On the eve of Russo pimping the big Cal for the Calder campaign (OMFG, CYBTS?), Cal goes and does the exact thing that I've always been able to say he doesn't do.
I know it's just Burrows and if anybody in a Nucks jersey needs their faceprint on the glass, it's him. And I don't doubt that he likely turned his back to Cal and went low on purpose to draw the big penalty.
But that doesn't matter to me. I don't even care about the appropriateness of the penalty handed him. If he hadn't hit him in that position... if he'd pulled up or shifted direction, he would have had 5 or 6 hits in the game, he could have helped his team in this win, and I could continue to say, "Yeah, he's a pain in the ass but he hits clean. What? Your candyass team doesn't like it? Too bad."
Now I have to say,"He usually hits clean." Weaksauce!
So yeah, I'm pretty disappointed tonight. But according to Russo's post-game blog, Cal is at least taking responsibility for the hit, even though he felt like Burrows embellished and turned away, knowing he was coming, and therefore didn't agree with the game misconduct call.
I've honestly been pretty pissed since then, but I'm calming down now. I still think Cal is the bomb and one of the most impactful rookies in the league, even if it's not purely on the score sheet. But hopefully a lesson in not taking the bait from dirty Nucks was learned tonight by the youngster.
Carry on, my dear. Just please keep it smart and tight, and don't go all Voros on us. You're so much better than that.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
On the eve of Russo pimping the big Cal for the Calder campaign (OMFG, CYBTS?), Cal goes and does the exact thing that I've always been able to say he doesn't do.
Wild are in the 'Couv tonight and, if I had to put money on it, I'd put it on Vancouver. Sorry fellas.
But there were some great photos from the game last night. Usually the game photos, there's about 5 of them and they're fine but "meh"... these were actually pretty good and captured the physicality of the game. My favorite is the last one in the set with Harding in the middle and Burns defending. Good stuff.
Another feature on Cal from the Edmonton Sun.
No novice league practice this Sunday. Presumably they don't want the liability of a rink full of Super Bowl party-drunk hockey players. Fair enough. But they probably could have sold tickets...
On the one hand, it will be heavenly to start the week without a massive sleep deficit, and it was supposed to be a practice, so presumably we'll pick up the schedule with a game next weekend, which is way more fun. But on the other, I'm already missing the anticipation and the fun and the satisfaction afterward. So, I'm a little grumpy this weekend.
At least I get to drink at the Super Bowl party up the street tomorrow. :)
Friday, January 30, 2009
I'm a technical writer by trade so whenever I have lots of information, I tend to automatically parse it into a bulleted list. I have a lot of information tonight and I'm too lazy to write a story (yeah, what else is new?), so:
- The first period should have been taken outside and shot. It was BRUTAL, with the Sens getting up 2-0 and the shots 11-5 for the Sens. Like yesterday, continued.
- The second and third were a dramatic improvement, with the Aeros doubling up on the Sens' shot count, 24-12, and scoring 3 unanswered goals.
- And what lit the fire in the second: The Aeros new top line of Kolanos, Locke, and Pouliot. I laughed out loud when I realized that trio was on the ice at the top of the second period. But with Pouliot playing a fairly gritty game lately (you read that right!) and Kolanos playing physical in his own "boogedy-boogedy" way, it wasn't really the softest line in the history of hockey like you might think.
- And in fact, that line was on the ice for all three goals. Winner winner chicken dinner, folks. Who'da thunk it? Well, I did but I didn't think I'd really see it.
- Before Brandon Rogers got the game winning goal and was awarded the #1 star, I was already thinking, "Man, Brandon's have a great game tonight." Of course, because of an irritating seating rearrangement, I had no one to say this to and therefore cannot prove that I was thinking it. But I swear I was. He looked terrific.
- Rogers and Stoner were on the ice for the last two goals, Pouliot and Stoner getting the assists on both. That defensive pairing is a good combination.
- Martin Gerber, who was recently waived by Ottawa and sent to the baby Sens, can't be happy with that game. The second goal was a bullet that Locke aimed five-hole from the outside hash marks. Gerber just left enough space for it to trickle through. And then Rogers' goal bounced over his glove and just drifted across the line as Gerber dove backwards to try and fish it out. Too late though.
- Kolanos' goal to start the scoring was more forgivable... he streaked in, faked a shot, Gerber committed, and Kolanos tucked it in behind him, soft as kittens. Very pretty. Has he ever scored an ugly goal? Oh what the hell. Let's bust the picture out to celebrate, shall we? Feels good, doesn't it? Welcome back, Krys. (Photo by Fred Trask)
- As good as the L/K/P line was tonight, man, Locker was a turnover machine. He's playing a little lazy lately, IMO. Don't be resting on your All-Star laurels, my little sniper...
- On the flip side, Pouliot was on the PK at times and did a nice job. To tell the truth, he didn't do a single thing tonight that irritated me. Am I going soft here or is he actually playing this well? Remember that bad boyfriend analogy? I'm thinking of letting him leave a toothbrush in my bathroom...
- As usual, the Ryznar, Love, Kassian line was surprisingly effective at retaining puck possession. My take on this is that these guys play a simpler game because they don't have the softest hands. I think a lot of the problem the last couple of games is that the other guys are hanging on to the puck too long, dilly-dallying. Meanwhile, that 4th line either skates, passes, or shoots. They don't spin or deke or dangle. They just go to the net and shoot. It's a bizarre combination of frustrating and refreshing when that line is out. You know they're gonna get some shots and play hard, but you also know that puck just isn't going in the net.
Scratches were the injured Rosa and Irmen, and Mojzis, who was a healthy scratch. I guess they wanted to get Falk some game time, as he's been scratched for a while now.
From the guys: Royal's blog, Andrew's Chron article, and some bonus photos from Fred.
- Speaking of Aeros defensemen, I found it very interesting that Risebrough told Russo that his viable picks for call-ups now that Reitz is gone are Scott, Stoner, and Falk.
I honestly would have thought Noreau would be on that list given that he got some pre-season game time and Stoner didn't. And Falk... well... I just don't get that at all. I think he will be a good defenseman some day, but he's not ready for the NHL. When he's a healthy scratch in Houston most nights, he's definitely not call-up material.
- You know, when I started the season including the game # in the title of my game report posts, I thought it would be a convenient way to keep perspective on where in the season's 80 games the team is.
But now that we've crossed the halfway mark, every time I type the number, I'm just reminded that in n games, the season will be over. And then it will be hot outside and there will be no hockey for months. The thought depresses the hell out of me, I have to tell you.
- Wow, the Aeros game actually got some attention on the Channel 13 news tonight. They showed people in mullets and then showed all three Aeros goals. Nice!
- Finally, looking northwest to the big club, Peter Olvecky seemed to have a solid first NHL game in the loss to Edmonton, getting nearly 10 minutes of ice time. Didn't do anything spectacular but didn't look too out of place either.
- I get the feeling the boys in Edmonton don't like Cal too much. I don't understand why.
- Boys are in Chicago tomorrow night. Pondering a live blog (chat)... anybody interested?
This story out of the Dallas game last night from the Dallas Morning News blog has me turned inside out from squickiness:
DETROIT _ Krys Barch had a mouth full of blood and broken teeth, and yet he was still ready to fight Detroit's Aaron Downey.Seriously. If I've got a mouth full of teeth and blood, I'm done for the night. I'm done for the f**king week. I'm reminded again how nice it is to have two nurses and an EMT in our league. :)
"I had my gloves off, I was ready to go,'' Barch said.
After all, he had already done as much damage as he could.
The Stars enforcer took a high stick to his mouth from Chris Chelios in the first period and lost eight teeth. The teeth didn't fall out...they were shattered...through a mouthguard.
"Yeah, it was a mess,'' Barch said.
Yet, the tough-as-nails winger didn't want to leave the game. So, after a quick trip to the locker room while his teammates were scoring a power play goal, Barch was back taking a regular shift and helping the Stars to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
"A game like that, you want to be a part of it,'' he said. "That was exciting. That was like a playoff game.''
Barch finished with 5:35 in ice time and two hits. He also received two minutes for roughing in the scrum with Downey in the second period. Just as important, he gave his teammates a little glimpse of the dedication it takes to win.
"He reminded me of a young kid who gets his tooth knocked out for the first time,'' said Stars coach Dave Tippett. "It was like a badge of honor, and he came back to the bench smiling, and saying, 'I think I lost a few.'''
Charley Walters at the Pio had some Cal stuff from the perspective of the scouts who advocated for drafting him.
The Cal for the Calder campaign rages on in delightfully entertaining ways. Some guy got his panties in a bunch about it and feels like by pimping Cal, we're snubbing Ryan, and Buddha over at MN Wild Times took him on with a funny rebuttal (link to the original blogger is there, too).
Admittedly, Bobby Ryan is an amazing player and is one of the more realistic candidates. I don't think our Jersey-loving friend quite understands the tongue-in-cheek nature of the Cal for Calder campaign.
It's all about showing the love to a guy who gives absolutely everything he's got every single day, makes a tremendous difference on a team that desperately needed a difference-maker, and is a decent guy who loves the game just like we all do (but is better at it than us). It's not that we expect him to win... the campaign itself is the reward and our gift to him.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Game 48... when I walked into the arena tonight, I found myself catching my breath a little bit, like I do every time I walk into the arena. I love watching hockey more than anything. It's not hard. The game, the players, the smell of the rink, the fights, the goalies, the goals, the saves... I love every little bit of it. So even if I was just there the night before, I still find my pulse a little faster when the puck drops, and every game feels like a wrapped gift just waiting to be opened.
I even love it when it goes terribly wrong. Partially because it's still hockey. No matter how bad a hockey game gets, it never turns into basketball. And partially because I know better days are ahead and the bad days are what make you appreciate them.
But tonight.... tonight was the first time I've ever given up on the team and just completely checked out. The feeling I left the arena with was the one I left with so often two seasons ago when the team had no goalie, no discipline, and no hope. They should have handed out Prozac at the exits that season, and tonight's game felt just like that.
The most fun I had tonight was when Love, #6, got in a fight with Sutter, but the fighting penalty was announced as going to Albers, #3. And as Royal and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes, I said, "Well, he got it half right." And we had a big laugh at my dumb joke.
So there it is. Two+ hours, one good one-liner, and a 5-0 shut out where the Aeros, front to back, seemed to get worse and worse as the minutes passed.
I'm guessing they'll blame the extended break and the guys aren't back to focused yet, but guess what... Quad Cities had the same break and they played like a team who picked up right where they left off.
But because I want to say at least one nice thing, I will say that, even though he still made some very lazy plays, Pouliot had some moments of great hustle and physical play. More more more, Benny. But relatively, it didn't matter.
Tomorrow has to be better. The easy schedule right now is a gift that is currently being squandered.
You want a prediction?
Here's my prediction: If the Aeros don't beat the Binghamton Senators tomorrow, they can forget about the playoffs. If this team can't display that much resiliency and come-togetherness this deep in the season, I'm don't think there's much hope for surmounting the challenges that lie between here and a playoff berth.
For the less angry version of the game, check in on Royal and Ferraro.
Ahhh, hugs and kisses to Wysh over at Puck Daddy for taking our little grass roots campaign national.
Here's his marvelous post.
What next? Wouldn't it be great if the team picked up some of this?
Totally unrelated: Rick Nash just talked about "riding the hot goaltender" on NHL Live today. Heh.
Two nice articles from our new friend over at InGoal Magazine about the mental side of being a beer league goaltender.
The first is about remembering to have fun, and that the challenge and the hard work is part and parcel of the fun. His point: An easy time in goal isn't as rewarding as a hard fought battle, regardless of the outcome of the game.
The second is about getting your Goalie Zen on.
Dear Kevin Falness:
If you're gonna get players to take their shirts off, you've really gotta start videotaping these things.
Burnzie and Cal did the Hockey Unplugged last night and it was as good as you'd expect. Lots of candor and humor. Good guys. Listen to it here.
We're also tipped off that someone has bought CalClutterbuck.com. Weaksauce, if you ask me.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
There's so much going on with the guy, I'm getting tired of starting new posts every time a new funny little story or article or whatever comes out. And yet, it keeps happening and I see quite a few folks up in the wintry part of the world coming and clicking the Clutterbuck tag... so I feel obligated to make sure it's all here. ClutterInfoHub.
Anyway, Ryan Stanzel seems like a pretty swell guy and I enjoy his blog a lot. Today, he's got a nice little nugget about what a swell guy Cal is and how he sits in his stinky gear for way longer than anyone else after practice, perhaps just extending his NHL glory a little each day.
If that isn't endearing, I dunno what is.
When I played out, my favorite part of each game was taking that godforsaken gear off afterward. Now it takes me an eternity to get out of my goalie gear. Not just because I'm tired and uncoordinated after games (though that's part of it), but because I know I won't get to be in it again for another week. It bums me out a little. I'm just so happy to finally be doing what I've been working toward, even when it sucks. So I relate to that feeling, at least on a novice league level.
I can only imagine how much more special it would be to have naked Mikko wandering around the room. Very, very special, no doubt.
Update: Here's another article on Cal. It's a good one. I just couldn't bring myself to start another post.
Do you think Pouliot's snickering to himself a little today, knowing that hot shot Krys Kolanos, who took his job just a couple of weeks ago up in Minnesota, is headed back to the minors with him?
But maybe not so much, knowing on the flip side that Peter Olvecky got the call to replace Kolanos.
All in all, it's a shifting of minor leaguers that I can't argue with. Olvecky has had a good season and really found his niche as a gritty playmaker supporting Locke, Rosa, Schultz, and Kolanos. He's hustled his buns off and done what was asked of him and didn't home to Europe in a snit when he was sent down after camp, unlike SOME people. He's earned this cuppa and I couldn't be more delighted for him.
And I couldn't be more delighted to get Krys back. The ice seems little bigger when he's on it and it will be VERY interesting to see if he and Pouliot could possibly get some chemistry. I know... I'm reaching, but if you've seen them both play in person, in the AHL, you understand what I'm talking about. What AHL defensemen pairing is going to shut BOTH of those guys down if they're out together? And it's not like doing that would put all our scorers on one line. There's still Locke, Schultz, and Rosa.
It will be interesting to see if those guys miss Olvecky though.
Some folks have said, "Why not Locke?" Russo sheds some light on that:
Speaking of unlocked, Corey Locke isn’t. He’s having a great offensive season down in Houston and just starred in the All-Star Game, yet he’s not getting a sniff yet. From what I’ve heard from people inside the organization at times, Locke, who once starred in junior with a fella named Matt Foy, is super-skilled but has a tendency to score goals at both ends of the rink if you catch my drift. His size is also a bit of an issue.I actually haven't had an issue with Locker's defensive play, considering his skill set and size. I'd love for him to get a shot, just to yay or nay the questions about whether he's got the skill to overcome his size limitations. He's clearly got a special nose for the net.
But he is a whispy little thing, for sure. Still, he can take abuse and keep going without a flinch, and he's adapted pretty well to find ways to deal with his size and even make it an asset. He can carve through defensemen pretty handily and is so quick, they don't have a chance. But those are AHL d-men... and quality of defense is the biggest difference between the NHL and AHL.
Anyway, always good to have a little mid-week excitement and pot stirring to make sure everyone is awake.
Of course, the thing I didn't mention is that Kolanos is actually having to go through waivers to get sent to Houston. Someone COULD pick him up. If I'm a GM with an offensively challenged team that plays with less emphasis on the center being a third d-man, maybe I look at that. He really is instant offense... just add ice.
Okay, so Russo keeps mentioning Cal in context of the Calder, so I feel that gives me license to go full throttle in that direction. If The Don says it, it must be true.
All I can figure out to do is get after it Jehovah's Witness-style and go door to door of all the professional hockey writers and ask them if they've accepted Cal Clutterbuck as their rookie savior.
Goodness knows he's done enough in his short NHL career to put together a pamphlet of information, including exciting color photos of NHL stars getting Clutterbucked.
I was curious what the record for hits in a single season was, but it looks like that stat wasn't maintained much before the lockout. Dustin Brown's 311 hits last season is, presumably, the number to beat. Cal's leading the league now with 173, so he's well on his way. He got a team record 9 last night. And for that matter, if he'd just gotten one little assist, he'd have had a Gordie.
Then there's the 4 goals and 5 points in his last six games. That's not exactly slouching offensively, and given his involvement offensively and his willingness to shoot rather than pass, I think those numbers should stay fairly steady.
Of course, I'm a little rankled by him leaving his visor on during the fight. Not so much because I care about that specifically (White didn't take his off either, Cal stripped it off his head early in the tussle), but because I don't want to give any opportunities for people to say, "Yeah he's awesome, BUT..."
We in Clutterbuck Nation know the only "but" about Cal is the one he's kicking.
Speaking of hat tricks, my hockey clan came up with a new one:
John Scott Hat Trick
Which is where a player single-handedly fights three guys in one shift, like Scotty did in the now-infamous Matt Foy game last Friday, and wins them all.
As far as I can tell, the league is enjoying its mid-season break and has yet to hand down Foy's suspension terms, beyond the initial "indefinite" suspension.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Good little interview with Cal from My Hero Kevin Falness today. More making fun of Boogie. Kid skates on thin ice even off the ice, doesn't he?
His part starts about 1/8th of the way into the audio, after Backy's interview.
Scott TFCG spends his days dreaming up ways to torture me on practice weeks. Our conversations during the week go something like this:
Scott says:On a related note, my mom's new favorite thing to do, when she sees someone who knew me back in the day, is to tell them that I'm an Ice Hockey Goalie now (note that she can't just say "goalie" or they'll think soccer--this is Texas after all).
have you done the butterfly slide to a direction then stopped yourself with your skate to get up?
Yeah, I do that all the time.
No, I can't even slide in the fly without spinning in a circle.
It's good comedy but bad goaltending
good I was thinking while the skaters drill on their skating lessons we will work on that
till we all throw up
They invariably have a huge, "WTF???" reaction and she thinks it's really funny.
Of course, they also all probably think playing hockey = missing teeth and line brawls.
Great post on Puck Daddy regarding Tim Thomas and his reluctance to be known as a Hextall-type goalie. He makes a good point about goalies being vulnerable, and how getting a reputation as a nasty player would add a retaliation factor to the game that he just doesn't want to worry about.
Fair enough, but it's so rare the goalie who comes along who is willing to stand up for not only himself but his teammates, play the body a little, etc. I guess it's rare for a reason... it introduces unnecessary risk for both the player and the team.
But it sure is a lot more fun to watch than a guy like Backstrom. Sure, he's a terrific goalie and, to be honest, the kind of goalie I SHOULD be watching because he's so technically sound. Still, for my money, I'd rather watch a goalie who can play a technically sound game AND ensure that players pay a price for taking liberties around the net.
I was wishing for some photos of the game or skills comp. and ran across some at Inside Hockey, including one of a sick save by Barry.
Go here to look
Monday, January 26, 2009
Check out this awesome article about Cal. Quotes from his dad, hot shot draft pick and former teammate Tavares, and of course, Cal himself.
I love the insight into why he doesn't cross that "Avery" line, which is something I've always wondered about him, and his candor about the amazing place he's at in his young life.
And if I'm his sister, I'm SO making my big bro hook me up with Shep. I mean, seriously. SERIOUSLY.
Also, my pal Nick in New York over at Hitting the Post had the genius notion to start a Russo Mafia group on Facebook, so go join if you're a Facebooker who believes in The Don.
Locker gets the first goal for Canada past Schneider. Oh, if every team the Aeros played wouldn't play defense. Canadians pretty much dominated the start.
Mike Brodeur's pads are really cool looking with his uniform. Black face with red sides. Unique. He's a pretty badass goalie, too. Some good saves tonight.
I wonder how many goals Pouliot would score in a soft game like this. Probably a lot.
Locke has turned the puck over twice that I've seen. But he got an assist on the second Canada goal. Interview with Locker at the half, who says "great" about 35 times, but also says he's having fun playing in Houston, so I guess that's nice.
I sometimes wonder what it's like for him going from the Habs system, where the big club is basically the center of the hockey universe, to Houston. It's gotta feel like hockey Siberia a little bit, right?
Ohh, Brusty in the locker room. Looking delish.
He's playing the second period. Already putting the stick to #12 on the PUSA team. Several HUGE saves right out of the gate!
And Locker with the 4th goal for Canada! Way to represent, boys!
Ah poop, they got one past Brusty on a breakaway. Not a bad one by any means. Just left a little too much net to his far side. He looks to be searching for any opportunity to play the puck. Not many chances when there are no penalties.
LMAO. Planet USA passes up to some Cherry-Picking Bastard who comes in on Barry on a breakaway. Barry lunges at him and catches him with his stick to send him spinning into the corner with the puck. CPB passes across the crease and Barry has to do a big jump to keep from letting the puck hit his skates and potentially go in the net.
Crowd was all, "OHHHH!!!!" and I'm all, "Yeah, bitches. Don't you wish your goalie was hot like mine?" *snap*
Of course, these hoser announcers are too busy yapping with the GM of the Sharks to appropriately appreciate what was happening on the ice. In fact, every shot on Barry, they're all, "Oh, great chance for [shooter]" but no love for the goalie making the save. Why aren't they in awe of his radiant awesomeness? Dingleberries.
Wow, they just said Brusty got an assist on one of the Canada goals, and it's the first time a goalie has gotten an assist in an AHL All Star Game!
And then the same guy who scored on him before picked off Barry's pass up the center of the ice, brought it back in and ripped it 5 hole.
But anyway, stellar period for Brusty given the lack of defensive play. Only 3 goals but plenty more impressive saves and opportunity to show his personality as a goalie. Straight up badass, that guy.
Wait up. Hold the phone. Did I just see a big wad of dip in Brusty's lip in the locker room there? Augh. Why you gotta do that nasty redneck shit, man? *sigh* Gross. So not hot.
HAT TRICK for LOCKE! Atta boy!
Oh boy. Schultzie... Weims could use a hug about now. He's looking very much like he wishes the clock would tick down a little faster. Just getting lit up left and right.
FOURTH GOAL for LOCKE! And an AHL ASG record with those 4 goals!
Pretty cool to have both guys creating some "firsts" tonight. Also, the highest scoring AHL ASG ever.
However, thanks to a pretty bad third period for Canada defensively, Planet USA wins 14-11. It stayed close enough to be interesting.
Okay. The fake hockey is done for the season. Back to beating the crap out of each other. Yay!
Update: Here's the article in the Chron about the game. Nice quotes from Locker and Brusty. Love the joke about getting a second assist for his give-away that led to a goal. Heh.
Just saw that the Leafs called the Pogster up today. Reminds me I have another photo, courtesy of Fred Trask.
Man, what a fun night of hockey.
But let's start with about 7 p.m. when I went to pick up some dinner for me and Mr. C, and I guess the time alone in the car gave my mind some space to wander and BOOM, in a matter of seconds, I'm shaking like a leaf and nearly in tears, I'm so anxious about the game.
Fortunately, they take so friggin' long to bring my food to me at the Whataburger drive-thru, that I have time to process and try and talk myself down and send a text to Scott TFCG saying, "Nerves. Bad. Ugh."
I get home and Mr. C gives me a hug and I settle down and eat a little food and try to wrap my head around the idea that I'm supposed to be having FUN rather than a FREAKOUT. I read more from Ben Lovejoy's hilarious blog (though I gotta say, he seems like kind of a prick, but he's a funny one and I don't have to live with him so whatever) and the laughter settled me down a bit.
Anyway, we get to the rink and the teams before us finished early (who does that?) so they got on the ice early to warm up, but we got there a bit late, so my warm-up consisted of one lap around my end of the ice. I decided this was going to be good mentally because I do get a little psyched out by warm-up shots, but I just hoped not to pull a groin or something.
Lo and behold, I did turn away the first shot on goal, though it was a rather weak attempt and I didn't do what I SHOULD have done to stop it, but hey, a save is a save. I'll take it. I did let in the second shot though. :)
It was a hard fought game and my defense was spectacular, except for when they decided to change up in the middle of a rush by the red team. Like, I'm watching a line of 4 red team players streaking toward me while my two defensemen are heading to the bench. I bit early and they poked it in behind me. MF. But whatever. For every goal I let in, they blocked 5 shots that could have been dangerous and were straight up rock stars. I love them all. One even took a puck in the nuts. Yeah, my team is THAT F**KIN' AWESOME.
And in a weekend where I've had to eat crow twice and give credit where it's due, Stinky was my #2 star of the game for his defensive play as a forward. He was breaking plays up at the blue line and just kicking butt. I think I said, "Thank you, Stinky!" at least 3 times (to myself, of course). So, he's off my shit list. (My defense got #1, of course. And Drew was #3 for the GWG.)
Anyway, I started falling apart a little in the third, feeling a little woozy, so I let a couple more in that I really would like to get back. Goddamn new chick has a freaking broken hand and she still scored twice on me. I gotta solve her. At least I finally stopped one of her shots (and she later said she was dying for hat trick... ha! Denied!) I had to holler at Dave S. to "Stay on her" once because he was giving her space since she's new, but I'm sorry, I don't care how new you are... with a shot like that and two goals already, you're getting full defensive pressure. One of these days I'm gonna poke check her dekeing ass into next Thursday. Or maybe I'll just tackle her like TIMMMMAAAAAAY!!!!
My best save of the night was one where things got scrambly around the net and I just dropped, hoping I could deal with the situation better from my knees, but I don't see the puck anywhere and then Luther blows the whistle, Coach Dan asks him, "Did we stop it?" "Yes." I pick up a knee and there it is. :) Luther's gathering the puck up and telling me it was a nice save and I said, "I'm a badass!" He laughed. But it was good. I was really happy that one didn't go in.
Coach Stalin got the first goal of the night (I think it was the first... it was very early anyway) and it was a sick shot. With the all star games going on, I've been watching shooters and trying to see what shots seem more difficult for the pros and it's clear that a quick release is Goalie Death. Well, Coach Stalin just fired that puck five hole like a bullet. Really nice goal for her *sniff* last novice league game. :( I'm so SO sad about that.
Anyway, Luther was cool and helped me out with some of the goals I let in by telling me what I was doing to show so much net or what I should have been doing to stop the puck. That was amazingly helpful, even though I didn't want a ton of instruction, it was simple stuff that was easy to implement. I also felt like my movement in the crease was a ton better and more fluid and confident. The work in practice last week helped (so thanks, Scotty!), as did my mid-week skate.
So, it was my best game so far, for sure, and really was the kind of game I was expecting of myself at this point, where I was focused and not thinking much, but still using the things I've learned so far and seeing an improvement and feeling as comfortable and confident as one could expect thus far. And I think my earlier panic was knowing the expectations I had and also knowing how hard I'd be on myself if I didn't meet them. So, thank goodness I don't have to spend the week feeling like a schlub for not doing my best.
And I got a little "nasty goalie" action when Mikey was a little too aggressive to my doorstep, so I gave him a thump in the back of the leg with my stick. :) Nothing too hard. He didn't even flinch, but that's okay. I made my point and it got me in the game a little more.
Honest to god, I just love playing goal. I love watching the other team try to solve me. Not that it's hard to do right now, but watching them passing and strategizing... it's cool shit to see and I get the best view. Even when they burn me, I love the process. I just feel blessed to get to do this every week and have such nice people helping me fulfill this dream.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Here's a nice little blog post about Cal. Nothing new really, but it's nice to see him get some recognition in unexpected places.
I'm a dork for All Star stuff, and I'm totally okay with that. I'd LiveBlog this but I'd probably be all alone and that would be sad. So I'll just make some notes, the first of which is that OMG it's in HD!! Nice work, NESN!
- Chris Aucoin looks like he got hit by a 2x4. Huge bruised jaw and black eye. Damn boy.
- Ben Lovejoy is foxy and writes a blog. Good stuff.
- BRUSTY!!! Stoopid announcer screwed up his name. How hard is it to say Barry?
- Oh, your Weiman is foxy, too, Schultzie...
- Yeah, the Team Canada boys are all foxier than the Planet USA boys. Sorry PUSA, but it's true.
- Mike Brodeur looks like a white-boy rapper. Like he probably calls his apartment his "crib."
- HEXTALL! Awesome!
Um. Yeah, they were fast and stuff. Not my favorite event. It's funny how different this is from the NHL version of the same. None of the obnoxious hoopla. Just hockey players doing hockey player things. Refreshing, frankly. Oh, Planet USA wins.
Best of the "Future Stars" was 15.5. Those are a couple of kids who play on each team.
Okay, here goes Locker with Chilly cheering him on. 14.9, second from the bottom. Oh well. And again, Planet USA wins. Yo, Canada, what up?
Rapid Fire Challenge
Okay, this shit ain't fair. Two shooters, each with 5 pucks at the hash marks, alternating shots on the goalie. So basically, the goalie is just getting beat to hell and lit up like nobody's business. I'm not even sure what skill this is supposed to be showcasing.
Weiman was quite good. Very quick legs.
Brusty was AWESOME! I think he let in 3.
Schneider was awesomer. Man, he was really excellent, letting in only one of the 10 shots.
Brodeur was not so good. Why couldn't the Aeros solve him when we played him?
Interview with Weiman after. I know this is weird, but he's got very tidy eyebrows. Wax? Pluck?
Showing past winners, Kurtis Foster won in 2003 with 101 MPH.
Come on AHL boys... these are pretty weak. This is making me miss Jon Awe.
Winner is 98.6 for Joslin from Worcester.
Man, the NHLers school these guys. Oh, they're getting better as they go on. Mike Santorelli from Milwaukee won that one getting 4 of 4. He also won the Worst Hair competition. Yikes. Someone drag his ass to SportClips, for the love of god.
Pass and Score (aka F**k the Goalie)
This was a fun one last year where Reitz's line scored on Schaefer. It was pretty sick.
Teddy Purcell is foxy and humble and articulate. Oh yeah, and really good. Nom.
- Good job by Frazee! Stopped all three attempts.
- Weiman got beat on all three. Ouch.
- Brusty got lit up. Poor dear.
- Larsson also got lit up.
- Schneider was awesome, but his shooters were lame with slow releases.
Oh boy. More goalie abuse. Need a Humane Society for Goalies. Sheesh.
- Weiman is a patient, patient goalie. Very impressive only letting one in.
- Holding my breath for Brusty... WOO!!!!!!! He stopped all 6 shots! Beauty! Great poke check on one of those. Very "Brusty" move. Love it. Atta boy! He looked pretty happy when that was over. Big grin.
- Schneider got all six, as well. Man, that dude is jacked.
- Locker got shut out by Schneider with a shot right into his glove.
Game tomorrow night. If the NESN was smart, they'd mic up the goalies like the NHL does, but I won't hold my breath.
In the spirit of giving credit where it is due, even if I'm not a fan in general, Derek Felska over at MVN.com writes a great mid-season report card for the Wild roster. Well observed, well written, very balanced, and it's always interesting to see where your own opinion lines up with something like this.
Great article today in the Strib about how the NHL has turned down a plea from Kurtis Foster to get longer than 2 weeks in the AHL.
I appreciate that rules are rules, but I like his idea of having an exception in the rules around how long a player is out with the injury. And really, I don't think anyone would fault the league for making an exception here and now. In fact, I think it's pretty bad PR (after already creating some pretty bad PR around suspending Lidstrom and Dots for not going to the ASG) for them to not make an exception.
Here are some more nice photos NOT by Fred from last night's Aeros game. Good stuff.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
The Prediction Brothers to my left on press row said, "You're going to write nice things about Ben tonight." I said, "Only if I see him in a suit."
But alas, Benny proved them right. I didn't even see him in a suit. But here goes:
Pouliot had a very good game. I mean, really good. Really physical. Yeah, I said physical. He hit (a LOT), he held on to the puck under defensive pressure, he drew a penalty, he scored a goal.
He still had a few Bad Benny moments, but many more "Why is Stoner Wearing Pouliot's Sweater?" moments. Seriously, he outhit everyone on the team. Sit and think about that for a moment.
Dare I say, he was one of the most dangerous players on the ice tonight. Now, if he can just play like that AND get his shots within 5 feet of the net, I guarantee there's a warm bed in the Twin Cities waiting for him.
He had two or three breakaway opportunities that were literally breathtaking. He's got to be the prettiest skater I've ever seen, at least in person. I forgot how extraordinary it is to watch him fly down the ice. And once, he actually broke through a couple of defensemen, who were putting physical pressure on him, and he not only stood up to the pressure but he hung on to the puck and got a shot off. I'm not sure I've EVER seen him do that.
But of course, it leaves me wanting more, and I find myself back to using my "bad boyfriend" analogy for him: He's like the guy who is really a jerk and you know you can do better in almost every way, but he's SO good in bed, you just keep going back to him in moments of weakness. Of course, you regret it every single time, because he's not going to change and you know it, but damn does he have some sick skills and soft hands.
*sigh* What a tease Benny is. I've been burned enough to know the hustle won't last, but I do appreciate him playing like that tonight. It was a bit of a silver lining around a cloud of a 3-2 loss to Peoria.
And what a cloud it was. My distinct sense during the game was that yesterday's game was so lovely and goals came so easily, that they thought it was always going to be that way. Sorry, boys. Not the case. Yesterday, their legs were moving, passing was clicking, they were simply dominant.
But tonight, it was bouncing pucks, bad passes, and many, MANY brain farts. I can think of at least 3 instances where the puck was just left sitting unattended on the ice by an Aeros player, begging for a swarm of Rivermen to take it and go. Just lots of empty-headed play. John Scott had a bad game and, IMO, failed Schaefer on a couple of those goals against.
I see from reading Royal's blog that Constantine felt the same way.
Locke got the second goal to get the game within one goal with just under 4 minutes left in the third, but he then got a cross-checking penalty with just over 2 minutes left in the game. This, of course, prevented the Aeros from being able to pull Schaefer for the extra man. Given the level of "uh-oh" hustle in the third, I think they had a chance of tying it up if it weren't for that.
As such, I'm not fond of his selection as the third star. It should have been... wait for it... Pouliot. Yeah, I said it. And I mean it. And it's got nothing to do with how ripping hot he is in a suit.
Also, can we undo the Hamilton/Earl trade? Pretty please? I'm trying to be patient. I'm not doing very well. So far, he seems to have no nose for the net and a significant deficit in the "hockey sense" department.
Alright. That's all. Link to Andrew's Chron article here. Royal is linked above. Next up is Locke and Brusty at that ASG Sunday afternoon and Monday night. Go get 'em boys.
ETA: One more thing... I know they don't keep stats about this, but I'd LOVE to know what the Aeros record is when they're wearing a new jersey. The boys were wearing the big charity auction jersey for the first time tonight. They're nice enough. I've seen far worse. But it seems like those are always losing games. Here are some photos from the game.
Photo by Fred Trask
Friday, January 23, 2009
Where should I start?
- With how the Aeros came out of the gate full of piss and vinegar like I've never seen, especially after a 4 day break, and beat the snot out of Peoria 5-2?
- With how Matt Foy, upon his return to Aeros ice for the first time since he played for Houston two years ago, left the bench to fight ... of all people... John Scott, and will likely serve a 6 game suspension for having done so?
- How John Scott fought three guys at the 20 minute mark of the 2nd period--against Cam Paddock and Jeff Cowan, then, as he was being escorted across the ice to the bench, with Matt Foy, as mentioned above?
- How new guy, Robbie Earl, didn't impress particularly, in spite of 6 shots on goal, but still managed to get an empty net goal in the waning seconds?
- How Pouliot continues to play like he's afraid of breaking a nail, yet seems to be finding some chemistry with fellow French-Canadian, Beaudoin?
- How Olvecky played the best game I've seen from him in an Aeros uniform? I mean, he was on fire and earned every bit of the first star awarded to him.
The Aeros got goals from Madsen and Noreau, both of whom needed to get some points on the scoresheet, as well as Olvecky, Locke and Earl. Scott got the lone assist on Earl's empty net goal, worth noting given his rare appearance among point-getters.
The whole game was fast and physical and the Aeros played all 60 minutes. Madsen's goal was in the first period, but the floodgates opened in the second with Olvecky's goal, which he tapped in past a sprawling Ben Bishop. Bishop was pulled after Locke and Noreau's subsequent goals.
The fight after the second period was a sight. There was a scrum that developed over near the door where the visitors go to their room. It shook out to just Scott and Paddock, but for some reason Cowan was grabbing onto Scott and wouldn't let go. Out of that fight, Scott and Paddock got 5 for fighting and Cowan got a game misconduct for being the third man in.
Then, as Scott was heading to the bench, Foy left his own bench (though really, the period was over) and jumped Scott, who was kinda like, "You, too?" and pretty much schooled him. So, Scott got another 5 minutes and Foy got 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting, 10 min. instigating misconduct, and a game misconduct for leaving the bench, which, as I mentioned, is a 6 game suspension according to the rule book.
I dunno what got into Foyzie there, but wow. That was something else. And I'd forgotten how good looking he is. Can't say, after that display, that I particularly missed him being on my team though. Good Looks don't cure Stupid, sweet cheeks.
That's pretty much the game. It's worth noting that all the injured guys were back and while they all had a little rust, it was clearly a boost to have Rosa, Stoner, and Lammers back on the ice. Scratches were Lundbohm, Kassian, and Falk.
These teams hit it again tomorrow night, so it will be interesting to see if the Aeros can bring this same level of urgency two nights in a row.
Here's Royal's game report, including a great photo and quotes from Scotty, and Andrew's article for the Chron. And more photos from Fred.
Ms. Conduct by the Numbers:
Aeros tags: 106
Clutterbuck tags: 61
Kris "Chucko Sucko" and Sean Avery tags: 8 apiece
Attention Whore tags: 19 (okay, now 20)
March 2008 visit count: 68
January 2009 visit count: 2,526 (so far)
In the past 500 visits: 84% were American (mostly Houston or Minnesota), 15% Canadian, 1% other
Are you guys like me where sometimes you'll write/read/think/see something and just go, "Holy crap, I love hockey. I mean, REALLY love hockey." I love that. I worry sometimes that feeling will go away. But not today. I'm up to my eyeballs in it today.
All Star Games
I know a lot of people don't like them, but I agree with Bill Clement's (hands of cement) take from NHL Live yesterday. The whole thing is really just a celebration of hockey with some of its best and brightest taking a few spins around the ice. Nothing more, nothing less.
And really, I'm not one to cotton to the hot shot players all that much, other than the occasional goalie. But to have that much talent collaborating on the same sheet? That's f**king cool, man.
Be sure and find the AHL All-Star stuff on Sunday and Monday and set your Tivos for it. Give Brusty and Locker some love. The AHL break is a short one. They play Saturday night and then have to get on a plane Sunday morning to Worcester, MA and do the skills competition that evening. Not ideal but when has the Aeros schedule been ideal this season?
Okay, so I'm a stats whore, so I see how folks are finding my blog. It doesn't matter but, you'd be curious, too. Trust me. It's interesting stuff.
Like, in the last 3 weeks, LOTS of gals have been wondering about Cal's relationship status. Though searches about Robbie Earl and Ryan Hamilton have eclipsed all my stats the last couple of days. Hopefuly people found what they were looking for, unless it was info on Earl, of which I have almost none for now.
And I find it fascinating the places people are just searching for "ms conduct." Are they looking for my blog or the women's hockey league in Florida or do they not know how to spell or what? When I see it coming from Boston or SoCal or random Canadian towns, I have to wonder. It's funny, but more importantly, it reminds me that I am, in fact, the center of the universe. Phew. As long as we're all still on the same page...
Anyway, for those of you who visit my blog and any others (and there are SO many awesome hockey blogs out there, you have to be reading more than mine, right? The list on the right here should get you started), may I suggest setting up a Google Reader page for yourself? It's super easy and so convenient.
Mine's even set as my home page in my browser so it stays open and I get little nuggets of joy from all my various blog subscriptions all day long, as it refreshes itself when there's new stuff from any of your blogs.
Here's even a great primer from Google to get you set up. It's good. Embrace 2009 and bloggerdom! I know I was all, "OMG, why didn't I do this a year ago?" when I finally took the plunge. I was going to five or six sites every morning and some were frustratingly un-updated far too often so I felt like I was wasting my time.
Anyway, that's that. I've been wanting to bring this up for a while, but it seemed kind of obnoxious for some reason. But since I'm being unabashedly obnoxious today anyway, I figured I'd just pile on.
Aeros vs. Peoria two nights in a row
Haven't had a back-to-back with the same team so far this season, as I recall. At least not at home. I don't think. I'm too lazy to look it up.
Anyway, this is a decent little rivalry and as I mentioned earlier, Foyzie's back in town with Peoria. And my favorite giant goalie, Ben Bishop, will be here.
And don't forget the USA vs. Canada amateur game after the Aeros game tonight. It's free to just stick around and watch if you're so inclined. The only problem is that they won't still be selling beer. At least, *I* find that to be a problem since I can't partake during the game. Oh well. See you tonight.
Now, a more reasonable person would look at the puddle of slobber by the post about Barry's new mask or the breathless post linking to that ESPN mag photo of Jesus Price and think, "Okay, the hot goalie horse has pretty well been beaten to death here."
But you know me better than that. That horse will never die. Plus, a blogiversary is a day to wallow in the things that really matter in life and if hot goalies aren't on that list, I don't know what is.
Let's start by welcoming a new hot goalie to the fold. Toronto gals have been keeping Justin Pogge to themselves. That's not cool. But I ran across this video looking for some Robbie Earl stuff. The best part is them saying that Staffan Kronwall came with the IKEA couch. HA! Swedes are funny.
So, I'm watching that, thinking: a) nice view and b) ZOMG, that's what Pogge looks like? More please! And the Marlies oblige.
Ohhh! PWND by the giant dog!
Update: And Mr. Awesome, Fred Trask, enables my obsessions yet again by sending me some beauties of Pogge. Either he's 8 feet tall or his gear really isn't too oversized. My favorite is this air guitar pose. Shred that stick, Justin! (Clicky make biggy.) I'm saving the others for when I need a Pogge fix...
Anyway, another hot goalie who is underrepresented in Ms.ConductLand is Marty Biron. Seriously... Those Eyes. Are you kidding me? Unreal. Plus, he just seems to have absolutely no airs about him, no ego or walls. Just an open, friendly guy with Those Eyes and That Adorable Accent. Never mind how bad his stats have hurt one of my fantasy teams.
You know who's not hot? That forever-broken dingleberry, Ricky DiPietro. Too much frat boy, too much surgery.
Your shit's on the front porch. I've changed the locks. I'm keeping the dog.
and every person who put you on their fantasy team this season
Thursday, January 22, 2009
One year ago today, I started this blog as a place to ramble about my quest to become a hockey goalie, along with whatever other hockey stuff came to mind.
I honestly didn't expect anyone to read it, unless maybe there were other 32 years olds out there who didn't know how to ice skate, yet suddenly had an all-consuming desire to become a goalie. It's a niche market for sure. In fact, I have yet to run across anybody else in that situation. That probably should have been a sign, eh?
But that focus certainly evolved. During the summer, I found the silence deafening. It's like the Aeros got knocked out of the playoffs and then... *crickets*crickets*crickets* And yet, there was stuff going on and plenty to ponder!
So, I started writing more about the Aeros and more about the Wild in relation to the Aeros and vice versa. And then I got involved with ProHockeyNews and added some legit writing to my arsenal, finally putting that journalism degree to some use.
And now here we are at the All-Star break again and Ms. Conduct-The Blog, is getting pretty healthy traffic, really nice props from the blogosphere, and has generally become what I wanted it to be when the season began.
Frankly, I couldn't be having more fun if I tried. Like, so much fun, I feel guilty sometimes. The community of hockey fans I've had the pleasure of getting to know over the last year never ceases to amaze me with the level of intelligence, wit, passion, and generosity it exhibits. What a blessing. Seriously.
Huge shouts out to:
- All y'all who read on a regular basis, especially those who speak up occasionally in the comments or send me little tips or links or other good stuff. More more more! I have the best readers ever.
- The many female hockey bloggers I've "met" this year, who cover their teams and the game with more humor, passion, zeal, and just as much knowledge as most male bloggers. You gals paved the way. The best I can do is continue to keep my little section of the path well lit.
- John Royal and Andrew Ferraro and the Aeros PR folks for letting me tag along and learn from them and do my thing with gleeful abandon. And Mr. Awesome, Fred Trask, for sharing his gift with me at times when words alone aren't enough.
- The few folks who actually read my personal hockey/goaltending stuff. I really do just write that stuff for the catharsis of getting it out of my swirling mind, but it's nice to know that when I'm wrestling with something, you guys will come to my rescue with advice or commiseration.
- Blogger.com... I can't believe this shit's free and so reliable. What a wonderful world!
Bad week if you're a Hamilton playing for the Aeros, as today Mike Hamilton was released from his PTO, presumably to return to the Las Vegas Wranglers.
Also, d-man John Adams was reassigned to the Corpus Ice Rays.
What I hope this tells us is that Stoner and Rosa are healthy enough to play this weekend. It would be a tremendous boon to get those guys back.
Good article in SI on the plight of the Dallas Stars in a year where they don't have a farm team to call their own.
I gotta say, I'm looking forward to the Texas Stars starting up next season. Hopefully it will take a little bit of an edge off a really tough travel schedule for the Texas teams and maybe improve the division in the process.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Apparently, Brusty got himself hooked up with new gear, including a new lid. Hooray for pads that match! Hooray for shiny new Miska-painted mask!
How sick is that? That's just a beauty. Much gratitude to Fred Trask for the awesome photos.
'Scuse me while I go swoon for a while.
The Wild made a trade today with the Leafs sending Ryan Hamilton to the Toronto Marlies (duh) in exchange for Robbie Earl.
Looks like a fairly even trade, stats- and position-wise, so I wonder what the impetus for this trade is. More later...
Minnesota assistant general manager Tom Lynn says Earl "adds the elements of speed and energy that will strengthen our prospect base and improve team speed and attack in Houston."
It's notable that this is a homecoming for Ryan, as he's from nearby Oshawa. Hopefully it's not too unpleasant a transition for him, but it's never easy, I'm sure. He's been kind of a fixture here.
Same could be said for Earl, who's in his third pro year with the Marlies. I do remember his name as kind of a threat guy, so this could be interesting. His scoring is down this year, so maybe the ubiquitous "change of scenery" will help him find the back of the net. The Aeros could use that.
Anyway, welcome to the land of shorts and flip-flops in January, Robbie! Aeros fans will miss you bunches, Hammy. Go get 'em.
Interview with Robbie Earl right here. Danke schoen to Mr. Falness for that. Just poking around the Marlies section of the Leafs message board, they're sad to see him go. I guess it's mutual.
UPDATE: I'm also reminded that Ryan's sister works for the Marlies. They're getting the band back together!
Also, here's the Leafs board talking about it. After a trade like this, I always find it kind of amusing to watch other fans swish the deal around in their mouths a bit and try and sort out what they think of it, gather information, etc. Though someone should tell Canada how to spell Houston.
The Aeros are doing a giveaway this season of a collection of bobbleheads of beloved former Aeros in honor of their 15th anniversary, and even though I'm not much of a memorabilia collector, these amuse me.
So far we've gotten Chabot, Boogaard, Reitz, and Wiseman, being the most recent. I finally opened my Wiseman bobblehead box up today to put him in his spot on the nice little stand they also gave for them.
But something is kinda off about the guy. I wasn't around when he played for the Aeros so I don't really know much about him, other than seeing him on the broadcast with O'Donnell Friday night. He seemed pretty normal there, but his bobblehead seems to have an attitude problem.
He's got his tongue sticking out.
Unfortunately for him, bobbleheads Boogie and Reitzy don't take too kindly to guys pulling faces at them.
This is the funniest, most inept explanation of goaltending EVER.
Why, oh why, does this guy have to be southern? *sigh*
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Russo had a chat with Danny Irmen, who is up with the Wild right now (though is surely heading back to Houston tomorrow since the Wild are done until after the all star break). This stuck out to me:
The ex-Gophers player said he uses Cal Clutterbuck as inspiration. Clutterbuck cemented a full-time NHL job upon being promoted in October.I don't disagree that teams need players like Cal, but I completely disagree that there are "so many other guys" similar to him. How many guys can be 3rd in the league in hits yet still put his defensive play and positioning a high enough priority to keep Lemaire happy, AND get some points on the board? Sorry, but I don't know many in the AHL and certainly not on the Aeros who could come close.
"We have so many other guys that play that style or a similar one," Irmen said. "It gives you hope and tells you to keep playing that way, because teams need players like that."
I guess I take issue with the implication that he's just an average grinder who worked hard and got some luck. I don't believe that's the case at all. I could go into the 20 reasons why but seriously, do I need to?
Lucky for me, someone in my pal Buddha's ESPN hockey fantasy league couldn't take the heat in the kitchen, so he offered the team to me. They are at the bottom of the league. Way way way in the basement where the trolls live. But I've spent the evening dumping crap players, adding better ones, and generally being obnoxious. What fun!
Unfortunately, the former owner was one of the poor schmucks who got stuck with Gaborik. Ugh. So the team really has no superstars on it. Lots of second tier players, so there's really not much hope for big moves up, but it's fun to try.
And this is a roto keeper league, which I don't have going in any other league. I'll have to figure out what that means in terms of strategy. Only one keeper so I'll worry about that much later.
Andrew, who wrote about whether the Aeros could make the playoffs the other day, apparently got some heat from some fans who don't appreciate his pessimistic and/or realistic take on the team's prospects. He calls hopeful Aeros fans... The Sunshine Club. (Oh, how vile!)
Anyway, he dug a little deeper and shared those findings. I'm not sure they really change much, but in any case, if you enjoy prediction talk, there you have the addendum to the original post.
I think it's pretty clear where my head is on making predictions, either game by game or for the season. I don't like to do it, I don't do it well, and really, I don't see the point. The game will be what the game will be. Same for the season. Drop the puck and surprise me, boys. That's why I love hockey. You never know what you're going to get.
So, here's my plan for the second half of the season. I'll even put it in a numbered list so it's easy to follow:
- Go to Aeros games
- Watch Aeros games (while hoping for the best)
- Write about Aeros games
- See what happens
I'm feeling a little cranky this afternoon, but then this bit of magical loveliness floated into my Google Reader and put a smile on my face.
Here's James Shepperd and his perfect face talking about his all star break plans. Am I the only one who is always a little surprised by how deep his voice is? Rawr.
Mike Toth of Sportsnet.ca looks back at his pre-season predictions to see how they're coming along at mid-season.
Prediction:Yep. Mr. Toth has been paying attention.
3. The perfect hockey transplant? Removing the heart of Cal Clutterbuck and placing it inside the body of Benoit Pouliot. The Minnesota Wild selected the gifted Pouliot fourth overall in the 2005 NHL draft. But since then, he's only played a handful of games at the NHL level and has spent much of his AHL apprenticeship skating around in a fog. Clutterbuck, on the other hand, is the epitome of making the most out of limited ability and the former Oshawa General has a chance of cracking the Minnesota roster as a fourth line energy player. Wild officials say that because Pouliot is so talented, he's never had to sweat like the Clutterbuck's of the world. However, if the light bulb finally goes on, it would play a major role in solving Minnesota's search for a sniper to complement Marian Gaborik.
Top shelf: While we're on that subject, let's turn our attention to a pair of prospects with the Minnesota Wild. "Too bad you couldn't place the heart of Cal Clutterbuck inside the body of Benoit Pouliot", we wrote. Lo and behold, Pouliot is in danger of being a first round flop, as he was recently returned to the minors. Clutterbuck, on the other hand, is making a real name for himself. (Which isn't that difficult when you've got a perfect hockey handle like "Clutterbuck".) Living up to our claims that he'd crack the roster, Clutterbuck has displayed a knack for chipping in with some big goals and is fast becoming one of the NHL's most annoying super-pests. Heck! He's even had Wayne Gretzky screaming at him a couple of times from the Coyotes bench, as The Great One wished he could deploy Dave Semenko to teach Clutterbuck a lesson.
Finally, this post from Puck Daddy today vis-a-vis the goalie who will be taking the shots during the Breakaway competition at the All Star Game:
Gone are the all-star goalies with pride on the line; according the League, the current plan is for the goalie in the competition to be a "junior level guy from the Montreal-area" that (as of this morning) has not been selected. Maybe League officials will drive up to a rink in an unmarked van, put a bag over some random goalie's head, and he wakes up between the pipes in Montreal ...Wysh nails the mental visuals again. Funny stuff. And he's got some good suggestions for alternatives. It's worth a read.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I felt like I was living in some kind of druggy haze when I heard that the Wild called up Danny Irmen in case Brunette couldn't play tonight or tomorrow. I just so wouldn't have made that choice, but he DID (I'm now recalling) get a decent amount of attention during pre-season. Once for a really really bad game, after which he got a second chance and played fine. So, I guess they see something in him or they're pandering to the fools who think it's a travesty that the Wild has no Minnesota players.
Best of lucky, Danny. (See you Friday back in Houston, I'm guessing.)
Mitch has put out his 6th blog post.
The consensus is no, but Wild-Puck Blogs gives Cal his vote anyway.
Throw mine in there, too. Screw Doughty!
Read it here in his blog.
The problem here is that Andrew's pretty uncanny about his Aeros meteorology. So when Andrew questions it, I have to pay attention. The reasoning is sound. And yet, the one part of my life in which I'm a romantic is as a hockey fan, so I can't bring myself to abandon hope.
Lots of things happen in an AHL season. Especially THIS AHL season.
And part of me knows that this team isn't going to look the same next season, so I feel like it's now or never. But then again, lots of thing happen in the AHL off-season, too, so there really is always next year.
I'm just preserving this link for posterity. You goalie-luvin' gals will understand me here, right? Classic jersey, old school pads, mood lighting, and a headline indicating a certain inner turmoil that might be cured with a lengthy hug? Um. Yes please.
The Houston Press has a nice article on Mitch Love courtesy of Mr. Royal. Be there or be square, cupcakes.
Criminy... I tried to go to bed and still couldn't sleep. I'm WIDE AWAKE and it's 4:22 as I type this. Ugh. Tomorrow (today) is going to Suuuuuuck.
Anyway, for anybody who thinks I'm a huge bitch about Pouliot, take a gander at the Houston reaction. Now, granted, the IA forum is often overly negative, IMO, so grain of salt, but still. It ain't just me who's prickly about the guy.
Blessedly, the John Scott bashing has died to a trickle there. I finally had to take the site out of my regular rotation and just check in occasionally, it was fouling my mood up so bad.
My knees hurt. That's actually a good "sign of progress" thing.
I can't even express how much I want a greasy cheeseburger right now. That bowl of frosted mini-wheats I just had was so unsatisfying.
We live in a 3-story house, and I've been taking the stairs two at a time lately because that seems to work similar muscles to the ones I use when I'm getting up off the ice. I think it helped. I wasn't AS sucky in that regard tonight.
The dog is snoring LOUDLY on the couch here next to me. Adorable.
I'm wondering if confidence might be a bad thing when I have a good warm-up. Warm-ups are always just one puck, one shooter, which I'm ok with. It's when they get me moving, either by passing or setting up in a way where a pass could easily burn me, that it all goes to hell and I can't decide what to do.
I also let in my first totally screened goal tonight. It was one of Stinky's. My d-man scooted right in front of me and the guy has a pretty quick release and it just went through both our feet. Where was my stick? Not on the ice, I can tell you that. Dammit.
Okay, I'm putting On The Fly on and gonna see if I can work up some ZZZZZs like the dog is knocking out here next to me.
I'm really tired and it's really early in the morning, and Royal did a great job writing up the game, plus Mr. Awesome gave him a great picture of the game winning goal celebration. You don't see Ryznar or Kassian in those too often so go look at that and soak it up.
Andrew's Chron article
Just a few extras:
I was tres impressed with the domination of the Aeros today. I don't believe we've seen this kind of puck possession all season. But I'm going to resist the urge to say they've turned a corner of some sort. The Monsters were on game 4 of 4 games in 5 days, so they were tired and kind of resorted to the dumping and chasing required to just hold the offensive zone. Definitely a hard fought game on their part.
And Monster's goalie Tyler Weiman was off the hook. It would have easily been 6-1 with a lesser goalie in the net. His positioning is just spectacular because he wasn't making much in the way of dramatic saves. He was just always in front of the puck. I thought he deserved the #2 star. I'm not sure I understand why Schaefer got a star at all. Should have been 1-Ryznar, 2-Weiman, 3-Schultz.
In the picture on John's blog, you can see Kassian's "I lost the bet this month" mustache. *sigh* Why do these good looking guys do this to themselves? Here's hoping his month of 'stachedness is over soon.
Pouliot was alternatingly quite good and quite frustrating. Definitely peppier and more involved than Friday night, which was good to see. He had a few quite good opportunities on goal, but couldn't convert. But, when he hits the blue line and there's a d-man after him, it's still just, "Oh sorry, was this puck yours? My bad. Here ya go!" Though at one point, he had a big shot on goal and Weiman froze the puck, and they played Marilyn Manson's Beautiful People and I had to agree with John that it's a great choice for Ben's "theme song." Though it was probably just a coincidence.
I'm delighted for the 4th line boys. They dominated this game for the Aeros and I'm glad one of them got the big prize out of the effort, though ideally, it would have been a Ryznar goal with assists from Kassian and Love. But I'll take whatever.
I have to wonder if the knowledge of how short on forwards the Wild are right now has guys playing 110% right now. It's really a crap shoot as to who the call up would be, at least from where I sit. I wonder how long this delicate balance will last? Probably not into next weekend, unfortunately.
Healthy scratches were Mike Hamilton (who I suspect has the most to lose from the Pouliot demotion, besides Pouly himself, of course) and John Adams. Still injured and out are Stoner, Rosa, and Lammers.
Next game isn't until Friday night when the Aeros have back-to-back games at home against the Peoria Rivermen. Notable about these games is the return of Matt Foy to the Toyota Center. Mothers, hide your daughters. Fathers, lock the liquor cabinet.
After the game Friday will be a fun amateur USA vs. Canada game that a bunch of my teammates are playing on, so that should be a laugh if you want to stick around after the Aeros game and take in some more hockey.
It's amazing to me how I can just get completely lit up as a goalie and still have about a bazillion times more fun and satisfaction than when I played out.
I mean, at both positions, there's a period of time where you're just gonna suck because you don't have the skillz and you don't know what the hell you're doing. As a skater, that was a period of intense un-fun for me.
As a goalie, even though I got lit up pretty much all night at practice, as long as I can talk about it a bit with Scott TFCG or the coaches, I can let it go and be happy before I'm even on 249 (for the non-locals, that's the freeway the rink is on).
I guess life sort of builds up to certain challenges and you learn the things you need to learn to face them with relative stability. If you can't tell, I'm feeling obnoxiously zen right now. I'll give the touchy-feely a rest for a minute.
It was a practice this week and Scott TFCG came out in his awesome Quebec Nordiques jersey to work with me and the other goalie (who is several months ahead of me), so we did some positioning drills and then the players did some drills around the net and shot on me.
Apparently I have an issue with turning perpendicular to the net. I don't even realize I'm doing it, so it's going to take a while to fix that.
Honesty Time #1: Practices are kinda like eating steamed broccoli. There's a bit of pleasure from the virtuous feeling of doing something good for you, but really, you're never sitting there thinking, "Oh yeah, this is desert island food right here, baby. I want this shit All. The. Time." I don't mean to be all Allen Iverson about it, but there ya go. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?
On the other hand, games are like a big bowl of chips and queso. And if you're making some nice saves and your team is playing good defense, add a margarita to wash it all down. It's the nectar of the gods. I'll spend all week looking forward to Sunday since it's a game week.
I'm still having an issue of not getting into the game fast enough. Just like last week, the first three shots on me during the scrimmage went in. I'm not sure what it's going to take for me to get over that, but I'm more irritated about that than just about anything else. I hate putting my team in a hole from the start. :(
And can I just say, MAN are these teams out of balance. Holy crap. The green team is so much better in just about every way than the red team. And it's not even so much the red defense as the red forwards who don't backcheck or forecheck with any kind of intensity. They're clearly intimidated and outmatched by the green team and it was really frustrating to watch. They're more true novice though, so it's understandable and I don't mean to be a bitch about it, but it's a really stark contrast to the green team.
Also, I'm such a "heart" person when it comes to hockey, it almost feels like a bit of a betrayal for the green team to be shooting on me! Damn them. And Stinky especially, though I did stop his first shot on me and he was all, "Oh, damn. I'm stinky AND I got stopped by the sucky goalie!" and I was all, "HA! HA! Suck on that, Stinky!" But then he got two more past me at which point I was full of rage and wanting to hurt him with my stick.
Honesty time #2: You know why he really bugs me, other than for stealing the puck off my stick that time, is that his aesthetic is very similar to Pouliot's. Obviously, he's not that good, but he's got a long, pretty stride and sort of a dangling, dekeing style. I think he may even tuck his jersey. So... you know, I'm hating that. Luckily, he does get the puck poked away quite a bit because he keeps it so far away from his body. He's lucky he's ON the green team because their D wouldn't let that happen if he played against them.
Anyway, what else? I'm rambling a bit. My high is wearing off, too, and I'm starting to feel "ugh" but that's okay. It's part of the process. I'll feel better tomorrow. By Wednesday, I'll be wishing it was Sunday.
To end on a good note, I'm still in awe of how supportive and kind everyone is. I know it has to be frustrating to have a goalie you can't trust between the pipes for you, so it means a lot for folks to continue to have my back. And of course, Scotty, I know you want me to hate you, but really, you're the best. You're not Mr. Awesome, because I gave Aeros photographer Fred Trask that title, but you're darn close. Thank you. Sincerely. Sorry for the F-bombs lobbed your way tonight. (Stinky, I'm not sorry for the ones I lobbed at you.)
Oh and I had a couple of Stars of the Game: Steve gets the #1 star for roughing Scotty up during the scrimmage. Stick tap for that, man. That was sweet. Dave S. gets the #2 star for helping out with the drills and mostly missing the net, and also for taking it easy on me during the scrimmage (and for getting after Stinky about playing like a hot shot... which I don't mind so much as that's just real hockey, but I'll take whatever concessions and protection anyone is willing to throw my way right now).
Okay, so next week is a game and I'm gonna try and have one goal: Square to the puck.
No wait: SQUARE TO THE F**KING PUCK, GODDAMMIT!
Yeah, that's more like it.
Let's go into the week with some Tragically Hip and "The Lonely End of the Rink":