The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.


Mark Cuban is Coming

This troubles me. It causes me to question everything I believe in. I don't know what to think, how to feel, where to go. Mark Cuban wants to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins. I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mark Cuban is, in my estimation, the best owner in sports.

I like Mark Cuban, alot. Regardless of your opinion of his constant criticism of NBA officiating that comes across as whining, there is no denying that he is as commited to winning as anybody, and is probably better at figuring out how to get there than anybody. If he can build a successful team around Dirk Nowitzki, imagine what he could do with a bona fide superstar like Sidney Crosby.

I hate the Pittsburgh Penguins, alot. I have to. Its engrained into my psyche having grown up during the years of Pittsburgh's dominance over the Washington Capitals. I'll never forget going to Game One of the 2000 playoffs and seeing the 2nd seeded Caps lose 7-1 to the 7th seeded Penguins.

So I just don't know how to feel. On the one hand, I think Mark Cuban would be an asset to the NHL, and his marketing/business savy would probably end up helping the Caps too. If anyone can make a big deal out of Ovechkin vs. Crosby its him. But at the same time, I was kind of looking forward to the day the Penguins moved to Portland and the Caps took over their spot in the Atlantic Division, reuniting them with old Patrick Division rivals like the Flyers and Rangers. Seeing as how Mark Cuban has made his involvement contingent upon the Penguins staying in Pittsburgh, this would be a serious blow to my pipe dreams.

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Caps Show Plenty of Spunk

I had failed to notice that the Caps' second 1st round pick (23rd overall) Semen Varlamov's first name is... well... what it is. Luckily, The Mighty MJD can always be counted on for the dirty jokes. I will restrain myself to remarking that the Capitals have more than one young Russian prospect in the fold.

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Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out

Yesterday, the Vancouver Canucks traded much-maligned winger Todd Bertuzzi to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Roberto Luongo. There were some other players and picks involved, but I don't know enough about any of them to comment, so I'm going to focus on the two stars of this deal.

I don't really know how I feel about this one. On the one hand, I think the Panthers are insane to trade away possibly the best goalie the league will see over the next ten years. On the other hand, I'm not really sure how much having an elite goaltender really matters in Bettman's new NHL. What I do know is that, as a Capitals fan, I will certainly be glad not to have to see Luongo on a regular basis again, whereas Bertuzzi? Not so much. He just doesn't seem to me to be the player he once was ever since the Steve Moore incident.

On the other side, Vancouver addresses the one thing that has consistently been a problem for them, picking up an elite (the elite?) goaltender. I think they definitely come out on top in this deal.

EDIT: It appears that Luongo wasn't even aware he was going to be traded. In fact, he thought he had agreed to a long term deal. My favorite quote from him? "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of making a run at the Stanley Cup, something I never had a chance to do in my prior seasons in Florida."

Trading your franchise's best player after giving him the impression that he was going to be signed to a long term deal and then having him take swipes at your franchise immediately after said trade does not a good impression make. I can see now why Luongo (and several other Panthers) were hesitant to ink long term deals during the season.

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Red Carpet Wrap-Up

Overall, I was 3 for 8 in my predictions for the night. Glad to see AO add another Calder-themed award to the franchise's '06 trophy case. Only real surprise was Jagr winning the Lester B. Pearson Award. Maybe I'm biased because of his time here in Washington, but it seems to me that, if anything, the results of the Pearson and the Hart would have been reversed. I can see idiot sportswriters dismissing Joe Thornton because he didn't play an entire season with the same team (seriously, I actually read that somewhere), while fawning over Jagr's resurgence in the media capital of the world. But Jagr being voted MVP by the rest of the NHLPA, but not by the Hockey Writers' Association? I don't get it. (I also don't get why the NHL needs two seperate MVP awards) (or two seperate goaltending awards for that matter) (but that is neither here nor there).

EDIT: I totally didn't notice this, as I didn't actually watch the awards ceremony, but Olie Kolzig won the King Clancy Trophy. That made my night. Olie Kolzig, in his time with the Capitals, has been a perfect model of everything a professional athlete should be, and I only hope that the Capitals can put a much more important piece of silver hardware in his hands before he retires. Of all the Caps greats who retired Cup-less because of Washington's sustained mediocrity, I think he deserves it the most.

EDIT #2: Technically, Rod Langway won a Cup at the beginning of his career when he was in Montreal. I've never been one to let facts get in the way, though.

EDIT #3 (Last one, I promise): Just wanted to point out this excellent Caps-centric recap of awards night.

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Awards for Everyone (redux)

NHL awards show tonight. Rather than doing it all over again, I direct you to my previous prediction post.



Why Teenagers Should Stop Talking

If the Washington Nationals can somehow manage to win the 2013 World Series, I guarantee you I will not be saying anything remotely like this.

The Capitals on the other hand? I think the 21 years of waiting I've done so far will just make it that much sweeter when (if?) they finally reach the promised land.


Separation Anxiety

"Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals" may be the seven most glorious words in the English language, but they are also bittersweet. It's going to be tough having to wait three full months before seeing hockey again. I don't think I will ever really understand how it is I managed to survive The Lockout. That said, I think my anxiety this time around stems from the fact that I have alot more to look forward to next season than probably any other offseason in the team's history. (That'd be the hapless Washington Capitals, if you're just now stumbling across the site.) In the meantime, I'll try to keep myself busy with the likes of the NHL Awards show on OLN Thursday night (not bloody likely, actually, as there is a bar in Petworth showing the USA World Cup game on tape delay that night, or so I'm told) and possibly heading all the way out (ugh) to Maryland for the Caps' Draft Day Party Saturday night, assuming I can trick someone into going with me.

I expect this blog to go into a bit of a lull now. I've tried to make it not so much hockey-focused, but I can't say I really know enough about anything else to really say anything intelligent. (I can't say I know enough about hockey to say anything intelligent either, but that is neither here nor there.)



Game 7 Recap

Congratulations to the Hartford Whal... errr, Carolina Hurricanes for keeping the Cup at home in the Southeast Division. Congratulations also to the Edmonton Oilers, who played one of the best series I have ever had the chance to witness.

The choice of Cam Ward for the Conn Smythe leaves me scratching my head a bit. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't able to actually watch game seven, so I'll assume he put on one of the most spectacular goaltending displays in NHL history last night to secure the trophy. Otherwise, his selection makes absolutely no sense to me.

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Game. Seven.

No two words inspire greater joy. I know I'm a bit of a hockey apologist (a bit?), but I think most people would have to agree that there may not be anything in sports more exciting than the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals. I try to avoid being one of those people who constantly whines to everyone that they should like his sport better, a la soccer fans, but in this case I have to say that if you don't watch this game tonight, you have no soul.

Or you have rehearsal, like me. Being an actor as well as a sports fan is not a winning combination sometimes.

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Game 6 Recap

This one is a little tardy, as the sixth game of this year's Finals decided to fall on the evening of my 21st Birthday, and I am just now finally recovered enough to form a coherent sentence.

I missed the first half of the game, so there wer 11 minutes left in the second and the Oilers were up 2-0 by the time I tuned in. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked. I honestly expected the Canes to wrap it all up last night, but Edmonton dominated every aspect of the game. Probably the most telling stat was the shot totals: Edmonton got 34 pucks through to Cam Ward, while Jussi Markkanen barely earned his paycheck, logging just 16 saves (Granted, a lot of this can be attributed to the Oilers' giving the Canes a taste of their own medicine to the tune of 20 blocked shots, something I'll be discussing in further detail later). The Oil were skating faster, hitting harder and just out and out controlling the entire game. How much of that was because of the fact that they were playing their last game in front of arguably the best fan base in the NHL is hard to say, but I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying that I doubt they'll be able to duplicate their performance tomorrow night.

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One down, two to go.

In case you missed the game on Comcast Sportsnet last night (or you got fed up with the fact that the visual aspect of it disappeared halfway through the first period and turned it off), the Hershey Bears trounced the Milwaukee Admirals to win the franchise's ninth Calder Cup. Congrats go out to those guys, who are making the Capitals' future look brighter every day.

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So many Cups, so little time.

Tonight's Game Six of the Calder Cup finals will be broadcast on Comcast Sportsnet on tape delay at 11:00 PM here in Washington. The Hershey Bears (the Washington Capitals' AHL affiliate) have a chance to clinch the series over the Milwaukee Admirals.

Thanks to Ted Leonsis for the heads up.

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Game 5 Recap

If, before the game, you had taken a survey that asked "How will the game end?" how many people would have guessed that it would be a shorthanded goal by the Oilers? Not many, I think.

Edmonton really brought it tonight, and the result was one of the best played hockey games I've ever seen. They were pretty dominant in ever phase of the game, but decided to keep the game close by taking plenty of penalties. Halfway through the first, it was shaping up to look like more of the same from the Oil on special teams, but then something crazy happened. Something completely unprecedented. Ales Hemsky took a shot on goal. Hemsky has taken alot of criticism for his reluctance to shoot the puck, and it isn't entirely warranted, as the problem seems to be more rampant among the Oilers players than influenza, and his power play goal to tie the game was huge. Edmonton absolutely needed to get their power play going, and scoring on their first chance of the game ultimately sealed the win for them right then and there. Once Michael Peca gave them the lead a few minutes later, the Hurricanes were never really in it, especially once the injuries started mounting.

The 'Canes still win the special teams battle, with three special teams goals to the Oilers' two, but this game could turn out to be a major turning point in the series. The Oilers proved that they A) can still win when Carolina's power play is firing on all cylinders B) can win even when Eric Staal finally shows up to the arena C) can still, occasionaly at least, score on their own power play D) can actually have an effective penalty kill, assuming that the Hurricanes are exhausted after having played sixty minutes of intense playoff hockey while missing two guys from their bench for significant portions of the game.

If the Oilers accomplish on Saturday some of the things they accomplished tonight, namely crowding Cam Ward's crease and physically beating the snot out of Carolina's forwards, and also stay out of the penalty box, they stand an excellent chance of making one more trip back to Raleigh.

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Game 4 Recap

Marc-Andre Bergeron can sleep a little more soundly now that he is not the biggest goat of this series. Raffi Torres earns that distinction with his exceptionally educational display in the first period. Kids, if you ever wanted to know what not to ever do under any circumstances no matter what, go back and watch a replay of Torres' trip immediately after the faceoff that resulted from the Oilers' first (and only) goal. With little to no margin for error against a team that has been feasting on the power play, that penalty, and the ensuing goal, was absolutely backbreaking, preventing the Oil from putting together any kind of momentum from scoring first at home.

Obviously, this wasn't the only reason they lost. Their anemic power play was just as responsible, but it is difficult to pin the blame for that on any one person. It may not even be their fault at all. Maybe the Carolina penalty kill is just that good. Either way, Edmonton may just want to consider declining any penalties against them in Game 5. The failed five on three in the first period was just as much of a momentum swing in the Hurricanes' favor as the Torres penalty.

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Game 3 Recap

After a two day layoff, the Finals resumed tonight in Edmonton, and, as a result, I too, have returned. In spite of the fact that I didn't see the game. Such is the life of a busy actor.

Looking at the box score and news reports of the game, the one thing that strikes me most is the power play numbers. More specifically, I was struck by the Hurricanes 0-5 mark on the night. This is a huge improvement for an Oilers' PK that had allowed Carolina to go 4-15 (26.7%) over the first two games. They also managed to draw the 'Canes into seven penalties. Its going to be very important moving forward for Edmonton to stay on the positive side of the penalties. While their power play has been rather dreadful, every minute they spend in Carolina's end is a minute they don't have to spend worrying about their inexperienced goaltender.

In other news, it really sucks to be Marc-Andre Bergeron right about now. First, you do the right thing and clear the opposing forward out of the crease, inadvertently knocking your team's starting goaltender out of the series. Then, in Game 2, you do the right thing by going to the ice to try to block a shot in a 2-on-1 situation, and your skate deflects the puck into the net. Then you get scratched for game 3. Methinks that this is not a week he will look back on fondly.

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Game 2 Recap

Well, that was disappointing.

I actually thought that Edmonton looked like the better team for most of the first two periods. They seemed to be getting better offensive zone pressure and they were doing a great job of protecting Jussi Markannen. None of the breaks went their way though, and it certainly doesn't help that they now seem to be actively trying to sabotage their goaltenders. Between deflecting pucks into the net of their skates, plowing defenders into their knees and flailing helplessly at botched passes behind the net, the Oilers have been just as much of a problem for Roloson, Conklin and Markannen as the 'Canes. That, and penalties. Penalties are bad, folks, and when you have a rookie goalie making his first ever playoff start in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, you should try to avoid taking too many of them, because eventually, it is going to cost you.

Here's hoping the Oil can fix the issues they've got and come back to Carolina for Game 5 with the series tied.

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Stanley Goes South

Much has been made of the fact that the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals are being played in North Carolina, and it got me thinking. Is it really that bad for the league to have the Stanley Cup travel south of the Mason-Dixon line two seasons in a row? Obviously, it isn't helping television ratings at a time when the NHL is desperately seeking legitimacy. In the long term, however, it could prove to be somewhat beneficial to have teams like the Lightning and the Hurricanes winning Stanley Cups now, at least as long as the NHL plans on keeping those teams in place.

Ten years ago, if you'd have asked the average North Carolinian anything about ice hockey, you'd likely have been met with a blank stare. Now that their team has gone to two Stanley Cup Finals in four years, I'd be willing to bet that the game is at least a little more popular down there than it used to be. The same being true of Tampa, FL. How many kids that might have taken up football or baseball instead decided to try out ice hockey after being enthralled by watching their home team lift the most famous trophy in sports over their heads? Will it have enough of an effect to justify the cost of having teams in seemingly un-hockey-friendly places such as Nashville and Miami while places like Winnepeg and Quebec toil in NHL-less limbo?

I'm sure I don't actually know, but here's hoping that the success of the Southeast division proves a harbinger of good things to come for the NHL.

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More on the Roloson Aftermath

I'm actually quite shocked at the level of despair being exhibited by Oilers fans over the loss of Dwayne Roloson. (As always, check out Off Wing for a compilation of important links).

Please remember, folks, that this is the same Roloson that had already given up four goals in the span of 13 minutes. Also remembr that at the other end of the ice stands Cam Ward, he of the .882 SV% in the regular season. This series is far from over as long as the Oilers come out and play the way they did the first 35 minutes of Game 1.

More reasons to love this month

Since moving to Washington, DC, the Nationals are an obscene 24-6 in the month of June (20-6 last year, 4-0 so far this year) after beating the Braves last night.

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Bergeron Suicide Watch: Day 1

It's official. Dwayne Roloson is out for the rest of the series. Suddenly, Marc-Andre Bergeron is the most hated man in Alberta.

This is huge. Imagine a baseball team making it to the World Series and then losing half of it's starting pitching staff and it's closer in a freak dugout incident. That's how huge this is.

Then again, maybe not. I'll be interested to see how well the Oilers defense rallies to protect Ty Conklin. In Game 1, after Roloson left, the Hurricanes only registered a single shot three shots on goal. One of which could hardly be qualified as a "shot" as much as a "tap in for birdie" (baseball, then golf; how many more analogies can I make?). I think they'll be able to pull off a similar feat in Game 2, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. Really it has been the Edmonton defense that has been carrying them all along anyway. Roloson, in my opinion, hasn't been particularly spectacular. Ultimately, this will only be as big a loss as the Oilers allow it to be.

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Game 1 Recap


I'm not entirely sure of what I just saw. Was it an exciting hockey game? Or just a series of bizarre events that fascinated, but did not truly inspire? I really don't know how to feel right now.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I feel bad for Patrice Marc-Andre Bergeron, who may turn out to be the goat of the year after his hit on a Carolina player knocked Dwayne Roloson out of the game. I also feel bad for Ty Conklin, who, as near as I could tell, only touched the puck once in the entire game.

I also know that I'm definitely excited to see how Edmonton will respond in Game 2. I can't think of a more demoralizing way to lose a game than what they accomplished tonight, and it may be made more difficult if the injury to Roloson turns out to be serious. If Roloson is out, I don't think anyone in Edmonton can possibly feel confident about their chances with Conklin in goal, even though he didn't really get a chance one way or the other to show how he'll respond to the pressure of the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Stanley Cup Finals preview. Or lack thereof.

Steven Ovadia pretty much sums up my opinion of the current Stanley Cup Finals, and the reason why I've been too lazy to write a SC preview. If you want one, go here, here or here.

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Cup Crazy

I think it important to note that while we gear up for tonight's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the AHL championship series is already two games in. Right now, the Norfolk Admirals (NHL affiliate: Chicago Blackhawks) and the Hershey Bears (NHL affiliate: Washington Capitals) are tied at one game apiece in the Calder Cup Finals. Rest assured that I will keep you up to date on this series.

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A-Sor: Home Run King!

Alfonso Soriano hit his 20th and 21st home runs of the season during the Nationals' 8-4 win to complete a three game sweep of the Brewers. That puts him in second place in the majors, just four behind the now injured Albert Pujols (or A-Jols, as I like to call him). Yet somehow, as of May 30, he was fifth in All-Star voting among National League outfielders. Now, I understand that there is more to being a good baseball player than hitting home runs. Soriano's fielding has been somewhat suspect, to be sure. That doesn't justify such a low ranking, though.

Unfortunately, the fan voting is usually pretty much a pathetic sham. I don't particularly care for the concept of letting fan voting decide anything in the All-Star Game (especially in the MLB where the game actually counts for something), and this is a great example of why. Some people make the argument that the All-Star Game is "all about the fans" and therefore the fans should get to decide who they want to see on the field, but this is not what most fans want to see. Only a relatively small minority of baseball fans want to see an AL lineup consisting of nothing but Yankees and Red Sox players. The rest of us just want to see the best players the league has to offer, but we are far too lazy to stuff the ballot boxes to compete with rabid Yankees fans. In Soriano's case, its especially magnified because he plays in a city where, unless you're wearing a burgundy uniform, you're not likely to be paid much attention, and therefore there are hardly any people who are going to go out of their way to push him into the starting lineup.

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That thing over there

With just five days to go, I have to admit I'm kind of excited for the World Cup. At least, more so than I ever have been before. Not that I'll actually be watching any of the games (everything's happening while I'm at work), nor could I name a single player on the US team that wasn't featured in this week's Sports Illustrated. But I will probably at least pay attention to what's going on. I may even go out of my way to check scores every once in a while. Apparently, I'm not alone.

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Hey June

I love June. It is easily my favorite month. Few other months can compare. Here's some of the exciting things to look forward to this June.

What more could you possibly want?

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A-Sor: Home Run King?

Albert Pujols was taken out of the Cardinals' 8-5 loss to the Cubs last night after the second inning after straining his right oblique muscle running down a fly ball. He could be out up to six weeks. Which is pretty awful if you're Bud Selig or MLB. Pujols had provided a delightful (and sorely needed) counterpoint to all the Barry Bonds hoopla, and was finally starting to get the respect that he deserves after having been overshadowed by Bonds' artificially enhanced dominance over the past few years. He was even on pace to Barry's single-season home run record.

This means that now Alfonso Soriano now has the most home runs of any non-injured player in the National League. (I know, I know, Ryan Howard also has 19 and has played two fewer games. I'm slightly unabashed in my homerism. Sue me.) I think if A-Sor finished the year leading the NL in home runs, it would be the worst possible thing that could happen. Anything that makes Jim Bowden look like less of an incompetent dolt is not okay in my book.

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Dogs and cats. Living together...

I thought this was interesting. Not because of what it has to say about anything, but because of the picture. It is a well known fact that I am unhealthily obsessed with Ghostbusters. Yet somehow, I had never noticed the uncanny resemblance between Peter Angelos and Vigo the Carpathian. Probably because I think the sequel is crap. Either way, my life is better for having figured this out.

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Sabres-Hurricanes Recap

This was a fittingly exciting conclusion to what has been an exceptionally well played, evenly matched series. I was all ready to spend several paragraphs complaining about the delay-of-game rule that led to Brind'amour's game-winning goal, but then he added a gorgeous assist on Jason Williams' insurance goal to erase any chance for whining from Sabres fans. It's a shame that the Sabres had to lose this game, because they played exceptionally well. It's got to be hard for the people in Buffalo to look at this series and all the injuries and wonder what might have been. From my stance as a dispassionate observer, I don't think having McKee in the lineup would have made much of a difference, and I don't think there was much more Buffalo could have done, injuries or not. Ryan Miller was absolutely spectacular, but the 'Canes defense, especially down the stretch, was just too good. Hats off to both teams for providing one of the most compelling, exciting playoff series in a long time.

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Sabres-Whalers, Game 7, Live!Blog!: 3rd Period

20:00 3rd Period - The Oilers can book their plane tickets to Raleigh. Congratulations (grudgingly) to the Carolina Hurricanes.

19:09 3rd Period - Jason Williams scores on a beautiful passing play. In basketball, I believe they would refer to that as "the dagger".

18:58 3rd Period - One minute left. This is gonna be good.

17:25 3rd Period - Perhaps the Sabres were doing it on purpose, because having a full two minutes only resulted in their being made to look silly by the Carolina penalty kill.

15:xx 3rd Period - Jason Williams gets called for hooking and Buffalo their third chance to not take a dumb penalty twenty seconds into their power play. This could be the game right here.

11:22 3rd Period - Rod Brind'amour buries the loose puck in front for the power play goal, giving the 'Canes a 3-2 lead. And Buffalo fans everywhere suddenly agree with me.

10:18 3rd Period - As Campbell takes a seat in the box for a delay of game penalty, I'd like to take this chance to voice my dislike of the rule regarding shooting the puck over the glass from the defensive zone. It seems to me like a way for the NHL to artificially increase the number of power plays (and by extension, increase scoring).

7:12 3rd Period - Kevyn Adams breakaway defended beautifully by the Sabres

6:24 3rd Period - The more exciting this gets, the less I'm likely to update.

1:34 3rd Period
- Doug Weight scores on a great feed from Ray Whitney below the net.

0:00 3rd Period
- Please let this game go to overtime.

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Sabres-Whalers, Game 7, Live!Blog!: 2nd Period

2nd Intermission - The dearth of highlight-reel goals in this game certainly can't be good as far as selling the sport to non-hockey fans. Two goals on seemingly harmless shots from the point and one of the back of Cam Wards leg after he failed to squeeze the post.

2nd Intermission - That? Was exciting as hell. Halfway through I found myself getting bored, and then as soon as I write that it's getting boring everything started kicking into gear. Up until the last five minutes, I though Carolina was pretty dominant.

19:96 2nd Period - Jochen Hecht scores from behind the net to give Buffalo their first lead of the game. Ryan Miller's big save earlier in the period is looming large now.

15:50 2nd Period
- Doug Janik scores on the ensuing 4-on-4 to tie the game on a blast from the point that passed by four players, making it nearly impossible for Cam Ward to see it coming. This just got really interesting.

15:24 2nd Period That is, until Daniel Briere gets called for hooking to end the power play.

14:41 2nd Period
- Another great chance for Buffalo and another great save by Cam Ward. The guy is on fire. Bret Hedican picks up the interference penalty to give Buffalo their first full power play.

12:06 2nd Period - No sooner have I said it than Buffalo gets their best scoring chance of the game, and then Carolina quickly goes the other way and scored their second goal of the... wait... Ryan Miller stopped it?! Are you kidding me?! What a save.

10:22 2nd Period - The second period has not been nearly as entertaining as the first. Hence the fewer updates.

4:00-4:04 2nd Period - What a great move by Rod Brind'amour, and what an even better save by Ryan Miller, and then a wild scramble in front of Buffalo's net. Carolina has the advantage so far in the period.

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Sabres-Whalers, Game 7, Live!Blog!: 1st Period

Yeah, I'm live-blogging it. I'm kind of a loser that way.

1st Intermission - Ugh. Listening to Bill Clement wax poetic about the meaning of "Versus" makes me want to hurl something at my television. Which is bad, because I don't have enough money to replace a TV with a shoe lodged in it.

1st Intermission - Great 1st period. In spite of the score, I thought Buffalo actually had the edge. However, one has to wonder how well their defensive corps will hold up given the pace of the game.

20:00 1st Period - Just 12 stoppages in the first period. If I had access to those sort of statistics, I'd be interested to compare the average number of stoppages this year against the last few years before the lockout.

16:28 1st Period - This whole live-blogging thing is made significantly harder by the fast pace of the game. Not that I'm complaining.

13:34 1st Period - Buffalo still with alot of momentum in spite of Carolina's fluky goal. Cam Ward is going to have to be brilliant to keep the 'Canes in this, I think.

12:05 1st Period - Or not. Commodore shoots and it pinballs around in front of Ryan Miller before ending up behind him. 'Canes up 1-0.

11:04 1st Period - Buffalo finally starts getting some quality chances. All of a sudden, they've got some momentum.

10:03 1st Period - I get that it's called the Outdoor Life Network (for now), but an ad for Progressive Boat Insurance? During a hockey game? That seems a little silly.

7:46 1st Period - Much has been made of McKee's ability to block shots. Buffalo's lack of it doesn't seem to be hurting them, as they kill off Carolina's first full power play with relative ease.

5:46 1st Period - What a great start. Great pace to this game, I think the only stoppages have been for penalties. Speaking of which, Jason Pominville just got whistled for bowling over Cam Ward. 'Canes power play.

1:46 1st Period - That would be the best way to kill a penalty. The amazing thing is that Williams kept going through the hook and got an excellent scoring chance.

1:13 1st Period - Hurricanes take the first penalty of the game (Aaron Ward, roughing)

0:00 1st Period - And away they go.

7:29 PM EDT - Doc Emerick makes me think that maybe I don't use the mute button often enough.

7:24 PM EDT - OLN is currently showing a retrospective of the career of Bobby Orr. Say what you will about OLN and its coverage of hockey, there is simply no way anything like this happens if the NHL is still on the Worldwide Leader.

7:19 PM EDT - I just started my first of several loads of laundry for the evening. Juggling laundry and live-blogging should be interesting.

7:14 PM EDT - Jay McKee is out for Buffalo, leaving them with just two of their regular starting defensemen. Seeing as how I'm pulling for the Sabres a little bit, this is distressing news.

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NYC: Bland and Boring compared to Edmonton

Interesting to note that the Edmonton Oilers have packed up and left Alberta to escape all the pressures and distractions that come with being the Western Conference champions with a week and a half layoff in the smallest city in the NHL. So, where did they go to escape all these distractions? Why, New York City, of course.

It's actually a pretty good idea. As the AP article notes, this allows the team to get used to the time change, as well as "the humid air and skate-stifling slush that passes as late-spring ice". (Love that line, by the way.)

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My inevitable decline

I've been doing this blog for nearly two months now and, so far, have managed to avoid a single entry relating to the Redskins. Today, the streak ends with my noting of the fact that Sean Taylor worked out a plea agreement with Miami-Dade prosecutors. He won't see any jail time which means he won't miss any playing time. Which can only be a good thing.

It never ceases to amaze me how when an athlete from another team gets the professional athlete special treatment in the courts I get really upset, but when it's a Redskin I find myself shouting "He's innocent!" from the rooftops. Fickle, I know. Sorry.

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