Friday, August 31, 2007

Patrick Marleau Really Not Coming to Montreal. REALLY.

Patrick Marleau has just signed a 2-year, 12.6 mill contract extension with the Sharks. He says:

"I'm the last guy standing. I've come up with the team, and now that we've got what I think is a Stanley Cup-calibre team, I thought it wouldn't be the best time to leave. It was important to me to stay with the team, to stay in the Bay Area."

Think now the friggin' rumours will die?? I'm convinced Habs fans and Montreal media only wanted him here because they thought Marleau, with that last name, was from Quebec. He's from Saskatchewan, people.


We all love the game, isn't that what really matters?

The Morning Skate for Friday, August 31st

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of a flame war with some pretty annoyed Rangers fans. Oh, wait...
  • TMS (v 1.0) is back from the land of 56k modems. Very special thanks to HF33 and Panger for keeping the torch going this week during these trying yet amusing times. To you from failing hands, yada-yada;
  • Bob confrims those Marleau to Montreal rumours are a crock of shit. Of course they were - Eklund had the rumour as an E4;
  • Stars re-up Jussi Jokinen for 2 years. There is no name in the NHL more fun to say. I'm starting a movement to say "Jussi" after a sneeze instead of bless you;
  • Off to Siberia! Canada meets Russia in Game 3 of the "Super" Series in Omsk, Siberia, right now. Catch it on TSN Broadband. I finally figured out a reason to watch this series - possible shots of Kyle Turris' mom in the stands.

Alrighty hopefully things are getting back to normal around here. A very special welcome to all our New York friends who are popping by. Come for the hate, stay for the strippers.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

FHF Returns To Its Roots

So you go away for a few days to hunt for strippers in the woods and return to find that a few of the fine folks over in NYC are up in arms over a killer humourous post from HF10. I couldn't be prouder to be a FHF today.

But I think we should get back to what made us famous, and what we can all agree on - strippers. Scores rules.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, August 30

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the five unanswered goals the Habs scored on the Rangers in the second period on March 27, 2007...
  • WAR IN THE BLOGOSPHERE!!! A slug fest between the FHF and the Blueshirt Bulletin. Scroll down for some quality sparring.
  • Jose Theodore will find his seat as the worst backup goaltender in the NHL roughly 5 weeks late, a period the Avs will learn to call "the happiest times of our lives".
  • Some Ranger bloggers and fans have no class whatsoever. It saddens me to say that New York, a truly vibrant and wonderful place, has been represented by a bunch of clumsy, abrasive fools.

HF29 lives! We are relieved to have received word from our brave friend. He has much to share with us kind folk. Our anxiety has lessened, our turbulent nights shall once again offer their comforting slumbers, and TMS shall return to its rightful owner.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our measured response to the Blueshirt Bulletin

So apparently we struck a nerve with the Blueshirt Bulletin over our "10 Things I Hate About the Rangers" feature, and the wailing could be heard for miles. Well, being lawyers, the FHF aren't the types to back down from an email exchange/fight, so we sent a measured response to the Blueshirt Bulletin. Kind of like swatting a fly with a Buick. We are now hunkered down in the basement of FHF Headquarters, awaiting the fallout from Broadway (well, except for HF29, who remains MIA somewhere in the wilds of the Eastern townships). If you see specious reasoning and erroneous facts colliding with no sense of humour, run for it ... the Blueshirts are coming!

Dear Blueshirts Bulletin:

Wow. We expected a reaction to our little tongue-in-cheek top ten, but this is fantastic stuff. I'm intrigued by your response to us having some fun at the Ranger's expense, but I think your passion is clouding your judgement. Let's go through your points one-by one.

Your ignorance is astonishing. The NY Americans remained in business -- in the Garden -- for fifteen years after the Rangers came into the leauge. It was MSG's owner in 1941 -- Jim Norris -- who ran them out of the building. Norris, by the way, owned the Red Wings and (illegally) the Blackhawks at the time. He used his ownership of the Rangers' home building to keep them from playing home games in the playoffs, including in 1950 when the Wings beat the Rangers in double-OT of the seventh game of a Cup final series in which five games were played in Detroit and two in Toronto. He also looted them (as well as the Blackhawks) of players, like Gordie Howe (who first came up with the Rangers at age 17) and Harry Lumley. His control of the Garden was wrested from him by an antitrust suit brought against him by the US Justice Department. The NHL, in its wisdom, named the Norris Trophy after him.

Yes, the Americans remained in business and playing at MSG after the Rangers came into being. However, nothing I said is untrue:

1. Rickard promised the Americans that there wouldn't be another hockey tenant at MSG.

2. Rickard and MSG management saw how successful the Americans were at the box office, and decided to go back on their word and get a team.

3. When the Rangers proved an immediate success, it negatively affected the Americans profile in comparison because they were struggling on the ice; naturally, fans gravitate towards a winner, so as the Rangers crowds went up, the Americans crowds went down. As they struggled more at the box office and on the ice, the franchise started a downward spiral that ended when the NHL revoked the franchise. James Norris might have dealt the final blow to the Amerks, but stating that the introduction of the Rangers into the market didn't help bring about the demise of the Americans is either naive, ignorant or both. Tex Rickard went back on his word, founded a team to directly compete with the Americans, and is as responsible as anyone for their end. Those are the facts, whether you like them or not. (Lovely story about Norris, by the way. Has nothing to do with our topic, but thanks for the history lesson. Imagine, some of the founding fathers of the NHL were less than reputable sorts! Astonishing.)

Now Montreal "Canadiens" -- that's an original name. Especially for the biggest city in a province that doesn't even want to be part of Canada.

If you knew your history, you would probably leave the Canadiens name and any comments about separatism out of this conversation. Montreal and its citizens have always been very proud of their roots in Quebec AND Canada, and in every referendum or election where separatism is an issue, the city of Montreal and it's surrounding municipalities votes overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in Canada. As for the team name, "Canadiens" is an ancient term used by the original French inhabitants of the province of Quebec. It has a 500 year history and association with the francophone people and the Canadiens carry it proudly as Quebec's representative to the world. The Habs themselves have categorically stated that, should the unthinkable happen and Quebec actually leave Canada, the Canadiens name would remain as is.

How many Cups would you have won without the 50-mile rule, eh?

Ah, the 50 mile rule. Whenever talk gets to the success of the Canadiens, someone brings up the 50 mile rule. No one talks about the advantages the Leafs enjoyed handpicking the best and brightest out of Ontario, or the Red Wings enjoyed by plucking the best out of the Southwestern Ontario/Winsdor/Sarnia hockey hotbed (don't forget, most of the Leafs 13 Cups and the Wings 10 Cups came before the effects of the oh-so-unfair 50 mile rule were eliminated thanks to the draft). No, it's only the Canadiens who greatly benefited. It couldn't have been the excellent scouting system, shrewd trades, or foresight to sponsor junior teams across the country that helped.

Was the core of the franchise French Canadian kids? Yes. Were the Canadiens merely playing by the rules set out by the league they were part of? Yes. Were the Rangers, Bruins, and Blackhawks at a competitive disadvantage due to geography before the rule was lifted? Yes. Should the Canadiens apologize for it? Should I feel guilty about it? Hell no. Should I point out the Habs claimed almost half of their Cups after the rule was lifted, thanks to excellent hockey decisions, while the Rangers continued to flounder?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Habs management in the 50's and 60's probably still would have had the inside track on French Canadian kids like the Richards, Beliveau, Geoffrion and Moore because they wanted to play for their hometown team, but let's for a minute pretend some of them escaped the Canadiens vast scouting network and sponsored leagues. How many Cups would have gone elsewhere? Between 1950 and 1970, the Habs took ten titles. Say for argument's sake that they lose 3 to the Beliveau-led Bruins, 2 more to the Leafs, and 1 each to the Blackhawks and Wings. (I assume that since the 50 mile rule is no longer around, the Habs found a few gems in the suburbs of Toronto and remained competitive enough to grab 3 Cups in 20 years.) That's still 17 Cups in their history; maybe Frank Selke and Sam Pollock knew a thing or two about hockey after all. Don't hold out the magical 50 mile rule as a excuse for 50 years of Rangers bumbling.

And the Forum, that's a pretty famous arena. I love to visit it whenever I'm in Montreal -- oh wait, it doesn't exist anymore? Since when? Over TEN YEARS! But you said "The Montreal Forum just called" -- where from, a time machine?

Yes, the Forum no longer exists as an arena (although the building remains, having been converted into an entertainment venue ... so you could go visit if you wanted. Check out the history of "hockey's mailing address" in the concourse level). Other famous sites around the world that are no longer in existence as they once were include the Chicago Stadium, Maple Leaf Gardens, the Boston Garden, the lost Mayan city of Macchu Picchu, the Temple of Solomon, the walled city of Jericho ... the point is, being famous and being current aren't co-dependent. Fans in China and Russia and France all know the Forum whether it stands or not. I'm also pleased to see your logic will accept that an arena can make a phone call, but only if it is still standing, so you toss a time machine into the equation. That leap over the entire joke is mind boggling.

And what exactly happened back in the day to the Montreal Arena, which the Canadiens shared with the Montreal Wanderers? It burnt to the ground, under mysterious circumstances, forcing the Wanderers to disband. What was that you said about the Tex Rickard and the Amerks? And how about the Canadiens being part of the group that disbanded the NHA because they didn't like Eddie Livingstone, just because he was so innovative that his team beat them? Yeah, that's a history to be proud of.

Interesting theory on the Montreal Arena. I have no idea if the Canadiens intentionally burned down their own rink in order to destroy the already struggling Wanderers, but I think burning your own home down and being forced to move to your previous smaller home sounds a little counterproductive to running a successful business. It makes for a nice conspiracy theory but doesn't make Tex lying to the Americans about the terms of their MSG agreement any less true. And if "being part of the group" means being part of "every other team in the league" then yes, the Habs up and left Livingstone and helped form the NHL. I'd like to think all those teams didn't take their puck and go home merely because Livingstone's team was successful; it might have also been because Livingstone could be a royal pain-in-the-ass. Of course, you probably know it was the Wanderers ownership who spearheaded the drive to get Livingstone out, but that wasn't a convenient fit for your rant.

And you had to go down to 7th place to find names you can make fun of on the all-time scoring list -- skipping over Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch, Jean Ratelle, Andy Bathgate, Mark Messier, and Walt Tkaczuk. What, you couldn't come up with any jokes about those guys?

Yeah, I made fun of some of the low-hanging fruit on the Rangers all-time scoring list. If you had paid attention, that's kind of the point. Like it or not, Steve Vickers and Adam Graves aren't on the tip of the tongue when someone says "all-time greatest NHLer's", yet there they are, among the top ten Rangers scorers of all-time. It was a dig at your team's lack of star power over the years, and I think a rather good one. Look at the Habs all time top scorers for comparison:

1. Lafleur
2. Beliveau
3. H. Richard
4. M. Richard
5. Robinson
6. Cournoyer
7. Lemaire
8. Shutt
9. Geoffrion
10. Lach

Stars, every one of them; all Hall of Famers save Lemaire. That's what an all-time scorers list should look like; good God man, can't you see the humour in your team's history at all? Of course I skipped over Messier and Leetch and Gilbert. They are all-time greats and everyone knows it. I would laugh just as hard if somehow Denis Herron or Steve Penney was featured prominently amongst Plante, Dryden and Roy on a list of all time Habs goalies.

You idiots -- your site is pathetic. It sure looks like it has a lot of visitors. Too bad none of them like to leave comments.

If you'd like to respond, there's a wide-open comments section below my post on (as you pointed out, our comments section isn't exactly overflowing ... touche. Let us get a full year (and an actual hockey season) under our belts and see where our blog is.) However, you might want to re-read it so you don't go off again, accusing me of ignorance and foaming at the mouth over some harmless, tongue-in-cheek filler.

God help us if the Columbus bloggers get as angry over some goofy jokes, because I think Ten Things I Hate About the Bluejackets is next.



Top 10 Rangers Rant Makes Blueshirt Bulletin Cry

Yesterday, the FHF inaugurated it's 10 Things I Hate About__ series. HF10 posted the first entry on the New York Rangers. We thought it would be amusing to send our post to a NYR blog, the Blueshirt Bulletin. Cry babying ensued...

Here now was the comment sent to us by Dubi from the Blueshirt Bulletin. Thanks Dubi Dubi Doo.

Your ignorance is astonishing. The NY Americans remained in business -- in the Garden -- for fifteen years after the Rangers came into the leauge. It was MSG's owner in 1941 -- Jim Norris -- who ran them out of the building.

Norris, by the way, owned the Red Wings and (illegally) the Blackhawks at the time. He used his ownership of the Rangers' home building to keep them from playing home games in the playoffs, including in 1950 when the Wings beat the Rangers in double-OT of the seventh game of a Cup final series in which five games were played in Detroit and two in Toronto.

He also looted them (as well as the Blackhawks) of players, like Gordie Howe (who first came up with the Rangers at age 17) and Harry Lumley. His control of the Garden was wrested from him by an antitrust suit brought against him by the US Justice Department. The NHL, in its wisdom, named the Norris Trophy after him.

Now Montreal "Canadiens" -- that's an original name. Especially for the biggest city in a province that doesn't even want to be part of Canada. How many Cups would you have won without the 50-mile rule, eh?

And the Forum, that's a pretty famous arena. I love to visit it whenever I'm in Montreal -- oh wait, it doesn't exist anymore? Since when? Over TEN YEARS! But you said "The Montreal Forum just called" -- where from, a time machine?

And what exactly happened back in the day to the Montreal Arena, which the Canadiens shared with the Montreal Wanderers? It burnt to the ground, under mysterious circumstances, forcing the Wanderers to disband. What was that you said about the Tex Rickard and the Amerks? And how about the Canadiens being part of the group that disbanded the NHA because they didn't like Eddie Livingstone, just because he was so innovative that his team beat them? Yeah, that's a history to be proud of.

And you had to go down to 7th place to find names you can make fun of on the all-time scoring list -- skipping over Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch, Jean Ratelle, Andy Bathgate, Mark Messier, and Walt Tkaczuk. What, you couldn't come up with any jokes about those guys?

You idiots -- your site is pathetic. It sure looks like it has a lot of visitors. Too bad none of them like to leave comments.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, August 29

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares you were Miss South Carolina....

  • The FHF is still in shock after its darling from Quebec accepted an offer to skate with the Philadelphia Flyers...that's right, Patrick Lebeau who played for the Habs (we have all had orgasms that lasted longer than his stint in Montreal) has been invited to join the Philly training camp.
  • Speaking of La Belle Province, many players from Chez Nous are getting together for skating drills, pick-up hockey and off-ice training in Rosemere, a northern suburb of Montreal. They won't play here, but they'll practice here. At least it's a start.
  • The troops are amassing on the Blueshirt Bulletin front. PLEASE STAY TUNED....
  • Patrick Lebeau made The Morning Skate, for the love of God please let the season start.

We think HF29 may have been eaten alive by bears and rabbits. We have heard nothing since his famous last words, "I hope they have strip clubs in the woods". We fear the worst.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

10 Things I Hate About ... the Rangers

"Hate brings in traffic. Let them hate." - HF 33

When HF 33 is right, he's right. And so, in our never-ending tradition of "Some Filler While We Wait for the Damn Season to Start", the FHF introduces ... "Ten Things I Hate About the ______ ."

Up First: The red-headed stepchild of the Original Six, the New York Rangers.

10 Things I Hate About the New York Rangers

10. That pyjama top jersey in the banner pick that they wore in the 70's. Have some dignity!

9. Continued veneration of this lousy history: 4 Cups since 1926, including 54-year drought. All time team includes Mike Richter and Vic Hadfield. Top ten scorers in Rangers history include Steve Vickers, Ron Greschner, and Adam Graves.

8. Original home for aging, overpaid former stars. See Esposito, Phil. Dionne, Marcel. Lafleur, Guy. Kurri, Jari. Messier, Mark (Version 2.1).

7. Sean Fucking Avery.

6. Lousy, loud, jerk-off, fair weather fans who claim they are the best in the world. In the words of our New York dwelling friend DS, "The Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Devils, and Brooklyn Cyclones Triple A baseball team all have a more loyal fanbase than the Rangers. Rangers tickets are easy to get. It's only hard when the Isles, Devils or Flyers are in town." (DS ended up surrounded by other Habs fans at the last NY/Montreal tilt.)

Note to Rangers fans: Just being loud, obnoxious, and potentially psychotic doesn't make you the best. It may make you the worst, however. (Wipe that smug look off your faces, Flyers fans. This brush is wide enough to paint you too.)

5. Ronnie Duguay's stupid afromullet and "sex symbol" status. Matinee idols should score more than a point a game, methinks.

4. Ron Greschner married Carol Alt. Read that sentence again.

3. "The World's Most Famous Arena." The Montreal Forum just called; it would like a word.

2. They are the traditional weak-sister of the Original Six, the one without a natural rival, best known for 54 years of futility they turned into a "curse", and a penchant for overpriced, over-the hill stars. They exist in the world's largest media market and receive attention far out of proportion to their impact on hockey in general and the New York sports market in particular, which doesn't stop Gary Bettman and whatever local cable access channel is carrying the NHL in the States from pushing them on fans at the expense of far more exciting teams that play in less desirable markets. They continue to employ that smirking, overrated genius Glen Sather, despite the fact that his genius is based on catching lightning in a bottle with two brilliant drafts and having the greatest player ever dropped in his lap, and all he has done is strip mine their farm system and sign more overpriced stars. They and their big-spending brethren nearly destroyed the league. Twice.

1. Really, that's kind of a stupid name. And it came about because the original owner's name was Tex Rickard. They were jokingly called "Tex's Rangers", and it stuck. Rejected names apparently included the New York Tex's Longhorns, New York Yellow Roses of Tex's, and New York Tex's Mex. Oh, and Madison Square Garden president Rickard originally promised the New York Americans that they would be the only team to play in MSG ... but when he saw how profitable the Amerks were, he asked for a team himself and essentially ran them out of business.

So to recap, the team is named after their backstabbing, weaselly, liar-liar-pants-on-fire first owner ... and it's a dumb name to boot.

Got your own reasons to hate the Broadway Blueshirts? Let us know!

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, August 28

Bullet points for what you missed while having dreams of a 70 game regular season with playoffs ending in May...

  • Veteran defenceman and Duck captain (that sounds funny...) Scott Niedermayer who had previously hinted that he would call it a day after his last championship this spring is now realizing that pursuing one of the most brilliant careers ever may not be a bad idea after all.
  • 110% last night was having a feast over La Presse's article featuring a vocal Saku Koivu managing expectations for the season to come; in short, the Captain is saying that the Cup is not a concern for now, nor is it realistic, it's about making the playoffs...just what I like to hear...
  • The entire world is on the edge of its seat for Game 2 of the Junior Super Series that goes today between Canada and Russia...wake me up we rejoin the Westminster Dog Show in progress.

HF29 is still incapable of posting his famous TMS. His 56k modem seems to be failing him, as is evidenced by the distress smoke signals billowing out of his isolated retreat.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Morning Skate for Monday, August 27

Quick hockey hits while you hit the coffee stand for one last wake-me-up on a grey, rainy Monday morning on the foothills of the Rockies:

  • The Russia-Canada Junior SuperSeries is underway. You can catch in on TSN's broadband link.
  • The Pred's Stevie Sullivan will be out 3 months after undergoing a second back operation since February. Hope Sullivan makes it back, cause he's got a little Saku Koivu in him! Sorry, scratch that, I meant they're both little.
  • A little news from last week: the Habs named Julien BriseBois, a 31-year-old lawyer and Capologist, the Buldogs' new GM. Love the background, hate the last name. One question: why is a lawyer in charge of the Habs farm team and not a "hockey guy" like Trevor Timmins?
  • The Pens and Sabres might play on outdoor game. This marks the NHL's official recognition that they are all out of new ideas. I hope Crosby wears a tuque, though.

p.s. HF29 in on 56K modem this week but don't worry, just like players shouldn't lose their place in the lineup due to injury, here at FHF no one loses their poisition due to vacations.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

FHF’s Weekend Update

This is what FHF thinks of when they picture "Swedish Cops". For an explanation as to the inspiration behind this lovely photo, as well as some thoughts on some stories from this past week (you know, the one’s we could come up with smart-ass comments for), read on my pretties:

San Jose and Florida signed their young stars, Milan Michalek and Stephen Weiss, respectively, to 6-year contracts. Michalek will collect $26 million over that span. The Sharks also guarantee his services for 7 years, since this deal only kicks in next season. Weiss agreed to take only $18.1 of Florida’s money. So, if we’re Gainey, should we being talking to Higgins and Plekanec about these types of contracts? It doesn’t seem possible for the salary cap to keep spiking as it has since the lockout, but for the upside these players present those salaries are likely going to look like bargains in a few years. If Gainey feels his guys are key players for the future of the franchise he would do well to consider it now before the price goes up and they leave for nothing. But something tells me Gainey will go the cautious route and avoid long term contracts. Wait, he gave Hamrlik how many years??

Peca’s signing with Columbus is good news for the Habs. Any Leafs loss is a Habs gain.

Ed Belfour just doesn’t know when to quit. Although you could draw some comparisons between Belfour and Patrick Roy - both great goalies of their era (although obviously Roy is also a great goalie of anyone’s era), hated by their back ups, prone to burst of violence and egomanical, at least St Patrick knew when to walk away with class. I can’t wait to hear the first time Belfour assaults a Swedish cop. Then we’ll find out if Don Cherry is right about Europeans being soft. It would have been even more interesting if Belfour had signed for a Russian team. There’s a real possibility his body would have washed up on the shores of the Moskva river before the season was out.

Warning - Law-geek talk ahead: I find this whole Columbus/Alexander Svitov contract situation very interesting in a legal sense. I mean, Svits reportedly signed a two-year deal to play with Columbus only weeks ago, and now he’s off to Russia? Did the Columbus contract contain some sort of escape clause - in which case, kudos to his agent? Was the contract never signed? Or is the fact that Columbus is doing nothing about this simply an reflection of their knowledge that any lawsuit over the contract would ultimately end up in front of a Russian Court, and given Russia’s recent return to Nationalist tendencies, something tells me that any Russian Court ruling would side with Svitov.

Warning - previous Warning still in effect: So word was this week the Steve Moore-Todd Bertuzzi civil trial has reached the discovery stage. I’d love to know what kind of questions the lawyers are asking the other side, and for how long. I bet Big Bert’s gonna be sitting in that chair for days, and by the end of it Bertuzzi is going to be wishing he had attacked the lawyer instead. Trust me when I say discoveries are BORING. Although I suppose the chance that the witness could pummel the questioner into a bloody pulp and no one in that room could stop him would probably spice things up.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Jiggy's Jiggly Not Doing So Good

So it turns out Jean-Sebastien Giguère's sports hernia surgery wasn't as much fun as it sounds. The post-surgery 2-month convalescence will keep him from starting the season.

The condition has taken its toll on many athletes over the years, from Donovan McNabb to Danny Brière. Wikipedia describes the sports hernia as:
Athletic pubalgia, also called the sportman's hernia or sports hernia, Gilmore's groin or groin disruption, is a medical condition of the groin affecting sportspeople...
Alright I can't copy anymore. I felt icky at the groin part.

The Morning Skate for Friday, August 24th: Special Kovalev Konspiracy Edition

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of some sort of cover-up / conspiracy about the Kovalev motorcycle incident (like TMS did)...
  • As we told you yesterday (scroll down to the next post), Kovalev was involved in some sort of motorcycle accident in Grande Rivière, Quebec, involving the mayor of that town;
  • The TSN Story had absolutely no details about what happened;
  • The TSN story felt it was necessary to report that Kovalev was uninjured, meaning the accident was nasty;
  • The TSN story said Kovalev was paying for the damage, meaning it was his fault;
  • With the Canadiens' most talented player in an accident, you would think that RDS would be all over the story. However, makes no mention of it whatsoever, and I watched Sports 30 and there was nothing on it at all;
  • The Montreal Gazette also has absolutely nothing on it, neither does La Presse;
  • Google Satellite for Grande Rivière just shows a bunch of green, no sign of any civilization whatsoever.

So to recap: Habs' star gets into motorcycle accident that was his fault, it involves the mayor of a town that may or may not exist, and the Habs-obsessed Montreal media doesn't cover it. Hmmmmmm. Rest assured, the FHF will get to the bottom of the story by scouring the strip clubs of Montreal for clues.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kovalev Involved in Motorcycle Accident; Ability to Float Still Intact

Alex Kovalev was involved in some sort of motorcycle accident yesterday. From the report, it is unclear what happened:
Kovalev flew to the town on his own plane to visit one of his fans, and while there he managed to damage a Harley Davidson motorcycle that belonged to the mayor.

Kovalev was uninjured and says he is paying for the repairs.

I really don't understand. Did his plane hit the motorcycle? Did the mayor lend him his hog then he crashed it? Did Kovalev give the bike a vicious elbow like he did to Darcy Fucker in the photo above?

Maybe this brush with death will make him realize how precious life is, and he will play every shift as if it was his last. Hahahahaha, I kill me.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, August 23rd

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of Ogie Ogelthorpe...
It's getting hot again in Montreal. Damn. I really felt the season coming over the last couple of days.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Puck Bunny Wedding Alert!

This weekend Mike Modano will be marrying this. She's actress / singer / Playboy model / FHM Hot 100 gal / Dancing with the Stars contestant (Stars! Mike Modano! oooh, weird) Willa Ford.

Not much else to say really. I'm sure they are registered somehwere if you'd like to get them a gift. Good luck you crazy kids!

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, August 22nd

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of your team being on the losing end of a Stanley Cup winning goal that should have been disallowed because a player was in the crease. Oh, sorry Buffalo...

September tantalizingly close, kids.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hamilton Not Dead Yet? (in the hockey sense)

Ahh Hamilton. You may not be the home of Steely McBeam, but those steel mills (well, OK, Blackberrys) are lining your pockets. You want a hockey team, you beg for it. You'd sell your soul for it, if you had a soul. But when the Preds were sold to a local Nashville group, it looked like the dream was dead.

Fear not, Hamilton! The Kansas City Star is reporting that the sale has hit a snag. There are some money and local politics issues; you know, the usual. The Star says this may be good news for KC, but of course it may be just as good for Hamilton.

Paging Balls-silly!!!

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, August 21st

Bullet points for what you missed whole dreaming of Markov earning his rightful place as one of the league's true elite defenseman...
  • There was a memorial service for Sam Pollock yesterday. To show you how important he was, Habs' enemy Marcel Aubut was there;
  • I thought I was dreaming when I saw The Breezer working out in a hockey uniform in Montreal on RDS this morning. I was not. Several players were on the ice yesterday working out.

Habs on the ice? May not be official training camp, but man we must be getting close.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Email Chain - Maybe I'm a Priest: How the F%$$&@# Clock Was Born

So if you read HF29's profile on the right, you'll see that FHF arose out of the FHF's email exchanges. Then we thought, WTF, we'll just post the email exchanges, unedited (typos included!). And a cheap blogging shortcut was born. Here's Volume 4.

HF33: HF29, I think we should drop the f%$%^ on the clock. It’s the first thing people will see. I don’t know. Not a bit too bold? What is happening to me? I get intimidated by the swearing on our own blog! Maybe I am off. Could others weigh in on this please? I’m so ashamed….

HF29: you suck HF33

originally I had it as f***ing puck, than I said, what the FUCK, we can do what we want. let people see it. TOO bold???? we have to be bold to get attention

HF33: You have balls of magnanimous size my good friend. And I commend you for it.

HF29: no balls, just experience with Web stuff.

AND trust me HF33, I did seriously mull that over

and if the 3 of you don’t like it, I will remove!

HF33: Democratic balls at that. You have great balls, HF29.

Panger76: Actually I quite like the clock.

HF33, first you don’t drink at my Stag and now this? Come on man, you’re going soft.

HF33: I know. I’m coming down with Cool Guy Impotence. I’m losing my coolness. I used to be cool.

Panger76: Maybe HF29 can tell you the secret to getting “balls of magnanimous size”.

Being Italian, I need no such guidance.

HF29: the secret is not giving a crap

Michael Vick Still Doesn't Play Hockey

SO not a hockey story, but WTF, it's the biggest sports news maybe ever (if you believe ESPN) - Michael Vick will plead guilty to dogfighting conspiracy charges.

Now go read a football blog. KSK rules.

The Morning Skate for Monday, August 20th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of Mickey Ribs (this is a regular occurrence for TMS)...

Yeah, it's pretty quiet. FHF has implemented a countdown clock for the Habs regular season opener. It's really not that far off. We should get some full bullet points soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Brunch Blogalicious

Does anyone even read a hockey blog on the weekends during the summer? I'm doubtful, but if you are, because there is no hockey news (except for Eddie the Eagle possibly playing in Sweden), here are some FHF-approved blogalicious links for you...

Just think, if it was the season, we'd be digesting another Habs loss right now. So enjoy our 0-0 record while you can.

Friday, August 17, 2007

La vitesse du Rocket dans toute sa lenteur

Le deuxième épisode de la série intitulée les Freedom Fries se veut une petite réflexion sur le film, The Rocket, réalisé par Charles Binamé, et qui a su faire apparition triomphale à l'hiver 2005 sur les écrans de cinéma du Québec et dans le reste du Canada.

Curieux de soudainement ressentir le besoin de s'exprimer sur ce film sur la vie de Maurice Richard. Voilà près de deux ans maintenant que le long métrage a fait son entrée en matière. Pour l'heure, il ne fait plus partie de la conversation. Mais à jamais, il fera partie d'une conscience collective. C'est dans cet attrait foncièrement culturel que réside toute la splendeur de cette histoire. Le film récite la vie d'un peuple à travers celle de l'idole et par l'entremise du sport qui fait rugir le Québec, tantôt de rage, tantôt de délectation.

J'ai revu le film The Rocket il y a deux semaines. Je venais tout juste de finir le spectaculaire Aurore qui m'avait infligé une telle rétractation, un tel serrement à la poitrine que j'en réclamais un soulagement. Ce relâchement inattendu, j'ai momentanément cru le retrouver dans l'histoire du Rocket. Mais n'allons pas trop vite, car les deux films qui se distinguent par le thème, se rejoignent sur la fibre.

Cette toile de fond devant laquelle s'anime ce récit du 9 vient extraire cette même impression vivement émotive chez le spectateur qui ressent une certaine pesanteur, une pesanteur assagissant le film tout en lui attribuant une lenteur presque accablante. Pourquoi? À cause de la lutte. La lutte des francophones vers une émancipation avant la Révolution tranquille. La difficulté d'en arriver à un changement décisif. Les barrières qui semblaient infranchissables et qui répandent cet air de frustration. C'est le même sentiment perçu à un niveau, bien entendu, bien plus aigu qui nous déchire dans le film sur la petite Aurore, cette impossibilité de percer et de faire chuter les obstacles.

La couleur des deux métrages se ressemble, filmés dans une sombre texture, un contour de noirceur qui suit les films dans toutes leurs scènes. Même au Forum, la patinoire semble terne et triste. À l'usine, Richard se donne à son travail de jour dans des conditions difficiles; il semble travailler dans une noirceur isolante. Le film sur le Rocket ne se prête pas aux scénarios typiques qui étampent les films sur le sport de grands clichés. Il n'y a pas de but compté au ralenti défiant les dernières secondes qui s'écoulent au cadran. Nous ne voyons jamais le grand match qui se solde en championnat, malgré les nombreuses occasions de nous en montrer ne serait-ce qu'un seul, vu les multiples conquêtes de la Coupe du Rocket. Les 5 Coupes Stanley d'affilées ne figurent même pas dans le portrait; elles ne seront abordées qu'en épilogue, dans un petit texte explicatif résumant le reste (?) de la carrière de Richard. Le succès dans toute son humilité, dans toute sa modestie.

Le film veut nous expliquer que le drame, le véritable drame de cette histoire, se cache dans le quotidien de Maurice Richard. Inutile de recourir aux tactiques de Spielberg, aux grands traits. C'est la petite ponctuation de l'histoire, dans la délicatesse de ses mouvements qui nous saisit. Dans les gestes d'un peuple encore timide, encore incertain de sa façon de trouver sa place mais certain de son désir de la prendre. Le joueur devant la Ligue, le francophone et l'anglophone, le pauvre face au bourgeois dans une référence qui rappelle la ségrégation imposée à bord du Titanic, si bien illustrée dans le Rocket par cette clôture qui séparait la foule au Forum, pourtant réunie par les mêmes passions et désirs.

C'est un film qui ne cesse d'impressionner car il raconte tant d'histoires à la fois, toutes vraies, toutes importantes. La vie de Maurice Richard s'est mue en parallèle à l'éclosion du peuple québécois, à l'image ou même possiblement à la remorque de cette émancipation (en fait, qui réellement était à la remorque de qui?...). Le Rocket pour tout amateur de ce sport est irrésistible. C'est un atout qui tendait un piège indéniable à tout metteur en scène potentiel; raconter l'histoire d'un grand sur des tons de grandeur. Ça aurait été faux. Le film comprend le rythme du Rocket et de l'époque. Il fallait raconter cette histoire d'un grand à travers ses petites enjambées subtiles, à travers ses émotions complexes et confuses, à travers toutes les hésitations que le Rocket a finalement su faire basculer pour se manifester en force dans une province qui n'aura pu réagir autrement que de suivre sa cadence.

Rich Tocchet Gets Sent To His Room Without Any Supper; Janet Jones Still Walking The Streets

Rich Tocchet has been sentenced to 2 years probation on assorted gambling charges stemming from the NHL's gambling scandal that was totally lame-ass compared to the NBA's mobbed-up refs and the NFL's puppy-killers. He probably won't go to jail at all. Shit, Gretz will probably have him back behind the bench in time for the Yotes to fight for a playoff spo- er, to fight to stay out of the West basement.

Meanwhile, Janet Jones Gretzky continues to lay two-team parlays with impunity. When are her breasts going to get he punishment they deserve???

The Email Chain - Hate, Strippers, Columbus, and Carol Alt

So if you read HF29's profile on the right, you'll see that FHF arose out of the FHF's email exchanges. Then we thought, WTF, we'll just post the email exchanges, unedited (typos included!). And a cheap blogging shortcut was born. Here's Volume 3.

HF33: I sent our link to the blog to oiler blogs yesterday and got a real reaction out of them – I think they hate me.

HF29: I KNOW they hate you

HF33: Hate brings in traffic. Let them hate. Time to shit on another team now.

Panger: As for another team to hate, since we've covered T.O. and Edm, I nominate Calgary, with Boston to follow. Maybe its because they suck so bad now and they have such an awful owner, but I don't have the same passionate hatred of the Bruins that I had growing up. Maybe it's cause we've gone a whole 2 years without meeting them in the playoffs.

HF29: I say we hate on a totally random team like Columbus or something

Panger: Just for those ugly ass jerseys? Or the fact they have never made the playoffs? If there is a better candidate for a "Bizarro-Canadiens" franchise in the NHL than CLB?

Yeah, that might work…except I doubt people in Columbus know how to use the internet, so I'm not sure it will help the blog.

HF10: Okay, back from blogging and ready to email. Work got in the way there for a second.

Columbus has the internet, because all those Ohio State fans email "Michigan Sucks!" all over the college football web-world. Whether they care enough about hockey to email is the issue.

I reserve a special hate in my heart for the Bruins, always and forever. Remember, save for the Orr and Bourque eras, those bastards have been a doormat forever. Long may they suffer.

I think I may hate on the Rangers for no particular reason. Maybe I'll slag Eddie Giacomin or Vic Hadfield. Or Ronnie Duguay's stupid hair.

HF29: Eddie Giacomin!! I loved him

HF10: Eddie Giacomin is a fun name to say, but I'm still going to diss him. And that Goddamn Ron Greschner.

HF29: do a Ron Greschner post so we can use this

Panger: Damn you beat me to the punch! Never has such an ugly guy scored such a hot chick. It's like Tim Hunter nailing Claudia Schiffer. Just wrong.

HF10: I think HF33 is right. Hate is good. We should rip every team in the league in turn, setting ourselves up as the most hilarious, pompous, "we deserve every Cup by birthright and we're gonna tell you why you suck" bastards on the web until we get flamed right out of existence.

Or stick with the strippers plus random hockey news and views plus a sprinkling of hate thing. That's good too.

Panger: We CANNOT remove the strippers for any reason. The blog will never survive such a fiasco.

HF29: As long as I am alive and have a net connection, there will be strippers on FHF. Take that to the bank

HF10: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I would never suggest the removal of strippers. I meant becoming evil, hate-and-insult-everyone-else bastards WITH strippers.

I am totally on board with strippers; always was, always will be.

Sorry if I came across as anti-stripper. I love the strippers!

Slightly off topic, but my wife and I were discussing the neighbours and realized we have stripper-named neighbours (an Amber on one side and a Candy on the other). Alas, despite their names, neither is a stripper.

HF29: not to worry HF10, I know you like strippers. You’re no ___ (who is) but you enjoy the strippers. ive seen it

I would kill to be in a Candy-Amber sandwich

Panger: Ok, as long as the strippers aren’t going anywhere.

The Morning Skate for Friday, August 17th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the top shelf...
  • Markus Naslund is working the Swedish connection to try to get Forsberg to go to Vancouver. This Forsberg business looks like it will be the last important player personnel story of the summer. Bring on training camp already.

Seriously, bring on training camp before TMS loses its mind.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sam Pollock, 1925-2007

A sad day for the FHF and Canadiens fans everywhere, as legendary GM Sam Pollock has passed away at the age of 81. Tributes and memories of Sam and the teams he built are going to be plentiful over the next few days, but we would be remiss if we didn't make sure we remembered Sam too. After all, Sam is a big reason why we are all here on FHF.

Other than my Dad, there's probably no one else on this earth who was more responsible for my being a Canadiens fan than Sam Pollock. Growing up as a kid in the 70's in Ontario you had two choices: suffer along with the good-but-never-great Leafs as they began their death spiral under Stafford Smythe and Harold Ballard, or hitch your wagon to one of the other Original Six as the last remnants of the NHL-sponsored junior teams fell by the wayside in towns all over the province. That's how you found Bruins fans in Oshawa, and Chicago fans in St. Catherines, and Rangers fans in Kitchener, and Habs fans in Peterborough and in one little house on Aubrey Street in Bracebridge. My Dad made his choice decades before, and passed his love of Les Canadiens on to me; Sam Pollock was the one who kept the flame burning. Sam's genius made it easy to stay a Canadiens fan in a Leafs town.

Everyone knows the story of how Sam got the 1st overall pick from Oakland to select Guy Lafleur, and how he sent Ralph Backstrom to LA to help the Kings finish above the Seals just in case. That speaks to his genius, his two-steps ahead of everyone else mind. What it doesn't illustrate is Sam's understanding of Montreal, its fans, and the Canadiens legacy. Everyone forgets who went second overall that year; it was a guy named Marcel Dionne. Sam could have easily kept Backstrom, sat on the Seals pick, and ended up with one of Dionne or Lafleur at #2. Dionne finished his career with over 700 goals and 1700 points, a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the best ever. But Sam wanted Guy, made sure he got Guy, and never looked back. And you know what? Sam made the right choice for his team, his city, and his fans. Sam knew that Dionne, as wonderful a scorer and player as he was, didn't have "it". Rocket had "it". Beliveau had "it". Morenz had "it". Guy had "it", and the Canadiens needed "it". This is no slight on Dionne, who probably would have become the lynchpin of a tremendous Habs team in the 70's and 80's, a perennial Cup contender. But Sam, born and raised in Montreal, knew the pulse and heartbeat of the Canadiens needed a larger than life, lift-you-out-of-your-seat star to remain the Flying Frenchmen hockey fans knew and loved. Dionne was an amazing hockey player, but not an event; Lafleur was. After watching Dionne become a star while Lafleur put up average numbers his first three years, Sam never waivered. He kept building a team and probably sat back and smiled when Lafleur exploded as a superstar and spawned a generation of kids in Canada who wanted to wear #10 and play right wing and fire rockets from the hash marks.

Sam's shrewd talent evaluation and philosophy helped lead hockey out of the dark ages, when the brutish Flyers and Bruins threatened to beat skill and speed right out of the league. He handpicked Scotty Bowman to lead a team that he stocked with stars like Lafleur, Robinson, Shutt, Gainey, and Dryden, plus invaluable soldiers like Tremblay, Wilson, Risebrough, Chartraw, and Nyrop. He won 9 Cups in 14 years. He took a great 1960's Canadiens team and kept it great through the 70's despite expansion, the advent of the draft, and the WHA. He gave older Canadiens fans a reason to keep loving and helped create an entire new generation of fans, including the FHF.

Sam was one-of-a-kind, and Montreal was lucky to have him. La fierté pour toujours, Sam. I'm forever proud to be a fan, thanks to you. RIP.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, August 16th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of the five-hole...
  • Legendary Habs GM Sam Pollock has died following a long bout with cancer. 9 Stanley Cups in 14 years as GM. The theft of Guy Lafleur. Sam ruled.

Much more later today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Sentence in Edmonton

OK so maybe I am carrying a grudge.

Maybe I'm a little confused as to how Kevin Lowe Obi-Waned Sheldon St-Laurent into the chasm of boredom that is the city of Edmonton. Maybe I'm a bit stumped that Baywatch went West Edmonton Mall over anything else this 30 team mosaic of choices has to offer.

Maybe my thoughts have dissolved into mangled confusion over the reality that a small marbles team like the Edmonton Oilers can have the adverse effect on the market that almost left them for dead in the first place in the baroque years (pre-lockout, of course).

Whatever the case, in an off-season so dull that I would chose to watch a documentary about skin disorders affecting armadillos over anything hockey related, Kevin Lowe has, for the least, kept my summer hockey pulse beating the faint sounds of ambivalence. He's been the headline grabber all summer.

The Oilers are the team that went from getting screwed, to screwing back, to not getting what they wanted, then getting what they wanted, to screwing back, and finally to getting what they wanted so there.

In hockey terms, the last sentence translates to Nylander, Vanek, Regier, Souray, Penner, Burke and back to Penner. And in between, the Oilers have managed to conjure up more reaction from the league than any other team. Go figure, Little Edmonton, Disturber of Shit.

This long sentence commands some attention.

Nylander - Getting Screwed

At first the Oilers announced that forward Michael Nylander had signed with the team, and were therefore shocked to learn that he agreed to a US$19.5-million, four-year contract with the Capitals the next day.

This was Lowe's first inflationary penchant of the summer. Nylander did have a career season setting career highs in goals (26), assists (57) and points (83) with the New York Rangers last season. But one can't discount the Jaromir Jagr factor. In short, if I'm painting a sky with my crayola crayons and Pablo Picasso happens to drop in for a few pointers, well let's just say I wont be tucking a quarter sun in the upper right corner of my canvass anymore.

But Lowe is aware that the team is short on offensive prowess and that he needs to save face with the fans after the Ryan Smyth, "no, I won't throw in a bag of Doritos you for" debacle. Smyth goes to Colorado while he could have remained the Oiler poster boy for years, for far less than what he wound up signing for in Denver.

The team sent Nylander's agent, Mike Gillis, the NHL Standard Players Contract and waited for the formality, that is, the signed agreement. Shaft ensues. Camp Le Screw publicly announced that Nylander had subsequently entered into a long-term contract with the Capitals.

A dismayed Oilers team warned of legal repercussions:

“The Oilers can find no precedent for such conduct in our history. The Oilers are examining and pursuing every course of action available in the best interest of the team and our fans." That was the official word out of Edmonton while backstage the team must have been resigned to the fact that it was going to be impossible to get Nylander back. Besides, this was no way to inaugurate a player-management relationship.

Although Kevin Lowe has surely instructed team lawyers to seek out all legal routes available, the hockey branch of this equation is a dead issue.

As the dust settled (and it had to quickly amidst the UFA signing frenzy) Lowe was armed with a new tool: a sense of entitlement. And so began Mission OK, now I'm pissed.

Vanek - Screwing Back

Lowe set his sights on a move that would put a GM on the fence. He needed to target RFAs, who de facto are young and mostly unproven talents. The gamble required here is to make a kid who has shown significant promise an offer bordering on insanity. It has to be a hefty one and because of the cap restrictions it may only be so if it is a long term offer. Like 7 years long, like 7 years and 50 million ways to say I love you.

Lowe preyed on the Buffalo Buffaloes (I'm sorry, if the focal point of your uniform is a Buffalo, then you play for the Buffaloes - and until the Sabre on the crest appears a tad larger than a hamster foetus' penis, I will refuse to call them the Sabres).

Darcy - Not Getting What They Wanted

Lowe went after the right player, but he stalked the wrong man at the helm of the wrong team. Since Dany Briere and Chris Drury pulled the old Sayonara Choochoo on Darcy, the GM was left with very little wiggle room in his decision to keep Vanek and a ton of cap room to effectuate the reverse Go Screw Yourself on Lowe. He should have known better. I guess the plethora of lawyers counseling the Oilers were too busy trying to pull a rabbit out their asses with the Nylander situation to stop Lowe from jacking up the market value for every sophomore in the NHL. How soon they forget.

Bad moves dot com. Kevin. Bad moves dot com. Look it up.

Sheldon St-Laurent - Getting What They Wanted

This falls into the Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett?! category. Are you totally shitting me!! OK, that's enough.

Penner - Screwing Back

The Vanek move redux. This time, Lowe learns from mistakes from days before (and maybe one lawyer stopped milking the Nylander file to guide Lowe in the right direction). He angles in on a team that is so cap tight that it becomes mathematically impossible for them to match the offer without shedding a body, and a Stanley Cup winning body at that. Brilliant move for some. One of asswipic proportions for others.

Burke - Getting What They Wanted, So There

Rumor has it that Burke knew of this move in advance and actually approved it because it would force management in Anaheim into making a decision about the unsigned Penner. If that's true, Burkie pulled off a great acting job, which isn't totally impossible considering his proximity to Hollywood.

Duck management (that sounds funny) decided against the match, making Penner an Oiler in the process. For 21 million over 5 years. The money Lowe refused to give to Smyth, which in retrospect was a bargain, he gave to Penner. And through it all, he catapulted the RFA offer sheet out of irrelevance.

The impact on the NHL

The rule of precedent bows to the art of distinguishing. GMs can subtract Lowe's move out of the equation by agreeing that the signing which results form a third party offer sheet presented to an RFA may not be used as a comparable. This segregation would minimize the eruptive effect on player salaries that Lowe's antics have yielded.

However, escalating salaries aside, if the purpose is to land the player, then Lowe orchestrated the right sequence of events. He showed that it works, and for a talent hungry team, it's food for fodder.

Lowe played by the rules. Fair enough. But in so doing, he rejected the notion that the lockout meant something to small market teams. He trivialized the wiping out of an entire season. He turned. Once at the head of a team at risk, Lowe allows for clouds to gather in the distance and slowly hover over a league that may again be haunted by the spectre of a devastating shutdown as the life of the current CBA eventually draws to a close.

But upon further reflection, what really matters throughout all of this is that not since Ishtar has anyone overpaid this much for a Dustin.

Ferguson Jr Continues to Make Our Job Easy

This is a picture of new Toronto Maple Leaf Mark Bell. Kinda looks like a mugshot. Ironic, in that Bell will be serving a six-month jail sentence for drunk driving and a hit and run at the end of the season.

Now, I've lost friends to drunk driving, and there are enough drunk driving horror stories in hockey alone (Tim Horton, Pelle Lindbergh, Dany Heatley, even our own Saint Guy of Thurso) to know that this really shouldn't be a laughing matter. What is funny is how utterly stupid Mark Bell really is, and how utterly stupid John Ferguson Jr is for taking him in a trade.

Bell played his junior hockey in Ottawa with the 67's and legendary coach/hardass Brian Kilrea. Kilrea used to tear his hair out trying to screw Bell's head on straight. Bell should have destroyed the OHL but was little more than a point a game player who would periodically do something brilliant (witness the 67's 1998-99 Memorial Cup victory, when Bell made everyone think "God almighty, he's putting it together. He's going to be a star.") Kilrea probably added years to his life the minute Bell walked out the 67's door for the last time.

Bell was the 8th overall pick by the Blackhawks. Now, to be fair, being picked by THE WORST FRANCHISE IN PRO SPORTS didn't help young Mark's development or maturity. However, the 'Hawks didn't tell Bell to assault an Ottawa cab driver in 2000, or to float through entire games, or to antagonize his teammates and coaches, or to (ahem) allegedly make Jim Beam and Captain Morgan his linemates.

It's not a secret around the NHL that Bell is a headcase. Chicago gave him up to get Martin Havlat (good for them, by the way. I'd take an overpaid prissy goal-suck over someone too dumb not to drink and drive any day). San Jose threw him away after one year. John Ferguson Jr? He traded for Bell and his 83 goals in 410 career games, well aware that Bell was staring at jail time for rear-ending a pickup truck in the wee hours of the morning, then fleeing the scene. Well aware that Bell has, shall we say, "a history" with a little thing called "partying his ass off". Well aware that the jail time could cause Bell to miss the start of the 2008 season whether the Leafs make the playoffs or not.

Ferguson Jr is going to throw him into a dressing room with upstanding boys like Sideshow Tucker and hope he stays straight. He's going to hope Bell becomes the 6'4, 220 pound, goal scoring power forward everyone always wanted him to be instead of partying his way out of the league. Newsflash: You just brought Bell closer to his hometown of St. Paul's Ontario. Every drinking buddy he's ever had is only a short drive away. That's not good for you.

It is, however, comedy gold for the FHF. Two days after we give the Leafs the only props they will ever get on here, they totally redeem themselves. God bless em.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, August 15th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of The Flower's hair flowing in the breeze as he rushed down the right wing (not in a sexual way, not that there's anything wrong with that)...

Wake me when something actually happens.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Brushes With Habness - Dick Irvin (Jr.)

Brushes With Habness is a new feature here on FHF, where we, the FHF, tell you riveting stories about our brushes with Habs and people in the Habs family. Basically, some filler while we wait for the damn season to start.

To me, there was never a better hockey announcer than Dick Irvin. He could do it all: play-by-play on TV, play-by-play on radio, colour man, studio host, whatever. He could probably operate a TV camera if he had to. The ultimate pro. The anti-Bob Cole. Luckily, I met him once, and he didn't disappoint.

So my cousin was chairman of the board of McClelland & Stewart publishing, and this secured me an invite to a party in Montreal celebrating M&S's Quebec-based authors. Mr. Irvin was there promoting the book you see above. I was so nervous to even approach him, I had such man-love for the guy, but my mom dragged me over. He couldn't have been nicer. Class all the way.

I told him about the way it felt like he was talking to me when he would say, at the beginning of his radio broadcasts, "The Canadiens are skating from right to left on your radio dial, and on your television screen (emphasis in original), for those of you enjoying the game that way, watching their video and listening to our audio." That was me! I was doing that! (p.s. it's not because I didn't understand French, I do, it's just that Mr. irvin was so good. Now I do the opposite, turning off Bob Cole if it's Saturday night and turning on CKAC on the radio.) He smiled and said thanks, and thanks for listening. And he signed my book, which I still have.

There really isn't much point to this story except that Mr. Irvin is one hell of a classy guy. Like most of the Habs family.

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, August 14th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of Saku speaking fluent French just to shut the French media up...

Montreal nights are getting chilly kids. I can feel the ice freezing...

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Only Time You'll Ever See the Leafs on FHF in a Positive Light

So last night, as I did my daily Google search for "hot chicks in hockey jerseys," I came across this video. It's awesome. And by "it" I mean "they", and by "they" I mean Tia Carrere's breasts.

The presence of this video on FHF in no way implies the FHF support of anything Leafs-related. [end lawyer-speak disclaimer]

The Morning Skate for Monday, August 13th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the Habs starting 8-0 and rocketing to the top of the Eastern Conference (TMS has Monday morning optimism)...
  • When Panger posts a "Morning Skate" at 5:31 PM the day before, you ain't gonna have missed shit (scroll down to the next post for your hockey news).

So thanks to Panger for covering our hungover asses over the weekend. I was hungover from celebrating my glorious victory* in the Del Boca Vista Open (long story) golf tournament, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as K-Man and The Darkness. Engravers are hard at work getting the name HF29 put on the Jack Klompus Trophy you see above.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Morning Skate for Sunday, August 12th

With HF29 probably nursing a well-earned hangover, here are Panger's news and notes on a lazy Sunday afternoon here on the left coast (well, more so than Montreal anyway):

Enjoy the rest of your weekends, lads and lasses.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Blogalicious on a Friday Afternoon

Blogalicious is the totally lame-ass title we've just come up with to link to some of the best Habs and hockey analysis (and humour) out in blogtopia. Don't get your Habs and hockey analysis (and humour) from Jack Todd, get it from these guys (and gals).

So check these posts out - they're FHF-approved.

The Morning Skate for Friday, August 10th

Bullet points for what you missed whil dreaming of Kovalev playing hard through all 82 games...

5 weeks til the first pre-season game. I am jonesing for some pucks!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Staal Bachelor Party Incident Will Come to a Quick End

Sadly for stripper-lovin' bloggers like the FHF, it looks like the Staal brothers bachelor party incident will end quickly and painlessly. They have been offered a plea agreement and they would be idiots to refuse it, given the "punishment" is a $587 fine. Shit, that was my budget for strippers just last night. For an NHL player, even in the salary cap era, it's a couple of lap dances.

The Morning Skate for Thursday, August 9th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of puck bunnies (and waking up sticky)...
  • Not a whole hell of a lot.

Check out our friend Topham over at Lions in Winter who shares our views of the ridiculousness of Breezer's return. He makes us feel good about booing him.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Making the Cut

Congratulations to fifth Habs Fan Mike for making the team today after tiring tryouts. His coaches were heard saying that despite the illegal curve, his strong shaft put all doubts to rest. Good luck Mike for your season opener in September! Mazel Tov!

The E-mail Chain - Patrice Brisebois and My Ulcer

So if you read HF29's profile on the right, you'll see that FHF arose out of the FHF's email exchanges. Then we thought, WTF, we'll just post the email exchanges, unedited (typos included!). And a cheap blogging shortcut was born. Here's Volume 2.

Panger76: WTF is up with Brisebois? I am starting to lose faith in Bob Gainey. Beginning to remind me of Dick Cheney: ultra secretive, powerful, but making wrong decisions at every turn

Habsfan29: hehehehe

You know yesterday I had several moments when I actually believed it may be a good idea. Veteran D, cheap, as long as he’s the 6th D, backup up PP QB, leadership role with Souray et al gone, etc. Then I slapped myself across the face and snapped out of it.

Habsfan33: I also felt for a fraction of a second that it actually could work out. But only if the NHL afforded a special rule to the Canadiens whereby the nets at the Bell Centre could be elevated to the glass boards in the corners.

Panger76: Oh I have heard the arguments, and the one that sticks out is that he will absorb criticism from the rest of the team and be a lightening rod so to speak for French media. But isn’t this a slap to the face of fans? I mean, why doesn’t he just sign Lindros and trade for Riberio?

And the leadership thing kills me – lead where? To the part of the ice furthest from the action? Teach the young D how to get deeked? Come on…

Habs for Missing Children

Members of the Canadiens family helped raise funds for la Soirée avec les légendes du hockey au profit d'Enfants Retour, a charity dedicated to the search for missing children and to the support of families in despair. A great cause. Thanks to the players of past and present for their contribution. A special thanks to Caroline Codsi - the Lady in Red - whose efforts helped make the event a success and who waived her constitutional right to her image by consenting to the posting of her pictures by the FHF.

The Morning Skate for Wednesday, August 8th

Bullet points for what you missed while dreaming of the Carey Price era...

The August nights are getting cooler kids. Training camp is around the corner.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Another U.S. South Team Sold; Balls-Silly Nowhere To Be Found

Keep dreaming Hamilton and Kansas City. Looks like another Southern team ain't going nowhere. The Tampa Bay Lightning have been bought by a group which is led by former Florida Panthers coach Doug MacLean. Given they also bought the rights to the arena and surrounding properties, you can bet the team is staying put. Tampa actually has good attendance, like 20,000 per game, so for sure they are not moving.

OK, which Southern team is next in line?

The Morning Skate for Tuesday, August 7th

Bullet points for what you missed while having nightmares of an army of face-painted David Puddys...
  • West-coast correspondent Panger took out his frustrations from his 13-hour United Airlines disaster on Bettman. Scroll down to the next post for one of the best rants on FHF yet.

Coming up later today, in-depth analysis of Jiggy's sports hernia surgery that will make you cringe like you've never cringed before (men only).

Panger Rant: Fuck the Fans

The Preds look like they’re staying put, a least for this season until they move to another unviable and ridiculous U.S. destination, most likely Kansas City to become the Born Again Scouts. If not K.C., then Las Vegas - I would make another joke about this, but Adam Proteau beat me to the punch. And Balls-silly (along with Hamilton and really all Canadian fans) gets bent over the NHL’s knee again, for the second time in 6 months. How can Canadian fans come to any other conclusion than Bettman is desperate to keep another franchise out of Canada? He’s already killed two Canadian teams. Plus he managed to have three teams into SoCal, two in Florida and only one in Quebec. Gary, please explain this to me. Right, you’re the Devil. No, that’s giving the little man too much credit…he’s Satan’s Little Helper.

Question: how can Preds' owner Craig Leopold (but really, Satan’s Little Helper) get away with screwing Balls-silly like this? I’m no lawyer (oh, wait…) but isn’t there some sort of anti-trust law that prevents this from happening? Leopold is saying all the legally correct things in the press - no solid offer blah blah blah - but isn’t it obvious that the NHL is blackballing Balls-silly? He made a much higher offer ($60mill will buy Mr. Leopold a lot more of whatever uber-rich assholes probably already have) and had some kind of agreement in place. Although the fact he hasn’t unleashed a Mr. Burns-like battalion of law-smiths may be an indication that I’m completely wrong. I’m sure HF33 can explain this to me.

Legal issues aside, does Satan’s Little Helper really hate the idea of another Canadian team, or does he fear that Balls-silly would become the Mark Cuban of the NHL? The history of SLH’s reign has been to tighten his grip on the NHL’s owners, so there is every indication he bears the main responsibility for keeping Balls-silly out of the NHL. What scares Satan’s Little Helper more, Balls-silly almost certainly bringing whatever NHL team he gets his crackberry-free hand on to Canada, or a maverick owner who has already demonstrated that he won’t play nice and bend over for Bettman? Balls-silly probably earned the second half of our half-assed moniker when he put tickets on sale in Hamilton before he had Leo’s name on the bottom line, but in so doing he has made it clear that he will not toe the NHL party line. And don’t think SLH didn’t take that as a slap to the pitchfork.

This raises an even more fundamental question to all hockey fans, although obviously FHF is not breaking new ground by posing the question: what the f-c-u-k was the lockout for? Increasingly more legit media-types are questioning whether SLH, the lockout’s champion of small market teams, is revealing a more fundamental preoccupation: the almighty dollar. And we’re not even going to get into sky-rocketing salaries here; as I said, that theme has already nearly been beaten to death.

It’s clear that Satan’s Little Helper and his cronies believe there is more growth (read: greenbacks) in trying to sell the game in hockey backwaters rather than in guaranteed hockey markets. While this may actually make some economic sense - how much more money can you squeeze out of an already hockey saturated market? - but didn’t Bettman say that the lockout was ultimately for the fans i.e. to achieve competitive balance, reining in players salaries and, by implied extension, ticket costs? Then again, what are Canadian fans going to do? Stop going to games? Right. Satan’s Little Helper can effectively fuck Canadian fans and all his has to worry about is some piss-ant blogger calling him names.

Or maybe he knows Balls-silly has demonstrated - twice - that he will do anything, and more importantly pay anything - to get his hands on an NHL franchise. There has already -shudder - been talk of further expansion, so maybe Satan’s Little Helper is just posturing to get $250Mill or so out of Balls-silly for a crappy expansion team. Nothing would make tight wad owners like Jeremy Jacobs and Bill Wirtz happier - except stealing candy from babies, of course Hence SLH's power: he makes uber-rich owners richer.

Maybe there’s a reason NHL owner’s are lining up bend way down to kiss SLH’s ass after all. And, whatever Satan's Little Helper's main motivation, it seems clear that he and the owners don't give a rat's ass about the fans - as long as they've already paid for their tickets.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bowman to Leafs: "No, Seriously, Fuck Off"

As we wrote way back on June 26th, Scotty Bowman has no interest in joining the Laffs. After reports surfaced over the weekend that he was about to become President of the 1967'ers, Bowman sent off an email to TSN telling them it was total bullshit.

The important part of the story here, besides my eternal happiness, is the use of email by Mr. Bowman. They always say Scotty's best skill is being able to adapt to the times; there's your proof.