Friday, January 2, 2015

ARENA REPORT: United Center

well, i guess it's been awhile, hunh....?

is my new year's resolution to write more ?  maybe.... i fully admit that twitter has robbed my brain of it's ability to elaborate on criticisms and witticisms; it's so much easier to tweet "i love lance" than to blog a well thought-out report explaining why i think he's just so awesome.  i could say i haven't written in almost a year because life got busier or something, but the truth is i'm just lazy.  140 characters is so much simpler than this.

with that said, it looks like i'm easily three rinks behind in my arena reporting, and if anything arena reports are probably my favourite feature on hitthepost.  i hit the bell centre last february to watch rene bourque sink his former team with the game's lone goal, then i travelled through a snowstorm to get to nassau to watch reto berra notch his only regulation win as a flame.  heck, i don't even think i wrote the arena report for boston from the time i watched iginla's penguins lose the wales trophy in the spring of 2013, or the time i went to watch the sharks beat the leafers last year....  i'll try to get those articles posted in the coming weeks, but i'll start with the united center, as it's the freshest in my memory.

first thing's first: chicago is a deceptively large city and the united center rose out of the darkness and the rain in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere.  initially i thought we could walk from where were were staying, near navy pier, but in hindsight that was pure lunacy.  in the end, we had gone to pre game at the ultimate detroit lions bar, the tin lizzie, to watch some sunday afternoon football ---and the cab to the UC seemed to take forever.

the united center itself is a middle aged NHL arena and it's obvious.  it's certainly a step or two above the joe or the dome or nassau in comfort and deco, but while the club level might be carpeted, there's still painted cinderblock walls and old school concessions.  it's no warm, homely excel center.

the bowl itself is the greatest.  it's very open and feels enormous and the famed crowd cheering through the national anthem did provide the electricity that i expected.  really something to experience.  chelsea dagger, in all it's goal-song glory, was also unfortunately electric. the 'hawks have got that figured out for sure.  and, wow.  the number of banners an original 6 arena boasts is humbling.




the couple in the seats beside us were really nice and full of calgary/flames questions, and the older hawks fan behind us wanted to ensure we were flames fans from calgary before giving us a pass.  walking around the concourse, there were a handful of flaming C's: a couple of iginlas and a backlund.  nice folks. plenty of high fives. :)

the arena snack, properly sourced via a couple of longtimers in the concourse (but also suggested by my companion, zak) was clearly going to be the chicago dog.  with the addition of the pickled beans and the celery salt, it's essentially a caesar in a bun.  tasty !!!!


and of course, anyone who follows along with me in real life knows that htp pal strombo was sneaky and put us on the television.  repeatedly.  a lot.

:)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

separated at birth volume.... 6 ?


current era jake gyllenhaal and our boy zata.
that is all.

i'm gonna occasionally try to post stuff over here instead of twitter.
so there.

:)


Monday, November 4, 2013

more to come....

the wonderful benefactor of hitthepost is upset at the amount of time i (don't) spend writing over here and doesn't feel like he's getting his money's worth.  he's threatened to charge an "inactivity tax" or, worse, link to a canucks blog instead of the original blogspot host.

so, thanks to JC i swear i will write something this week. and probably next.  good thing i hate bob hartley !!!

:)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2013 development camp notes (aka: better late than never)

it's been over six months since my last post and i figure that i should probably write some more stuff on here, since my buddy john donates his own money to keep the domain name active, i should appreciate that in more ways than just buying him occasional pints.

i've made it to flames' development camp almost every year since 2007 (there may have been a year or two i was unable to attend) and posted my notes each time, so i guess it would be a crying shame if i didn't do so this time around.


i'm tempted to list my thoughts as they appear in the "notes" app on my phone (editor's note: THIS is something i wouldn't have imagined writing in my 2007 summary !!!) but since nobody would be able to make heads or tails of that info, I'll decode them in point-form sentences below.  largely, my impressions came through the two scrimmages, coupled with a few sessions of drills.


- marcus granlund.  he's quietly solid but on closer examination seems to be doing all of the very best things: skating well, getting into the right areas, puck handling expertly and demonstrating a dirty, snipey wrister.


- jankowski (whom i've since dubbed "junkowski") seemed awkward to me.  maybe he's nursing some kind of injury or maybe he's just been way overvalued as a first rounder but, to my eye, he was a lower calibre player all-around compared to some of the other first and second year guys.  i'm not, at this point, suggesting he's a nemisz or chucko type throwaway but i'm not convinced he's a future NHLer, either.  on the other side of the coin, he appears FAR less lanky and rake-like; i heard he put on upwards of ten lbs and that shows on his frame, to be sure.


- tyler wotherspoon has also filled out physically and has certainly developed the appearance of a pro (ie: a man amongst boys).  a note: my phone autocorrected his surname to w'spoon. amazing.


- turner elson (aka: my horse from last summer) looked more skilled than almost anyone else on the ice, which likely proves that development camp is not a litmus test for "real life."  i'm not in any way suggesting that turner elson is ever going to be a top 6 NHL forward, but if his goal was to show off his talents to the flames' brass, he succeeded overwhelmingly.  he is a pro-level player, without a doubt, and clearly a guy who likes to be on the ice.  he pulled a marek malik during a 3-on-3 drill and stayed late to shoot from the hashmarks repeatedly. oh, and he almost got punched out by joni ortio while having a BIT too much fun during free time. i'm excited to see what he does in abbostford.


- kenny agostino really picked up his game towards the end of camp and showed that he's got some slick moves and incredible foot speed.  i'm actually looking forward to seeing more of this dude.


-  i made a note about josh jooris' impressive puck control, so he was more notable than, say, a morgan klimchuk.


- i made quite a few notes about pat sieloff but not all were positive.  i think he has the tools to be a rather impressive defenseman but i'm concerned about his temper.  the book on him reads that he's "intense" on the ice but i fear that it might be rene-bourque-style emotion that gets him into trouble, and  the high number of penalty minutes he took last year might be an indication of this.  during scrimmage/3-on-3 action at camp, i watched him two-hand crosscheck an opponent in front of the net (in an injury way, not a clear-the-net way), and punch the glass in frustration after missing a pass.  this is practice, guy.  maybe reel that intensity back in just a smidge.


- keenan kanzig looks like a project to me.  he's huge (obviously) but his other skills need to catch up.  his skating seems awkward ---he has strong but choppy strides for a big dude.  he got absolutely schooled by a lightning-fast gaudreau streaking into the offensive zone, causing kent to pronounce, "well, that was inevitable."  even if you consider kanzig was not likely, in a development camp scrimmage situation, "allowed" to crush such a player against the boards on the rush, I'm skeptical that he would have been fast enough to catch him.  the coaches had him stay late after practice every day for a one-on-one chat.  so they're clearly trying to impart some information to the young defender.  i will allow this: he has better vertical than any player I've ever witnessed doing simple drills, which makes him THE MOST ADORABLE. 


if i had to pick a dreamcrusher out of camp, i think it would be john ramage who has some catching up to do.  ....or maybe joni ortio, who seemed thoroughly disinterested in being there.


in other news, going back through the archives to do a little research for this post i found an old quoted finnish tömi mäki interview that ----now years later with "better" translation services on the interwebz--- reads as follows:



Mikä on naisihanteesi ja onko sinulla tyttöystävää?

- Sellanen helmi. Ei oo tyttöä tällä hetkellä.


What is your ideal woman, and do you have a girlfriend?

- Dude gem. There is no escaping the girl at the moment.

can we all start using the term "dude gem" please, immediately.


:)




Wednesday, January 2, 2013

pocketgaudreau watches the ball drop for new years !!



while the real johnny gaudreau, or as he's being dubbed these days, "johnny hockey," has become a household name after a couple of stellar games at the world junior hockey tournament in ufa, russia, his tiny, flat, laminated namesake cruised back to nyc for nye.

here's a couple of shots in times square:


 Waitin' for the ball to drop.

HAWT night shot of the little man in Times Square in all of it's nighttime awesomeoness


good luck to johnny hockey in his quest for WJC gold (well... not TOO good of luck, cause i'm still pullin' for canada !!!), and good luck to pocketgaudreau on his continuing adventures on the road with carly rae jepsen !! here's where he'll be at in the next little while.  maybe his kind and wonderful host @pnoitch can get some more rad photos !!

:)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

pocketgaudreau in the big smoke !!



PG hippying out in kensington market
PG hitting the city tv / muchmusic building at queen & john
 checking out the OCAD Sharp Centre for Design
Jays game at the Rogers Centre (aka: Skydome) for Ricky Romero bobblehead day
postgame cervezas with PG and htp pal amanda with a great view of the CN tower
PG went to visit Rob Ford at work, but he was out for lunch

PG watched as the city folks cleaned the wading pool in a west end park.... in HAZMAT suits.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

PG takes manhattan

i feel a lot of guilt that i never write over here, but then i realize that i detest reading pre-season articles because i'm not convinced there's even going to BE a season.  so i guess i'll offer up some amusing tales of PG's travels, and hope that some of the longtime htp readers will enjoy the ridiculousness in this, the site's 900th post !!

PG met me up in NYC at my cousin's place, having been a last-minute consideration (sorry, little buddy) for my august sojurn.  duncan popped him in the mail from exeter, as he was mid vaycay when he was summoned to the big apple.

Enroute to NYC !!!

bryant park, aka: my happy place
amazing photo #1 in times square (heros: NYPD & the happy tourist)
amazing photo #2 in times square (hero: photobomber & future potential angry mass shooter)
brooklyn bridge &freedom tower from the east river ferry
brooklyn cyclones game at coney island with the iconic and defunct parachute drop






empire state building and the LES from the top of the rock


central park and the top of manhattan (plus the part of the hudson that the miracle happened on)
radio city music hall

anyways.  PG had some fun in new york.  from there, we went to toronto for a week and i'll post those pics sometime soon.  duncan took him back and he's off on an adventure to halifax, having narrowly missed a debaucherous weekend in denver to see phish (true story).  some other time, pocketgaudreau... some other time.

:)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

PG went to SF (and other trivialities like dev't camp)

i have a really hard time understanding where the time goes, and i can't believe i still haven't done my arena report from madison square gardens OR from sunrise, florida ---so i will aim to get them accomplished sometime before the snow flies.

i DID sit in on a couple of days of prospect camp a few weeks back and my main observation is that winsport is a hella amazing facility up there at COP.  also, i held the door for clint malarchuk & met a couple ryans (pinder & pike).  those were pretty much the biggies.

as for the baby flames, man oh man is johnny gaudreau ever a diamond in the rough.  the kid has some seriously developed hand-eye coordination and he's got that thing people call "hockey sense" in droves.  he's also got mad footspeed, silky soft top-shelfy hands, and some radical moves on a breakaway/shootout.  4 more inches in height and about 30 more lbs and the dude would be fighting for a roster spot next time the flames suit up (whenever that might be).

further notables: sven is still sven, which is awesome, and  nemisz is still nemisz, which is not.  other than that i guess the goalies looked halfway decent, sieloff might become significant, ramage struggled, max looks to have plateaued, and my horse (turner elson) was kindof great one day, and kindof invisible the next.  i did find it interesting that the flames org held the camp DURING stampede week for the first time in memorable history, presumably to showcase the city to the prospects in the aftermath of the tim erixon debacle.

kudos.

in the meantime, our favorite little pocketfellow has been crossing the continent !!  after an epic trip to iceland and the UK in april, the little laminated dude headed out to visit colin stuart in san francisco:

PocketGaudreau at the San Francisco Marina / Golden Gate Bridge



PG takes on Alcatraz


following his adventure in NoCal, colin brought PG back to calgary where he had some seriously good times at the legendary calgary stampede:

PG running amok at the rodeo...


....checking out the midway....

...& enjoying the nightly fireworks
and into an envelope he went off to his next adventure as duncan roadtrips eastern canada !!  remember you can always follow the little one on his twitter page, @pocketgaudreau.

out for now !!
:)

wi

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

all points bulletin: SHEP !!!!

i realized today that longtime swedish commenter (and friend), shep, has been absent for far, far too long.  shep, if you're reading this: let us know you're alive [and that you're way too busy to comment cause you're actively trying to set me up with henrik loob or something].

we miss you.

x

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

pocket gaudreau goes to vegas !!


i'm starting to think i should re-name this blog to "pocket gaudreau events and the occasional arena report" cause, let's face it: that's all that goes on over here these days.

so after PGv2's successful journey abroad to íslenska & the motherland, our good friend justin azevedo took him on a boys' weekend to vegas !!

a couple of the photos are unusable cause jazzyV broke the only rule of PG: the flipside is not for photographing, it's for grinning at.  that rule voids the pic of him in front of the little church of the west wedding chapel, and in front of a really awesome poster advertising "hot babes direct to you."

PG lands at mccarran international airport and manages to avoid the 1200 slot machines.

PG enjoying his first sonic burger. his review? 'burp'.

PG stayed at the planet hollywood hotel, where every room has a theme... thankfully, his was the peaceful slumber-inducing 'scream-mask-right-beside-the-bed' theme.... meh. you're not supposed to sleep in vegas anyways....


"that's terry benedict's casino!" ...PG had no idea what that meant.

the boys out on the town.






and onwards !!!  PG should be returned home tonight and i'll chuck'im in the mail later this week.  i'm thinkin' he'd like san francisco. or florida. or nova scotia. or beantown.... ;)  lemme know if you want him (via email: walkinvisible@gmail.com).  i've got a pretty good idea where he's headed but any last minute pleading can sway a girl.

you can follow pocketgaudreau's day-to-day activities on twitter @pocketgaudreau
;)