Sunday, February 28, 2010

We Shall Now Let It ALL Hang Out

Agony.  Ecstasy.  Whatever... it'll be raw nekkid emotion.  The pregame show is on, Don Cherry has mouthed off (leaving 95% of the USA sayin' "Who the Hell was THAT?" to themselves), and we're minutes away from puck drop.  Our beer is poured, the cigar is lit and we're ready for some HOCKEY!


Update:  Oh Shit, Oh Dear.  Milbury is giving us "Hockey For Dummies."  Puh-leeze.  Don't patronize us.  We don't need it.  We don't want it.  STFU.

1320:  Game On!  You'd think I was playing given my heartbeat!

1324:  Luuuu makes his first save.

1326:  BIG pressure by USA!
1332:  Miller makes a big save on a turnover by Backes.  Yow.
1334:  Scramble in front of the Canada net.  Luuuu dodges a bullet.
1336:  The replay shows the puck RIGHT on the goal line.  Bullet, indeed!
1339:  Toews puts it in the net... Canada draws first blood.
1342:  Ryan called for tripping; Canada goes on the PP.
1345:  Great PK by USA; USA forecheck is aggressive and effective.
1352:  Kesler puts a vicious hit on a Canadian; I think he dodged a bullet coz it looked to me like he left his feet on that hit.  End of the first and a gathering of the clans along the boards... Johnson doin' some SERIOUS trash talking!  Ooooh-wie!  Beer me!
Update 1410:  Underway in the seond.  Prosit!
Aiiieee.  Canada on the powerplay.  NOT good. 
1414:  Another excellent PK, and USA goes on the PP!
1415:  Our game?  Rafalski's shot goes way wide, crowd goes "Luuuu!"  Sheesh. 
1416:  F*ck.  Perry scores, 2 -0 Canada.
1419:  Toews off for tripping, USA on the PP.  Let's go, Guys!
1427:  USA puts it in on a deflection.  LUUU!  Kane gets the goal, 2 - 1 Canada. 
1429:  Rafalski makes a beautiful diving defensive play... saves a possible goal! 
1436:  MILLER! 
1438:  I can't keep track of the chances... it's up and back, up and back.  Great chances on both sides, both goalies are standing on their heads. 
1440:  End of the second, SOG are nearly even at 23 - 25 in favor of the Canucks.  The third will be INTENSE.
1451:  Awaiting the third and the patented Canadian Collapse.  (insert big-ass grin here)
1455:  Here we go.  Do or die!
1457:  Clink!  The posts are your friend, Ryan! 
1501:  Miller saves the day.  Again. 
1505:  OK, I'll say sumthin' nice.  LUUUU! 
1511:  HUMONGOUS pressure by Team USA... LUUUU has to cover.  This is about as intense a game as I've EVAH seen! 
1521:  Sid The Kid on a breakaway but lost control of the puck.  No heroics here.
1525:  EVERYTHING rides on this face-off.  Dang... 1:05 left... out of play, faceoff in the Canadian zone.  And Canada calls a timeout.
1530:  Can it get any better?  Can it? Yes, it can... USA for the WIN!
1535:  Roenick and company are pretty good right now.  It pains me to admit that, but it's true.
1540:  Somehow I missed Parise's Ovechkin into the glass impression.  How very freakin' cool.
1550:  My heart!  My heart!
1552:  Dang.  I think I can hear GM Place from here.
1553:  Well, Dang.  And it had to be freakin' CROSBY.  Anyone but Crosby.  DANG.  Congrats, Canada.  You get braggin' rights, KC.  Just don't rub it in TOO much.
1558:  And thank you ALL for watching this with me... you made my day.
Update last:  It kinda hurts... watching the medal presentation.  But ya gotta give it to the Canadian fans for their ovation when Miller got his Silver.  But know this:  this is a YOUNG Team USA, and we'll be back.  This was a near-run thing, and it could have easily been USA for the gold.  You KNOW this is true.  2014: Sochi.  I'll be there.
Postscript:  Break out the beer and the cigars!


Let us not forget there are more important things than hockey games and those things sometimes bind Americans and Canadians together.  An example:
Dear Michael Yon,
Today we were sent your story of February 14, 2010. The “unknown” Canadian is our son Danny.  He is a 23-year-old soldier from Vancouver, Canada.

Your photographs were extraordinary and have impacted so many people here in Canada. There has been an outpouring of affection for the Americans who helped Danny in his moment of need.  For that, we thank you for recording these acts of kindness into history.

Danny's injuries were the result of an explosion on February 12, 2010. Four Canadian soldiers were injured and tragically one Canadian soldier was killed.  Within 20 minutes of the explosion, Danny was airlifted by helicopter to Kandahar.  Upon arrival he received emergency surgery that saved his life and prepared him for the flight to Bagram that you were on. 
Now go read the whole thing, including the backstory linked at the bottom of the post.  You'll be glad you did.

h/t: Lex.


I'm surfing around this morning and see NBC has a poll on its web site, specifically something about who's gonna win the gold medal game today and who's gonna be the most influential player in the game.  Or something.  The poll's intent wasn't entirely clear, to be kind.  So I vote anyway and the web site automajickly displays the results:

I refresh the page, wanting to get back to the first screen so I can give all y'all a link to the poll and get this:

Hunh?  How'd THAT happen?  Frickin' NBC can't even run a web site, let alone a teevee network.  And I have NO ideer where to point ya to take the poll.  Not that your vote would make any difference.  NBC knows what you'd say, like they know what you want to see.  And isn't it curious Sid The Kid and Luuuuu didn't get ONE vote in the refreshed results, contradicting what you see with your very own eyes in the first set?  Sheesh, you'd think this was a presidential poll or sumthin.

Point - Counterpoint

Ah... we're SO tempted to lead with that oh-so-famous (and clichéd) "Jane, you ignorant slut!" line. But we won't. We'll just play it straight. Here's our point article:
Paging Al Michaels: US Will Beat Canada (what follows are a few excerpts)
Ready for the most awaited hockey game in an American generation? Maybe the better question is whether Canada can handle the devastation if it loses to Team USA ... again ... for the second time in a week on Canadian ice. My gosh, Dudley Do-Right just might defect. And recalling the rioting in the Vancouver streets back in 1994, after the Canucks lost to the New York Rangers in a Game 7, well, I'll be avoiding that mess on Granville Street, thank you.
If 1980 produced the victory to be forever known as the Miracle on Ice, winning gold on Canadian ice -- certainly possible, despite the can't-beat-them-twice nonsense -- would be a validation of America as a serious world player. We've had our moments in the sport, grooming future Hall of Famers and forging into the Olympic final eight years ago, where a Canada team pieced together by Wayne Gretzky finally won gold. But this would confirm that America can build champions, three decades after spinning a fairy tale. The Miracle on Ice was a killshot against Soviet rule and helped make the world a better place. A gold medal here has a completely different meaning: It just might be the boon hockey needs to become big in America. There hasn't been a team this cool in the States since, dare I say, the basketball Dream Team.
Beating the Canadians, at their Olympics, would be one of America's epic international sports victories. Now that NBC has figured out why Team USA should be aired lived on the big blowtorch, the Sunday ratings will be gigantic, highest ever for a hockey game nationally, helped by another snowstorm that has socked the East and fed the appetite for warmth and feel-goodism. It isn't often when the U.S. is the underdog battling the perceived behemoth, but that's the way it'll be in hockey until a gold-medal is won without a Disney theme. Canada's coach, Mike Babcock, issued a reminder about supposed supremacy when he crowed after the breakthrough quarterfinal victory over Russia.
"It's going to be one country's game [at the Olympics], but we try to prove on a regular basis that it's ours," Babcock said. "I'm a bit of a redneck, and I think it's ours."
And the money shot:
"There is no pressure," Kesler said. "No one expects us to win."
I do.
Why? We're not overstating matters in suggesting no team in the history of Olympic competition -- if not the history of modern sport -- ever has faced more pressure than the Canadian men's hockey assemblage. The Vancouver Games have been a painful struggle for the host nation after the government foolishly declared it would produce "the best Games ever" and "own the podium" in the competition. The Canadians could salvage some of their lost pride by concluding the Olympics with a gold medal in their mother-lode sport.
But if they fall short? And if they lose to the U.S., a country that has merely 2,050 hockey rinks for 300 million people while Canada has 11,000 for 33 million people? They'll have to place guards on every bridge in the nation, watching for jumpers. In the height of irony, the local police don't want a gold medal. After the Russia victory, a screaming, marching mob took over Robson Street, chanting, "We want USA! We want USA!" Drunken behavior has been an Olympic sport these two weeks, and a Canada gold would launch a night of insanity involving people from throughout the region. "If Canada happens to lose, they'll cry in their beer at home and decide they're not going to get on the SkyTrain," Constable Lindsey Houghton, a spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department, told the New York Times. "If Canada lost [to Russia], Canada would no longer be playing and that would have brought a huge reduction in the number of people coming downtown."
Well.  I dunno if I buy into that "the police don't want a win" thing; the cops in Vancouver have to be as patriotic as any Canadian alive... perhaps more so, given the nature of cops in general.  As for the rest of it?  Few are predicting a US win tomorrow, but Jay Mariotti makes a convincing case.  Read the whole thing.

Now our counterpoint, from Lucas Akroyd, writing at the IIHF's web site:  
VANCOUVER – Shoot down the bald eagle. Imprison the Statue of Liberty. Do whatever it takes. That's the attitude of Canadian fans as the 2010 gold medal game looms.
They're almost as concerned about the prospect of the United States winning the Olympic hockey crown as they are eager to see their own team triumph.
The Americans, who beat Canada 5-3 in preliminary-round action, must lose on Sunday.


You see, most Canadians will at least acknowledge that the Russians have produced some of the world's greatest players, from Valeri Kharlamov to Alexander Ovechkin, and that they play a different, more finesse-based style than Canada, which sometimes prevails. That grudging respect dates back to the 1972 Summit Series, where Team Canada needed Paul Henderson's last-minute goal in Moscow to claim victory. (Something that many Canadians would choose as “the greatest moment in sports history” rather than the 1980 American “Miracle on Ice.”)
To lose to Russia in Vancouver would have been very painful, but not incomprehensible.

However, unfairly or not, the Americans are viewed as cocky interlopers. To have them win would be unbearable. Why? The reasons are multifold.
The average Canadian fan feels that Americans don't really understand hockey. If they did, why, for instance, would FOX TV have experimented with the infamous FoxTrax “glowing puck” between 1996 and 1998 in order to help U.S. viewers more easily spot the little black disc?
It goes further. Many Canadians believe that Americans don't really appreciate the sport that Canada invented. If they did, why are so many NHL markets in the southern United States struggling to keep their attendance up?
Well, the last point might be valid... but those "many Canadians" Mr. Ackroyd speaks of have to be aware of  the legions of rabid American hockey fans in Dee-troit, Boston, Chicago, Denver, and Noo Yawk, among other places, no?  They, and he, are willfully blind, if not.  And those same fans complained long and bitterly about that infamous glowing puck, which is precisely why it went away.  Nope... those points are pure chauvinism, nothing else.

In all fairness I have to admit my counterpoint article is weak, focusing as it does on Canadian fans rather than Canadian hockey players and Team Canada's record in this tournament.  This is better:
Oh say can’t you see, you damn Yankees, that our glowing hearts are pounding with the need to win Olympic hockey gold?
So unhand that medal, you rapacious hockey interlopers. Don’t you know there’s been a script written here, one that has been read to us at every bedtime — never mind ‘round the clock for the last year — that Canada is the master of the hockey universe and the entire success of these Olympic games, nay, our very identity, can only be truly forged by mining hockey gold on home ice?
It all comes down to this. The dream final. One game, one final three-period showdown set for high (Pacific) noon Sunday. An entire nation wrapped in red and white, poised on the edge of its chair, brew in hand, praying for the only gold medal that really matters.
No pressure, boys, no pressure.
Or as one enlightened U.S. hockey fan noted on the San Francisco Chronicle website: “We’re comin’ for ya’, hosers! Let’s get it on, aay? Ya’ back-bacon eatin’, Molson guzzlin’, muckluck wearin’, very polite sons-a- mooses.”
Don’t even think about it.
Sure, the Americans are hungry for their first hockey gold since 1980’s Miracle on Ice. But it would hardly mean as much to them as it does to us. The U.S. of A. can already claim more hardware in these Olympics than a repository at Fort Knox. Hockey gold would just be adding another trinket to their overflowing treasure chest.
And it would be greedy. The U.S. is already spilling over with Olympic riches. The Americans have Apolo Ohno, Shaun White and - be still the beating hearts of every hetero male — Lindsey Vonn. They have their baseball, basketball, even real football (sorry CFL). They have their Super Bowl, their Masters, their World Series.
Can’t they just leave hockey to us?
We invented it. Finders keepers. Or as Michael J. Fox said in his inspiring spot: “For Canadians, hockey isn’t just a game. It’s our game.”
There are some well-turned phrases in this article and some valid points.  But when all is said and done it's still buck-nekkid boosterism.  Yet it's worth the read.  Short, too.

So.  All the foregoing aside... here's my point.  I've been reluctant to call the gold medal game because I've felt the teams were too evenly matched and the intangibles too great to make a call.  But after further reading and reflection I think USA will take the gold medal tonight.  Our boys have come together like no other team in the tournament.  Team Canada has been spotty by comparison and that might be too kind.  They almost threw away the game against the Slovaks Friday night and should feel damned lucky to have escaped.  They won't be nearly as lucky tonight.  The game may be close but the Americans will prevail.

It's destiny, eh? 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Well, we gave it the ol' college try, which is to say we took our first beer on the verandah today.  We shall take our second indoors, coz while the weather was tolerable it most certainly wasn't comfortable.  We could have handled it were it not for the cold, cold breeze and the overcast, what with it being barely 59 degrees outside, if that.  The Stones provided our soundtrack, chief among the selections being this:

We have to say the imagery in this vid is just too cute by half.  But it ain't the images we're on about... it's the music.  And the lyrics.
Making love and breaking hearts
It is a game for youth
But I'm not waiting on a lady
I'm just waiting on a friend 
Friends are hard to find, yanno?  That said... the lyrics to the Stones' songs are just one of the reasons I think they are the greatest rock 'n' roll band the world has ever seen or will ever see.  The playin' comes first, of course, but their lyrics do contain some of the greatest truths ever put on tape.  "It's only rock 'n' roll," after all.  But I like it.

Here's a completely unrelated musing: the bronze game is this evening... which brings up a horrifying thought... whatever shall we do after Sunday when this hockeyfest ends?  Aiiieee!

Update, later that same day:  Well... just one more and then we'll go...

One of our faves, this.  And now it's time for a nap.  After which we shall do dinner and hockey.  Dang but life is hard these days.  

Snippets From the AOR VIII

The First Mrs. Pennington didn't raise no fools.  SN1 sent along a couple of photos last evening, what with him having read my lament about not receiving any fodder for these such posts.  So... here's SN1 and his boss... Col. Hopkins... at a meeting of the Kandahar AB Maintenance Officers Literary Society and Smoking Salon:

 And the major by hisownself:

The occasion is a leadership book club cum seminar held occasionally at Kandahar, which we covered in some detail here.  The gentlemen light their cigars and break out the non-alcoholic beer once the serious bid'niz is complete.  And a good time is had by all.  Relatively speaking, of course.

In other things Air Force... I cribbed this lil blurb from the Fortuna Air Force Station veterans discussion group:
The Enlisted Man

Of all the services, the Air Force has the most intelligent enlisted
people.  This is not just theory; here's proof:

Take the Army.  When the stuff hits the fan, the young Army private
wakes up to the bellowing of his first sergeant.  He grabs his BDUs out of his footlocker, dresses, run to the chow-hall for breakfast on the fly, then jumps in his tank.  Pretty soon, the company commander, a captain, arrives, gives him a big salute, and says "Give 'em Hell, soldier!"

Now take the Navy.  When the stuff hits the fan, the Sailor is eating
  breakfast in the mess.  He hustles the 20 feet to his battle station, stuffing extra pastries in his pocket as he goes.  There he sits, in the middle of a big, steel target, with nowhere to run, when the captain comes on the MC and says "Give 'em Hell, sailors!  I salute you!"

Now take the Marines.  When the stuff hits the fan, the young Marine is
kicked out of bed by his First Sergeant and puts on the muddy set of BDUs he was wearing on the field exercise he was part of three hours earlier.  He gets no breakfast, but is told to feel free to chew on his boots.  He runs out and forms up with his rifle.  Pretty soon, his company commander, a captain, comes out, gives the Marine a sharp salute, and says "Give 'em Hell, Marine!"

And then there's the Air Force.  When the stuff hits the fan, the airman
receives a phone call at his off-base quarters.  He gets up, showers, shaves, and puts on the fresh uniform he picked up from the BX cleaners the day before.  He jumps in his car and cruises through the McDonald's drive-thru for an Egg McMuffin and Coca-Cola on his way into work.  Once at work, he signs in on the duty roster.  He proceeds to his A-10, spends 30 minutes pre-flighting it, and signs off the forms.  Pretty soon the pilot, a young captain, arrives, steps into the jet, and starts the engines.  Our young airman stands at attention, gives the aviator a sharp salute, and says "Give 'em Hell, Captain!" 
Heh.  I have it on good authority it ain't quite like that in the AOR.  But it's close.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Not To Flog the Dead Horse Or Anything...

But.  The LA Times has a sensible POV in this piece: "Medals, yes, fun, no: Olympic thought police take aim at champagne-chugging Canadian women."  Excerpts:
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Wipe that smile off your face! The Olympic fun police are on the prowl.

It wasn't enough that International Olympic Committee Mr. Miserable-in-Chief Jacques Rogge had to sour the last games in Beijing with his dour criticism that sprinter Usain Bolt's celebratory showboating is "not the way we perceive being a champion."

This time, just as everyone was having a little fun at the Vancouver Games drenched in tragedy, it is Canada's gold medal-winning women hockey players who have had to apologize for being happy. Champagne-and-cigars happy.

Long after the joyous crowds had gone home, with only cleaners, venue staff and journalists — busily telling the story of Canada's 2-0 win over the United States — still in the building, the women went back onto their home ice at Canada Hockey Place with cold ones in their hands and had themselves a party.

Anyone with a sense of humor couldn't help but laugh at the photos of Haley Irwin and Meghan Agosta on their backs on the ice, sharing a fat cigar, or Irwin pouring champagne down the throat of Tessa Bonhomme. Goalies Charline Labonte and Kim St-Pierre posed at center ice, lying on their stomachs with a giant bottle of champagne resting just above the Olympic rings. Rebecca Johnston clowned around on the ice-resurfacing machine.

Read the whole thing. It's good to see not everyone has lost their bleeding minds.  It appears the IOC has backed way down on this lil brouhaha, as well.  Too bad they didn't just keep their mouths shut to begin with.

Right Now

A trailer park moonrise... and sunset.

Break Out the Beer!

 Photo:  Getty Images

USA - Finland begins in a few short minutes.  Dunno if we'll live blog or not.  But rest assured we shall be watching, fresh from our mid-morning nap.


Update:  Oh, Kiprusoff... you f*cked up BIG TIME!  USA 1, Finland 0. 

Update:  USA scores on the powerplay at 6:22!  Yay Parise!

Update:  Powerplay clinic in progress.  USA 3, Finland 0.  The last goal a beauty by Erik Johnson. 

Update:  Kiprusoff is gone.  USA 4, Finland 0. Kane scores... USA scoring at will.  Backstrom in for Finland.

Update:  Kane gets his second of the period, Rafalski gets his second assist.  Blowout in progress.  USA 5, Finland 0.  Jeeze... I can't keep up.  Two goals in 15 seconds, the last by Stastny.  Zow.  6 - 0.

Update:  Backstrom makes a save!  YAY!  /snark 

Update:  End of the first... SOG: USA 13, Finland 4.

Update:  Gettin' chippy!  Ruutu gets a misconduct, USA on the PP yet again.  Finland's defense steps up, USA fails to get a shot on the PP.


Update:  A few moments ago... Premature celebration, aka "Solidarity!"

Update:  End of the second.  USA defense is holding the fort, the pipes are Miller's friend.  Still 6 - 0, USA.  SOG:  22 - 11, USA.  Beer me! 

Update:  Bettman.  Asshat.  Nothing to add. 

Update:  A bit of "Inside Teeball" talk by the commentators about the endboards at The Joe.  The Great Unwashed won't get it but I do.  Heh.  Still 6 - 0.

Update:  Miller pulled in favor of Tim Thomas.  Team USA obviously feels the game is in hand.

Update:  Finland (Mettinen) gets a face-saving goal at 14:46.  Well... stuff happens.  The outcome ain't in doubt, tho.

Update last:  Well.  Two statement games, two identical outcomes.  You're next, Canada... assuming you win your game tonight.  Your wimmen might have taken the gold, but the outcome of the men's gold medal game is in SERIOUS doubt.  Bring it!

Fall Out

We fell asleep on the couch earlier this evening sometime between 1900 and 2000 hrs and awoke just after 0100 hrs this morning.  Such are the benefits of the unstructured life of an elderly geezer.  But Hey!  Six hours of sleep are enough for most people, right?  The only "problem" I have with this concept is... Dr. Pepper?  Or coffee?  We've had enough beer for awhile, so that's right out.  We opted for Dr. Pepper to start and will move to coffee around 0400 hrs, unless we decide to head back to bed.

So.  What does one do in the dead of a winter's night?  Here's a clue:

Click for larger, of course.  This is what immediately caught our attention:  "Beery gold-medal celebration could get Canada's women's team in trouble."  (That link is mostly photos; story here.)
More than half an hour after they clinched their third consecutive Olympic title, they came back onto the ice. Beer was involved in their festivities.

The International Olympic Committee plans to investigate the matter and whether the players' celebration outside the locker room is harmful to their image and the game's.
Oh, for cryin' out loud. The IOC and its Canadian subsidiary need to get a damned life.  Of COURSE the women were gonna celebrate and of COURSE they were gonna knock back a couple.  As for me?  I wanna party with these girls:
More than half an hour after they beat the United States 2-0 on Thursday, the players came back from the locker room and staged a party on ice — swigging from bottles of champagne, guzzling beer and smoking cigars.
 I wanna party with Gillian Apps. She looks like my kinda gal.

And ride the Zamboni with Colleen!

"Swigging from bottles of champagne" is all well and good, but it's the guzzling beer part that I like.  And driving the Zamboni.  But not at the same time, of course.

VANCOUVER - Hockey Canada apologized Thursday for an impromptu party the Olympic women's hockey team threw for itself on the Canada Hockey Place ice after winning the gold medal.
Canadian players, still wearing their uniforms and with gold medals draped around their necks, celebrated their victory by drinking champagne and beer at centre ice following a 2-0 win over the United States.
The International Olympic Committee said it will investigate the celebration, which included drinking by one of Canada's underage players.
The underage drinking accusation?  The woman in question is 18, the legal drinking age in Alberta but not in BC (where the age is 19).  OK, letter of the law and all that.  But still... if anything offends me about all this it ain't the partying, it's the IOC.  Shut the Hell up and go do something productive, like importing snow or sumthin'.

In other comment... here's a blurb from the WaPo:
In front of a raucous Vancouver crowd ringing cowbells and frantically waving thousands of maple leaf flags, Canada thrived on its home fans' relentless cheers. The Canadians dominated every aspect of the game, earning their 15th straight Olympic victory.
Playing with a consistency and passion its men's team can only hope to emulate this weekend, Canada hasn't lost at the Olympics since 1998, when the Americans won their sport's first gold.
Cherry, the Hockey Night In Canada commentator and radio show personality, appeared on the Jim Rome show this week during which U.S. commentators ragged him about Canada’s loss to the Americans.

“They were giving it to us (Canadians) pretty good,” he said. It was, ‘This is your game. How goes it feel? And you’re going to lose again.’ They were kidding, but they weren’t kidding, if you know what I mean.”

“I said we are going to win the gold. This was before the game against Russia. I said, we’re going to meet your guys in the final and we’re going to kick your ass.”
Ol' Don always has "a few words" when it comes to Canadian hockey players, all of 'em good, never bad.  He saves the bad-mouthing for the Europeans mostly, but Americans certainly aren't exempt.  He's the homer's homer, in every aspect... and anyone who has ever watched Hockey Night In Canada knows exactly what I'm on about here.  Cherry is most definitely one of those guys you either love or hate... and I fall into the former category.  But he's wrong this time.  Are you listening, Team USA?  Don't be lettin' us down.

And now back to reading more of those 4,578 articles about the wonderfulness of Canadian wimmen hockey players.

Update, later that same morning:  Gregg Krupa, writing for The Detroit News:
The Canada Women's Ice Hockey team returned to the ice long after almost all of the spectators had left Canada Hockey Place -- and, boy, did they party!
It was fun to see, and it reminded me of celebrations after winning the Stanley Cup, especially back in the old days, when Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio and the boys used to douse each other with champagne, drink beer and whip out the stogies, at the old Olympia.
We do not see too many cigars involved in the latter day versions.
Steve Keough, a spokesman for the COC pointed out something that most of us in Metro Detroit know about our Canadian neighbors.

"In terms of the actual celebration, it's not exactly something uncommon in Canada," Keogh said.

Do you think so, eh?

I wonder where this all will lead?

But, to be perfectly candid, I am a little bit more interested in whether the cigars were Cubans, and if there is any way, at all, of me driving a Zamboni, before I leave.
Heh.  Read the whole thing.  I know from whence Mr. Krupa speaks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Game

The game is about to begin and the preparations here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington are nearly complete.  We have only to choose our beer, pour it, cut the cigar, and all that.  Nothing else needs be done.

We've been watching the odds and ends of the build-up to this game on MSNBC and the thing that stuck with us was a quote from a Team USA player:  "EVERYTHING we do is focused on one end: beat Canada."  Ooh.  This is gonna be GOOD!

Update:  Our beer choice, in honor of today's game...

Go Ladies!  USA!  USA!

Update 1642:  Canada on the PP, no dice.  USA PK was excellent.  Jenny Potter on a breakaway for USA immediately after, stoned.  Fast paced game, no obvious butterflies or other negatives.

Update 1646:  Canada on the PP again... on a blatant dive by Canada.  One worries about the officiating.

Update 1649:  USA on the PP...  and now a  5 on 3!

Update 1655:  Canada goalie Shannon Szabados made magnificent saves.  And then Canada (Poulin-Nadeau) scores! 1 - 0 Canada.

Update 1701:  Oh Shit, Oh Dear.  Canada scores during a 4 on 4.  2 - 0 Canada. 

Update 1706:  End of the first... Canada 2, USA 0.  Shots: 8 - 7 in favor of Canada according to the NBC web site, more in favor of USA according to NBC announcers.  Two obvious Canada offsides NOT called by refs.  But it is what it is...

Update 1727:  Canada takes not one but TWO delay of game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass.  USA on a 5 on 3 for over a minute... 

1731:  USA fails to convert; Canada PK awesome... not to mention Szabados is spectacular in goal.

1737:  Cahow off for high-sticking, USA NEEDS to stay out of the box!  The game is getting pretty physical... 

1742:  Ruggiero off for "interference," aka roughing.  These women are tough.

1745:  USA successful on the PK; Canada (Engstrom) penalized for a dive, USA on the PP. 

1750:  End of the second.  USA puts tremendous pressure on to no avail.  Still 2 - 0, Canada.  Szabados is the difference in this game so far.  Shots 21 - 18 in favor of the US.

1818:  Half of the third period is gone.  Up and back, excellent chances on both sides but no goals.  Tick tick, tick tick. 

1820:  Vetter out of her net for an audacious poke check, my heart leaps into my mouth... but she gets away with it.  Omigawd. 

1829:  2:44 to go and I think I see the moving finger on the wall...  Dang.

Update last:  It's over... Canada takes the gold.  Excellent goaltending and stifling defense were the keys to this game.  GM Place is rockin', and rightly so.  Congrats, Canada.

Just A Few Things

Looking out my window this morning... and it's still morning for ME, Gentle Reader...I'm struck by the remarkable similarities between the weather and the way I feel today.  That's to say gray, overcast, dark, and cold... but with the occasional ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds every so often.  We didn't have a good night last evening.  But this too shall pass.


SN1 sent along a link to an excellent article by Michael Rosenberg, writing in Sports Illustrated.  Here's an excerpt:
So this Olympic experiment falls into the same category as Gary Bettman's southern strategy and cutting down on fighting and messing with important components of the game ...
Except for one thing:
Well, maybe not everybody. You can't get everybody to like anything in this world, not even pizza or the Rolling Stones or sunshine. But damn near everybody of consequence likes having NHL players in the Olympics.
The diehards who claim they own the sport and understand it better than anybody else love it. I have coined a term for these people -- "Canadians." They love the chance to show they produce the best hockey players in the world. They love watching so much talent on the ice at once. In a country of 34 million people, I believe only one guy opposes NHL participation in the Olympics. They took that guy ice fishing. He was the fish.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

O Canada!

4 - 1 at the end of the first.  Team Canada gels jells when it really counts!  I'm thinkin' we'll see Ilya Bryzgalov in goal for Russia when the second period begins...

Update:  I was wrong... Nabokov is still in goal for Россия. 

Update 2:  Who'd a thunk it?  6 - 1.  Whoops, 6 - 2.  Nabokov pulled after Canada's sixth goal. 

Update 3:  7 - 2, Canada.  Perry scores his second of the second period.  Ya might as well turn out the lights, Russia... party's over.

Update 4:  Gonchar scores for Russia, making it 7 - 3.  I don't think Russia has it in 'em to bring it even... this hole's too deep.

Update last:  Well, that was a beauty of a game if you're Canadian, less so if you're anyone else.  The game was never close, what with Canada taking it to the Rooshians three minutes into the game and never looking back.  One really wonders what the Hell happened, given that the Russians only gave up six goals in their first three games.  This has to be one of the biggest hockey collapses in Olympic history.

So the stage is now set for a US - Canada rematch, assuming both the Americans and the Canadians win their next game.  Oh, Lawsy... won't that be sumthin!


Team USA puts one in the net with 0.0 on the game clock at the end of the second period: no goal.  ONE frickin' tenth of a second in a zero - zero game.  Hiller has his form back; the shots are 32 - 8 in favor of the US.  The Swiss defense has been suffocating.  This one is a nail-biter... to say the VERY least.

Update 1442 hrs:  YES!  USA finally puts one in the net on the power play.  Parise makes it 1 - 0 USA.

Update 1450:  EXCELLENT PK by USA, score remains 1 - 0.

Update 1512:  Intense!  1:43 left in the third, the Swiss pull Hiller.  Wow.

Update 1514:  USA with the empty-netter with 11.2 left on the clock!!  Yes!  USA 2, Switzerland 0!!

Bear Whiz Beer!

So... this falls in the "Firing of Random Synapses" category.  I give you the Firesign Theatre...

Bear Whiz Beer is no longer brewed as near as I can tell.  But there was a time in the way-way-back when it was a favorite.  Well check that.  Firesign Theatre was the favorite; I owned every album they ever made at one point in time.  It was part of that left-wing Sensitive Seventies Kinda Guy gestalt, yanno?


So.  BIG hockey day today.  We'll be glued to our teevee beginning at 1300 hrs for the USA - Switzerland game, but the marquee match comes on at 1700 hrs.  I'm speaking of the Canada - Russia game, of course.   I'm VERY sure our Canadian friends don't want to see a replay of this... from our back pages:

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Russia 2, Canada 0

So Россия wins. 2-0. (Россия is MUCH better than “CCCP,” donchya think?) Wow. What a game! Great skating, very physical, excellent goal tending. Nabokov, of the Sharks, played brilliantly in getting the shut-out and the win. Brodeur was simply excellent and it’s a shame he has to lose this game. Brodeur had NO chance on Ovechkin’s goal, and the set-up pass from Kozlov to Ovechkin will be a feature of any Olympic highlight reel yet to be produced. Speaking of Ovechkin, there’s absolutely NO justice in this world if Alexander Ovechkin doesn’t win the Calder Trophy. I know we didn’t get to see Crosby in the Olympics, and that’s too bad. Given the way Team Canada played (dismal power-play, general lack of offense), perhaps Crosby should have been on the team. Oh well, it is what it is, on that count. But Ovechkin has played superbly, and he got the game-winner today.

The last minute theatrics in this game were excellent. Canada pulled its goalie with about a minute left and then Malkin (Russia) gets a game misconduct in front of the Russian net while Canada was swarming in front. It looks like Canada can tie it up at this point, what with a man advantage for the rest of the game, but then Chris Pronger takes a stupid, stupid penalty and Canada’s man advantage is gone. Brodeur returns to the net as the face-off is in the Canadian zone after the penalty. Ten seconds later Kovalev puts it in the net to clinch the game…with 23 seconds left. And the clock runs out. Russia gets Finland next…
Oh my, the Canadian women’s Gold ain’t gonna come near enough to smoothing down the ruffled feathers when Canada goes out in the quarter finals. Ignominy!
Note that the players on the Russian side are nearly all the same. But Team Canada has God's Gift To Hockey playing in these Olympics, so things might could be different this time around.  One never knows, though, and the smart money is probably on Russia.  One thing I DO know... it's gonna be one helluva game.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just a Quickie...

... to note that everyone pretty much assumed Team USA would play Switzerland tomorrow.  That may not come to pass, as Belarus tied Switzerland 2 - 2 at the end of the second period.  Jonas Hiller is NOT having a good day.

This is a good thing for Team USA.

Update 1542 hrs:  Switzerland in the shootout.  So it will be USA - Switzerland tomorrow.  We can do this.