CHEAP Discount Utah Jazz Upper Preseason VS OKC Energy Solutions Arena 10/12/2012

12 Oct
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As it turns out, Krys Barch’s lockout tweets are surprisingly musical (VIDEO)

12 Oct

Late last month, Krys Barch sat down in front of a fire, 8 OV deep, cracked open a bottle of Porte, and took to Twitter for an epic rant about the lockout. It was a divisive moment, heralded as a rallying cry for some and criticized as a whiny and off-putting diatribe by others.

But one thing nobody called it: inherently musical. And, as it turns out, it sort of was. Youtube channel The NOC gave a section of Barch's rant the "Music twideo" treatment, setting his musings to a sweet acoustic tune sung by New York based singer Michelle Ferreira. The results? Surprisingly moving.

Granted, it helps to have Ferreira singing the crap out of Barch's words, but seriously, until the she hits the phrase "work stoppage", you'd think these lyrics were written by Aimee Mann or something.

If the whole hockey thing doesn't work out, Barch might want to consider a future in songwriting. He's got the chops.

Frankly, if this lockout drags on into next year, I hope Barch and Ferreira cut an album together. They could be the next She and Him, or The Swell Season, or even Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

Tags: Barch, Krys Barch, ,
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Gretzky follows his heart; Lombardi fights hangover; David Booth still killing things (Puck Headlines)

12 Oct

• David Booth kills Falcor the Luckdragon. And ManBearPig. And Alf. And the Lorax. [Pass it to Bulis]

• Amidst the doom and gloom, Wayne Gretzky still believes the season will begin by January. He believes it in his heart. "Yeah, in my heart, I do. I think first of all you have two smart people in the commissioner and the commissioner's office leading the ownership group and of course Donald Fehr leading the NHLPA. I really believe in my heart that in '04, changing the landscape, going to a salary cap was a real big issue and a real big fight. I think this one is more of a numbers issue. I see them getting something resolved here. I think both sides want to come to a resolution. I think right now both sides are doing the best negotiating they can do. So optimistically I still believe that everyone will be back playing hockey and I sure hope so. It's a great game. It gets better every year and we have great players and great athletes and good people in our game. I know the great fans across North America right now are dearly missing the sport of hockey." [Sports Radio Interviews]

• Dean Lombardi is concerned about the Stanley Cup hangover. "I talked to a number of teams, whether it was the 49ers, Yankees, Patriots, teams that were dynasties, and wanted to know what they did after the first year they won," Lombardi told this week. "I found so many different schools of thought." [ESPN]

• Speaking of the Kings, since their Stanley Cup banner won't be hanging from the rafters any time soon, here are some alternative uses it. Why, Dustin Penner could use it as a hammock! [The Royal Half]

• CTV has had to rename lockout "Big Bang Night in Canada" after CBC claims that it would "confuse" viewers. I'll say. There's nothing more embarrassing than thinking you're in for an evening of hardcore erotica on basic cable only to get two hours of Jim Parsons bein' quirky instead. [Financial Post]

• The Buffalo Sabres will be unveiling a French Connection statue tonight in Alumni Plaza. [WGRZ]

• Manny Malhotra takes a veiled shot at the players that have basically taken the "call me when the lockout's over" approach: "If you just want to bury your head and just go to the rink and play hockey and do nothing else, you're missing a world of the behind the scenes of what really goes into a CBA, what goes into the makeup of the league, how the league operates," he said. "It's an incredible learning experience." [Sportsnet]

• Kyle Quincey has signed with the Denver Cutththroats of the Central Hockey League. [Denver Post]

• Here's what Quebec's hockey arena will look like. Hold up, said the Phoenix Coyotes, you're allowed to populate it with CGI humans? Oh man, this changes everything.

• Deryk Engelland signs in Norway. [PHT]

• Brilliantly captioned gif: "Looks like Phil Kessel gained a bit of weight during the lockout." [Reddit Hockey]

• Ellen Etchingham offers up a passionate defence of fan protests during the lockout. [Backhand Shelf]

• On sponsors are advertisers looking for contingency plans in the event of the lockout. Friends: If the advertising budget is going to waste, I am willing to sport your brands for money. [The Globe & Mail]

• Mind-blowing: keeping hockey equipment clean is the key to keeping it from smelling. In other news, you will have less tartar buildup if you brush your teeth. [Vancouver Sun]

• Cute story here about a sixth-grade hockey player born without his right hand meeting a college goaltender born without his left. [Kansas City Star]

• What makes Connor McDavid so exceptional? It's skill, isn't it? Is it skill? [The Hockey Writers]

• And finally, the legendary Ian Walker stalks the streets of Vancouver in search of hockey fans passionate about the cancelled season. Can you believe that nun doesn't care? Some hockey fan she is.

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Marek vs. Wyshynski Radio: Solo Marek; former NHLer Terry Ryan and author Todd Denault

12 Oct

It's a Friday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

Special Guest Stars: Marek flies solo! We're joined by the legendary Terry Ryan. The former NHLer and great storyteller will talk about inventing the "hot stick" celebration that Ovechkin aped years later. Also, hockey author Todd Denault chats up his newest (and most excellent) book "A Season in Time" about the '92-'93 NHL season, one that many say was the last 'pure hockey' season the NHL ever had.

Question of the Day: What was your favorite hockey season and why?

Email your answers to or tweet them with the hashtag #MvsW to @jeffmarek.

Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above! Click here to download podcasts from the show each day Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Feedburner.

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Marek vs. Wyshynski Radio: Solo Marek; former NHLer Terry Ryan and author Todd Denault

12 Oct

It's a Friday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:

Special Guest Stars: Marek flies solo! We're joined by the legendary Terry Ryan. The former NHLer and great storyteller will talk about inventing the "hot stick" celebration that Ovechkin aped years later. Also, hockey author Todd Denault chats up his newest (and most excellent) book "A Season in Time" about the '92-'93 NHL season, one that many say was the last 'pure hockey' season the NHL ever had.

Question of the Day: What was your favorite hockey season and why?

Email your answers to or tweet them with the hashtag #MvsW to @jeffmarek.

Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above! Click here to download podcasts from the show each day Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Feedburner.

Tags: , , Hockey season, Marek, , NHLer, , Solo Marek, , stick, Todd Denault
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Trending Topics: Where all others have failed, YOUR NHL fan protest will definitely work

12 Oct

Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey, occasionally according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

We live in an age of protest for the first time in a while. The 1960s saw millions of people take to the streets to give voice to their beliefs, and that trend is now back.

Every year, people protest against things like unfair economic conditions around the world and the current U.S. banking system; and that kind of dissent has even come, to a far smaller degree, to the NHL.

We've seen rallies in favor of not-trading Jason Spezza, and we've seen them in opposition to the continued reign of Scott Howson, and against the management of the Maple Leafs. Now, we're starting to see demonstrations against the lockout; the recent one outside the NHL Store in New York is a prime example, as is this Saturday's "Give Us Our Game Back" planned event in Toronto.

Hockey protests, it seems, aren't exactly partisan. Canadians, both Sens and Leafs fans, have done them. American fans have done them. And they've all accomplished the same thing.

Jack squat.

Thus, it's logical to assume, if not wholly set your watch to, this rally attracting a few dozen fans at the absolute maximum, and absolutely nothing at all happening whatsoever. They'll mill around at whichever out-of-the-way street corner they choose to gather, maybe shout a few things. Some guy who fancies himself the Leader of this particular ineffectual movement might stand on a milk carton and shout some words with no one could disagree — "The lockout sucks! Whaddaya say, gang?" — to a smattering of applause.

Then… nothing.

The thing with these protests is that you everyone knows they're not going to do anything to sway the opinions of either the NHL or the PA.

Bill Daly is not bursting into Gary Bettman's office saying, "Gary, 12 people have clicked 'Attending' on this protest Facebook invite. We better start the season post haste!"

Likewise, the Fehr brothers aren't monitoring Twitter to see if anyone has a strong enough opinion to make them take a 30-percent salary rollback. Instead of glumly gathering outside the NHL Store in your Ranger jersey, you could have gone for a nice walk, read a book, or talked to a loved one. Think about it.

The entire thing is stupid. The idea of it. The execution of it. The sad attempts to get coverage for it. If you go to one of these events, you are dumb and wasting your time.

This is, apparently, especially true of the one planned for tomorrow. The fine folks at Pension Plan Puppets already told Torontonians not to waste their time on the matter, linking to a Toronto Star interview with one of its organizers, who said, "We're concerned about the lockout's effects on local businesses, on this city's and this country's hockey traditions."

Yeah, local business. A key component to all this. Because it turns out that even the slightest digging (okay, goading) from the PPP boys uncovered that some of the guys promoting this this thing are, you guessed it, small business owners. It is in their financial interest for you or your friends to show up to this rally and promote the idea that this lockout is not only hurting fans, but also local businesses around the rink. (This despite the fact there's no evidence that local economies are hurt by work stoppages in pro sports.)

So not only is this particular protest, it seems to also be cynical and half-assed.

Here's what you can do instead: Accept that this lockout is going to happen no matter how many people show up and protest.

What, exactly, is being protested remains somewhat unclear. If it's the general idea that the lockout is not a good thing for hockey fans, then maybe it's time to start protesting other demonstrably not-good stuff, like world hunger, human rights violations, or Michael Bay. No one likes that. Just go out in front of your house with a sign about how bad it is and walk in a circle. There, now you're Doing Something about it. Or at least, as much of a Something as this fan rally will accomplish.

Here's the deal: Nothing you do at any time in the next few months is going to matter even a little bit. Instead, if you think you can make a difference, wouldn't it be a better idea to do so somewhere it'll actually matter?

Instead of paying a hundred bucks for tickets to a game that has since been canceled, have a few beers and eat before and after, why not donate even some of that money to a local nonprofit or a charity that means something to you? Instead of spending hundreds of hours in front of your TV watching hockey this winter, you might want think about volunteering somewhere.There are causes that actually need your attention and support, and need it desperately. Giving that hour or two of your time you might have considered flushing down the toilet by attending a stupid rally would actually be put to good use. Doing even a rudimentary amount of research online will help you find organizations in your area, and the odds that you'll have to look at any self-important dummies in Leafs jerseys shouting about the lockout will be reduced significantly.

If you wanna make a difference, get serious about it and stop believing this crap will end the lockout any faster.

And if you're the kind of person who thinks organizing something like this is a good idea, stop wasting everyone's time.

Pearls of Biz-dom

We all know that there isn't a better Twitter account out there than that of Paul Bissonnette. So why not find his best bit of advice on love, life and lappers from the last week?

BizNasty on exciting lockout alternatives: "That was more uneventful than the movie The Grey. #Giants #Reds"

If you've got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or . He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.

Tags: , , , , protest, store
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Pass or Fail: EA Sports and ESPN simulation league for the 2012-13 NHL season

12 Oct

In what will either be the perfect therapeutic diversion for NHL fans or the hockey equivalent of a blow-up doll, EA Sports and ESPN are simulating the 2012-13 season during the lockout.

Yes, it's a full simulation from the company that brought you such full simulations as the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs; co-hosted by the network that has pushed NHL hockey to the last 35 seconds of SportsCenter for the majority of the last seven years.

If they don't determine the Norris winner through who had the most Hercules Checks, they're doing it wrong.

EA Sports it keeping a running tabulation of the standings and scoring leaders through the Faux 2012-13 season. Dennis Wideman is among them with two goals. Virtual Jay Feaster smiles widely, and food falls out of his mouth.

Martin Brodeur is leading the league in wins and shutouts with two. I believe this simulation is completely flawless.

Well, unless you're a New York Islanders fan, in which case it's pretty much just a giant kick in the stones.

The EA Sports Islanders are 2-0 on the season, but as the video shows they lost John Tavares to an injury that will keep him out for months. What kind of exercise in cruelty are you running over there, EA? Haven't these people suffered enough?!

So what are your thoughts? Simulated seasons aren't exactly our bag … unless, of course, there are some awesome glitches like back in the 1990s EA games, like when Steve Rucchin or Michael Pivonka would suddenly score 80 goals with no assists. And by that we mean if the Columbus Blue Jackets go 82-0 and then sweep every series to the Cup.

But, as hockey-starved fans, maybe you guys dig it. With that …

Pass or Fail: The EA Sports and ESPN simulation league for the 2012-13 NHL season

Tags: doll, equivalent, , majority, , SportsCenter
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Is John Davidson on track to take over Blue Jackets?

12 Oct

Maybe it's because we're unabashed fans of his broadcasting career and results with the St. Louis Blues, but John Davidson could have a transformative effect on the Columbus Blue Jackets' franchise.

They don't need another Rick Nash — they need a hockey man at the top of the food chain that can take a team in a near-constant state of rebuilding and set it on course for sustained success.

Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported on Friday morning that the long-awaited talks between Davidson, who recently stepped down as president of the Blues, and Columbus brass will begin this weekend.

From the Dispatch:

It's unclear how Davidson would fit within the Blue Jackets' hockey operations department, but it's widely assumed around the NHL that he would need the promise of complete autonomy, just as he had with the Blues since joining them as president in 2006.

In that scenario, Davidson would likely assume the title of president of hockey operations, giving him authority of general manager Scott Howson and all hockey decisions. Priest could switch strictly to the business side of the organization, while retaining his rights to serve on the NHL board of governors.

Priest's bio is pretty indicative of a guy that'd rather just run the numbers side of things.

So the wheels are turning on John Davidson to the Blue Jackets. Which is a good thing. Here's Matt Wagner of The Cannon with some cautious optimism:

Based on his experience, resume, and tenure, it's not unreasonable to expect Davidson to command a salary in the high six figures, perhaps even seven. That doesn't seem so bad compared to, say, $5.5 million dollars for James Wisniewski's paycheck, but the lockout complicates things.

As it stands, the Blue Jackets are cutting the work weeks for their front office staff to save money while the team effectively has no access to their primary source of income. To add that financial demand, even if the team "saved" by perhaps reassigning Mike Priest back to Worthington Industries and using the money earmarked for his salary to pay J.D., is a risky move, especially if the lockout eventually threatens the entire season.

True, but few in hockey would say he's not worth the money.

Tags: , , , , , , hockey operations, John Davidson, , , St Louis Blues
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Joe Thornton expects to play full season in Switzerland, thanks to NHL lockout

12 Oct

During a public relations offensive, it's difficult to separate the truth from the spin.

The National Hockey League Players Association has been laying it on thick since the summer — the latest example being the "hey, look at the NHL players that just so happened to drop in on a youth hockey practice, wearing their #ThePlayers jerseys!" campaign on Twitter.

Part of the players' PR front from the start: Leaving for Europe en masse, to show the owners they're in this CBA battle for the long haul.

But after they arrived there, things have gotten tricky: When we hear Alex Ovechkin or Ilya Bryzgalov talk about staying in the KHL even when the lockout is settled, is that the from the heart or more union marching orders being parroted?

When Rick Nash of the New York Rangers left for Davos in the Swiss League, he said there was a chance he'd play there for the full season — just like he did in 2004-05.

His teammate, then and now, was Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. In an interview with Berner Zeitung, Thornton became the latest NHL star to cast doubt on the season:

Q. Today (Thursday, Ed) should have started the NHL season. Got news on lockout ending?

THORNTON: No. I am in contact with some people, but there is nothing concrete. I'm now expecting to play the whole season in Switzerland.

"Expecting" could probably mean "prepared to", but either way the pessimistic message from Thornton is clear. The only question is whether it's from the heart, from the NHLPA handbook or perhaps it's a way to sell more Davos swag by convincing the locals they're not part-timers.

s/t Andreas Boos

Tags: Association, , , , , youth
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The Vent: Won’t someone think of the sandwich guy; lockout limerick

11 Oct

THE VENT is a forum to rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at .)

We begin today with an open letter to the players from Dan T., whose heart breaks for Mr. B, the Minnesota miracle sandwich man. I'm with Dan. If this lockout costs us one of Minnesota's great sandwich artists, I am out, you hear me, NHL? I AM OUT.

At the Xcel Energy Center there is a sandwich shop called Mr. B's. It is run by a very nice gentleman who makes great food, takes the time to get to know his customers, and who depends on you guys to play so that he can make a living. I'm not worried about the owners who have more money than God. I'm not worried about you players, who make anywhere from great money to extremely great money to play a game that you love. I'm worried about the thousands of people who are now hurting because, through no fault of their own, have also been locked out of their jobs. The only difference between them and you is that they don't have a million bucks in the bank that they can rely on.

Do you stop to think about all those who are affected? Ticket takers and vendors, building maintenance staff and restaurant owners. Heck, even the Vancouver PD will be forced to lay off workers. Jobs are scarce these days, and it is insulting to those who struggle to find work to hear that people who make millions of dollars every year are complaining that they might have to bring in a little less each month in order to do their share to make the business viable.

If a deal is signed tomorrow, there probably won't be a major reduction in fan support. If we lose half of a season, that will no longer be true. If the entire season is cancelled, the damage to the game will be irreparable. The game has seen great growth in the non-traditional hockey markets over the last few years, but how many of the new fans will come back if the year is lost?

How many of you will make more money playing in Europe than you would in the NHL, even if they reduce salaries? The average career length is 5-6 years; how many of you are willing to sacrifice 17% of your career just to support a pissing match between two arrogant jerks?

How many chances in your lifetime do you get to win the Stanley Cup? Was this the year your team was going to win? There's only one way to find out, and that is to play the damn game.

Everybody involved knows that in the end, the owners are going to get a deal that is a lot closer to what they want than what you want. You know it, we know it, the owners know it, and even your anointed Superman Donald Fehr knows it. The only remaining question is how much damage the game we all love will sustain?

Brian P. suggests that, an addict though he may be, another lengthy lockout might be enough to help him kick the habit:

Most of my friends and family think of me as the biggest hockey fan they know. As a result, I get multiple people asking me "how are you coping?" on a weekly basis in the same tone they might use if I'd just found out I had a kidney stone.

My answer is that I really can't be bothered to care. I've been a hockey fan for as long as I can remember after growing up in Edmonton during the glory years, and this is my third lockout. After 1994, my 14 year old self stopped collecting hockey cards in protest. Since 2005, I haven't spent a dime on NHL merchandise. I haven't been to a game in at least five years, haven't been to one where I bought the ticket in closer to ten, and haven't even considered going to one since moving to Toronto from Calgary four years ago. The weekly "column" I wrote for an old fan site has long since stopped. My wife and I cancelled our cable years ago, in part because I wasn't watching a game every other night like I used to. Previous lockouts dropped me from a die hard to barely a notch above casual fan, and I have nothing left for the NHL except my indifference. With a wife, a one year old and a dog at home I've simply got better things to do with my time and more important things to do with my money, lockout or not.

Like any recovering addict, though, I am only ever a brief temptation away from relapse. I very nearly shelled out for GameCenter last year; the hockey I saw was just so damn good, and a weekly game on HNIC and the occasional grainy illegal live stream was just not enough. Friends bought NHL team onesies and hats for our newborn; I dreamt about what it would be like to get him a pair of skates or take him to his first game. My all-time favourite player, Steve Yzerman, became the GM of a team with some exciting talent, and my hometown team, the Oilers, were finally putting some players worth watching on the ice.

And now? Will I come back when the NHL does? I honestly don't know. The fandom in me that had so recently taken an uptick after hitting its lowest ebb has once again bottomed out. There's no way I'll pay for GameCenter now, not with my kid about to enter daycare. There's certainly cheaper ways to be entertained these days than to go to an NHL game. The lockout hand-wringing, cheerleading and fear-mongering from the mainstream media seems a childish waste of time to me now; I'm starting to wonder if being a fan at all is childish too and if it might be time to grow up, despite how much I love to watch hockey played at the highest level.

Should any of this bother the NHL? Not if I'm an isolated case. But in the more likely event that I represent a generation of Canadian fans who grew up on NHL hockey, have only recently hit their full earning potential, and have been forced by lockouts to find better things to do, then yes, they should be concerned. Why should I come back to the NHL when there's nothing that says they won't keep doing this every 6 or 7 years? Why should I teach my son to love the game when there's dozens of organized activities that are cheaper to watch, safer to play, and don't require me to explain every few years that his heroes aren't on TV for reasons he can't possibly understand? The 1994 lockout was the first time I really understood just to what extent money makes the world go round, and it helped shape me into a cynical, unpleasant young adult. Its not something I'd like my boy to learn too early.

Friends and family think of me as the biggest hockey fan they know because they remember me as the guy that cried when Yzerman put the Cup in the lap of a wheelchair-bound Vlad Konstantinov, or the kid who swore off the Oilers not after Gretzky was traded, but after Fuhr was suspended for coke and Kurri went to play in Italy over a contract dispute, or the guy who so badly wanted to be like Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal that he spent hours collecting trade rumours in the days before guys just made it all up and wrote it all out in 4000 word weekly posts that hardly anyone read. That's not who I am anymore.

More importantly for the NHL, I just might represent a lost generation of fans who, thanks to multiple lockouts, can't be counted on to put down deposits just to get on season ticket waiting lists, buy $200 Jerseys, or generally spend a ridiculous amount of their waking hours thinking about hockey. I might come back, but it'll be years before I'm anything more than a casual fan who occasionally catches a game on TV again. I'm probably not alone.

Molly gives us our first limerick of The Vent. Granted, limericks aren't typically used for scathing anger, but I think she's onto something.

There once was a small man named Gary
and his rich friends who don't like to Share-y
So he locked the players out
Leaving the fans to pout
And this hatchet they'll never bury.

More limericks, please.

Tags: , damage, , , ,
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