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Caps Goaltending, Modano, and Quality Sportswriting

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It’s that time of year – NHL news is at a minimum, and summer fun is at a maximum.  Although, I live in Phoenix, so it’s “winter” here (you don’t go outside for very long if you can avoid it).  I will say this about the heat though – it’s not as bad as people say. 

It was supposedly 115 here last Saturday, and we spent four middle-of-the-day hours floating on tubes down Salt River.  We still sit by the pool periodically.  Basically, if water is involved, you can make it work.

Anyway, the point is that there isn’t much to discuss around the NHL.  I, for one, care zero percent about prospect camps.  I mean, literally, zero.  So, until something relevant comes up (Kovy signing!), lets BS about random, puck-based stuff.

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It's not that he's bad, it's that you're too close to a Cup to accept anything but great.

So, the Flyers Capitals are really going through with the whole “nah, we’re good on a goalie” thing?  To those fans who keep saying Varlamov will get better and will be able to get it done, I ask you – why are you okay with rebuilding at one position?  Do it everywhere or nowhere.  The rest of your team is ready now.  Actually, it’s been ready for two years, both of which you’ve squandered by accepting mediocrity in net. 

Fine, Varlamov is going to be great some day.  So let him back up til that day.  Or trade the potential he (or Neuvirth) has for a decent defender, and sign one of the million quality goaltenders looking for work.  Y’know, so you can try and win that Cup thingy.  This team is ready, if they’d just adresss their very few weaknesses.  If you don’t, you risk becoming the Flyers.

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Do you want Mike Modano to come to your team?  As in, a guy playing the role of third line checker with a goal scorer’s body and a good amount of gray in his beard?  Probably not right?  Yet for some reason, I can see it working under Babcock in Detroit.  And only there.

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Follow this link to read borderline NHLer Paul Bissonette’s hilarious (though somewhat offensive) tweet-binge about how women aren’t as funny as men.  Or as smart.

The tweets remind me of being in a locker room, so you may enjoy them.  Raw stuff.  Feel free to poke around that site too, it belongs to friend of the blog, Callum McCarthy.

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He's got a pretty good life goin...

SPORTS WRITING: As many of you are aware, my favourite sportswriter is Bill Simmons (though, oddly, that’s been waning a bit of late – undoubtedly something to do with him just making podcasts and retro-diaries, AKA lazy stuff).  It’s hard to write 5,000-8,000 words coherently, and this guy composes clear arguments that seem to span the length of entire books.  Unfortunately, Bill rarely covers hockey.

Between Simmons and my favourite hockey writer is a guy who acts as a nice segueway for me here, Bruce Arthur.  I’m a new reader and twitter follower, but from what I’ve taken in thus far, he’s kinda half-hockey half-basketball.  There’s some clever bite in his writing, and the guy seems like a good thinker.

And, as I’ve also mentioned before, my colleague (and general superior) Greg Wyshynski makes the grade as my favourite hockey writer.  Of course, I’m far too involved in hockey to agree with everything anyone says (like I do with Simmons on basketball), but 96.75% of the time, I can get on Greg’s page.  He’s fair, funny, knows WAY too much about players, teams and history, and writes well.  Best of all, he doesn’t take the sport too seriously, like, say, every single writer from the Toronto area.

Today’s post on free agency is great, and includes a line from agents (about their players) that Islanders fans can choke on: “The money was pretty much the same everywhere. Guys were just deciding on where they wanted to play the most,” said one agent.  Hey Isles, nobody’s choosing you for your low house prices and Cup-winning potential.  Might have to go a bit above and beyond matching offers these days.

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I’m convinced Steve Yzerman is gonna be a rockin’ GM.  The Teddy Purcell signing was a nice way to get a good player in on a low salary, something he’s going to have to do since three of his players make something like a combined $25 million.

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The Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp is almost full.  We’re down to about a half-dozen available spots – email me at jtbourne@gmail.com if you’d like to inquire… it’s a once-in-a-lifetime summer vacation.  And when I say that, I don’t just do it as a pitch – I never try to sell my readers a damn thing, am I right?  My name is on this camp, and I’m proud of it.  We see more tears and hugs on the final day than I ever thought possible.  I’d love to have some more readers there (we already have two!)

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Happy Humpday.  Hope it’s a doozy!

Comments

15 Responses to “Caps Goaltending, Modano, and Quality Sportswriting”
  1. crushasaurus says:

    The link is much appreciated Justin, grazia!

    When it comes to good sports writing, I think it’s something that takes a whole lot of practice and years of total immersion into one’s sport(s) of choice. Most of the elite sports writers (possibly exempting Wyshynski, who could be an incredibly advanced 8 year old for all I know) are pushing 40 years of age. It’s that experience covering the sports they love and the 15+ years of experience of constructing entertaining, thought out arguments that earn them their living.

    I’m 18 years old, so I’m still stuck whoring myself to anyone who’ll let me near their blog or publication, but I know that if I’m always in good practice and deep into the sports I love, I’ve got a half decent shot.

    As far as shying away from teams like Edmonton and the Isles goes, I don’t entirely understand it. Both teams had incredible dynasties back in the day, and if you’re a guy like Kovalchuk who has a shedload of bargaining power as a free agent, you can be the guy who drags this once great franchise back to the level it was once at by saying to Garth Snow “look, I’m dribbling over your 10 x 10 offer right now, but I want to see a good team built around me”.

    If Kovalchuk’s taken the plunge and made it clear he believes that this team can start winning again, the likelihood is that other players may follow.

    MY TWO CENTS YO.

  2. Char says:

    Bill Simmons? Are you serious? Mysoginistic, self-important, pretentious, tissue-paper-skinned, front-running, egomaniac, pop-culture-fixated Bill Simmons?

    Good God, Justin, you’re a better writer than Simmons without even trying. Though that’s unfortunately damning with faint praise.

    Thank GOD he pays next to no attention to hockey. The one time he wrote about the Bruins (when he realized they were in the playoffs) it made me want to vomit.

    Ugh. I’m gonna go to Bruins prospect camp now just to make myself feel better.

  3. kennedy says:

    One of my favorites is Jason Whitlock – mostly for the pure entertainment factor. I may diagree with him, but I get a kick out of reading his columns.

  4. Willc77 says:

    This Kovalchuk thing is dragging on wayyy too long. What, is he waiting to see where Lebron signs first?

    And on that note, when the hell did NJ become the place to be? Are Lebron and Kovy going to make up part of the cast of Jersey Shore season 2?

  5. Trevor says:

    Caps’ goaltending isn’t great, but unti they get a couple good, solid, shut-down D-men, they wont be winning anything. Just give up way too many chances for playoff hockey.

    Oh, and maybe if their best player played JUST A LITTLE defence, it’d help too.

  6. Randi says:

    As a Red Wings fan I’m warming up to the idea of Madano wearing the winged wheel on his chest. He could be very helpful in the development of the young forwards that Detroit has started to bring up. On the other hand I would hate to see them lose Helm or Abdelkader to sign Madano. With next year possibly being the last for Lidstrom I look for them to make a serious run for the cup if they can stay healthy.

    I agree with Trevor, the Caps just need better D. They have more than enough firepower to outscore their opponents. If you have a good defense you can get away with just an OK goalie (see Chris Osgood).

  7. jtbourne says:

    I’m gonna pass on responding to (any more) comments that imply the Capitals don’t have a weak spot in net. Yes, I know Niemi won a Cup. Sooo, all you need is your top three defenseman to be #1 d-men for that to work. Jose Theodore won like 20 straight games this year and got zero offers in free agency. THATS how good the Caps are. Put a good goalie in the net and enjoy, Washington! I’m out on this!

  8. Sherry says:

    Dont know Bill Simmons’s work, but Char, your post made me smile. Tell us what you think, eh? :)

  9. nightfly says:

    Love him or hate him, Sports Guy is something of a pioneer – a million people have started blogs about something, anything – but he stuck with it and worked his ass off and turned it into a paying gig. He was one of the very first to break into professional sportswriting from the Internet. That takes some skill and a lot of effort.

    Honestly, I don’t see him front-running either. He’s been a Boston guy forever. He’s suffered through some astounding debacles and reverses. He didn’t just start rooting for the Celtics when they got Allen and Garnett, you know. The only reason he doesn’t really follow the Bruins like he did as a kid was the dead puck era and the advent of Bettman’s Pity Point – now 80% of our league is better than average!

    He’s not everyone’s Happy Fun Time, and I can dig that, but he deserves some notice for what he’s been able to do and how he made it.

  10. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Re Modano – I think the whole thing is kind of sad. He spent his whole career with one organization, he got HUGE recognition/appreciation/ovations during his last game in Dallas and his last game in Minnesota (He was ours first and we still love him, but do I want him on the Wild? Nope.) because everyone assumed he was going to retire. He didn’t retire, the Stars basically said he’s not part of their future so they don’t want him and he went out on the free agent market. Wouldn’t it have been better to just retire when he found out the Stars were not going to offer him a contract? It would have been such a classy exit to a great career.

  11. Jake says:

    What’s your take on “The Decision” on ESPN with Lebron James? Has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard of. An hour-long special to announce where you’re signing? Really? The only way this isn’t the most over-hyped, narcissistic, egotistical waste of time and money is if wherever he signs, they win the NBA Championship every year for the rest of his career. Good luck with that.
    jl

  12. Char says:

    Worked his ass off? Simmons? The guy who said writing for a newspaper was “too hard”?

    Ugh ugh ugh.

    As for front-running, isn’t he the guy who said the Celtics were all washed up and Garnett was finished, before the playoffs started? And the guy knows absolute DICK about hockey. If he jumps back on the bandwagon and starts proclaiming how he knows all about Tyler Seguin, who I’m positive he never HEARD of before last month, I WILL throw up.

  13. Steve C. says:

    Finally clicked on the link and saw what the “Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp” is all about.
    WOW…that looks like a blast…I’d love to be there!
    …now all I have to do is send my wife to Hawaii for a vacation so I can go to Canada and play hockey for a vacation.

  14. Christine says:

    I am a self proclaimed biggest Caps fan, but try to be unbiased on talent of the team. As much as I love McPhee and Teddy and all the great things they’ve done over the years, I am very frustrated with what appears to be a stubborn reluctance to see what EVERYONE else can, which is simply the aforementioned strong stay-at-home Dman we so desperately need. Instead of working on his fashion sense I wish Green would spend some time on blocking shots or learning how to take the guy out in front of the net.
    I’ll spare you all my Semin tirade for now..

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