July 31, 2008

10 Reasons You Should Stop Being a Sports Fan

You wear fashionable sports merchandise.
Why wear what everyone else is wearing? You have to be different and cool. You want to stand out in the crowd and let everyone know that you set the trends.

You attend games in a suit, in the lower sections, and spend more time talking to a client or on your cell phone.
Real fans hate you. You get the good company seats, show up whenever, and pay more attention to selling your shit service to a client than to the incoming line drive at your head.

You are more interested in the food selection than what's going on in the game.
Your typical game day attire consists of sweatpants or basketball shorts so that your elastic waistband can expand as your gorge on your third sausage and pepper sandwich. Everytime a vendor is in your section, you quickly scan what they're selling and decide whether or not you want to pay $7 for another hot pretzel. You do, of course.

You spend the entire game bitching about the food prices, how boring the game is, or anticipating what you're plans are after the game.
You're the type of person that's only happy when you're miserable. Nothing makes you happy so you take it upon yourself to let everyone know that you're unhappy.

You come late, leave early.
You know what time the game starts, yet you still show up an hour into the game. After a while, you decide to head home before the game is even over and it doesn't matter if it's a close score. You've got to beat the traffic! Surely worth the $90 ticket.

You speak loud enough so you think the people around you will believe you're some sort of expert. And you also look around after each shitty joke.
You know it all. You bring three friends with lesser knowledge of the game and spout obvious statistics to make yourself sound smarter. You want everyone in your section to think of you as some sort of guru, so you make sure to raise your voice when answering an inane question from one of your friends.

You bring a baby/young kids to a division rivalry game.
You decide to bring a baby/young kids to an environment that's going to be hostile, yet you're still appalled when the expletives fly. You try to be a hero to your kids and stand up and tell those around you to keep the language clean because there's kids around. You quickly sit down after the fourth beer stains your "World's Best Daddy" t-shirt.

You get more animated during the Kiss Cam or t-shirt toss in-between play.
Your team is winning or needs some vocal support from the crowd, but you decide to save your energy when the teams interns shoot t-shirts into the crowd or when you finally notice you've been located on the Kiss Cam, and you're sitting next to Joe Tough Guy and Willie Old Dude.

You show up to the game just for the gameday promotion.
You've got the Beanie Baby collection to show for it.

You grow balls when the big, opposing athlete is 100 feet away.
Tough guy when an opposing player is on the field/court/ice and you're sitting up in the stands, protected by many seats and security guards. While you're dining on wings at the local Hooters afterwards and said opposing athlete shows up for a post-game meal, your anus tightens quicker than Joan Rivers' face.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Petr Nedved Attempting Comeback to the NHL

There was a joke last season that after it was announced that the Rangers would be playing the Lightning in Prague, that there'd be no resident Czech's left on the New York roster to help promote the trip. Everyone was speculating about Jaromir Jagr's future. Martin Straka and Marek Malik were as good as gone. The only ones left were Petr Prucha and Michal Roszival, who aren't exactly big name draws.

Well, according to the Czech website DeniksSport, long-time NHL'er Petr Nedved will attempt a comeback with the Rangers in training camp. Nedved played in the Big Apple from 1998-2004 posting some decent numbers before moving on the Oilers, Coyotes, Flyers and one last time with the Oilers in 2006-07. Last season he played with HC Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga where he scored 20 goals and 5 assists in 42 league games.

If he makes the team, that'll make three Czech players on the New York roster, all not named "Jaromir Jagr". I guess that's not what the NHL had in mind when they organized these opening games.

On a side note, how is it that the Red Wings aren't going to play in Stockholm, but the Penguins (zero) and Senators (one) are? Detroit currently dresses seven regular Swedes a night. Not that the games in Prague and Stockholm won't sell out, but hell, having the defending Stanley Cup champs and seven of their players coming home would create some great buzz in Sweden.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Scotty Bowman to the Chicago Blackhawks

Remember back in June, when HockeyBuzz blogger Andy Strickland floated a rumor of Scotty Bowman leaving the Detroit Red Wings and HockeyTown to join the Chicago Blackhawks in a hockey operations position?

Do you remember the backlash Strickland received from people?

Do you also remember that, while all the rumor floating was going on, Bob McKenzie wasn't so quick to dismiss it?

"Before you dismiss it as unfounded speculation, understand this: There is every reason to believe there has been conversation between Bowman and the Blackhawks about that very subject."

Well, bust out them crow pies.

The connection between the Blackhawks and the Hall of Fame coach is simple: Bowman's son Stan is the assistant general manager there, so today's announcement that he will become the Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations should come as no surprise.

Bowman's been rumored to have been courted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past, but always stayed at home with the Red Wings. He'll be joining an upstart franchise that's going to be growing into its own with young stars in Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and newly acquired Brian Campbell.

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 30, 2008

Wednesday Afternoon Required Reading

A piece on young players who may be eligible for this year's World Junior Championships, if they don't make their respective NHL clubs of course. (Globe & Mail)

Wayne Gretzky, one of America's greatest athletes. (NHL Fanhouse)

What salary arbitration is really like. (James Mirtle)

Time is running out for you to get your Gary Bettman Heroism photoshops in to Greg Wyshynski. (Puck Daddy)

Mats Sundin signs with the Habs? FOO YOU! (Four Habs Fans)

What Gary Bettman's retirement speech would sound like. (Melt Your Face Off)

Is 'Rocket' Richard the greatest player of all time? (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Connie brings us the Top 10 "Way Too Adorable" hockey players. (A Queen Among Kings)

Help out Christy's "Kneed 4 Relief" campaign. (Behind the Jersey)

Only an Islanders fan can explain what's next for that team. (BD Gallof)

Steven Stamkos and his electric eel Lightning jersey. (Far Away Leaf)

Are these the next coaching interviews to be done by Garth Snow? (Not Your Average Ice Girl)

An interview with former NHL'er Jason Wiemer (Rumor Me This)

Ballhype: hype it up!

What Does the "Brass Bonanza" and Carmen Electra Have in Common?

Just this.

Long live the Hartford Whalers victory march!

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 29, 2008

On the LCS Hockey Radio Show Tonight at 9pm ET

Just a note that I'll be on the LCS Hockey Radio show tonight at 9pm ET with Michael Dell and Jerry Fairish.

We'll be talking some hockey, some shenanigans, and who knows what else. I'll be on a little after 9 pm, otherwise you can download the podcast via iTunes.

Listen live

UPDATE: You can check out how it went here.

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 27, 2008

Matthew Barnaby: ESPN's Replacement for Barry Melrose?

If you didn't catch Matthew Barnaby's interview on the LCS Hockey Radio show this past Wednesday, you should go check it out. Not only does Barnaby talk about his playing days and his long feud with Lyle Odelein he also drops a little nugget of information about his possible future endeavors.

Barnaby, who makes the occasional appearance on TSN, noted he was going to meet with ESPN executives about the open position as lead NHL analyst with the WorldWide Leader. I did a poll over at Puck Daddy about who should replace Barry Melrose as the puck-talking head over at ESPN. While Barnaby wasn't included as one of the choices, he is an interesting option. He's definitely an out-spoken character with plenty of NHL experience, but I just don't see ESPN selecting him. It does baffle me why the need for a big NHL analyst on a network that barely covers the sport anyway.

UPDATE: Buffalo News is reporting Barnaby will be Melrose's replacement at ESPN

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 23, 2008

Mailing it in...

So the real world job is taking major precedence at the moment, so feel free to discuss whatever you'd like.

Cute babies in mailboxes.
Where Mats Sundin will win up.
Chocolate covered pretzels.
Your favorite vodka.


Ballhype: hype it up!

Matthew Barnaby on the LCS Radio Show Tonight!

Just a quick note: my good buddies Mike Dell and Jerry Fairish will be interviewing former Pen and Lyle Odelein-torturer Matthew Barnaby tonight as part of the LCS Hockey radio show.

You can catch it tonight at 9pm ET or download the podcast via iTunes. Head on over to Blogtalk tonight and listen to the show.

Ballhype: hype it up!

The Gary Bettman Portraits in Heroism Contest

Over at Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy, we're holding an art contest for anyone and everyone to submit their best "drawings, paintings, Photoshops and any other electronically-submitted visual media that depicts Gary Bettman in a moment of true valor and heroism."

Rules: Original artwork only, and we'll publish many but not all of the entries. The Yahoo! Sports rules of profanity and PG-13 content apply. We're looking for originality, creativity, wit and whatever puts our beloved commissioner in the most valiant light. Deadline for submissions is Friday, August 1 at noon EDT. E-mail contest entries (.jpegs preferred) to puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com.

My partner Greg Wyshynski and myself will be the judges. What can you win?

• An adult small Versus hockey jersey with "Versus 08" on the back, plus a special Stanley Cup playoffs poster.
• A spiffy Versus hat and a 2008 Stanley Cup commemorative puck.
• From the Puck Daddy prize closet: Monopoly, MY NHL edition.

Yes, exciting I know!

Now, I can't win obviously, but I figured I'd make one with my WONDERFUL Photoshopping abilities. (I know, yikes!).

Here's Commissioner Bettman in his cameo role in the movie Gladiator:


Ballhype: hype it up!

July 22, 2008

Pucklife: An Air Hockey Documentary

Ballhype: hype it up!

REMINDER: Calling All Graphic Artists


Since it's the summer and there's lots of downtime, I figured it'd be fun to run a contest.

I've been meaning to have my own logo for Going Five Hole, to go along with the banners atop the page. This is where you come in. You being anyone who's artistically gifted and not me who's awesome at drawing stick figures.

This is the opening of a contest where you can submit your own Going Five Hole logo to be placed on this here blog forever. Once I get enough entries, I'll create a poll where readers can vote on what they're favorite logo is and what they'd like to see every day when they come back here.

The winner shall receive:

-Free blog post on any hockey subject he/she wish
-Permanent link on the blog roll as well as a suave link to their portfolio (if available)
-It's Our Game DVD about Canada's 2004 World Cup of Hockey championship run

All entrants will receive a link on the blog roll.

So, if you're down and would like to enter, send your entries to sleahy21 --@---gmail [DOT].com

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 21, 2008

Important Information from the Tampa Bay Lightning

A note in Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer Damian Cristodero's "Lightning Strikes" blog about the Lightning girls upcoming auditions.

"Candidates must wear a half top, skin colored tights, form sitting shorts and sneakers or dance shoes. Applicants must be 18 or older and live within 50 miles of the Times Forum and must be a full-time student or employee or a combination of both. A high school diploma or equivalent is required, and a valid passport is suggested. No ice skating experience is necessary."

Do they have sign-ups to watch?

Ballhype: hype it up!

Will the Winter Classic Finds it's Way into NHL 09?

We're under two months away from the release of EA Sports' NHL 09 and currently in the midst of E3, the big electronics expo that showcases the newest videogames and goodies for tech geeks.

It's the time of year where fanboys (and girls) will scour the internet looking for the newest bit of information because waiting to find out, well, just isn't in the cards.

Count me in on that boat. I've been visiting the EA NHL 09 message boards on a daily basis to find some sort of nugget to wet my appetite.

It was yesterday I found a possibly huge piece of information regarding the upcoming NHL 09 game. The Winter Classic mode?

On the boards are a couple of moderators were invited by EA to Vancouver to get an inside look at the game. They pretty much know everything about the game , but at the moment, have to hold back some information in order to not ruin any surprises EA has in store.

Eric Lamontagne also known as "Oilersguru" is one of those guys and back in June he posted a blog on the message boards with a lot of good information such as:

-NHL 94 controls

-3 stars of the game are shown on the ice

-Delay of game and 4-5 minute high-sticking penalties

-Possibility of playing online 6 v 6

-International leagues: Russian, German, Czech Elite leagues and Swedish and Finnish

-User-created breakout plays

This is just a sample of what's included in this year's edition.

I emailed Lamontagne some questions about NHL 09 and here's what he had to say.

Going Five Hole: How did it come about that you were able to attend the NHL Community Event in Vancouver?
Lamontagne: I am the moderator and community leader for the NHL EA forums

GFH: From what you know and can divulge, what is the biggest improvement to NHL 09 from 08?
EL: Core game play, was the main focus this year

GFH: I know there will be some retro jersey's available in the game. Will be playable from the start or unlockable? How many vintage jersey's can we expect to see?
EL: Can't say

GFH: Many NHL teams will be unveiling a third jersey for the 08-09 season. Will these be unlockable with a password like we saw last year with the RBK Edge jersey's?
EL: They did not state if there was a code or not, but that would be my guess.

GFH: When can fans expect the NHL 09 demo to be downloadable?
EL: about one to two weeks before the official street date.

GFH: There's supposedly a game mode that's pretty wild that'll be included in 09. Could it possibly be a Winter Classic mode?
EL: Can't say

GFH: Could explain a little bit about the "legendary move" addition?
EL: They are move only skilled players in the game can pull off, moves that made names for players. I can not go into to much detail about the moves though.

GFH: Will the fantasy draft be brought back?
EL: not this year

GFH: What new additions can we expect to the dynasty mode?
EL: Contracts, scouting, player development, AI for the Defence and Goalies have been improved, breakouts,etc

GFH: What sort of expectations can we have to the new Be-A-Pro mode?
EL: High..lol this mode will dominate any other in any genre of sports titles. from presentation to playability, it has been given the utmost depth.

GFH: Finally, what are you personally looking forward to in NHL 09?
EL: Aside from Be A Pro, the modes I am most excited for are yet to be announced and are still under the Embargo fate.

I'd like to thank Eric for taking the time out to answer some of my questions. Check out the EA Sports NHL 09 message boards for some of the latest information and speculation.

Now, this is the part when I break out my "jump to conclusions" mat and assume things.

One of the questions I asked was about whether or not a Winter Classic mode in the game. Eric answered "can't say". Now, he knows all about the game at this point and he holding back information for obvious reasons. I have to believe if there was zero chance of this addition being in the 09 game, he would have just outright say 'no' correct?

There is a "huge surprise" left to be announced by EA Sports regarding NHL 09. Until it's officially out of the bag, I'm saying the Winter Classic will be a playable mode.

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 20, 2008

The Original Patrick Kane Rookie Card

What you see right there isn't just a 1994-95 Pinnacle hockey card of Sylvain Turgeon, what you see is the original Patrick Kane rookie card.

That little kid in the lap of the guy wearing the Bill Cosby sweater Yes, that is indeed Buffalo native and Blackhawk Patrick Kane.

Normally, this card would probably sell for .10, and that's if someone felt the need to giveaway a dime for a Sylvain Turgeon card, but on Ebay, folks are trying to tie in Kane's appearance with a higher sell price.

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 19, 2008

NHL Network to Carry Winter Classic Press Conference on Tuesday

With this week's announcement that the 2009 Winter Classic will be held at Wrigley Field between the Blackhawks and Red Wings, fans will want to know how things came to fruition and get definitive answers as to why Yankee Stadium didn't work for this year, but why it might for 2010.

This Tuesday, July 22, the NHL Network will televise the official 2009 Winter Classic press conference live from the Wrigley Field third base dugout in Chicago. Things will kick off at 12pm ET and feature representatives from the Blackhawks and Red Wings, as well as the NHL Players Association, and NHL league executives, likely Bill Daly and of course, Gary Bettman.

Ballhype: hype it up!

This Could Be the New Hockey Night in Canada Theme

Yes, it's true. My pal Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy has the details and an interview with the song's creator.

Ballhype: hype it up!

July 17, 2008

Former NHL'er Francois Leroux Named MAHL Commissioner

Former NHL toughman Francois Leroux was known for putting his fist down into the head of opponents.

Now, he'll be putting his fist down when it comes to tough decisions.

Today, Leroux was named to the commissioner's post of the eight-month old Mid-Atlantic Hockey League, a minor professional league that is based in the Great Lakes and mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It's basically a developmental league for former college and junior players looking to move up the ranks in the hockey world. Leroux played for the Oilers, Penguins, Avalanche, and Senators throughout his 249 game career that ended in 2003 and since then has been running a sporting goods manufacturing company.

The MAHL's first season ended with a whimper. Due to serious financial issues throughout the league, play was suspended in February and the Indiana Ice Minors (located in Pennsylvania) were declared champions. Two teams folded and two others have relocated since. Currently, the league has seven teams ready to play with hopes of bumping the number of viable franchises within the league to as many as twelve.

An interesting side note: the Lake Erie Vikings, formerly known as the Jamestown Vikings cited the reason for moving was due to an off-ice incident involving several players. Apparently, the players in question trashed a lodge they were in, believing that MAHL and (at the time) team owner Andrew Haines owned it. It was later revealed that the teams' arena revoked the lease in the midst of the league-wide financial troubles.

Sounds like Leroux has a lot of work ahead of him. Or maybe not.

According to the league press release, "Leroux will be responsible for refining the MAHL’s efforts to develop young talent and move players and coaches from the “A” level to higher levels of hockey including the ECHL, Central Hockey League and International Hockey League."

So the commissioner won't have any sort of hand in the business operations side of the league? I sure hope they hired some new people that can handle that task.

Otherwise, we might see another World Hockey Association 2.

Ballhype: hype it up!