Saturday, April 22, 2006

Angry guy

So I'm not too pleased with how Day 1 of the NHL playoffs went. First, I stick around to see double OT in the Oilers game just to see them lose. Rem the gem is awesome because he likes to tip pucks into his own net. Retard. Secondly, the Flames win in OT on a goal by the bankrupt captain of the NHL's All-Loser team Darren McCarty which I did not witness but the hooting and hollering from downstairs was enough to set me off. In retrospect, I should have left the house until I was certain it was over, but with the libraries closed and me being too drunk to drive, I had no place to go. Anyway, the result was that I punched my own wall a few times, went downstairs and kicked a nice big hole in the wall and busted one of those plastic IKEA cups. I knew I had a short fuse, but wow. Maybe I'm bipolar. And for the record, it had nothing to do with the booze. Beer has just the opposite effect on me. It has everything to do with the Flames and two of their fans who, unfortunately, were in the house at the time.

Anyway, now I'm down 23 bucks because I had to go get a bucket of Redi-filler, some drywall tape and a putty knife first thing this morning. And now all my roommates think I'm psychotic (if they didn't already think that before.) About the only good thing that came out of all this was that I had an excuse to go to Home Depot, my favourite place. Real nice, eh? Fuck.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

NHL Playoffs: Round One

Here it is: The You Can’t Teach That NHL Playoffs Quarter Finals Special. First, I’d just like to point out that my mid-season predictions weren’t as bad as I thought they might be. I didn’t predict the rise of the Sharks, Devils, and Ducks though, and I didn’t foresee the crash of the Kings and the Leafs. And just for future ridicule, my early Stanley Cup prediction is Buffalo vs. Dallas with the Sabres redeeming themselves for their 1999 defeat at the hands of the Stars.


(8) Edmonton vs. (1) Detroit: The thing about the Oilers is that they can beat the Red Wings (2-0 shutout on April 11 notwithstanding) without a shootout. The Oilers have managed 5 out of 8 possible points with the best team in the league and I find that encouraging. I will stick with what my brother said: The Red Wings are notoriously soft in the playoffs, and a team like the Oilers that plays physically could wear them down. But he also made one very odd prediction: that Peca was going to be awesome in the playoffs and return to his Selke Trophy-winning form. That one made me question whether or not he knows what he’s talking about. I’ve also considered whether or not Detroit’s shitty division has made them worse than their record. I’m leaning towards yes – they’re 25-3-4 in their shitty division, meaning that they’ve captured 54 out of a possible 64 points. That’s pretty amazing. I’ve been pointing out Dwayne Roloson’s stats to just about anyone who will listen. In his last 6 starts, while only going 3-2-1 (mostly due to lack of offence though), he had a GAA of 1.81 and a save percentage of 0.932. That’s good enough to be the starting goaltender on my team. Also, consider that the Wings have the best regular season record, so anything other than a Cup win would be a letdown. The Oilers, on the other hand, are huge underdogs and have zero pressure. I’ve found that they play their best hockey when they’re loose and relaxed. But even their best won’t be good enough, and it would be delusional of me to predict anything other than a Red Wings win. Red Wings in 6.

EDM #15 goals for vs. DET #3 goals against
EDM #12 goals against vs. DET #2 goals for

EDM #14 power play vs. DET #3 penalty kill
EDM #8 penalty kill vs. DET #1 power play

Stretch: EDM: 10-7-5
DET: 17-2-3
(Note: The stretch consists of the final 22 games of the regular season. I chose that number arbitrarily.)

Keep in mind the Oilers goals against ranking is a little misleading, because they had Bozo the Clown in net for most of the season.

(7) Colorado vs. (2) Dallas: Dallas has just been quietly going on doing their thing all season, and a lot of people don’t realize just how much of a threat they are. Marty Turco is an outstanding goalie in the playoffs. The Lanche have Jose Theodore who has been known to steal the occasional playoff series, but that version of Theodore has been replaced by some bum who currently flops all over the ice for the Lanche. And Peter Budaj just doesn’t have the experience to win the series. I do realize that it was the Lanche who beat the Stars in 2004, but now the Lanche are sans Forsberg, Foote, and Aebischer. Stars in 4.

COL #4 goals for vs. DAL #6 goals against
COL #14 goals against vs. DAL #11 goals for

COL #9 power play vs. DAL #11 penalty kill
COL #6 penalty kill vs. DAL #20 power play

Stretch: COL: 10-9-3
DAL: 14-5-3

(6) Anaheim vs. (3) Calgary: I’m going to say about Calgary what I’ve been saying all season: Kiprusoff carries the team on his back and busts his ass out there every night, and their lack of offensive prowess will make this series go longer than it needs to. They rank 27th in the league in goals for and 29th in the league in goals scored 5-on-5. Only St. Louis is worse 5-on-5. So obviously, the key to the series for the Ducks is to stay out of the penalty box. The shaky and often terrible JS Giguere of ‘03-‘04 also seems to be gone, and has been replaced by Conn Smythe Trophy-winning Giguere of ’02-03, and that will also prolong the series. Of course, my heart says Ducks in 4, and if it comes down to it again, by Christ, I’ll cheer against Calgary all the way to the end, just like I did in all 26 of their games in the ’03-’04 playoffs and I never stopped believing. But my head tells me to go with the Flames in 6.

ANA #13 goals for vs. CGY #1 goals against
ANA #7 goals against vs. CGY #27 goals for

ANA #15 power play vs. CGY #7 penalty kill
ANA #13 penalty kill vs. CGY #12 power play

Stretch: ANA: 15-7-0
CGY: 11-7-4

(5) San Jose vs. (4) Nashville: Earlier on, I was making Nashville my pick for the Western Conference. Now with Thomas Vokoun out, they’ll be lucky to make it past the first round. Both teams have been great right at the end of the season: The Sharks won 8 in a row before getting shut out by the Kings in their final game and Nashville ended their season with 6 wins in a row. That will give Chris Mason some confidence, but I don’t think he’ll be able to handle the pressure in the playoffs. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Sharks go far into the playoffs, however some people have made disquieting comparisons of Joe Thornton to Peyton Manning, so I’m cautiously optimistic. Sharks in 5.

SJ #7 goals for vs. NSH #8 goals against
SJ #11 goals against vs. NSH #10 goals for

SJ #13 power play vs. NSH #5 penalty kill
SJ #23 penalty kill vs. NSH #10 power play

Stretch: SJ: 16-4-2
NSH: 14-6-2


(8) Tampa Bay vs. (1) Ottawa: The Lightning kind of backed into the playoffs, stumbling down the stretch, and if the Thrashers hadn’t run out of track, they’d be playing Ottawa instead. And upon further review, the Senators were even worse down the stretch…maybe Ray Emery isn’t the answer. The Senators sans Hasek may not be good enough…it will certainly make for an interesting series. The Senators are known as playoff chokers too, but since they don’t have to play Toronto, they’ll probably do a little better this time. I think Tampa Bay will surprise a lot of people: they have a great coach and aren’t going to let the chance to defend their title pass them by that easily. This series will come down to Ottawa having the better defence and more weapons on offence. Senators in 7.

TB #16 goals for vs. OTT #2 goals against
TB #18 goals against vs. OTT #1 goals for

TB #23 power play vs. OTT #4 penalty kill
TB #20 penalty kill vs. OTT #4 power play

Stretch: TB: 11-9-2
OTT: 11-7-4

(7) Montreal vs. (2) Carolina: Carolina was the biggest surprise this season and for all their hard work, they deserve to at least make the second round. The Canes don’t exactly have solid goaltending either and they’ve faltered down the stretch, which is a significant cause for concern. Montreal has also been great in the last half of the season, but ended their last 10 games at 4-3-3, making the Eastern Conference playoff race far more interesting than it should have been. I can’t say I ever had much faith in the Crystal Ball, but he sure proved me wrong. I’m going with Canadiens in 7 (pepto)

MTL #20 goals for vs. CAR #20 goals against
MTL #13 goals against vs. CAR #3 goals for

MTL #5 power play vs. CAR #19 penalty kill
MTL #21 penalty kill vs. CAR #17 power play

Stretch: MTL: 13-9-0
CAR: 10-8-4

(6) New York vs. (3) New Jersey: I love a playoff series involving division rivals part three. Most people (myself included) looked at the Devils performance at mid-season and concluded they wouldn’t make the playoffs. Well, here they are as one of the hottest teams in the second half of the season, including ELEVEN in a row right at the end. The playoff Devils always come out with guns blazing and I’m not about to count out any team that has Martin Brodeur. The Rangers went in the exact opposite direction. They had a firm grip on the Atlantic Division title and blew it in the worst way. They were the worst playoff team down the stretch, and lost five in a row in regulation to end the season. Also, they have a rookie goalie (who would probably win the Calder if Ovechkin didn’t exist) with no playoff experience, and depth that consists of Jagr and nobody else. The Jagr show wins them one game anyhow. Devils in 5.

NYR #14 goals for vs. NJ #9 goals against
NYR #4 goals against vs. NJ #22 goals for

NYR #8 power play vs. NJ #16 penalty kill
NYR #10 penalty kill vs. NJ #18 power play

Stretch: NYR: 8-10-4
NJ: 15-5-2

(5) Philadelphia vs. (4) Buffalo: As I said before, Sabres are gearing up for a long cup run. With 104 points in a pretty tough division, they should be considered serious contenders. However, the Flyers can be quite a pain in the ass to get by in the playoffs, but if history repeats itself, they will wheeze out before too long. As indicated below, the Sabres should be totally dominant on special teams. The Flyers also look like they’re carrying a goaltending controversy into the playoffs which can’t be good for them. Sabres in 6.

PHI #8 goals for vs. BUF #10 goals against
PHI #17 goals against vs. BUF #5 goals for

PHI #16 power play vs. BUF #2 penalty kill
PHI #27 penalty kill vs. BUF #3 power play

Stretch: PHI: 12-9-1
BUF: 13-8-1

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Well, they finally did it. They killed my fucking car."

This quote, of course, comes from Jeffrey Lebowski as he watched his car be consumed by fire set by the nihilists.

After 11 months of satisfactory service, my 1988 Volkswagen Fox has finally bought the farm. This was a slow and agonizing process as ever since I acquired that car, stuff on it kept breaking. It had no e-brake, the windshield was cracked all to shit, it needed new struts, the handle on the passenger side door was broken off, the windshield wipers barely worked, the rear bumper was quite loose, it had no functioning speedometer or odometer, and the switch that adjusted the heating tended to come right out if you tried to move it. Cripes, the only thing on that car that wasn't potentially problematic was the battery which was brand new, and I even managed to completely drain it once. So when her transmission went on March 26, we decided that it was best to just let her go.

But not to worry. I've replaced the Fox with something almost identical: an '88 VW Jetta. And like the Fox, it also has its own problems, like the rear bumper that's become unclipped on one side, and a worn down front left tire because of the alignment. I've also just been informed that its starter is shot to shit so that's currently being fixed as well. It's probably also going to need a new timing belt real soon. But it only has 162,000 km on it, and for a Volkswagen that was built in the 80's, that's practically brand new. It's also got a CD player so I now have to throw out my Creedence tapes and get the CDs. It's probably a little better on gas than the Fox was since this one is a 5-speed, so that will come in handy if I'm living out in Stalbert and having to drive to Labatt's every morning.