Welcome, one and all, to the Carnival of the NHL #16 - the Bengt Gustafsson/Alan May edition. I have to admit a slight reluctance to hosting a carnival, given my phobia, but I'm a gamer. And with a little organizational help from The Tragically Hip (may I suggest "Live Between Us" as a soundtrack to this edition), I think I'll get through.
Though the weather outside may be frightful, these blogs are so delightful, so let's have at 'em:
Track 1 - Grace, Too
I'm a total pro, that's what I'm here for
Christy at Behind the Jersey recaps a recent Red Wings' team trip to Children's Hospital of Michigan that is particularly fitting around this time of year and is yet another reminder of the proper perspective through which we should view professional sports and athletes. It's always good to see these guys give a little back to the community without it being required by a court.
Track 2 - Fully Completely
She said, "You're gonna miss me,
Wait and you'll see. Fully, completely."
I wasn't planning to link to one of my own articles in this Carnival (especially not so early on), but this quote screamed out for a comment on Jeremy Roenick's recent actions regarding the selection of the U.S. Olympic Team and since no one else submitted anything on the topic, well... wait! I just came across this additional explanation at HockeyDirt.com (thanks to Grampapinhead for the link in his Saturday Hockey Thoughts).
Track 3 - Springtime In Vienna
The blues are still required
The blues are still required again
You know you're doing something wrong when you get shutout by this year's St. Louis Blues. Eddie Olczyk now knows that better than anyone, as Back In Blue points out.
Track 4 - Twist My Arm
Martyrs don't do much for me
Though I enjoy them vicariously
Remember Trent Klatt's rants about how the 12% escrow deductions were just the tip of an iceberg that would eventually render the players little more than indentured servants, destroy the League, spread avian flu and reincarnate Hitler? Well, some early revenue projections for the League are in and let's just say Klatt was a little bit off in his predictions (though it's too early to rule out an escrow-bird flu link just yet). With an excellent analysis of how increased revenue means a higher salary cap in the future and a lower escrow payment for the players, as well as a look at how the numbers could affect teams this season, check out the Soapbox over Spector's Hockey. Also touching on this topic and how it might impact their favorite team is Canucks Hockey Blog.
Track 5 - Giftshop
We're forced to bed
But we're free to dream
With the Olympics nearly upon us, new guy (and Best Blog Name nominee) A Foote In Sydor offers up his picks to make Team Canada in a series of posts, starting with an overview and continuing through the forwards (and those he wouldn't take), blueliners and 'tenders. He also has a few suggestions for Team USA, but I think six links in one Carnival for a week-old blog is plenty.
Track 6 - Ahead By A Century
Illusions of someday
Casting a golden light
As I'm sure many of you have noticed, the Next One has been on the shelf for a little more than a week with a wrist injury. No, not that Next One, and not the next Next One, but the last Next One. Confused? Jamie Fitzpatrick over at About Pro Ice Hockey says it's time to retire the "Next One" moniker altogether (some of the rest of us say it's time to retire the last Next One altogether, but that's neither here nor there).
Track 7 - The Luxury
So consumed with the shape I'm in
Can't enjoy the luxury
The middle of the album, a killer tune and we've arrived at the first of two non-submissions to make the Carnival to help fill out the track listing. With a decent lead in the Southeast Division and one of the League's top young stars in Eric Staal, the Acid Queen should be able to sit back and enjoy her 'Canes in peace. But a certain "c-word" keeps coming up and it's got her madder than a wet hen (my attempt at a southern idiom). Thanks to Eric at Off Wing Opinion for the link.
Track 8 - Courage
The human tragedy
Consists in the necessity
Of living with the consequences
Under pressure, under pressure.
The second of our two non-submissions is almost a mini-carnival unto itself, a great post from Jes Gölbez's Hockey Rants that collects multiple thoughts on the importance (or lack thereof) of winning faceoffs but is also, of course, heavy on original thought.
Track 9 - New Orleans Is Sinking
Ain't got no picture postcards, ain't got no souvenirs
My baby, she don't know me when I'm thinking 'bout those years
This one coming up may be my favorite link of the Carnival. Kevin over at BfloBlog has compiled a list of the worst jersey numbers in Buffalo Sabres history (don't worry Chris Taylor, Pat LaFontaine bailed you out big time). Look for The Rink to blatantly rip off this idea in the not too distant future.
Track 10 - Don't Wake Daddy
You can stuff your void with the asteroid that's hurtlin toward the earth
You can drop the bomb that restores some calm then promises rebirth
Speaking of the Sabres, Buffalo has their goalie of the future. They also have a very capable goalie of the present (at least until the other guy gets healthy) and recent past who has increased his trade value enormously over the past month or so. So guess who Tom over at Sabre Rattling thinks should be the guy the Sabes should consider trading? You might be surprised. And while we're in Buffalo and talking saves, Tom has another post on a save made and a save nearly made from this past weekend's Sabres-Pens home-and-home.
Track 11 - Scared
I could make you scared if you want me to
I'm not prepared, but if I have to
He said, I can make you scared, it's kinda what I do
If you're prepared, here's what I propose to do
Over at On the Wings, Matt has recapped last week's emotional Jiri Fischer press conference and comes to his own conclusion - one which Fischer has yet to reach. The thoughts and prayers of the whole hockey world are with Jiri, both to get him healthy and help him make the right decisions down the road.
Track 12 - Blow At High Dough
Sometimes the faster it gets, the less you need to know
But you gotta remember, the smarter it gets, the further it's gonna go
Does it feel like five-on-five hockey has gone the way of the dodo? If you miss even-strength hockey that allows teams to use all four lines, establish a forecheck and flow, etc., you're not alone. Rob from The Cheap Seats has zero tolerance for... zero tolerance.
Track 13 - Nautical Disaster
Then the dream ends when the phone rings
The trap is dead. Long live the trap! Over at Population Statistic, they've spotted something they don't like - the quack attack has brought back the trap. And unfortunately for everyone (except for J.S. Giguere, Ilya Bryzgalov and the rest of the Disney Ducks), it seems to be working.
Track 14 - The Wherewithal
Richard talks too slow
He'd get interrupted long before-
I always loved that guy
And he's not on T.V. anymore.
Or maybe he is. Maybe he's doing color in one of the many games currently being shown on NHL CenterIce that's waaay down your priority list for the night and you'll never know. Wouldn't it be great if the NHL staggered it's starting times like they do in the first couple of rounds of the NCAA Tournament so that you could see the last 15 minutes or so of most every game you'd want to? That's more or less what they're wondering aloud over at The Ice Block.
On a mostly unrelated note, just when you thought OLN's hockey studio show couldn't get any worse, they go and throw P.J. Stock in front of a camera. Here's an idea - how about putting someone out there whose head wasn't used as a punching bag for a dozen or more years?
Well folks, the crowd noise is fading and the last few seconds of the last track are winding down. Thanks to everyone who submitted and thanks to everyone who has stopped by to read some of this. It's been a lot of fun.