The NHL Report: First Quarter 2021

I probably should have divided up like periods and done thirds, but as promised I waited until the Avalanche reached game 12, aka 25%ish, to file a report on how the NHL season is going. Twelve games. The season started in early January so my math would have the Avalanche playing game 12 on February 4th. Nope – make that February 14th.

Why the delay? COVID. Five games postponed. I guess since they played Game 12 on Valentine’s Day COVID now stands for Colorado Valentine’s Isolation Day.

“My bloody Valentine…” Sing it with me now.

On another aspect, isolation made sense. The morning temperature on V-Day was a whopping -6˚F at my place. Deep freeze people, deep freeze. COVID has thrown the whole schedule into a blizzard. I wish it were a Dairy Queen one which actually sounds kind of good and my local DQ stays open until midnight and is the size of a Culver’s which is crazy, but alas that is a negative. How is the schedule playing out you ask? Bwa, Ha and Ha. The Vancouver Canucks have played 18 games, the Avalanche 12. The New Jersey Devils? 9.

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Prop Bet the Super Bowl!

If you’re like me and you wait until the dust has settled before deep-diving into prop bets for the Super Bowl, you my friend are in luck. I have discovered some choice prop bets for Super Sunday and will simply give you the winners. All you have to do is donate some of your winnings, let’s call it a bet-tithing, to your favorite comic so they can do something positive with it.
Me? I’ll be donating to Matt Drufke.
Why? Because he’s a good guy and I know any money given to him will be going for something noble. Perhaps a college fund for his boys. Maybe a new re-fill for his waterbed. Or he could just blow it on a fur-lined mic.

As for the game, it’s the Chiefs vs the Buccaneers. In spite of their victory last year and their refusal to change their name or stop that insipid tomahawk chop, I will be very reluctantly rooting for them. It’s not the Buccaneers team as a whole that’s so disturbing, in fact I’d love the see former Bronco Shaq Barrett dismantle the QB machine known as Mahomey. It’s Brady. Tom Brady has been in nearly 25% of all Super Bowls. His teams are 6-3. That’s enough. He needs to lose and lose badly.
I don’t bet on the game itself. It ruins the enjoyment of it for me. Therefore, I think I’ll hit the prop (proposition or ‘side’ bet) bets. Let’s take a quick look at a few of them now.

How Many Commercials will have a dog in them? This is an over-under bet and sits at 4.5. Since a half-dog is pretty much impossible let alone gross, take the over. Biden is in office now so dogs are front page news.

Will there be a COVID vaccine commercial? A ‘no’ means you need to bet 160 to win a 100. However, it’s likely there will not be one specifically about the actual vaccine.

Super Bowl Gatorade shower color? No, it’s not a weird new shower product, it’s about what color the liquid is when it’s poured onto the winning coach. Since the Chiefs will win, I’d go with red/pink. It’s at +300, so $100 wins you $300.

Total TD passes by Mahomes? The over-under is set at 2.5. Over means you need to drop 150 to win a 100. I’d do that.

Chiefs Tyreek Hill can fly. I did not know he could hover too. Ridiculous.
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Lace Them Up – The 2021 NHL Season Preview

Apparently the Zambonis have all been finally fixed and are able to smooth the ice so the NHL can begin their season January 13th. Luckily the 13th is not a Friday, but it may as well be. Yeah I know, it’s not the Zambonis’ fault they haven’t started the season. It was NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s fault. Fine, it was COVID… or how best to navigate COVID. But, Bettman is such an awful commissioner he’s always the person to point at for NHL problems.

Last year, as you may recall it since the season just ended in the middle of September, the Tampa Bay Lightning took home Lord Stanley’s Cup. It’s so 2020 to have a team that never has any ice outside of its arena claim the Cup.

Yeah, I know. That was so last Fall. So who’s going to hoist the Cup this year… whenever the season ends given the specter of COVID? The season is slated for 56 games, roughly 2/3rds of a normal season. But for the NHL, 56 games is enough to determine who should make the playoffs and who shouldn’t since nearly every team makes the playoffs anyway. A full 16 out of 31 teams make the playoffs. Next year it’ll be a full 50% as the Seattle Kraken are coming. Damn it I love that name.

A side note: before we get into the deep chasms of ice and hand out predictions easier than a dirty carny hands out tainted sno-cones, we have a couple rule changes to go over.

Number 1 – Offsides is now determined to not occur until the offensive players last skate completely crosses the blue line. Ergo, if a skater’s foot is in the air, but still behind or above the line when the puck completely crosses the blue line, he is onside. I am dubbing this the “phantom foot” as I can envision a lot of extended time being allotted while the NHL replay monitors in Toronto spend minutes drinking Labatt’s and deciding if the foot was or wasn’t over as it hovers in frozen time threatening to cross it.

Number 2 – the Colorado Avalanche are allowed to play with an extra attacker the entire season.

Fine, the second one doesn’t exist. It should though. It’s only fair as their goalie situation is still as shaky as spring pond hockey. That’s the reason why they didn’t make it to the final and soundly whip that team from the south. Should I go on with my predictions? Isn’t that enough?

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These are a Few of my Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,

I wrote some words and I think that I’m smitten,

Brown paper packages tied up with strings,

These words are a few of my favorite things.

Hey internet fans of Fancy Boys, here’s a recap of 2020 articles as written by… moi… with a few fun facts to know and tell about Julie Andrews.

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On Being a Sports Fan

If one were to ask me, I’d say I am a casual fan of many teams – if one were to define ‘casual’ as being one who has at least enough in their tool belt of fandom to whip out the right tool for the job for discussion. I cannot recite stats. I cannot pull team folklore and craziness out of my ass and relate it to some event in a personal manner.

Nor do I want to do it.

That sort of fandom to me is a tad excessive as well as obsessive and I can see why athletes get a little wary of those types – the adults who wear a guy’s jersey and then ask for an autograph. In fact, I will take it a step further – wearing anyone’s jersey seems a bit excessive. You’re not them, that’s not your name on the back. Why are you wearing someone else’s name on your back? Why are you spending so much time and effort following a team as if you are a part of the team? And why are you all dressing up like this clown?


Here’s a little advice Bears fans – don’t. Ditka never liked you. Ever.

WHY ARE YOU USING THE WORD ‘WE?’

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Miss – Won’t Miss – a list for the Prairie State

Three quick notes before I get on a roll here. One, I’ll miss a lot of people and there are so many I won’t name them. Note two? Well, COVID took a lot of what I’ll miss and that’s fucking sad. Note three – oh yeah, I moved to Colorado, hence the list.

MISS

Going to Art Galleries, especially Tony Fitzpatrick’s The Dime. Those were some nice nights and Saturdays – fuck COVID.

Driving to Rockford, etc with Steve Marshall to Open Mics even when he can’t fucking see half the time at night and he’s a prop comic who’s got an apartment full of stuff to take. Goddamn funny though.

Meeting at 6AM at Cesaroni’s Deli in Woodstock to watch the Tottenham Hotspur – the brothers Cesaroni open up, we buy lots of coffee and sammiches and yell at the TV.

Theatre and being a reviewer for the Northwest Herald – I got paid in tickets and that was perfectly fine… until COVID shit all over that. FU COVID. Speaking of theater…

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Notes on a Cross Country Move

First off, let’s just say moving from Illinois to Colorado hasn’t been without a certain amount of odd events that soon translated to humor.
I moved in full nearly a week ago. By ‘in full’ I mean I finally to settle in permanence. My first journey was driving a 26-foot U-Haul truck across the COVID-hoax luvvin’ state of Iowa who still, in spite of clear evidence she’s a buffoon, re-elected Joni Ernst. After Iowa came Nebraska. Got to say, Nebraska, flat as it can be hauling ass on I-80, wasn’t so bad. I stayed overnight in York, Nebraska and they were super friendly even when I kept asking where I could see the World’s Largest Peppermint Patty. Frankly, York would be a hotbed of Nebraska tourism if someone would just get on it and erect that Patty.

Why would you ever want to drive a moving truck for 15 hours?

Good question. Because after trying to hire a moving company to haul my precious items such as my small Buddha statue and stuffed Paddington Bear, I was shafted by a fast-talking son-of-a-bitch salesman who quoted me at $2,500 to get my stuff loaded into the truck in Illinois and unloaded in Colorado “we got to get the truck their anyway and don’t want to send it back unloaded.” Uh-huh. The real estimator gave me a call a few days later to re-evaluate after he saw the notes that said I had enough stuff to Tetris a 20-foot truck. I literally gave him a tour of the stuff via Facetime, including two huge rectangles of stacked boxes. He hung up, ran the numbers to get cubic feet and called me back.

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A Game 7 Rendered Shallow

Every morning I wake up with a different song in my head. Not sure why and I don’t think I need to seek the guidance of a psychiatrist or a swami to figure it out. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, but sometimes it fits.

Today it’s No Man’s Land by Bob Seger. For the NBA and its players, running out the string of playoff games in Orlando? The severely-under rated No Man’s Land fits like a Steve Kerr tweet about the POTUS.

We have a Game 7. Everything on the line, no holds barred, blah blah blah. Yes, Game 7s are special as they’re about a combination of frenzy and adoration. Most professional athletes live for the adrenaline a Game 7 brings forth out of their collective minds and bodies. But they also desire the adoration, and that’s what’s missing – an SRO crowd of fans foaming at the mouth pushing their stars to a greater level toward victory with their cheers or opponent humiliation with their jeers.

Let’s set the typical Game 7 scene for a moment.

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NHL Playoffs are on and now I Love Them

Perhaps the word ‘love’ is a bit of a stretch. It wasn’t as if I hated the concocted “pre-playoffs” like she was a girlfriend who married the next person they dated after me. The playoffs, COVID-delayed or not, are perpetual. I have only had the woman I dated marry the next person they dated six times, and one of them decided to ‘curve their stick’ and shoot a bit differently, if you know what I mean.

Now the hoopla and fanfare, yes both occurred in the past couple weeks, of both the ‘Round Robin’ and the ‘Pre-Qualifying Round’ has officially exited the ice. Ergo we now have legit playoffs, so let’s take a look at who’s left for the next round. Apparently the NHL has now decided to call the next round the First Round, and I am okay with that. Essentially this means the NHL is now officially smarter than those college guys at the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament (hey remember that? It’s like nostalgia at this point). They convince themselves the play-in games are actually the first round. DUMB.

Did I say “let’s take a look at who’s left?’ I did. Not yet. Just a solid reminder the NHL teams are going nowhere. The Eastern Conference is still playing their games in Toronto at the venerable Scotiabank Arena. The Scotiabank Arena is like the United Center of the North. It’s nice, relatively new, but not a legendary place like Madison Square Garden (which BTW is not a square shape – who knew?). The Western Conference teams are still stuck in Edmonton and play their games at Rogers Place. Same deal. Nice, and kind of like an Olive Garden of arenas… without the breadsticks.

And what teams are not remaining?

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