Sunday, March 30, 2008

Somebody smash this man's keyboard...

I should really loan my cat out to people who need their computers destroyed. Case in point is FoxNews "personality" Bill O'Reilly. When we last heard from Mr. No Spin Zone, he was trying to tell us that he wasn't racist by musing that a restaurant in Harlem did not feature people screaming the f-word at the top of our lungs. Which of course is the reason why the Klan hates black people: they despise people who use obscenities. The whole shebang was lampooned mercilessly in the press (Opie and Anthony in particular had some fun at Bill's expense) and at the end of day, the problem isn't that it Bill O'Reilly is a racist - he probably isn't - he problem is that he used the lamest possible explanation that he isn't. It was even dumber than the old "some of my best friends are black people!" line because he had to use an idiotic stereotype (all African Americans scream motherf***er at random intervals, right?) to prove his completely unneccessary point. The lesson is: if you don't want people to think you're a racist DON'T TRY SO HARD.

Well, all that was good fun, but unfortunately, Mr. O'Reilly writes a weekly column that if anyone was paying attention, would be just as heavily parodied. In the most recent column, he chastises the liberal media (this is always a sign that your column is going to suck) for not reporting on infighting in the Daily Kos between Hilary Clinton supporters and Barack Obama supporters. Here's the problem with Bill O'Reilly's column: does anyone really care what the Daily Kos has to say about anything? Aside from die hard liberals who already hate Hilary anyways? I mean, why would the general media pick up a story on what some lunatics from the far left have to say on their message boards? The only people who would care are conservatives who are hard up for column ideas and people on Daily Kos. For everyone else, this is a colossal waste of time. Hey, at least the Daily Kos now has something in common with most of the people who take Fox News seriously: they both hate Hilary.

This would be like me trying to leak to the general media that the college hockey community really hates small burying rodents and is generally hostile towards men in striped jersies who officiate hockey games. It's a total non-story.

Sadly, that's not the dumbest thing I've ever read in a Bill O'Reilly column. Earlier, Mr. O'Reilly decided that it was worth it to once again chastise the liberal media (do you sense a pattern here?) for not embracing the wholesome family goodness that is "High School Musical 2: Electric Boogaloo". Could the reason why the "liberal media" is not fawning over themselves be because everyone is sick to the gills with this tween media silliness? Especially parents of children from the ages of 6 to 11 who already had to mortgage the f***ing house to buy "Hannah Montana" tickets? Could that be it? Or is the liberal media just really really hateful towards poor Zak Effron? Either way, I do get the impression that if given the decision between watching the family unfriendly, expletive laden "Goodfellas" or "High School Musical Two: The Wrath of Khan", Bill O'Reilly is going to chose "Goodfellas" just like the rest of us.

I'll save you a seat Bill. Just make sure you bring the popcorn.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Before anyone points this out...

One last blog entry for today: I had BC losing to UNH. That didn't happen.
I had UVM losing to BU. That also didn't happen.

I can't predict anything. This is why I didn't fill out a March Madness bracket this year.

However, I was right that the Patriots wouldn't go undefeated last year. I hate it when that happens.

I have these great ideas, you see...

I have these wonderful ideas for a blog, but I'm probably not going to do them. With college hockey season ending, I need to expand my focus. There won't be a lot of news about PC until the schedule gets announced. Following the Frozen Four, there won't be lot of college hockey to talk about at all. So, that leaves other sports, and I feel like I've already covered that.

Here are a list of topics, I'd like to cover in my blog in the near future - while I'm waiting for the NBA/NHL playoffs and for the Red Sox to start playing "important games" (who the HELL cares what the team looks like in April or May?!?!?).

Spygate! I'm so sick of Spygate that I could vomit chess pieces. People keep "hinting" that they have dirt on the Patriots and ESPN keeps following along like a pack of golden retrievers with learning disabilities. So far, we have seen NOTHING concrete aside from the the tapes that Roger Goodell destroyed. And the reason the NFL destroyed the tapes is because he didn't want them being leaked the press. The press won't let this go because of two reasons:

1. They hate the Patriots, probably because the Pats aren't as cool, exciting, (or as cocaine addled) as the Dallas Cowboys. When did hating someone become an actual newsworthy event? My blog isn't fantastic, but it would be twenty times worse if I spent all my time berating the Lakers, Canandiens, Yankees, Rangers FC, BU or any other team I was pissed off at. Maybe I'm missing this and I should just start a "I hate Duke" page and bond with every UNC hoops fan in the country. Yee haw!

2. Sports journalism is about nine times more boring than you think. Why else would Bill Simmons spend any amount of time comparing the coaching staff of the Sacramento Kings to a minor character from "Karate Kid II"? Oooh, Barry Bonds used steriods? You don't say?

I grow weary of hearing "Where there's smoke,there's fire" when no one can actually point out that there is indeed smoke.

Cheesy Rock Three Way Dance: I might actually do this one. Who is more cheesy?

Come on, don't you want to know if "Don't Stop Believing" is really sillier than "Come Sail Away" or "Hot Blooded"? I feel like I would have to reference the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" episode where the Mooninites stole the Foreigner belt and Carl had to defend Loverboy.

Why I no longer follow professional wrestling: I know someone will make fun of me for this, but I used to like wrestling. I liked it during the Hulk Hogan era of the WWF. I liked it during the revival of the late nineties with WCW, WWF, and ECW - the one with Goldberg, Stone Cold, the Rock, HHH, and Chris Jericho. And I came back briefly when Vince McMahon resurrected ECW. But now I don't like it because it's stupid and Jenny makes fun of me when I watch it. Actually, maybe I don't need to expound on this topic...

I give up, here's random Chili Guy quotes:
"Can't go back to Dedham Supreme nevah who I am!"
"Oh I see, again with the gift cards! Whatever happened to signings, do the right thing, and family problems?"
"Ya gotta take the money, Kadolpho!"
"Point blank, I'm never slow. Point blank, he's a little slow."
"David Ortiz can't carry this Buffalo Bills franchise."
"If I asked you for 13 million eights - 13 million billion eights, do think you could get that to finance this deal?"
"OJ, I never heard of no OJ, but if you want the real Mark Furman, I'll tell you who the f----ing guy is, right here!"
"The Vatican is the big guy today."
"We're looking at a conference in the city of Boston or the state of Massachusetts on RACKETEERING charges!"

Ghost Hunters: Why don't they ever find a ghost? I mean, wouldn't they get lucky eventually?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Let's stay in Japan, shall we...

I was as skeptical as anyone about the Red Sox opening their season in Japan. The trip is too far, Dice-K's wife is pregnant, the games will be on at odd hours and the Sox will have 2 less games of Spring Training - by this time you should know the objections by heart. Well, I was wrong.

I like having the games at 6 AM.

For one thing, it eliminates the danger of accidentally hearing the Dennis and Callahan show. It also adds some spice to your morning: you can watch the games BEFORE you go to work! And it opens up the rest of the evening; Jenny and I had plenty of time to watch the Bruins (who actually won a game) and "the Riches" without having to worry baseball. Work is much more fun when you can spend half of your time worrying about a baseball game. And my cat was so happy about the arrangement that he did NOT try to kill me last night. Jonathan Papelbohn's insanity seems less insane at 7AM than it does at any other time of day. Hell, even Manny looks like normal when I'm essentially comatose.

As I said, baseball games in the early morning are a good thing. I understand that the Sox wouldn't want to move to Japan or anything quite that drastic. But perhaps as a compromise, they could come back to the US and play more afternoon games. On weekends. Like they used to all of two years ago.

Random Rants:

- Two Hockey East teams make the NCAA's. That's down from five last year which was also not a great year for the league. If neither BC nor UNH make the Frozen Four, this is officially the worst year in Hockey East history. I wasn't quite aware of how precarious UVM and BU were positioned, but seeing both teams out of consideration wasn't something I wanted.

-Speaking of college hockey, the WCHA and CCHA tournaments made for fun viewing last weekend, especially when Doug Woog said something weird (twice every period). The ECAC championship game was okay, but the broadcast quality was horrendous. You couldn't make out the orange in Princeton's jerseys and it looked like Harvard was the team in BLACK. The Hockey East championship game was extraordinarily dull - especially in comparison to the goalie optional semi game between BC and UNH that went 3 over time periods. I was fast asleep by the team BU and UVM got to the second period of the next game.

-The Celtics have a 2 game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Bruins played their best game of the season at Toronto. Why can't we have two good teams at the same time?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hockey East Semi-finals Preview

Once again, Joe Bertagna gets what he wants (well, maybe not a surprise appearance by the Black Bears) and Jon doesn't. You think this would teach me a valuable lesson about watching Hockey East, but it never does. At any rate, here's my break down on the HE semi finals.

UNH vs BC: I don't know how Jerry York is going to deal with having to coach against the team that has a pulse, do you? Normally, I would say BC's playoff experience would carry the day here, but this is offset by the fact that the Kitties have become a juggernaut during the second half of the season. My feeling is that they have too much firepower and Brian Regan is certainly better than Joe Muse. The Kitties advance, but in a closer game than you'd think.

BU vs UVM: The caveat for this game is that if the Catamounts get any kind of lead, Joe Fallon and the neutral zone defense will make it stick. The problem is BU is on such a hot streak right now that I doubt the Terriers will give them that luxury. UVM might be looking for one goal, BU is looking for 3. The Terriers advance.

Finals: UNH/BU: It is rather appropriate that that the two hottest teams in HE would meet in the finals. I think its a close game, but Regan is better than Bennett and that's the difference. The Kitties add the tournament trophy to their trophy case.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Well, that was quick...

With yet another Friar season in the books, it behooves me to analyze what went wrong, what went right and what needs work. To whit:

Season Highlights:
-Taking 3 out of 4 points from then #5 UMASS
-Sweeping Maine at Alfond
-Taking four points from NU in one weekend
-Beating the defending national champions at GLI
-Great OT wins over UVM and UML
-Tyler Sims breaking the shutout record
-Taking 5 points from BC
-Clobbering Brown 8-0.

Seaon Lowlights:
-Everything else.

What needs work:
-PC needs a sniper. Or two.
-Physical presence in our forwards. It is wwaaaayyyyyy too easy for bigger teams (BU, ahem!) to press PC into the boards and hold them there.
-Abandon Pooley hockey ONCE AND FOR ALL. The past two weekends have seen a return to the Dump and Watch, cataclysmic defensive turnovers, and undisciplined penalties. This needs to end. NOW.
-Can we please figure out how to get a power play goal?
-A good goaltender to spell Ryan Simpson. Or, more accurately, start.
-Whatever Tim Army does before the playoffs, needs to stop IMMEDIATELY. The team has played a grand total of one competetive playoff game in the past 3 years. The scores of the other games: 4-0, 4-0, 6-0, 5-1, and 5-1. That is beyond pathetic.

The last month of hockey has absolutely poisoned my outlook for this team and extinguished any hope that this will be anything more than long drawn out rebuilding process. I'll still be back for next season of course, but I'm not going to get my hopes up. For a while, this team was #14 in the polls, over the bubble for an NCAA slot and within sniffing distance of second place. The wheels came off the wagon during the Merrimack weekend and - if you discount the win and tie against BC - never came back on. The team was miserable during final series and BU and even worse against a BC team they had OWNED in the regular season. This is the second time in three seasons that the team has gone on a protracted slump at the end of a season. Until PC can finish with home ice and show some pulse during the post season, there is nothing to make me think this won't keep happening.

To make matters worse, UVM finally got home ice, UMASS will probably rebound from their horrible finish, UML is getting better, NU is getting better, Merrimack is getting MUCH better and - this is the scary part - I very much doubt Maine will be down for very long. PC's failure to get anything done during a three year period where the league was arguably as week as it has ever been is very discouraging.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rant of the week: Jon is a slacker!

I apologize for the fact that there was no rant of the week last week.

I know that no one was looking for one, but I will not offer that as an excuse.

Now, here is what Providence needs to do to advance to the TD Banknorth Garden:

Score a ****ing goal: The only thing worse than being swept by BU is being swept by BU without scoring a goal. Unbelievable. I understand that the Terriers have turned around their horrible goaltending from earlier this year, but not scoring a single goal is still unacceptable. Obviously, PC needs to score goals to win in this series.

Improve on the powerplay: This ties into the above point, but if you want to jump start your offense, you have to figure out a way to score on the power play. The play did improve in the 2-0 loss at BU, but not enough to score a goal, obviously.

Shut down Nathan Gerbe: This might be the tallest task of all (no pun intended) because Gerbe is by far the most talented player on the ice for both teams. Tyler Sims came up HUGE against Gerbe in the season series and shut him down of a few odd man rushes in the 2-2 tie at the Coffin. If they can keep this up, PC gives themselves a chance to advance.

Be Opportunistic: BC made some horrible horrible defensive and goaltending gaffs in the season series. PC needs to pounce on these.

Weather the storm: As the game goes on, BC's advantage is talent becomes more obvious. PC HAS to build up a big enough lead - or have enough in reserve- to weather these third period surges. BC's dominance in the first few years of Army's reign was due to PC running out of gas at the end of the game.

Stay out of the box: Self explanatory.

Whatever you did in the first two games at Conte, repeat: This was a good matchup for PC this year. There's no reason why that success can't be repeated. Except for the fact that God hates PC athletics and He enjoys mocking us.

Further Rants:
-The Bruins made no trades before the deadline, and the fan base has been rewarded with one of the most PATHETIC ongoing string of hockey games I've ever seen. Eight goals in eight games? Sigh.

-Kevin Walsh has as much "dirt" on the Patriots as I have on Paris Hilton. Someone smash ESPN on the head with the bowling ball and tell them to stop talking about story where the proof is "hidden". What next ESPN? A startling expose on Bigfoot?

-I can not for the life of me imagine Kevin Garnett kicking back at night and chilling out to Phil Collins. Sorry, I can't see it...

-Was that the end of Tim Welsh? Or is there something even worse on the horizon for PC's basketball team. Incidentally, if UCONN is really that good, would they have lost to the Lame Duck Friars TWICE?!?!?

-Are people really freaking out about the Red Sox struggling through spring training? Honestly?

-Bobby Knight on ESPN last night actually did a pretty good job. I'm just waiting for him to throw a chair at Digger Phelps' head.

-I've given props to the WCHA Whining Blog before and I'll do it again. I'd say we need a Hockey East version of that blog, but since UNH Fans were chosen as a "whiner of the week" that idea might be redundant. Still, I can't see the recent winner - a MSU-M player who went after one of his own fans - being beaten any time soon.

-Lock up your women and children! The Pinheads MIGHT be back!

-Now that the Hockey East regular season is at an end, I can say unequivocally that "Jack Parker is a man of many jackets" is the best Bob Norton quote of the year.

-I know nothing about Joe Bertagna's religious life, but I have to feel he's praying for UNH, BU, UVM and BC to get to the Gahden next weekend. And I'm hoping just as hard for the opposite.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hockey East playoffs! Its ffffaaaannnntttasssstttic!

I've said it before, I'll say it again: the greatest event that could ever happen in Hockey East history would be a semi-final weekend involving Northeastern, UMASS, UMASS-Lowell, and Providence.

We're 14 days away from making that reality? Of course, all of teams I mentioned are visiting teams and thus, underdogs, but we can dream, can't we? Let's check this out.

UMASS at UNH UNH is advancing. Next.
I'm just kidding, but the Minutemen have been scuffling since January 1st, and the Kitties just experienced an undefeated streak that seemed to last the same length as an Ice Age. It's not a mismatch, but with UMASS having to fight off Maine and Merrimack to even get into the tournament, its tough not to see UNH as having a better positions. Unlike most teams in this league, UMASS has beaten UNH this year so for this series to go 3 games isn't a total shock. Sadly, I don't think UMASS has it in them.

UML at BU For some inscrutable reason, the seventh seed hasn't advanced in this tournament. Only the last Pooley led PC team won so much as a game as a seventh seed. It looks bleak, but I wouldn't be shocked if UML pulled off an upset. The key is goaltending. When the Riverhawks are getting good goaltending, they are a much tougher opponent than their record would indicate. The problem is that UML hasn't gotten much of anything lately and being swept by the worst Maine team in memory doesn't inspire confidence. BU is peaking RIGHT now. Disregarding the two incredibly easy shutouts they got this weekend (sigh), the goaltending is actually getting better and BU's offense can be very scary. I don't like UML's chances, but they aren't in any worse shape than UMASS right now.

NU at UVM This one is odd and probably the best place to put your hopes on an upset because we have no idea what NU team is going to show up. Is Theissen going to be good, or is he going be Sievey McSievepants? Who knows? I doubt Greg Cronin does. If NU comes to play, they'll give UVM fits. The problem is that once UVM does get a lead, they tend to hold onto it. No one in Hockey East can figure out a way around their trap and Fallon is good enough to make most leads stick. If NU get a few past him early, they can get the upset. Depending on the cycle of the moon and the level of the oceans. Husky Hockey! What the hell?!?!?

PC at BC If NU is inscrutable, try figuring these two teams out. BC is having a season ending slump that simply does not happen to Jerry York coached teams. They can't win at home and they've taken 1 lousy point from the Skating Goons. On the other side, we have PC who is much better road team than a home team and just got shut out by two goaltenders that BU fans were trying to elminate for most of the year. I'm as clueless as you. The only conceivable reason to pick BC here is because they're wearing Eagle uniforms and they should be good. Unless Nathan Gerbe can clone himself, the Eagles have no advantage. There's no logical reason to pick against PC except for the fact that it's PC and good things never happen to us. Its toss up, but I never like PC's chances any year and this year is no different.

10 Reasons Why the NHL is Crap

I love hockey. But not the NHL. And here is why.

10. Rule changes. While I do like the elimination of two line offsides, this nonsense with the "trapezoid" and the sudden inability of two players to look at each other crosseyed without getting a penalty is comical.

9. Endless power plays! Because of rule number 10, it seems like wwwaaaayyyy too many games get decided by the guys in stripes. That's not hockey. I don't know what sport that is, but it isn't hockey. How about some 5 on 5 action?

8. The shootouts I hate them. I know some people like them, but what was wrong with having ties? The penalty shot might be "the most exciting moment in hockey" (TM), but not if it happens 50 times a week.

7. Crappy music College hockey is not immune to crappy rock/pop music (Schneider Arena, anyone?) or repetetive music ("Hail to the Victors"? Again?!), but the NHL has descended into the same level as the NBA with this silliness. Less piped in music, more ORGANS. And more to the point, we probably shouldn't be drowning out crowd noise.

6. Horrible horrible officiating Did anyone actually think that letting the refs make more calls was a good idea? Hockey is a tough sport to officiate. Do we really need to make it harder?

5. Continuing to allow Jeremy Jacobs to own a team No explanation needed, I would think.

4. Over expansion I feel like Abe Simpson, but there are too many teams in too many cities where no one cares about hockey. Please eliminate ten of them.

3. ESPN Most of the NHL's wounds are self inflicted. But the move of the general public away from ice hockey was accelerated by ESPN and their bloody idiotic programming options. Aside from pissing me off with their lame "Spygate" obsession and hiring some of the dumbest people to ever pick up a microphone (I'm still waiting for the Yankees "dynasty" to win a trophy this millenium, you ignorant nimrods), ESPN continues to promote lame idiocy like the NFL draft, the World Series of Poker, and - my personal favorite - the short lived series on Barry Bonds. Ugh. Why do we put up with this excrement?

2. The NHL is stupid Season crippling strikes at critical times? Check. A total lack of discipline - should we really allow the Flyers to attempt to kill opposing players in every game? - Check. Horrible labor and management decisions? Check. Insane television contracts? Check. The list goes on.

1. Cup winners I'm not snobbish enough to say that fans from Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Anaheim SHOULDN'T see their teams win a cup, but it would be nice to see a team from the North - especially Canada - win one of these things for once. Obviously, the NHL can't do a blessed thing about this, but one of these years, the league has to luck out and have a Canadian champion and/or a champ from early expansion or the Original Six. Right? I don't think it creates a ton of interest when teams the average person has never heard of are winning this thing.

There you go. No suggestions, just complaints.