Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Dome Beers FJM

Fun with George Johnson. George is BOLD while we are in NORMAL. The original piece is from here.

Let's begin:

The trailers and coming-soons are finished.

...trailers and coming-soons? A movie reference? Uhh, ok. Let’s see how long he can go.

Finally, the lights in the theatre are dimming to blackness, the popcorn is choked in butter (or a reasonable facsimile) and the feature presentation set to flicker across the screen.

Choked in butter? Uhh, 99% of humanity probably would have gone with ‘covered’ in butter, because one cannot ‘choke’ popcorn, but hey, you stuck with movie reference, so you get a pass.

Get out your 3-D glasses and settle in.

Three sentences in and we are still looking good. You know, I bet he does the right thing, and continues his movie metaphor meme the whole story through...

Prep-time, play-time, tinker-time is over.

...or not. Or maybe he decides to kill it in favour of a totally unrelated ‘play time’ metaphor. Which is disappointing, because I was all excited to see a 3D S&M movie featuring someone choking out popcorn.

"Yeah. Definitely. You talk to most of the veterans and it's time to start,'' agreed left-winger Alex Tanguay,...

To start what? The 3D movie? Recess? Whatever typically follows tinker-time (which for me is a cigarette and a nap)?

...after a 1-0 Sunday victory over the Edmonton Oilers that ran the Calgary Flames' exhibition record to a pristine 7-0 in advance of Thursday's 2010-2011 curtain-raiser at Rexall Place.

Ohh, the season! He was talking about the start of the regular season! And hey, did you know the Flames had in fact not lost a game this preseason? I know, it barely got reported at all.

And did you all catch ‘curtain-raiser’? Movie metaphor is back, and it’s back big! Take that to the face, prep–time!

"It's fun to get the pre-season underway. It's fun to have the record we do in pre-season. We did a lot of good things. We built good habits.

Nice hockey player cliché out of Tanguay. Midseason form stuff. It is missing one thing, though. Where is the cliché part where he drops the cliché about how the fake games they play solely to sell tickets to season ticket holders is about to end and the real games that they play solely to sell tickets to season ticket holders (or to make the playoffs, ha!) is about to begin?

"But now we're looking forward to getting into that 'real-game' mode where you have to win and there are no excuses.''

Way to come through for me, Alex. I hope Backlund is taking notes on how to be a professional locker room interview. Screw hitting the weights in the gym, the rookies need to be listening to tapes of Alex Tanguay. Otherwise they might get lost trying to navigate a horribly twisted George Johnson metaphor.

The road to retribution, the path to vindication, starts now.

Speak of the devil! George has taken us from movie metaphor to recess metaphor to “I’m going to make them all pay hahahahaha (evil laugh)” metaphor all within like 100 words. It’s starting to get more convoluted than a Darryl Sutter press conference (I traded him because he was a dickhole in the locker room/ His being a dickhole in the locker room had nothing to do with the trade).

You know what would have been sweet? If, like, instead of going with ‘road to retribution’ and that stuff, George had just instead gone with the title of a movie that featured a character that had fallen from his peak and now was faced with a long journey to regain his reputation and the respect of his peers. I know movies like this are rare, rare fare, but surely Hollywood has produced one like it.

Let me think...hmmm...I know, Jurassic Park! That movie is about this old scientist who everyone laughs at going off and buying an island and proving that he isn’t crazy by cloning T-Rex. That’s so close to the bone of the Alex Tanguay story they probably should rename the movie Tanguay Park: a documentary.

So let’s see: Jurassic Park starts now. Now I’m excited. Now I’m pumped. Now I can stomach the whitewash of two horrible, injury plagued Tanguay season’s I am no doubt about to be hit with.

And undoubtedly among the most pleasant indicators for a return to April's Sweet Sixteen - and yes, yes, we're ONLY talking pre-season here - has been the play of Tanguay, seeking to re-establish his good name after failed and forgettable stints in his backyard in Montreal and the idyllic wilds of Tampa Bay.

Montreal: 50 GP, 16 G, 25 A, 41 PTS.

The Idyllic Wilds of Tampa Bay: 80 GP, 10 G, 27 A, 37 PTS.

He actually scored more points in 50 games with Montreal than he did in 80 games in Tampa Bay, and Tampa Bay had Lecavalier, St Louis, and Stamkos on it. Which would make scoring 37 points in 80 games something of an accomplishment, when you think about it.

And the thing is, there are more distractions in Montreal than in Tampa Bay. Sure, Tampa has the hot girls on the beach, but Montreal has restaurants where topless women serve you breakfast. If I played in Montreal, I would have zero points but be very well fed. How did Tanguay perform better in Montreal than he did in Tampa Bay? Could it be that Tanguay actually hates titties with is hashbrowns?

Sunday night, as the two arch-nemesis played out the pre-season string, the man entrusted to choreograph the Flames' top line scored the game's lone goal (sheepishly prodding a loose puck past a befuddled Devan Dubynk, while the Oiler netminder scoured the ice in and around his crease, apparently under the belief that loose change had been dropped there) to wind up leading the team in pre-season points, at six, played powerplay and PK, and even took a turn five-on-five on the blueline!

Oh my lord! I am not upset that the Flames are leaning heavily on a guy who scored 37 points in 80 games last year. I’m not upset that they put a guy who has three straight seasons of declining numbers on the power play.

But do you know why Tanguay even was on Montreal and Tampa Bay to begin with? Because we made him kill penalties! Oh my lord!

And so he comes back to the city where his career was last seen, and Brent Sutter, no doubt angry about what has been happening to the price of wheat futures, puts him on the blueline?

Is Alex Tanguay going to have to choke some popcorn?

"That,'' protested Tanguay, "wasn't by design.

Please, please, please don’t follow up that statement with a trade request...

"We only had five D" - Adam Pardy having exited in the first period because of an eye injury - "and some of them were pretty tired after killing a penalty. The puck came to me and so I took a shift on defence. I told (Mark Giordano) to back off, that I wasn't the most swift out there.


"We had our best line out there and they had their third or fourth line. Kipper was screaming at me to get a good gap but I just didn't want to get beat.''

That’s actually very heady of Tanguay. If he had gotten beat, that would have been the end of his career on the blue line, and do you know what they pay blueliners who can score 37 points in 80 games?

There were other reasons for optimism Sunday. Rene Bourque and Olli Jokinen returned from injury. Miikka Kiprusoff once again gave every indication of starting the season sharp, as he did a year ago. He made 27 saves, arguably the best a trademark left pad reaction dandy off rookie Jordan Eberle from maybe eight feet out in the dying seconds, the Edmonton net empty and the skyscraper-sized Dustin Penner rooting around like a Tuscan dog on a truffle hunt.

Remember when this article started? We were in Calgary waiting for a 3d movie to start. Now we are in Italy chasing dogs looking for fungus. Around the world in 80 sentences!

After giving the Oiler moppets a comprehensive public tutorial up north 48 hours earlier, in a tense, terse, nasty, blood-spattered affair reminiscent of the good old/bad old days, Sunday's game had a distinct playing-out-the-string, let's-get-on-to-more-serious-matters feel.

Fucking pre-season games. WHY DON’T YOU COUNT? GEORGE IS BORED!!!!

As anticipated, being on home ice, Calgary boss Brent Sutter fielded what amounts to the lineup we'll see in Game 1 on Thursday. The Oilers, being on the road, opted to leave the game's latest prodigy, the precocious Taylor Hall, at home. Why risk him?

#1 reason to risk ‘the precocious Taylor Hall’: Full priced tickets to a preseason game.

He has his entire professional life to become acquainted with the particular brand of scorn Edmontonians are subjected to at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

He is talking about Dion, isn’t he?

They also chose to give the infuriating Zach Stortini the night off, thereby depriving the game of much of its combustibility while ensuring it'd end in under three and a half hours.

That, or when they opened up the kennel to let Zach out, they found he had chewed threw all his hockey sticks, and even ate half a puck. Bad Stortni!

Which, considering the nominal stakes involved, might best be described as a mercy benching.

This would have been an awesome place to put a movie related pun, but I guess the movie meme is done with. Something like the Oilers ‘Left Behind’ Stortini on the ‘Planet Of The Apes’! Oh, punnery!

So, the feature presentation is set to begin. But despite the perfect pre-season record, these Flames ain't, on the heels of last year's Ishtar-calibre bomb, exactly opening to rave pre-general release critiques. It isn't exactly a Siskel and Ebert "Two thumbs way up!" reception they're receiving from the reviewers.

Argh! Movie metaphor is ‘Alive’! And hastily resurrected at that. This paragraph has three sentences. The first announces that we are back on the movie theme train (hurray?). The second one makes no sense to any English speaker on the planet. The third sentence clarifies what they first one was suppose to say.

Why add the second sentence? George, do you want us to know you watched Ishtar that badly? And why would you want anybody to know that?

Not that it's apt to make Tanguay weep silently into his pillow nights or break out in hives.

SIC on pillow nights.

"I know the hockey analysts, the hockey experts . . . call 'em whatever you want . . . the reporters, they have a job to do,'' he said, shrugging. "And a lot of how they form their opinions is based on what happened last year, on what players did last season compared to years before. And that's okay.

Those stupid idiot ‘experts’. All they do is look at what a player has done in the past to see what a player may do in the future. Fuck logic. Fuck the renaissance. Fuck empiricism. That’s no way at all to form opinions and make judgements.

"People aren't expecting as much as in the past? Sure we can use that as motivation. And maybe it's a good thing. Look at Colorado last season. Look at Phoenix. Certainly the fact they were neglected at the start of the year helped them get off to a good start, and a fast start is something you can build a whole season around. Maybe teams mentally relaxed when they played those guys. Maybe they bought into what the media was saying.

Forget the fact that the Flames got out to a good start last season. Forget the fact they were a top team until December hit, and then the other teams in the league started to, you know, try.

Forget the fact that Colorado has 3 top talent centres all under the age of 12, and a goalie that stood on his head the whole season. Forget that Phoenix had a veteran lineup handled by one of the best coaches in the league.

None of this had anything to do with their success. You see, the media, who actually decides where teams will slot because the NHL is played under a BCS like points system, neglected to mention Colorado and Phoenix on their season preview shows. That is the reason they were winning games in February.

"But those teams stepped up to the plate and delivered, no matter what was predicted of them, and that's pretty much our mindset.

Ignore the fact that this particular team is full of players who admit to reading the newspapers and admit that that has an effect on their game.

"We feel in this dressing room that we have what's needed to make the playoffs, even if not a lot of other people do.

They have 50 more goals in that locker room? Let them out!

"Now it's up to us to go out and prove it.''

Or another coach will be fired and the country club won’t be broken up again.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.