The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ninety-Eight Years

They were sick of it.

Some of the greatest men in hockey were losing money over the game they loved.

The War was in full swing, and they'd lost a ton of money because one of their teams had been shipped, en masse, to the front lines.

On top of that, there was this twerp of an owner who was getting sue-happy - mostly because none of the rest of the owners cared for him much.

The problem was, he had all the good, young talent on his team - talent that was becoming harder and harder to find in the East.

Oh, sure, they could have looked to the West to try and find new talent, but the costs associated with such a venture were growing larger every day.

In fact, most of the gentlemen that came into that hotel room in Montreal that day wouldn't have been surprised to hear that the Western circuit would be defunct within a decade.

They had their own problem, though - their league was already defunct.

A few weeks earlier, because their fellow owner had demanded his share of the insurance settlement over the team that pulled out mid-season that Feburary, the rest of them had voted to suspend operations of their little hockey venture.

Now, with the ponds freezing up and the rivers freezing over, the time for hockey was fast approaching once again.

And these guys wanted their livelihood back.

So, they sat down and essentially re-formed their league.

They decided to call it that - a "league", instead of an "association" - to differentiate it from that of their predecessor.

The primary reason for this, of course, being to ward off any legal problems that may arise because of their renegade owner.

(The court system wasn't what it is today, of course.)

It was settled: Frank would be the league president.

Two teams would represent Montreal.

The newspaper-man from Ottawa would ice his squad, hoping to return it to glory with the star player he "stole" from that renegade owner.

The gentleman from Quebec demurred over icing a team, mostly because a friend of that same owner owned the arena.

Until they could straighten out things, they couldn't risk having legal battles keep them from playing.

Frank realized they couldn't play with only three teams, so he convinced the gentleman who owned and operated the arena which their former co-hort iced his team to take over an "expansion franchise" for the city.

Toronto was now in the fold.

Now, all they needed to do was set things down to paper.

This they did, and with a few strokes of the pen, it was completed.

The National Hockey League was born, on this date, back in 1917.

She's been on life support at times, and even went into that long coma this past year, but she's still strong.

And, with two young kids - one from Quebec, one from the frozen rivers of Russia - playing in a marquee matchup tonight, you can't say that the "league" those gentlemen formed 98 years ago is doing that bad.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Picking at an old wound

With the resignation of Steve Larmer from the NHLPA, you have to wonder about what exactly is going on in the NHLPA nowadays.

Larmer broached the "E" word when referring to the machinations of Ted Saskin and the PA's executive board. The move of hiring Saskin without a league-wide vote has been challenged with a suit filed by the NLRB - and it brings up an interesting question:

What exactly is in the Collective Bargaining Agreement?

The league and the PA haven't made the agreement known to the general public, which seems to indicate that the whole thing is still in the "cocktail napkin" stage, and not a real, live document.

One of the Leafs' broadcasters mentioned on yesterday's broadcast that the players may have brought on their problems themselves - not really asking or questioning what the PA has been telling them, because they're more interested in playing hockey than doing the "business" stuff.

That's a scary observation - first of all, it's a damning statement, blaming the players for everything, but secondly because of what it means. Namely, there could be another situation that would lead to an Eagleson-like figure taking over the PA.

That would be reason enough to sue that the PA didn't follow its rules in hiring Saskin.

I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that as soon as this CBA is done, the players will refuse to return to work until they get the ship righted back in their favor.

And that might happen three days before Hell freezes over.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Sometimes, the smallest thing is what causes Windows to act funny.

I was having all sorts of issues with the Sound and Audio Devices control panel in Windows XP. In particular, my Volume Control icon was no longer in the System Tray (the little box on the far side of the Start bar).

I happened to play around a bit on the wife's laptop to see if I could determine what was being accessed when you clicked on the Sound control panel. After taking a good look in Task Manager, I determined that rundll32.exe was opening every time I opened the control panel - which makes sense, since rundll32 is one of the few files in the Windows hierarchy that can cause the entire thing to fall apart.

I fired up the Command line, switched over to the i386 directory, and did the following:

expand rundll32.ex_ c:\windows\system32\rundll32.exe

Sure enough, after I closed the Command line box, I opened the control panel, clicked on "show volume control on taskbar", hit "Apply" and boom there it is.

Part of me is happy that I figured this out. Part of me is shaking my head that the idiots in Redmond couldn't do something to keep this from happening.

Friday, November 18, 2005




Way to go, Panthers!


My alma mater, the Racine Washington Park Panthers, are facing Wisconsin Rapids in the Division I WIAA football championship game as I type this.

Though they're losing 9-7, the Panthers have looked good so far - and there's a long way to go.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Winter's Here

Winter has finally arrived in Wisconsin. We got a blanket coating of the white stuff last night, and the temps have been hovering down in the teens. Meanwhile, I can tell I'm getting old because I'm getting every little ache because of it.

I am now a member of the XM Nation. I went out and bought a Delphi MyFi XM radio Monday, and have fallen in love with it. I'm now even happier that XM has finally addded NHL Home Ice on channel 204 - 24/7 hockey talk. I'm just getting used to the various features of the radio, including the five-hour "time shifting" recording feature. My first recording? The last 10 minutes of the Preds-Kings game.

The state of Florida is planning on issuing to individuals who are convicted of DUI a separate "pink" license plate. Here in Wisconsin, I'm not sure how that would work; I mean, it might be better if they made it blaze orange, but then people might just think you're a hunter...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hail Park

Friday, November 11, 2005

Where'd He Go?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

CSI: Channelside

Puttin' on my Gil Grissom hat, here's my take on what probably happened to Angela and Renee:

Since the Panthers were at Tampa this past weekend, it was probably an "off weekend" for the TopCats squad. Renee and Angela, perhaps due to their connections through UNC-Charlotte, were friends on the squad. Renee may have made the plans to go down to Tampa as part of a "birthday" celebration – judging from her age and that she's still in school, she may be turning 21 in a short period of time, before the end of the season. (After re-looking at the mugshot, I was wrong: she just turned 20 a month and a half ago.)

Angela, on her part, may have either made arrangements not to be working that weekend, or may have "fiblet-ed" about having to work for the Panthers down in Tampa. We don't know for sure, but somehow they both decided to go down to Tampa with the team.

It would be reasonable to assume that they travelled down to Tampa with the team on Saturday (either in the AM or afternoon). For whatever reason they may have claimed they were visiting Tampa, they ended up in the Channelside district, where most of the happening bars are.

Since Renee was still underaged, she decided to use a "fake ID" – either that or she "borrowed" the fake ID from her fellow TopCat, a girl known as "Kristen". Whether or not Angela knew that Renee was using a fake ID is questionable; Angela may not have known exactly when it was going to be Renee's birthday.

Anyways, they get to the club and start partying. At some time late in the night, one (or both) of the ladies end up in the bathroom – logic would suggest that it was Renee, since she may have both been drinking heavily for the first time, or she may have been overdoing it because it was her "birthday" celebration. It may also have been both, but we may not be sure. They go into the bathroom, and a lady who is leaving sees one of the girls heave their guts out into the toilet.

The two ladies end up spending a long time in the bathroom, and a line forms outside. At some point, some demanding patrons start pounding on the door impatiently. The door comes open, and the two cheerleaders may have been in a position that looked like they were pleasuring each other. However, given their outfits as they left the Hillsborough County Jail Sunday afternoon, it's more likely that they may have had a wardrobe malfunction of some sort. Unfortunately, that's not what the other patrons saw as the door flew open. (Actually, it appears there was an exchange in the bathroom, and Angela screamed something about "my friend is having problems" - which seems to indicate it was Renee who was probably yakking in the toilet.)

The pair came out of the bathroom after cleaning up, and it's highly likely that one of the other patrons made some snide comment to them (probably something along the lines of, "dyke bitch, get a room next time"). Renee took offense at these remarks, and pushed at the patron as she walked by. When the patron pushed back, Renee smacked her.

That was probably when all hell broke loose in this bar. If TPD wasn't already on site because of the complaints over the bathroom, they were definitely there when the fur started flying (pardon the pun). Angela may have been trying to break things up, and in the process ended up struggling with police.

It isn't clear whether or not the two suffered any injuries in the incident, but it's not likely that it was severe enough. As they were being led away, it's likely that the rumors started flying – especially if they had mentioned at anytime during the night that they were Panthers cheerleaders. (They did mention it, apparently, because there were some people at a HS reunion that claimed they met the pair as "gate crashers" at the club - Banana Joe's. And it appears the only marks were on the chick who Thomas hit - gave her a shiner.)

At the Hillsborough County Jail, Renee made her worst move of the night by presenting the TPD with the driver's license of another Panther cheerleader, named Kristen. In her possible fear of being nailed for underage drinking, she missed the realization that she could be charged both with giving a false name and third-degree felony assault of another – punishable by probation or a jail term of one to five years.

It's assumed that after they got out of jail, they went back to the hotel where the team was staying and waited for the team to return, hoping that no one would have heard of the incident.

It is not known when the Panthers organization found out about the incident, but when it did, things went very very haywire. Apparently, as soon as the pair returned to Charlotte, the team informed both that they were fired. Also, apparently Angela was given "administrative leave" from her job as a nurse at Carolinas Medical Center. (In short, she was suspended – with pay, according to later reports.)

As NFL fans were waking up to discover that strange things had happened in Tampa over the weekend, various internet news sources and bloggers had broken the story about the "lesbian sex episode". The numerous hits to the Panthers website at caused the server to crash, which wasn't rectified until Tuesday.

Tuesday was damage control, as a lawyer for Thomas stated that the two were not having sex in the stall, as was rumored. However, the Tampa PD put out a fugitive arrest warrant for Thomas, since she had given the fake ID.

The other rumors were flying Tuesday as well, including a report that Penthouse magazine had attempted to contact the pair about doing a pictorial spread. No word on the truth to the report, though speculation over their appearance in any of a number of men's magazines is just that at this point.

There really was no new word on the status of the two cheerleaders as of this morning, because the warrant for Thomas' arrest hasn't been extradited to the Carolinas. However, from the sounds of things, it appears that Thomas was way more at fault than Keathley; depending on the backgrounds of the two, it's likely that neither will get anything serious, except for probation.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dumb Enough

There's already talk about whether or not some team out there in NFL land would be dumb enough to pick up T.O.'s contract and take a chance on him.

The conventional wisdom, at the moment, says that the Jets would be a good fit. To me, that's like putting a little kid in a fireworks factory with a box of matches.

The Raiders are perceived to be out of the running, because they already have their head case... er, I mean, primary Wide Receiver in Randy Moss.

The thing is, someone will take the chance on him, because of the simplest rule in major professional sports: sometimes, you have to do something you don't like because if you don't, someone else will - and they might get lucky and win by doing it.

The "SEW" principle is what keeps fans coming back for more, even when teams and players do things so outrageous that no sane human being could approve. When one season ticket holder gives up in disgust, another person jumps up from the waiting list to grab his tickets.

Of course, this doesn't explain what's up with Renee and Angela...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Terrell, Brett, Sherman and... Renee and Angela?

Of all the things you thought would be big news this week - Terrell Owens being shown the door in Philly, Brett Favre hinting that he wouldn't play if head coach Mike Sherman got axed, Sherman going postal over a cell phone - you didn't think there'd be anything else to talk about.


A little altercation involving two members of the Carolina Panthers' TopCats cheerleading squad threw that completely out the window.

Stand-up comedians now have fodder for about the next six months or so.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Weekend Thoughts

Don't mind me, I'm suffering from PPDDS.

Friday, November 04, 2005

What is a Blog, Anyways?

My brother-in-law today asked me if I'd heard of blogging, since he knows I'm a computer guy. When I told him yes, he asked me what exactly it is.

I had to pause for a second, because it's not easily defineable. I gave the answer, "it's essentially an online diary" - and immediately thought, no, that's not right.

In a way, a blog is more than just a diary - it's a way of being "published" for all to read.

Of course, given that my counter is only in the hundreds here, it's not like a whole lot of people come to read my blog...