Saturday, January 12, 2013

Real Denver Sports Lock Out

 Management regrets to announce that due to the need for cost certainty  this blog has been locked out.  The blog owner is forced to initiate a blog-stoppage.  Effective immediately I have decided that I am no longer going to allow myself to blog.  This free blogging is an outrage!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The NHL/PA doesn't care about Me?!?!?

I'm under no illusion that the owners and players collectively known as the NHL/PA really care one hoot about me, the fan.  Sure, in the business sense they do, we are the consumers that make their little engine go.  But really care about us?  Naw.  Nor do I really care about them.  I couldn't care less what kind of contract structures are agreed upon.  I don't care what the HRR is or isn't, today or tomorrow.  It's all business details.  I'm in it for the game.

All the business stuff has to exist for the game to exist, I get that.  Doesn't mean I have to care.  Do you need to know exactly how a plane gets off the ground to care about where it can take you?  I'm more than happy to naively root for my favorite player on the ice and let his high paid agent worry about the fine print.  Ancillary to me.

And I have a word or two for some of the smug, snarky fans of other sports out there.  Hey, your sport isn't better than mine just because we are going through this.  I can't abide this attitude from people that declare (with nose in the air) that the NHL/PA just doesn't give a rat's ass about its fans.  Your sport has had the same battles as mine.  The results have worked out different and you should be grateful for that.  Just because your sport didn't go as far down this road as mine has means they care about their fans more?  Please spare me that truck load of manure.  The NFL & NBA settled their CBA disagreements because they were worried about your five fantasy leagues?  Hilarious!  They don't concern themselves with the fact that you are going to feel lost without your team while they dicker over more money than you will ever have.  It's not about you, it's about your money.  They care about you only in so much as you are a consumer that lines their pockets with cash.

It doesn't matter if we are talking about baseball, football, or basketball.  Big business cares about big money.  So please stop with the condescending attitude and funereal words of consolation when addressing fans of the NHL.

I bet this sport cares about the fans...if it has any...


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Save the Hockey Hall of Fame, call NOW to donate!

(In case the following is confusing to you: it's my vision of a future that could be, the vioce is a fictional character.)  
by J. Scott Moore

I can feel the cold kiss of autumn in the air, the political season is over and the 46th President of the United States has been chosen.   But I’m more interested in the state of affairs in Toronto.  The Hockey Hall of Fame is having what has become the annual “Save the Hall” drive.  Every year they saturate the airwaves across the country with pleas for donations to keep the Hall open.

It’s sad, the Hall has struggled without a high level league.  Say what you will about our national game but it needs high level play in the country to continue to live the life to which it had become accustomed.  Sure, everyone still loves the game, kids and adults play in leagues much like before.  But the game is suffering a dark malaise that permeates young boy’s dreams on the bright-white ice of the local rink.

The Trustees haven’t awarded the Stanley Cup since the lockout of 2012.  Many have argued that it should be awarded to the best team in Canada, just have a multi-league playoff system.  But we know how that has worked out in the US with college football.  So there the Cup sits, collecting dust and casting a grim shadow on the dreams of young Canadians.

Ever since a legal stranglehold was levied against any competitor setting up shop in North America, the game has suffered.  The KHL, CHL, AHL, all blocked from using arenas that used to be, still are I suppose, the property of the NHL.  Oh sure, the minors could sign a few stars, but that was quickly limited to no more than two previous NHLers per 1,000 sq miles. Some teams don’t even have one.  Can’t bring in 18,000 fans if you don’t have the seating, and you can’t pay the stars if you don’t have 18,000 seats.

The new generation?  Yeah, they’re here but now they want to play in Europe and Russia where they can have more than a goon to pass the puck to for a decent chance to score.  The minor league teams just don’t have the resources to build new arenas with sufficient capacity and no one wants to risk that the NHL will actually, finally be back and destroy the investment, too risky.

So tonight, like many nights, I’m up all night watching my son play in the Swedish Elite League.  With so many of our boys playing overseas I suppose someone was bound to get rich selling guys like me the Euro Ice cable packages.  But hey, it’s worth it.  I could record it but it isn't the same, I’ll stay up late and watch it live.  I’ll be draggin’ ass at work tomorrow but the boss knows this is gonna be a special season.  He’s cool with it.

But as I was sayin’ I’m a bit worried about the drive for the Hall this year.  Donations are down and I can’t spare any myself.  The Euro Ice package was all I could swing, c’mon, it’s my son.  I wonder if any of those billionaires and millionaires in the former NHL will make a donation?

Monday, October 15, 2012

NHL Lockout: Catalyst for a new League?

Imagine a situation where a North American major sports league is in a position to be challenged.  A position where, say, the players and fans are in a state of unrest.  Where perhaps even the owners themselves are wondering why they are counting their losses instead of their profits.

Is that not where the NHL is today?  Will it get worse before it gets better?  Seems likely.

So I had a thought...What if the KHL tried to take advantage of the situation?  Tries to move into cities like Seattle, Kansas City and Quebec that have or will soon have new arenas waiting for a team? Cities that want a high level pro hockey team will spend millions and millions to get one.

So why wouldn't that mean tossing in a few million for the inevitable legal battles as well?  Far fetched?  Well, what about the World Hockey Association days?  All it took was a few lawsuits and a boatload of money to get that ball rolling.  And speaking of money, want to attract players to the North American Hockey League?  Two words for you: Salary Cap.  As in there isn't one.  Don't think it's possible?  I bet that's what the owners thought when Bobby Hull signed a record setting contract, in the other league.

And what if a few disgruntled, current NHL owners jumped to the KHL?  I don't think the Jets owners signed up for this malarkey.  Small market teams playing the odds or maybe just tired of the disproportionate revenue sharing?  Never underestimate the ability of an individual or organization to swoop into the old establishment and completely change the way business is conducted.  The student becomes the master.

And then, what if ESPN signed a TV contract with them and John Buccigross was on again with his wicked wit and edgy wrap up show?  Wouldn't that just be the final push to put a new league on the map?

The NHL would be up and running in a heartbeat and very possibly would soon be begging for a merger.

Crazy?  What if...?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The NHL Lockout and my Hockey Soul

The last time the NHL locked out the players I was about to reach a new height of Avalanche fandom.  That height would be attending games.

School was finally graduated, the job was finally good and it was time to get in on the Avalanche ticket pools that I had only been a periphery member of for a couple years.  This was the height of spending decent amounts of my income on tickets.  I had signed on to the waiting list in anticipation of this day, depositing money that the Avs would hold for two years before I got my chance.  One reason I was motivated: I wanted playoff tickets, well that was hard to come by in a pool I wasn't running.  When I got the call for season tickets I struck out on my own, signed up for a full season of tickets and wrangled my pool together.  No, no, I couldn't afford a whole season on my own.  I signed up 4 or 5 other people.  Collected the money, sent it all in to the Avs and BAM!  The lockout was a reality.

As the potential for a season dwindled I got adept at dividing up the refunds for all involved.  What a giant pain in my ass!  So here we have a defining moment.  Yes of course I came back from that lockout as a fan.  Still a big fan, but something died.  I wasn't willing to run that circus that involved a full season of tickets.  I signed up for the smaller package of tickets and kept them all to myself.

And I know for sure it was the lockout.  I was pissed, but willing to forgive.

Here we are years later and I can feel the anger and the disappointment in my soul over this labor dispute.  I was unhappy last time that I was missing out on hockey, I pretty much blamed the owners but I also pretty much didn't care once it was over.  Pretty much.

At least that's what I thought.  But apparently there was a seed of antagonism left behind.  And it's been aggravated.  I know now that I will be less of a fan when this is over.  It makes me sad, but it ought to scare the two idiotic sides in this dispute.  I don't have a ticket package anymore.  Nor plans to buy one.

The owners and the players are killing a little bit more of my hockey soul.  I don't have to make hyperbole statements about refraining from buying merchandise.  I don't have to sign pointless internet petitions.

The ice is cold and painted.  It’s ready for NHL hockey.  But the lockout has begun melting away the chances of a season.  Just like it did back in 2004.

I know what's happening to me: I know that a little bit more of my hockey heart has started to melt away.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Beauty of Chaos

It's about this time of year that the disappointed Rockies fans start searching for something else. They often find hockey. The bored NFL fans start tuning in the Stanley Cup Finals. This inevitably leads to the declaration by said novices that hockey is luck, what with all the bouncing around of the puck. Off the knee and in the goal and you call this skill? they ask me.

What they don't understand is that hockey is the ultimate game in which opportunity is created out of chaos.

Football fans should be especially appreciative of this aspect of hockey. Some of the most memorable plays in NFL history are pure chaos unfolding in the course of the game. What about the hail Mary? What about the fumble? What about the Immaculate Reception?

In hockey it occurs much more often and why shouldn't that be appreciated? It's freakin' fun! The mad scramble in front of the net for the puck and the ability of a player to pick it out of the mess with his stick, gain control and roof it for a goal. The puck that lands on a players stick when he's not ready for it and the poise to send a backhand shot at the net. The man in front of the net that bats the puck out of midair for a goal.  Sure, there's plenty of chaos and the beauty of it all is how they turn it into a  scoring chance.

Opportunity from chaos.

What's a more memorable display than that of a goalie making an amazing save on an impossibly chaotic bounce of the puck? When a goalie is standing on his head (or 'on fire' for the novice fan) making save after impossible save, you begin to realize that the goalie actually anticipated the possibility of that crazy carom and was prepared for the possibility. Chaos controlled!!

It's the only major sport where the athletes are expected to do everything sans hands. It reminds one of, no it doesn't. Anyway, the game is perfectly balanced by moments of grace and the highly controlled skill of a give-and-go, the tic-tac-toe goal of a power play and the break away.

It's not just crazy bounces and dumb luck. So sit back and enjoy some beautiful chaos.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Avs Fans are Losers

by J. Scott Moore

I’m going to make this clear right at the beginning of this post.  When it comes to the big picture, there are no winners when the Avalanche organization misses the post season.  There are individuals that had a good and even great season but that isn't what this post is about.

The Avs have missed the playoffs and the real losers here are the fans.  The Avs traded away the first round pick to this spring’s draft and missed the post season.  Landing around the 10th spot is probably the worst situation for a team that is trying to rebuild.  No sure fire draft pick and no playoff appearance to salve the growing pains of a young team in transition. 

Unless a team goes to the playoffs or plummets to the depths of the lottery they are stuck in a sort of purgatory.  Just look at the Calgary Flames for a perfect example of a team that isn’t bad enough to restock with the best of the draft and not elite enough to really attract the top-end free agent talent. 

The Avalanche have already started to show a predilection for trading like for like.  Trades that don’t necessarily accomplish a lot in the long run, just shake things up in the here and now.  A pattern the Flames have been in for years.  Purgatory.

I give the Avs management credit for making some moves over the summer and at the deadline to get into the post season.  However it just wasn’t enough.  In a world where fans want instant gratification, there will be none.  In fact the Avs management went all in on this season with the Varly trade.  Even a plummet to the depths of the standings would not have given the fans the dubious satisfaction of a high draft pick.

And now there is no post season excitement.  For that matter there will be no post season flush of cash for the team.  And as fans that should be as much a concern as the disappointment of knowing Matt Duchene is going fishing pretty soon.

I suspect Matt isn’t the only one that will be fishing this off-season, but he’s probably the only one that will land a big one.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time for the Avalanche to leave the Nest

by J. Scott Moore

It’s time for the Avs to grow up. I think they are ready, but a few things need to go down to make this plausible.

Step number one is a coaching change. I believe Joe Sacco has done about all he can for this young talented group. If he was brought here to play the role of the hard-ass adult then I give him credit for keeping the inmates from running the asylum. However, these kids are ready to take the next step and I don’t think Sacco knows how to facilitate that step. They don’t just need to grow up, they want to take that next step and right now Sacco is one of the biggest obstacles to that.

These young men need a coach that believes in the room, believes in doling out responsibility and holding them accountable. Sacco gets it half right. He does put the young guys out there on the ice in all kinds of challenging situations. Though one could easily argue that he hasn’t much choice, nevertheless, I’ll give him the credit. Where he fails these men is mentoring. Instead of mentoring he punishes by benching and dropping them to lines they have no business playing on. Sacco seems to think that these young, talented men will respond when treated like children. It’s worn thin and it’s time to change.

The other thing that needs to happen is just a tad more veteran leadership on this team. Bringing in JS Giguere was brilliant. Milan Hejduk has also been expected to fill that role. But it just isn’t enough. There needs to be a couple more of these guys on the team with a winning pedigree to get this team over the hump in the big games. To keep them from playing down to the Columbus’s and Edmonton’s of the league. It’s the difference that could have meant the playoffs this season.

As I write this the Avs season is likely over. I can’t help but think that these two things will make all the difference next season. The Avs management has been pulling the trigger here and there to get the puzzle pieces in place. Just a few more pieces and things will be looking mighty fine.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cream Puffs Anyone?

The Avs are really a bunch of cream puffs.  As I go through the lines it is rather jarring (reverse pun intended) how soft they are. 

Duchene-Stastny-Hejduk is as soft and snuggly as a Reese Witherspoon Rom-Com on a Valentine’s Day date.  Call them the softie line.  As hockey players that shoot, pass, deke, etcetera they are doing better than just okay.  Hejduk has magic hands, Stats is solid and reliable and Dutchy is fantastically creative.  But mean and gritty?

Jones-Olver-Mueller was a recent line.  Jones has long been excepted to go to the net but doesn’t seem to have the personality to do it on a regular basis.  Mueller is reputed to be a floater and Olver is just small.  That said, Jones has raw talent that clearly works at times even if he is streaky.  Mueller has a ton of talent if he can just stay healthy.  But none of these guys are going to knock an opponent to the ice hard enough to make an impression.

Individually there are guys that need a look too.  O’Reilly being the most important.  He is having a killer season and no doubt part of that is due to his steady maturation and insane work ethic.  But I think playing with Landeskog has a lot to do with it as well.  Landy makes space on the ice for O’Reilly to work.  Landy leads this team in hits and most of them are good, solid hits.  O’Reilly, despite all his gifts as a player is still a cream puff.  I can’t possibly count how many times O’Reilly has had a chance to lay a lick on an opponent and he pulls up.  His “finish your checks” hits are half-hearted and weak.  It’s the only criticism of his game I can conceivably level at him. 

None of this is meant to say that these guys aren’t what the Avs need on the ice.  Nor am I saying they aren’t tough, they take punishment and keep on playing.  They are talented but lack the latent chip on their shoulder that not only has a place in this game but is a necessary component of success for most teams.

I believe that the management of the Avs have seen that this component has been missing ever since Chris Stewart was traded away.  Perhaps it was thought that TJ Galiardi was going to fill that roll.  He was certainly given plenty of time and opportunity to do so but it just didn’t seem to gel. 

The challenge with the Stewart-type of players is that they are pretty good at too many aspects of the game for their own good.  They are just good enough with the puck that one coach/team wants them to focus on that and let the physical nature of the game take care of itself.  The next coach/team wants it the other way around.  These guys that can skate well, move the puck well, score and have a mean streak aren’t a dime-a-dozen.  They often have trouble fitting in to the lineup and yet their value can’t be denied.

With the acquisition of Downie and McGinn the Avs appear to be back on track.  The team has a big defense, upgraded goaltending and now a little more grit to go with the talent up front.  This just may be the pieces the Avs have been missing that can get them back to the playoffs.

Here's a nice cream puff recipe for ya, remember, serve with a bit of attitude and everything will be fine.


  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs


  1. Mix together vanilla instant pudding mix, cream and milk. Cover and refrigerate to set.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  3. In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
  5. When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pudding mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Improbable Season of Tim Tebow

by J. Scott Moore
Luck is often dismissed in sports.  Derisively by the losers.  Players and teams characterized as lucky are not often characterized as good, as well.  Surely the elite have their share of luck on occasion?  Perhaps it’s overshadowed by the skill and the execution?

For the Broncos, and more specifically, Tim Tebow, the run of luck is bordering on the unbelievable. 

Take week 14, the Broncos won in very unlikely fashion against the Chicago Bears when Marion Barber made not one critical mistake but two.  Running out of bounds and then fumbling the ball in OT. 

This sort of improbable story line is often unbelievable and trite in literary fiction.  A literary situation that many have addressed, but not quite like JRR Tolkien.  You may be familiar with Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings books that were adapted into the movies.  In his prequel The Hobbit, Tolkien uses luck as a pivot in his iconic novel.

JRR Tolkien seems to be writing the script for the Denver Broncos. 

But Tolkien took simple luck to a new level and coined the term "Eucatastrophe" to describe the happy ending of "fairy-stories."  He describes it as the "…sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears..."  If that isn't this Bronco season I don't know what is.

The situation that Tolkien calls the Eucatastrophe is exactly what we enjoy the most about sports.  It’s in fact the very essence of what is going on right now with the Tim Tebow mania.  On a seemingly regular basis Tebow has faced certain defeat at the hands of his opponent and yet some unlikely turn of fortune ends up benefiting the Broncos and enabling their victory.

This week it wasn’t enough that the Broncos were facing the mighty Steelers.  A late fumble by the Broncos’ McGahee seemed to spell doom, and yet the Broncos survived.  The Denver Broncos aren’t the only ones that have benefitted from Eucatastrophe.  Go to any rabid fan in any town and ask about their favorite sports team pulling their ass out of the proverbial fire.  They will have a story.  It’s the classic game that everyone remembers.

I like equating fairy tales with sports.  People often point out that those boys aren't in the real world anyway.  And sports do function as the ultimate story-time for many of the world's adults.  All of us that think we are all grown up and jaded and aren't affected by unbelievable happy endings and implausible heroes, better take a second look at that.  Because sports is all about fiction becoming fact.  It's just that we don't write the story; it unfolds before us on Sunday afternoons.

When the Broncos wrapped the season with three straight losses you wonder, where's that luck in that?  Well they still made the playoffs.

If you've ever read The Hobbit, you might have noticed that Bilbo, the "hero" of the story was nothing, if not lucky.  Then again, you may not have noticed it due to Tolkien's style of pointing out just how lucky Bilbo was time and again.  He managed to draw your attention away from how ridiculously lucky his main character was by pointing it out repeatedly.  At the end of the book, even Bilbo ponders the happy ending of his story.

Gandalf chuckles and says, "You don’t really suppose…that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit?  …you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all."  In other words this isn’t just for the benefit of Mr. Tebow, it’s for everyone’s benefit.

But to extrapolate on Gandalf’s point, someone other than Bilbo might not have been the perfect companion for this quest, the lucky number as he was dubbed.  Gandalf takes all the credit for picking the right companion for the quest.  Corollary: Tim Tebow seems to be the right guy for this quest.

Divine intervention, fate or faith?  Sometimes people are lucky.  Tolkien framed it as prophesy in his writings.  How about that old saying about the harder you work the luckier you get?

Call it what you want.  Tebow's got it in spades.  The question now is; is there any left for this Saturday?  I'm bettin' yeah, there's more where that came from.  Tune in Saturday for story time!!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Avs Can’t Play 60 Minutes? It Might be Worse than That

by J. Scott Moore

I was listening to Two Guys One Puck yesterday and they got me to thinking about the Avs’ woes of late.  The problem is well known but just to cover it quickly, they don’t start the game on time as coach Sacco likes to say.  They don’t play a full 60 minutes...blah blah blah.  The thing that occurs to me is that the Avs might be in worse shape than we realize.  When the Avs spot a team 2-3 goals as they did in the recent games against Calgary/Islanders it’s natural for teams to relax a little.  All teams do it to some degree.  The Avs appear to have this 3rd period gear that they kick into and all of us fans ask the question, well why can’t they play this way the whole game?

Unfortunately I’m afraid that I’m beginning to doubt that the Avs are elevating their play in the 3rd as much as the other team is lowering theirs.  All of a sudden the Avs are skating into the zone, getting good chances and controlling the puck. 

So why not the whole game?  Because they really aren’t good enough to do that the whole game?  That’s my fear.  The opponent is letting them do it.  It’s the old prevent defense strategy.  It’s easy for the Avs to look good when the other team is sitting on a lead. 

The Avs only look good after the opponent starts sitting back, sipping a cold one and enjoying the lead.  This is not good.

What about the Pens game you shout!  The Avs were killing it at the beginning of the game.  Well my theory is that the Pens looked at the Avs with little or no respect took the Avs lightly and got a wake up call.  And if you have any doubts about how good that Pens team is you shouldn’t after that.  They answered the call and then some. 

Shout out to AvsGuildRyan and the guys on the podcast.  One thing I love about their ‘cast is that they say “we” when talking about the Avs.  Love it, keep it up.  I wrote a piece HERE about why that is a good thing.  If you are still one of those people that rips people for that I think you’re missing a key component of the sports phenomenon in society.  In fact, you are in denial.

I certainly hope I’m wrong about the Avs with the theory I have presented above.  I picked the Avs to sneak into the playoffs this year and hopefully I haven’t misjudged them.  But maybe the naysayers were right.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why NHL Hockey is Better Off as a Niche Sport

by J. Scott Moore

I don’t consider myself a hockey snob.  I have no standing in that elite club, no pedigree, no place at all.  I wasn’t born north of the border and I didn’t grow up in a traditional hockey hot-bed.  Denver is still considered by many as a pretender, a football town and a cow town. 

And in part I’m here to sell you on the idea that Denver as a football town is not just ok, it’s great.  There’s room in this town for hockey and football and those other sports as well.  After all, we do have a lot of wide open space, mind the cow pies.

I understand the whole, er…I hate to use this term to describe the situation but I think it gets the point across…I understand the whole capitalist approach to growing the sport.  For survival in this ever expanding world of entertainment of ours, it’s necessary to try to keep up with the Jones.  But I often find myself hoping that the NHL simply maintains the status quo as the fourth major sport.

And I LOVE hockey, don’t misunderstand, I don’t think you will if you are reading my blog.  You must be able to deduce that I love hockey.  But sometimes, deep in my heart, I hope that the NHL is never, ever as popular as the NFL.  Never the #1 sport.  And most of all never the big money sport that the other big three have become.

Big money breeds big corruption.  The saddest thing in the world to me would be the slow corruption of the great sport of hockey.  And if the NHL started to look like the NFL with the prima donnas and the drugs…well it would be the beginning of the end.  Next time you are cussing the marketing department of your favorite NHL team, take a minute to reflect on the fact that if the NHL was wildly successful just how much would those tickets be for opening night?  And yes, I agree that Bettman could make better decisions, but as long as this great sport doesn’t get run over by its own Zamboni I think it will be fine.

It’s all about the attitude.  While the NFL sits atop its throne as the biggest sport in North America its foundation is rotting.  It strikes me as odd that the NFL has been so over-marketed that fans are more interested in fantasy teams than the ones that actually exist.  And then there is the success of NFL Red Zone.  Doesn’t that validate the boring nature of about 60% (correlating yards to percent) of the game?

The way I see this is that as long as the NHL is striving for respect and working for new fans, taking nothing for granted, it will be all that much better.  It’s the underdog mentality that makes it a better experience for me.  I don’t want to be #1.  I really don’t.

 What do you think, Mike?


Monday, October 10, 2011

Peter Forsberg in Belize

by J. Scott Moore

I have an odd little Forsberg memory I thought I would share with you.

It was spring, 2001 and I was going to Belize, not a hotbed of hockey coverage.  The trip took me on a four-seat, single engine plane to a strip of asphalt with three shacks, two of them abandoned.  Next it was an hour drive to a resort with zip for communications.

I was having a great time in Belize but that I sure wish I knew what my Avalanche were up to.  I heard there was a Canadian owned resort down the beach and that they had a satellite feed for watching hockey in the bar!

It was the April 30th game against the Kings and I spent the first period enjoying the game.  It was into the second with the score tied up when the feed blinked out.  The owner promptly headed to the back and eventually the feed blink on again.  Now the score was 2-1 Avs, goal by Forsberg and I missed it!  This occurred several more times in the third with the score changing, very frustratingly, every time the feed was out.  Before the game was over the feed went out for good.

I had a relaxing vacation punctuated by trips down the beach trying to catch Avs games.  I was well informed by the owners as to the status of the series, they couldn’t get another Avs game on the feed.  He told me that they were stealing the feed so it was very unreliable. 

The timing of the final game didn’t allow me to get any info before leaving for home.  I was in the airport in Houston when finally I saw some hockey news start scrolling by on the crawler.  It said that the Avs had advanced to the next round, YAY!!! 

And then it said that Peter Forsberg had season ending surgery…WHAT?????

That was it, no more information and next thing I knew it was time to get on the plane to Denver.  That was a long trip home wondering what the hell was going on!  It’s safe to say that Forsberg losing his spleen in that game was memorable but so was the suspense I was in while traveling.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mile High Stadium, there was only One

by J. Scott Moore

Now that the Invesco name is about to be stripped off of the stadium the Denver Broncos call home, the cry for naming it Mile High is once again at a fever pitch.

Never mind that naming rights are part of the money machine that is the NFL of today.  The option to forgo naming rights just isn’t possible in this league.  But more to my point is the recycling of this name.  To me it just doesn’t make sense.  Why keep the name of the greatest stadium of all time in Denver history when in fact it is a different structure? 

If you had the best dog ever and his name was Buddy would you name every dog after that Buddy??  I don’t think so.  That was a special dog.  No other dog can replace Buddy.  Buddy was the one and only Buddy. 

New dog.  New name.

And besides, I sat in Invesco on opening night and I still remember what a let down it was. It wasn’t the same or better in any way. It was clean and concrete and sterile. Nothing like the Mile High that was now irretrievable rubble and dust. 
Mile High was gone, just like Buddy.

Mile High represents a place and time that was magic, but that’s in the past.  It should stay there in order to sanctify that time and space in Orange Crush history.

There's only one old Yeller and only one Lassie. And there's only one Mile High.  


Monday, July 18, 2011

Colorado Avalanche Trade History with Washington Capitals

by J. Scott Moore

Over the course of franchise history the Colorado Avalanche have engaged in a lot of horse trading with the Washington Capitals. Perhaps as much as with any eastern conference team. I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at them. Here’s the list with a little commentary on the more interesting transactions.

July 1995 Avs trade a 3rd for John Slaney who was later traded for a pick that would become Brian Willsie. Nothing too exciting there.

April 1996 the Avs trade Anson Carter for a 4th rounder that never amounts to squat. Carter went on to score 40-60 points in the next six of eight seasons. Ben Storey, the Avs pick with that 4th rounder never made it to the big dance.

November 2nd, 1996, Keith Jones and a 1st rounder were traded to the Avs for Curtis Leschyshyn and Chris Simon. One good year for Jones with the Avs and kaput. Oh, and that 1st was Scott Parker. Really, blow a first round pick on Scott Parker? At least he stuck with the team quite a while. Jones goes down as one of those promising players that were plagued by injuries. On the up side Jones was traded for Shjon Podein, a fan favorite.

June of 1998 Avs traded a 3rd for two 4th’s and a 5th. No outstanding players emerged, no surprises.

March, 1999 – Avs bring in Dale Hunter and a 2nd round pick in 2000 (Sergei Kliazmine) for a 2nd round pick in 1999 (Charlie Stephens). All of this rigmarole was simply for Hunter’s benefit; he was traded to the Avs with the hope that he would finally win a Cup.

July 1999, Avs trade Craig Billington to Caps for future considerations. Like what, letting him come back? I dunno, anyone know?

October 22nd, 2003 - The Colorado Avalanche traded Bates Battaglia and Jonas Johansson to the Washington Capitals for Steve Konowalchuk and a 3rd round pick. The pick was later traded to Florida. While the Avs clearly bent over the Caps on this one a career ending condition would mean a premature end once again. Fortunately Kono has come back to the Avs in a coaching capacity. This marks the second captain that the Caps have traded to the Avs, the other was Hunter.

July 2005 Avs trade a 1st in ’05 for two 2nd’s. It’s a wash.

Nov 2010 the Avs send Scott Hannan to the capital city for Tomas Fleischmann. We all know how the Fleischmann situation has turned out for the Avs, yet another trade highlighted by injury. The lingering question is whether or not Flash will continue to have a productive career in the NHL.

Eh, maybe the Avs ought to stop trading with Washington? Not a very good track record. The injury bug that follows the high-level players in these trades is uncanny.

And the deepest fear of course is that the current trade for Semyon Varlamov will be no different.

Thanks to for the awesome site they maintain. Couldn’t have done this without it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Giving Dater Props

by J. Scott Moore

It’s time I mention that I think Dater is improving.

Yes, I know that you and Darcy Tucker are stunned by this admission.

I think his Twitter personality took a good shift towards a more mature nature I expect from a pro journalist. He quit getting in stupid twitt-fights. He learned how to stand up for himself much better instead of just blocking people all the time.

As an Avs fan the last thing you want is to have the access you get from him blocked because you dared to disagree with him. Something I’d like to see him do is go through his Twitter account and unblock everyone. I think it would be a good reboot for his social media persona.

No, this isn’t a suck-up post. Many of you know I was blocked long ago for daring to criticize Denver’s favorite hockey son, Chris Drury. Was I trying to provoke a reaction? Probably.

That’s water under the bridge. I’m Twitter savvy enough to still figure out what he is tweeting about regardless. And yes, I still want to know what he has to say that info only he has access to. I enjoy the minute-by-minute updates of the practice skates, who’s in who is out, who’s injured, who’s healing. It keeps me primed during the off days and pregame. It’s an inside scoop. I miss the chatter when Frei is on the beat instead of Dater.

I’m not too sure about the dire game commentary…has that continued? I’ll admit I’m not sure about that. It certainly isn’t a very popular part of his feed but to be fair, lots of fans do the same thing.

All that said, one thing that did suck last season was that the Post clearly quit sending Dater on the road with the Avs as the season withered, wilted and died. But there were still games to play and the fans were just as interested in information. But the Post wasn’t playing and Dater either couldn’t or wouldn’t admit it publicly.

Also, I am glad to see Frei on board with the blogging, even if it is occasional.

One very odd thing that I have noticed is Dater’s karmic ability to be out of touch when the big stuff happens lately. I think when Forsberg signed he was on a plane, Liles was traded and he was stuck in traffic…I have the impression that some other ones are out there but don’t recall the specifics. Maybe you can remind me in the comments?

It makes me wonder if Sherman has an assistant that stalks Dater. Anytime Sherman is going to make a move he checks with the assistant to see where Dater is. Whenever Sherman can do it, he pulls the trigger when Dater is in the air, has the day off, anything to mess with the guy. Probably not, just funny to imagine it.

So I guess that actually turned into a small overview of the Post coverage of the Avs, not just Dater. As fans in a one newspaper town we tend to really be critical of our team’s coverage. We want the best, we want it all the time and we want them to get it right.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ryan Smyth Traded Again, and Again...

by J. Scott Moore

Is it "The Ryan Smyth Curse?"

It seems to me that if you mess with Ryan Smyth you get nothing!

Let’s look at the trail of nothing left behind this guy

  • Edmonton trades him for Robert Nilsson (bought out & now out of the NHL) and Ryan O'Marra, (who has scored all of one goal in the big leagues because he can’t break out of the minors) and a first rounder that turns out to be Alex Plante, another guy still in the minors. Not only do these guys look to be a bust, one is for sure, but team has been a bust ever since the trade of Smyth.
  • Isles lose him for nothing and have been in the bottom 5 ever since.
  • Avs trade him for essentially nothing. Quincey minus Tom Preissing net sum is zero. And a 5th rounder, Luke Walker, yeah, who cares.
  • LA tries to trade him to Edmonton for Gilbert Brule and a fourth-round draft pick,  Brule was going to be bought out by the Kings. That fell through and eventually ended up as Colin Fraser and a 7th rounder. Fraser is better than Brule who was just going to be cast aside but it still isn't much.

So Edmonton ends up getting Smyth back 4 years after they balked at his request for a $5M per year contract and guess how much he is making? Yep. In hindsight, amazing stupidity.

The exciting part is that we may get to see the contract negotiation fireworks between Smyth and the Oilers again even before the season is at the halfway mark as the Oilers would be smart to start and finish that aspect before Ryan Smyth is traded away once again due to an inability to come to an agreement. Look at the path of destruction that he has already paved.

The safest thing the Oilers can do for the sake of the franchise is get him signed for the future.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There’s no crying in Hockey

by J. Scott Moore

Well, yes there is. Once a year on the last game of the season, grown men cry. They do it with millions of people watching them on television. Some do it openly. Some hang their head, their stick forgotten in a limp hand as they slump on the bench.

Gloves that were previously used to agitate an opponent are now used to dry their own tears. The first ones to cry are the losers. The clock ticks down the moments before the end of a dream. From role players to superstars, sometimes you only get one shot at the Cup. Grown men sit on the ice with a stunned look on their face when it’s over. It’s the end; they know it could be the end of the dream.

Eventually they gather themselves and do what good men do, they suck it up and congratulate the opponent. The handshakes come in all varieties. Heartfelt congratulations with just a hint of sadness, the stunned handshake, and the guys that used to play together really are happy for a former teammate. It runs the gamut.

The winning team is the polar opposite, screaming, cheering and celebrating. But when that Cup is brought out the mood changes. This is it, this is what they have worked so hard for. A trophy that players refuse to touch unless they’ve earned it will bring the toughest guys on ice to tears. Tears of joy.

Whether it’s game four or game seven, this is how it plays out. But the suspense that has been building for game seven makes it all the more exciting. It’s gonna be a good one.
The last ones to cry are the fans. When the Cup is off-camera, all the analysis is over and the excitement finally wanes. It’s over. Another season of hockey has come and gone. The tears well and the sniffles start. What to do all summer? The empty feeling gnaws at our souls.

Tapeleg and the Dead Blog Challenge

I just want to say a few things about what’s been going on here on the blog these last two weeks. James “Tapeleg” did a great job getting a lot of bloggers off their duffs and blogging again, including me. Thanks dude.

Today is technically the last day of the challenge but with game seven tonight I’ll likely have a post tomorrow. Very quickly it will be draft day and free agency too; I will probably make some words about that stuff as well this month. Also, I’m working on a post that will probably surprise a few of you; it’s not quite ready but in a few days.

Not only did James put in the work on his blog, he also provided links and bonus content that was very cool. There was the Twitter pep talk he gave me when I was about to bail on posting every day. That was good for two posts right there. That was good stuff. Overall, a successful endeavor.

Yes Lappy, I’m serious! It was great!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Five Things About Game Six

by J. Scott Moore

I’ve never played this “5 Things” game here on the blog.  Seems like a great way to get the writing juices flowing and since I’ve been struggling to finish up Tapeleg’s challenge, I need all the help I can get.  And now that there will be a game seven, I will be blogging at least an extra day.  And…hit it!

  1. Elimination game in Boston against a Canadian team and the house is playing Rush?

  1. If Luongo wins the Cup, how does he even look himself in the mirror?  Seriously?  Can he look in the mirror and say to himself that he played at the top of his game?  There are all kinds of examples of guys playing well enough and winning it all.  Playing not to lose.  Manage the game as they say in football.  Not possible as the goalie on a hockey team.  Luongo gets all the blame if they lose the Cup.  Little or no credit if they win it.  I think that’s fair.  (This is a hilarious photo zipping around Twitter)

  1. Early in the game a Canuck was hurt, down on the ice for quite a while and I was somewhat disturbed that the Boston crowd didn't even seem to care that a player was hurt. They were too busy chanting and didn't even give him applause off the ice.  I know this series has become brutal on and off the ice.  But that surprised me.

  1. Unfortunately, these early blow out games are boring during the wrap up.  But I don’t really how we get there, as long as we get to game seven.

  1. Late in the game the NBC crew was discussing whether or not Luongo should be allowed to face the press, post-game.  They agreed no.  Really?  What about the fact that Luongo has already shown that he couldn’t handle the pucks coming at him.  But he can’t handle questions either?  That just makes him look worse in my opinion.  He’s supposed to be a veteran, a leader, former captain…and they need to shelter him?  I’m writing this as the game is still on so I won’t change my opinion regardless, just that it is being discussed is amazing to me.

This isn’t specific to this game, just specific to Tim Thomas’ beard.  I think any minute he is going to go wading out into the middle of an icy cold stream, grab a jumping salmon and have a pre-game meal.  Nom nom nom.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Next Colorado Avalanche Captain

by J. Scott Moore

I’ve made my case for Matt Duchene being the next Avs captain, here. That was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece about that Avs plotting his ascension to the captaincy. But I am serious about this; make him captain.

A lot of people think Milan Hejduk or Paul Stastny or John-Michael Liles should/could or would be a better/more suitable choice. I think a lot of this is simply based of seniority in these people’s eyes. They don’t necessarily know that is how they are making their choice. But I think a lot of people do it and then will rationalize their way to the end point.

The time to challenge Matt Duchene as a leader is now. This team isn’t ready to go all the way, we know that. Duchene knows that, everyone knows it. What it does, is give him time to grow into the role so that when this young team does need that leader, he isn’t green. Wait till the team needs quality leadership to tip it over the edge into greatness and you’ve waited too long.

Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk are cut from the same the cloth. The aw-shucks, good guy that works hard and produces on a consistent level. But Matt Duchene is a driven individual on a different level. He wants to lead. Not that Hejduk or Stastny would turn it down; I think they would be honored and go all out. But Duchene is the guy that lies in bed at night and thinks about how to be this team’s captain. Really wants the opportunity.

I think Liles is the most well suited veteran for the job. But I’m not sure the coach is on board the Liles-train. Seems to be some doubt there and he’s always trade-bait. That just isn’t the best situation for a captain.

So what are the Avs waiting for? Adam Foote was named captain a week or two before training camp. This team isn’t likely to change much between now and then. Certainly not in a manner that would shift the candidates for captain.

Do it now. Let it marinate on the fans during the off-season. Let Matt Duchene get comfortable with it over the summer. You want Duchene to elevate his game? Give him responsibility and I think you will see it happen.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

I don’t think that is a Real Sport…

by J. Scott Moore

Maybe you think that all I do is watch hockey.  I have a confession to make about Real Sports. As you may already know, I wrote about what I thought was a real sport here. I probably make it sound like if it wasn’t a real sport, that I don’t like it.

Not true. In fact I was probably hiding behind some macho BS to guard against some of the sports I do like…and don’t want anyone laughing at me for digging them.

Of course I know people laugh, my Canadian friend loves badminton and tried to tell me repeatedly how bad-ass it is. I never heard much, I was laughing too hard. Well, I’ve got a couple of those too.
He was famous for doing back flips, sans helmet

Might as well get the toughest one done first: I love figure skating. Yep. Not that ice dancing crap, but the women’s short and long programs as well as the men. Love the jumps. I think Scott Hamilton probably got me into it at some point, which shows my age. But that guy had the best foot work ever. Ever since then I have judged skater’s foot work based on him. Being a big music guy has probably led me to enjoy the choreography of the programs. To overly technical skaters don’t do it for me, give me the emotion. An emotionally charged program is always the best. Just like music, if it’s got no feeling, who cares?

Sailing. Frankly I don’t know a darn thing about it. Not even enough to really explain why it’s so exciting to me. But years ago I was on vacation in the Caribbean and had a great experience that really got me into it. We went sailing at this place that does these mock races in some of the old America’s Cup boats. You get a chance to do some simple crewing, it’s all rather fun. I’ve always loved sailing and the strategies of a race, even at my limited ability to understand, are like chess on water.

Speaking of chess. Is chess on TV? Not really. Maybe in Russia? But I do love chess; I’ve read a few books about historic figures and such. Just found a sci-fi/fantasy short story collection, all chess stories.

Well I’ve gone from sports to games. Nonetheless, it’s certainly not the rough and tumble – must have a helmet – type of stuff I was talking about earlier.

Confession time is over for me.

What’s your favorite sport that you don’t want anyone to know about? C’mon, you can tell me. Leave an anonymous comment.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Zombie Quenneville

by J. Scott Moore

Seems Zombie Hunters was scoping out an area around Vancouver and caught Coach Quenneville and a troop of Zombie Goalies on their way to Stanley Cup Finals game five.

I always knew Coach Q was a goalie killer.  I didn't know just how sinister it was.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Chris Drury

by J. Scott Moore

Chris Drury is about to be on the UFA market.


I'll get us started.  I kinda feel sorry for Chris Drury.  He's a decent top six guy that has been thrust into No. 1 line expectations.  He's a character guy that's had Mark Messier expectations of leadership put on him.  And now he's unemployed. Reports say the Rangers will buy out his remaining year, a cap hit of $7.05M.  He's not going to be a captain for his next gig and he sure as hell ain't gonna be pulling down as much green.  It's a tough fall from the pedestal he's been on since his rookie year in the NHL.

Then again, Drury is as guilty of allowing himself to be placed on high as all the hyperbole-laden fans and media that have told us how supremely talented he is.  What an amazing leader he is.  He's chased the money every chance he has had.  And that is bound to have some repercussions.

I do believe Drury is a good hockey player and a natural leader.  But he's never come close to the scoring expectations that his salary demands, and yes, that salary demands goals.  Only big scorers and top goalies get that kind of money.  As for the leadership, I have no doubt he was captain material for the right team.  The Rangers just weren't that team.  I doubt he will get another chance.  Drury will have to make that tough transition into the 'veteran leader' role.  He'll take a huge cut in pay (though NY will still be sending checks), hope to get on with a team that has playoff potential and pine for one more chance to play for the Cup.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Parroting the NHL

by J. Scott Moore

Myths, half truths and things people repeat without thinking

Real hockey towns don’t have Ice Girls? Boston, Chicago, Caps, Devils, Flames, Ottawa, Vancouver, Islanders, Pittsburgh…who else?

The Original Six are “real” hockey towns. Oh, so all those empty seats in the Joe and Chicago’s arena were just smart fans staying away from a bad product? And there’s absolutely NO bandwagoning going on in Chicago these days…right….!

The shoot out is a skills contest-this is a team sport. The OT should go from 4-4 to 3-3 to 2-2, etc. Wait, I thought you said this is a team sport!

Players that are suspended for injuring another player should have to sit out as long as it takes the injured player to return. Actually, the player’s association might want to look at negotiating this one into the next CBA because this will undoubtedly increase the number of men that get a shot at the NHL by at least a 1,000 players. There will be so many players sitting on their duff at home waiting for such-and-so to get healthy that the minor leagues will be exhausted of players. Of course never mind that all the players sitting on said duff will need to be paid…so watch those ticket prices go thru the roof! Great idea.

Southern Hockey doesn’t work. How long have the Blues been operating? Wasn’t it Buffalo and Washington that went bankrupt long before Phoenix?

+/- is the most worthless stat in the NHL – that is until it supports that argument you are making about such and so player. Then all of a sudden it’s ok to add it to the argument, though often with a CYA caveat / cliché, “Even though +/- is the most worthless stat in all of hockey…blah blah blah”

What are your hockey pet peeves?


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Avalanche Goalie-Go-Round

by J. Scott Moore

Ever since the Avs went with Budaj/ Raycroft it’s been a joke. What you say? But Craig Anderson! Yes, yes. BUT. But, if you can be honest with yourself, that was a shot in the dark, a gamble, a roll of the dice. Ok, over doing the metaphors? It wasn’t a complete shot in the dark, maybe a shot in a dimly lit room.

Read the rest at Hockey Independent


Denver Broncos Season Ticket Glut?

by J. Scott Moore

Is the end in sight? If so it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But it would certainly be the end of the world as we know it.

Who are we and what am I talking about?

We are the Denver Broncos fans, players, staff and the owner and I’m talking about the end of the Broncos decades of sellout crowds.

As a long time season ticket holder I received an email recently about my request to upgrade my tickets. In the past they did this via mail/phone and you were given one or two choices. This year it’s online via Ticketmaster. The interesting part of that is that I can see a diagram of the whole stadium and what sections have seats available for me to upgrade…or downgrade.

Here’s the diagram.

Today was deadline day so this represents about how things stand going into next season. If you haven’t made your payments you are no longer a season ticket holder.

The dark blue represents sections with available seating. There are about 135 sections total. Of those, 82 have seating available. That’s about…what? 60% Ok, that’s real rough ciphering cause all the sections hold varying amounts of people, different prices, etcetera. The point is, if you want to move around in the lower priced sections, about 60% of the stadium, you can. That hasn’t always been true. I know cause I’ve moved a lot. It took me years to get to the sideline seats I now have. And granted, those sections on the first level are still jam packed with season ticket holders. But they aren’t who you might think they are.

Don’t be surprised that the first level seats are all sold out. That’s where I sit, but that’s also the seats the ticket brokers buy. They have the highest return value. Especially where we sit, on the visitor side. For the last two years I would estimate that about 50% of the seats around me are owned by brokers. If not then the fan that owns them sells every seat for every game. One of the issues this has created is a near complete lack of consequences for the guy in a scalped seat. Short of criminal behavior the worst he can expect is to be kicked out of the game. As a season ticket holder I have to behave myself or possibly lose my tickets. The out-of-town guys that buy one game have no such worries and their behavior proves it.

But, it isn’t just this that the Broncos should find troubling. It’s that the stadium used to be 99% loyal Broncos fans. That has slipped away and yet they maintained their sellout streak. The modern NFL fan is more mobile and tickets are more easily obtained if you’ve got the cash. Fans root for players as much or more than for teams these days, another factor that leads to the mixed crowds. But now you see that something like 60% of the stadium has at least some seating available for the potential season ticket buyer. I have friends that got on the list for season tickets 5 years ago. They expected to wait 10 or more years, that was the plan so the kids would be old enough to really enjoy the games. Well the Broncos came calling this year.

That fabled wait list is as thin as the mile high air.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Smell the Glove

by J. Scott Moore

The Boston Bruins have turned the volume up to eleven.

They are taking Alex Burrows' dirty game to higher ground.  No?  Think they are being childish?  I can see that.  But I frankly think it's hilarious.  While most after-the-play scrums involve stupid hugs and lots of shoving, sticking a couple fingers in a guys face and watching him squirm uncomfortably is rather bizarre.  It gives me that awkward feeling the first couple times I watched The Office.  It's such a little thing physically but so in your face mentally.  It's bothering the Nucks as much as an actual bite, and that's the brilliant part of it.  The Bruins are so hot coming off that game that I'm afraid someone is going to spontaneously combust!