25 May 2009

A View From The Couch

Wings-Hawks: Game 4

So, in a spur of the moment decision, I started to do one of these in-game blog things while watching the CBC coverage of the Wings-Hawks game today. Don't expect this to be a regular thing - far too much like hard work. Anyway, if you missed the game, hopefully it will make you feel like you were actually there. "There" being sat down in front of my TV in the UK...


Huge personal disappointment as it emerges Mike Milbury is not working for CBC today (bad luck NBC viewers)...P.J. Stock has been let out of his cupboard to join Kelly "Headband" Hrudey at the game...Jim Hughson (the best play-by-play man in the game, in my opinion) and Craig Simpson (meh) to call the game

The big news - no Lidström in the Wings line-up today, joining Datsyuk on the sidelines...is it the All-Star Game today or something?...Kris Draper also misses out

On the Hawks side, a surprise as the little birds circling Martin Havlát's head have apparently disappeared in time for him to play...Dustin Byfuglien's playoff 'fro is also good to go

Still scary-looking ex-Wing / ex-Hawk Bob Probert steps out to drop the ceremonial puck between Jonathan Toews and the dressed Chris Chelios...Probert, of course, a former teammate of Cheli's grandson in junior...Probert to Toews: "Kick their ass" - he's still got it

During the anthem, a crowd shot reveals Stan Mikita to be wearing a very, very ugly jacket

1st Period

Cristobal Huet back in net for the Hawks...Hughson selects "Yoo-ay" from the "101 Ways To Pronounce Huet" book provided to every NHL broadcaster...Havlát is in the starting line-up...hmm, surely an NHL team wouldn't let a player with a concussion lace them up (ahem), so he must be OK...Simpson is "amazed" that he's playing

Very slow start to the game, lots of offsides...Kronwall is predictably booed as he carries the puck...a brief skirmish between Havlát and Franzén - Havlát doesn't seem to be shying away from any contact so far

Byfuglien draws a holding penalty on Zetterberg behind the net...you've seen those called a hook on Byfuglien before...on cue, CBC shows the call on Bolland from Game 3 where Zetterberg appeared to grab Bolland's stick

On the powerplay, a point shot cracks the glass behind Osgood...the Ice Girls in Chicago are portly, middle-aged men with beards?...Barker hits the post

GOAL 1-0 Wings (8:41)...SHG by Hossa...nicely played 2-on-1 break between Filppula and Hossa as nobody covered Brian Campbell at the point as he went in deep...Hossa's shot just squeezed past Yoo-ay...Hawks are 5-2 in the playoffs when their opponent scores first, so no big deal, right?

Horrible giveaway by Kane in his own zone during some 4-on-4 play...he gets away with it...Påhlsson takes a roughing penalty in front of Osgood..."What for?" he shouts at the ref - hmm Sami, maybe that would be for the sneaky arm to the head of an unsuspecting Filppula...several good stops by Yoo-ay on the PK help kill off the penalty

Påhlsson, Byfuglien and Holmström skirmish a little on the way to the benches...2 each for Byfuglien and Holmström...Osgood makes a couple of big saves - on a Toews rush and the follow-up chance from Campbell

GOAL 2-0 (19:39)...playoff goal-machine Franzén pots another one...a screened shot through the defenseman's legs from the off-wing is missed by Yoo-ay...the proverbial "bad time" for the Hawks to concede a goal (they were clearly hoping to concede much, much earlier in the period)

Kronwall almost catches Kane with his head down as the period expires...Kane just saw him coming and avoided Havlát's fate

1st Intermission

Cheli Watch - only 1:08 played in that period...not a huge amount of 5-on-5 play in which to get him out there, but Jeremy Roenick must be screaming at his TV

Scott Morrison provides some breaking news on the Lidström injury...it happened in Game 3, it's lower body, he's day-to-day...thanks - where would the fans be without that dramatic piece of information? Very helpful

2nd Period

As we return, Joel Quenneville is marginally upset on discovering the Hawks will start the period on the PK...an amusing rant, probably even more entertaining to the lip-reading community

GOAL 3-0 (1:13)...Filppula scores a PPG...he puts away a rebound of a Hossa shot, easy finish (Finnish)...Filppula and Hossa are certainly stepping up their games in Datsyuk's absence today...Hughson comments on the deflation in the home crowd: "It sounds like two years ago"

GOAL 3-1 (3:53)...PPG by Toews after Lebda took a penalty for putting the puck over the glass...a rebound of a Barker point shot...will the Wings' weak PK (a PPG conceded in 12 straight games now) eventually hurt them at some point in these playoffs?...Simpson: "A bad penalty leads to a goal 90% of the time"...really, Craig? Sounds a bit on the high side, but then I don't have the actual numbers in front of me...some hope for the Hawks and the crowd?

GOAL 4-1 (4:05)...that would be a "no" then...Hossa nets his second of the game almost straight away...a nice goal coming down the right wing...another point to Filppula as well...it's suddenly 2007 in Chicago again

Yoo-ay is out, Corey Crawford is put in...not a great performance by the rusty Yoo-ay, but the Hawks have been very flat...Leino draws two penalties on one play, so a two-minute 5-on-3 is on the way for the Wings...safe to say that things aren't going too well for the Hawks right now

GOAL 5-1 (7:42)...Zetterberg scores on the 5-on-3 PP...he deposits a backhand from the side of the net...tough start for Crawford...neither Walker nor Versteeg in the box appear too keen to come out

Crawford gets better acquainted with the rear end of Detroit's #96 on the remainder of the PP...Versteeg comes out of the box and heads right back there for roughing...a bit of a weak one there, but Keith gets away with a cross-check on Franzén at the same time

Nothing more interesting than the second half of a game that has become a blowout so early, eh?...Simpson notes that Havlát has not played for a while...gotta admire the courage of a player to come out and play after a hit like he took, but it just smells like a mistake - you're risking a hell of a lot (long-term health and big free agent money for a start) if you really did suffer a head injury...Havlát still on the bench though, so maybe he's OK

Very little going on at all in the last 10 minutes of the period...a Franzén half-break comes to nothing as Toews is allowed a few free whacks at him to slow him down...the 3rd period could take a while with all the scrums and message sending that is likely to go on

2nd Intermission

Cheli Watch - only 40 seconds of ice-time for Chris that period...JR writes a strongly-worded letter to Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper

CBC host, Scott Oake tells us that Mike Babcock wasn't aware of Lidström's injury until he was in the cab on the way to today's game (so, the driver knew?)...he speculates that it may not, therefore, be a "body injury"...not sure what that could mean - Out with hurt feelings? A broken aura?...given a second viewing, Mikita's jacket is still not good...did he lose a bet with Don Cherry?

3rd Period

News from the goalie carousel...Ty Conklin is between the pipes for the Wings now, while Yoo-ay is back for the Hawks...has Mike Keenan found a new job already without anyone noticing?

Kane draws a soft cross-check call on Hossa...quickly evened up by a similar call on Bolland...Holmström accidentally steps on Seabrook's foot/ankle...Seabrook goes off hurt, but it doesn't look serious...the Hawks seem to be lucky with these skate incidents, following Burish's escape in Game 1...another penalty drawn by Leino - an elbow to the back of the head by Keith...Eager is also gone, taking his second 10-minute misconduct of the game

Jimmy Howard, come on down!...he takes a seat on the bench for the rest of the period...is Osgood hurt or is he just playing dominoes with Chelios in the dressing room?...Mike Vernon and Tony Esposito are said to be warming up "just in case"...Brouwer is called for a trip on Hossa

GOAL 6-1 (12:47)...PPG for Zetterberg, his second tally of the game...another rebound from a point shot...Simpson points out the nice job of Zetterberg kicking the puck onto his stick before putting it home (these sissy Euros with their sissy soccer skills)...the Hawks are totally lifeless now

Filppula hooks "Soupy" Campbell in the corner...Simpson makes a gratuitous (but seemingly unintentional) "can opener" reference on looking at the replay...Versteeg takes another 10-minute misconduct during the PP...perhaps he wanted to join the Chelios/Osgood/Eager dominoes tourney

Chelios hits the ice!...an immediate TV timeout means the old guy gets another 45 seconds to get his joints loose...CBC show what appears to be a non-too-friendly discussion between Babcock and Chelios from the end of the 2nd period...interesting...the game drifts to a conclusion, with one final scrum on the buzzer...FINAL SCORE 6-1 WINGS


A pretty disappointing game to watch as the Hawks just didn't show up, but some impressive performances from the Wings all the same...so far, the Conference Finals have been a bit of a let down for the neutral fan, following the events of the first two rounds...the depth of the Wings clearly showed in this game, while the Hawks struggled without much input from Havlát and, in particular, Kane...who will be in goal for the teams in Game 5?

Cheli Watch - he ends up just playing 4:37, most of that in garbage time...he did draw four minutes of penalties on Burish at the final buzzer (Attacking a pensioner? You should be ashamed, Adam)...JR chains himself to Don Cherry's wardrobe

18 May 2009

The NHL Dictionary

[Explanatory note: Another semi-irregular feature of mine from NHL Connect - not involving stats! This entry is the full collection, scavenged from my own work and a few (much worse) offerings from fellow contributors - with credits, obviously...]

Looking for highbrow hockey entertainment?

Then you're probably in the wrong place. Inspired by this, I thought I would work on some NHL entries (your average ESPN writer not knowing what the NHL is).

The concept - take any word or phrase from the dictionary, add/subtract/change one letter, supply new definition.

Result - literally minutes of fun and lots of angry Pens fans with no sense of humour.

Anthem zinger - witty, one-syllable retort to rendition of "Star Spangled Banner" in Montreal

Antonement – an act of penance for one’s sins consisting of stepping in the way of really fast moving hard rubber objects [courtesy of JonathanA]

Ballard - wild duck, as in manoeuvre performed by goalies in Florida to avoid stick-swinging team-mates

- irritating and annoying (particularly to counterpart in Edmonton)

Boman Empire - extremely powerful and successful dynasty at its strongest in the 1970s to 1990s, led by sometimes fearsome ruler, its domain stretching into Quebec, western New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan

Bongoing - used to describe continuous, uninterrupted and tireless nature of Russian fighting technique due to complete lack of violence involved

Boogey - to sign for something higher than it was supposed to take, typically achieved while on golf course

Brash landing - to fall to earth under abnormal circumstances, often after an illegally violent collision, in such a way that damage is unavoidable

Brind’Amourn – to grieve over the slow death of an NHL career

Broad Street Pullies - simple machinery designed to raise Stanley Cup banners in Philadelphia, now obsolete

Brutherhood - organisation or fraternity displaying loyalty to its members through frequent reunions

Carbo dating - determination of the approximate lifespan of French-Canadian coaches through tests of chemistry

Carcilogen - dangerous substance or agent that tends to cause invasive and destructive disease

Carnivoros - characterised by destructive or predatory behaviour, exhibited by players having the fortune to face the Rangers' #34 in a fight

Chelicopter - machine developed in the early 20th century featuring dangerous swirling blades

Cherry ticker - intangible quality known as "heart" exclusive to players from Ontario and Western Canada, enabling them to reach heights not attainable by those from elsewhere

Common zdenominator - a trait or characteristic shared by all members of a group, e.g. all NHL defensemen being 6'9" Slovakians with 105mph slapshots

Crosby Show - the most-watched television show on Sunday afternoons on NBC [courtesy of JonathanA]

Defense corpse - expired blueline component that is no longer viable or useful other than to open and close doors in Detroit

Demonsterate - to present by experiments, examples or practical application that a terrible defense does not help the statistics of Swedish rookie goalies

Diss-Seminate - to spread criticism of league golden-boy to a lot of people (and to subsequently blame on mis-translation)

Don Voyage – phrase used to wish Europe-bound players a pleasant journey [courtesy of Ellie]

DPleted - 15-year long shortfall in goaltending resources caused by repeated injury

First round daft pick - annual selection of top amateur prospect by the New York Rangers

- lower part of Slovakian's body, frequently broken

Get the prong end of the stick - to not understand a situation correctly, typically a mistaken sense of entitlement to possession of puck or proximity to goal, with painful consequences

Habscess - painful swelling of All-Star ballot boxes

Hall of Flame - corridor outside Mike Keenan's office where star players wait before being told exactly how great they really are

Honky Bonk - lower-class bar of ill-repute with Czech theme found exclusively in Nashville, TN

- someone taken prisoner by an enemy, possibly lured in by lucrative one-year contract

Hull something over - to think carefully about something for a few seconds before offering an opinion

Hulloween - popular Midwestern holiday during which children wear blond wigs and ride invisible jets through the neighborhood [courtesy of spain2323]

Iggyback - to carry Western Canadian franchise on the shoulders

Inaugeration - formal induction of a player in the official bad books of all NHL officials

Kab fare - the cost of being taken for a ride by a driver who provides endless running commentary, promising to take you away from your current location but ending up going round in circles

Kane - used to provide support and mobility to older people

Kazakh-tan - browning of Eastern Conference goalies’ necks caused by repeated exposure to red light turned on by #80

- years of life typically involving frequent arguments with authority figure

Kessellation - identical pieces fitting together exactly, e.g. the 2nd overall pick in 2010 fitting together with the 2nd overall pick in 2011 in a future line-up

Kovenant - a formal agreement of only temporary legal validity

Lemonwade - sold to make money in the summer months; often leaves sour taste in mouth

Locker doom - the sense of abject misery felt by a player who takes a penalty in the fourth OT, dropping his team from the playoffs [courtesy of sportsfanattic]

Loudicrousness - unreasonable and ridiculous activity, such as firing coaches 10 minutes before the playoffs start

Lowe expectations – the willingness to pay people quite a lot of money to do very little [courtesy of JonathanA]

Make It Steven - media campaign instigated by Jim Balsillie, designed to promote the repatriation of Mr Stamkos to southern Ontario from the hands of evil sun-belt franchise

- a person who is not satisfied with the way things are, so flees the country for better paid job elsewhere

Manificent - having a quality of near godlike proportions when applied to the facial hair of certain members of the National Hockey League [courtesy of Thorn058]

Mannyquin - life-size but statuesque representation of the human body used to display clothing in Peoria, IL

Maragolds – to protect, a barrier; will disintegrate in Lemonwade [courtesy of Ellie]

Maximeize - to increase to the greatest possible amount or degree Penguins' fans blind, devoted enmity towards an opposing player

Mexpansion - secret NHL plan to create a new team outside the southern American border well before it ever the hell considers one outside the northern one

Missing In Zaction - All-Star player whose status is unknown due to covert nature of his organisation

Neutral Zone Crap - in-game bathroom break favoured by spectators when New Jersey or Minnesota hold a 1-0 lead

Nyetminder – goaltender forced into KHL exile due to negative responses from NHL GMs (see Emery, R., Grahame, J.)

Oiler room - busy centre of activity, often selling questionable goods using unfair, dishonest sales tactics (see Poti, Tom)

Ollipop – suck it and see acquisition [courtesy of Ellie]

Orrdained - staged fight in New York Rangers game

Out of tocket - having suffered a financial loss through poor gambling advice

Over-rayte – an optical illusion in which persons of dubious skill are seen to be star players, often attributed to their dazzling, colourful plumage [courtesy of JonathanA]

Ovierreaction - 1. Player reacting to a goal with inappropriate emotional behaviour; 2. Media personality reacting with inappropriate emotional behaviour to someone reacting to a goal

Ozone player - forward with tendency to eschew backchecking; now severely depleted through overuse of CFCs (control-freak coaches)

Panger management - a system of psychological therapeutic techniques and exercises by which former NHL executive with excessive or uncontrollable anger can be controlled by his diminutive and bald fellow NBC analyst during intermission segments

Payn threshold - the upper limit of John Davidson's tolerance for Andy Murray's coaching

Penalty minuets - guys who drop the gloves but don’t really want to fight [courtesy of john_mcgourty]

Potivate - to stimulate towards positive action through repeated booing and abuse

Pred Herring - idea or subject introduced by NHL commissioner in deliberate attempt to divert attention away from struggling franchises

Powderplay - (e.g. Rangers) man-advantage setup, seemingly solid but consisting of small pieces, as a whole soft and easy to push around

Reddline - to discriminate against by refusing to make significant financial commitment to, as practiced by 29 NHL GMs

Redd line - stationary marker on a hockey rink, not featuring in the offensive and defensive zones

Ronvict – imprisoned in repetitive anti-Euro dialogue [courtesy of Ellie]

Salei of the Century - game show featuring Ken Holland's ongoing attempts to construct a defense pairing with a combined age under 100

- the study of numbers, such as counting to 56.7 million as quickly and inefficiently as possible

Seven-year Hitch - revitalising liaison with person (often a large male) prompted by dissatisfaction with long, fruitless relationship with the golf course

Shark back - to reminisce about a previous point in time, often in a way that annoys people (see Lemieux, C.)

Sheroism – courageous action, such as replacing Marian Hossa with Ruslan Fedotenko

Sidnight - slang term describing the 12 o'clock position frequently adopted by referees' arms in Pittsburgh

Sno-brainer - anything requiring little thought or effort, such as deciding who to pick #1 overall in the 2009 Draft

Staaled – brought to a standstill or to have progress checked, e.g. failing to live up to career year in sophomore season

Sundecided - when a decision or judgement has not yet been made (e.g. if to play, where, when and for how much)

Sutter somebody up - to be surly or unfriendly to someone, so that they will do what you want them to do

Tamparing - making damaging changes to something which you should not, usually without enough knowledge of how it works

Thrash can - repository for disposal of the unwanted waste of NHL teams

Tortify - to cause to experience shame or humiliation of a person by compelling them to sit alone on a bench for long periods

Twinkle Toews - nickname given to one who is light on his feet and able to easily flit to and fro without impediment [courtesy of spain2323]

Unsavery - unpleasant or morally offensive (e.g. making derogatory comments about ex-girlfriends)

Vinnuendo - a remote allusion or reference to "equipment" of Tampa Bay captain

War broom - implement used by NHL Hockey Operations department to sweep controversy under the carpet

Ysermon - exhortation on seemingly trivial issue, such as minor league trade or signing of free agent fourth-line grinder, delivered by higher power and re-told by enraptured Canadian media