Monday, April 30, 2012
Okay, show of hands, who here likes ABBA? Don't pretend that you don't, and if you do in fact not like ABBA, then turn in your music fan card now. The movie in question is Mamma Mia!, and it is based off of the Broadway play of the same name. As you can guess from the movie title, it is heavy on ABBA references, even going as far as incorporating songs from the band into the movie. As for the premise of the movie, a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) is about to get married, but does not know who her father is, so after leafing through her mother's (Meryl Streep) diary, she sends out invites to three men who could be her father (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, and Colin Firth). This is unbeknownst to her mother, who as you can imagine, is less than pleased to see all three men that were once in her life. Of course, the fun ensues and you can imagine how this romantic comedy goes.
The plot itself is cliched on some level, but it serves more as a complimentary piece to the ABBA theme. The songs picked for the movie obviously had to fit into the story, and many of them work, though you would have to be a big ABBA fan to recognize a few of them. The people cast into the movie had to be able to sing, and for the most part, it succeeds on that level, though I would have liked to have seen some better casting choices (it's nitpicking here). The DVD has a sing-along option, which puts up the words to the songs on the screen, so if you want to sing along, it's there for you. Overall, it's not a masterpiece, but it's main purpose is to provide a fun movie that you can participate in, and that is where Mamma Mia! succeeds on every level.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
I'm not an expert on every player picked (otherwise, I'd be on TV talking about it or even scribbling for a rag like Pro Football Weekly), so assessing all the players is out. However, just based on the top picks they made, it is clear Seattle wanted to improve their linebacker group, a sore spot on the defense last year. One pick I thought was wise happened in the third round, picking Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson. Height and arm strength are the issues with him, but he has a chance to learn the system as he develops behind Matt Flynn and could step in as a backup if Travaris Jackson gets moved this year. What Wilson can bring is the ability to pick up the system quickly, as he did that as a transfer from North Carolina St. to Wisconsin and led the Badgers to a Rose Bowl berth. The Draft in any sports is an inexact science, and we'll find out just how wise (or foolish) the Seahawks look when September rolls around.
Friday, April 27, 2012
(1) NEW YORK RANGERS vs. (7) WASHINGTON CAPITALS
The Rangers survived a very game Ottawa team. Marian Gaborik must show up for this series if the Rangers wish to avoid another possible upset. Washington feels good after beating the defending champions in Boston. Upset alert once again, but...
Prediction: Rangers in 7
(5) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS vs. (6) NEW JERSEY DEVILS
The Flyers have a lot of offense and sandpaper. Question is will Ilya Bryzgalov shot the door when it counts the most? The Devils were given a run for their money by the Panthers, and with Martin Brodeur and Zach Parise on board, the Devils have a chance.
Prediction: Flyers in 6
(2) ST. LOUIS BLUES vs. (8) LOS ANGELES KINGS
St. Louis made short work of San Jose. However, the health of Jaroslav Halak could derail the Blues chances. Los Angeles seems to be getting hot at the right time, and with the Kings having the Blues' number in the regular season, this is another potential upset.
Prediction: Kings in 7
(3) PHOENIX COYOTES vs. (4) NASHVILLE PREDATORS
Another matchup where the teams match up evenly. The difference? The Predators have some offense, and unless Radim Vrbata is healthy enough to produce, the Coyotes' euphoria of making it past the first round in their entire existence (as the Jets and Coyotes) could be short lived.
Prediction: Predators in 5
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Torres' hit on Marian Hossa wasn't the cheap shot Dale Hunter's hit on Pierre Turgeon was in the 1993 playoffs, and there likely won't be any criminal charges filed (see: McSorley's stick swinging incident on Donald Brashear in 2000 and Bertuzzi's head ramming of Steve Moore in 2004), but Torres clearly was targeting the head with the hit, and given the NHL's efforts to crack down on this kind of thing and the awareness of concussions in sports, 25 games sounds about right for Torres, and that's even before figuring his repeat offender status.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
This is not the first time Torres has been in the NHL disciplinarian dog house, as he was suspended twice last year for dangerous hits. How Brendan Shanahan will handle this case is anyone's guess, but I absolutely think he needs to set an example with Torres here, repeat offender notwithstanding.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Metal Psalter has occupied a greater part of my time lately, a lot of it of my own choosing. After all, music is just as much a part of my life as hockey. So, if you see few posts for some time, then head over to Metal Psalter.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The Illustrated Man is eighteen short stories by Bradbury that are tied together by the fact that they are being told on the back of a man who is tattooed all around. The catch here is that the man's tattoos tend to come alive at night, and generally frighten those who see them. Many of the short stories tell about the dangers of the future and reliance on technology. Some favorites from the book include "The Long Rain," which is about travelers trying to find a Sun Dome on Venus, "The Exiles," which is similar to Fahrenheit 451, only that the spirits of the authors get exiled to Mars and plot their revenge, and "The Other Foot," a story about what happens when racism gets out of control. Many of the stories are distinctly Bradbury, and though there isn't much time spent on the Illustrated Man or the unnamed traveler (later versions will likely have something tacked on), the book is worth a few reads...at any price.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
(1) VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs. (8) LOS ANGELES KINGS
As Jonathan Quick goes, so will go the Kings, especially since the status of Jeff Carter is up in the air. Their offense has played well below expectations, and it took them 81 games to make the playoffs. Vancouver has a lot to prove after coming within a win of the Stanley Cup, and every hope of that happening is on Roberto Luongo. With Corey Schneider in the background, the Canucks will likely have a quick hook should Luongo falter. Vancouver should advance, given their offensive strength and above average defense.
Prediction: Vancouver in 6
(2) ST. LOUIS BLUES vs. (7) SAN JOSE SHARKS
St. Louis had been faltering down the stretch, but given the tandem of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak in goal, St. Louis should figure to advance. They don't have one superstar scorer, but they play a team game that begins with captain David Backes and any offense is usually sparked by Alex Pietrangelo. San Jose has played below expectations, partly because of injury, and like the Kings, they waited until the end to clinch. Even with the seeding, expectations are still high for San Jose and with the talent assembled, anything less than a Stanley Cup Finals appearance will be considered a failure.
Prediction: St. Louis in 6
(3) PHOENIX COYOTES vs. (6) CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
In their entire existence as the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise, the team had never won a division title until this year. Will this be the year they finally win a playoff series? Mike Smith has experienced a career revival thanks to the Dave Tippett system that is defensive-oriented. However, it will be the likes of Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata that will ultimately decide the team's fate going forward. Chicago has had an up and down year, and much of their playoff successes and failures this year rest on Corey Crawford. If the Corey Crawford of last year doesn't show up, Chicago is in trouble, even if Jonathan Toews returns for the series.
Prediction: Phoenix in 7
(4) NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs. (5) DETROIT RED WINGS
The one playoff series in the Conference that could produce a Stanley Cup finalist either way, both teams want it badly. For Nashville, they're all in, and given the uncertainty of the futures of Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, this is a Stanley Cup or bust proposition. Nashville has always been a pain in the ass to face, and now, they just might be even more of a pain in the ass, with the Kostitsyn brothers providing some offense and Paul Gaustad (Winterhawk alumni) adding to an already strong defensive front line. There is a reason Detroit is always being talked about in the Stanley Cup talks, and it begins with Nicklas Lidstrom. Detroit's worries however, are on the blue line, and outside of Lidstrom, there hasn't been a defenseman who strikes fear in any opposition's hearts. It's practically now or never for Jimmy Howard, as he has never seen the Conference Finals in his time as a starter for the Red Wings.
Prediction: Nashville in 7
Monday, April 9, 2012
(1) NEW YORK RANGERS vs. (8) OTTAWA SENATORS
The Rangers' signing of Brad Richards paid off, as they not only earned the first seed, but also exceeded expectations in a brutal Atlantic Division. Their defense still carries the day, and certainly, Henrik Lundqvist is a major reason for the Rangers' success. However, the Senators are not intimidated, as they went 4-1-0 against the Rangers in the regular season. For Ottawa to win, their offense must carry the day, and either Craig Anderson or Ben Bishop will have to be competent. Want an upset? I'll give you one right here.
Prediction: Ottawa in 7
(2) BOSTON BRUINS vs. (7) WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Boston is the defending champions, and they will not give it up without a fight. That said, their defense must carry the team just like last year and Tim Thomas will have to be Tim Thomas from last year. Washington is on a hot streak, but their main problem right now is finding a healthy goaltender. When you have to rely on Braden Holtby to be your number one, your team has problems.
Prediction: Boston in 5
(3) FLORIDA PANTHERS vs. (6) NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Florida won the Souteast Conference by attrition. However, they were also on a bad streak, and it is unknown how they will react to their first playoffs in over a decade. Meanwhile, New Jersey is on a winning streak, and Ilya Kovalchuk has been playing complete hockey since arriving in New Jersey a couple of years ago. Don't discount the experience of some of the Panthers' players, as Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, and Kris Versteeg all have Stanley Cup rings and Ed Jovanovski participated in a Stanley Cup Final.
Prediction: New Jersey in 5
(4) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. (5) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
This will be war. Nothing I can say about this series will even come close to describing how this will all go down. The deciding factor will be goaltending, as in will Ilya Bryzgalov show up for the playoffs. This series could go either way...and never mind a winner in the series, there will be only survivors.
Prediction: Pittsburgh in 7 (hard fought games)
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
Because I made reference to it earlier:
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Wall Street Journal, and a blog called the Backhand Shelf has taken Wang and the Islanders to task over this issue. This is not the first time Wang and the Islanders have been in the news over people disagreeing with them. If you remember the Chris Botta story from last season, the Islanders were taken to task over revoking Botta's media credentials over his criticism of the team. As for LaFontaine's exclusion from all Islanders' highlights from 40 years in the league, it is petty and childish, and there is no way any sane Islanders fan would forget LaFontaine's contributions to the Islanders, particularly the 4 OT game in the 1987 playoffs against the Capitals. Whether or not LaFontaine ever reconciles with the Islanders as long as Wang is owner is debatable, as I am sure LaFontaine will want nothing to do with the team as long as Wang is there. It's not quite on the level of Bobby Hull vs. Bill Wirtz or Dave Keon vs. Harold Ballard, but it could be just as ugly, and there is no way Wang wins this war.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
"Five days before opening day, you're going to take a pot shot like that? It's the worst I've ever seen. I've lost all respect for him, and that's a very difficult thing for me to say with all the players I've had to manage over the years," Tracy said. "I've lost all respect for him, every bit."As for Jimenez, this year is clearly a make or break year, as he went from Cy Young candidate in 2010 to just plain stinking up the joint to the point of being traded to Cleveland prior to the trade deadline last year. Obviously, he won't be winning any more friends in Denver, and there will be immense pressure for him to be the ace that he was and not the hot head that essentially pitched his way out of Denver.