Friday, October 8, 2010

Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award

It's Friday, and that means just one thing: steamrolled like the sludge steamrolled Hungary.

What? Yeah, yeah, you're right. It is also that time of the week when we present the Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award (the RTPIC)!

Lot's of good nominees for the award this week. Brendan Morrison, who is fucking garbage, did not make the list.

First nominee this week is the man, the myth, the legend Roy 'Doc' Halladay. Hell of a day, Halladay. The guy pitched the second no hitter ever in post season history, which is a stat we hate because they used to only play a World Series and not these division and championship series. Anyways, post season dominance is post season dominance, and that was just what the Doc was: dominant. Can you believe the Blue Jays saddled this guy with AJ Burnett?

Our second nominee this week comes from Killadelphia. You see, Philadelphia police seem to have a nasty habit of robbing drug dealers of their product, and then turning around and selling said product themselves (KRS-One's Illegal Business comes to mind). We know, waters wet, right? Anyways, this week two intrepid young troopers of the state robbed a fellow police officer, who was posing undercover as a drug dealer. Oops.

In a move designed to maximize the hilarity of the situation, the good, honest cops waited until the crooked cops got back to the station to arrest them. Prank!

Our third nominee is...fuck it, let's change it up. We have more than three, so our third nominee is a grab bag. We had the worst first pitch ever, ever. That terrible pitch was followed up by the Bank of America's terrible pitch to stop selling foreclosed homes, which means they are going to stop foreclosing on homes. If anybody wants to get a mortgage in the next 5 years, please do it now before the repercussions of this stupid, stupid, stupid policy is felt. Bankers don't like getting stiffed, and they are like elephants: they don't forget. Actually, it's kind of interesting: Bank of America is owned by the American government. So ignore the fact that this announcement was made on the eve of an election. We go from those bad pitches to some school kids who evidently had some good ones. It seems kids in Chicago are scoring nookie in math class. Like, not during class, but in the class. And they say kids have no use for their cellphone cameras in school.

Finally, to end the nominations, we have to bring up the curious case of Roderick Lewis. Roderick Lewis is just like any other angel dust addicted street urchin, quietly minding his own business looking to score. He wasn't having much luck until he ran into police officer Scott Bloom. Because Roderick was jonesing, he forgot he was in Connecticut and not Philly, so he asked the cop if the cop had any angel dust for him. Because the cop wasn't from Philly, he tried to arrest the man. This is where things get interesting. Roderick punched Scott in the face, and Scott's K-9 dog Onyx (who slam harder?) came to the rescue by biting Roderick. Except it didn't work, and Roderick started to bite the dog! Man Bites Dog!!! The best part of the story is that the drug addled loser wouldn't stop biting, and had to be pried off the dog. Only in America.

This weeks winner of the Roman Turek Profile In Courage Award: The Dead Smoking Monkey.

Damn, that monkey looks cool. And he lived till 52, which is 10 years longer than a normal chimp is suppose to live. Plus he looks so fucking cool. God, we bet he rolled in lady chimp pussy. He just looks so damn cool. Because he is smoking, and smoking is cool. had the best headline.

What did we learn today? That if you smoke you are cool, and you will live 10 years longer than everyone else. And be famous. And cool. Famously cool, in fact.

We actually were going to give the RTPIC to Jungle Jim Hunter. Because he should be coaching the Flames. But we just wrote yesterday about how it's stupid to blame the coach, and it's time to blame the players. Fuck, we are going to stick with that. We aren't fans of the coach of the team, we will say that. But the players didn't show up, the players didn't push back, the players didn't skate. A hockey game has three periods, Flames, not one. At least Brent looks like he cares.

It was one game. Whatever. Thank God for the Stamps.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Flames Need To Speak With Their Hands

The 2010-2011 season for the Calgary Flames will be about one thing: the players.
It won’t be about Ken King stopping the big bad media bullies. It won’t be about Darryl Sutter’s particular brand of strange goofiness. It won’t be about Brent Sutter’s ability to get the players to buy in.

It won’t be about any of those things, because all of those things are largely secondary to the script that has been written this year. And that script is largely based on the Country Club.

Don’t get us twisted. It is a big, big year for Darryl Sutter, because Darryl Sutter finally has vision of his team constructed. He has Tanguay, he has Jokinen, he has his mobile and hard hitting defence corps (also featuring Jay Bouwmeester). He has his goalie. This is the team Darryl Sutter has always wanted.

Failure, then, would mean reality is refuting the Sutter vision of hockey.

But Darryl Sutter doesn’t take face-offs. He doesn’t set up plays and he doesn’t finish them. He doesn’t stop pucks. Whatever your opinion of the man, it is not debatable that Darryl Sutter knows hockey. He has spent his entire life at the rink. You may agree with his vision or you may not, but it comes from a good faith effort to win hockey games.

Results are on the players on the ice. There is a question as to whether or not the roster is flawed, but the roster was horribly flawed in 2004. It’s on the players. And we hope that’s what the fans focus on this year.

Jarome Iginla quit on this team last year. One goal in the last month of the season isn’t acceptable. Especially when that was the time the team needed him to perform if they were going to squeak into the playoffs.

Jay Bouwmeester played with no fire or passion. At 6.5 plus million dollars, he has to step up and be a leader. He may not want or like that responsibility, but nobody stuck a gun to his head and made him sign for a dump truck full of cash. If you want the cash, you get the spotlight. He has to embrace the challenge and honestly, man up. When Ken King is defending him from Peca, it looks like a little kid who got bullied and then got his mom to call the other kids parents. It’s time for Jay to grow up and fight his own battles.

Reggie demanded a trade. Or he simply waived his NTC when asked to (to go to Boston). Whatever the case, he needs to re-establish his worth to this team. Olli Jokinen’s story is well known, and Tanguay is one bad season from being out of the league. Kotalik probably should be out of the league. Hagman needs to prove he is worth the contract he was given by Toronto. Stajan needs to prove he is worth the contract Calgary gave him.

Get the narrative? The players need to prove. The Flames have done everything else. They have fired coaches, they have fired scouts, they have brought in help for Darryl. They have gotten rid of locker room cancers.

There is simply no other place for a finger to be pointed. It’s pointed squarely at a group of players who have had their characters loudly and publicly questioned. It’s time for them to respond. This city pays some of the highest ticket prices in the league. The building is always sold out. Everyone in the building is wearing $100-$250 dollars worth of jersey and Flames merchandise. We sell out for this team, it’s time for this group of players to sell out for the city.

Because if this team can’t make the playoffs and cause some damage, then it needs to be broken up completely, from Jarome on down.

Playoff talk from us? Yeah, why not? Team has a goalie, team has a stacked defence, team has NHL caliber wingers, and what should be enough NHL caliber centres (eventually). And they have had their reputations tarnished. For proud people, that is motivational gold. There should be no question that this team will play with a fire in their bellies. If they don’t, then the players on this team will prove true the perception that they are just money hungry clock punchers, more interested in being superstars at the Calgary bars then winning NHL games.

The national media may have buried this team, but the fans of it shouldn’t. There are enough players on this roster that, to us, and hell, we may be crazy, a first round exit wouldn’t be enough. Letting the players on this team go meekly into the night because nobody expects anything from them is not acceptable. This team should have expectations on it. It’s a 60 million dollar hockey team.

Brent Sutter has a very hard job. He needs to coach a team full of veterans, most of whom have been in the NHL far longer then he has been (as a coach). But Brent needs to bench the floaters this year, whoever they are. If Jarome pulls the same act he did in the last month of the season during this year, he needs to be benched. If Tim Jackman is floating, he needs to be benched. This year, the rules need to apply to everybody. Benching a floating Jarome isn’t going to cost the team wins. Not benching a floating Jarome will. But Brent has, or should have, the backing of the administration. He should be able to bench his star without the star going over his head. He needs to do it this year if it comes to that.

The season, as we said, is starting. Go Flames, go. Beat Edmonton.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Irrational Rant #867

The Flames signed Brendan Morrison. Reaction seems to be generally positive.

We are not in the camp of people who think that this is a good signing by the Flames. Largely because of this:

Fuck you Brendan Morrison. We don't even care that we won that series (if you look up no heart chokers, you'll find a picture of this man). That was one of the greatest hockey games we had ever seen, and that little puke Morrison went and ruined it. Morrison is giant a douche deposit.

We cannot confirm or deny that Morrison, Bertuzzi, and Naslund hung out in Vancouver bath houses together. Those were only rumours and allegations. But we will say that the last time one of the Vancouver bath house trio was on the roster, that fucking criminal Todd Bertuzzi, he made out constantly with coach Mike Keenan. Did you, as fans, enjoy watching all that public necking? No, it was disgusting. Almost as disgusting as when Keenan would send Bertuzzi out on the ice a shift after Bertuzzi did a stupid drop pass in the middle of the fucking neutral zone, only to have him do it again.

That experience with 1/3rd of the 'West Coast Express' wasn't enough? Sutter felt compelled to go for seconds?


Look, we know everybody who put on a Calgary Flame sweater during the pre-season had to have their leg amputated. We know the triage centre is mighty full right now. We know that Brent Sutter et al are 3rd line AHLers masquerading as 4th line NHL players. We know the team is tight against the cap (watching Darryl screw Langkow by keeping him on the LTIR for the full year will be fun). We know Backlund hasn't stolen anybodies job in preseason. We know these things.

And we can even acknowledge the obvious: it is a prudent move to add some depth with NHL experience to this roster, considering it is down to Backlund, Joker, and Conroy at centre. The depth was acquired at a cheapish price and the term is wonderful. And adding competition is never bad, and if Backlund needs someone to come in and push him, it's probably wise to go out and get someone to do just that.

But Brendon fucking Morrison? We threw up in our mouths more when we heard Sutter had signed this guy then when we heard he had signed Joker again!

We don't care that the scoreboard said he was a 47 point player last year. He played on the fucking Capitals! We are pretty sure Lady Gaga would have had a 47 point year playing on the fucking Capitals. All we know is that Brendan Morrison had such a good year for the Capitals last season that they didn't even offer him a contract to come back.

Let us put it this way: Morrison is such a good hockey player that the only reason he is playing in the NHL is because the Calgary Flames suffered injuries to four of its centres during the preseason.

Allow us to continue the irrationality. Why is Brendan Morrison still playing hockey? What is his motivation? Is it to win a Stanley Cup? Doubt it. The reason he signed with the Flames is because we offered him one way deal and every other offer he had on the table was a two way one. He likes the lifestyle and the paycheque. Fine, power to the bag of douche, those are respectable enough reasons to not retire. But is that the motivational fuel that is going to get 82 hard played games out of someone?

Contrast that to the aforementioned farm hands this team has. What is their motivation? To make it into the NHL, so they can get the paycheque and the lifestyle. They have a hunger at 20-23 years old that Morrison could not possibly have at veteran 35. Yeah, they probably aren't as talented. Good, that means to stay in the NHL they will have to do the little things gritty things that win hockey games. And there are enough of them on the farm that if, say, Brent Sutter sucks you can send him down and call another one up. These guys, Sutter, Stone, Meyer, they aren't everyday players. But over 5 games they give you a spark. You call one up for a stint, when he gets comfortable you send him down and call another one up, rinse, repeat.

Unless, of course, they don't plan on using this shit face Morrison on the third and fourth lines at all. Could the Flames actually be stupid enough to envision Brendan Morrison as their second line centre?

Forget everything you have read here about how we don't want the organization to just hand Backlund a spot on the roster. Hand Backlund a spot on the top six if it means keeping Morrison out of it. Throw the kid into the deep end. What's the worst that could happen, we lose hockey games? Shit, better cancel that Stanley Cup parade the all had planned. If the talent difference between Backlund and Morrison is enough to actually cause the Flames to lose hockey games...then the team is fucked until Stajan gets back, anyways.

Backlund isn't good enough to play in the top six because he is an unknown commodity. Morrision, being a known commodity, is good enough to play in the top six. What? This makes no sense at all. Let us put it into English if you are confused as to what we are getting at: If the team needs someone to come in and play a top six role for a month, then they should probably go out and get someone who is capable of playing in the top six, no? Signing Morrison, a third or fourth liner, to play in the top six is a bad move. If Sutter had any capability as someone who could draft, he probably would have been able to draft someone in the last decade who would be able to come up and play on the fourth line, pushing Conroy up to the third, pushing Backlund up to the second, Joker on the first.

Now, adding players to your team that push players down the depth chart is the better idea. But Morrison isn't that player.

The question is could the Flames acquire a guy who was actually capable of playing in the top six, and that fit into the budget. The answer to this is obviously no, and we know this because the team decided on acquiring Morrison. So the question then becomes is Morrison better than the shit that is out there? Looking at this, the answer may be, we stress may be, a yes. Which is disappointing.

Still, as a fan, fuck Morrison. We never thought we would say this, but hurry up and get healthy, Stajan.

One of the things that this move shows, we think, is that Sutter is feeling some heat from someone within the organization to actually follow through on his talk of us being a top team in the league. Sutter, in his heart of hearts, knows this to be bullshit. He knows that every game, every point, is going to matter at the end of the season.

The Stajan injury leaves a hole in his lineup. If he moves Backlund up into the second line, he creates two holes: a hole is created on the fourth line (as Conroy moves up to the third) and you have a big question mark on the second. If he inserts Morrison in that spot, he only has one hole (the same hole Stajan created on the second line, Morrison just can't fill it). From a math perspective (Sutter and math in the same sentence?) it makes sense, one hole is better than two. But the fact that Sutter is even grasping at straws like this indicates, to us, at least, that finally someone has made it known to him that the hammer may indeed drop down on him if his team fails to perform, and at least he is feeling the pressure a little bit. Pressure tends to elevate performance, which we like.

The flip side of that coin is even better. If Sutter will trade away Dion when his job isn't on the line, just to try to salvage a season, then what is he capable of doing when his job may actually be on the line? The players on this roster can't be so dumb that they don't see that. Whatever pressure level is being put on Darryl, no doubt he is applying that pressure times 100 to the team. That should at least translate into some better hockey from the Country Club. And we all remember what happened the last time a Calgary Flames team had job pressure applied to it. The league screwed them out of a Stanley Cup.

The season is starting. That's good. Peter Loubardias still has a job. That's bad.

Did any of ya'll catch this little article?

QUOTE: Peter Loubardias/Charlie Simmer/Roger Millions. Sportsnet West. Loubardias took over the Flames’ play calling two seasons ago from Millions His idiosyncratic style is pure hockey, and he wears the flaming red sunglasses proudly most nights. Loubardias is encyclopedic on junior hockey. He and Simmer are still working on more than a rudimentary booth chemistry. Simmer does flash occasional wit, but the Flames vexing fortunes of late haven’t given him much to chortle about. Millions has the best brushcut on Sportsnet. Homer Meter: 4.5/ 5 pucks. Booth Chemistry: 2.5/ 5 pucks. Rating: 3/ 5 pucks.:ENDQUOTE

Is there anything more fake than having someone grade someone else who they have a relationship with? Or how about a guy who is proudly a member of the media being asked to judge other members of the media, most of whom the guy has had a few pops with?

Look, Loubardias is not a homer. He is a boot licker. Roger Millions was a homer. When the team wasn't playing up to snuff, he would call them out on it. That's what a homer does. Peter Loubardias is, to repeat, a boot licker. He only has praise for the Flames, he never see's them not hustling. That isn't 'wearing the flaming red sunglasses', that's covering for the team. As Darren Dreger put it with regards to the JBlow story, Peter Loubardias follows the Flames storyline. He is a company man, he is a tool. That's fine and all, if you want a tool calling the games for your team. But people in this city know when the team is playing poorly, and when the play by play guy is trying to act like nothing is going on here, move along people, it erodes his credibility with the fans. Dowbiggan needs to work with this guy, which is why boot licker becomes homer. But it's fake.

Also, if Loubardias is such an expert on juniour hockey, go call games for the fucking Hitmen (or the Oilers). Loubardias is paid to call junior games, and Rogers can't justify giving him a paycheque to work like 3 times a year, so they stick him on our broadcast to rationalize the cost of carrying Loubardias on the payroll. He gets stuck with us because the people who run SportsnetWest are all Oiler fans. They don't want this clown ruining their experience of an Oiler game, so they put him on the Flames broadcast. That's what we like to call tangible proof of suckage.

And this puck rating system employed is also stupid. Look, idiot, the math works like this: 4.5+2.5=7. 7 out of 10. Then because you chose to rank out of 5, we divide 7 by 2 and get 3.5. We should have scored 3.5/5, if Dowbiggin wasn't such an idiot. Which is to say that he is just making up numbers in a made up grading system because...yeah, we don't know either. Idiot.

And to top it off, Dowbiggin talks hair in the article, but not Charlie Simmer's hair?

There is a communist running for Calgary mayor. Someone who is running, openly, as a communist. Communism killed 100 million people, and all we get is some fat ugly airhead running for Calgary mayor. Pretty disgusting. What, they couldn't find a Nazi to run?

Dome Beers NFL Week 4 results:
AZR: 5-9
P-Sizzle: 6-8
J R Smoove: 8-6

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

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.