11 June 2007

Readin' With RWD

Recently, just for you, my dear comrades, I read Ross Bernstein's The Code.

Let me preface this entry by saying, if you are looking for an eloquent, well-written account of the role of the enforcer in the NHL, you will not find it in this book. If you are an English professor or a Pulitzer Prize winner, you will cringe in horror. Any book that uses the phrase "by virtue of the fact that" is not well-written, in my opinion. AND MY OPINION IS THE ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS. Learn it, live it. However, I am a fascist when it comes to grammar and usage and concise writing, so the rest of you might not suffer as I did.

Caveat before we get this party started: the book, sadly, does not have an index. I'm only going to look up the important stuff, so if I start talking vaguely on a subject, curse the missing index, not the writer. Curse me, too, if you like. I'm cool.

Now that I have taken care of business, I will say the book had good information about the hockey enforcer and the code. If you are not a literature snob (or if you are, but are simultaneously a hockey freak), I would certainly suggest reading it. There are multitudes of interviews from enforcers of the past and present era, which I feel adds the most value to the book. I was afraid, considering Bernstein is a Minnesota resident (and I'm sure he's a Gopher fan), the book would contain a little too much homer-ism, but I felt like the Minnesota references weren't overpowering. If you read the book through a homeristic lens (w00t! I invented a word!), you will find traces of a bias. Obviously, a book about fighting can't exclude Basil McRae, Shane Churla, and a passing mention of Derek Boogaard (only passing because I believe you can't write definitively about the present situation), but there certainly are hints of Gopherism. There are quotations from One-Eyed Sonmor (yes, yes, I know, he was also a North Stars player and coach, and he is mentioned in the chapter on visors and face shields, which is totally relevant), Lou Nanne (who argues against fighting in the NHL. Not surprising.), and Neal Broten, but I can deal. Former Bulldog Brett Hull is also interviewed, so that gives a little balance.

I certainly enjoyed the interview with NHL and WCHA alumnus Mike Peluso, who straight up made me laugh. I rarely laugh audibly when reading, but when Mike started talking about the "football numbers," the high jersey numbers given to training camp invitees, I was chuckling to myself. I was roaring when I read parts of the interview with Paul Stewart, who describes chasing Bob Schmautz with a putter during a celebrity golf tournament, in an attempt to avenge an incident years prior where Schmautz tried to spear Stewart in the eye. Stewart actually called out Schmautz in his excerpt, which is comedy gold. Yes, I know, I am the lowest common denominator, I am what is wrong with the world today. Sue me, I was laughing.

Violence is never funny, kids.

Speaking of kids, toward the end, the book explores the message fighting sends to the children of players, youth hockey players, and young fans of the sport. The discussion forces Bernstein to backtrack on the previous sections of the book. At the beginning, the author almost reveres fighting, portraying fighters as the ultimate team players and heroes of sorts. Then, once he brings up the impact of fighting on children, Bernstein faces about and begins to sound like he opposes fighting. The change in tone leaves the reader unsure of the author's actual viewpoint. It was like listening to a politician. Not to worry, because I still like fighting, and I'm pretty sure the author likes fighting, too, but not in youth hockey. I don't want to see fighting in mini-mites, either. Those would be the shortest fights ever, since both parties would be flat on their faces seconds after trying to take a swing at the other. I paid for blood.

Back to my old pal Paul Stewart, I enjoyed what he had to say regarding the Bertuzzi Incident, as that melodrama is referred to in the book. Generally, I replace Incident with Sucker-Punch, but I don't have to be diplomatic. Stewart implies Brad May (then with Vancouver, now with the Dirty Ducks) couldn't hold a candle to Tie Domi (duh!) and flat-out calls Steve Moore (Bertuzzi's victim, remember?) a "no-name." I think Paul Stewart and I are kindred souls. Paul, call me, we'll do lunch. On you.

It was informative to hear the players' opinions on tBI, and it's important for people to know the entire scope of the situation, stemming from Steve Moore's hit on Markus Naslund that knocked Naslund unconscious (I hate Naslund) weeks before tBI occurred. I do have to laugh at the foreword and interviews with another player, Marty McSorley. McSorley channels the Klingon Empire with all his talk of duty, loyalty and, most of all, honor. Yet, there is a section in one of the chapters on the McSorley Incident, which the author calls one of "the two most notorious incidents" in the past three decades of hockey. (The other incident is the aforementioned Bertuzzi Incident, but if I had to tell you that, I fear for your future.) Oh, Marty, there is no honor in sticking Brashear in the face. What Would Worf Do?

(photo courtesy of TSN, obvs.)

(Granted, I would like to hit Brashear with my stick, too, but I wouldn't hit him in the face, for crying out loud, and I would come out and say "Hell yeah I did it, he had it coming!") When there is an entire Incident (capital I!) named after you, your integrity is a bit questionable.

I suppose my biggest problem with the book is, it could have been written in about one-third as many pages. A lot of the information is repetitive. For example, in the chapter "What Prompts Dropping the Gloves?," Bernstein lists "the top ten reasons gloves are dropped in professional hockey." I do realize 10 is a nice, round number, and its paralleling Letterman's lists, but "Bad Blood," "Retaliation and Retribution," and "Sending a Message" could all be covered in the same paragraph, as could "Intimidation" and "Deterrence." I get the concept of the code. I got it beforehand, and I certainly could not forget it now. The book repeats itself so many times, you could be so dumb that only Texas would execute you, and you would still understand the concept after reading this book (or having the book read to you, if you were really that dumb.)

Bottom Line: Read it for the anecdotes, read it for the inside information. It's worth it, and you'll enjoy watching hockey even more.

06 June 2007

I'm No Swami...

...but people do occasionally want my wisdom and insight. Let'sGoMavs asked some questions and got some answers from some of the WCHA's finest bloggers.

04 June 2007

Blogular Mitosis

Comrades, feast your eyes upon the newest Twins blog out there: Runnin' With The Twins. Oh yes, baby, I went there. You should go there, too, especially all of you who love to talk baseball.

01 June 2007

Postcards From RWD, Vol. 9: Public Service Announcement

Dear All-Star Voters,

David Ortiz and Jason Giambi are not first-basemen. They are DHs. And Giambi is hurt. Please stop voting for them, you f-ing retards. Also, remember that Torii Hunter rocks your face off.


p.s. Don't get used to this. I probably won't post for two months now.

We're Comin' To Your City

Ok, don't everyone die of a heart attack at once, because I'm posting twice in one day. It's not even going to be a good post.

tDogs released their schedule a little under two weeks ago, and even though I've known the schedule for quite awhile (thanks to a tPB poster with some inside info), I've been too lazy to bother dissecting it.

RWD attendance at tUMD games will be somewhat a rarity this season (as it is every season) as I will be back in school pursuing an advanced degree in World Domination. My attendance might improve if I get a new job, but we shall see. If anyone wants to pay me to write RWD, it would greatly increase the number of posts on this site. I'm only asking for $50,000 a year! That's a BARGAIN, comrades!

***DISCLAIMER*** You can't hold me to any predictions this far in advance!

Home games are in pink. Away games are in brown.

Oct 12
Lake Superior State
Oct 13
Northern Michigan
(Superior Cup games)

I like the idea of the Superior Cup, I think it's a lot more interesting than being an invitee to some other school's tournament (like the Ohio fiasco we went to last year, or tGICTSWDGEAOOT*. Not that we would ever be invited to the latter, as we are not cupcakes.)

Oct 19/20
St. Cloud State
I really wanted to go to this series, for the First And Only RWD Bachelorettestravaganza, but it's not in the cards. Maybe the FAORWDB will have to be the Superior Cup, but it would be so much more fun to be drunk and yell at St. Cloud. Plus, LGM and WT might have been persuaded to attend. Fear not, Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on St. Cloud.

Oct 26/27
I know last year I said I wouldn't go to Denver, and then I didn't, but I'm definitely not going this year. It should be noted that we are once again playing Denver on my birthday, and so they will die.

Nov 2/4

Nov 9/10
Colorado College
No chance of going to this game. I won't even be able to listen to the games. Someone will have to text me updates (CISKIE!). We will sweep.

Nov 16/17
Michigan Tech
This is the only game we will DEFINITELY be attending. MEg would murder me if I didn't go. tDogs will murder Tech. Mike Curry will get a hat trick. I will die happy (many years from now).

Nov 23/24
North Dakota
The GF trip is going to have to wait. But I would like to get a win at the Ralph. I'm cool with a split.

Nov 30/Dec 1
This one has a very slim chance of occurring. I would have to get a new job, first of all, and even then, I'd only be able to go to the Saturday night game, and I'd have to drive to Mankato like a bat out of hell (which is no problem) to get to the game on time. A FREE TICKET might convince me it is possible. Please, don't let this be a Battle of the Basement again.

Dec 7/8
Alaska Anchorage
Not going to happen. Not even if Donald was coming. SexyLaw won't be there. Sweep.

Dec 14
U.S. NationalUnder-18 Team
I'm not driving to Duluth just to see us playing the teenagers. Must-win.

Jan 4/5
Bemidji State
As a protest for Beargate 2006, I will not be going. Evidently, we're done with the whole Home-and-Home business. VENGEANCE!!! Sweep.

Jan 11/12
It's pretty sad that we are playing Mankato 4 games this year and I'm most likely going to miss all of the games. But I guess if you've seen one cheap shot, you've seen them all. And if you've seen your team score on itself once, you hang yourself. Season sweep??? (It's doubtful, but a girl can dream.)

Jan 18/19
Minnesota-Twin Cities
Who's buyin'? Time to take back the DECC!

Jan 25/26
This would be a really interesting series to go to, because I love going to Massachusetts, and I could probably convince the RWD East Coast Correspondents to come with me. Let's get the sweep this year, boys!

Feb 1/2
With The Hick no longer in Wisconsin, it's much harder to get out there. I'd like to go, esp. if my buddy BB is going, but weirdly school is on back to back weekends.

Feb 8/9

Feb 15
Michigan Tech
SORRY MEg! But I'm sure the boys will sweep without me.

Feb 22/23
Colorado College
This would be a fun series to go to, and actually might maybe kind of be feasible. PLUS, MafiaMan owes me a Duluth trip. AHEM AHEM.

Mar 1/2
North Dakota
Would be soooooooooo fun. But caaaaaaaaaan't make it. I'd like to see some wins against UND this year.

Mar 7/8
Minnesota-Twin Cities

Mar 14/15/16
WCHA First Round
Note the optimism in the pink text.

Mar 20/21/22
WCHA Final Five
PRESENT! Tickets will be ordered in November!

Mar 28/29/30
NCAA Regionals
We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Apr 3/5
NCAA Frozen Four
I'd be in Denver in a heartbeat for my 'Dogs. Can't wait to hoist the first banner (because I personally would be raising it.)

The weirdest thing about this year's schedule is all the pinks in a row there. Too many home series over break. Those are going to be some poorly attended games... UNLESS WE ROCK!!! (Which we will!!!!)

*Gophers Invite Cupcake Teams So We Don't Get Embarrassed At Our Own Tournament

Everyone Else Is Doing It

New blogs on the sidebar!

First of all, I have the two new(ish) blogs announced on Western College Hockey: The College Hockey (and Other Stuff) Blog (affiliation unknown) and The Second Best Feeling in the World (Tech). Both of these guys already link to RWD, so they are clearly tuned in the zeitgeist of college hockey.

Secondly, I updated the Northern Michigan blogs. Or, rather, I deleted the two that I had, because Matt and Kyle joined forces with this dude who didn't have a blog to create Tech Still Sucks. My only question to that was, what if Tech gets good? And then I remembered: it's Tech! No worries!

Finally, I added Win Twins to the blogroll, which I should have done a LONG LONG time ago, but didn't, probably because I thought I already had. Though there is much Twins content right now, Win Twins is also a St. Cloud State Huskies blog. Known associates include Let'sGoMavs and Nin, who likes Wisconsin, but whose blog is mostly personal (right now.)