Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Musical Interlude

All righty, then. We are back with the FMI!!! This one goes out to the bros and the ho's of the FHS band who are gonna stone-cold ROCK Ford Field tomorrow night at the State Championships...can a brother get an amen? It's going to be, you guessed it, Such A Night!

Go get 'em kids. er, um, I mean, young people!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Onward Christian Soldiers

Our church holds an annual joint service (“joint” as in “together” not as in “The judges say that’s okay, they smoke big joints, too"!”) with a local Catholic parish and as we were driving there a few months ago, The Child™ asked me if Catholics think Lutherans—which we are—are going to hell and I told her, “Of course.”  Then she asked me what the Lutheran faith teaches and I told her that we espouse the same belief as does every major religion which is that if you don’t belong to that religion, as soon as you die you go straight to Hell.  And, I continued, in our case it’s even worse because the Lutheran Church has Synods: Missouri, Wisconsin, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and perhaps others, and you have to be a member of the proper Synod (in our case ELCA) or it’s Lake O’ Fire for you. 

Now, I should point out that Laura knows, and has known since she was 3 or so, when I am feeding her a line of bullcrap.  She knows that this is not what I personally believe.  In fact, I can’t even remember why I brought the story up, although the possibility that I used the whole thing an excuse to get the Cheech and Chong video in not only cannot be ruled out but may in fact have been the sole reason for it.

But I did want to talk about ELCA.  A few months ago, by a solid majority, the church voted in national assembly to permit openly gay members of the clergy who are in “committed relationships” to serve as pastors.

This has ignited what Jesus would have called a shitstorm in the church.  The largest congregation in southeast Michigan, for example, reacted by leaving ELCA and forming a brand new (non-gay) synod of their own.

Our parish held a meeting on the subject last night and I’m sorry I missed it.  At a breakfast with some of our members this morning, they told me all about it.  (Name Withheld) told me that (another Name Withheld) summed it up best when he said, “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” 

I said, “To which sin was he referring?  The sin of passing judgment on others?”  He didn’t have much to say after that. 

I’ve told Laura, who knows when I’m feeding her a line of bullcrap and has since she was about 3, but who also knows when I am telling her what I believe, that the way people react to  homosexuality provides the single best example of the concept of Inverse Proportionality.  That is to say, the less something is somebody else’s business, the more they care about it.  Since there is nothing that is less somebody else’s business than sex, it is sex—and specifically how others engage in sex—that people care about more than anything else. 

I call bullcrap on all of this.  Jesus told us to love one another.  E.O.S. (End Of Story).  

I guess that’s all I have to say today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A good cop

This is from my good friend and great American Democommie. I urge to read this and take action against injustice.

I have mentioned to a few folks that I was going to put up a blogpost about an issue that I feel is important. That it involves a young man I've know for his entire life, the son of one of my best friends makes it much more personal than most of the things that I talk about here.

I've known Brad Jardis' dad about 40 years, and I've known Brad's mom for something like 35 years. I have known Brad Jardis since he was a very young boy. In the time that I have known Brad he has gone from being a curious and very determined child to a smart, hard working, honest and very courageous cop. He's a good son, from a good family, who has always acted as a professional in his LE capacity and who has always been cognizant of the fact that he is first and foremost an officer of the LAW.

Brad has been a police officer since he was eighteen years old. He graduated the NH State Police Academy before he was 19. He has served ably and honorably on three different departments. In the ten years that he has been a uniformed officer Brad has worked his share of petty and major crimes, domestic disturbances and drug busts. He has also volunteered his time as a counsellor for crime victims.

Brad is currently at loggerheads with his employer, the Epping, NH PD because of his integrity, honesty and outspokeness. He is a member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) an organization that is made up of law enforcement professionals who believe that the current policies of most law enforcement agencies, re: criminalization and prosecution of drug use is misguided and counter productive. His public stance on this issue is amply documented and it is a major reason, if not THE reason, that his employer is attempting to deprive him of his livelihood and his good reputation. Suffice to say that Brad is being "railroaded" by his department and his union. The charges are trumped up and Brad is fighting them. As is usually the case with fighting city hall, they don't bother to post the rules in a concise and clear way, so that gets added into the mix.

Following the links at the bottom will allow you to familiarize yourself with the situation.

Brad is a bright, energetic and earnest young man. He and I have had some fairly "energetic" discussions in the area of politics. We don't always agree, but we always respect one another's viewpoint. His positions are never based on anything but logic and his reading of the U.S. constitution and the laws of the United States. He's the only guy I ever met who actually keeps a copy of the constitution on his Blackberry. More to the point, he understands it as well as--and often better than--many people who are older and have made the study of that document a passion of their lives. I have suggested to Brad that going back to school and working toward a degree in law would be a great way to channel his energy and passion about justice. Whether he ultimately remains as a police officer or moves on to another career, he has my total support as my friend and my "nephew".

I would be quite happy if any of my readers want to take this post and re-post it. It would be a nice if it went viral and brought the sort of attention to his employers that they are most certainly trying to avoid.


That's What I'm Talking About

These are very heady times around here, indeed. Dreams have come true. The Farmington High School Falcon Marching Band (or, if you prefer, your Farmington High School Falcon Marching Band) has qualified for the Michigan Competing Band Association State Championship to be held at Ford Field this Saturday, November 7. "Yea, Band!" I say. We are all so very proud of the kids. Our daughter Laura is in the band so look for her in the video. She's the best one. This is the first time since 2001 that the FHS Band has made it to "States". Since that time, until last year, Laura wasn't in the Band. Coincidence? Mmm...

Let's review. After 2001, no Laura, no state finals for the FHS Band. Now she's in and the FHS Band qualifies. Just sayin'...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Go Somewhere Else

Somebody posted this link over at the Wonkette and I laughed and laughed. Not at the link. It is essentially without comedic value. But, rather, at the material to which I saw upon "clicking the link" which is what the young people are calling it these days. So click away and you will be whisked (depending, of course, upon factors such as your internet provider connection speed and your browsers ability to upload) to the funny. Yes, it has come to this. I am re-posting 12-year-old articles from The Onion...

Friday, October 23, 2009


We all have movies that we stop at least a part of anytime we come across them on TV, no matter how many times we've seen them. My list would include Goodfellas, Casino (the same movie, actually) anything by Monty Python, Apollo 13 (even though I know how it turns out), Field of Dreams, and, of course, Behind the Green Door.

I'd add to the list Glengarry Glen Ross which is useful today as I would like to comment on what the Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney said the day before yesterday about President Obama's handling of the wars which he himself created and it is this, from Glengarry Glen Ross, courtesy of Richard Roma:

"You stupid fucking cunt. Cheney! I'm talking to you shithead! You just cost me 6,000 lives. 6,000 lives, and one Cadillac. That's right. What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about it...asshole? You fucking shit! Where did you learn your trade, you stupid fucking cunt?! You idiot! Whoever told you that you could work with men?! Oh, I'm gonna have your job, shithead. I'm going to Mitch and Murray! And I'm going to Lemkin! I don't care whose nephew you are...who you know...whose dick your sucking on, you're going out! I'll tell you something else, I hope it was you who ripped off the joint, maybe I can tell our friends something that will help them to catch you. Any man who works here lives by his wits. I'm going to be with you in a second. What you are hired to do, is to help us. Does that seem clear to you? To HELP us. Not to FUCK US UP! To help men who are going out there to earn a living, you fairy. You company man. You want to know the first rule you'd learn if you'd ever spent a day in your life? You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is. You fucking child."

Thank you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Seriously, the kid in this video is 9:

The best part of this?  Look at the reaction of the poor and hapless netminder.  It's the goalie version of WTF????

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who's Looking Out For The Big Guy?

If we can get this "embed video" thingy to work we can have a chuckle and make a point about health care...

I had to fire my chiropractor over the health care issue yesterday. He decided it was a good idea to put one of those obnoxious yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flags--the one with the coiled snake on it--in his front office window. Well, don't tread on me, neither buddy. There are enough people in his field that I don't have to go to no teabagger to get my back worked on. My back is actually hurting today after having played hockey on it but I'll ice it down and grit my teeth until a find a new guy. When I told the receptionist yesterday I wouldn't be coming back and she asked me why, I pointed at the snake flag in the window and shrugged.  That said it all as far as I was concerned.  You shoulda seen the look on her face.  She asked, "Are you for real?" Now, I have to confess that I was a little taken aback at having had my very existence questioned but I recovered nicely. "Of course I am," I told her.

Jeannie and I were at a big health care town hall a couple of weeks ago and we got to see these moronic haters up close (in your face up-close when we got down to it, in fact) and a lot of them were waving that very flag with the snake on it. They were haters. I don't know what the whole "don't tread on me" thing is about. I know it has some historical significance but I'm too lazy to Google it. All I can say to this clown is, "If you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is buddy you have to wait..."

Anybody know a good chiropractor in the Farmington area?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ernie Harwell

Ernie Harwell announced today that he has inoperable cancer.  Mr. Harwell was the play-by-play voice of the Detroit Tigers for over 40 years.  He is to Detroit what Vin Scully is to Los Angeles; what Harry Caray was to Chicago.  I've led a lucky life.  One of the reasons is that I got to know and I got to work with Ernie Harwell.  I wrote the following about him for the monthly column I write for my professional organization, the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association:

I hope that when I die, if I get to go to Heaven, that when I get there Ernie Harwell will still be my friend.

I just heard the news and it made me think of so many things.

The first was about Ernie’s courage. I heard him being interviewed this morning and he talked about how he’s ready for the next adventure God has in store for him. He sounded so totally at ease. I don’t know of too many people who could take in stride the news that they had inoperable cancer, but that’s just what Ernie is doing.

I thought about how I got to drive Ernie from his place in the suburbs to our Christmas party at Sinbad’s and back last December and how those couple of hours that I got to talk baseball with him made the day about the best day I’d had all year.

I thought about his asking during that drive what the DSBA was up to these days and I thought about the check he wrote right there in the car for our grant fund after I told him our primary function now is to raise money to support high school broadcasting programs and young broadcasting students and I thought about how he made me promise not to tell anyone about it and so I didn’t.

I thought about the story I told about Ernie at that same party. The same one I always tell about him. How, when I was just starting out, when I was just 22, when I was covering the second Tigers game of my career, Ernie came up to me while I was standing near the cage and stuck out his hand and introduced himself to me: “Hi, I’m Ernie Harwell,” and how I thought to myself, “Well, duh.” And then I thought, “Dude, you’re talking to Ernie Harwell. Ernie freaking Harwell! I was just a kid and he made me feel like a big shot. I’ll never forget that. That was the moment I stopped worrying about fitting in when it came to covering Big Leaguers. If my being there was good enough for Ernie Harwell…

I thought about how he announced one night during a Tigers broadcast that Jeannie and I had become parents that day. In so doing, he did the impossible. He made the best day of our lives, the day our Laura was born, even better.

A few months ago, Ernie called me at home to pass along a web address he thought might help me find that elusive next broadcasting job. I was out and Laura took the call. I took Laura to the ballgame the other day. When Detroit gave up six runs before recording an out I told her that based on my experience we could safely leave at that point but we wound up staying to the bitter end. On the way out we passed Ernie’s statue. I said, “Look, Laura. It’s Ernie Harwell.” Laura said, “He must be pretty important to have his own statue. Wow, he called our house.” So there’s Mr. Harwell, making another generation of Kincaides’ feel like big shots.

I love you, Ernie. Thanks for everything.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Around the League with Richard Kincaide

by Richard Kincaide

Cash For Clunkers…

I will try really, really hard not to laugh out loud as we type this, but I can’t guarantee anything. 

According to, the highest-paid pitchers on the current Detroit Tigers roster are:

  • Jeremy Bonderman, $12,500,000
  • Dontrelle Willis, $10,000,000
  • Nate Robertson, $7,000,000

If you don’t like math no worries, I’ve done it all for you.  The cost of these 3 golden arms comes in at a not-so-grand total of $29,500,000.  Not 29.5 million dollars spread out over x-number of years.  No.  That would be 29.5 million for the current 2009 season only.  Here, then, is what 29.5 million dollars will buy you these days in the good old baseball game which is the best game you can play, incidentally:

  • Bonderman (0-1) 13.50 ERA
  • Willis (1-4) 7.49 ERA
  • Robertson (1-0) 7.71 ERA

Let’s see.  I’ll do a little figuring here and, oh yes, 29.5 million dollars divided by two wins computes to $14,750,000 per. 

Now, toss in the $18,971,596 Detroit is paying Magglio Ordonez for his 7 homers and 37 RBI and the $14,000,000 the Tigers are paying Barry Bonds’s workout partner Gary Sheffield to hit 10 homers and drive in 43 runs for the Mets this year and you’ve just rung up a little under 63 million dollars for five players who have given your club 2 pitching wins and 37 RBI which I think is why any baseball man worth his salt will tell you—as he prays, hard, that if the “you” he’s talking to is his boss that you will believe him—that putting together a Big League roster is more art than it is science.  At least that’s what I’d be saying.  Just sayin’…

I HATE Pennant Races… 

Wednesday provides an excellent example as to why this is so.

On paper, on Wednesday, the Tigers should have won at home against Seattle in a night game and Chicago should have lost at home against Kansas City in a day game. And when it comes to “The Race for the Flag,” I don’t have to tell that what the other team does is exactly as important as what your team does.  Chicago has been chasing, but never quite catching, the first-place Tigers for over three months now. (Yes, I know the Tigs and White Sox were “tied” for first on July 23, I’m not an idiot, but Detroit was still first with a winning percentage of .527 to Chicago’s .526, so there.)

Back to Wednesday where In Chicago the White Sox were up against Zach Greinke while the Sox countered with Jose Contreras who, when last seen last Friday night had been staked to a 6-0 lead at the Oakland-Alameda County Fair Stadium but who had proceeded to cough up 7 runs in four-and-two-thirds and had to be yanked before getting in the 5 innings of pitching required of a starter to get a win. That same night, last Friday, Greinke was here in Detroit, blanking the Tigers on 3 hits through 7 innings before Brandon Inge homered in the 9th off somebody else for the games only run.  Greinke—until the All Star break the Best Pitcher in the History of the American League, ever—pitched 101 innings and faced 398 batters before he allowed his 3rd home run of the season.  On Wednesday in Chicago, he pitched 7 innings and faced 28 batters before he allowed his 3rd home run of the day.  Contreras, meanwhile, tossed 7 innings of 3-hit ball and the White Sox won 4-2.

Wednesday night, the Tigers had their bargain-basement ace Justin Verlander going—he’s only making $3,675,000 this season but when you lose 17 like he did last year what do you expect?  That they’re going to triple your salary?  Well, it turns out that’s exactly what the Tigers did since he made 1.1 million last year but I digress.  The point is that he’s won 13 this year and was coming in off that heroic shutout at Fenway last Thursday in which the Tigers really, really needed a win or else they were going to be swept four straight in Boston and that would have been quite upsetting to everyone, indeed.

So it’s Verlander against some hamburger for Seattle who comes in, from Australia, no less!, with an ERA of, wait for it, 8.77.  That’s almost 9 for those of you scoring at home and I hope you are.  And not to jinx anybody or anything but in the always spot-on “scouting report” they show on the TV while the pitcher is warming up, Rod Allen (he of the .091 Batting Average in his 7-game major league career) says the pitcher, (0-1) Ian Snell, has “command issues.”  Why don’t you just finish the job and say he sucks, Rod? 

I don’t have to tell you how this ends, do I?  Snell shuts the Tigers down and Verlander pitches well but on a night when the three he gives up are too many against a pitcher who came in with no wins, an ERA of 9 and “command issues”.

Instead of picking up a game on Chicago Wednesday, the Tigers lose a game to Chicago Wednesday in the Division Standings. 

Good of the boys to come back from that 6-2 deficit Thursday to beat Seattle 7-6 and go back up to a 2.5 game lead over idle Chicago. 

There will be more days like Wednesday the rest of the way.  And more days like Sunday when the Tigers blew a game by going 0/16 with RISP, only to have the White Sox keep pace with a heat-breaking 10-inning loss in Oakland.  It’s going to be exciting.  Nerve-wracking.  And no fun at all!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday Musical Interlude

It’s not even Friday anymore (well, perhaps it still is in Los Angeles and I’ve got people there so I’m going to count it) and I haven’t even posted the FMI.  A harsh note from von Ebers about all of this is not far off, I fear. 

This, as usual, is just another song I like.  Maybe, just maybe, a little more meaning attached than usual, however. 

I didn’t exactly rule the world, but I did rule whatever microphone I was speaking into no matter what frequency I was using to use the ether which (“using the ether”) is a broadcast term. 

“…sweep the streets I used to own,” says this song.  Sometimes I feel that way but I know somewhere—and not far away, either—lives the man I once was.  And will be again.  I just know it…

It’s less important that you understand what I am saying than it is that I do.

Like I said though, I like this song.  Perfect as Buehrle I think.


I don’t know who talkshowdude2 is, but please feel free to do as he suggests.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Musical Interlude

I know, I know.  I’ve been lax in the extreme about writing—odd, too because I actually have so much to say.  I’ll try and get something going on that front forthwith.  For now, time for the FMI which I notice I haven’t even done that for a couple of weeks and really, how hard is it to post a song you found on YouTube?  Not very, I know.  Anyway, in keeping with our theme of posting tunes I like as opposed to tunes with some meaning be it social or personal, here’s one off my MP3 player.  I’m not a big fan of the big band sound.  I had a girlfriend once whose dad—who I was a big fan of—listened to nothing else.  But it never caught on with me.  Except this one which I heard in some Woody Allen movie and which became an all-time fave.  I don’t put songs on my little MP3 player unless I like them, you know?  The horns at 2:25 are the best part, so don’t bail too soon, k?  Hoping this finds all of you well, etc., here we go…


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

“We Choose To Go To The Moon”

It will be forty years Thursday morning that Apollo 11 launched.  Now, we are going back:

42 hours to liftoff and the countdown is proceeding toward launch at 9:32:00 am EDT July 16.  Enjoy the ride!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What Teabagging Is



After I made reference to it in my last post, a friend asked me what “teabagging” is.  Teabagging was the name originally given a series of anti-government stimulus package protests set for Tax Day, April 15th.  The protests were said to be grass roots in nature but it turned out big right wing money was at work behind the scenes and the Faux News Channel—a latter day propaganda machine of which Joseph Goebbels himself would be proud—played it up big time.  But, to the chagrin of the right, the term “teabagging” had a different (read: sexual) meaning which rendered the title (see picture above) nothing more than a joke, and a dirty one at that.  It took the right a few days to catch on but once they did, the Teabagging protests were renamed “Tea Parties.” 

Those of us on the left thought the original was much more in line with how the right actually thinks—or actually, fails to think—and was, besides, way, way funnier.  So the name has, for us, stuck.

Here’s some material I found it at which I originally stole, I mean posted, back in April either on the day of the teabaggings or on the day after…

i-shaved-my-balls1-300x225 includes a helpful FAQ section which we reprint for you here without permission but with a strong recommendation that you take a moment a drop by...

What is Teabagging?

We’re not sure exactly. Well, there’s that definition. But in the context of the Tax Day Tea Parties, Teabagging seems to allude to an amorphous set of conservative, libertarian, rationalist and vaguely anarchist sentiments held by Fox News et al. If you have a more concrete definition of Teabagging, please, let us know.

Why “Teablogging”?

Because you have to teabag the conservatives before they teabag you.

How’d this all get started?

See, back in February, after American Capitalism had been utterly destroyed by four whole weeks of the Soviet Obama Administration, some guy named Rick who nobody had ever heard of went on scion of business journalism CNBC and sort of lost his shit. Somewhere in the midst of the sweating, frothing, and arm-waving, Rick mentioned the Boston Tea Party, and a movement was born.


Yes, really.

So should we go to these Tea Parties, or what?

You can. Huffington Post is looking for Tea Party Reporters. Or, if you’re one of the handful of Productive American Capitalists who’s fortunate enough to be still be employed, you could go to your job that day. If not, just get drunk at home, alone, as usual.

Now, the teabagging, ur, Tea Party movement scheduled Independence Day, July 4, for another series of nationwide protests.  That’s why I asked in my last post if anyone had “gone teabagging.”  Not many did, apparently.  I heard a news report that about two dozen had shown up in Washington, D.C.  (300,000 can show up to protest an illegal war and it doesn’t get a peep from the ha, ha, “ left wing media”, but 20 people show up for reasons which remain altogether unclear to the rational among us and that’s good for some airtime but I digress.)  Here’s a picture from the D.C. “protest”:


So, there you have it.  A quick look at what teabagging was and is.  I hope you found it useful. 

Best Wishes,


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hitler Finds Out About Sarah Palin

I'm no good at the You Tube stuff, but thank God others are...

What I love about Babble Spice's resignation Friday (today on her Facebook or Twitter she called it her announcement that she "won't be seeking re-election in 2010," WTF?) is that the media immediately seized upon it as evidence that she will seek the 2012 Rethuglican nomination for president. The fact that she tried to bury her announcement by making it on the Friday of a holiday weekend, that Todd the first dude had to be summoned to return home in emergency fashion from a fishing trip to be at the "press conference" (no questions, please), that her spokesidiot Meg Stapelton was in New York at the time and that the media was given two hours advance notice of the announcement which was being staged 50 miles from Anchorage all tell me that something's up here that has nothing to do with her insane lofty aspirations for higher office. Do you mean to tell me that making herself the no-term governor of Alaska enhances her already dubious credentials? I don't think so...but the right wing is amazingly pretty breathtakingly stupid so perhaps in their eyes it does.

Hope you had a great 4th. Did anybody go teabagging?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Musical Interlude

Okay, it's not music, per se. I lied. In that regard. But, this is the leader (for now)of a national (for now) political party speaking on the topic of health care reform--one of the most important issues of the day. What is said makes it post-worthy. Totally. And by the way Mr. Steele, or, if you prefer, dipshit, the reason people don't have "access" to health care is because of the "cost" of health care. I know I'm not supposed to take the Lord's name in vain, but Jesus H. Christ...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Musical Interlude

Just a guess, but I suspect Mr. Welk and his gang might not have understood the concept of teabagging, either.  My favorite part is the intro, wherein it is quite apparent that the host just finished off a great big hit off his great big bong… (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  The coughing, the eyes like slits, I’ve seen it all before.  From both sides of the eyeball.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Live-Blogging Game 7

Game on….

The Wings come out taking it to Pittsburgh.  Like you’d expect in a Game 7. There’s good energy and a lot of hitting early.  Dan Cleary gets the first big scoring chance but he’s in too deep to beat Marc-Andre Fleury. 

This is the first Game 7 in Detroit in a Cup Final since April 14, 1955.  The Wings won that night 3-1 over Montreal and the season was over.  April 14.

The playoffs didn’t even begin for Detroit this season until April 16.

Gordie Howe scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in that 1955 game against Montreal.  It came with :11 left in the second period.

Here’s the list of Red Wings who have scored a Stanley Cup-winning goal:

2008 Henrik Zetterberg

2002 Brendan Shanahan

1998 Martin Lapointe

1997 Darren McCarty

1955 Gordie Howe

1954 Tony Leswick (OT)

1952 Metro Prystai

1950 Pete Babando (2OT)

1943 Joe Carveth

1937 Marty Barry

1936 Pete Kelly

I’m not going to lie to you.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard of those last two guys and I like to think I know a thing or two about the history of the Detroit Red Wings. 

A little under six left in the first and the Red Wings have staved off the first Pittsburgh power play of Game 7.  The overall play seems a bit more even now. 

Entering this year’s playoffs, two of the top 5 scorers for Detroit all-time in the Stanley Cup Final were named Howe: Gordie (#1, 50 points) and Syd (#5, 20 points).

Entering this season, Pittsburgh’s all-time scoring leader in the Final had 19 points.  Some guy named Mario Lemieux.

Valtteri Filppula has a great chance but Fleury comes up with a Johnny Bower poke check.  Ever hear of Johnny Bower?  He beat Detroit the last time Detroit played in a Game 7 in the Final. 1964.  Shut ‘em out, too.  4-0.  First ever shutout in a Final Game 7.  Bower’s record lasted for a year.  In 1965, Montreal blanked Chicago in Game 7 in the first Final since 1955—Detroit’s 7-game win over Canadiens, remember?—in which the home team won every game. The home team has won every game (so far) in this series.  I think Gump Worsley was the goalie the night for Montreal, but I can’t sure because Charlie Hodge also appeared in goal for the Habs in that Final.  But if I had to bet, I’d say it was Gump.  Great name, Gump;  don’t you think?

The first is over.  No score.  Good period.  Pittsburgh came on in the middle of the period but Detroit had some great chances at the end. 

1:13 into the second and the Pens go up 1-0.   Maxime Talbot got the goal when Brad Stewart’s clearing attempt hit the skate of Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and caromed right to Talbot in front.  Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall sort of waved at Talbot with his stick and Talbot was able to make a play and beat Chris Osgood under his right leg. 

Johan Franzen takes Sidney Crosby out of the game with a clean check in the neutral zone.  Who knows how long he’ll be out, but he’s gone to the dressing room.  Detroit’s on the power play for the first time, too. 

10:07 into the second and its 2-0.  Talbot again, this time polishing off a two-on-one after the Penguins should have been called for Interference but weren’t.  How can Detroit get caught on an odd-man rush in their own building in Game 7?  Talbot beat Osgood glove side high from well inside the rim of the left circle.  The color man on CBC says, “Osgood lost his net.”  That is, he forgot where the net was relative to his position on the ice.  I play goal so I know its easy to do what with the net being behind you and all.  I’ve “lost my net” plenty of times.  But never in a Game 7.  Then again, I’ve never been in a Game 7, actually. 

Maxime Talbot is bidding to be the Stanley Cup-winning goal scorer this year.  Here’s the all-time list of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup-winning goal scorers:

1992 Ron Francis

1991 Ulf Samuelsson

2-0 Pittsburgh after two.  Detroit missed some great chances late, again.  Pens are 10-0 when leading after 2 in the playoffs this year.  Detroit is 0-5 when trailing after 2. This is trouble for the Red Wings, with a capital “T” and that’s what Talbot starts with.

Almost halfway through the third period and still its 2-0, Pittsburgh.  Detroit has outscored opponents 20-9 in the 3rd period in the playoffs this season, but tonight they can’t get in deep against the Penguins.  They’ve outscored opponents 75-48 overall in the postseason and it doesn’t look they are going to win the Cup.  Crosby’s back—his first shift since he got hurt mid-way through the second period comes almost ten minutes into the third. 

Fleury is trying to become the 4th goalie to throw a Game 7 shutout in the Final.  In addition to those we mentioned earlier, Martin Brodeur shut out Anaheim in Game 7 in 2003.  The Ducks coach in 2003?  Current Wings coach Mike Babcock. 

Under 8 to go and Pittsburgh still doesn’t have a shot on goal in the period.  Detroit has only 4.

Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 1.  Jonathan Ericsson at 13:53 on a lob-in kind of shot from the right point.  Might have knuckleballed on Fluery, might have been deflected.  But, it’s in the net and the Wings are back in this thing.

5:00 to go and everybody in the place is standing.  Both teams look a little tired.  They should be. 

3:23 left and its time for a commercial.  What tension.  The waiting is the hardest part. 

The PA guy at the Joe just said, “You can get louder than that, hockey fans.”  Really, three minutes left in Game 7 and Game Operations think you have to fire up the fans?  How stupid is that? 

2:10 left.  Kronwall hits the post!  He hit the damn post!  OMG.  That might be it, right there.  Replay shows it was the crossbar he hit, not the post.  This does not make it feel any better. 

1:17 left.  Time Out.  Faceoff in the Pens zone and Osgood is out. 

“Last Minute of Play in This Period…”

Wings offside with 32 seconds left.  Osgood has to go back in.  Wings shoot it in…and its in the crowd with :16 left.  Faceoff outside the line.  Situation desperate. 

Lidstrom gets a chance at the buzzer—a lot of net if he could get it high, but he can’t and Fleury dives across and makes one more amazing save and that’s it.  The Penguins win the Cup.  Heartache in Detroit.  Bud Lynch comes back to the PA mike (he makes only an occasional appearance there these days as he’s 90 years old) and tells the fans to “stand by for the presentation of the Stanley Cup to the Pittsburgh Penguins.”  That says it all, doesn’t it?  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Brief History of Game 7

It’s been 52 years since any winner-take-all game was played here in Detroit by a Detroit team.  It was the 1957 NFL Championship game and the legendary Tex Maule wrote the following about it in Sports Illustrated:  “The seams of Briggs Stadium in Detroit were near to bursting with the 55,263 people who were willing to pay up to $10 apiece to watch their home-town Lions play the Cleveland Browns for the national professional football championship.”

$10 dollars apiece, you say?  I have a friend who was hoping to score a pair in the Lower Bowl for big Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight and his ticket broker told him, “No problem.  That will be NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS.”  I told my friend, “I understand that watching Hi-Def TV is just like being there.”

Well, no matter where we are sitting, let’s look at Game 7’s in the Stanley Cup Final.

(Note to the broadcasters on radio and TV: It’s The Stanley Cup Final. The Finals are played in the NBA.  This is the reason you see the words “Stanley Cup Final” painted on the ice in ten-foot letters. Twice. Inside each blue line.  It’s the name of the event, you see.)  Ahem. 

With respect to The Stanley Cup Final, this is the seventh 7th game in the history of the Detroit Red Wings.  It’s surprising, but since the National Hockey League made the Final a best-of-seven series in 1939—some 70 years ago now that we think of it—only 14 Final series’ have gone the limit.  What’s more, five of them (including the present series) have come in the first 9 years of the current century.  Indeed, the NHL went nearly a quarter of a century (between 1971-94 non-inclusive) with only one 7-game Stanley Cup Final. 

1971 is important.  It’s the last time a road team won a Game 7.  It was the year the Blackhawks led rookie goalie Ken Dryden and the Canadiens 2-0 at the Chicago Stadium in Game 7 only to have Henri Richard—the same Henri Richard who scored the controversial Cup-winning goal at the Olympia against Detroit in Game 6 of the 1966 Final—score both the game-tying and game-winning goals for Montreal.  Since that game the home team has won Game 7 six straight times.

Now, at one time or another, we’ve told you each of the following during the Detroit-Pittsburgh series.  (Each scenario reflects the standing of the Red Wings in the current Final series):

• Teams winning Game One have won the Cup 54 of 69 times (78.3%).
• Teams winning both Games One and Two have won the Cup
41 of 44 times (93.2%).
• Teams holding a 2-1 series lead have won the Cup 38 of 44 times
• Teams winning Game Five after splitting the first four games have
won the Cup 14 of 19 times (73.7%).
• Teams holding a 3-2 series lead have won the Cup 26 of 32 times

(Source: 2009 NHL Total Stanley Cup)

Now, let’s add one:

  • Teams tied 3-3 in the series have won the Cup 7 of 14 times (50.0%).

However, we can also say this:

  • Teams playing at home tied 3-3 in the series have won the Cup 12 of 14 times (85.7%).

Let’s give you a few more facts. 

  • No team has played in more Game 7’s in the Final than Detroit (6).  Montreal is second with 4.
  • Detroit is 3-3 all-time in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
  • The only team to defeat Detroit in a Game 7 is Toronto.  The Leafs beat Detroit in Game 7 in 1942, ‘45 and ‘64.  (All 3 of those series are remarkable.  In 1942, Detroit led the series 3-0 and dropped four in a row, the first and only time that’s happened in a Final.  Johnny Mowers gave up 25 goals, still the record for most goals allowed by a netminder in a Final series.  In 1945, Toronto became the first team—and other than those ‘71 Canadiens, the only team—to win a Cup Final Game 7 on the road, beating Detroit at Olympia Stadium 2-1.  Toronto’s Frank McCool shut out the Red Wings in the first 3 games that year but Detroit came back to win the next 3.  Toronto won Game 7, 2-1, in a series in which McCool and Detroit’s Harry Lumley, both rookie goalies, allowed only 9 goals each.  Really.  7 games and both goalies only gave up 9.  In 1964 Maple Leafs defenseman Bobby Baun was famously carted off on a stretcher at the Olympia late in Game 6, only to come back and even more famously score the overtime winner to force Game 7 in Toronto—a game won by the Leafs 4-0 in the first-ever shutout in hockey’s ultimate game).
  • Detroit played in the first 6 Game 7’s in the history of the Final: 1942, ‘45, ‘50, ‘54 ‘55 and ‘64. 
  • Other than those losses to Toronto, Detroit went the full 7 against the Rangers in 1950 and Montreal in 1954 and 1955.  They won all 3.
  • This is the first Game 7 in Detroit since April 14, 1955—a 3-1 Cup-winning win over the Canadiens.
  • The only 2 Game 7’s to go into overtime were played in Detroit and won by Detroit.  Pete Babando scored in double overtime (28:31 of OT to be exact) to beat the Rangers in the 1950 Final.  In 1954, Tony Leswick lobbed the puck into the Montreal zone and headed off for a change.  He never saw Montreal’s Doug Harvey—the best defenseman in NHL history not named Bobby Orr—reach up to bat the puck away and instead deflect it past his perplexed goaltender Jacques Plante at 4:29 to give the Leswick the goal and the WIngs a 2-1 win and the Stanley Cup.

And that’s all I have for you.  I tell you one thing I don’t have.  $9,000 for a couple of hockey tickets.  I think it will look just fine on TV.  Oh, I forgot.  That 1957 NFL Championship game in Detroit that fans were willing to fork over as much as $10 to see?  It was blacked out locally.  So, no complaining tonight, especially if you’ve got hi-def.

Thursday Musical Interlude

It’s just a rainy, crummy day here in I’ve decided that a musical interlude is in order.  While Mr. von Ebers is away, I'm gonna dig in and take some cuts.  As you know, he’d always have a (more often than not) poignant story to go along with his song selection.  Not me.  This is just some pop crap from ELO I’ve liked since the day I first heard it back in the dorm and I can—and do—thank my pal Peter Anik for turning me on to it.  Now, if he can just tell me the name of that Doc Severinson song I liked so well so long ago….

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Live-Blogging Game 6

We’ll get to the game in a moment but here’s a quick story:  I played hockey today for the first time in 9 weeks and 4 days—not that I’d been counting—and afterwards I said to my doctor who’d been out there with me that I thought I was a bit rusty and that I had a ways to go.  He said, “Still, not bad for a guy who had congestive heart failure last Friday.”  I had to agree.  I had a problem crop up last Friday which involved by inability to breathe.  When I called him I believe I said, “I…can’t…get…any…air.”  He told me to come right over.  It turns out my lungs were filling with fluid.  The solution was elegant and simple.  He gave me a pill that made me pee like a guy 14 beer into a 24-beer bender for a couple of days, and now I’m all better, thank you.  It was, all in all, a bit disconcerting, though.


Game on…


Everybody is boycotting NBC here in Detroit because they wouldn’t let the Wings show the game on the scoreboard at the Joe.  I wasn’t going to watch it on NBC, anyway.  The NBC announcer, is as nice a guy as you will ever meet, but I find him unlistenable.  I can’t stand his call.  Sorry.  Just a matter of taste.  Some guys you like, and some guys you don’t.


All I know is that if the Chris Osgood doesn’t give up any goals tonight like he did Saturday(or didn’t depending on how you look at it), Detroit wins the Stanley Cup tonight.  It’s not like he’s never done it before.  Osgood shut out the Penguins back-to-back in Games 1-2 of last year’s Final. 

I expected Pittsburgh to dominate early—they outshot Detroit 3-0 to open Game 5, remember?—but I did not expect them to dominate the entire first period, which they did.  The Pens were outshooting the Wings 11-2 late in the period (shots finished 12-3 in the first), but at the horn or buzzer or gunshot or whatever they fire off in Pittsburgh to denote the end of a period, the score was 0-0.  Like I said, if Osgood doesn’t give up any goals, Pittsburgh doesn’t win. 

I spent a lot of the period looking for other back-to-back shutouts in the Final by Detroit goalies: 

Terry Sawchuk did in in ‘52, the year he held Canadien to 2 measly goals.  In the series.  A Detroit sweep in four, pretty much needless to say. 

Harry Lumley did it in ‘45—but Detroit lost the series in 7 largely because Toronto’s Frank McCool had shut the Wings out in each of the first three games to give the Leafs an insurmountable series lead.  Detroit won game 4 before Lumley took over with his back-to-back shutouts in Games 5 and 6, the second of which went to overtime tied 0-0, meaning that for the 4th time in the series, McCool had held Detroit scoreless through 60 minutes.  Lumley wound up with a goals-against in the Final of 1.24, and he was the losing goalie.  McCool, the winning goalie, also had a goals-against of 1.24 in the Final.  I think this had to be, like, the best Final, ever.

Johnny Mowers did it in ‘43, blanking Boston back-to-back at the Boston Garden to complete Detroit’s four-game sweep of the Bruins.  Mowers allowed 5 goals in the series for a goals-against of 1.25.  Not as good as Lumley, but good enough to win Detroit’s 3rd-ever Stanley Cup.

Rats.  So much for my Osgood shutout theory.  :51 into the second period, Jordan Staal scored on Pittsburgh’s 14th shot of the night.  1-0, Penguins.  The Wings got caught on an odd-man rush when #51 Valtteri Filppula failed to hold the puck at the Penguins line and #52 Jonathan Ericsson went down to block and pass that never came and was out of the play when Staal banged in his own rebound.  Osgood got a piece of it with his glove. 

Maybe it’s the last change thing or having to stay on the ice after in icing whistle, but Pittsburgh looks faster at home.  And they go stronger to the net. 

Henrik Zetterberg goes strong to the net and hits the post with 2:00 left in the period.  I wonder if its time to check the record of home teams in Game 7 of the Final.

Periods over.  Shots are 24-12 Pittsburgh (12-9 Pens in the 2nd)  and its still 1-0, Pittsburgh.  A great game.  What hitting and what goaltending!

In the Dept. of “If It Comes To That”, according to the Official Game Notes, Detroit is 3-3 all-time in Game 7’s in the Final.  I’m pretty sure no team has lost a Game 7 at home since Montreal came back from 2-0 down to beat the Blackhawks at the Chicago Stadium in ‘71, but I’m going to have to check that one out. 

2-0, now.  Pens scored 5-and-a-half into the third on a sort-of wraparound by Tyler Kennedy.  Nicklas Lidstrom had his stick held in the right corner and couldn’t get it out as a result and nobody picked up Kennedy who came out from behind the net to the side of the net to beat Osgood high.  Ozzie usually gets that one, I think.  Now that we see the replay, Osgood did get it.  The first one, that is.  Kennedy scored on his own rebound.  Somebody should have knocked him on his you-know-what first.  Darren Helm was closest but didn’t lay a glove on him.  This is real trouble now.

2-1, now.  Detroit is finally on the board as Kris Draper fires a rebound high into the net for his fist goal of the playoffs and what a time for him to get it.  I know I said Draper should have been sat prior to Game 5, but I will say now that I was wrong.  That was a veteran’s goal.  He waited and picked his spot and he buried it. 

9:18 into the 3rd and the Red Wings get their first power play of the game.  Talk about, “Its about time.”  Detroit was 3/9 in Game 5 after going 1/10 in the first 4 games.  This game has been played almost entirely 5-5.  The Pens have had only 2 power play opportunities. 

Ohhhh.  The puck was loose in the crease with 3 Wings nearby but none could reach it and poke it home.  One minute left in the power play…

The Penguins kill it but Bill Guerin gets loose with his stick and smacks Draper in the face with it, so back on the power play goes Detroit.  About 7 minutes to go.  Still 2-1, Penguins. 

No luck on the pp, and Osgood makes an unreal stop on Kris Letang to keep Detroit in the game. 

They show somebody polishing the Stanley Cup, but with 3:30 to go you have to wonder if its not going to be going back into its crate tonight. 

Dan Cleary breakaway with 100 seconds to go!  He’s in cold and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped him; glove save as Cleary went with the backhand deke and Fleury never gave him a chance.

13.2 seconds to go and the Wings come so close.  Johan Franzen has an open net but Rob Scuderi, Pittsburgh defenseman, makes a kick save and a beauty in the crease with his goalie out of position and guess what?  We are coming home to Detroit for Game 7.  Put that Cup back in the box and we’ll see you Friday night.  Wow.  Another great game.  Need I mention that the home team has won every game in this Stanley Cup Final?  I suppose you already know that.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Live-Blogging Game 5

It’s a big game tonight, Game 5 of the Final; all tied up at two wins apiece.  We’re going to live-blog this one for you! 

Except that we’re already a little behind: watching it on the DVD, you see.  Which is the only way to go if you ask me.  We’ll blow through the commercials and the intermissions, except, since we are watching the CBC Broadcast, “Hockey Night in Canada”, we’ll stick around for “Coaches Corner with Don Cherry” after the first period.  They just played the HNIC theme which is different this year.  The old theme, perhaps the most famous tune in Canadian history, was stolen over the summer by some cheesy cable outfit which outbid the CBC for the rights.  The bidding, as I recall, went to a million dollars before the CBC—which is owned by the Canadian government, apparently—pulled out.  The new open is nice, though.  A lot of computer-generated stuff with Orr and Howe and Gretzky and old announcers and bagpipes.  We’ve skipped right through to the opening face-off.  I’m not big on the pregame garbage and nobody throws more pregame garbage at you than the people at the Joe Louis Arena.  Tonight they had the usual: a bunch of people skating around with big Red Wings flags and fireworks and an inflatable purple octopus. Whatever.  On to the game…

20:00 (Time remaining in period) I see Dennis Larue is one of the refs.  He’s an interesting guy.  I sat next to him at a playoff game about 15 years ago and we chatted the whole night.  Plus, he officiated plenty of games when I was broadcasting in the minors.  I think he has an Ivy League degree, but I can’t remember.  They’re about to put the lineups on the screen.  I think Draper has to sit and I think Maltby has to sit.  Wow.  They are both playing.  I would have gone with that kid who scored in each of the first two games Justin Abdelkader.  Pavel Datsyuk is back.  Finally.  But as he makes his debut in the Final, the question is: Is he 100%?


17:26 Great save by Osgood and Evgeni Malkin just missed as the Pens just missed, barely, twice. 

15:49 CBC announcer (for the first time in maybe 30 years it’s not Bob Cole calling the Final) just said it’s rare to see Detroit getting out played in their own building.  Shots: Pittsburgh 3, Detroit 0.

13:00 Cleary just had Detroit’s best chance, a semi-wraparound, then got stopped on his own rebound, too.  Niklas Kronwall’s slapper got tipped and somehow Marc-Andre Fleury reacted and made a glove save.  How’d he get to that?  They’re calling Kronwall for tripping?  Gee, what a bad call.  He low-bridged him in the neutral zone.  I think it was my buddy Larue making the call, too.   They just showed a replay of Fleury’s save on Kronwall.  It looked better live.  I thought he gloved it but it glanced off his left pad which he just happened to have on the ice—just like any competent goalie would.

12:41 A Pittsburgh power play.  They’ve been killing Detroit on the PP: 4/9, 44.4% in the series.  You can’t win with numbers like that.  Total goals in the series is tied, by the way.  10-10.  Somebody almost scored for Detroit from inside the Wings line.  A clear and it took a funny hop and Fleury, headed behind his net to stop it, had to dive back out in front to deflect it.  Probably would have gone wide, anyway.  Probably…

10:39 Detroit killed it with 0 Pittsburgh shots.  Datsyuk missed Henrik Zetterberg with what looked like an easy-to-complete pass.  Is he rusty?  

8:54 Johan Franzen just walked out in front with a backhand and Fleury again makes a pad save.  Might have been Detroit’s best chance so far.  I don’t like that Bill Guerin is on the Pens.  He was with the Devils in the ‘95 sweep of Detroit.  This bothers me for some reason.  Plus, they got him at the trade deadline.  It bothers me.  I don’t know why.  They just put up a “Hockey Night Bio” of Jordan Staal.  It says he wants to meet Bobby Orr.  Hey, I’ve met Bobby Orr.  He could not have been nicer.  What a thrill.  Oddly, it was in Pittsburgh, no less: in a coffee shop of a hotel across the street from “The Igloo” the day of the NHL Draft in ‘97.  I’ve been to Bobby Orr’s hockey rink up there in his hometown in northern Ontario, too.  But, that’s another story for another time.  I’ll remember the name of the town, too.  I must be getting old if I can’t remember Bobby Orr’s hometown.  Jeez.  Now I’m forgetting the names of places I’ve actually been.

(time unknown)  THEY SCORED.  FLEURY GAVE UP A WEAK ONE!  A SHOT FROM WAY OUT THAT HE SHOULD HAVE HAD!  Let’s wait for the replays…

It’s Dan Cleary on a little pass from Datsyuk.  He was closer than I thought on first viewing, just a little inside the rim of the right circle (to Fleury’s left) but it wasn’t much of a shot. Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik screened his goalie and when the shot went through Orpik’s legs, Fleury could not react in time.  It looked like a nothing play.  I always tell my defensemen when I’m in goal, “I don’t care if you stand there, just make sure you block the shot.”  Orpik didn’t, Fleury couldn’t see it…1-0 Det.  I give up goals just like that all the time, and all the time it’s because one of my own guys has blocked my view.  Time, 13:32.  1st point of the series for Cleary and Datsyuk. 

4:25 I should check the Tigers score but I’m ah-scared to.  They’ve lost 4 straight and 6 out of 8, at least.  Oh, what the heck.  Ha, commercial break.  Back to hockey.  I checked on the web.  Tigers, 2, Angels 1.  Final.  They’d lost 9 of 13 since that 7-game win streak that put them in first place.

:21  Chris Kunitz, another guy the Pens got at the trade deadline and another guy with a Cup (with Anaheim the year the Ducks upset the Wings in the playoffs), goes off for running Chris Osgood.  Detroit PP, their first of the night. 

:00  1-0, Detroit.  Did I mention I’ve played golf with Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma?  It’s true.  He from Grand Haven right on the Lake Michigan shore and I met him for the first time when he played for the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the International League.  His dad wrote a book: “So You Want Your Son to Play in the NHL.”  I used to play a lot of golf with the guys on the hockey team in Grand Rapids and Bylsma would be there from time to time.  Good guy, I hate to say.

1st Intermission:  Don Cherry’s yelling at the defensemen to stop screening the goalies.  It’s becoming a nightly ritual.  But, as I say, he’s right.  He calls Miroslav Satan, (pronounced “sah-TAN”) “Satin,” as in “The Devil”.  Cherry’s upset about no Canadian fly-over at the D-Day ceremony today in Normandy. He says, “The British couldn’t get off the beaches, the Americans couldn’t get off the beaches, we were off the beaches!  We were 15 miles into France and they told us to stop because they couldn’t get off (the beaches) and we didn’t get a fly-over.”  Budd Lynch, the Red Wings PA announcer who’s been with the organization since 1949, landed on D-Day with those Canadians.  About a week later he lost an arm when a Nazi shell went clean through his shoulder.  Budd knew Conn Smythe, the Maple Leafs owner who built Maple Leaf Gardens and after whom the playoff MVP Trophy is named.  Smythe had formed up his own battalion for the war.  Artillery.  Budd says he’d tease him about being way in the back while he, Budd, was at the front.  I’m playing in Budd’s golf outing in a couple of weeks.  Cherry goes on to say the Canadian troops were the best because back then they were all volunteers.  Budd volunteered less than two weeks after Germany invaded Poland in September, 1939.  I asked him why once and he told me, “Because, my boy.  A Canadian does his duty.”  I wonder if Don Cherry knows Budd’s story.

Second Period…

18:16  2-0!!!  Pens killed off the penalty but they left Valtteri Filppula wide open out in front and he, as they say, made no mistake.  Marian Hossa made a beauty pass from the right boards to Filppula (a name which can, apparently, be pronounced 1,000 different ways) who had snuck in behind 2 defenders.  Nice play all around.  Osgood gets a helper and he earned it.  He fired it from behind the Detroit goal up the wall to Hossa who fed Filppula.  What’s the record for assists by a goaltender in a Final?  I’ll see if I can find out. 

13:49 I haven’t found it yet…BUT IT’S 3-0 DETROIT!  A power play goal by Kronwall.  They let him walk out in front from the right corner and when you get the goalie moving laterally as he did you can score and he did.  Getting close to halfway home and it’s 3-0!

13:12 Penalty on Pittsburgh, again.  Malkin with a vicious elbow on Kronwall.  Still looking on the assist thing but I did find out who scored the most goals in a Final.  It might take you a minute to remember this one. That’s right. It’s Cyclone Taylor of the Vancouver Millionaires.  In 1918.  9 goals.  In 5 games. Replay shows the Malkin’s elbow (any relation to that creepy Michelle?) was on Franzen, not Kronwall.

11:34 Detroit makes Malkin and the Pens pay with a PPG, or, Power Play Goal.  4-0, and all Fleury can do is skate around after Brian Rafalski buries a wrist shot from the right point.  Fleury never saw it because Tomas Holmstrom was, as usual, right in front of him blocking his view. 

11:08 “How about the tired, old defending Stanley Cup champs tonight?” asks the CBC color man.  “They look pretty fresh tonight,” replies the play-by-play man.  Rink reporter says Bylsma sent a player out to ask Fleury if he wanted the rest of the night off, but Fleury wants to stay in the Pens goal.  Whatever, dude.  That’s three goals in 6:42 for Detroit.

Commercial Break.  No luck on the goalie assist thing but I did notice that my buddy Matt Pavelich holds the record for Most Games by a Linesman in the Final with 56.  Talk about great guys.  His brother’s pretty cool, too.  Marty.  Won a few Cups with Detroit in the 1950’s and you won’t meet a nicer man in hockey.

8:30 My doctor had tickets to one of the first two games in Detroit and he gave them to his sons.  What a dad!  He won’t be giving them up if there’s a game 7, I think.  He wants to see the Wings win the Cup in person.  Personally, I hope it doesn’t go 7.  Unless Detroit blows this lead, that is. 

4:50 They won’t.  5-0: another power play goal.  This one by Zetterberg and they’re going to have to get Fleury out of there.  They do.  Fleury goes straight to the room without stopping at the bench or anything.  Mathieu Garon comes in comes in and becomes the 105th goalie in history to appear in a Stanley Cup Final game.  His place in history is thus assured, as is the outcome of this one.  Detroit has won 48 straight in the postseason when they’ve scored 4 goals.  They have 5 tonight.

2:03 Detroit is on a 5-on-3 power play.  The Pens are losing it.  Sidney Crosby slashed Zetterberg out of frustration and now Maxime Talbot has slashed Datsyuk.  Hacked him on the right foot, the one which is supposed to be hurt; the reason he missed the first four games of the series.  They call it tripping.

0:00 Detroit outshot Pittsburgh 15-6 in the period.  The big number though is the fact they outscored them 4-0. 

Second Intermission.  Time for a soda, no?

Last 5 minutes…still a shutout and Pascal Dupuis just tried to take Kronwall’s head off.  He gets a minor for his trouble.  Penguins changed hotels in Detroit after losing Games 1 and 2 here.  There just aren’t that many 5-star hotels in Detroit.  Where are they going to stay if there’s a Game 7?  Motel Six, for luck (because if they come back it will mean they won Game 6, get it?). Fans are trying to start the wave.  There’s no Wave at hockey games.  A lot of fans have left.  I can’t believe that.  The Final and people are leaving?  These are people who shouldn’t be there in the first place.  Pittsburgh is doing a lot of yapping at the Detroit bench for a team that’s down 5-0.  What are they saying? “You’re next,” like the Devils did during the ‘95 Final? This ain’t that, fellows.  The Penguins take more dumb penalties and the game ends with Detroit on the power play. 5-0, Detroit and a three games to two lead in The Final.  They can wrap it up Tuesday or we are going to be right back here Friday.  All in all, a great night here in Detroit.  One for the books, really.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Around the League with Rich Kincaide

Okay, here’s my latest for  If you could go over and visit the site—specifically my column—that would be great.  I guess if they think people are reading my stuff it helps my cause.  Please note:  You do not have to actually read the story, you merely need to visit the page.  What a relief, eh?  Here’s the link:  If the link takes you to a log-in page (which it might) enter Detroit and click on any Detroit zip code, click on sports on the left side of the front page, click on hockey when you get to the sports page.  Thanks and as soon as I figure out a one-click link to my little stories I’ll pass it along.  Be well, etc!

Oh, here’s the column:

  • So, do you still think Chris Osgood is “a bum”, the “weak link” on this Detroit Red Wings team? I don’t listen to very much sports talk radio at all but I’ve listened to enough to have heard him called both those and it makes me think that for a guy whose lifetime record in the Stanley Cup Final is 10-2 with a goals-against average of 1.47, all I can say is that in a place that likes to call itself “Hockeytown,” you’d think we’d have smarter fans.
  • If it’s true—and you hear all the time that is true—that in hockey the regular season doesn’t matter, it then necessarily follows that the only hockey that does matter is playoff hockey. And if the only hockey that matters is playoff hockey, the logic can be extended to conclude that the only playoff hockey that matters is the Stanley Cup Final. So, if you judge a player by how he performs when the only hockey that matters is being played, the Stanley Cup Final, Osgood’s jersey should be just about ready for a trip to the rafters at the Joe Louis Arena, right next to Terry Sawchuk’s. Sawchuk won 3 Stanley Cups in goal for Detroit and so has Osgood. (Although, to be fair, Ozzie got his name on the Cup without appearing in the 1997 Final whereas Sawchuk played every minute of every Cup Final game played by Detroit the three years he won the Cup here: ‘52. ’54 ’55).
  • We mentioned Ozzie’s lifetime goals-against of 1.47 in the Final? Sawchuk’s GAA in the Final (Detroit only) was 2.54 and his won-loss record was 17-16. He won three Final series and lost three as a Red Wing.
  • Since Jersey swept ‘em in the 1995 Final, Detroit was won four Finals in a row (let’s not forget the Final Four was just here in town a couple of months ago, whatever that means…which is nothing now that I think of it) and the Wings are 18-3 (.857) in their last 21 Cup Final games. Two of those three losses were charged to Osgood, so I guess you could complain about that if you wanted to.
  • Prior to their current run, Detroit lost six consecutive Finals from 1956-1995, posting a record in those games of 9-24 (.273)
  • If you add up those last two stats, Detroit is 27-27 in the Final since 1956, winning four series, losing six, and leading two games to none in this one.
  • They kept saying on Hockey Night in Canada last night that teams with a 2-0 lead in the Final are 31-1, but that can’t be right. Maybe they meant 31 of the last 32 teams to go up 2-0 won the series because I can think of two instances where the team leading 2-0 did not win the Cup. Detroit led Montreal 2-0 in 1966—coming home to Olympia Stadium for the next two games no less, and lost the series in six. Detroit led Toronto 3-0 in the 1942 Final (and to lead 3-0 you must have first led 2-0) and lost the series in seven. So now I’m probably going to have to look the whole thing up and I don’t feel like it. Oh, well.
  • They also kept calling it “De-troy-IT” on the CBC which I never have been able to figure out. The Canadians are the only people who get the pronunciation wrong. Oh, wait. They’re not. You also have those people who insist on calling it “DEE-troit.” It’s duh-TROIT. Rhymes with adroit
  • Former Detroit goalie Hank Bassen, I learned on “Coaches Corner with Don Cherry” last night, died over the weekend at 76. I saw him play in my youth. Bassen is one of only 12 players ever to appear in goal in a Stanley Cup Final game for Detroit, and one of only seven to have appeared in more than one Final series for the Wings. Of the 12, Bassen was one of only three never to have won a Cup. Bassen shared netminding duties with Sawchuk in the 1961 loss to Chicago and filled in when Roger Crozier was injured in Game 4 of the 1966 Final. With his death, there are now only five men living who have ever played so much as a single minute of goal for Detroit in a Stanley Cup Final game. We’ll tell some of their stories next time.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fool Me Once…

I always say that if you aren’t willing to get up on Sunday morning for God, you at least ought to do it for Frank Rich’s column in the New York Times


Barry Blit/NY Times


Today, Rich hammers the Big Dick Cheney and “a compliant media” for letting BDC unload more of the Big Lie b.s. he fed us prior to sending our fellow Americans off to die in Iraq.

Read it.  Just go and read it, okay?

Rich cites the work of the only two journalists in this country who had the Iraq story right before the Iraq war.  Rich links to their work in his column, I’ll spare you the hard work of clicking on that link by simply running it here:

Cheney's speech ignored some inconvenient truths

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney's defense Thursday of the Bush administration's policies for interrogating suspected terrorists contained omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.

In his address to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy organization in Washington, Cheney said that the techniques the Bush administration approved, including waterboarding — simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture — forced nakedness and sleep deprivation, were "legal" and produced information that "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."

He quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country."

In a statement April 21, however, Blair said the information "was valuable in some instances" but that "there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn't think that the techniques disrupted any attacks.

_ Cheney said that President Barack Obama's decision to release the four top-secret Bush administration memos on the interrogation techniques was "flatly contrary" to U.S. national security, and would help al Qaida train terrorists in how to resist U.S. interrogations.

However, Blair, who oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, said in his statement that he recommended the release of the memos, "strongly supported" Obama's decision to prohibit using the controversial methods and that "we do not need these techniques to keep America safe."

_ Cheney said that the Bush administration "moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and their sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks."

The former vice president didn't point out that Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al Zawahri, remain at large nearly eight years after 9-11 and that the Bush administration began diverting U.S. forces, intelligence assets, time and money to planning an invasion of Iraq before it finished the war in Afghanistan against al Qaida and the Taliban.

There are now 49,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting to contain the bloodiest surge in Taliban violence since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, and Islamic extremists also have launched their most concerted attack yet on neighboring, nuclear-armed Pakistan.

_ Cheney denied that there was any connection between the Bush administration's interrogation policies and the abuse of detainee at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which he blamed on "a few sadistic guards . . . in violation of American law, military regulations and simple decency."

However, a bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report in December traced the abuses at Abu Ghraib to the approval of the techniques by senior Bush administration officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own," said the report issued by Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz. "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees."

_ Cheney said that "only detainees of the highest intelligence value" were subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques, and he cited Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks.

He didn't mention Abu Zubaydah, the first senior al Qaida operative to be captured after 9-11. Former FBI special agent Ali Soufan told a Senate subcommittee last week that his interrogation of Zubaydah using traditional methods elicited crucial information, including Mohammed's alleged role in 9-11.

The decision to use the harsh interrogation methods "was one of the worst and most harmful decisions made in our efforts against al Qaida," Soufan said. Former State Department official Philip Zelikow, who in 2005 was then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's point man in an internal fight to overhaul the Bush administration's detention policies, joined Soufan in his criticism.

_ Cheney said that "the key to any strategy is accurate intelligence," but the Bush administration ignored warnings from experts in the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, the Department of Energy and other agencies, and used false or exaggerated intelligence supplied by Iraqi exile groups and others to help make its case for the 2003 invasion.

Cheney made no mention of al Qaida operative Ali Mohamed al Fakheri, who's known as Ibn Sheikh al Libi, whom the Bush administration secretly turned over to Egypt for interrogation in January 2002. While allegedly being tortured by Egyptian authorities, Libi provided false information about Iraq's links with al Qaida, which the Bush administration used despite doubts expressed by the DIA.

A state-run Libyan newspaper said Libi committed suicide recently in a Libyan jail.

_ Cheney accused Obama of "the selective release" of documents on Bush administration detainee policies, charging that Obama withheld records that Cheney claimed prove that information gained from the harsh interrogation methods prevented terrorist attacks.

"I've formally asked that (the information) be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained," Cheney said. "Last week, that request was formally rejected."

However, the decision to withhold the documents was announced by the CIA, which said that it was obliged to do so by a 2003 executive order issued by former President George W. Bush prohibiting the release of materials that are the subject of lawsuits.

_ Cheney said that only "ruthless enemies of this country" were detained by U.S. operatives overseas and taken to secret U.S. prisons.

A 2008 McClatchy investigation, however, found that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees captured in 2001 and 2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan were innocent citizens or low-level fighters of little intelligence value who were turned over to American officials for money or because of personal or political rivalries.

In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Oct. 5, 2005, that the Bush administration had admitted to her that it had mistakenly abducted a German citizen, Khaled Masri, from Macedonia in January 2004.

Masri reportedly was flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan, where he allegedly was abused while being interrogated. He was released in May 2004 and dumped on a remote road in Albania.

In January 2007, the German government issued arrest warrants for 13 alleged CIA operatives on charges of kidnapping Masri.

_ Cheney slammed Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and criticized his effort to persuade other countries to accept some of the detainees.

The effort to shut down the facility, however, began during Bush's second term, promoted by Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"One of the things that would help a lot is, in the discussions that we have with the states of which they (detainees) are nationals, if we could get some of those countries to take them back," Rice said in a Dec. 12, 2007, interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. "So we need help in closing Guantanamo."

_ Cheney said that, in assessing the security environment after 9-11, the Bush team had to take into account "dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists."

Cheney didn't explicitly repeat the contention he made repeatedly in office: that Saddam cooperated with al Qaida, a linkage that U.S. intelligence officials and numerous official inquiries have rebutted repeatedly.

The late Iraqi dictator's association with terrorists vacillated and was mostly aimed at quashing opponents and critics at home and abroad.

The last State Department report on international terrorism to be released before 9-11 said that Saddam's regime "has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack since its failed plot to assassinate former President (George H.W.) Bush in 1993 in Kuwait."

A Pentagon study released last year, based on a review of 600,000 Iraqi documents captured after the U.S.-led invasion, concluded that while Saddam supported militant Palestinian groups — the late terrorist Abu Nidal found refuge in Baghdad, at least until Saddam had him killed — the Iraqi security services had no "direct operational link" with al Qaida.

Technorati Tags: Politics,Iraq War,Torture,Waterboarding,Dick Cheney,Ney York Times,Frank Rich,Jonathan S. Landay,Warren P. Strobel,McClatchy Newspapers

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Around the League with Rich Kincaide

We’re going to call this one “The Shows What I Know Edition…

I took the bottom of the 9th inning off in the Tigers 13-1 win in KC yesterday. Shows what I know. Yesterday, according to The Elias Sports Bureau was the time in Major League history where two different teams came back from deficits of at least six runs in the eighth inning or later on the same day to win.

I looked at the Padres score yesterday and they were down to the Diamondbacks 7-1 after seven and I said to myself, “So much for their 9-game winning streak.” Shows what I know. San Diego scored 5 in the eighth, one in the ninth and one in the tenth for an 8-7 win.

I didn’t even bother to click over to the Rays-Indians game last night. Shows what I know. Tampa Bay led 10-0 early and 10-2 when Cleveland came to bat in the eighth. The Indians scored two in the eighth and seven in the bottom of the ninth to win 11-10. I did go back later to watch the tape of that bottom of the 9th. The key play? Tampa walked the lead-off hitter. Any manager will tell you: You can’t do that. The sequence was something like this as I work from memory: walk, pop-out, broken bat single, throwing error on what could have been a game-ending double-play ball which let in a run, line drive out for the second out of the inning, three-run homer, a couple more walks and a bases-loaded two-run single, and, ballgame. Cleveland scored those seven game-winning runs in the ninth on just three hits.

I thought when the Tigers got swept by Minnesota the week before last—losing the last game at the Metrodome because they couldn’t hold a 5-0 lead with 8 outs to get—that they had sustained a spirit-crushing, season-ruining defeat. Shows what I know. The Tigers are 8-2 since that loss and have a four-game lead in the AL Central, matching their largest lead of the season.

I actually wondered which would be the bigger loss: Chicago not having #1 netminder Nikolai Khabibulin in the line-up for Game 4 or Detroit not having top defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom dressed for the game. I thought the question was worthy of debate. Top goalie or top d-man, who is more important to their team? Shows what I know. It was no contest. As evidenced, at least, by the final score: Detroit 6, Chicago 1.

Enough of that, let’s move on to some things I do know.

Nicklas Kronwall’s hit on Martin Havlat in Game 4 was legal, as least insofar as current NHL rules go. I don’t know how anyone could have ruled that Havlat was not in the act of playing the puck since it was in his feet when Kronwall steamrolled him, so I don’t know how Interference could have been called the way it was. Charging was not called, either. I did not see Kronwall leave his feet. Therefore, as I saw it, it was a legal check. Does that make it right? Of course it does not. Players are so much bigger and so much faster now than they were when these rules were written. Plus, as Don Cherry is fond of pointing out, the shoulder pads they wear now resemble those worn by football players and have become a weapon unto themselves. But I know the National Hockey League. The day they change the rules is the day somebody is paralyzed for life or his killed on a check like that. And not a moment before.

The overtime goal scored by the Black Hawks Patrick Sharp in Game 3 marked the first time Detroit lost Stanley Cup playoff game in overtime in Chicago since Harold March beat the Wings in OT in the Windy City in 1934. That was the year Chicago won the Stanley Cup for the first time and is one of only three times that the Black Hawks have hoisted the hardware.

Detroit is up three games to one in the best-of-seven which you probably already know. Including this season, NHL teams up 3-1 have gone on to win the series 211 times and have gone on to lose the series 21 times (90.9%). The last team to come back from 3-1 down was Washington earlier this playoff year against the New York Rangers. Chicago has never won a series in which it was faced with a 3-1 deficit.

And that’s all I know—and don’t know—for now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jean Shepherd

von Ebers mentioned Jean Shepherd in a post responding to my video blog, or “Vlog” which I posted yesterday. He, and later, Seattle Dan heartily endorsed in their comments the movie “A Thousand Clowns”, which I have never seen but which, based on their recommendations, I will most certainly check out because whose opinions are to be more respected than those of theirs? The question is so ridiculous on its face and in its grammatical construction as to be rendered rhetorical and unforgivably silly: The answer is “nobody”! (Except for democommie, of course).

Anyway, for you Jean Shepherd fans out there (he’s best known as the author of “A Christmas Story” in which Ralphie wants a Red Raider Air Rifle for Christmas more than anything else in the world) I’ve got a link I think you will like.

Shepherd spent much of his career doing a daily story-telling in afternoon drive on WOR Radio in New York City. If you follow the link – which is sort of the point of this particular exercise – you will find his telling of the story of his participation in Martin Luther Kings’ march on Washington, D.C. in August, 1963. I enjoyed it as much as anything I have ever heard on the radio – including my own work, and I have to tell you, I am flat-out, head-over-heels in love with the sound of my own voice…

Peace out…

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Video Blog To Call My Own

Inspired by Dave von Ebers, I have decided, what the Hell, to produce my own video blog, or, as the kids call them, Vlogs.  I’ve upgraded the production values just a little as you will see, and I hope you enjoy it…