The View From Wisconsin
Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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
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
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
WIAA DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONS!
Way to go, Panthers!
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
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
- First of all, let's get the alma mater stuff out of the way: GO PARK! BEAT WIS. RAPIDS! And let's not forget the mighty Warhawks from UW-W... Division III playoffs straight ahead.
- Oh, sure, pull out an upset of the Falcons today, Brett. Give everyone in the Cheesehead Nation a false sense of hope.
- The Saturday night after a payday is never the night to work third shift at EAS. Once again we had a slam-fest on Sunday morning (translation: a slew of call-ins with little to no numbers on the overtime sign-up sheets), and once again we had orders galore. When you consider our third shift staff roster is already small by design, it makes for some long nights.
- I'm really looking hard into the world of XM Satellite Radio. I've been toying with the idea of getting a MyFi portable XM radio, and taking the thing with to AZ on the long drive.
- Preds are up to 11 wins on the season, and they're not even at game 16. It'd only be better if we had Scott Walker out there, and Paulie Kariya had a few more goals than he does. I'll settle for W's, though.
Friday, November 11, 2005
- Among the hats and catfish thrown onto the ice last night at the GEC was the jockstrap of Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov. My goodness, the move Sully put on him was, in the modern vernacular, "sick".
- Renee and Angela update: it appears that there was no drinking involved, but it was something worse than that - ex-boyfriend syndrome. Apparently Angela's ex showed up at Banana Joe's and she was stressed over the situation. Renee was trying to coax her out of the bathroom when the complaints about them taking so long in the stall started up. The lady who Renee Thomas slugged, one Melissa Holden, didn't evey say anything to her when she opened up the stall to use the toilet - it was someone standing behind her in line. And it appears that Angela was also incredibly drunk at the time - which explains her "resisting arrest" charge. Oh, and as for the real Kristen Owen - the name that Ms. Thomas used on her fake ID - she was at a wedding in Columbia, SC the night of the incident. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
- I have been toying with getting an XM Sattelite Radio transceiver for my car, but I'm not sure if it would be worth it for me. If I knew that all of my Predators games would be available on XM, I'd probably do it. However, I'm not sold on the price or the subscription cost.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
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 carolinapanthers.com 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
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
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
- Ah, reality strikes the Badger Nation in Unhappy Valley. So much for that Big Ten championship we wanted to send Barry out with. I guess when you have a suspect defense, you can't score enough points to make up for it.
- Now that the rest of the sports world is done laughing at us over the Great Cell Phone Incident, maybe the Packers should start to consider whether or not it's "cut bait" time. And put me in the group that says if Brett doesn't want to come back if Sherman isn't around next year, let him. The biggeest problem with this franchise has always been that they are too slow to make changes to remain competitive in the NFL. Shake things up, get different people in there, and get going.
- Dear Mr. Attanasio (Re: Yount hiring): that's one big thing you can check off your "to-do" list. Love, Brewer fans.
- The Bucks beat the Shaq-less Heat to go to 3-0 on the season. I'd be more impressed if they would have beaten them with Shaq. Either way, I won't care until they're deep in the playoffs.
- The daylight savings changeover has played hell with my sleep patterns again. The little 17-hour OT jaunt last weekend didn't help, either. Now I can't seem to sleep more than three hours at a time, even after taking something.
- My two alma maters had a good weekend in football. UW-W clinched the WIAC title, and a Division III playoff berth, with their ninth straight win. The 32-10 defeat of UW-Stout leaves them ranked number 2 in the nation in Division III, behind the Linfield Wildcats. Meanwhile, the Racine Park Panthers managed to overcome a "wardrobe malfunction" to beat Mukwonago, 24-8. The Panthers will face either Homestead or Menomonee Falls, depending on how the suspended game goes tonight (Homestead was leading 6-0 at the half until thunderstorms stopped the rest of the game).
- My dad had another hospital visit, this time for his doc to "manipulate" his knee so it would bend at 120- degrees. He has been having issues bending the knee more than a few degrees from straight since his surgery. He's not liking still being up here in Wisconsin at this time of year, but we're still go for driving down to AZ at the end of the month.
- I'm guessing that our Mr. Sims is the temporary announcer-pro-tem for the Admirals. I'm not sold on the combo of him and Troy Ward in the booth, and I'm still having issues with WMCS (I still can't figure out why I'm getting a Peoria station AND a Sparta station over WMCS at night).
Friday, November 04, 2005
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...