The Writing is on the Wife

Sexy Hand

Sexy Hand

I love my wife.

That is all.

The Fix Is In

Pittsburgh Hockey LeagueIt’s pretty obvious. Goaltender Martin Biron has his stick deliberately trapped against the wall by a Penguin, ref not ten feet away and staring straight at it, and has to go back to the net empty-handed. A few seconds later, of course the puck is in the net. No interference call? That sucks, but the NHL is infamous for the worst officiating of all the major American professional sports.

Minutes later, Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is behind his net, and when a Flyer taps him while trying to avoid him, it’s a tripping penalty (worthy of an Oscar).

In the last two minutes of the first period the Penguins are finally called for their very first penalty. The color announcer has the shear chutzpa to make a sideways remark about the consistency of the officiating – but implies that the Penguins are getting the short end of the stick. Hello? Are you watching the same game I am? The play by play announcer was silent for a moment. I think his head asploded, and it took a few minutes to recover. In my mind, I can just see the blank, blinking face, trying desperately to process the stoopid.

I hate whiny fans. I’ve never been a fan of NHL officiating, and it’s never ever been worth a shit, but I’ve always felt it was fairly not worth a shit. If the officials are neutrally crappy, then they become like a chip in the ice, a pain in all asses equally, and I’ve always felt the NHL officials were just that – neutrally crappy.

I’ve changed my mind. Put me with the whiny fans. The NHL should change its name to “Pittsburgh Hockey Business Association”, or do the fake wrestling thing and run with “National Hockey Entertainment”. It’s been rumored that the NHL will make sure the young Pittsburgh phenom Sidney Crosby is in the cup round in order to sell more tickets, but I hadn’t given that rumor much credence until today.

The Flyers are down 3 games to 1, as they’ve been without both of their top defensemen since game one. Their number one defenseman, Kimmo Timonen, is back today. They’re down two three four five goals to none in this game, and if they don’t win, they’re done. It’ll be damned near impossible to win this, given that they have to play against the Penguins and the NHL, so here’s my thinking about the situation: they’re going to screw you, screw them back. Just start ending officiating careers. Check the zebras right into the emergency room and go drink some beer.

Further update: The Flyers put one in, and damn if the officials didn’t call it off. No goal, for no apparent reason. Fuck ’em. Up.

Final Update:  Well the final score was 6-0.  They’re certainly being more generous and sportsmanlike about it over at The700Level than I can be right now.  There’s plenty of reason for optimism for next season, but I’m not there yet.  I’m still pouting and bitching like a scorned school-boy.  Maybe I’ll feel better next week.  Maybe I’ll feel better when the Detroit Red Wings kick the crap out of the Penguins.  (The Wings are up 3 games to 2 in their series against the Dallas Stars.)  Or maybe I just need to kick someone in the shin.

From whence came the art:

I fixed that ref’s uniform for the NHL. They needn’t thank me.

Win Or Go Home

So the Flyers, without their top two defensemen (Kimmo Timonen is out with some weird blood clot thing since the end of the Canadiens series, Braydon Coburn took a puck to the eye in the second minute of game two one, requiring 50 stitches), are down 3 games to none. They’re in Philly tonight, so it’s actually “Win Or Stay Home”.

Deep into the first period, the boys are playing much better than they have, and they’re up 2-0. They can do it, and they can even come all the way back, but they’ve dug a deep hole. It won’t in any way be easy, especially given that hockey is such a team mate-dependent sport.

But they can do it. C’mon boys, one game at a time. Come back with a Vengeance.

Au Revoir, Les Habitants

NHL.com\'s Frozen Moment For 5/1/08, by MPR529In the final minute, Mike Knuble slammed the door on the Montreal Canadiens with an empty net goal and sent the Habs home for the summer. After trailing 3-1 in the middle stanza, the Flyboys scored three goals in just under three minutes to go up 4-3. The Canadiens wouldn’t go down without a fight however, and tied it up at four in the third period. With less than five to go, Scotty Upshall deflected a shot from Jeff Carter to score what would be the game winner before Knuble sealed the deal on the Canadiens’ season.

After having his bell rung repeatedly throughout the series, Montreal goalie Carey Price had been pulled in the previous game in favor of Jaroslav Halak. As can be seen in the photo to the right, Halak faired no better against Philadelphia snipers. Showing all the guts of a future champion, the rookie Price returned to his place between the pipes last night with a brand new catching glove. Hoping the new glove would bring him better luck in the area where the Flyers had victimized him so badly all series, young Price started the game with determination and made several good saves early on. His resilience was no match for The Orange and Black though, who lit the lamp six times.

It was an exciting game to finish off the series. The Flyers won four straight games after the top seeded Habs took game one in overtime.

They now await the winner of the Penguins/Rangers series to see who they face in the Conference finals. Pittsburgh leads that series three games to one, and they’ll mix it up with New York this afternoon on the left side of the Keystone State. Look for the Pens to close it out, and make this a Turnpike series.

UPDATE: See you in Pittsburgh.

After having finished last season dead last in the NHL and with the worst record since the team’s inception in 1967, the Flyers are certainly Back With A Vengeance.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled NHL.com’s Frozen Moment For 5/1/08, by MPR529.

The Hockey Gods Reward You

“…but I give him so much credit because he has just kept playing as hard as he could every shift and when you do that, very often the Hockey Gods reward you.”

Buh Bye Caps

Playoffs Center Ice, by The700LevelIt was game seven.

It was tied three games to three.

The score was two to two.

It was overtime.

It was win or go home.

The Caps went home.

Buh bye Washington Capitals. See you next year.

Next up: The Habs.

That image is titled Playoffs Center Ice, by The700Level

Cowboys Lost

Cowboys Star

The Flyboys better start doing something soon to alleviate the utter frustration I’m feeling. The Giants didn’t win, the Cowboys beat themselves.

I am not responsible for any physical harm inflicted on anyone who speaks to me between now and the Superbowl.

Especially if they mention Jacques Reeves.

…with the possible exception of the fan below the fold. Some fans earn a certain amount of leeway.
Read the rest of this entry »

HDTV and My Blood Pressure

Planet Earth, Screenshot from the Planet Earth Website

Yes, I realize I’ve not posted about the end of the football season, and I’ll get to that. I’m actually working on some highlight video to accompany that post, and don’t have all the source material yet…In the meantime…

Crap. Crap, crap, CRAP!

Y’know what sucks? Y’know what really makes my blood boil?

HDTV.

Ok, so my wife usually watches the idiot box in the living room, and I in the bedroom. Mostly that’s just a case of we don’t usually enjoy the same type of programming. I’m not into ChickTV, which involves mostly men cheating on their wives and trying to kill them but somebody gets terminal cancer and everybody copes. Does nothing for me. She on the other hand, is not into spaceships blowing up hideous aliens who attempt to impregnate humans by sticking large slimy tentacles down their throats and then feeding on their dismembered carcasses. I don’t understand how that doesn’t thrill her, but I suffer in silence.

Problem: The living room TV has been on its last legs for well over a year now, the picture degrading to the point where reading the TVGuide thing or the score of the football game you are attempting to watch was an exercise in futility. The colors became redder and redder, bleeding one into the other to the point where the picture had become little more than an extreme close up of some orangy-red gelatinous substance.

Solution: Christmas is coming up, and well, duh.

(Continued below the fold.)

Read the rest of this entry »

More Football Drama

J.P.Two weeks ago, the team played really well together.  They took on the Stallions, who were able to field a full team with a few kids on the bench.

The kids marched the ball up and down the field, executed, and did all the things they were supposed to do, and it showed in the final score –  25 – 0.

Last week they played the dreaded Raiders, and fared not nearly so well.  Blocking broke down, tackling was bad, they had trouble holding on to the football, nothing went well.  They were down 40 – 0 in the final seconds, and the one bright spot in the day happened:  James broke free, cut back across the grain, and outran the defense to the goal line for their only score of the day.

I think the kids are just plain intimidated by the Raiders.  I can’t really blame them, given all the things going on over there, but our kids are better than they showed.  They have the stuff to beat the Raiders, I’ve seen it.

Last night’s practice and today’s game were nixed for weather, and the final game of the regular season will be Monday night at 6, against the Redskins.

But James is once again a tight end.  Without warning, our original quarterback showed up on Thursday, and coach put him back under center.  I’m more than a little pissed about that.  Yes, he has more experience than James as quarterback, though his arm is neither more accurate nor stronger than James’.  Yes, James is a better receiver than he is, and yes, the team has a better profile with him under center and James on the end.  They do in fact have a better chance to win this way.  BUT.

BUT, he was injured before the first game, and we’ve seen hide nor hair of him since.

BUT, while other kids who are sick or injured show up at practice and watch and learn, OQB (original quarterback) has not been to practice since getting hurt.

BUT, James earned that spot by busting his ass and learning it.  He worked hard to get it, and impressed everyone with his ability to make plays from there, throwing, scrambling, and running.

BUT, James has led this team through thick and thin, been to every game, early to every practice so he could throw the ball and get more passes in.

BUT, while he was “injured” OQB was over practicing and playing for the middle school.

Incidentally enough, the final game for the middle school was Wednesday night.  On Thursday night OQB shows up for his first practice since his “injury”.

Now, I’m not a psycho little league parent, so I won’t be screaming at the coach about the unfairness of it, and up until this I was pretty impressed with the lessons the coach was teaching the kids about fairness and sportsmanship.  This is his first go at coaching, so he’s learning too.  James will be too old to play for this league next year, so he’ll be trying out for the high school JV squad, just so y’know.  In the off season, we’ll be working for him to earn a spot over there.   I’ve no doubts he’ll make that team.  I’ve talked with him about the whole switch at QB, let him know I understood why he’s feeling screwed, and reminded him that there are 13 other kids on the field that are depending on him to do his best at whatever position he plays.  I think he gets it.

But it’s still raw.

Two Weeks of Football

So I held off posting about last week’s game because I had some rather intemperate things to say about the sportsmanship of the Raiders and the style of football they’ve been taught to play.  Suffice it to say I don’t care much for the way they’re being coached.

**James Highlight**

We were down 35 –  0 with a minute or two left in the fourth quarter, the team is determined that they won’t be shut out.  Ball’s about on our 35 and James goes out on a crossing route.  The ball gets lofted and he goes up and comes down with the precious, and hauls ass for the goal line, the other big receiver a step behind.  James gets caught by three defenders on about their twenty, and he’s dragging them with him.   He remembered to keep the wheels turning for all he’s worth.  Finally, on about the ten, he gets spun around and is going down on his back with his head toward the goal and sees his other receiver.  He flips him the ball, and they put six on the board.  Final score, 35-7.

The kids really hung in, and played their best in the face of some serious crap.  They didn’t get shut out, and I’d be proud of them even if they had.   Good job lady and gentlemen.

On Thursday, Coach decided to appoint James starting quarterback.  He’s never played QB, but he’s got the arm strength and the instinct.  He just needs to learn the position.  Today, we had the Redskins again.  (Remember, his best friend is the starting QB for them, so this is epic story kind of ball.)

Our O-line wasn’t holding well today, but they were doing the best they could.  There were several big losses where James was on a roll out, ran too far back on his way around the end, wound up on his back.  There was one scary moment when he had his face smashed into the ground hard.  Welcome to football, James.  He sat a few plays trying to clear the cobwebs.

He did catch one pass when he pitched to the halfback who wound up in big doodoo well behind the line.  He saw James around the line of scrimmage and  heaved it to him, saving a big loss.  Way to keep your head about you, halfback.

It was raining and the ball was slick,  so this turned into a defensive struggle, though both QBs had their moments.  Late in the fourth we had the ball on their one, but penalties killed us and we didn’t score.  The Redskins had done the same, but we stopped them as well.  Both teams managed to put together a few good drives, but with about a minute left in the game, the score was tied at nil.

False starts continued to plague us, I guess the kids need to get used to James’ count.  Practice will cure that.  He managed to draw the Redskins offsides several times, though.

Anyway, the Redskins scored on a QB sneak with less than a minute to go, and then on a QB keeper for the extra point.

We got the ball back with 26 seconds left, hit the half back pass to the two, but didn’t manage to get it in.  A false start and a big loss put us back around the 15, and an interception on the goal line ended the game.

All in all, the team showed a lot of improvement over the last time we played them.  It’s a seven game season, and we have the Redskins one more time.  I’m looking forward to that game the most, I think.

James will spend the week working on leading his receivers and his footwork.  He’s got an odd drop that needs to be fixed so he can plant.   He threw several ducks today, and given that he’s not planting and the ball was slickerenaminnerspeter, it’s not surprising.

2+1+1=19/28

The Coin FlipFirst let me just give some serious props to the Stallions. Our opposing team today sized up pretty well with us, but only dressed ten players.

Rather than force them to forfeit, our coach offered to play with only ten. When one of their players went down to injury, he offered to drop one more of ours but the refs wouldn’t let him. Fortunately, they only went two plays with one man short.

That’s some great sportsmanship by our coach, and I’m proud to be associated with such a man. Coach Chris, you rock.

Now, the formula at the top…

Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday Night Lights

Wednesday Night LightsIt was every football dad’s dream last night. It was beautiful.

Less than a minute on the clock, time running, down by 6 and the ball’s on the other team’s 35. My son the halfback comes out of the huddle and lines up at tight end. The tight end lines up at halfback. I whisper excitedly to my wife, “James is lined up as a receiver!” I’ve seen it in practice, so I’m excited.

The ball is snapped to the quarterback, who’s filling in for our injured starter. The offensive line collapses almost immediately under the pressure of a defense that heavily outweighs it, and has had several more weeks of practice. (Our team only got started two weeks ago.)

The quarterback pitches to the stand-in halfback, who’s rolling right as hard as he can to get away from the sea of maroon that is the Redskins Defense.

My son has ditched his coverage with a fake that left the defender’s jock strap lying in the grass. The ball is launched high, to clear the wall of pain that is about to descend on the halfback. In my line of sight, the ball sails in front of the lights that illuminate the field. It comes down behind a sprinting James, who stretches a long arm and tips, corals, bobbles, and finally pulls in the ball at a dead run on a corner fly.

Hot pursuit to the goal line, James’ wheels turning like a bootlegger running from the smokies. Three defenders block our view as they head directly away from us to the far corner. His blue striped helmet pops into view once, as he jukes hard once and loses one.

He beats the other two in the footrace and scores.

Read the rest of this entry »