...randomness surrounding Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard, and other great indie rock bands; a quasi objective look at "my" sporting teams; the random horror film; plus other crap as we see fit...all with a Pittsburgh based feel.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Alain Nasreddine, Difference Maker


Desperate times call for desperate measures. With the slew of injuries the Pens have recently experienced, we needed someone to step up. Alain's +/- of 0 last night may be deceiving. It was #32's mere presence on the ice for 15 minutes that put the Pens over the top. At least that's how I saw it from the bar stool at Fred's. How could you argue any different? Ray Shero recalls Nasreddine on Monday...a day later, Winner.

As another wise man said last night at the bar with his slice of Police Station pizza: "We can cope with Crosby's injury, but it's the rest of these guys going down that kills us." Or something like that.

Not only is #87 out...Armstrong's sick, Kennedy's got mono, Scary Gary and Mark Eaton are out indefinitely, Fleury's still wearing a skirt, Adam Hall...I think he's got a groin of sorts. The games missed due to injury this year have been brutal. And the amount of unrecognizable dudes recalled from Wilkes-Barre has given us a Who's Who in the AHL look. So to get a win under those circumstances, on the road against a divisional opponent, after being down twice in the game...EVERYTHING.

I could just see Nasreddine and Nathan Smith (another call-up) in the locker room before the game, during Therrien's pre-game speech: "That's what were here for guys. We're here to win!"

*** side note: does referee Bill McCreary have a little Cliff Clavin from Cheers in him? ***


Christensen, Staal, Malone...way to step up, kids. I've been hard on Malone in the past, but the dude's been awesome all year. Major props to #12, and 2 huge goals last night. Christensen's been our best face-off guy all year, and is close to automatic in shootouts, but it's about time he buries one in regulation. And as bad as Staal's been this year, at least you can say he's played in every game of the season (I believe Malkin and Scuderi are the only others who match that). For the record, I'm not giving up on Staal...he just needs to hit the weights in the off-season.

Moving on...

Pens are back at it tonight in Atlanta, where we need to get some redemption against toolbox Mark Recchi. And w/ @ 30 games left in the season for most teams, it's not too early to start watching the scoreboard. Not that anyone out there is stupid or anything, but here's the short list of "Root For's" and "Root Against's" for the rest of the regular season:

Root Against, in order (these are relatively easy):
  1. The low class Flyers
  2. New Jersey
  3. Montreal
  4. Boston
  5. NY Rangers (as disappointing they've been, they could be scary in the playoffs)
  6. NY Islanders

The winner of the Atlantic is most likely assured the #2 seed, which in my opinion, is just as advantageous, if not better, than the #1 seed. Here's why: #7 or #8 in the 1st round...who cares. But if the seeds hold true in the Conference Semi's, then I would rather play the #3 seed (the Southeast winner), than anyone else. So, feel free to cheer on these squads against any of the above...

Root For:

  1. Western Conference teams (duh)
  2. Any Southeast Division team. Let Carolina run away with it...the best they'll do is a #3 seed. I doubt you'll see another SE team in the playoffs, so let the surging Caps, Atlanta, Fla, and Tampa scrap it out for an 8 seed spot.
  3. Toronto
  4. Buffalo
  5. Ottawa (see above. sounds crazy, but who cares if they get the #1 seed. let them take care of some of the above clubs along the way.)


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Me playing soccer...


The hair was a bit longer back in da day. Thanks to my friends for being on hand to capture it on video.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mike Tirico, Ass Hat

long overdue...

So the NHL Winter Classic between the Penguins and Buffalo Sabres was a rousing success, right? Merchandise sales with everything reading "Winter Classic" have been through the roof. TV ratings were higher for this game than any of the Stanley Cup final games from last year. Every NHL franchise north of the Mason-Dixon line have lobbied to be the next team to play in the snow. And despite some of the weather issues, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would've called the New Year's Day game "a failure."

Enter Mike Tirico and his Dan Patrick-esque soapbox. Tirico came on to ESPN Radio days following the classic, and toed the ESPN company line of "since we no longer have a contract with the NHL, everything it does is a failure." Tirico pointed out the delays due to the snow build-up, and questioned the scheduling of the event.

How DARE the NHL pit this game against all those exciting New Year's Day bowl games?!?! I mean...that Rose Bowl matchup between Illinois and USC was exhilarating! All 4+ hours! The Cotton Bowl between Arkansas and Missouri was a real doozy. And that Sugar Bowl matchup between Hawaii's high octane offense and the big bad Georgia Bulldogs from the big bad SEC?! I almost pissed myself in anticipation of that game.

(OK, the Florida / Michigan game was worth some thrills...1 outta 4 ain't bad).

Admittedly, some of the delays to repair the ice were a buzzkill to an otherwise exciting game played in a beautiful setting. But criticism about delays in a sporting event from a guy who does play-by-play for NFL games sounds a tad ridiculous, if not completely moronic. You could do 2 laps around a rink in a zamboni within the same time frame it takes between a touchdown and the opposing team's next play from scrimmage. You can DVR an NFL game, and be over and done with all the "action" in about 20 minutes. At least the 60 (sometimes more) minutes of "action" in an NHL game is just that...action.

*** Note to self: DVR the Superbowl ***

The NFL has its own built-in delays, yet Tirico doesn't seem to question these because they pay the bills. At least NBC had the gumption to stay on-air for most of these delays, and attempted to fill them with banter between the on-air talent, rather than use them for another excuse to run commercials.

Fact is, ESPN needs to lose their self proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports" tag. You're more like, "Worldwide Leader in Sports We Cover." Or better yet: "Worldwide Leader in Overhyping Sports We Cover." If it's not the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NASCAR...it's crap according to ESPN. The world's most popular sport, like it or not, is soccer. Yet you'll barely get a mention of it on Sportscenter, unless it's conveniently packaged into the ESPN Deportes segment.

The constant bashing of the NHL by Tirico and every other ESPN personality (sans Barry Melrose) not only comes off as childish and trite, but seriously questions the journalistic integrity of the entire network. Mr.Tirico...the time has come to get your head out of your Ass (Hat). Until then, the NHL doesn't need you or your bullshit network.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Punch a Flyer in the Face

God, I hate the Flyers. Yeah, we lost. But at least Big Georges handed out another smackdown to low life punching bag Riley Cote. Hockeyfights.com scores it 96.6% BGL, and 2.1% (homer blind Flyer fans) scored it for Cote . Funny how Georges pounds him with the 1st left, and then picks him up to administer more beatings...



Perhaps a little redemption for their last meeting, when former Flyer Ben Eager got a cheapshot elbow on Laraque, and Flyers Head Scumbag John Stevens refused to send Eager out on the ice the rest of the game, despite Laraque taking a run at everything in sight. Isn't that an enforcer's job? In Ben Eager's case, it couldn't be scoring, seeing he didn't have a point in Philadelphia the entire year (prior to his trade). Typical Flyer cowardliness. Just like last night...when Stevens sent Cote back on the ice, only after BGL got kicked out of the game for his hit on another dirtbag...Steve Downie. Nice acting job, dick.

Fortunately for Eager, he got traded to a team that won't play the Pens this year. At least Gary Roberts got to beat the snot outta him before he left for Chicago...



Like I said, the Flyers won the game...kudos. But the year is far from over. Til next time, ass bags.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Control


Got to check this out at the Harris Theatre a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be playing anywhere locally. Great film. Sam Riley as Ian Curtis was phenomenal. Check it out if you have the means...




Based on a book by his ex-wife Deborah Curtis, Control portrays Curtis as a much more sympathetic character, but that was to be expected. I didn't know much more about Ian than his music (and his early death), but it seemed like he was always portrayed as more of a jag (i.e. his brief appearance in 24 Hour Party People). Anyway...Control will most definitely make my Top 10 of 2007.

Here's Joy Division performing "Shadowplay" on Tony Wilson's (R.I.P., also) Granada Reports in 1978. This here tune was on their debut '79 full length album Unknown Pleasures, which Pitchfork listed as the 9th best album of the 70's. Seeing the original Ian Curtis here...and then seeing Sam Riley's performance...kinda eery creepy...



One for play or download...
(left click to play; right click to download)
::Joy Division - Transmission ::

Ass Hats tomorrow, kids...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gino Buries Ovechkin

Last night, Pens / Caps...Alexander Ovechkin takes a cheapish run at Malkin, and Gino flat blasts him into the boards. Probably could've been a charging call on Ovy, but the embarrassment on his face is worth more. Flippin beautiful...

The bad news...the Sidless Pens drop a point as they'd eventually lose in a shootout.

In related news, Man Utd. head man Alex Ferguson tells the Reading fans and Dan Yost to stick it. I actually heard this gesture is known as the banana?!? You learn something new everyday here at EC.

Nice one, Jess. I thought a "Sir" would have more class than to tell Dan Yost to stick it...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Leatherface

Thanks to one of EC's loyal readers (thanks, C!), we have a visual...




Hey Coach, we noticed your face was frozen. How's your fingers? Are they all numb and stingy, too?

Superbowl Hype, Cliff Notes version

The following is about all you need to know, so save your time watching endless Superbowl coverage:

  • The Patriots are the greatest team ever conceived by man.
  • Tom Brady is the greatest QB ever conceived by man.
  • Bill Belichick is the greatest Head Coach ever conceived by man. He also wears a hoodie, cheats, and has the personality of an eggplant.
  • Randy Moss told all y'all media peoples...he will address his alleged smack-down after the Superbowl. I mean seriously, the media has a lot of nerve bringing up a domestic violence incident before the Superbowl of all things.
  • The NY Giants shocked the world. They proved all the experts wrong. No one on this earth picked them to beat the Packers. No one gave them any respect. It's them against the world. Blah, Blah, Blah.
  • Eli Manning still makes weird faces, but is starting to become a better QB.


Now you can skip all the crap on ESPN, and prepare yourself for the worst Superbowl ever. Thank God for Superbowl parties.

Two predictions: 1) The Patriots will win. 2) Someone on the Giants will guarantee a win, and there will be no repercussions from the "guarantee" when they lose.

Best image from yesterday's NFL games (which I can't find a picture of): Tom Coughlin's frozen face. Absolutely. Hysterical.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happier than you and me...



Gino Machino


Perhaps the biggest single win for the Pens this season going all the way back to Thanksgiving night when we beat those bastard Senators, 6-5 in a shootout.

Last night, we looked shell shocked after Sid went down. 15 seconds into tonight, we lose Colby. Tonight was all guts. Pure passion. Proud as a frickin peacock type effort. The Pens ride a 4th line goal from Jeff Taffe, and play disciplined hockey the rest of the way throughout for the 2 points. 1st place, fuckos!

How the crap is Gino Malkin not one of the 3 stars on the night? I thought those them Montreal folk knew their hockey. Malkin was a stud...stepped it up HUGE in 87's absence. Oh, well. The more he gets passed over, the better he plays.

I imagine 71 will finally get the nod to participate in next week's All-Star game, with Crosby being out. But seriously...who cares. I hope he doesn't. I hope he rejects the opportunity. F 'em. F 'em in the other ear. Fact of the matter is, Malkin's one of the top 10 players in the NHL...today. If the NHL doesn't want to recognize this for some crazy reason, then let him rest his legs and come back even stronger after the break.

Kudos to Sabourin as well. Conklin's run had to end at some point, and he looked tired last night. Give Conks the night off, and let him come back against those crazy Capitals Monday.

I luv this fookin team.

Championship Weekend

I'll take the Patriots and the Packers to win, Patriots to win the Superbowl.

Sorry. If the Steelers aren't playing, and there's no financial interest, the NFL loses me. Maybe I'll DVR the games and watch all the "action" in 20 minutes or less.

Moving on to better things that are much less over hyped not commercially burdened...

Au revoir, Arrowhead Ernie


I've been BUSY!!

(said in Luther from 48 Hours voice).

Lots going on the past couple months...school, work, move, picking winners. But those would all be excuses, and we don't make them. At least that's the new mantra around here at EC. You can thank Mike Tomlin for the inspiration. Speaking of Tomlin, these have been popping up all over the place, but this one's pretty classic. The yenser-factor puts it over the top...





I've also been busy with some side projects, one of them being a consultant to Steelers OC Bruce Arians and Coach Tomlin, in charge of coming up with key 3rd Down plays for the Offense. Here's one of my original ideas presented to the staff, but unfortunately, this play was overlooked during the Beloved's playoff loss to Jacksonville...


It may look like rocket science, but it really isn't when you break it down. Simply put the ball in the hands of your Team MVP for 2007, and let him make a play. First options are to Santonio running one of those silly slant patterns, or to Hines running an option route...Nate, that crazy bastard, runs a fly, and Heath a seam. Najeh stays in to block, then gets his big ass to the flats if the play breaks down. If all else fails, Big Ben scampers to the sticks. Because we all know the #1 Rule to any successful 3rd down play: When all hope is lost, scamper.

My staff and I have spent countless hours at the bar, devising a whole section of plays that are similar to the "3rd & 6 - Don't Be Scared to Win" play above. All of which include the "When all hope is lost, scamper" provision. Hopefully, during key points of games next year, the Steeler coaching staff will take these under careful consideration.


Added to the off-season agenda for my staff at the bar...a New & Improved 2 Point Conversion Chart - When to Do It, When to Kick It.

He's ALIVE!

To all who thought there'd never--EVER be post on Empties Crushed again, have no fear...Gary has returned! You can thank the viscious injury Sydney Crosby sustained last evening that allowed for the writing muse to return to Gary Smith once more. Thanks Syd, but we'll surely miss you!

Friday, January 18, 2008