He was wearing my Harvard tie. Can you believe it? My Harvard tie. Like oh, sure he went to Harvard.
Not sure where I stand yet on the new streamlined jerseys -- rather, uniform systems -- that will debut next week at the All-Star Game. I’m going to wait to see just what they look like before I decide whether I love ‘em or hate ‘em.
Sight unseen, we’re told the new uniforms will be tighter, more form-fitting and will make the game look much different from the traditional, box-cut sweaters that hockey players have worn since they started playing hockey on a frozen surface. The fact of the matter is that whatever the new ones look like, they are going to be different; and that alone, will be unsettling to many people.
From what I hear, the change will be as dramatic as long sleeves in basketball or ballerina slippers in football. They are going to be different looking, but when it comes to fashion, I’ve never really been able to keep up with the times anyway. Cavaricci pants aren’t cool anymore? Members Only jackets don’t get you dates like they used to? Collar up or collar down?
It’s hard to keep up with this stuff, and from my point of view it seems like something becomes cool again before I realize that it wasn’t cool to begin with. Actually, I was never cool enough to have a Members Only jacket back in the day, but I did have a mean Miami Vice sweatshirt with a sewn-in, ultra-preppy golf shirt collar. Jams used to be cool, then they weren’t, and now they are again. Same goes for legwarmers, I see, but there are some fashion trends I like to think I have no business worrying about.
But some people are worried about the new jerseys. People are worried that the game will somehow be altered by the duds the players are wearing and my response to them is, in the words of Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything, “You must chill!”
So chill, people. It could always be worse.
For example, there would be a reason to freak if, say, Bill Belichick designed the new hockey uniforms. Then we’d have an entire league of players skating around in hooded sweatshirts with the sleeves cut off.
Or if Michael Jackson was awarded the contract instead of RBK and all the new jerseys were covered in thousands of zippers. Admit it, you know you had one of those leather jackets. In addition to my proud claim of having never owned a Cabbage Patch Kid, I also did not own one of those jackets. Swear.
If Janet Jackson got involved, it’s a foregone conclusion that there would certainly be some sort of wardrobe malfunction. And we can’t be having that.
If Flava Flav sat down at a sewing machine and got to work, scoring would be way down for sure. How would players skate around with huge clocks hanging from their necks? And how would we ever see the crest on their shirts? Ditto on Mr. T and all those cumbersome gold chains.
Marilyn Manson’s vision never came to be, simply because the white face paint players were going to have to wear never made it past the first period. And the Goth look didn’t really hold up all night for the exercise-bike interviews they do in Ottawa.
It could be worse if the new uniforms were designed by Paris Hilton and every player was required to carry around a little dog in a handbag during games. And you know the competition committee would never approve the oversized bubble shades the way they prohibited Alex Ovechkin’s tinted visor.
Along the same lines, if Madonna or Angela Jolie designed the new ones, NHL players would find it extremely difficult to play while carrying an adopted baby accessory under one arm.
The could be a problem also if Simon Cowell from American Idol was responsible for the new construction. NHL players could never get one of those too-tight t-shirts over their pads, and the cigarettes rolled under one sleeve might send the wrong message.
And what if Jimmy Buffett got the call? Would there be 30 variations of the Hawaiian shirt being worn around the league? That wouldn’t work at all.
Just like it wouldn’t work if the cast from Beverly Hills 90120 designed the new uniforms. Imagine the uproar from NHL players if they were forced to grow out their sideburns, French cuff their pant legs and wear loud pastel color sweaters. In an unrelated issue, recently seen on the Soap channel: Brandon, the way she sounded on the phone last night, she sounds like a hard-core stalker!
The list goes on and on. If Johnny Cash drew them up, we’d have 30 teams wearing all black, which would be a drag. If Rosie O’Donnell designed the new jerseys, we’d finally get to see what NHL players in a mumu look like. Give the uniform contract to Elton John and it would be the first time you ever saw a hockey player in rhinestone studs.
The point is, things can always be worse.
And if you don’t like the new jerseys right away, there’s always the chance when it comes to fashion that someday the style will be cool further on down the road. Maybe you’ll like them in the future, like you didn’t like Ray Bans back in the day but you do now.
Take it from a fashion expert such as myself: You can always look worse. Trust me.
The stars at night are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas!
(Somebody obviously knew the NHL All-Star Game would eventually be played there, huh?)
* Just wondering. If you get hit with a high stick and then scratch at a scab to draw blood and the resultant four-minute penalty, can a dive be called on the play as well?
* Prozac is now being administered to animals like dogs, cats, birds and horses. According to reports, roughly five-percent of animals and pets are taking specially designed anti-depressants that alleviate anxiety and fear. First of all, play with your pets, people. And secondly, looking around the NHL standings, it seems that Panthers, Coyotes and Blue Jackets might be ready to join the list.
* Best bumper sticker I’ve seen in a while: My Other Car is a ’69 Chevy with a 396.
You know that dude will beat up your honors student any day.
* According to reports last week, keepers of the “Doomsday Clock,” the symbolic clock maintained by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, moved the hands forward because of worsening weather conditions around the world. If the end of the world doesn’t arrive by then, we play a five-minute, four-on-four overtime followed by a shootout.
* Note to everyone who made a New Year’s resolution to join my gym: Isn’t it about time you all break them already and get off my treadmill?
* A cell phone reportedly ignited in a man's pocket and started a fire that burned his hotel room and caused severe burns over half his body, fire department officials said last week. Authorities were puzzled at the exploding cell phone because, they said, such things don’t normally happen until closer to the NHL trading deadline.
The Swedish file-sharing website The Pirate Bay is planning to buy its own nation in an attempt to circumvent copyright laws. The company, according to reports, set up a campaign to raise money to buy Sealand, a former British naval platform in the North Sea that has been designated a “micro nation.” A micro nation, of course, is where goalies wear micro pads and hockey players shoot at micro nets, wearing micro-knit sweaters.
Comet McNaught, discovered last year by Australian astronomer R.H. McNaught, was visible throughout the Northern Hemisphere until Friday last week, when it came within 16 million miles of the sun and became obscured by the sun's glare. And they say the puck is difficult to follow.Wednesday, January 10, 2007
You are aware there is an invention called television and on this invention they show shows, right?
It’s going to be one heck of a week for hockey on television. It all started Tuesday night on Versus when, during Wings-Avalanche, "The V" released the starting lineups for the All-Star Game. Sure, you’re all going to celebrate Hockey Day in Canada north of the border on Saturday, but here in the States we’ll be celebrating the season debut of the NHL on NBC when the coolest game in the world begins the schedule of network TV games with Brett Hull in the studio.
Hull and his mouth will be a welcome addition to the program, kind of along the same lines as Jimmy Chitwood figuring it was about time for him to start playing ball for the Huskers. Of course, Jimmy had about one other line in Hoosiers (“I’ll make it”) and we’re hoping Hull has more than that going for him in his first telecast this weekend. If his reputation is any barometer, we should hear plenty out of Hull.
While the silk-shooting Jimmy was not a man of many words, Hull is just the opposite. He talks a lot. As a player he gave quotes that were as lively as his devastating one-timer and I’m hoping he brings the same kind of wild slaps to my television screen Saturday. Bring the noise, man. Here in New York, we’re getting Boston-Rangers while other parts of the country will be treated to Pens-Flyers or Kings-Blues.
In Canada, where you’ll be celebrating Hockey Day on Saturday, you already have one of the great personalities in the game in Don Cherry, who I have to watch on my computer every Monday morning because I don’t get Hockey Night in Canada. Right now the closest thing we have to “Grapes” in the States is Barry Melrose on ESPN, so the talent pool certainly has plenty of room for Hull to make a splash. Cannonball coming!
So this week’s edition of Gross Misconduct (have you voted yet for your favorite sports blog of the year yet, by the way?) is dedicated to good ole No. 16. We wish him all the best this weekend, to break a leg and to make watching hockey games as much fun as it used to be watching him as a player.
* Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell are still throwing haymakers, but the clash of the week goes to Bill Belichick and that cameraman he laid out on his way to give Eric Mangini a hug. Wouldn’t things just be easier –- and a lot less confrontational -- if the NFL lined up to shake hands (or give out man-hugs) just like in hockey?
* At the Dallas-based Pizza Patrón chain, you can now purchase American pizzas with Mexican pesos. Experts said the pizza joint is the furthest restaurant from the Mexican border that accepts the foreign currency. But in honor of this month’s All-Star festivities in Big D, shouldn’t they also accept Canadian money, too?
* Best quote we saw all week came from the affable Bob Hartley. After Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra and Branko Radivojevic were chatting it up in Czech in the hallway prior to Thrashers-Wild, the Atlanta head coach cracked: “I bet they’re talking about back-checking.”
* The government approved the first drug for fat dogs last week. Slentrol will help overweight canines lose unwanted pounds, although it might help if you stop feeding them pepperoni pizza and fried chicken from the table while the game is on.
* Nobody had a better New Year’s celebration than Toronto call-up Kris Newbury, who scored his first NHL goal and also some serious points from his teammates when he went after 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara in the same game. “When I realized who it was, I knew I’d kind of made a mistake,” Newbury told reporters. “But I’ll go to my teammate’s defense anytime.”
* Pieces of a Russian rocket re-entered the atmosphere over Colorado and Wyoming early last week. Parts of the Russian SL-4 spacecraft landed in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico, and consistent with stereotypes of hockey players from that country, there was no damage to the area and most of the pieces floated harmlessly to the Earth.
* Apparently, all it takes is a crew of 45 to change the floor of the RBC Center (home of the Hurricanes) from hardwood to ice in four hours. Last week, with North Carolina State playing basketball at 2 p.m. and the Canes facing the Islanders at 7 p.m., 45 people were needed to make the conversion in less than two hours. So then, how many Caniacs does it take to change a light bulb?
* Researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine what parts of the brain are active when considering whether to purchase a product and to predict whether or not you ultimately choose to buy it. However, scientists were puzzled when readings taken on thousands of hard-partying college students lined up outside Mellon Arena waiting for discounted tickets came up completely blank.
* According to research, Africanized bees, also known as “killer bees,” are smaller, more aggressive and sting more than European bees. But there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that more European bees wear visors.
* The United Hockey League is investigating charges that one of the Elmira coaches entered the empty Flint dressing room minutes before last week’s game at Perani Arena. Flint officials said a security camera in the hallway recorded it about five minutes before the opening faceoff and that a security guard witnessed one of the coaches leaving the dressing room after about 60 seconds. We don’t know what happened in there, but there can’t be a better place for the old, “When you gotta go, you gotta go,” excuse.
* The Scottsdale-based Taser International Inc. hopes to start selling stun guns to the public with a new version of the weapon that will be sold in an inactive state. After completing a 60-second background check, it can then be activated for hours of fun around the house. There is no truth to the rumor that the San Jose Sharks, with the top-ranked power play unit in the league, will endorse the product.
* Passengers aboard a Toronto-bound flight last week were terrified to hear there was a scorpion loose on the jet, a wild scenario that caused an hour-long delay at Pearson International Airport. Samuel L. Jackson was not on the flight, but if he was, his comment would have likely been something along the lines of, “There are [bleep-bleeping] scorpions on the [bleep-bleeping] plane!”
* And last but certainly not least, it was a sad day when we learned The O.C. had been cancelled last week. “This feels like the best time to bring the show to its close,” Josh Schwartz, the teen show’s creator and executive producer, said. But Penguins owner Mario Lemieux could have a goldmine on his hands with a spin-off, a teen angst program that could potentially be called The K.C.Thursday, January 4, 2007
"I want the fairy tale"
Almost every team in the league has at least one jersey hanging from the rafters of their home arena. Some teams have more than others, depending on how much tradition the franchise has, how many years it’s been in existence, and of course, how many Cups that team won. Every team has a different set of rules for honoring players and the sweaters they wore, but there is a universal recognition of what it takes to see your number hang.
In no order of importance, the first requirement is to have been good. Another is carrying yourself or playing with a personality that was larger than life, an aura that helped that player to almost stand for the organization he played for. Winning is another rite of passage to the rafters. And last but most certainly not least, you should have been loved by the fans.
You don’t get your jersey sent up there if you were the worst player on the worst team who the fans booed every time you touched the puck.
This week the Red Wings sent No. 19 to the Joe Louis rafters in honor of the great Steve Yzerman. Earlier this year, Brett Hull watched his No. 16 go up top in St. Louis. Later this year, the Oilers will give Mark Messier’s No. 11 a royal coronation, while the Kings will honor Luc Robitaille’s No. 20.
This week, Gross Misconduct takes a peek around the league and predicts which players the 30 teams should eventually send to the rafters.
Anaheim – Though he currently plays in Nashville, look for Paul Kariya to have his No. 9 strung from the rafters at a future Ducks game. He is the Ducks’ all-time leading scorer and it would be a nice touch to see Kariya 9 go up with Selanne 8 one day.
Atlanta – Another team with no retired numbers yet, the wait for the first to go up may be quite a while. But when the Thrashers finally do retire a number, it would make sense if Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17 is the first, even if it doesn’t happen for 20 years.
Boston – With 10 numbers already hanging, in addition to the classy touch of including the middle initials of each honoree, the Bruins have plenty of history and tradition. If not for the messy divorce with Joe Thornton, he could have been a fine candidate. But we’re going to say Don Sweeney, after 15-plus years in Boston and New England also with Harvard and AHL Maine, No. 32 would make a decent choice.
Buffalo – Heady company in the HSBC rafters with Tim Horton and the French Connection, but our choice for the next jersey to go up is Dominik Hasek’s 39. He played almost a decade for the Sabres and during that time, he developed into the best goaltender the franchise ever had.
Calgary – Only Lanny McDonald 9 hangs right now, and there certainly are plenty of candidates to join him up there. You have to figure Iginla 12 will some day go up and even further down the road, perhaps Phaneuf 3 as well. But the next guy to be honored there has got to be from the 1989 championship team and we nominate the recently retired Joe Nieuwendyk 25, provided they can get a banner that wide.
Carolina – For some reason the franchise doesn’t acknowledge Rick Ley 2 and Gordie Howe 9 that were retired in Hartford. Ron Francis 10 was the first number retired by the Canes last year, but the next one might just be the ageless Rod Brind’Amour 17, who has a Cup, the love, talent and longevity to deserve it.
Chicago – Another Original Six team with a legendary rafter crowd that already has Hall 1, Hull 9, Savard 18, Mikita 21 and Esposito 35. You could make a case for Amonte 10 or Roenick 27 to be the next, but Steve Larmer 28, fourth all-time in franchise history with 923 points is the big winner here.
Colorado – Perhaps there is no team in the league that gets it less when it comes to retired numbers. Ray Bourque, and we’re not diminishing how good he was, but he only played parts of two years in Denver and 77 went up almost minutes after he retired. When Joe Sakic 19 goes up, it won’t be quite as knee-jerk.
Columbus – Another team with bare rafters. But in 20 or so seasons, Rick Nash 61 could be the first number to go up, especially if he continues to score goals like it’s going out of style.
Dallas – The three numbers that hang are from the Minnesota days and the next one to go up got his start in the State of Hockey. Mike Modano 9 has been with the franchise his entire career, he’ll score his 500-th goal any day now and he’ll be the next jersey ceremony in Big D.
Detroit – Yzerman 19 went up this week and will likely start a parade to the rafters in the next few years. That’s what happens when so many legendary players win so much in one place. Eventually Lidstrom 5, Shanahan 14, Fedorov 91 and Chelios 24 will crowd the ceiling.
Edmonton – Messier 11 will join Hamilton 3, Kurri 17, Fuhr 31, Coffey 7 and Gretzky 99 this season. The Oilers, as with any dynasty, have plenty of names and numbers to choose from for the next honoree, but we nominate Glenn Anderson 9, arguably the greatest playoff goal scorer of all-time.
Florida – Another young team, but not a franchise without its share of winning moments. Pavel Bure would be a nice addition to the rafters, but as good as Bure was, former captain Scott Mellanby 27 is the Panthers’ all-time leading scorer and was around for their only Stanley Cup appearance.
Los Angeles – Robitaille is the franchise leader in goals and will see his 20 go up this year joining Dionne 16, Taylor 18, Vachon 30 and Gretzky 99. Rob Blake 4 has been a Kings lifer and is in the top 10 in almost every major statistical category in team history.
Minnesota – Even though there is a hockey history in Minnesota, technically it partly belongs to the Dallas Stars now. No Wild jerseys hang from up top, but further on down the road, don’t be surprised to see all-time leading scorer Marian Gaborik 10 or heart-and-soul Brian Rolston 12 hanging up there. Minnesota native Mark Parrish 21 has the personality and the game to be deserving one day, but they need to win big for that to happen.
Montreal – The most storied franchise in league history, this is the most exclusive club this side of Monument Park. Now that he’s in the Hall of Fame, Patrick Roy 33 is deserving of joining the likes of Plante 1, Richard 9, Harvey 2 and the rest of the boys.
Nashville – Another young team without much tradition – although they’re building it now – there aren’t many players to pick from. Kariya 9 is a guy that’s helped to change the franchise’s identity, but he hasn’t played in the Music City long enough. Another example of a team that may have to wait 20 years, Ryan Suter 20 could one day be the first jersey they retire, or even teammate Shea Weber 6 could be deserving as well.
New Jersey – This is probably the easiest team to scout for the next jersey retiree. They have the winning tradition, the Cups and the personalities to make an air-tight case to send Martin Brodeur 30 up high when he calls it quits. He’ll likely go down as the greatest goalie of all time, and it’ll be the best rafter defense of all time when Brodeur joins Stevens 4 and Daneyko 3.
NY Islanders – Another of the dynasty teams, Smith 31, Potvin 5, Gillies 9, Trottier 19, Bossy 22 and Nystrom 23 have all been retired. The team has won little since then, but when his 15-year deal is up, Rick DiPietro could realize a dream and see his 39 join that elite group. On the Island, winning the Cup is mandatory to have your number retired.
NY Rangers – Nobody puts on a better show, evidenced by the Messier 11 and Richter 35 ceremonies at Madison Square Garden. Giacomin 1 and Gilbert 7 are the other retired Blueshirt numbers and it would make a lot of people in the city happy to see Graves 9 join them one day. Leetch 2 is one of the greatest players to ever put on a pair of skates and he too is deserving of the honor.
Ottawa – For a team that has a long history in Canada’s capital, there is only one number – Finnigan 7 – that’s been retired by the Sens. Yashin 19 was on a nice pace, but the day that happens, you’ll be able to skate in hell like it was the frozen Rideau Canal. Chara 3 didn’t stick around long enough and neither did Hossa 18. If they ever win a Cup under his watch, Daniel Alfredsson 11 could be a legit contender.
Philadelphia – It was never meant to be for Lindros 88 to join Parent 1, Clarke 16, Ashbee 4 and Barber 7. But Ron Hextall 27 was the face of the Flyers for such a long time and is arguably the best goalie to ever wear the winged P, so “Hexy” would be a fine choice for a pre-game ceremony.
Phoenix – Inheriting Winnipeg’s Hull 9 and Steen 25, the Coyotes have a rich tradition to pick from as well. Roenick 97 and Tkachuk 7 were great, but only for a short time in the desert. When the next jersey gets raised, they’re going to have to go back to their Winnipeg roots and give Dale Hawerchuk 10, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, a shout-out, or even iron man defenseman Teppo Numminen 27 some love.
San Jose – Another team with naked rafters and a short history, on paper the greatest Sharks player of all time is Owen Nolan 11. Joe Thornton 19 is on pace to shatter the team scoring record with 92 points in his first 58 games with the Sharks.
Tampa Bay – A short history, but the Lightning do have a Cup and the necessary heroes for consideration. St. Louis 26 gets our vote. He’ll have plenty of company with all-time leading scorer Lecavalier 4, Richards 19, or even Khabibulin 35 making strong cases for the honor.
Toronto – The Leafs generally don’t retire numbers. In TO, there are two retired jerseys (Barilko 5 and Bailey 6), but they also employ an “Honored Number” system that has current players still wearing fabled digits. Of all the great players to put on the Maple Leaf jersey, Mats Sundin 13 has made quite an impression and may likely finish his career as the franchise scoring champ. He’s a lock if they win their first Cup since 1967.
Vancouver – Stan Smyl 12 is the only retired number, but Trevor Linden 16 has played more games, Markus Naslund 19 has more goals and Gino Odjick 29 has the most penalty minutes. Kirk McLean 1 is the most successful goalie in franchise history though, with 211 wins and getting the Canucks to their last finals appearance in 1994.
Washington – Calle Johansson is the franchise leader with 983 games played and Peter Bondra 12 is the top scorer the Caps ever had. Before Ovechkin 8 goes up, homegrown Capital Olaf Kolzig 37 has been around forever, backstopped them to the Cup finals in 1998, won a Vezina and is deserving of being raised to the roof.Two-handers
Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund hadn’t scored a goal in 15 games. Think he misses having Todd Bertuzzi around?
Britney Spears got some ink again this week when news broke she took a nosedive during a New Year’s Eve party. Her manager, Larry Rudolph, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "She had been traveling all day. She got real tired. It was a late night for her." And they say the new NHL schedule is exhausting.
There is an anonymous man who is trying to raise enough money so he can buy ad space during the Super Bowl so he can propose marriage to his girlfriend, like so many people do at sporting events on the Jumbotron. The site, mysuperproposal.com, was created in the fall, and since you people can’t vote for Rory anymore, I’m sure this dude would love some support.
Isn’t it ironic that Spears was hosting that NYE bash at a place called Pure?
Had to do a double-take the other day when one of my co-workers walked past Gross Misconduct headquarters (AKA my cubicle) wearing a pair of hockey skates. Only at the NHL, kids. I’m thinking about adding to the atmosphere by having a trainer stitch up my face between blogs.
An Indian chess player has been banned for 10 years for cheating after he was caught using a wireless device to win games, chess officials said last week. The player, Umakant Sharma, was caught at a recent tournament when officials discovered that he had stitched a Bluetooth in a cap which he always pulled over his ears. He communicated to his accomplices outside, who then used a computer to relay moves to him. What could have possibly given him away? Was it the fact that every time his opponent made a move, he pulled his lid over his head, or was it all the mumbling under there?
British scientists are on the verge of producing a revolutionary flu vaccine that works against all major types of the disease. Described as the “holy grail” of vaccines, it will be tested on humans for the first time in the next few months. But in the last week, nobody needed it more than the Capitals who had several players in uniform despite a stomach virus that spread through their room like wildfire.
A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields snapped free from Canada's Arctic, breaking from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers south of the North Pole. Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed island and couldn't believe what he saw. "It was extraordinary," he said. “This is a piece of Canadian geography that no longer exists." The other, of course, is the “Gretzky space” that used to be behind the net.
A 19-year-old woman who disappeared was found stuck in an elevator in a suburban Paris housing project for three days, the French press reported recently. The daily Le Figaro described the woman as vulnerable because she had "problems of confusion." Imagine her shock when, after being set free, the Flyers won three-straight games for the first time this season.