Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good News for ME!

I don't know how many of you know this, but I submitted a story for an anthology of crime/pulp/noir stories coming out this November.  The book, the second in the series, will be called Live Free or Die, Die, Die! and my story (hopefully) will be titled the same.  It is published by Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire magazine.

I say hopefully titled the same because I entered my story to be the title story, and to get that position would be an honor and extremely cool (as far as I'm concerned).  The good news is that Rick e-mailed me the other day to tell me that my story is definitely in the book (yay!) and that I am actually in the running for the title story (double yay!).  I don't know if I'll get it or not since I have no way of seeing the competition and therefore have no idea where I stand, but really it's awesome just to get in there.

For those of you unfamiliar with New Hampshire Pulp Fiction, you can check out their website here, and you should also check out the first book in the series, Live Free or Undead (did I mention he's editor of New Hampshire magazine?).  I know you can find it in Portsmouth (which is where I found it) or you can look around for it.  That's what the internet is for.  I'm not doing all the work for you.

Anyway, as I said, the book comes out this November, and whether I'm the title story or not I'll be in there somewhere, so show your support.  I'll be reminding people when the time gets closer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Luongo Lost the Stanley Cup for His Team

First of all, congratulations to the Bruins for their first Stanley Cup since 1972.  I don't know if Boston fans could have handled another drought like a certain terrible baseball team once had...and you had to go through some pretty tough teams to put an end to the wait.  Also, cograts to Tim Thomas on being selected MVP, a trophy well earned.

Speaking of tough teams, just about everyone had Vancouver picked to be hoisting the trophy, for what would have been their first time in franchise history, at the end of the season.  In a year where so many teams were so competitive, so close in skill level in both the Eastern and Western conferences, and the playoff contenders weren't decided until the final weekend of play, Vancouver was the one team that seemed to have separated itself from the pack.  In a season where any team could beat any team at any time, Vancouver was the one team in the league expected to win every game.  Led by the Sedin twins, Vancouver was arguably the most consistent (winning) team of the year.

So what happened?

The series came down to goal tending.

As NHL on the Fly analyst Craig Button argued before the playoffs began, Luongo is not a Stanley Cup goalie.

Let's start with consistency.  Going into game seven Wednesday night, Luongo had two shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals.  He had also been pulled twice.  The amount of goals he had allowed in three games at home: 2.  The amount of goals he had given up in three games on the road: a staggering 15.  Talk about inconsistency. 

How could the Vancouver fans, or more importantly their players, have any faith in a guy who can blank a team one night and then let pucks by him like they were covered in anthrax the next?  I don't think you can.  From a players perspective, when your goalie can at any time and without a moments notice give up four goals in five shots, you start to think and react with a defensive mindset.  Instead of battling for a close loose puck at the blue line, you start to think "I need to get back and play defense."  You stop taking chances, you stop being aggressive, you start worrying what the other guy is going to do to beat you instead of what you can do to beat him.  In other words, instead of playing the game to win, you start playing not to loose, and as anyone will tell you, that is a surefire way to defeat.

Luongo's inconsistency didn't just have an effect on Vancouver's state of mind as a team, which of course I can only speculate about, it had an effect on Vancouver's physical state of being as well.  No need to speculate there.  I watched it happen with my own eyes.  Eddie Olczyk made a comment with about seven minutes to go in the game about the Vancouver defensemen looking exhausted and being beat to every loose puck.  Tim Thomas also made a comment in his on-ice post-game interview about the physicality of the series taking a toll on Vancouver.

How does that relate to Luongo's poor performance?  See, it isn't enough that Luongo won three games in amazing fashion at home, because the Stanley Cup Finals is a long, hard, physical, seven game series...and people get tired.  It doesn't take a doctor to know that the best medicine for being tired is rest, and that is exactly what Luongo's three goals in eight shots in game six gave the Bruins players.  With a comfortable lead, the Bruins first, second, and even third lines all saw a little less ice time than normal in game six, while Vancouver's star players were still out there, grinding out every shift, putting two on the board.  But two wasn't enough.  So in the end, game seven saw a rested Chara, Recchi, and Bergeron for Boston, and a set of twins and one Robert Kesler tired, beaten, and, again speculation on my part, lacking in confidence.

Let me stop and mention something about the confidence of the Bruins here too.  Do you know what else happened when the Bruins top lines were on the bench?  The fourth line for the Bruins came alive.  Congratulations to Thornton and co. for really stepping it up when it was most needed.  They played hard, they put a lot of pressure on the net, they stood their ground against Vancouver's second and third lines.  But the most important thing?  It gave Boston coach Claude Julien confidence that his fourth line could handle more ice time in game seven.  I don't know if you saw that stats after the first period, but the fourth line guys had at least four to six minutes each...more time the first line guys (or the second, or the third) don't have to be out there, more time they can rest.  No wonder then at the end of the game Boston was skating circles around Vancouver.  By the time Luongo went to the bench with around three minutes to play it was almost no challenge at all for Boston to get the puck to the other end and score that fourth and final goal.  The Canucks were out of gas.

Finally, I just want to mention Luongo's remarks.  He said he didn't mean them as an insult, and if you look at the comment as a whole you can sort of see where he's coming from, but here's the thing, it just doesn't matter.  You don't trash another teams goalie.  The only hockey I ever played was at the street level, but even there, you didn't attack the other teams goalie, verbally or otherwise.  It would be very painful for you, even amongst friends.  You think the Bruins treated the Canucks like friends?

Not to mention Thomas.   I think Thomas is a great interviewee because his answers are well thought out and he articulates them well, and as far as the media was concerned he seemed to have brushed the comment aside, even joking around a little (pumping the tires).  But rumors from the locker room suggested he was actually pretty upset about what Luongo said.  If that was true, do you think it broke Thomas' spirit, or made him play harder?  No way to know, mostly because I don't know Thomas' true reaction to the comment.  But what I do know is that Thomas led his team to 5-2 and a 4-0 victories after the comments were made.  So at best they had no effect and Thomas just played to his usual awesomeness, at worst, Luongo helped build the wall that stopped Vancouver from reaching it's first ever Cup.

So there you have it, my take on how Luongo lost the Stanley Cup Finals for his team.  You could argue that players win as a team, lose as a team, that he needed more goal support, Raymond was out, blah blah blah...but don't, because in the end, Luongo, who so aptly pointed out that HE was one win away from the Stanley Cup, not the team, he very much said "I" in an interview before game six, let the team down.  HE, apparently, was two games away from losing it as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark Comes Out Today...Save Your Money, Watch This Instead

I haven't been covering it, but it isn't exactly a secret that the Spider-Man Broadway musical Turn off the Dark has been something of a comedy of errors over the last few years...long story short, the new and "improved" version (certainly new, don't know about improved) version comes out today, minus Julie Taymor.

I am a huge Spider-Man fan and even went as the web-slinger for Halloween once...and I don't mind me a good Broadway musical.  That being said, I don't think this is going to be a good Broadway musical, or even an okay one...

So I propose you watch this instead.  It accurately sums up the Spidey musical and you get to watch muppets...what more could you want?

Monday, June 13, 2011

The More Lunongo Speaks...the More I Dislike Him...

We all know about Luongo's comment about how he would have made the save Tim Thomas failed to make in game 5, allowing the only goal of the game.

Is it a big deal?  Maybe, maybe not.

If you look at the entire comment Luongo also says that there were saves Thomas made that he wouldn't have.  The statement, according to Luongo, was more about the different styles of play, the different approaches of each goalie, than an insult.  Should we believe him?

Does it matter?  It's the Stanley Cup Finals, are teams supposed to be nice to each other?

Besides, the numbers speak for themselves.  Boston, while down 3-2 in the series, has outscored Vancouver 14-6, including 8-1 and 4-0 routes by the Bruins.

On the flip side, Luongo has two shutouts in the Finals.  Know any other goalies in Stanley Cup Finals history with two shutouts with rumors of being benched hovering over him?  I can't think of any either.

The point is, I don't know anyone that would take Luongo over Thomas if they had their pick, and all of Luongo's stupid comments, intentionally insulting or not, don't mean a thing.

No one was questioning Thomas' ability to bring home the Cup before the series began.  Can't say the same for the Big L.

But that isn't the only comment of Luogo's that reveals he may be more in love with himself than we are.  If you watch interviews with the players in Vancouver, you hear a lot of statements like this - "We're only one win away from the Cup" or "We just have to keep playing our game" or "We have to play whistle to whistle."  A lot of "we's" - as in this is a team effort.

Luongo on the other hand - "I'm one win away from the Stanley Cup."  Notice a difference?  Luongo's interviews are filled with "I's" and "Me's" - not exactly a team player.  Maybe it's because the focus is on him and his statement at the moment, but that isn't the kind of self-centered mentality I want from anyone on my team, let alone my goalie.

Who does Luongo think he is?  LeBron James?  Congrats to the King on yet another championship season by the way...

Tim Thomas doesn't need to pump Luongo's tires...Lungo does plenty of that himself.

Something Luongo could have thought about from the bench in game 4.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Question: What do DC and Digital Comics Have in Common?

Answer: I don't read either of them...

So I'm sure you've heard the news.  Big DC reboot and all...and if you haven't, well, you can read about it at DC's website.

You know, I have taken multiple surveys from Marvel about digital comics, and my answer has always been the same - I don't read them.

I don't want to read them.

Call me old fashioned, but I''m not alone.  There are a lot of people out there who don't want to trade in their cardboard boxes for an least as far as their comics are concerned.  I don't like to read off a screen.  I want the book in hand.

Some people are saying this is the death of the comic book store.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I don't read much DC, a rare book on occasion (although I do enjoy Vertigo), so there isn't a comic store surviving off of my sales.  But obviously comic shops are going to take a hit if they can't put one of the top two comic producers on their shelves.  Thanks DC for all your support...

But comic shops won't be the only one's taking the hit.  How many people out there are like me in that they don't want to read digital comics, but unlike me in the fact that they read DC?  Answer: I have no idea, but my point is this, if I was reading DC comics and I was forced to go digital...I would stop reading DC comics.  Who takes the hit then?

Talking about taking hits, on August 31, DC is going to do a sort of universe overhaul with a bunch of new #1's.  Do you know why Superman and Batman #1's sell for millions of dollars?  Because there aren't many of them left.  Who's going to pay a million dollars for a digital copy of anything?  Nobody.  I read an article once about five things to invest in that are better than gold.  Number five on the list was comic books.  Say what you will but the numbers are there...can you name anything else bought for 10 cents and sold for almost $2 million?  Think that would still hold true if there aren't any paper copies?

In the end I don't see how anyone wins from what DC is doing.  As I said, stores are going to take a hit because one of the biggest names in comics isn't on the shelves, and DC is going to lose sales because of people like me, purists (as far as comics go) that don't want to go digital.  Ever.