Karaoke Night

I know we haven’t been posting that much lately – real life, jobs, bills, snore – but if there were ever something to focus our attention, it’s singing.  The Avs did their lip sync thing, now the Winnipeg Jets are raising the stakes.

Pass The Mic – Episode 7

They’re singing Frozen.

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Or they’re trying, before dissolving into giggles.  This is how I imagine the in-theater Frozen sing-alongs went, if you could hear anyone else over my Oscar-winning performance.

“THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED ME ANYWAAAAAAAAAAAY!”

Sadly, Zach Bogosian declines to serenade us with a Luke Bryan song, mostly because he can’t hold a note and that bicep flex at the same time.

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Shirt by Saran Wrap.

Now I don’t know who any of these other guys are, and they are having none of Jacob Trouba on the microphone, but maybe it’s time to watch a Jets game.

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Mark Stuart likes the 80s and 90s… probably because he’s Sean William Scott wearing a shoe polish beard.  Right?  Stifler can skate, we saw Goon.

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Think about it – have you seen Seann William Scott lately?

Since no one else wants to sing, let’s go back to this:

Trouba and  Scheifele.  High School Musical.  Pitch Perfect.  How to get invited to the WUYS Prom.

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Winnipeg makes a different player host each episode of Pass The Mic – a genius idea. So many possibilities for awkwardness and jockstrap backgrounds.

You can watch the rest starting with Episode 1, hosted by Tight Shirt Bogosian himself and discussing Movember mustaches – with Stifler, again.

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Right? I am right.

Tyler Tuesday

Today marks what I hope will be a semi-annual feature extolling the virtues and magnificence of one very special person.

Like my esteemed colleague Pants, and her undying love for Mike Green, my love and admiration for Tyler Seguin has become too great and all consuming for it to not have its own dedicated day.

Tyler Tuesday.

from glovehand.tumblr.com

Now I know what you might be thinking “You only like him because he’s hotter than a pepper sprout.” Well that is not entirely untrue, but it’s more than that.  Since he came into the league, there has been something about Tyler Seguin that has intrigued me – this like man-child, superstar-on-the-verge thing…but that’s a conversation for another post.

Time to get down to the real reason for today’s feature -

from prustytute.tumblr.com

Milk.  It does a body good.

Few First off – What is with the pants? Are they yoga pants?  Don’t care. He can downward dog with us any day.

The feet – in the words that accompanied this photo, Seguin talks about his giant feet and his ability to pinch & grip things with his toes.

It’s like some mutant superpower. Where are Professor X and the X-Men?  Time to ship him off to the School for Gifted Youngster where he can hang out with Beast and crush weights with Colossus.

Or perhaps he might want to take up artistic endeavors with his freakishly dexterous feet.  Painting perhaps.  If you’ve seen My Left Foot, you’ll understand.

The tattoos/arms  - my favorite part of the male form has always been the hands/arms/shoulders and his are pretty spectacular.  Then you add the tattoos – and well I’m happier than a camel on Wednesday.

The face – no words needed here. Perfect.

Then we have this photo.

Who is this girl on the left and how can I get her job?  Pretty sure that “hockey player body misting person” was not at any job fair I’ve ever been to.

As educated, intelligent women, we are keenly aware that objectifying someone because of their body is bad.  People are more than what they look like. It’s about their personalities. Their values. Their goodness.

Ah, whatever.

In the immortal words of pop princess Willa Ford (AKA Mike Modano’s ex-wife)…

The Best or Worst Idea Ever

You know on “The Office,” when Steve Carell was about to do something spectacularly awkward, and you could feel its approach through a million miles of satellite transmission and wiring?  I would have to get up and leave the room.  Still haven’t made it through the dueling drunk Maid of Honor speeches in Bridesmaids.

So I’m just going to put this here and watch through my fingers:

 

The Avs new #WhyNotUs campaign is great.  Any video that starts with this shot of Gabe Landeskog is award-winning filmmaking.  It breathes new life into the world’s most overplayed song but I personally may never make it to the end.

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Thirty seconds in I had to stop.  Before anything even happened I nearly ran from the room – I’d leave it on, of course, for my empty chair to watch.

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Oh to have been in the meeting where this became a reality!  I’d suggest it.  Then I’d have to say, “I wasn’t serious!” before nervously fidgeting into a heap on the floor while someone else  made it real.

I can’t handle this but at the same time I want more.

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Points to the guys for doing this – and really going for it.  That is some serious drumming.  I lip sync along to everything at the gym and don’t look half this good  sweaty but I assume no one is watching me.  May need to rethink that.

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Can other teams do music videos?  Can the Oilers do “Diana” because it’s my favorite One Direction song?  How about the the Lightning all sing Taylor Swift’s “Hey Stephen [sic]” to their new captain?  A Best of the 90′s NHL mashup where Dupuis and Kunitz hold a picture of Crosby and the Bel Biv Devoe line, “Never trust a big butt and a smile?”

I HAVE IDEAS, PEOPLE!  It’ll just take me ten tries to watch the whole thing.

Don’t stop, Colorado.  Never stop.

Moment Hero

To celebrate the return of our favorite blond (sorry Landeskog) to the ice tonight, we (and Alison) bring you the newest Coke Zero “Moment Zero” ad starring Jordan Eberle and Steven Stamkos.

You can see the commercial exclusively at TSN’s Bar Down site.  It’s another adorable story in which humor plucks heartstrings and adversity is overcome.  It’s about hockey and, um, well…

Steven Stamkos wears a t-shirt.

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Jordan Eberle is mean.

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Steven Stamkos runs down a hallway.

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Steven Stamkos opens a door.

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Did I mention he wears a t-shirt?  This plot really has my attention.

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Steven Stamkos holds something.

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Something heavy that requires flexing.

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Steven Stamkos is conflicted, brooding and, as usual, kinda sparkly.  Hey, it worked for Twilight.

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He makes the hard decision.

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Oops, wrong movie.

Ultimately, in angsty and poignant profile, Steven Stamkos decides to be the hero that we always knew he could be.

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Figure skating happens.  Intern Jeff Skinner storms out of the room, mumbling about casting couches.

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The villain gets his comeuppance in really excellent lighting.

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THE END.

But not really.  A brief interview video on best hockey pranks reminds you that:

Steven Stamkos wears a t-shirt.

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Jordan Eberle is the least mean person who ever lived.

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And to ignore all mentions of Martin St. Louis and the good old days.  

Focus!  Remember the t-shirt!

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Steven’s pretty good at this – he and Ebs should do more commercials.  All we hear when we look at them is a cash register noise anyway. (Thanks, Lindsay.)  Also James Duthie can get an American late night sketch show and we’ll DVR it because it’s past our bedtimes.

The Coke Zero “Moment Zero” campaign is so excellent, it’s what we’d come up with if the world were Canada and we were in charge.  Glad to see someone else is up to the task (and possibly inside our brains).

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Waste Invest your day in all the other Moment Zero fun here, and don’t forget that time Ebs threw a Canucks fan out of the movie theater.

Steven Stamkos returns to hockey tonight when the Lightning host the Sabres at 7:30 PM.  He’s excited, we’re excited, I hate the Rangers – all systems go.

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Start Stressing

The Olympics really disrupted my sense of hockey-time, and I suddenly find important things are right around the corner:

  1. The Penguins are in DC on Monday.
  2. The trade deadline is tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern.
  3. There are less than six weeks left in the regular season.

Luckily I’m good at To Do Lists.  They calm my nerves.  Those and the ice cream sundae I just sent Intern Jeff Skinner to make.  So, in order of impending and importance:

1. The Penguins are in DC on Monday.

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Good thing too, because they owe me one for that performance in Chicago.  @raedanda always puts up with me at these games.

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2. The trade deadline is tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern.

The rumor mill is buzzing.  What’s the real price tag for NYR captain Ryan Callahan? Does Martin Brodeur intend to play forever [link]?  Ryan Kesler may be on the block, but for Alison’s sake, hope the Penguins bid does not include Brandon Sutter [link].  RK17 has allegedly waived his No Trade Clause for select teams, including PIT, NYR and PHI [link].

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Dustin Penner just became a Capital, no idea who for, or if there is any end to the National Pancake Day jokes in sight.  I better publish this now before anything else changes.

Word from last week is Martin St. Louis requested a trade – only to the Rangers.

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WHATNODON’TDOIT!  If this happens, I will henceforth call him only by his full name.  Goodbye forever, Squishy.

Who else?  The only instrument left in the Islanders orchestra is a sad trombone, with word out they’ll move impending UFAs Thomas Vanek and Andy MacDonald [link].  Other names being shopped include Stastny, Moulson, Hemsky, Chris Stewart… you could go out for lunch tomorrow and come back with a new look to your team.

3. There are less than six weeks left in the regular season.

Someone should tell the Capitals this.  They blew the lead three different times on Sunday, eventually lost to the Flyers in OT and, as always, lost the one game a year I can get Mr. Pants to attend.  Thanks, jerks.

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It could be worse, I tell myself.  We could be the Hurricanes.  There’s never a good time to lose five in a row, but now is worse.

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Remember it’s the wild card format this year, so good luck figuring out who your team will face in the first round.  From the Nov. ’13 NY Post article entitled NHL’s playoff structure is ridiculous by Larry Brooks:

To refresh your memory: 1. The top three teams from each division qualify; 2. The two teams with the next best records within the conference qualify as wild cards; 3. The division winner with the most points plays the wild card with the fewest points in the first round while the other division winner plays the other wild card; 4. The second- and third-place teams within each division meet in the first round; 5. Divisional brackets apply to the second round.

So, in likely the earliest “If the playoffs began …” scenario on record, the East’s first round would be: Pittsburgh (30 points) vs. Montreal (26); Boston (30) vs. Detroit (27); Tampa Bay (29) vs. Toronto (27); Washington (25) vs. Devils (23).

Hence, either the seventh-place Capitals or eighth-place Devils would advance while either the third-place Lightning or fourth-place Maple Leafs would be one-and-done.

A team, therefore, is theoretically better served by being the second- (or third-) place team in a weak division than by finishing with the conference’s best record.

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Okay, it’s not that hard to figure out.  The playoff format is just very fluid right up until the end.  Your team could be third in its division, worse than both Wild Card teams and still qualify ahead of them.  It makes sense that two Metropolitan teams would be seeded ahead of Wild Card Toronto despite fewer points, right?

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It could be worse, of course.  We could be in the Western Conference.  Right now 68 or 69 points might get you in, but you’d be duking it out for that one last Wild Card spot, rather than for or five spots potentially reachable seeds in the East.

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Remember the West has two fewer teams than the East, sparking much debate about it being “easier” to reach the post-season.  I doubt it’s been easier to play a majority of games against these Western teams though.  Still, the realigned Wings and Jackets are in the East’s mix, while Winnipeg hopes to squeak into that last spot out West.  Riding five-game win streaks, the Kings and Wild aim to put every other qualifying spot out of reach.

So, is your team making it or not?  Are they making a big move instead?  We’re getting down to the wire.  It’s time to start pretending stress or hockey – or stress and hockey – can’t hurt you.

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Foxy Friday: Jamie Benn

You guys sure are persistent.  Whenever we ask, “Hmm, who should we pick for Foxy Friday?”, you all do this:

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Ignoring you, we look out the window and see:

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Ha, pitiful fence.  That won’t hold you!  Intern Jeff Skinner can only turn and flee as you stampede into our office:

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Okay, okay!  We hear you.  You’re like that petition to the White House to deport Bieber – we must take you seriously now.

Foxy Friday: Jamie Benn

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Damn, Gina.

We confess – Chuck & I have been resisting this selection because we’re not crazy about the hair.

2012 NHL All-Star Game - Player Portraits

Sure, try out the long locks.  All the guys do.  Then they admit they’re not Kris Letang and let the phase pass, like that time everyone went blond in junior, and hope the internet forgets.

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No. Maybe. Yes.

Somehow, while packing for Sochi, Jamie heard us over you chanting his name. “All you want is a haircut?” he asked.

BOOM.

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Jut to be clear, this hair is very, very good:

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This hair is fine, under control.

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It’s when we start getting to be the kind of shag I had as a kid, where my mom made a ponytail, pulled it forward and chopped it off, that we have to object.

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Especially now that we know about this:

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Jamie Benn, raising the bar.

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Aside from the hair, we know almost nothing about Jamie.  He’s never been (I honestly just typed “benn”) tagged in a single post.  We know he stands next to Tyler Seguin sometimes.  We know Jamie resembles our friend Matty D, who also lives in Texas, and that Texas is in a different time zone.  But we can never remember which one.

At least we know his team’s not called the Texas Stars. (Rats my joke is ruined by this being correct! Merrin points out this is AHL.  See, how much we’re learning?  Our fault for doubting The Hockey News’ typesetters.)

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Texas Stars is still not very creative. (RIP: Albany River Rats)

So we looked him up.  Based on his star turn at the Olympics and the many hockey-related accolades Jamie receives from gushing commentators, it seemed obvious that his on-ice play is something special.

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Credited as someone with “tremendous versatility” who “never quits on a play” [DefendingBigD.com], Benn is a consistent 20+ goal guy.  If he keeps pace, he’ll break the 30 goal mark this season for the first time in his career.

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Jamie lead the Stars in scoring last year.  This season he’s got some flashy help in the form of Tyler Seguin, with whom he shares the top of the stats chart.  Look how far ahead they are of everyone else:

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Benn has become the “face of a franchise” in Dallas – an odd title, not undeserved but seemingly dropped on him by a team that has let all their other faces go: Brad Richards went UFA, Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribero, James Neal and Brendan Morrow were all traded.  The only other Star to ever outscore Benn was defenseman Stephane Robidas in JB’s rookie year.

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The Stars move to acquire Seguin was a big one, and it’s paying off.  Jamie and his brother Jordie have gotten some credit for helping Chuck’s favorite bad boy settle down in Dallas [link].  Tyler lives in the same building, spends time with them and, based on this video, has encouraged Jamie to be drunk at work.

Only kidding.  But they do love each other.

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Here’s Jamie flicking hats at Tyler after Seguin scored a hat trick on free hat day. Way to recycle the promo items, boys.

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Seguin could be the perfect compliment to Jamie Benn’s personality.  Jamie is notoriously media-shy and awkward (two of our favorite things), and has even been called “robotic” [link].  Yet his on-ice work got him appointed team captain back in September.  Not bad for a guy passed up until the fifth round of the ’07 draft – who just might be coming out of his shell.

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We are not the only ones to overlook Jamie Benn.  He was left off the Team Canada Olympic orientation camp roster last summer.  No ball hockey, no Bachelorette nickname, nothing.  He sure showed us.  With a point-per-game through Oct/Nov., Benn clawed his way into the ranks and was given a bunk in Russia.  He scored the game winner in prelim play vs. Norway and then, with everything on the line:

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Jamie Benn scored the only goal of the Canada vs. USA matchup.  Team Canada advanced to the Gold Medal game.  A hero was born and,well, you know the rest.

Let’s review.  Tops in team scoring. Captain. Olympic gold medalist.  And now finally Foxy Friday.  Did we mention Benn’s goal and two assists last night in the victory over Carolina?  Currently 8th in a very tight mid-pack Western Conference, the Stars need every win if they’re going to make the playoffs for the first time in six years.

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Here’s a profile on Benn from the end of last season:

And another from this year, after he got the shiny C on his chest:

(Two more parts of this: Seguin and Prospects)

You can continue to waste invest your entire day in foxiness with features on Baby Benn (Part 1 and Part 2).  Follow Jamie on Twitter (@jamiebenn14) and Instagram.  Follow his brother too (@dartheighter).

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While you’re at it, ask yourself who brings a camera into a sauna.  Or who cares? It’s Friday.

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Bonus: The Stars host the Lightning tomorrow at 3 PM Eastern, so you can wisely invest your Saturday too!

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Thanks to all of Jamie’s publicists who sent Tweets, emails, gifs and pics.  You’re all hired.  Same pay rate as Intern Jeff Skinner.

Spring Breakers

Welcome back, NHL hockey. Before I watch my first evening game in weeks tonight, the Olympic break needs a nod to non-Olympians.  Not everyone went to Sochi – or stayed home watching ice dancing.

Without posting the entire Tumblr tag (Honestly, where do people find this stuff?), it’s safe to say you wish you went on to Cabo on spring break.

With the Oilers.

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Puppy Bowl!

Puppy Bowl!

Do we want to know what happened to #TeamHallsy’s head? Presumably it was hockey-related, but I’m pretty sure he almost knocked himself out once by crashing into Ebs’ backside climbing a flight of stairs.

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Nominating Amanda for lifeguard duty.

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Meanwhile, somewhere else in Cabo:

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How big is Cabo? This was probably across the street.

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And this? Docked right outside the lion cub petting zoo, I bet.

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Cabo was like hockey Comic-Con last week (complete with stereotypical villain played by Raffi Torres).

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Like any good vacation, the Olympic break left us tired and spent. We’re glad to have the NHL back but we’ll miss spring break, just a little.

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Five Minutes

I picked up the January issue of Men’s Health in the dentist’s office this morning (because Matt Damon was on the cover) and found this inside:

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Hey there, Captain Zach!

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I can’t find this image large enough to read text, so let me tell you what it says:

  • Zach Parise can hold a lunge for five minutes.
  • Over the course of the particular training program mentioned, he barfed three times.
  • Barfing does not at all deter from the attractiveness of a man who can hold a lunge for five minutes.
  • Wait, I said that last part.

I try to picture myself holding a lunge for five minutes – at the one minute mark I’d fall over and lay frozen on the gym floor, laughing hysterically at my own rigor mortis.

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More on Parise’s workout routine from Sports Illustrated, with video in which he looks suitably miserable.  That’s our kind of tough guy.  Zach gets an open invitation to join our next Tough Mudder team.

MILKPEP ZACH PARISE

Hockey in no sleeves = skiing in jeans.

We won’t tell chocolate milk if he drinks that free beer at the end.

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Five minutes.  Shut up.

Tales from My Work Email

At my real-life job, there’s a lot of chirping between people who love Crosby (me) and people who hate him (everyone else, including my direct boss plus our Detroit and Philly offices).  Yesterday via email chain, people were begrudgingly admitting to enjoying Canada’s gold medal win and someone even called Sid “one of the best in the world.”

I may have been overly enthusiastic in my reply:

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My boss, not surprised by my exuberance, replied:

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Hahahahaha.  This from a woman who knows I’m in my office blogging all day.

 

Days of Gold

Sometimes life is a movie, and I wrote it.

Getting to the gold medal game was no easy feat for Canada.  Getting up at 7 AM on a Sunday was not easy for me.  Good thing we both brought our A games.

Ice Hockey Gold Medal - Sweden v Canada

If I scripted yesterday’s gold medal match, it would go something like:

Jonathan Toews scores the first goal.  Squint and you can see his superhero outfit showing around the edges of his hockey gear.  There is nothing not to love and admire about the way Jon plays game.  He is a hero – his goal the game-winner, his heart the fiercest.

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See, I sound like some Disney schmaltz already.

Then, without scoring a goal in the entire Olympic tournament, Sidney Crosby would find himself on a breakaway and put one past the goalie.  The Rangers goalie.  He doesn’t have to score to be Sid but damn it would feel good to shut people up.

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After that he’d lose his helmet, just in case you didn’t remember what you were dreaming about before the early morning alarm.

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At the break, some genius would drown out Milbury and Roenick with a shot of John Tavares looking sharp in a suit.  Gone is Friday’s ugly striped tie.  We’ll credit his adorable girlfriend with that one – now she’s really got the best seat in the house.

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Canada would steer, if not quite dominate, the game – enough to allow my heart rate to drop below DEFCON ONE.  In the third, just to crush any comeback hopes, much-maligned Chris Kunitz would get his first goal of the Olympics.  Too little, too late?  Sock monkey, don’t care.

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When the buzzer sounded, joy would erupt.  Hugs would fly.  Toews would fall on his ass in the net in celebration.

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Aaaaaand there’s a GIF of this. Bless everyone.

Sid would do this.

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PK Subban would emerge in full gear and help John make it onto the ice without crutches.

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The anthem would play.  Medals would be distributed.  Toews would smile and derp at the same time, a combination previously thought impossible by science.

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Jamie Benn would have a haircut and a bit of a shiner, practically raising his hand in the front row and begging to be Foxy Friday.

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John would be the most polite person on Earth.

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Thankyounod.

Sid would get teased, right up until they put that medal around his neck.

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There would be moments to pluck your heartstrings:

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Hair to envy:

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And smiles for days.

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My favorites would all line up, John’s pain over the season-ending injury would be eased and Matt Duchene would be gracefully grateful for his chance to step into the lineup.

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And after, Team Canada would stay for the closing ceremonies.  Their victorious captain would do a mad dash backstage, searching for a pair of black pants to wear to the event.  Of course no one else’s pants would be up to task.

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Alison would offer $50 to anyone who dropped something in front of Crosby, getting him to try to bend over in borrowed pants.  I say we can come up with a lot more cash than that.

Mike Smith would carry Marty St. Louis on his shoulders in the closing ceremonies Parade of Nations.

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Is it called “Parade of Nations” or am I just thinking of EPCOT?

At the end we’d all turn our eyes toward the remaining NHL season.  Or later, if need be.  Hopes and dreams – the chase has just begun.

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Epilogue: I wish we could have given Team USA a better ending.  Bronze at least. After Saturday, I can’t handle a replay of all the Sad Kaner Faces – or anyone talking about him as a failure.  Bad day.  Incredibly player.  Anyone who thinks otherwise based on one (or two) games, isn’t watching much hockey.

Foxy Friday: US vs. Canada

It has all come down to this.

We didn’t pick the teams.  We wouldn’t have put them head-to-head until the gold medal game but let’s be honest, we can’t handle that.  We can’t even handle today.  Before we close our office doors and pretend to be throwing things and shrieking for work, let’s face off WUYS-style one last time.

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Foxy Friday: Team USA vs. Team Canada 

You be the judge.

Team USA Goalies:

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Quick, Howard, Miller

Team Canada goalies:

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Price, Smith, Luongo

I think this frame is really Carey Price vs. the world, but perhaps you’re into over-long hair and disagree.

Team USA defense:

USA Hockey 2014 Olympic Portraits

Faulk, Fowler, Carlson, Martin

I tried to help everyone out by picking photos of Justin Faulk and John Carlson that mitigate their fondness for 80′s metal hair.

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Orpik, Shattenkirk, Suter, McDonagh

I even cropped a puppy out of Ryan McDonagh’s photo because that’s cheating.

Team Canada defense:

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Bouwmeester, Doughty, Hamhuis, Keith

I’d have gone wtih four pics of Donuts (for each of his goals), but who knew Dan Hamhuis looked like that?

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Pietrangelo, Subban, Weber, Vlasic

We hear Shea Weber is good at ping pong.  Invite him to that summertime charity tournament, right?  He can bring his short, stocky partner.

Team USA forwards (Part 1):

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Pacioretty, Kessel, Oshie, Kesler

It’s not easy to find a viable photo of Phil Kessel.  Never have our makeover skills been so sorely needed!  Shine on, TJ Oshie, and hit him with your light.

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Van Riemsdyk, Wheeler, Pavelski (See, Chuck!)

Also, Blake Wheeler coming through with some unexpected skill in this round.

Team Canada forwards (Part 1):

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Sharp, Nash, Perry

Is any competition fair when Patrick Sharp competes?  His hair could win this on its own.

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Geztlaf, Duchene, Kunitz, Marleau

Speaking of hair, I used the Ryan Getzlaf Time Machine here.  It had to be done.  Balance it against choosing a photo where Jimmy Howard doesn’t have crazy eyes – I tried to put the pretty filter on everyone.

Final round now, who’s going home a winner?  I saved the best for last.

Team USA forwards (Part 2):

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Backes, Brown, Callahan, Kane

A half-smile is all Patrick Kane is allowed, like a handicap in golf.  Otherwise he wins every category, carrying Team USA to indisputable, upstate NY victory.

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Stepan, Parise, Stastny

Paul Stastny going for the humor vote, because I could not find another decent photo.  Come on Colorado, get on it.

Team Canada forwards (Round 2):

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Crosby, Benn, Carter, Bergeron

I don’t know who can withstand this.  Even Bergy’s giving you that look like he knows what you’re thinking about Crosby.

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St. Louis, Toews, Tavares (weeeeeeep)

Then the JTs.  Sympathy points for Tavares are acceptable, but I’d rather have bonus points for seeing those glasses again.

Final Score…

You tell us: Which country has the foxiest Olympic squad?  Is it really a contest if you win either way?  We’re gonna need a bigger podium.

*Updated with names, for anyone who doesn’t spend all their free hockey blogging.

One More Sad Song

I’ve spent the last 21.5 hours searching for the perfection .gif to capture my feelings about hockey.

Team USA won.

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Canada almost lost to Latvia.

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Then they won.

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But John Tavares left the game with a leg injury.

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And didn’t return.

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Now he’s out for the rest of the NHL regular season with a torn MCL. [link]

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When the US and Canada face off tomorrow at 12 PM EST, there will be no John.

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None of this face.

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None of these no teeth.

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No shorts.

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No bromantical matching outfits because it’s Wednesday and on Wednesday, we wear sweatpants.

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No jeans, or dream worlds I live in where Tavares and Crosby are friends who hang out and watch History Channel.

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No two-strapping backpacks.

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No rocking a huge access credential like the latest in runway couture.

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Basically, no joy in the world.

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Okay, maybe it’s not that bad.  Not unless you’re an Islanders fan facing the rest of your regular season without the captain.  I’m being weepy and melodramatic because it’s just so very unfair.  Second overall in NHL points, potentially on his way to another Hart nomination, Olympic semifinal game… sigh.

But John wouldn’t want us to wallow.  He would want us to focus on the game.  I’ll turn my attention to hiding under my desk and eating my feelings because if you thought I was pro-Canada before, I’m going to be a mess tomorrow.

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Maybe John will make it to the game.  I tore my ACL but could get into a chair (with immobilizer) the next day.  Will PK play?  Or will he serve a higher purpose in the press box?

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While I’m dreaming through tears, why not ask for everything?  In-game, off-ice is the perfect place to debut glasses.  It worked for that other guy.

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Anything would help right now.

Stranger than Fiction

I love the Olympics.  I love all kinds of people on my Facebook timeline talking about getting up at 7 AM to watch hockey.  I can’t get those people to go to free NHL games with me all season, but the Olympics make them crazy.

Today, the USA made it worth their while.

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#KesselCelebrationFace

America has always had a little too much fun vilifying the Russians, which didn’t end with the Cold War.  Just last month the NY Times did a feature about the legend of the Russian bad guy living on in movies, and how “it doesn’t make for as powerful drama as it once did.” [link]

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Au contraire.  In Russia, vs. Russia?  While we’re dusting off Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, the US vs. Russian hockey rivalry needs no freshening. Perhaps it exists every day on NHL ice – some of their best players are our best players.  Some of those best players leave to go back.  I imagined Ilya Kovalchuk cackling like Boris and Natasha as he jumped those boards in Sochi.

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If non-hockey fans get out of bed in the wee Saturday morning hours of a holiday weekend, I’d say the US/Russia socio-political, entertainment media-ingrained, guns blazing and ‘spies are cool’ drama is alive and well.

Or maybe it’s really the hockey – let’s see how many of those people are up tomorrow morning to watch Team USA take on Solvenia.

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After today’s performance, they just might.

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Who designed the stats layout at www.sochi2014.com?  These yearbook roster photos are like cards in that old game Guess Who?  Shhh, Datsyuk-face will never guess you were really Cam Folwer!

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They even footnote every fact in a player’s bio, like a high school book report (which kids probably don’t write anymore.)  Check out Cam’s profile.  As a dual citizen of the US and Canada, does he get an option who to play for?  If so, then America thanks you, Cam.

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He can get this painted as a mural on the front of his house:

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

And this one inside:

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Little Joe Pavelski also heeded the call, celebrating American values like freedom, taking the lead and rocking a ginger beard.

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

Then Datsyuk again, because the Russians never stop, and the game was tied.  Shootout ensued.  People hate the shootout – I love it.  Maybe not in medal rounds, like the NHL playoffs employ endless overtime to decide games that count.  But I defy anyone to tell me today’s shootout failed to electrify.

And confuse.

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What are these rules?  I knew the same shooter could be called on multiple times in an international game.  I knew a shootout could go eight or more rounds.  I never considered the same person would be called on again and again (and again x 4) to JUST KEEP SHOOTING.

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Obviously when lining up a shootout vs. Malkin, Datsyuk and Kovalchuk, anyone in hockey would pick TJ Oshie every time.  What, no?  Dan Bylsma believes in you, TJ Oshie!  AMERICA IS WATCHING!

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So, TJ took six shots in eight rounds.  He scored goals on four of those shots.  Oshie Team USA shirts sold out everywhere and Americans are all, “Where do I send my money?!”

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It’s a moment like that when we can proudly look around and say, “I’ve been telling you guys forever – hockey is awesome.”

Then tell them you’ll be over at 7:30 tomorrow morning, and you’re bringing donuts.

Remember us?!

Hello, friends.  Let us never again be so busy we can’t blog for almost two weeks. Luckily the NHL and Olympic Committee timed the men’s hockey break almost perfectly with ours, and today we are both back in action.

Come on in for an awkward celebratory hug.

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We have enjoyed the women’s hockey very much, but so far the Olympics have too much figure skating.  I can’t take the pressure, the sheer shirts or the whole single/dual combat nature of the sport.  I need collective victory and shared blame.  I need teams.

So thank you, America, for winning your first game and doing so spectacularly.  At 8:30 AM I opened one eye, saw a 7-1 score and went back to sleep.  Highlights will suffice, especially those involving John Carlson (while he wears a helmet because this hair doesn’t translate into any language).

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It was a multi-multi-point game for a lot of guys on the US roster and an excellent start to the tournament.

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Almost as pretty as Patrick Kane’s smile in this McDonald’s commercial:

 

Now it’s time for Team Canada.  Am I excited?

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Just a little bit?

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Aw yeah.

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Team Spirit Week

There are just a few days left before half the NHL heads for the Olympics and the rest, apparently, heads for Mexico.  I thought we’d take a little look at everyone who had something fun on their homepage – while packing our passports and flip flops, in case anyone invites us not to Russia.

Last week was Mom Week on the Penguins’ plane.  It was the first such trip and took them all on vaction somewhere warm in the dead of winter.  Mother’s Day, done.[video]

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Penguins Instagram – Nisky’s mom looks so young!

Here’s Sid talking about taking your future mother-in-law joining him on the road.  I think Mama Cros makes him a little nervous, maybe?  He’s aw-shucksing his way through this interview big time  [video].

The Caps did a Father’s Trip at the same time, and their dads all came because there was open bar.  Honestly, you need it to get through the Caps sometimes.  But they won 1 of 2 games the dads were at  - and in a big way: 5-0 over Montreal.  More shots! [story]

Photo gallery here.

Mike Green’s dad & Ovi’s dad say, “Na Zdorovie!” Photo gallery here.

Meanwhile the Stars are on a Dad’s trip now, where Tyler’s showing off your future father in law and everyone except Dan Ellis’ dad is wearing a hoodie.  It’s all the rage with male lineage.  They’re taking their fathers to Phoenix and San Jose – and they’ll be rooming with their sons.  How cute. [link]

Instead of partying with parents, the Blackhawks threw a Super Bowl party.  What, pigs in a blanket?!  Laying around lethargically on sofas in pseudo-pajamas while that one guy at every party won’t shut up?  Athletes – they’re just like us. [Video]

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The Lightning let Stamkos says he hopes to play Saturday.  THIS SATURDAY. [video]  Lindsay’s facedown in a bowl of rainbow sprinkles somewhere, burying her shrieks of joy.

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If Stammer doesn’t go to Sochi, the NY Times examined possible roster replacements – including James Neal.  How do I feel about this?  When both scenarios are good and break my heart?

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Meanwhile the Avs still waver about whether “Avalanche” should be plural or singular.  I have to strongly disagree with their decision.

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How cute is this from the Wild?  I don’t mean Zach Parise’s grade school green screen cowlick, I mean a reading challenge!  This makes me want to hug a mascot.  What is the Wild’s mascot anyway? [Video]

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Nashville went right for… um, what was I… hmmmm?

The Sharks shared how Tomas Hertl is recovering from knee surgery… with the cast of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  This is just the fantastic. [link]

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The Rangers played football on the ice prior to the NYC area hosting its first ever Super Bowl. [video]  Obviously they don’t know about that time James Neal got hurt (not) playing wiffle ball at practice.

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Meanwhile the Canucks embraced crazypants Coach Tortorella, who returned from a 15-day (proofreading services by feochadn) suspension last night.  I have to say, in a work week like we’re having, I could use some “Best of Torts” [video] soundbites on speed dial.

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I swear I went to the Flyers site to find something good.  I even clicked on this episode of “Flight Plan” [video] to really watch it.  But 50 seconds in, the title card:

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STOP.  HEADDESK.  “Then” is a measure of time.  “Than” is a comparison between things.  I think Giroux, whose first language is obviously French, might be better at English THAN the person who made this slide.  I cannot watch more.  (Apologies to the Avs, your grammar problems pale in comparison.)

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Finally, the Coyotes announced their name will change next season, from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Arizona Coyotes. [video]  It’s partially due to the fact they actually play in Glendale, a city which has paid a mountain of money to keep them.  And partially because “Princess Consuela Bananahammock” was already taken on that episode of Friends.  They’re also angling for an outdoor game under the desert sun. [link]

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There you have it, a look around the League before the League takes a little vacation.  I must admit, I’m most excited about the Olympics as an exercise in efficiency – I only have to follow two teams, not 30.  Even if they’re all on at 3:30 in the morning.

Foxy Friday: Birthday Edition

To say that Chuck and I are busy is like saying that Tyler Seguin is attractive: both true and a laughably inadequate description of real life.

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Today is Tyler’s 22nd birthday.  It’s also Friday.   Despite emails arriving in my inbox so frequently that the little “ping” now sounds like a goal horn, I thought I’d take a minute and give the people what they want.

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Tyler had 2 goals Monday and 1 last night, ending a 12-game, 21-day scoreless streak.  On the ice, at least.  With 24 G and 29 A for 53 points, Seguin leads the Stars in each category.

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Dallas had a Casino Night this week, and in a baffling move didn’t post a photo gallery on their website.  Maybe they don’t like selling tickets.  Instagram came through with this gem of the crowd singing to Tyler [video].  Then people bid on a round of golf with him and Jamie Benn.

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I think you have to pay extra for Seguin to wear the pink tie but maybe there’s a discount for Jamie’s mullet.  Really we just need to know if Marshall is invited.

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Video of this. Stop-slash-don’t ever.

So happy birthday, Tyler.  We’re pretty sure this is all realy a gift for Chuck, but nevertheless is enjoy the rock star party that’s sure to mark this occasion.  While you’re at it wear more v-neck sweaters.

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Bonus: Tyler’s first Foxy Friday and best birthday post ever.

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PS: It’s also Brandon Bollig’s birthday [Foxy Friday].  Seems the universe feels particularly generous with the gene pool on January 31.  Cheers!

Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike!

Guess what day it is? (I’ve been waiting a long time to make that truly terrible joke. If you don’t know: GEICO Hump Day commercial.)

Mike Green scored two goals last night, including the OT game-winner. Including me jumping off the couch, from under a pile of blankets, which is the equivalent of true love when it’s 4 degrees outside.  Dust off the “Game Over” nickname!

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I mean it. Can this please be a thing again?

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Mike’s goals were the 100th [video] and 101st [video] of his NHL career. Thanks to the folks at Japer’s Rink, this Elias/ESPN stat: Mike hit 100 goals in 483 games. Only Sergei Gonchar took fewer games among active defensemen (461) and Shea Weber’s the only other d-man to reach 100 G in under 500 games (495).  Maybe Mike should have outpaced Gonch – Remember when MG had 31 goals in a season?  Gonch had 26 as a Cap in ’01-’02. – but beggars, losing teams and Pants can’t be choosers.  Hey, Mike had as many goals as Ovi last night!

(Love the Japer’s Rink HTML file name: wednesday-caps-clips-mike-green-is-such-a-friggin-badass.)

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The Caps had previously lost two shootouts to the Sabres this season. Feels good to get a win – only the Caps’ fourth in 13 games – even against the worst team in the NHL. Who are the only team below us in the Metro.  Again, I digress.  We’ll take the good – and the goals – where we can get them!

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I noticed Buffalo’s Ville Leino rocking an impressive beard, and wondered if he wanted to get the growth in now since the Sabres won’t be making the playoffs. Then I realized Mike has been lightly bearded almost all season too… hypothesis deleted. No thought can be so handsome and depressing at the same time.

Back to post-game happy face [video]:

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Gah, I missed that!

There has been little to write on Mondays this season, but any day can still belong to Mike.  Please let it be for goals and wins and not losing streaks. Or neck tattoos. Or all this talk about trading him [Washington Post] and keeping him [RMNB, Capitals Outsider, Japers Rink].

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I’m firmly in the KEEP MIKE camp, and not just for selfish reasons of hair excellence.  The Caps have problems.  Mike is not the biggest one.  Nor is he any longer a top-2 defenseman, which maybe eases the burden of pressure that has plagued his game in recent seasons.  Overpaid for a top-4 guy, yes.  But he QBs the powerplay, still shows that offensive glitter on occasion and has already been on the ice for more of this season (50 games) than the previous two full NHL schedules (49 in ’10-’11, 32 in ’11-’12).

Washington Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres

The Caps have hung their hopes and hats of Mike for a long time – maybe too long – but now is not the time to jump ship.  Or create more problems.  Finally healthy and potentially confident, Mike Green may be the one Capitals problem that could actually solve itself.

Foxy Friday: Ben Bishop

Hello, Foxy Friday.  We’ve missed you.  We’ve often spent your time doing actual work (that we didn’t do all week), when we should’ve spent the day more enjoyably.  Like this.

Foxy Friday: Ben Bishop

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You probably heard the Tampa Bay goalie’s name a lot right after you didn’t hear it at all – Ben was not chosen for the 2014 US Men’s Olympic Team.  You’re hearing it again now, because the re-injured knee of Detroit’s Jimmy Howard may open a Sochi roster spot for Bishop after all.

2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Men's World Championship

If that doesn’t work out, Ben could spend those two weeks smiling into a mirror and feel better.  Or at least we’d feel better.

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Olympics aside, let’s talk foxiness.  Ben is a giant – really, he’s 6’7″.  The high heels in our closets just gave a dreamy sigh.  He’s 27, from Denver and has no bio on the Lightning website.  That’s helpful.  A man of mystery, perhaps?

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Being a goaltender sounds like a brilliant job for a guy that leaves so little room in the net.  Ben started his career with a short stint in St. Louis (just 13 games over 2 years), before being traded to Ottawa.   He played 23 games over almost 2 seasons for the Sens, shuttling between their AHL Binghamton counterpart.  I put that in just because it’s Upstate NY.

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At the 2013 trade deadline, Bishop was sent to Tampa Bay in return for Cory Conacher’s eyebrows and a 4th round draft pick.  He played 9 games for the Bolts last year, but this season is when things really got rolling.

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Post-game interview – Jan. 17, 2014 (loss)

Appearing in 37 of the Lightning’s 51 games this season, Ben’s record is 25-6.  He’s got a League-leading .934 save percentage and 1.96 goals-against average (3rd in the NHL).  Tampa Bay is 2nd in the Atlantic (though they have the same 65 points as leader Boston) and third in the East.

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Let’s recap: foxy stats, tall guy, nice smile… what else do you need?  How about a photo with BU alum and Original Foxy Friday Matt Gilroy?

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Check.  I don’t see much on Ben – favorite movie, food, other things we can adore or tease him for.  He does like most sports except basketball, so that’s our style [link]. Anyone got a secret file on this guy?  Until then, enjoy a highlight reel  video from the first 20 games of this season…

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and a picture of Ben making this full-grown man look like a child.

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Haha.  Happy Friday!

NHL Revealed: Preview

NHL Revealed premiered last night… at 11 PM.  On a Wednesday.   I wasn’t even able to find the US commercial for it until this morning.  Oh NHL, you do such a bang-up job with this stuff!  Anyway, I’ll be watching it tonight when I get home in a hot second because I just found the whole episode [video]!

For now, here’s the preview [video], which has enough highlights to make me wish I took a sick day.

NHL

NHL Revealed touts this as an “unprecendented” hockey season – if you don’t count 2010 (or 2006…) when players also went to the Olympics then came back to their teams.  Nevermind.  It’s more interesting than an average season, that’s for sure.  The series also promises to showcase the best hockey players as we’ve never seen them before – and delivers.

John Tavares: Emotion.

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Shorts.

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Someone doing this.

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There’s even a sweaty hair flip in there.  Crosby chirps the Capitals, drops an “eh?” and I’m pretty sure I’m getting an Emmy for forgetting I directed this show.

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It has Ryan Getzlaf with his child:

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Kyle Okposo with his even smaller child:

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And Torts yelling.  You know, things you don’t see every day.

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We have high expectations for NHL Revealed.  The preview promises mic’d up on-ice altercations, bro-hugs, workout videos, windmill high-fives, the Stanley Cup and Teemu Selanne – pretty much all the things we’re hope for every year.

Because in hockey there are always coffees to drink,

nhl7 cowboy hats to buy,

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and dreams to chase.

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More later, I promise – unless any of you are doctors and can write me a note to leave work now.

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Put Me In, Coach

If I were the Penguins coach (or a mom, high school principal, etc.), I imagine there would be a lot of exchanges like this one from the new episode of In the Room [video]:

James Neal being a shit.

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Me not stopping till Neal owned up to his problem out loud.

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Kunitz’s face.

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Followed immediately by James trying not to laugh.

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Jackass.  You can’t distract me with your shorts!  Do not make me regret this.

In my world, no one would ever say that leggings are not pants.  (Oh, those aren’t leggings?)

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Tight hiphuggers, low fo’ sho.

Everyone would pack a healthy brown bag lunch.

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There’s moisturizer in there too.

Nisky would get more camera time.

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People would wear proper cold weather gear because they are Canadian and also duh.

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We’d always look our best.

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Glasses and plaid paints all the time.

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You are not fooling anyone with this coy stuff, James Neal.

Everyone would have excellent posture and sit up straight.

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They would never make fun of each other.

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Or call people names.

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Right, Kris?

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Everyone would be happy to see us.

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And we’d all sleep well at night.

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Of course I’d have the whole thing filmed for TV too.   Marketing and management?  I’d hire me.