July 21, 2012

1994 Junior Goodwill Games, USA vs. Iceland -- The Liveblog

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This is another installment of our Classic Liveblog series, wherein I struggle to cope with the NHL offseason and chronicle historic games from simpler times.  If you care to see previous entries:


*****
 
It has been brought to my attention that, in the previous 606 entries of this blog, there has not been a single one devoted to the namesake of the site or the identity that I've unintentionally assumed over the past four years. We fix that today.
 
The 1994 Junior Goodwill Games were a tumultuous emotional battle for Gordon Bombay and his band of misfit hooligan children-turned national superstars. What was supposed to be a smooth march to the final round became and up-and-down battle with lucrative corporate distractions, mutinies, excessive hair gel and ice cream.  But Team USA righted the ship in time for an apocalyptic showdown with the mighty Iceland squad -- the only remaining test that stood between them and a We Are The Champions final credits sendoff.  To Arrowhead Pond!


1ST PERIOD
  • 20:00 -- On the mic for this game is L.A. Kings announcer Bob Miller and Jacques Berman.  Considering Jacques is silent for the entire broadcast, this was clearly an "Eff you" move from Disney putting a guy named Berman on TV who doesn't say anything.
  • 20:00 -- Injured Team USA Star Adam Banks -- who was believed to be lost for the tournament after taking a vicious slash to the wrist in the first Iceland-USA matchup -- miraculously shows up to the locker room fully healed just before the first puck is dropped.  Never mind the fact that a 14-year-old kid is obviously taking steroids to just magically wake up completely recovered .... actually wait a minute, we should look into this.  A 14-year-old kid is obviously taking steroids.
  • 20:00 -- Banks, however, is stunned to hear his completely insane coach tell him, "I'm sorry, but we already have a full roster."  Oh sure, he's only the best player on the team and wears #99 as if to say, "If it wasn't clear enough, I'm the most talented player you have BY FAR and here's the jersey number for symbolism," but keeping him scratched so that you can still dress the immortal Lester Averman is the wiser move, for sure.
  • 20:00 -- But Banks doesn't have to worry, because wussbucket Charlie Conway is there to offer up his roster spot.  "Really, Charlie?  Are you sure?"  "I'm sure Adam, it's cool.  Don't worry."  "No, I mean there's only like 12 kids on this team.  We actually have another eight roster spots at least to use, Coach doesn't know what he's talking about."  "No, I think this way is best.  I don't want to play."  "Are you serious?  We roll only two lines and I've been playing like 45 minutes a game.  We could use the extra legs."  "No."
  • 20:00 -- Both teams try to confuse each other during their pregame pep talks on the benches.  Bombay's incredibly lame, "USA -- All the way!" almost makes their opponents die laughing while Iceland curiously yells out, "EASTLAND!"
  • 19:26 -- Team USA starts out with a line of Guy Germaine, Kenny Wu and Les Averman to take on the high-scoring tandem of Gunnar Stahl and Olalf Sanderson.  The much smaller Averman is bullied off the opening draw and Iceland begins to dominate physically as they did in their 12-1 blowout earlier in the tournament.  After goaltender Greg Goldberg is tripped, Sanderson completes a wrap-around finish to put Iceland up 1-0.
  • 18:55 -- After a terrible start one shift into the game, it would be hard not to look back to Bombay's comments on line-matching from a few weeks ago:  "Matchups are stupid!  Zone starts and all that crap, I just leave that for the nerds.  I actually prefer to dig my team into a big hole early so I can get all motivational-y before the final act of this predictable movie I mean uh the 3rd period."
  •  14:02 -- Bombay tries to play one of his wildcards early by sending out Knucklepuck-shooter Russ Tyler, but Stansson sees this and sends out his big guns to mark him.  It must be noted that the refs appear to be letting things go.  Tyler was just pinned to the glass without the puck by two men with no call.  This type of game definitely benefits Iceland and their stalwart defenseman, Hal Gill.
  • 13:34 -- Russ Tyler finds some space at the point and tries to tee up his specialty shot.  But a great defensive play (i.e: a guy standing still who takes three years to shoot the puck has the puck stolen from him) turns it over to Iceland.  Now on an odd-man-rush, Olalf Sanderson makes a stellar spin-o-rama move to set up an easy goal and it's 2-0 Iceland.
  • 4:02 -- In a daring attempt to change up the momentum, Bombay sends out Adam Banks for the first time in the game.  Utilizing your best scorer when you are down by two goals is a risky move, but USA is getting desperate.
  • 3:45 -- Banks gathers possession and bursts through the neutral zone with his eye on the Iceland net.  As he attempts a spin move, Sanderson again attempts to injure him with a wicked slash to the arm.  This is a huge turning point in the game; certainly Sanderson is going to get ejec-- oh he's going off for two minutes. (But what about Adam Banks?  Is his wrist okay?  "I'm fine. He just hit the pad. Really."  Banks must have been rattled pretty good considering he took a slash to the shoulder and not his injured wrist.)
  • 2:05 -- Now on a power play, USA tries to get on the board.  Team drunk Dwayne Robertson attempts to dangle through all four of Iceland's penalty killers instead of passing it to a wide open Connie Moreau, shouting, "A girl?  Ha!  Yee-haw!"  This leads to a predictable turnover and Amselik darts off on a breakaway for Iceland.  Speedster Luis Mendoza catches him but he and the puck go crashing into the net to give Iceland a 3-0 lead.
  • 0:33 -- Bombay reaches into his bag of tricks once again.  "Show me the Flying V!"  Haha that sounds like a sex thing.  Anyway, moments later, Jesse Hall leads Team USA on the attack right into the teeth of the Iceland defense.  But their old Duck tricks don't work here as Iceland breaks up the rush, leading to a 4-on-0 breakaway.  Gunnar Stahl fakes, passes over to Sanderson (there are other players on this team I swear) and it's another goal.  4-0 Iceland as the 1st period ends.

2ND PERIOD
  • 20:00 -- Bombay's stubbornness knows no bounds, as he again starts the overmatched Averman line for the 2nd period.  "You guys wanna ease up a bit?  Just thought I'd ask."  Iceland continues where they left off, beating the Americans senseless while the referees are busy writing the script for the third movie.
  • 19:41 -- USA appears to have had enough punishment, however.  Enforcers Dean Portman and Fulton Reed take the ice and exert some of their own physicality.  Double-clotheslines and charging penalties are ignored as the duo run amok on the stunned Iceland skaters.  Wolf Stansson's only defense is to ask how two 30-year-olds are allowed to play at the Junior Goodwill Games, but once again there are no referees around to address this.
  • 18:55 -- Kenny Wu carries the puck up the ice with speed before dropping it off to Reed.  Wu splits the defense with a figure skating move because swinging your stick like a dangerous weapon is okay as long as it happens in Anaheim.  Reed delivers a perfect pass to Wu who scores to make it a 4-1 game.
  • 18:55 -- Wu then taunts the Iceland goalie and baits him into a fight, completing the Ken Wu Hat Trick (Goal, Fight, Triple Axel.)
  • 18:55 -- Overcome by the joy of seeing Wu turn into a third Bash Brother, Reed and Portman lose it and spend the next five minutes celebrating and taunting the Iceland Bench.  Despite getting the home crowd riled up, the Bash Brothers have put their team on the penalty kill and Iceland now has a 5-on-3.  To recap: after being physically dominated in the first period to the tune of 4-0, USA responds by willfully committing three unsportsmanlike penalties immediately after they scored their first goal at an event with "Goodwill" in the title.  Feels weird to say, but at this point I am thinking that Gordon Bombay may be the worst hockey coach of all time.
  • 14:09 -- After miraculously killing off the 5-on-3 I guess, the now belligerently drunk Dwayne Robertson is given two minutes for roping.  Quite an embarrassing period for Bombay's team.  His allowing of Robertson to keep a lasso on the bench finally comes back to bite him in the ass.
  • 0:00 -- Uh it's now the end of the 2nd period all of a sudden. OK.
  • 0:00 -- Now that he has set his team up for failure, Bombay can properly and hypocritically lecture his team about moral values.  "We're not goons, we're not bullies," he says as he looks the dejected Portman and Reed.  So wait -- all that stuff they learned playing street hockey with the inner city kids ... was that bad?  Did they show that part to demonstrate what not to do?  Bombay basically just said that playing like how those black guys played would be sinking to a lower level, and that his team had to do the opposite.  Have I assumed the online identity of an extreme racist for all of these years?  Holy shit.
  • 0:00 -- "Ken Wu -- San Francisco, California!"  They seriously wrote this!
  • 0:00 -- Jans: "And now new Ducks and old Ducks must unite under one banner.  And I thought, something like this..."
 
3RD PERIOD
  • 20:00 -- .... And so to start the final period, Team USA reemerges from the locker room as the Mighty Ducks.  Some old Scandinavian dude just walks into the locker room, starts talking about new "banners" and basically says, "That American flag you play for means nothing.  It's these Ducks jerseys that will lead you to victory!"  Huh?  The whole "Team America" thing wasn't united enough for them?  And this foreigner just walks in with some new sweaters and tells you to put them on instead?  Not only is this the most disrespectful, unpatriotic thing I have ever witnessed, it may actually be government-levied propaganda for the institution of communism.  If this Jans guy wasn't dead I'd be looking into this.
  • 20:00 -- Announcer Bob Miller wonders if there's anything in the rules about changing jerseys during the intermission.  Frankly I'm stunned that the Kings had never tried it before and that Miller didn't already know the rule from memory.
  • 19:54 -- For the third straight period, USA starts with Lester Averman at center.  But this time he is the bully on the opening faceoff, aided by the motivational Queen soundtrack.
  • 18:48 -- It must be the jerseys.  Connie Moreau scores what Bob Miller creepily calls, "a LOVELY goal" to make it 4-2 Iceland.  Assisting on the goal is Kenny Wu, who is having himself quite an interesting game.  He's from San Francisco.
  • 17:16 -- Less than two minutes later, Averman -- who at this point I have to assume has compromising photos of Bombay blowing a walrus or something -- turns the puck over right in front of Goldberg.  Gunnar Stahl has no problem netting his second goal of the game and just like that it's 5-2.
  • 8:13 -- With things looking bleak, Charlie Conway finally gets to make his imprint on the game.  As the whole team huddles around the bench, Conway devises an "alley oop" play.  Alcohol-poisoned Dwayne Robertson stops with the puck at center ice, and flips it nearly as high as the scoreboard.  Adam Banks, on his second shift of the game, chases after the puck as it bounces in front of the Iceland goalie, and deflects it in while being tripped.  "Who's the guy who scored?" Bombay asks.  5-3 game.
  • 2:00 -- Still in need of two goals, the Ducks desperately need a lucky break.  They get it as a football game breaks out -- tackling is now happening left and right, all over the ice (like literally tackling, this is no exaggeration, players are just running into each other without the puck and falling down, it's remarkable) leaving open ice for Luis Mendoza.  He turns on the afterburners and has a breakaway ... and for the first time in his life, he stops.  "Put it in, Luis!" Bombay yells, again not talking about sex.  Mendoza scores and it's now 5-4.
  • 1:11 -- Bombay calls timeout after a whistle to come up with one last gimmick.  It looks like the Ducks are moving behind the net to form the Flying V.  Mendoza comes out with the puck, and drops it back -- to Goldberg?  Why on Earth would they do this?  In any event Iceland is obviously going to pay no attention to a fat cheesesteak with no hockey ski-- Oh but it's Russ Tyler!  The moron takes off his helmet to reveal he's the Knucklepuck guy, thus taking away the element of surprise.  No matter though, because mass tackling continues to clear a way for him.  He tees up the Knucklepuck, fires -- and scores!  And just like every hockey movie ever, it's improbably scored with 0:00 on the clock.  It's 5-5 and we head to a shootout.

SHOOTOUT
  • I'm sorry to keep pointing this out, but Averman was on the ice for the final shift of regulation while Banks was on the bench.  It's entirely possible that Dale Hunter bases his whole coaching philosophy on this movie.
  • Jesse Hall starts off for the Ducks.  He begins as a left-handed shooter, then a righty, then a lefty again, and then he scores.  What a mesmerizing trick!
  • Iceland and the Ducks trade goals, and then Goldberg makes a big glove save.  Fresh off an intermission liver transplant, Dwayne Robertson is next.  He defies his own gimmick by attempting no stick handling moves whatsoever and his shot is easily saved.  An 8-year-old figure skater and pansy-assed Guy Germaine can score goals in this game but the stick handling guy doesn't.  Sure.
  •  Iceland battles back to make it 3-3 in the shootout, and now it's Adam Banks' turn.  He takes the Jesse Hall approach by confusing the goaltender of his stick-handedness; earlier in the game he was a righty, but now he's a lefty.  And what's this ... he dekes left, then right, then left .... three dekes ..... The Triple Deke (a bucket of Nickelodeon Gak falls on my head) .... Banks holds, fires -- and scores!  Now the Ducks are one save away from victory.
  • In an unprecedented coaching move, Bombay goes to his backup goalie, Julie Gaffney, to make the final save against Iceland's best player.  "I know this kid's move:  triple deke, glove side."  For crying out loud.  There are other moves out there, guys.  (I'm actually surprised, though.  I was certain that the next words out of his mouth were going to be, "Averman, you're in for Goldberg."
  • Gunnar Stahl lines up for his shot.  He sees a girl is playing goalie and laughs because he is sexist.  He also looks like Huck from Tom & Huck.  Brad Renberg I think his name was.  Anyways it's not important...  Stahl very slowly inches his way up the ice.  He dekes three times as Gaffney dramatically counts off each one like shotgun blasts.  Stahl comes to a dead stop and takes a slapshot from about 50 feet out... in a shootout, mind you (at this point Jiri Hudler is furiously scribbling down notes).  Gaffney goes to make the save and the crowd goes quiet.  They're pretty sure she made the save because the little black disc isn't in the net.  But just to be sure, they wait for Gaffney to flip the puck out of her glove before going wild.  Ducks win the shootout, America wins the Junior Goodwill Games and Gordon Bombay has sex with the lady from Law and Order.  
  • Lastly: Moments after the game, word leaks out that Iceland's head coach, Wolf "The Dentist" Stansson, has just been accused of felony battery after striking Gordon Bombay's knee in a one-on-one hockey game the day before, and would be arrested immediately.  "I mean come on, I'm a lawyer," Bombay said when reached for comment.  "To think he could just try to chop my wounded leg off with a hockey stick and get away with it is pretty stupid.  The guy is going to jail right like right now.  It's hilarious!"
USA, all the way!

July 18, 2012

July Something Twenty Twelve, Anytown USA

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During the previous 45 minutes, I heard a very faint knocking noise.  Assuming it was a person trying to annoyingly get my attention, I let out a meager, "Hello?"  Not unlike how Lionel Richie would say it.  "Hello?" I said again, to no response.

Minutes had passed by without a trace of human life lurking beyond the corner.  I thought maybe it was my sister, sneaking into my house and trying to be weird.  I live in a weird family with weird people.  It was possible, I thought.

*knock* ......... *knock* ...........

It was one of those noises that barely registers with your ears; just enough to get a reaction out of you but not enough for you to actually feel as though you should investigate.  If it grew to a full-on knock or an outright banging noise, I decided, I would grab the shotgun and fire a warning shot into the ceiling and/or my face by accident.  The noise remained consistently light, occasionally stopping for a few minutes before continuing again.  Still, I didn't care enough to seek it out.  It was still only a minor annoyance that was distracting me from my important #tweeting and computer work.

............................ *knock*....

I put down my sleeve of saltine crackers.  Okay, what the hell.  Is there a mouse?  Has a cat gone rogue?  I have decided to expend the necessary energy that it would take to discover what has been mildly bothering me for the better part of an hour now (meaning, I turned my head 45 degrees to the left.)  Under the wind of a ceiling fan, my hanging plastic bag of empty cans was lightly bumping against my closet door.

I miss hockey.  Go to hell, July, you big turd.

July 9, 2012

1998 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2 -- The Liveblog

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This is another installment of our Classic Liveblog series, wherein I struggle to cope with the NHL offseason and chronicle historic games from simpler times.  If you care to see previous entries:


*****

What a wild game this was.  And dare I say -- of the great Red Wings games from this generation -- it's somewhat of an overlooked one. Maybe it's because the biggest goals were scored by Doug Brown and Kris Draper.  Or because in retrospect, the Finals were just slightly anti-climatic after three hard-fought, six game series. Or because the thought of losing to this Capitals team even once now seems preposterous, so it was really never in doubt.  Or because it wasn't an Avalanche game.  Man, did I really call the Stanley Cup Finals anti-climatic a few sentences ago?  Wings fans are the worst, I hate us.


1ST PERIOD
  •  20:00 -- Have you ever looked at the word "period" for too long and been like, "Hey that's not a real word!"  It looks funny. 
  •  20:00 -- The Wings took the first game to jump out to a 1-0 series advantage, and the final three wins already feel like a formality.  Because of the loss of Vladimir Konstantinov, the '98 Red Wings played with an unparalleled level of purpose and were as much of a lock to win this series as any team in the history of ever.  An electric buzz sizzles throughout Joe Louis Arena in anticipation of the opening faceoff.  The crowd is already engaged in some sort of euphoric blend of an "OZ-ZIE / GO-WINGS-GO" chant.  And the mere sight of Joe Juneau's weird face nearly ruins the moment entirely.
  •  19:59 -- The Wings start off the game with one of my favorite lines:  Slava Kozloz, Sergei Fedorov, and Doug Brownov.
  •  18:21 --  Joey Kocur gets into a little skirmish after an offside call.  One mustachioed fellow was ready to help Joey even if it meant wrinkling his suit.

  •  18:21 -- he's just kidding he's happy

  •  17:09 -- The Caps forechecking pressure gets to the lovable yet 150-year old Slava Fetisov and he turns the puck over trying to clear it up the boards in the Detroit end.  Chris Osgood is forced to make two big saves to keep the game scoreless in the opening minutes.  (During the 1998 season -- well, his whole career really, but especially this season -- Ozzie was seen by the media as either being in the process of redeeming himself or pissing all of his goodwill away.  He was riding a two game Redemption streak coming into this contest -- shutting out the Stars to win the Western Conference and holding the Capitals to one goal in a Game 1 victory.  Redemption Ozzie was on-point to start Game 2.)
  • 16:55 -- Bill Clement, in reference to that last Washington rush, applauds their "Capital Punishment" line.  I mean that's kind of messed up right, a group of guys with a nickname that implies they legally kill other people.... I'm sure Craig Berube has killed a guy before but I doubt he did it legally.
  • 12:19 -- When watching these old games I always get a kick out of the many line combinations Scotty Bowman would use.  During the '97 and '98 playoffs he seemed to enjoy spreading out Shanahan, Yzerman and Fedorov (as we saw with Sergei on the Two and 1/2 Russians line).  In fact I'm still stunned to this day that Scotty stuck Tomas Sandstrom's corpse (0 goals, 4 assists) on Yzerman's wing for pretty much the entirety of the '97 playoffs without Stevie chaining Sandstrom to a pipe in his basement.  In 1998 however, Yzerman and the Wings got a "Tomas" upgrade in the form of Holmstrom
  • 12:11 --  A line of Homer-Yzerman-McCarty lines up for an offensive zone faceoff; Stevie wins the draw and after a shot deflects to the corner, he goes to the net.  Homer does his puck-retrieval thing and centers a pass to Stevie who bangs home a loose puck for the 1-0 lead.  Still confused as to how a player with a 90-something jersey number not named Fedorov could produce for the Wings, both Thorne and Clement sing Sergei's praises for his assist on the goal, despite him being on the bench.  And by my unofficial count, this was one of 1,250 Red Wing goals that resulted directly from a Steve Yzerman faceoff win.
  •  6:56 -- Every Wing line is pouring it on offensively during this stretch as the Caps just struggled to keep their heads above water.  The Kozlov-Fedorov-Brown combo was just so fun to watch.  The Russian Five were great because they could just dangle and keep the puck the entire game.  With Brown up front instead of Igor though there was a bit more kick -- a defensive guy to win back puck possession with the occasional nose for the net that the Five sometimes lacked.  The whole sequence of this scoring chance from 4:33 to 5:00 was particularly nice.
  • 2:47 -- Not wanting to be outdone by the Red Wings' three previous playoff opponents, the Capitals clearly wanted to score the Bad Osgood Goal to end all Bad Osgood Goals.  Adam Oates nearly pulled it off with this shot from about 190 feet.  Said Bill Clement, "Those are the only ones Chris Osgood has trouble with -- the ones from 4,000 miles away."  Looking at the replay, I'm honestly a little bit mad.  Ozzie let in not one but two goals from center ice previously in the 1998 playoffs; you would think a rink-long slapper like this would get him to just perhaps move his whole body in front of the puck.  For real, I'm actually a little bit annoyed right now.  Let's move on.

2ND PERIOD
  •  20:00 -- I'm telling you there's something about that "period" word.  The "iod" part, it doesn't look right.
  • 18:07 -- With this series looking like it was headed the same direction as the Wings-Flyers curb-stomping from the year before, the Capitals score one of the stranger goals in Cup Finals history to completely turn the momentum around.  The puck is iced from the Washington end and everyone in the building knows that it will either be a two line pass if Peter Bondra touches it, or it will be icing if Larry Murphy touches it.  Bondra takes nothing for granted and rips a slapper on goal; it somehow finds a hole through Ozzie's pads and into the net; and the referees call it a goal.  Replay clearly shows that no Red Wing tipped the iced puck, and that this was in fact a three line pass.  1-1 game.
  • 18:07 -- Just so we're clear: Ozzie should stop that anyway and his Redemption Streak is officially over after seven periods.
  • 13:49 -- Without the landslide of momentum that they were carrying in the first period, the Wings were now unable to run away with Game 2.  And after Ozzie kicks a big rebound right onto Chris Simon's stick, Simon roofs one to make it 2-1 Caps.  This was all the more shocking because up to this point in Simon's '98 playoff run, any puck that left his stick was automatically recorded by the NHL stats department as a turnover.
  • 13:49 -- That was Chris Simon's only point of the playoffs. 18 games, 1 goal, 0 assists.  Bill Clement, verbatim:  "He has got a huge-ie right now!"  That was actually said on air.  I'm sure I'd pop a boner too if I just scored my only goal of the postseason.
  • 10:55 -- Jamie Macoun was a Detroit Red Wing.
  • 9:15 -- More Chris Simon commentary from lip-reading expert Bill Clement:  "We get pretty good at reading lips up here .... watch Chris Simon skating by Detroit' bench: 'Try me.  Any guy, any time.  Try me.'"  Simon was then immediately stricken down by severe gonorrhea and would miss the remainder of the series.
  • 8:58 -- More craziness ensues as Larry Murphy and Nick Lidstrom team up for an awful turnover just outside the Wings' blue line.  Adam Oates is right there to poke the puck free and have a clean breakaway on Osgood, which he buries to make the score 3-1.  We were all stunned.  Through five Finals games plus one period over the past two seasons, I just thought Detroit steamrolling people in the Finals would happen every single year until the day I died.  Because I was 12 and I was stupid.  The Capitals woke me up from that dream and midway through Game 2 things weren't making a whole lot of sense.
 We get it. "A" for Adam, very cute, yes.
  • 0:00 -- "Time running out here, and for the Washington Capitals, an ENORMOUS second period."  Sorta. 
  • 0:00 -- "One guy is gonna have to be called upon to preserve this lead, and he's big #37 in goal, Godzilla, Olaf Kolzig."  I never really got the Godzilla nickname, did he eat a guy named Dave Mothra or what

3RD PERIOD
  • 13:37 -- As shock begins to give way to the realization that maybe this isn't our game, Nick Lidstrom is called for hooking as Todd Krygier nearly breaks his neck diving.  Now it's an even bigger uphill climb.
  • 13:24 -- Then there was Stevie Y.  He grew to be an inspiring penalty killer and shot-blocker during the latter half of his career, and he stayed dangerous on the PK by always knowing when to pick his spots to cherry pick.  After winning another faceoff (see?) he heads up ice upon seeing that Fetisov is in position to either clear the puck down the ice or spot him for a long-bomb pass.  He gets the pass, Larry Murphy joins the rush as a decoy (because I don't think a Red Wing ever passed it to Murph on a rush) to make it a 2-on-1, and Stevie buries his second goal of the game to make it 3-2 Caps.  We're comin' back!  Vladdy's in the press box for fuck's sake, nothing will stop us now!
  •  12:55 -- Before you could finish spelling "Konstantinov", Joe Juneau's dumb face scores with Nick Lidstrom still in the box to put the Capitals up by two once again.  4-2.  Okay, it really wasn't happening now, not after all of this.  Not with Steve Yzerman's heroics being cancelled out, and certainly not while Scotty Bowman was curiously wearing a suit jacket the same color as the other team.  
 the hell

  • 12:55 -- And if you're still keeping track, Osgood has not only lost his Redemption Streak, but he has done what he can to start a collection of Poop Streaks in every pair of underwear inside Joe Louis Arena. (Zing!  Eat shit you didn't pay to read this.)
  • 11:52 -- One of my stupid favorite things is Gary Thorne yelling, "MAR-TAN LAPOINTE!"  He seemed to punctuate most every Marty goal with that same cadence, and I just always loved it.  You can check it out as Lapointe scores the third goal in the game's last 1:32 to make even less sense of it all.  4-3 Capitals.  (Marty Lapointe 1998 playoffs: 9 goals in 21 games.  More than everyone except Sergei, who had 10.  And I'm always, always surprised when I re-realize that he was only 24 years old.  He looks older in this game than Yzerman does today.)
  • 9:53 -- We've come this far without mentioning Esa Tikkanen yet.  One of the great performances in Red Wings history as far as I'm concerned: Zero points, a penalty, minus-3 rating, and one of the most indelible images of my childhood:
  • Thorne's call is amazing.  "Here's the Intercept.  Here comes Tikkanen!  Osgood down .... AND HE MISSED THE NET!  Esa Tikkanen BLEW IT!"  And Chris Osgood redeems himself!  Poor Esa.  The guy won multiple Stanley Cups, yet this might be what he is most known for.  I'd say it would have won the game, no question -- but given how the previous 30 minutes had gone, that would be unwise.  (And funny how that all started from an Yzerman turnover.)
  • 9:06 -- Joe Juneau takes a shot from beyond center ice that Ozzie plays flawlessly.  This is worthy of it's own bullet because it is 1998
  • 4:15 -- After all of that, a goal was still needed to keep the Wings alive in Game 2.  After the Tikkanen miss and how up-and-down things had been, you knew a goal had to come from somewhere, you just didn't know who.  I probably would not have bet on it being Doug Brown, let alone Doug Brown basically doing it all by himself
 The shot of the bench afterward = chills. Crazy.
  • 4:15 -- 20,000 white people and Orange Hat Guy yelling, "Whoomp There It Is".  4-4.
  • 0:08 -- At least 100 people singing that Chumbawamba song.  It was the 90s songs that truly kept the Wings in this game.  To OT we go.

OVERTIME
  • 17:36 -- Sergei Gonchar rips one from the blue line and Ozzie comes up with a huge stop.  That would have been a slight letdown, I think.  Gonchar was wearing a protective face-guard at this point in time so haha to you Gonchar and your gigantic injured bubble-head.  Sucks to be you, nerd!  I feel better about myself now that I've made fun of 90s Gonchar.
  • 14:36 -- Kocur and Tikkanen get into a post-whistle scrum.  Kocur simply went to offer his condolences to Esa after he stamped his career with a flaming bag of horse shit one period earlier, and let's say he took it the wrong way.
  • 12:57 -- Anders Ericsson gets a nice feed from Igor Larionov and moves in from the left circle for a point-blank shot on Kolzig.  Had this game ended with an Anders Ericsson overtime winner, the NHL would still be in a lockout as we waited to finish this series.
  • 10:50 -- Kris Draper comes scorching down the right wing and the only Capital defender in front of him trips over the blue line.  Drapes goes in on Kolzig -- at this point still looking for his first goal of the playoffs -- and fires his patented, into-the-logo wrister.  Another chance gone by.  "I'll NEVER score a goal again," I pretend he said to himself, because I'm weird.
  • 4:36 -- A few minutes later, Draper comes off the bench as the Shanahan-Larionov-Lapointe line neared the end of a shift.  Shanny and Marty were still down in the zone and Draper comes swooping past Kolzig and circles the net.  Upon circling back to the slot, Drapes is left all alone and Marty fires a perfect pass.  And on Detroit's 60th shot of the game .... Open net, one-timer, game over.  5-4 Red Wings.
  awwwww yeaaaahh

    July 6, 2012

    Winging It In Motown Radio: Free Agency Discussion

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    The newest episode of WIIM Radio is up.  I'm copping out and using this as a recap to the last few days of free agent action, which includes discussion of those two guys the Wings didn't sign.  I haven't listened to it, but according to J.J.'s intro there may or not be talk about my very normal-looking nipples.  You would think that by me saying that, I'm trying to convince you that they are normal when they are actually bloated salami nips.  But they are not.  I assure you, just as you are my friend if you are reading this and I do not lie to my friends, that I have probably the most normal nipples a human can have.  There's some hair, but I'm an adult male -- there's going to be a little bit of hair.  Which is totally normal and OK.  I'm not going to post pics; you're just going to have to take my word for it.

    July 2, 2012

    On Rick Nash and Trade Speculation

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    In yesterday's post when I barely had the wherewithal to accept that Jordin Tootoo is a member of the Detroit Red Wings, I made mention of our large stable of forwards and, like many have already, wondered aloud if a trade was imminent.

    Even if we don't land Zach Parise today (which I think is a decent bet just because Ryan Suter is a higher priority), I still think a trade would be one of lower profile than, say, Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan.  Nash's name has seemingly been on the trade block forever and Columbus GM Scott Howson thinks he's getting like 10 yachts filled with gold coins in return for his star player.  That's not happening unless he finds a loophole that allows him to negotiate a deal with himself.  As for Bobby Ryan: I've seen weirder things happen, but trading the youngest, cheapest, and least dickish member of their Big Three sounds like a pretty dumb move by the Anaheim Ducks, even if they've alienated him with trade rumors.

    But back to Nash.  Because I feel like writing something that will be lost to irrelevancy once the big free agents sign today, let's make a harebrained comparison to former awesome Red Wing and should-be Hall of Famer, Brendan Shanahan. (IMPORTANT: I have been fairly vocal, at least on Twitter, about how I can't picture any form of a Nash-to-Detroit trade that I would be happy with because of his $7.8 million cap hit through 2018, unless Ken Holland completely jobs Scott Howson to the point where Howson is sent to prison for the murder of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  This is more or less a look at how the two compare as a means of cushioning the blow of a stupid Nash-to-Detroit trade, which again, I can't see happening anyway.)

    Good, now we've established how pointless this is.  Nash's value and his production has actually slowly declined since its peak in the 08-09 season, back when he put the fear of god into me.  But it's not like he's bad or anything close to it; it's just that every season short of elite looks gross in the shadow of a near $8 million cap number. It looks even more gross when you consider that Scott Howson wants at least one NHL-caliber talent and at least a couple of highly touted prospects and then some in return for the face of the Columbus franchise.  But putting everything in a vacuum: Rick Nash is a 28 year-old power forward on a bad team, plays left wing, runs about 6'3"/220 and is put on the ice to score goals.  Man, when you dumb it down that far it sounds a whole lot like the 1996 version of Brendan Shanahan.  They're even both from Ontario!  Okay I'll stop. 

    Let's look at this first, though:

    Rick Nash's goals and league rank the past four seasons:
    • 2008-09: 40 (5th)
    • 2009-10: 33 (13th)
    • 2010-11: 32 (14th)
    • 2011-12: 30 (25th)
    Brendan Shanahan's goals and league rank in the four seasons prior to joining the Red Wings:
    • 1992-93: 51 (13th)
    • 1993-94: 52 (5th)
    • 1994-95: 20 (25th)
    • 1995-96: 44 (13th)

    When looking at where they stacked up against the rest of the league, those numbers are eerily similar. Both guys finished 5th in goals one year and 25th in another; Nash had a #13 and #14 finish while Shanahan had a pair of #13s.  That's an average league rank of 14.25 (Nash) to 14.00 (Shanny). 2012 will be Nash's age-28 year; 1997 was Shanny's age-28 year.  Rick Nash is currently on the worst team in the league; Brendan Shanahan was on a non-playoff team that moved to North Carolina the next season (Worse? Not relevant?  Yes and yes.) Not saying he's Rickdan Nashahan -- but those numbers are very similar.

    Nash has been cast off by some hockey fans (re: me) as someone who is not close to being worth what the Blue Jackets want to get back from a potential trade partner.  But maybe "he just needs the right teammates!" isn't just a cop-out.  There's at least a similar precedent here, albeit an unlikely one to duplicate. So if Howson feels like committing career suicide to make a deal with the Wings, I can at least talk myself into the Rick Nash Era.  Sort of.

    July 1, 2012

    The Return of Mikael Samuelsson

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    Well this certainly came out of left field.  Mikael Samuelsson -- he who has been inaccurately characterized and parodied once or twice here -- will once again wear the winged wheel this fall.  While I laughed until I cried upon reading the news (seriously, tears), I don't entirely hate it.  It just makes me happy when my friend Jeff Hancock gets mad and boy oh boy was he mad at this!  Oh Jefferey.  Sammy will get $6 million over two years with a no-trade clause (eesh), and even though I disagree that he'll duplicate whatever numbers Hudler will put up next season, he might shock us and come close and do it for a couple million dollars cheaper.

    Nearly as wtfish as the Samuelsson news was the signing of former Nashville pigmy Jordin Tootoo.  He was inked for $1.9 million annually over three years (eesh again) and is now the 65th forward currently on the Red Wings roster.  I would have to think the something is cooking on the trade front now and wouldn't be surprised if a trade occurs in the near future.  If that trade is for one Rick Nash, please god let it be a complete fleecing of Scott Howson and the Blue Jackets (as if there's another kind of BJ trade! No but really) or I might turn into a ball of fire and jump down Al Sobotka's pants.

    As for Tootoo himself: fuck that guy.  For now, I guess.  He's really not that bad compared to what we have for what would end up being a similar role but good god man someone get him a new Wiki picture.

    The Wings also signed Jonas Gustavsson toward the beginning of the free agent frenzy for $3 million over two years.  I don't hate that deal even though Gustavsson kind of sucks; it seems like literally every single signing comes with an "omg that's too much" reply, even though we all acknowledge the inflating market prices and sky high salary cap compared to just a few years ago.  If Joey MacDonald's back allows him to return to the solid performance he has show as a backup, then fine.  If not, there's some insurance.  Not every move needs to be a freakout one way or another.  -- Says the guy who freaks out seconds after every move.

    Reports everywhere seem to indicate that both Suter and Parise won't be making a decision until tomorrow, so we won't know until then if we were fully 100% responsible for their signing.  Still holding out hope.

    Go Wings