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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

From The Boston Globe 28 August:

NESN revamps its hockey team
By Bill Griffith | August 28, 2005

These are busy days at NESN, the TV home of the Red Sox and Bruins.

Red Sox ratings are up significantly across the board over last year's championship season, including pregame, postgame, and game telecasts.

And after a year without the NHL, the Bruins are set to begin a season that promises all sorts of changes. The league is changing the product on the ice; and NESN is changing its product on the screen with more high-definition telecasts, a new studio at the TD Banknorth Garden, and new on-air talent.

The on-air changes haven't been finalized, but in talking with a number of broadcasters and agents, this seems to be where NESN is headed:


Analyst Andy Brickley will work all games, instead of just road games.


Road play-by-play broadcaster Dave Shea, who is in Washington working the Nationals' baseball radio broadcasts, won't be returning.


Home game analyst Gord Kluzak will move into the studio analyst rotation.


Studio analysts Rick Middleton and Barry Pederson are slated to come back, with invitations out for Hall of Famer Ray Bourque and soon-to-be-inducted Cam Neely.

That leaves openings for a studio host, a road play-by-play announcer, and an ice-level reporter.

Two Boston TV executives noted that the increased workload gives Brickley the chance to become the ''Jerry Remy of Bruins Nation."

How will NESN fill the rest of its hockey rotation? This is where we move into the realm of speculation. NESN has found that going with one broadcast team in baseball (Remy and Don Orsillo) has worked well, so it's not a reach to think it'll go that route with hockey.

Trouble is, home play-by-play man Dale Arnold also has a day job as cohost of WEEI radio's midday ''Dale & Holley" show. It would be hard for the network to find fault with his attitude or game preparation; he comes directly to Causeway Street after his show to get ready for broadcasts.

But there's no shortage of other hockey announcers already at NESN. Orsillo, Tom Caron, Eric Frede, Corey Masse, and Bob Neumeier all have done hockey play-by-play, and all love the game. In the past, NESN has been inclined to promote from within. It will be interesting to see how the slots fill up. WEEI's old ''Dale & Neumy" team, reunited at NESN? Who knows?

What is certain is that announcements will be coming soon. The season opens Oct. 5, and plans are in place to televise at least one exhibition game.

NESN hockey producer Doug Wheeler deferred all questions of on-air personnel to network management, but he was willing to talk about telecast plans.

''We'll do all the Bruins' home games in HD, and we'd like to do all the road games, too," said Wheeler. ''The limiting factor is the availability of HD production trucks. Sometimes we forget NESN was in the forefront of the HD movement and that other markets are still getting their toes wet."

A new studio at the Garden will be a welcome addition for the studio crew.

''When it was in Legends [the FleetCenter restaurant], fans would come up after the show and engage people in conversation, not realizing [the crew] had to get to a seat where they could be watching the game and taking notes," said Wheeler. ''This way, they'll only have to swivel their seats to be watching the action."

As for game coverage, Wheeler reminded, ''There's going to be a lot of getting used to with the new rules. Our analysts will be busy explaining that, plus the new rules affecting goalie equipment and the changed red lines."
A SMOKING PUCK UPDATE!!!

by Rev. Sully
August 31, 2005

Bruins Defense Filled Almost up to the Gill!


This just in! After boldly musing about in the last Smoking Puck regarding the Bruins "Big Questions on Big 'D'", defenseman Hal Gill was signed to a one-year contract, locking up the 6'-7" career-long Bruin for the 2005-06 campaign. A one-year deal at this stage of the "Rodeo" means this: we want you but we have to talk next year about the big contract. Same goes for Sergei Samsonov who also signed a one-year deal. Bruins focus was on keeping Cap'n Joe Thornton and Their Satanic Majesties' Yearly Sum of $6.66 Mil a season for the next three years.
When will goalie Andrew Raycroft take his one-year deal? When his agent gives in...it's like a knock-knock joke.
The Bruins have always made a big deal of keeping local New England players. The Montreal Canadians have done the same for decades, drafting and culturing French-Canadian players to be the team otherwise known as "the Flying Frenchmen". Gill spent the first years of his career being mentored by Ray Bourque and NYR All-Star forward Jaromir Jagr thinks of him as the best defenseman in the NHL.

A native of Concord, Massachusetts, Gill has missed just 14 games due to injuries in his seven seasons with the Bruins. In 2003-04, Gill appeared in all 82 games, recording nine points and 99 penalty minutes while ranking second among club defensemen with a plus-16 rating.

The previous season, Gill led the entire team in that category with a plus-21 rating.
"We're pleased that Hal signed his contract," Bruins general manager Mike O'Connell said. "Hal is one of our steadiest and most reliable players. He plays a lot of minutes and has been one of our highest (plus-rated) players as well over the past couple of NHL seasons."

An eighth-round pick of Boston in 1993, Gill has collected 19 goals and 68 assists with 464 penalty minutes in 546 career games.

Due to the lockout last season, Gill played in 31 games with Lukko Rauma in Finland, totaling 10 points and 110 penalty minutes.


Italicized Copy above from Yahoo! Sports article. Source:
Bolded Text by Rev. Sully to illustrate how good Hal Gill is to the team.




'Namaste,

Rev. Sully

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

THE SMOKING PUCK!

August 30, 2005
By Rev. Sully

YEE HAW! The New & Improved NHL Rodeo Results are in!
aka Big Questions on Big “D” in Beantown



Cowboy up! It’s time to ride. This Bull could buck you around and toss you off if you’re not careful.



I’m not pulling your lariat. No way, no sirree. This is serious business. Even modern bull riders wear what appears to be a hockey helmet when riding but I digress... The expected stampede of NHL talent being brought to sale has come to pass. The Rodeo has begun and it won’t end when the last free agent is signed, it will end when Lord Stanley’s Cup is held aloft over a Champion.

What is more interesting than the updated list of “Who’s Where in the NHL” is the fact that the San Jose Sharks have made no deals as of yet in the new & improved NHL (now in Pine Scent). This page at Yahoo Sports is a great resource to find out where old friends have come & gone. Click here for a gander at who’s new on your favorite NHL teams. San Jose’s forward Alexander Korolyuk decided to just stay on his ranch and play in Russia. Will the Sharks be the first team to fold in the New Ice Order? On paper, once again the Philadelphia Flyers have one of the best teams for the 2005-06 season. The Flyers are consistent in having great teams on paper and starting the season with great expectations. But this year their defense cannot be suspect with the signing of three defensemen who all measure in at 6 foot 5 inches: Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje (former career-long Shark) and re-acquiring Chris Therien. In addition to bucking off aging All-Stars Mark Recchi, John LeClair, Tony Amonte and Jeremy Roenick, Philly GM Bobby Clarke saddled the Stud of the Auction Peter Forsberg. The Smoking Puck History Appreciation Moment: Bobby Clarke as a player for the Flyers helped win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. Featuring Robert Esche in goal with Jaime Storr and Antero Niitymaki as backups, Philly is seriously deep early. Forsberg was originally drafted by the Flyers but traded to Quebec (which moved to Denver, Colorado) for Eric “Big Dummeh” Lindros. The thoughts of Keith Primeau and Forsberg on a Power Play line together? They’d be silly thoughts...they’re both Centers.

Skating the Garden ice on October 5th against the Montreal Canadians, the hometown team sports a great forward heavy line-up although they are a little questionable on Defense and Goal. To date, the Bruins’ most notorious transaction is Brian Leetch because of all the big name defensemen out there “on the range” we were only able to corral an old steer. Leetch could still have it but so far there is no Hal Gill and no Andrew Raycroft. Remember Don Sweeney? He’s an Unrestricted Free Agent with the Dallas Stars, the team that signed him away from Boston where he played 15 seasons. He also played a LOT with the Papa Bear. Raymond Jean Bourque.


Ahem...I said Ray Bourque.

We need defensemen and I’d selfishly love to see Donny Sweeney finish his career back in Black & Gold. Young defenseman Nick Boynton is being left grazing out on the plain. So far the free agent has not been roped in. Also NOT signed to a contract surprisingly enough has been the Number One Goalie. I do submit to any fair reader that the “Number One” Goalie can be one of the most important jobs on the team. Even “Razor” Raycroft’s backup, my friend Paul Truland’s former idol, Felix Potvin has not been signed by the Bruins. Providence Bruins goalie Hannu Toivonen could be handed the reins as easily as unsigned Calder winner Andrew Raycroft was. Big questions on Big “D”. But up top on centers and wings, the Bruins look as though they could hogtie the East. Dave Scatchard and Brad Isbister. Alexei Zhamnov, who is called “Archie” due to his red hair.


“Archie”

“Archie” was once traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for Jeremy Roenick. Still Bruins are Sergei Samsonov, Glen Murray and Patrice Bergeron. Cap’n Joe Thornton (who is third most wanted on Fantasy Hockey draft predictions if that tells you anything). We acquired Penalty killing and leadership with Massachusetts native Shawn McEachern on his second tour of duty in the Spoke’d B. We have depth in the farm club back on the Providence veal pen with that team going to their Conference Final. But mark my words, the Bruins can’t contend without better defense and a true Number One goalie. The game has been opened up offensively but it is not enough to neglect the foundations. Or has the time come to go all out to the net and stop thinking so defensively about NHL Hockey? Will a competent defense be enough? Goalie is a better position to have hope over because signing Raycroft is good but perhaps taking a chance on the Finnish Toivonen could be the way to go. Finnish goalie seems to be making French-Canadian Butterflies look like rodeo clowns these days.


French-Canadian Butterfly. Genus: Lepidoptera Hedyloidea Winslotsacups-us

I could go on record as saying that the NHL work stoppage could have been the best thing ever for the Professional level of this Sport. The first reason off of the top of my head: the robust changes in rules to revitalize an ailing game. Did you really want to come back after all this time and drama to the same old boring stuff? This is akin to hitting the reset button on your “Viddy Err” game and at the same time quite FAR from the “XFL”. The “Great Experiment” is finally coming to pass and this is what’s being offered; take it or leave it. I’ll take it and enjoy my beloved Sport. The game “the way it was” was enough for me. But what is being offered now, is better. Not just for everyone but for me too. I can live with and potentially enjoy the New NHL. Not only for the rule changes but the talent level among the league has been spread out evenly. Of course I’ll have to wait on judging all this until the chute is opened. And that’s No Bull.

Legal notice: no actual Bulls were harmed or injured during the NHL Free Agent Rodeo of 2005.

A Smoking Puck shot out to someone who’s never met me. To Mark Poutenis, writer of the “Thinking Ape Blues” found at the Boston Weekly Dig. He’s a buddy of BSM’s Intrepid Producer Peter. And Mark’s a big Hockey Fan I hear. Well, I’m a big fan of sequential art.


Thinking Ape Blues by Mark Poutenis


...see you, Space Cowboy,

Rev. Sully

Come visit Channel Ocho

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A SMOKING PUCK EXTRA!
The Emperor's New Clothes aka Fit to be Cried

August 25, 2005
by Rev. Sully



Team Canada players taking part in the Olympic minicamp wear the old and new jerseys during a scrimmage Canada's Olympic Men's Hockey Team orientation camp in Kelowna, B.C., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2005. From left to right, Keith Primeau of the Philadelphia Flyers wears the current jersey while Kirk Maltby of the Detriot Red Wings, Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oliers, and Scott Niedermayer of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks all wear the tighter-fitting new jersey that was unveiled by Hockey Canada on August 17. Players chosen from the National Hockey League are in Kelowna for a four-day orientation camp as they prepare for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin.
(AP Photo/Jeff Bassett) Italicized Copy from Yahoo! Sports.


Watch out...these Yahoo pic links I pirate are as reliable as a crackhead near a child's piggy bank.

The Old Versus the New, huh? Mentioned on the Smoking Puck recently was the fact that Reebok will exclusively produce NHL team sweaters and will be adjusting the fit to a tighter, slimed-down style. This NIKE version is the first I've seen of the new sweater design from any producer.

I must take my own advice again and remind myself that Change is the essence of the Cosmos and accept this as the future look. Hopefully, the consumer will speak in dollars...the only language that corporations understand and not purchase the New Look but I digress. I can't see myself wearing one of these but if they're still around in 10 years, then look at me when I'm at the Garden. The original sweaters were just that, knitted real sweaters that changed to the firsts of the current look sometime after WWII. All teams in 1967, the first Expansion year when the Original Six went to Twelve had the "Current" look making the accustomed to style being en vouge for a minumum of 38 years. Even football had a "Classic" look with sweater style shirts that went the way of the current look when the AFL reared its head in 1960. Basketball and baseball have tinkered with their looks. Just look at 1970's Throwback Day at any MLB Ballpark. Basketball the least messed with, a tank top and short pants.

So Change your Shirts, dear Hockey Fans. I doubt that we'll be happy with the new shirts especially the Original Six Cities which love their "Classic" looks. These shirts "fit" the newer markets such as Anaheim, Nashville and the Floridian teams but all I can forsee if Fan Mutiny in the Gahhden Gallery over this and in the rafters of the Bell Centre in Montreal, even the Blueshirts in MSG can join with me. Who has a cooler shirt than Chicago & Detroit anyway?


'Namaste,

Rev. Sully

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How's it going Pumpkinhead? Did you find a beer you like out there to take your mind off the Harpoon separation?

Hope the family's well.
you are LIVE on OCHO Mein Herr! Welcome back Pumpkinhead...coming at us from the West Coast!
Testing....1..2..1..2 :::Taps the mic::: this thing on?
Here's a dubious honor...just under three years of OCHO...

Happy 3,000th Post OCHO!

Gosh, we're a slow bunch. ^_~
Dreaming of ...

Teeth!

Link to Dream Site

Yeah, a common dream theme. I've had them more than a few times. Did I have hair in your dream? ^_^ Was it the "old Sully" look? 'Cuz I think Warren Ellis spied me one day and ripped me off for Spider Jerusalem...I'm afraid to wear black because of that bald prick. ^_~



Have you ever heard the idea that suggests about how people aren't supposed to be able to read in dreams? I know I dream in 5.1 Surround in Technicolor and I can read texts, books, letters, signs in dreams.

What about recurring dream themes? I've had a recent theme over multiple dreams of coughing up blood. This is rooted in reality when in March 2005 I got really sick for about a week. I didn't stop smoking during this sickness and this was my impetus for going to the doctor for a battery of tests. When coughing up another bucket of morning sickness phlegm, I found tiny specks of blood suspended in the mucus itself. It only happened two mornings during that sick time and when I ceased smoking it went away. It scared me to my marrow. I think it was from not giving my lungs a break while sick. On another note, Leah will remember finding what I refer to as "My Little Friends". She was giving me a massage while here on her last trip to the States (the one where we went Skiing). Palpable lumps under my rib cage. I also have a few on my legs. The doctor gave me X-rays and blood tests and cleared me as healthy. Antibiotics cleared the "Lung Butter" and no further blood specks but it obviously left skid marks on my psyche. The palpable lumps I've had since the early 1990s and I attributed to (cortico)steroid (Prednisone) use for Asthma. They weren't swollen lymphnodes, they are a condition called "Lipoma". Just benign fatty masses of tissue and it happens to people all the time I hear.

I've also had recurring dream themes of nuclear war since I was about 11 or so. I've probably had one in the past 5 or more years. I think the Cold War movies of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) had influence on my subconscious. I distincly remember in one dream seeing a shooting star in the sky and splitting into three stars. Those were Soviet style MIRVs. Also John Cameron's Terminator robots, the Steel skeleton looking ones marching en masse, armed and killing everything. I remember hiding in sheer fear, not standing up for myself and dying heroically or some other such thing.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dreams... amazing things... though if any of what I've been dreaming comes to pass I'll be deeply horrified.

I generally start dreaming about a week out from any trip. Most of conversations I want to have, anticipation of meeting someone again after a long absence.

The prepartation for this trip has been a little more colourful than the usual with issues at work, two cracked teeth and some other dental work needing to be done in the past two weeks - urgently. Also the fact that I've been off work sick, Nan's been in hospital, as well as Chris' Mum, grandmum and, as of Saturday, the arrival of two new born babies into the family (TWINS!).

Needless to say things have been busy and somewhat stressful. I dreamt all my teeth fell out mid-converstaion with Sully. They looked pretty good... just not in my head anymore... I dreamt of conversations with family members that wen't less than favourably (I always stress about family issues). Rotating nipple clamps... oh wait that was Chris' dream...

Never mind - it will all be over in 3 more days and I'll be on a jet plane - HUZZAH!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Just 1 week to go!!!!!

The dreams have started...
If any of you are able to contact Sully, or indeed are his self, then let it be known to him that he ought contact me immediately lest the lack of a means of my reaching him render him unable to attend the bacchanalian revels to be held in honor of my impending matrimony.

In other words Sully, The number I have for you doesn't work, and my best man Dan is trying to invite you to the bachelor party this weekend.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Star War: Backstroke of the West!

the "Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" of Cinema.


Check it out here for a more complete version of the great interpretation of this masterpiece.

I use the Twain refernce because of this. This version of Twain's novel is called simply, "The Jumping Frog: In English, Then in French, Then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil" penned by Samuel Clemens himself. The similarity of the translation and "clawing" back into English is astoundingly familiar and as equally funny.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

If you really want one Sully, you can try mine out. Where do you think you'll use it? It makes for a very tricky cigarette lighter, so we might have to find a fire pit for you to try it out in.