Archive for December, 2009

Split Decision in Florida for the Bruins; Fenway Classic Looms

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey with tags , , , , , , , on December 29, 2009 by clarencethehorse

The Boston Bruins headed to Florida for games against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 27 and 28, respectively.

Both games ended as 2-1 affairs, with the Bruins beating Florida, but coming up short against Tampa Bay.

In Sunrise, Florida, the home of the Panthers, the Bruins fell behind 1-0 on a goal that Tim Thomas would like to have back.   But Thomas stopped all other 25 shots that the Panthers put on him, and goals in the second by Michael Ryder (10th) and in the third period by Marco Sturm (11th) gave the Bruins their third straight win.  Thomas made a great save on Jordan Leopold with seven seconds left that secured the two points for the Bruins – and more importantly, kept the Panthers from getting any points and gaining on the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings.

The next night in Tampa Bay, Lightning goalie Mike Smith stopped everything the B’s threw at him except for Marco Sturm’s 12th goal with seven and a half minutes remaining in the third.  Tim Thomas was back in-goal, and he kept this game close.  He stopped 37 of 39 Tampa Bay shots, including 23 of 24 in the second period alone, when the Bruins were outshot 24-6.  This save against Vincent Lecavalier late in the second was one of the best...and was the direct result of a Matt Hunwick turnover.  Hunwick is officially back on “train wreck” watch – this guy should almost be used exclusively on the power play, where he can be an effective puck mover.
The second period also featured a quick bout between Tampa Bay’s

Zenon Konopka (league-leading 16th fighting major, most of them not against children) and the B’s Byron Bitz:

There was alot of weak officiating in this game that did not favor the Bruins, and I saw at least three posts hit flush by B’s shots – but the fact remains, the Bruins are not a Stanley Cup contending team with the current offensive pieces they have.  A sniper is needed – yes, a Phil Kessel type…dammit – and tomorrow night we will get to see the gunslinger that plenty of teams will be throwing money and draft picks at leading up to the trading deadline:  Ilya Kovalchuk. Just four years ago, he had his finest season with 52 goals, 27 of which were power-play goals…to go along with 29 power-play assists.  His center and main set-up-man that season?  Current Bruin Marc Savard, who could really use a sniper to get the greatest return on his deft play-making abilities.  The power play numbers are especially attractive, as the Bruins continue to flounder near the bottom of the league in power-play efficiency.

This guy can score:

Keep an eye on #17 for Atlanta tomorrow night…he sure would look good in black and gold.

Don Cherry on NESN

Hockey legend Don Cherry will join the NESN booth tomorrow for the Bruins home game against Atlanta Thrashers….word on the street is that he will be debuting a newly designed Bruins sportsjacket. 

WARNING: Do Not Adjust the Color on your TV

Candles for Ray

And Happy 49th Birthday (12/28/61) to the Captain, Ray Bourque ~

Winter Classic at Fenway

My mole on the inside, Jerri Blank, was one of the first to get onto the ice at Fenway and provided these pictures…Thanks, Jerri!

Photo Credits: Jerri Blank

Clarence has procured a ticket to the Winter Classic, so there will be plenty on the way over the next week or so.

Until then….

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Bruins Devour Thrashers; Boxing Day Memories

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2009 by clarencethehorse

The Bruins headed into their last game (12/23) before Christmas against the Atlanta Thrashers feeling good about their 2-0 win over Ottawa two nights earlier, but more importantly only one point ahead of the Thrashers in the Eastern conference standings.

“Tiny” Tim Thomas was back in net after shutting out the Senators, and the Bruins gave him a 3-0 lead in the first period scoring three goals in a span of 1:08.  Marc Savard, Daniel Paille, and Vladimir “ree Christmas” Sobotka scored to give the Bruins what appeared to be a comfortable lead.  But these Thrashers are gifted and explosive offensively, and before grandma could get run over by a reindeer it was a 3-2 game on goals by Bryan “have yourself a merry” Little and Maxim “out my credit cards for the holidays” Afinogenov.  This save by Thomas kept the Bruins up by a goal after one period.  In the second period, the Bruins scored on a five-on-three advantage as Zden”Ho-Ho” Chara scored a power play goal, his third of the season. Another five-on-three advantage gave the Bruins a 5-2 lead midway thru the third period, as Michael “Red” Ryder  scored his ninth goal (but only third in last 15 games).

Again, the Thrashers made it interesting on goals by Evander “Candy” Kane and Ilya Kovalchuk just 70 seconds apart to make it a one-goal game with less than five minutes remaining. But Patrice “Burgermeister Meister” Bergeron would make sure that Bruins fans left the Garden with the early Christmas gift of a win by scoring an open-net goal in the waning seconds of the game to give the B’s a 6-4 win heading into their Christmas break.

The Bruins are riding a rather dominant streak against Atlanta, as they last lost to the Thrashers on 12/29/2007 – almost two years ago.  The Bruins are now 8-0-0 against Atlanta since.  At the Christmas break, the Bruins stand at fifth in the conference, four points behind the Buffalo Sabres for the Northeast Division lead.  Leading up to the big game at Fenway

Photo Credit: Jerri Blank

on New Year’s day against the Flyers, the Bruins visit the sunshine state to play the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday and Monday respectively, then on 12/30 Atlanta makes it consecutive Wednesday night visits to the TD Garden.  All three of these teams figure to be battling for playoff spots with the Bruins come seasons’ end, and the Bruins would serve themselves well by continuing their recent solid play going into these final three games of 2009.

Boxing Day

I could not pass up the opportunity this Boxing Day (for our friends from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ghana, Switzerland, Germany, Greenland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, and Jamaica) to show some of the best fights in memory since I was a foal. Feel free to add suggestions via comments on any fights you remember and think I should add to the array below:

Reason #37 why you shouldn’t jump on the ice and charge the opposing team’s bench:

It seems I can’t go for very long without linking back to my man Ben Folds – but he has a great song from Ben Folds Five’s 1995 self-titled debut album, “Boxing”, so I couldn’t pass it up.  Here is a symphonic version with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra from 2005:

Elvis Costello also paid tribute to Boxing Day on “T.K.O. (Boxing Day)”, from his 1983 album with the Attractions “Punch the Clock”.  The album, and this song in particular, featured the TKO Horns and is still one of my favorite albums from EC and the A’s:


Clarence Wishes You a Very Mare-y Christmas and a Stable 2010

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Movies, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2009 by clarencethehorse

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the departed Phil Kessel.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Looch fight!”

As we prepare to enter 2010 and enjoy our last two years before the Mayans blow up the world (that’s my understanding…?), here’s a few holiday oats from Clarence’s trough…

This hilarious audio clip is from Steve Martin, Paul Simon and Billy Joel…..I’ll let Billy set the table:

ONE GREAT NIGHT IN NEW YORK

“One night around Christmas 20 years ago, I was doing a recording session at A&R Studios in Hell’s Kitchen. We had just finished the session, and my producer and I decided to get some food. It was fairly late at night, and we ran into Paul Simon and Steve Martin at the restaurant. We had a little bit of wine, and then we had a little more wine. Nobody was feeling any pain. We got a brainstorm that we would go back to the studio and record a Christmas record. It must’ve been about midnight at this point. So we go back to the studio, and Paul Simon and I are singing in the background that Christmas carol ‘Silver Bells.’ We’re harmonizing, and Steve Martin starts into this soliloquy ‘What Christmas Means to Me,’ with these hysterical descriptions of the secretary sitting on the copying machine, all these very risqui scenarios. And Paul and I are just trying to keep it together. We did this maybe in one take and we had a Christmas single. Now, it was never given to a record company, but there’s a copy of it floating around somewhere. Stuff like that happens in New York. It’s a small town.”

Again, this link is ‘audio only’….no (known) video of this session exists:

Ben Folds has a great Christmas song, “Bizarre Christmas Incident”, that was part of 2002’s “Maybe This Christmas” compilation (highly recommended).  Here’s Ben doing a rare live performance of this future Christmas classic (thanks 2 ColdandComposed) just before Christmas 2005:

And this video deserves to be shown again…

Nine-year-old hockey player Oliver Wahlstrom scored this amazing goal for NESN’s mini-one-on-one back in October.   If the Bruins can’t manage to get Ilya Kovalchuk by the trading deadline, they should talk to this kid’s agent – hopefully Scott Boras hasn’t gotten him yet:

Speaking of young sports prodigies, here’s my nephew/godson from 1991 – still honing his golf skills:

ONE GREAT NIGHT IN CALGARY?

And what would the Holidays be without a drunken celebrity karaoke star!  Kudos to the Calgary Flames Dion Phaneuf for doing “Piano Man” just like Billy Joel used to do it…..shit-faced.

Click on the picture to see the performance…..this picture probably looks like he did when he left the bar that night:

So to everyone, from Munich…..

….to Minnesota…

Merry

Christmas!

Bruins Snap Four Game Losing Streak, Shutout Senators

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey with tags , , on December 23, 2009 by clarencethehorse

The Bruins ended a four-game losing streak (0-2-2) on Monday, as Tim Thomas was strong in shutting out the Ottawa Senators, 2-0.  It was Thomas’ 4th shutout of the season.  Marc Savard also ended a six-game pointless streak with an assist on Marco Sturm’s goal.  Here are the recaps of the three games since my last entry:

5-4 SO loss to Black Hawks on 12/18:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20092010,2,515

2-0 loss to Toronto on 12/19:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20092010,2,521

2-0 win over Ottawa on 12/21:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20092010,2,536

The Chicago 5-4 SO loss featured a late goal by David Krejci that gained the B’s a point, but the Hawks continued their dominance at home (16-4-1 this season).  In the Toronto loss, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid made his NHL debut.  Tuukka Rask was back in net, and he was solid but the Bruins just couldn’t finish their chance on this night.  The loss aside, the Bruins have been able to keep Maple Leaf Phil Kessel pointless in his three games against his former team. Tempers did flare late in the game, and the last seven or eight minutes ensured that these two teams have developed a genuine dislike for each other. But the Bruins (17-11-7) finally got a win against Brian Elliot (Goalie) and the Senators, and are currently second in the Northeast Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.  Sorry for the concise entry this week….Clarence will return to form after the holidays.

Note to Jack Edwards:  Enough, ENOUGH ALREADY with the overuse of the “forearm shiver” phrase. It’s tired an meaningless…like you as an announcer.

Note to NESN: Can we get a real Bruins play-by-play person for Christmas?

The Bruins face the Ilya Kovalchuk and the Atlanta Thrashers in about an hour at the TD Garden, with Tim Thomas back in net, then are off until they swing through the sunshine state next Sunday and Monday for games against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

30 Years Ago Today…

It was 30 years ago today that the Bruins went into the stands at Madison Square Garden:

This article was also in today’s NY Times…you may need to sign-up for a FREE account to view:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/sports/hockey/23brawl.html?_r=4&ref=hockey&pagewanted=all

Vivid Sunset after the Storm – Norwood, MA

Posted in Travel and Nature with tags , on December 20, 2009 by clarencethehorse

Town of Banff at Dawn Today 12/20/2009

Posted in Travel and Nature with tags on December 20, 2009 by clarencethehorse

Here’s a nice shot from Banff’s webcam this morning…..2158 miles (3473 kilometers) from Boston; the town is below the clouds:

Here’s the link for the current image:

http://www.explorerockies.com/banff-webcam/

And here’s a couple of shots I took from the same location on a visit to Banff in October 2007:

Bruins Stumble; A Capella Craze Sweeps Nation

Posted in Boston Bruins, Music with tags , , , on December 18, 2009 by clarencethehorse

Clarence is slacking, but I did not see the majority of the Bruins/Islanders game on 12/12.  The Bruins lost 3-2 in OT, but the stat that stood out was a 17-3 shot advantage for the Bruins in the third period of a 2-2 game.  So the offense was having trouble finishing of their chances, and that continued into the next game on Monday 12/14 in Boston against the Philadelphia Flyers.  Flyers goalie Brian Boucher stood tall, especially in the third period when the Flyers rallied from a 1-0 deficit to score three times (one empty-netter) and win 3-1.

One note to the NHL: You have instant replay, so USE IT.  If there is any question concerning a goal/no-goal situation, HAVE THE PLAY REVIEWED.  Vladimir Sobotka had a goal disallowed for the Bruins in the first period as the referees ruled the goal was off its moorings before the puck crossed the goal line, but a simple review would have validated the goal and given the Bruins a 1-0 lead.  Mind-blowingly, neither referee (Dan O’Rourke, Kevin Pollock) thought it should be reviewed, and play resumed with the Bruins being robbed of the game’s first goal.

So it was back to back losses for the Bruins as they head into tonight’s game in Chicago against the Black Hawks.  There is more original six action tomorrow nite as the B’s visit Toronto for another meeting with Phil Kessel and the Maple Leafs, this time on Toronto’s home ice.

Here’s some pretty cool A Capella stuff, since I don’t care to re-cap these two Bruins’ losses.  Here’s an array of A Cappella-related clips…featuring some Ben Folds and a look at Todd Rundgren’s 1985 “A Cappella” album.  But let’s start with the Beatles (a British rock quartet from the 1960’s) and a rare a capella version of “Because”, from the album “Abbey Road”:

** See Abbey Road webcam below **

Here’s a LIVE look at Abbey Road: