Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Friday, May 07, 2004

WHY AMERICA LIKES W.

President Bush has not had a very easy time during the few months of his presidency. Continued fighting in Iraq and prisoner abuse should have sunk his popularity. But for the most part, Americans still like him because of his conviction and compassion. What compassion? Check out this touching story from the campaign trail in Ohio.
FEED THE OLSEN TWINS

From Seth...

"I'm starting a campaign to feed hungry children.
 
Look at these photos of two adorable but starving young girls.
 
You can help. Send them a cookie or a can of tuna. Better yet, send them Jack Osbourne."

Seth is almost right on, though, actually it's only Mary-Kate of the Olsen twigs with the weight problem. She made the cover of Star Magazine this week with her frightening thinness. You can also see the worst picture on the Star main page.
CAN'T GET YOUR HEAD AROUND IT WATCH

This one's not very surprising as what I usually put under this heading, but it still blows my mind. Why do people do this to animals? Are they lonely? Capitalistic driven business retards? What would posess somebody to fill their house with 70 ducks and various other animals, both dead and alive? I don't get it.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

ESPN NBA BIASED REVEALED

I've often talked about how ESPN only demands Slamma-Jamma-In-Yo-Face Action for Sportscenter highlights. Well now Pigpen has finally found proof...

"It's official now ESPN wants slamma-jamma-in-yo-face hoops. They admit it, they champion it. They complain about the Piston's and Spurs style of play all in the context of crappy TV ratings outside of San An and?Mich. Jerks!"

Simply, I don't get it. You play sports to win. To win you need a good defense. Suddenly when somebody wins with a great defense they cry foul. The whole idea of sports is to pit your mind and body against another under equal circumstances. That means half of the game is out-thinking and out-reasoning your opponent. As a basketball fan it enrages me to watch poorly coached teams like Sacramento or Dallas that can't put together a defensive stand. Just up and down and back and forth with everybody shooting 40% from the field. Sickening. That's not how you WIN. Basically, what they want is baseball without fielding, the New England Patriots relying only on the arm of Tom Brady, or the Red Wings of the mid 90's that would lose 8-6. To compete is to think, to think is to defend, and to defend is to win. That's how ALL sports are played, otherwise you're left with the true zzzzzz's of bowling and golf.
PRESIDENTS STOPPING BY I

From Seth...

"The President of the United States slept in the hotel connected to my building on Monday night. We couldn't park in the back lot all day (it was for the buses) and they had empty salt trucks blocking entrances. They were cleaning out his furniture still today (they have to tear up any room he stays in so local furniture dealers lend them a nice set every time they go somewhere). I went down there and hung about after work on Monday, chatting with FBI and our friends from the Treasury Department (seriously, these guys don't need guns - they could kill you with their frikkin' eyes) and trying to find a campaign representative to take my manilla folder outlining the article we're trying to get them to do with us. I had to leave an hour before the president arrived, but I got through and had two calls from the campaign today. I also learned today that they did background checks on everyone in my building. All told, they must have spent well over a million on the president's hotel bill. And just think, we would have let him crash at 308 for free."
PRESIDENTS STOPPING BY II

From James...

"As to the president crashing at 308, well that's up to debate.  I do think that many years ago olde W would have fit right in on the couch.  he claims he hasn't had a bender in years, and the debate over the sincerity of such a claim was debated 4 years ago.  so i am not encouraging any sort of argument here, just saying that for certain if we had a time machine, what we could accomplish..."
PRESIDENTS STOPPING BY III

From Seth...

"You know those homes all over the East Coast that have signs saying "George Washington slept here" or "Thomas Jefferson stopped here in 1802" etc.
 
I miss the days of yore when the President of the United States was still able to knock on a friendly door anywhere in the country, be given room and board, then subjected to Tondar giving a sermon while we tell stories about who was conceived on the coach he's sleeping on. I think back with fond memories upon those years in which the commander in chief was also just one more American getting broomed and cock blocked by Ken, fall under the spell of the Richards Rage, then end up passed out under a chair or pissing off the front porch at 11 a.m. for the good churchgoing folk of America to see. Bring back the days when our president still comingled with the American people, taking a hit from nipples or nipples jr. in the solarium, ripping cans in half in front of bums while shouting "you can't have any," hitting up ramdom parties with a friend and pretending to kick each other out, jumping the fence of Michigan Stadium and running from the cops, tipping over mailboxes, pouring cement into Nancy's gas tank, hitting freshmen with mops, and stealing cinder blocks from old people who collect cinder blocks. What ever happened to the man of the people?"

Right on! Though if we're really going to throw down with the President I think we shouldn't limit ourselves to George W. Though it would be great to see him jump through the wall while Seth is hooking up with a 35 yr old and scream, "You've been Bushwhacked!" I would also really like to see Tripper Ken and Bill Clinton fight it out in a charm battle for a 16 yr old from Livonia. And of course, don't forget the ultimate president to party with, Franklin Pierce. This is the man that said at the completion of his one term, "After the White House, what is there to do, but drink?" And then went on a 20 year bender.

Also it makes you wonder, who would be the most boring? Jimmy Carter?
THAT'S GOTTA STING!

How do you fall off a roof, catch 6 nails IN THE HEAD, and still live? This guy must have a guardian angel working overtime.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

FREE FILLUP AT MEIJERS

So if you swipe your Michigan drivers license at Meijers you can steal free gas. Unfortunately you leave your personal information in their computer.

From Seth...

"I know they're tracking down people by their drivers' licenses but really, how hard would it have been to grab Gayson's ID and fill up a few tanks. Okay, I kid. You all know what a pussy I am about breaking laws besides the speed limit. But I do appreciate it when the good people of Ann Arbor and Ypsi find a way to screw Meijer."
SAD DAY III

From Seth...

Looking to next year and beyond:

"This team, the collection of legends, won't be back. If there's a lockout, Hull and Yzerman could retire. Thomas and Chelios probably will anyway. Hull and Shanahan might not be back either way. I see the Wings' 10-year period of dominance as actually two separate eras:


  • 1995-1998 - Wings added Shanny, Malts, Drapes, et al. to home-grown core (Yzerman, Fedorov, Lidstrom, Osgood et al.), trading other core members for final pieces.

  • 1999-2004 - Wings added stars (and salary) like Chelios, Hull, Hasek, Robitaille, Lang, Schneider, Whitney, Joseph and Hatcher from teams that couldn't afford them by trading prospects and draft picks to keep the party going.
Fortunately, because of a knack for finding stars in the late rounds, the Wings shouldn't have to go through an unsuccessful period to re-build. They do, however, need to find a
superstar, a la Yzerman or Fedorov, which is no easy task.


Head Coach Dave Lewis could be the first to go. To Detroit fans he's like the Al Gore to Scotty Bowman's Clinton. His playoff record is abysmal; he's 1-2 in series versus Anaheim, Nashville, and Calgary. He never even got to face Western Conference's elites St. Louis, San Jose, Dallas or Colorado, let alone the East's powerhouse New Jersey. I don't know if he's a good coach or not - it's hard to judge a guy who inherits a $70-80 million Stanley Cup Champion team from the man who many consider the best coach of all time...in any sport. If he won cups the last two years, he still might not have gotten out of Bowman's shadow. This is what happens to guys who take legendary coachs' jobs.


Next year could be a lockout or another fruitless attempt by the old fellas to push the sun back into the sky. But if it wasn't before, the end is in sight now. Looking ahead, barring trades, the Wings aren't in that bad of shape if they're put under a salary cap.






Offseason Predictions:



Free agents:

Unrestricted: Hull, Shanahan, Holmstrom, Yzerman, Schneider, Hasek, Thomas, Chelios
Restricted: Dandenault, Fischer, Williams

It's tough to make any
predictions for the 2004-05 season because the potential lockout could
mean anything from business as usual, to a new salary cap, to no hockey
all. So I'll stick with the most sure things. First of all, Yzerman is
not done. I repeat, Yzerman is not done. He's said he's coming back. His
friends say he's coming back. I know he's 40, but Stevie was getting
faster every day he played this year. He's disappointed with how this
season ended and isn't going out this way. Yzerman is not done.


Shanahan and Hull, however, are probably heading out of town unless the
current CBA somehow gets reinstated. They both want to come back, but in
Shanny's case it would mean a large pay cut and considering what shape
Hull is in, he's done too. Shanahan is the harder one to let go; he's
been a cornerstone of the Wings' magnificent run since 1997 and should
go the Hall of Fame as a Red Wing, but he's too expensive, has lost a
ton of speed, and doesn't grind along the boards like he used to. Hull
is sad, too, but everyone but Brett could see that he was flailing late
in the season and his shot isn't what it was. The only way I see them
returning is if the Wings decide to have one more go at it with this
team and aren't under any financial constraints. I don't think it can be
done. Hasek said he wants to play next year, but the Wings have made it clear that it won't be in Detroit. Thomas was ready to retire this year before the Wings signed him to fill a roster spot during the injury plague; he knows it's time.


Holland's second-best blueliner, however, will be back. Schneider could
get a sweet deal considering his play this year, but the CBA thing could
temper that. Same goes for Draper, this year's hero, who Holland will do
all he can to keep. Some people think we could lose him to the "Lapointe
effect" but not with the CBA thing. Dandenault, Fischer and Williams
will be back for market value. Devereaux, who's already losing the speed
that made him a top 5 draft pick years ago, could likely be gone soon as
well.


As for pick-ups, this is really hard to judge because teams could go
into fire-sale in fear of the CBA or the Wings could get stuck under a
salary cap and not make any additions. Not that they need it; for a team
that almost never picks in the 1st or 2nd round, they've got one of the
best group of prospects coming up in the NHL. There's a log-jam in goal
right now with four prospects plus Lamothe (a Group VI free agent) so we
have room to trade.


The easy pick is at coach, if Lewis gets fired. Nobody's saying the
coach's salary will be part of the CBA so Ilitch could feel free to
spend to his heart's content. For some reason, a lot of people think
Mike Keenan is the guy for the job. But I was never particularly
impressed with Keenan, even though he's won a cup. He's better at taking
over a team, say, where we were when Bowman came in. However, the next
coach of the Red Wings needs to be able to help the Wings redevelop
their play in the neutral zone, put some fire in the remaining stars,
and, most importantly, help develop the franchise's young European
talent (Fischer, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Hudler, Kronwall, Grigorenko,
Filippula, et al.) Jacques Martin, the best in the business is a natural
fit for the team looking to re-invent itself. Ottawa had to let him go
because they actually do care how much the coach is paid. If they can
keep assistant coach Barry Smith, it'd be great, but he's going to be
someone's head coach soon. Kocur and the rest of the coaching staff have
served their terms.


Picking up a free agent this summer is a high risk operation, but it could also be the perfect time to stock up on deals. Ziggy Palfy, Alexei Kovalev, Michael Nylander, Brian Rolston, Steve Konowalchuk, Teemu Selanne, Josef Stumpel,  Keith Primeau, Mark Recchi, Alexei Zhamnov, Vincent Damphousse, Mike Ricci, Dave Andreychuk, Paul Kariya, and Grant Roberts are all Group III, IV, or V free agents this year. John Madden,
Eric Lindros, and Petr Bondra, like Shanahan, have options that might not be exercised. A bunch more restricted free agents, including Anson Carter, are also expected to hit the market. As the CBA cloud becomes clearer, we'll know if the Wings will make a move for any of these guys.


For our purposes here, I made my projected lineup considering that there was not an extended lockout but that in anticipation of a salary cap or like price control, the Wings didn't make any significant personnel moves in the offseason.






2004-05 Season

Coach: Jacques Martin

Captain: Steve Yzerman

Theme: Learn new transition game in transition season. Pray we play.


LW: Zetterberg Yzerman Maltby Mowers
C: Datsyuk Lang Draper Hudler (Williams)
RW: Whitney Holmstrom McCarty Robinson
LD: Lidstrom Woolley Dandenault (Kronwall)
RD: Schneider Hatcher Fischer (Rivers)
G: Joseph Legace


Big salaries: Lidstrom (10M), Joseph (8M), Hatcher (4M), Yzerman (6M),
Lang (5M), Schneider (~3.5M), Whitney (3.25M), Draper (~3M), McCarty
(2.25M)

Total Salary: $69 million

This is a more than
competitive team. It's pricey, though. Lose Shanahan, Hasek, Hull and
Thomas and you're down from $80 million to $59 million. However, if
there's a salary cap, they may have to make it all the way down to $45,
which means restructuring contracts or not re-signing Yzerman, Lidstrom,
and/or Schneider, which would be devastating. I like Mowers a lot - reminds me of Steve Thomas but younger. He filled in nicely for Draper this year and has that speed and defensive ability you need in the modern NHL, even if he's not a scorer. The defense is still beyond solid, with Kronwall ready to step in if any of the top 6 go down or
slip. Jiri Hudler should be able to make the transition to the NHL next year. He's small, but can make plays. Given how the playoffs went recently, though, he's going to have to kick it up two notches (a la Martin St. Louis) to make it. Shanahan hurts;  Nathan Robinson has that speed we've lacked as guys get older and should be able to crack the NHL lineup next year if he can put some muscle on. Williams is perennially just there.






And just for fun...






2005-06 Season

Coach: Jacques Martin

Captain: Kris Draper

Theme: Help is on the way


LW: Zetterberg Holmstrom Maltby Robinson
C: Datsyuk Lang Draper Hudler (Williams)
RW: Grigorenko Whitney McCarty Mowers (Filippula)
LD: Lidstrom Kronwall Dandenault (Meech)
RD: Schneider Hatcher Fischer (Rivers)
G: Legace Liv


Big salaries: Lidstrom (10M), Hatcher (6.5M), Lang (5M), Schneider
(~3.5M), Whitney (3.5M), Draper (~3.25M), McCarty (2.25M)

I did this
to discuss some of the prospects coming up who should be able to
contribute by 2005. Igor Grigorenko seemed destined to be this year's
Zetterberg or Datsyuk (only better) until he got in a major car accident. He was recovering in Russia this year and will play there again next year to get back on track. But when he comes over to America, don't expend Igor to spend too much time in Grand Rapids. He seems to have made a full recovery, looking like his old self at the end of this season, and this kid has future star written all over him. Nathan Robinson is a guy I like a lot because of his speed. He gets better every year. Filippula made a ton of progress in the minors this year. The Zetterberg-like center/winger, just 20 years old, will play in Grand Rapids next year and get a taste of the NHL before making an impact.
Derek Meech is another fast rise in the organization. He was a WHL star
this year and should be on the NHL team in a few years. Stefan Liv is the best of a number of future #1 goalies in our system. He paints weird things on his mask (like Brittney Spears or Spiderman) and didn't allow a goal in the European Elite League finals this year. That's right: not one single friggin' goal. A rebuilding year for all intents and
purposes, 2005-06 (after CuJo retires) is the year we're looking at for starting Manny and having Liv play a large share of NHL games as he preps for the #1 job. Liv will be in Grand Rapids this year.


Another interesting note is that without Yzerman and CuJo, the Wings' salary should be around $46 million counting the extra signings and raises and such. No wonder Ilitch is asking for a year of grace for the big-money franchises to meet any price controls.


Anyway, overall, I think the idea of a new group of Red Wings next year is a good one. We can't live off the laurels of '96 to '98 forever, even if it did bring us one more cup in '02. Patching holes with superstars eventually just turns you into the Rangers. The team needs a new identity; the "Pantheon of Stars" moniker is just getting too expensive. It was great while it lasted. Detroit was the most fun place to play in all of hockey for the last 10 years, and once grumpy ol' Bowman was gone, it was a sheer holiday. Maybe that's the problem. Regardless, by CBA, lockout, or just common sense, I think we've seen the last $80 million payroll for a few years. If they look to the future now, it won't be long before we're rolling in wins again. Let's not become a retirement home for the stars who just don't want to quit, except Yzerman. Give Detroit what he gave, and you can stay here until you're 80. "

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

HEY, WHA' HAPPENED!

So you're probably wondering "Hey Wha' Happened to Tondar the last few days?" Well I actually have been busy with various adventures and guests. Here's a little rundown of my weekend...

Friday

Friday started out with several phonecalls from friends wanting to hangout plus, I finally had an opportunity of employment. This was great, finally a jizzob! All I had to do was come in Monday fill out some paperwork at 3 pm and I would start Tuesday morning. Easy Enough. So that night I celebrated by going out to the movies (the one by Madison Square Garden). I saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." It was really a solid movie. Good story, and great character development. It was a romantic comedy you didn't mind seeing because Meg Ryan would never do anything this intelligent and clever. Following the movie I came home and went straight to bed.

Saturday

The next morning I got up early, had breakfast, and made my way to the Brooklyn museum, all before 11am. I wanted to see it since they advertise it on the subway often. However, it was rather lame. There was only one cool piece, a futuristic painting about a ruined NYC called "Manifest Destiny." It looked very similar to a Max Earnst style painting. However, it created 3 vanishing points of perspective within the frame without disrupting realism of the piece as a whole. So depending on the angle, you would see a different part of the flooded NYC sky/waterline. Very cool.

Afterwards I made my way to Manhattan for the wings game. I started drinking at 3 and by 9 I was well in the bag and depressed over the 0-1 loss. Then halfway through dinner the afternoon of happy hours caught up with me and I had to go home RIGHT AWAY. Luckily there wasn't any puking and everything turned out alright (that I remember).

Sunday

Well Sunday I was supposed to get together with a friend from school or a friend from Turkey when this looked like it was about to fall through I ended up doing laundry. And then finally at 9:30pm I get a call from my friend Dana, whom I met in Turkey. She had missed her flight and wanted to hang out. So we ended up hitting the bars and chatting it up. Dana is really cool and adventurous. Plus she's the only person I really know with more balls than Tondar. How do I know this? She is taking off to Morocco to teach English to muslim teenagers to give them something to do besides becoming terrorists. We both really enjoyed Turkey. However, Tondar has been to Morocco. The Turks may be a little backwards especially since they cannot understand the whole idea of toilet paper, but at least they have plumbing! Morocco is so backwards they don't even have traditional toilets. The streets are a mess and you have to watch EVERY step, because "them poops be too big for dog."

Well anyways, I finally ended up stumbling home at 6 am, only to find the apartment full of natural gas because the pilot went out...again. I ended up waking up the roomey struggling to get the thing relit at that not so wee small hour. Luckily nobody had a headache or suffered braindamage.

Monday

The next day I dragged my butt out of bed and started to get ready for my 3 o'clock appointment. When I finally turned on the Phondar, it turns out the employment agency suddenly decided to move up our appointment. But since I didn't get the message until 1:30 it was too late. They then insisted I come in anyways because their might be other work for me. So I piled onto the G-train only to find that somebody had taken a dump in one of the cars. I hate this city. Then on the L-train a group of punk ass teenagers were about to throwdown on some hardcore gangsta lookin' dude that Tondar certainly wouldn't mess with. I really hate this city. Then on the 5-train, the darn thing stalled 537 feet (because that's what it said out the window) from my final destination so our train just sat there on the tracks...waiting...for...nothing! I REALLY REALLY hate this city. Finally I went and filled out their mountain of paperwork only to learn they didnt have a job for me. It's ironic that I am the only one capable of making and holding an appointment yet I'm the one unemployed. The only consolation is that it's probably a good thing that I don't work for these boobs. I can just envision this thing becoming another Falcon Group catastrophe.

Then to top it all off the job I was really gunning for called to inform me they had filled the position and that my resume would be kept on file.

That's comforting.

I think I finally know how Napolean felt after he had fought his way to Moscow, only to have the thing burned out from underneath him. I hate this city, UGH!
A SAD DAY II

From Seth...

"Oh Wings.

Great, untouchable, historic 

Old, tired, injured

Outplayed, clipped, burned

The adjectives for these Red Wings are as plentiful as their collective accomplishments and their collective incomes.

The last decade has been a dream that few franchises get to experience. But dreams don’t last forever. You knew this day would come.

A year ago, stinging from a four-game sweep by then-lowly Anaheim in the first round, I chastised the Red Wings for letting this happen to them. They tried too little, took too many periods off, waited for the bounces to come their way instead of making them happen. And in the end, even if they had the talent, the other guys wanted it that much more.

So it would be easy to fall back into that same mode. There were times, moreso in the first round than the second, that the Wings were sitting back. And there were games against Calgary that should have gone the other way. For Game 3 I will, to my dying day, blame the officiating. There’s bad, there’s really bad, and then there’s Game 3. As for lack of effort, the Flames were half-dead for the first half of Game 1. But instead of demoralizing them, the Red Wings sat back and tried to get a feel for their opponent. Calgary was allowed off the ropes. And we had a series.

But Calgary was the better team for the rest of it. Keeping the Wings off the scoreboard for seven successive periods means giving a type of effort that’s usually reserved for Marines. They were relentless on the fore-check. They finished every hit. When the refs backs were turned (and sometimes when they weren’t), they found ways to interfere with, whack at, or otherwise ruin the shift of every star with a winged wheel. The Wings? All they managed to do was control Iginla. Woo...frikkin...hoo.

Why have so much respect for Calgary? They played like the Wings – at least the old Wings who won cups in the late ‘90s. You say you can’t coach speed? Well, apparently you can, because the Flames had it. Every time the Wings went to clear the puck, there was a Flame reaching the boards just in time to keep it in. Every time the Wings gained the zone 2 on 2, it was a Calgary forward who was next to jump into the play. Every time Datsyuk went to make a move, three defenders would converge on him. Every time the Wings dumped the puck in, a Calgary defenseman got to it first with time to make an uninterrupted pass. Every time Calgary dumped the puck in, a Wing defender would end up battling with it behind the boards.

Was Kiprusoff great in this series? Well, a bit. There’s small difference between lucky with your team playing great defensive hockey and great. Kippy didn’t make any really tough stops. He did get lucky an awful lot, however. The Red Wings had a number of scoring chances in yesterday’s game and in 3rd periods throughout the series that ended up amounting to diddly. It was things that just don’t happen to the Wings. Shanny couldn’t get the puck up. Hull’s bottom-of-the-circle sniper slapshot was off target. Holmstrom couldn’t get his stick to tip the shot. Zetterberg and Datsyuk could make three great moves to create a scoring chance, then have their sticks lifted or the puck knocked away before getting the shot off.

Watching this series, you wouldn’t know which team was the “skilled” one. For all the talk of playing hard or playing with heart that went on around Calgary, their passes were tape to tape. Datsyuk would come up with the puck then get unceremoniously shoved to the ice by the Flame defenders. While the Wings moved down the ice with a rubber jumping bean bouncing before them, Calgary sticks had control of the puck. Their wingers were back to the defensive zone in time to start a rush through the neutral zone every time the Wings failed to get the puck in the zone. If these guys ever developed a scoring touch, this series would have been over in a hurry.

So is this just that the Wings didn’t try? Not really. For most of this series, the Wings were pushing and you could tell. They came out of the locker room flying and determined. Their penalty killing was tenacious – about the best I’ve ever seen in the postseason. They just couldn’t keep up.

Which is worse. Don’t take me wrong, last year was a lot harder to take than this year. But you can fix effort. You can’t fix time.

How long have they said the Wings are too old? Like every other Wings fan, I dismissed the notion every time. But can it possibly, finally, be true?

Watching this series, the sad truth is yes. Brett Hull was supposedly fighting an injury. But he’s been slowing down since mid-season. His shot has lost a few mph. The luster has left the Golden Brett. Yzerman played his heart out until that puck to the face. He’ll be back next year, lockout or no. But even as his speed returned all season, he’s going to be 40 next year. Shanahan was ineffectual all series. Last night, on a penalty kill, Shanny picked up a puck knocked to center ice with no-one in front of him but a suddenly nervous Kiprusoff. But he was so slow in getting the engine started, Calgary’s power play guys didn’t even need to foul him to catch up and steal the puck before it reached the blue line. He’s in his late 30s. He doesn’t bang along the boards like he used to. And his contract is up this season. This could be it – really. Chelios was playing like a man possessed during the second half of the Nashville series. But after leaving with an arm injury in Game 2, he didn’t return. This is the guy who once played with a broken collarbone. He’s 41. This could be it.

At the end of last night, Kris Draper started making moves around Calgary’s defenders that made my father remark, “he looks like Sergei Fedorov.” Which got me thinking – if 91 was in the lineup, would we have beaten Calgary? Unless you’re so blinded by Fedorov spite to see it, the answer’s obvious: yes! If you were wondering what happened to that fast-paced precision speed hockey that the Wings used to play, it’s because its centerpiece is now driving hot cars around Southern California (and not playing in the playoffs). The great Wings teams worked because when they were down, they had Yzerman to say “go win one for the gipper” and then Fedorov to get it accomplished. Oh, Lang has Sergei’s scoring touch and Whitney almost has his speed, but for all the accolades on our roster, he’s the only guy who could have taken control of this series. He’s the one who could have worn down their best defenders so that Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Yzerman would have the space to pucky wizzle (what they were calling Dasyuk’s puckhandling).

But Fedorov’s gone – by no fault but his own. Cujo, I think, finally has the hearts of Wings fans – nobody with half a brain could ever accuse this series’ loss on him. While Kippy was taking distance dribblers into his chest from the Wings, Cujo was facing wraparound after 2-on-1 after centered one-timer after breakaway and stopped them all. Losing the last two games 1-0, the latter after 19 minutes of overtime, pretty much shows that this was the offense’s offense.

Funny, The Wings have no problems on defense, which is what everyone was saying when we signed Hatcher. Draper was the hands-down hero for the Wings this year – from scoring the first goal of the playoffs when Nashville had shut the Wings out for two periods, to almost putting the winning mark in last night, all while neutralizing Iginla. 2003-04 was a career year for Drapes, who wore an “A” on his jersey last night to replace the “C” on Yzerman’s jersey that didn’t travel with the team. It could still be Lidstrom, but I think the dark horse candidate Draper has locked up the position of #19’s heir apparent. Maltby played his typical all-out effort. Lidstrom was his Iceman self on the blue line. Schneider’s play last night made the Norris snub that much more evident. Hatcher, although responsible for a few lapses this postseason, was the hard-hitting behemoth we knew him to be.

The dream that was the 1995-2004 Red Wings is coming to an end. And in that twilight between asleep and awake, you think you might have just enough time to steer the plot towards the conclusion you desire. But quickly it fades away, incomplete, and never to be touched again."

Actually these great Wing's teams started kicking butt in 1994 when they were a #1 seed and lost to a lowly expansion team from San Jose in 7. This was of course when Osgood was a back up before even Vernon showed up on the scene. But we certainly paid our dues with losses to San Jose, New Jersey, and the formation of the Colorado rivaly before finally winning the cup in 1997, which made it all that much sweeter. *sigh*

In a way, the end of this era is like breaking up with a really cool girlfriend. You had some good times and beautiful moments (Bowman years). But you also had some bad times, dissapointment and heartbreak, especially towards the end (Lewis years). So in the end you find yourself starting over with a bit of excitement of just what exactly comes next. But at least you have the good times and banners to carry with you.
MONA LISA'S SURGERY

It looks like they might have to do some restoration work on the Mona Lisa. It seems she is starting to warp so they are going to X-Ray her and find out where exactly the problem is before they reinforce her structure or touch up her paint.

Recently I was reading an article in the print edition of the NYTimes and it mentioned her smile. The reason it looks so funky is that it's not really a smile. Leonardo had often studied anatomy so when he went to do this portrait he painted the muscle's surrounding her mouth in a smiling position. However, he left the mouth plain and serious. This accounts for the great mystery of her unnatural but attractive expression.

Secondly, the article wasn't quite accurate about Leonardo...

"Leonardo da Vinci worked brilliantly, and he knew perfectly well the evolution of materials," Pomarede said. "She's 500 years old and if we preserve her properly she will still be there 500 from now."

He was brilliant, so brilliant in fact that he would try to experiment with different pigments and forms of painting. Thus his last supper in Milan (and his battle of Anghiari) was a fresco painted on the wall instead of into the wall. And over time it has begun to fade and fall off the wall, unlike the traditional frescoes of Michelangelo or Raphael. However, in the last 50 years Art History and restoration have become real sciences where works of art can be touched up and cleaned without damaging or replacing the artist's original work. Often times in the past, painting's have been "restored" by somebody simply trying to paint right over the original. Now these layers can be removed and the original artist's work can be perfectly restored thanks to modern chemicals and methods. Thus we can now see The Sistene Chapel or Florence's Duomo exactly as they were painted 500 years ago.
A SAD DAY

There's no joy in Hockeytown today for the Redwings have blown it again. Mitch Albom has a good reflection on this year's playoffs and the future of the Wings. I would agree with his basic assumption that they just looked flat and got outplayed. Though I didn't see game 6, I'm sure it was similar to game 5, where they reminded me of the '95 team as it got swept by New Jersey in the Finals. The Wings could hardly get the puck past center ice, and when they did they could hardly get a decent shot off.

And though things may be gloomy downtown, at least we have the Pistons rockin' the suburbs out in Auburn Hills. Last night they sent a message to a different New Jersey team deserving paybacks, beating them 78-56. They held the Nets to the second lowest point total of any playoff team in NBA history. So lets turn our attention north and celebrate the coming of a new Bad Boy era. And try not to dwell on the dim future of Hockeytown.

Monday, May 03, 2004

HOW MUCH FOR YOUR STAR FORWARD?

From Seth...

"That's right, you can book a sports hero to do most anything you like. And while
it'll be a pretty penny to get Michael Jordan to your next office party, they
claim they can get a lot of guys for cheap that you only might have kind of
heard of.

So I was thinking - let's try this out. Let's get a quote for how much it would
take to get Bob Probert to Nancy's house and give the whole Nancy troupe a
lecture on snortin' blow! It'd be classic!"

Can you imagine the headlines from that one: "Probert Assaults Ann Arbor Teens." Though if we're sending Bob Probert after Nancy we should buy him some Cisco first and show him how to run a "T-Train." Wouldn't Nancy drop a deuce in his Gucci skibbies if he saw that one coming?
ONE OF THE BEST

From Seth...

"I got in my car early Friday morning as I've done so many other mornings - dead tired from 4 or fewer hours of sleep - to make the treck from Ann Arbor to the northern suburbs before the morning commute jammed my path. And like so many mornings, when I switched the radio on while merging onto M-14 from U.S. 23, there was Bob Edwards' Morning Report.
 
Except this was the last time.
 
Edwards was moved out by the network for "fresher blood," unceremoniously dumped after almost 25 years of steady reporting without bias, malice, or sensationalism. He was not controversial, but neither was he devoid of an opinion. He was, simply, an excellent journalist - one whom those of us who still believe in the journalistic ideal strived to be like.
 
I don't know the exact reason why he was transferred out of the show of which he has been the only host. I do know he wasn't happy to be leaving. And I do know that when the fresher blood does arrive, the voice will likely provide fine fuel for highbrow water cooler debates that have become incessently partisan since Edwards did his first broadcast. But the voice won't be Edwards', and neither is it likely to be a cool voice of reason over the day's news at a time when television news channels hire marketing majors over journalists or claim that "fair and balanced discussion of the issues" describes two mud-slinging extremist rhetoricians in an quasi-intellectualized Jerry Springer forum."