October 26, 2005

Other: In Absentia

Hokay, busy week and fritzing computer makes for not much in the way of posting, so I'm cheating: what follows are the most popular posts here. It's as good a way to consider a "best of" format as any other, it's inherently lazy and at the same time completely self-aggrandizing.


Some time after Hallowe'en I'll post about seeing Tom Wilson on his latest tour, a review of the movie DOOM (when's the musical coming out?), going to my first S&M play party (not as interesting as it sounds), and probably on Hallowe'en itself, in addition to whatever gets itself lodged in my head over the next week. Oh, and comparative theology with vegetable soup. Hi ho.

God loves us enough to kill 160, 000 of us
Getting "Civilly Unionized"
In bed with the Elephant
Marriage is bad for some...
When vigilatnes and politics collide
Political Who's Who of Down There
Science, rationality and bananas
Why God's a prick
Little guys done good
PMS, the good kind
Recognising bullshit when you're not in a field
The evils of socialism
"Friends" of the US military
Taking pride
Pastafarians at large
I hate Trudeau
Faith in numbers
And God kills a few more...
...With John's help.

That's twenty, enough to not be too bored. Unless you've already read them, in which case, um... I dunno, learn how to juggle or something.


posted by Thursday at 12:31 am 2 comments

October 20, 2005

Hockey: Canada Names Three Teams for Turin...

Or they should, anyways.

Team Canada has compiled a "short" list of 81 potential players for the Olympic hockey tournament in February. The reason was as a CYA for injuries or shaky play between the long list deadline (October 24th) and the short list deadline (December 22nd, and happy birthday to me).

Confession time: I've often made list of teams from various regions around the world, composed entirely of NHL players. There would be the standard teams (Russia, Sweden, United States etc.), and one from the rest of the world, but I'd do something a little different for Canada: teams would be regional. One from Ontario, one from Quebec, one from the praries, and one from the rest of the country (that last team is real glad Jason LaBarbara is working out). Tendicies cropped up, like centers coming from Ontario, and tough defencemen and captains from the West. Anyhow, these wouldn't produce the best teams, but I wouldn't be too quick to bet against them, either...

Most of these players named yesterday have no real chance of making the squad, much as I might love them to be there (hello, Scott Walker!) but it is nice to see them get a much deserved nod from the management team. There are a few dark horses who just might make it in this year, bad luck to others notwithstanding:

Steve Sullivan (and it's about time)
Michael Ryder
Dan Boyle
Sidney Crosby

What, Crosby a long shot? Yep, unless Mario Lemieux choses to step aside expressly for Crosby to take his spot. There just isn't (I don't think) the room for him, and there will be more than one Olympic camp invite in his future.

He has time, let him take it.


posted by Thursday at 4:29 am 0 comments

Other: The Ten, er, Best?

There are strong arguements in favour of television shows right now - a fantastic complexity of storylines, fully fleshed-out characters, realistic circumstances, and a surprising number of good actors. Partly, this could be attributed to sheer volume: with so many channels, something's bound to be decent, right? Much of it, to my mind, is because of VCRs. Shows that reward repeated viewings are more likely to be bought after they have been broadcast, increasing their value.

Of course, there's bound to be a great deal of dreck along with the good material, again this could be a factor of volume as much as talent. As you may (or, blissfully, may not) recall, Manimal, A-Team and Misfits of Science were all on the air at the same time Newhart was showing.

The point is this: here are two lists provided by the Parents Television Council ("because our children are watching"), and I'd like you to consider from which group you would consider more worth the effort to watch. Ready?

List One

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Three Wishes
American Idol
The Ghost Whisperer
Everybody Hates Chris
Bernie Mac
Dancing With the Stars
7th Heaven

List Two

The War at Home
The Family Guy
American Dad
The O.C.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Desperate Housewives
Two and a Half Men
That 70's Show
Arrested Development
Cold Case

I'm sure you can tell which list the Council approves of and which it shuns, but there is one ringing endorsement of their choices: talent is irrelevant, whether in writing (Arrested Development/The Ghost Whisperer) acting (CSI/Bernie Mac) or production values (The O.C./Dancing With the Stars).

Oh, if you can't figure out which is which, here's a hint: they couldn't bring themselves to endorse 10 programs this year.

Now there are some overlaps on these lists, I will admit. Any show featuring Chris Rock's writing has a good chance of winning my favour, and much as I dislike The O.C., if I ever accidentally stumble upon Two and a Half Men again I'll need to buy a new tv because the old one will have died in a horrible firey gardening accident.

Glurge rules the approved shows, with either 20 weepy minutes in reality television or 15 of them in fiction; while sex and violence (of course) are killers in their personal rating systems. Though why the desperate grasp for fame that is American Idol gets a free pass is frankly beyond me.

I suppose I should be grateful we as a society have finally put Touched by an Angel behind us.


posted by Thursday at 3:25 am 0 comments

Politics: A Deep Individual

It's a fine compliment when discussing, say, character, or wisdom.

But right now, we're talking about holes, and I'd like to introduce you to another shovel:

"A FEMA insider who was former director Michael Brown's "eyes and ears" in New Orleans will break ranks and tell Senate investigators Thursday that he repeatedly tried to sound the alarm about broken levees and other ominous developments in the city, but officials at all levels failed to act decisively."

Apparently, the assistant who was working with Mr. Brown emailed back that he was too busy having dinner to respond right now...


posted by Thursday at 2:08 am 0 comments

October 17, 2005

Science: Science-y Hygine Breakthroughs!

I love chocolate. That's right: it's not a confession a real man is supposed to make, but I'll make it. I have a deep and abiding love for chocolate, and I'm not afraid of what less courageous men might say about it.

I mean, I like steak too, of course. And sex. Lots and lots of sex; that and steak.


For those of us who like chocolate (and sex - though not at the same time or anything weird. Oh God. I'd better shut up now.) there's a certian label we know and loathe: "chocolatey". What with labelling laws being as they are, you're only alowed to call something chocolate if it actually is chocolate, and something that is not ends up spinning the term chocolatey. It is Madison Avenue's take on the whole "I smoked but didn't inhale" line: a cheap cop-out at best.

So what's triggered this little outburst?

Gillette's FIVE-BLADED razor. As if their "Mach 3 Nitro" wasn't enough for the chronically insecure man: not only did they add "Nitro" to something that the advertising tries to imply goes three times the speed of sound, but it also needed neon-infused sports cars and a triad floating, blue-lipped women to take it to the next level. I guess that was because the M3Power that was (supposedly) lifting hair right off your face didn't actually do anything but buzz. I'm amazed the commercials didn't include a barbecue.

It's much the same as the word chocolatey: they want it to sound like it's doing something for you, and if they can include some apparent science, that makes it as good as real science, right? Personally, I use a straight razor, which requires that you sharpen it before each use. It's only got one blade, but it works fine, and I've only ever bought one. If I'm in a hurry, I'll use my Wilkinson Sword Classic, which also works just fine and lasted me a month of use before I got the straight razor. These are both cheap, functional, battery-free and I'm not throwing out sixty of them in a year.

Apparently, Schick's four-bladed "Quattro" was causing some awkward questions down at Gillette headquarters. Maybe the chief shareholders in Proctor & Gamble were having problems with their mistresses, who knows? But they couldn't stand for it, even with their awesomely erect Oral-B Triumph (with on-board computer!) hitting the markets. The four blades haunted their dreams, a Freddy Kruger Nightmare from which there could be only one escape...

More. And more they got.

In 1975 Saturday Night Live ran one of their parody commercials about a three-bladed razor, "Because You'll Believe Anything!" Gillette held off on introducing the Mach 3 because so many people remembered the fake ad, finally spending $750 million in advertising the year it came out to counter the memory.

One last comment: To the makers of the Speed Stick 24/7 commercial, fellahs, if you think normal men think "competition is a 24/7 thing", then you have a lonely, lonely demographic. The only people I know who are competitive about everything, all day, are utterly friendless assholes. Is this really the market you're looking for?

Just asking.


posted by Thursday at 10:13 pm 2 comments

October 15, 2005

Other: Me, Or Your Lyin' Eyes?

Television is a world of images. Everyone knows MacLuhan's "Medium is the Message", but only some realise (or bother thinking about) the choice of frames that the camera, director, editor et al take when delivering that message. The impression is what we're supposed to believe, words be damned.

Live television, while having an imagery chosen already, does have it's own special risks to the providers of the image. Especially when there are two underwhelmed locals walking through the broadcast...


posted by Thursday at 12:31 am 0 comments

October 13, 2005

Other: Housecleaning

Still wrestling with a faulty motherboard, so here's a short list of interesting links I wanted to use over the past week:


Okay, I know sometimes I've gotten perhaps a bit agressive when I talk about religion, and some take exception to my own belief that it stops people from actually thinking. Fine, but it would be easier to be nice if the religious stopped providing me with so much proof!

This comic book, for instance, which reveals The Truth about "...the very real dangers of sorcery and witchcraft in the Harry Potter series!" Um... okay...


After Tom Ridge publicly admitted that the "Terror Alerts" were often raised for political reasons, Keith Olbermann decided to review all such alerts over the past few years, inspired by the recent New York subway alert. Here is the correct way to start a story on the corelation of events:

'We bring you these coincidences, reminding you, and ourselves here, that perhaps the simplest piece of wisdom in the world is called “the logical fallacy.” Just because Event “A” occurs, and then Event “B” occurs, that does not automatically mean that Event “A” caused Event “B.”'


Apparently, there was a time when the Republicans were big believers in getting the government out of people's private lives. I've never seen much evidence of that myself, but that's what the story is. A bit of a change, then, when you have this proposal coming before the Indiana state legeslature:

"According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation and egg donation must first file for a “petition for parentage” in their local county probate court."

Handmaid's Tale, anyone?


The 15th First Annual Ig Nobel Awards has happened, and the winning list is here. When you have time, watch the ceremony, and know that many of the current great minds in science are taking part.

My favorite is the award for Economics, given to the man who designed an alarm clock that runs away and hides, forcing prople to actually get out of bed and thereby improving productivity.


Haven't been able to pick up my sidecar yet, but hopefully this coming week... I'm getting awful twitchy to ride again, but money being what it is, that's a week or two away, too.


The most wonderful time to the year is fast approaching: Party Time! Hallowe'en is well on it's way, and it looks like we're having a full house this year. One thing I've noticed about my costumes over the past few years: I own a tuxedo, so most of my dress-up has been based on it. This year, I'll be carrying around "Thing" from the Addams Family on a tray, so out it comes again.

And finally, in honour of the folks up in "Religion", I offer this proof of the reality of magic.


posted by Thursday at 10:54 am 0 comments

October 08, 2005

Politics: No Child Left Alive

Here's a funny little feature that's part of the White House's "No Child Left Behind" that I missed when it came out:

"...a provision of the No Child Left Behind Act that requires public high schools to hand over the student names, addresses and telephone listings to military recruiters who want the information. School districts that fail to do so risk losing federal education dollars.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., inserted the provision into the No Child act..."

It is, of course, all about the children and their educational standards, right? Right? I mean, it's not like the military is resorting to desperate measures to try meeting its quota or anything...

Man, between this and the congress trying to stop torture, it's almost like people might realise Bush doesn't really give a rat's ass what people think. But that can't be right, not in America anyways. Of course, we are pretty sure he's given up on the rest of the world, but hey, they can't elect him or Jeb, so they can go hang.

As long as he keeps killing and capturing "Perpetual Second in Command"s of Al-Qaida, everything will be fine.


posted by Thursday at 3:12 pm 0 comments

October 07, 2005

Politics: Show or Tell.

To fans of bad movies, there is a simple maxim to use: if the characters have to talk about how good someone is, it's because the budget wasn't there to get someone who was actually good.

For instance: Should you (the audience) be swooping around a party celebrating a gallery opening, either following a character or just as an invisible camera, and the conversations are all about the catering or who is sleeping with whom, then the director is confident art will speak for itself. If, on the other hand, all the conversations are about what a brilliant new painter/sculptor the artist is, it's a desperate attempt to brainwash you through repetition so you'll think you're looking at a wonderful piece of art.

Now, why should this golden rule spring to mind, on the same day that the Nobel Peace Prize was given to Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who have been combating nuclear proliferation for their entire existence and had been saying before the invasion of Iraq that said nation did not have any weapons of mass distruction?


It's probably because of a speech that Encyclopedia George made the day before, listing 10 terrorist plots to attack America that had been foiled since 9-11. It reminded me of the checklist he rattled through of the aid that was "being sent to the victims of Katrina" a few days after its landfall: he had all the appearance of the dreadfully insecure worker, desperate to stay hired during job review day, but not sure if he's done enough to guarantee it. The folks who know they've done a good job say "I've done a good job", then let others find out for themselves. Here's a hint, George: you have flunkies, let them do their work.

After five years, you'd think he'd at least know how to look presidential. But then, you'd think he'd have grown into his ears by now, too; so maybe some things just aren't ever going to happen.


posted by Thursday at 9:40 pm 0 comments

October 04, 2005

Hockey: Eastern Conference Preview

One of the best parts of sports is everyone can pretend to be an expert, meaning you can talk out your ass with a complete stranger, so long as you think you’re right. That being said…

Eastern Conference Preview


Biggest hello: Holik. Gives the Thrashers a veteran force they’ve never had.
Biggest goodbye: Heatly. A bittersweet parting, fans have been supportive of him.
Watch for: Lehtonen. Only 4 NHL games, but he’s more than good enough.
Watch out: Not exactly a rushing defence. Their best offensive defenceman may be rookie Coburn, if he makes it.
Note: If Kovalchuk plays a single game in Russia after tomorrow, he’d have to clear waivers to play in Atlanta this year; otherwise, the team has until Dec 1 to sign him. Hossa can replace his or Heatly’s or scoring, but not both.


Biggest hello: Leetch. More than makes up for Gonchar and Delmore, if he’s healthy.
Biggest goodbye: Rolston. Made teams hesitate when he was penalty killing.
Watch for: Boyes to get the opportunity to take the absent Rolston’s minutes.
Watch out: Not a deep defence. As Leetch goes, so go the Bruins.
Note: Attendance stayed at the old Boston Gardens level, despite the new(ish) digs. If owner Jacobs would just stay out of sight for a couple of years, that will go up.


Biggest hello: Numminen. A veteran D surrounded by pups.
Biggest goodbye: Satan. A team that doesn’t score much loses 30 goals. Ouch.
Watch for: Vanek is going to get every chance to make the team, ready or not.
Watch out: With a very young team, lots of mistakes are going to be part of it.
Note: It’s still a toss-up who will be the #1 goalie this year: Biron, Noronen and Miller have loads of talent, so whoever harnesses it first wins.


Biggest hello: Stillman. Anyone remember he got 80 pionts last season?
Biggest goodbye: O’Neill. He may be injury prone, but he’s a scorer.
Watch for: Gerber giving the Hurricanes a chance to win whenever he plays.
Watch out: Not a lot of help from his defence: Commodore uses his size, no others.
Note: Another team in a youth movement. Cole, Staal and Vasicek have one year’s grace before they have to start carrying this team.


Biggest hello: Father Time (Gelinas, Hill, Nieuwendyk, Roberts…)
Biggest goodbye: Hordichuk. Kept opposing forwards honest around the goal.
Watch for: Stewart. The more he imitates Roberts, the better.
Watch out: Medical staff! Some of these old folks are brittle.
Note: Lots of youth, now with lots of experience, too. Just keep Keenan away from the ice, and the damage he did to Hagman and Huselius should be repairable.


Biggest hello: Satan. If Yashin feels less pressure to score, he’ll get more points.
Biggest goodbye: Most of a fantastic defensive corps: Acoin, Hanrlik, Jonsson.
Watch for: DiPietro to be the highest scoring goalie in the league.
Watch out: Yashin is a fine player, horrible captain. A bad mood can mean a bad year.
Note: Milbury has offered DiPietro a 15 year contract extension. Good to know “Mad Mike” is still at it.


Biggest hello: Nylander, if healthy.
Biggest goodbye: Messier. Would have been nice to see him bitch-slap Jagr this year…
Watch for: If Nylander plays more than 60 games, Jagr can get 100 points.
Watch out: If Jagr matures, taking the team onto his capable shoulders and… and… Nope, I just don’t see it.
Note: Lots of “ifs” here, and with good reason. Other than in goal and Staal, the cupboard is going to be bare for a while.


Biggest hello: Bonk. Good defensive forward, okay scoring, great name.
Biggest goodbye: Brisbois. Who are the fans going to unfairly boo now?
Watch for: Ryder and Ribeiro to have a friendly rivalry. Edge to Ribeiro in a wide open game.
Watch out: If the rivalry becomes unfriendly. Any whiff of a conflict between an anglo player and a franco one can set the media pack howling.
Note: It won’t get much attention if: 1) Kovalev scores like he’s supposed to; and 2) Koivu is signed to a multi-year deal.


Biggest hello: Mogilny. Less ice time means (hopefully) more games.
Biggest goodbye: Niedermayer. Malakhov just isn’t the same thing.
Watch for: Rafalski to take 200 shots.
Watch out: Elias is still recovering from a bout of hepatitis caught in Russia last year.
Note: However open the game is supposed to become, the Devils play their system first. For them, it works.


Biggest hello: Much as I’d like to say Heatley, it’s Hasek.
Biggest goodbye: Hossa. Leading scorer last season.
Watch for: Spezza to shock folks who are distracted by Crosby and Ovechkin.
Watch out: If Hasek is injured, it’s down to… Emery?
Note: Heatley will do just fine in Ottawa.


Biggest hello: Forsberg. Their top draft pick from 1991 finally plays for them.
Biggest goodbye: Roenick. He was their public face, and he was everywhere.
Watch for: Rookies Carter and Richards to be in the line up on day one.
Watch out: The defence is big, but not very mobile (still). They may be vulnerable to penalties.
Note: Could be the deepest team in the league. They’ll go as far as Esche can take them.


Biggest hello: No, not him. On ice, it’s Recchi.
Biggest goodbye: Not much. How about Buchberger? Sure, Buchberger.
Watch for: They had 23 wins last season; they could have that by January this time.
Watch out: Thibault has a habit of wearing out if he plays too much, and with Fleury down, Caron needs to play 25 – 30 games.
Note: This team is going to try winning by getting one more goal than their opponents, which is going to make for some long nights for their goalies. More than 100,000 tickets were sold in the two weeks after Pittsburgh won the Crosby lottery.


Biggest hello: Burke. Solid veteran back up, can take the starting role if needed.
Biggest goodbye: Khabibulin, in a big way.
Watch for: Andreychuk to draw a second salary as an assistant coach.
Watch out: For inflated egos. Andreychuk has to be a buffer between Tortorella and the hot-tempered kids.
Note: Boyle was not supposed to be the top scoring defenceman on the team last year. With a year to adapt, Sydor should be the anchor this year.


Biggest hello: Anyone who can stay healthy. (Lindros, Allison, O’Neill, Khavanov…)
Biggest goodbye: Spending their way out of trouble.
Watch for: Lots of veterans with something to prove this year.
Watch out: A great team on paper, and about as fragile.
Note: If you want to hear 19,000 people holding their collective breath, just go to the Air Canada Centre and listen any time there’s contact on the ice.


Biggest hello: Ovechkin. Massively talented, complete player.
Biggest goodbye: Doig. Added a physical touch to the defence.
Watch for: Cassels and Zubrus fight for the right to centre Ovechkin. The loser gets Semin, which isn’t bad at all.
Watch out: For other teams. These guys are not very good this year.
Note: There are prospects coming, and in a couple of years Ovechkin, Semin, Ouellet and Gordon will make the core of a fine team. But until then…

Okay, that’s it.
Now drop the frickin’ puck, already!


posted by Thursday at 8:27 pm 8 comments

Hockey: Western Conference Preview

New category, in honour of the season: as you may have noticed, I can be a little obsessive about the game. And it provides those folks who aren’t hockey fans (those exist?) early warning to stay away, already!

First, new rules (nod to Bill Maher):

Tag-up offside: sustained attack, good addition.
Goalies playing the puck: cuts down on roaming goalies. Bummer.
Smaller goalie equipment: why not, so long as it protects?
Two-line pass: more assists for goalies, to make up for the increased goals against.
Moved bluelines: coaches will deal with it, just like with the two-liners.
Shootout: fucking hate it. Play hockey or don’t, this ain’t a skills competition.

On to the teams:


Biggest hello: Niedermayer. Top three D-man in the league.
Biggest goodbye: Rucchin. Heart, soul and a few goals all gone.
Watch for: Ryan Getzlaf. Raw power forward.
Watch out: Giguere. He’s a butterfly goalie, and smaller equipment will affect them most.
Note: Smaller goalie equipment and an offensive game play (courtesy new coach and GM) mean more goals against, but how about for? Niedermayer will help.


Biggest hello: Hamrlik. Lots and lots of power play time.
Biggest goodbye: Gelinas. Fast, clutch and good in the room.
Watch for: Phaneuf. He was ready last year.
Watch out: Er… I guess some toughness is gone (Oliwa and Gauthier), but McCarty is more skilled than either. Sauve not my first choice for backup, Krahn’s not ready.
Note: Sutter has the reins in an iron fist: no “morning after” effect for this team.


Biggest hello: Khabibulin. Money. Aucoin a close second.
Biggest goodbye: Berard. Better with one eye than most with two and glasses.
Watch for: Aucoin to get 30 minutes a game.
Watch out: Who’s scoring for these guys again? No first line, here.
Note: Daze has to play better than last season – it’s the only direction for him to go.


Biggest hello: Turgeon? Hoo, boy…
Biggest goodbye: Forsberg. Arguably the leagues’ best player.
Watch for: Liles. He can run a power play, but can he get the ice time from Blake?
Watch out: Mighty old centers here in Sakic and Turgeon…
Note: These guys were hammered by the salary cap, and lost two terrifying figures in Forsberg and Foote. Youth has got to step up this year or they’re toast.


Biggest hello: Foote. See Niedermayer, above.
Biggest goodbye: Cassels. Someone has to get Nash the puck.
Watch for: Brule, if he makes it. Zherdev is going to bloom if he’s on the first two lines.
Watch out: Denis, Leclaire or Prusek will have to force their way to #1. Going with three backups isn’t going to work.
Note: This is a small, fast team; if the rules are called like they’re supposed to be (heard that before?) their goals will increase markedly. Nash is a game breaker.


Biggest hello: Skoula. Reliable D-man can rest Zubov for a few minutes.
Biggest goodbye: Matvichuk. Few points, few penalties, lots of ice time.
Watch for: Lots of pressure from rookies to get that 5-6 D-man spot.
Watch out: Modano had a horrible year, and an old team got older and slower.
Note: Of all the southern teams, Dallas has the most fanatical and knowledgeable fans. They wanted Modano back, they got him, they’ll be back to the rink right away.


Biggest hello: Delmore. Power play only, but there’s going to be a lot of those…
Biggest goodbye: Hull. A salary-cap loss, that’s 25-30 goals to replace.
Watch for: Kronwall. Led the AHL in defenceman scoring last year.
Watch out: Osgood and Legace? A trade may happen come the playoffs.
Note: New coach and some contract awkwardness could get Datsyuk off to a slow start. Good special teams here means the team will do just fine.


Biggest hello: Flip a coin, Peca or Pronger.
Biggest goodbye: Brewer. Pronger’s better, but Brewer’s close, and younger, cheaper and healthier.
Watch for: Peca to be allowed to attack more than ever.
Watch out: Where are the goals?
Note: A fast team, as always, but not much finish here. They’re going to need help from their D. Both goalies are going to be under the microscope for lack of experience.


Biggest hello: Pavol Demitra. This man can score.
Biggest goodbye: Palffy. So can this one. Oops.
Watch for: Garon and Labarbera are very good goalies. Surprise!
Watch out: Injuries everywhere, including Roenick’s 10th (at least) concussion.
Note: Roenick is always good for a sound bite, and that can’t hurt in LA.


Biggest hello: Rookie Mikko Koivu. Better skilled than his older brother.
Biggest goodbye: Brunette. A team leader.
Watch for: Mikko Koivu. Yes, I mean it.
Watch out: Defence-first coaching with offence-oriented new rules.
Note: The team speed is better, and they’ve got some good youth, but Lemaire may have to adjust to them instead of the other way around.


Biggest hello: Kariya. Has to return to form, though.
Biggest goodbye: Orszargh. Fun name to say, reliable 15 goal scorer.
Watch for: Fighting majors. This team’s as unpleasant as sand in Vaseline.
Watch out: Penalty killing. They should play with eight defencemen.
Note: Kariya has underrated leadership; if he scores points like he can, so will the rest of the team.


Biggest hello: Gretzky.
Biggest goodbye: Langkow. Expected to be a first-line centre: he’s not.
Watch for: Scoring from four lines.
Watch out: Gretzky behind the bench.
Note: I’m not convinced a genius can really communicate that well with mere mortals. Seriously, what’s he going to say to Denis Gautier? Might work out, but…


Biggest hello: Patrick Lalime. A step up from Osgood.
Biggest goodbye: Demitra, Pronger, MacInnis, Mellanby, Baron, …
Watch for: Weight to play until his legs explode.
Watch out: How many defencemen can play forward?
Note: The defence still looks good, despite the salary cap losses, but the forwards are seriously lacking.


Biggest hello: Goc? Not much needed, really.
Biggest goodbye: Ricci. Tremendously respected around the league.
Watch for: Why change what works? At least six 20 goal scorers, likely more.
Watch out: Cheechoo may get bitten by the so-called “Sophomore Slump”.
Note: If the Sharks decide to go to Europe for another right winger, they could have a new “Kraut Line” that’s actually composed of Germans.


Biggest hello: Carter. If he gels with the Sedins, then they all get ice time and points.
Biggest goodbye: Sopel. Vancouver’s highest scoring defenceman last year.
Watch for: Kesler. Thought to be a defensive specialist, he got 30 goals in the AHL.
Watch out: A thin defence – injuries to Ohlund or Jovonovski will hurt, bad.
Note: Auld is the best passer of Vancouver’s three goalies, and he’s getting tired of Winnipeg; he should stick, with Johnson as insurance.

So who’s making the playoffs? Who knows? With all the changes to personel, teams are going to need a little time to gel. That means that the best coaching is going to have the biggest advantage early. Other than that…

Eastern Conference tomorrow.


posted by Thursday at 2:28 am 3 comments