it's finally happening

IT'S HAPPENING. IT'S HAPPENING. IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING. The dream Stanley Cup Final match I wanted from the time I started this blog in late 2009, Boston versus Chicago. And I didn't post during this shortened NHL season at all. Oops. Well, I'm reasonably excited. If only I'd been saving money for this since I started the blog...barring a miracle, I'm not attending any games. And the threat of a massive storm kept me from getting shots outside game one at the United Center tonight.

My boring prediction: Blackhawks in six. There are things I wouldn't mind about a Bruins win, but I'm much more going for the Hawks, of course. If for no other reason that unlike 2010 I have a smartphone and I'd love to post live from a parade, or from seeing the Cup in a bar. Whatever happens, I'm able to enjoy this much, much more given that both teams are relatively recent Cup winners who ended a long drought. And it has an odd feeling since tonight's game is the first West-East game this season!

NHL hockey is back


I'd selfishly have preferred the NHL not start playing again till after I finish a difficult move to my new apartment (first move since 2001), and after I'd had a chance o take more AHL/ECHL/USHL trips, but hey, good to see this on my TV again. (And then on illicit feeds on my computer again.)

Note: I did try to post here every day in November for the National Blog Posting Month thing, but just fell behind. I made it halfway through on two different blogs, however, so it's like a did a whole month, right?

My move has given me a chance to sort sports memorabilia I've accumulated the past few years...and when I have a functioning scanner again, I intend to have some fun with it here!

Annual NFL game time!

Looks like I've gotten into the habit of seeing one NFL game per season, mid-November. (I hope I can fit in another this year, though.) Eagles-Bears in 2010 (my first NFL game), then in 2011 I took my St. Louis friend Darren to a Broncos-Chiefs game (as part of a roadtrip from StL-Kansas City). A postgame shot as we walked around the stadium complex:

This year, I noticed Jets-Rams was at a convenient time and not too pricey on StubHub, so I bought tickets and I'm off to St. Louis Saturday morning for a Sunday game (like 2011, also with Darren and also a home team vs a team with Tim Tebow on it). Alas, I'll miss the Bears game in San Francisco while I'm on the bus home Monday, but they don't seem to have their best games when on national TV (*cough*last Sunday's game I forgot to even mention here*cough*).

In lieu of a preview, of course all I've done is gone to the teams' site and seen what the news is:

Healthy snacks? Switchfoot? "Desperate for a Win?" Ah well, it's still FOOTBALL.

Googling the NHL

Hadn't done this in a while. This was sad. And yes, I just had to visit this week for the first time in months.

And the empty bar at the top where the games should be...that made it sink in.

National anthem brouhaha

Ahhhhh I DON'T WANT TO WRITE ABOUT THIS but I need something for today and it's in the news, so...

"High school hockey league nixes anthem to save time, money"

The story at Sporting News starts "A Pennsylvania high school league's attempt to save money on ice time is backfiring. Big time.

The PIHL, which governs competition in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, told the 183 schools in its purview to stop singing the national anthem before games as a means of saving time—and money."

Okay. I don't care about it one way or the other--taking the unpopular view that I don't even understand why national anthems are performed at anything other than international competitions anyway (I mean, even rollerderby does the anthem! Rollerderby! At all four of the different teams I've seen in Chicagoland this year)--but "backlash-guaranteeing" is right.

This story obviously got mentioned some places where the readers or listeners were ready to attack. I know at least one Fox News personality mentioned it, because a former Blackhawk who gets in Twitter arguments over his right-wing views (note: more than one fits that description) tweeted him mentioning it. A sample of comments...

"Boycat them!" Oh, there might not be a wacky internet comment I'll enjoy more this year. It actually gets worse with fears of losing guns getting thrown into this somehow (a story about high school hockey. HOW? WHY?).

Lockout eclairs?

I was awake early to catch a St. Louis friend's radio show live online, and thanks to that I got to see this happening on WGN Morning News in Chicago around 6:55. Steve Byrne, the comedian they were talking to, in a Blackhawks hoodie, starting to talk about the lockout...

And then there was some taunting of the NHL and Gary Bettman, and shirtlessness, and eating a chocolate eclair. The lockout is really getting to people...

I looked it up later via Twitter and found the link.

Then checked again on Twitter and I guess this guy knows Blackhawk Dave Bolland:

Yes, I looked all this up. And how many serious articles have I read about the lockout? Don't ask!

Hockey Hall of Fame

At least some of hockey's business is still going on. The Hockey Hall of Fame induction every year isn't just about the NHL, of course, but it's enough about the NHL to provide something new on their page. I was out in the evening and missed seeing anything live (if I could have accessed it anyway), but I did eventually check in on Ah, great players from the era of awful jerseys (at least the two jerseys on the right).


A quick look at 11/11/11 (oh, that was a cool date), then I can't do these year-ago pieces for a little bit even if I wanted to, because a year ago I was leaving for a St. Louis-Kansas City trip (with CHL hockey and NFL football) and didn't get to watch NHL and take screenshots for days.

Of course, it's Veterans Day.

And then this cute image.

I don't seem to have pun headlines for the day; maybe I left before the late-night headlines. And now, the standings. Nice to see teams I like climbing higher...oh damn I miss getting to watch that now.

Sports around Schaumburg

I put a lengthier post on my other blog describing the harrowing bicycling trip I had to get to all this, but here's two photos of a bike/Metra train excursion to the western/northwestern suburbs of Schaumburg, Bloomingdale, and Roselle.

Off-season at the Schaumburg Boomers baseball stadium, after a fairly successful (though not playoff-making) first season in the Frontier League. I don't think I have a similar shot from when the stadium sat vacant a year after the Flyers of the Northern League folded.

One of many photos from the Coachlite Skate Center in Roselle, my first visit to this roller rink with pleasantly outdated decor. I saw the final bout of the debut season for DuPage Derby Dames rollerderby. DuPage won both bouts (vs teams from Beloit and Chicago.) Many more rollerderby shots in my archives when I have time to sort through them...

Los IceHogs

Here's what the Rockford IceHogs are doing as promotions at their game November 16. I'd say presented without comment, but I have to link to other's comments, since this became a big story. (And since I haven't checked the IceHogs site as often as other teams', I learned of this first through Puck Daddy.)

Here's the Puck Daddy story that set this off, "Pass or Fail: AHL Rockford IceHogs' Mexican fiesta Los IceHogs jerseys." Hundreds of comments! I don't want to read more than a few!

Then Deadspin jumped in with the bluntly titled "AHL Team Will Wear Racist Jerseys In Celebration Of Hispanic Heritage Weekend." "Ham-handed gesture," heh. Some decent comments there, and thankfully the "Voted Rockford's #1 Mexican Restaurant" Taco Bell billboard photo turned up.

IceHogs blog response to this (for permalink purposes, I can't link to the individual piece but I linked to the November 2012 category).

And the reaction when this was the daily poll (!) (okay, not that big a !, as they do some pop culture/less serious news polls, but still I was surprised) on WGN's morning news in Chicago today:

But without much context presented on the show, I don't know if "too far" means people think it's just ugly, if it means they think it's an insensitive stereotype, or even if they're bothered by the idea of the team having a Latino-themed promotion. Stay tuned for part 2, I guess (especially if I end up at the game somehow).

A year ago (part 2)

I had so much "fun" looking at my NHL screenshots a year ago, I had to do it again. (Again when I'm too pressed for time for anything else/have nothing newsworthy for a daily post. This blog is admittedly really more for me than anyone else right now but I see it's getting a few hits, so thanks!)

Ah, classic headlines.

And the standings, still significantly different from how things ended up...

Well, a few of those on the bottom stayed there.

Yet more presidential bobbleheads

Okay, I admit I jumped back into this blog (and my other on Blogger, City of Destiny) for the challenge to post every day in November and I kinda don't have much the day after Election Day unless I wanted to look at pro athletes' tweets about election results (NO). Or of course I could post from my vast archives of photos, which I don't have time to search right now. So I googled "presidential bobbleheads hockey" and learned besides the Milwaukee and Rockford ones I mentioned the other day, at least two other AHL teams did them this year.

Peoria Rivermen

And Oklahoma City Barons, but there's no photo and I didn't find much more on the site. (Sure, if I look through everything I might...)

It's not just a hockey thing, although I find the idea of hockey player politician bobbleheads the most delightful. The Quad Cities River Bandits (Cardinals affiliate when this piece was written) did one this year too. Alas, not at the game of theirs I was able to attend this year.

A trip to the United Center

Well, not really. I haven't been in there in many, many months. Hope to soon for my first Chicago Bulls game (which is not a lockout-related thing; I'd meant to go to one anyway, as that's the only major Chicagoland pro team I haven't seen yet). But besides the obvious task on Election Day I had library books due, including some at the Manning branch of the Chicago Public Library, just a couple blocks from the UC. I should go there more often as it's a decent-sized library with Bulls and Blackhawks stuff on display. I believe it's officially sponsored by the former, but the "About" page on the CPL site is blank as of this post--sorry I can't give more info (and I didn't have time to go in this visit).

I biked past the UC, a few hours before a Magic-Bulls game, and thought as long as I'm making this several-mile trip in cold and drizzly weather, I should reward myself by finally seeing the new-ish Dunkin Donuts location east of the stadium. A new Dunkin store wouldn't be much of a big deal (in a city that has scores of them; I know St. Louis-area friends would be excited to get more), except there's virtually no place to grab coffee or food in the vicinity. It'll be nice to hit this before or after a game, someday.

It's a small store with signed Bulls and Blackhawks items. Took me an embarrassingly long time to realize why Duncan Keith would be the jersey up there.

Hockey under $5

So I have to start thinking about getting to more hockey games this season. I've seen Chicago Wolves at home once, Chicago Steel at home once, and the Blackhawks-related charity game. The early-season schedule's been a bit sparse for those teams, and I haven't yet started planning visits to Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and other cities I try to hit at least once a season.

Bloomington, IL is on my list as a hockey city I haven't visited yet. In the time I've been wondering about the best way to get there (going on my own to some cities means finding day games because there often aren't options to get back late at night--also why I never go by myself to Rockford), the team has changed from Bloomington Prairie Thunder to Bloomington Blaze, still in the CHL. I would be all over this deal if I lived there! Best I can do in Chicagoland is 12 Steel ticket vouchers for $70 (and I might, if I can find people to bring along to some games).