Category Archives: Washington Capitals


For the few years I was scribbling nonsense on the Internet before I landed over at’s ProHockeyTalk, every June would turn into a soap box for me to sound off on why Adam Oates belonged in the Hockey Hall of Fame. His case was always easy to make. No, really, it was super easy to make.

Now? Now he’s a Hockey Hall of Famer.

The fight is over and a childhood hero is enshrined for eternity. Bias accepted here, there’s never been a doubt as to Oates’ career being Hall-worthy.

I am as happy as a hockey fan can be. The complaining, the indignant stat-prattling, the case-making, the whining about it all… It’s over. I don’t have to crow about an open-and-shut case anymore.

There’s no need to talk about the injustice of it all and continue alternating between banging my head against the wall and shouting from the mountain tops. Adam Oates: Hall of Famer.

Back in late September during the preseason, I wanted to interview Oates about being snubbed by the Hall. With him being the Devils assistant coach and it also being the team’s first preseason game of the year, the Hall was the last thing on his mind. All business, all the time. That’s part of what got the Washington Capitals to hire Oates as their head coach today on top of it all.

It feels a bit silly to feel as happy for what someone else accomplished, but that’s part of being a fan, right? Embracing those that helped bring the love of the game to you. Oates is the key figure on my personal “Mount Rushmore” of hockey. Oates, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, and Teemu Selanne. There are plenty other players I have a great appreciation for, but those four? They turned hockey from something I watched and enjoyed into something I obsess over and love dearly, maybe a bit too much if you ask some of my friends.

But Oates? He was the guy who sparked it all for me. Seeing a guy like that play live in person when you’re a kid leaves an impression on you. Seeing him win your favorite local team a championship hammers it home even more. Watching him excel as a professional for nearly 20 years is icing on the cake.

Adam Oates is a Hockey Hall of Famer. What a great day.


Wheel Of Justice: Morally Bankrupt

From the “in case you missed it” files, there were a couple of questionable (read: scummy) hits recently that were brought to the attention of NHL Disciplinarian Colin Campbell.  One of the hits I took a look at the other day in my post analyzing the broadcasts from Colorado and Washington regarding David Koci’s dirtbag hit on Capitals defenseman Mike Green.  For the video of that hit (take your choice of which one to watch) I kindly ask to check it out there.

The other hit came from Ottawa’s 2-0 win over Buffalo Wednesday night and involved a couple of rather notorious figures in the eyes of the NHL:  Senators forward Jarkko Ruutu and Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta.  These two guys have reputations as ugly as anything in the league so when they come together in an ugly play… It’s usually tough to get people to feel bad for the guy that feels the brunt of the attack.  In this case, it was Patrick Kaleta getting the worst of everything.  (Video suggestion: mute the audio unless you want to hear what Rick Jeanneret sounds like on quaaludes)

The fun part about this brutal hit, which knocked Kaleta out of the game, is that there’s nothing accidental about what Ruutu did here.  He was running Kaleta, a guy who plays the game generally the same way as Ruutu, and he was making sure he was going to hurt him because he was clearly gunning for his head.

So you’ve got two obviously dirty and brutal hits and where does the league come down on this, especially since both involved head injuries of some sort?


David Koci of the Colorado Avalanche has been fined for his hit on Washington Capitals defenceman Mike Green, while Ottawa Senators winger Jarkko Ruutu has been fined for his hit on Buffalo Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta.

For those of you checking in on the Wheel of Justice, I’ve got a surveillance photo taken directly from Colin Campbell’s office for how he came up with just a fine for both of these dirty hits.

WoJcloseupYou just know this is how it went down.

I’d like an explanation as to how or why two guys with reputations and, in at least Ruutu’s case, prior transgressions for which he’s been punished by the league get off with fines and no suspensions at all.  I thought curing the league of dirty head shots was a big deal to the NHL but this decision, specifically against Ruutu, is irresponsibly inconsistent by the league.

This isn’t a situation like with Philadelphia’s Mike Richards earlier this year where you could sort of make a case against suspending him for hitting Florida’s David Booth – Jarkko Ruutu’s hit on Patrick Kaleta is scummy, dirty and the exact kind of thing the league should be punishing severely.  Instead, it gets let go with a weak fine. This is where I want the league to be more forthcoming as to why they make the decisions the way they do.  Too many times the result of the hit plays into what the punishment is which means most  of the intentionally dirty stuff that doesn’t connect and seriously injure a player goes unpunished.  A lot of people treat the “intent vs. results” debate as a “chicken or egg” kind of situation, meaning that if a guy’s intent is to put a hurt on another player is there but he fails that makes it OK.

I can’t imagine a line of thought being more violently incorrect.

Take a look at that video of Ruutu on Kaleta again and try to explain to me how Jarkko Ruutu was just playing the game “the right way” and how him gunning for another player’s head (regardless of who that player is) is OK.  I’m sure the excuse is that he was chasing after the puck and checking his man.  Never mind that his man has his back turned to Ruutu the entire time and nevermind that Ruutu also made no effort to play the puck while skating in at full speed from outside of the zone and then delivering a shoulder to the head of Patrick Kaleta.

I can’t imagine there being more things wrong with this entire scenario, but it’s only deserving of a fine in the eyes of Colin Campbell.  The league is busy, again, talking out of both sides of its mouth in regard to head shots trying to placate the Players Union as well as the fans who both clamor for an end to these things and to those who say it’s all “part of the game” and guys should suck it up.

The league can’t make everyone happy here but coming up with some sort of concrete method to the madness regarding dirty play and suspensions for committing offenses like these has to come out of all this.  There have been too many instances where we the fans and I’m sure the players as well are left scratching our collective heads wondering what is going through the head of Colin Campbell when he goes to his smoky back room to come up with some kind of action against offending players.  Every other major sports league has some kind of step-ladder for doling out punishment for breaking the rules like this yet somehow the NHL can’t remove its head from its own ass to create their own.

I know… I’m as shocked as the rest of you are that this is how this league chooses to operate.   After all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

How Not To Conduct A Broadcast

Since most folks are going to be talking about what they think the Wheel of Justice is going to bring forth for Colorado Avalanche forward David Koci after brutally charging and boarding Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green as the Avs were down 5-0 late in the second period, I’m going to take a look at something not having to do with what happened on the ice, but rather the broadcast booth for both CSN-Washington and Denver’s Altitude Network.  I’m just hoping I don’t step on the shoes of  Puck The Media’s Steve Lepore too much by doing this.

Checking out the You Tube videos of the hit, the first one I checked out was from Altitude featuring play-by-play man Mike Haynes and color analyst Peter McNab.  Haynes, I admit, is a guy I’m not the biggest fan of.  He’s got a bit of a nasally voice which also bears a startling resemblance to radio talk show host Sean Hannity.  McNab has been the color voice for Avalanche games since the franchise moved to Denver and he’s gotten some big time work doing games on NBC and work for TSN in Canada as well.  Haynes, like anyone doing the hometown broadcast, is most certainly a homer and, in this case, he’s wearing the burgundy quite well.

OK so he’s a bit into the fight and why not, his team is getting trounced and Koci beating in John Erskine’s head might be the one bit of success the Avs might have on the night. That said, Mike Haynes… Act like you’ve been there before and maybe reigning it in a bit after Koci had just delivered a brutally dirty hit might be the right thing to do.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m certainly not advocating homer broadcasters play it completely down the middle. I’ve only ever worked games as a homer broadcaster and in all of zero of the games I’ve ever called have I ever really played it down the middle.  Don’t believe me?  Well here, give this a listen from the game I did last week between Boston University and RPI.  I’m the color commentator and second voice you’ll hear on there, the play-by-play man is the illustrious Perry Laskaris.

Now while Haynes got caught up in the heat of the moment  and went a little monster truck rally with the fight, he certainly kept it professional after the commercial break and gets kudos for that but given the situation with a player down on the ice and the assailant then duking it out for his transgressions… Perhaps the better part of valor would’ve been to say, “Koci had to know this was going to happen and if this is his way of firing up his team…” and then drive it into lecture mode.

I’ll call that my foreshadowing moment because as we check out CSN-Washington’s broadcast featuring Joe Beninati on play-by-play (who I’ve ripped on plenty both here and on Twitter) and Craig Loughlin on color, you’ll see exactly how to handle this situation on the air.

Amazingly, Beninati (who I chide constantly for hamming up his broadcast delivery) hits this right on the nose the whole way through and Loughlin who is about as big of a homer color man as there is in the business, provides some spot-on perfect analysis of everything the whole way through.  Loughlin is informative and analytical while Beninati delivers the correct kind of delivery for the situation with equal parts disgust, somberness and “Oh shit, this is going to be a brouhaha. ”

To get this kind of tempered production out of Beninati helps make me look like a jerk whenever I pick on him about his work on Versus.  That said, his work on Comcast Sports Net-Washington is generally pretty good and I find that I don’t mind listening to him call Caps games on there.  This also helps show me why folks from D.C./Virginia/Maryland that hear him for the entirety of a season would think I was being an unruly mob of one when trashing the guy.

My bad folks.

I’d have to assume this is just what the difference is between a guy who has done national broadcasts versus a guy who is strictly a hometown guy and for that I should go a little easier on them, but what’s the fun in that?  The fun in this, this time around, is that I’m now sticking up and lauding Joe Beninati.  I’m clearly losing my edge here.

The Wheel of Justice Needs Oil

Hey remember when Alexander Ovechkin hit Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta from behind and was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct for doing so?  I mean it was just last week so unless you got too hammered avoiding your relatives before, during and after Thanksgiving I can give you a pass there.  If you did forget about that, it’s OK, the buzz cooled off right away after that because Kaleta ended up being the reckless scumbag he is and did something just as dumb as Ovechkin did except he injured Philadelphia’s Jared Ross.

Problem there for some folks was that Ovechkin wasn’t suspended for his hit while Kaleta was, even though both hits were almost identical right down to the players being hit being stupid enough to turn their backs on the on-charging players putting themselves in the position to get injured on their own.

Well funny thing happened tonight in Raleigh as Alex Ovechkin was at it again, this time Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason draws the fire from Washington’s Mad Russian.

Ovechkin not only gets injured on his own from this hit but he again picks up a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his trouble. Considering how Ovechkin was helped off the ice, kicking him out of the game is akin to suspending a starting pitcher in baseball for four days for beaning a guy, the punishment wasn’t going to affect him anyhow because Ovechkin probably wasn’t coming back to play anyhow.

So once again, Colin Campbell is going to get the call to decide what, if anything, will be done to punish Ovechkin for this hit.  Folks are already debating wildly whether or not Ovechkin hit Gleason knee-on-knee on purpose or not (he didn’t, why would he bother?) and whether or not suspending a guy who plays the game at such a break-neck speed with ridiculous bullish aggression will do anything to “send a message” to him at all (it won’t, Ovechkin is going to play that way regardless).

wheelofjusticeWill the Wheel of Justice come up Superstar again?

What this hit does remind me of is Ovechkin’s run-in with Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar last season in the playoffs for which Ovechkin was not punished for.  It’s the same brand of hit where Ovechkin doesn’t deviate his course, the defender tries to make a move to get by but Ovechkin is moving too fast for them.  While that hit came during the heat of the playoffs, this time it comes fast on the heels of another hit that produced yet another game misconduct.

The league is in a tough spot because if they suspend him they’ll get heat from ticket buyers in Washington and elsewhere the Caps play on the road in the coming week (Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Buffalo) and fans there will be upset they won’t get to see him (well, maybe not Buffalo fans).

The other side of it is if he’s injured for any amount of time, what good is a suspension to him anyhow?  Big deal, he’s going to miss games anyhow so what good does tacking a game or two onto that do for sending the message that the league doesn’t have a superstar bias.

What do I expect the league to do?  I expect that the NHL’s version of Pat Sajak, Colin Campbell, will inquire as to what Alex Ovechkin’s injury status is and then craft a response based around that.  Since Tim Gleason wasn’t injured on the play (he came back to play in the game) that’s not at issue here for the league, instead the aggressor is the one who is hurt.  Why do I suspect that will be the case?  The league is gutless and they want to save face.

That said, if Ovechkin is hit with a suspension (whether it’s rendered toothless by an injury or not) there’s a lot of people that will feel vindicated for one reason or another.  Whether it’s because they believe in the “superstar bias” or they believe that Ovechkin is a reckless player whose had this coming to him for a while won’t matter because they’ll be happier than anything.  If there’s no suspension however… The league’s spin-meisters better be crafting up a beauty of a response because the pitchforks and torches are out already.

Thanksgiving Turkey: Alex Ovechkin

Thanks to all of you who keep up with my erratic posting schedules and hell-bent mania for picking on the head of a league that can’t get out of its own way to success.  You, the reader, is the kick in the pants I occasionally need to keep on going and other times you’re the great folks who provide me with the adulation I so desire.

Enjoy all the turkey you can handle today America.  And mashed potatoes.  And can-shaped jellied cranberry sauce.  And carrots.  And… Sorry, I passed out starving for a moment.  The house is filled with so many glorious and gluttonous smells right now it’s tough to focus.

For my Canadian readers and the rest of you who stumble upon me elsewhere… Happy Thursday, here’s some video of an NHL superstar being a turkey.

Looks like Alex Ovechkin might get to spend some time after the holiday letting his belt loose with his hand down his pants after the holiday because… Well, that’s just straight dirty.

alexovbundyAh jeez Gary, can’t you see I’m busy?

I know it’s how he plays all the time, but timing is everything and that was not it.  It’ll be curious to see if the NHL actually does anything to Alex though since the guy he hit (Patrick Kaleta) isn’t exactly viewed as “good people” by the other players.  Time to break out the ever-popular Wheel of Justice.

New Faces In New Places: Washington vs. Tampa Bay

Yesterday we debuted, with great help from EA Sports and XBox 360, a fun summer series to help us kill time and show off what all of the new free agent acquisitions and top draft picks will look like in their new duds.

Speaking of duds, today’s photo shoot features one team who played like duds all regular season and another one that played like duds, eventually, in the playoffs.

That’s right it’s time for the, perhaps, much improved Tampa Bay Lightning and the happy-to-stand-pat Washington Capitals.

Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman excuses himself away from new Capitals forward Brendan Morrison.

Kurtis Foster unleashes the beast towards goaltender Simeon Varlamov.

New Capitals forward Mike Knuble dares to deke past Vincent Lecavalier.

Mattias Ohlund tries to escape the pursuit of Alexander Ovechkin.

Stephane Veilleux shows how to celebrate best on an empty net.

Now here’s where you folks come in. Who do you want to see next? Red Wings exiles donning the Indian in Chicago? Marian Gaborik in Ranger blues? Ryan Smyth and his mullet in Los Angeles?

You make the call and the top two choices get featured next – just make sure the teams you select have, you know, actually made a move or two. Leave your suggestions in the comments or find your way to Twitter to let me know. I’m pretty easy to find there.

Don’t Make Me Hate You, Sid

I’ll come out and say it and I don’t give a crap what it makes you think of me or my opinions.

Sidney Crosby is a gift to us all.

I know what you’re thinking now…


Right, sure, whatever.

Like it or not, Sidney Crosby is awesome and the NHL is a million times better off having him, his talent and his presence around than without it.

Is he over-exposed? Maybe to NHL fans, but not to the world that’s for damn sure.

Is he a great player? Fuckin’ A right he is.

He’s phenomenal and his talent is a once-in-a-generation kind of talent and we’re blessed as NHL fans to have three other players in the NHL that are on that same kind of unearthly level of talent (Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Lidstrom).

Are NHL fans pissed that three of those four players are playing in the same series in the second round? Maybe the jerk-off fans that are self-loathers are – but me? I’m tickled. Gary Bettman is tickled too, no doubt, because he gets to see the two prizes he cares about most finally have their “Bird vs. Magic” series.

Never mind that it’s taking place in the second round, that’s irrelevant. What matters is that it’s happening and, as of right now, it’s absolutely electric.

Just like most things in the NHL, sometimes things happen that help amp up the story. Sometimes when superstars collide, the best is brought out of them. Case in point, Game 2 of this series. Hat tricks from both of the superstars (their first hat tricks in the playoffs) including this stirring series of bombs from Alex Ovechkin:

As it goes, as it has always gone, when you’re the home team and your home guy nets a hat trick, the hats come out on to the ice. It’s a tradition that’s been around since the dawn of time (give or take an epoch) and it’s awesome. Flat out, it’s awesome.

Unless you’re on the visiting team.

Enter the man in the white uniform and the black hat, Sidney Crosby.

From the DC Sports Bog:

“People kept throwing hats,” Sidney Crosby said tonight. “I was just asking if he could make an announcement to ask them to stop. I mean, the first wave came and then I think they were all pretty much picked up, and then more started coming. So for us, we just wanted to make sure we kept kind of moving and kept the game going, wanted to try to get back in it. So wasn’t complaining about anything.”

Ah, jeez.

Listen, I get that he’s being the captain of the team. That’s good, that’s fine, that’s the admirable thing to do. He’s also being brutally honest with the press when asked about this.

As a person who has done plenty of sports interviews and gotten nothing but Athlete-speak from them, to get a freaking gold mine of a quote like this is awesome because then jerks like me cite your website, give you more hits and all that fun.

No, they ain’t sippin’ on some sizzurp – that’s straight Haterade.

When your name is Sidney Crosby though… Stuff like this gets a lot more run. Like it or not, Sid’s got the reputation for being a whiner. As a fan of hockey, it sucks more than life itself to see that one of the most marketable guys in the league, the like-it-or-not face of the NHL is labeled a big pansy bitch.

That sucks a lot and it drives me nuts to see Sid continue to do things that feed into this image. I want him to be Captain Cool, I want to see him make people that hate him shut up by delivering every damn time. I want him to be The Terminator and crusher of souls. As an NHL fan I want the biggest name and the league’s icon to be the man.

Simple as that.

In a series that features the two guys that are fighting to be the A #1 icon of the game, some folks might point to this game as the one that separates them for good. They both deliver hat tricks in stunning performances. Ovechkin with his bomb shots and Crosby doing the down and dirty work in front of the net putting home rebounds.

Had the Penguins won this game, Sid would rightfully be getting the praise for throwing a change up at the Capitals and doing things differently. Sure, maybe that quote gets some more run, but at least that can get spun off to make him more of an honest-to-badass villain. Like, say…

“Hey ref, tell these chumps to stop throwing hats – this game is fucking over with because I said so.”

Cutthroat? You better believe it. Cocky? As hell. Bad-ass? Hell fucking yes it is.

Instead, reality deals us a Capitals win with Ovechkin waving his junk at everyone because he’s that damn good. In his case, being a Russian helps add to his allure. The interviews are tougher to do with regular schmoe reporters because his English skills are mostly limited to Athlete-Speak.

The one time he did let loose was in an interview with Maxim Magazine and he was instantly villified for what came out there.

Thanks for nothing mainstream media. Dicks.

So now what’s the fallout from this for Crosby? He unfortunately solidifies a reputation that’s already been made bad enough to handle by a well-paid PR firm.

After all, when you’re playing a rough game like hockey where there’s a delicate balance between being a cocky braggart and cutthroat competitor, being a crying wuss wins you no favor and makes the job of sticking up for your boy even harder.

At least if I was Sid, I’d be happy to have the guys at The Official PensBlog on my side, I’d hate to see how they’d handle having that kind of ammo to use against him. For that alone, I’d hope to never leave Pittsburgh without a Stanley Cup or two if I were him.

What kills me about all this is that I enjoy how Sid plays the game and he makes it so incredibly difficult to love Sidney Crosby the player. Whether it’s the opinion of the other players that he’s a whiner or the consistent cries from fans all over the NHL that he’s a diver on top of all of that… It’s incredibly hard to embrace him as the MAN when there’s a guy doing all of those things that you admire playing against him. It creates an instant divide amongst fans.

You’re either a Sid fan or an Alex fan.

Simple as that.

When you’re put on the spot after a tough game, a tough loss particularly, and you’re getting a thousand different questions about the game and someone mentions the other guy, the other big gun outshining you for a night and you’re frustrated that you couldn’t do more than your own three goals and your answer is to just blurt out that you wanted the officials to make an announcement about the hats being thrown on the ice for the other guy’s hat trick…

The best way for Sid to answer all of this is to flip the script and do it right back and let the fans at The Igloo shower the ice in hats. Then to do it again the next game and not relent.

Sid’s shown us he can wear the Black Hat and be the villain by driving hockey fans nuts with these things like whining and diving, now it’s time to fully embrace the darkside. Be comfortable with being thoroughly hated in places like Philly and Washington and New York.

Score that game-winner in overtime some night and then proclaim afterwards that you knew you’d get it all along. Sid is referred to as “Bing” over at PensBlog, but I’d rather seem him break out something a little more like another cocksure legend:

Is it wrong to want all of our new hockey heroes to be bad-asses? I don’t think so.

Snap out of it already Sid.

Do it.

Gary Bettman: Happiest Man on Earth

Since a lot of you are new to this page and probably weren’t keeping tabs with me last year for the playoffs, let me dust off something I said last year after the results of the First Round were completed:

The only real downside to the Capitals losing is that it prevents us from seeing Sid the Kid and Evgeni Malkin from taking on Ovechkin and Backstrom in the second round. Say what you will, but Bettman had the perfect opportunity to take what he learned under Stern and to put it to use to set up a real dazzler of a matchup.

Much like everything else, however, Bettman fails to put the hit out to guarantee this will happen.

Upon the completion of Washington’s stirring victory over the Rangers in Game 7 that featured Sergei Fedorov dial up an Yzerman-esque ripper of a shot over the newly-exposed glove hand of Henrik Lundqvist, in my many posts on Twitter (you know, since I’ve got nothing else to do) I stated this:

Now let’s see how (bad) Gary wants the fix. If the #Canes beat the #Devils we get Sid vs. Ovechkin.

In my head I had one of the greatest creative minds of the modern sports entertainment era, at least he was for a while, in mind as I wrote this. I thought about it last year when Washington stormed back against Philadelphia only to lose in Game 7 to the Flyers and there it was in my head again this time as the New Jersey Devils had a 3-2 lead on the Carolina Hurricanes in their Game 7.

Some say a man fitting this description was seen in the tunnel at The Rock shouting, “Just go down Marty!”

Would Lil’ Gary put on his big boy shoes and put in the call for the Devils to lay it down or would it play out legendarily like this:

In a series that had so many great goaltending performances from both Martin Brodeur and Cam Ward and two teams that truly left it all out on the ice and given everything that I was able to witness all throughout this years NCAA Hockey Tournament, I didn’t think the NHL had it in them to produce a finish to a game that so thoroughly stunned me as this one did.

Doc Emrick and Chico Resch from MSG+ with the call:


I mean… This is the New Jersey Devils, the team that made sitting on a one-goal lead the new black in the 1990s. This is Martin Brodeur – The Franchise – The Legend.

How in the blue hell did this happen? This stuff doesn’t happen to the Devils. It never does… Well, unless you’re the Ottawa Senators.

It’s hours upon hours later now and this one just stuns me. Jussi Jokinen is the new cursed name in the swamps of New Jersey? The same guy that was waived by the directionless Tampa Bay Lightning? That Jussi Jokinen?!


What’s more shocking about all of this is that Herr Bettman got his wish. With the Hurricanes beating the Devils, that set up a second round date between Sid the Kid’s Penguins and Alexander the Great’s Capitals – a playoff matchup that people have been dying to have happen.

Sure, it’s not for the Conference Title or the Stanley Cup – but for the press and the attention and the real bad blood there is between these teams it might as well be.

Two of these four second round series are now set to be, potentially, the best series of the entire playoffs. Anaheim did their job and disposed of a gutless Sharks team to set up a date with the Red Wings and then you get the headliner between Pittsburgh and Washington.

This isn’t to say that Chicago and Vancouver is going to stink, far from it, as that’s going to make for an incredible tilt and the Wonder Boys in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are going to have their hands full in dealing with Vancouver’s system all backstopped by the new stud Roberto Luongo.

Boston and Carolina would be a lot more fun if, say, Herr Bettman’s Southern Conquest wasn’t involved and the Hurricanes were wearing blue, green and white and celebrated each goal with some Brass Bonanza.

Then again, getting Ric Flair prominently involved in hockey really isn’t so bad and given that it took the Hurricanes to overthrow the Devils to make Gary’s Dream Match-Up come to fruition… Well maybe it’s worth looking into.

ESPN: Contra Cl-Owned

Being that this is a hockey site, we enjoy bringing up ESPN failures in hockey coverage. ESPN has provided a jackpot of hilarity today.

It started this morning when ESPN insisted that Mike Green and Donald Brashear were being looked at for potential suspensions for their actions in Game 6 against the Rangers.

I’m sorry… Mike Green?! The same Mike Green that isn’t noted for his defensive prowess at all?


Turns out that was all part of a joke played on ESPN. ESPN retracted their story after a half hour.

The jokes haven’t ended there today for the World Wide Leader.

If I might get my “Jump To Conclusions” mat out, it looks like ESPN has upset the space-time continuum courtesy of old-school 80s video gamers.

Code Of Honor: Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start

This afternoon, word started circulating around Internet forums that if you visited ESPN’s website and entered in the Contra Code you would find an amusing result.

Obviously I’m an easy sheep to snare but this was worth it to give it a look-see. Click to enlarge it, of course:

It’s like Napoleon Dynamite’s Trapper Keeper crapped on ESPN’s homepage.

I don’t know what’s funnier about this, NASCAR being front page material or the unicorns or the horse from 80s kids show Rainbow Brite being prominently involved.

Whoever the mad geniuses behind these presumably unrelated pranks are are hilarious and deserve a pat on the back.

That is unless they’ve hacked everyone’s computer – which in that case I’d like them to be burned at the stake while tarred and feathered.

Like I said, this is loosely related to hockey but too hilarious to NOT share. I’ll call this karmic retribution for being wholly ignorant of the NHL.

Wheel of Justice Strikes Again

Donald Brashear is a bad motherfucker, there’s no getting around that. He’s also a really lame fighter too on occasion, I guess some guys need proper motivation or to not be a complete wuss.


It’s not always a knockdown drag out affair with Huggy Bear Brashear

Thanks to Colin Campbell’s amazing and unpredictable Wheel of Justice, this:

Is worth a six-game suspension.

OK so it’s not just that hit, it’s the pre-game nonsense he instigated with the Rangers Colton Orr and… well, insert whatever other reasons you might want to toss in for having the suspension be six games. Dirk over at On The Forecheck has the hands-down winner on his Twitter page to this point:

It sucks to be Donald Brashear. He got 1 game for the pre-game shove, 1 for the head shot, and 4 because it’s Ulysses S. Grant’s birthday.


Truth is it’s one game for the pre-game shenanigans and five for the hit.

Was Brashear wrong here? Absolutely. It’s a reckless hit. It’s a hit coming full force on Blair Betts while he’s unsuspecting and that’s not necessary in the NHL.

I find myself watching this over and over again and trying to figure out what the motivation is here for Brashear and if Betts is in the wrong at all (ie: head down, admiring his pass) and while Betts is caught flat-footed and somewhat admiring, it stands out to me as a prime example of everything in hockey happening a lot faster than in other sports.

Check out the YouTube video above once again. Betts gets the puck at the :12 second mark, has the puck away and down the ice at :13 and Brashear clobbers him at :14. I know there’s big heaps of fractions of seconds involved here but that’s a span of two seconds where Betts goes from safe to dismantled with a highly questionably timed hit.


Incredible. This does boil down to Brashear crossing the line between hitting a guy who has a basic idea the hit is coming and a guy that has no clue it’s coming which gets into all sorts of grey area stuff as far as the NHL is concerned. After all, guys who get caught skating with their heads down get creamed and concussed the same as guys that are caught watching their passes as if they’re Monet paintings.

Does this put Betts in a different category at all? Brashear was on the ice the whole time and, let’s face it, he’s not out there to score goals or play rock-solid defense. Betts was looking to dump the puck in deep to get the Rangers a line change and Brashear was looking to, for lack of a better phrase, light a fire under his team – a team that’s been criticized all playoffs long for being physically soft.

Sending a message in a different sort of way? Probably, but now Huggy Bear is going to have to pay the piper for six games.

The Capitals aren’t really going to lose too much not having a guy who has averaged about 3:25 of ice time in the four games he’s played in this series. Brashear is so vital to the Capitals that he didn’t suit up for the first two games of the series, the same two that Jose Theodore yacked away at home.

Betts, meanwhile, is likely out for Game 7 and the Rangers will miss him dearly. He’s played an average of 10:44 per game before having his day shortened in Game 6 and logged over 13 minutes of ice time in Game 4 which the Rangers won 2-1 and held Washington’s power play to an 0-6 performance, much thanks to Betts’ work.