Rybarczyk on Football

I quote from his column today:

Baseball just can’t match the intensity of football. When the Cards trot out Pedro Borbon in a tie game, you can turn off the tube and say to yourself that they’ll get ’em tomorrow, because even the Yankees lost 61 games this year.

But when Arlen Harris misses yet another blitz pickup and Marc Bulger gets hit so hard you expect him to wind up looking like the cat at the end of an “Itchy & Scratchy” cartoon, you want to have your dog soil Arlen’s lawn, because you know every loss in football is huge.

He’s got a point there. I will wake up in the middle of the night and think about a Packers loss, whereas I don’t do the same for the Blues, and I am a much bigger hockey fan.

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And Trevor Linden Is Henry Cameron

This week, a reader asks John Buccigross:

I never thought I would read a hockey piece with a reference to Howard Roark. If you were to cast the Fountainhead of the late ’40s with contemporary actors, whom would you choose? What current hockey player would you have to play Mr. Roark?

To which Buccigross responds:

Howard Roark was tall, strong and uncompromising. Actor: Ben Kingsley, minus 20 years and plus five inches (He’s 5-foot-8). There are no tall, strong, young, uncompromising actors today. Hockey player: Todd Bertuzzi. He plays like he doesn’t care if anyone likes him. I love that.

Interesting theory. What about Scott Mellanby?

Hair the color of an orange rind is so hard to come by, and it’s awfully hard to see hair color under the helmets, wot?

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Chutzpah, as Defined by Shjon Podein

In John Buccigross’s column on hockey this week, Shjon Podein, the former Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues winger, defines chutzpah as only a hockey player can:

“So, I’m in my rookie year in Edmonton and it’s my birthday. We had just come home from one of our infamous 15-20 day road trips and my family is there to celebrate. So, the family and I go out to have some dinner and drinks. We’re just relaxing when one of my brothers gives me a four-foot high, inflatable tyrannosaurus rex for a birthday present. My other brother gives me a sombrero.

We get back to the hotel and get mom back in her room. As we’re leaving mom’s room, my brothers jump me and rip my suit off in the hotel hallway, leaving me with just my boxers, a sombrero and my 4 foot high inflatable tyrannosaurus rex.

So I’m wandering the hallways of the hotel trying to find where my room is. We’d been on the road for 15-20 days, it’s late, and I can’t remember my room number. I stick my room key in a number of doors, hoping to find the right one. All of a sudden, I look up and there is one of Canada’s finest security guards.

I go, “Hey, what’s going on!”

The security guard says, ‘We’ve had a complaint that some guy is walking down the hall in his boxers, wearing a sombrero, with a bottle of Bud in one hand and an inflatable dinosaur in the other, making too much noise.’

I looked at him and said, “You’ve got the WRONG GUY, brotha.”

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Oh, man, now that the Packers choked up a 17 point lead to Kansas City, Cagey’s either going to be:

  • Insufferable (which I would be were it the other way around), which I cannot stand the thought of, or
  • A bigger man than me and not rub my face in the mess that Ahman Green left on the fifty yard line, which I cannot stand the thought of, either.

Doom, despair and agony on me.
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
Doom, despair and agony on me.

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And Two Minutes for Charging

A tragic accident occurred in Atlanta. A promising young hockey player, just a year or so removed from Rookie of the Year and scoring a bucket of goals in the All Star Game, runs his Ferrari into a wall at 80 mph. It’s not as tragic as it could have been; he’s only got a broken jaw, but his passenger is in critical condition with a fractured skull. They’re lucky to be alive, and with any luck they’ll remain so.

But here come the prosecutors….

Atlanta Thrashers star Dany Heatley was charged Tuesday with reckless driving for veering off a road and slamming his sportscar into a wall at about 80 mph — a crash that left him with a broken jaw and teammate Dan Snyder critically injured with a skull fracture.

Heatley was also charged with serious injury by vehicle, a felony, and three other misdemeanors — driving too fast for conditions, driving on the wrong side of the road and striking a fixed object, according to the police.

Striking a fixed object?

Once again, the legislators in their attempts to do something! about crime have given prosecutors bolts of felonies and swatches of misdemeanors to properly accessorize every ill event. Instead of double jeopardy, we have a larger charge accompanied by an exploded view of its component parts. Common sense would indicate that reckless driving comprises driving too fast, leaving your lane, changing lanes without use of the directional signal, and then striking a fixed object, or maybe just narrowly avoiding a fixed object which is a undoubtedly a lesser charge. But before the myopic eyes of the law, these are all crimes in and of themselves.

Kind of like when an estranged husband shoots his wife and gets murder one, using a gun in the commission of a murder, using bullets in the commission of a felony, disturbing the peace, and failure to pay future child support. Slap enough coats of felony on anything, and it will look guilty.

So in addition to having to live with the emotional consequences of his actions, Heatley’s now eligible for a Gordie Howe length career in the penal hockey league. Prosecutors will say that these tough laws will make kids think twice about believing they’re immortal and driving fast. Because kids have already discounted their own deaths and the crippled and crushed bodies of their friends and have have dismissed the deterent within those threats; a couple years in jail? That’s real to the young.

Criminey, the first person to run for office with the stated goal of eliminating three quarters of our redundant and superfluous laws earns my indentured servitude. I am getting tired of having my personal attorney preceding me everywhere and identifying each and every infraction I might commit and running the complex multiplication necessary to determine my total sentence if I jaywalk and cross outside a designated crosswalk at the same time while walking an unlicensed bike.

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Improved Hockey Nicknames, Cheap

In today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, columnist Dan O’Neill, who once deservedly got raked over the coals (deservedly so) for getting several St. Louis Blues players’ names wrong when he covered them (probably while intoxicated), pens a laundry list of hockey nicknames and calls it a column.

I have to admit, I’ve always thought most hockey nicknames were kinda boring. Jamal “Jammer” Mayers? Tyson “Nasher” Nash? Tony “Twister” Twist? Come on, where’s the creativity, the poetry?

So ever since I have been a Blues fan, I’ve applied my own nicknames to the players, from afar, of course, since some of those gentlemen are bigger than I am. So hear they are, for your enjoyment:

Last year’s crew:


Eric Boguniecki


He’s a little guy, and sometimes when he throws a check on a bigger player, he looks
like one.
Petr Cajanek


Rhymes, almost, with Cajanek.
Dallas Drake


A drake’s a male duck. Must I draw a picture?
Reed Low


He has a prominent overbite. Don’t tell him I said so.
Steve Martins


He went there.
Jamal Mayers


Tough and fast.
Scott Mellanby


Mellanby, especially when he’s got his helmet on, looks like the guy from
Buck Rogers
in the 25th Century
Keith Tkachuk


He makes a lot of money.
Barret Jackman


Heavy brows, high forehead, who else could it be?
Alexander Khavonov


Never Khavanov. Come on, it sounds cool.
Chris Pronger

Cap’n Happy

Grant Fuhr started it.
Bryce Salvador


He looks kinda like Kermit the Frog.
Brent Johnson


Roman Turek was “Large.”
Old friends:
Scott Young


Television cameras often caught him gasping and with an eye on the jumbotron, making
him look like a fish.
Scott Pellerin


He looks kinda droopy, even when he smiles.
Tyson Nash


His playing style was to crash from one opponent to the next.
Michal Handzus

The Zusinator

The guy was a machine, and he never smiled.
Lubos Bartecko

The Wolf

Lubos is kinda like lupus, which…. ah, screw it, it’s too scholarly to

Aren’t those much cooler than what the hockey players themselves use? Perhaps the NHLPA can hire me as an official Alternate Collquial Designation Originator or something.

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Even the NFL Outlaws Orchestrated Celebrations

As St. Louis “Football” Fans know, the NFL no longer allows players to gather in the end zone like a string of can-can girls to taunt the opposing team with a revue designed to show their potence at scoring touchdowns.

However, that’s not the case for civil rights activists. This week here in St. Louis, a bunch of people gathered outside a bank where they successfully protested forty years ago. The celebration included picketing the bank for old time’s sake.

Of course, to the passersby, it looked like some group was picketing the bank for current grievances, not shouting the old-timers’ equivalent of boo-yeah for previous picketorial success. So anyone who remains influenced by a picket line — which is probably limited to members of the Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Sprinklerfitters union that promotes itself during Cardinals ballgames and to Dick Gephardt– probably wouldn’t go into the bank, which forty years ago capitulated to –I mean, negotiated a comprise with— the protesters. It looked like the bank had done something offensive, insensitive, or anti-proletariat now.

So let this be an object lesson to those who would alter their business practices to suit the agitators in the community. Even if you give up and give in or, infrequently, better your business at the behest of activists, you’re just setting yourself up for triumphant returns and celebrations in the future (if you’re lucky) or repeated shakedowns, I mean bilateral communication of community concerns if you’re not.

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When Vezina Winners Attack!

So Dominik Hasek, a goalie who bailed out on the NHL after winning the Stanley Cup last year, goes home and gets a little rough in a roller hockey game, sending a player to the hospital. Big hoary deal. Sure, he tried to fight Patrick Roy, but that’s goalie-on-goalie action.

Jean Sebastian-Giguere, my new hero until such time as he signs with the Red Wings, went after a Calgary forward. He’s got, um, pucks as big as manhole covers, I kid you not.

I guess Giguere’s not a Vezina winner, yet, but I kid you not he’s got a Conn Smythe trophy coming.

(Hasek link from Fark. All other research from my own memory supplemented by Google.)

(P.S. Sorry, folks, but it was only a matter of time until a hockey post broke through. I am still capturing developers at the coffeepot to tell them how I think the St. Louis Blues are going to do next year and what I think the Collective Bargaining Agreement ending after next year will mean for the NHL, so it’s only natural something like it would leak out in the blog.)

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