Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Penguins’

Jay Feaster’s Playoff-Bound Calgary Flames?

October 9th, 2011

As I sat watching the Calgary Flames home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, I kept asking myself what the hell Jay Feaster was talking about. Context: Earlier this summer Feaster was quoted saying his Flames will make the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Several. Times.

“We’ll make the playoffs this year”
Jay Feaster, Calgary Flames General Manager | Source

Yeah, for realz.

Look, no one’s putting a gun to the man’s head. Maybe Feaster is trying to light a fire under the asses of the entire Flames roster. Or maybe he truly believes what he’s saying. Frankly it doesn’t matter. He’s wrong.

» Read more: Jay Feaster’s Playoff-Bound Calgary Flames?

Crosby’s Concussion Luxury Makes You Wonder

August 24th, 2011

Sidney Crosby’s health has been in the news a lot recently. More than he’d like it to be, I’m sure. Some news outlets have him missing the start of the 2011-2012 season (due to his ongoing concussion troubles), while others expect to see him play in the Pittsburgh Penguin’s season opener come early October.

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh PenguinsThe truth is, who the hell knows? I doubt even Crosby himself truly does.

Full disclosure: I’ve never had a concussion. I don’t think.

While it’s refreshing to hear everyone associated with the Nonchalant Headshot League putting Crosby’s health ahead of the needs of the Penguins or the league, it’s kind of a given. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but if we’re being honest, the league can’t afford to screw this up. Not this one. This is the highest profile concussion the league has ever had. (In a morbidly ironic way, this injury was sustained in the highest profile regular season game last year too. Talk about bad timing.) The NHL needs to treat this one properly, but to their credit, the Penguins have done just that, and the league has followed suit.

That’s the thing. We’re talking about Sidney Crosby, the world’s best hockey player. Not some “replaceable” third line grinder. (I say replaceable respectfully, of course. But there will always be other capable players waiting for their chance to prove themselves.)

From a public perception standpoint, the league can’t tread carefully enough. Crosby is the league’s top ambassador and biggest asset. As much as he means to the Penguins, he means more to the game itself. If he needs to take a year to recover, so be it. Give him the full year. Even then there’s no guarantees he’ll be any better than he was last week. Crappy. But at least Crosby’s fortunate enough to have that luxury.

» Read more: Crosby’s Concussion Luxury Makes You Wonder

Some Random Hockey Thoughts

November 20th, 2010

Good evening.

I’m not very good at remembering to post links to my other (less ridiculous) work. So instead I’m going to post several links below with the hope that you read them, as well as the promise that I’ll try to update these links daily on Stayclassy. Anyways…

I’d like to bring your attention to some random hockey thoughts I recently wrote. The thoughts concern Carey Price’s strong play this year and how I think it’s masking how badly the Montreal Candiens screwed up the Jaroslav Halak trade, in addition to whether Steve Stamkos can hit the 70 goal plateau this year (for the record, I put this up before everyone else started the 50-50 club talk… followers!) and the sweet, sweet irony of Marc Savard’s eventual return to Boston (hint: it’s going to affect both Greg and Colin Campbell).

Read the whole thing here.

As well, I wrote about the former 2007 2nd overall pick James van Riemsdyk and why I think he could be the odd man out in Philadelphia sooner than later. There doesn’t seem to be room for him, considering the strong group of forwards the Flyers have (in addition to the emergence of Claude Giroux). If (and that’s a big if) the Flyers traded JVR, I believe they could get some salary cap relief, in addition to a mid-late 1st round draft pick.

Read “James van Riems-Trade” here.

Lastly, when you think of teams who sign their core players to long-term contracts, you think of the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Obviously the Penguins and Blackhawks are recent Stanley Cup Champions, while the Flyers came pretty close too. And then you have the Vancouver Canucks who have locked up their core players, minus the same kind of results as the teams I mentioned. Interesting. And then you see “buzz teams” like the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings doing the same thing, with even less results than the Canucks. NHL General Managers are in a tough place these days.

Read “Long-Term Faith” here.

And one final note today… RIP Pat Burns. Burns was a terrific coach who made such a huge impact wherever he went. The hockey world lost an amazing ambassador yesterday.

Stay classy, Pat Burns.

Things NHL.com stats didn’t tell me

November 15th, 2010

Sometimes when I get bored I look up stats of NHL stars or young up-and-comers to see how they progressed through their minor league careers and into the NHL. In some cases NHL.com has stats going as far back as Bantam and Midget for some players. For example, take a look at Taylor Hall’s minor hockey stats:

Taylor Hall's minor league stats. How hilarious is that top year in Kingston? 85 points in 29 games? Bahaha!

I find it amusing to see how dominant players like this were in very good AA and AAA leagues, prior to hitting Juniors. And that’s when it hit me. Looking at stats like this, it doesn’t give you the full picture of a player. It doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s almost like there’s a need for advanced information… or better yet, advanced stats!!! (Dun-dun-dunnnn).

And thus, here’s some examples of things NHL.com stats didn’t tell me:

  • Nazem Kadri – As you would expect, Kadri’s stats are impressive. While it’s hard to be critical of a guy who regularly scores more points than games played, I’m not seeing any numerical figures for how many times Kadri will say he believes he’s ready for the NHL after no visible change in attitude, demeanor or play.
  • Taylor Hall – Looking at Hall’s stats (see the image above), you’ll see this kid is a star. He’s been a star at every level he’s ever played at. What the stats don’t say is how good of an impersonator he is. Taylor’s stats this season show a damn good Shawn Horcoff impression, but I’m ready to see Hall play himself.
  • Garth Snow – Everything about Snow’s stats reveal he’s an independent thinker who comes to conclusions and decisions on his own. However, the stats don’t say that the Islanders are being run any differently with him “managing the club” then before he was part of the organization…
  • Drew Doughty – I think Doughty’s stats are great, but to be honest, I can’t be certain. Every time I try to view his stats, this annoying pop up comes on my screen and says “You are limited to 2 views of this player per year because of local blackout restrictions.”
  • Brett Sutter – The weirdest thing happened when I looked at Brett Sutter’s stats. I actually thought GP stood for “glasses purchased,” A for “assaultings,” P for “pints” and PIM for “punching incidents (while) messed up.”
  • Marc Savard – According to his stats, Marc Savard has been a point-per-game player at virtually every level he’s ever played at. Unfortunately, there appears to be no evidence that he was ever “not a pussy.” **
    ** Quote from the NHL’s Wheel of Justice guy.
  • Andrei Markov – OK. I looked pretty hard in Markov’s stats for any kind of injury warnings, but I didn’t find anything beyond “skates very well for a guy who’s right knee is made of glass and silly putty.”
  • Gregory Campbell – While stats tell me Campbell is a secondary/checking scorer who takes the odd penalty here and there, there was no count on how many times his father complained and sent nasty emails about minor stick infractions on Greg’s behalf.

And there you have it! Perhaps there is a need for advanced stats in hockey. Hmmmm. Even after I just finished saying otherwise. Damn me!

Stay classy, advanced hockey stats.

P.S – To read a serious blog I wrote earlier today (I’m on a tear, I know), check out “Long-Term Faith” on The Score. It’s an article about locking up core players far earlier than teams want to and the differences between teams like the Blackhawks and Penguins, and the Vancouver Canucks. It’s probably the best thing you’ll read today. Well, maybe. Thanks!

How to tell if your favourite team is struggling

October 26th, 2010

So maybe your favourite hockey team is having a hard time so far this season. It’s important not to jump to conclusions or overreact too early in the young 2010-11 season. That’s why I’ve posted this article today and not last week.

But the thing is, unless you are a Senators fan, it’s not always easy to tell if your team is struggling. In fact, it is possible not to know or recognize the signs. To help confused fans, here are several ways to tell if your favourite hockey team is struggling:

  • After selling out 409 consecutive hockey games, the arena’s promotions team comes up with a 3D effect to make fans feel like players are “popping out from benches and grabbing them.”
    Note: this promotion comes with a free seat upgrade to front row too.
  • The General Manager is quoted stating the Head Coach’s job is safe, but was later heard muttering “If only I could find a way to get the Coach’s sweet corner office view.”
  • Clarke MacArthur jerseys enjoy a 200% sales spike in October, but 205% of those jerseys would later be returned in November.
  • The arena marketing department has a new intermission game called “Find an offensive play in Jacques Martin’s hockey system and win $1 Million, plus a coaching job with the Canadiens.”
  • The back-up goalie continues to struggle forcing teams like the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins to overplay number one goalies Robin Lehner and Brent Johnson, respectively.
  • Referee’s won’t call goaltender inference penalties on opposing teams because Scott Clemmensen is not an NHL goalie and therefore not eligible. (Courtesy of @warwalker on Twitter)
  • The new team motto resembles something like “The uglier twin is the captain, but the better looking one is scoring more.”
  • The General Manager was finally able to find more than 15 skaters actually willing to play for the New Jersey Devils, but the Coach still hasn’t figured out how to convince the team’s best player to dress every night.
  • The General Manager claims he’s recently received two solid trade offers, despite only having five more wins than he had in June – a time when he couldn’t give away his top player.
  • Ticket sales continue to drop despite filming live Grey’s Anatomy scenes on the ice with paramedics and fainting goalie plot lines.

Stay classy, struggling NHL teams.

Weekend drinking pointers + links

October 11th, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadian readers this weekend!

Mike Ribeiro: Classy weekend drinker.

Speaking of thanks, thank God hockey is back! It was great to see hockey on TV on Saturday night… unless you are a Senators fan. In which case, the weekend probably required copious amounts of alcohol after watching two bad losses (Yeah, I’m grouping Friday and Saturday together).

Oh, and speaking of copious amounts of alcohol, Mike Ribeiro got very loaded Saturday night… which forced me to write the Dallas Stars forward this gem of a toast called “Weekend drinking pointers.” By gem I mean “crap.”

In other hockey news, here’s some hockey articles I wanted to share with y’all. Yes, I just said y’all. Deal with it.

Self promotion first: A fun piece titled “Hockey is back, finally” written by yours truly to celebrate hockey’s return. Also, here’s my take on how to improve Kraft Hockeyville (sorry, this link is a few weeks late now).

The cap-strapped New Jersey Devils dressed nine forwards earlier this afternoon for their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Devils continue to show why they are a first class organization.

Chris Botta, a terrific Islanders writer, explains why John Tavares’ “mild” injury (read: concussion) needs to be treated far more seriously. A great read and sound logic.

Thankfully, Atlanta Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec is OK following a Friday night mid-game collapse. According to NHL.com, Pavelec fainted and suffered a concussion after hitting his head on the fall. Crazy.

The Toronto Star reports Tomas Kaberle actually wants to stay and resign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then again, this is the same fine organization that employs Damian Cox, so…. it could be one of those “HockeyBuzz” kind of stories.

If you haven’t seen TSN’s “Who Does Jordan Eberle Think He Is,” you need to now. Click here to laugh!

Stay classy, Thanksgiving.

My job interview with the NHLPA

August 11th, 2010

Disclaimer: Everything below is 100% true. I’ve never lied about anything on this site before and it wouldn’t make sense to start now. Ultimately you’ll just have to believe this story. It’s OK if you don’t but you should know I’m not getting anything out of telling the world I didn’t get a job.

About three months ago a recruiter contacted me about “a great marketing job.” Having just started another job, the thought of more meetings and interviews didn’t excite me. I blew off the recruiter several times without any hesitation. She kept following up and eventually told me her client was the NHLPA. Now she had my attention. Obviously I was willing to talk about meetings and interviews for a position within the NHLPA.

Apparently the recruiter had already made herself familiar with Stayclassy.net. It turns out a reader of this site knows her well, knew about the opportunity and recommended she speak with me. I’m totally serious too. During initial conversations with the recruiter, I wasn’t aware she’d seen and read the site.

The first official phone interview with the recruiter didn’t get off to a great start. For whatever reason, we just weren’t on the same page. About 20 minutes into the call, out of nowhere, she asked me about Stayclassy.net. I started to laugh and thought “Oh God, this opportunity is going to end quicker than an Atlanta Thrashers playoff series.” That was when I decided to pull a ‘George Costanza’ and literally do the exact opposite of everything I’d normally do. I figured I had nothing to lose and it would make for a funny story. (Note: Don’t mistake my attitude as reckless or care free. I wanted the job but I knew competition would be strong and probably have more experience than me. It was my intention to stand out by being different. I wanted to push the envelope since I already had a good job).

Several weeks later I found myself at the NHLPA’s headquarters in downtown Toronto interviewing with the Hiring Manager. The meeting was short but went well… and Stayclassy.net came up several times. (Note: It’s not that I’m embarrassed by the site – I’m not – It’s that the people interviewing me represent the players I regularly poke fun of. Awkward…). I kept thinking this couldn’t help my chances. Stayclassy’s content wasn’t discussed as much as my views on social media and online marketing. I was later told they liked me and wanted to introduce me to other NHLPA staff.

A few weeks later I was back at the PA’s office (by the way, they call themselves ‘The PA’). This time I was meeting with three new people, in addition to the Hiring Manager from the last interview. I was courted from one Director’s office to another. The first interview started with a simple question: “Kevin, what do you think of our website?” Using the Costanza methodology, I spent the next five minutes ripping it to pieces in sheer disgust. My attitude was well received (somehow). The Director told me he liked my critical perspective. Without flinching I cut him off saying “You didn’t ask me to come in and tell you what a great job you’ve done.” Much to my dismay, he was impressed. I couldn’t believe my luck. Even I thought my tone was a little too much. Perhaps the Costanza theory has merit after all…

For every hockey fan out there reading this, here’s a question for you: How much do you know about J.S. Giguere, Wade Belak, Mike Sillinger and Steve Sullivan off the ice? I was asked this very question. The interviewer wanted me to show I follow more than just on-ice stories. I did well because my life revolves around hockey and nothing else. I was then asked to discuss several trades that happened within the last few weeks. I talked about why I felt trading Jaroslav Halak before signing Carry Price was weird. He agreed. We then talked about how bizarre it must be to get traded (mostly because of Mike Sillinger and how often he was traded in his career).

Moving to the next interview, I saw an insane amount of Alex Ovechkin life-size cutouts, framed photos, books, hockey bags etc… around the office. In a lame attempt to stir up a laugh and break the ice, I said to one of the Directors “Is Ovechkin part of the interview process too?”

Dead silence. Not exactly a hit joke. Two of the Directors responded with a firm “NO.” I made a mental note not to attempt any more jokes while interviewing with the PA.

The next interview was a 2 on 1 and I won’t lie, it didn’t go well. Imagine Bryan McCabe fending off two skilled forwards – that basically describes my performance. It was one of those interviews that felt like I was on trial rather than a candidate of interest. I limped out of this interview assuming the dream was over. I concluded the morning by doing another interview with the Hiring Manager. He asked me what was going through my head at that exact moment. I told him I was thinking ahead to my rec hockey game later that evening and how I wanted to continue our winning streak.

About a week later I got feedback from the recruiter.

You’ve probably noticed this process took a long time with several weeks between interviews and news updates. This process was far longer than any job interview I’ve ever been involved with before. I’m not really sure why, although the summer is a very busy time for the PA. The playoffs just ended, unrestricted free agency had begun, Lou Lamiorello signed a ‘reasonable’ 17-year contract and the PA’s search for an Executive Director (ie Donald Fehr) was heating up (according to TSN).

That was a month or so ago. A few weeks passed and I was told I’d be moving forward to the final stage of interviews. This round of interviews would be with the Hiring Manager and the most senior person currently within the PA. For the sake of this story, he’ll be known as Head Dude. I was asked to submit a strategic report of what I would do in the role, how I would tackle various challenges and meet important deliverables. The report was due on Thursday July 22nd.

The next day, Friday July 23rd, I was scheduled to present my report to Head Dude. This was one of the hottest days of the summer. It was face-melting hot. I was a sweaty mess as I made my way into the PA’s office. Head Dude greeted me with great enthusiasm saying “Kevin, great to meet you. This way please” while guiding me to his office. He followed with “It’s a hot one outside today, eh?” With zero hesitation I responded with “Sure is hot, Head Dude. I’m sweating more than Cam Fowler on draft day.” There was a brief pause of silence, which felt like an eternity. Immediately I regretted making that joke. Truth is, it was completely unplanned. It came out of nowhere. Trembling with fear and nervousness I turned my head towards Head Dude. I was ready to be thrown out of their office. But much to my surprise – a recurring theme throughout this entire story – he erupted in laughter. I was so relieved.

We started to review my strategy document that he’d only read part of (which is fair since I submitted the 12-page report the evening before). Part of my plan was to promote NHL events in non-traditional ways to encourage fan engagement and greater connections between fans and players (courtesy of the NHLPA). I talked about how an opportunity was missed at the 2010 Winter Classic by not having Zdeno Chara show fans how to shoot pucks over the “Green Monster” (Fenway Park’s green homerun wall). I explained how the PA could use sponsors, players and fans to shoot pucks through Heinz Field field-goals for the 2011 Winter Classic. Head Dude busted into laughter, again. (Note: I’m not actually this funny. In fact I was a bit weirded out that someone with a great deal of power and authority was actually laughing at or with me. On second thought, it was probably at me). Head Dude’s laughter confused me because I was dead serious. I continued to explain my idea. He was still laughing but said “Kevin, you are crazy. This is interesting and ‘out of the box’, but it’s crazy.”

One thing you should understand about the PA. They were honest about a number of initiatives they had on the go. They were already working on a few of the ideas I approached them with and disclosed additional information for me to better position my talking points. When I spoke about the Winter Classic idea, they laughed and said it was creative. I left this interview as the ‘crazy marketer’ with some different ideas. I figured if the NHLPA wanted to do something different (or very different), I’d be their guy. Remember this whole approach was the only way I felt I could compete with candidates who probably had more experience than me.

On Tuesday July 27th I got an email from a close friend saying “Dude did you see [link included within the message]?” Not knowing what he was talking about, I opened the link. It was a video of the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting media and members of the Washington Capitals to promote the 2011 Winter Classic game (the video was shot earlier that day) at Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers stadium where the Winter Classic was set to be played). And yes, they were shooting pucks through the stadium’s field-goal poles. My eyes fell out of their sockets. I could not believe what I was seeing. I immediately wondered if the PA was involved with this promotion. I was furious. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. “Did someone use my idea? Do I look less original?” I was in full panic-desperation mode – like Dean Lombardi was after missing out on Kovalchuk and signing Alex Ponikarovsky. (Note: Earlier this week I found out the PA was not involved with this event).

To wrap this long story up, things ended here. I had a series of great interviews with the NHLPA but they elected to go with the other, more experienced candidate. I have no problem with this. I wish the PA all the best. To their credit, the PA and Hiring Manager called me and gave me a full review of their thoughts on me and my interviews. It was a great phone call and I was proud to hear how highly they thought of me. I will admit I asked Hiring Manager half-way through the call “Wait. Are you sure you are talking about the right candidate?”

I feel fortunate to have gone through this process on my own terms. I wouldn’t change a single thing I did or said throughout the interviews… even the bad jokes! One thing I’d like to make abundantly clear: I’m not accusing the PA or anyone else using/stealing my idea. I believe this was 100% coincidence and you should too. I’m chalking it up to great minds thinking alike…

I’d like to thank the PA for giving me an opportunity to participate in these interviews. I was given a great opportunity from a world class group of professionals. Even the Directors that gave me a hard time weren’t that bad. They take their jobs seriously and I can respect that.

The point of this story is to give an honest, inside look into the experience I just went through. It’s not meant to insult or disrespect the PA or its staff – this was an awesome experience. I’m not trying to blow hot air their way either. In fact I didn’t even ask them if writing this article was OK. It probably isn’t and it’s likely I’m burning bridges by publishing this story. But as a passionate fan of hockey and anything that surrounds the game, I feel this is a story I’d like to read about.

The things I do for you, Stayclassy readers… Thanks for reading this really long story.

Stay classy, NHLPA.

Why drinking beer at a hockey game is good for you

August 9th, 2010

The last few times I managed to get myself to an NHL hockey game, it was one of these mad dash drive-home-from-work-grab-tickets-rush-to-the-rink affairs. No big deal, I thought. I’ll just grab some food at the arena.

Not so fast.

A comprehensive study released by ESPN found some pretty bizarre (read: scary) food violations that would make anyone think twice when ordering anything that doesn’t come pre-packaged in several sports arenas. Some NHL highlights (or lowlights):

Jobing.com Arena – Phoenix Coyotes
“Inspectors reports mention a server scooping ice with his bare hands instead of using scoops.”
When asked asked why he didn’t use the scoops provided by Arena and team owners, the server replied “the new scoops Ice Edge gave us have way too many holes in them.”

Joe Louis Arena – Detroit Red Wings
“Inspectors noted cockroaches below a soda dispenser.”
Must be a neat promotion the Red Wings are doing to welcome Chris Chelios back to Detroit. Just like cockroaches, you can’t kill Chelios either!

RBC Center – Carolina Hurricanes
“Inspectors saw employees handle raw, breaded chicken and then handling cooked food without changing gloves or washing hands. The employees placed cooked chicken back in the same container used to hold raw chicken.”
The Hurricanes have finally found an area star Jiri Tlusty can help the organization.

Mellon Arena – Pittsburgh Penguins
“Inspectors found a live cockroach on top of a soda dispenser holster behind the bar.”
Don’t worry, the Penguins new Consol Energy Center houses state-of-the-art, bigger and better everything. Of course that will include nicer digs for all walks of life including cockroaches and Matt Cooke.

Wachovia Center – Philadelphia Flyers
“Inspectors found evidence of mouse and fruit fly infestations at one bar location.”
Upon further investigation, it was determined the fruit flies weren’t a result of poor sanitation or cleaning. The mouse and fruit flies came directly from Scott Hartnell’s hair.

BankAtlantic Center – Florida Panthers
“Inspectors issued several violations for soiled ice bins and coolers.”
Wait. Where?

Rexall Center – Edmonton Oilers
“At one location, workers used contaminated cleaning items.”
I bet Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini deliberated for months on what to do to before reaching a decision that any one of us “non-hockey people” would make in about two minutes.

American Airlines Arena – Dallas Stars
“Inspectors find expired milk, brown lettuce and employees caught drinking or eating while they were working in the stand accounted for some of the stadium’s critical violations.”
How long has this been happening for? Once the milk, lettuce or bad employees have been with the Stars for 20 years, they’ll be sure to let them go promptly.

Phillips Arena – Atlanta Thrashers
“At a couple of locations, inspectors found food not being protected from contamination.”
I wonder if this was happening in Chicago last season?

I’m still trying to picture the customer’s reaction when he saw the guy scooping the ice cream. Will that be one scoop or two?

Stay classy, hungry hockey fans.

Found! Actual transcript between Jason Spezza and Bryan Murray

June 6th, 2010

You are in luck. A third Stayclassy post in three days. I guess I am feeling creative or something… (that something might be Justin from the Hockeycardshow suggesting I do this, but whatever…).

Lately there have been some heavy rumors suggesting Jason Spezza might ask to be traded prior to his No Trade Clause kicking on July 1st. It’s been reported by several (read: not credible) sports outlets that this is a result of Senators fans booing Spezza during their 1st Round Playoff exit at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both Bryan Murray and Jason Spezza have been fairly quiet on the matter (probably a good idea after last summer’s Heatley debachle). Murray has even indicated he hopes to sit down with Spezza prior to the NHL Entry draft to follow up on the previous conversation the two shared days after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs (read: weird post-season tournament where all the good teams lost early and screwed up hockey pools around the world).

What many don’t know is this follow up interview has already taken place! Luckily for you I have most of the interview transcribed. Here it is:

Bryan Murray: Thanksh for sitting down with me Jashon. There’sh a few things I’d like to follow up with…

Jason Spezza: Before getting into what I said a few months ago I have to ask. Why did you tell the media about my frustration with being booed? That was kind of a D-Bag move, man.

BM: Look I’m shaawwry about that. That was actually Eugene Melnyk’s fault. He told me to do that.

JS: Since when does he give you advice on running a pro hockey team?

BM: Well Jashon I won’t lie to you. He’s gotten very good at NHL10 on PlayStation. He told me he uses this tactic a lot when trying to make trades in franchise mode. His gamer score is pretty aweshome. I believe him.

JS: Is that the game with me on the cover?

BM: No. You are talking about NHL2k8. Totally different game.

JS: I’m starting to feel this organization doesn’t love me like I want to be loved! I helped design that game and my team owner is off playing another hockey game??? I even included my trademark behind-the-back pass moves!

BM: Yeah I know… that’sh actually a complaint of many players. They say it causes too many nearly-inshtant goals against. Anyways… We really want you to stay an Ottawa Senator. You are a leader of this team and frankly my career needs you to stay here and produce like everyone thinksh you can.

JS: You mean you can’t afford to trade another star player for “top 6 forwards” that are actually role players on 3rd/4th lines?

BM: Exshactly. It might discredit all future interviews I do when I talk about the team needing one final top 6 forward and top 4 defencemen to round out the solid group I have in place.

JS: * Giggles lots * Dude! I totally don’t believe you anymore when you say that — * Giggling increases *

* More giggling transpires… *

* Still going… *

BM: Jashon, you were saying?

* Still giggling… It’s like this giggling is being looped! *

BM: Schtop your damn giggling and get to the point!

JS: Right. OK. We keep getting sidetracked here. None of this conversation changes the fact that I don’t like being booed in my own building. I’m frustrated that the only thing this city shows emotion for is my ‘unlucky turnovers’ and tax season. I need to know what we’re prepared to do to stop the boo’s. It’s the only way I’ll stay in Ottawa.

BM: I have shome ideashs. I’ll call the City of Ottawa and have them indefinitely delay the Queensway expansion to tie up traffic getting to each home game. That way less people will be in the arena for game time. Less people equals less boo’s. It’s physhicshx.

JS: Nice. What else d’ya got?

BM: We could have the Shparta Cat blast hot dogs into the crowd every time you make a bad passh. Fans will never be able to boo because their mouths will be forever loaded with fake meat and bad shoe leather hot dogs! And we could make excuses for you like “Michalek needs another knee surgery”. We can probably get away with that excuse 2-3 times per season.

JS: *Nods in approval*

BM: We could also claim the dressing room lacks character players. I need to resign Nick Foligno soon. I don’t really know what the hell kind of offer to give him so we could make him the scape goat. That helps both of us.

JS: Nice! His nose freaks me out too. Oh! Can we get Mike Comrie back?

BM: Is he still playing hockey? I could probably offer our first round pick for next season. I’d have to check with Eugene but I’m pretty sure he’ll be cool with it. He’s probably already done this on NHL10 anyways. Anything else Jashon?

JS: One last thing. This is kind of random. When TSN and CBC show General Managers on TV in their Suites writing things down, what are you writing and doing?

BM: Well most guys do different schtuff. Personally I like crossword puzzles. And I know Burkie likes Sh… Shudsh… Shudokushs. That’s like the hardestsh word to say!! Anyways between me and you he really sucksh at them. He never uses the number 2… no clue why.

JS: Nice! OK. I have to go stop off at the bank and meet McGrattan and Emery for lunch. Apparently they need me to spot them a bunch of cash for something “fun”. Not sure what that means. See you in a few weeks.

I’m sure many fans of the Senators and Spezza will get mad and defensive over this “transcript”. If you are angered please lighten up. In all seriousness trading Jason Spezza would be the worst thing this organization could do for two reasons:

  1. There is no way the Senators can replace a #1 center like Spezza (via free agency or from within their organization).
  2. The Senators cannot afford the negative press that would come from losing another star player for nothing (they wouldn’t get anywhere near the value in return) in consecutive years. Season ticket sales would take an even bigger nose dive and the organization’s reputation would hurt the team for years to come.

Stay classy, Jason Schpezzsha.

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Burgundy’s 2nd round NHL playoff predictions

April 29th, 2010

Stayclassy.net's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

With no real break between rounds, tonight marks the beginning of the Stanley Cup Conference Semi-Finals! The 1st round was a blast and featured the elimination of the top 3 seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. The way the Washington Capitals were eliminated was surprising to many, while the defeats of the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils was predicted by a number of people. The Western Conference saw some interesting developments – the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings gave the Red Wings and Canucks a few scares but ultimately couldn’t hold on. And oh yeah, the San Jose Sharks are through to the next round, no thanks to Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

For those of you wondering, I went 5 for 8 in my 1st round predictions. Here are my 2nd round predictions:

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Montreal Canadiens (8)
The Montreal Canadiens shocked the entire hockey world with their amazing series come-back against the Washington Capitals. I don’t care what the truest of Habs fans say: no one saw them coming back after going down 3-1. Having said that, and as well as Jaroslav Halak has played, there’s no way the Pittsburgh Penguins will fall victim to the Canadiens the way the Capitals did. The Penguins are proven winners and have Russian stars that actually know how to show up in the post-season. Sidney Crosby is on another level in this year’s Playoffs and I don’t think the Hal Gill-Josh Gorges tandem will be able to contain him, despite their tremendous play so far. Pittsburgh will figure out within minutes of the first game how to not shoot directly at the two or three Habs defencemen who are trying to block shots…
Verdict: Pittsburgh in 6 games.

Boston Bruins (6) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)
I’m not sure how many of us figured we’d see the Boston Bruins playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2nd round of the Playoffs, but this should be an interesting series. I really liked how Tuukka Rask played in the 1st round and I felt like the Bruins got stronger as their series with Buffalo went on. Milan Lucic seemed to wake up towards the end of the series and key players like Michael Ryder, Miroslav Satan and Mark Recchi stepped up in the big moments of each game. The highly anticipated return of Marc Savard should provide the Bruins with a nice emotional boost and perhaps a bit of additional scoring. Looking at the Flyers, although they are rested, they will be without the services of three very valuable players: Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. I’m not convinced Brian Boucher is for real, nor do I believe he can outplay Rask. It’s a shame we can’t see each game of this series played at Fenway Park… or can we? No, nevermind. We can’t.
Verdict: Boston in 6 games.

San Jose Sharks (1) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)
The San Jose Sharks are now at the critical point of their season. Let’s be honest: the 1st round was a formality. While the Colorado Avalanche gave them a quick scare, it was a foregone conclusion the Sharks would/should easily win that round. For the most part, the Avalanche were badly outplayed. Evgeni Nabokov played very well too – something we can’t say has always been the case in the post-season for the Sharks. Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski really elevated their play in the 1st round, and yet again, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau continue to fight the Playoff pressure. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a scare of their own from the Phoenix Coyotes. Detroit’s leaders got stronger as the series wore on and stepped it up when it mattered most. I really liked Jimmy Howard’s play and attitude (for the most part) against the Coyotes too. My gut feeling lies with the experience of the Wings and I’m still not sold San Jose are the real deal. Still.
Verdict: Detroit in 6 games.

Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Vancouver Canucks (3)
This is easily the best series of the 2nd round. A rematch from last year’s Conference Semi-Finals, with a slight reversal. Last year, I’d say the Chicago Blackhawks were the stronger team. This year, I’d have to say the Vancouver Canucks are the stronger team. I believe the Canucks may have the most complete forward roster of any team in the Playoffs. All the lines are firing well and appear to be healthy. While the Blackhawks offense is more lethal and battle-tested than the young Los Angeles Kings, I still give the advantage to the Canucks. Both team’s have some injuries on defence, but I think this is a series that will see Roberto Luongo will steal a game or two for Vancouver. And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I’m looking forward to Byfuglien & Luongo’s battle royale rematch. I can’t wait for this series to start!
Verdict: Vancouver in 7 games.

There you have it. These are my 2nd round predictions. What are your predictions?

Stay classy, NHL Conference Semi-Finals.

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