Thursday, March 31, 2011

KEEP THE FAITH Billy Joel, Kings fans. We LOVE LA.

(Image by Lauren Belfoy)

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Photo Courtesy of Full.Body.Transplant.

A Reverse NHL All-Star Draft brought to you by the smartasses at DropGlovesNotBombs blog
By Lauren Belfoy and Fraser Matthews

The NHL threw us for a loop when they announced that this year’s NHL All-Star Game would be changed from the typical East vs. West format to a pick-up hockey game type of “drafting” system, where team captains would choose their teammates from a pool of selected players, schoolyard style.

Interesting, a real-life fantasy Draft with all the best players in the NHL.

I’ve seen plenty of mocks of this Friday’s All-Star “Fantasy” Draft. Professional hockey writers, bloggers and fans alike are getting off on imagining who captains Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal will pick, and in what order. Will there be a teammate/old buddy/country-of-origin bias? Will they keep it fair? Or will it get interesting? Will the Sedins be split in two, like Carolina? Who will be picked first and last, and what does that say about the process? What will the strategy be? Despite a handful of All-Star Game pillars (big names) pulling out like a first date (good riddance, right?), the pool of talent is still deep with prestigious picks hitting the ice for Sunday’s game in Raleigh.

As a kid, my favorite kind of team selection was the backwards kind, meaning you got to sandbag (sabotage) the other team by picking their team for them. We would take turns picking all the players we’d rather not have on our team first (the fat, slow kid), strategically leaving the ones- the ringers, that we wanted for ourselves last. Gradually we would whittle down the misfits until we had to make the real tough decisions- the ones we didn’t want to play against. Cruel perhaps, but at least no one really had to carry the stigma of being “last”. Maybe I feel this way because as the scrawny, lazy kid that just wanted to stand around talk to friends instead of engage in any sort of competition, I liked being picked in the early rounds for once.

My partner at DropGlovesNotBombs blog, my male-counterpart, Fraser Matthews (a fan of the game, like myself) and I, being the out-of-the-box thinkers that we are, decided to go for a different take on the NHL All-Star Game Fantasy Draft. We took it straight back to childhood for a good old fashioned reverse-draft, struck up a little friendly rivalry and put our dichotomy on display. We each represented a 2011 All-Star Team, and through a grueling, day-killer of a process, took turns picking players for the other guy’s team; an un-draft if you will. We took in consideration everything that an All-Star Game team captain would keep in mind when choosing a team that would be both a contender and a crowd pleaser- only in reverse. It resulted in what is hopefully an educational, off the wall, but mostly entertaining dialog.

Because what is really more fun than picking your fantasy All-Star team out of a plethora of NHL talent?

Sandbagging the other “GM” from picking theirs.

With Team Lidstrom being represented by faux-GM Fraser Matthews and Team Staal being represented by myself (Lauren Belfoy), I give you the first ever DropGlovesNotBombs Un-Draft.

This is Carolina in my mind.

By decision of a coin-flip Team Lidstrom (Fraser) has first pick for Team Staal (Belfoy).

Team Lidstrom (Fraser Matthews)-
“With the first allocation, Team Lidstrom drafts Keith Yandle to Team Staal. He is the most recent addition to the All-Star Game roster, and is on pace for a career high in points, however he is an unknown around these parts and may not see much ice time”

Team Staal (Lauren Belfoy)-
“For our first round pick, Team Staal drafts Corey Perry to Team Lidstrom. The Anaheim Ducks winger is not exactly known as a fan favorite, and is commonly the answer to the old ‘player-you-like-to-play-against-the-least’ interview question. So I’m not really sure what’s worse, playing against Corey Perry or playing with Corey Perry.”

Team Lidstrom-
“Speaking of guys nobody wants to play with, the one-dimensional Phil Kessel goes to team Staal here in the second round. Partially thanks to Leafs management, the right-winger found his way into this year’s game, as there is really no way any Leafs player should be there in all honesty. Kessel is a -19 with only 15 assists. And nobody wants to play with a puck hog in the All Star Game.”

Team Staal-
“In order to ensure Team Lidstrom has as little crowd support as possible, I pick left-winger Patrik Elias of the New Jersey Devils. Aside from a painful season (quite literally), the Devils have become a key rival of the Carolina Hurricanes the past several years, and have met four times in the playoffs since 2001. This ought to draw some boos from the crowd in Raleigh.”

Team Lidstrom-
“Rounding out the Starting Defensive corps for Team Staal will be Erik Karlsson, a 20-year-old coming into the game with a dismal -16. I take it he’s representing Ottawa based on the ‘everyone has to send someone’ rule.”

Team Staal-
“Keeping with the anti-crowd-support theme, Team Lidstrom can look forward being jeered for Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien's By-Fugly goal celebrations. Not to mention it's Big Buff's first All Star Game appearance, and since teammate Tobias Ennstrom dropped out of the ASG, there goes his Atlanta support. On the plus side, he can look forward to being reunited with former teammate Patrick Kane.”

Team Lidstrom-
David Backes. Power Forwards have never really been integral in the All Star Game as taking the body is not part of the friendly competition vibe at the ASG. This significantly diminishes Backes’ game, but I suppose anyone would be happy to be a plug on an All Star team. Backes is yours.”

Team Staal-
Martin Havlat. Another last minute add to the ASG roster, the Wild right winger is a replacement for last minute All-Star scratch Evgeni Malkin, but just doesn't compare. Second best though is only the best for Team Lidstrom. Perhaps he can strike up a conversation with the Captain about getting knocked out by Red Wing Niklas Kronwall in the playoffs. All Star Grudge.”

Team Lidstrom-
“Your kid brother is 231st in points this year, yet he made it to the All-Star Game. Nothing more awkward than an anchor on your team, even more so when he's your own blood. Defenseman Marc Staal belongs to Team Eric Staal.”

Team Staal-
“Starting in goal for Team Lidstrom will be Jonas Hiller. The Anaheim Ducks netminder is participating in his first All-Star Game in his four years playing in the NHL. While being an absolute rock for the Ducks, his popularity most likely doesn't extend all the way out to Carolina. Jonas who?”

Team Lidstrom-
“Starting in goal for Team Staal is a guy that knows how to have a good time. Never one to shy away from the nightlife in Montreal, Carey Price will surely find some fun in the land of NASCAR and Budweiser. Banking on the Habs ‘tender being properly hungover, there is no better type of goalie to be shooting on.”

Team Staal-
“Also on D for Team Liddy will be Minnestota Wild blue liner Brent Burns. In his 7th year in the NHL, this will be Burns' first All-Star appearance. He is no doubt deserving (at least his beard is) despite a bloody altercation earlier this season for which he was suspended. In the All-Star game, the ruffians are all yours.”

Team Lidstrom-
“There is nothing like a good goaltending controversy, but there will be a lot of talk about who is the 'King of Quebec' between Carey Price and the 7th round pick for Team Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury. One was born there (Sorel) and one has the key to the city. We all think of MA Fleury as the mild mannered Beaver Cleaver that looks like the lead singer from Simple Plan, but he leads all goalies in PIM's. He is sure to undermine starter Price all the way until he gets yanked.”

Team Staal-
“Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist goes to Team Lidstrom. I always say never trust a hockey player that looks like a male model. The puck bunnies are all yours.”

Team Lidstrom-
“We aren't here to make friends, we are here to win. The game may be at home for him, but they are only 13-8-2 there, nothing too spectacular. Cam Ward can spend his 20 minutes in net for teammate Eric Staal’s team; the crowd support won't last beyond that.”

Team Staal-
“Looks like that leaves Team Lidstrom with Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas. Timmy is always an ASG go-to, and not just because of his stellar 23-5-6 record this season (which is reason enough to have him on the roster), but because he's the most entertaining guy to have mic'd up between the pipes.”

Team Lidstrom-
“Nashville and Carolina should be bigger rivals. They play only two times a year despite sharing a border. That said, I am counting on the home crowd not knowing what Shea Weber is all about. The guy has a cannon of a shot, but I am sure has never been heard across state lines.”

Team Staal-
“Also manning the blue-line for Team Lidstrom will be Dan Boyle. One of a handful of All-Star selections over the age of 30, Boyle (and his team) have had a bit of an unhinged season thus far. Regardless, Danny seems like an All-Star Game mainstay. Still, I'm banking on the fans in Carolina to be relatively out of touch with this San Jose Shark.”

Team Lidstrom-
“He is a big body presence with a hell of a slap shot, and Big Z Zdeno Chara is sure to repeat as champion of the hardest shot competition. But when it comes to the actual game, the biggest pylon can join Team Staal.”

Team Staal-
“In that case, Kris Letang is all yours. A smallish but incredibly capable D-man that is ideal in a regular season game or an HBO special won't do too much for the Carolina hockey crowd (‘Where's Sid?’). Maybe he and Lidstrom can compare their back-to-back Stanley Cup rings.”

Team Lidstrom-
“Another grinder to fill out the third line on Team Staal is Philly’s Claude Giroux, a dynamic forward who brings speed and toughness to the table. He should mesh well with Backes.”

“Ah bitch.”

“Your team sucks.”

“Your team sucks more.”

Team Staal-
Loui Eriksson belongs to Team Lidstrom. He's a hot scorer for the Dallas Stars, but is he hot enough for his first All-Star Game? Swedes of a feather should flock together.”

Team Lidstrom-
Matt Duchene is another young gun of the under 25 persuasion making his first All-Star appearance in the big show. He should show some flashes of brilliance out there if he can get used to the steamy NASCAR air of Carolina after thriving in that Colorado altitude.”

Team Staal-
“I regret having to keep him with teammate Patrick Kane, but no-teeth Duncan Keith belongs on a team with an already hefty defensive corps. You're welcome, Team Lidstrom. Team Staal can only hope that Duncan Keith is bored of All-Star appearances by now.”

Team Lidstrom-
“The artist formerly known as Daniel Briere. Reincarnated this year thanks to his setup man Ville Leino, 'Danny' Briere has been lighting the lamp and deservingly punched his ticket to this year’s All-Star Game following an injury.”

Team Staal-
“I've heard a generous share of Brad Richards trade rumors this season. What a good chance for him to put his currently-hot offensive skills on display for the entire hockey world... on Team Lidstrom.

Team Lidstrom-
Anze Kopitar is a top flight NHL player, but will the jet-lag get to him? Will he mesh with his All-Star teammates? There are a lot of shooters on Team Staal right now, not a lot of playmakers.”

Team Staal-
“In the spirit of strategy, I'm going to take a leap of faith here and give up uber goal scorer Daniel Sedin to Team Lidstrom in the hopes of picking up playmaker Henrik. I may regret this later.”

Team Lidstrom-
“Chicago’s Patrick Sharp is joining Team Staal. The Manitoba native is on pace to post a career high in goals, and is one of several players making his first All-Star Game appearance this year, rightfully so.”

Team Staal-
“While I don't mind splitting the Sedins, I just don't have the heart to separate Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. Captain Serious (Jonathan Toews) belongs to you, P-Kane (and Team Lidstrom).”

Team Lidstrom-
Rick Nash is headed to play with his Canadian Olympic linemate Eric Staal. The two have shared success in the past and should appropriately play together in this year’s All-Star Game.”

Team Staal-
“I should have seen this coming, but damn. Looks like I have no choice but to give up the other Wonder Twin to Team Lidstrom. Henrik Sedin is yours, you twin-hoarder. It's okay, I didn't want the bread without the butter anyway.”

Team Lidstrom-
“I (painfully) give up to Team Staal the 9th leading scorer in the NHL, and perhaps the most popular player in the league, Alexander Ovechkin.”

Team Staal-
“Team Staal will gladly take a crowd pleaser. That leaves Team Lidstrom with the final non-pick: current number-one scorer in the league, and really no less of a fan favorite, the electric-dynamo that is Steven Stamkos.”

Well, that concludes the first ever DGNB NHL All-Star Game Un-Draft. The rosters of each team (as chosen by the other team) look like this:

It's up to YOU to decide who has the better team, as we are still bantering over who would win the actual game... and the crowd.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The New York Islanders: From Dynasty to Disaster

(Photo courtesy of CBC Canada)

Puckinvibes and Drop Gloves Not Bombs are teaming up for some quick hits on the latest news around the NHL. We are 20 games into the season and will be covering some of the biggest stories so far. Our first topic is the desolate state of the New York Islanders.


They don't call them the New York Islanders for nothin', folks. It’s an organization that's been on an Island of its own for countless years, and for countless eye opening reasons. If Alexei Yashin and Rick Dipietro can get mega, Taco Bell mega big box type deals, then a Hockey fan sitting on his tush writing blogs about players skating on a sheet of ice can get that type of deal. Oh how quickly a franchise could go from a four-peat of Stanley Cups where guys like Bossy and Trottier were so bossy and brotted all over the opposition to being the inept organization that is being bossed around and trotted all over while playing in a barn that's in complete, utter shambles. The Islanders trigger finger for 15 year deals is worse than someone's outrageous sweet tooth for chocolate. Garth Snow stripping a blogger's locker room credentials, in the midst of an ugly losing streak (Losing streak count: 13, baby.), makes the fault of the team's super-sized rut fall on the blogger, himself. The Islanders must think that stripping a blogger's locker room credentials will make waves in a positive way, like the Ice Girls stripping and wearing outrageously skimpy outfits to appeal the bulging eyes of the male species. Not that this doesn't either, but I digress.
At this point, the Fishsticks may be the most giving charity I've ever seen. You want a big time player or two points from the Isles? They will give it to you so graciously that the definition of graciously will need to be re-worked in the English Dictionary.

Who's to blame for the Islanders demise over the last few years and counting? Is it the coaching staff/players or is the management that futile? Garth Snow, a former NHL goalie, is the general manager/stripper of blogger's credentials can be blamed partly for the Islanders struggles, but mostly for the recent struggles, not the overall organization issues over the last decade or so. Mike Milbury, resident d-bag and former Isles GM, absolutely stripped (don't fret about the stripped word count!) this team's talent level big time. We give Roberto Luongo a pile of sheet for his playoff choke artistry in Vancouver, but at least he isn't as fragile as one Rick Dipietro. Olli Joke-in-en is even better than Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish, righttttt? Zdeno Chara is better than the rejects that came the Islanders way, am I right or wrong?
Throughout the mid 2000's, the Islanders could have been a perennial playoff contender. At that point, those three were either in their prime or about ready to set off into their prime. They were what you'd want today. A number 1, dominant center who puts up 90 points per year, a number 1 blue liner, hulking one at that who sets off 100 mph bombs from the point and a young AND a super-talented number 1 netminder that could potentially ride you to the big dance. For the ten die hard Islanders fans, they can attest to the feeling.
It's easy to forget about a bad trade when your team is a contender year in and year out but when the team is on a bigger downfall than the water in Niagara Falls, the pain is everlasting. Shouldn't Milbury be banned from covering Isles games, as a color man or an analyst, after the slaughtering of his roster that still feels the affect, a decade later like a Scott Stevens patented hit on Eric Lindros?


Much like their building, the Islanders are falling apart. This time, however, the damage may be irreparable. While it is certainly in vogue to pile on this franchise, the fact of the matter is that the dysfunction will certainly breed discontent. This time around instead of trading away their future stars, they may just walk away.

The Islanders have a decent nucleus of young talent, and at the top of this list is John Tavares. The key to the future of the team rests on the shoulders of #91. The big problem that we can all see on the horizon is that John Tavares is going to run out of patience with the franchise.

(Photo courtesy of The Hockey News)

While Steven Stamkos sets the league on fire with a great supporting cast, top notch coaching from Guy Boucher and the tutelage from hockey legend Steve Yzerman, Tavares has Jack Capuano and Garth Snow to fall back on. None of his line mates are all-star quality, he plays in front of 11,058 fans a night on the island and he is not becoming the future star that everyone has always promised he would be. His development is being hindered severely by the dysfunction from within the franchise.

Michael McEnany recently wrote in the Long Island Press: "They claim it took approximately 870 years to completely rebuild the Roman Empire back 753 BC. For fans of the New York Islanders, the rebuilding process around here is starting to feel just about as arduous."

It doesn't quite feel like rebuilding though does it. There is no long term vision from the owner, aside from a pocket filling mixed use land deal to get his Lighthouse project off the ground. The General Manager is clearly in over his head and they have just fired a coach and brought in an inexperienced man from the minors who is not exactly a superstar coach in the making. At this point in time they need to realize that they have Josh Bailey (who was just sent to the minors), Kyle Okposo and John Tavares to take care of. These players are the fresh faces of the franchise, the ones that they need to develop and the ones that they need to keep happy. If Tavares walks, this franchise will barely survive on the ice, and it is hard to believe that it will survive off of it. The Islanders haven't been relevant in over a decade, and nobody wants to fade into obscurity with them.

John Donne said "No one man is an island", however in this case, one very young man is the Island.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Disclaimer: I do not advocate readership of this particular blog for those UNDER THE AGE OF 18, nor do I support the usage of said substance by those under 21. Stay in school, kids. 

For the rest of you, maturity, as always, is not required. 

With all the hype surrounding the high (heh heh) profile Proposition 19 out here in Californ-I-A on this Election Day, I figured I’d drop a little awareness on all of you out there in the rest of the hockey world (the West Coast, and the Rest coast), rolling you a little mental joint if you will, so Turn on, Tune in, and Drop out.

In the spirit of brevity, Prop 19 (aka Prop 420, I have no idea why) is the ballot measure in the state of California that will, if passed, legalize the personal use, limited cultivation, and transportation of marijuana by all persons over 21 years of age. It would end marijuana prohibition, thus allowing the State to regulate, tax and control cannabis how they choose (we’ll cross that crooked bridge when we come to it). Basically California's upward thinking is hoping this homely little plant with a heart of gold will (singlehandedly) pull the State out of debt, whilst pulling some rather shady characters off the streets and away from your underage kids. Not a bad idea in any part of the world, really.

‘But how does this affect me?’ you ask dubiously from the Rest Coast. Maybe it doesn’t. But it may have its place in the game we all love- baked or not, and depending on which way the votes swing, sooner than you think. Cannabis is currently legalized for medical purposes only in 16 US states, including California, Colorado, DC, Michigan, and New Jersey (NHL states); California having the loosest regulation and most progressive stand on the substance. Marijuana possession is still illegal in Canada, despite popular belief, but several loopholes exist, thus it is basically “decriminalized”. The NHL does not test for marijuana (though the Olympics organization does, so the big names ought to cut out the chronic), and as far as I know, usage (medically or recreationally) is not common among the NHL-set; but the discouraging stigma exists in any setting. 

I suppose most of the controversy (in sports) comes from the idea that marijuana may actually be a performance enhancer, though from personal experience, and mostly all second hand experience, it’s conclusive that it either hinders actual performance, or isn’t of any noticeable difference. The effects of marijuana on athletic performance include (but vary by individual):  impairment of hand-eye coordination, reaction time, motor coordination, perceptual accuracy, concentration, and reduces maximum exercise capacity (though the latter is arguable as I find it increases it, or perhaps just makes exercising more fun). If smoked (which is never recommended as a vehicle for medical purposes), it can cause long and short term respiratory issues, though there are completely safe options as far as medicating goes (vaporizing, edibles). I certainly wouldn’t recommend a pre-game bong hit or even a party-brownie as hockey is fast paced and requires quick reactions, and sharp thinking. Unless you like taking Too Many Men and Delay of Game penalties, beforehand usage would do a game situation no good.

However the potential medical benefits of cannabis to hockey players, and athletes in general are encouraging, and almost overwhelming. 

Here’s a broad list of hockey-related conditions that medical cannabis has been known to treat (approved conditions that qualify for a medical cannabis referral): 

Back pain/sprain
Brain trauma
Chronic Pain
Dyslexic Amblyopia
Gastrointestinal disorders
Knee/ankle/foot injury
Muscle tension/spasm
Post Concussion syndrome
Post surgery conditions
Stress-related conditions

Wow, a magical, all-natural, organic plant product that effectively treats pain of all types as well as emotional and mental conditions without the risk of dependency (unless you’ve never taken a hit in your life, you should know that marijuana is physically non-addictive, unlike its nasty cousin nicotine), and minimal physical side effects (mostly junk food); why would any team doctor not be in favor of this? Cheaper and safer than painkillers, anti-depressants, and sleeping pills (all of which are unfortunately, commonly prescribed to professional athletes). And I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t make for a safer (and better) party alternative to alcohol (also a common inebriant for our athletes), and look ma no hangover! 

But I regress, I’m not the type to attempt to sway voters in any political aspect, I am first and foremost a believer in freedom of choice, and doing what needs to be done to keep the peace and overall well-being of humanity; I don’t do peer pressure, I do what makes sense. In other words, I don’t like to touch politics with a Willie Mitchell sized stick. But like about half California right now, I like to be a progressive thinker, even when it comes to the small-ish but ever important pieces of my life (hockey). Here’s something potentially “game” changing that all forward-thinking hockey fans, players, management and staff alike can get behind, at least a little; something Big Stick Willie and his post-concussion syndrome can certainly get down with. 

Or perhaps it’s just me, and my bucket list goal of some day burning one (legally) with Jeremy Roenick. And that’s a dream that any good-time hockey fan can relate to. Those fans know what I’m talking about, like they know how Don Cherry (and his wardrobe) make complete sense from the “other side”… really, try it sometime.

Support progress, in hockey and in life.

Now puff, puff, pass that shit like Joe Thornton.


(Images- Lauren Belfoy,

Friday, October 29, 2010


I’ve never been a subscriber to the whole “real men wear pink” mentality. I prefer my fellas in earth tones, greys, black, blues that don’t enter “baby” territory. But Colton Orr may just change my mind about this painfully uncool color (or colour, yes I'm bilingual).

Colton Orr fights guys AND Cancer, what do you do?
Word on the street is Leafs tough guy Colton Orr x Reebok collabo-ed to make the game’s first pink skates (supposedly set to make a game debut) to raise money and awareness to battle Cancer. 

How cool is that? 

I used to ask hockey player friends of mine if they would wear pink skates/helmet/laces if it meant they would score a goal every game. They all said no, for whatever reasons.

Alas it takes a beauty to change the game. It takes Colton Orr to make pink fucking scary. Now that's something I can get behind.

I hear a movement a' rockin'.

We can only hope.

 Peace + Love + Cancer Awareness, hockey fans.