Apologies for the lack of updates. A lot has happened in the world of hockey directly effecting this blog since I last checked in. The biggest nuisance I have had to deal with is this garbage that my television provider, dish network, has laid on me and the rest of its nations subscribers. We lost FX, National Geographic Channel, and Fox Sports North if you didn't hear about the mess they created. Practically unannounced I might add. I was unaware of these channels contracts ending with Dish until watching an episode of Terriers late when messages from GetWhatIPaidFor.com started scrolling on the bottom of my screen informing me that I was losing these channels in basically 24 hours...Well thats just great. So not only did I lose all Minnesota sporting events not named the Vikings but the awesomeness that is FX dramas and comedies. Total blow to my tv whoring.
This news put a halt on some of the ideas I was working on for the blog. I did a dry run of a running diary during one of the Wild's exhibition games that was televised on channel 45. When I was done I was kind of dejected because I didn't know when I would actually be able to view a game next. A coworker poked fun at me by saying that this is what I wished for, not having to listen to Dan Terhaar anymore. Total cop out.
There is the bright spot that I have the Center Ice package. Does this mean that I will be able to watch the Wild feeds from their available channels? I have no idea and neither do any of the customer service representatives at Dish Network. So it remains to be seen whether or not I will be able to view Minnesota Wild games. That question will be answered when the Wild resume play on Thursday and have their first Fox Sports North telecast. So I guess I'll just have to wait and see...
End of rant.
Regardless of this shit, the NHL returned to my life this past Thursday and I couldn't be more elated. After watching the Twins do what they do best, lose to the Yankees, my mood wasn't altered Wednesday night because it was NHL season eve. That and my mens league team had yet another dominating win that evening. After hearing about the Twins lose Thursday night (Adult kickball holds priority to watching an intimidated mlb team) I couldn't care less because I had the Wild-Hurricanes game from Finland to watch later. Than the Twins lost again Saturday night and I was as happy as I get because I just had watched the Tampa Bay Lightning look awesome in their opener vs Atlanta. When I got home late Saturday night/Sunday morning I opened up facebook and was welcomed to a mountain of status updates from fed up and angry Twins fans. It made me think that maybe I should be a little upset too. I guess I'm just lucky the start of the NHL season and the Twins losing to the Yankees in the ALDS seem to happen the same week year after year.
AAAhh us Minnesota fans. So tired of mediocre finishes. Here is to hoping the Vikings win Monday night and Randy Moss scores 4 touchdowns and Brett Favre dick pictures don't get mentioned too many times. I wish I could say we have the Wild to look forward to this season but that would be almost as bad as the Twins fans that were lying to themselves before the Yankees series saying "it's different this year, we're going to do it!." The Wild didn't look too hot while in Finland. My biggest concern with the team is that they have been trying to transition to this offensive style of play the past season into this one with a complete lack of team speed and quickness. I watched portions of multiple games over the weekend and bottom feeder teams from a year ago had a jump and get up to them that made Minnesota look like a team from the mid 90's trap oriented NHL. Even our skill players don't have explosiveness to them that allows them to penetrate the neutral zone and create rapid offense. Mikko Koivu is great and can create space but he usually opts to pass or fire a long shot once he gets that space. Havlatt gets the most clear cut chances with his speed but he usually duffs his opportunities as he proved twice in late game situations in their second game in Finland. Not to mention his terrible shootout attempts last year that caused him to start hiding when the Wild were ever involved. Makes me wonder what ever happened to this Martin Havlatt!
The team needs more speed. Which doesn't make sense why they sent Casey Wellman down to the AHL. Michael Russo tries to explain:
"The theory is, why have extra guys eating up salary-cap space if there's no games or they're not playing? As for Wellman, he's not going to be sticking on the Wild if he's only going to be getting nine shifts like he did Friday or scratched like he was Thursday. I think he could help, personally, but the Wild wants him to play and play a lot -- in key situations."
This makes sense considering that since the '07-'08 season they have had an example of why playing young inexperienced players on 4th lines on a inconsistent basis doesn't work so well in the NHL. cough...James Sheppard...cough. dud. However, with no speed or quickness on the roster for the immediate future must only mean one thing- when Pierre Marc Bouchard returns to the lineup within the next couple weeks we will learn that he has missed two years because he was undergoing some Tony Stark like engineered surgery where he is super fast, super creative, super strong, and super indestructible. Looking forward to it.
MORE FUN AND EXCITING STUFF AFTER THE JUMP
Notes and videos from the first weekend of NHL action:
---Loved that Jordan Eberle topped Mark Buehrle's play of the year on opening day moment by having play of the year on opening night with 1st career goal in 1st career game with this stunner. It was like a "first" forum post on the internet in rapid fire.
Even better was TSN's follow up "investigative report"
This was better than anything that Kenny Mayne has done with "The Mayne Event" recently. NHL players have personalities and senses of humor??? Crazy.
Edmonton has a good thing going on with all those youngins' up der
---Loved that If you would of googled Ondrej Pavelec's name before Friday night you would of got numerous links to what seemed to be an NHL prospect goalie. You also would be wondering how the hell you guessed right in spelling the name Andre with an "o" and a "j". After Friday night if you googled his name you get linked to one of the more bizarre things I have ever seen watching a hockey game:
Apparently he is out of the hospital already.
---Loved the random fights between some of the leagues super stars. Let the awkwardness ensue:
Than Pavel Datsyuk had his Howard Beale moment and undoubtedly forfeited The Lady Bing competition to Marty St. Louis in his 1st game of the year:
Take the visor off!
---Loved how Tampa looked in their opener. A lot of weapons. My prediction for the Eastern conference playoff layout has the southeast division having the #1 and #4 seeded teams. Tampa and Washington will battle back and forth all season for those two spots. Also, I predict Steven Stamkos will convince Steve Yzmerman, with his play on the ice, that he no longer needs to think long and hard about the Canadian rosters for the Olympics anymore. All he has to do is play him.
---Loved the pure dominance that my fantasy team showed:
Going to be a good year for The Active Sticks.
It was a fun weekend of watching hockey. Now off to enjoy one of the other finer things in life- Boardwalk Empire on Sunday night.