Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My views on the upcoming offseason for the Canadiens...

Hey all!

It's been a slow week on the blog so far. But if a post on the Canadiens can't spark interest again, I don't knoe what can.

So, we've hear it all so far. There's rumours going around that Lecavalier could be coming to Montreal for Aebischer. People are talking about the Canadiens making a run at a #1 defensemen, and the names of Chara, Redden, Jovanovski and Lidstrom have been mentioned. it is also said that the Canadiens are looking at bringing in Jason Arnott and Tie Domi, and that Bob Gainey might have an eye on getting Todd Bertuzzi.

Well, first, let's put to rest some of these rumours. As sad as it may be, Lecavalier will not be in a Montreal uniform next year. I don't think Jay Feaster will trade. In my mind, Feaster would prefer to get less than market value for Martin St.Louis can getting a fair exchange for Lecavalier. Lets' face it: Lecavalier is exteremly popular in Tampa. This year, we saw Mike O'Connell get sacked for trading Joe Thornton, and I do not think that Feaster would dare take the same road. That being said, the reports of Feaster and Gainey talking are apparently true. If something ever gets done between those 2 teams, we might indeed see Aebischer move to Tampa, perhaps with Mike Ribeiro or Michael Ryder following, in exchange for a Ruslan Fedotenko or Frederik Modin. But Lecavalier will stay put.

As for getting a big-time defenseman, again, I don't think that will happen through free agency. It looks like Ottawa will be able to retain Redden. Chara might be on his way out, but he would prefer to play in the NY area. Lidstrom will stay in Detroit. As for Jovanovski, there are 2 possible scenarios: either the Canucks trade Bertuzzi and sign Jovo, or he's deading to the Panthers.

Which brings us to Big Bert... is there a chance he might end up in Montreal? Maybe. But it is a very small chance. First, the Canadiens biggest bait right now is Aebischer (taking for granted Gainey will resign Huet). But the Canucks already have Dan Cloutier and Alex Auld, who played really well this year. After that, the Canadiens could offer Ribeiro, but the 'Nucks are set at center. So that leaves Michael Ryder. They could package him with Sheldon Souray, and there's been talks about such a trade happening. But will someone offer more? My bet is yes.

So we are left with Jason Arnott. I think there is an 80% chance of him winding up in Montreal as a free agent. He knows Carbonneau and Gainey very well, and more importantly, they know him very well. He could become that dangerous 2nd center the Canadiens so desperately need. His arrival would probably mean that Ribeiro will be shopped around the league. My guess is, he will be shipped somewhere in the western conference for a 3rd or 4th defenseman. I also think Huet will stay, and I don't believe Aebischer will be leaving. The Canadiens would do well to enter the season with both, making goaltending a position of strenght on the roster.

Bob Gainey likes to build from within, and so I don't see Montreal being that active in free agency. I think he will make a run at Georges Laraque, and he might get him. He'll likely bring Arnott in the fold. And with Sundstrom, Ribeiro, Bulis and Zednik likely heading elsewhere, it will make room for a couple of young guys to come up. If he can get a solid, physical (if unspectacular) defenseman and keep his goaltending duo, he will turn the Canadiens into serious contenders.


People are talking in the land of Led Zeppelin fans, as well as in the land of Tea Party fans. Rumours of a collaboration between famed Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page and Tea Party mastermind Jeff Martin started a few months ago when, after releasing his first solo record, martin made allusions to the partnership in interviews. What's the link, you will ask?

First, Martin and Page are acquaintances from long ago. Back in 1995, when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (for those who don't know, he was the singer for Led Zeppelin) played in the Montreal Forum, a young band by the name of The Tea Party opened for them. After the show, Page met Martin and the two became friends. And it doesn't stop here. The drummer on Jeff Martin's solo record, Michael Lee, was also behind the drums when Page and Plant recorded 'Walking into Clarksdale' and played with them throughout the world tour.

So the story goes that after spending a week in Ireland working with Jeff Martin, Lee told him about secret sessions he and Page had, where they recorded 16 songs. They tried to get Robert Plant back in the fold, but Plant already had his 'Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation' project going on. So Lee asked Page about getting Martin in to write lyrics and perform vocals, and apparently Page loved the idea.

So, right now, rumours are swirling around that Jimmy Page and Jeff Martin have actually spent some time in the studio together (none of this is confirmed) and that the new stuff sounds very middle-eastern-ish. One thing I've learned though, is that rumours in the music business are a lot less likely to happen than in sports. So, I'm not taking anything for granted. But Jimmy Page and Jeff Martin are two of the greatest artists rock n' roll has ever blessed with. And if such a partnership ever happens, we might be treated to one of the great rock albums of all time. In my mind, such a project would likely bring Page back into the limelight, and could become Martin's crowning achievement. As a big music fan, all I kind do for now is cross my fingers and hope this doesn't fall between the cracks, as so many projects are doomed to.

Dwarf out.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Oilers lose, England ties...

Early in the first period of Game 7, Mark Recchi was flying all around the ice before he met Raffi Torres near the boards in the neutral zone. The two collided, and for possibly the first time in the series, Torres got the worst of it. When that happened, the whole Carolina team got energized by it, and Edmonton seemed deflated. In the last game of a long season, the Oilers lost the edge in the one part of play they had dominated the opposition all playoffs long: the physical side of things. Throughout the first 2 periods, Caolina took the body, and Edmonton never seemed to be able to respond. And when they did get their heads back in the game, it was too little too late.

On saturday night, I wrote that if the Oilers wanted to win game 7, they would have to come back with another strong effort on the power play, one similar to the one they got in game 6. Instead, they got a repeat of games 2, 3 and 4. When they got a 5 on 3 for what looked like it was going to be 1 minute 55 seconds, they couldn't get any opportunities nor any pucks on the net, and when it looked like Carolina was going to clear the puck, Ryan Smyth took a hooking call. In the end, the power play failed to produce the one goal Edmonton ended up needing at the end of the game.

Still, I'm proud of my Oilers. Often in these playoffs did I lose faith in their ability to come back and win, but they proved me wrong time and time again. Fernando Pisani revealed himself as perhaps the next Todd Marchant, a gritty defensive foward who can score big goals when you need them the most. Chris Pronger outplayed every defenseman in these playoffs and once again looked like one of the top 3 or 4 defensemen in the league. Shawn Horcoff revealed himself as a true #1 center, sound defensively and very capable offensively, a poor man's Brad Richards if you will. Raffi Torres went a long way in these playoffs in showing he can be a really good power foward, very effective even when he doesn't score. The Oilers showed a lot of depth defensively, alternating between Marc-Andre Bergeron, Matt Greene and Dick Tanrstrom all playoffs long, as well as offensively, with Todd Harvey, Georges Laraque, Toby Peterson and Brad Winchester all seeing ice time and each contributing with 1 goal. But more importantly, the Oilers proved to have an excellent coaching staff, able to adapt and devise whatever strategy needed to beat the opposition. I don't expect the Oilers to dominate the league next year and fight for the top spot in the conference, but the future does indeed look bright.

As for England, well, today was yet another disappointing performance. Still, this was their best game to date. They played a very good first half, I thought, controlling the field for most of it. I thought Joe Cole was once again the best player on England's side today. Unfortunately, the level of play took a tumble in the second half. Both of Sweden's goals were directly linked to breakdowns in the defense. And there is no excuse, not with 4 minutes left to play, for such a breakdown in your own zone. One thing is for sure: if England is going to go far in this tournament, they need to start playing 90 minutes, not 45 minutes like today, and certainly not 10 minutes like they did against T &T. Yet, all of this talk seems somewhat useless chatter when considering the fact that their best goal scorer, Michael Owen, seems like he will be out with a twisted knee. We won't jump to conclusions before we get the results from the scans tomorrow, but it doesn't look good. Being that Rooney is not quite in game shape yet, and that Owen is out, England's attack, their strongest suit, seems in jeopardy. Others will have to start to pick up the slack, namely Frank Lampard and David Beckham. Beckham was invisible today, and Lampard again missed on golden chances. Lampard needs to take a cue from Gerrard and start hitting the net. As for Beckham, well, he just needs to make himself a player again, and prove why he is the captain of the squad. Yet, through all this, there is still a lot of hope. They will face off against a weaker Ecuador club on Saturday, and if they win it, anything can happen.

Check back with me later this week (most probably Thursday night), as I'll discuss the Montreal Canadiens' upcoming offseason and rumors of the formation of a new Led Zeppelin, lead by Jimmy Page himself and my personal favorite, Jeff Martin, ex-lead singer and guitarist of The Tea Party.

Dwarf Out

Saturday, June 17, 2006

There will be a Game 7...

Well, well, well...

Facing elimination in Game 5 in Raleigh, the Oilers gave a great effort and won in overtime. Tonight, they completely dominated the Hurricanes and won 4-0 in a game that could've easily finished 6-0 or 7-0 if it hadn't been for a couple of great saves by Cam Ward (one, in particular, came on a 3rd period 3-on-1 by the Oilers where he pulled out a wonderful glove save to stop a perfect tic-tac-toe play). The Oilers played one of their best defensive games since the start of the playoffs. Whenever the 'Canes had the puck in Edmonton's zone, they were getting checked hard and the Oilers constantly blocked shots (Pronger looked like he had goalie pads on tonight with the amount of shots he blocked).

But more importantly, the Oilers continued to punish the Hurricanes at every opporutnity, and it started to really pay off. For one, Carolina started to get frustrated and took dumb penalties because of it. Bret Hedican, for instance, took 3 minor penalties for roughing in the game. For another, the Hurricanes are really starting to look exhausted out there. Rod Brind'Amour was invisible tonight, as were all the other 'Canes stars (except the returning Erik Cole). The defense for Carolina, which was stiffling at the beginning of the series, has really started to show some cracks. And finally, even more importantly, the power play for the Oilers has come back in a big way. Early in the game, with Carolina pressuring the points, Hemsky, Samsonov and Ryan Smyth started to work down low. The result was Carolina bringing back their fowards lower in the slot, opening up the pointsand the higher slot, where Pisani got the first PP goal of the night. And for the rest of the night, the Oilers kept the 'Canes guessing whenever they were with a man advantage, and they were able to get 2 more goals because of it.

Now, we could be tempted to think that after the last 2 performances from both teams, the Oilers look like a sure bet to win game 7. But history tells us that next game is far from won for Edmonton. Only 5 teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals to force a game 7. The last one to win was the Toronto Maple Leafs back in 1942. The next four would go on to lose game 7. In the same vein, home teams have won 11 of 13 game 7's in the Finals. But if history is on Carolina's side, the present is definitely on Edmonton's. The way I see it, the Oilers will win if their power play continues to perform the way it did tonight. They will still be physical, and I know they will protect Markaanen like they did tonight. Those are givens. But the game will hinge on whether they can score with the man advantage. Carolina will not get blanked 2 games in a row, and their power play has killed the Oilers in Raleigh. But if Edmonton can get a couple of power play goals themselves, they will come out of there with a win. So, who wins? Well, given my record lately for predictions (see my predicting the Oilers would be out in 5, or England exploding against T & T, or Tiger winning the US Open), I will refrain from making one here. But my heart is with the Oilers.

Now, it's been a little while since I've talked music, so here are a couple of reviews for your viewing pleasure.

Lacuna Coil - Karmacode

This is the fourth release from this goth-metal/hard rock band from Italy. And boy is it a good one (Sweet LP, take notice, this is right up your alley). Lacuna Coil are often compared to highly successful Evanescence, but they differ in the fact that where Evanescence's music seems arranged in a way that definitely pleases radio DJ's, Karmacode is unapologetic in its heavyness and prog-rock leanings. The album begins in a big way with a trio of songs that fuse in and out of each other seamlessly. The opener, "Fragile", is a very heavy song that has a strong middle-eastern vibe to it. The song is also highlighted by a very catchy chorus. The next 2 songs aren't quite as strong, but "Our Truth" does feature a nice guitar riff. "Within Me", "In Visible Light" and "Without Fear" are the only slower, more ballad-y numbers here, and "Within Me" is the one that works best. "Without Fear" seems to borrow heavily from the new-wave movement, with understated vocals and spacy guitars. "You create" is a little interlude that features a strong middle-eastern, and like on the opener, it works perfectly. "Closer" has a really nice groove to it, and uou almost get the feeling that with a deeper bassline, it could be a danceable song. But the true gem of this record is the cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy The Silence". Cristina Scabbia's voice works perfectly here, and the whole band turns up the volume in a big way during the chorus, making the song somewhat epic, and a true sing-along cut.

All in all, this is a more than solid effort. It blends all the doomy-gloomy moods of goth-metal along with the ecclecticism of middle-eastern melodies against a new wave backdrop. And for the better part of the record, it works marvelously. The album has definitve highlights, but there is very little filler here as well. And that makes this a very enjoyable listen from start to finish.


AFI - Decemberunderground

As far as punk-rock/emo albums go, this is as good as it gets. Like Thursday, another band in the same vein, AFI has managed to step away from the overcrowded genre and get a voice of their own. And on Decemberunderground, that voice finally reaches maturity.

Aside from the second cut, "Kill Caustic", which is perhaps too heavy for its own good, the album has no real weak moment. The record opens with the string-infused "Prelude 12/21", a short number that almost makes you want to dance. The first single, "Miss Murder", is in the same vein as "Girl"s Not Grey", the band's biggest hit to date. It features a very groovy bassline and an extremely catchy, head-bopping chorus. "The Interview" is a slower number that recalls Blink-182's last album, with its echo-y vocals and dreamy guitars, as does "37mm". "Affliction" starts out with a fury and features fast, swirling guitars and a very upbeat tempo. The song is followed by a beautiful, instrumental interlude that just might be the most beautiful stuff on here. Another very strong number is "The Missing Frame", which has once again one the most infectuous choruses around. "Kiss And Control", "The Killing Lights" and the album closer, "Endlessly She Said", are also very good tunes.

But the real highlights here are "Summer Shudder" and "Love Like Winter". The former starts out with a great, off-beat guitar riff. AFI really know how to come up with catchy choruses, and they do it better than ever here. The latter is, in my opinion, the best song the band has ever written. While the repetitive bassline helps keep a punk vibe, the song seems to borrow heavily from the 80's arena-rock movement and winds up being as much fun, if not more, than anything Def Leppard or The Scorpions ever did.


Friday, June 16, 2006

A shout out and more...

Hey kids!

It's a shame I haven't mentioned it before on this blog, but I would like to send a special shout out to one of my peeps, the Sweetness himself, Sweet LP. Congrats to you, dear peep, for having little boys strong enough to swim through the dangerous waters that are a woman in ovulation... for a second time! Cheers to you!

Now, onto real life-altering events. Today, England won 2-0 against Trinidad & Tobago. Imagine what they could've done if only one of them had showed up...... ok, that joke was really lame. Fact is, England played like crap. Kudos, though, to Nick Da Dick for having both scorers today in his pool. Anyway, the Englishmen need to get their act together quickly. More specifically, Owen and Lampard really need to get their act together. It was good to see Rooney back, andthe guy can really play, but it won't make a difference if the other stars don't start capitalizing on their chances. Right now, England seems to be playing down to their competition, and we can only hope they will play up to it when needed. And by the way, I know he scored today, but Crouch missed about 3 or 4 golden chances to score. The guy sucks...

On another note, the US Open began today, and my prediction looks like crap right now. Tiger shot a +6 today. But if anyone can come back from that, he can. So all hope is not lost for NBC, who is sure dreaming of the cheezy typical american moment I described in my last post. I want to give some props to a good ol' Canadian, our friend Mike Weir, for a good performance today. Keep it up kid!

And by the way, I would like to tell Babe, my only peep with breasts (I have breasts, but I'm no peep of mine), that I ain't shoving any golf balls or tees up my butt. I once had a camera in there, and that day I learned that my asshole would forever be a one-way street. So... Talk to the hand! (Oh no he didn't...naah haah).

Dwarf out

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The US Open begins tomorrow...

Hey all!

Well, today we saw Germany inch past Poland in injury time. Tomorrow, we shall England explode against Trinidad & Tobago, as they will win 3-0. I predict 1 goal by Michael Owen, 1 by Beckham and 1 by Joe Cole. And Lampard, while not scoring, will be dangerous all game long.

Now, onto some Golf. The second Major of the year is upon us, and this one is very special as it marks the return to competition of Tiger Woods after a lenghty absence. This will be his first tournament since the death of his father. It will be very interesting to see how Tiger manages to deal with all these emotions for the next 4 days. Personally, I think he will be fine. He has taken a lot of time off to grieve, and I think he will show up with his game face on. Fact is, as much as his father's crucial health problems seemed to mess with Tiger at the Masters, he still managed to play a fantastic tournament, aside from the fact he had a few problems with his putting. I think Tiger will once again contend and be in the final 2 foursomes on Sunday.

But will he win? That's a much tougher question. Mickelson has become a true money player in the last couple of years, and you have to think that he will be there too come the final few holes. Vijay Singh played a great tournament last week, and he seems to be on his game. Retief Goosen, as much as I despise him, is always there too. I believe he's won a couple of US Opens in his career. That's the thing about golf... it's not like F1 or even the World Cup, where only a few chosen ones will for sure contend. We could see another rookie or unheralded player come up big on the first 2 days and be a contender throughout. Fred Couples is having a good year, and if he can find his putting, he can contend as well.

But in the end, and there's nothing fancy in this prediction, I think it will come down to the Big 3 when it comes to Majors: Woods, Goosen and Mickelson. The course will play longer than it's ever played, which favors Woods. Then again, they say that the rough will be as deep as it gets, which would favor Goosen and Mickelson. But Woods, before his hiatus, was as precise as he has been in years. And longer rough just might favor him (even if spends more time in it than his peers), as he is without a doubt the strongest player on the field, which might make him the likeliest to get out of tough positions unharmed. And so, in typical American fashion, I predict Tiger will come out the winner and crumble in tears thinking of his father when he sinks his last putt.

Dwarf out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why England will win the World Cup 2006

Hey all!

Like promised, no more bitching and whining on the Oilers. Instead, today I turn my attention to the World Cup 2006, and the team I predict will win, England.

Why will England win? First, they have the coolest team. I mean, we can go down the list: Lampard? cool. John Terry? cool. Joe Cole? real cool. Wayne Rooney? cool even when injured. Beckham? the guy has his picture next to the word cool in the Britannica Encyclopedia. Michael Owen? the coolest "futbol" dude on earth. But England will not only win because they are cool. No, as a matter a fact, they will also win because they have one of the most powerful offenses in the whole tournament.

Case in point: Saturday's 1-0 win over Paraguay. With Rooney missing and Owen still not in game shape, England was still able to overcome an average game by most of its players and come up with a win. David Beckham has played really well recently and he finally looks like the team's captain. Joe Cole is a rising star, and I predict he will be one of England's MVP's by the end of the tournament. Frank Lampard is one the best players in the world right now, yet he just might be still a bit underrated... yeah, he's that good! John Terry has also quietly become one of the best defenders in the world, not only playing reliably in his own territory, but also being a threat to score. He leads what is an underrated defensive group. And once Rooney gets back and Owen hits his peak (and mark my words, both will happen), England will feature the best tandem of strikers in the tournament. Oh, and if those reasons aren't enough, think that England's offense also features the likes of Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch, both players capable of making the difference in a game.

Sure, England doesn't have the best goaltending in the world, but I also believe they don't need it. In the end, there are a lot of teams that can aspire to capture the top spot in the world, but Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Italy and the US and all the others will fall short. The final will come down between Brazil, the grand favorites, and England. And when it's all said and done, the collective power of Lampard, Rooney, Gerrard, Owen, Beckham and Cole will prove too much for the individualistic prowess of Ronaldhino and Ronaldo.

Dwarf out.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Oilers lose game 4... and now will lose series in 5


With the series on the line, all the "powerful" Oilers offense could muster is 1 goal. Way to find a way win guys!

As far as I'm concerned, this series is over. On wednesday night, game 5 will be played, and I will be in front of my TV watching... the DVD's of the first season of Rescue Me. The fact is, the Oilers will not win 3 games in a row. They won't even bring this series back to Edmonton. They can't. Not with their offense as sloppy as it is right now. So, here it is: Congratulations to Carolina on their upcoming Stanley Cup win and to Rod Brind'OverratedSucker on his Conn Smythe trophy. But let's never forget: in their first series, they had to poke out Saku Koivu's eye to win. Against Buffalo, they needed the Sabres to lose 4 defensemen in the series to win. And against Edmonton, they had to wait for Roloson, the backbone of the team, to be out of the series to take control of it. So you know what, I take back those congratulations. This is a Stanley Cup they will have won but never merited.

I'm done talking about hockey here until the Free Agency period begins. Next post will deal with England's world cup chances.

See you later kids.

Dwarf out

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The story of Rod Brind'Amour...

I think I've made pretty clear in my last few posts the I am no fan of Rod Brind'Amour. Actually, I hate his guts. And if he died tomorrow, I would pop open a bottle of champagne (not because I truly want him to die, but because I wouldn't have to see his ugly rat face during otherwise enjoyable hockey telecasts). That being said, I never took the time to understand why he is so damn ugly. But today, ladies and gentlemen, I give you "The Story of Rod Brind'Amour", as told by one of the great storytellers of our time, Huy "Veillotron's Biatch" Nguyen. Enjoy!

"The tragic story of Rod Brind'amour began some 37 years ago. An honest woman was working as a lab technician. One night, a freak accident happened. She had been working a long shift, experimenting with drugs on a lab rat. Very tired, she injected the experimental drugs on herself instead of the rat, wihtout realizing it. Nine months later, a legend was born: Rod Brind'Amour. Half-man, half-rat, he would become the greatest coatail-rider in the history of the NHL.

As a kid, Rod seemed to be fixated on certain cartoon characters, namely Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse and itchy (from the simpson). His mother never quite understood where this came from. Later on, as Rod became a full-blown teenager, things got even more weird. One day, as she came home from a long day's work, Rod's mother caught him masturbating while reading a magazine on pest control. It was a special rodent edition.

Things would eventually turn out for the better for Rod. He would go on the marry his high-school sweetheart, a wonderful girl who used to work kids' parties during the summer while dressed up as Minnie Mouse. The couple would go on to have many children, all of whom would experience severe malnutrition issues due to a heavy diet of grilled cheese sandwiches, nachos and excessif mozarella on their pizza.

In the end, Rob would enjoy a terrific hockey career as his half-man, half-rat face would scare opposing players away, allowing him to make a career out of scoring garbage goals and winning faceoffs against centers too scared to get close to him.

The End."

I'll tell you, guys, this is a touching story. Still I hate Rod Brind'Amour. And he will one day burn in Half-Man/Half-Rat Hell.

Dwarf out.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Oilers crumble in 10,000 little pieces

Remember game 4 of the Ducks series? I said Edmonton played horribly in that game. Well, they played worse tonight. All the players talked the talk after Roloson got injured, saying they would play hard for any other goalie. Well, they lied. They looked like Canada's National Women's Hockey team tonight. Couldn't get shots on goal. Couldn't protect their own net. They couldn't do a goddamn thing. I can't wait for the headlines tomorrow saying how good Brind'Amotherfucker is.

The only thing redeeming about this game is Laraque running Andrew Ladd face first into the boards wth 3 minutes left. Laraque got 5 minutes, but who cares? It's just too bad the fucker who took Roly out of the series didn't break his neck.

At this point, with no more starting goalie, I see the Oilers winning one of 2 games at home and lose in 5. I just hope that when they go down, they go down killing 3-4 guys from Carolina. But after tonight, I don't give a fuck anymore. I am one pissed off Dwarf.

Dwarf out.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Hurricanes take game 1

I'll try to keep it short tonight, because, well, I'm exhausted. About the game: what a motherf****g good game. Of course, it didn't end the way I would've liked, but if this series continues to be played the same way, this will be the best Stanley Cup Finals in years.

With the Oilers leading 3-0 towards the end of the second period, I thought the game was pretty much in the bag. But I was wrong... way wrong. Still, don't believe the headlines. Doug Weight played once again heroically, yet Rod Brind'Ashit will get all the headlines again. The fact is, both of his goals were fluke goals, goals that even I could've scored: you know, the "Marian Gaborik-tap-in" type goals. But I digress. The real story of the game was not Doug Weight, nor was it Brind'Acrap. The real story of the game was Cam Ward. The kid made at least 3 extraordinary saves in the third, and clearly stole this game for his club. At the other end of the ice, Dwayne Roloson looked every bit like the backup goalie he has been throughout his career. Worse yet, he might be injured. With about 6 minutes left in the game, he had to leave and was replaced by Ty Conklin. Now, maybe fans in Edmonton will want to crucify him for the mistake behind the net, the one with 30 seconds left that cost the Oilers the game, but I don't. I feel really bad for the guy. He hasn't played in over a month, and bam!, he gets thrown in the Stanley Cup Finals, just like that, in game tied 4-4, with 6 minutes left. That's just not fair.

That being said, if Roloson is to be out, he now has the same opportunity that was given to Roloson upon being traded to the Oilers: the opportunity to define his career in a very little amount of games. Here's to hoping he makes a great impression!

See ya Wednesday kids...

Dwarf out

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hurricanes to face off against the Oilers for the Cup

Those who saw the game know it. Those who didn't wish they had. Last night, we were treated to another great game of hockey. Unfortunately, hockey is not wrestling, it's not fixed, so Buffalo came out on the losing end of things (now, wrestling being fixed, why does John Cena keep winning? He sucks!). I do not like Carolina, so now the Oilers HAVE to win the Cup. Buffalo had enough "cool factor" to them so that a Buffalo win against the Oilers wouldn't have been that bad. Still, it was a great game, and if there is a silver lining to Carolina winning, it's that they did it on the strenght of a great game by Doug Weight, one of my favorite players of all time.

Now, before I get to my predictions about the Cup Finals, here is a list of things I hate about the Hurricanes: Rod Brind'Amour, Them being named after a disaster of nature that strikes FLORIDA every year not North Carolina, them getting away with slashing Koivu's eye in the first round, Mike Commodore's playoff beard (playoff beards are cool, looking like a bear isn't), their fans being there for them only when they reach the Cup Finals, their coach (Laviolette sounds gay, end of discussion... not that there's anything wrong with that), and Rod Brind'Amour again.

As for my prediction, well, Edmonton will win it all, in 7 games. I believe that the long layoff will probably hurt the Oilers a bit at the start, but once they get back in their building, with the best fans in the league, they will find their game back in a big way. But it will be hard. As much as I don't like them, the Hurricanes have a good team. They are very strong and very deep offensively, so they will get goals by Roloson. Pronger and Jason Smith will eliminate the Staal line, and Steve Staios and Jaro Spacek should be able to contain the Brind'Amour/Stillman line. But the Hurricanes constantly roll 4 pretty good lines, so they will be able to get their chances, and they work hard around the net, so they'll get their goals. The line of Weight/Whitney/Recchi could explode against Marc-Andre Bergeron and Matt Greene. But if the Oilers can find a way to match up against them in another way, let's say with the line of Peca, then they could be able to contain them. But it will be a great challenge for McTavish, as Carolina has the deepest offense that the Oilers have faced in the postseason (Detroit, San Jose and Anaheim all relied mostly on 2 lines for goal scoring).

But the Oilers have been the most opportunistic team of the postseason. They have constantly capitalized on their chances. Opposing goalies, hot coming in, have gone cold in a big way in all 3 series. Why? Because the Oilers have fought harder than anyone else around the net. Smyth, Torres, Moreau, Pisani, Peca, Horcoff and Samsonov have been battling for loose pucks around opposing nets all playoffs long. Cam Ward is a rookie, and Ryan Smyth will give him headaches all series long. Oh, and also, no one has been able to stop Pronger's slap shot from the point, and Ward won't be able either. Carolina's defense, while big, is a bit soft, and they'll be no match for the Oilers' gritty attack. Edmonton's offense has gotten timely goals all throughout the playoffs, and that trend will continue.

In the end, I see Carolina winning the first 2 games at home, and then the Oilers winning 4 or the last 5. If Edmonton can manage to win of the first 2 (or even both), this series will be over in 5 or 6 games. Mark my words: Carolina will not win 1 game in Edmonton. Oddly enough, the Oilers, who had a below-.500 winning record at home during the regular season, will turn out to be the team that will have played the best on home ice during the playoffs. And when it's all sai and done, Pronger will be called a 'winner', Jason Smith will be recognized as a real 'leader', Ryan Smyth will be the only player aside fromScott Niedermeyer to have won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a World Championship, and... oh yeah, Dwayne Roloson will be looking for the biggest payday of his life.

Golf is on tap for me tomorrow... but not much else during the weekend. So I'll be writing again tomorrow or Sunday. I don't know what about yet, but it doesn't really matter, cuz it's all about the Comments. Power to my peeps!

Dwarf Out