Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Hockey News makes me laugh somtimes

So, The Hockey News just picked Chicago to win the Central Division this year.

Fun fact: Chicago has NEVER won the Central. The last time they won a division title it was still the Norris.

They also picked Chicago to come in second in the Conference... behind San Jose.

Teams that I am picking to finish ahead of Chicago this year (out of the West): Detroit, St. Louis, San Jose, Anaheim (although it kind of kills me to admit that), Calgary and possibly Vancouver.

Don't get me wrong, Chicago is an up-and-coming powerhouse... emphasis on up-and-coming. Apparently THN has already forgotten how the 2009 Western Conference Finals ended. If Chicago has any advantage over Detroit going into this year, it's that most of their team gets the Olympic break off while half of the Red Wings will be representing their countries in Vancouver. And I think that if any team manages to knock Detroit out of the top spot in the Central, it will be St. Louis, not Chicago.

In other news... college football soon! Whoo!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh, the Lions...

I am in the process of packing up the rest of my crap (how have I managed to accumulate so much stuff?) to go back to school tonight, but someone emailed me this quote and I wanted to share it with you:

"DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford took his first snap as a pro and perfectly executed a play-action pass. The problem: Keary Colbert dropped the ball. Welcome to the Detroit Lions, kid." (ESPN)

I laughed.

Also, rather than trying to pick out my favorite books to take to school with me, I am taking only books that I own but haven't read. That is more books than I would like to admit.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is this real life?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but...

Ken Holland, what the hell are you thinking?

We just signed Todd Bertuzzi to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.


I can see the upsides to this. He's a gritty forward that will probably be healthier than Holmstrom and company. It's only for one year, and with the amount of contracts we have ending next year we could replace Bert, Homer, and Maltby with Abdelkader and two big free agents (I'm assuming that Lidstrom will take a Stevie-esque contract that will drop his cap hit considerably). It creates a LOT of competition in training camp- we now have 14 NHL-ready forwards signed, even if it is a foregone conclusion that Abdelkader will be in GR this season.

But seriously... I didn't like him when he played for us before and I don't like it now. There are some players that I never want to see in the Winged Wheel and Bertuzzi is one of them.

I'm hoping the fact that he will have to compete for his roster spot every single night will keep his attitude and tendency to take bad penalties in check.

My latest take on the potential lines:


With Holmstrom on the top power play unit, and potentially Cleary on the second unit in Leino's place.

I was GOING to do a big post about Abdelkader today and how he is the personification of guys that I love having in Detroit, but now I'm just annoyed. I guess I'll do it tomorrow...

In other news, I was at a Beer League Playoff Game last night (serious business, guys!) which "my team" won 6-3 with my friend Kaleb scoring five goals (and having the first assist on the sixth goal). They were playing a total Goon Squad, and the Goons didn't disappoint- after the final goal there was an awesome cheap shot that led to a fight (with blood!) and THEN led to the cops being called!!! The next game is on Thursday so I'll try to get the scoop on what happened after we left.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Apparently I was very, very ignorant

This past weekend, I went to Toronto with five of the most amazing women I have ever met. It was my first time to TO, and included my first visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame. I learned a lot of things on this trip. So much, in fact, that I am dedicating a blog post to...


1. Pat Kane was just arrested! -Em (friend from home)
2. It's possible to try to be a puck bunny and fail. -Mer and Kylie
3. If you are a fan of Sidney Crosby, you are from Nova Scotia. -guy on the street.
4. Ali and I shouldn't be friends anymore. -another guy on the street.
5. Wearing an Yzerman jersey gives you more street cred than wearing a Crosby jersey. -random guys at the HHOF
6. If you do a good job in a shinny game against the Rangers, they will take you back to NYC with them. In a helicopter. How BA is that? -Mystery Alaska
7. Wayne Gretzky owns a restaurant! -Ali and Wayne
8. Subway stations can come in the form of phone booths that beam you to wherever you are going. -Ali
9. If one person wearing a Detroit jersey walks to the HHOF with five people wearing Pittsburgh jerseys, people will stare. -random people
10. They will also take pictures. -same random people
11. Mike Green told Kylie to get a mocha. -Mike and Kylie
12. Mike and Kylie's children are going to have fro-hawks (mohawks of curly hair). -Kylie
13. You're not supposed to drink the tempura sauce. -Mer (edited to correct the sauce- for some reason, I thought it was tandoori)
14. Taylor Lautner is from a hockey town, not Hockeytown. Clarity is necessary so Kylie doesn't have a heart attack. -me and Kylie
15. It is, in fact, possible to fit six girls (and all of their shit) into a hotel room meant for four. Without the hotel figuring it out. -us
16. Winners come from Newfoundland. -the Baseball Junior National Champions

If I missed something, feel free to tell me in the comments section and I'll add it to the post. =]

In other awesome news, today is Valtteri Filppula Days! (AKA the NHL regular season starts in 51 days) I am anxiously awaiting the post over at Peachy, even though I have probably already seen all the pictures and videos that will be used. In fact, there is a really good chance that I sent all of them to Kylie last night. Whatever. I'm still pumped that one of my boys is being featured.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Something that I will always associate with Michigan after I leave is the concept of "up north."

Most families I know either own property in northern Michigan or rent the same cabin or camp site every summer. When I was growing up, we rented the same cabin every year with some family friends, and also stayed at the same marinas in our boat. After my dad married my stepmom, we moved to the category of families with property, as her grandmother owns a cabin that all of the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids use for vacations.

Six years of my young life were spent living with a river (and I mean a River, not a stream or something) going through my backyard (literally). I grew up around boats and have been swimming since before I could walk. Water- real water, not pools- has always been a source of comfort for me. I lost count of the number of times I walked to the river during my freshman year of college.

Last weekend I took my first trip "up north" of the summer. A few storms blew through, and though the temperature was generally comfortable it was too cold for swimming. Being me, I still spent hours sitting on the end of the dock with my feet in the water.

I had brought my books up to the cabin with me, but somehow neither of them seemed appropriate for the bright sun and clear water- The Historian is a fiction thriller about vampires, and King Leopold's Ghost details the all-too-real horrors of the travesties in the Congo. I ended up spending most of the weekend thinking.

The newspaper we had brought from home had an article about possible free agent acquisitions the Red Wings could make to fill our holes at forward. The article got me thinking about the changes the team has gone through over the years.

Konstantinov's accident. Scotty Bowman's retirement. The lock-out and the salary cap. Babcock joining the team. Yzerman's retirement. July 1, 2009.

Yes, next year's team will be considerably different than last year's. That's hockey. That's life.

But the core remains. We have our Captains and our Assistants. We have our owners. We have our coach. We have the greatest General Manager in sports. We have the undying faith and love of the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan pushing this team.

And I have absolutely no doubts that the 2009-2010 Detroit Red Wings will be Stanley Cup contenders once again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just kidding...

This will actually be my last post before I leave. =P

I'm going to attempt to keep a blog chronicling my adventures. It's on my other gmail account so it's not linked to this profile, but you should all check it out anyway!

And you should obviously keep me posted on how the Finals are going.

Much love,


A final post to this blog before I venture off tomorrow, with some thoughts about my beloved Red Wings, this series, and why I hate June 13th.

I think this series will go to seven. I'm not making predictions about who will win it all, or who will win what games, because I am honestly not sure. The only prediction I am making is that the Conn Smythe will go to the goalie of whichever team wins, because they'll have earned it.

I never feel like I can talk about why the Red Wings could win it all without soapboxing, so I won't. You probably saw why they could win it all last year.

The Pens could win it all because their top players are actually performing (Malkin, I'm looking at you), they have experience, both in the Finals and in Guerin, they have the coaching (I still think Babcock can outcoach Bylsma, but not by as wide of a margin as with MT), and they want it. They really really really want it.

Excited as I am to be heading off on my adventure, I'm sad that I won't be able to watch the games. I know they'll be archived on Hulu, but watching games when you already know the outcome just isn't the same. I love hockey. I love my team. I want to sit in front of the TV with pizza and beer and yell and laugh and scream and cry- with sadness or with joy yet to be determined. For the second year in a row, I am missing out on the final games of my team's season. It sucks.


I was going to do this post on June 13th, but since I have no idea where I will be on that day, or if I have internet access, I will have to post it today.

A few weeks ago, Mer posted a video about the Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run this year. I'm not sure if it was made by the franchise, or a fan. I watched it just for the hell of it (lord knows I'm as neutral as you can be about the Pens) and I was shocked to see the video end with the slogan Believe. Since then, I've noticed it a few other places- LJ icons, desktops, etc, involving a few teams, but mostly for the Penguins.

I don't care if other franchises want to try to take Hockeytown (it's trademarked anyway), or bitch about the octopus, but Believe does not mean to any other franchise what it means to Detroit, and my seeing it next to any logo but the winged wheel feels like a slap in the face.

This is why.

Spring of 1989 was huge for the Detroit Red Wings. The Cold War was coming to a close, and all the owners and general managers were desperately trying to guess if Russian players would be allowed into the NHL soon.

The Red Wings were still in their rebuilding stage; they hadn't won the Stanley Cup since 1955. Between 1967 and 1983 they only made the playoffs twice. They were known as the Dead Things.

In 1982 the team was sold to Mike and Marian Illitch, who used the first pick of their first draft on Steve Yzerman. He was named Captain in 1986 and things were looking up- they were making the playoffs, at least- but they couldn't make it to the only thing that mattered, the Stanley Cup Finals.

In 1989, the Red Wings drafted, in order: Mike Sillinger, Bob Boughner, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Federov, Shawn McCosh, Dallas Drake, Scott Zygulski, Andy Suhy, Bob Jones, Greg Bignell, Rick Judson, Vladimir Konstantinov, Joe Frederick, and Jason Glickman.

It was considered a shallow draft year, and half of Detroit's picks never even made it to the NHL. Among those that did were the two best defensemen that will play for Detroit in my lifetime.

Obviously, one is Lidstrom. The other is Konstantinov.

They both played their rookie season in 1991-1992, and were both selected to the NHL All-Rookie team. Lidstrom finished second in Calder voting behind Pavel Bure.

As other draft picks, free agents, and traded players joined the team, Lidstrom was eclipsed, falling to the second defensive unit behind the Russian Five.

Coach (and genius) Scotty Bowman was intrigued by the old Soviet style of hockey, in which players were on five-man units. He put together Vyacheslav Kozlov (LW), Igor Larianov (C), Sergei Federov (RW), Slava Fetisov (D), and Konstantinov (D). The Russian Five were noted for their speed and puck control, based on talents they had perfected while playing for the Soviet national team.

Konstantinov was known for his grit. He had impressed a Detroit scout at the 1987 World Junior Championship. When a fight broke out during a Soviet/Canada game, Vlad was the only Russian that actually hit back. He was aggressive, and excelled at throwing opponents off their game. He once said, "For my game, I don’t need to score the goal. I need someone to start thinking about me and forgetting about scoring goals." We fans called him Vlad the Impaler, or the Vladinator.

He had a reputation as a pest, but he was also one of the most skilled defensemen I have ever watched. In the 1995/1996 season he finished at +60, the best +/- since Gretzky's retirement. In 1996/1997, he finished second in voting for the Norris Trophy. Lidstrom finished fourth.

Detroit ended its Stanley Cup drought in 1997, sweeping Philadelphia. They would not, could not have done this without the Russian Five. During the 1997 playoffs, the Red Wings went 16–0 when any of the Russians scored a point and 0–4 when they did not. I had just turned eight, and my parents let me stay up late to watch the final game. I watched Stevie Y, my Captain, accept the Stanley Cup and thought that nothing could ever feel better.

Six days later, the team had a celebratory function; a golf outing, followed by a dinner party. They had been drinking, so Vlad, Fetisov, and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov rented a limo together to take them home.

We found out later that the driver's license was suspended for drunk driving.

He lost control of the limo and smashed them into the median of Woodward Avenue, the same street that makes up the majority of the parade route after Cup victories.

Fetisov made it out with minor scrapes and bruises. Vlad and Mnatsakanov were both in comas with serious head injuries; no one knew if they would make it.

Both men woke up later that summer, but I will never forget the surge of disappointment when I would watch the news every night with my dad in the meantime, and hear that Vlad was still in his coma. I was young enough that my team, and my favorite players, were heroes, practically immortal. I didn't understand how this could possibly have happened.

Fetisov was able to return to the ice for the 1997/1998 season. Vlad and Mnatsakanov were both in wheelchairs and beginning the long process of physical therapy. The Red Wings dedicated that sesason to their missing pieces, wearing a patch on their jerseys that said Believe in both English and Russian, complete with the initials VK & SM.

When Stevie Y hoisted the Cup at the end of that season, the first person it went to was Vlad in his wheelchair. I will never forget watching Larianov push his countryman and friend around the ice with the Cup.

The Illitches had Vlad's named engraved into the Cup as a member of the 1998 Championship winning team. His number has been unofficially retired; no other Red Wing will ever wear #16. His locker is still set up in the locker room, complete with a small rock which says Believe.

For the rest of the teams, Believe simply represents a faith in the team's ability to win. For Detroit, Believe represents the strength and will to overcome all odds, to avenge a fallen comrade, and to convince the Hockeytown nation that this team can, and will, perservere. Through anything.

When Yzerman retired in 2006, his number was retired with him. Vlad was able to be a part of the ceremony with the help of a walker. Nine years later, he was still a part of team. He is STILL a part of the team.

This video makes me cry, every time- but it's a better representation of what Believe means to Detroit, to me, than I could ever write.

Maybe it's selfish of me to feel that other teams shouldn't use the slogan. I'm probably far too attached to it than I should be. After all, it's just a word.

But it's a word that inspired a team and a city to reach for the impossible. To stay strong. To have faith.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Penguins: Don't Stop Believing!

Apparently this is the week of me finding videos...

I should say that I was very confused at the beginning of this, because "Don't Stop Believing" has always been associated with games at the Joe in my mind (born and raised in south Detroit!).

Friday, May 15, 2009

JStaal: Promoting our Alcoholism

A Pens fan that is a regular poster on the forums shared this story with us. I thought you girls might enjoy it. :)

Funny story...

My buddy got tickets to the Pirates game tonight - good seats and free, so I figure why not... the team sucks, but it was a nice night out, and PNC park really is amazing - so I head over after work. We hit the bar beforehand, so didn't get into the game until the 3rd inning... Somewhere around the 4th inning, the people with long beards 5 rows in front of us start looking really familiar, not sure why, we're kind of drunk. 5th inning, HOLY ****!!! Malkin, Staal, Scuds, and Orpik were sitting 5 rows in front of us...

now I'm not the kind of person that just goes up to people and asks for an autograph or a pic or whatever - they're out having a good time and probably don't want to be bothered too much... but I just can't pass up the chance to meet them. So I just walk up, Staal is on the end, and I just say, hey, you know everybody's going to be playing the Staal brothers drinking game on Monday, do us all a favor and get in a fight with your brother, its worth 2 shots... he just laughs and says, yeah i know, I'll see what I can do...

told geno to keep kicking ***, got a fist bump...

all in all, **** good night considering I was at a pirates game... :D :D :D

Sounds like if JStaal has anything to do with it, we'll all have liver failure by the end of this series... =P

Commercial break!

I know my audience pretty much entirely consists of Pens fans, but the Wardasaurus is just too hilarious to not share...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Live Blog: Game 3 of Detroit vs. Anaheim

10:38- So, since I had so much fun live-blogging the other game, I'm going to do it again! Starting line-up for Detroit is Holmstrom-Datsyuk-Hossa with Lidstrom and Kronwall. Interesting defensive pairing. Rafalski is stil out with his mysterious day-to-day injury.

10:41- So Hossa is on the left, Holmstrom on the right, and Lidstrom immediately left the ice for Stuart. We're less than a minute into the game and I have no idea what's going on.

Oooh, nice hit by Datsyuk!

10:42- And Detroit is going on the power play. Don't mess with Zetterberg.

10:45- What in the hell happened to our powerplay? Good lord.

10:46- I love Mickey Redmond, and his commentary on the fairly BS penalty just called on Lidstrom.

10:51- How does Pronger have no penalties so far in this series? Awesome PK by Osgood and Stuart, not so much by anyone else.

10:55- The fourth line looks good, at least. I'm going to be very annoyed if Helm is not playing in Detroit full-time next year.

10:57- Samuelsson just missed on the best Detroit chance of the game so far. He tends to be very streaky with scoring... must still be on a bad streak.

10:58- And Anaheim is going on the powerplay AGAIN.

11:05- After lots of back and forth, we are still tied at 0. The Datsyuk line has been basically nonexistent.

11:06- And on a terrible turnover by Detroit leading to a breakaway on Osgood, Anaheim goes up 1-0. However, in the first two games the first team to score lost the game, so it might not be the end of the world.

11:14- Some beautiful stops by Osgood- I'm glad to see he's not rattled. Ozzie and Pronger joke around after Lebda and Brown mix it up. My team is ridiculous.

11:16- Four on four, as Lebda and Brown head to the sin bin.

11:18- And Pronger finally heads to the box after trying to destroy Filppula. Seriously, screw you. (Flip is my favorite active Red Wing, for those who forgot.)

11:20- And Detroit almost gives up a short-handed goal at the end of the first. Why does our passing suck tonight?

11:39- Start of the second, and the end of a scoreless PP for Detroit.

11:53- More back and forth, and now Stuart is in the box on a nonexistent interference call. The refs are driving me nuts.

11:55- And after some missed goaltender interference, Anaheim scores on the powerplay to go up 2-0.

12:04- Detroit is going on the powerplay, finally. Wisniewski is hurt, but not unconscious- looks like he maybe took Holmstrom's elbow to the face.

12:08- Apparently Wisniewski is NOT okay- he just went off the ice on a stretcher. As much as I hope it's nothing serious, that's a huge loss for Anaheim.

12:10- SCORE! 2-1 Anaheim! Looks like it was Zetterberg that tapped it in after a shot by Samuelsson from the point.

12:15- Kronwall going to the box. At least that's kind of an okay call... kind of.

12:18- The most exciting part of that powerplay was Hossa nearly getting a short-handed goal. Apparently they're analyzing playoff beards during the intermission. Ken Daniels is growing one!

So, I'm giving up on the live-blog for tonight. This game is too intense and I'm too tired to do it. Maybe when the games are back in the EST.

Late edit: That call was complete and utter bullshit. I can handle losing to the Ducks, but I can't handle losing to the refs. That game should have been tied up.

This game was a series shifter, and there is a very real chance that Detroit will not be able to bounce back from this. Detroit's season might end because of incompetence from a referee.

I don't believe in the anti-Detroit conspiracy theories, but you can bet that they'll gain some followers after tonight.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm 34% cultured? And some other good news.

So, I decided that I just HAD to fill out this book list when I saw it on Mer's blog. Books were my first love. I spend far too much money in bookstores, especially in used stores and on the clearance racks at major chains. The $3-for-a-grocery-bag-of-books sales get me every summer.

I bolded the ones I have read, italicized those I own but have not yet read, and in general provide commentary about my thoughts on the books.

Also, saying I'll read something this summer depends a lot on whether or not I go to Kenya; I tend to read more when I'm traveling for extended periods of time because there isn't much else to do to relax.

1. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen -->
I'm almost ashamed to admit that I haven't read this yet, but I recently acquired a copy and plan to read it this summer.
2. The Lord Of The Rings – JRR Tolkien --> I read them in elementary school and came back to them when I heard about the movies. Excellently done, and they always make me think.
3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte --> Oddly enough, I hated this the first time I read it for AP Literature my senior year in high school. I randomly picked it up again last summer at a friend's and enjoyed it much more. Go figure.
4. Harry Potter – JK Rowling --> I'll admit it: I love these books.
5. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee --> This might be one of the best books I have ever read. It sums up racial relations in the United States far more simply and eloquently than I ever could.
6. The Bible --> We were a big church-going family when I was little, and I recently re-read parts of it when I was on a "learn about world religions" kick.
7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte --> Another one I keep meaning to read and haven't gotten to. I have been informed that I will love this book, so I'm worried my expectations will be too high.
8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell --> This book is both lovely and terrifying.

9. His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman --> I was SO disappointed in the movie.
10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens -->
11. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott --> I cry every single time I read this book. Or watch the movie.
12. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works Of Shakespeare --> I've read a good deal of Shakespeare (I took a class on him in high school, did lights for Much Ado About Nothing, and designed the set for Midsummer), but I haven't read everything. Yet.
15. Rebecca – Daphne DuMaurier
16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien --> Like LotR, but more fun.
17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18. The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger --> It was okay. I don't think it's a classic, but I don't hate it as much as Mer does.
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffeneger
20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell --> This was my favorite book for years, and I re-read it every summer.
22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24. War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy [Has anyone ever read this?]
25. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime & Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. The Grapes Of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29. Alice In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30. The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33. The Chronicles Of Narnia – CS Lewis --> LOVE these books, and was pleasantly surprised by the movies.
34. Emma – Jane Austen
35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe – CS Lewis --> Technically part of the Chronicles, but I read this one first and often read it again as a stand-alone.
37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hossini --> A Thousand Splendid Suns was better. But I love how honest this book is about Afghanistan and American perceptions of the Middle East.
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
39. Memoirs Of A Geisha – Arthur Golden
40. Winnie The Pooh – AA Milne
41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown --> Read it on spring break in Las Vegas. Not the most intellectually stimulating, but neither is the Strip.
43. One Hundred Years Of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving
45. The Woman In White – Wilkie Collins
46. Anne Of Green Gables – LM Montgomery --> I read all the Anne books when I was little. I really wish I could find my box set...
47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49. The Lord Of The Flies – William Golding --> It made me think.
50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
51. The Life Of Pi – Yann Martel --> Another one that made me think. We had some great discussions about this one in AP Lit.
52. Dune – Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54. Sense & Sensibility – Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Thomas Hardy
58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley --> I loved this one, but the movie is absolutely terrible.
59. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time – Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez --> I am NOT writing a book entitled "Love in the time of Genocide." However, when Mer writes it, I will buy a copy.
61. Of Mice & Men – John Steinbeck --> Makes me cry, every time. I firmly believe it should be required reading in schools.
62. Lolita – Vladimir The Lovely Nabokov --> I think Evgeni Nabokov needs a nickname...
63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold --> I had nightmares of being killed after reading this.
65. The Count Of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67. Jude The Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden – France Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses – James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows & Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal – Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair – William Thackeray
80. Possession – AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84. The Remains Of The Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White --> More times than I could ever count... same with Stuart Little.
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Alborn --> I don't believe in heaven, but this book did solidify my belief that all our lives are intertwined.
89. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91. Heart Of Darkness – Joseph Conrad -->
92. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94. Watership Down – Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy Of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare --> I love this play. I've studied it in three different classes and I'm not sick of it yet. The RSC performance of this one is hysterical, by the way.
99. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo --> I read it so I would understand the context of the musical. It ended up being one of the best books I read in high school.

The other good news is that I checked my account balances today and had $200 more than I thought in my checking account and $400 more than I thought in my savings account! I may not starve in NYC after all, haha.

The bad news is that my NCAA bracket is not going well at all. Bother.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mid-Season Report Card

Since the All-Star break essentially marks the half-way point for the season, I'm assigning grades to the Red Wings. I may assign grades to some of the other teams later this week.


Pavel Datsyuk- A. He has essentially been almost perfect this season. He leads in points and assists and continues to be one of Detroit's strongest defensive players... all while centering the top line and generating buzz about the Selke, Lady Byng, and Hart trophies.

Henrik Zetterberg- A-. Has struggled to adjust to playing without Datsyuk, though his rotating wingers may have something to do with this. He's looked a lot better since Hossa was bumped down to the second line.

Marian Hossa- A-. He's had some pointless streaks, but he also carried the team earlier in the season when the Stanley Cup hangover was very obvious.

Johan Franzen- B+. He needs to figure out how to stay healthy, but last I heard he was leading the team in game winning goals and has adjusted well to playing on both the first and second lines.

Jiri Hudler- A-. Some bad defensive play, but he's having a career season for points- he's already passed his record for goals in a season. I'd be more impressed if he could maintain that level of play for longer than 12 minutes or so per game.

Valtteri Filppula- B. I really wish I could give him an A, because he's my favorite Red Wing, but he just hasn't earned it yet. He needs to shoot the puck more. However, his defensive play has been excellent, and his point totals are decent considering that he's centering the checking line.

Mikael Samuelsson- B. He is SO streaky, but he gets the points when it really counts. I feel like he won't be around next year due to salary cap issues.

Tomas Holmstrom- A-. He's essentially still fulfilling his same role on the team, and has been an instrumental part in the power play this year. I wish his defensive play was stronger, but since he usually plays with Datsyuk his +/- is decent.

Dan Cleary- B+. He'd probably get a higher grade if he wasn't switching lines so much. I think his production will increase a lot in the second half if he stays with the same line for several games.

Tomas Kopecky- B. Plays decently well, but his hits haven't brought the same energy Drake's did. He's another player I expect to see traded or lost to free agency.

Kris Draper- B-. Still wins a lot of face offs, but has a horrific +/- and 2 of his 3 goals were empty netters. Overall the fourth line's defensive play needs to pick up a lot before the playoffs.

Kirk Maltby- B-. Basically the same issue as Draper- he doesn't usually produce offensively, but he doesn't need to. If he can tighten up the backchecking he'll be fine.

Darren McCarty- C. Has barely played, but has provided some much-needed grit when he does dress.


Nick Lidstrom- A. "The Perfect Human" has lived up to his label. He had a slow start due to a preseason puck to the face, but he's looked Norris-esque lately.

Brian Rafalski- A-. He's third in the league for points by a defenseman. His passing could use some work, but he's been really consistent.

Niklas Kronwall- B+. Has been consistent, but it'd be nice to see some of those big hits from last year's playoffs.

Brad Stuart- B+. Brings a lot of energy and hitting, but his passing could use a little work. He and Kronwall seem to have communication issues sometimes.

Andreas Lilja- B+. I've actually been very impressed with him this year, his defensive play has been MUCH better and he looks great on the PK.

Brett Lebda- B-. He's looked great on the breakout, he's passing well, and he's one of the best skaters on the team. However, he takes penalties at the worst times.

Derek Meech- B+. I almost threw him in with the forwards because he's played more games there, but Babcock and Holland seem to want him to play defense. He's looked really solid, especially given his inconsistent playing time and linemates.

Chris Chelios- C. Hasn't had much effect, good or bad, other than pushing Detroit right up against the cap. I sincerely hope that he retires this summer.


Chris Osgood- B. Extremely inconsistent, but he's had some issues with injuries. His playing has improved as he's had to compete with Conklin.

Ty Conklin- A. I would almost argue that he was a bigger signing than Hossa. He's played extremely well, very consistently. I would like to see him resigned.

Coaches and Management

Mike Babcock- A. I firmly believe that Babcock is one of the best, if not the best, coaches in the league. He's done an excellent job keeping the team focused and has found good line combinations through all the crazy injuries.

Ken Holland- A. Kept last year's team, added Hossa and Conklin, and is apparently very close to resigning Zetterberg. In Ken Holland we trust.

Mike and Marian Illitch
- A. The rings are beautiful, and it was very classy of them to bring Aaron Downey and Darren Helm to the presentation ceremony.

The Detroit Red Wings Overall

I'll give them an A-. They look strong, but they've lost some key games and need to regain focus between now and the playoffs, especially if they come up against San Jose in the Western Conference Final.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Live Blog: Sabres at Red Wings, 1/10/09

So, I've decided to live blog this game, because, well, I can. :-)

6:41- The FSN broadcast team is ridiculous. Larry Murphy is wandering the Joe today instead of broadcasting from between the benches. Expect some interviews with terrorized hockey fans who only wanted a beer.

6:42- A commercial break, so I'll give you some preview. Both the Red Wings and the Sabres are on win streaks. DRW goalie Ty Conklin is also riding a shutout streak. I haven't actually watched the Red Wings play since last Saturday (stupid college) so I have no idea how this game is going to go.

6:44- Zetterberg just informed Ken Daniels that he didn't get voted into the All Star Game because he isn't playing well enough. I have no idea how he thinks he can be playing better, but whatever. Incidentally his contract is up this year- currently we're paying him just under $3 million. Obviously he'll be getting a large raise.

6:48- Hakan Andersson (the DRW director of European scouting) is absolutely adorable. He's also very good at his job: our only current European that we drafted in the first round is Niklas Kronwall (D). Tomas Holmstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula, and some others were all later round picks.

Supposedly after the WJC this year he claimed that he wouldn't recommend Tavares as a draft pick. I don't know if that's actually true, but he brought up an interesting point in his interview just now that the Red Wings play a very European style of hockey and some players just don't fit. I have a very firm belief that Sidney Crosby's style of play wouldn't work in our current system, regardless of his (obviously high) level of talent.

6:53- Just saw the footage of the Ruutu biting incident for the first time. The whole thing is just ridiculous.

6:54- Chelios just said that he bit someone back in the day. And by "back in the day" he probably meant the 1970s.

6:55- Apparently Kronwall isn't playing and Meech is?

7:00- The Kenny Cam? Seriously? But Mickey Redmond looks nice and cozy by himself in the broadcast booth.

Kronwall is not playing tonight for an unknown reason- presumably a health issue, since he had three assists on Thursday.

7:02- Larry Murphy, I would strongly recommend that you do NOT stand there for the beginning of the game, as you will be blocking a lot of views. You also might get hit by a flying octopus.

7:07- Zetterberg just won the first face-off of the game. I usually take that as a good sign. Interesting that Meech is paired with Stuart, rather than moving up Lilja or Lebda and putting Meech on the third pairing.

7:11- Lots of hitting in this game. Filppula and Lebda (two of my favorite players) have both been absolutely laid out only five minutes into the first period.

7:12- Roy just scored. Conklin made a great save on Vanek and the defense failed to clear it. Really bad play by Detroit.

7:13- Roy going to the box on a hooking call. Hopefully we can even things up.

7:16- Sabres successfully killed the power play. Meech played the point on the 1B power play unit. Interesting choice by Babcock.

7:18- Beautiful play by Lebda and Hossa, followed by another scoring chance for Zetterberg. I can't believe we didn't score there.

7:19- I can't believe THEY didn't score there! Conklin comes out to the circle to poke check, three Red Wings rush to the net to try to keep the puck out, fail to clear the puck, and Conklin scrambles back to make the save of a life time. We look sloppy.

7:21- Another good scoring chance for Detroit as all three forwards rush the net.

7:26- My contact at the game tells me that someone just proposed on the jumbotron during the TV timeout.

7:27- She said yes. :-)

7:30- Finally an icing. There's only been maybe five whistles so far this game, so lots of changing on the fly.

7:32- A couple of great plays by Lebda, but nothing.

8:10- Took a break to go get food and missed the first intermission and the first five minutes of the second. Sabres are still winning 1-0 so apparently I didn't miss much.

8:18- Lots of back and forth, not much time in either zone. Meech just shattered a stick on a one timer.

8:24- Jiri Hudler ties it on a one timer after a beautiful play by Brett Lebda to get the puck in deep.

8:26- Hudler just passed his previous record for goals in the regular season (he's at 16- two years ago he had 15). He's an RFA next summer so he scheduled his breakout year nicely- unless you're Ken Holland trying to retain your team.

8:29- Second period ends with the game tied at one. The Red Wings are outshooting the Sabres 25-10.

8:50- Three minutes into the third, and Detroit looks great.

8:51- Detroit getting a power play on a delay of game penalty. Mental mistake by Rivet.

8:53- Power play over. So much for having the best power play in the league... though the Sabres are ranked very high in penalty killing.

8:56- Former Red Wing Brendan Shanahan apparently signed today with the New Jersey Devils. Good for him.

9:00- The FSN broadcasters are RIDICULOUS. They just showed Mickey Redmond on the jumbotron singing "Piano Man" by Billy Joel.

9:03- Red Wings on the power play on a goaltender interference call. It was actually a terrible call, same kind that keeps happening Detroit- a defenseman shoves someone into the goalie and they get called for interference.

9:05- Power play over, no goal. Which is really just as well since we didn't deserve it anyway. Detroit is now outshooting Buffalo 39-18.

9:12- Miller has faced 87 shots over the past two nights, and tonight isn't even over yet. He has to be exhausted.

9:15- Samuelsson! And assisted by Hudler. I can't really blame the Sabres for allowing that goal, the play made absolutely no sense. Yay for the Red Wings being telepathic and doing ridiculous things with the puck.

9:17- Hossa! Assisted by Zetterberg, I think. This goal is very important because it gives me fantasy points! Also, with only a couple minutes left in the third, being up 3-1 puts Detroit in a comfortable position.

9:18- Filppula got the second assist on the Samuelsson goal. Rewatching the play he did a great job getting the puck into the zone. Flip is my favorite Red Wing and he hasn't been scoring much lately- but I am totally okay with him being playmaker. :-)

9:19- Zetterberg did get the assist on the Hossa goal.

9:21- And Detroit wins 3-1, despite a flurry of shots in the last 30 seconds with Miller pulled for the sixth attacker. This was a really great game, very intense.

My stars are Miller, Lebda, and Samuelsson.

Whoever picked the stars went with Franzen, Miller, and Samuelsson. I was close.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

These are a few of my favorite teams...

I have a confession to make: I cannot be a casual observer of a sporting event. It doesn't matter if it's my favorite team playing a championship game or whatever re-run they're showing on The Big 10 Network, I have to take a side.

That said, here are a few of my favorite teams that I'll go out of my way to watch, cheer for, research, and bemoan.


-Detroit Red Wings. Hockey has always been my favorite sport to watch and the Red Wings have always been my favorite team. This is mostly because I'm a homer like you wouldn't even believe. Also, since TV coverage of the NHL sucks, they're the only team I see on a regular basis. And I idolized Steve Yzerman as a child. Yes, I'm aware that a lot of people hate them; just don't hate me for loving them.

-University of Notre Dame. You can blame my brother for this one. There's no real logic behind it, I just like them.

-Saginaw Spirit (OHL). They're my home team, I have too!

-Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL). I've never actually seen any of their games, but they're the Red Wings developement team and I really like some of our prospects. Plus they have a cool name.


-Detroit Lions. I know, it makes me cringe too. But it's not Thanksgiving without the Lions, and now that Millen's gone we may actually do something with that first overall pick.

-Ohio State University. My mom's side of the family are the variety of Buckeye fans that think Bo Schembechler died on purpose. I don't take it that far, but family loyalty demands that I worship the Horseshoe.


-Detroit Pistons. Seeing a theme here? But I'm still angry at them for trading Chauncey Billups away and will admit to watching very few games this season.

-Michigan State University. My mom went to MSU. I wanted to go there for a long time. I don't know.


-Detroit Tigers. I actually hate baseball; I find it boring and slow. But tradition demands that I cheer for the Tigers anyway.


-I don't actually follow soccer, but I played for 10 years and love watching it on the rare occasion that it's actually televised, so it's on here.


I cheer for Team USA in all forms and variations, from the Olympics all the way down to Can-Amera. It's that blatant homerism thing again.

And thus, a blanket disclaimer for Michigan Sports Central: while I will (usually) attempt to keep my writing unbiased, I obviously like some teams more than others. I hope you'll forgive me.


Michigan Sports Central: A Preview

The purpose of this blog should be pretty obvious- it's a way for me to write about the Michigan sports teams.

Of course, this has to come with a few disclaimers:

1) I'm biased. All sports fans are. It happens.
2) Not all of my favorite teams are Michigan teams, so the "Michigan" part of the title is a little misleading. In fact, the "Michigan" part of the title exists because Sports Central was already taken.
3) I'm a college student, so posts may be few and far between.
4) I'm a perfectionist, and also a sports writer for my college's newspaper, which may also lead to a lack of posting. However, since this is just for fun, I'm going to try to cut down on the perfectionism. Plus, I'm not getting paid for this.

I've been planning this for a while and actually have a couple posts mostly written, so expect a minor flood of posts tonight.

Happy New Year!