30 September 2009

Five Things I Heart About Sweden

Other than, obviously, the fact that so many members of the Red Wings squad hail from there. My theory is that Sweden just might be heaven on earth; its awesomeness and badass-ish-ness are truly unparalleled:


Need I really elaborate? Vikings will kick your ass. Everybody has gotten so excited over the past few years over pirates, ninjas, and vampires, but Vikings were the original badasses. Not only did they school much of Western and Central Europe, as well as the Middle East, with their pillaging and plundering ways, but they also beat Christopher Columbus to North America by almost 500 years. Have you ever seen a replica of one of their ships? To be honest with you, I'm not even sure I would feel comfortable using them as a paddle boat on a pond in a state park, let alone sailing across a fucking OCEAN in one of these joints. Vikings have balls of steel:

2. Aquavit.

This shit is hardcore. My friend is Swedish, and her family toasts with Aquavit on holidays and special occasions. If you've ever taken a shot of vodka, imagine a similar flavor, with the added bonus that you can literally feel the liquor crawling down your esophagus before it hits your stomach like a lit match. Each Scandinavian country has its own method of producing aquavit (or akvavit). This shizz will definitely keep you warm on a frigid Nordic night--or at least get you all jacked up enough to make some questionable decisions.

3. Umlaut and Kroužek.

Hmmm...sounds sorta kinky, right? Like maybe some sort of outrageous, inappropriate, Nordic S&M? Settle down, sickos. The umlaut is actually the formal name of the two dots over letters in certain languages (ä), and the kroužek is the name of the ring atop other letters (å). I knew the name for umlauts, but I just learned the word "kroužek" today; actually, the word itself is Czech (Jiri Hudler would be proud). I couldn't find the Swedish name for it online. (OK, fuck it: I am just far too lazy to browse more than three or four links down on Google.)

So, why am I so crazy for a little U&K? Because our language is so boring in comparison. We don't have ANYTHING nearly this interesting to spice up our writing. The Spanish get the tilde (~), and the French hyphenate practically every other letter in every single word, while several European languages, Swedish included, get the umlaut and the kroužek. So. Not. Fair.

Not to mention that in addition to serving as confetti for the written language, these marks make Swedish accents sound amazing. How many times have I watched a Zetterberg interview and found myself nodding off to sleep courtesy of his lullaby of a voice?

Ahhhh, Zetterberg. Which brings me to...

4. Swedes grow freakin' sweet beards. Enough said:

And, my all-time favorite:

5. The cultural contribution that Swedes have given the world for decades. I give you the following:

You're welcome.

28 September 2009


And one more thing, while I've got the Pens on the brain:

Are these two hermanos?

I mean...I can see what #48 is thinking, for Christ's sake.

Yesterday felt so good...

You know, in that borderline inappropriate way--somewhere between having amazing, mind-blowingly awesome sex with a stranger and having the burning sensation when you take a pee. Not that I know anything about the latter. Ahem. Anyway...

I know, I know: It was only the preseason. And I know they were missing their Hart candidate and their crybaby captain. And Maxinme Talbot, the guy who still gives me nightmares.


We fucking beat them. 4-1. Without our captain/9,237-time winner of the Norris Trophy and without Henrik Zetterberg, the guy who must still give Sid the Kid nightmares. Ahhhh, vengeance--even meaningless vengeance--is sweet.

We beat them by having our backup goaltender play the entire game. We beat them, despite having an egregious number of giveaways (27, to the Pens' 10). We beat them despite getting outhit by them.

Jimmy Howard played his best game of the preseason yesterday. He made a couple of outstanding saves and even made me relax to the point of not reaching for some liquid courage by the third period. The call that gave Jordan Staal his penalty shot was questionable, but I'm glad it happened; Howard's save on this shot had to be a great confidence-booster, not only for Howard, but for the other guys on the ice, and those of us watching at home.

Derek Meech and Ville Leino each stepped up their game yesterday, as well. Meech got off to a shaky start at the beginning of the first period, but once he snapped out of his coma and began playing like someone who doesn't want to stay in Grand Rapids for the rest of his life, he actually had a decent game; he had a couple of blocked shots and decent hits that stood out. I'm not crazy about him and doubt I ever will be; I definitely won't be mourning his departure, whenever it may be, but while he's here and playing for us (and will inevitably get called up to fill in), I'd appreciate it if he continued to play like he did for the later part of yesterday's game, with some sense of purpose and enthusiasm.

I've been slow to warm to Leino during the past year or so. During most of the preseason, I still didn't feel warm and fuzzy toward him; however, he performed excellently during yesterday's game. In addition to scoring a gritty goal, he made several great passes--or at least attempted some great passes--that show that this guy has a great intuitive sense of placement on the ice. He seemed to position himself for better opportunities during this game than at any other point during the preseason. I just wish I could go five minutes without watching him get knocked off the puck. Grrr...

Did I mention how awesome it was to see Pavel Datsyuk score a goal? I feel like I haven't seen Pasha score in four trillion years. There aren't enough good things to say about his ice vision or his charity in passing the puck to his teammates, but Jesus H. Christ, isn't it great when he gets selfish? I heart this guy.

Not counting yesterday's final score, my favorite aspect of the game HAS to be the fact that the Pens continued the trend of losing their shit when they are trailing. It's one thing to get chippy and fire up your teammates; it's another to start crap between whistles, resulting in ridiculous and purposeless penalties. (See Game 5, 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.) I love, love, LOVE that the Pens still do this. Let's be honest: It's that borderline inappropriate feeling again. Furthermore, I love that Old Man RiverBill Guerin, the man who's supposed to be the Pens' veteran voice of reason, led the team in penalty minutes.

Is it really four months until we meet these guys again?

Bring on the regular season, bitches.

27 September 2009

Post Numero Uno

The very first post of the blog I've been contemplating the creation of for the past several months: The Scrappy Octopus. Truth be told, the biggest hang-up I had was that I couldn't think of a name awesome enough to be worthy of writing about the best team in hockey. I kept mulling over creative plays on words, but nothing really stuck until I thought of combining one of the best traditions in all of sports--octopus-throwing--with one of my favorite characteristics of hockey players (and people in general): scrapiness (is that a word?). Hence, The Scrappy Octopus (the "the" at the beginning is to give it a little pizazz, to make it official...you know, to put some stank on the entire idea).

So, here it is. The first post. So much pressure...


Well, to break the ice, I suppose I can introduce myself and explain what the purpose of this thing is. In case the vermilion-adorned octopus in the banner didn't grab your eye, I am a Red Wings fan. I love them more than life itself. I love talking about them. I love thinking about them. I love reading what other people write about them. As a matter of fact, during the roughly 3/4 of the year that comprise the hockey season, I turn into a mindless drone, capable of conversing about non-hockey-related topics for only brief interludes--basically just enough to keep myself gainfully employed. So, I figured, what the heck? Instead of alienating people I know personally with my nonstop, ad nauseum hockey obsession, why not give a good ol' college try to this blogging thing? It can only improve my personal life, right? We'll see how this experiment goes...

Oh, and speaking of the banner: If it looks like it costs $5, that's because it pretty much did. It cost me the $4.45 I spent on a tall "harvest moon" latte at the local coffeehouse, where I went to obtain quality internet access (dial-up at mi casa = major fail). Also, don't be fooled by the fancy shmancy font on the banner, either; far from being classy, this blog strives to be super tacky and uber offensive, so get pumped about that. If at any point this blog comes across as educational or useful, you should ask for your $5 back.

So...30 +/- minutes until the puck drops on the first meet-up with the Pens since...eh, still don't wanna talk about it. Sadly, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sidney Crosby won't be on hand today. That's ok, we still have this:

Oh, and maybe we'll get lucky, and those two trolls Chris Kunitz and Sergei Gonchar will cease stabbing our goaltender between whistles. And while they're at it, maybe they'll both go eat a dick.

Welcome to The Scrappy Octopus!

Let's go, WINGS.