Saturday, December 03, 2005

Senators 5: Kings 1; Brian "Crying Bitch" Murray -$10,000

While the puck was in play, what happened tonight didn't really surprise anyone. The Senators are very good, and the Kings are kind of OK, and playing some of their worst hockey of the season right now, so the fact that they got their ass kicked isn't exactly a surprise. Other things that aren't a surprise:
  1. Brian Murray is a punk-ass little bitch, and he has been since he was in Anaheim;
  2. Zdeno Chara is a bitch as well, for instigating a fight with a non-fighter who is about 10 inches smaller than he is
  3. Dominik Hasek continues to be the biggest bitch in goalie gear, waiting to confront Sean Avery until he had a phalanx of teammates around him, and Avery still threw a punch
  4. Chris Neil ought to sit down for about 10 games. If anyone has access to the video, watch the way he tools around center ice for a few seconds, lines Dustin Brown up, then hammers him with no provocation. It was cheap, it was dirty, and it can't be condoned by the NHL.
Right now, the Kings are not a good hockey team. Their special teams are as atrocious as they've ever been. They're completely leaving their goaltenders out to dry (memo to Matty, you need to actually go after the puck when it's behind your net). It seems like every night they hit the ice, they're playing a top goaltender, and even whent they get a rookie, they don't test him.

The good news is that they get to try to put it behind them tomorrow night against the Habs. I'll be recording it, as a friend is turning 30, and that's a great excuse to drink. Also, I hope to be celebrating the Bruins upset over U$C, and the Illini win over Xavier. But tomorrow night is the most important game in this young season for the Kings. They need to start turning things around, or things could get real ugly real fast.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Hector Cafuckingrrasco

The Angels have inked him to a two year deal worth roughly six million big ones. Not the end of the world, certainly, but not something the Angels needed to do, nor should have done. He's 36, which makes it much more likely that last year was a fluke, not a breakout, especially when you consider that he pitched in one of baseball's best pitchers parks. But why am I so down on this deal? Two words. Mark Petfuckingkovsek.

You remember Mark Petkovsek. Nice guy. Reliever. Pitched for the Angels. Came over in a trade for essentially nothing back in 1998. Pitched two years in Anaheim, one pretty good, one pretty OK. While not really a scrapheap guy, he was acquired for nothing, didn't make a ton of money (Carrasco will make slightly less from the Angels in his two years than Petkovsek made in his career). But he got the job done, then found a sucker team to sign him to a big deal, from which he was cut before his first season in Texas was over. In the meantime, the Angels got solid season from previous no-names like Brendan Donnelly, Al Levine, Lou Pote, Ben Weber, and Scot Shields. The moral of the story? Signing middle relievers to big deals is for dipshits, because they're volatile from year to year, unreliable, and no guarantee to outperform whatever journeymen flotsam and jetsam you may have in your minor leagues, or who may be available for free. That is a lesson that EVERY team should have learned from watching the Angels over the last five years. I guess it's too much to ask that for the Angels to figure it out for themselves.

Multi-year deals for middle relievers with shaky track records are foolish. It's the type of move that makes me lose a lot of faith (or least what's left of my faith) in Stoneman.

On the plus side, I'm going to take this opportunity to be the first member of the Halosphere to start calling him Pipo! I suggest the rest of you do the same.


Then again, maybe he won't be relieving. The OC Register reports the worst news of the off-season. The Angels are officially out of the Paul Byrd chase. They have withdrawn their offer. This would not be particular bad news if not for the word that Carrasco could be taking his starting role. He's started all of six games in his career. Hell, why not take the Konerko money and go after AJ Burnett if that's the case. I officially call this whole thing "stupid".

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Or at least, it would have been if anyone actually went to Blackhawks game. There was hardly anybody there. Walked up and paid $10 for my ticket (less than I paid for parking) and met up with an old CSHA nemesis to take in the game.

Wow, this team can really be awful at times. No life, no jump, a complete inability to string passes together, a non-existent power play, a horribly developed penalty kill (sag back, let them set it up, and hope they somehow miss just doesn't really cut it). As bad as they were against the Wings, they were worse tonight. At least the Wings are good. The Blackhawks flat out suck.

I question the logic behind playing Tambellini on the point on the power play. I realize that might be a role he fits into down the road, and I realize that they need to do something to shake up the power play, but asking a forward to take a defensive role in his first ever NHL game is a bit much. It almost burned them tonight.

The Kings have lost two games in a row for the first time this season, and it just gets tougher from here. Three more road games against three very good teams. This could be a very ugly road trip.


Thank the good lord that the Angels didn't go nuts and try to top the White Sox offer. From the way it sounds, the Sox let Konerko set the market with some other teams, with an agreement in place that the Sox would then match years and dollars to an extent. Now, let's cross our fingers and hope the Angels don't do something stupid like trading Kotchman for Sweeney.

It's real simple. The Angels could improve at three positions by making none, zero, nada roster moves. Kotchman to first, Erstad to center, Rivera to left, Anderson to DH, with Figgins shuttling around the diamond to give days off here and there. This would a marked improvement offensively and defensively over what the Angels were throwing out there last season. And let me make this clear: if it takes a trade or signing to move Erstad away from first and into center, that doesn't make it a good deal. This is a move that should be patently obvious, and if the Angels brass is too stupid to realize it, that doesn't mean that we should hope for a deal to be made that forces it to happen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Illinois 68; UNC 64 and UCLA 73; Albany 65

First of all, Nike, what the fuck. Those are the stupidest goddamn uniforms I've ever seen. I'm really getting sick of this crap where individual teams give up part of their individuality so that they can wear some stupid-ass jersey that Nike designs to look like every other Nike school. The guy from uni-watch said it best (regarding those lamed assed mismatching sleeves that some football teams wore):
The problem with all this -- aside from, y'know, its looking really, really stupid -- is that it creates an aesthetic connection between the mismatched-sleeve schools, so they all look as though they're playing for Team Nike instead of for themselves (just like all the teams that wear the wraparound rear bib, another Nike "innovation"). This not only waters down and cheapens the individual schools' visual identities but also perpetuates Nike's patently bogus notion that its own brand is more important than the teams' brands. Memo to Phil Knight: The swoosh draws its legitimacy from the teams that wear it, not the other way around.
Now that I have that off my chest, it's about seven months too late, but the Illini finally beat North Carolina. This is really the first game I've seen this year, so here are my impressions of the 2005-2006 Illini:
  • Sean Pruitt is a big dude. He really looks like he's bulked up since last season. Also, he gives them versatility by allowing them to move Augie to PF and Randle to small forward if they want to go big.
  • Randle is indeed a freak. Terrific athletic ability, but he can also shoot. He hit two big threes in the second half, and if he can step out and stroke it, they can field a small lineup of Brown, Jamar Smith, McBride, and Randle, giving them four shooter on the floor. Damn, I wish we'd had him last season.
  • Marcus Arnold didn't get a lot of time, but I think he looked pretty good in the first half. More front court depth. That's going to be very important at some point this season. Mark my words, at some point, a couple of Pruitt, Augie, and Randall will foul out, and Arnold will make a big shot to win a game.
  • Once again, it looks like the guy that everyone is touting as the best player will be overshadowed. Last year it was Dee who was outplayed by Deron. This year it looks like Augie is going to rise above Dee's hype, which is fine by me. They need his rebounding and scoring inside, and so far he's providing it.
  • McBride looks a lot more active this season, and he shot the ball pretty well tonight. I'm not really worried about him, but he needs to play a big role this season.
This was a pretty sloppy game. I think the freshmen were a little awed by the bright lights of national television. They'd better get used to it. Frazier didn't really handle the ball well at all tonight. Smith missed a big free throw, although the Illini came away with a clutch rebound. In his defense, he had just come back into the game and wasn't really in rythm. This Carolina team is going to be very good in a couple of years, and they'll be pretty solid this year despite all of the player losses. Still, the Illini did lead by 14 at one point, and if this game had been in Champaign or on a neutral floor, I think the final margin would have been a little closer to that.

Still, it's weird not having the same level of intensity watching this team compared to last year. Even when we weren't #1 last year, every game was so important. I remember living and dying with every possession in the Wake Forest game last year knowing that a #1 ranking could be on the line, and that stayed around all season. We're ranked fairly high this year, but no one in their right mind believes the Illini can do anything close to what they did last season. I'm able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the game. That, of course, will all change once conference season begins.

In Westwood, I fortunately changed the channel and watched some of the Simpsons (the episode where Homer goes to space) instead of watching the last few minutes of the first half. Albany went on a 14 point run in that span to tighten the game at the end of the half, and UCLA never pulled away until a lucky possession ended in a Luc Richard Mbah-A Mute offensive rebound and basket that more or less sealed the game. Just another in a long line of lackluster non-conference performances by the Bruins against weak opponents.

The big news, of course, is that Jordan Farmar could miss up to six weeks with a stress fracture. Darren Collison will get big minutes in his absence, which ultimately will be a good thing. It can only help his development. But this will be a very different team at the end of the year, as Farmar, Josh Shipp, and Alfred Aboya return to full health.

Speaking of full health, I've been impressed, yet not surprised, with what Ced Bozeman has given the Bruins this season. Over the first three years, the guy couldn't shoot. That's a problem when you're the point guard, because teams don't have to defend you on the perimeter. Also, he couldn't shoot free throws, which means putting the ball in his hands at the end of the game was a questionable strategy. The only way to improve one's shooting is through volume. You just have to get in the gym and shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. If there's one thing you can do while recovering from a knee injury, it's shoot. It looks like he worked very hard on it over the course of his recovery. In addition to his excellent ballhandling and athletic ability, he's become an outside threat, and a solid performer at the line. This is a major addition to the Bruins' versatility, and by the end of the season, he may be the most valuable, if not necessarily the best, player on the team.

The bad news is that we'll have to wait until February to really see this team at full strength. The good news is that they could very well be at top form for March.

Wings a bunch; Kings not so much

God Damn this team really pisses me off sometimes. Like tonight for instance.

And I like the new rules and all, but I must have missed the part where they outlawed checking.