Detroit Red Wings

Lord Stanley would be so proud

Better check your tongue for diaper

When it comes to the partying and wild behavior, the Stanley Cup has seen more than its fair share. In fact, if you tested the Cup right now, the metal would probably consist of about 75 percent alcohol and 15 percent body fluids from hookers. The last 10 percent, well, the Red Wings Kris Draper is going to have to explain that one.

Red Wings forward Kris Draper revealed during the weekend that his diaperless baby, Kamryn, did a number on the Cup last month. A number two, to be exact.

“A week after we won it, I had my newborn daughter in there, and she pooped in the Cup,” Draper said. “That was something. We had a pretty good laugh.

“I still drank out of it that night, so no worries.”

You still drank out of it!! Dude, that’s sick! Not even this guy would put that thing near his lips after a baby dropped a deucer in it.


[]: Draper’s diaperless daughter finds new use for Stanley Cup

Detroit Red Wings

In his hallucination, the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup

We’re not sure how we’ve missed this until now but it seems everyone else has seen it. In case you haven’t here’s a 911 call from a cop who claims his wife stole marijuana from his police car and tricked him into eating pot brownies. Highlights of the call include: “I think we’re dead,” “time is going by really really really really slow,” and at the 4:50 mark, “what’s the score in the Red Wings game?”

The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!

[Detroit Free Press]: Dearborn lets cop quit without a drug charge in marijuana brownie ca

Anaheim Ducks

And your NHL Finals are set

Ducks 4, Red Wings 3
That sound you hear right now is Dominik Hasek’s slinky spine crumbling to dust.

See, Jean Sebastian Giguere had a rough final period – allowing three red light specials to the Wings – but he was stone cold lights out for the first two periods, when nothing got past him. Hasek was pretty much the reverse, but in the end, the Ducks still won (with help from a Samuel Pahlsson goal). Whether or not this means the adage “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” is something that’s complete bollox, I’m not ready to say just yet.

What I am ready to say is this: the Cup Finals are set, and it’s Anaheim vs. Ottawa. Anaheim was here four years ago, when they lost to the Devs in seven. Ottawa has never been here, at least not in their present, since-1992 version.

The series is boring for this reason: small markets. Anaheim is 10th in the state of CA alone, and Ottawa is 4th in Canada. People will consistently use that argument to prove no one cares (meanwhile, if Cleveland somehow stuns Detroit, the NBA Finals would pit Cleveland against San Antonio, which has to be equivalently disastrous markets).

The series is interesting for this reason: Ottawa’s first line has been incredible during these playoffs. Hell, it’s been just about the only thing Ottawa is doing really well (besides Ray Emery). Anaheim has the personnel to really rumble with that line, and maybe even create a few fights in the process. That’s going to be the Ducks’ big advantage; dudes like Pronger might just level dudes like Spezza as the series winds on.

Depending on how you view the Angels of baseball geographically, you might think that neither Anaheim or Ottawa has had a major sports championship in quite some time. It’s also interesting for that reason: two “fringe” sports communities battling for arguably sports’ most renowned hardware. Y’all ready for this? We’ll be back Thursday with a detailed preview and prediction in this very spot.

NHL General

Wednesday Morning NHL Roundup

And you thought that Steve Nash took a nasty

Red Wings 5, Ducks 0
The postseason in both sports currently experiencing it can get many titles – “Not that interesting” and “Lacking Individual Stars” come to mind – but here’s one I’d like to go with: “Men Behaving Badly.”

Nary a night after Robert Horry made Suns vs. Spurs Game 4 look like a hockey game, Chris Pronger whips out a nasty hit in the middle of Anaheim just getting laughed off their own ice in Game 3. Now the Wings are up 2-1, Pronger could get some type of disciplinary action, and here’s the aftermath for you, dear fan: out of all the potentially interesting Cup Finals Matchups – say, Buffalo vs. Detroit (Hasek), or Anaheim vs. Buffalo (two really good teams) – we’re likely going to get Ottawa vs. Detroit.

Now, I have no problem with this, per se: Ottawa’s first line is redonkeyballs, and there’s some good storylines there within. But, can the brothers on the ice and the hardwood just start being civil so that we can play these games full strength and see who really deserves a shot to lift the hardware? I hate tainted outcomes, unless I’m the one that cheated and did so successfully. But that was once – third grade dodgeball – and never again.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Tuesday Morning NHL Roundup

Red Wings 2, Sharks 0

Most people who’ve seen my ramblings on the Internet know my Sharks connection, but I’ll summarize it here: I’ve never even set foot in the city of San Jose, but in August of 1999, a scant two weeks before I went off to college, my dad and I were shopping for potential room posters. I came across a Sharks poster in the bargain bin and, liking the colors more than anything, I purchased it. I threw it up on Move In Day, and sure enough, the token “Awkward Kid Who Lives on Your Hallway” (everyone has one) was from San Jose in my floor’s case, and came in all atwitter. Over that year, we bonded – we once got absolutely hammered watching a Sharks game, which might have been the first time he ever got drunk – and actually became pretty good friends. It’s entirely based, at least initially, on the Sharks. I’m intrigued by the power of sports to bring people together in an almost religious way, and the Sharks were the first team I saw it with, which is utterly random but also fun in many ways.

So, I’m a “Sharks fan,” at least as much as one person can be without ever really watching an entire game of theirs sober. So, it hurt me last night when they got bounced from the NHL’s postseason boogie in favor of the Red Wings, especially knowing they held a 2-0 lead on said Wings at one point. A 41 year old goalie, Mr. Hasek, looked like he was 25 last night in stoning virtually everything the Sharkies threw at him. ‘Twas depressing, and yet again, the Sharks will not compete for Lord Stanley.

With the Red Wings win, the Conference Finals are set: Anaheim vs. Detroit, in a rematch of an interesting rivalry; and Buffalo vs. Ottawa, in a rematch of an utter bloodbath. I’ll write more about that later today for Sportscolumn. For now, I have to drown my Sharks tears with some Starbucks Coffee, which is roughly equivalent to sticking a hot brick of dirt in your mouth.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Thursday Morning NHL Roundup

Senators 3, Devils 2
As the Senators take a 3-1 lead in this series en route to their likely bloodbath with Buffalo in the Conference Finals, I don’t think the whole “What’s happening to Martin Brodeur?” point can be belabored enough. He won his first-round series against the Lightning, sure; but Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier pretty much scored on him at will; the only reason Tampa didn’t win that series is because no one else could score (kinda reminds me of how the Houston Rockets play sometimes, no?). Last night he got smoked again by a team of very quick shooting attackmen, and the Devils are on the brink, much like Tony Soprano in his final season. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it sounded kinda cool.

Red Wings 3, Sharks 2
Two games, one night, one identical final. Spooky. But – they were quite different. See, I was at a bar last night (uh..), and right before I looked up, and Whoopi Goldberg was, for some reason, being interviewed by Michael Kay. Regardless of that image, the ticker on YES revealed Sharks 2, Red Wings 1 with about 17:00 left. I felt confident in that outcome – and the more pressing game in front of me, Phoenix vs. LA in hoops, wasn’t over yet, so I had to get home to watch that one. I wake up this morning, and what to my puck wondering eyes should appear but this outcome. Apparently, the Wings scored with 33 seconds left in regulation, then in OT to win this puppy. Series is 2-2, headed back to “The Joe” on Saturday. Remember when Hogan vs. Flair headlined Halloween Havoc ’94 at The Joe? I do. Hogan vs. Flair is, in many ways, an apt analogy for this series – both these squads have been around the block a few times postseason-wise. Hogan is probably the Wings – more glory in the past in the form of “world titles.” While Flair actually had more titles than Hogan, no one really gave a crap about that Crockett promotion, so his victories – like the Sharks’ – seemed less significant. If you’re scoring at home, please note I spent 3/4 of this post discussing MLB (Kay), NBA (Suns), and WWF/WCW, and about 1/4 discussing hockey. It’s a good thing Sportscolumn isn’t paying me.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

NHL General

Friday Morning NHL Roundup

Sharks 2, Red Wings 0
I’ve written before about my fascination – perhaps of an unhealthy nature – with the San Jose Sharks. Long story short: a few weeks before my frosh year of college, my dad and I were buying posters; I liked the colors on the Sharks poster (you should have seen how I picked NCAA Tournament teams back then), and thus bought it; it led to an oddly interesting dynamic with a wallflower who lived down the hall from me. Basically, I think I made him throw up from drinking for the first time in his life (and the second, and third, but those are different matters). The Sharks, though, brought us together.

The one legitimate thing I liked about San Jose aside from their colors was how they manhandled Detroit that year they (SJ) were the 8 seed. Arturs Irbe? He was en fuego in that series. The image of those guys skating out of the shark’s mouth en route to a massive upset is something that really kept me tuned into hockey back in the mid 1990s.

It appears San Jose is still owning Detroit, because in Game 1 of the Western Semis last night, they hung a 2-0 win on ’em. Nabokov had 34 saves. Mike Grier and Matt Carle – whose name doesn’t even hyperlink off NHL.Com for some reason – provided the offense. I guess the moral of this story is, a shark will always eat an octopus (or, for that matter, a seal – you guys been watching Planet Earth?).

Senators 5, Devils 4
Two relevant things emerged from this game, in my mind, and I wouldn’t call myself a “puckhead” by any means (maybe a “puckbunny,” but that’s an entirely different tangent), so maybe I’m wrong.

1. What’s wrong with Marin Broduer? OK, he’s old. And OK, the Devils still advanced out of the first round, but Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis basically tattooed their names all over Brodeur’s back, posterior, and nether regions, smacking him around for 11 goals. The problem for Tampa Bay is, they only scored three other goals in all. Anyway, tonight he gives up a goal 90 seconds into the game – Jason Spezza – and then three more in the first period. The Devils are already in a 4-0 hole. How’s a band of brothers going to come back from that? Huh? Huh? It hurts so good, Marty.

2. If anyone cares, what’s the broader American sentiment on Dany Heatley these days? The guy is, for all intents and purposes, someone associated with murder. He also happens to be one of the best damn players in hockey; his two years in Ottawa, he’s had over 100 points per season. In this game, he was one of the Fatal Four that scored on Martin B. in the first period, after a solid first round. What’s your take: is Heatley a monster or a misunderstood offensive genius who was driving the wrong Ferrari at the wrong time? Frankly, I think mistakes happen, and sometimes they’re absolutely awful in terms of their ramifications. An Eastern Conference Finals battle between Chris Drury, the boy who can do no wrong, and Dany Heatley, the brotha who can do no right, would be an absolutely intoxicating battle of Good vs. Evil. Yea, I’m a smidgeon melodramatic.

[Ted Bauer will be covering the NHL playoffs for us this year. You can find more of Ted’s work at A Price Above Bip Roberts.]

Calgary Flames

The NHL is not messing around with slashing

With the game out of hand on Saturday night, Calgary backup goalie Jamie McLennan went a little nuts and whacked Johan Franzen in the midsection with his stick. As you can see from the video, it’s not a huge slash but the NHL came down hard on McLennan and the Flames for the violation.

McLennan got a five game suspension, his coach got a $25k fine, and the Flames’ organization got a $100,000 fine. The league had warned all teams about any shady business late it the game after a game was out of control.

Franzen, the recipient of the lumber, got the last laugh as he scored the game-winning goal in OT of game 6 on Sunday to send the Flames packing from the playoffs.

[]: NHL suspends Flames goalie 5 games

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Can Anybody Stop the Sabres?

1. Briere Blitzes Tampa
Daniel Briere led the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-1 bashing of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, scoring three goals for the first Hat Trick of his career. It is hard to believe that he’s never had one before this, seeing that he’s playing in his tenth NHL season (perhaps this is because he spent his first six seasons with Phoenix). Chris Drury also netted a tally, extending his goals-scored streak to four straight games. (Tampa’s Vincent Lecavalier also scored to continue his own streak of games with goals to four as well). Ryan Miller had another solid game between the pipes for the boys in the yellow slug jerseys, stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. Buffalo holds an 11 point lead in the Northeast Division, and still has not been below the number two spot in Matt Jordan’s power rankings this year.

2. Fredrik Fantastik
A sign of the apocalypse: the Columbus Blue Jackets have won two straight games, and their opponents haven’t hit the net in two full games. Say hello to Blue Jackets’ goalie Fredrik Norrena, who earned his second consecutive shutout in a 3-0 effort over the last-place Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday (his other victory came in a 4-0 win over Edmonton on Saturday). Norrena received help from Anson Carter, who racked up a goal and an assist in the game to lead the Jackets to their first-ever victory at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Readers, take it from us: you might want to read this paragraph again, because it may be a long time before we see “Columbus” and “won two straight” in the same sentence.

3. Hull To Rafters
The Detroit Red Wings crashed a nice little pregame celebration at the Scottrade Center, winning over St. Louis 5-1– shortly after Brett Hull’s #16 was raised to the rafters. Hull played 11 seasons for the Blues, and was able to tally up some impressive numbers in 19 NHL seasons (we won’t count last year’s brief stint in Phoenix), scoring 741 career goals and falling nine points shy of 1,400. The celebration, which came before the Blues lost their fifth straight game, seemed fitting to come on a night which featured two of Brett’s former teams (he played three seasons with the Red Wings). We highly doubt they’ll be retiring his number in the Glendale Arena, where he played five games for the aforementioned Coyotes before packing his bags and announcing his retirement.

Check It Out
Tuesday’s meetings to discuss possible changes to the schedule and the playoffs worked to no avail. NHL officials are keeping the schedules the way there are for the time being, meaning rare trips for Western Conference teams to the east coast, and vice versa. They also decided on keeping the playoff seeding format untouched, though there were some rumors that the postseason would be changed to a bracket-style tournament.

Game of the Night: Nashville at Anaheim
Top two teams in Western Conference battle it out

The Last Shot
Who doesn’t like a good hockey fight?

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Islander Injured

1. Alexei Y”ouch”in
New York Islanders captain Alexei Yashin could be out for up to a month, thanks to a sprained knee suffered in Saturday’s game against Washington. This has to be some disgusting news for Isles fans, especially when you consider Alexei’s numbers so far this year: 10 goals, 18 assists, and 28 total points for a +10 rating. He’s the team leader in assists and points, so a big chunk of New York’s offense has just been forced off the ice (the set timetable for his return is officially 2-4 weeks). This was a very untimely injury, seeing that the Islanders are just beginning to heat up–winners of six of the last eight games, they look to be alive and kicking in the Eastern Conference.

2. Devils Deteriorating
New Jersey remained in a bit of a funk after last night’s contest with the Los Angeles Kings, dropping their fourth straight game. L.A. pulled it out in shootouts, with Alexander Frolov scoring the game-winning goal for the 3-2 Kings victory. New Jersey held the lead in the Atlantic Division not long ago, but the significant play of both New York teams has dropped the Devils down to third. For Los Angeles, it was their second consecutive victory (but we’re not too sure that it would even be worth it to explain their chances in the Pacific). All regulation scoring in this game came in the 2nd period, when the Devils and Kings each scored twice. Despite the loss Martin Brodeur played well, stopping 26 shots.

3. Wings Unlock The Secret…
…to winning again. What is it? Simple: Just play the entire game shorthanded, and chances are they’ll come out as victorious. Detroit got a pair of 3rd period shorthanded goals en route to a 2-1 victory over the Dallas stars. Kris Draper and Mathieu Schneider were both able to beat Marty Turco while playing with the disadvantage. Dominik Hasek ensured that the two goals would be enough for the win, ending up with 20 saves on the night. It ended a five-game losing streak for Detroit, who had a nine-game winning streak snapped to begin the slump. For the Stars, their three-game win streak ended–thanks in large part to Detroit’s penalty kill, who held Dallas to 0-5 on the power play while tallying the two decisive shorthanded goals.

Check It Out
Darren Eliot reports that the NHL’s new rules have stripped the game of its physical component. Just based off of observation, the increase in penalties has been clear since the introduction of the new rulebook. It truly does take some flow from the game– knowing that roughly a quarter to a half of the contest will be played with one team shorthanded.

Game of the Night: Anaheim at Edmonton
Chris Pronger returns to Rexall Place–this time as a member of the Ducks

The Last Shot
Monday was arguably the best day of Trent Yawney’s life, while Denis Savard is left to wonder: “Why me?”