HBO’s Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the Viper

June 3, 2014 Hockey, Pop Culture, Reviews, Science Fiction & Fantasy Comments (0) 952

I just have a couple of quick thoughts on this week’s episode. I know I haven’t been posting on GOT much recently; I’m back in novel-writing mode (elbow-deep in revisions) and putting most of my energies there.

First, a customary warning: As always I play fast and loose with the spoilers, book and show. Read at your own risk.

Like many viewers, I was taken aback by the ending of this episode. The teeth, the eyes, the screaming. The exploded brains. Even for a show that has been brutal throughout, this episode took it further. (How about that flayed man earlier in the show, too?)

It was so traumatic, my initial reaction was “that’s not how it happens in the book!” Then I went back and re-read what happened in the book, and realized this was almost exact. The teeth, the eyeballs, it happens slightly differently, but it’s all there.

And after I got over my initial reaction, horror at what I thought was exploitative, ratings-seeking violence, I decided I liked this ending–and I’ll tell you why. Continue Reading

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Deadspin: NHL Enforcers “The Most Useless Role in Sports.”

October 12, 2013 Hockey, In The News Comments (0) 430

Deadspin’s Adam Gretz yesterday published his argument that the hockey enforcer is “the most useless role in sports,” including a statistical analysis that shows the presence of enforcers on the ice or bench in modern NHL games does nothing to deter injuries. It’s well worth reading, though like most arguments against fighting in hockey, its lack of understanding for the sport’s nuances suggests Gretz has never actually played–something I may or may not be completely wrong about.

The math is enlightening, certainly, but the thesis ignores recent historical development. It’s the NHL who diminished the role of the enforcer, and made their players less safe by removing the opportunity for them to police themselves. I would be very interested to see the same mathematical analysis on the NHL game before the “third-man-in” and “instigator” rules effectively took away the ability of an enforcer to protect his team-mates without hurting his team. Maybe there was no statistical basis for this idea either, but I’m betting it would show. Continue Reading

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Photo: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

November 30, 2012 Artwork, Hockey, Travels Comments (0) 393

Not a good view of the ice, but you can get a look at the building around it. Classic old barn.

I took this at Operation Hat Trick, which was fun to watch.

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Joel Ward is not his Twitter critics

May 8, 2012 Hockey, Politics / Religion Comments (0) 398

I had a very brief back-and-forth tonight with Greg Wyshynski from Puck Daddy, but as sometimes happens I had to come here to explain myself in a bit more detail. To clarify, my complaint is not with Greg himself or with Puck Daddy specifically. It’s with the hockey media in general, but since I know Greg is accessible on Twitter, I went to him to voice my concern.

As you may already have heard, Joel Ward’s game-winning goal for the Washington Capitals, eliminating the Boston Bruins in a dramatic seventh-game overtime, resulted in a slew of hideous racist reactions on Twitter. This might have made national news on its own, but particularly coming on the heels of the horrible racist reactions to The Hunger Games film and the heavily social-media-driven controversy surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, it was justifiable to afford it coverage. The rapid-response condemnations from both the Bruins and the Capitals were excellent, if a bit of a no-brainer. Ward himself had a very level-headed reaction to questions I’m sure he never wanted to have to answer. At Puck Daddy, Harrison Mooney, himself a person of color, penned an excellent response that went beyond the dismissive and oversimplified idea that “race shouldn’t matter,” and called out those who were ready to blame the whole thing on the Bruins fans, as if racism in hockey were endemic to a particular city or fan base.

None of this raised my hackles. Racism in hockey is an issue barely beneath the surface. The NHL has advanced a bit, I guess – there are now almost enough active NHL players of black or African descent as there are teams – but the issue is still present, and worth discussing. When the hero of a game seven overtime is assailed with racial epithets on a major social network, that’s noteworthy.

What concerns me is that those racist tweets now come up every time Joel Ward is mentioned. Tonight, it was Harrison Mooney who felt hate-tweets merited mention in his write-up of the Rangers’ overtime win, in which Ward took the four-minute double minor on which the Rangers scored their game-tying and game-winning goals. I’m not accusing Mooney, or any of the other reporters who made the same decision, of having an agenda — far from it — but I’m concerned about the unintended consequences when idiots on Twitter keep working their way into the story. Continue Reading

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Sorry for the neglect

May 8, 2012 Hockey, Writing Comments (0) 399

I wish I could say it’s because I’m buckled down and writing, but honestly it’s mostly the NHL playoffs. For productivity, I’m better off when the Rangers miss the playoffs.

I am writing, though. Painfully close to finishing the novel I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. I was originally hoping to finish it by December 31, 2011. Then it was January 31, then April 30. Now I’m aiming for May 31. May the gods of writing and Henrik Lundqvist will it so.

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