Archive for Ben Folds

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 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:


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…



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:

Bruins Showing Signs of Life

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Movies with tags , , , , on November 15, 2009 by clarencethehorse

Let’s face it, last season’s success set some very high expectations for this year’s Boston Bruins.  If they do in fact end up having the type of season that we know they are capable of having, this most recent 4-game home stand (Nov. 5 – Nov. 12) will be looked back at as the point where they started to gain some traction traction after a less than thrilling opening 14 games (6-7-1).  The Bruins headed into the opener of this home stand against the Canadiens having suffered back-to-back shutouts on the road to the Rangers and Red Wings, so they were woefully in need of some offense.  They had not scored in six plus periods, they were 0 for their last 20 power plays (and last in the NHL), and were still looking for back to back victories five weeks into the season.  Would they be able to break some of these less-then-desirable streaks? On top of all this, it was announced that David Krejci krejci_06032009 was out indefinitely with the swine-flu swine flu. Although this home stand was not a complete success, it was a huge step in the right direction, as the B’s gained six out of a possible eight points (2-0-2), and Bruins fans exclaimed “Finally!” each time the aforementioned streaks were thankfully put behind them.

In the first game, it took 59 minutes against Montreal Canadiens, but the Bruins finally broke their scoring drought of 194:06 as Patrice Bergeron beat Price with 52 seconds remaining in the third period when he popped a goal-mouth rebound in to tie the game at one.  This was the 37th shot of the game for the Bruins, who ended up outshooting the Habs 43-26, but lost in a shootout.  But the Bruins had one monkey funny_monkey off their back….they had scored a goal….Finally.  Carey Price had a solid game in net for Montreal, but I still think he’s extremely overrated and would be surprised if he plays this well against the Bruins in any of the remaining Bruins/Canadiens games this season. I had to watch this game on DVR because I went to see Ben Folds BenFolds385x292 at Brandeis. This video is far away, but you can still hear Ben punchin’ the ivories.

It would not get any easier for the Bruins next game, as the Northeast division leading Buffalo Sabres (9-3-1) came to town with arguably the hottest goalie in the NHL in Ryan Miller.  But the Bruins caught a break, as rookie netminder Jhonas Enroth, recalled from Portland of the AHL on Wednesday, made his NHL debut between the pipes.   The Bruins (Finally) got a power play goal from March Recchi on a tip-in of a Derek Morris shot, then another PP goal from Zdeno Chara chara to gain a 2-0 edge after the first period.  These were the B’s first power play goals in seven games, and Chara’s goal was also his first of the season.  The monkeys were flying flying monkey off the Bruins backs now.

The first period also featured a good Thornton/Montador fight, with a clear decision being awarded to Shawn Thornton over former Bruins-stiff and current Sabres-stiff Steve Montador in this bout.  This was also the first Garden appearance for Sabres’ rookie defenseman myers Tyler Myers, who at 6′ 8″ is an impressively agile player and looks to be a star of the future for the Sabres.  He had a beautiful assist on the Sabres’ second goal. But the Bruins were finally playing with the kind of confidence we had become accustomed to last season, and Byron Bitz made it 3-0 early in the second stanza, showing again why the Bruins fourth line is the best in the league.  Sure, there are no all-stars amongst the fourth line of Bitz, Steve Begin and Shawn Thornton; but they continually shut down the other teams top lines and frustrate the opposition by keeping the play 180 feet away from the Bruins’ goal.  With 1:29 remaining in the second, Bergeron fed Marco Sturm for a 4-1 Bruins lead.  This was Sturm’s first goal in 12 games, and the Bruins will need him to get back on track if they want to replace the offense that went to Toronto this past offseason in the form of Phil Kessel.  Serendipitously, this was also the night that Kessel scored his first goal of the season for the Maple Leafs, as he returned three weeks ahead of schedule. This game also featured solid penalty-killing by the B’s, and that is one aspect of their game that has been solid all season.  The Blake Wheeler/Michael Ryder/Vladmir Sobotka line is also developing some nice chemistry, and that line produced several solid scoring chances. The 4-2 Bruins victory also featured a good bout between Thornton and Paul Gaustad, as well as more solid play from emerging defenseman Mark (don’t call me ‘Martha’) Stuart.

The Bruins had failed in their first six chances to win back-to-back games, and they now had a seventh chance to finally accomplish this against the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Penguins came to Boston on 11/10/09 with several key players out, with Evgeni Malkin evgeni-malkin-nick-jonas being the most notable. Sidney Crosby was in the lineup, but entered the game with zero points in his last four games, the longest such drought of his career…and it would stretch to five games after tonight.  The Bruins were also still undermanned (Savard, Lucic still out), but were somewhat buoyed by the return of David Krejci from the swine_flu_pig swine flu. There was a familiar name on the back of #12 for the Penguins, as Chris Bourque small_bourque (yes, son of Bruins legend Ray Bourque) was picked up off waivers by Pittsburgh from Washington earlier this season.  The first period featured good sustained action, but the game remained scoreless going into the second period.  Matt Hunwick put the Bruins up 1-0 early in the second period, scoring a goal that slipped under the crossbar and eluded the on-ice officials.  After continued play of 1:20, there was finally a stoppage of play, the tape was reviewed, and the B’s had a 1-0 lead. In the third period, Derek Morris, who is showing himself to be a solid free-agent signing, blocked a shot that led directly to a breakaway goal by Daniel Paille.  It was Paille’s first goal as a Bruin, and Mark Recchi’s assist was the 900th of his career (in 1,507 career games).  Tim Thomas was solid when needed, and made several big saves to earn his second shutout of the season.  Pittsburgh’s Marc Andre-Fleury made the save of the game on David Krejci late in the third period to keep the Penguins within two goals at 2-0. The impressive win by the Bruins was capped off by a 180-foot open-net goal by Patrice Bergeron that took all the right bounces…..if this was plinko Plinko, it would have been a $10,000 shot.  So the Bruins had beaten the Sabres and Penguins for their first back-to-back wins of the season….FINALLY.

The last game of the four game home stand welcomed Tomas Vokoun and the Florida Panthers to the Garden.  The Bruins always seem to have problems with Florida at home, and on this night Vokoun would make sure that those problems continued.  Tim Thomas was almost as good, and this save in the first was definitely his best of the game, if not the season.  But Vokoun stymied the Bruins at every turn, and even Thomas’ second straight shutout (and third of the season) did not ensure two points for the Bruins, as Florida won in a shootout, 1-0.  Stat of the game:  the Bruins outshot Florida 19-1 in the second period (40-23 overall).  There was one bout worth noting, as Shawn Thornton scored a decision with a take-down of Bryan Allen in the second period.  There are going to be a couple of games over the course of the 82-game season where you have to tip your hat to the opposing goalie, and this was one of them.  The Bruins inefficiency in shootouts is somewhat troubling, but these stats show that there are some teams that have fared worse in shootouts since the NHL adopted this game-deciding format in the 2005-2006 season.  So three consecutive wins was not in the cards, but the Bruins had succeeded in getting points in all four games in this home stand (2-0-2).

Jack Edwards jack1 continues to make me turn down the NESN audio and turn the radio to 98.5 FM for the game play-by-play, as he remains an annoying clown clown in the TV booth.  Gems such as “(Frolik) slams into (Mark) Stuart and he’s an executive desktoy!” make me wonder what is more important to him….calling the game, or making sure he squeezes in as many useless, meaningless non-sequitor soundbites as possible.  He also called Vokoun “Brodeur” during the OT period.  Even Andy Brickley, a talented color commentator who also works on VERSUS national broadcasts, seems to be tiring of Edwards’ shtick.  I never thought I would say this, but I miss dale-arnold Dale Arnold.

The Bruins (8-7-3) head into Pittsburgh for Saturday’s (11/14/09) game looking to get back to their winning ways after the aggravating shutout at the hands of the Tomas Vokoun.  With Evgeni Malkin evgeni-malkin back in the lineup for the Penguins, and Tuesday’s 3-0 shutout at the hands of the B’s still fresh on their minds, the Bruins have their work cut out for them.  But the Bruins’ play has been trending up Trending-Up as of late, and with the imminent returns of Milan Lucic (possibly 11/19 or 11/20) and Marc Savard (should begin skating next week), Bruins fans have reason to believe that trend will continue.

Ben Folds at the Calvin Theater – Sentimental Guy

Posted in Music with tags , on October 26, 2009 by clarencethehorse

Here’s a clip from Ben at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA October 3, 2009:

Ben_Folds_Calvin 009

First 2 Games: Jekyll and Hyde

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Music with tags , , , , on October 4, 2009 by clarencethehorse

We are a mere two games into the season, and I already hope that the Bruins worst game of the year is behind them. When the on-ice highlight of the night is YouTube sensation Junior Seau riding the zamboni, you know you’re in deep trouble. Especially against the offensively gifted and opportunistic Washington Capitals.  But that is how bad the Bruins looked hindenburg in losing their season opener 4-1 this past Thursday night.  The Bruins went 55 games last year before losing by more than two goals, but they got that dubious accomplishment out of the way early this season.  Here’s a play that sums up the game: Milan Lucic looking like Lurch lurch-kerry early in the third period as he was caught flat-footed deerheadlights by Alex Ovechkin, who jumped on the loose puck and quickly buried a snap shot past a surprised Tim Thomas to put the game essentially out of reach at 4-0.  Lucic’s play mirrored the entire evening for the Bruins, as they lost battle after battle.  That was the first time I noticed Lucic on the ice all nite, and many of the B’s forwards simply did not show up for this game. Patrice Bergeron, who got the Bruins lone goal, may have been the only exception.  This was not the way the Bruins wanted to perform in their most anxiously awaited opener in years.  For Saturday’s game, they needed to bounce back quickly and decisively, or long suffering Bruins fans would be putting their B’s jersey back into their closets amid cries of “Why did we trade Phil Kessel?!”.

What a difference a game makes.  The Bruins faced Aaron Ward and the Carolina Hurricanes for Game two, and they beat them handily, 7-2, beating them up physically along the way.  Instead of the crowd cheering on Seau riding the zamboni, we had Zdeno Chara Lurch-addams-family-6160640-114-120 riding Tom Kostopoulos like a mechanical bull.  Offensive woes of the season opener? Not anymore, as seven different Bruins dented the twine.  The power play outage against the Capitals?  No worries, as the B’s tallied 4 PPG’s against the Hurricanes.  Their forwards, who were so ineffective against the Caps, were creating offense with crisp break-out passes and aggressive rushes to the net.  After being outshot 34-20 on Thursday nite, the B’s outshot the Hurricanes 42-27.  When the Hurricanes tried to save a show a little life in the fisticuffs department, they got beat up even worse than on the scoreboard.  Milan Lucic was challenged by an ill-advised Jay Harrison in the second, and Lucic made him pay, lucic_harrison as Harrison looked like JFK arriving at Parkland Memorial Hospital as he made his way to the bench.  Ex-Bruin Andrew Alberts, who had sparked a 5-on-5 scrum in period 2 when he threw a questionable high hit on Marco Sturm, was also bloodied by Shawn Thornton in a third period bout.

The Bruins also dedicated the Fred Cusick cusick Broadcast booth at the TD Garden.  Here’s some more classic Fred.

So with a 2.43% sampling of this season in the books, this much is apparent:  the Bruins are NOT as bad as they looked against Washington in game 1, but they are also most likely not as good as they looked in game 2 against Carolina.  Next game:  Thursday at home vs. Anaheim.

Any Ben Folds fans out there?  Here’s a clip from his Saturday show at Calvin Theatre in Northampton