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Archive for the ‘Distinguished Panel’ Category

Recently on the HBO show “Costas Now” sports writer Buzz Bissinger created quite a storm by turning what could have been an interesting discussion about the emergence of sports blogging and its effect on sports journalism into a three-ring circus…with lots of swearing.

We here at ModFan watched the clip with horror and fascination. Aside from the total train wreck that was Bissinger, it was painful to watch poor Will Leitch (founder of Deadspin) struggle to get a comprehensible word in edgewise against an angry panel. In his defense, he appeared totally blindsided by the wrath of Bissinger. Then there was Costas! He was initially unable to control Buzz, and when things finally settled down, all he managed to bring to the conversation was an inability to distinguish a “blog post” from a “blog comment”. The whole thing was quite insane.

Here at Modfan, we love talking about blogs and how they are portrayed in the mainstream media. It’s, like, our favorite topic ever. So, with the benefit of hindsight, and the unmitigated gall to cast ourselves as the representative of all “sports bloggers”, we have decided to rewrite the entire clip.

This is how the conversation would have gone had WE been the bloggers on the panel.

The role of Bob Costas will be played by Blob Costas, the role of Buzz Bissinger will be portrayed by Buzz Lightyear, and the role of “blogger” will be portrayed by members of ModFan.

***********

[Video montage of pasty, nerdy bloggers in a basement, hunched over their computer keyboards.]

Blob Costas voiceover: Blogs are the unstoppable wave of the future. Anyone can start one. ANYONE! They provide instant access to stats, news, and gossip. What do blogs have to offer? There are some great blogs out there, but often blogs are mean, unpleasant, and poorly written with lots of lies and typos. It’s the Wild Wild West! Only with computers instead of guns! And sports instead of shit that really matters!

[End of montage. Cameras focus on a stage with the panel slouched in their chairs.]

Blob Costas: Welcome to our panel on blogging vs. journalism. Katebits, you’re a hockey blogger, how do you feel your blog contributes to the sports discourse?

Katebits: Well, Blob, I guess when I started blo-

Buzz Lightyear: (interrupting) I THINK YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT! HAVE YOU EVEN HEARD OF WC HEINZ?! WHAT ABOUT HEINZ?!

Katebits: Mr. Lightyear, I do not think this is the time or the place to discuss ketchup. If you must know, I prefer Hunts to Heinz, but if you want to discuss it further, we should do so off the air. I’m sure that Blob Costas does not want us ruining his show by getting into an argument about condiments.

Buzz Lightyear: AND YOU ADMIT YOU’RE BIASED TOWARDS THE SABRES! YOU’RE AN UNTALENTED, UGLY BITCH and a TERRIBLE JOURNALIST!

Katebits: Alright, that does it. Now you’ve gone too far. NOBODY CALLS ME A JOURNALIST! Yes, I am biased towards the Sabres. I AM A SABRES FAN! DEAL WITH IT OLD MAN! My voice in the blogosphere is that of a FAN. Nothing more, nothing less! I have no desire to be a journalist or to provide INFORMATION or to BE FACTUAL. My blog is the voice of my fandom. SUCK IT, YOU FREAK!

Buzz Lightyear: HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A FREAK, YOU UNEDUCATED, MOUTH-BREATHING WHORE! You CELEBRATE that you’re not a journalist, yet STILL insist on WRITING ABOUT A SPORTS TEAM? What are you DOING??

Schnookie: If you’ll allow me…

[Buzz Lightyear leans even more precariously toward the ModFan members of the panel, drawing his eye-rolling, spittle-flecked face even more uncomfortably close to the bloggers.]

Schnookie: Um, right. You ask what we’re doing? I think Katebits said it very clearly — blogging is the voice of fandom. Fans without access. It’s the same thing fans have been doing since the dawn of organized sports, getting together and talking about our favorite sports teams. If you climbed down out of your Ivory Pressbox once in a while to listen to what’s going on in the bleachers, you’d find the same things being said there as get written about in blogs.

Buzz Lightyear: WHY ARE YOU EVEN TALKING TO ME, YOU FUCKING IGNORANT PISSANT? JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN SPEAK DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD.

Blob Costas: (laughing nervously) Okay Buzz, I think we get the idea… Heheh. I think it’s fair to mention that Buzz and I are of the old school, having grown up in this profession writing for newspapers

Buzz Lightyear: (cutting Blob off) NEWSPAPERS ARE THE ONLY OUTLET FOR A REAL MAN’S IDEAS ABOUT SPORTS. WHAT WOULD YOU MISERABLE TURDS KNOW ABOUT THAT? W.C. HEINZ DIDN’T WRITE FOR A BLOG! HE WROTE FOR A NEWSPAPER, AND NOW NO ONE FUCKING CARES ABOUT INTEGRITY, HONOR, OR THE TRUTH ANYMORE. YOU CAN’T WRITE MALICIOUS LIES AND PETTY SMEAR CAMPAIGNS IN NEWSPAPERS! WHICH IS WHY YOU SMALL-MINDED COCKSUCKERS WOULDN’T EVER CUT IT IN THAT WORLD. INSTEAD, YOU ALL WANT TO DESTROY HEINZ’S LIVELIHOOD. YOU FUCKING EVIL WITCHES.

Blob Costas: I think what Buzz is trying to say is that newspapers are tragically not being read anymore. Highly scientific studies have proven that no one under the age of 50 reads newspapers anymore. A timeless, venerable keystone of civilization is being destroyed by the “Internet”. (Did I say that right? “Internet”? What a funny word. What does it mean?)

Pookie: This “the internet is killing newspapers” garbage is making me weary. Sports journalists aren’t going to lose their jobs because the internet is seducing young people to its world-wide-webby ways. If they lose their jobs it’s because they’re not writing content people want to read. The fact is, newspapers are still being read online. The same articles that appear in print appear online. Just because I do not pay for a pile of newsprint each morning doesn’t mean I don’t still read the contents of the NY Times. There’s a movement in library science called FRBR (pronounced “ferber”) which calls for a way of thinking that prioritizes the concept of the work over the physical iteration of the work (for example: if you are looking for Beethoven’s 9th, you’ll find information on the symphony itself before you find listings for each individual performance that has been recorded and published). If this debate of sports journalism vs. blogging is ever going to accomplish something we need to FRBRize the debate and cease focusing on the format of the work and start focusing on the content being created.

Buzz Lightyear: FRBR? What does that stand for — Fucking Retarded Blogging Retards? You bloggers insult people! That’s DESPICABLE! You fucking retarded blogging retard!

Pookie: [stunned silence]

Buzz Lightyear: Heh, that was great! [To assistant off-camera] Did you write that down? Good, good. I’m going to put in my next book. [To Pookie] It’s going to be published. On paper. [Leans back in chair and crosses arms smugly.]

[Blob leans in to give Buzz a high-five.]

Blob Costas: Before we end our conversation, I would like to take a moment to read something that appears on YOUR blog, Katebits. [takes out a piece of paper and begins reading] Viagara fifteen dollars a pill! Paris Hilton naked. ONLINE POKER Lindsey Lohan. TITS TITS TITS. I MADE $100,000 working at home. [puts paper down and addresses Katebits] Katebits, how do you respond to this? This is the kind of worthless and cruel drivel that gives bloggers a bad name! How do you respond?!

Katebits: [totally confused] Um….I…did not write that. Those….are comments. Actually, those are spam comments. At the end of every post, readers are invited to post responses. Sometimes spam sneaks through the cracks.

Blob Costas: But this is what appears ATTACHED to your work! IT’S ON THE SAME SCREEN AS YOUR WORDS.

Katebits: Yes, but…I didn’t write that. Judging blogs based on comments is like judging a play based on the audience memb-

Blob Costas: [interrupting] Well, that’s all the time we have! Remember not all blogs are bad, some are actually quite good, but most are totally spreading lies and cruelty! [waving at camera and smiling] See you next week! Bye now!

The End

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators

Pookie: This gets the top score thanks to Ottawa getting swept. It would have been funnier if popular opinion hadn’t caught up, in the second half of the season, to how bad the Sens actually were after the first five weeks or so of the season. But the “great team or greatest team” hype from those first few weeks remained so fresh in everyone’s minds that this sweep was manna from heaven to bitter fans like myself. 5 pennants out of 5

Katebits: Deeeeelightful. 5 pennants out of 5

Schnookie: My only regret about this series is that it was scheduled so I couldn’t ever watch it. Whose great idea was it to deny Devils fans the opportunity to soak up the Schadenfreude that was the completion of the Sens’ epic collapse? Did the schedulers forget that we lost to the Sens last year, too? Bastards. 4 1/2 out of 5 pennants

Patty (in Dallas): I didn’t get to see much of this one, either, since I was trying to follow the Devils. I know I’m the only one, but I was feeling kind of sorry for Ottawa. I don’t hate them and I felt bad for Spezza and Heatley. I never trust a team that comes screaming out of the gate like that, though. It almost never lasts. I’m happy for Sid, too. 2 pennants out of 5

Heather B: Ottawa re-signed all their free agents to huge contracts, committed to keeping their juggernaut of a top line together, and entered the season with almost the same team that played in the Cup Finals last year. And they still won exactly the same number of playoff games as the Sabres who didn’t qualify to play in the postseason. Well done, Ottawa. That’s a very special kind of collapse. 4 pennants out of 5

Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins

Pookie: This series was BO-ring! And had the added annoyance of the fact that neither team showed me any reason to love them. Or even just like them more than the other. Or even just care enough to learn the players’ names. I’m also giving the shifty eyes at Habs fans. First it’s stealing “Ole, Ole” from Team Brasil. Then it’s singing “Hey Hey, Na Na, Goodbye” in Game 1 and justifying it by saying “It’s just tradition against Boston.” I’m sorry, but “Hey Hey, Na Na” in Game 1 is NEVER tradition! Finally, it’s rioting after Round 1. Obviously, they’ve got some pacing issues up there. It’s a marathon, kids, not a sprint. 1 pennant out of 5

Katebits:

A game-by-game summary:

G1: Go Habs!
G2: Go Habs!
G3: The Bruins are admirably pesky
G4: The Habs are kinda overrated.
G5: Really, Habs? That’s it?
G6: I don’t need this crap….Go Bruins?
G7: Damnit!

Now I’m lost and confused and I don’t know what to think. -8 pennants out of 5

Schnookie: Whose idea was it to schedule this series so I could see almost all of it? There were not two teams I cared less about in the playoffs than Montreal and Boston, and after seven games, I still don’t care. Note to the Canadiens: if you need seven games to beat the Bruins, you are NOT the juggernaut I’m looking for. 0 pennants out of 5

Patty (in Dallas): Again, the EC series just kind of wander past me. I had very little feeling about this one, but I kind of like Montreal because they wrapped up Mike Ribiero in a pretty bow and gave him to us as a gift. 3 pennants out of 5

Heather B: I love Montreal’s crazy, maniacal crowd. I love the singing, the taunting, the chanting, and as long as there’s no one hurt I even secretly love the rioting after the first round. I think Buffalo’s standards are a little higher at this point but come on. We all know if the Sabres (or Bills) ever win a championship you may as well kiss your family, hug your friends, and dance into the night to celebrate because Buffalo will not be standing by the time the sun comes up. 5 pennants out of 5

Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Pookie: Game 7 going into OT? That warrants at least an automatic 3 pennant rating. Anything more I cannot say for fear of getting my Devils fan membership card and kit revoked. 4 pennants out of 5

Katebits: I’m just glad it’s over. 5 pennants out of 5

Schnookie: I secretly loved, loved, loved this series. It had awesome hockey, huge momentum shifts, rocking buildings, the Flyers Comcast announcers, and, um… well, as a Devils fan I feel I should stop myself now before publicly admitting that I was happy with the outcome. 5 pennants out of 5

Patty (in Dallas): I’m happy the Flyers moved on. I still like Derian Hatcher (I know, I know) and I was really happy that Joffrey Lupul got a little love. The Oiler fans just roasted him for his one season there and then Hatcher tried to kill him. It’s nice to see he’s okay. 3 pennants out of 5

Heather B: I was cheering for the Flyers and Danny Briere and quite frankly, starting to worry for my safety and sanity but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a one round fling. I was only using them to get rid of the Caps and Alexander Ovechkin both of whom I found less endearing the more people told me I was supposed to love them which happened a lot. Zip it, Versus. I’ll love who I want! 5 pennants out of 5

New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers

Pookie: Let’s just pretend this one never happened, shall we? Thanks. 0 pennants out of 5

Katebits: The Devils are not good at hockey, and the Rangers are not good at not being loathsome. This was just a bad scene. 1 pennant out of 5

Schnookie: This was the single least pleasant playoff series I have ever had the misfortune of suffering through. And the Devils lost, to boot. It was so bad that I’ve been touch-and-go about whether I have the energy left to watch the rest of the playoffs at all. THANKS A LOT, Hockey Gods. I’m going to be emotionally damaged by this one for years to come. -10 billion pennants out of 5

Patty (in Dallas): I hated to see what this series did to Schnookie and Pookie. Poor Devils, struggling against the Rangers. And poor All of the World for having to watch Sean Avery lower our beloved sport to his level. I hope he has a career-ending injury while he’s an intern at Vogue. 0 pennants out of 5

Heather B: I missed a few games in this series but for the record, I can’t think of a single situation where I wouldn’t take Marty Brodeur over Sean Avery. If I need to build a hockey team, I’m taking Brodeur. If I need a date for a boring, dress-up event, I’m taking Brodeur. If I need a babysitter in a pinch, I’m taking Brodeur. If I need someone to help me move, I’m taking Brodeur. In the battle of good vs. evil, I always go with the fatso. 2 pennants out of 5

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Detroit Red Wings vs. Nashville Predators

Pookie: Nashville put up enough of a fight to make it interesting and their fans almost suggested that the title of “Feel Good Story” was being wasted in Washington. Those wacky two quick goals get my vote for the most exciting moment of the First Round, and when you add in the Arnott goal celebration concussion, well this Devils fan can’t resist! Good times! 4 pennants out of 5

Katebits: I thought I didn’t care at all about this series….but then that crazy Lidstrom goal broke my heart. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. 4 pennants out of 5

Schnookie: This seemed like just another boring Red Wings playoff series until Nashville’s fans turned out to be awesomely awesome. After a year spent hearing how laughably craptacular a hockey city it was supposed to be, they really showed the superior hockey media, didn’t they? Of course, two great games do not a series make. Sorry, Nashville. 3 pennants out of 5

Patty (in Dallas): I knew I was going to root for Nashville because I always want Detroit to lose. But the Preds actually grew on me with their raucous fans and their spunkiness. And I thought the catfish somebody threw on the ice was charming. When Detroit fans throw octupi, it’s just hackneyed. Still, the Wings advance, so maybe I should remove a pennant. 4 pennants out of 5

Heather B: R.I.P. JP Dumont’s playoff beard. The world is a sadder, less colorful place without you. I’m glad this series ended when it did because I was starting to develop a crush on Jordin Tootoo and that was destined to end messy. Still, I did love hearing Vince Gill do the anthems and I was pleasantly surprised by Nashville’s kicky crowds especially after the off-season they had. I’m glad they were able to make the series interesting. 4 pennants out of 5

San Jose Sharks vs. Calgary Flames

Pookie: I know this went to Game 7 and the series had all kinds of zany lead changes and come from behind wins but… It was the Habs/Bruins of the West. When you find yourself sitting in front of a Playoff Game 7 giving yourself a pep talk about how dammit you will find this game fun, you know you’ve got a problem. 1 pennant out of 5

Katebits: I loved this one! It was a three ring circus of mental fragility, bad defense, and sketchy coaching. Plus, Cujo! 5 pennants out of 5

Schnookie: I had a really hard time liking either of these teams. I found myself reveling in Flames goals, and then thinking, “Aw CRAP! Now the Flames are winning!” But at the same time, the Sharks just leave me cold. On paper, I enjoyed this series. But the enjoyment of a series isn’t played on paper, and in my real-life heart? I never really engaged. 2 1/2 pennants out of 5

Patty (in Dallas): By the time this series was over, I didn’t care who won. I think we can beat either team. I don’t look forward to Jeremy Roenick being all over my TV screen for a whole series, but I’ve been toughened up by six games in a row with Pronger and Bertuzzi waltzing all over the place. 2 pennants out of 5

Heather B: This series was less about who played the best and more about who avoided screwing up the worst in the end. Both teams were a mess and the Sharks are getting destroyed in the next round unless they show up a totally different team. And dude, San Jose, I tried to tell you about Brian Campbell. That’s not him struggling, that’s just how he plays defense. On the positive side, I’m totally in love with Calgary’s crowd. They’re unbelievable. 3 pennants out of 5.

Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche

Pookie: This one held great promise with the first few games, the fabulous fans (Montreal — you could learn a lot from M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A on how to be lovably enthusiastic) and the carefree OT finishes. But then, for the last few, I sorta forgot this one was even going on. 2 pennants out of 5

Katebits: This series was equal parts boring, thrilling, and annoying. 3 out of 5

Schnookie: Hey! If we could combine the amazing energy of the games in Minnesota with the amazing energy of the games from Nashville in the Preds/Wings series, we’d have the most fantastically lovable, thrilling first-round winner. I’d call them the Predawild. Or the Wildators. And it would be IMPOSSIBLE not to cheer for them. 2 pennants out of 5

Patty (in Dallas): Didn’t really care about this one, except that I was glad Colorado won so that I could relax about meeting Detroit in the next round. Still, I hate the Avs, and Peter Forsberg needs to retire already. I wish I had seen the game where the Wild fans sang. I missed that. 1 pennant out of 5

Heather B: I watched about five minutes of this series. I didn’t really get attached to any of the players and this series always seemed to be on opposite one I really cared about which is too bad because I did intend to fall in love with Mikko Koivu since I already love Saku. Better luck next time, Minnesota. 0 pennants out of 5

Dallas Stars vs. Anaheim Ducks

Pookie: This series is what Playoff hockey is all about. Good triumphing over evil; GM’s foolish mistakes costing the team; poor leadership being exposed; scrappy teams taking advantage of their opponent’s miscues; vindication for a deserving goalie; the loathsome defending champs going out with a whimper. That’s RAWK! 10 pennants out of 5

Katebits: This series lost an entire pennant due to the confusing black and white color schemes of the jerseys involved. I couldn’t keep track of which team was wearing the black jerseys from night to night. Other than that? Perfection. 4 out of 5

Schnookie:THIS is what I want a playoff series to be like. There is NOTHING I would have changed about it, except, as Katebits points out, the unis. 5 pennants out of 5

Patty (in Dallas): The hugely overrated Ducks vs. the “limping through March” Stars and the Ducks looked like crap and the Stars looked awesome. The Ducks tried to play the bully game “that won them the Cup” and all they really did was traipse to and from the penalty box. The last minute of Game 6, in front of the home crowd, after we had given up the first goal, and had scored three goals in the third, with Chris Pronger in the penalty box, and Mike Modano with the puck on his stick, looking at an empty net, was my favorite hockey moment in YEARS. Eleventy-billion pennants out of 5

Heather B: Despite the danger of cheering for Dallas while living in Buffalo, I really do like this Stars team and I enjoyed watching them dismantle the defending champ Ducks. I think the Stars were the best team in the first round so I’m curious to see how they play the Sharks. I hope they win in a delightfully embarrassing fashion. Two thumbs up for Marty Turco who I’ve always liked and who just gets more adorable every time I see him. 4 pennants out of 5

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Soupy Soup

From Game 3 of the Sharks/Flames series:

Katebits: I think the Sharks are getting nervous! It’s time for a Soupy blunder!

Pookie: Have you noticed Soupy’s hair is the same color as the trim on the Sharks sweaters? It’s like two monstrosities were made for each other!

Katebits: I have to admit, Soupy looks good in a Sharks sweater. Not “hot” good, but definitely “matchy” good.

Heather B.: Soupy definitely doesn’t have a good track record during those nervous times.

Patty: That would be so sweet if Soupy’s blunder got it tied. Then the Sharks began their collapse.

Heather B.: And then Soupy will sit at his phone waiting for the Sharks to call with his 18-year 30-billion-dollar contract and he’ll wait and wait and wait…

Patty: And his wedding dress will get all dusty and cobwebby.

Schnookie: Soupy’s going to be this year’s Souray, but mixed in with some Mike Peca. He’s going to have his agent issuing statements every few days saying, “Soupy’s still available, but he’s TOTALLY turned down GIANT offers from the following teams…”

Heather B.: After talking to andrew, I’m totally thrilled. Either Soupy’s going to ask the Sharks for a huge deal and they’re going to laugh and point at Joe’s three year extension OR he’s going to cave and sign with them for three years and Buffalo’s going to go batshit insane with anger and fury because he and his agent sneered at Darcy’s three year offer. Both options will be VERY amusing.

Katebits: I want Soupy to sign with the Blue Jackets or something! No Sharks! I want his team to be CRIPPLED by his contract.

Heather B.: Oooh, the Blue Jackets would be good! Then he really will cease to exist because everyone knows no one but Rick Nash plays there.

Schnookie: Oh, and if he signs with the Blue Jackets, Ken Hitchcock will LITERALLY kill him.

And I’m ever so impressed by Soupy’s great work as a defensive mentor! I love the CBC announcers saying Ron Wilson has got to be wondering when Soupy’s going to show up in this series. I figure Wilson’s weighing his options and figuring an invisible Soupy is better than the kind of damage Soupy’s really capable of inflicting.

Heather B.: Yeah, NO KIDDING. These guys should be praying that Soupy stays invisible. Last time he was noticeable in Buffalo he was a -12 over the course of three games.

Schnookie: Don’t tempt Soupy! He can top that -12 in three games!

Patty: Woo hoo! The spin-o-rama!

Schnookie: That was the BESTEST spin-o-rama EVER. I can just imagine the dull look on dimbulb Soupy’s face as he slowly realizes he no longer has the puck after putting on his UNSTOPPABLE patented move. Hey, jackass — CHIP THE FUCKING PUCK OFF THE GLASS.

Pookie: I think if that spin-o-rama had led to an empty netter the rest of the playoffs would suck. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We can’t waste all our schadenfruede in one week!

Schnookie: You’re so right. We need to pace ourselves.

Katebits: You are TOTALLY right.

Save this feeling, ladies! Store it up! HOCKEY RAAAAAWKS!

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Katebits: I had an amazing revelation about the Caps/Flyers series. I hate both teams, and I want them both eliminated. I think the Caps are a way better team and are more likely to win another round if they advance. The Flyers on the other hand are pretty bad, and there’s NO WAY they could wind up winning the conference or something (right? right?). SO, I’m rooting for the Flyers in this round because they will SURELY be eliminated by whoever comes next.

Pookie: Katebits, that’s brilliant reasoning! In fact, it’s reasoning that I’m going adopt as my own! (I was starting to dance close to outright cheering for the Flyers watching today’s game. And that’s not a good idea.)

Katebits: The other great part of the plan is that we can viciously cheer against the Flyers in the next round. Just when they thought they had won our love, we can yank it cruelly away. We’ll cheer them on to victory only to CRUSH them in round two!

Schnookie: That’s a FANTASTIC rationale. Because you’re absolutely right — they won’t advance. (I’m tailoring my choices on who stands the best chance of beating the Rangers, though. I’m not sure. I feel like Montreal is ALLEGEDLY a juggernaut that wouldn’t break a sweat against them, but I didn’t like what I saw from them last night. And I know that the Rangers gave Pittsburgh fits this season. So I’m hard-pressed to pick my next opponent for the Rangers. I think I want them to get beaten by the juggernauty Caps from the second half of the season, but I hate those Caps almost as much… It’s just so DIFFICULT! Basically, I’m throwing up my hands, letting go and letting playoffs, and I’m living in the moment. GO FLYERS! Heh.)

Pookie: I think the Rangers would be capable of beating themselves after crushing the Devils. They’ll get all full of themselves (Gomez? Avery? Jagr? Never!) and expect their next opponent to be as crappy as the one they beat without breaking a sweat. (See: Senators, Ottawa v. Ducks, Anaheim.) Washington, Philadelphia, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Ottawa are all plenty capable of scoring at will. (Boston? No. Not as long as Julien’s around.) So we’ve got a really good chance of the team matching up against NY next round giving them a harder time then they were expecting. Also, whoever does match-up against them will surely set a game plan of shooting low and shooting a lot, thereby driving Devils fans everywhere to drink.

Schnookie: No worries there — I’m already drinking.

Heather B.: But… But… THE FLYERS?! No, I can’t do it. I can’t cheer for anyone in that series. I’m just going to close my eyes and refuse to look until it’s over.

I think pretty much everyone who will be left standing can beat the Rangers unless Lundqvist goes nuts. And even then I don’t think they have it.

Katebits: I’m not cheering FOR the Flyers, I’m cheering AGAINST the Caps, who are a FAR FAR bigger threat to make a serious run, in my opinion. (It’s not savory, but it’s what must be done.)

Schnookie: Exactly. It’s the same as it was for me in the SCF last year (and the WCF) — I’m cheering for the more venal team’s opponent. It’s a small step up from just cheering against the Caps, to be fair, but I’m not sitting here hoping for vast Flyer success.

Heather B.: But I want them both to looooooose. Why can’t they just both lose?

I will admit that I’m a little scared of this series because, deep in my heart, I like and miss Danny Briere. I’m afraid if I watch it at all, I’ll end up cheering for him especially if I’m rooting AGAINST the Caps. I don’t want to be the girl who cheers for Danny!

Schnookie: You wouldn’t be that girl! You’d be the girl who, out of necessity, is cheering for that guy on the Flyers whom you don’t entirely hate, as he endeavors to pull an upset against a team you hate. There’s a big difference!

Pookie: Heather, why don’t you try to channel Marty Brodeur and say, “I don’t worry about Danny Briere because he’s not a Sabre anymore.” Then look at the Flyers and go, “Hey, that Daniel Briere is quite the little player! I like the cut of his jib!”

Katebits: But Heather, as soon as the series is over, you can VICIOUSLY turn against him! There is NO WAY you’re going to want to keep cheering for the Flyers! They’re the freaking FLYERS!

Pookie: It’s like anti-cheering! You get their hopes up, you hold up proverbial signs for them to see cheering them on during skate around. Then next round, they’re there expecting your signs — and you won’t be there! It’s a beautiful, cunning, dastardly plot!

Katebits: I think making them think we love them and then doing a cruel about-face is WAY meaner than rooting against them from the beginning. This is psychological warfare.

Pookie: EXACTLY! It’s so cruel! It’s just what the Flyers deserve!

Heather B.: Okay, you’re right. I’m not cheering for Danny, former Sabre. I’m cheering for Briere, Caps killer. And when the Flyers move on I’ll cheer for Saku to Koivu his hobbit ass.

Pookie: [In the cheery tone of a dancer in a 50’s musical] Now you’re getting it, Heather! Now you’re getting it! Yeeee-haw!

Heather B.: Is this where we break into a group song/dance number?

Katebits: Playoff Goggles!: The Musical

Pookie: The Overture is starting, but getting into the sad motif from “The Devils Getting Swept Theme”. Fortunately that motif is very short. It then segues into “The Undisciplined Penalty Waltz as performed by The Ducks Dancers”.

Heather B.: At the very end can we get Sweeney Todd on Pierre?

Pookie: You bet.

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POOKIE: How did I not know that Rob Neidermayer’s name is Robin?!

HEATHER B: What? Robin? Ha! Now I’m seeing him as the Robin, the Boy Wonder to Scott’s Batman. That is just wrong.

SCHNOOKIE: My world has been rocked by this revelation that Rob’s name is Robin. I mean… Robin? No wonder he is the way he is.

POOKIE: I’m seeing the bear from Disney’s Robin Hood calling him “Ro-bear”.

SCHNOOKIE: Robin Niedermayer wishes he had as much style and sex appeal as Disney’s fox Robin Hood has in his little finger. Please.

HEATHER B. I don’t know, I always found Little John (who is a totally Baloo from the Jungle Book rip-off) more appealing. I was a chubby chaser as a kid, I guess. I do feel that Disney’s Robin Hood is vastly underrated though for the record.

SCHNOOKIE: I always like Robin Hood more than The Jungle Book, and consequently found Baloo a poor man’s Little John. Which is sort of hilarious, considering it’s the other way around. Regardless of which one you prefer (and I love that you were a cartoon chubby chaser, Heather…), you have to admit that they have it all over Robin Niedermayer. Not on his bestest, most sexy, most competent day does Robin Niedermayer find himself in the same stratosphere as Disney’s Robin Hood. (And yes, I think it’s way underrated.)

I would find Robin (Niedermayer) a tragic figure, but I’ve always thought he was too pathetic to be tragic. I am really mercilessly mean to him, but I can’t help it. There’s something inherently dislikable about the Niedermayer boys, and Robin never had the advantage of being one of the best players on my favorite team.

HEATHER B: I like Robin Hood more than Jungle book but Baloo more than Little John probably because I knew Baloo first. Maybe. I don’t know.

I don’t really know enough about Rob to feel he’s a tragic figure. And if I felt sorry for him before I don’t now because he has a Stanley Cup and I don’t. Er, the Sabres don’t, I mean. Hanging out with you guys has convinced me that Scott is kind of a punk anyway so I don’t feel as sorry for Rob. For him to truly be lost in Scott’s shadow, Scott has to be perfect.

POOKIE: I was just saying the other night that I absolutely adore that Lou has made no bones that he loves to pick up the less-talented brothers of his players. As we speak he has Pando’s brother and cousin, Gio’s brother and Zach’s brother all playing in the minors. We had Steve Kariya , Scotty Stevens’s brother (as a scout), and other guys I can’t think of right now. And yet Lou never bit on Rob(in) Neidermayer because he was just that bad and that overpaid. Scott’s said that he would have stayed with NJ if Lou had signed Rob(in). And yet whatever extra Lou was paying Scott wasn’t worth keeping Rob(in), in Lou’s mind. Scott is one of the few priceless players out there, and yet the prospect of not having Rob(in) was worth more than “priceless”.

HEATHER B: I kind of love that Lou wouldn’t trade for Robin just to keep Scott happy. That’s funny!

SCHNOOKIE: Rob(in) always seemed to me like the less-talented, less good-looking, inferiority-complex-riddled younger brother, whose older brother was perfect without ever even trying. And on top of that, Rob(in) has a speech impediment (he’s kind of lispy. Or at least, he was when he was younger). As an uglier, less talented, inferiority-complex-riddled younger sister, this is something I should relate to. But… I just find there’s this eau de Niedermayer that makes him dislikable.

POOKIE: Heather, in response to Scott being a punk, I agree, but Scott is a cool punk. Rob’s the loser that gets to hang with the cool punk because he’s related to him. I realize this is all just my perception of them, but when I think of them I see environmentalist Scott looking relaxed in some hemp casual clothes and hugging trees. I see Rob(in) bedecked in hunting orange, gloating over the bloody corpse of a mostly-dead mountain lion. And I imagine that Scott then slips the cougar a Miracle Max pill and sends it on it’s merry way while Rob(in) goes, “Oh, okay, Cool Brother, whatever you say.”

As for the eau de Niedermayer making him dislikable, it might have to do with the dating Niki Taylor.

SCHNOOKIE: Lou not going after Rob(in) is sort of funny. Rob(in) was totally twilight — he was too good to be relegated to the minors, but wasn’t good enough to justify how much Lou would have had to pay him. Normally the younger, less-talented brothers are undrafted. It gets a lot harder when they’re fifth-overall draft picks and get inflated salaries from idiot expansion teams before Lou has a chance to get his claws into them.

Oh, and Scott doesn’t slip the cougar a Miracle Max pill. Please. You know Scott’s the only one of them who’s felled big game. Rob(in) keeps shooting small birds and squirrels and shit, and then having them mounted to look rabid and menacing. Scott kills big game just by being the greatest man to ever breathe. He kills them with how good he is at hockey.

POOKIE: It seems to me that Scott and Rob(in) were all into killing big game and then one day Scott decided to be a peaceloving treehugger. So Rob(in)’s still bringing home rabid spotted titmice and showing them all proudly to Scott who’s like, “Oh, I’m so not into that any more. I’m macrame-ing shopping bags for low-income families.” And then Rob(in) comes back in a week saying, “OK, I made 20 bags!” And Scott’s like, “Oh, I’m so not into that any more. I’m biking across Tibet to free the foie gras ducks.” Rob(in) just seems perpetually a year or two behind Scott all the time.

HEATHER B: All right now I do feel a little bad for Robin. (I wonder if he’s named after “Hood” or “Boy Wonder”?)

KATEBITS: Stop talking shit about Robin. He’s way cuter than Scottin.

SCHNOOKIE: The point is moot because they’re both ugsome.

And yeah, Rob(in) came home in October and Scott(in) was like, “You’re still playing hockey? I’ve stopped doing that.”

KATEBITS: I think Robin is very pleasant looking! I’d hypothetically hit it. That’s all I’m saying.

POOKIE: I think you’re wronger than anyone’s ever been wrong before. That’s all I’m saying.

Rob(in) is a butcher! Literally. He butchers cougars.

KATEBITS: I’m fine with that.

HEATHER B: I just did a Google image search for “Rob Niedermayer” and it says “Also try Scott Niedermayer.” Poor Robin! All the pictures on the front page are either a) with Scott or b) Scott.

I wouldn’t say he’s hittable but I think he’s more pleasant looking than Scott.

KATEBITS: Thank you Heather! Scott is only hot when he’s got the crazy unibomber beard.

HEATHER B: Agreed. And even then I’m not sure “hot” is the right word.

KATEBITS: Without it he looks like a weenie.

SCHNOOKIE: You guys are insane. Scott(in) is the most effortless Great Hockey Player ever. I know it’s annoying to hear it all the time, but seriously, the guy wins shit without even getting up out of bed in the morning. Literally not a single other player in the history of hockey has won championships at the Junior level, NHL, World Championships and Olympic gold. And he even squandered half his career being a stubborn ass about refusing to live up to his potential. That is a zillion times hotter than being a fourth-line center who has stayed in the league thanks to teams refusing to admit that they wasted a lottery pick on him and then teams who have to keep him because they don’t want to lose his brother. They look enough alike that I give the tip to Scott(in) as the better-looking one just on strength of the fact that he can’t not be a champion, even when he tries not to be. (I hate them both.)

POOKIE: Scott’s hot (or was hot when he was a tad bit younger and less Duck-y) because his play was so hot. He used to glide off the ice and then instead of using the door to the bench and instead of climbing up onto the boards, he would just step over them. Without breaking his glide he’d just, in one fluid motion, effortlessly lift one leg up and gracefully shift his weight over the boards.

He also used to once a year snap on the ice. Our season-ticket buddy Morgan dubbed it “PsychoNeider”. He’d just, for no apparent reason, jump a guy. He famously went after Bryan Berard for no reason. And there was that whole swinging his stick at Peter Worrell’s head. There was a bit of an unexpectedness to him. Would he show up and play great? Would he have his head in the clouds? Would he turn Psycho? Now he’s just Mr. Perfect. It’s making him seem less hot.

HEATHER B: Scott looks like a weenie with the beard, just a slightly more interesting weenie.

I have to say, I’m fascinated by how Scott is super good at hockey while not seeming that interested in playing it. Part of me thinks it’s kind of cool for a pro athlete to be willing to walk away so young (well, kind of) but at the same time I can’t really wrap my brain around not clinging desperately to playing for as long as you can especially since aging doesn’t really dampen his style of play.

And come on, you’re talking to Sabres fans, Schnookie. We both know Chris Drury is the real champion.

SCHNOOKIE: Well, you’re right of course. Scott(in) never won a Little League World Series. (I always found the dichotomy between Scott(in)’s outrageous ability and total disinterest in the sport to be fascinating. Maddening, but also fascinating. He also was my original “Oooh! Glasses on a hockey player is a very appealing thing!” player.)

KATEBITS: Yeah. There is no accounting for my taste. Keep in mind that I have literally never seen Scott play except for last year during the SCF, and those games were practically the first hockey games I had ever seen (I was also madly in love with Chris Drury at the time). I’m just going on pure looks and what I have learned about Scottin since then. Scottin is not hot to me.

SCHNOOKIE: Heather, you say, “And Robin and Scott look enough alike that I give the nod to Robin because he need something in his life.” Which part of “he dated Niki Taylor” didn’t you pick up on?

POOKIE: True, Scott(in) never won the Little League World Series. Therefore it is cogently evident the salient feature of Bucci’s argument is Drury’s the greatest man to ever breathe.

SCHNOOKIE: I think what I’m trying to say is that it pains me to think of Rob(in) as anything other than an annoying loser. Since I think he’s less hot than Scott(in) and Scott(in) annoys the living crap out of me. If A < B, and B = C, then A < C. It’s simple mathematics, ladies. The numbers and formulae don’t lie — Rob(in) is not hot.

KATEBITS: Shoot. I hate it when you use math against me, Schnookie.

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