. Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of people who finish checks and we need someone. Alberts is our man. He was checking like a rockstar out there.

Hodgson Is Afraid
The kid has a lot of potential and he makes some smart plays but as I watched him it became very clear that he’s afraid to hit and be hit. He’s always looking over his shoulder and he never ever finishes a check. Maybe it’s his long list of injuries that makes him nervous or the fact that he’s just getting his NHL feet wet. Whatever it is, I hope he grows out of it or gets over it. He’s never going to live up to his hype or potential if he doesn’t.

The Refs Sucked Donkey’s Balls
The Ducks were hooking and tripping machines out there tonight and somehow the refs just couldn’t find their whistles. I shouldn’t be complaining about this because sucktastic reffage is what had us beat Chicago so maybe this is karma. Who knows?

I Know He’s Cute But I Wanna Bitchslap Raymond
The kid is making me mental. He just can’t do anything right. Even after he scores and you think the slump would be over – he somehow returns to the land of Suck the very next game. I keep telling myself it’s okay right now. That if he has to suck at some point now is better than April. But if he still sucks in April… we’re in trouble.

Ducks Net Was Wrapped in Saran Right?
Like in anything luck plays a part. We just didn’t have it tonight. There were so many shots that should have gone in and just completely did not. Daniel’s fan on the final shot with a second left – that was the perfectly unlucky end to the perfectly luckless night. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. We’ll bounce back from this.

Top Shelf! TOP Freaking SHELF!
McWhatsHisFace, the Ducks goalie, spent the entire game on his knees. And if you watch him in every game he plays that's what he does. he goes down - always down on his knees/pads. He lives on his knees. If he was a girl in high school he'd have been very popular. If the Canucks had taken more top shelf shots the score would have been very different.

I didn’t see it happen. I just saw him lying there seemingly unconscious and I started screaming like I was auditioning for a horror movie. I only saw it at home on replay. Getzlaf was interviewed and gave his best innocent eyes. His coach acted like it was no big deal. But yeah. It’s a BIG fucking deal. Getzlaf left his feet. And yes, Hamhuis turned away but that means that Getzlaf also hit him from behind – and Hamhuis no longer had the puck. The hit needs to be reviewed. I think Getzlaf should be suspended a game or at least fined. It was a dirty hit. Unintentional or not the damage was done and Getzlaf should pay. End of story.

Luongo’s Own a Magic Eight Ball & He’s Not Afraid to Use It
We lost. Luongo wasn’t in net which means his streak – not having lost in regulation since Dec. 5 – is still intact. This can only mean Lu has a Magic Eight Ball and he knows how to use it. When it says “It is not to be” Luongo “gets the flu”. I believe it.

Victoria’s 3 Stars of the Game
1 – Kesler for his 32nd goal in the dying seconds.
2- Burrows for getting us in the game.
3 – Bieksa for that lovely, frustration-filled after-the-whistle-hit. God he’s pretty when he’s angry.