Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Italian Job

When the moon hits your eye...

11/15 from the floor, 2/3 from beyond the arc, 28 PTs, 5 RBs, 1 BLK

That was Andrea Bargnani's line tonight and if it wasn't for a flubbed wide-open dunk, he would have had an even 30. Il Mago looked like the first overall pick we all expected him to be. He did everything tonight. Drained threes, drove the paint, was tough on D and even had a nice up and under move on Lebron. We all saw his growth last year but this is the year he puts himself on the map.

...Like a big pizza pie. That's amore.

Now here's the Luigi to Bargnani's Mario; Marco Belinelli. I had no idea how talented this guy was. Here I was, thinking he was a one-dimensional shooter like a Jason Kapono (but actually shoots threes instead of those ugly one-handed runners) but I was completely wrong. He moves without the ball, hits step back jumpers and can dunk. That slam he threw down today was sick, wicked and nasty! He also led the Raptors with a +19 tonight. Impressive guy to have coming off the bench.

The Raps were impressive tonight, no doubt about it. Nobody expected them to smoke the Cavs tonight but let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's still 81 games left and there' still stuff that needs to be worked on:

-Calderon needs to find his game. After a bad preseason, his first regular season game wasn't exactly memorable, shooting 1/6 with only 5 pts
-Bosh needs to lay off the jump shots. He sets the tone on offence and when he throws up jumpers, the whole team seems to get trigger happy
-The team as a whole needs to stop throwing up jumpers early in the clock. We aren't the run and gun Phoenix Suns, stop up and run a play
-Perimeter defence needs to tighten up. The Cavs were 9/22 from beyond the arc due in part to a poor job closing out shooters in the second half

I expect the team to be even better as players start to gel. Looks like Toronto can be excited about basketball again.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Three Blind Mice

Highway Robbery

The Shogun Assassin tonight was not the almighty Dragon but it was the three blind mice judging the fight. Not since the Bisping/Hamill fight have I seen such blatantly bad judging. Just ridiculous.

The reactions to this fight tells the whole story. During the introductions, Machida was greeted with a loud ovation while the only noise Shogun received were a couple of boos. As the fight shifted, the crowd seemed to back Shogun. When the final bell rung, Shogun and his camp raised their arm victoriously while Machida rose his to save face. The facial expression on both men said it all. As they both awaited the judges' decision, Machida hung his head low while Shogun had his up high. When Bruce Buffer made the announcement, I couldn't have been more shocked. The fans were just as equally as displeased considering the same fans who stood and cheered for Machida's entrance is now booing the result.

Shogun pressed the attack, landed way more blows and out-countered Machida. I have yet to see a media outlet score the fight in Machida's favour. Yahoo gave it to Rua, ESPN gave it to Rua, Sherdog gave it to Rua, their forums gave it to Rua, Dana White gave it to Rua, Joe "Daddy" Stevenson gave it to Rua and Anthony Johnson gave it to Rua. Instead of seeing articles on Machida "winning" the fight, it seems like writers are trying to justify the judges' decision instead.

Now some will state the whole "You have to beat the champ" bull shit. 1) If that's the case then Forrest should have never won it from Rampage. 2) Shogun did beat the champ! Sure, Machida wasn't a bloody pulp nor did he look like John Fitch after the fight with GSP but The Dragon still got controlled in every which way.

Fight Metric has their full analysis up and has Rua winning the fight 49-47. The strikes were 82-42 in Shogun's favour. EIGHTY-TWO TO FORTY-TWO! How does somebody land twice the amount of blows their opponent did and still lose by decision? Were the judges watching the same fight? Did they mix up the fighter? I had Machida winning the second round and MAYBE the third only. No matter how you slice it, there is no way you can say Machida won this fight with the straight face. But unfortunately, it looks like there are only three people who can and they were the ones judging the fight at ring side...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cardboard Craze: 500 Goal Scorers

Don't try to deny it, we've all done it. Whether you were an old school OPC collector, a 90s Pro Set collector or a youngin who collects Yu-Gi-Oh cards, we have all collected some sort of cardboard at some point in our life. While some of us have given up on it, there are also many who still continue to collect.

Personally, I stopped during the mid 90s when Pacific was just coming out. Seven years later, during Rick Nash's rookie season, my buddy asked me if I wanted to buy some just for kicks. Bad idea. Much like a recovering junkie, I got a little taste and got hooked back into it.

I wasn't much of a set collector. I enjoyed themes. I collected the Leafs in general but I also focused on a couple of budding Leaf prospects...well, at least they were prospects at the time (Kyle Wellwood and Jeremy Williams). I also enjoyed collecting autographed cards and would make projects out of those. One of those projects were to obtain an autograph of every 500 goal scorer. Here are the fruits of my labour in the order they reached the milestone.

1. Maurice Richard
2. Gordie Howe
3. Bobby Hull
4. Jean Beliveau
5. Frank Mahovlich
6. Phil Esposito
7. Johnny Bucyk
8. Stan Mikita
9. Marcel Dionne
10. Guy Lafleur
11. Mike Bossy
12. Gilbert Perrault
13. Wayne Gretzky
14. Lanny McDonald
15. Bryan Trottier
16. Mike Gartner
17. Michel Goulet
18. Jari Kurri
19. Dino Ciccarelli
20. Mario Lemieux
21. Mark Messier
22. Steve Yzerman
23. Dale Hawerchuk
24. Brett Hull
25. Joe Mullen
26. Dave Andreychuk
27. Luc Robitaille
28. Pat Verbeek
29. Ron Francis
30. Brendan Shanahan
31. Joe Sakic
32. Joe Nieuwendyk
33. Jaromir Jagr
34. Pierre Turgeon
35. Mats Sundin
36. Teemu Selanne
37. Peter Bondra
38. Mark Recchi
39. Mike Modano
40. Jeremy Roenick
41. Keith Tkachuk

This actually took me a while to complete. A few of the cards were rather expensive (The Rocket, Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Howe) and a few were hard to come by (Sundin, Shanahan, Nieuwendyk, Sakic, Gartner). It was a fun little thing to put together and the good part is that it's never-ending because there will eventually be more players reaching this milestone.

While I have stopped collecting a couple years ago, I do pick up a couple of packs here and there or I might pick up a card on ebay every now and then. I guess I will always be a nerd at heart. If you still collect or if you don't but want to relive the nostalgia then come on down to the Toronto Card Show this Sunday. I haven't been since I stopped collecting but I will make an attempt to get down there this weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A New York Minute: A Larry Kwong Story

Willie O'Ree. Does that name ring a bell? He played for the Boston Bruins and made his NHL debut on Jan 18, 1958. He is the first African-American (well, Canadian) to play in the NHL and he is also referred to as the Jackie Robinson of hockey because many know of him as the man who broke the NHL's colour barrier. What if I told you this isn't true? What if I told you that there was another player who broke the colour barrier a full ten years earlier? Ladies and gentlemen, Larry Kwong.

It's rather surprising that Larry Kwong's story hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. I haven't even heard of it until a couple of years ago. I was talking to my buddy, Chad (who just happens to be a walking hockey encyclopedia), and the topic at hand was Asian hockey players. There's Richard Park, Jim Paek and Yutaka Fukufuji but that list pretty much ended there. There are also a few who are mixed, notably Paul Kariya, Devin Setoguchi and Jamie Storr but not too many of full Asian descent. So Chad asked if I've heard of Larry Kwong, the Chinese player who broke the NHL's colour barrier. I haven't and frankly, I was shocked to learn of this as I thought Willie O'Ree was. I got home, googled it and is indeed true.

With the Leafs having a week off, I had no idea what I was going to write about until Devin Setoguchi lit up the Rangers on Monday and it made me think of this. I decided to drop Chad a line to see if he would like to contribute to the blog and as always, he has came through for me again. Here's a piece Chad wrote for The Insider's Edge. It may be a bit long but I strongly encourage you to give it a read. It's a truly inspirational story about a man and his dream.

The Longest Shot: Retracing Larry Kwong’s Giant Strides

By Chad Soon

Larry Kwong’s dream must have seemed incredibly far-fetched. A child of the Great Depression, growing up in a hockey backwater, thousands of miles from the nearest NHL arena, Kwong was more than just a long shot to make the big league. No one from his hometown of Vernon, BC – no one from the Okanagan – had ever made it. On top of the geographic disadvantage was an even more daunting obstacle: the colour bar.

Kwong was only days old when the Canadian government marked Canada Day by trotting out the “Chinese Exclusion Act.” Chinese immigration was barred, even to the spouses and children of Canadian residents; and all Chinese-Canadians were required to register with the authorities. Voting rights were a distant dream. For nearly a quarter-century, before the act was repealed, Canada Day was also “Humiliation Day” in Chinatowns across the country.

In the context of such official, mainstream racism, one could say that Larry Kwong had a “Chinaman’s chance” of making it big.

“I did face discrimination,” states Kwong. “You always remember what happened when you were a kid. You go to a certain barber, and they wouldn’t cut your hair because you’re Chinese.”

Convincing his mother, a widow with fifteen children to support, to buy hockey gear was another tall order.

“She didn’t think too much of hockey. She came to see me play one game. She thought it was too rough, and she wouldn’t see another game. She said, ‘Why do you want to play hockey?’ I said, ‘Because I can earn some money,’ and I said, ‘I will build you a house with my hockey money.’”

Kwong did not want to consider the alternative: a life of hard labour on a BC farm. He had come to see hockey as his only chance for a better life.

“When I graduated from high school, I tried to get a job in Vernon. But, the Chinese couldn’t work for Canadian people. All the 500-600 Chinese were farmers. My brother and I had a truck to bring goods from the farms to the packing houses. Nobody would hire us as a clerk. Then, when I made the Trail Smoke Eaters, all the players worked up at the smelter. At first they told me there were no jobs. After, one of the directors told me that the ruling at Cominco was: no Chinese allowed to work there.”
In 1942, it appeared that Larry Kwong’s big break had arrived, when he received an invitation to the Chicago Black Hawks’ training camp.

“I was doing flips,” remembers Kwong. “That’s what I wanted.”

Kwong applied for documentation allowing him to follow his hockey dream in the States. He had been denied entry into the US before. A few years earlier, his midget hockey team was on its way to a game in Nelson, BC:

“The roads were bad, so we had to go through the States. But when the American border guard saw me, he said, ‘You can’t go.’ I had to take a train on the Canadian side by myself, and I met the team at the border. Another time, I went on a tennis trip to Vancouver, and again we had to go through the States. The same thing happened to me.”

In response to Kwong’s request, the Canadian government informed the NHL prospect that he could not leave the country, because he was of conscription age. Kwong was held back, despite the fact that the government had put a ban on Chinese conscription.

“That was a rude disappointment,” laments Kwong.

Two years later, in 1944, Canada instituted the draft for Chinese, who were needed to perform special operations in the Asia-Pacific theaters. Kwong was among the first Chinese-Canadians to be called up.

“We had basic training in Red Deer. Some of those boys went overseas and got killed. Luckily for me, they kept me to play hockey to entertain the troops.”

During the war, Kwong attacked opposition lines on an Army team with New York Ranger stars like the Colville brothers, Charlie Rayner, and “Sugar” Jim Henry. The Ranger brass took notice, securing his services for their farm club, the New York Rovers.

In 1946, before a Rovers game, Larry Kwong was presented with the Keys to New York’s Chinatown. The community had found a source of pride in this import hockey player, at a time when the predominant Chinese icon in Western pop culture was Charlie Chan – a fictional character portrayed by a white actor.
Kwong was now sporting a new nickname, which identified him, however ironically, with a fictional giant ape who had terrorized the Big Apple. For the Chinese fans, it must have been a thrill to watch “King” Kwong break out of his shackles, or, rather, bust a few racial stereotypes.

Still, Kwong downplays his impact on the city’s Chinese community.

“There were Chinese people that came to see me play. I don’t know that I was a hero or not. I think it was more curiosity than anything, because I was Chinese. They wanted to see me skate.”

The following year, Kwong led the Rovers in scoring, putting up more points (86 in 65 games) than any Rover had in close to a decade. Near the end of the season, an official with the New York Rangers located the small-town grocer’s son in Madison Square Garden. “King” Kwong was going to get his big chance.

“I was telling myself, ‘I finally made it.’ This is what I had dreamed about since I was a little kid.”

However, at the time, Kwong had more than just a hockey game on his mind. His mentor for the past two years was gravely ill.

“My coach with the Rovers, Fred Metcalfe, said he wished he had had a shot like mine. He thought I had one of the fastest releases. He had a heart attack during one of our games against Quebec. When I made the NHL team, the Rangers, I went to see him in the hospital, and he said to me, ‘Larry, they finally brought you up. You should’ve been up there a long time ago.’ That’s what he told me. And I trust his word, because he was one of my best coaches, along with Toe Blake.”

Kwong’s was no ordinary call-up; his promotion would make international headlines.

“I was very nervous, because we had lots of publicity on it – being the first Chinese to play in the NHL.”

On March 13, 1948, Larry Kwong suited up for the New York Rangers in the Montreal Forum. That night he broke the NHL's colour barrier.

More than sixty years have passed since Larry Kwong made hockey history, and he still has not come to terms with his achievement or with the crushing disappointment.

When asked about his NHL debut, his genial disposition drops; his face and frame tense. He struggles to find the words, which come deliberately, in a voice that is now quiet and constrained.

“I’m still not happy. It’s a very ticklish time with me – to play that short amount of time….”
That night in Montreal, Kwong would not be given a fair shot to prove himself. He was a spectator, warming the players’ bench, until coach Boucher finally called his name late in the third period. After one turn on the ice – a token shift – his NHL try-out was over. Kwong was sent back down to the farm team.

“I was very disappointed I didn’t get a better chance to prove myself.”

Larry Kwong’s anguish was compounded a few days later, when Fred Metcalfe, the coach who knew his star player belonged in the NHL, passed away.

During that season, 1947-48, four other Rover forwards received longer looks with the Rangers than Kwong, despite his being the team’s top scorer.

Kwong had seen enough.
“I immediately contacted Valleyfield, because we played against them and their manager, Mr. Vinet, had said, ‘Anytime you want a job, you give me a call. We want you here.’ As soon as I knew I wouldn’t get a chance with the Rangers, I phoned right away to Valleyfield and they gave me a better contract.”

The Valleyfield Braves’ investment in Larry Kwong would be repaid in spades, as he led the team to an Alexander Cup title, the Canadian major senior championship, in 1951. That season, Kwong was named the MVP of the Quebec League, which would launch future stars like Jean Beliveau, Dickie Moore, and Jacques Plante. Even so, Larry Kwong would not get another shot at the big league.

“When I won the Vimy (MVP) Trophy, our team photographer, Mr. Beauchamp, made a cartoon – he drew it himself. It was congratulations on winning the Vimy, and he had me in iron chains, saying that my adversaries wanted to see me tied up,” laughs Kwong.

Although “King” Kwong was ultimately prevented from realizing his great promise in his sport, he did make good on his promise to his mother. With the money he earned playing hockey, the youngest son built his mom a house.

Larry is now being considered for the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2010 class will be announced in January.

I believe Chad has another follow up piece on the way and I will gladly post it once he has completed it.

In the mean time, join the Larry Kwong Appreciation Society

and check out his mini-documentary (Part 1) (Part 2)

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Best Burger #2: Apache Burger

Whether it be NHL/NBA allstar games or 2Pac vs Biggie, the East vs West beef will never end. When it comes to Toronto burger joints, there's Johnny's (#4 on the blogto list) repping the East and Apache (#2 on the blogto list) on the West. Both restaurants have a similar old school burger joint feel but in my opinion, the comparison pretty much ends there. Seeing as I just reviewed Johnny's a couple weeks ago, I suppose this right here is the showdown where only one will be victorious.

Location: 4/5

When I say location, I mean the location for the general Torontonian and not for myself. I live on the east end and let me tell you, Apache was a bitch to get to. I went on a Saturday afternoon on a long weekend and the traffic on the 401 was just crawling. It took me a good hour to get there. The trip would have been unbearable if it wasn't for a couple of good friends and Abbey Road!

The restaurant itself is located on Dundas and perhaps a kilometre or two west of Kipling. Kipling station is also very close by which makes it more convenient to get to for you red rocket riders. You really can't miss the place when travelling on Dundas. It looks like an old school diner and has a neon sign.

As soon as you walk in, you'll notice an improvement over Johnny's because there's...wait for it...SEATS! There's a good row of booths along with chairs. I would guess that it could seat 25-30 people but I wouldn't be surprised if it could handle more.

Don't fret if the line up is long because there's a whole shrine for you to look at. They have a display with pictures of local celebrities (David Miller) and NHLers! I notice a bunch of current and former Leafs like Tie Domi, Tom Fitzgerald, Nathan Perrott and Matt Stajan. There were also other NHLers like Brendan Shanahan! Here, take a look for yourself and see who you recognize (click to enlarge).

Where's Wellwood?

So let's get this straight: tables and chairs, NHLers and the Stanley Cup has been here?

Taste: 4.5/5

I got the Apache Burger which is two beef patties with cheese. They also have something on the menu called a twin cheeseburger. I'm not entirely sure what the difference is between the two but I digress. As you wait for your burger to cook, the guy at the counter will ask you to pick your toppings. From what I remember, the choices were lettuce, tomatoes, relish, pickles, onions, hot peppers, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. Nothing over the top but all the standards are there.

Dear Double Beef and Double Cheese, will you marry me?

The burger itself was very good. The patty tasted fresh and was seasoned nicely and didn't taste like a frozen super market patty like Johnny's did. My only complaint was that they used too much sauce. Rather than adding a squirt, they dump a whole blob of ketchup/mustard on your bun and then smooth it out with the spatula. I guess some people may like this but with some bites, I thought it overpowered the taste of the burger and it made eating it a hell of a lot messier.

The. Perfect. Onion. Ring.

Now I know this is supposed to be a best burger review but I wouldn't be doing it any justice if I didn't talk about the onion rings. I'll give props my boy, Leafer1984 for recommending them to me. He told me they are by far the best onion rings he's ever had and boy was he right. Another friend I went with can attest to this as well...but my other friend foolishly decided against getting it because she thought it was too junkie and regretted it all the way home...and probably still regrets it now (Hi Foodtographer!)

Now I know what you're thinking. How can onion rings be THAT great? I don't fuckin know. Just go try them! The batter is a bit thick but surprisingly light so it's not extremely filling. Notice how when you bite into an onion ring sometimes the whole onion comes out leaving you with all batter? Well, the onion on these are cooked to perfection so you won't have to worry about that. Every bite of this gift from god is filled with greasy, battery, oniony goodness.

So a superior burger, the best onion rings known to man and lettuce as a topping?

Value: 2.5/5

My meal, which consisted of an Apache Burger ($6.79), onion rings ($3.89) and a medium Dr. Pepper ($1.79) cost $14.09 after taxes. It certainly doesn't break the bank but it seems rather expensive for a meal at a burger joint. The onion rings were good but at $4, I would have liked to see more than 7-8 of them. $0.50 for one seems a bit expensive but fuck yeah, I would do it again!

I have never had Johnny's onion rings so I don't know how they compare but I've never had to spend over $10 at Johnny's either.

Verdict: 4.5 The Apache, Aldo Raines' out of 5

After visiting both places, I can honestly say Apache has Johnny's beat on everything except price. I suppose you can justify spending the extra few bucks on seats or having the ability to put lettuce on your burger. I only wished I lived a little closer to this place so I could visit it more than once every blue moon. Rejoice the victory and throw up a W. Wesssssssstsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiideeeee!

Whether you're in the area of not, I highly recommend you give this place a visit if you're into burgers (and more importantly, onion rings). I believe they open late to cater to the clubbing crowds so there really is no excuse not to go. And if you do decide to go, don't be an idiot and get the onion rings! Otherwise your friends will have to listen to you deny about making the right choice then whine about it when they gush about how good it was on the way home.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Real Story Behind Toskala's Injury

So as you may or may not have heard, I won tickets to Monday night's Leafs and Rangers game. The contest was hosted by EA Sports to promote their new Be A GM Mode in NHL10. I got to fly down to New York with the team and sat in the manager's box to watch the game with Burkie. Well, you saw the game. It was a complete shit show and Burke definitely wasn't happy about it. After the game, Burke took me down to the dressing room. I'm glad I brought my camera because you would have never believed me if I told you what happened.

"Hey Vesa, great game today.
I know we didn't get the win but it wasn't your fault.
You put together a solid effort!
I saw you go down in the 2nd. How are you feeling?"

"Thanks, Mr. Burke. I was a little sore earlier but it's no big deal. I'm ready to play again tomorrow!
I bet you already regret signing The Monster with me in net"

"...Are you sure you can play tomorrow?
Are you sure you're not hurt?
I don't know...your groin, maybe?
We should get you checked out in case."

"No need, sir. I'm feeling fine.
I'm just going to go down to 5th Ave. and do some shopping. I'll be as good as new after a good night's sleep.
Hey, who is tha...."

"Vesa, I'd like you to meet my new free agent signing, The Bear Jew. You two will be roommates on the road. I'm sure he'll take good care of you"

"Huh? Where am I?
What are you doing with that duct ta..."


Lucky 13: My Most Hated NHLers

Since everybody loves a good list, on the 13th of every month I will compile a list of my top 13 whatever-comes-to-minds.

While watching the Leafs getting routed, I had a great idea for a list but I figured I should do my 13 most hated NHLers instead because starting off with a list of 13 ways to kill yourself may be a bit morbid.

Now there are some notable retired guys like Claude Lemieux, Ulf Samuelsson, Jeremy Roenick, etc missing from the list but that's because I'm only doing active players.

SI Player Poll's Dirtiest Player

#13 - Steve Ott

Make no mistake about it, Steve Ott is a shit disturber. His job is to get under your skin and he is great at it but there's a fine line between being a pest and being a dirty player. Steve Ott charges, hits high and gouges eyes. As with most pests nowadays, he only drops mitts against lesser opponents and turtles anytime he is confronted by a heavyweight.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

You don't see it, but he gouges the eyes of Moen in this fight. I would guess it happens at the 0:34 mark when you see Moen kicking his feet.


#12 - Alex Burrows

From pulling hair in a fight to hitting a summer rec league goalie in the face I simply don't know how anybody aside from annoying Canucks fans can like this guy.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Hair pulling commences at the 1:23 mark.

Here is Blake celebrating what is probably the 2nd goal in a 8-2 loss

#11 - Jason Blake

Now I hated this guy when he was on the Islanders so you can imagine how I felt when we signed him long-term. He was always a bit of an after-the-whistle agitator, a puck hog and an excessive celebrator. As much as I hated him as an Islander, at least he scored for them. If I see him take a shot into the opposing goalie's chest one more time...

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Just so you know, it's okay to pass to the guys in blue.

The reverse Thomas-Missile

#10 - Tim Thomas

Now I really shouldn't hate on Tim Thomas. I mean, he's such a feel good story. A career minor leaguer who finally gets his big break and ends up winning a Vezina? Disney, I'm sure you'll want to pick up the rights on this. But when Thomas isn't busy doing his best Ron Hextall impression (acting like a tough guy until Felix Potvin breaks your face) or participating in the 100m dash after losing in OT, he is busy launching his body at opposing players.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

I'm still not sure why there wasn't a penalty on this play...

For 4 easy payments of $9.99, you can get your own Alex the ragdoll today!

#9 - Alexei Kovalev

Alexei Kovalev possesses a great shot and has possibly the best hands in the NHL but lacks the heart to put it all together. The way he turns it on and off makes him one of the most frustrating players to watch. Remember when there were talks of him being traded to the Leafs?

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Go Habs Go!

Mike Ribeiro must be part Chinese because I haven't seen diving this good since Beijing

#8 - Mike Ribeiro

Sure Ribeiro is crazy good at shoot outs but he's also the biggest diver in the league. This is actually embarassing to watch and is a total disgrace to the game. And what the hell happened to I before E except after C when spelling his name?

Certifed Douchebag Moment:

The cleanest player in the NHL joins the cleanest team in the NHL

#7 - Chris Pronger

Captain elbows, as sleza likes to call him, doesn't have eight suspensions to his name for being squeaky clean. Unfortunately, he doesn't just use his elbows and he will resort to cheap shots, kicks and even stomps to make sure he gets some time off from the rink and some one-on-one time with the local reporters.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Here's Pronger's audition tape for the role in Saw.


#6 - Todd Bertuzzi

He was once known as one of the most dominant power forwards in the NHL and now he is probably known as one of the biggest goons in the NHL. Sure it might be unfair to label him after one incident but the bad spotlight he has put on the league is still hurting us and detractors will always use this one incident as why the NHL is a violent product.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Does this really come as a surprise to anyone?

Why does it seem like everybody with Napoleon Complex plays in the NHL?

#5 - Jordin Tootoo

Tootoo made a name for himself nailing players in the World Junior's years back and now he's making a name for himself as a cheapshot artist in the NHL.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Jordin Tootoo taking a page out of the Flyers playbook.

Esa Tikkanen 2.0 - Now with more biting power

#4 - Jaarko Ruutu

When I think of Finland, I think of their line of NHL goalies, Selanne's awesomeness and man-purse wielding wannabe NHLers. I seldom think of pesky turtlers who have cannibal tendencies.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Tastes like chicken.

Ring my Bell

#3 - Daniel Alfredsson

From mocking the Sundin stick incident to intentionally firing the puck at Niedermayer, Alfredsson sure has a number of d-bag moments. I think there's only one that fits the bill in every Leafs fans' eye though.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

This just made the series win that much sweeter.

Chris Neil trying to retract his head back into his shell

#2 - Chris Neil

Words cannot describe how much I despise this guy. I can't stop watching this.

Certified Douchebag Moment:

I love it when he clutches his face at the end.

Reunited and it feels so goooood

#1 - Sean Avery

I have a hard time picking just one

Certified Douchebag Moment:

Marty should have Belfour'd him.

Well, there you have it. Agree of disagree, let me know your thoughts. Who'd I leave out? Who do I have that doesn't belong on here? Who is possibly more douche-ier than Avery?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fuck Off, Optimism

Dear Vesa, why do you hate me so much?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Monster Down

I'm sure you've all heard yesterday that The Monster has been put on the IR with a strained groin and is expected to miss at least week of action. In the meantime, The Leafs have called up Joey MacDonald from the Marlies to back up Vesa Toskala.

Calm down...back away from the ledge slowly. Yes, with four games this week before a whole week off, we cannot afford to start the season 0-6-1 but just because Toskala and Joey Mac will be in net doesn't make it impossible to pick up some points. Here's hoping that Toskala used his time off to absorb what Francois Allaire has been teaching him. An early indication of this will be how deep Toskala is playing in his crease. As a butterfly coach, Allaire would generally want his goalies to come out so that when you get down, you cover as much net as possible. One of Toskala's main problems this year is that he has been playing way too deep. This shows a lack of confidence and relies on his reaction rather than positioning. If we see Toskala out on the white ice often, there's a chance we will see a victory.

Another one of Toskala's big weaknesses is his rebound control. When Toskala makes the initial save, there's usually a big, juicy rebound right on the doorstep. Phil Esposito, Dave Andreychuk, Cam Neely...some of the most prolific scorers have made a living off of these goals. Plain and simple, in order to get the W, Toskala needs to work on kicking those rebounds out into the corners.

Now I don't know what I would consider a successful stand without The Monster. I guess I'll be happy with at least four out of a possible eight points? I just hope both goalies don't end up shitting the bed. Now I know there's really no reason for any of us to have faith in Toskala but I simply can't think of a more appropriate time to say this.


...But just in case he doesn't live up to our hopes, here's a little drinking game for us so that we can forget all about it.

1 Shot
-Every goal Toskala gives up
-An additional shot if the goal was up high
-Every time Greg Millen comments on Toskala playing too deep in his crease
-Every time they cut away to The Monster or Joey Mac

2 Shots
-Every goalie change
-If two goals are scored within 2 minutes
-If a goal is scored off a rebound
-If Toskala bites on the first move on a breakaway

3 Shots
-If Toskala lets one in that your grandmother could have stopped
-Once the boo-birds start raining
-If the score looks more like a baseball game

Shotgun a Beer
-If Toskala lets in the first shot

Drink til you're blind
-If Toskala lets in a 200 footer