Monday, January 20, 2014

Pet Peeve Of The Day: Who Is Drinking All The Espresso

Seriously, who is it? They finally started carrying the pods for my Starbucks espresso machine in Hyde Park, but it doesn't matter, because the stores are always out of the basic espresso pods (and usually the decaf too). Finally I asked the cashier about it on like the third time in a row I'd gone in and they were gone. I figured maybe they only ordered like three and if I acted annoyed they would order more. But she told me that someone comes in and buys all the boxes, every week, even when she orders extra, they buy all of them. I suspect this same espresso bandit (I mean, not really a bandit, because they do pay for them) hits the other Starbucks as well, as they are always out too. Other people want to drink espresso in the comfort of their own home! How can you be drinking this much espresso anyway? You must have several ulcers and constantly tremble like the leaves of those trees that are always used in metaphors about trembling. Aspen? I don't know. Leave some espresso for the rest of us.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

NHL Goaltending Depth Charts

This type of thing happens kind of startlingly often:

Here's the goaltending depth chart for a typical NHL team:

1. Starting goaltender; paid $5-8 mil/year; subject to intense scrutiny and criticism; often considered backbone of team.

2. Backup goaltender; sometimes up-and-coming projected star, sometimes reliable veteran. Takes easier starts, but still reasonably elite.

3. AHL goaltender, some of whom may eventually move up to the major league.*

* Often logistically unavailable at short notice, since AHL farm teams generally aren't matched geographically with their NHL teams, and anyway both teams travel.

4. Random dude who can put on goalie pads the right way and lives within driving distance of the rink.

Seriously. To date, I don't think any of these #4 guys have made it into a game, but a couple times a year an NHL team unexpectedly loses a first or second goalie, is unable to get their AHL goalie to the rink in time, and they call some local guy, or they dress a trainer or equipment manager or someone who maybe played goal in a rec league for a while. They take warm ups and sit on the bench and are one awkward hit away from being a real life NHL goaltender. It's insane and awesome and one of the reasons I love hockey.

(The other option is to dress a skater as a goaltender. We lost a goalie in November and then, in the third period of the same game, the backup took a hit and was slow to get up. Apparently Andrew Shaw volunteered to suit up, and I'll be honest, I kind of wish that had happened. No, that's a lie. I REALLY wish that had happened. A year or two ago it did happen in the OHL, a major junior league. The forward-dressed-as-goalie had a .71 SV% and allowed 13 goals. The other team declined to celebrate their goals.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hockey Updates

It's the Winter Classic today, which is the League's premier outdoor game and the excuse for a thousand nostalgic articles about the magic of pond hockey and the dreams of little children and remembering Where We Came From and blah blah blah. I've been watching sort of, and I have one main observation: Apparently, when you put an NHL team in a room with eyeblack, you get approximately the same results as a team of 10-year-olds. So. Much. Eyeblack. And it's not even sunny. It's snowing pretty hard. The stadium is full though, even though it's so cold they keep having to skate new water bottles out to the goalies because theirs keep freezing.

Now they're introducing the USA Women's Olympic Hockey team. They are all smiling and beautiful and look identical and blond and Midwestern, except the one Asian girl, although she manages to still look Midwestern somehow. They all look too nice to punch someone in the face, but that totally happened a couple weeks ago! Don't let all that shiny hair and Minnesota nice fool you. Do not fuck with these bitches. In short, they are pretty great: USA! USA! USA!

The Men's Olympic Hockey teams for the US and Canada are also due to be released today, which is great, because I'm SO TIRED of reading ten speculative articles a day about Canadian Olympic goaltending. The Americans are not this neurotic. Quick, Miller, Howard. Sound good to you? Welp, they're the three best American goaltenders, so yeah, sounds good to me. DONE. The Canadians, on the other hand, waffle more than the green men throwing waffles at the Maple Leafs (ok, so it's not a flawless analogy and my use of "waffle" as a verb is suspect, but shut up). So. Much. Angst. Is Marty Brodeur too old? Is Marc-Andre Fleury a high-pressure choker? Is Corey Crawford worth his massive contract? Will Josh Hardings MS be a liability? Is Mike Smith only good because he plays on the Coyotes? What about Craig Anderson? Braden Holtby anyone??? (Probably; even if he's not everyone believes he is; probably not; not if his numbers to date are any indication; no but I hate Mike Smith; once he missed several weeks because he cut his finger cooking dinner; NO.) If you are Canadian and you have played in an NHL goal, your name has been brought up. Someone needs to explain the concept of "overthinking".