Monday, December 26, 2011

What is Art?

Art is photoshopping raptors strategically into movie images and realizing that every single movie has potential to be awesome if they involved raptors. (or any dinosaurs really, but just look at all this beauty.)

Which one is your favorite? I think mine are Titanic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Pretty Woman. I love them all actually.

I see the Bruins play Buffalo a lot. Which Reminds me of how the only time I have ever seen them win in the playoffs was against Buffalo

In regards to the tickets I got yesterday, I was thinking about how much Buffalo Sabres I will see this year. I saw them last month at the game with Lucic running over Miller. It was a great game for the Bruins cause they won and scored 6 goals, I had pretty great seats, and had a lot of fun. 

I also have seen Buffalo definitely in the past cause it was the playoffs...2009-2010 season, when they played Buffalo in the first round and Philly in the 2nd. The Sabres game was the 3rd game of the series and it was a close series, and a close game (Buffalo scored first but Bruins won 2-1)...the single most memorable moment from perhaps any games ever was when Mark Recchi made a fucking awesome play to set up Bergeron for the go-ahead (and what would be the game-winning) goal by charging behind the net to fight for the puck, knocking the fuck over the Sabres d-man, and passing straight to Bergy. 

Random side note: Although I've grown too tolerant of them in recent years, my hatred of the Sabres was at it's highest after knocking the Bruins out of the playoffs in 1999. I hated Hasek from then on. And I loved Dallas and Brett Hull so much when they beat the Sabres in the finals, winning the CUp in OT, on a very obvious illegal goal. heh.

Personal Ramblings: My Christmas (Lots of Bruins stuff!) and Other Random Thoughts

14th Christmas with Cammi,
who will always be  the best
Christmas present
I have ever received!
My parents are extremely generous, loving, and amazing in ways I can't even describe! I am so lucky to have my family, and ridiculously lucky every year on Christmas when they shower me and my siblings and each other with tons of perfect gifts. This year was the first year it was just me and my parents without any other siblings or family in town. I made out pretty awesome.

I got just about everything I asked for (which consisted of "Bruins tickets" and "Peverley jersey") plus an iPhone which was a huge surprise and something I am so psyched to have!!!

I like to keep a list each year of what I got, for the sake of record keeping, and also to reflect on how wonderful Christmas is every year and how lucky I am to have the family I have. Feel free to use the comment boxes, by the way! You can answer questions such as: Did you get anything good for Christmas? What would you buy with an Amazon gift card? And how fucking weird is getting a misspelled player name on a jersey/what would you do about it? 

Looks perfect from the front. Sadly, not the back.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Hockey Stars Speak: Mark Recchi" (1996)

From the book "Hockey Stars Speak" by Stan Fischler (Warwick Publishing, Toronto, Los Angeles, 1996). Pages 145-154:

To describe Mark Recchi as likable would be a consummate understatement, but it is the first thought that comes to mind.

With a genuine, winning smile, the right win from Kamploops, British Columbia, has charmed both fans and media while playing first for Pittsburgh, then Philadelphia, and most recently Montreal.

I have interviewed Mark many times and invariably came away feeling better than I had before our discussion started. He's that kind of guy - gracious, warm, amusing, and thoughtful. It might very well be a function of his low-key beginnings.

Invariably regarded as "too small" back when he played Junior hockey in New Westminster and Kamloops, Recchi had his doubts about whether or not he would someday be given a chance by an NHL club. The Penguins finally plucked him 67th overall in the 1988 Entry Draft, and 3 years later, he was a 40-goal scorer in the bigs.

Win or lose, Recchi is completely lacking in pretension, unaffected by the trappings of a star. He appears to be just as well-liked by his teammates, which hardly comes as a surprise to those of us who have known him since his rookie NHL season, 1988-89. If, as the tune goes, a good man nowadays is hard to find, well, we've found one in Mark Recchi.

I was born in Kamloops which has since developed quite a reputation as a Junior hockey town. In terms of learning the game, my brother and I got a head start because our dad had been a goalie and had played organized hockey himself. He had a great love of the game from his own experiences and passed that on to us.

My first hockey experiences were on homemade outdoor neighborhood rinks. I'd just shoot the puck around, play some games and just generally have a blast. Fortunately, my father never pushed me into goaltending, although I was always fond of the big equipment goalies had. But that's as far as it got; liking the goalie equipment but not liking the position. I wanted to play up front where it was fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2007 NHL All-Star Game Interviews

Watch these two videos from the 2007 NHL All-Star Game. They are hilarious. Especially since they are so old, look at how teeny they all are! So many great quotes and jokes. Chara eating babies, cul-de-Sakic, Luongo's job being taken over by one really fat guy, asking Ovechkin about US politics and he has no idea what is going much greatness in these two clips.

Videos: Bruins Hat Tricks since 08-09

2008-2009 Season
2009-2010 Season
2010-2011 Season
2011-2012 Season (current)
(thanks thenigotmeawalkman!)

    15 Reasons the Bruins Would Make the Best Team to Follow on HBO 24/7

    HBO's 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic is definitely great for hockey, and despite the fact that so far it has exclusively featured teams that I hate, it is still very interesting to watch. This year seems to be lacking in true entertainment value outside of Ilya Bryzgalov being hilarious or Tortorella being pretty awesome. Even watching Lundqvist rock out with John McEnroe wasn't that entertaining to me. Perhaps it's just the director this year, or there just isn't that much good material, but mostly I think it's just the forced and manufactured "rivalry" between the two teams plus the lack of real personality or character on either team. I am almost positive that this is pure bias in what I'm about to say, but I think that the Bruins would be hands down the best team in the NHL to watch on 24/7. I think many agree with me without me having to lay out the reasons, but just in case, here are the first 15 things I could think of:

    Best Team in the League

    The Bruins got scoring from every line, and every unit, as well as a first goal of the season for Seidenberg and a first career hat trick for Marchand. Marchand scored a short-handed goal in the 1st, then 2 more in the 3rd, as well as assisted on 2 other goals for 5 points on the night. Seidenberg had a goal and an assist; Bergeron had a a power play goal and 2 assists; Campbell had a goal and was 71% in the faceoff circle; Seguin and Chara each had 2 assists; Pouliot scored the best goal of the year; and Tuukka Rask made 30 saves in his 2nd consecutive shutout. The only negative of this game was that Peverley didn't play.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    5 Days Till Christmas!!!

    19 Assists for Bergeron & Peverley; NHL-Best 22 Wins; and in case you didn't know: the Bruins have depth

    Peverley is a genius.

    Bergeron is a genius too

    The charts I posted the other night about the scoring distribution among the Bruins forwards was displayed perfectly in the game last night. The 1st line even scored - without Lucic. My favorite part is that both Peverley and Bergeron made important and great plays leading directly to goals, and that resulted in both Peverley and Bergeron reaching assists number 19. They are also both tied with 6 goals apiece (and therefore 25 points apiece; they are tied for 2nd on the team in assists and first in point).

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Did Shanahan Make the Right Call Suspending Lucic for 1 Game?

    I have to say I was surprised when I heard that Lucic got suspended. I didn't think much of the hit when it happened because I, as usual, tend to just agree with what the NESN analysists say, and they all seemed to agree that the hit was borderline, but not suspension-worthy. If this was any other player, the hit probably wouldn't be suspension-worthy either. As Shanahan says in the video, Lucic's frequent penalties, past suspension (2009) and fines (last year), and overall style of play that has built up quite a reputation among the league played a big factor in determining whether or not to suspend Lucic. The fact that he narrowly escaped suspension just a few weeks ago for the hit on Miller probably played a pretty big role, too.

    TD Garden Experiences

    My first Bruins game was April 13, 1997 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I was only 10, so I don't remember a lot of details, but I do remember the seats were somewhere in the loge section, and the game was the last regular season game of the season (and the last game of the season for the Bruins, who missed the playoffs). It was also Mario Lemieux's last regular season game, as he was set to retire after the postseason that year (although he would later come out of retirement). The Bruins won 7-3. At the time, the TD Garden was called the Fleet Center, and it was in only it's second year of operation.

    I went with my mom and dad. My dad had given the tickets to me and my mom for Christmas. He had attached an envelope to a stuffed animal penguin, and I didn't notice it at first. I thought the gift was just the penguin stuffed animal, which I loved anyway. I was shocked and ecstatic to see the tickets.

    The penguin stuffed animal that came with the tickets to my first Bruins game
    I was a Penguins fan back then for some reason. I have a Penguins jersey that I'm not sure of where it came from, but I do remember having a strong love for Lemieux and Jagr. Every year since then, I have attended the Bruins regular season home closer.

    Graphing Bruins Goal Distribution

    Click the chart for larger view

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    Bergeron and the Selke

    The Bruins winning the Cup brought a lot of attention to Bergeron and his irreplaceable role on the Bruins. One of his duties that he has been a master of in his entire career in the NHL is he defensive responsibility, which shine through even brighter under the defensive system the Bruins play. Bergeron's perfection of this system is one of the big reasons that the system is so successful and effective.

    He and Chara are the core of the Bruins heart, and I see Bergeron as even closer to the heart because he was here longer, and I fondly remember his rookie season. Before his serious concussion, Bergeron was very offensively prolific. As he matured and his game grew more solid all-around, he no longer put up the impressive points of his first few seasons with the Bruins, and that was mainly because of how significant he is defensively. Being utilized in every important situation as he is has allowed other young scorers who may not be as dedicated to their defensive duties to move into the role of the goal-scorers.

    Even so, Bergeron can still put up impressive numbers, but none of that is quite as obvious as, say, a 40-goal scoring Selke winner like Ryan Kesler.  No matter what Bergeron's stats are in the scoring column, he is head and shoulders above just about everyone else in the league when it comes to being relentlessly reliable in all three zones. Bergeron is clearly an elite two-way center, so how is it possible that, in his 8th pro season, he hasn't even been nominated once for the Selke? He shouldn't just be in one of the 3 finalists - he should be the hands-down winner.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    The Shootout Solution to Ties, Needs a Solution

    This was written shortly after the infuriating shootout loss to Detroit that broke the Bruins winning streak...

    After losing the entire 2004-2005 NHL season to a lockout, the league returned for the 2005-2006 season with dozens of new rules looking to enhance the game. Heated debate over one such rule, the shootout, has gone back and forth every year without any new solution being reached.

    As it stands, games tied at the end of 60 minutes of regulation play 4-on-4 sudden-death overtime for five additional minutes. If the game remained tied at this point, pre-lockout NHL rules would render the game a tie, give each team a point, and move on. The dissatisfaction with tie games led to the decision to bring in the shootout to regular season games. If a game remains tied after five extra minutes, the winner is decided in a 3-round (or more, if necessary) shootout. The shootout, however, brings many of its own problems, mainly that it leaves a game of team play and hard work for 65 minutes to end in the circumstances of what is essentially a skills competition. 

    Illegal Hits and Head Injuries: Pushing for Suspension through Severity of Injury

    I wrote this a few weeks ago, and given the discussion that just took place about McQuaid's dirty hit on Foligno and Foligno's immediate return to the bench inspired me to post this (although it was not written or read very thoroughly). Before I get to that, I want to express my thoughts on McQuaid's hit. It was dirty, but I don't believe there was malicious intent at all. I agree with what Bill Jaffe said with that it's reactionary, but it's a bad reaction so the punishment is correct. If McQuaid is suspended, I wouldn't be surprised. I'm glad Foligno is okay, and I think that what Jack Edwards said about why Foligno appeared extremely hurt but was fine a few minutes later is a compelling enough argument. I believe that Folgino wasn't truly trying to overreact to maximize the punishment, although, as I get into below, there is always that subconscious drive in all our actions. The original essay is under the read more below.

    An Unreasonably Long Playlist

    It's a big file but it's got lots of great music, you will probably find at least one new thing to love!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    #Bruins Win and continue to amaze me

    My tweet reads: "its amazing how every bruin brings out the best in his teammates so well that its almost as if chara & campbell were there all along #bruins". I have a lot of random thoughts during games that I tweet, but never bother examining any further, but I wanted to further delve into my thoughts regarding this statement.

    Negative Perceptions of the "Big Bad Bruins" in Today's Game

    The Bruins have always been a physical team - it is at the very core of the Bruins organization that blue-collar work ethic and tough, physical attitude were the strength of the team and all the successful Bruins teams in the past have lived up to those traits. Over the past season and into this season, I have heard fans and critics in some cases accusing the Bruins of taking their physicality to another level and using intimidating and bullying tactics in a way that is negative to the game and dangerous to opponents. I simply don't think that is true at all.

    Why I Am in Favor of Jurassic Park IV: Because Look at these Clips

    Pros: More dinosaurs.
    Cons: Nothing will compare to the Jurassic Park, but my thirst for dinosaurs will never be satisfied, even if the plot is awful and void of all ties to the original film. Just the original cast of dinosaurs.

    The Elbow Heard Around the World

    In a press conference today, Sidney Crosby announced he'd be taking more time off than the original 2 games. The new "indefinite" time frame for return is devastating and frustrating, of course, but one comment specifically seemed to be a little over exaggerated. He pinpoints the main cause for his return of post-concussion syndrome symptoms as the hit in the video above. He implied that the elbow from Krejci was intentional and the point in which he experienced enough head trauma to warrant sitting and waiting it out all over again. There is no question that Crosby's head and Krejci's elbow make enough contact to cause damage, but to say that it was anything other than an unfortunate incident seems to be placing the blame in the wrong place. Perhaps Crosby just wanted to place the blame somewhere because he is understandably frustrated, but the ensuing chirping with Krejci afterwards and then from the bench are lost on Krejci. Examining the video above, I considered the following:

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    NBC Sports, the NHL, and Philadelphia Flyers favoritism

    Sports Business Journal 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business was released today, and the number one most influential man, Steve Burke, is apparently a genius in his work as President and CEO of NBC Universal Holdings. He attained his current status after Comcast bought NBC Universal in January of 2011 from General Electric. His duties include TV and cable programming, as well as other aspects of the company, which most importantly includes NBC Sports. Upon the completion of the merger, Burke went to work to finally bring a sports network on par with ESPN to his Comcast empire. NBC Sports, which hasn't launched yet, is the culmination of years of Comcast trying to find a way to attract the key demographic of sports fans that ESPN, owned by Disney, dominated. VERSUS had been a haphazard attempt to attract sports viewers after Comcast signed a hefty contract with the NHL. With the addition of NBC Universal, Burke apparently went right to work in negotiating contracts and replacing executive personnel.

    Like Comcast, Burke is from Philadelphia. He spent several years as COO at Comcast. The point I'm trying to make ultimately ties into the fact that Comcast, which owns VERSUS and NHL Network and now NBC Sports, controls the American broadcast and exposure of the NHL. Considering that Comcast is Philadelphia-based and have a majority share in Comcast Spectator - which owns the Philadelphia Flyers - there seems to be a suddenly clear path between the Flyers and their television exposure and special treatment in the Winter Classic setting, for example.

    Another recent and infuriating display of Flyers bias was against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a game that was nationally broadcast but ended up being two teams standing still for large portions of the game. Both teams were probably at fault, but VERSUS coverage overwhelmingly placed the blame on Tampa's shoulders and commended Philadelphia. I was flabbergasted to say the least, as I could not understand how anyone could say Philadelphia had any right to refuse to play a game that the Lightning have been playing for a while. Just because the Flyers got sick of it one night, it became a huge deal within the NHL community, and suddenly the Lightning were destroying the fabric of the game. In reality, the Lightning strategy can be combated and still create exciting hockey (see the Conference Finals series against the Bruins), but the Flyers refused to adapt and instead acted like spoiled brats. Yet, the commentators for NBC and VERSUS saw no fault in the Flyers. Steve Yzerman shared my thoughts:
    The harshest critics came during the intermission of the game, which was broadcast nationally in the United States on Versus, from studio analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury who called Tampa Bay’s style of play “embarrassing’’.

    Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman questions the motives of the criticism coming from the Versus analysts. “Versus is owned by Comcast, Comcast owns the Flyers, Keith Jones is a broadcaster with the Flyers and is hardly impartial,’’ Yzerman said. “I think that anybody that looks at that objectively should be saying, “Did Tampa do the right thing or Did Philadelphia do the right thing’’ and you can make an argument both ways.’’
    The overhaul of Comcast sports and its expensive, carefully calculated emergence into what will be NBC Sports, centering around the NHL, which centers around the Philadelphia Flyers, who Comcast subsidiary Comcast Spectator holds a 67% majority share of (with founder Ed Snider holding 33% share).

    It's no coincidence that the Flyers have again been selected to headline the Winter Classic - a huge spectacle for NBC that also now coincides with 4-part HBO documentary series following the teams throughout the season up until the Winter Classic in January. The Flyers already participated two years ago, but HBO only became involved last year, raising the stakes that were already in favor of the Flyers organization.

    Comcast's subsidiaries and direct connections to ownership of both the Flyers franchise and all US television broadcasters for the NHL on a national scale are now essentially condensed into one self-serving entity: NBC Sports.

    Philadelphia Flyers favoritism will only become stronger with the launch of NBC Sports for at least the next 10 years under the $2 billion contract NBC Sports Group and the NHL signed in April.

    (links found at puck daddy) (also find here)

    Bruins and the Draft

    The Bruins have done a good job in recent years in making the best of their draft picks. Many recently drafted players are still in juniors or developing in Providence, but a few current players have been bred and raised as purebred Bruins.

    Of the 22 active players on the Bruins current roster, 21 have been drafted and 1 (Rich Peverley) is undrafted. Of the 21 drafted players on the roster, 6 have been drafted by the Bruins (Lucic, Krejci, Bergeron, Caron, Marchand, Seguin), 2 by Toronto (Thornton, Rask), 2 more by Florida (Campbell, Horton), and a combination of another 11 teams (1 of which nolonger exists – the Quebec Nordiques, who drafted Tim Thomas 217th overall in 1994).

    Brad Marchand Pure Hockey Commercial

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    NHL on NBC Parody Promo

    This is very outdated, but still hilarious!

    Bruins and Nationality

    During the finals last season, the Vancouver Canucks became “Canada’s team”. A Canadian-based team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since Montreal inb 1993, and recent finals appearances from Calgary, Ottawa, and Edmonton were ultimately nowhere near as hyped up as this finals series was. Canada was excited to have a Canadian-based team bring the Cup home and the Canucks were the favorite, which facilitated more nationality-based excitement. The ironic part of having the entire country of Canada routing for the Canucks, “Canada’s team”, against the Boston Bruins (who, by default, were “America’s team”) was the fact that the Bruins had and still have more Canadians on their roster than just about any other team in the NHL. During the finals, every single Bruins player was Canadian except for American goalie Tim Thomas, German defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, Slovak defenseman and team captain Zdeno Chara, rental player and Czech defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and Czech forward David Krejci.

    Vancouver, meanwhile, was largely represented by non-Canadian players as well, including their captain and his twin, the Swedish Sedins, German defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, Sami Salo of Finland, and Americans Keith Ballard, Cory Schneider, and Ryan Kesler, to name a few. Both Boston and Vancouver were captained by European players, but the Bruins impact players represented the majority of Canada – literally. The Bruins roster in the finals included Canadians from almost every province: Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi of British Columbia, Ference and Boychuk of Alberta, Shane Hnidy of Saskatchewan, Michael Ryder of Newfoundland, Adam McQuaid of Prince Edward Island, Brad Marchand of Nova Scotia, Patrice Bergeron of Quebec, and a handful of players from Ontario (Recchi, Horton, Seguin, Peverley, Kelly, Campbell, Thornton, and Paille). Furthermore, Patrice Bergeron was a fellow Gold-medal winner in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics along with Roberto Luongo. Bruins coach Julien and President Neely are also Canadians.

    No matter how you look at it, the idea of an NHL team belonging to a specific national identity is irrational.

    The Bruins of the current 2011-2012 season are a similar mosaic of Canadian players with a few other nationalities thrown in. About 68% of the team is Canadian, 14% American, and 1% each German, Czech, Slovak, and Finnish. Of the Canadian players, 53% are from Ontario, 13% from Quebec and Alberta each, and about 6% each from British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

    The positions played by each player is interesting to note. Only Bruins forwards are from Ontario – the goaltenders are either American or Finnish, and the defensemen are either American, German, Slovak, or Canadians from Alberta or Prince Edward Island. Krejci also remains the lone non-Canadian, European forward.

    Since the departure of PJ Axelsson a few seasons ago, the Bruins have yet to put another Swedish player on the roster. The absence of Swedes and Russians and the sparsity of Europeans in general is a unique statistical anomaly for the Bruins. It could perhaps be explained by the fact that the Bruins style of play is physical and rough, which is typically a style of play more exclusive to North American-bred players. The disparity of nationalities on the Bruins roster is definitely worth noting, but doesn’t appear to be negative or overly positive. It just is.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    NHL Realignment

    The Board of Governor's approved NHL re-alignment to take effect next season. The 30 teams will be divided into 4 conferences; 2 of those conferences will have 8 teams and the other 2 will have 7 teams. The Bruins are in a 7-team conference with their current divisional partners (Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Buffalo) along with the new additions of both Florida teams (Lightning and Panthers).

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Gregory Campbell on Faceoffs

    Draws are an art, and if you ask anybody, even the top guys still don't have it figured out. It's a lot of practice. It's something that you have to take pride in, because it's a big part of the game.

    I think it's a lot of reading the opposing players. Other players have different tendencies. If you're going against like [Tomas] Plekanec from Montreal, he tends to tie up and kind of block your stick from sweeping through and uses his feet. I think you have to be able to adjust throughout the course of the game.

    It's more just experience playing against guys. Whether you're on your forehand or your backhand you have to adjust as well. If somebody is doing something, you might want to talk it over with your wingers or defensemen and say listen, 'This guy's been tying my stick up all night.' So that creates a battle there so just come in and help. Because a lot of times if you're not going to win it clean you need help from your linemates or the two defensemen.

    It's definitely a five-man responsibility. Obviously the center bears it on his shoulders the most and gets credit for it and when he loses it gets the blame, but your linemates have to show some awareness with being quick to jump in there. A lot of times it's a stalemate there where the puck's just laying there and you need that extra help from the wingers. Any center will tell you that the success of the center has a lot to do with the wingers and the defensemen.

    Obviously it helps me a lot working on it. We do it always after morning game-day skates, and we have some pretty good faceoff men on this team. Bergy is one of the best, Bergy, Kells and Pevs are all extremely good at it. They've been working at it for a long time, so I try to learn from them.

    I think it helps. Right now we have two righties playing center and two lefties playing center, so I think Claude does a good job of reading the game, seeing who's doing well on that particular night and putting us out there in situations where we're going to succeed. Sometimes it's tough for a lefty to go out there on his weak side against somebody that's good on draws who's on his strong side. So he'll put out two righties and if one gets kicked out he has confidence that the other can go in and win it. We also have the ability to have more than one natural centerman on a few lines, so that's something that helps too.

    I think in the offensive zone sometimes you're more creative. You set up a play off a draw. In the offensive zone it's more about getting the win, and winning it clean. In the defensive zone it doesn't matter if you tie up, as long as you get the help. You just don't want to lose it clean. In the offensive zone sometimes you want to go forward and make a play off it that way, but in the defensive zone it's all about not losing it clean.

    Some linesmen are more strict than others. They won't let you cheat as much. And every centerman in the league cheats. That's something that you have to kind of push your limits to see what you can get away with. Worst-case scenario you get kicked out, but there's always a little battle in the faceoff circle with the two centermen trying to get leverage and trying to get your stick in there, your head in there, your body in there and disrupt his stride. Most linesmen are consistent, but you defini
    tely want to be aware of that.

    Merry Cammi-mas