Sunday, February 28, 2010


Amazing, slightly agonizing game. Amazing tournament for the United States.

Congrats to the Canadians, and my what a stellar rendition of "O Canada."

I won't be able to handle anything this dramatic for a while.

There's Only One Thing to Do. GOLD MEDAL GAME DAY: You Know Who

Do it.

Just Wanted To Say

I'm glad Finland won the bronze for one simple reason: Teemu Salanne. Mind you, I'm a little too young to fully appreciate the full career of the "Finnish Flash," but what will probably be his last season ends on a high note of sorts: he loses to us, but wins in the end. Morty and I always talk about how if we were paying attention in 1992-1993 we would have gone crazy for Selanne. Just wanted to take a moment to appreciate a great player who probably just played his last Olympic hockey game.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Game Day: Finns

So it comes to this. We got fins to the left and fins to the right. A rematch of the horrific event that is known as the 2006 Olympic Games. The Finns put us out of our misery back then. Albeit in a much earlier round. Ralfalski and the boys will be seeking some revenge this go around.

No one gives the Finns much credit. People like to say they are soft and play "eurotrash" hockey. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Finns are tough as nails and play that way. They have a very similar team to ours. Great goalie, and a pretty solid but not spectacular team to back him up. Since the early '90's do you know what country has the most medals in Men's Olympic Ice Hockey? Why the Finns, of course.

I expect another game very similar to our last game against the Swiss. This one, however, should have a little more flow to it. The Finns won't clog up the neutral zone quite to the extent the Swiss did. They do have much more offensive talent what with your Selannes, Koivus, Jokinens, and of course, your Kapanens. So I expect them to push the play a little more than the Swiss.

My point is this is no push over game. Everyone knows what happens next. We win and face the winner of the Canada/Slovakia game for the Gold. We lose and face the loser of that game for the Bronze. Any medal is an achievement in this tournament. That being said, I expect this team to win Gold. I said before there were seven teams that could win Gold. Four of them are still left. By no means is even getting to the Gold game a done deal, but I know we have the makeup to get it done.

3:00. NBC. As the great Puck Daddy once re-tweeted, "Do you believe in Millercles?".

The World is Full of Crashing Bores

First of all, congrats to the Canadian ladies for winning the gold. And, needless to say, congrats to our own U.S. American ladies for such a strong showing, tournament-wise (a.k.a. for winning that spiffy silver medal).

There's something deeply refreshing about this photo of Canuckistani heroine of the night (she scored both goals) Marie-Philip Poulin, taken by none other than Greg "P. Diddy" Wyshynski himself, and featured on Yahoo! Sports' Olympics blog 4th Place Medal:

She's EARNED that Molson. That Molson was not cheaply come by. That's a Gold Medal Molson, by gad.

Anyway, after the medal ceremony, the Canadians celebrated on the ice with champagne, beer, and cigars. Sounds fantastic, right?

NO, alas. Because the world is full of petty petit bourgeois tyrants. The AP sez:

Long after the crowds had gone, 14 players returned to the ice and toasted each other with bottles of champagne and cans of beer. Haley Irwin poured a drink into Tessa Bonhomme's mouth and Agosta and others enjoyed cigars, the smoke wafting up into the stands.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, said he wasn't aware of the celebration until informed by an AP reporter.

"If that's the case, that is not good. It is not what we want to see," he said. "I don't think it's a good promotion of sport values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that's one thing, but not in public.

"We will investigate what happened. We will talk to the federation and the NOC. We will first find the facts and then act accordingly," he said.

Good on the IOC feller for saying that it's usually desirable to "first find the facts," I guess, but lemme get this straight: Some goody-goody AP reporter tattled on the gold medal winners for imbibing naughty stimulants and depressants on the ice, when nobody else was around?

There is no hope for human civilization in the 21st century.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Your Top 10 Greatest Moments Ever from Yesterday's Olympics

10. ......

9. .....

8. ........

7. um

6. How bout it?

5. Indeed

4. Russia makes Orthodox Hockey Jeebus cry.


2. Miller > Hiller

1. Hahahaha isn't it funny how Mike Milbury is a fat fucking idiot?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Russia Loses

Right here.

Two Games Left

Gutsy win by the Ryans over the Swiss. Hiller was scary as hell, but Parise found a way to sneak the puck by.

This game was win or go home. Now the US is guaranteed two more games.

Win both of those games, you get gold.

Win the first and lose the second, you get silver.

Lose the first and win the second, you get bronze.

Lose them both and you get asked whether Mike Modano should have been there in your place.

The locker room needs a few quiet words from Ryan Miller and Chris Drury to get their heads right heading into Friday. Then the boys can relax and watch the gunslinging that will ensue in tonight's Canada/Russia game.

Olympic Game Day: Swiss

The United States Ryans have played well for the majority of two games and the entirety of one thus far. Their reward was a bye yesterday and a rematch with Switzerland today. The Swiss gave the US some problems in game 1, and both teams have shown improvement since.

As we all know, a hot goalie in a one game match can be the difference. See Craig, Jim 1980, Gerber, Martin 2006, Miller, Ryan 2010. Jonas Hiller is frightening. Just ask the Canadians. To beat him, we're going to have to see more production from Kane and Parise.

The biggest danger is a letdown after the big win Sunday, but Coach Wilson and Brian Burke have done the right thing by minimizing their team's accomplishments to this point. Like in college football, a big midseason upset just makes every game down the stretch the most important one you've played.

Hopefully somebody named Ryan will score a hat trick and eliminate any drama early. Then we can turn our attention to Ovie and the Czar as they look to show the Canadians what happens when they pick on someone their own size.

Game Day: Swiss, Again

Okie Dokie, children.

Did anyone else wake up this morning with a great sense of excitement and nervousness all mixed up into one? Kind of like the glorious hangover breakfast bowl you get at Jack in the Box... the one with every breakfast food imaginable mashed together. Well, that is what I'm feeling at the moment. Three o'the clock can't get here soon enough. And hey, this one is on NBC!

Great games yesterday. Belarus really gave the Swiss a challenge. And that Latvia game, whoa! I thought they would get blown away but they nearly won, in overtime. I went to bed before the end of the Slovakia game and was surprised to hear they only won 4-3. I believe it was 4-1 or 4-2 when I went to bed. Oh, and some other country played as well. Elimination round... doesn't get any better than this!!

The Games literally could not have started any better for the US Americans. Now it is time to click on all cylinders. Have you noticed we have accomplished all of this pretty much without production from our top two lines? Hiller can win a game on his own. It is extremely scary. Time for Parise, Stastny, Kane, Kessel, and the rest of the big boys to step up to the plate. The Swiss will be physical, but are not gifted as much offensively as some of the other countries. We need a couple of big goals from our top two lines and we will be fine.

Gotta breathe. Here's hoping I don't have a heart attack before, during, or after the game.

Get it done boys.

Monday, February 22, 2010

30 Years Ago Today...

We all know what happened Feb 22, 1980. Sometimes simple is better. So I'll just let this picture do the talking. It just doesn't get any better than that. God Bless Herb Brooks.

The 2010 US Americans will get the winner of the Swiss/Belarus game on Wed at 3:00. Then, assuming there are no major upsets (the Swiss do make me nervous) we will have the winner of the Finland/Czech Republic game on Friday at 3:00. Winner goes to the Gold game. Loser goes to the Bronze game. Simple as that.

Oh, by the way, remember how I told you kids about the importance of Brian Rafalski's two late goals against Norway? And how that could be the difference when it came to re-seeding the teams. Well, the US Americans ended up with 9 points and a +9 in goal differential and received the #1 seed. The Swedes ended up with 9 points and a +7 in goal differential (in other words, two Brian Rafalski goals short of +9) for the #2 seed.

Let this be a lesson. Never doubt Big Shooter. Never.

Now go watch Miracle tonight.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ryan Miller is Your New Mike Richter/Jim Craig/Goalie Jesus

And Ryan Kesler is your new Ryan Kesler. Brian Rafalski did the crazy slapshot business that got us all those goals, but Kesler's effort in scoring that late empty net goal was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The whole team skated, shot, and blocked their asses off.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

And now, Onward!

Forget it, Jake, it's Canada. GAME DAY: Canada

No no, I don't REALLY mean "forget it, Jake." Especially because your name probably isn't Jake.

Also because, call me crazy, the US Americans have a chance of winning this game. They play hard and scrappy, and the agitating antics of Dustin Brown or Ryan Kesler (or anyone else) might be enough to draw a few penalties and frustrate the Canadians off their game. And then there's Ryan Miller...

Who knows? We'll see. In the future. Go USA.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Your Top 10 Greatest Moments Ever from Yesterday's Olympics

10. Zebra yearns for freedom and seeks it on the Connector.

9. Samuel L. Jackson shouting "I want these muthafuckin' zebras off this muthafuckin' highway right muthafuckin' NOW!!!"

8. The precise moment when the zebra realized he should have taken MARTA instead.

7. "That's a goddamn zebra right there."

6. Brian Rafalski's first goal.

5. Brian Rafalski's second goal.

4. Sidney Crosby in the shootout, going nuts.

3. Alexander Ovechkin in the shootout, failing.

2. Jonas Hiller putting the fear of God into the Canadians.

1. Slovakia's epic upset of Russia. As much as I like a lot of the players on the Russian team, I was enthusiastically rooting for Slovakia. Gotta love underdogs. Pavol Demitra. I'll be damned.

Rafalski's Goals Key

Some might think two goals scored in the final minutes of a 6-1 win don't mean very much. Just garbage goals, they say. In an actual NHL game, I would have to say they are right. But this is the Olympics. This is a totally different ball game and that is why the two goals Brian Rafalski had at the end of yesterday's victory over Norway could turn out to be enormous.

As we all know, the main tie breaker in Olympic hockey is goal differential. The US Americans defeated the Swiss by 2 goals, to be a + 2 in that department (and yes, Canada, it does feel pretty cool the actually beat the Swiss in regulation in our FIRST try, mind you). Before Rafalski put his away we were only up by three goals against the Norwegians. That would have been a total of +5 going into the game against Canada. That isn't good enough when you are re-seeded at the end of Group Play. But with two big goals at the end, our total is now +7 going into the Canada game. And that, friends, is a big difference.

It was quite something to see Canada only win in the shootout, thus receiving two points instead of three against the Swiss last night. Sadly, this doesn't change a thing when it comes to our Group A standings. We still need to beat Canada to win our Group. Their goal differential is 8 and ours is 7. So even if we lost in overtime and had the same amount of points, they win the tie-breaker.

The really interesting event from yesterday is Russia's loss. This is good for the US Americans. Assuming the Russians can bounce back and defeat the Czech's, this would mean all teams in Group B would have a loss. It appears in Group C that you will have one team, the Swedes or the Finns, that will finish undefeated. All that being said, the US Americans are set up well with these events, no matter the outcome against Canada. If we can win, most likely we will be the 1 or 2 seed for the tournament. If we lose, we still will be there right with all the other countries by having 6 (7 if we lose in OT) points and a pretty good goal differential assuming we don't get trounced by Canada. And depending how the chips fall, we could sneak into that 4 seed and receive a bye in the next round.

Point is, the Games are off to an excellent start for our boys. Two wins so far, Rafalski's two extra goals padding the goal differential, and some of the other countries haven't done what they are capable of. We are set up for a pretty good seed going into the elimination round. Now, none of this means much once you get there because at that point it is an entirely different ball game.

But I'll take this start any day of the week. By the way, with these two wins we have now eclipsed our win total from Torino. Just sayin...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

GAME DAY: Norway

In the middle part of the decade just past, I was living in another city and often found myself in a bar that overlooked that city's main river from a far height. One day (it was daylight, noon or so) I was in said bar talking to a Norwegian lady by the name of _______. She was trying to pass the time by having a conversation with me about the snow in Oslo; she also mentioned she had a tall Viking boyfriend. Well, she mentioned she had a boyfriend; I just inferred the Viking part.

She was very striking. So much so that I morphed into a tongue-tied, stammering doofus, all "Oh, so you're from Oslo, that's cool DUR DUR DUR DUR." Let's hope that our U.S. Americans have more resolve than had I that wintry day. Never forget.

Other games to watch this eve:

Canada vs. Switzerland, for Revenge and Blood

Russia vs. the tired Slovaks. Slovakia played last night, of course, but Russia's defense might offer them more scoring opportunities than the Czechs did.

Your Top 10 Greatest Moments Ever from Yesterday's Olympics

10. Slovakia's blue uniforms. Sharp.

9. Germany putting up a decent fight against Sweden.

8. Germany's intimidating black uniforms.

7. People making Totally Not Predictable jokes about the German uniforms.

6. Jagr lives.

5. More interestingly, Mikko Koivu lives. 3 assists.

4. Teemu Selanne's assist on Olli Jokinen's goal. Ties him for Important Stuff, etc. etc.

3. Realizing that Finland is actually quite good.

2. Mike Milbury being all "GAWD THE SWEDES ARE DONE THEY NEED TO BE MUCH BETTER THAN THIS IF THEY WANNA..." and Jeremy Roenick responding with "They're excellent; they just played a good team so it wasn't a blowout. You're a stupid man, aren't you?"

1. Toby Enstrom crowning himself King of the Power Play and setting up Mattias Ohlund's goal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What to Look Forward to TONIGHT

The Finns are dangerous. Mark it. In your notebook. Or on your BlackBerry, or whatever the kids are using these days. They've got a deep and talented team that plays smart two-way hockey, and Teemu Selanne is on the cusp of becoming the highest-scoring Olympic dude ever, as Mike Chen clarifies and elaborates upon in this winning tribute to the Finnish Flash.

Games tonight? remember the Atlanta Thrashers, right? The hockey team we used to write about, back before the Olympics? Well, some of them are playing tonight. We'll get to see what Toby Enstrom and Johnny Oduya can do in an Olympian context starting around 7:30 on the CNBC, when Sweden engages the Germans and their Christian Ehrhoff. Sweden. Sedins with Alfredsson, I bet. Zetterberg and Backstrom and Loui Eriksson on the second line. And then Peter Forsberg on the third line. They ought to be alright.

Later, around midnight, we get an honest-to-goodness actual game: Slovakia vs. the Czech Republic. Pavel Kubina, he'll be there. So will Ondrej Pavelec, but on the bench. Let me tell you something about the Czechs: if Tomas Vokoun plays as well as he's played recently in the NHL, the Vaclav Republic has a damn good chance of procuring a medal.

Jagr will be back. More tantalizingly, Forsberg will be back. If you're not watching tonight, you are an actual hockey philistine.

P.S. Goddamn, these Canadian chicks have no mercy. Poor, poor Swedish ladies...

P.P.S. circa 8:11 PM- Is it possible that this many people love curling?

Support Your US Americans in the Team USA Olympics

Well now, don't you just love the Olympics? In particular our young men and women wearing the Red, White, and Blue. I know I do. The Olympics are off to a roaring start. The last medal count I have is 2 Gold, 2 Sliver, and 4 Bronze Medal's for America. That puts us one behind ze Germanz. Keep in mind this does not yet count our Gold Medals in Men and Women's Hockey.

Want to stay on top of all the latest and greatest Team USA news via your Twitter Machine? I've just been made aware of this website...

Go and have a look why don't you. You can find all sorts of cool (or in loyal reader K-Belle's fashion... "neat") stuff. Like how to get great USA merchandise and how to support our guys in many ways other than screaming at your Teevee*. It is a must read during these truly Olympic times.

And don't forget to read Morty's Ten Greatest Moments of All Time that Happened to Happen Yesterday post. Seeing as how we both posted something at the same time and all.

*Copyright Mortimer Peacock

Your Top 10 Greatest Moments Ever from Yesterday's Olympics

10. The large part of the crowd at the arena formerly known as GM Place shouting "LAT-VI-A! LAT-VI-A!" much to the embarrassed dismay of the Latvian team.

9. Realizing that there are an awful lot of Ryan's on Team USA. They might even be over legal capacity.

8. The U.S. women's team just cold piling it on the Russian team. Even the Americans in the crowd were cheering for at least one Russian goal, for self-respect.

7. Watching the Canadian hockey team and realizing, "Oh, so THAT'S how they're going to be."

6. Watching the Russia-Latvia game, sighting a Russian player who seems to be advanced in years, and saying "Who is that decrepit cosmonaut who's seen so many space hockey voyages? Oh hey it's Sergei Fedorov."

5. Ovechkin high-fives Kovalchuk after Kovy's hellacious goal, but ignores set-up man Malkin.

4. Mike Babcock feels very silly for putting Jarome Iginla on the fourth line.

3. Mike Milbury being condescending to Jeremy Roenick, and Roenick treating Milbury with the appropriate (restrained) contempt.

2. Puckheads everywhere freak the fuck out over CBNC showing the end of a women's curling match between the USA and Japan instead of the start of the Canada-Norway game. Further proof that NBC's Olympic coverage will ignore genuinely exciting stuff in favor of any old thing that features the US America, even if it's not in their best ratings interest. The wrath of the puckheads was justified, of course (I complained about it on the Twitter myself), but it also furnished further proof that when a sports fanatic is in heat they can't stop, look at the obvious, and say, "Yes, I'm irritated about this momentary snag in the hockey coverage, but the Japanese curling team, that one girl in particular, is epically cute." Because no attractive woman athlete compares to the dizzying feline grace of Sidney Crosby, see.

1. David MF'in Backes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Silence a Cuckoo Clock


As expected, your US Americans defeated Switzerland this afternoon by a score of 3-1. Bobby Ryan, David Backes, and Ryan Malone are all American heroes. Particularly David Backes.

I was impressed by the two-way play of both Johnsons, and Ryan Miller was, of course, stellar. All four lines were good: Parise-Stastny-Kane was dazzling to watch, especially early in the game; Malone-Pavelski-Kessel and Langenbrunner-Kesler-Brown played with all kinds of fire; and the Ryan-Backes-Drury-Callahan free-for-all was the best line of the game. That group generated several scoring chances, and 2 goals. Hooray! There is a reason for that Chris Drury.

The team needs to time to gel, but they're already developing chemistry and gaining confidence, so hooray! Keep at it, boys, and you can go toe to toe with Sweden, Russia, and Canada. Keep phukkin' that chicken.

Other sexy games tonight: the Canada vs. the Norway, which should be fun (Nash-Crosby-Iginla, what is that like? Wait, what? Sidney is playing with Patrice Bergeron? Heengh?) AND Russia vs. Latvia, which will be a brutally lopsided epic massacre. Each of Russia's top six forwards, plus Andrei Markov and Sergei Gonchar, will have a hat trick. Evgeni Nabokov with 4 assists. Bank on it.

P.S. As I type, our USian ladies are destroying the Russian ladies 4-0 woooooo

Game Day: Swiss

(supplemented by Mortimer Peacock below)

Well, not sure about all of you but I've waited four years for this. Game time is 3:00 today on USA Network. Those of you lucky enough to watch in real time, I hate you. The rest of you who are like me and don't get to watch until getting home around 7:30 tonight, just keep your phones turned off and listen to the iPod on the drive home.

LeBrun has a great write up on our boys this morning. You can find it here.

Apart from that, there is really not much more to say. I know this team can win Gold. Ryan Miller has the ability to be the best goalie in the tournament. The key for the first two games is to win (obviously) in regulation, and pour the goals on. Goal differential is one of the tie breakers when seeding the teams.

Go get 'em boys. Hey man, we're gone score so many goals that Swiss goalie he gonna look like Swiss cheese... huhuhuhuhuhuhu. Huhuhu.

Just remembered that Jonas Hiller is the Swiss goalie. Slightly nervous. Disregard the Swiss Cheese joke.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Havlat Too Large for Bed, Havlat Reports

The last thing I want to do is bump down that photo of Miss Teen South Carolina and A.C. Slater, but breaking news requires it. Twitter impresario and possible Czech Republic hero (?) Martin Havlat files a report from Vancouver:

Our ace reporter, the Short Handed Mole, is in Vancouver and says he has details on the way.

Your Guide to the Hockey (in the Olympics, that is)

I thought it would be appropriate to make our readers aware of just how the hockey will be working in the Olympics. Speaking of the Olympics, in case you didn't know in his post earlier today Morty told us all about what folks are saying to the Twitter machine. Do read.

OK. So the Men's Olympic Hockey tournament has 12 teams competing for Gold, broken up into 3 different groups. The US Americans are ranked 6 out of the 12 (to begin the tournament). Group A has the following countries: Canada, US, Switzerland and Norway. Group B: Russia, Czechs, Slovakia, and Latvia. Group C: Sweden, Finland, Belarus, and Germany.

Each team will play the other three teams in it's group to determine seeding for the elimination round. You get three points for a win in regulation. One point for a tie, and then one point if you win in OT or shootout (just like the NHL). The top four teams overall after group play will receive a bye in the next round. The remaining teams are then re-seeded 5-12 based on their performance in Group Play (various tie-breakers are in play). Here then, are the match ups in the first single elimination round:

5 vs 12

6 vs 11

7 vs 10

8 vs 9

Still with me?

The winners then will go on to face the 4 teams that had the bye. Here is how it goes:

1 vs 8/9 (winner becomes F1)

2 vs 7/10 (winner becomes F2)

3 vs 6/11 (winner becomes F3)

4 vs 5/12 (winner becomes F4)

Here is where I have a problem with the format. They should re-seed everyone after the first single elimination round in case of an upset. Remember back in '02 when Canada really didn't play all that well in the entire tournament? Belarus upset Sweden, but because teams were not re-seeded, Canada played Belarus in order to get to the Gold Medal game... while we had to play Russia in a dog fight, even though we were the higher seed. The only good game Canada played in that Olympics was the Gold Medal game. But, alas, no one really cares about that anymore I suppose. Onward...

F1 vs F4

F 2 vs F3

The two winners of this round play for the Gold. The two losers play for the Bronze.

US Americans schedule:

Tuesday 16th at 3:00 vs Switzerland on USA Network.

Thursday 18th at 3:00 vs Norway on USA Network

Sunday 21st at 7:00 vs Canada on MSNBC (I know, I know)

I still have a very strong feeling about our US Americans. Come on boys, it's Miller Time!!!

Your Daily Platter of Curious Olympic News

- From Dmitry Chesnokov's Twitter feed:

Kovalchuk, Afinogenov, Gonchar and Malkin are flying to Vancouver on a private jet. All 4 will keep credential center open 4 late arrival.

The jet probably has "Золотая медаль or bust!" painted on the windows.

- So far, Ron Wilson has revealed two of the lines for Team USA. Expected, but exciting:

Zach Parise - Paul Stastny - Patrick Kane


Dustin Brown - Ryan Kesler - Jamie Langenbrunner

There is talk of a Ryan Malone - Joe Pavelski - Phil Kessel line, but it seems to be unconfirmed, even though it's the only logical conclusion given the other two lines. Sounds like a fine Top 9, does it not?

- Then again, where does that leave Bobby Ryan? Answers, I want ANSWERS, Ron Wilson!

- So the English and the French are the two official languages of the Olympic Games. English is the global lingua franca (haw), so it's not hard for any host country to make the games' official signage and speeches as Anglophone as possible. Making them French as well can be a trickier proposition in countries like, say, China, where French isn't that big a deal. Canada, you would think, would have zero problem making the games bi-lingual. MAIS NON! Canada’s government ministers are irritated that there wasn’t enough French at the Opening Ceremony for the Games.

...Quebec Premier Jean Charest remarking he was actually led to believe there was more of it.

For their part, the organizing committee says there was enough French. They point to the fact a French song was played at the “penultimate” moment of the Opening Ceremony, just before the flame was lit.

Why does Canada hate one of its two official languages?

- Okay, fellow U.S. Americans. Ryan Miller is obviously our starting goalie, which is Awesome. Wilson and Burke have confirmed to all kinds of publications that the official back-up is Tim Thomas. Do you agree with this choice? Even granting Thomas his steadiness and talent, would it be a better idea to go with Jonathan Quick as the back-up, given his recent brilliance in net? Do discuss.

- And most importantly:

Semyon Varlamov told SovSport he is unhappy w/food the Olympic Village has to offer, and ate at McDonalds today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Your Official Thrashers-Celebrating Patriotic Valentine's Day Olympic Post

(because nothing says, simultaneously, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" and "Hooray Thrashers!" and "Happy Valentine's Day" like Liz Phair)

My. Even though we didn't triumph in the end last night, it seems more and more possible each game that the Thrashers have a good thing going on. Antropov has been stunning since the Kovalchuk trade, Bergfors is producing like mad (including a game-winner here and a game-winner there for good measure), and this Kulda fellow looks impressive. I know, I know, he's only played in a few games...but, but, maybe...

Just before the Olympic break, which is right now, the Thrashers are in a decent position, and upon their return they could break into playoff position and stay there for a while...perhaps until the actual playoffs?

Who knows? Que sera sera, what will be will be, the future's not ours to see CAN WE PLEASE MAKE THE PLAYOFFS? WE'VE GOT THE SWEDES AND STUFF. Know hope, I guess. Cautious hope.

Now then. The Winter Olympics are upon us, and that means international ice hockey warfare. With that in mind, your Chronicle will be recasting itself as the Red, White, and Blueland Chronicle for the duration of the Olympic break. Starting tomorrow we temporarily adjust our color scheme to express both patriotic fervor and the wish for Parise, Ryan, Stastny, Kesler, and Miller (and the rest, of course) to make Don Cherry spontaneously combust. In the spirit of gentlemanly competition, that is. That's the only way to make someone spontaneously combust, if you ask me.

We'll cover anything involving Thrashers players, of course, and we'll talk about all the more interesting games and happenings, but the primary focus here shall be the US Americans. Why America? Because Ryan Miller invented it, that's why.

So, anyway, yeah, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, KIDS! This is one of those important candy holidays, isn't it?

P.S. Hey how about that Jimmy Slater?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

GAME DAY: Chicago Blackhawks

Did you enjoy last night's victory, Thrash-fans? The people in kilts, the curious YouTube slam poet, Nelly Furtado looking tormentingly smoking in a blue dress, Wayne Gretzky staring with a look of barely suppressed rage when the torch thingy wouldn't work?

Truly, it was a fine game. For an excellent recap I urge you all to read Razor's, which reminds me of the "Sloosha's Crossing" section in David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, but Swedish-er. That Bergfors guy is krona.

Now then. Tonight your Thrashers play the Chicago Blackhawks, in the Chicago. The Blackhawks are rumored to be quite good, but who knows what will happen now that they've traded Cam Barker to the Wild? The Thrashers might even have a reasonable amount of crowd noise on their side, what with the Pavelec and the John Anderson and the Kulda and the other Chicago Wolves in the house.


Huuune de Bergfors, Hunne de Moose!

In honor of the Thrashers Swedish SWAT Team (Enstrom, Bergfors, Oduya, and Hedberg), we present TSN's recap of last night's game translated into Swedish Chef speak. Thanks to the Firefox Add-on "Borkborkbork."

ST. PEOoL, Meenn. -- Zee Etlunta Threshers knoo zeey vere-a geefing up plenty ooff scureeng vhee zeey treded Ilya Kufelchook tu Noo Jersey.

Oone-a ooff zee pleyers zeey gut in retoorn hesn't beee tuu shebby heemselff.

Neecles Bergffurs scured zee veenner meedvey thruoogh zee thurd pereeud und zee Threshers beet zee Meennesuta Veeld 3-2 oon Freedey neeght.

Ifunder Kune-a und Neek Untrupuf elsu scured fur Etlunta, vheech hes vun tvu ooff three-a. Juhun Hedberg mede-a 36 sefes und zee Threshers beet Meennesuta in regooleshun fur zee furst time-a in neene-a ell-time-a meetings. Pefel Koobeena hed tvu esseests.

Bergffurs tuuk a pess frum Bryun Leettle-a et zee Meennesuta blooe-a leene-a und beet Neekles Beckstrum et 11:05. Zee perffectly pleced slepshut frum zee reeght curcle-a vent oofer zee gueleee's reeght shuoolder und under zee crussber.

Oone-a ooff three-a pleyers ecqooured in zee Kufelchook trede-a oon Feb. 4, Bergffurs hes guels in three-a streeeght gemes. He-a deedn't scure-a a guel in hees feenel 16 gemes es a Defeel oor hees furst es a Thresher, boot hes beee better thun zee scureeng sooperster ierly in zee trede-a. Kufelchook hes scured oonce-a in feefe-a gemes veet Noo Jersey.

"I gut a noo stert cumeeng here-a, noo teem und iferytheeng," Bergffurs seeed. "Su fer it's beee fery guud. Zee tvu gooys I'm pleyeeng veet ere-a greet pleyers su it mekes it iesy."

Untrupuf hes tvu guels und fuoor esseests in zee lest three-a gemes und Leettle-a hes tvu guels und tvu esseests in hees lest three-a.

"Ve'fe-a beee loocky eeuoogh tu hefe-a heem mesh vell veet Neec und Leets. It seems leeke-a zeey'fe-a beee pleyeeng tugezeer a lung time-a," Etlunta cuech Juhn Undersun seeed.

Undroo Broonette-a und Undroo Ibbett scured fur Meennesuta, vheech lust its secund streeeght et hume-a effter getting pueents in zee neene-a prefeeuoos gemes et Xcel Inergy Center. Meekku Kueefoo hed tvu esseests.

"I thuooght ve-a pleyed a lut herder und deed theengs better thun in zee prefeeuoos geme-a, vheech is vhet ve-a set oooot tu du, boot ve-a ceme-a up oone-a shurt," Veeld cuech Tudd Reecherds seeed.

Etlunta hes pleyed a leegooe-a-heegh 35 oone-a-guel gemes, gueeng 14-12-9. Meennesuta hes 34 oone-a-guel gemes, felleeng tu 19-11-4 in thuse-a gemes.

Zee Threshers bloo a tvu-guel leed in zee thurd pereeud Vednesdey und lust in oofertime-a et Culuredu, und edmeetted zeere-a ves sume-a ixtra fucoos tu pley vell. Zeey eetered zee neeght fuoor pueents oooot ooff zee feenel Iestern Cunfference-a pleyuffff puseeshun.

"Ve-a hefe-a a pleyuffff menteleety reeght noo. Ifery geme-a is impurtunt, und ifery geme-a zeere's tvu pueents et steke-a und ve-a need thuse-a pueents," Kune-a seeed. "Ve-a telked ebooot zee seex pueents oon thees rued treep und ve-a vunted tu get et leest feefe-a ooff zeem. Ve-a hefe-a a beeg geme-a et Cheecegu tumurroo."

Etlunta gefe-a Meennesuta a guldee ooppurtooneety lete-a vhee Kune-a vent ooffff fur interfference-a veet tvu meenootes remeeening, boot Mertin Heflet ves vheestled fur a cruss-check 24 secunds leter tu sqoounder zee mun edfuntege-a.

"Yuoo gu oooot zeere-a und yuoo vunt tu veen, und ve're-a nut eble-a tu du zee jubs und get tvu pueents. It's tuoogh. It's nut eeuoogh tu gu oooot zeere-a und pley OoK," seeed Beckstrum, 1-4-1 in hees pest seex sterts.

Kune-a gefe-a zee Threshers a 1-0 leed meedvey thruoogh zee furst pereeud vhee he-a tuuk a pess frum Culby Ermstrung und beet Beckstrum veet a vreest shut frum zee reeght dut.

Broonette-a tied zee geme-a a leettle-a oofer tvu meenootes leter veet a pooer pley guel, knuckeeng a rebooond pest Hedberg.

Un eggresseefe-a pley by Ibbett mede-a it 2-1 Meennesuta.

Kueefoo intercepted a pess in zee Etlunta zune-a und pessed tu Cel Clootterboock, vhuse-a shut frum zee lefft curcle-a ves stupped by Hedberg. Hooefer, Ibbett creshed zee net fur un iesy rebooond guel.

Untrupuf tipped in a slepshut by Koobeena tu tie-a zee geme-a oon zee pooer pley veet 13.6 secunds lefft in zee furst.

NOTES: Ierleeer Freedey, Meennesuta treded D Keem Juhnssun und zee reeghts tu 2009 furst-ruoond peeck Neeck Leddy tu Cheecegu fur D Cem Berker. ... Etlunta D Ertoors Koolda und Meennesuta C Cudy Elmund mede-a zeeur NHL deboots. .. Broonette-a hes neene-a pooer-pley guels tu metch lest yeer's tutel. Hees cereer heegh is 11 veet Culuredu in 2005-06. ... Thees is zee oonly meeting ooff zee seesun betveee zee tvu teems. Zeey hefen't met seence-a Ooct. 14, 2008.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Game Day: Minnesota Wild

Four points out of a playoff spot, five points out of sixth place in the East, the Thrashers really need to win or at least get points in both games left before the Olympic break.

Also, today is Trade Deadline Day #1 for the 2009-2010 season. At 3:00 today the NHL will freeze rosters for the duration of the Olympic Games. Trades will once again be allowed on March 1, then rosters will freeze again on March 3. There is a good chance there will be some action today.

Boris is done for the year, Kulda has been called up. The Ten Gallon Pevs Dispenser will be looking to light up Backstrom.

The Wild have a very nice arena in a nice town. The Chronicle Crew had a good time up there during the World Cup several years back despite the fact that the US played like crap. I myself once spent a very cold year down the road in Rochester, MN and have good memories of it, mostly of sledding.

That being said, here is today's In Praise Of:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

People's Opinions Are Very Important

Now that Science has discovered that Ilya Kovalchuk's lackadaisical defense was the sole reason the Thrashers could never win at the Hockey, it's dismaying to learn that Zach Bogosian's lackadaisical defense has become the new sole reason the Thrashers can't win at the Hockey. And to think we'd just gotten rid of the dude who was Holding Us Back! Only to find out, like history's dupes, that there's this other terrible man who's still Holding Us Back, even in this promising post-Kovalchuk era.

Clearly the only solution is to trade him. Bogo for a top prospect! Get on it, DW.

UPDATE: The post-Bogosian era is already underway! According to Chris Vivlamore, "[the] Thrashers have called up Arturs Kulda."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

O Darren Eliot's Prophetic Soul: Things to Do in Denver When You're on the Teevee

The Thrashers played a damn good game tonight. Until the third period, that is.

Can't help but be pleased with Niclas "The Young Markus Naslund" Bergfors, Bryan "I AM Somebody" Little, and Nik "Nik Antropov" Antropov.

Trouble is those pesky standings.


During the first intermission, Darren Eliot welcomed the TV audience back from a commercial break with the tagline/somewhat obscure pop culture reference "Things to do in Denver!" I was a bit startled. He didn't complete the line, as is the color commentator's wont when they're engaged in their usual stream-of-consciousness word jazz, but I was surprised he even referenced what he was referencing: a film that is arguably the greatest Andy Garcia film in human history, but one with a baleful title. Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.

UPDATE: Thanks to secret Chronicle music operative "John," I now know that "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead" is a Warren Zevon song. Big Shooter will be so disappointed in me. My point about being dead still stands, though.

Oh Ho Ho, It Happens Again!

Once again the Chronicle staff proves it's never heard of an editorial schedule. Version 1 and Version 2. Amateur hour. Blogging disasters. Never forget.

GAME DAY: Colorado Avalanche

Hey you guys, isn't it funny that winter storms are burying mid-Atlantic USia under miles of snow (picture above submitted by secret Chronicle DC buddy "Brendan"), which makes it more like the ski-friendly nation of Colorado, which has all kinds of snow a lot of the time? It's like, "Hey, HEY, silly Thrashers. Why fly all the way to Colorado for snowboarding when you can do it on K Street?"

This would be a valid question if the Thrashers were going to Colorado to snowboard. Instead, they have journeyed there to play a hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche. This means more snow for everyone, because the Groundhogs say so.

Game Day: Colorado Avalanche

The Avs have been one of the biggest surprises this season. We'll get to see a big piece of the reason why as Craig Anderson is expected to start in net against Moose. The Avs also have great veteran leadership from Adam Foote on the blueline and a group of forwards that looks very similar to the one on the Thrashers' roster. Hejduk, Stastny, Duschene, etc. Should be a good test for Atlanta's solid defense as well as the new team oriented offense.

Today's In Praise Of: The Falconer's efforts putting together a "Grade Your GM" worksheet for the past two years.

Approach it however you want. Obviously if you're only looking at the transactions for the last two years, moves in which DW got rid of dead weight look good, but you have to keep in mind that he brought that dead weight into the organization in the first place. That being said, the moves are overwhelmingly good over the past two years. Too little, too late? Maybe.

We all bristle when we hear the GM say that "we've got a good core of young talent" after trading away Kovy. However, the statement does have a lot of truth to it. If you look at the guys who are poised to be leading this team two or three years down the road, the future looks pretty bright.




Add two more first round picks for this year and it's a pretty darn impressive stable of talent. Now we just need to hold on to them all, develop them responsibly, and add veterans through free agency and waiver pick ups.

Enough to Make Me Boycott Heroes

NBC has decided that USA vs. Canada in hockey isn't worthy of prime time coverage on broadcast TV.

That's right. Kane, Drury, and seven guys named Ryan playing for their country against the Beaver God-worshipping Canuckle-draggers Crosby, Brodeur, and Niedermayer is second fiddle to the excitement that is ICE DANCING.

Check out the TV listings for January 21.

If you don't have MSNBC, you won't be able to see the USA/Canada game, so make plans to head out somewhere. Rawhide has mentioned a viewing party at TJ's.

In the meantime, send angry letters and boxes of dirty diapers to NBC in protest of this programming decision.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Age of Lehtonen: SO OVER

OK, so let's get this straight.

Here's a list of human hockey-playing people, presented without commentary:

Patrik Stefan (retired)
Dany Heatley (San Jose Sharks)
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ Devils)
Kari Lehtonen (Dallas Stars)
Jim Slater (Atlanta Thrashers)
Braydon Coburn (Philadelphia Flyers)
Boris Valabik (Atlanta Thrashers)
Alex fucking Bourret (not to be confused with Devin Setoguchi, Anze Kopitar, or Marc Staal)
Bryan Little (Atlanta Thrashers)
Zach Bogosian (Atlanta Thrashers)
Daultan Leveille (um)
Evander Kane (Atlanta Thrashers)

Tune in next week for the End of the Bryan Little Era. At least Ivan Vishnevskiy was a 1st rounder.


As with with the Kovalchuk trade, FACETIOUSNESS IS NOT ANALYSIS, so perhaps I should elaborate.

I'm not saying this is a bad trade. Or a good trade. I'm agnostic about Kari: when in shape he's awesome, when injured and fat he's not. I do think it's slightly weird to trade him without playing him, though the argument that it's best to be prudent and not a risk a loss with a rusty goalie in net is a tenable one. This Ivan Vishnevskiy is someone I'd never heard of before tonight, but that means literally nothing, and it sounds like he's a talented dude. On the other hand, I expect nothing just because Hockey's Future told me something. Following the Thrashers has me a hockey player skeptic.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning just cold fuckin' defeated the Vancouver Canucks, despite the best efforts of Ryan Kesler. They currently sit at #6 in the Eastern Conference with 63 points. Tune in the week after next for the end of the Zach Bogosian Era.

Kari On The Move?

Big sale on trucknuts:

Reasons to be Grateful

It's easy to be cold, pessimistic, and full of malice when you're the fan of a historically bad sports team. It's easy to be bewildered and sick-of-it-all exhausted when said sports team is in an uncertain position both financially and competitively, especially after they've just traded away their star player but remain in playoff contention by the skin of their teeth. As Hamlet once wondered about his favorite hockey team: should we hope? Could hope be false and self-deceiving? The existential questions here can be maddening and ennui-inducing.

But then you're walking along, through the rain perhaps, keeping your own counsel, when all of a sudden you go "Whoa hey Lindsey Vonn in a Vancouver sauna" and all is in accord.

Can't wait for the Olympics. And not just the Hockey.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"That bird is unloading!" Scene 10 and Scene 11

Scene 10

(morning light breaking through the curtains in Maxim Afinogenov’s room. Max laying on a made but ruffled bed, fully clothed. He’s even wearing his hat, though his glasses are crooked. A fair bit of noise coming from the next room. “I heard you!” says a male voice. “I don’t think you did, you good-for-nothin’ son of a varmint!” says a female voice. This exchange is followed by a loud crash. Max sits up, looks concerned.)


I’m leavin’!

(male groans unintelligibly. Another loud crash. Max puts his ear to the wall and looks horrified but curious)


(slurred) You ain’t really leavin’; come on back here to Jimmy. Come on now. How come it is you’re leavin’?


You can’t stop drinkin’, Jimmy! It’s as obvious as a parakeet in pantaloons!

(Look of recognition crosses Max’s face.)


(whispering to himself, still listening through the wall) The hotel owner?


Lowlife. Always the lowlife’s!


(to himself) Or is it lowlives?

(door in next room slams. Angry heels clomping down the corridor. Max backs away from the wall and, hesitating for a second and then eagerly, opens his door and peers down the hallway. He recognizes the disgruntled lady as one of Marty’s Party Girls, given her blue dress. All of a sudden the door next to him opens and out walks Jimmy Slates, who happens to be clutching his head.)


(trying to appear like he heard nothing) Oh, good morning, Mr. Slates. A fine day for one of your hotel breakfasts, I’m sure.


(still holding his head. Both eyes closed. Clearly suffering from a bad hangover, perhaps still drunk) They have the worst timing, Mr. ‘Fin. The worst timing.


A rough night, then?


The night was great; it’s the mornings she realizes I ain’t good for nothin’.



You have a girl, Mr. ‘Fin?


(fumbles with his glasses, looks uncomfortable in the extreme) Um, ah, uh, yes. Yes I do, as a matter of fact.


Why didn’t she come with you to Thrasherville?


(polishing his glasses, still uncomfortable, but suddenly wistful) She’s uh, elsewhere. Has some things to do. I was hoping to come out here and make a quick dollar, then maybe she and myself could move to someplace nice. We write.


Well, if you’re ever lonely there’s more than a few girls here in Thrasherville who can keep you company, just ‘til you see her again. If you know what I mean! (nudges Max knowingly, then looks extremely pained and resumes his head-clutching)


Oh I couldn’t do that. Don’t have the temperament for it.


The temperwhat?


The, uh, never mind.


Well, Mr. ‘Fin, I gotta lay down a little bit. Any big plans for the day?


I’m supposed to be visiting the bank today.


You best not be pullin’ a stick-up! (laughs, then grimaces. He is in pain. He retires to his room. Maxim walks away.)

Scene 11

(Maxim walking down the dusty main street of Thrasherville in the harsh morning sun. He passes a clergyman, some greasy gold-diggers on their way to have their discoveries weighed and valued, and a trio of Mexican schoolgirls. Max manages an enthusiastic “Buenos dias!” before coming upon a large crowd gathered outside the town bank. The Thrasherville townsfolk are jabbering indignantly to one another. Max cranes his neck and surveys the scene. He’s looking for someone he recognizes. Finally his eyes---through the sea of cowboy and bowler hats and mustaches [some weak, some impressive]---fall on Pavel Kubina. He approaches his train ride buddy.)


What’s all this about?


Something about the town sheriff, your compatriot.





(Cut to a hapless bank teller standing at the front of the bank trying to calm the crowd. He bears more than a passing resemblance to Todd White.)


Is that man a banker?


I believe so. “Whitey,” they call him.


Come on now, folks, I mean...come on now. Let’s get un-riled, huh? How ‘bout that? Imagine you’re dunking your head in cool water and, and, uh--- (the crowd’s jeers and hisses drown him out)


And to think I was meant to open an account today...

(someone in the crowd calls out “Tell us what’s happening! Is he coming back?” The main topic of the crowd noise seems to be the whereabouts of Sheriff Kovalchuk, though one man, particularly loud, is shouting insults at Whitey the Bank Teller. He wears a purple cravat.)


Who’s the fellow in the cravat being so rude to the bank teller?


Oh, a journalist from the Thrasherville Journal. Willy Tilly, I think his name is.


Why’s he being so dismissive of this Whitey?

(empty milk carton flies through the air, hits Whitey on the forehead)


Mucked up his finances, I think. But Tilly is a gambler. He’s in Marty’s a lot I hear; I’m sure he’ll win it all back.


You sure do know a lot of stuff about Thrasherville for someone who’s only been here a few days.


It’s elementary, Maxim. When you have the connections I have, that is. Hey, let's go get a drink.

(Maxim and Pavel walk down the street a bit, to a bar called Thrash’s. They enter. Mostly empty except for a giant bird tending the bar. They sit down.)


Pilsner for me.


Um, a water for now, please.

(camera remains on Pavel and Max, but the shot prominently includes a giant yellow beak nodding in acknowledgement. The bird obliges. Pavel takes a long swig of the Pilsner. Maxim sips his water.)


We’ve come to a strange town, Maxim, a strange town.


Well, yes. That much is obvious. It’s not without charm, though.


You’re right, it does have some charming qualities. Often the strange and the charming are one and the same.

(silence. Max nods, slowly.)


So what were you saying about your connections? Did you already know some people before you came here?


No. My connections are, shall we say, less obvious.


I’ll say. What the hell are you talking about?


The occult, Maxim, the occult.

(The bar-tending bird looks up from his bar-polishing.)


(watching the bird out the corner of one eye, waiting for him to return to washing.) Where I come from, this stuff is available to anyone who seeks it. Prague is full of people who can teach you all about it. Second sight, the evil eye, magic, ghostly visitation...


Please! You’ve got to be kidding. Yes, I’ve heard all about Magic Prague, its alchemists and golems and tarot-readers and all that nonsense. It’s great for storytelling, but it’s not real.


(stone-faced) It is real, Maxim.


So are you telling me you’re some kind of clairvoyant? A visionary or second-sighter or something?


That’s more or less right.


(exhaling loudly and tapping his glass of water) Bartender! Whiskey, whiskey please.


I’m telling you, Max, I know what’s going on behind the scenes in this town. In the mayor’s office, in the rooms of the railroad magnates and mine-owners. Among the cowboy gangs and the stupid (he stresses that word) cops.


The police here aren’t stupid. That Peverley fellow, the one with the ten gallon hat, he’s an honest and decent man. The littler deputy, what’s his name?


Deputy Little.


He seems amiable enough. The other deputy is a bit brusque, but he’s a cop isn’t he? And besides, the police force here has hired me to do some detective work. They can’t be all that bad.


That’s the problem. They need a detective and they don’t know just what a fine resource they have in you. I can teach you, Maxim. I can help you solve crimes.


(scornfully) Through magic?


I can see things other people can’t. With your intellect and my, um, special abilities, we can bring the rule of law to this town.


(drinking his whiskey) It’s not like the town’s in a state of chaos or anything.


(looking suddenly perturbed) Maxim?





(at that instant a wooden barrel shatters the front window and crashes into the bar, knocking all kinds of bottles onto the floor, spilling different kinds of liquor into a streaming pool of different colors. The crowd gathered outside the bank is rioting. The bird bartender pulls a shotgun from under the bar and heads towards his broken window. He starts firing. Pavel and Max are face-down on the wooden floor, crawling towards the back of the room.)


(glancing up at the front window) Good Lord! That bird is unloading! (To Pavel) How could you possibly know that barrel was coming?!

(Pavel looks at Max.)


Holy shit.