Rough sports attract boys

NaBloPoMo day 2! I fell asleep listening to election returns/while restarting my computer and missing the end of a tied Canucks-Oilers game (Canucks won), so actual writing was ruled out, so I grabbed one of the limited sports-related things I've posted on this Flickr account and as far as I remember not posted here before.

From the awesome "Woman Alive" series of 1970s books--click through to the whole set if you really want to waste some time.

Whoo-hoo! I'm back! Again! Sort of!

All right, so if you don't know, there's this thing called NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I don't write fiction (no, not even creepy hockey fanfiction) but I signed up for it anyway, to see if I can make stuff up, or just novelize real events, or flat-out write memoir and be counted as a NaNoWriMo "rebel." I haven't started yet...I won't feel guilty if I don't make it.

I WILL feel guilty if I don't succeed in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), here and on my other blog, City of Destiny. Today, day 1, I'm starting slow with the blogging-random-crap-from-Flickr (hey, this one is sports-related, right?) but when I get my long-suffering computer going right again, it's back to the stuff a few people used to read. You know, about hockey...Blackhawks, Bruins, Wolves, etc. And other sports (hey, how about San Francisco winning their first World Series!). I've spent the start of the NHL/other hockey season wondering what to write as my first post (is it too late for season predictions?, my goals for the year, etc.?). Lots of cool things planned, plus a site redesign and drastic changes to the blogroll/links.

Oh yeah, it's also my BLOG ANNIVERSARY! Er, last Friday. And yes, it's one year, minus four months of inactivity. Many thanks to everyone who's supported me over these months (even if I feel like I've fallen off the face of the earth now...). My first year as a real sports fan, and sports blogger, was a rather eventful one. Which I will tell you about someday...

(Mary Lou Retton image is from my wildly popular set of 1980s Barbie Magazine scans on Flickr.)


I didn't mean to vanish for the entire summer (I'm writing this where it's still technically summer for a little bit more, the Central time zone). Especially not in the middle of a game! Every Monday (and yes now it's Wednesday) I've thought about the last Monday I wrote here, and wondered what brief "Sorry I've been away" message I could post and what silly blogged-from-Flickr image I'd use because I'm still having lots of unfixed computer problems (which I'd better fix before I try to watch multiple hockey games online).

Anyway, I've been away and now have not just much of last year's hockey season and postseason but a summer's worth of hockey news AND multiple other sports to discuss--in fact, I was in person at an amazing sporting event just last night!

How soon I'll get all that up, we'll see, but expect some sort of regular posting here again...and a new look/new tagline/new blogroll. In the meantime, encouragement to get this going again wouldn't hurt, hint hint...ahh, never mind, that didn't work the last time I tried it in the spring. (But my gmail is kofchicago, as is my Twitter. Which is where I've been all this time...)


Barring a miraculous comeback, the 2009-10 hockey season will end in 20 minutes (or 20 minutes that's actually 40-some minutes), with the Calder Cup game on right now. Hershey Bears up 3-0 in the game and 3-2 in the series. After this...I have no excuse (except, you know, personal and computer problems I've alluded to scores of times) not to catch up on my hockey coverage, go through the 1000s and 1000s of screenshots and photos and post the highlights this summer. Wow. It's really ending. The first season I've truly paid attention to any sport. Thanks for reading this, your support, etc. etc.

"Blawkhawks," part 2

Go to Puck Daddy today! Go there NOW! Okay, at least to this story. Man, I was already excited that this morning @wyshynski started following me back on Twitter (and a couple days after Richard Roeper tweeted at me...there was a misunderstanding. More on this later!), and I thought that photo might get linked in a Puck Headlines roundup, but it got its own piece. (To bring out the "slow news day?" comments...uh, well, it IS Sunday.)

I had to reset my password to sign in (because I comment there so infrequently), so I could say a little about the photo. Not gonna lie, all hockey season I felt like getting linked on Puck Daddy would make me feel like I was a "real" blogger. I don't think it ever happened (someone would have told me, right? even though no one's said anything about this to me yet)...till now! Why I need attention from famous (or at least Internet-famous) men to feel "validated" here is a fair question of its own but never mind that now...

Been feeling overwhelmed/depressed lately ("why haven't I seen the Cup at a bar yet?" "why didn't I get ANY happy/congratulatory text messages or emails after the win?" etc.) but this perks me up a bit, I'll admit. I'm finally in the mood to get my content of the past few days up, but today I've got to nerd it up at the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago, the one annual festival here I never, ever miss...


Well, this about says it all. Wait, no it doesn't, unless you're trying to make FUN of Chicago and say we don't deserve a Cup because our most famous institutions (the Macy's, i.e. Marshall Field's, flagship store in the Loop) can't, uh, get the name of the winning team right. Look, we're not used to it, okay?

Note: this mistake was on two or three doors on this side facing Wabash Ave. I didn't check the rest of the store as I had a little victory parade to go of the photos later. Yeah, I've been home for hours but I still feel exhausted and overheated and emotional about all this...seeing the Stanley Cup in person for the first time ever. Then being too tired/antisocial to go chase it around Chicago bars it might be at...

it's Blackhawks Day in Chicago! (pt. 1)

Still no time to blog. VICTORY PARADE TO GO TO

...Okay, not the first sports victory parade/rally I've seen in Chicago. But the first I've ever been to for MY team!

(pt. 1 implies I'll do pt. 2 with the rally photos soon, though maybe I should do the Wednesday night photos first. and the Thursday photos. arrghhhhh. anyway, see what I can do tonight if I'm at home watching the Calder Cup and the World Cup and listening to the WGN radio rebroadcast of Game 6 at 9 pm)


let's go
Originally uploaded by katherine of chicago
How am I supposed to blog at a time like this?!!! Well, I won't, because my thinking was if I knock myself out putting up a big pre-game, what-this-blog-and-team-and-season-and-hockey-mean-to-me post, the Blackhawks won't win Game 6. So, superstition or laziness means I'll just post this sign I photographed in the Wicker Park neighborhood a few hours before the game...

uh, not necessary, Tribune

You can probably tell from recent posts I'm operating on a short fuse, and I was already feeling lousy today before the Chicago Tribune's attempt at humor/trash-talk of the Philadelphia Flyers turned up. I'll just post the shot showing it and what it's kind of ripping off (not that it was original then either, I imagine):

(screenshot of picture on Twitter, to give proper credit)

I don't mind seeing Pronger looking silly, or trying to taunt him, that's for sure. It's that I thought this was unfunny sexist bullshit in the Post example, and I don't need to see Chicago papers resorting to it. (Also, looking like you're ripping off the Post is somewhere far below scraping the bottom of the barrel).

I'd say "surprisingly" if it was but it's not, it's depressingly predictable--I saw lots of female sports fans passing this around with amusement on Twitter today (lots of male ones too, of course). (And a few men and women critiquing it, but none from Chicago. Oh good, not only do I dislike this, I get to have a "no one here understands me!" moment, too.) Why so few women seem to mind the women/women athletes = inferior implication of so much trash talk in sports (and why so many men, many/most of whom presumably like the company of women, participate in it) is an eternal mystery to me, and the subject of multiple unwritten posts. I'll get to it eventually. Just wanted to post this while it's "news."

In other OH MY GOD IS IT A SLOW NEWS DAY IN HOCKEY "news," this screengrab from in the past hour:

ONE! finally

Meaning more, finally posting about "one game needed for the Blackhawks to win the Cup," not that it's finally down to one game. I had about five minutes in the past week or so when the malaise keeping me from wanting to blog lifted, and it was soon after Sunday night's game...but Blogger was down (at least for the Midwest, it turned out) then...and for the next 18 or so hours (!!!!). So by the time it came back...not feeling it. (Sorry, I should keep my transparent attempts at getting encouragement to keep this blog going off on the blog and on Twitter where they belong. And are completely unsuccessful. But, you know, people, by all means keep tweeting on and on about how many views YOUR blog gets...) Anyway, Sunday was extremely exciting, and I've finally gotten past my resentment at not being able to go to Finals games into joy at the Blackhawks' success. (Yes, what a hero!)

Hmmm...I don't have any good "One"-related pun headlines handy. Still working on a feature about some of the whoppers the Chicago papers have come up with...but I've been remiss in not featuring According Twomey's "Blackhawks Numerology" series: here's the entry for One.

The other big sports news Sunday, at least to me, was @eyebleaf (as I know him on Twitter, where I wish I'd given him Chicago and Greyhound and Megabus tips) getting to the 30th major league ballpark in his #TBRTOAL project (The Baseball Road Trip of a Lifetime)--visiting all 30 in 60 days. Seattle's was last, as noted on his blog. So much for me following it along on here...but he hasn't written up all the entries for his Stealing Home series at the Globe and Mail, so I've got time to relate it to my own ballpark adventures (14 MLB parks in two years, mostly by myself).

quick note I'll delete later

If you wind up doing nothing tonight, as I might despite multiple sports and non-sports things to go to in Chicago, I've learned you can find AHL Calder Cup games online (in the usual places I find to get major league sports feeds online). Just saying. Game is a 6 pm Central, so I'd miss a bunch since I'm actually going out for a little bit. Game 1 was a surprise and this could be an exciting series to watch.

Still feeling incredibly depressed about doing this blog, and this has nothing to do with the Blackhawks losing their past two SCF games (sure, that doesn't help, but I wasn't feeling up to it during the Sharks series either). Ugh, I hate asking for encouragement/help (i.e., email. I'd say phone calls but the friends I talk to on the phone don't read this blog).

silly headlines (Chicago newspaper edition)

As one of the few American cities to still have two daily newspapers, Chicagoans are treated to TWICE the chances for silly sports headlines. At first I thought these were the same paper, because I've often mixed them up after the Tribune partially switched to the Sun-Times' tabloid format. But nope, they BOTH did it. Here, actual photos of actual newspapers I bought!

After game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals:

Not just a groaner, but he's, uh, SLOVAKIAN. Sure, maybe it was one country when he was born there, but you're supposed to say Czech Republic or Slovakia now, right?

After game 2:

I haven't seen puns like this since during the Olympics (did I post much then? bet I have some extras I didn't use). Maybe the recent world championships had some too. I can accept it when the competition is between different countries, but it seems extra-silly during NHL playoffs.

Oh well, the Chicago newspapers just aren't used to having to write THIS much about hockey, are they? Today was the latest date the Chicago Blackhawks have ever played.

I don't know if the papers will have anything good for game 3, but the postgame from

Did I post a Giroux one already? I know they have fun with Leighton, too.

before the first-ever Stanley Cup Final game, United Center

I let my disappointment at not being able to go to a Final round Blackhawks game, after dozens of regular season and playoff games, kind of keep me from participating in hockey blogging much last week. But I wouldn't let it stop me from going by the United Center Saturday evening, before the 7 pm game. The building opened extra-early, at 5. I made it there after 5:30 and stayed for a few minutes, then got two buses back to get home before the game. The sunlight was harsh (some 90 degree weather last weekend) so these aren't quite what I wanted, but they're historic and all, right? The first Stanley Cup game played and won in this building, and Chicago's first SCF win in 37 years.

I took a photo of this sign before every game I attended. (All the UC signs say "Home of the Bulls." I'm guessing we'll see at least one "Home of the Blackhawks" next year.)

If people say "meet at the statue," this is usually the one they mean:

First Flyers fan sighting (there was a taunt about giving his sister her shirt back) (not by me):

You shouldn't judge people on appearances. Unless it's these three--then go right ahead:

I usually enter on this side because my tickets were usually through TicketExchange. Sam from Second City Hockey sells The Committed Indian bulletin nearby. I said hi (nice beard!) and bought a copy--not the first time I've gotten one for a game I couldn't attend.

Couldn't resist sneaking this shot on the Damen bus north, even if with her hair and Kane jersey she probably (right or wrong) fits the stereotype of a Chicago "bandwagon" fan. Whatever, I've seen a lot of people who aren't stereotypical hockey fans or bandwagon fans...I just can't always get a quick photo of them!

I didn't go before yesterday's game; I wanted to run some errands and besides, Chicago was cloudy and rainy for nearly all of Memorial Day. (Until I was out running errands in a hoodie and the sun came out and it went up to 75 and humid.) I saw many people online refer to a pregame nap; well, I had a pregame ritual of taking photos of West Side/Oak Park vacant storefronts and shopping at a Mexican grocery, instead. The sun came out right before the Flyers-Blackhawks ridiculously symbolic. (Er, for the home team.)

Note: the updated version of the post before this one still holds. I figured I could post something though, and I wanted to at least blog before I went to my next sporting event. Tonight's my first White Sox game of the year, and somewhat incredibly my first night baseball game in Chicago.

Stanley Cup Final game 1: WOW.

WOW. That is all for right now--I've got photos (not, not taken at the game, of course)  and more, but I figured I should go out briefly, but post something technically on the actual day that the Blackhawks won the first Stanley Cup game played in the United Center (I knew that, that's why I had to take photos beforehand) and their first Stanley Cup Final win in my lifetime (last was 1973...somehow I didn't think of this before the game).

I didn't hear any cheering erupt in my neighborhood (or see any Blackhawks gear there today--strange, since I saw four jerseys in the previous week), so I want to find a place where more people care...

edited to add: was in Wicker Park (main intersection with lots of bars) for literally five minutes. If you're not drunk, that's more than enough time to spend there on a Saturday night. Also, not really that many people in Hawks clothes around.


edited to add, two. I almost wanted to post instead of the above: I wish I'd picked a better time (than the hugely exciting and historic playoffs of my favorite team) to be hit with crippling depression. Uh, yeah. Just can't get much of anything done these days (except for a successful story and literary reading for my non-sports work). Computer trouble (still!) is a big part of it, but I haven't had enough enthusiasm for this blog (or much of anything, besides reading) recently. Besides a core group of supporters (thanks!) I'm not sure who reads this thing or why I'm writing it. I know I'm just supposed to be doing this because I like it, not to get certain approval, but, well, I wish I liked it more now. We'll see...

tickets! (no of course I don't have any)

Yeah, no luck getting tickets to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Upper-level seats were $500-ish on TicketExchange after the conference win Sunday and still are. I doubt other ticket services are much better, and Craigslist is exceedingly strange: a mix of very expensive tickets with $100-120-ish ones. If anyone legitimately can buy those, I'd go in for one, but I'm not sure what to believe on CL...especially since I saw Hawks vs Sharks tickets still listed after the series sweep on Sunday...and some on Monday...and some on Tuesday. A few minutes ago, I found this:


Wait, someone had to write out "laugh out loud"?!

Anyway, it's not looking too hopeful. I'm acclimating myself to the possibility of not getting to games 1 OR 2. (Doesn't help that I have to hear about someone who doesn't even have the Hawks as their #1 team, who's getting to fly here from Canada and see both Game 1 & 2, in the 100 level, while bloggers who've blogged about the Blackhawks dozens, hundreds of times this year can't get into the game. [And they're not a journalist or celebrity.] But oh well, I should have put aside money for finals tickets every time I was going to a regular-season game...) I'd totally be up for a ride to Philadelphia if anyone was driving...and if tickets were easier to get there, which I'm guessing they're not.


If anyone wants to do a favor and be an amazing friend who'll get, I don't know, free advertising on this blog or a free place to stay on Chicago visits or homemade dinner--I need someone to DVR the games (or burn copies of DVRs). Still no NBC, still no functioning TV/DVR, and, well, can't buy a new one right now for some reason. I have ways to watch the games, of course, but I'd rather not wait until the Stanley Cup 2010 box set comes out (wait, do they make SCF box sets?). It's gnawing at me to think of all the apathetic Chicagoans (and there are some...I may have gotten a little cranky at someone on a social network about this) who have the ability to watch and record the games but won't, when I want to, and can't.


I'm actually in a much better mood than this post indicates, because hey! I've signed back into Blogger again and can upload things. I'd be posting epic posts catching up on the weekend but I'm just posting this quickly in the midst of writing my story for this event in Chicago Friday which I've plastered all over the internet multiple times, but not on this blog yet. My first literary reading (and I call it "performing") in almost FIVE YEARS! I hope to get back into reading and even hosting an event or two (hmm, has anyone ever done a hockey blogger literary show? Maybe in Canada?) before long...

hastily made Chicago-Philadelphia preview

Or not a preview (I'm afraid to make predictions, and I leave the previews to the experts. Oh, and I've got till Saturday anyway) so much as a quick reaction to the Philadelphia Flyers winning the Eastern Conference Finals tonight, in Philly. I was rooting more for Montreal to make it--partly for an Original Six SCF matchup (the last was Canadiens-Rangers in 1979), partly for the Blackhawks to avenge some SCF losses of the past, partly because I thought the Habs were easier to beat. But their Cinderella run finally ended, and now we've got the Flyers in the finals for the first time since 1997. And both teams have a large percentage of fans who weren't alive the last time their team won the Cup.

And of course the horror we should never, ever forget--THE FLYERS ARE ONLY IN THE PLAYOFFS AT ALL BECAUSE OF A SHOOTOUT ON THE LAST DAY OF THE REGULAR SEASON. AND NOW THEY'RE IN THE STANLEY CUP FINALS. That's reason enough for any non-partisan hockey fan to root for the Blackhawks,

By the way--posting from Flickr again (I knew I had an obnoxiously orange Philly photo somewhere!) rather than signing into Blogger because I need to take care of some computer stuff before I risk my computer freezing and losing things again. Also, wish I hadn't written such a negative piece yesterday, although it still hurts that I couldn't get to that game, and I can't quite get past it unless I get to a Stanley Cup game. Maybe. I did wake up feeling great about the Blackhawks but still lousy personally--won't dwell on that here. A few more thoughts:

As someone with nowhere to be tomorrow morning, I was REALLY hoping for tonight's game to go to, I don't, know, quadruple overtime? But Flyers had to have a 3-2 lead and score an empty-netter at the end...just like Chicago.

It was sad to realize that this is the last game of the NHL season where I didn't really care who won. From now on, every game will be too stressful to truly enjoy. (As with some things I said yesterday...yeah, 28 other fanbases wish they had this "problem.")

Seriously, STFU about the Hossa "curse," people! If you need something else to throw at Chicago fans, how about that Chicago sold Stanley Cup finals tickets before even the second round was over...and tonight it looked like Philadelphia SCF tickets weren't even for sale yet. Hubris! That's as bad as showing up to Game 4 against the Sharks with brooms...oh, wait.

Next year, I'm rooting for the SCF to be my team versus whichever team has the most apathetic fanbase, and is located on a Megabus/Greyhound route. (Go Atlanta!) Because yeah, it's probably cheaper to travel to another city than to try to buy tickets in Chicago (or Boston).

Yes, I desperately want to go to Game 1 (or any, but especially Game 1), if there's any possible way to get into the building for under $200. Because I hate that I saw two terrible playoff games, and missed Sunday's. And that I've put so much effort into this blog all year, and...But I think longtime fans deserve to see these games MUCH more than a relative newcomer like me does. Unfortunately it's not about who's deserving, it's who has the ridiculous amount of money for tickets. Those longtime fans would need to have been putting away money since the last Cup win...

Honestly, 99% of my anger and resentment will be going towards Chicago fans who can get into games. Any left over goes towards the Flyers and their fans.

I think we're going to have a good Chicago-Philadelphia mayoral food-bet-thing (better than Vancouver's, anyway). A Flyers fan asked what Chicago's equivalent to Tastykakes is, and I'm still pondering that (not just any Chicago food, but something "sweet" and/or "packaged")...

Stanley Cup Finals! (from a sore winner)

after the game
Originally uploaded by katherine of chicago
Yes, the Chicago Blackhawks have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1992! With an improbable (at least to all the people who said Blackhawks or Sharks in 7) 4-game sweep over the San Jose Sharks! (Who did not "choke" in the playoffs--c'mon, the Hawks games were close, and they nearly swept the Red Wings--but jokes about Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton's underperformance in this series are fair game). THE ONLY SWEEP OF THE 2010 PLAYOFFS!

And since I last posted, the Cincinnati Cyclones won the ECHL Kelly Cup after an incredible playoff run! And the AHL playoffs--well, aren't going quite how I'd like.

But...uh, I'm so negative about so many things right now I shouldn't post at all (I just thought I should get something up quickly). The two Blackhawks playoffs games I went to, one in each of the first rounds, were absolutely horrible. I didn't know if I'd make it to this round but then a ticket opportunity seemed to come up. I spent the week thinking I was going and then found out last-minute (well, too late time and money-wise to try to get another ticket) that I DIDN'T have the ticket. I was really hurt and angry. I definitely would have gone to Cincinnati for (what turned out to be) the Kelly Cup game if I'd known I'd wouldn't be going to Blackhawks. (Well, I maybe could have anyway, but I felt a little tired and I didn't think the weather there was good enough for a daytrip.)

Ending up seeing neither game (on top of a really horrible week personally, and I keep thinking I might get a little consolation if I post things like that on Twitter, but I don't) kind of made me the bitterest person on earth today. Not gonna lie, if I couldn't be at the United Center, I was hoping for a loss. I suppose this makes me a terrible person and bad sports fan, but it is what it is. (Oh, and still no NBC reception at home so I couldn't record the game either.)

I'm grudgingly starting to feel happy about the win, combined with hopelessness at whether I can get to a Stanley Cup game. After blogging about hockey nearly every day for over six months, after attending lots of home games and traveling to see the Blackhawks in five other cities, I don't know if I can get to a game. I guess I shouldn't worry about that now. I know, I know, fans of 27 other teams would love to be having this dilemma right now...

The hate the Blackhawks are starting to draw (from other than the few typical rivals) is starting to get to me (seriously, what is up with some of the Penguins fans?!), and the Marian Hossa curse jokes were tedious months ago. That's when to get off the Internet for a while, I I will.

Oh, and the reason this has a nonsensical photo blogged from Flickr (though it is from my first Blackhawks game at the United Center) is because every time I've signed into Blogger and tried to upload this weekend, the computer has frozen and I've had to shut it off and lose stuff. I tried to get a Chicago Tribune typo posted right after the Friday game, no luck. I'll try again later. If anything, my computer is worse now than it was before I got it "fixed" weeks ago.

fun with translations, playoffs edition

There's a lot of intentional sports humor out there on the Internet, and I'm trying to keep up with favorites like Down Goes Brown, The Heckler, Intent to Blow, etc. (linked on the sidebar, okay?), but I stumbled across a few other things Thursday...

I. Great Moments in Canadian Sports Journalism

Toronto sports reporter Damien Cox's tweet below:

linked to this; it was passed around on Twitter with "his best column ever"-type comments. Ooops!

II. Here are the darkest hour of the playoff suck

Windy City Hockey has been back for the playoffs and posted this great bit recently, When Translation Goes Horribly Right, on Googling the Finnish word for hockey (jaakiekko) and "Antti Niemi" and then Google-translating the Finnish articles back into English. Producing amusing results, like the piece he linked on the Blackhawks-Sharks series mentioning "evil Nabokov." Of course I had to try it...

The story below was not the only one translating San Jose Sharks into "San Jose State." That is a real school with a hockey team, but...Also, does "goalie" translates to "paint" somehow? Please click on these (you'll find the title I used--I'm not sure what it was supposed to say).

So, "Vancouver did not win even once kotihallissaan" and "we were unable to perform swing at home."

Also, "Antti Niemi was shot in black and blue"; and re: injured Canuck Sami Salo, "Quality to injury ounasteltiin everything from testicular crushed."

These are nice too:

Now, I've tried fun-with-translation before, but it's just been going to the French version of the official Canadiens website, translating it into English, and comparing it to the English version. It's amusing on more of a clumsy-wording level, not a "what the hell were they trying to say?" level. I tried it today but didn't get much...except for a wholly unnecessary translation:

III. Green!

This new "Green League" stuff debuted on today (or maybe yesterday). Not actually funny, and I'm glad they're doing whatever it is they're doing...but I wondered, is this background supposed to give the feel of reading a website on recycled paper? Or maybe it's just me, I'm no design expert. (Also, no real reason for that photo--I'd rather see "Niedermayer's electric car" that's mentioned!)

news of the minors: podcast, Oklahoma City Barons, etc.

So, of course I'm following the ECHL finals and AHL conference playoffs (no sweeps this round, and curiously, two matchups that feature Montreal vs Dallas affiliates [Cincinnati vs Idaho, Hamilton vs Texas]). And doing a not-so-good job of following the other minor leagues (I do know the Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL won their third consecutive Turner Cup. Congrats to them, but now I'm even more disappointed that Indiana is the only Midwestern/Great Lakes state I didn't see a hockey game in this season).

And yesterday I put in a brief appearance on The Rink Podcast (with my phone acting up a little) to talk Chicago Wolves and other mostly non-NHL stuff. This show is by @Tapeleg, of the blog Jerseys and Hockey Love, which I've followed for a while because it's by someone who likes hockey road trips and minor leagues. Other guests discuss Predators and Bruins.

Yesterday was also the day the Amarillo Gorillas ceased operations in the Central Hockey League. I heard via They had been in the CHL since 2002, but Amarillo, TX has had minor league teams since 1996. (I've never seen teams in these leagues; I definitely want at least one trip to Southern hockey markets next season.) Quickly grabbed the shot above--by the way, does anyone archive websites of defunct sports teams?

In happier news, yesterday Oklahoma City announced the name, logo, and jersey designs for their new AHL team (and Edmonton Oilers affilate--formerly it was Springfield): the Oklahoma City Barons. The name wasn't a well-kept secret, though their were rumors of oths. I've kept up via @puckchk (a Blackhawks fan in OKC) on Twitter. Here's the team's new official Twitter. I got all these within an hour or so of the press conference:

Someone immediately went to the new Facebook page to express their unhappiness with the name; this is (By the way, if you see the "People Like This"? I'm pretty sure FB didn't use to post full names when you'd click on a page without being signed in. One of the many annoying changes to the site; I'd prefer not to post strangers' full names here.)

Presumably OKC will be division rivals of the Chicago-area and Texas teams. Checking my Flickr stats yesterday, I noticed views from an OKC board, linking to one of my Wolves photos (I've really got to get more of my minor league shots up. And my NHL ones too!)

The Barons logo was not on yet; here's their banner with the 29 teams that operated in the 2009-10 season. There'll be other changes (Charlotte, and I'm still not clear on the Albany/Lowell/Devils affiliate situation) before long. 

playoff headlines, finally

I have a backlog of these from the entire NHL playoffs (and possibly a few from the regular season). Stupid computer trouble tonight sapped my energy to write an essay I needed to, so just this quick post for now. A nice thing about these unpredictable playoffs--new stars have emerged! AND NEW PUNS!

Two consecutive playoff shutouts for the Flyers' Michael Leighton. Flyers up 2-0 over Canadiens. And now have a ridiculous 13 unanswered goal streak. This was the headline after the first game, pointed out to me by @antistrophe on Twitter (from the Flyers' website, not the front page--I'd been forgetting to check team sites):

Meanwhile, another fantastic Blackhawks win to put them up 2-0 over Sharks--but no amusing headlines, dammit! I'll just have to be content with their tying the NHL record for most consecutive playoff road wins (7), and setting a new franchise record with that.

brief pointless announcement

Okay, there's some juicy news and debates and such going on in hockey right now I've got to address, and I've found some new things to add to the blogroll, but I'm just popping in from my isolation for this terribly self-referential item:

No, I haven't created an all-sports Twitter account (sorry, non-sports-fan followers of @kofchicago), I just thought I should take @alittlechippy as a screenname. Because IT DIDN'T OCCUR TO ME TO DO SO TILL I'D DONE A BLOG OF THAT NAME FOR OVER SIX MONTHS. Yup, feeling more than a little stupid about that. Also...a little hurt that no one else tried to get the name. Just think, any of my readers could have taken it and sold it to me at a profit (Twitter is free so I'm not sure "profit" is the correct term there).

Anyway, I haven't wanted to put a hockey background on my main account, much less change my name to a Blackhawks/hockey-specific name like some people I follow are doing now. So it was fun to create another account. I think I'm going to use it to list (but not follow) all the good sports-related Twitter accounts I can find, post links to blog entries and to a sports-related photo of the day (from my Flickr account, most likely.) Also, it'd be a fun place to post a hockey card or other scan of the day...those Hockey Scouting Reports I have from twenty years ago need to go somewhere. Add it if you want a quick way to keep up with what I'm doing (I haven't gotten around to a Facebook fan page for A Little Chippy, but given the Facebook exodus right now I'm not sure I want to bother), but I use @kofchicago to actually interact (i.e. that's where I'd rather follow people).

History Will Be--OH EFF YOU

Not much to say now. My beer-of-cautious-optimism which became my beer-of-triumph is now my beer-of-shame-and-regret. (Er, it's just one large beer, which I didn't open till after the game. Let me get back to it.) I've had a post-game phone call with my Boston friend Dan (the one who's also a Blackhawks fan). I've read plenty from Bruins and Flyers fans and neutral observers on Twitter.

To blow a 3-0 series lead and then a 3-0 GAME LEAD, and lose both 4-3--yes, I guess that is historic. The Bruins didn't try hard enough, the Flyers wanted it more, road teams are doing spectacularly well these playoffs, Bruins have trouble with game 7s, ruined it with all their hype about a possible huge comeback (actually, I thought that would jinx it)---whatever. I'm disappointed to say the least. I'm thrilled the Bruins made it as far as they did given how rough the second half of their season was...but once they did make it that far I was hoping again my long-ago dream of a Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup final.

Instead, the 7th and 8th seeds in the East will square off for who gets to face the 1st or 2nd seed in the West. For a while I've been disgusted at the thought of the East winning...even more so now. I agree with the people joking that San Jose-Chicago is the de facto SCF, or that the East finals should be cancelled to make it the SCF. But matter how bad their regular season record or how they just barely squeaked into the playoffs (Flyers because of a friggin' SHOOTOUT, on the last day of the regular season--I wanted them to lose just for that injustice)...Montreal and Philadelphia have been ferocious in the playoffs and I'm a bit scared.

The Bruins fan side of me is crushed, but the history-and-statistics-loving side of me (the same part that, when the Chicago Cubs lost horribly in their home opener in Atlanta, was amused at how, at least, it was a record-setting loss) is impressed that the sixth and seventh 3-0 playoff deficit comebacks in professional hockey history happened in the same week and involved losses for the Bruins and their ECHL affiliate, the Reading Royals. (The Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence didn't make it to the playoffs this year, for the first time in many years.) At least the Red Wings didn't do it this year too.

I want to say thanks to the Bruins fans whose blogs and Twitter have kept me informed and entertained this year, my first season truly following the team. I'm disgusted with how it ended, but I'm not a bandwagon fan; I'm not bailing on them. (Next season I'm following and sort of rooting for the Atlanta Thrashers in the East because of their Chicago Wolves affiliation, but Boston is my East Coast favorite.)

edited to add: READ THIS from Hockey Gone Wild. READ IT NOW...please.

random items on a nervous afternoon

1) Nervous because of the Flyers-Bruins game 7, of course. I'm afraid to say anything about it. Hockey Gone Wild has good coverage, of course, whereas I've barely said anything about the Bruins (or any other team) this postseason. (As I was writing this, NPR's "All Things Considered" had a piece about the game 7, quoting Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic, and talking about historic stats about series comeback. I'll link when it's posted.)

2) I'm also a little nervous about the Idaho Steelheads-Cincinnati Cyclones first ECHL playoff game tonight. Though I was more nervous about the previous rounds (selfishly wanting it to go further so I could see the Cyclones again. I might get to...).

3) The Chicago Reader (major weekly paper here) came out with its "Best of Chicago" ballot, and I noticed something:

Hmmm...isn't a Chicago team missing in the sports bar category? The, uh, winning one? I got in touch with the Reader, they admitted it was an oversight, and said they'd add it to the next online and print edition. One person CAN make a difference! About something not all that important, but hey...

4) Thursday night was the only night since NHL playoffs started with NO game on. I actually went to a movie with a friend! No games Saturday night, either--I should ask Canadians what they do when there's no Saturday "Hockey Night in Canada." (Okay, I'm never at a loss for things to do; I'm just unfortunately broke this weekend. It would have been a good night to stay in and watch sports online.)

5) We had to go to a late showing of the movie, so I didn't know till I got home well after midnight that the Celtics beat the Cavaliers in their NBA playoff series last night. I was kind of surprised that happened. I believe all ten Twitter Trending Topics for Boston were related to the game (I'd like to see that many for the Bruins). Now what do I do with the giveaway Cavs Snuggie I got at a Lake Erie Monsters game?! Wait, I never knew what to do with it in the first place. (I admit I would have been fine with Cleveland winning it all, just so they could get past the infamous Cleveland sports championship drought...)

6) I'm finally getting this computer stuff that's been troubling me for weeks fixed, so I can stop mentioning it. I shouldn't make any promises about what I'll post, but I'll hint that I have a huge backlog of headlines, Twitter nonsense, AHL & ECHL stuff, hockey books I bought on my recent Detroit trip..

HISTORY WAS MADE! uh, if anyone cares

There was a seemingly improbable Game 7 hockey playoff game tonight and I was extremely nervous before it. No, not Canadiens-Penguins, but Reading Royals vs Cincinnati Cyclones! AND THEY DID IT! Cincinnati is the FIRST team in the 22-year history of the ECHL, and only the SIXTH team in the history of pro hockey, to come back from a 3-0 series deficit to win 4 straight games and advance--in this case, to the Kelly Cup Finals, vs the Idaho Steelheads! More on the story here. I was sad I didn't make it to an ECHL playoff game in my first year of real hockey fandom (and I've only been to one ECHL game at all), but it looks like I'll have a week. Now I'm really glad I bought that cute Cyclones hat...

And it was DOLLAR BEER NIGHT. God am I jealous of anyone who was at the game...even though the final score was a nail-biting 1-0.

I'll give a recap of the Cyclones playoffs when I have time to read a bit more about them...I know there was a notorious brawl resulting in suspensions in this series. Maybe I'll even dig up photos of players or something; the ECHL sites aren't the most picture-heavy...

Oh...and Philadelphia Flyers? Please don't get any ideas about being the seventh team, okay?


HUBRIS: that word was in my head not long after the Blackhawks' huge 7-4 win giving them a 3-1 series lead against the Canucks on Friday night. look it up and think about it, Blackhawks fans--it's why I didn't want to assume the Hawks would win game 5, even if the Canucks seemed a psychological mess, even if it was at the United Center, even if it was Mother's Day...and it's why I don't make predictions. I would have loved if the guy who called in to WGN after the Blackhawks' game 1 loss saying the Hawks would come back to win in 5 games (to the incredulity of the host) and (I'm paraphrasing, don't recall specifics) said "Carl in Hanover Park said 5 games. Write it down!" had been right, but no...

of my teams, Blackhawks and Bruins were both up 3 games in their series and lost the next one. they still lead, though...meanwhile, both the Chicago Wolves and Cincinnati Cyclones were in do-or-die games (Wolves at home down 3-2, Cyclones on road down 3-1) and got shutout wins today. (I can't remember if I ever explained my Cyclones obsession...part of it is I'd really like them to get to the next round so I have a chance of seeing an ECHL playoff game.) so I didn't have to write any "goodbye" posts yet...I suppose I need to come up with something for Detroit, eliminated last night...

(I feel like this blog has choked in the hockey postseason even more than any team you could name [and I've got a little baseball stuff to post too]. some of it's laziness but a lot of it is computer struggles that keep me from being able to run more than one thing at once, and give up early every night. all I've got to do is back up and remove 20,000+ of my photos before the games at 6 pm Central on Monday and I should be okay! sigh...)

game 3, Vancouver

needed to get this up as fast as possible, from @stevewsop on Twitter, symbolizing the Vancouver Canucks' loss to Chicago tonight (why hadn't I seen a Canucks fail-whale sooner? coincidentally, Twitter was down for a bit after the game tonight and fail-whaled for a while...):

(no kidding: I just had to try uploading that twice, because the first time I got a "failed" message, which I haven't gotten the entire time I've been putting images on this blog)

but more important than the Canucks losing...Blackhawks winning 5-2, with a hat trick by...Dustin Byfuglien?! his first points of the 2010 playoffs (photo via official Blackhawks Facebook page), and the Blackhawks first road-trip playoff hat trick since Denis Savard vs the St. Louis Blues in 1988:

I heard Boston won 4-1 vs the Flyers, making them the second team in the 2010 playoffs to be up 3-0. the first team? well, I saw that game in person...if there's ever a time to get photos up in a timely manner, it's for that--I'll see if my computer will even let me upload them. seeing a game in person meant I couldn't get back in time to see much of Wednesday's NHL games, but it was well worth it!

uh-oh, gloating Blackhawks fan

well, it's okay to do this late in the game or after it, I suppose. the Blackhawks playoff performance just crystallizes why I don't engage in predictions or trash talk (and also, now I have the most disastrously awful luck in choosing playoff games to go to--sure, the first one--and horrible loss--of each series, not the glorious wins).

not much time for real blogging again, accumulating material though. photos like this (as you can tell I prefer to post my own photos and screenshots and not use news photos too often) are why I should fire up the ol' Tumblr blog again, which if you're late to A Little Chippy, you might not know is where I started. then I left because with a few exceptions I didn't know anyone there and there wasn't much of a hockey community. now EVERYONE seems to be on Tumblr instead--it's even overtaking Twitter. (oh, and just because you CAN auto-post your Tumblr posts to Twitter, doesn't mean you SHOULD, about picking a few faves of the week, not dozens of images a day? just sayin'.)

technical difficulties

yes, just when I was finally in the mood to get this blog going again, and maybe even go back to the old days of responding to comments, should there be computer rebelled against the ridiculous amount of stuff I run on it at any given time and sort of crashed during Tuesday night's games. I eventually got it fixed up at the Apple Store and am sorting through material so I can blog again ASAP (if I didn't now have actual games to go to). I've been imagining ridiculous scenarios like an 8th-seeded team that just barely got into the playoffs ousting the "best team" in the NHL, or an injured player coming back for his first game in months to score the overtime game-winner for his team...oh, TV-movie or ad-campaign type stuff. surely real life isn't THAT interesting...

victory! victory! victory!

I haven't been totally honest here--it's not just that I've been lazy or overwhelmed during the playoffs, it's that I've been oddly superstitious about saying much about playoff series while they're going on (yeah, gonna have to fix that in round two). but now I can say....YESSSSSSSSSS! THE THREE HOCKEY TEAMS I'VE BEEN ROOTING FOR ALL YEAR ALL WON TONIGHT! AND ALL ADVANCE TO ROUND TWO OF THE PLAYOFFS! it was too excruciating to say that before or during the games, but now I can.

at 6 pm Central, the Buffalo Sabres-Boston Bruins game started. Bruins won 4-3!
at 7 pm, the Milwaukee Admirals-Chicago Wolves game started. Wolves won 2-1!
at 8 pm, the Nashville Predators-Chicago Blackhawks game started. Hawks won 5-3!

it was agony to have all three of my teams play the potential series-clinching game the same night, but I managed, and now this frees me up to write my recaps (which I will do, I swear. and my playoff preview becomes more of a round two thing). I've especially been anxious to talk about the AHL games since they don't get a lot of coverage. it's funny (well, except for Nashville fans) to think how the Chicago teams (both division leaders with a 100+-point season) beat the Predators and the Admirals, their AHL affiliate, the same night. honestly, I was the most nervous about the Wolves game because I entirely missed seeing them live in round 1, and this was a game 7. I've got to go to round 2 (the only downside to all this is that unlike regular season games, Blackhawks and Wolves playoffs are often the same night). and the Canadiens forced a game 7 against the Capitals, and Tuesday I've got ECHL, AHL, and NHL games to keep an eye on...