Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

In Wednesday night’s game at the UC, the Vancouver Canucks lived down to their well-deserved reputation as the dirtiest and most gutless band of candyasses the NHL has seen in quite some time. When Duncan Keith, one of the cleanest and mildest-mannered players in the game today fired his elbow at the ginger-haired noggin of All-World Pussy Daniel Sedin (hereafter referred to as AWPDS) it was a retaliatory blow for the just-as-dirty head shot AWPDS laid on Keith minutes beforehand. If this had been a one-time cheap shot against us, the story would be over and we’d be moving on. But it is just another brick in the wall. Just for shits and giggles, let’s do a bit of reminiscing. I won’t cover the litany of atrocities these clowns have perpetrated on us, but will simply illustrate the point…..

March 29, 2009…Alex Burrows pulls Duncan Keith’s hair at the UC. I was at that game and saw it clearly, as did everyone. Who pulls hair besides little girls fighting over Justin Bieber posters or whatever little girls fight over these days? Have a look for yourself and tell me if Burrows would ever be suspected of having a pair of testicles.

Yeah, no balls whatsoever. In last year’s Cup final, Burrows pulled this garbage….

Yep….he BIT an opposing player. Again, does this guy have a pair of balls or lips in his pants? In keeping with his M.O. of being a punk, in last night’s tilt, he decided to knee Keith right in the groin while they were tangled up on the ice. Sorry there’s no video of this, but this column can only handle so much raging vagina action without getting a XXX rating. To recap….he pulls hair, bites and kicks guys in the balls. Do I need to go on? I didn’t think so. Suffice to say, Burrows is the leading jerkoff on a team packed with, and coached by, jerkoffs. Speaking of their jerkoff coach, here’s another video for your consumption. This is Alain Vignault in his playing days….

That’s him, jumping into a fight he wasn’t a part of, and trying to sucker punch Al Secord, who then thrashed him like the punk bitch he was. Is it surprising a team this pudwhack coaches pulls shit like this? Of course it isn’t. What is surprising is that this “tough” team cries foul every time they get a taste of their own medicine. Vignault did nothing but whine after the game about the shot AWPDS took from Keith but conveniently ignored the initial cheapshot. No wonder nobody outside Vancouver likes this club. But back to the game…..

After the Canucks opened the scoring at the 27 second mark of the 1st period, the Hawks responded by shutting them out for the remainder of regulation and overtime. The streaking Patrick Kane tied it up for the Hawks just over 3 minutes into the second period. With the score tied, it seemed both teams were more concerned at times with dishing out the physical play, both before, during and after play had stopped. It wouldn’t have shocked me if a player from either team tried to boobytrap the other team’s bus or airplane. Nothing would surprise me at this point. Seriously…if Kevin Bieksa (another paper tough guy who talks an awful lot for a guy skating backwards away from a fight) snuck into the Hawks dressing room and took a dump on the post-game buffet, would anyone be surprised? The only shock would be if that neanderthal actually wiped his ass afterwards. But I digress.

After a high-speed 3rd period for both teams that somehow didn’t see a manslaughter attempt, overtime loomed. With AWPDS out of the lineup after the shot from Keith we had an advantage in manpower. The Hawks got the big break they needed with an odd-man rush in extra time. Dave Bolland, the Canuck-killer, grabbed a rebound of a Vancouver shot and flew up the left wing boards with uber-energy rookie Andrew Shaw filling the middle of the ice with his spry frame and Campbell Lite/Johnny Oduya trailing the play. Crossing into the offensive zone, Bolland pulled up and found Oduya in the deep slot with a feed, which he quickly settled and blasted towards the net, where it deflected off Shaw for the game-winner.

As the crowd ripped into a frenzy and the Canucks looked like someone pissed in their Cheerios, Shaw jumped against the boards and up against the glass in a release of youthful emotion and joy. Yeah, the goal was from a fortunate deflection, but the #shawfact is that he was in front of the net where great things are bound to happen.

The aftermath of the game included Vignault whining about Keith’s elbow while ignoring AWPDS’s hit and likely will see a suspension for Keith and possibly AWPDS (I am getting into typing that) for their deliberate head shots. I have no issue with the possible punishments. It was worth it to see a guy stand up for himself against a band of thugs and sissies. How about one more video clip? Here’s the AWPDS’s twin sister Henrik taking a dive in last season’s Cup finals. Now, this is THE event that EVERY kid who ever laced up a pair of blades would die to play in and this asswhistle playacts this crap…

Yep. He dove like he was Greg Fucking Louganis going for Gold. How can anyone respect a team with players like these? Thank God the Hawks don’t act this way. I’d hate to have to unleash my sarcastic asshole side on them. My powers should only be used for good and instigating the criminally stupid. Shitting on the Canucks and their fans fits into that category. Thanks for small miracles I guess.

We’re down to 7 games left in the season and we’re on the type of roll you dream of as the playoffs approach. I seriously hope we draw these punks in the playoffs so we can have the pleasure of knocking their asses out again and making them cry like the bitches they are. Enjoy one last video clip, this one of the Canucks hoisting the Stanley Cup last year. Wait….what? MY BAD!!!

Since the purpose of this website is to educate as well as entertain, allow me to impart some of my vast hockey knowledge to the masses who may have some questions about how to properly act as a Blackhawks fan. The following Do’s and Dont’s have been compiled from my experiences as a Hawks fan. They apply to all situations….at games, in bars, in county lock-up…..

DON’T: When you’re at a game, don’t get up out of your seat while the puck is in play. Wait until the whistle stops play to get up and go take a leak, get beer or food, or try to hook up with one of the Ice Girls. Be courteous to others and act like you’ve been to a game before. I can’t stress this enough.

DO: Yell at the clowns who ignore the above point. You don’t need to be profane, of course, but some incisive and biting sarcasm is always in good taste. Try being creative and topical. People appreciate humor.

DON’T: Stand up every time the puck comes into the offensive zone. We know it’s there. We’re watching the same thing you are. You’re not going to get a better view of it by standing up. When the puck goes in the net, we’re ALL going to stand and yell and be loud. Until then, keep it in your pants, Ace.

DON’T: Yell “SHOOOOT!” when the team is cycling the puck, looking for the shot. They know when to shoot and see angles and shooting lanes you don’t from your seat. They’ll let ‘er rip when they’re damned good and ready. All you’re doing is alerting the rest of us who the noob in the crowd is. In the 300 level, you may not be allowed back to future games at all.

DO: Refer to the player’s uniforms as a “sweater”, not a “jersey”. Baseball players wear jerseys. Basketball players wear jerseys. Football players wear jerseys. Hockey players wear sweaters. Back in the day, when it was an outdoor game, the uniform was actually a woolen sweater for obvious reasons. They’re polysomething or another these days, but doesn’t it sound cool to call it a sweater?

DON’T:
Buy a shitty Chinese knockoff sweater to express your new-found fandom. These are easy to spot….if the C with the crossed tomahawks on the shoulder looks like a Boy Scout troop badge for being a cheap shithead, then it’s a knockoff. If the Chief’s face looks like he has a bad case of cellulitis, it’s a knockoff. Don’t look like a noob.

DO: Spend the extra $50 or so to get something that looks great. It’s worth it and I won’t be forced to make fun of you.

DON’T: Get a personalized sweater with something stupid on it. Example…I saw a sweater at a TV game that had number 69 on it and the name said “P. Whipped”. If you think that’s worth spending the $300 it costs to customize a sweater in that fashion, I’d like you to try this bleach and grain alcohol cocktail I’m mixing over here. Unless you’re Clark Griswold, just get a Toews or Kane or Hossa sweater. Otherwise, you’re just a cock-knocker.

DO: Buy the max amount of beers when you make a run downstairs. I’m not explaining this one further.

DON’T:
Feel like you’re disrespecting America when you cheer the Anthem at the United Center. It’s part of the Chicago hockey experience and it’s accepted as a great tradition. I was there on May 9, 1985 when the tradition truly took hold and became what it is today. You go right ahead and yell and holler and clap and scream. You can be quiet at a baseball game or in church or when you’re dead.

DON’T:
Jump on the ice to try and kick the ass of a player you don’t like. You’ll lose. But you will get points if the player you go after is Todd Bertuzzi. You’d still get your ass kicked, but seriously mad props for taking that felon on.

DO:
Put one in the net if you are lucky enough to do the Shoot the Puck promo between the 2nd and 3rd period. I did it when I was about 15, missed all 3 and got booed, deservedly so. Hell, I would have booed me, too. Do yourself a favor and pot one.

DON’T:
Go on message boards and scream for the return of players we had to move in the summer of 2010. It’s simply not good hockey talk and opens you up for the kind of ridicule reserved for the assclowns who stand up during play.

DO:
Learn the rich history of the team. The Hawks have had some of the game’s greatest players and the Chicago Stadium (one of the sporting world’s finest arenas of all-time) was their home for decades. Study up on players like Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita. Take a look at how the team was formed and got their name. Learn who the retired numbers belong to and what those players accomplished. It makes for a better fan experience when you’re in touch with the past, and the Hawks certainly have an illustrious….and sometimes shit-awful….past.

DON’T: Be the butthole who didn’t know who my sweater #35 was earlier this season. It happened in a UC bathroom, post-game. As he asked the question and ENTIRE bathroom turned to look at this idiot in the shitty Chinese knockoff (SEE? TOLD YOU!!), my head swam with confusion and my insult generator locked. I was literally rendered speechless by this guy’s lack of what should be obvious. I mean, he was sitting in an arena with the retired number 35 on a banner hanging above him for 3 hours. Christ…….

DO:
Learn the rules of the game, which is obvious for any sport you watch. Start with the basics like icing and offsides and just pay attention. The rest pretty much falls into place. Penalties are mostly self-explanatory, but there are cool things like match penalties and major game misconducts. If nothing else, hockey has the coolest sounding penalties.

DON’T: Lose faith in these guys. Many teams would have given up on the season on the heels of that 9 game skid, especially after losing an elite player and captain like Jonathan Toews. Kane and Hossa have picked up the slack and we’re solidly in playoff position with 14 games to go. Toews skated by himself before practice and felt good, which is a damned good sign. If he comes back strong by playoff time, it’s a whole different Hawks team to deal with.

Heading into the stretch run, we’ve figured out quite a bit about the 2011-12 edition of the Hawks.  It’s a bit of a mix of good, bad, tasteless and stupid.  Sounds like the Oscars.  At least I didn’t hire Billy Crystal or a very stoned James Franco to write this.

We Know….enough about concussions to know that there can be no target date for Jonathan Toews’s return.   Hopefully, he progresses quickly and we get him back before much longer.  I like good old-fashioned injuries where a reasonable estimate for return was possible.  The fact that he’s an elite player and our Captain makes the uncertainty even more excruciating.  We Don’t Know.…how badly we needed him until he’s been out of the lineup.  It sucks without him.

We Don’t Know…which Corey Crawford will show up on any given night.    His confidence level is either sky-high or in the crapper and it doesn’t help when he lets in a softie.    Even when the defense is limiting quality chances against him, your sphincter is tight when there’s action in our end.    We Know….we can’t put up with this type of stuff if he’s the future in goal for us.

We Know….Patrick Kane can give us more than what we’ve gotten this year.   It’s been a down year for him, but everyone has them in their career.  Even Babe Ruth and Ted Williams had off-years.  I’m not ready to scream that “TRADE KANE!!” crap with the rest of the meatballs.  He’s 23, has a cap-friendly deal and steps his production up in the playoffs.  You don’t deal a guy like that when his value isn’t as high as it should be.  We Don’t Know….who the clown was who originally started that rumor, but he should be de-balled immediately.

We Know…Stan could have done more at the deadline.  With that cap space and young talent to deal, I felt we’d do more.  We did get Johnny Oduya, who was solid against Toronto, but we sure could have used that 2nd line center.  I realize the cost of making deal was exorbitant this season, with only 9 or 10 legit sellers out there, so I’m also glad he didn’t get trade-raped.    We Don’t Know.….the last time we heard a particular team’s fandom go so absolutely batshit crazy at the trade deadline and crucify the guy so thoroughly in every available media outlet.  My God….he didn’t get a center (we have other options, like Sharp), he didn’t cause cancer.   Christ, look at the long-term scenario, not just the next two months.

We Know…Andrew Shaw can bring some serious energy to the rink.  He’s a whirlwind out there, and that’s been a commodity we’ve been sorely lacking at times this season.   We Don’t Know…if he’ll hold up physically, since he’s so damned small.  He is responsible for a sweet little fad, however.  #shawfacts

We Know…John Scott sucked and getting a 5th rounder from the Rangers was a good thing.  We’re better, skill-wise, without him.  Pluswhise, his so-called physical presence has been replaced by Brandon Bollig, who can actually play more than 4 minutes a night 4 times per month.  We Don’t Know….what NY sees in Scott, but I hope they get it.  Even though he sucked, he was a good teammate and a funny guy.  His appearance in the Hawks’ Xmas album was glorious.

We Know…Duncan Keith can play at an all-world level and control the ice when he’s out there.  We Don’t Know….if that guy is ever coming back.  I don’t like what I see from him on too many occasions.  His bad decisions have been ending up in the back our our net far too often.

We Know…the power play sucks.  An 85 year old paraplegic man with no testosterone is more potent than our power play.  I mean, if they haven’t figured out that pucks on the net with traffic on front is the way to go, then I’m at a loss.  Fancy perimeter passing is nice, but not when that’s all you accomplish.  We Don’t Know….why it had to be Davy Jones passing on while Snooki and the cast of Jersey Shore continue to draw breath.

Big weekend coming up with road games in Ottawa tonight and Detroit on Sunday, and a third roadie in St Loo on Tuesday.  A mere 17 games remain and every damned one of them looms large.    A nice run of inspired play would be a welcome sight down the stretch.

Pre-Game to Puck Drop….

The Toews/car accident story broke early today, with the Captain coming out of the accident okay.  Thank God for that $100K Mercedes’ crash-resistant features, huh? If texting and driving was the cause of the crash, I’ll be uber-pissed as that’s my current #1 thing that bothers me lately.  He should know better.

Tonight, the Hawks go for five wins in a row with the Stars visiting the UC.  With Toews still out, we need everyone else to pick it up like they did against Detroit.  The red-hot Corey Crawford gets the start between the pipes and hopes to continue his strong play as of late.   For a guy who looks like a monkey humping a football at times, he sure can look like a top-flight goalie for stretches.  My thanks to the late Herb Brooks for the preceding monkey line.  I’ll be doing the “running diary” thing tonight during the game.  Let’s hope we have 2 points to show for ourselves when we’re done.

On a side note, I miss hating the shit out of the Minnesota North Stars.  I wish I could go chant “DINO SUCKS!!  DINO SUCKS!!” just one more time, but I digress.

Puck drop, 20:00 left in the first period.…I miss seeing Toews already, nothing against Kruger for taking the opening draw.  You sure get used to seeing a guy like #19.

19:52….Icing in 8 seconds….sounds like a low-quality how-to cake decorating video.

19:06….Stephen King’s pen name Steven Bachman is tending net for Dallas tonight.  If he employs a huge, possessed St Bernard, I call bullshit on it.

17:14…Great chance for Kaner from Sharp.  Would have been nice to cash that in.  Hossa and Kane have jump so far.

17:00….Uh-oh…Hawks to the power play.  This unit is due like a cell phone bill in the ghetto.

16:3something…Good play by Leddy to deny the shorty chance.  Christ, we can’t score ourselves, don’t give up a goal…

15:07…CRAWFORD!!!  Gotta love big early saves.  #weneededthat

14:16…Goalmouth scramble with Big Jimmy Hayes right in the middle of it.  Stay there for about 15 years, kid.  You look good.

13:50…..Cool little video coming out of commercial showing how the hoops court is converted to the rink at the UC.  I could see grabbing a dozen beers and sitting in the stands and watching that for a while.

9:37…Another good save by Crawford, who saw it all the way.  Decent pace so far, should pick up as the game goes on.  Kane looks pretty active again….damn good sign.

6:55….A quick score before the end of the first would be a welcome sight.  I hate how this Dallas team hangs around.

5:29…LEDDY ROBBED!!  BASTARD BACHMAN!!  I HATE YOUR SELF-INDULGENT BOOKS!!

4:24….I didn’t mean that.  I like King’s stuff.  I just wanted Leddy to bury that chance.

1:20….I think Stalberg misses Toews more than anyone.

End of the first….Shots were 6 to 5 in favor of the Hawks.  Both teams had a couple solid chances, but Crawford and Steven King have been up to the task……Anybody throws me against the boards I’m gonna piss all over myself…….I love Lemonheads, and the commercial with Toews/Kane still makes me laugh…..

Second period….

18:12…Nice flurry for the Hawks there.  Hossa just missed connecting there.  He’s been all over the ice so far.  I love beastly Marian.

17:28…GOALPOST!!!  THEN THE CROSSBAR!!  Crawford with double best-friend action there.  *cues 70’s porn music*

17:17…Hayes robbed by King.  Damn, what a chance.  Jimmy is playing his ass off again tonight.  Glad to see he “gets it” already.

16:14…Near-turnover to Frolik in the slot.  I got excited about the scoring chance, then remembered Frodo couldn’t score in a whorehouse with a fistful of hundreds.

13:55….Hayes with yet another good chance.  It looks like the kid lives for playing hard and going to the front of the net.  #39 is going to be a popular sweater here for years to come if he keeps it up……Edzo and Foley talking up the food at the UC.  I guess they missed the stuff on the news  about the health code violations down there.  I’ll pass on the diarrhea with a side of dry heaves, thanks.

13:21…GOALPOST!!  for Sharp.

10:28….HOSSA MAKES IT 1-0!!!  What a play by Frodo to make it possible!!  Hard works pays off!!!

5:42…Crawford with two great saves to keep it 1-0.  Those are the saves he needs to make on a nightly basis.

5:20….My other favorite young Hawk, Dylan Olsen, with a quality chance.  He looks right at home next to Keith on the back end.

1:00…..Hawks have pretty much owned the 2nd, due in large part to Hossa.  He’s been the best player on the ice tonight, stepping up into a void left by Toews being out.  It’s nice when your best players play like it.

0:03….Another damned goalpost for the Hawks.  We’re burying these guys in the 3rd.

End of the second….Hawks outshot Dallas 16-5 in the 2nd.  That’s called turning your shit up a notch…..Bears LB Lance Briggs is doing the Shoot-the-Puck segment in a minute.  I hope he doesn’t start bitching about his contract when Sarah Kustok blathers at him after he misses…..The girl shooting the puck tonight is less than a 9.  Must be a sparse crowd tonight……Oh, but the 2nd girl was….yeaow!!!……Briggs missed all three shots.  I think he was distracted by the 2nd girl.

Third period….

19:08….Hossa busting in hard along the boards is a nice thing to see.

17:20…Stalberg with a wonderful chance.  I think one goal may break this game open for us.

14:38….Dallas with their first shot of the 3rd. The defense has been fantastic at shutting off the passing lanes all night.

14:07….Ok, who buries the first glorious chance?  I’m saying Sharp will.

10:35….Fuck.  Dallas scores after being dominated and ties it at 1.  There is no way we’re letting Steven King beat us in the UC tonight.

9:35…..Foley sounds like Peter Brady when his voice cracks.  All we need is for him to put on a sweet poncho, some puka shells and find a terrible 70’s song for him to warble.  When it’s time to change, you’ve got to re-arrange!!!!

7:15….Uh-oh…off goes Hossa.  Not good.

6:06….Hossa back on the bench.  My balls can come back out of my stomach cavity now.  Whew.

5:02…You gotta be shitting me.  We’re really going to let Dallas take this game over after owning the ice for over 40 minutes?  This is inexcusable.  2-1 Dallas and I’m pissed.

4:20…..The last thing I want right now is a Hawks power play.  Talk about a momentum killer…..

3:48.….Suck a big fat one, Hawks.  You simply stopped playing hard after dominating for 48 minutes and are now down 3-1.  What a shame you’re going to let a winning streak end on such a poor effort at such a crucial time.

2:05….BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

1:12…..BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

0:00……Bite me.  Take a big, wet bite out of my ass.  Terrible way to end the night.

Post-game…

Well, the Hawks played great for about 48 minutes, then decided to slack off and let an inferior Dallas team steal 2 points on our home ice.  With or without Jonathan Toews, there was no reason to lose this game.  In a conference as hellaciously tough as the NHL’s Western conference is, these are the types of games and points we simply can’t afford not to win.  Hopefully, these 2 points won’t be a factor in the end, but it’s maddening to watch  games like this.  I mean, seriously…every scout in the NHL was out there tonight, with contracts in their pockets, and they’re looking for talent. For winners. OOOOOOOOOH. All my years of publicity. All the fashion shows and radiothons for nothing… They come here tonight… to scout the Chiefs… the toughest team in the Federal League! Not this! Buncha… pussies.”

That about sums it up.

The biggest waterfalls start with a drop of water.  Tonight, the Jonathan Toews penalty shot a mere 65 seconds into the game was that drop of water.  It gave a team that was desperate for some sort of break just what they needed….a chance to grab some momentum in the hands of their best player and captain.  Big players make big plays and as The Captain went five-hole to give us the lead we would never relinquish, he proved again that he’s a leader.  That was the biggest 1-0 lead I can recall right now.  Then, we saw a waterfall of hockey awesome.

In less than ten minutes of game time, the Hawks had potted 3 more beautiful goals and played some of the most inspired hockey I’ve seen.  Sticks were active, players were digging hard on the boards, the Slap Shot lines were flowing.  After building that 4-0 lead, they basically played standout defensive hockey and basically shut down a top team in the NHL, something we have had issues with recently.  When you only give up 21 shots, you give yourself a shot at winning.  I can’t stress this enough.

Tonight, our best players were just that…our best players.  Even our depth players like Scott and Lepisto were solid.  But what kept momentum on our side were 2 things had had been struggling….Corey Crawford and our penalty kill unit.

Crawford made the huge saves when he needed to and looked very confident in challenging shooters and controlling his rebounds.  Goalies games revolve around their confidence level and his looked as sharp as I’ve seen in a bit.  We needed him to have a big game tonight and he came through.  He just needs to not revert to being a huge pile of suck.

The penalty kill, in the midst of one of the most horrible stretches of play I’ve seen since God knows when, not only killed all seven penalties called on us, but killed off a key 4 minute double minor that would have been a death knell last week to boot.  It’s amazing what a little effort and desire can get you when it’s required.  There were plenty of pk minutes to go around, but Dylan Olson, all 20 years old of him, got over 4 minutes of it and looked good  He got almost 16 minutes and earned it.  It would be nice if we could keep him up here and get some real contributions from him.

Two early afternoon game for the weekend.  I’ll be at Sunday’s nationally televised game vs St Louis.  Game time is 11:30 am….look for me in the stands.  I’ll be the one wearing the red Hawks sweater and Stanley Cup hat.  Let’s hope they come home on a 2 game winning streak.

Rivalries are one of the greatest things about sports. Well, they used to be. Nowadays, the friendliness and fist bumping tends to override the competitive spirit that fuels a classic rivalry. Super teams are being formed by friends. Free agents are signing with teams that should forever hate each other. Sadly, it comes down to loyalty and pride being thrown out the window. This will ultimately be the downfall of sports, and I’ll be forced to explain all this to my grand kids someday. I can hear my future self now: “…Kids, back in my day there was this fellow named Michael Jordan…”

We, as fans, pledge allegiance to our teams’ flags, but the problem seems to be that the players don’t feel the same hometown connection to the cities and its inhabitants that root them on day in and night out.

Ever since the anticlimactic conclusion of Super Bowl XLVI between the Patriots and Giants, there has been some speculation swirling as to who are the greatest sports rivalries of the here and now. There are, of course, certain prerequisites for a matchup of two teams to be allowed to consider itself an actual rivalry. Both teams must establish a certain level of success. They must have regularly scheduled matchups as well as postseason series spliced in to spice it up a bit, because rivalries become such in the playoffs. There must be some level of legitimate hatred in their somewhere, too. At the collegiate level, the rivalry is somewhat easier to establish, but in the professional realm with ever-prevalent free agency always just lingering there and friends plotting fucking super teams with each other, rivalries come and go, no real chance for lasting effect and historical significance.

Since we just exited the midst of rivalry week in college hoops, let’s talk Duke/North Carolina. No matchup in NCAA Basketball has the tradition and folklore of the Duke Blue Devils versus the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tobacco Road geographical proximity adds to the intrigue. The NBA has seen more impactful alumni from these two schools than any other. First and foremost, the G.O.A.T, the best player in the history of the game, the one and only, Mr. Michael Jordan. Then you’ve got two of the greatest coaches ever to assemble Xs and Os, Dean Smith and Coach K Mike Krzyzewski. James Worthy. Grant Hill. Larry Brown. Luol Deng. Rasheed Wallace. Elton Brand. Sam Perkins. Carlos Boozer. Vince Carter. Shane Battier. Antawn Jamison. Johnny Dawkins. Tyler Hansbrough. Kenny “The Jet” Smith. Mitch Kupchak. Jerry Stackhouse. Kyrie Irving. Ty Lawson. Stuart Scott, even. “Holla at a playa when you see him in the street!” What? You thought this all started with a buzzer beater from freshman sensation, diaper dandy, Doc’s kid, Austin Rivers?

Without a solid understanding of rivalries from the past and those which have withstood the test of time, we can’t speculate on our teams’ current and future nemeses. With that in mind, let’s look at our city’s teams and the foes they’ll face in significant situations over the next few seasons.

Bulls/Heat and Bulls/Pacers: Outside of my man, Jeremy Lin, the Knicks suck really bad, so that’s why they failed to make this list. The Pacers truly believe they could’ve and should’ve beaten the Bulls in last year’s playoff series. Bulls fans definitely believe we should’ve represented the Eastern Conference in last year’s NBA Finals. The Bulls might have to beat both of these teams come April to make The Finals for the next decade or so. The Pacers are sort of built the same way as us: reliant on team defense, not a lot of flash on offense outside of their leading scorer, a free agent power forward in the twilight of his career, and knowledgeable Midwestern basketball fans filling the seats. The Heat are sort of the anti-Bulls team. They play hard D…when they feel compelled to kick it into high gear. So, so, so much flash on offense…for crying out loud, DWade’s nickname is Flash. As much as I hate the guy and hate to admit it (because I actually preferred Booze to Bosh when this South Beach Superteam nonsense went down), Chris Bosh is a better power forward than Booze right now. As for the fans: I’m not sure most of them even knew Miami had a basketball team before LeBron came to town. Chi Town stand up!

White Sox/Twins: I was raised a Chicago sports fan, so you’re not going to hear any Cubs/Sox-as-an-actual-rivalry-gobbledygook from me. Instead, the South Siders’ main rival resides in their own division. You know them as The Twinkies, and they’ve been a thorn in our side with their little farm system, which is a respectable way to build a team, if you ask me. The Minnesota Twins are the closest thing we’ve got to a true rivalry. C’mon, Sox. Not much to lose this year. Go start some shit with a club, and get a real rival.

Cubs/Cardinals: The Cubs have just sucked for the better part of the last century with glimpses of greatness peppered in once every ten to twelve years, so why would the pattern stop now? With the departure of the best player in baseball to DisneyLand and the American League, the Cardinals don’t look to defend their World Series with much confidence this year, either. With Prince Fielder also swapping Centrals, the Cubs’ division actually seems wide open in 2012. I mean, when the Pirates have a chance, anyone’s got just as good a shot. This one could be on the list of all-timers with the two teams separated by Illinois/Missouri state lines, the rights to Harry Caray’s immortality and Central Illinois at stake, and inspiration to spawn books about their intense rivalry whenever they take the field.

Bears/Packers: This one doesn’t even need a description. Only thing I’m going to say is this: if you hated Brett Favre growing up for beating up on the Bears, prepare your suicide notes from what Aaron Rodgers will inflict on your football psyche.

Blackhawks/Canucks: These guys have legitimate hatred for each other, reducing the rest of these rivalries to mere matchups of friends who play the games as a matter of happenstance. Shit talking. Goalie mind games (LOLuongo). Fights. Like, real fights. I’ll put it this way. Actually, I’ll let Hawks Center Dave Bolland, who referred to Canucks stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin as “sisters” he wouldn’t want on his team and saying there are “weirdos” in the city of Vancouver, put it his way. Let’s have a chant, shall we: USA! USA!

These rivalries have become embedded into the national psyche, but on a world stage, shit gets waaaaaaaay out of control with soccer riots, national pride-filled cricket matches, sports with not only in-game rivalries but religious implications as well. Let’s realize that we live in a country where sports do not dictate what happens politically, socially or religiously. We live in a country where freedom of choice still exists, and that’s a beautiful thing.

I, for one, cling to the old school rivalries of yesteryear, the ones with real history, so here are my Top 5 American Sports Rivalries of All-Time.

Honorable Mention: Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, Michael Jordan vs. The Bad Boys, Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage, Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Football

5. Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Basketball

4. New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

3. Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers

2. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

1. Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York/San Francisco Giants

Sportsmanship, yes. But, seriously, leave the peace loving, hand shaking, friend making and hugging for the real world. Lord knows it needs it.

Dictum Meum Pactum…


First off, my thanks for the invite to contribute to this blog.  I’m about as passionate about sports as anyone and what I say usually comes from the heart.  Well, from the heart or the big sarcastic part of my brain that rules my life.  Sometimes, you can actually tell the difference. (ed. note, sometimes, when the moon is high and Virgo is trending).

As we’ve noticed lately, the Blackhawks have been about as bad as we’ve seen them in years.  You’d have to go back to the dark ages to find as bad a stretch as this one.  6 losses in a row, some of the Rosie O’Donnell-ugly variety, have dropped the team from atop the West to 6th and plummeting.  How have we fallen so far so fast?  More importantly, will they get back on track before pissing away a once-promising season with legit Cup hopes?  I believe so and here’s why….

  1. Jonathan Toews.  The game’s best young (and some say best overall) captain is a stone-cold killer who would cut his balls off with a rusty skate blade to inspire and motivate his team.  There was a reason he was chosen as captain at the age of 20 years and 79 days old….he’s a pure leader.  Anyone can lead when things are going good and a team is rolling….see DFB and the 2003 Cubs….but when things are in the toilet, a true leader rights the ship and does so by example.  Toews is called Captain Serious and it’s apt.  He can and will lead the way.
  2. Patrick Kane.   Yeah, Kane has been not quite as good as he has been in the past, but he’s shown signs of breaking out and being aggressive.  When he shoots more often, the passing lanes open as teams collapse on him.  Then, the shit gets real as 88 is one of the best and most creative passers in the game.  When that part of his game is clicking and he’s feeling the confidence, he is damn near unstoppable and his line mates bury the puck and they all thrive.  Pluswhise, when he’s confident, his all-around game improves.  He’s never going to win the Selke, but his defensive game can be solid when he’s feeling it.  Bottom line, he has too much sheer talent to not play well for long stretches.
  3. Q and his staff aren’t idiots.  They see what we see.  They know what’s broken.  The defensive lapses and awful special teams can be fixed.  This is the same group that was cruising atop the NHL standings after a torrid December where they won 10 of 13 games and looked every bit the dominant team the Cup winners were at times.
  4. Stan has cap space and trade bait.  Rarely do teams keep the same roster intact all season.  Luckily for us, we have two essentials for a deal….cap space and young kids.  With around $5M in space, we can afford to add a tough, physical defenceman (I’m using the Canadian spelling there, eh?) who can contribute to the penalty kill and address the issue stated in my 3rd reason while not depleting the system of it’s incredible young depth.  Adding such a player is not only possible, but a likelihood.  Stan is not stupid either and he knows what’s needed.  He’ll get it.
  5. Teams with championship experience rise to a challenge when up against it.  We’ve had some roster turnover since the summer of 2010, but the core of that title team remains and hungers for more.  Guys like Hossa, Sharp, Keith and Seabrook aren’t satisfied with winning once.  They surely want more and the time has come for them to realize it.   They have no choice but to step it up over the last 2 months.

Every team has it’s own issues, and we’re no exception, but we also have more on the positive side of the ledger than most.  Besides, the worst time to judge a team and how good they are is when they’re at their lowest….this stretch certainly qualifies as that point.  I’m betting the road trip will end on a positive note and the team will right the ship and settle in the for the stretch.  They’d better, as I’m running out of things to kick and creative swear words.

Poor T.

Mercy!! Can't wait for the Ice Crew to get back to work!

What was once a comfortable lead in the Central division has quickly vanished.  What’s left is a ton of question marks.  In the last 10 games the Hawks are 3-5-2 while the rest of the North, minus Columbus, has played exceptionally well.  What you thought the all-star break was going to help this lifeless team?

You should have seen this coming.  The defense has been awful, in fact what happened to Duncan Keith?  He certainly is not the same since winning the Norris Trophy in 2010.  However, Keith is not the only problem, Niklas Hjalmarsson Brent Seabrook and Nick Leddy have continually made poor choices on the ice.  One can argue that every member of the blue line has played poorly this year and have caused the Mercy!! Can’t wait for the Ice Crew to get back to work!goaltending to look downright brutal.

Corey Crawford has channeled his inner Marty Turco, letting so many easy pucks passed him.  Coming into the season many Blackhawk fans, myself included, thought Crawford would be a stone wall in between the pipes for the Hawks.  What we have instead is a goaltender who has lost his confidence and a goalie controversy has emerged.

Ray Emery has played much better then Crawford in his limited time but head coach Joel Quenneville continues to stick with Crawford in goal.  Maybe that’s about to change as Emery started in the Blackhawks recent loss to the Colorado Avalanche.  Both goalies haven’t been helped by the constant turnovers in the neutral zone.  Emery however, has done the best when facing the continuous 2-1 rushes by other teams as of late.

If you’ve been watching as of late you probably know that Patrick Kane is not playing the same type of hockey he did over his previous 4 seasons.  After being shifted over to the faceoff circle this year he started to embrace the playmaker roll.  Now to start the season that worked really well, but his scoring has fallen way off.  If Tuesday’s game is any indication maybe Kane is back on track.  He took more shots then were used to seeing and played more aggressively than in prior games.  Kane even scored a goal which is something were not used to since in his last 27 games he has a total of 5 goals.

Chicago, A Drinking Town with a Sports Problem is not ready to panic.  We’d rather drink our sorrows away with a six’er and a few shots of Jamison.  So hang in there Blackhawk fans, we have plenty to be happy about.  Jonathan Toews and “Lord” Marian Hossa have been outstanding and the young kids are getting a ton of experience.  Heck besides Daniel Carcillo this team is finally getting healthy.  Stay strong Blackhawk fans, this team is better then what were watching.

Or so I hope so!

Video games and sports have been close partners since their inception. Throughout the turbulent 80′s and the death of the arcade, the grand times and great triumphs of the game industry, sports games have been there. They entertain the wishes of would be NBA stars who can’t play at a professional level. They fill the void for baseball fans during the off-season who itch for the first pitch thrown in April. Most importantly, they offer hours of entertainment for gamers and casual players alike, and every so often change the nature of the industry. There has not been one single home video game console released that did not have at least one sports title in it’s library of games, if not in it’s launch lineup. Sports games have proven time after time that they can both sell systems and destroy them, introduce new heroes to gamers and bring new markets to the gaming industry, and if not for one specific sports title and the man who created it, video games as we know them may never have existed at all.

These are the next five in my list of ten sports games that have made a huge impact on the video game world.

# 6 Madden NFL ’94 

From it’s roots, Madden NFL was created to be a realistic sports simulation. Since most sports titles at the time of its first release were of the arcade variety, Madden made an impact for being a true simulation. Once gamers got a taste of that level of detail, every company making sports games had to take notice and compete. Yeah NBA Jam was a break out hit, and NFL Blitz made a splash a few years later, but who plays those games now? Sports gamers want realism these days and there’s no room for an arcade football game in the eyes of the industry thanks to Madden NFL Football.

I know. Madden NFL ’94 is a simple little child’s toy compared to the complexity of current entries in the series but ’94 was the first in the series to bear its current nomenclature as well as several other features that made it stand out from other arcade style football games of the day (I’m talking about you Tecmo Super Bowl!). It was the first in the series to have the NFL teams license. ’94 was the first in the series to include Flip Plays, which let you to mirror your selected play to throw off your opponent, making multi-player games more fun, and the first entry to allow full season play, albeit, through means of a password system. Upwards of 80 teams (including all NFL teams that existed at the time, 30 years of Super Bowl teams, and several all star versions of various teams) gave the title great replay value and even though the players on those teams weren’t included in the game, their stats were accurately recreated. Even with the accidental switching of the entire Jets and Giants rosters (Hey! They’re both New York teams so who cares right?) it shined as a modern example of what a great sports simulation could be. We all know the rest of this story and are more than likely playing Madden NFL 12 right now, but this was the one that paved the way for the extensive simulation we now know and love. Oh yeah, this was also the first EA sports game to have the, now iconic, “It’s in the game” voice at the beginning. Neat huh?

# 5 Gran Turismo

I’m a huge fan of arcade racing games. I would give my nuts and future life savings for a Rad Mobile arcade machine, but there is a place in my heart for games like Gran Turismo. It took a lot of guts for Sony to release this title. At the time, people like me were either drifting through whole tracks in Ridge Racer or pretending that Cruisin’ USA was a good game. There was no place in video games for a true racing simulation. License tests? Who do they think they are? Braking, gear ratios, and proper cornering? What the hell are they talking about? Who are they to tell me how to play my racing game? Fortunately the visual presentation hooked a lot of early adopters and many more fell into the groove of actually driving well in a video game not to mention racking up wins and cash to upgrade their 92 Mitsubishi GTO Twin Turbo. This is another case of one title changing the industry. Before Gran Tourismo, the racing simulation was the oddity. Now, it’s pretty difficult to find a true arcade racing game that isn’t some Mario Kart clone or doesn’t include crashing to score points. Every developer that wanted to get into the video game racing business suddenly had to compete with a deep, engrossing, visual powerhouse that presented a challenge and feeling of victory no other racing title could provide. Without the original Gran Turismo, there would be no Project Gotham Racing, no Need for Speed in it’s current iterations, and probably no Drag Racing on your iPhone. Respect.

#4 NHL ’94

Damn 1993 was a good year for EA sports! (Both Madden NFL ’94 and NHL ’94 were actually released in 1993.) While this entry in the series has been made famous for basically allowing its players to kill Wayne Gretzky (and who wouldn’t have wanted to back then?)there is another reason the ’94 iteration was the one that made hockey games popular. What could EA have added to such a great series to make it better and take it head and shoulders above every other hockey game that existed at that point? The answer is devastatingly simple.

One Timers.

NHL ’94 was the first hockey title to include one timers. Sure, it didn’t have fights, but now you could actually execute plays in a hockey game! Sure, the sprites skated around like crap but now you could actually execute plays in a hockey game! 1993 was, and will remain the year that the simulated hockey experience got real and it never looked back. EA was the first company to take hockey seriously and try to make their game as realistic as possible and  NHL ’94 was their first real success as far as I’m concerned. Hockey fans, be grateful.

Oh Chelios...

#3 MLB ’09: The Show

The Show franchise has been top notch since its early days in ought-6 but 2009 was the year they really got it right. The series’ “Road to the Show” mode is still the best career mode in all of video game history in the eyes of this writer and much of what the past 3 years’ entries have built upon first took shape in ’09. It introduced “Road to the Show 2.0” to the series which included better base running and stealing mechanics as well as more in-depth coach and management interaction with your created star. Fielding mechanics were improved, catcher AI was beefed up to react to each pitcher and hitter’s strengths, and so many other tweaks were implemented that strengthened overall game play that it felt like a new game over 2008’s entry.

I’ve heard people say that year over year improvement in the series since is too minimal for their tastes, and I tend to agree, but the lack of change begs a question. Is there a need to improve such a fine system?

If it ain’t broke…

Seriously, The Show has been the best baseball game available for 7 years running and it shows no sign of breaking that streak. If you haven’t played any of the entries in the series, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend grabbing the ’09 entry simply for the fact that the rosters are old old old and, as far as I know, you can no longer update them. It is, however, important to know where the greatness began and 2009 was the year baseball video games finally got the champion they deserved.

#2 NFL 2K1

This is going to seem like the “game nerd/fanboy” entry on the list but trust me, NFL 2K1 is number 2 for a reason. Allow me to give some detail.

Madden NFL 2001 did not appear on the Dreamcast. This was due to EA’s decision to not support the system, for better or worse. This move ended up being great for EA but absolutely devastating to SEGA as many developers followed suit, siting the Playstation 2 as the better option for monetary gain. So what do you do when one of the largest game publishers in existence pulls support of your console, thus depriving your user base of some of the most robust sports franchises that tend to sell systems? You hire the guys who made Madden NFL ’94 to make some completely new games, that’s what! With its superb football mechanics and a polished presentation, NFL 2K1 was the first real competition the Madden franchise had seen since NFL Gameday ’98. 2K1 took a great step forward from the previous year’s version by tweaking the gameplay and really stuck it to EA. Check out this video comparison of NFL 2K1 and Madden NFL 2001 if you want proof of how close they were in quality.

That’s all fine and good, but the icing on the cake was the inclusion of a feature that changed the nature of console sports forever.

Online Multi-player

That’s right NFL 2K1 was the first console sports game to feature online multi-player capabilities. Can you imagine playing Madden today without the option to school some jerk from New England and hate on Tom Brady while sitting on your couch in Pilsen? Be honest. No! You can’t! It’s become such a huge part of sports games, and so many people have never even played the game that started it all. The wildly successful NBA 2K series being the exception, all of the meaningful 2K Sports titles are either gone or on their way to their respective graves.  At least this one will live on in spirit, even if it’s just because of a brave new feature implemented by a desperate company that was on its way out of the console market.

That wraps up part 2. You know you want to check back next week to see which game is number one. It’s going to be a huge surprise!

I hope you’re happy, America.

I know I am. There have been countless times over the past 20 or so weeks where I’ve made plans on a Sunday only to see them hopelessly disintegrate as slackjawed friends look at me with glassy eyes and respond in a monotone voice, “awww I can’t…football.”

That’s barely a fucking sentence dicklips. Only football would give people the excuse to be lame on a damn Sunday. Do you know how many glorious afternoons have been ruined because all of America has been quietly enslaved by the longest fucking sport in American history?

“But brah, it moves so fast.”

Yeah, but it takes 4 hours to complete thanks to the countless fucking ads that are thrown in there. Look, I like football, but Tebow fucking Christ it’s no damn excuse to waste your life away on a couch while eating Jays potato chips and just generally not accomplishing anything of real note. That’s just stupid to dedicate so much time to one thing.

Ok, fuck you, that game is outstanding and it’s totally not the same thing. I waste countless nights on that game, which doesn’t interfere at all with my very busy social schedule.

What? I’m popular. Really. I am.

Anyway, the game was cool, the Super Bowl was pretty super, and at the end of the day the younger brother who everyone thought was a mouth breathing idiot whose success was credited to the mistakes of others beat the reincarnation of Joe Cool.

Again.

And this loss isn’t even on Brady, Cap’n Clutch did all he could, future Bears washout Wes Welker just couldn’t catch the damn ball.

But whatever, that matters very little.

Eli is Eli-te.

Does football make people stupider? I’m almost convinced of this fact. Conversations during football are restricted to grunts, pass the dip, random yells of excitement and I need a cigarette.

Or is that during sex? Whatever, either way you’re getting stupider.

I know playing football makes you dumber, Raul posed the question, are there any interesting characters in football?

I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Ask me about that in baseball and there’s dozens of guys that have interesting quirks. I mean, baseball players are pretty stupid too, but there’s a special brand of stupid going on in the NFL.

America, we live in a world where stupidity is being celebrated. Football is the stoneage, I’ll just come out and say that. Where else would a self-aggrandizing Christian who can barely perform the functions of his job title be so celebrated?

I mean, football conversations are basic, fundamental, boring almost. “Brah, did you see that hit? Killer brah.”

“Tebow? He just wins games.”

Inherently there is a lot of strategy in football, I won’t deny it, but the football conversations I’ve been having with people aren’t intellectually stimulating.

About the game itself, it was exciting, but ultimately it was about who failed to do what. It wasn’t a shootout like I was expecting, and the defense wasn’t even that great. It came down to who was going to make the fewer mistakes, and the Giants limited those mistakes.

This is fine, I’m glad football is gone, I could go without it for awhile, the Bears suck, the Packers are going to dominate for awhile, the Lions are going to be really good. I mean, my local angle is gone for now, and I’ll be watching basketball more often next year anyway.

The lasting impression from this SB is the historical niche Eli has carved out for himself. It’s fascinating, you can actually have a conversation about who was better, Manning the Lesser or Manning the Greater. That’s fine, Eli’s really good and he can close out a game.

But seriously, brah, that hit, wicked.