Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Speaking of new Capitals...

I'm a little late to the party on this one but I'd be remiss if I didn't say something about the Caps first round draft pick this year, Swedish centre Marcus Johansson. Here's some video (in Swedish no less!)

I wasn't so sure about this pick when the Caps made it. Personally, I liked Carter Ashton better, since he was a big guy who could play the wing. I hadn't heard of him being on anybody's radar in the first round, but by all accounts he's your typical Swedish centreman: around six feet tall, good playmaker with solid defensive skills, nothing flashy. The good news is that Johansson played in the Swedish Elite League (maybe the top pro hockey league outside the US) as an 18 year old, which is good, and Caps management liked his performance at the World Junior Championships this year. We'll probably see Johansson in Hershey in 2010-11 I would think, since Swedish players tend to take an extra year in the Elite League before coming over. Hopefully GM George McPhee knows what he's doing with this one.

Meet Your Newest Capital...

...Mr. Mike Knuble.

Deal is for 2 years, $5.8 milly for the ex-Flyer. Love this signing for the Caps. This was the sort of guy the team needed last year. Some beef and some scoring muscle on the front line. Knuble is a garbage goal scorer extradinaire and if he's skating on a line with Alex Ovechkin, he'll get lots of chances for garbage goals. Knuble is a big man (6'3, 230) and was supposedly very popular with the Philly fans and his teammates. As long as he's healthy, Knuble should score 25 goals easily on this team. Plus, as a break from the influx of Swedes and Russians the Caps have added over the last few years, he's a good, all-round American boy (born in Toronto but raised just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan). Oh, and he also was a Caps killer in Philadelphia. Anyone want to remember this double OT goal in the 2008 playoffs?

Friday, June 19, 2009

MVP #2

So which is the more demonic looking Ovechkin picture: this? Or this?

Hmm, the lighting on this year's photo makes Ovie look downright sinister but the red tux from last year gave more of a Mephostopholes aura. Regardless, congrats to the Great 8 on MVP #2. Now, let's get the big hardware next year, eh?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hockey Day At Kettler

I've been meaning to post this since Monday but, the Hangar being the Hangar, I'm just now getting to it as Wednesday turns to Thursday.

Anyway, this past Saturday I had the pleasure of skating at the Capitals practice facility, Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. I decided to be a true weekend warrior and skate both the morning pick-up session at 10:45 am and the night session at 9:10 pm. Oh, and all on maybe 4 hours of sleep (don't ask).

Before I get to the hockey stuff, allow me to vent for a sec. First things first. Traffic in the District sucks. Entering the District on Route 50/New York Avenue is like driving the Sunset Strip without the glam metal history, bars, gaudy advertising and bizarre looking hipsters. Only it goes on for miles. Alas, going through the District was the easiest way to do this, barring taking the Beltway halfway into Virginia only to u-turn back into DC. On a bad day it might take half a decade to navigate the Beltway, so going through the District I would have to do.

Once you get past the Pentagon (at least on this particular route) things are rather smooth. Your road eventually leads you into a neighborhood called Ballston, which like many a place in suburban Virginia, is full of fast food joints, strip malls and roads with no signs. The Iceplex, oddly enough, is located on the 8th floor of a parking garage (seriously). In fact, you wouldn't even know where it was if not for the huge banners with pics of Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green and Rod Langway.

Once you wind your way through the parking garage, the rink beckons at the top. Its an impressive place with the huge Capitals logo on the front. I headed inside, paid for my session and headed to the locker room, which had huge pictures of different NHl legends on it. This room had Stan Mikita, Wayne Gretzky and some others on it (just remember that the locker rooms had this feature for later.)

I got suited up and headed through the doors to the Caps practice rink. Everything you see on TV is there, including the staging area for TV interviews and the large pictures of Dale Hunter, Mike Gartner, Yvon Labre and Rod Langway (all of whom have their numbers retired at Verizon Center.) Upstairs from the ice are what look like offices for members of the Caps front office.

Now for my favorite part of this place: the ice. It's unbelievably smooth. I've played at the Caps two previous practice rinks (Mt. Vernon and Piney Orchard) as well as the old Capital Centre and none of them felt like the had ice like this. The rink was well air-conditioned so the ice froze easily and when the ice is smooth, you feel very fast out there. It might not be as great to others as it was to me, but then again, I'd just played at a rink in Harrington, De. that was absolute shit. In Harrington, the ice was absurdly heavy because it was a) too warm in the rink b) meaning the ice didn't dry c) meaning by the third period of a hockey game it was like skating in quicksand.

The morning session was a good skate. Skill level was a little lacking but we did have two (and eventually three) goalies and each side had two subs to keep guys fresh. Like I said, the crowd seemed to be geared more towards beginner to intermediate skill level, with a couple of advanced level guys mixed in. Still, it was a tough skate and it certainly gave me a workout.

So after the first session, I had about, oh I don't know, 8 hours to kill in Arlington because I didn't want to drive across the Bay Bridge again. So I did what comes naturally to me, I found the nearest Borders bookstore and wasted a couple hours in there before leaving without buying anything. I'm glad those Borders stores are so big that they don't notice me doing this. Oh, and I also discovered that Virginia might have the worst drivers in the US. Slow like Delaware, crazy like Maryland. People there just dart all the fuck over the place and then drive really slow once they get in front of you.

So flashing forward another few hours (and another DC traffic jam) I prepared for session 2. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Kettler's pro shop, which has every piece of Caps merchandise known to man, as well as the fact that Kettler is not the name of a man or a town but of a property development company. Much hunch is that Ted Leonsis owns it.

Now, for session 2 we had a different locker room. Same theme, NHL stars on the wall, except in this locker room we had a blown up portrait of this...

You won't find a bigger Alex Ovechkin fan than yours truly but this might have been a little too much. I really don't need a demonic looking Ovie watching me suit up.

Session 2 was the opposite of session 1. This time, the skill level was really high but we had no extra bodies. There was one kid on my team who would not shut the fuck up the whole time. To make it worse, his buddies on the other team were skating circles around him while he was talking. In the kid's defense, he did eventually shut up and play and exhibited some skill. As for me, I was exhausted, not just from the hard morning skate but the four hours sleep was catching up to me. It took me some time to get used to the speed the other guys were playing at but once I adjusted to that, I thought I held my own with them.

All told, it was a fun day of hockey that I will surely do again sometime. I just need to remind myself to actually get some sleep next time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A New Bleacher Report Article

Still haven't heard from the Bleacher Report people about the NFL correspondents contest but that didn't stop me from offering my 2 pennies about the Brandon Marshall-to-the-Ravens rumors that started flying the minute word got out that Marshall asked for a trade out of Denver. Here's the link. Enjoy suckas.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Interesting Item From One Of My Fav Writers

To me, Jeff Pearlman is one of the best sports writers in the biz. He's got a very understated but highly readable style and isn't afraid to show the good, the bad and the ugly of sports personalities. He even tried to show that there were some good aspects to a detestable character like Barry Bonds. So in the course of reading Pearlman's blog I came across this interesting story about writers befriending the athletes they cover.

Now, having had a little bit of experience in covering pro athletes (although Jeff covers baseball and I've done football) I can tell you I wholeheartedly agree with Pearlman on this one. I don't see how a writer can be buddy-buddy with his subjects and yet cover them objectively.

To me, a beat writer, on any beat whether you're covering pro athletes or the President, needs to be James Bond. You need to cover your subjects coldly and objectively. Your subjects need to know you but not really know you. By that I mean the subject has to know you enough that he/she feels like he/she trusts you with information. But at the same time, they can't necessarily know you on a friendly level. One of the best guys I've seen at this is Jamison Hensley, the beat writer for the Ravens the past 9 years. When I've seen Jamison around the media and locker rooms, I get the sense the players and coaches know him (obviously since he spends so much time around them) but that they don't really know him beyond what he does for a living. I respect that he can do the gig that long and maintain a certain distance. At least that's the way it seems to me.

Now I've certainly been around and covered athletes that I've thought, "He seems like a good dude." Derrick Mason, Haloti Ngata, Troy Smith, Marshal Yanda, Adrian Peterson and Mike Adams were all football players I've questioned and came away thinking were genuinely nice guys. But at the same time, I'm not sure I would want to hang out with pro athletes. After all, what do I have in common with a guy like Ray Lewis or even Todd Heap? The answer, probably not much. Certainly, as a reporter, you become comfortable with some guys more than others. I mean, why should I interview a moody guy like Bart Scott when I could talk to a guy like Ngata who is typically calm and accomodating even after the worst of losses.

I know from watching them that some of the columnists do buddy up to the players a little bit. At least some of the local ones. Having watched them interact, I always suspected that Jason Brown was one of the guys feeding Mike Preston info about the state of the locker room in 2007. Of course, I could be wrong. In Mike's defense, as columnist, he's supposed to be providing a fan's point of view but with insider access. And in Jason's defense, nobody wants to have their name associated with quotes or rumors about a locker room in disarray (which the 2007 Ravens certainly were). One thing I like about Preston is that he's not afraid to go into the room and face guys he's ripped in the paper. Jay Mariotti was notorious for ripping members of the Chicago White Sox and not going into the room to face the music. In Mike's case, he's helped by the fact that he's about 6'2 250+ pounds, whereas Mariotti is a twerp. Still, I respect that Mike is willing to go in there and take the barbs from guys like Terrell Suggs and laugh it off. He tells it the way he sees it and, like it or lump it (as Sidney Crosby might say) it's hard to knock a columnist for that.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that sports reporting is at the same time a difficult job and a rewarding job. It's difficult because you are dealing with the whims and moods of pro athletes, all of whom have more money than you'll ever see in a lifetime and most of whom have been trained since high school to regard reporters as the enemy. But at the same time, I can't think of a cooler job. You get to watch football games and be catered for free. People actually pay for the priviledge of reading what you write. And the best part is, publishers pay you to watch and write about games. So if you ever see a sports writer bitching about how hard his job his, let your boy at the Hangar know. I'll volunteer to ease his burden.

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad...

I'm a little late on this one (what else is new) but the Washington Capitals made it 2 out of 3 in organ-EYE-zation championships this past Friday as the team's AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, won their record 10th Calder Cup title with a 4-1 Game 6 victory over the Manitoba Moose. Goalie Michal Neuvirth was named the playoff MVP. Between Neuvirth and Caps playoff hero Simeon Varlamov, the Caps future in goal looks bright indeed.

So while the Pittsburgh Penguins may have gotten the guns, the Caps have the numbers with both the AHL and ECHL (South Carolina Stingrays) affiliates win their leagues. Here now is a cool YouTube clip, taken by a Moose fan, of the celebration and the Calder Cup presentation.

Best parts of these two vids? The classy applause from the Moose fans in Winnipeg and the videographer's "eh's?" Spoken like a true Canadian. Way to go Stingrays and way to go Bears! Your move Caps.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One More For Thursday...

I'm on a roll today, so how 'bout one more before I leave the office (yes, I am writing these silly blogs on company time).

So the big news before tomorrow night's Game 7 between the Penguins and Red Wings is the news that Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom had previously suffered a "nearly catastrophic" testicle injury. Yes, a testicle injury.

Now, for a man, there are two places on your anatomy that can be injured that can make another man quiver in his boots. The first is any injury to the throat. Getting punched, slashed or anything in the throat can, at times, be vomit inducing. The other, of course, is the nuts. Getting in the nuts doesn't just hurt. If hit hard enough, it takes the wind out of you. Your balls feel like they've just been mashed with a sledgehammer. You can't stand straight. And the worst part is, it's not a noticable hurt. Only you know the agony you're in. How do I know? I got hit in the balls with a puck last year playing a hockey tournament in Laurel and my nuts didn't stop aching for 3 days.

With that said, magnify that by 100 in Lidstrom's case. Allegdly, Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp gave Lidstrom the business with his stick right between the legs. I just can't believe Lidstrom only missed two games. There's a lot of things you can say about men and their balls, but the words "nearly catastrophic" shouldn't be anywhere near them.

Still, as bad as Lidstrom's injury sounds, it doesn't hold a candle to Flyers forward Patrick Thoresen getting hit in the nuts with a Mike Green shot in last year's playoffs.

You can actually sort of hear Thoresen scream in agony (over 18,000 screaming people no less) when he gets hit. That's how bad getting hit in the balls hurts. You get hit in the sack like that, no wonder Thoresen went back to Europe.

The Continued Awesomeness of Between The Buried And Me...

I've mentioned how cool this band is before (or at least how I find them cool) and they're working on a new album which hopefully will rock. A couple years ago BTBAM put out a covers album called "The Anatomy Of..."(which I need to get) and it begs the many metal bands could pull off a ridiculous song like Queen's "Bicycle Race" this well?

...or absolutely nail Pink Floyd's "Us And Them" with the guitar player playing the sax solo?

The answer: nobody. Hopefully for their next Queen cover, they'll do "Flash"
"Flash/AWWWWWWAAA/Savior of the Universe!"

Gimme This, Gimme That

...And no, this post is not just an excuse to put up this Alice Cooper video...

This is shit that I would want if I had just a smidge more dough. Or if Easton law enforcement hadn't help take a shitload of it (don't ask). And like Veruca Salt, I want it NOW!!!

Skull Bowling Ball

I have no practical reason to want this. I don't really bowl regularly but I'll tell you, if I had this ball, I probably would. Hell, I'd turn into the next Walter Sobchek just to walk into a room and pull this intimidating monstrosity out of a bag. Combine this with a cool ass bowling shirt...

...and I'll be a motherfuckin' bowler in no time.

Ibanez rs321mh and Ibanez Artcore afs75t
I recently took up guitar playing as a new hobby. Not with any intention of being one of those guitar assholes like this slapdick..., no. My only real reason for wanting to take up the hobby was to learn some bad ass metal jams. Alas, the guitar I'm working with now is a knock-off piece of shit that's a bitch to keep in tune and probably needs more work than its worth.

So, I'd love to get the above Ibanez model. Ibanez makes some great metal guitars, since they use thinner necks that enable faster playing, plus Ibanez models have great sustain. To make it even more appealing, Ibanez lists the price at $400, so it's very affordable. Here's a demonstation I found on YouTube. Check out how long this guys sustains on note on this thing...

The other one I wouldn't mind possessing, they actually have at my local music store. It's another Ibanez but this one is from their Artcore series. Ibanez put out a bunch of these hollow-body guitars under the Artcore name. Hollow body's are mainly used by jazz, blues and rockabilly guitar players (Billy Duffy of the Cult is the only real rock guy I've seen use one but he used a Gretch Falcon). Hollow body's aren't great rock/metal guitars, since they give off a lot of feedback when you run gain (distortion) from your amp. Still, this axe reeks of badassery...

The best part is, these guitars are really affordable, running around $400-$500. The one I saw at the local music store was about $450 and was in blue, I think.


Longtime readers (all 5 of you) know all about this one, so I won't elaborate much further on this one. Let's just say that at some point, I will be the embarrassing guy in the park with a dog that's wearing a mini-Joe Flacco jersey

The Baltimore Orioles

Because Peter Angelos can't run them in the ground any worse.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

One Championship For The Capitals Organ-EYE-zation

While the Caps season has been over for a little while now, both of the team's minor league affiliates, the AHL's Hershey Bears and the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays, made their respective finals. In other words, the Caps may be the only team in the chain to NOT win a championship.

Well, chalk it up at 1-for-1, as the Stingrays won the ECHL's Kelly Cup, defeating the Alaska Aces. The Stingrays had taken a 3-1 lead over the Aces, before losing Game 5 in Charleston, SC and Game 6 in Anchorage to force a Game 7. But the Stingrays managed to avoid the fate that has befell the Caps over the years and fought back to beat the Aces 4-2 on Alaska's home ice. Trent Campbell got the winning goal for the Stingrays and Rays goalie James Reimer was named playoff MVP.

(By the way, how sweet are those Alaska Aces uniforms? Nice)
Here's a link to the game story.

As for the Bears, they are tied 1-1 in their series for the AHL's Calder Cup with the wonderfully named Manitoba Moose. The Bears took Game 1 in Winnipeg in overtime, while the Moose took Game 2 3-1. Games 3&4 will be played on back-to-back nights in Hershey, Pa, tonight and tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Interesting Stuff About The Ravens...

SI's Don Banks put together an interesting piece wondering who would be the Team Of The Decade for the 2000s. Based on Super Bowl titles, the top two were obvious: New England and Pittsburgh. The Indianapolis Irsays came in 3rd (makes sense) followed by Philadelphia (lots of wins, no Super Bowls) and the NY Giants (two Super Bowl appearances, one win) and then, The Good Guys...

6. Baltimore
Regular season: 83-61, .576Playoff wins/record: 7-4Super Bowls won/appeared: 1 of 1Playoff seasons: 5Winning seasons: 6Losing seasons: 3
The Ravens have undoubtedly ridden the roller coaster this decade, only once putting together back-to-back double-digit win seasons (2000 and 2001). But when you total it all up, they've been in the playoffs five times, won seven postseason games, a Super Bowl trophy, and posted three seasons with 11 or more victories. That's not too shabby for a once-vilified franchise that won only 24 games in its first four seasons after relocating from Cleveland.

Can't complain about the Ravens placement. Six sounds about right. They should be top 10 given they have a Super Bowl title, two division titles and five playoff appearances this decade. But their inconsistency keeps them out of the top 5. I agree with the top three but personally, I'd put the Giants ahead of the Eagles based on their one Super Bowl win. Cool article though.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Final Bleacher Report Article..

Yes, I worked late again, but hey, I got done almost a whole hour earlier than I have the last two nights. Here's the last of my mandated articles for Bleacher Report, this one on the Ravens coaching staff. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Working Late Night Again...

I really have to do these after a more reasonable hour. Oh well, here's the latest article for Bleacher Report. One more to go. Enjoy

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Working Late Night...

Very late night. But, this was one of the tougher Bleacher Report articles I had to do and I needed to get it out of the way. The there of this one had to be how changes in personnel or on the coaching staff will affect the Ravens playbook this year. So, here it is. Now, I'm off to catch my five hours sleep.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Article #2 Is Up

Here's my second article for Bleacher Report. This one had to be in the form of an interview with a player for a feature story. I picked Jameel McClain because he's the next in the long line of Ravens LB bad-assery. Enjoy.

Slumming For The Man...

I have entered a contest (or something like that) to try to become the Baltimore Ravens correspondent for Bleacher Report/CBS Sportsline. Do leave lots of comments saying how great I am if you would be so kind. Here is my debut article. I gotta come up with 3-4 more by Friday to win. I know I got the Nature Boy's support...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day...Hangar Style

"Tim, they got your family!"
"But I'm not married!"
"You are America!!!!!"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Speaking To Soon...

Remember on Friday I wrote about how I had rarely seen someone as bad at their job as recently released Orioles pitcher Adam Eaton? Well, I think I found the Adam Eaton of musicians, if you could even denigrate the word by calling what this guy does "music." I am speaking about rapper Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, who might be the absolute worst at what he does, and in the world of rap music, that is truly saying something.

Now I have nothing against rap music. In fact, as I write this I've been listening to "Niggaz4life" and "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A. and "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" by Public Enemy the last 3 days. I will argue that rap at its best truly is an art form. Those three records plus others like "Raising Hell" by Run DMC, "Paul's Boutique" by Beastie Boys, "Ready To Die" by Notorious B.I.G., "The Chronic" by Dr. Dre, "Enter The Wu-Tang" by Wu-Tang Clan, "Reasonable Doubt" by Jay-Z, "Blackout" by Redman and Method Man and "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" by 50 Cent are all classics in any form of music. And that's just a partial list off the top of my head. So don't think this is just the ramblings of some guy that doesn't know shit about hip-hop.

That being said, what Soulja Boy does is an affront to those great records. Take his new single "Turn My Swag On" for instance. This shit is flat out awful. Garbage. Crap. Pick a euphemism for something bad and it can apply to Soulja Boy's "music." I put music in quote marks 'cause I'm not sure it even qualifies as such. He's not a good rapper, the beats are pretty much the same as every Southern rap song that has ever come out for the last decade and the only lyrics to the song seem to be "Soulja Boy Tell 'Em," "YEEAAAAH" and "Turn My Swag On."

Soulja Boy is not just bad music. It is transcendently bad. It's bad in an awe-inspiring way. Like you can't believe that 1) someone at a record label thought it was good or 2) that anyone would buy it. And yet, because we are not very bright here in America, people do buy it. I'm sure if I were to ask Soulja Boy how he can sleep at night having made such terrible music, I'm sure he'd say "On top of a pile of money." So be it. Americans are dumb and if they are dumb enough to buy the garbage Soulja Boy is selling them, more power to Soulja Boy for playing the best scam since Bernie Madoff. But if he insists on selling this garbage, can he at least put the following label on everything he does: "Endure this if you must. Survive if you can."

Favorite Non-Capitals of All-Time

I've been a Capitals fan since I started playing and watching hockey back in 1987. My first Caps game was actually in 1986, before I started playing. I think my dad was trying to get the bug planted in me, by taking me to the Capital Centre for a game between the Caps and Winnipeg Jets. I don't remember a whole lot about that game, but the next year, me and my dad started our tradition of always going to the New Year's Day Caps game, this time featuring the Caps and Pittsburgh Penguins. Saw a young Mario Lemieux and current Caps broadcaster Craig Laughlin play, as well as the wonderfully named Pens goalie, Gilles Meloche.

Anyway, digressing. The point here is that just because I've been a Caps fan for so long, doesn't mean I couldn't admire some of the players that did not ever suit up in the red, white and blue. So here now, is a brief list of some of my favorite non-Capitals.

Cam Neely- Boston Bruins

There wasn't much NOT to like about Neely as a hockey player. He could score goals, he hit, he fought, he could do it all. I also remember the badass mullet he sported at the 1991 All-Star Game. How awesome was Neely as a player? Every year at the draft, you still hear commentators talking about some kid being "The Next Cam Neely." My favorite Neely play was one where he went to took a pass in his feet and briefly had his head down. Montreal defenceman Petr Svoboda came up to take him out. Neely saw him at the last minute and dropped Svoboda like a bad habit. He got back in the play and scored a one-timer, top corner on Patrick Roy. It was just the ultimate in "get-in-the-weight-room-cause-you-can't-stop-me!" alpha dog-ness.

Alas, his career was wrecked in the 1991 playoffs by hockey's anti-christ, Ulf Samuelsson. But there is justice in the world. Neely is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame, had his number 8 retired by the Bruins and was the architect of a Bruins team that finished 1st in the Eastern Conference. Samuelsson meanwhile, got knocked the fuck out by Tie Domi and is now the assistant coach of a bankrupt franchise (Phoenix Coyotes).

Doug Gilmour- Lots of teams, most successfully with St. Louis, Calgary and Toronto
Gilmour was a hockey player's hockey player. In fact, if you look up "hockey player" in the dictionary, you should find Gilmour's picture. He had the whole package: the missing front teeth, the mullet, the cool nickname ("Killer").

I myself liberally borrowed a few things from Gilmour. For instance, I started tucking in the right side of my jersey like he used to do (I know Gretzky started that but Gilmour made it look cooler) and I named this here blog after Dougie's number in Calgary.

Two more things about Gilmour. He was part of hockey's first Bromance, between himself and Don Cherry, which was"Daniel-san and Miyagi in Karate Kid III"-level uncomfortable, culminating in Cherry kissing Gilmour (really).

And, he once shattered the glass going into the penalty box. Now that is cool.

Brendan Shanahan - New Jersey/St. Louis/Hartford/Detroit/NY Rangers
I liked Shanny more from his early days with the Devils, Blues and the mighty Whale. He was a big, physical player that could score. He was certainly the missing piece when he went to Detroit and they soon became the Red Wings juggernaut we know today. But Shanny lost a little of the snarl that made me like him. Still, the guy was a warrior and has been a winner every place he's played. Even though he was a bit more of a finesse guy with the Wings, he could still kick ass when needed.

Sergio Momesso - Lots of teams, notably St. Louis and Vancouver
Probably my favorite hockey name ever. After him it would be Garth Butcher and Danton Cole. But Sergio Momesso sounds like an Italian hitman. He even looked like a gangster.

Momesso was always a bit of a disappointment as a player actually. He was a high draft pick by Montreal and looked like he should have fit into that Cam Neely/Rick Tocchet group of power forwards but he never did. Still, I always liked Momesso for his name and the fact that he was a tough, hard-nosed player. As an example, here's a clip of two members of this list having a go.

Milan Lucic - Boston Bruins
Next to Alex Ovechkin, is there a bigger YouTube legend than Lucic? I think not. I won't even bother to write a bunch of stuff, Looch's body of work speaks for itself.

Pavel Bure- Vancouver/Florida/NY Rangers

Before Alex Ovechkin, there was Pavel Bure. The only difference is that Ovie is a little bigger (6'2 compared to 5'10 for Bure) and that Ovie plays with a little bit more of a physical edge. But what they have in common is that both had the ability to make an arena hold its breath in anticipation of what they were going to do once they got the puck and hit full speed. I think Bure's career has been grossly underrated. For a 2-3 year period there was nobody, and I mean nobody, that was more exciting to watch than Bure. When he got the puck in full-flight, literally anything could happen. And remember, he and Kirk McLean carried a mediocre Canucks squad to one game from the Stanley Cup in 1994. I think the reason Bure is not remembered as fondly as he should be is because he was a bit of a diva and he pouted his way out of Vancouver in 1999. He had a couple of good seasons with Florida and then knee injuries wrecked his career for good. He's almost like hockey's version of Shawn Kemp: you remember the other stuff more than how great they were. In Bure's case, the pouting, the injuries and the brief romance with Anna Kournikova. Well, here's a reminder of the awesomeness that was "The Russian Rocket."

Friday, May 22, 2009

The End Of The Adam Eaton Error

I am rolling with posts today, so I figure I'll keep up the momentum with some O's stuff.

Last night, the Orioles were taken to the woodshed one more time by the New York Yankees, to the tune of a 7-4 loss. In the three game series, the Yankees hammered O's pitchers for 27 runs in three games. Should we call this the Great New York Orange and Blackout of 2009? The game last night was notable because it will likely mark the end of pitcher Adam Eaton's time with the O's.

In all my years watching the Orioles, I must say, I have yet to come across someone as bad at his job as Eaton. Sure, in this decade-plus of futility, the O's have had lots of shitty pitchers: Mike DeJean, Mike Fetters, Daniel Cabrera, Sidney Ponson, Jorge Julio, the list could go on. But Eaton was as awful as I have seen anyone who has ever put on an Orioles uniform. I mean, look at this stat line:

2009 BAL 8 8 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 41.0 56 39 39 9 19 28 8.56 1.83 .322

The key stats in that line? How about an 8.56 ERA, a 1.83 WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched)and a .322 batting average against. For those that do not know much about baseball, that is god awful. To really put it in perspective how shitty Eaton is, look at the numbers 39 and 41. 39 is his earned runs allowed and 41 is his innings pitched. That means Eaton gave up almost one earned run for every inning pitched! Last night pretty much summed up the entire Eaton experience. He gave up doubles to the first three Yankees he faced and was down 6-0 before the end of the 2nd inning. How is a young team not supposed to be demoralized by that? The worst part is, everybody except Andy McPhail and Dave Trembley knew Eaton was going to get raked by the red-hot Yanks.

But enough words. I'm going to let someone else do the talking. Here's a classic rant by legendary Chicago Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley on one-time Hawks defenceman Alexander Karpovtsev, who at that time, had just been traded to the New York Islanders. Now, as you are listening to this, just sub in the name "Adam Eaton" for "Alexander Karpovtsev" and "Baltimore Orioles" for "Chicago Blackhawks." Foley's end quote sums up exactly how every O's fan feels about Eaton: "Good riddance."

Yet Another Reason To Hate The Steelers

...Ok, so this story is more on the Obama Administration than the Steelers, but blaming the Steelers for all of life's ills is much more fun.

BTW, I'm already starting to slightly regret voting for Obama. Not that much, mind you, but slightly. I still would vote for him, having Sarah Palin anywhere near the leadership of this country would be a disaster of biblical proportions but Obama's transgressions with me are starting to mount a bit:
- His odd Steeler-love

- Raising cigarette taxes to obscene levels (Despite being a smoker himself!!!)
- Not attending a Caps game, despite their being the hottest ticket in DC
- Snubbing a bunch of 5-year-olds for the Steelers
- Did I mention this photo? Why Obama, why?

Get your shit straight Barry! Don't make me never want to vote again! Then again, there are some members of the Steelers that have some things in common with 5-year-olds...

Ryan Leaf...still reeking of awesome badness

NFL draft bust extraordinaire Ryan Leaf was indicted on drug charges in Texas today. That's Leaf (in the middle) today, shirtless, drunk and looking like he's being carried out by two extras from "My Name Is Earl." I know, how could the sensible looking chap in the above photo possibly have a drug problem?

I only mention this story because I'm one of the lucky people in the world that actually has a Ryan Leaf Chargers jersey. Alas, it's at my dad's house so I can't give documented photo evidence but trust me, I own one. Don't worry, I didn't pay for it. I got it from my ex-boss who was a big Chargers fan. I can't remember the bet we had, but the price was the Leaf jersey, which he seemed more than willing to part with. I've worn the Leaf jersey one time since I owned it: to a fantasy football draft. I used to enjoy wearing something outlandish to the draft, when we did it live with all team owners in the same room. One year, I busted out my suit, so I could look very general manager-ish. Of course, I had to peel it off by the end of the day because wearing a suit in the 90-degree temps of August in the mid-Atlantic wasn't a great idea. So the next year, I had just gotten the Leaf jersey and decided to rock it. I certainly didn't sweat as much as with the suit. After wearing it one time, I retired it for good. I figured, one time is irony, two times is jumping the shark and three times is pathetic. Sort of like the guy I once saw at Wal-Mart wearing a Jay Novacek Cowboys jersey.

Note to ESPN

Michael Vick- Don't give a shit. Relax kids, he's just another crook that just got released from the federal pen. At the end of the day, that's what he is. The only way it would be interesting is if Ron Mexico lived out his own version of "Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos." But unless the S1W's show up, don't care about Vick or what he's doing. Sorry.

"Yo, Ookie, we gonna break you outta there man! Word to tha strength G!"

Brett Favre- Don't give a shit. Self-explanatory. The only people who give a shit whether Favre plays for the Vikings or any other team that can be suckered into letting Favre throw 30 picks for them are 1) Favre 2)ESPN 3) Peter King 4) Vikings fans.

NBA Playoffs- Don't give a shit. Everybody in their brother has known that Cleveland is going to win and they will probably beat the Lakers to do it. Everybody also knows that David Stern will make sure it happens. After all, a Denver-Orlando final doesn't exactly move the Q rating. So why does anybody pretend there is some drama here? At least with hockey, we waited until the 3rd round before the inevitable Pittsburgh-Detroit matchup shaped up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Most Brilliant Musical Idea...Ever

I must give credit where credit is due here. Hangar partner-in-crime Mogo Tomassi found this band and this video. What you are about to see is quite possibly the greatest idea for a band in the history of recorded sound. It would be Swashbuckle, three lads from New Jersey who are the first, and I think only, practioners of Pirate Metal. Yes, Pirate Metal.

The guys dress like pirates, speak like pirates, scream lyrics about pirates and play like some bastard son of Napalm Death. I was personally introduced to Swashbuckle about 3 years ago and love them or hate them, there's no way you can deny that there has never been a band quite like this. Yes, there is Viking Metal, hell, there's even Arnold Schwarzenegger Metal now thanks to Austrian Death Machine and Arno-Corps (I think thats what they're called.)

The first song I ever heard Swashbuckle play sounded a little like this jam, only the singer screamed "Walk the fuckin' plank!" for about 2 minutes. How can you argue with brilliance like that? God bless 'em. In the pantheon of great musical ideas, these guys are right up there. Enjoy.

Cruise Ship Terror

Monday, May 18, 2009

Damn You Yanni!!!

How could you Yanni? The Penguins? Really? Not only do you force Games 4 and 5 of the Caps-Pens series to be played on back-to-back nights but then you also rock a Cindy Crosby Penguins jersey?

In addition to that, you cut your long flowing locks and awesome mustache.

Really Yanni? Really? It's like I don't even know you. Who else can I turn to for weird, snooze-inducing new age music if I can't turn to you? Damn it Yanni, I don't know how to quit you! How could you line yourself with Shitsburgh? Forget it Yanni, I've moved on. To John Tesh. Because no one can dribble a fake basketball like Tesh. Hope you're happy.


Addiction #1- Brick Breaker for Blackberry:

For those that have never seen this game, it's pretty much a rip-off of the legendary "Arkanoid" arcade and Nintendo game. Some kids loved "Zelda," I loved "Arkanoid." My teammate Nick Carso's dad was a maestro at "Arkanoid." I actually downloaded it on my first phone and after about 3 months, finally beat all 99 levels (it was one of those games that never seemed to end.) When I recently upgraded to a Blackberry (much deserving of its Crackberry nickname) it came with Brick Breaker, which was pretty much the same game under another name. Once again, I am hooked. Just this weekend, I formally set my high score with 13,330 and reaching level 26 (the game has 34 levels). Apparently I'm not the only one, it seems to be a favorite of the President as well. According to this article, his high score is 15,000, which once again proves that Barack Obama is better than us at EVERYTHING.

Addiction #2- Diet Coke

My entertainment editor Jen and I nicknamed this stuff Diet Crack and for good reason. I gravitate towards this stuff the same way Tyrone Biggums went for Red Balls. Or Sgt. Al Powell went for Twinkies. Just utterly, utterly addictive stuff. It's like crack in a can. It's so pervasive (along with its sister drinks Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max and Coke Zero) that regular Coke or Pepsi now tastes weird to me. If there was a support group for Diet Crack, I may have to attend. I admit that I am powerless over Diet Crack. But goddamn it, it has zero calories and low sodium. Must drink now!

I'm Back

After a long hiatus, I'm bringing the Hangar back again. Lots of reasons for the lengthy the break between posts, the main one being that I just got burned out of writing it. I was doing the Day Job, which involved me writing all day, then coming home and spending 2 hours a post on Hangar material just took my ass out.

The other reason was the now-deceased 2008-9 Washington Capitals. Through the first 4 games of the Rangers series, the Caps were playing shitty. After a wholly frustrating Game 4 loss, I was far too pissed off to make a sensible argument about the game. At least not without sounding like some lunatic. Like a scary, Judge-of-the-Nazi-People's Court kind of lunatic. Plus, I was doing the hockey tournament that weekend and I was expecting the worst. So what happened? The Caps won Game 5. I didn't blog about it. The Caps won Game 6. Being someone who firmly believes in karma, juju, superstitions and all that junk, I attributed the Caps winning to my not blogging. It was true for about 5 games, all Caps wins. By the time the Pittsburgh series started going downhill I was firmly out of the routine of posting here. Let me tell you, 3/4 of all writing is routine. Ideas are one thing, style is one thing, but without a routine, nothing happens. Alas, as they say in AA, my routine had become a bit unmanageable and the Caps were driving me off the deep end with the constant elimination games.

But, I am back and will try to do this at a more manageable pace than I did before. Updates may come fast, they may not but I will try to keep shit up. For me, the Hangar is always evolving depending on my whims and flights of fancy. So for about the third time, I'll be switching up how I do this thing. Whatever the case, enjoy bitches.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Today's Ric Flair Words Of Wisdom

Sorry there has been a lack of activity here at the Hangar but ye ol' blogger has been busy with all sorts of things, one of them includes a hockey tournament in Laurel, Md. I was pretty much without internet for the whole weekend, except for the Crackberry so there were no updates. The good news is that TCCC took the Silver Division in this year's Heineken Hockey Tournament, so, I figured I put up one of my favorite Ric Flair clips just for laughs. Alas, this will be the only post of the night since I left my computer battery charger at the day job but tomorrow I will put together a big package with info on all the Ravens draft picks from this weekend. Until then, here's the Nature Boy.

"We got 50 girls standin' outside our dressing room door, lookin' for the winners, WOOO!!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tonight Needs To Be Ovie Time

I'm not a big basketball fan, as this blog has gone into great detail about, but one of memory I have is from the 1993 NBA Finals. It was Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls shooting for a 3rd straight title against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns. The Bulls had taken both games in Phoenix to open the series but the Suns got themselves back into it with a three-overtime win in Chicago in Game 3. Going into Game 4, the Bulls needed Jordan take over and carry them to a win over the revitalized Suns. As he typically did, Jordan did just that, dropping 55 points and giving the Bulls a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

I thought of that game last night when thinking about tonight's Game 4 of the Caps-Rangers series. I wrote in my playoff preview how Alex Ovechkin needed to be "The One" in this series. After getting back in the series in Game 3, tonight is the night where that has to happen. Ovie, who has been held goalless with four assists in the series, needs to take over and win a game by himself. He needs to strap the team on his back and carry the Caps to victory tonight.

Yes, his teammates will be vital in helping him do that, but if there's one guy who can dominate a series just by sheer force of will, it's Ovie. He's already tried to contribute in other ways, using his 'mates, getting under the skin of the Rangers through the media and his appearance at Rangers practice before Game 3. But Ted Leonsis doesn't pay him to be Claude Lemieux, he pays him to score goals. He pays him to dominate. And tonight's the night where he needs to do it. In a must-win game, on the road, in front of a fire up Madison Square Garden.

Ovie, you got the press clippings, you got the ESPN pieces, you got the notoriety. Now, you have to put together a signature playoff game. As John Cena would say, "Your time is up, my time is now/You can't see me, my time is now."

"I will break them Hangar"

Here's the aforementioned ESPN piece from Tuesday night's edition of "E:60." I will also post a link to this great Puck Daddy piece on the clip.

Today's YouTube Clip To Swing Your Heavy Metal Hair To

OK, first of several posts today. We'll have recaps of tonight's O's and Caps games plus, hopefully, another Caps-related post. Until then, enjoy the fine sounds of a bunch of guys from Quebec doing pig squeals. It's Despised Icon with "Furtive Monologue."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Orioles 10 White Sox 3

I suppose the headline on this game could be: "Markakis, Huff and the boys from Norfolk help O's break skid."

Brad Bergeson got it done in his first career start for the Orioles and the team snapped a 5-game losing streak. The youngster, called up from Norfolk to take Alfredo Simon's spot in the rotation, pitched a solid 5 2/3 innings for the win. Bergeson didn't have overpowering stuff, but he was around the plate and kept the Palehosers off-balance all night. And when he did run into trouble in the 4th and 5th innings, when the White Sox took a 3-2 lead, he didn't panic and kept it to a one-run deficit. The thing that stood out the most about Bergeson's performance tonight, besides a wicked tailing fastball, was his poise. He certainly got a test early in the 1st inning, as Sox slugger Carlos Quentin was battling Bergeson, hitting foul ball after foul ball. Many a young pitcher would have gotten frustrated and lofted a meatball up there that Quentin would have deposited into the bleachers. But Bergeson hung in there, kept making tough pitches and got Quentin to whiff to end the inning.

The side story to Bergeson's first outing was the reawakening of the Oriole bats after being held in check for two straight games. Aubrey Huff launched his first bomb in the first inning, crushing a Jose Contreras offering into the terrace boxes in right field. Then, after the Sox had taken the lead, the O's started taking the Windy City lads to the woodshed, scoring two runs in each of the next 4 innings to turn this one into a rout. They first managed to tie the game when Brian Roberts walked, moved to second on a groundout and then scored on a Nick Markakis double. Two batters later, 'Kake would give the O's the lead for good, coming around on a Luke Scott single. Markakis was on fire tonight, finishing 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs. That $66 million contract is looking like a bargin, if that's possible.

The game saw mini-breakouts from a number of O's who had been scuffling at the plate, including Huff, who cranked a 2nd homer into the center field bleachers in the 8th; Scott, who went 3-for-4 and raised his average over .300; and Cesar Izturis, who went 1-for-3 but got things going in the 6th with a walk and stolen base before scoring on Lou Montanez's double. Izturis would add a two-run double of his own in the 7th. Montanez, filling in for the concussed and DL'ed Ryan Freel, was the other Norfolk callup to make an impact tonight. The only O's who continued to struggle were Felix Pie, who hit three weak groundouts to go 0-for-3, and Ty Wigginton, who went 0-for-5 with a costly error at 3rd base.

The bullpen looked very sharp tonight, as the O's were able to use three of their strongest relievers so far this season - Danys Baez, Chris Ray and Jim Johnson - to kill any hopes of a Sox comeback.

Still, the story of the game was Bergeson, who is hopefully a harbinger of things to come from the O's farm system. I do not have any delusions of grandeur that the O's are going to make any noise this year. All I ask is that the team be competitive and show some hope for the future. And if we are going to lose, I'd much rather lose with young guys like Bergeson than with retreads like Mark Hendrickson and Adam Eaton. There's a reason those guys have bounced around the league. It's because they aren't very good. The lesson from this season, I suppose, is that we're going to have to put up with the Eaton's and Hendrickson's while we await the promise of the Bergeson's. By this summer, hopefully we will be seeing more of the latter than the former.

So, as Michael Reghi used to say, you can book this one to the Orioles. The O's can get back into that series-winning mode they were on before by winning tomorrow night. It will be Jeremy Guthrie against John Danks. Until then, if you like an Orioles win, give me a FUCK YEAH!

Love This Ad...

I hadn't yet seen this commercial that Versus did for the NHL playoffs but it was on quite a bit last night and I must say it's very cool, even if it does involve the Caps opponent right now, the Rangers. I don't know how they got this view of Stephane Matteau's game-winning goal in Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals but it looks great and the fact that it's slowed down like that only adds to the coolness of the thing.

A Short Respite From Sports...

To post a link about my favorite pooch, the bulldog. Drake University (nickname: the Bulldogs) held a (tongue-in-cheek) Bulldog Beauty Contest, won by a four-year-old named Porterhouse. I'm not sure about the name, I certainly prefer "Killer" as a bulldog name, but who care, it gives me an excuse to post these bulldog pictures again...

...and my personal favorite, UGA...

Today's YouTube Clip To Swing Your Heavy Metal Hair To

It's Tuesday, so you know what that means? It's time to sing-a-long with Six Feet Under and Ice-T doing "One Bullet Left." Top them if you can, survive if they let you!

Red Sox 12 Orioles 1

Lost in the euphoria of last night's Caps win, I didn't do a post about the Orioles latest loss yesterday morning to the Boston Red Sox. After losing a 2-1 nailbiter on Sunday, the O's lost in more conventional fashion yesterday: by seeing their pitchers get torched for double-digit earned runs. I won't go into too much depth here, actually, I'll just give you the Cliff's Notes version of the O's 5th loss in a row.

- Mark Hendrickson was lit up for a second straight outing, yielding 8 baserunners (5 hits and 3 walks) in 5 innings of work, along with 3 earned runs.

- Dennis Sarfate had his worst outing of the season, getting pounded for 4 hits and 3 earned runs in his only inning of work.

- Radhames Liz made Hendrickson and Sarfate look like Sandy Koufax and Dennis Eckersley by getting hammered for 6 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. With an ERA of 67 in two outings, Liz earned himself a one-way ticket to Norfolk.

- The O's pitchers helped two more slumping Red Sox hitters, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, break out. Pedroia finished 4 for 5 with 3 RBIs and Ortiz went 2 for 4, including a two-RBI triple. Yes, only the O's pitching staff could allow the lumbering Ortiz to hit a triple.

- Felix Pie struck out one more time, making it 7 K's in his last 15 at-bats.

- Ryan Freel had to be carted off after getting hit in the head with a pick-off throw. Despite his complaining to the media last week about playing time, let's hope Freel is OK.

- Despite his supposed steady work in the field, Gregg Zaun is an absolute sieve at the plate. The O's catcher is hitting .118 this season. Is Matt Wieters ready yet?

So, another loss in the House Of Horrors that is Fenway Park. The Birds at least get to come back home today, where they will open a 3-game set with the Chicago White Sox. Until, Otto has a special message for this game.

"Ach Du Scheisse!"