Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another FJM Attempt

Scott Burnside, welcome. A quick perusal of the google tells us that you are not exactly new to being skewered by anonymous internet bloggers. Well, we here at Dome Beers are going to flip that script a little and actually come to your defence.

Ha! Gotcha! Defend Mr. Burnside? Nope. We are here to skewer, as unoriginal as that is.

Actually folks, you shouldn’t make fun of ‘special’ people, so our venom wasn’t really flowing, out of respect for the handicapped, but we tried our best.

And yes, we know we are late.

The Original!

PITTSBURGH -- Even the most cynical observer would have trouble arguing that the NHL's outdoor experiment has been anything but a roaring success.

OK, so far, so good.

Whatever measuring stick you employ -- television ratings, sponsorship, merchandise sales, ticket sales or plain old buzz -- the gutsy decision to hold a regular-season game outdoors on Jan. 1 for the past four years has given the NHL unprecedented exposure.

The decision to continue holding an event that has been as successful as Burnside thinks it has been is being characterized as ‘gutsy’? OK, whatever. That’s stupid, but it is a Burnside column. Besides that though, overall, nothing to egregious yet.

NHL COO John Collins said Thursday he thinks this season's event in Pittsburgh featuring the game's two biggest stars, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, has a chance to set the success bar even higher.

We thought the games ‘biggest’ star was Phil Kessel, now that Wellwood has retired. But we will defer to Mr. Collins.

"As good as everything else has been coming up to this point, I think this game sets up to potentially be the biggest of them all," Collins said.

Said the man who is charged with selling the game to the masses…

What remains to be seen, however, is whether the success of the Winter Classic may ultimately prove to be the death knell for the Canadian version, the Heritage Classic, an outdoor game set for Feb. 20 at Calgary's McMahon Stadium, home of the Canadian Football League's Stampeders.

Uhh, what? That’s quite a leap Mr. Burnside just made there, is it not? From quoting some marketer talking about how great the Winter Classic is to talking about the death of the Heritage Classic, (which is itself somewhat of a one-off event, in case you didn’t know, Mr. Burnside) in the space of a paragraph. I bet he kills at the long jump. Or the non-sequitur event.

There has been an ongoing debate about whether a second outdoor game, even though it is removed by almost two months from the Winter Classic and held in a different country, somehow diminishes the unique appeal of the Winter Classic.

Please, Mr. Burnside, who are the people having this debate? Again, using the google, a quick search of ‘Does the Winter Classic Hurt the Heritage Classic’ brings about 68 thousand hits, and the out of the 68 thousand hits, the only place we can find this ‘debate’ taking place is on, Mr. Burnside.

Honestly, that is just plain dumb. Does a second outdoor game played two months after the Winter Classic hurt the marketability of the Winter Classic, a game marketed to the uninitiated (read: American) fans? That depends, Scott. That depends on if any of them have even heard of this ‘Heritage Classic’ thang. And if you are an American watching the terrible hockey that is on display at these outdoor games in rapt attention, we are willing to bet you have not.

We have long held to the theory that even the slightest possibility of a negative ripple effect from a second game is too great a risk for such a special property.

We have long held to the theory that Scott Burnside is an idiot, that ESPN is run by idiots, and that is why Scott Burnside continues to steal a paycheque.

We wonder if Scott knows that the Winter Classic is a rip off of Michigan V Michigan State. Don’t tell him. He is going to want to cancel that too, in case ‘the negative ripple effect’ of other outdoor games effects his beloved Winter Classic.

Collins does not subscribe to that theory.

That’s because Mr. Collins is not an idiot, Scott.

"I think you can make these games special in different ways," Collins said.

Like by holding one two months later and in a different country than the other?

Fair enough. That said, Collins was fairly cryptic about the future of the Heritage Classic beyond Feb. 20.

That could be because the Heritage Classic is not a yearly event, and is in fact bid on by the Canadian franchises, and that in an effort to squeeze the most profit out of the NHL teams, the NHL itself limits the appearance of the Heritage Classic to once every couple of years.

Shit, now we have to explain ‘Supply & Demand’ to Scott…

"I think the Winter Classic and the Heritage are really two unique brands that complement each other and don't dilute each other," Collins said. "How we extend that and if we extend that is something that we're definitely going to look at and something that we're definitely going to talk to our partners about and obviously something that we'll look really closely with clubs on."

Translation: Pay up, Vancouver.

The initial Heritage Classic was played in November 2003 in Edmonton, Alberta, and was the first NHL regular-season game played outdoors. While popular with fans, the game was a near disaster for the Canadiens and Oilers players because of frigid temperatures. There was even serious discussion about postponing or canceling the game because of the risk of frostbite and some players said afterward that they shouldn't have played.

They just played the Winter Classic in a puddle, Scott. They had to *ghast* postpone the game several hours to play it. UNMITIGATED DISASTER CANCEL THE EVENT!

Also, we just googled ‘players say they shouldn’t have played Heritage Classic’ and guess what…nothing. We suspect Scott couldn’t find them either, because he didn’t name them.

And Scott, seriously, the most pertinent part of that last paragraph was ‘While popular with the fans’. Everything you wrote after that was stupid, because ‘popular with the fans’ means ‘the event made bank’. Who cares if Jose Theodor was mad he couldn’t run around on his pregnant wife in Edmonton bars because he caught a cold in the game? The event made money, end of story.

Because the Winter Classic has been an all-American affair since it was introduced in 2008 with Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Pittsburgh taking part in the first three, there was carping from Canadian broadcasters about being able to have a Canadian event. The revival of the Heritage Classic this season is the product of that carping.

Scott, seriously man, you think the Heritage Classic is being played because Canadian broadcasters wanted one? This is what we love about hack pundits like Burnside. They think they are actually important! Can you imagine?

Scott, please, you might want to sit down for what we are about to say: You and your colleagues are not the reason the Heritage Classic is being played in Calgary. Scott, put that razor down! The ability to sell out McMahon Stadium at about $200 (good seats are much more expensive than that) a ticket is the reason they are playing the Heritage Classic in Calgary.

So unless the definition of ‘Canadian broadcaster’ has been changed to ‘Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadians, and the NHL’ and the definition of ‘Carping’ has been changed to ‘smelled an opportunity to make a shitload of cash’, Scott, your last paragraph was, in our humble opinion, fucking retarded.

Given the inevitable comparisons to the Winter Classic, it's difficult to imagine how the Heritage Classic can be anything but a pale imitation. What has made the Winter Classic such a powerful tool for the NHL has been its ability to reach out to fans that aren't necessarily hard-core hockey fans. It has become a part of the Jan. 1 sports landscape.

Do you think Scott ever gets tired of sounding like a fool? The Heritage Classic was the first outdoor game played by the NHL. Which means that the Winter Classic is the pale imitation, Scott. It’s called ‘the space-time continuum’, Scott. You do know how to read a timeline, right, Scott?

Even better was Scott’s tactic admission that the Winter Classic is a sideshow primarily for uninitiated Americans. People, again, who have never heard of a ‘puck’, let alone the Heritage Classic.

"We treat this game special," Collins said. "While it's just one regular-season game out of 1,230, we treat it like it's the Super Bowl or the World Series or the Daytona 500, any of the major, major events.

Sell this shit, Mr. Collins!

"We do that because we think it's just a great day to celebrate hockey. It's the one day that maybe fans, hockey fans, can put aside their passions for their local team and just celebrate just being a hockey fan. That's sort the core reason for the focus of what we try to do with the Winter Classic."

Mr. Collins is a smooth cat. We’d buy Goodyear Firestorm tires from this guy. We’d buy Chinese dog food from this cat. We’d buy Maple Leaf meat if Collins was selling it. Hell, we bet Mr. Collins could sell you on the entertainment value of a Flames game.

Then, almost as an afterthought, Collins added "and ultimately what we'll try to do Feb. 20 with the Heritage."

Scott Burnside has the ability to mind read? Shit…

Maybe it will be so. But it is difficult to imagine the Heritage Classic will be anything but just that, an afterthought, a dime-store knockoff of the real deal. The Heritage Classic has almost none of the elements that have made the Winter Classic the success that it is.

Well, besides the fact that the Winter Classic is a knock off of the Heritage Classic which is a knock off of the ‘Cold War’ between Michigan and Michigan State, what’s to take issue with?

Oh, the statement that the Heritage Classic has none of the elements that the Winter Classic does? We agree. The Heritage Classic won’t have any rain!

We were going to go with ‘The Heritage Classic won’t have ugly jersey’s (Shittsburgh), but you’ve all seen the monstrosity the Flames will be wearing that day…

Feb. 20 isn't a special day -- it is on the Sunday of a long weekend for a government-created holiday called Family Day, celebrated in every province but Quebec. It is a game being played for the benefit of fans who already embrace the game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but is it worth risking even the smallest dilution of the Winter Classic to play to the converted?

So just so we are on the same page, January 1 is a special day because…we are working on our hangovers? We don’t really get that one. It’s not the first day of the year for Jews, or Muslims, or the Chinese, or Japanese, or any number of ethnic groups. It’s ok to be ignorant, Scott, but don’t be a bigot. There is nothing inherently more special in January 1st than February 20th. Typical WASP thinking.

Also, we like how ‘Hangover Recovery Day’ is a ‘special’ day for Scott, but ‘Family Day’ is a miscarriage of government overreach. Did your mother not hug you, Scott?

And to answer Scotts question: Yes, selling many tens of thousands of tickets at hugely inflated prices is worth the ‘risk’ of ‘diluting’ the Winter Classic.

This is an act, right? Scott can’t actually be that stupid, right?

No. And if we had our way, it would be one and done for the Heritage Classic.

Answers that question.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fun Facts About Russia

Dobro po┼żalovat, comrades. Let us tell you about the wonderful workers paradise that was the 'top' in the former Soviet Union.

(All information from the spooks over at Langley)

Birth Rate: 11.11/1000
Death Rate: 16.04/1000
Differential: -4.93
(Canada's differential: +2.41)

Infant Mortality Rate: 10.32/1000
Canada: 4.99/1000
Differential: +5.33 for Canada.

Life Expectancy: 66.16 years.
Canada: 81.29 years.
Differential: +15.13 for Canada.

GDP: 1.232 Trillion dollars.
Canada: 1.336 Trillion dollars. (And we have a population of 33 million compared to Russia's 139 million.)

Central Bank Discount Rate: 8.75%.
Canada: 0.05%
For those who don't know, the Central Bank Discount Rate is the rate the central bank (IE the freakin treasury) is charging other commercial banks for overnight loans. The lower, the better. And 8.75% is fucking terrible.

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate: 15.31% (Again, fucking yikes!)
Canada: 2.4%

HIV/Aids Infected in Population: 1.1% (40,000 deaths 2007)
Canada: 0.4% (less than 500 deaths 2007)

Major Infectious Disease Risk: Intermediate (including a high risk getting bacteria caused diarrhea from drinking the water or eating the food. Yeah, like Mexico in the 70's. Also, they have a large amount of tick-borne encephalitis. Whatever the fuck that is.)

Canada: None. Yeah, fucking none, Russia. Because we are a first world country, and you are slave state run by a corrupt former KGB agent and his buddies. Just saying.

So yeah, we may have lost the battle. But it's the Russians who have to go back to that hell hole who lost the war.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The First Fake Interview With Darryl Since He Went Into Hiding

As you are all aware, sometime last week Darryl Sutter was fired. Or resigned after being asked too, or however we are saying it to be polite. Whatever. While it was news that was greeted with open arms and jubilant celebration by the majority of the fanbase, it wasn't greeted as warmly in other quarters. Namely, our quarter.

Darryl Sutter was starting to become the comedic gift that kept on giving. Take this little gem, quoteth Sutter:

"Even though we weren’t a playoff team, it’s really a good team, and we’re one player away from being a top team again."

He said this June, 2010, moments before resigning Olli Jokinen. We know, right? It was like watching Steve Martin perform. Martin is famous for playing the guy who is a fool who doesn't know he is a fool, wink. Except with Darryl, you never knew if there was a wink.

When we heard the news of Darryl's demise, we were miffed. Not because of any illusions about Darryl getting a raw deal, but because we had all this material sitting in a notebook that we never got too. And it looks now that we will never get to get to it.

Bummer, dude. But wait! Nobody has gotten a word with Darryl yet...hmm, and this site does have a cast of world class interviewers at its disposal...Wonder if anything could be done to kill two birds with one stone?

And viola! Wouldn't you know it, but we happened to be hanging out with Green Hard Hat and the Road Tie, and you know how those two are close to Darryl, so we asked them if they could get into the door to talk to the man, and they were kind enough to try and oblige.

Now, some players: Darryl gave the interview, but due to his inability to speak to people in clear, concise sentences, we arranged for Horse the horse, one of Darryl's favourites in his stable, to do some translating for us. Having a horse in the room was good because it seemed to put Darryl at ease. Also, the Milskey helped.

Without further ado...

Interview was conducted by Road Tie and Green Hard Hat. Darryl is translated by his horse.

After a night of buying drinks for the DB crew, Green Hard Hat and Road Tie hear the news about Darryl. Excusing themselves from the drunken debauchery, they make their way to an undisclosed location deep in the heart of Alberta. They can do so because they fly around in helicopters, because Green Hard Hat is fabulously wealthy (it's a bit of a story). Anyways, they arrive to a darkened ranch in the middle of the night. Lightning tears up the sky, revealing a pasture full of the most gritty looking cattle you will ever see. Instead of grass, Darryl has tobacco plants growing everywhere for his cattle to feed on, because tobacco is much more macho than grass. The cattle trough isn't full of water, it's full of Big Rock Trad. Welcome to Darryl's.

Making their way to the front door, Green Hard Hat and Road Tie begin to wonder what they will find on the inside. No lights are on in the house, which is a little scary because Brett might be in town and the two protagonists don't want to be sucker punched in the head. Swallowing their fear, they are about to knock on the door when it mysteriously opens. The two intrepid adventures are staring into a black abyss when another finger of lightning scratches across the sky, revealing...

Road Tie: You know, no matter how many times I see it, I will never get used to seeing you dressed up in a tuxedo. How are, Horse?

Horse, the horse: Not so good, gentlemen, not so good. I mean, I am fine, personally. In fact, just got my tests back after that crazy weekend up in Edmonton and it came back all negatives. Clap aignt fast enough to catch me on my gallop, you know what I mean?

Green Hard Hat: You had sex with an Edmontonian? That's disgusting.

Road Tie: Well, it's good that you are in good spirits, Horse, but we are actually here because of Darryl.

Horse, the horse: Oh, you heard? Yeah, it's been terrible news. Darryl really took it hard.

Green Hard Hat: I bet, getting axed during Christmas like that must have been tough?

Horse, the horse: Oh, that? No, no I thought you were talking about the home theatre system.

Green Hard Hat: Home theatre system?

Horse, the horse: Yeah. Darryl just got a new one. But he didn't get any new movies to go with it. When the salesman told him that his new blue-ray player wouldn't work with his VHS tapes, and he would have to replace his collection, he flat out told the salesman that he didn't believe in rookies, and that his veteran VHS tapes would do just fine. He has spent the last three days trying to jam his tape of Rock Em Sock Em 3 into the blue-ray player, threatening to send the tape to the AHL. We all know he can't because of the NMC he gave it, of course.

Road Tie: Wow, sounds bad. Do you mind if we see him?

Horse, the horse: Not at all, not at all. Follow me.

Horse leads Green Hard Hat and Road Tie through Darryl's house, up the main stairs and to Darryl's main study. Horse knocks on the door. A loud mumbling immediately follows Horse's knocks.

Green Hard Hat: What the hell was that?

Horse, the horse: Oh, that was just Darryl. He was yelling 'Tell King I'm not helping.' Ken King has been getting calls from the likes of Brian Burke demanding to know how he could fire Darryl when Darryl still had a first round draft pick to trade him for PMD.

Road Tie: PMD?

Horse, the horse: Bozak.

Horse knocks again on Darryl's study, neighs loudly at the mumbles, and opens up the door.

Horse, the horse: Darryl, it isn't King. It's your friends Green Hard Hat and Road Tie, and they have come to see you because they are worried about you.

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: He says that it's terrible you have to see him like this.

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: He says that it's especially terrible because of how it happened, and who orchestrated the power play against him. Men he brought in, a man who brought him in. Men he trusted.

Green Hard Hat: Who, or what, are you talking about, Darryl?

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: He says that Brent Sutter, his very own brother, and Jay Feaster, a man he brought into the organization, conspired against him. He says they got together, and hatched a plot to convince Ken King and the owners to abandon him and have him fired.

Road Tie: Darryl, that's just crazy. Why would they want to do that?

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: He says that it isn't crazy. He says he isn't crazy! Would a crazy man trade for Steve Staios? He says that they wanted to get him fired from the Flames, his beloved, because they found out he was going to get them fired! He says he thinks Harvey told them. Harvey knows.

Road Tie: Darryl, my good man, surely you jest? You wanted to terminate Brent? You wanted to fire another coach?

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: Darryl said what do you mean?

Road Tie: I know what he said Horse, I've been through the wars with the man! Darryl, you mean to tell me that after you, after Playfair, after Keenan, it was still a coaching issue? You don't think some of the player personnel decision hurt the team?

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: Darryl says he greatly resents that accusation. He says that just because he signed bad coaches in the past doesn't mean he was immune from hiring yet another bad coach the third time around. He says that if you think about it, the fact that he hired Brent might be a clear indication that Brent isn't a good coach!

Green Hard Hat: Darryl, we love you. You need to stop drinking Milskey.

Road Tie: Yeah, Darryl, really. Who traded for Ales Kotalik? Was it you, or was it the Milskey? It certainly wasn't Brent.

Green Hard Hat: You think the Milskey helps keep you tough, keep you a man. But has it, Darryl? Would a real man sign Matt Stajan to a long term extension? Matt Stajan's part of the core now, Darryl? Matt Stajan is part of the core of a macho Sutter team? You traded for a defenceman who was 3 feet tall, and then you traded him away for a tall bean pole European? Where's the direction, Darryl? Men walk through life with direction, man, and you are wondering aimlessly, like some sort of lost child. The chasing around of Olli Jokinen like you were some love struck school boy? It's not manly to repeat mistakes to spite the public, Darryl, it's foolish. And yeah, seriously, what the fuck was up with Kotalik?

Darryl: To be quite honest, mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: He says Kotalik is a twenty goal scorer in this league. He says Hagman and Stajan are 60 point players. He says Kiprusoff can post 1.65 GAA's year in and year out, and Jarome should score 50 goals a year. He says Babchuk gives them a legitimate scoring option from the point. He says that the only reason they aren't producing to the levels they are capable of is because a) Jay Feaster keeps eating all the food at teams game day meals and b) Brent Sutter is coaching them to fail.

Green Hard Hat: Horse, are you kidding me?

Horse, the horse: Listen man, I'm just translating here.

Road Tie: Darryl, you didn't tell Ken King any of this, did you?

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble!

Horse, the horse: Darryl says that he did tell Ken this, right before he fired him, err, he resigned. He says that he thinks he got fired because Feaster had already gotten to King and convinced him that Darryl was going to cut off the Flames upper management from the teams meals. He says that when Ken heard him voice his concerns over Feaster eating all the food, Ken got spooked and figured Darryl would ban him, too.

Road Tie: My good chap, are you suggesting to me that you were fired because you threatened Ken Kings access to free food?

Green Hard Hat: Wait a second, Road Tie, don't dismiss the idea out of hand.

Road Tie: Gentlemen, let me be frank. It's as absurd to think that Darryl was fired because he was going to take burgers away from Ken King and Jay Feaster as it is to think Ales Kotalik is a twenty goal scorer.

Horse: Burn!

Green Hard Hat: Wait a second now, have you ever seen them eat? It's like Bob Mackenzie at a donut factory, only with more sweaty bellyfat jiggling around. Actually, that might be kind of sexy...

Road Tie: Eww. Stop, just stop. Darryl, look, the players on the roster are only partially having their numbers hurt by your brothers coaching. The rest of that is that they just aren't very good. And the more you try to justify it, the worse it becomes. It's kinda like sleeping with an under age girl, in that way.

Green Hard Hat: Heh, remember that time in Maui?

Road Tie: We all remember that time in Maui, but that's not what we are talking about now.

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse, the horse: And she did that with both hands tied behind her back!

Green Hard Hat: Yes, good times. Anyways, Darryl, why'd you get rid of Gelinas? And Simon, what was wrong with Chris Simon? I know Martin Gelinas, the Eliminator, isn't as tough as Tony 'powder puff' Amonte, or Juice, or even a half broken Owan Nolan, but you couldn't find room for him on the roster?

Road Tie: You chose Nilson over Gelinas man, that's hard to justify.

Darryl: Mumble!

Horse, the horse: He says Gelinas was just too clutch in the playoffs to be a Calgary Flame. He wants to know how the hell he was supposed to keep getting bounced in the first round with a guy like that on the team!

Green Hard Hat: Fair enough. But that wasn't a great move. Also, not signing Cammalleri was fucking stupid.

Horse, the horse: Yeah, and he gave Bourque a six year deal! Can you believe that? He's never even played a full season in the league!

Darryl: Mumble, mumble, mumble!

Road Tie, Green Hard Hat, and Horse the horse burst into laughter. We would translate Darryl's witty one-liner for you, but Horses voice is getting a little...hoarse!

Road Tie: It's good to see you making jokes again, Darryl. Good to see you getting your spirits back. We have to bounce though, it's getting kind of late. Do you have any of your favourite Sutterism's to leave us with?

Darryl Sutter: Mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble. Mumble, mumble. Mumble, mumble, mumble.

Horse: He said furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired!