My Huck Finn Rant

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2011 by backhandeddeke

The greatest crime of political correctness is that it destroys open discussion in favor of ignorant silence. In an effort not to offend we stop talking. Lack of dialogue does not increase acceptance, in fact it has the opposite effect. I’m sure the conversation a teacher will have to have about the N word will be uncomfortable, but its better than pretending that era in history never happened.

I am a published poet who has also written several plays that have been performed on stage. As an artist I abhor censorship in any form. While copyright law may allow for this to be done it certainly violates the ethics of copyright law. When a school or company purchases a play to be performed they purchase the right to perform that play as written. They cannot change a line because they don’t like it. If someone has issues with a scene or the language they probably shouldn’t do the play. There are movies, TV shows, and songs that offend me all the time, but I will stand up for their right to produce their art. I will however, choose not to support what they do financially. That is how a free society works.

It may only seem like 1 word, and its a word I hate, but where does it stop? Maybe we should take the Song of Solomon out of the Bible. Maybe delete some of the “naughtier” parts of the The Canterbury Tales. How about that sex scene in Romeo & Juliet or the one in Much Ado about Nothing? Why not paint over the nudes? Maybe Art Museums should repaint old paintings to make them more multicultural. How about a black Mona Lisa or a Hispanic Andy Warhol so that it will make people feel better? An artist should never have there work altered for any reason, least of all because it offends modern sensibilities.

It may only be one word, but that word is a part of our history. And its not a history we should deny or pretend didn’t exist. Mark Twain gives the modern reader a chance to peer directly into that world and talk about it and learn from it.


Reflecting on the Burke’s

Posted in Uncategorized on July 6, 2010 by backhandeddeke

The issue of whether homosexuality is right/wrong/sinful is something I’ve long struggled with. While I believe its easy to just declare a side, I think when one holds strongly to a belief in something, in my case the Catholic Church, that its disingenuous to break with that belief without careful thought and prayer. I am still undecided. However there is one thing that I have absolutely no doubts about, and that is that God calls us to love our neighbor, and he puts no caveat on that love.

It is cliche and often made fun of to say “I have lots of gay friends.” (Or substitute any group in that phrase.) But that is because it is most often used as a form of self defense. I say it not in defense, I have no need to defend my views, but as a point about how those friends, mentors, and confidants have shaped my views. And that fact is I love every one of my friends, not in spite of or because of their sexuality, but, because of who they are of which that happens to be a part.

I once asked the young lady I was engaged to what she would do if our daughter became pregnant as a teen. Her response was- “that wouldn’t happen.” To say I was shocked was an understatement. I expected her to talk about how she would love and support her. Its a shame I never got around to asking her what would happen if we had a child who came out to us.

If you haven’t heard about the Brian and Brendan Burke story you need to Google it. Brian Burke is the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and was also GM of the US Olympic Hockey team as well as winning a Stanley Cup as GM of the Anaheim Ducks. He is known for building rough and tough teams. He is loud and brutally honest. So you can imagine how worried his son Brendan, who himself worked for the hockey program at Miami-Ohio, was when he decided to tell his father he was gay. But he did. And whatever Burke’s personal feelings were, whatever internal struggle he may have had, will never be known. But what is known is that he loved and supported his son unconditionally. Last year he went to the Toronto Pride Parade with his son. Afterward he told him, next year we will march in the parade. Sadly, Brendan Burke was killed in a car accident. But Brian Burke chose to keep that promise and indeed did march in the Toronto Pride Parade this year.

I can only hope someday that if I am in the same spot, I can be half as courageous as Brian Burke has.

Jaroslav Halak…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2010 by backhandeddeke

…May bring Stanley back… but not to Montreal. Others who are much more knowledgeable will bring you a lot better insight into this trade, so I instead want to focus on “why” this trade happened. I admit I have no inside knowledge, this is all theory.

It has been reported that the Habs and Halak/Walsh (his agent) have not spoken since the playoffs. This has lead to the belief that “Price was always their man.” But I propose instead that it was more a case of “Halak not being their man.” Which, given the playoff performance and the city getting behind him has to make you ask how that could be. The answer: Allen Walsh.

As a wild fan we are all to familiar with Walsh’s exploits. He took a comment by Wild beat reporter Michael Russo regarding Petr Sykora doing warm-ups and proceeded to bash the team on Twitter for their treatment of him. I believe this, and not Sykora’s play (he was hardly given a chance to play) was the reason for his release. Early in the season Walsh began campaigning for his client Halak to be the starter. In addition to the infamous “I Halak it a lot” tweets, he also took to bashing Price. I have a hard time believing this endeared Walsh or Halak to anyone in Habs management.

Sometimes even good and loved players are problems in the locker room. Maybe Habs management thought it best to not have to worry about which player Walsh would attack next.

NHL Awards: A Hockeytown Perspective

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 28, 2010 by backhandeddeke

One of the great things about having NHL Gamecenter is it allows you to meet and chat with fans from all over the world and who support many teams. In the two years I have had gamecenter, there is no doubt that the best and brightest fans come from hockeytown. And, even though I was pulling for the Coyotes, the Red Wings fans welcomed me into their chat room with open arms. The discussions most recently focused around the NHL Awards and who the nominees should be. Clearly, both Detroit fans and myself agreed that the NHL, the writers, Bettman, Messier, whoever is in charge doesn’t have a clue. So lets take this opportunity to look at who the finalists and winners should be.

Hart Memorial Trophy- Awarded to the Leagues Most Valuable Player

Pavel Datsyuk: 27-43-70

Henrik Zetterberg: 23-47-70

Tomas Holmstrom‘s Ass 25-20-45

Now clearly Holmstrom‘s ass is a fan favorite and got a lot of support, but among Detroit fans and myself, the award clearly goes to Datsyuk.


Lady Byng Memorial Trophy-Awarded to the player who exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability

Frank J. Selke Trophy- Awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game

Finalists? Who are we kidding here, everyone knows they should just rename these the Pavel Datsyuk Trophies and give them a permanent home in the Joe.


Vezina Trophy– Awarded to the league’s top goaltender

Chris Osgood- 3.02 GAA, .888 sv%

Jimmy Howard- 2.26 GAA, .924 SV%, 37 wins

The Pipe- (stats undetermined)

This was the closest of any of the voting and Howard barely edged out the pipe. (We decided to give him the Crozier and Jennings too, for good measure)


Calder Memorial Trophy– Awarded to the league’s most outstanding rookie player

Jimmy Howard- 37 Wins

Justin Abdelkader 3-3-6

Mattias Rittola 0-0-0 (Rittola was chosen over Ville Leino for not being traded.)

For the 2nd year in a row the award goes to a goalie, Howard is racking up the hardware.


Art Ross Trophy- Awarded to the player who leads the league in total points at the end of the regular season

Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy- Awarded to the top goal scorer in the regular season

These awards were the toughest to decide. I mean, most points and goals is so subjective. Every fan knows that Ovechkin and Crosby would never score anything if Bettman didn’t plan it out and tell the refs what to do. We aren’t even sure if the Sedins are human. And Stamkos, well he plays for Tampa Bay, is that even a real team? We decided it was best to only count scoring we knew for sure was legit, so…

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg share the Ross, (we decided not to use the tiebreaker and give both guys some love) and Datsyuk takes home the Richard


James Norris Memorial Trophy- Awarded to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position

There was a lot of anger when discussing this trophy. As the AWESOME blog, KuklasKorner puts it “Lidstrom (was) screwed by Stats and Stupidity”

So our finalists were:

Nicklas Lidstrom- 9-40-49

Brian Rafalski- 8-34-42

Niklas Kronwall 7-15-22

Winner? Are you joking? Like the Lady Byng and Selke, they should just rename it the Nicklas Lidstrom Trophy.


Jack Adams Award- Awarded to the NHL Coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success

well duh?!?

Mike Babcock

Mike Babcock

Mike Babcock

and our winner- Steve Y… oops I mean Mike Babcock.


Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy-Awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey

Read a great story today about how this award is so unfair. Couldn’t agree more.

Our Winner:

Tomas Homstrom‘s Ass for as that writer put it, “His ability to put the severe in persevere”

As a side note, honorable mention went to the entire Red Wings team for overcoming the obviously biased officiating and Gary Bettman’s team to advance to the 2nd round.


As you can see the NHL, really needs to shape up and start rewarding the players that TRULY deserve the awards.


Taking the NHL to task over Gamecenter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 24, 2010 by backhandeddeke

First I must preface this article by saying that I absolutely love NHL Gamecenter. For the past two seasons it has enabled me, despite blackouts, to watch way more hockey than I ever would have been able to otherwise. However, the NHL needs to be condemned for their marketing of Gamecenter during the playoffs.

First of all the price. A day pass costs $19.99. For a full season you pay that much for a month. Secondly, on they have routinely advertised that you can watch “4-5 games.” However this is blatantly untrue. The most anyone living in the U.S. or Canada has been able to watch is 2-3 games a night. Let me get into that.

The NHL in order to protect its TV contracts blacks out all national telecasts a well as regional telecasts in the user’s area. I respect the NHL’s reasoning for doing this and understand it. That the NHL has blackouts isn’t the issue, the issue is the advertising on their website. In the picture above it clearly says “Watch Now.” However, this game is on NBC, TSN, and RDS, meaning no one in Canada or the U.S. will be able to watch the game. Now, the advertising also states “Blackout restrictions apply.” And, before anyone signs up they must check the following:

It goes without saying that anyone who checks a box without reading and spends money without making sure of what they are buying, is in idiot. However, this same person has seen not one, but 3 ads on the page telling them they can watch games. They have seen a link beneath the game saying “watch now.” It is easy for a person to be mislead into thinking they are getting the game. Clearly the NHL has themselves covered legally. Although this ad also found on the page is a bit questionable.

“Subscribe to watch Sharks-Avs tonight at 10:00 ET” However a quick call to the Gamecenter help line (1-866-210-6349) informs the caller that Not only is this game blacked out in Canada/U.S. but the other two games today are as well. So all this advertising on, and not one game that can be viewed by anyone in the U.S. or Canada.

As I said before, the legal warnings have the NHL covered legally, the issue here is customer service. A fan only wanting to watch the game, and choosing to go the legal routes to do it, is mislead into forking up 20 dollars only to get into Gamecenter and find out the game is blacked out. Does this person blame themselves? Do they think, darn I should have read the fine print? No, they immediately curse the NHL. This is akin to pulling into McDonald’s, seeing signage all the way to the drive-thru promising all the great food you can order, ordering the food, handing over your money, then getting to the final window and being told “Sorry, we are out of food, didn’t you read the fine print?” Would it be so hard for the NHL to post the blackouts for the user on the ordering page? Or is this about taking money and not caring about the customer? The NHL can ill afford to alienate more of their fans.

Of course the story doesn’t end there. The customer, now having found out that they can’t watch the game they just paid to see is now upset. Do they call customer service? Do they send a nasty letter to Gary Bettman? No. They now enter the Gamecenter chat and proceed to whine, cry, and annoy those people who have paid for the service all season. On any given playoff night, chat is interrupted no less than 20 times by someone asking “Why can’t I see the game?” Once informed of the reasons, they take their frustration out on the people in chat. It’s bad enough that on free preview days the NHL allows freeloaders into Gamecenter chat thus clogging it down and turning it into troll center and forcing the paying customers out for the night. Chat is not customer service, and the chatters are not paid to do customer service, and should not have to answer questions regarding game policies, especially the same question 20 times a night.

The NHL needs to fix the system. They need to make blackout warnings clear before a person makes their purchase. They need to make customer service numbers/e-mails available on the home page, so that people don’t gravitate toward chat to find answers. Maybe they need to include a live tech chat as one of the options so that people can ask their questions there. But most of all, they need to put their customers ahead of the almighty dollar. I for one will not be a customer next year if things are not changed.

Playoff Predictions: West

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 14, 2010 by backhandeddeke

Warning these predictions come with extreme bias, little thought to what may actually happen, and lots of sarcasm.

1. San Jose Sharks vs. 8. Colorado Avalanche

Every hockey fan not wearing a San Jose jersey has made at least 50 jokes this season about the Sharks always choking in the first round. (Did you know that San Jose has played past the first round in half the seasons they have been in existence?) But these Avs are not the Ducks of yesteryear. That Ducks team had the Sharks number and very nearly upset the Red Wings. Of course these Sharks are not the Sharks of yesteryear either. Nabokov struggled following his Olympic disaster, but seems to have found his groove at the right time. The Avs, on the other hand, have been living off their early season success. The future is bright in Colorado, but not this year. The Sharks will overcome the ghosts of playoffs past.

Sharks in 5

2. Chicago Blackhawks vs. 7. Nashville Predators

The Blackhawks have been the favorite to come out of the west much of this season. But this is a team that has both been dominate and “wildly” inconsistent.

The Hawks are team full of talent, and a Captain i respect the heck out of. (Fighting Sioux Forever) But this is also a team that struggled to solve the Blue Jackets down the stretch. Nashville on the other hand has always been a tough customer, especially in the playoffs. And, they may have the best coach in the league not named Lemaire. Barry Trotz will have his boys ready and they will be a nightmare to play against. Chicago had a great run season, and Lord Stanley looks to be in their future, but this season Barry Trotz puts on the glass slippers.

Predators in 7

3. Vancouver Canucks vs. 6 Los Angeles Kings

Ask the Vancouverputins and every year is the year they will win the cup. Every signing and trade acquisition from Mats sundin to Pavol Demitra to Christian Erhoff is the one that will put them over the top. There is no doubt the Canucks have been dominate this season. The Sedins have been absolute amazing. The Kings on the other hand have finally come into their own and boast quite a bit of young hungry talent. The Canucks however have the X factor. You see the leagues biggest crybaby, the leagues king of embellishment, the only man in the league to get straight 10’s for his dives, doesnt play for the Penguins, no he wears the whale. Yes Alex Burrows I’m talking about you.

My favorite part is when Lu skates over to see if he’s all right and Burrows looks up and says, “Nah it’s all good man, just getting us a power play.” Luongo has been terrible down the stretch and it took overtime to beat the lowly Minnesota Wild. How did that OT end? Oh yeah Alex Burrows lifted the stick towards his own face and whipped his head back to get the Nucks a 4-3 power play. However this is the playoffs, and the referees won’t put up with his crap. Luongo will choke once again, Burrows gets called for diving at least three times and the Kings come out on top.

Kings in 6

4. Phoenix Coyotes vs. 5. Detroit Red Wings

The Wings have been the hottest team in hockey and they know what it takes to get to the finals and win the cup. The Yotes are the feel good story. The team no one thought would even sniff the playoffs this season has been one of the conferences best. Their reward: playing the Wings. but while other teams would lament this (see: Sharks and Hawks) the Coyotes are a team that has thrived on doubt all season long. And unlike in Detroit (playoff seats still available) their will be no empty seats in Glendale. This is a franchise built on heart with a fan base aching to prove the doubters wrong. Detroit will bring everything they have, but it won’t be enough.

Yotes in 6


Playoff Predictions: East

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 13, 2010 by backhandeddeke

Warning these predictions come with extreme bias, little thought to what may actually happen, and lots of sarcasm.

1. Washington Capitals vs. 8 Montreal Canadiens

The Capitals have won the President’s Trophy and even with questionable goaltending, their ability to score at will makes them tough to beat. the Habs on the other hand, snuck into the playoffs by virtue of not losing in regulation to the Maple Leafs. I think Washington’s offense will be too much for Carey Price and @walsha client Jaroslav Halak to handle.

Capitals in 4

2. New Jersey Devils vs. 7. Philadelphia Flyers

It is a true testament to Devil’s fans hatred of the Rags that they cheered on the Flyers in their final game, knowing full well Montreal was a more favorable matchup. The Flyers dominated the Devils this season. But, considering the Devils swept Pittsburgh, and the season long issues in Philly, you have to wonder how many times Parise and company circled the Flyers games on their calendar as “Big Games.” That being said Boucher was great against the Rags and this team has come together at the right time. You also have two coaches that have won the cup. The Flyers have been knocked out by the Pens the last two seasons, and would like the opportunity to get eliminated by them again. The Devils have their own playoff ghosts to overcome in Kovalchuk and the meltdown in game 7 last season.  I really believe this well be a hard fought great series. I also predict Kovalchuk and Parise put on a clinic against the Flyers,  and the coaching genius of Jacques Lemaire comes out on top in this one.

Devils in 5

3. Buffalo Sabres vs. 6. Boston Bruins

The Sabres wanted so badly to not face the feared Bruins they pulled their goalie in the final seconds to try and win in regulation and had him run right into the official to make sure Jamie Langenbrunner (Captain America) got the empty netter. The Sabres have been a team on the cusp the last few seasons and with the best goalie in the world this season, they are a team to be feared. The Bruins have never seemed to hit their stride this season. Between injuries, Thomas’s struggles and losing Kessel, this is not the team that dominated the east a season ago. Rask has talent, but this will be his first big test. Miller on the other hand, has seen more pressure than this this year and come out on top (save for one little OT goal by the games best player) But let me be hionest, I’m not picking the Sabres to win because of Miller, I’m picking them to win because quite frankly I hate Boston as a sports city. I could explain why, but its not hard to figure out *cough*goyankees*cough*

Sabres in 6

4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5. Ottawa Senators

The Senators are a team that will do anything to win. While Vancouverputins will only go as far as to pull the fire alarm at the hotel where opposing teams are staying, the Senators set a team’s equipment van on fire. The Penguins have seemed lackadaisical at times this season almost biding their time for the playoffs. And why not, they’ve been to the finals the last two years, why waste your energy on that silly thing known as the regular season. The Pens know what it takes to win, but the senators will have Pens haters everywhere cheering them on. Despite this, I doubt anyone is seriously picking the Sens to win, so I will, but not seriously

ens in 7


Coming Soon: West predictions

Also: looking for some hockey to fill in the time? Check out Power Play Manager- link on the right. Season 4 is underway and my team is competing (and by competing I mean getting its butt kicked) in the top American division.