Washington Capitals

He shoots! He scores! He’s an idiot!

We’ve seen this happen plenty of times at little kids soccer games, but it doesn’t occur all too often on sport’s professional levels. Of course, we’re talking about getting that all-too-perfect set up and knocking down a huge goal for the team…the other team!

But that’s exactly what happened on Sunday when Caps center Nicklas Backstrom scored a goal on his own net with 28 seconds left in regulation and the score tied 2-2 against Pittsburgh. As you would expect, Washington went on to lose 4-2 as Sydney Crosby got credit for Backstrom’s blunder.

New York Jets

Jets fans get cut off during the team’s season finale

Normally testosterone filled men are willing to put up with almost anything in exchange for a brief glimpse at a pair of boobs. However, we did say “almost anything” because every man has a line that they just won’t cross; for `J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS!’ fans, that line in the sand has to do with booze.

After Jets fans got busted for having halftime flashing parties in the innards of the stadium, the franchise decided to ban alcohol for the Jets’ final home game this past Sunday. So, not only were the fans boobless, but they were beerless and they had to watch the lame Jets play a meaningless contest against an equally awful Chiefs squad. Needless to say, the natives were a bit restless about the situation, especially since the Jets blindsided fans with the announcement just prior to kickoff.

The beer ban was not announced before the game so that fans would not “overindulge” in the parking lot ahead of kickoff, [James R.] Minish [executive vice president of facilities for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority] said.

Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said the ban was primarily aimed at curbing excess at a game that, with a post-4 p.m. kickoff, allowed for lots of tailgating and took place just before a holiday.

“At times, when we think there is a greater chance of alcohol consumption, we take steps to adjust our policy,” Speight said Monday, adding the team imposed a similar ban in 2005. “This was not specific to Gate D.”

The Jets prevailed 13-10 in overtime of their season finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, but some fans let authorities know they missed their suds.

“We want beer!” some chanted at halftime, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported.

Meanwhile, over at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the puckheads were tailgating in full force. And while we feel sorry for the Jets fans that had to watch their team sober, if they were just a little more prepared, like hockey fans, then this wouldn’t even be a problem. Unlike football fans, hockey fans will do anything to get drunk before a game. No surprise ban is gonna keep them from being sloshed in the stands. Heck, who else does pregame bowling ball shots in the parking lot?

And there’s a bar set up for those interested in having a shot of Polish cherry liqueur poured out of the thumbhole of a bowling ball.

“I call it my 16-pound shot glass,” [Ken] Johnson said. “It actually tastes (awful). I don’t know why people drink it. But I go through 12-14 bottles of this a game.”


[]: Jets Plan To Resume Beer Sales Next Season
[]: Fans cook up a flurry of fun

New York Giants

Odds and Ends: Jean Strahan has a garage sale

As if a $15M divorce settlement and $18k a month in child support wasn’t enough, Jean Strahan, ex-wife of Michael Strahan decided to sell off a few of the items from their her $3.6M mansion in Montclair, NJ. She sold cocktail dresses, handmade rugs, antiques, and a couple of TVs among other things. A diehard Giants fan said he got two televisions for $100.

She advertised the garage sale in a local paper and tons of people were lining up to take a look at the stuff. Since she doesn’t exactly need the money, this was just a way of her throwing it in Michael Strahan’s face. The police were called multiple times to chase away reporters.

By the way, there’s no truth to the rumor that among the items being sold was a cancelled check written to Brett Favre with “Sack record” in the memo.

In other news…

[ESPN]: Mets fans will do anything to give their team an advantage

[NY Post]: Paul Lo Duca wins his first horserace as an owner.

[Steroid Nation]: Victor Conte picks up right where he left off

[San Jose Mercury News]: Stanford swimming coach suspended two months for… removing records of some of his swimmers from the media guide.

[USA Today]: NFL Network gets a leg up on the Draft telecast wars by putting a camera on Joe Thomas’ fishing boat.

[Mondesi’s House]: Any question whether NHL players are the toughest athletes? Sidney Crosby has played the last 4 weeks with a broken foot

[basketbawful]: The Bulls have no chance against the Heat (and here’s why)

And finally, Our Book of Scrap takes a look at the welcome wagon that will be waiting for the International Olympic Committee as they evaluate Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins get a new $290M igloo

Our favorite penguins

Wow, our first NHL story in months that doesn’t involve any goons! (Well, except for Georges Laraque.) The Penguins have reached an agreement with the great state of Pennsylvania to to remain in Pittsburgh for the next 30 years.

The Penguins are responsible for $3.8M a year toward construction and another $400k towards capital improvements. The rest of the money will be provided by the state and the owner of the casino group that has been awarded the slot license for the Pittsburgh area. All in all it adds up to a $290M deal, which is better than the $276M arena in Kansas City. On top of that, Lemieux and company get to keep the team in Pittsburgh and not have to rename it the KC Barbeque Ribs or something.

Here’s some reaction from the blogosphere:

Hard Drive Life: “Growing up north of the Pittsburgh area, I’ve been hoping and praying that the Pens would be able to stay. Now, I can confidently go out and buy my Evgeni Malkin jersey and wear it with pride, and not worry that the team is taking flight.

In the words of ex-Pitt mayor Sophie Masloff: “`GUINS WIN!” Actually, all hockey fans do!”

James Mirtle: “I can’t say that I’m particularly surprised, as all along I found it incredibly hard to fathom a team with this much hockey talent, in a market with a recent history of championships and some star power in its ownership group would ever really leave.”

MY KC Penguins: Hmmm…. they might want to change their name to MY KC Predators

The Burgh Report: “This arena, while worth it, will cost us a fortune and we have our government officials to thank. Furthermore, though we have been spared the abject civic humiliation that would have followed losing the team to Kansas City, the mishandling of the arena matter has, nonetheless, seriously damaged the reputation of local government.” Yikes.


[Post-Gazette]: Arena deal keeps Penguins in Pittsburgh

NHL General

Hockey fight ends with player taken to hospital

Ronald Petrovicky of the Penguins knocks out Kris Newbury of the Maple Leafs in this fight on Sunday. Newbury fell to the ice and a large pool of blood formed under his head. He apparently fell on his head and was taken off by a stretcher.

Afterward, Pretrovicky said, “We started fighting and he fell on his head pretty bad so, you know, sorry, but that’s part of the game. Hopefully he’ll be OK”

Newbury is OK. He was released from the hospital with “no neurological issues.” Hopefully, in the long run, the only lasting injury will be to his ego.

[]: Leafs forward Newbury taken off ice on stretcher after fight with Petrovicky
[]: Newbury released from hospital

Pittsburgh Penguins

Dec 27 in Sports History: Mario Returns

In 2000: You’ve always heard of player/managers before, but a player/owner? Well, when your owner happens to be one of the greatest players of all time, it’s not that outrageous. Still, when Mario Lemieux, who had bought the team out of bankruptcy to become the team’s majority owner, joined the Penguins lineup, it was a professional sports first. Lemieux’s no. 66 came down from the rafters, and the Penguins instantly became Stanley Cup contenders. Despite sitting for three-and-a-half years, Lemieux didn’t miss a beat, as he had a goal and two assists to lead the Penguins to a 5-0 rout of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mario kept up the pace for the rest of the year, tallying 76 points in the team’s final 43 games. Lemieux added 17 points in the playoffs to help guide Pittsburgh all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Lemieux retired for good in January of 2006.

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Penguins, NHL Luck Out

No more red for Malkin

1. Malkin Staying In NHL
After an ongoing dispute with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Russian Super League, a federal judge ended all debate and declared that rookie sensation Evgeni Malkin could stay with the NHL… from the AP:

Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a Russian Super League team, claims that Malkin is under contract in his native country. The club sought a preliminary injunction that would have banned the forward from playing for the Penguins until the matter is resolved.
But the ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska clears the way for Malkin, a star rookie with Penguins, and minor leaguers Andrei Taratukhin of the Calgary Flames and Alexei Mikhnov of the Edmonton Oilers to stick with the NHL franchises.

The Penguins and the NHL must be thanking their lucky stars. Malkin is what the Pens have needed for a while as far as options on the ice – and he’s a marketing machine for the NHL, much like Alex Ovechkin has proved to be after his incredible rookie campaign.

2. Surviving a Scare
The Nashville Predators were able to hold off a pesky Columbus club on Wednesday night, propelling to a 5-4 win. The Preds scored the final two goals of the game in the third to help themselves to the victory – they were netted by David Legwand and Scott Nichol with less than 10 minutes to play. This was a pretty important victory for Nashville, who continued to stay on Detroit’s tail in the Central. As we said before, it looks to be a two-team dogfight for possession of that division, and the race will be close throughout the remainder of the season. The Red Wings have won nine straight, and are clearly the hottest team in hockey. If there was one positive to come out of this game for the Jackets, it’s the solid play of Rick Nash, who scored two goals and racked up an assist in the game.

3. Can’t Capitalize
The Bruins downed the Caps on Wednesday in Washington, taking it to a shootout and converting for the 3-2 victory. After Boston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the 1st, the Capitals stepped up their D for the final two periods, shutting out the Bruins for the rest of regulation and overtime. In shootouts, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron got one by Washington goaltender Olaf Kolzig to secure the victory. In the game, Tim Thomas saved 33 shots off the sticks of Caps’ players, including shutouts in the final three segments of the game. The Bruins’ Marc Savard earned two assists, extending his points streak to seven games.

Check It Out
CBS Sportsline’s Wes Goldstein repots that the Capitals’ days of misery have finally passed by. With a building block like Alex Ovechkin, is tough to disagree — Washington looks to be a legitimate contender not only in the Southeast Division but in the Eastern Conference as a whole.

Game of the Night: Minnesota at Nashville
Wild have lost four of last five games

The Last Shot
Alexander Ovechkin fired his agent, Don Meehan, on Wednesday. This comes as a bit of a surprise to us, as Meehan is known to be a solid agent in the hockey world, working for clients like Jerome Iginla and Jose Theodore.

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Welcome to the Hall

1. Newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame
On Monday, Patrick Roy, Herb Brooks, Harley Hotchkiss, and Dick Duff were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Patrick Roy
-NHL’s all-time winningest goaltender (holds records for most playoff and regular season wins) with Canadeins and Avalanche
-Won three Conn Smythe Trophies (playoff MVP)
-Won three Vezina Trophies (NHL’s best goalie)

Herb Brooks
-Coached Team USA to Olympic Gold in 1980
-Won three NCAA titles at Minnesota
-Coached four NHL teams
Harley Hotchkiss
-Key cog in Flames’ move to Calgary
-Co-owner of Calgary Flames franchise
Dick Duff
-Played on five NHL teams
-Won six Stanley Cups

2. Future of the NHL
The Penguins showed off their potential and talent on Monday night in Pittsburgh. A trio of first-round draft picks scored goals against the Philadelphia Flyers, snapping a five game losing streak with a 3-2 win. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jordan Staal all netted goals for the Penguins, who helped themselves at keeping up to par in a busy Atlantic Division. The three kids, whose combined age is only 57 years, sent Philly to its sixth straight loss and proved that they’re the new generation of hockey. At 18, 19, and 20, no member of the tremendous trio is even old enough to drink yet (legally, at least. Guess you can’t blame them for pounding a few with the way they’ve been playing, but that’s beside the point…). Even though they’re currently sitting in third in their division, the Pens look to be setting themselves up quite nicely for the immediate future in Pittsburgh.

3. Gallant Out in Columbus
The Columbus Blue Jackets are hungry for a winner, and they attempted to move one step closer to relieving their starvation on Monday night. The firing of head coach Gerard Gallant was the first step in what could be a tedious process of turning the club’s fortunes around. Gallant was hired as coach in the summer of 2004, and had a record well below .500 in his tenure as head honcho.

In five seasons of existence, Columbus has yet to come close to the playoffs–but star left wing Rick Nash has shown some serious potential at only 22 years old. As featured in yesterday’s “Check It Out”, he needs to start putting up some numbers in order for his club to make any type of impact this year. As of now, Columbus is dead last in the league with only 33 goals scored.

Check It Out’s Eric Mcerlain takes an interesting look at the hockey afterlife, including the post-hockey troubles of former NHLer Darren McCarty. McCarty couldn’t stay out of financial troubles, and was forced to file for bankruptcy… sad occurrence for someone who happened to be a very good hockey player in his time.

Game of the Night: Minnesota at Phoenix
Coyotes: 5-2 in last seven games against Wild

The Last Shot
Washington’s Olaf Kolzig stopped 44 shots against the Florida Panthers on Monday night, getting the win in a 4-1 effort. The Panthers’ 45 shots were a season high–you know things are going awry when you put up a season high for shots and still lose by three… ouch!

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: A Star Is Born

1. Malkin: A Part of History
We said it a couple of days ago — but after another amazing game, it bears repeating again: This kid is good. Last night against the Los Angeles Kings, Evgeni Malkin became the first player in 89 years to score a goal in his first six games, beating Dan Cloutier with a pinpoint wrist shot. Three other NHL players accomplished this feat, but they did it all the way back in the inaugural 1917-’18 NHL season. Malkin is still less than halfway to the all-time record of first 14 games with a goal, but talk about finding your groove… Malkin is just tearing up the ice.

He was not content with just one goal, however. In overtime, he hit the twine for the seventh time to give the Penguins the 4-3 victory. It will be interesting to see if Evgeni can keep it up – if he can, the NHL will have something very, very good on its hands.

2. Bringing Him Back
Less than two weeks after giving him the boot as head coach, interim GM Paul Holmgren is welcoming Ken Hitchcock back to the Philadelphia Flyers. His role with the organization, however, will be quite different – he was hired this time to work as a pro scout instead of working behind the bench. Our thoughts? Hitchcock better be pretty darn good at scouting, because the Flyers need the best that they can get at this point. People within that franchise must firmly believe in Ken to bring him back aboard this mess so easily, which prompts the question – why would they have fired him in the first place? Keep him within the organization, and protect yourselves from all the drama of his firing. With all of the shenanigans, the only thing we truly know is this: the Flyers are not that good, and they need quite a miracle to help right the ship.

3. On Todd Bertuzzi
Florida’s veteran winger made some headlines this week, announcing that he’s considering surgery on his lower back. This isn’t the first time folks in Colorado have heard about Todd, because here, everyone believes that his back isn’t the only thing that needs fixing.

It seems nobody who is a fan of the Avalanche has decided to forgive Bertuzzi – in 2003, he put a blatant hit on Colorado’s Steve Moore, cracking his vertebrae and giving him a severe concussion. The check from behind was shown over and over here in the Rocky Mountain area, and was extremely hard to watch. Moore’s head hit the ice hard, and fell in an awkward position. What ensued was a long period of silence, as Moore lay motionless on the ice, simply unable to move. Bertuzzi was suspended for an extended period of time, but then reinstated at the beginning of the 2005 season. The common consensus here is that Bertuzzi should not be allowed to play for as long as Moore is out, which probably means that Todd’s career would be over. Moore has not been able to get back out on the ice, and is now a schoolteacher.

It is also interesting to note Todd Bertuzzi’s Wikipedia entry. For a guy who happens to be a really good hockey player, it is sad to see that this incident covers the entire page.

Check It Out
NBC Sports’ “The Bellowing Moose” investigates the recent effect of fights in the NHL.

Game of the Night: Vancouver at Minnesota
Wild: 7-0-0 at home this season.

The Last Shot
Nashville defeated Edmonton 5-3 Wednesday night, giving the Oilers their first home loss while notching their sixth straight road win.

NHL General

Crashing the Zamboni: Malkin is as good as promised

1. Malkin Rockin’
Lots of hype has surrounded rookie phenom Evgeni Malkin’s debut in the NHL, and — through five games, at least — he’s lived up to it quite nicely. The 20-year-old Russian was the second pick of the 2004 NHL Draft, behind only Alexander Ovechkin. The center has hit the twine in every game he’s played thus far, making him the first player in 14 years to score a goal in each of his first 5 games. His +7 rating ties him for tops on the Pens, with teammates Sidney Crosby and Colby Armstrong. It doesn’t take long to realize just how good this guy is when watching him on the tube. He is superb on the skates, twirling around the ice, always near the action. The kid can shoot as well, with quick, accurate bids that ring off the post if they don’t hit the net. Having played just over half of the Penguins’ games, he’s already the rookie leader in goals. Simply put, Evgeni a goalie’s nightmare. Malkin is an extremely well-rounded athlete that looks to be following in the footsteps of the kid he followed in draft. If early indications count for anything, Pittsburgh has a gem on their hands.

2. Atlanta Thrashed by Leafs
Last night at the Air Canada Centre, the Maple Leafs wiped the ice with the Thrashers yet again. After the 4-2 victory, which happens to be the eighth in a row for Toronto in this series, it has become safe to say that the Leafs have Atlanta’s number. You have to date back over three years– all the way to October 27th, 2003–to find the Thrashers’ last victory against Toronto. In that three year span, the boys from Canada have outscored Atlanta 37-9. It is tough to say why the Leafs have been so dominant in the series, seeing that Atlanta is a pretty tough team to beat nowadays. The only thing that is for certain about last night’s game: it was over by the end of the first. Within a stretch of 1:26 in the first period, Toronto had netted three goals. That was all she wrote for the Thrashers, who are left to continue scratching their heads over how to solve the puzzle that is Toronto.

3. Numbering the Greats
Check out this interesting article from Brian Cazeneuve of He listed the best players all-time by their numbers, starting from double zero and going all the way to 99 (take a wild guess). It is truly an amazing list–full of recognizable names past and present–but it does leave room for argument…

Check It Out
Winging It: Off Wing Opinion’s Eric Mcerlain talks with the director of hockey operations for the Wild, and gives his thoughts on the Sabres’ hot start.

Game of the Night: Nashville at Vancouver
Preds looking for fifth straight road win.

The Last Shot
In Arizona: a job search website,, just acquired the naming rights to the Glendale Arena. We think somebody was trying to send a message to Wayne Gretzky…