Tag-Archive for ◊ Sidney Crosby ◊

16 Apr 2012 That Really Chaps My Hide: Playoff Pet Peeves

The playoffs have arrived and thus so have the pet peeves of this goddess.  Surprisingly it’s not the players and the excessive violence but the sportscasters and announcers that are grating on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Here are just a few items that are getting my goat this year:

  • The stat du jour mentioned durning just about every game:  “That was ‘so-and-so’s’ first playoff goal in ‘x’ number of years.”  I’ve heard this multiple time this year. It’s almost always referring to a player who, for example, has played on horrible teams that either didn’t make it to the playoffs or were defeated in the first round, and hence have only played say, six playoff games in the past five years.  How is that statistically significant for an individual player?   Same with the assertion that a goalie, like Jose Theodore, hasn’t had a shutout in the playoffs in*gasp* 8 years.  Guess what?  You can’t stop goals from the golf course.
  • Talking about the unacceptable headhunting and retaliation without mentioning Todd Bertuzzi, the man you single handedly ended not only Steve Moore’s career, but eliminated any chance for him to live a normal life.  Has everyone forgotten the biggest thug  of all?
  • Mike Milbury talking about honor, and lack thereof.  This coming from the man who I witnessed climb in the crowd and beat a fan – with the fan’s own shoe!
  • Pierre McGuire name-dropping.  We’re all really impressed that Wayne Gretzky texted you personally to tell you some arbitrary and obvious fact about the series you happen to be covering that day.  There’s a reason McGuire’s one of the most disliked announcers in hockey.
  •  Not criticizing the poster child of the NHL, a.k.a. Sidney Crosby.  The entire first melee began because Crosby slashed Bryzgolov’s glove not once, not twice, but three times after he clearly had it covered.  Also, describing Sidney’s needless grabbing of Hartnell’s jersey and tugging at him when Hartnell clearly didn’t want to get involved, as “wrestling between Crosby and Hartnell.”  Come on, we can all see what happened. Pictures don’t lie.  Stop sucking up to the league and waiting for the network to give you permission to say something even slightly negative about him.

All this and we’re not even halfway through the first round!  Have any of your own pet peeves these playoffs?  I want to hear them!

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04 Jul 2010 Alexander Burmistrov ‘So Happy’ to be a Thrasher

Alexander Burmistrov

Alexander Burmistrov shows off his new jersey.

Budding Russian star Alexander Burmistrov, who was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers admitted he was very happy with this.

“I’m so happy,” he told Russia’s SportExpress.ru.

With their selection of Burmistrov in the first round, the Thrashers once again dip into a pool of extremely talented Russian players. The organization, no doubt, hopes Burmistrov can blossom into goal scorer, like his predecessors Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov. So who is this newest Russian to join the Thrashers? We know he was taken in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft (8th overall pick). We know he is smallish — at just 5’11″ and 157 pounds, but that is sure to change as he grows and gets older. Some quotes from the man himself might help illuminate his character. (Quotations translated from Russian by Goddess Thorkhild.)

I knew that Atlanta was interested in me. We had interviews both in Toronto, and already here. But I was quite agitated. Since the very morning.

Question: What do you know about Altanta?

It’s very hot there. This city is called “Hotlanta,” isn’t it? By the way, the first NHL game I saw live was Toronto-Atlanta.

Question: Are you going to seek advice from [former Thrashers] Ilya Kovalchuk or Slava Kozlov?

No, why? I will go and see myself.

Question: If you can’t manage to crack Atlanta’s first team, what are you going to do?

I won’t come back to the Kontinental Hockey League for sure. The KHL is a good league, but I’m in the mood to play here [in North America] and I don’t want to take steps back.

Alexander Burmistrov

Alexander Burmistrov wearing No. 10 for 2010 (but does Bryan Little know he's got his number?).

Burmistrov also gave an interview to the AllHockey.ru. Here are the most interesting bits.

When I went to the stage [at the NHL Entry Draft] I didn’t understand anything, I was in a coma-like state. When I was on stage, [NHL Commissioner] Gary Bettman welcomed me, then I started to recover.

I had my parents, my brother, two agents, the agent’s daughter, and Vanya Telegin [Ivan Telegin, whom the Thrashers selected in the fourth round] with his mother and parents with me. We are on good terms, so we sat in one sector. And I’m very glad Atlanta selected him too.

I was rather surprised during the photoshoot. When they were taking a photo of me standing with a puck, they told me, “Show us who you are.” I thought it was rather strange.

During my time in Los Angeles I went to a beach, to Universal studios. It was fantastic, I can’t explain it with words. Then I went to Disneyland. When my agent and I walked around the center, I suddenly say a man in white running towards us. When he reached us, I knew he was Sidney Crosby! Simply running in the center of L.A. He was the only celebrity I saw there.

* For more on Alexander Burmistrov, be sure to check out Goddess Kaatiya’s pre-draft profile of him.

Photos: Alexander Burmistrov draft day portraits from Getty Images.


28 Jun 2010 Draft Day – Perspective From a Goddess

Team scouts fill the floor of the Staples Center on draft day.

Well, it’s been a whirlwind two days for this goddesses, with non-stop draft action.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  This is by far my favorite NHL event.  To see these young kids having their dreams come true is just awesome.  Sure, some will make it to The Show, others may not, but this weekend, those that are selected by an NHL organization have every chance to play professional hockey.  My only regret is that goddess Kaat was not here to share in the excitement.

Mr. Goddess and I went down the hotel lobby just before noon to see an anxious Pierre McGuire.  Most of the media were already checking out, as they would only be there for the first day.  Mr. Goddess approached him and asked if he was ready for a big day.  He responded with “It’s already been a big day.”  By then, rumors of a Ballard trade with the Canucks were widely circulating.

While the draft didn’t start until 4PM local time in Los Angeles, doors opened at 2PM so we went down to Casey’s, an Irish pub and bar just down the street from the Biltmore.  More agents and consultants were on hand, trying to get a bit to eat.  Phones were ringing and guys were looking stressed out.  I noticed they all ordered salads.  Ah, the joys living on the road and eating the food that goes with it.

Just before 2PM we hopped on one of the buses that the hotel was providing for the Biltmore and Hilton.  Just a few staff members were on the bus, as well as a handful of Russians that I assume were team staff as well.   Upon our arrive to the Staples Center, we began to see prospects and agents filing in.  Most of the scouting staffs were already set up and were already at work.

Finding a seat wasn’t bad even though we were relegated to the 3rd level with the rest of the commoners.  Going to see the NHL draft on a beautiful Friday evening in LA isn’t a big attraction for most Californians.  However, I was disappointed that they didn’t at least have a flyer with the final prospect rankings to give the fans.  Although I followed many of the prospects closely, I hadn’t memorized the rankings and it would have been nice to give people something to look off of – at a small cost.

Taylor Hall becomes an instant celebrity after being chosen first overall

We watched with great anticipation for the first pick.  It was no surprise that Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin were picked one and two.  For most, seeing the first pick is the highlight of the day.  Instantly, Taylor became a celebrity and had a small mob following him around, asking for autographs and photos.

I’ll talk about specific picks in a follow-up post, but suffice to say there were some surprises, including Stanislav Galiev not being picked in the first round.

The pace of a professional draft is slow, so the NHL tried to show general profiles of the kids and some other little snippets of interviews.  These were actually very entertaining, and there certainly would have been plenty of time to show perhaps a more detailed profile on each pick with interview clips and narrated highlights -  a thought for future drafts.

The interviews were short compilations where they would ask kids a question and show several answers.  It was a great way to get to know these prospects and I found myself pulling for a couple of kids based on their answers.

The newly dedicated "Rush" star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame - Maybe Alex Petrovich visited it too.

One such interview clip asked the question “If you could play in any band, what would it be?”  Alexander Petrovich, who was eventually taken by Florida (man did they have a lot picks this year) said “Rush!”  It warms me to see the younger generations discovering such a classic group.  Oh, Alexander, you have a couple of fans for life in the goddesses.

Another “awww” moment came when prospects were asked what was one thing they couldn’t live without.  Among the “iPod” and “xbox” answers was Phoenix Coyotes pick goalie Louie Domingue’s awesome response.  “My cats,” he said. “I love my cats.”  He has officially earned a spot in my heart.  Who doesn’t love an emo French-Canadian boy?

After everyone had been picked, we sneaked down to speak briefly to Ron Delorme, old friend and chief scout of the Canucks.  The scouting staff had had a quiet day as they had traded their first round pick to Florida in a trade that gave them Keith Ballard.  Ron admitted it hadn’t been a very exciting day for the scouting staff and they’d do a lot of sitting the next day as their first pick now wasn’t until the 4th round.

Fourth overall pick Ryan Johansen outside the Staples Center

Leaving the arena, most people had left but we did run into Ryan Johansen, the 4th overall pick by Columbus.  He was still on an adrenaline high, so I stopped to chat for a few seconds and snap a picture.  He said he was super excited to be drafted by Columbus.   He had been courted by them and fell in love with the organization and said he was totally psyched to have been picked by them.  In fact, he was so excited he asked me to take a picture with him.  He really wanted to share his excitement.  What a great day for a great kid.

While waiting for the bus we saw another mob scene.  It turned out to be Sidney Crosby literally being chased by a large group of autograph seekers.  He was smiling, waving and signing as he rushed to his limousine.  It was oddly reminiscent of a movie star being caught outside a restaurant.  I’ve gotta give it to the kid – he’s got it down.

The ride back to the hotel was interesting, as I ran into Slava Malamud from Washington D.C.  For those of you who don’t know him, he’s the bald guy with glasses that interviews all the Russians in D.C. in the locker room.  He works for Sport-Express and was there for the first round before running up to San Jose to cover a fight.  We talked about Russia, Moscow and the Russian language.  I have to say, he was a great guy.  There was absolutely no pretense or attitude that many members of the media have and I really enjoyed our conversation.  No wonder he’s so successful.

After getting back to the hotel and downloading some pictures, an exhausted duo headed to dinner at an expensive seafood restaurant near the hotel, then back to Casey’s for a drink.  There, we saw three of the Thrasher’s scouting staff.  I stopped on my way back to our table that was right next to theirs and congratulated them on picking Alexander Burmistrov.  Maybe the day hadn’t gone how they planned, but they looked at me as if I was from Mars, arms crossed and sarcastic responses to my questions.  Maybe it’s because I was woman, and we certainly don’t know anything about hockey.  Or perhaps they’re such celebrities that they get bothered all the time and get tired of the attention.  Maybe, it’s because they’re the peons of the scouting staff.  Whatever the reason, my 30 second conversation clearly was something they had no tolerance for.  It’s too bad, because the Thrasher’s already have problems with getting fans.  You think they might at least humor one of their few supporters.

The night ended far too late as we had to get up and do it all again early the next day, but it was lots of fun.  So much so, I think I’ll try to do it again next year.  This time – with goddess Kaat in tow.

Photos:  NHL Entry Draft weekend by Goddess Sasha. Copyright 2010.  All Rights Reserved.


17 Feb 2010 Goddesses Square Off

The Hockey Goddesses have thrown their hats into the ring, dropped the gloves, gone mano-a-mano … er, well, something like that, to bring you our Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey predictions. (We’d have done women’s hockey too, but were a little late in starting and they’ve already played too many games — given us a bit too much of a preview.)

So, herewith, and without consulting one another are our picks — a few bold ones in there. We’ve also picked our tournament MVP and a players we expect to surprise you — maybe for good or bad. Amy selected two possible MVPs — we’ll let her get away with that, but just this once. She also selected a second set of winners — BEEP — not gonna happen. You gotta go with your gut. So for the purposes of this table, it’s first instincts. For the record, Goddess Amy said her table would look different if the goalies wigged and stunk. For the purposes of our exercise, we are assuming everyone is firing on all cylinders. Maybe we’ll do the all-oops team picks tomorrow. Ha ha!

Anyway, let’s see who comes closest … and see if you agree with our picks. If not, tell us why.

AmyRussia Canada
SwedenJarome Iginla or Alex OvechkinBobby
KaatCanadaRussiaU.S.A.Canadian fansRyan Miller
SashaSwedenCanadaRussiaPeter ForsbergLoui Eriksson
SavvyRussiaCanadaCzechEvgeni NabakovDavid Krejci
** It should be noted all picks were in before the men’s tournament began.
** Kaat selected the people of Canada as MVPs. Not only being a proud kid of a Canadian mom, but also she thinks they will push the Canadian team past the Red Machine. Selecting a player, she’d go with Sidney Crosby. How Cliché !


16 Mar 2009 Avery, Ovechkin and Other NHL Muzzlings.

Yesterday, Sean Avery scored 2 goals and received 1st star of the game.  He also had 5 hits, and a goalie interference penalty.  Clearly, the Rangers are as good for Avery as he is for them.  Has he “rehabbed?”  One can only hope not too much.  His personality is part of what makes him the player he is.  And in a sport that his struggling for US viewership, is his controversial personality really *that* bad of a thing?

But it doesn’t stop at Avery.  Last night’s Coaches Corner’s Don Cherry effused at the fact that Ovechkin has toned down his over-exuberant goal celebrations (all the while taking credit for being the one leading to it after his anti-Ovechkin-celebration Coaches Corner a couple of weeks back).   While many of us think there is an awful lot of Ovechkin Overload going on right now, to muzzle him and his celebrations is detrimental to the game.  HIs celebrations (of not just his goals, but of teammates as well) get the rest of the team excited, which in turn gets the crowd excited and creates new hockey fans that happen to see what kind of excitement hockey can bring.

Ilya Kovalchuk pointing at Sidney Crosby in the penalty box after scoring a power-play goal a couple years back was pricesless, as was Slava Kozlov chirping at Ulf Sammuelson after scoring a shootout goal against Phoenix, sending coach Wayne Gretzky into fits of rage.  Let’s face it.  American’s like drama.  We like scandal. The world would be a boring place if we just all got along and sent each other flowers after hockey games.

Now I know some hockey elitists are going to argue that such celebrations and taunting are the “gateway drug” to further misbehavior such as illegal gun-toting and off-ice violence (and yes, I have heard this argument many times) and that hockey will lose it’s appeal to the intellectuals who can look past the fighting and actually enjoy the game.  I argue that competitive sports bring out primitive instincts in people, and we really should be worrying more about ridding the game of head shots, cheap shots and abusive stick fouls rather than who said what about whose girlfriend and what the appropriate level of celebration of a goal is.

On a personal note, I played in my own high-level, intensity filled game.  A rivalry quickly developed between two former Division I NCAA players.  A bit of smack talking on the ice led to a penalty and one of my teammates scoring and immediately skating by the other teams bench, mocking them and the penalty.  The fans were soon in an uproar, and the opposing coach nearly blew a gasket.  The rest of the game was nasty, but never lost it’s intensity and we won by a single-goal margin.  Let me tell you, nothing compares to the energy that brings.  No harm, no foul.

04 Mar 2009 Hockey Drama – Nothing Like It!

Yes, the trade deadline is upon us. By this time tomorrow we will see many teams completely changed. While we all are going to have a few “they did what?” moments about our favorite team, and some of us are going to shed a tear for our non-playoff contenders who will inevitably been blown apart, but I have to admit, I still love the excitement trade deadline brings.

If we’re talking about drama, we can’t ignore that the Drama Queen himself is back in the league.  Am I the only one that is actually glad to see Avery back?  I hope they haven’t beaten the personality out of him. Does he go too far sometimes? Perhaps. But I do enjoy a bit of drama he brings to the squeaky-clean NHL. What will be more interesting is to see how John Tortorella, who said Avery shouldn’t be allowed to play in the NH after his incident in December, handles him.

Speaking of hockey drama, I am digging Ovechkin and Crosby’s little tiff. People around the league are picking sides, with no clear-cut majority. A little rivalry never hurt anyone, in my opinion. Don Cherry? I agree with you many, many times, but I have to side with Bruce Bourdreau on this one. You’re just wrong. Let the guys celebrate. Let them have fun. Give the American fans the excitement they want. It is about entertainment after all, isn’t it?

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