Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You Know What, It's an Addiction And I Have No Intention of Defeating It

Don't worry, my loyal company of readers -- and random jags perusing my blog -- a longer, video update is coming soon. Topics include a reaction to the end of the NFL lockout, what that means for Karstens-forsaken ESPN, and the possibility of the 2012 NHL Draft being held in Pittsburgh.

In the meantime, I decided to feed my unrelenting obsession for pictures that feature the Lord Almighty, Jeff Karstens. Most recently, he appears to bear an uncanny resemblance to Babe Ruth IV from The Simpsons, who is billed as Babe Ruth's illegitimate great grandson. The flaring nose, though exaggerated in animation, and powerful brows can't be denied.

With the swell in Karstens sightings I've had, I imagine that I'll see him etched into a grilled cheese sandwich in the near future. The question remains whether I eat it, cherish it forever, or sell it on eBay.
Please help me enable my not quite crippling addiction of Karstens pics by sending in your own and having it featured here. Do it, jags -- I need it. Ship 'em on over to i.aint.no.jag@gmail.com, or I'll have da Fort, Mike McKenry, pound your face in.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chuck's Corner: Random Asides and Irrelevant Tangents of a Yinzer

How goes it jags? Slow day in the sports world -- 'round here, at least -- as we wait to see whether the NFL players will agree to the new CBA and pro football will get back underway.

Let's not kid ourselves, though; there will be a consensus eventually. Because the owners and players owe it to the adoring fans who act as the lifeblood for the sport, right? Fuck no. Because there's way too much money to be lost, by both parties, if a deal isn't reached.

I mean, the only reason this calamity came about in the first place is because the group of assholes wanted a higher stake of the what the group of dickheads we're raking in... all of this made possible, of course, by whom? The fans. Not that anybody involved gives a flying fuck. It's like two monarchies disputing possession of a coveted natural resource or a lucrative trade route: in the end, the poor people are ones who are gonna get fucked the hardest.

That said, nobody's gonna stop watching and the NFL will pull in another several billion dollars. Maybe the government should start taxing them to help out with the debt. Hell, the NFL's probably got more pull around this country anyhow, so why doesn't Roger Goodell go out and solve the nation's problems? Whatever the case, we NFL fans are mindless peons who serve the powers that be with admirable ignorance to the injustice levied against us.

For Karstens' sake, think about it -- professional sports form the single greatest monopoly that exists. There are no legitimate competitors for any of the four major sports. Even if somebody tried, the massive barriers that stand in the way of success pose, I would wager, far too great a challenge for anybody who likes their money to overcome. Some billionaire somewhere could try -- the most recent in memory being multimillionaire Vince McMahon -- but these people made their money with wise investments, and they ain't gonna lose it over some war of attrition with a major sports entity.

Oh well, it won't matter when Google becomes a sentient superpower that will rely on mounds of our constantly-collected personal data to manufacture and manipulate circumstances in such a way that we do its bidding. And I know what you're thinking, jag -- but I predicted this shit long before that stupid-ass movie Eagle Eye came out. It's all a vein of Isaac Asimov's vision, anyway. He's got dibs on it, though how it happens is still up for grabs, I suppose.

For fuck sake, this whole diatribe isn't even what I had in mind to bitch about. My word leakage is a very serious condition that I have no intention of curing -- my alcoholism, too. Instead, I'm a self-enabler because, well, I like to go off for paragraphs and paragraphs about this nonsense.

No, the real thing I wanted to put out there for yinz is this: why in the hell has our country become a warehouse for helpless pussies?

I was enjoying a delicious sugary treat last night that evoked memories of Cookie Monster, one of my most beloved childhood idols, whose unrelenting demand for cookies I emulate in my constant call for more beer. Moreover, his hit song "'C' is for Cookie" remains a benchmark for today's despicable music industry.

Anyhow, if you didn't know already, Cookie Monster began recognizing cookies as a "sometime snack" in 2006 and, so I've read, now eats fruit and eggplant. Ok, so fruit is absolutely delicious -- I concur. But honestly, have you tried eggplant? Shit is gross.

I mean, for the love of fuck, I love the character to death, but when the hell did we develop into such a gullible and clueless society that we need to alter the eating habits of a blue, furry, googly-eyed monster because we evidently turn to him for dietary instruction?

Oh, and guess what -- you know it ain't gonna work, anyway. Why? Because little kids don't want to eat fucking eggplant; they want some goddamn cookies. What, did kids suddenly stop developing taste buds until puberty? When it comes down to it, a sweet treat is a lot more enticing than some purple abomination. Here's an idea: why don't parents, caregivers, whatever -- or the people posing as them, at least, because I'm pretty sure some shouldn't qualify -- explain why you can't have cookies all the damn time?! It ain't that fuckin difficult.

And don't get me started with Looney Tunes. Besides being pure brilliance, with its mix of whimsical music numbers and definitive characters, it was something that all members of society could enjoy -- except (usually) Bible-thumping hatemongers because they don't seem to enjoy much of anything. Well, let's take that off the air because Johnny apparently didn't have anybody around to tell him that he's not supposed to be somebody over the fucking head with a mallet.

What's worse is the remake of the show. I love having them back on the air in some capacity, but the show tries to frame Bugs and Daffy in a modern, recognizable social setting to, I can only guess, help guide kids with "teachable moments." I don't know about yinz, but when I was at that age, I was completely fucking aloof to social cues, progressive movements, and whatever the hell else they are pushing. I just wanted to see a bucktooth rabbit outwit a clumsy hunter with a speech impediment.

Plus, without Bugs' razor-sharp wit and quick 'strategery' (pronounced 'stra-tee-jur-ee'), how would I have become so wonderfully entertaining as I am now?!

So thanks to whatever assholes out there, once again, ruined something for the rest of us by being complete dolts. Fuck yinz. Hassan Chop!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Karstens Suffers the Fallacy of Humankind; Orpik Undergoes Surgery, Still Looks Like a Serial Killer

Greetings again, jags and jagettes. Not too much -- on the large scale, anyway -- that's been happenin lately, so today's update won't be as massive as some past ones. Besides, it's 10 a.m. and I'm only four Irons into my daily bender, which rivals Jeff Reed's uninhibited trips on Quaaludes or whatever the hell makes that jag beat paper product dispensers and take pictures of his favorite male part.

Regardless, I'll do what I can for the adoring fans I have out there, downin beers with me in their home, workplace, or on some piece of public property.

Karstens' Infallibility Remains Absolute, But d'Arnaud Is Probably Gonna Rot in Hell Unfiltered

The Buccos faced off against the Reds yesterday in the final contest of their three-game series. The Pirates had already put a beatdown on the Reds in the first two games, as they have been with in-division rivals, particularly those that are best represented by a man who has the same barber as Billie Jean King and likely bet against his son's little league team when the kid with some sort of developmental delay was pitching. (For yinz on the less-than-swift side, it's Pete Rose -- for Karstens' sake, try to keep up.)

Chuck's Verdict: Karstens pitched another astounding performance, asserting his might before the throng of unwavering believers who will, in the name of Karstens, gather in legions all over the world and storm the Holy Land on horseback until they have satisfied Pope Urban II with its reclamation. Urban II will later designate those who survive, which are to be few by his calculations, to fill cushy, fabricated positions within the Church and will bestow upon them ridiculous titles and mounds of riches. That's just what good Catholics do.

My aimless banter aside (that shot of Imperial is startin to kick in), his holiness Karstens only conceded one earned run, droppin his already absurd ERA to 2.28 -- good for fourth in the majors.

Unfortunately, Chase d'Arnaud was in the mood to plan for the afterlife by reserving a long-term suite with a view of the River Styx -- the bad one, though he probably thought it was the kick-ass one where Dennis DeYoung and company blast "Mr. Roboto" and "Renegade" for eternity. To this end, he figured that it would be the perfect time to commit two errors and fuck up Karstens' shit. At least the hellfire and inferno won't be any hotter than it's been in this goddamn sweat box lately.

But as Bob Walk was saying, sometime between the multiple orgasms Greg Brown experiences every game -- if yinz don't believe me, listen to this call of Brown and Steve Blass bringing one another to climax, I think, after a Pedro Alvarez walk-off homer -- we can't be gettin all spoiled just because the Pirates aren't the most miserable wreck in baseball anymore. In this spirit, I'm sure Karstens, with his infinite benevolence and wisdom, will forgive the young d'Arnaud.

Orpik Has Surgery, But No Worries -- His Face Is Still Terrifying Unfiltered

Pens D-man and all-around badass Brooks Orpik had hernia surgery completed recently and is expected to require six to eight weeks of recovery time. With about a week left in July, that puts his return somewhere around the middle of September. So, barring a setback, he should be ready to decapitate opposing forwards by the start of the season.

Chuck's Verdict: It's always concerning to see one of your top-pairing defenseman, and one of the team's leaders regardless whether he wears a letter, have surgery two summers in a row. At the same time, though, he appeared fine last year despite needing the same surgery, so I ain't too worried.

More importantly, he didn't need any work done on that mug of his that even Medusa can't stand. Seriously, look at the friggin guy -- he's either a Green Beret who doesn't sleep, just stares restfully, or forgot to buy his eye drops every day for the past eight years.

Orpik is so fuckin horrifying, he haunts Freddy Kruger in his dreams, not the other way 'round.


To illustrate just how truly scary Orpik and his face are, here's an approximate list of people that do not and will not fuck with him:

Chuck Norris
Jason Vorhees
Shredder
Urijah Faber
That porker kid who's got the balls to loiter on your sidewalk while you're watchin
Gary Roberts (the battle would tear the Earth asunder)
Zeus
Dracula
Jeff Karstens
Terminator
The entire former Soviet bloc
Metal Gear RAY
Megatron
Jason Statham
Scientologists
The Nasty Boys, Demolition, and the Legion of Doom combined
The Hubble Telescope (that thing is always floatin around like its shit don't stink)
Small, harmless, and delicious children
The United Nations
Predator

That's just a preliminary list, of course. If yinz got some more, get a hold of me through the various social outlets, or at i.aint.no.jag@gmail.com, to have yours listed (with credit given if you want it, jag).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Looked Up 'Blasfimy' in the Dictionary, Couldn't Find It: More Karstens Photo Fun

Pictured above is an extremely rare piece of art, stored away in the deepest, cavernous dungeons of the Vatican and protected by Albino-lookin druids who despise the peskiness and persistence of Tom Hanks. 

One can witness the gathering of the Apostles, as they futilely labor to determine the source of Jeff Karstens' pitching ability. A miffed Charlie Morton and deadpan Clint Hurdle can only point and utter, "It is what it is," while Andrew McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan try to calm the raucous clamoring.

If yinz look closely, you'll also see the conniving Roy Halladay whispering his filth to incite a coup and bring down Karstens in hopes of usurping his immense pitching power.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Proof That Looking Like a Lesbian Doesn't Make You Better at a Sport; Karstens Still Not Playing Self Down To 'AAA' Indianapolis

How’s it goin jags? Had to take the rest of the day off yesterday after hammerin out that prospect scrimmage report. Damn thing hit me harder than Ryan Clark over the middle.

I still got some aches and pains from it, in fact, so today’s update won’t be as gigantic as the last one. I do feel compelled to say a few things, though, after some of the most recent goings-on in sports.

A Bunch of Corn-Fed Super Dykes Couldn’t Beat Little Japanese Women Unfiltered

Yesterday’s sporting event lineup featured the championship game in the Women’s World Cup. For some reason, everybody had a sudden interest in U.S. soccer, more so than when the men played last year. I presume this fascination with women’s soccer emerged in large part from sexual fantasies relating to Hope Solo and Alex Morgan… or any of the other players, for those out there who prefer to be beaten and abused in the bedroom.

The other reason, I suppose, was that the sight of women folk kept the attention of them jags who, normally, don’t like soccer because it’s “boring,” meaning that they’re too slow to realize what’s actually goin on, too simple to appreciate a developing play, and scared and confused about a sport that entails quick back-and-forth play rather than a game reduced to goin in one pre-determined direction, usually in three-yard intervals, until the risk of handing the ball over to the opponent forces a team to kick it 50 yards away. Yes, I love football and da Steelers, too, but expand your horizons, yinz prejudiced, close-minded jagoffs.

At any rate, the U.S. team squandered two one-goal leads, forfeiting a goal shortly before the 90-minute mark and the end of extra time, and ultimately succumbing to their self-incurred failure in penalty kicks.

Chuck’s Verdict: What a goddamn disgrace. Listen, I’m sorry, but even from the start -- actual soccer ability put aside -- the nation’s biggest and baddest female motorcycle gang members, as I assume most of them are, should’ve been able to pound the petite Japanese team into the fuckin ground.

There’s very few areas where I’d tell the U.S. Women’s Team to emulate the Men. One of them, however, is forgoing this whole “sportsmanship” nonsense. When it’s all said and done, you can be a good sport and apologize for being caught up in the moment. For now, win the goddamn game and don’t take shit from nobody or their terminally-ill family members. Hell, fuckin headbutt somebody; I don’t care!

My point is, I had no problem with the U.S. playin legit soccer -- I’m glad they did, instead of those awful attempts at it I watched earlier in the tournament. At the same time, though, don’t just arbitrarily level the playing field by conceding the immense physical advantage you have. Christ.

Here's members of the Japanese Women's Team -- looks like Oakland Central Catholic just let out for the summer.
Here's the U.S. -- looks like the weight room, boxing ring, and football camp just closed.
Here's Abby Wambach. Christ, she is freakin menacing.
On top of that, for the love of friggin God, possess the ball. The U.S. Mega Dykes had the pressure on Japan all game, but when they actually needed to relax their -- I can only imagine -- bulging muscles and questionable reproductive organs, they chose instead to make the most dreadful decisions with the ball possible.

We never hear about the mistakes, though. Nope, just the insipid feel-good stories. For example, yeah, the defense fucked up somethin fierce with their awful attempts at clearing the ball on Japan's first goal. But you know who actually had a painful giveaway that let Japan reclaim the ball? Christie Rampone. Do we ever hear about that? Noooooo, just about her two kids and Lime Disease. No, I don't wish that on anybody, but it doesn't make her the friggin de facto MVP and it doesn't absolve her from a stupid fuckin play.

Let's not forget about late in extra time, too. Tobin Heath, along the left sideline, megs somebody (i.e., she dribbled the ball between the legs of the opposing defender) and then tries to play an utterly impossible ball in the box. Dear freakin Lord, are you serious? Here's a thought -- with five minutes remaining til you can claim victory, why not pass it back to one of the open U.S. players who would've had all fuckin day to pass it around and kill the clock?!

When it comes down to it, the U.S. team lost it for themselves... and everybody, for that matter. For their sake, I hope their giant Swedish coach doesn't break them all in half between now and their next international competition.

Karstens Is... Uhh... Honestly Don't Even Know What to Say Unfiltered

Jeff Karstens recently tossed a complete game shutout against the Astros that lofted the Buccos into first place and pulled them closer to fulfilling my prediction of McCutchen heaving Joe Buck out of the press box window in the playoffs (please come true). Beyond maintaining his streak of winning and inexplicably solid pitching, Karstens continues to be ripe for pictorial parody, as evidenced by the latest photo disaster below.

Luckily, Karstens will never have to worry about a worse mugshot.
As I prod him for looking like he belongs in the next live-action Looney Tunes production, Karstens is somehow managing to turn his pedestrian 'stuff,' i.e., pitches, into the catalyst for his meteoric rise to the top. His 2.34 ERA is currently sixth in the majors and second in the National League, while his 1.03 WHIP is ninth in the majors and third in the NL.

Chuck's Verdict: Yinz guys know that I pretty much have a long-winded response to everything -- hell, I could go off for hours on topics that have absolutely no bearing on my everyday existence. That said, I seriously don't know what the hell to say.

In my last post about Karstens, I postulated some of the possible explanations for his improved game. For awhile there, I was pretty sure my one about him merging with Dock Ellis to create some sort of perpetually-high amalgam that drools excessively was right. 

I think there's only one answer now...
Meet Jeff H. Christ... or Jesus H. Karstens -- you know, whatever works.



I anticipate losing one or two of my myriad readers. Such is the price for great analysis.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pens Rookie Scrimmage -- Despite Being a Bunch of Youngsters, Beer Was Still Goddamn Expensive

Well, back from the Pens prospect scrimmage. It was good experience seeing the potential future for the Pens and catching a glimpse of Billy Guerin behind the bench. Guy's got 100 goals for every tooth he's missing, and that's why these young jags better be listening before they got a story about how their coach turned their mouth into a personal punchin bag.

As expected, since the Pens are, you know, in such financial turmoil -- what with hardly anybody comin to the new arena despite the extremely reasonable ticket prices -- they charged a tidy little nominal fee for the cheap domestics they had spewing from their vintage hold-in-the-flavor, i.e., never-been-cleaned, taps.

Even more expected, as well as being bile-inducing, were the droves of fans whose general presence in the arena nearly spoiled the positive buzz and excitement related to the scrimmage. Don't get me wrong -- not everybody's a jag, just most of them. Due to some small miracle, I didn't hear anybody shout, "Shoot!" or see somebody stand up to get a 'better view' of another benign hockey play like the goalie freezin the puck. That said, there were still some of them jags who manage to make a jackass of themselves every game. Before we get to the guys on the ice, let's check out who showed up in the stands.

Stand-Up Comedian: Hockey games do have some comedic potential, especially when you know the sport and got the right timing between in-game action and that killer chorus hook from "Rock You Like a Hurricane."

Of course, some people think it's hysterical to yell the same, tired lines over and over. Luckily, nobody yelled, "How much time is left?" -- though, in retrospect, I wish they did, because it was never announced and they woulda looked like the stupid fuckin jag that they are. In its place stood the guy who, for instance, spouted out a dismissive boo during the shootout (done at the end by all players) when he wasn't impressed with one of their moves. It woulda stopped probably, but he was surrounded by a pack of two imbeciles with whom he apparently shared the same IQ point.

The Critic: Players make numerous mistakes throughout the game, and even the casual fan can pick up and talk some shit on from time to time. But, then again, there's always that really insightful fan who tears apart somebody on the team for a supposed 'mistake,' despite not being able to skate or never even touching a fuckin hockey puck.

You've played deck hockey once in eighth grade? That's great, you fuckin prick. Guess what? This is professional hockey, not your 'team' of overweight assholes who shoot around with plastic-blade Mylecs you found in your garage or physically accosted a neighborhood kid down the street for -- shut the hell up.

A perfect example from today involved smooth puckhandler and future roller hockey all-star if he doesn't start simplifying his game, Beau Bennett. During the shootout, he brought the puck down the obviously rough ice. The puck skipped wildly on edge as he tried to corral it and release a quick snap shot, resulting in a riser that carried over the net and against the glass. Without fuckin delay, a displeased "c'mon" shot out from behind me, the vague and terse statement reflectin the jag's hockey ignorance. Fuck that guy.

Apparent Sufferers of Muscle Atrophy: If there wasn't some medical diagnosis stipulating that these people regularly stand up to allow proper blood flow to their extremities, then I can't quite figure out why the fuck these jags are out of their seats and casually occupying the stairs in front of me while play is goin on. Seriously, get the hell out of the way, or get seats that can better accommodate your condition.

I had the good fortune of not seein any of the Easily Excited, Everything's a Penalty, or the "Shoot!" groups, but expect to hear me go off on them once the season gets underway. Now, let me get into the recap of the scrimmage.

Game Breakdown

Parameters

There were 29 players in all, three scratched, who attended the camp. Players were separated into two squads (Black and White -- see full rosters here). The game consisted of two 25-minute periods with a 15-minute intermission; no side change after intermission. The flow of the game changed dramatically, as it started with tighter five-on-five play and transitioned into a long stretch of four-on-four that spilled over into the second period. During a brief several-minute time frame in the second, teams went down to three-on-three, but switched back to four-on-four for the game's conclusion.

The game featured no power plays to make the most of the time for the young players. Instead, the player who the penalty was committed against got a penalty shot with an opposing player chasing him (to add some pressure). The trailing defender never posed a problem as they started at the far blue line.

Notable Players on Black: Philip Samuelsson (son of Cam Neely's-career-ending Ulfie), Keven Veilleux, Sean Whitney (younger brother of the purse-carryin Ryan), Beau Bennett (2010 1st round pick).

Notable Players on White: Eric Tangradi, Simon Depres (2009 1st round pick), Joe Morrow (2011 1st round pick), Nick Petersen (finished season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), Zach Sill (11 goals, 85 PIM in W-B/S this season).

General Observations

1) Honestly, I was a bit surprised that the coaches paired Tangradi, Petersen, and Depres all on the same team. All three were the most dominant players in physical play (Veilleux's got the size, but doesn't use it as much as he shoudl), and Tangradi and Depres are the two most likely to have a shot at the team out of camp. With Tangradi being a brick shithouse at 230 pounds, I woulda liked to have seen him and Depres matchin up against one another. Both played well, but didn't seem to have to put in the effort against the younger, smaller guys. Thought it woulda been a better challenge for each of them if they had to go up against one another. 


2) The game was pretty free-flowing, especially with the reduced numbers. At one point, in fact, it looked like they were playin some pickup down at Schenley in the winter (that's where I get my reps in for the big adult-league season and associated binge-drinkin). That said, each squad's style became evident early on in the scrimmage.

Black was the decidedly smaller but quicker team. They were fast off the rush and had some more creativity at the forward position with the likes of Bennett (no. 19), Veilleux (24), and even Kuhnhackl (14). Even though they put together some good strings of passes to score some goals, they were too often a "one and done" team, getting a shot on goal, but unable to win it back for continued pressure.

White wasn't bad on the rush, but the edge in passing, corner play, and anticipation was evident. More often than not, they won the pucks in the corners -- especially with guys like Tangradi, Sill, and Petersen -- and forced a lot of defensive-zone turnovers by Black, including the one that led to the game's opening goal. When it comes down to it, that's the kind of game that's gonna win the Cup (e.g., them pussy Canucks couldn't handle Lucic and company), not the quick back-and-forth play.

3) The score aside, it was good to see the Pens prospects be able to show off their different strengths in a game setting. It was also reassuring to see guys like Tangradi and Depres, the most NHL-ready, pretty much doin as they wanted out there. Even with these outliers, there was a good collection of all-around skill and the guys seemed to enjoy the experience.

Scoring Breakdown

Listen here jags, it ain't easy double-fistin precious beer while operatin a camera, takin notes on players, and trackin the score, so I didn't mark down the exact times, the number of players on the ice, and all the circumstances of every goal. If that's a problem, then you shoulda showed up yourself, you critical asshole. But I'm sure most yinz appreciate what I do, so if that's you, then read on.

Overall Score
Black: 5 | White: 8

First Period Scoring
Black: 2 | White: 4

White (0-1): Harrington (1) from Tangradi (1) and Petersen (1)

This goal was, if I'm not mistaken, the only to occur during a pretty tight section of five-on-five play. As I noted above, White was able to pound the Black squad in their own zone (no, jag, that ain't meant to be sexual) and forced a turnover. Tangradi shuffled the puck to the lower part of the circle, where Petersen dished it into the slot and Harrington hit the upper-right corner of the net. Good team goal.

Black (1-1): Veilleux (1) from Gomes (1)


At this point, the game had broken down into four-on-four play (hence the extra ice for Veilleux here). Gomes was able to get him the puck along the wing and Veilleux took over from there, roping it into the top-left corner and hittin the bottle, just like Leftwich throwing an overpowering screen pass that breaks someone's ribs because he can't throw anything that's not equivalent to a missile. By the way, sorry bout the quality -- it got worse and worse because I've had to edit and convert it so many damn times -- and the kid with the giant friggin melon who sat in front of me.

Black (1-2): Thompson (1) from Archibald (1) and Bennett (1)

White (2-2): Gibbons (1) from Tangradi (2) and Petersen (2)

After that second goal, apparently White got all pissed off because they went on a tear during the last part of the period that didn't subside until intermission. It started with this one, which once again showcased some of the teamwork displayed by big guys Tangradi and Petersen (bigger, anyway, in the case of Petersen).

White (2-5): Wilson (1) from Uher (1) and Sill (1)

White (2-4): Astles (1) from Rust (1) and Morrow (1)

Good to see Morrow, the Pens' first-round pick this year, get on the board. I'll get into more details on him later. I really just wanted to comment here how the White team was able to spread the puck around and everyone chipped in. Shows again how their overall team play was superior to Black's and how that can make you more successful.

Second Period Scoring
Black: 3 | White: 4

Black (3-4): Veilleux (2), unassisted

"Nice job," bellows the man who will likely threaten to commit carnal sins against Morrow's loved ones later in his career.

Veilleux used his quick release seen in his first goal to fire another one past Patrick Killeen in the above clip. It helped, naturally, that the puck was delivered to him right in the slot by 2011 first-round pick Joe Morrow (no. 7), who must have been tryin to endear himself to Pittsburghers by doing his best Neil O'Donnell impression with Veilleux filling the role of Larry Brown.

Morrow's freakin awful turnover (bout 17 seconds into the clip) might be distressing to the fans who have high expectations for him, kinda like when Mendenhall fumbles it every nine plays or Tino Sunseri gets that look in his eyes as if he's gonna toss a perfect post pattern only to underthrow it and have it taken back for a touchdown. Cool your jets, though -- his struggles and miscues notwithstanding, he showed some flashes of solid NHL-caliber skills. I'll get into that more in the individual observations section to come.

White (3-5): Rust (1) from Astles (1) and Harrington (1)

Black (4-5): Bennett (1) from Samuelsson (1) and Madore (1)

With such exciting three-on-three skills, I have high hopes that Bennett will be the best player on my roller team in the upcoming season of Bridgeville's Puck A League.

When the ice was opened up even more for three-on-three play, it was only a matter of time until the highly-skilled Beau Bennett got on the board. I can only assume that he dominates during stick time at BladeRunners. I'll keep an eye out for him next time I go.

He and goalie Rob Madore (Pittsburgh native -- hell yeah!) briefly looked like Larry and Curly when Bennett motioned for Madore to come out and play the puck, only for Madore to -- more or less -- tell Bennett to go fuck himself and go hunt it down if he wanted it so bad. White had the break as a result, but Bennett lucked out when Samuelsson was able to win a battle near the circle and chip it ahead, where Bennett made some subtle but effective stick fakes to draw Killeen into a poke check and slide it around him.

Bennett didn't seem to show off as much today as I've heard bout in the past -- I'll explore this later, too -- but he still can't be pullin this shit in the pros. You think Polamalu waits around while the rest of the Steel Curtain comes up with the big play? Hell no. Bennett should've got dirty in the corner and went for the puck instead of being a freakin pussy; just ask the ugly-as-all-hell Sedin twins how well playin like a bitch worked for them. I hope Billy G smacked him upside the head and that it won't be a problem in the future.

By the way, props to Madore, the goalie right out of the City of Champions, for getting an assist.

White (4-6): Peterson (1) from Gibbons (1)

White (4-7): Uher (1) from Sill (2) and Harrington (2)

                         

I feel bad for yinz jags and the winning White team that I really don't have any offensive footage from their team. Seriously, who doesn't switch sides in a two-period game? Anyhow, I was able to capture this one, as shitty as it may be.

Scott Harrington (2011 second-round pick) shows off some ability, much like Morrow, to get the puck up the ice and make something happen (admittedly, it was three-on-three). In fact, even though the initial pass didn't connect, I would argue that the above video puts him ahead of unrelated namesake Joey Harrington in terms of being able to distribute the primary object in a sport successfully.

This goal was another example as well of how White was much more efficient in the corners. Zach Sill was able to fish it out of the corner along with Uher, despite all three Black players going after it, which technically was a mistake itself.

Black (5-7): Gomes (1) (Penalty Shot)

Listen closely for the lady shrieking, "Patrick!" as she evidently tries to address White goalie Patrick Killeen. She spearheaded another prominent collection of insufferable jagoffs who insisted they knew a player well enough to call him by his first name.

Here, Gomes is able to catch Killeen goin down early and snap a quick shot into the upper corner. Simple but effective. Also helps yinz jags better see what the penalty shot was like with the chaser... and how useless that guy was.

White (5-8): Wilson (2) from Harrington (3)

Shootout Overview

After the scrimmage, all players competed in a shootout, with those who scored staying on until a winner emerged. The shootout allowed for a impressive bit of skill to be displayed by a number of players. Morrow had a clever cross-body backhander, similar to what Sykora used to do (hopefully that's the only comparison I'll ever have to make between the two). Veilleux juggled the puck, then brought it down to his stick to snap a shot past Killeen. Whitney challenged Veilleux (last two competitors) by relying on some crafty skating and edge work to deke the Killeen and Madore. In the end, though, Veilleux's puck skills won him the competition. I would've had some footage for you if the goddamn batteries on my camera didn't die.

Chuck's Players of the Game

Nick Petersen (Forward, no. 20, White): 1G - 2A
Scott Harrington (Defenseman, no. 8, White): 1G - 3A 
Keven Veilleux (Forward, no. 24, Black): 2G 

Individual Player Observations

Eric Tangradi (LW, no. 26)
18 goals, 33 points, 86 PIM in 42 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

After overcoming an injury last year, Tangradi stopped being a jag and started showin why he's the most likely option to make the roster out of camp from the team's prospects. In 23 fewer games, he scored one more goal than he had the year before, along with startin more shit on the ice (55 more PIM) and improvin to a +9.

In the scrimmage, Tangradi looked, quite frankly, bored. He was most effective at five-on-five, forcing turnovers and working down low to maintain puck possession. His passing was crisp and he clearly played the game -- full-strength, at least -- at a higher level than most. He was less of a force as the game size got smaller (didn't even see him three-on-three), but that's not his game. Developed some good chemistry with Nick Petersen and even showed off some puck skills, making a move under the defenseman's stick and then between his legs to get to goal -- reminiscent of Crosby takin Tom Poti out to the fuckin pasture where the Caps should've just shot him and ended his miserable career.

All in all, each player's performance needs to be weighed carefully. I'm gonna wait to see how Tangradi performs against the NHL squad before I go any further. Just know that he was a beast compared to the rest of these little boys, and that should help him comin into camp this year.

Simon Despres (D, no. 2)
13 goals, 41 points, +29 in 47 games with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL

Despres spent his last season as a junior player pretty much dominating the bitch puckhogs that are littered all over the QMJHL's rosters. He played in all roles for the Sea Dogs, and appeared much more often on the score sheet -- in 16 fewer games, he had four more goals than the season prior. From what I saw, Despres also had a solid run during Canada's silver medal run in the IIHF World Junior Tournament. Played smart, simple hockey, and if his jag coach had given some more time, maybe they'd be bedecked in the gold.

During the game, though, I honestly didn't see much of Despres out there aside from frequent minutes during five-on-five play. Didn't get to see the shot that he has been puttin time into, but he controlled the puck well in both zones and consistently shut down the fleet-footed Black team, including standing up to dangler wannabe Beau Bennett and making him look like a nobody. Same goes for Despres as it does Tangradi: let's wait until camp before making any serious judgments.

Keven Veilleux (RW, no. 24)
12 goals, 36 points, 122 PIM in 66 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Veilleux made a move to wing last year in the AHL, and was able to put together a solid season, notching 36 points and apparently engaging in aggravated assault every other game to up his penalty minutes. Glad to see Veilleux startin to hammer the opposing team's players because, at 6'5", he had better start beatin fuckers down.

Veilleux displayed immense talent during the scrimmage. He scored twice on two deadly-accurate shots, pulled off some awe-inducing stickhandling (including a backhand drag that embarrassed a White defender), and strung together great passes like the saucer pass seen later in the clip below.


He also posed a threat in front of the net, often feedin it to the points and gettin in the way of goalie Killeen. Regardless, Veilleux could stand to look like he gave slightly more of a fuck than he does. Tangradi and Despres didn't look particularly polished out there, but Veilleux was more evident prancin around the ice like wood nymph when he should've been playin defense. Veilleux, I thought, could've been more dominant in the corners (though he wins the puck in the video), and he definitely needs to take a stroll into the defensive zone every so often if he's gonna make the NHL. Nevertheless, I expect him to be a top performer this year in the AHL and potential call-up for the Pens if the locker room becomes a glorified emergency room again.

Joe Morrow (D, no. 7)
9 goals, 49 points, +23 in 60 games with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL

I like Shero's choice in draftin out of the WHL, pickin Morrow 23rd overall this year. Of all the Canadian Major Junior leagues, the Western Hockey League is regarded as the most physical. If Morrow can learn to use his skating ability while having the hell beaten outta him, as well as put on some weight, he has a high ceiling as an NHL player.

On the ice, Morrow had a hit-and-miss day. He had that Christmas present of a pass to Veilleux early in the second period, and he was caught playin the puck a few times in his own end.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, his transition and skating skills are legitimate NHL potential. Unfortunately, I don't have it on video, but Morrow relied on his skating a few times to make strong plays. In one tight play near his own blue line, Morrow was able to push the puck through two Black players, shimmy through them -- much how you see Jeff Skinner doing in every friggin clip they show of him -- and start the rush the other way. Later on, Morrow manipulated his edges while in the offensive zone to open his body for a drop pass, pass to net, or a shot -- a sign of how unpredictable a good skater can be.

Morrow will go back to the WHL to round out his game and I'm pullin for him to come back next year much like Despres was in the 2010-2011 NHL camp: a legitimate fighter for one of the final spots, even if he doesn't end up gettin it.

Scott Harrington (D, no. 8)
6 goals, 22 points, -14 in 67 games with the London Knights of the OHL.

With his second pick this year, Shero went with this guy outta the OHL -- Canada's "in the middle" league, with a mix of physicality and skill seen in the other two. Lookin at his stats, some of yinz jags may be wonderin what the hell Shero was thinkin.

Well, truthfully, Harrington had a better day than first-round pick Morrow. Granted, his game is a bit more conservative, but he was smart on both ends of the ice and a bit better using his stick and body to close out plays. He ain't ever gonna end up on a box of Wheaties for playin a solid, two-way game, but he can develop into the kinda guy you count on to eat up minutes on your second pairing. As with many of Shero's recent picks, he's also talented in the transition game. Look at Uher's goal again in the scoring breakdown to check out a brief instance of him carryin the puck and havin his head up to make a play.

Just like Morrow, I expect Harrington to go back to juniors to keep workin on his game. Despite being around ten months younger than Morrow, his overall game did seem a bit more developed. At the same time, I don't think his ceiling's as high. Either way, he'll either be a great piece to step in when guys like Martin and Michalek are leavin or may someday be a pivotal piece in a trade when everybody's bitchin and moanin for a winger or some shit again.

Beau Bennett (RW, no. 19)
9 goals, 25 points in 37 games with University of Denver

Bennett had an injury that kept him out of a handful of contests during his freshman season at Denver in the NCAA's Western College Hockey Association. Even so, Bennett put together a decent season, finishing eighth on his team in scoring. Most of the scorers in front of him were two or more years older, too.

Denver's top scorers -- 19-year-old Drew Shore and 18-year-old Jason Zucker, products of the U.S. Developmental Team -- are perfect examples of what Bennett has to do to have more success at the collegiate and pro level. Namely, start playin both ends of the ice, fightin for pucks, and stop actin like it's the British Columbia Hockey League (Bennett's Junior "A" league, slightly below the three main ones, in which he was able to score massive amounts because it's mainly comprised of no-talent fucks).

The U.S. has been pumpin out more consistent talent in recent years -- look, for instance, at Kane, Parise, Carlson, Fowler, Oshie, Erik and Jack Johnson, etc. -- because they're developin players with skill and grit. Bennett, meanwhile, was never a consideration for the U.S. Junior team because he's got immense talent, but couldn't check my grandmother off the puck. So playin in the collegiate system at Denver is a great opportunity for Bennett to develop a more complete game, even if nobody expects him to become some hitting machine.

The scrimmage only continued to highlight these shortcomings in Bennett's game. He was crafty with the puck and was able to catch White off-guard sometimes with clever passing, but he can't get to the goalie without floating by the blue line and gettin a lucky chip by his defense.

Christ, the freakin Caps should've drafted him. Ovechkin pulls that shit all the time, stepping "in front of" a shot, only to move his hip out of the way and hope for a lucky break. Fuck him and that whole team; that's why they'll never win a cup. Anyhow, Despres and other White defensemen easily forced Bennett wide and got him out of the play when he was on the puck.

Without a doubt, Bennett will go back to Denver, where I foresee the coaches helping him transition to a more physical, rigorous game. Let's see where he stands next year and whether he has put on some weight.

Nick Petersen (RW, no. 20)
24 goals, 57 points in 40 games with Wheeling
5 goals, 14 points in 23 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Petersen dominated with the Nailers of the ECHL (more or less the 'AA' league of the NHL) during the first half of the season, and was awarded with a promotion to the AHL, particularly when the Penguins had to borrow the entire AHL squad, where he amassed a respectable 14 points in 23 games.

Petersen had a very good scrimmage, playing well on both ends of the ice and exhibiting the kind of control expected from a big 22-year-old against a bunch of kids. He jelled well with Tangradi, and the two were a nightmare for the Black team in the offensive zone as they applied heavy pressure and controlled the puck.

Even though Petersen's offensive skills didn't appear quite as sharp as Tangradi's, Petersen did shine in the center of the ice. His anticipation and ability to cut off space and lanes were apparent throughout. Combined with a good work ethic and decent hockey sense, Petersen has the potential to be a role player in the NHL at some point.

Another thing I noticed with Petersen was his size. Despite being listed at only 186 pounds, he looked much broader. It's possible that he worked out during the off-season to make more use of his 6'2" body, and I anticipate he'll be a solid mainstay for the Baby Pens this season.

Bryan Rust (RW, no. 12)
6 goals, 19 points in 39 games with Notre Dame

Rust played on an excellent Notre Dame team that, despite its youth, lost to eventual national champion Minnesota-Duluth in the tournament's semi-finals. His stats don't stand out, especially compared to some of the freshmen who lit it up there, but college hockey is typically a game designed for more complete players, not offensive phenomena.

In fact, Rust reminded me a lot Petersen on the ice -- playing smart hockey at both ends and taking away the angles from the Black team as they rushed down the ice. His play at center ice wasn't as noticeable as Petersen's but Rust (19) is three years younger than Petersen and hasn't gotten a chance to play at the pro level yet. Rust will likely never project to become an overwhelming scoring threat, but it's good to have smart, two-way hockey players in your system, too.

Even though he isn't an offensive powerhouse, check out the nice forehand fake to backhand move he uses to undress Madore for his goal.


Madore's jockstrap was later located somewhere in the lower 100 sections.

Patrick Killeen (Goalie, no. 1)
19-16-2, 3 shoutouts, 2.87 G.A.A., .901 save percentage in 40 games with Wheeling.

Killeen spent a little time as backup goalie in W-B/S last year, but with Curry headed off to Germany -- one of the many havens for AHLers who are too good to stay there, yet not good enough to ever remain on an NHL roster consistently -- he should get a chance to see some time in the AHL.

Killeen made some good saves throughout the scrimmage. He did flop some, though, and seemed to make more work for himself. That said, Tim Thomas does the same thing. Not that the two are comparable, but Killeen still has room to improve at 21; besides, his 6'4", 204 pound body won't hurt his odds.

  

Alright, so I'm beat as hell, and my hangover is still killin me. I hope yinz enjoyed the extensive coverage and some videos to boot. I'm passin out now, but I may have some more updates on the lesser-known individuals soon.

Chuck's Corner: Random Asides and Irrelevant Tangents of a Yinzer

Hey jags, hope yinz are ready for the Pens prospect scrimmage report coming your way. It's goin down today at 3 p.m., and I'll probably have something up for yinz tomorrow or Monday at the latest. In the meantime, let me briefly spill some thoughts that have troublin me today.

Namely, what friggin jag came up with the concept of the mall? What feeble-minded shithead conceived this brilliant idea of rounding up and confining the worst capitalism has to offer in a giant building from which no spare dollar to be spent on beer, nor a inkling of legitimate happiness can flee?


It's an amazing construct, really, and a spot-on representation of us as a people. The mall, by its very nature, strengthens and perpetuates our social aristocracy, where worth and achievement are defined by an array of overpriced accessories, inessentials, and a persona that can be captured, processed, and interpreted via visual cues (for yinz on the slower side, just understand that as "things") rather than any passé expression from within.

Why take a moment to utter something even mildly profound, when we can simply let our Lacoste-brand alligator and $3000 handbag do it for us? In a world in which our capacity for input and output has become limited to several seconds and 140 characters, the mall serves as an indispensable source for the proper material to project ourselves to the public. Better yet, it can even work in collusion with outside agencies, like credit card companies, so we can spend well beyond our reasonable means. I can't manage to afford a dollop of food to put in my mouth -- or, even more cavalier, the mouths of our loved ones -- but, damn, do I look good!

Given what monumental importance the mall wields, what are those ignorant, short-sighted, tree-hugging bastards out there thinking? A toucan -- you know, like the one on a box of Fruit Loops, that really cool bird that helps the world's children get their recommended daily amount of vitamin sugar by advertising to them with cartoon adventures -- isn't going to save us from subjugation to an inferior caste! Unless, of course, it's stitched onto a stylish polo shirt by Burberry, which, I have been told, has raised the price of said polos from an affordable $75 to a slightly less affordable $125 in some vicious act of malice.

I suspect that it's for a good cause, at least. They are likely using the extra revenue to provide better compensation and benefits for their all-American adult labor, who work reasonable hours in a by-the-books, well-maintained environment to produce a handcrafted piece of linen, the mastery of which we have not seen since the days of the European artisans.

Oh, but that price hike does tax us so. What a tragic world into which we are ushered. Suppose we may have to wait another week before buying that new townhouse, right on the corner of Suburbia Avenue and Generic Way, scintillating next to the hundreds like it but brandishing a distinct numeric assignment, so as to separate it from the other headstones in the graveyard of monotony to which it belongs, housing masses of the living dead... or perhaps the dead living is more befitting.


So, it may come to be that I should hold my tongue. If anything, the mall isn't a nuisance, but rather the nation's most precious natural resource! A monument of financial martyrdom that rivals the greatest of marvels erected by humankind: the Pyramids of Egypt, the Hanging Gardens, the Great Wall of China, Pizza Hut -- all dwarfed by the immense grandeur awaiting us within the mall. Make haste, my brethren, for we mustn't squander the precious jewels of life that we have entrusted to this great institution. In fact, as I complete this post, I'm approaching the mall right now in my car.

Christ, there ain't a single goddamn place to park... who designed this fucking thing?!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chuck's Moment -- Take a Second n' Enjoy Life... Ya Freakin Jagoff

Hey jags and jagettes. I know yinz come to me for the best sports coverage and analysis in the metro and Greater Pittsburgh area, but sometimes I like to take a little time for other parts of life.

As you may have already read, Chuck's Corner, for instance, is reserved for my pejorative and critical remarks towards any non-sports topic I choose. Today, though, let us take but a brief jaunt into bliss for "Chuck's Moment."

Have you ever been in the middle of doing something, only to find that life is creating its own rhythm, its own beat, its own Pittsburgh Polka? Have you ever been trapped in that seemingly endless frame of existence, from which you hope never to escape? Life, it would seem, creates harmonic symphonies that we too often overlook, pass by, and disregard.

Am I talking about a family of birds chirping in unison while the tall deciduous trees wave majestically in the summer breeze? Fuck no -- this ain't a power ballad, ya friggin pansy.

Today's whimsical moment is the chorus of angry shouts, painful cries, and off-color jokes emanating from the contractors working on my house.

Despite their surly, hard-nosed disposition, I can't help but find delight in the constant chants of "shit," "fuck," "son of a bitch," and "god-fuckin-dammit" that echo from outside my home, harmonized by the insults aimed at the guy who can't read a tape measure, the tales of some hideous wench taken home from the bar, and the shrieks of a man accidentally running his hand through a miter saw.

So, next time you question life and what it has to offer, take a break from your hardships and find a spot with a handful of laborers completing a housing project. Then, just lie back, as your soul is warmed by life's mysterious musical number and you hear the house siding bow as it strikes an irritated 43-year-old ex-con in the shin.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Here's a Schedule N'at for Yinz; Rooney Family Considering Gag Orders

Hey jags. Hope yinz liked the Panthers preview. Come October, I expect to see my prophecies start fallin into place, so when you start sensing the meltdown make sure to get to your bookie and bet everything except your 1993 Lemieux Pens jersey against them.

Anyway, probably won't be posting for the next few days, so I wanted to prep my loyal guard of, oh, 17 readers on what's to come. This Saturday, the Penguins will be having an open prospect scrimmage at 3 p.m. I will, of course, be in attendance with my trusty Mel Blount flask and a legal pad for takin notes, so yinz can hear bout the progress made by Tangradi and all them. I would have more information from their camp, but those jags didn't grant me a media pass to get in; in retrospect, bringin the case of Iron to the screening interview wasn't a good idea.

If yinz got any requests, whether it's what topics I cover, more in-depth focus on what I already covered, or just something random you want my thoughts on, then feel free to comment on the blog or send em to i.aint.no.jag@gmail.com. I like to keep my legions of dedicated readers happy.

"Satan finds some stupidity still, for idle mouths to utter" Unfiltered

On top of the now common knowledge that Rashard Mendenhall fancies himself a Twitter Aristotle of sorts, James Harrison has refused to be outdone, making incendiary comments in a recent interview whose target ranges from Roger Goodell to, probably, his grandmother. The lockout is clearly taking a toll on him, presumably by denying him the chance to satiate his thirst for hurting other human beings physically, emotionally, along with any other adverb possible. Here are some quotes and the person in his proverbially sniper's scope.

On Roger Goodell: “My rep is James Harrison, mean son of a bitch who loves hitting the hell out of people.  But up until last year, there was no word of me being dirty — till Roger Goodell, who’s a crook and a puppet, said I was the dirtiest player in the league. If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”

On Ben Roethlisberger (in specific reference to the Super Bowl): "Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again.  Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning.  You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does."

Rashard Mendenhall: "...fumbling machine..."

Those are just the tip of the iceberg, naturally. Harrison is said to have also blurted out a bunch of anti-gay slurs, made allusions to racism in the NFL, and heaven knows that, by interview's end, he was in some way, shape, or form criticizing Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation or something to a similarly irrelevant effect.

Chuck's Verdict: For all that which is holy -- or perhaps unholy, as that would likely appeal more to James Harrison -- WOULD EVERY STEELERS PLAYER PLEASE JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Before I get to Harrison, let me start with Mendenhall, the forebearer of this rampant inferno of Bungles-like idiocy. See, Mendenhall proves precisely what's wrong with some people, including a fair amount of professional athletes, being provided a college education and a free-of-charge outlet to express their undeveloped, baseless opinions. You take one fuckin ethics course, and all of a sudden you're the next great thinker, free to enlighten the world with an unerring brilliance not witnessed since the Renaissance.

Well, guess what, Leonardo DaFuckin stupid asshole: you ain't an Earth-shattering philosopher, whose views on the world possess an unequivocal and irreversible effect on global society -- you're a fuckin fumble-prone running back who just happens to have enough typing and spelling skills to purge a semi-coherent piece of fecal thought from your "mind," which -- not surprisingly -- is lodged somewhere in your lower torso around your intestines, so your body can more quickly process and expel the verbal and mental waste you produce.

I suppose, on one hand, I should commend Mendenhall for being thoughtful. That said, pick your battles, Einstein. A lot of the people didn't personally know the world's most devious individuals, but I'm sure they were well within their rights to be happy when they weren't around to act like a bunch of jagoffs anymore. Do I think that people really needed to burn couches and treat it like an ignorance-ridden incest fest like WVU football games? No, but at the same time, I think that maybe you, Rashard, ought to take your own advice and get into the shoes of the people upon whom Bin Laden and his croonies of fundamentalist psychopaths left an indelible mark and try to understand why, then, they may be pleased that he is no more. Wow, you read a conspiracy theory on the Internet somewhere, that's great; try reading what you write next time. Or at the very least, let Max Starks read it. Have you ever read that guy's quotes in the paper? Careful, tactful, witty, and well-spoken. Perhaps Starks should double as the player's direct PR manager.

Moving on to Harrison, I agree with him in some regards. If that jag Goodell were burnin in front of me, I'd down that last Iron City before I used it to put out the fire. Jag thinks he's friggin Hulk Hogan, startin the N.W.O. of the NFL to turn everything upside down, but really, he's a two-faced cockmonger who makes arbitrary and emotionally-biased decisions.

But if you got a problem with your own teammates, then take it up with them elsewhere, not through the media. I know it's probably frustrating, James, that you haven't had the chance to see them in public and threaten to cut them with a sharpened plastic spoon you found in the backseat of your car. You'll get your chance, though, so just alleviate some of that tension by hunting the homeless for sport or something a little more fruitful.

Oh, by the way, you had one fucking tackle in the Super Bowl, so make sure to put up or shut the hell up next time. Update after Saturday's scrimmage and don't hesitate to e-mail me jags.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ah, Christ, Is It That Time of Year Again Already? Pitt Football Preview

As the summer heat singes our flesh, induces heat strokes, and wipes out another generation of the elderly incapable of dealing with it, the season brings with it a far greater calamity that, year in and year out, is cast upon our great city and people around the nation. This catastrophe is, of course, Pitt Football.

No other sports entity in da Burgh disappoints more on a yearly basis than the Pitt Panthers on the gridiron. For yinz illiterate jags, please consider this quote before yinz go and disagree with me: "Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than havin Chuck K come to your house and take the lugnuts off your car at night." I think Chuck Noll said it, but I could be wrong.

Listen, I already know what yinz are thinkin, but you're wrong. The Pirates are never disappointing -- in recent history, anyway -- because any semi-rational asshole doesn't have expectations going into the season for a bunch of overpaid, inept fucks, though Clint Hurdle and his troop of three All-Stars (bout goddamn time) are fast on their way to changin that. On the court, meanwhile, the Panthers are highly disappointing as well, but it ain't time for basketball yet and it's at least suspenseful tryin to guess when Jamie Dixon is going to combust amid one of his sideline rants.

So while college football magazines and analysts throughout the nation will continue to feed you the same friggin shit about Pitt, peggin them somewhere in the bottom part of the Top 25 because they have the on-roster talent but never cease to fuck it up by losing to, like, Middle Tennessee State or some shit by 43 points, Chuck is gonna tell you the real reasons that the Pitt Panthers will and won't (probably won't) have a successful 2011-2012 season.

Why Those Underachieving Fucks Have a Chance

1) Well, they still play in the Big East at least

Simply put, it's nothin short of a freakin miracle -- and quite frankly, a little embarrassing -- that the winner of the Big East is still granted an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game. The NCAA is better off sending somebody from, I don't know, the Sun Belt Conference or anywhere far away from the college football incompetence that radiates from Southwestern Pennsylvania. For Christ's sake, send Gateway or Central Catholic (for yinz non-Pittsburghers, look it up on the internet; I ain't got time to explain all this shit to you) because they couldn't do any worse than the 48-20 ass-pounding that Connecticut got from the Oklahoma Sooners.

I only thank Him in heaven, Art Rooney Sr., for sparing the Panthers of a Big East championship and what would have undoubtedly been a repeat of the 35-7 shitshow that was the 2004-2005 Fiesta Bowl, in which professional wash-up Alex Smith and a bunch of nobodies representing the state that doubles as Mecca for fuckin Mormons put a beat down on Tyler Palko, Darrelle Revis, and Clint Session, and only further proved that Walt Harris smokes pole as a head football coach at the D-1 level.

This painfully long tirade goes to demonstrate, though, just how dreadfully awful the Big East is. So, even though the Panthers probably couldn't beat North Allegheny two times out of three, they have a chance against the feeble collection of 'football teams' making up the conference. If their star players can get off on technicalities for drug possession and aggravated assault, along with the team continuing its yearly trend of pulling out really-shouldn't-be-this-exciting, late-game wins against perennial powerhouses like Maine, then they have a shot at another mildly satisfying but underwhelming 8-5 season.

2) They have a new coach who will at least wait until the middle of the season to get arrested or make some other massive, irreparable blunder

After Athletic Director and free-time rocket scientist Steve Pederson took a quick trial run with Mike Haywood, he brought on board Tulsa coach Todd Graham. Based on Graham's track record, he's kinda like Jaromir Jagr: an offensive whiz, but otherwise a greedy, self-centered knobgobbler. Nevertheless, Graham has impressed me by not committing -- or getting caught, at least -- domestic abuse and sustaining his employment longer than Haywood's intimidating threshold of 17 days.

I think Graham's collected demeanor shows how he will succeed where Haywood would not have. Namely, Graham will at least wait until the Panthers are midway through their season -- at a respectable 5-1, I predict -- before he is found with a dead prostitute in his trunk, robbing a credit union, or having Pat Bostick be his coke mule by running illegal substances across the border in any available orifices. Then, because scandals and bad press somehow make you more valued in college sports (see: Calipari, John), Graham will resign from Pitt only to take the head coaching position at Notre Dame, whose officials are so inspired by his spread offense that they elect him to the Roman Catholic Episcopate as the Bishop of South Bend, Indiana. All of this will later be purchased for a Miramax film starring Robert Downey Jr.

If nothing else, though, Graham will at the very least provide some life to the Pitt football program that was previously headed by nap enthusiast Walt Harris and avid birdwatcher Dave Wannstedt. Now, I will have a source of entertainment to replace the hole left by recently-ended 'Young and the Restless' instead of watching Walt Harris salivate over the endless possibilities of the forward pass and Dave Wannstedt call a punt on third down because he was told that safe play calling would help reduce his health insurance rates. Graham's progressive offensive schemes may actually make use of the versatile personnel that somehow keeps committing to Pitt despite its constant inability to meet team, fan, and national expectations.

3) Uh... did I mention they play in the Big East?


Why None of The Above Matters And They'll Fuck It All Up Again

1) It took two tries to even hire a fuckin coach right

Teams discover they hired the wrong coach all the time. He doesn't have the tact in the locker room, can't adjust his game plan, makes poor personal and financial decisions, texts pictures of his genitals to underage girls -- it just happens.

But that jag Pederson is so bright that he couldn't even keep the goddamn coach long enough to realize he sucked. I guess the whole Haywood ordeal was a blessing in disguise -- like me not bein able to hook up with that chick from Cheerleaders who, you know, later suffered complications related to syphilis -- but how in the hell can we expect anything from this team when it takes them multiple attempts to even get a friggin coach? Mark Nordenberg is doin the best he can to get these jags through rigorous courses like Psych 101, Intro to Massage, and Freshman Seminar, and Pederson just takes his sweet time doin whatever he wants.

When that's a precursor to the season, I go in expecting the worst.

2) The Jabaal Sheard effect

All-American and county jail regular Jabaal Sheard really kicked off the Panthers' season last summer by showing his commitment to excellence. Despite being struck mercilessly with billy clubs by several city police officers, Sheard still managed to hurl a man through the glass door of a South Side art gallery. Not convinced that the job had been completed to what would be coach's satisfaction, he then jumped on top of the man and began beating the life out of him until the police subdued him with pepper spray, which -- I presume -- only worked because it was filled with animal tranquilizer and his coaches used it during drills to tell him, "Good work, kid. Now go hit the showers," when Sheard was unresponsive due to bloodlust.

This off-field dedication marked a wave of similarly proud incidents involving Panther players who chipped in however they could, whether physically assaulting innocent passersby, driving erratically while drunk,  or carrying large doses of marijuana in public. In all, the Panthers led the nation in criminal offenses by a D-1 football team, finishing the season with 22 separate cases.

The concern now is two-fold. First, with Pitt being a school rooted in tradition, players will strive to top the legendary feats achieved by Sheard and his teammates. By having non-consensual sex with drunk girls at frat parties, doing lines of cocaine in the bathroom of Peter's Pub, and stabbing random people walking out of "The O," the team can maintain and extend the scope of its off-field success. In the process, however, most of the team will end up in Allegheny County Jail, leaving only the backup kicker, the guy who missed the party but will be sure to show up to the game high on meth, and Pat Bostick, who will still be benched despite repeatedly expressing his willingness to play.

Even worse is this: Pitt was able to overlook that "institution of higher education" nonsense and raise tuition, so that it could provide its criminals with free food, housing, transportation, promiscuous sex, and the answers to their Algebra 1 tests. Yet, even with these accommodations and a roster full of all-pros from the penal leagues, they still couldn't win. Not only is it maddening to watch, it defies the very nature of American college football, i.e., supporting the filthy lifestyle of despicable human beings to make the university piles upon piles of money. If they couldn't win with a roster assembled by Ray Lewis and Satan himself, how are these jags ever gonna win?!

3) This man is the starting quarterback

Heroin is apparently a growing problem on Pitt's campus
Communications major and football savant Tino Sunseri will almost certainly return as Pitt's starting quarterback this year. Yeah, he technically has to compete with Pat Bostick, but Bostick is a fuckin headcase and will probably be shot to death by the NSA during one of the aforementioned daring drug-smuggling campaigns that he is assigned by Todd Graham.

That said, it's great that Pitt could get one of its own to come in and play for the team. Tino is after all the son of former All-American Pitt LB Sal Sunseri and led Central Catholic to countless high school football championships. Even better, though, would be somebody who wouldn't throw dazzling, tight-spiraled interceptions during the pivotal moments of the football game (for instance, against Utah last year) and who didn't look like he just smoked a pound of goat hair and opiates to get high.

With Graham coming in and opening up the playbook, especially with passing, it's well within the realm of possibility that Sunseri can best last year's stats and rack up 20+ interceptions and complete an astonishingly low 48% of his passes. As I can only assume he has a learning disability, I look for Sunseri to take on the challenge of a new offense and fail miserably, getting easily overwhelmed by his reads and check-downs, and throwing the ball to open pockets of the field that are only occupied by a defensive back of the opposing team because he took a second too long to see if his shoes were tied properly.

4) Gary McGhee attends Pitt

I don't give a shit if he plays basketball; I can't stand this fuckin guy. Listen, the jag's ugly as all sin and his footwork is as quick and smooth as a guy with two peg legs. I saw him at a bar once and tried to walk around him to go to the bathroom -- he got crossed over so bad that he twisted both his ankles. Wherever this guy goes, sports failure will follow.

Well there you have it, jags. Look for the 2011-2012 Panthers football season to be full of excitement, disappointment, and scheduled court hearings. Hell, I'm already depressed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

DUI -- Dancing Under the Influence

Hey jags, how's it been? Sorry for the hiatus in updates. Friggin NHL free agency beer binge put my bank account on empty. Them jags down at PNC were bitchin and moaning, "Sir, we can't qualify you for a loan for two pallets of beer," so I had to pick up some work to stock up on the ambrosia that is Iron City.

Then, some mega jag at work starts bossin me around on the job, and I was like, "Listen here, Roger freakin Goodell, you don't rule the world or Wal-Mart for that matter." After it was explained to me at great length that he is the district manager, and is in fact the highest-ranking employee in the entire Pennsylvania area, I hit him with this conundrum: "If I ain't supposed to sit down and crack open a cold beer, so I can enjoy the Buccos game, then why do yinz got so many TVs, coolers, and couches for me to do it on? Seems kinda like a tease, don't it?"

Needless to say, I was escorted out shortly thereafter. But don't worry, Chuck K don't disappoint: them jags will be seeing me in court over the next couple months. Don't know if yinz knew this, but I work for a law firm in my downtime, too, with some of my guys from the Burgh. Check out our ad here if yinz need some legal help: yinz need to call us now!

Enough of that, though. Let's getting go with some look at the latest.

Hines Ward Waltzes Too Fast n' Too Fucked Up in Georgia

For yinz that don't know, Hines Ward is a Georgia boy. He was raised near Atlanta, played college ball there -- their starting quarterback, in fact -- and he seems like the guy who appreciates where he came from.

Well, this past weekend, Hines Ward got stopped in a small Georgian town, despite his roots, for supposedly drivin under the influence of alcohol. They arrested him and sent him to the local tank -- glad it wasn't me this time around -- and he got out on bail by the morning.

Right now, Ward's legal reps are saying that he wasn't actually impaired. They have a fair case: it's not hard to imagine that law enforcement in small Georgian towns doesn't really test its members for literacy or the ability to complete basic mathematical functions like counting.

Chuck's Verdict: I think we all know why Hines Ward was pulled over and arrested in Georgia. Because they take actually responsibility in administering fair and equitable justice, even to athletes? Fuck no. Them jags are just pissed off and jealous for two transparent reasons.

First of all, they're all riled up because Hines is a two-time Super Bowl Champ, a Super Bowl MVP, and yet he can dance like he's a freakin machine built solely for winning the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With the Stars. Remember when his partner hurt her neck and all that noise? Yeah, they say that was from dancing, but we all know what happened. They were runnin reps and she was screwin up too much, so Hines leveled her ass into the floor til she got it right. And guess what -- they won the whole friggin thing; he just makes everyone around him better.

It's not like he even needed the Steeler nation to vote him along because he was so good, he'd have won anyway. I mean, yeah, I still paid my younger cousin and his friends with Mandy's pizza (down on the North Side) to start walkin into random houses and use all their phones to vote for Hines, but that's just what a good fan does. Regardless, I digress.

The bigger reason that these guys are acting like a bunch of Browns-lovin jags is because Georgia couldn't lock up Big Ben after his alleged sexual transgressions. They're just mad because Roethlisberger escaped conviction, just like he gets outta pressure in the pocket. So they wanna take it out on Hines to make their sorry, pathetic-dancin asses feel better.

I mean, seriously, what jag really thinks Ben did it anyway? The case was evaluated by a jury of his peers, just like the law says it should be, and he was found innocent. So that shit's done; get over it jags.

Besides, really think about it. He was accused of making some non-consensual moves on some drunk broad in a college bar, who accrued some "minor" cuts and scratches in the process. Aside from the fact that guys randomly penetrate way-too-drunk broads all the time who regret it later, think about what Ben's job is. He spends 16+ weeks a year, getting punched in the nose by that jag asshole Richard Seymour, outmaneuvering six or more steroid-ridden serial killers wearing Ravens jerseys, and absolutely facefucking defensive linemen who think they have a free sack.

And you mean to tell me that this same man sexual assaulted a woman and she came out of it only with "minor" injuries? Come on! If Ben really wanted it that badly, that broad woulda been down for the count after he was done. Luckily, Ben now has a wife, forcing him to commit discreet, reasonable infidelity like the rest of the world.

At any rate, Ward will win the case. If he doesn't, you can be sure that me and my law partners will be contacting him for an appeal, and we don't fuck around. Til next time jags.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Was Mistaken: Jeff Karstens Evidently Professional Baseball Player, Not Homeless Drifter

Hey jags, how's it goin? Hope you enjoyed drinkin and blowin shit up on the 4th of July in celebration of our nation's birth. Yinz shouldn't kid yourself -- if we weren't supposed to bring M-80s over the Ohio state line to obliterate lawn ornaments and the swimming pool of that jag Patriots fan down the street, then Benjamin Franklin wouldn't have been such a beastly party animal.

Hell, he even discovered electricity, but not like that farce with him holding a kite connected to a key that got hit by lightning. We all know that Franklin was outside playing his acoustic six-string when he stumbled across the hook for "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, summoning terror, torrent, and tempest from the skies above as the gods twist and turned in horror at one mere mortal possessing such sheer shredding power. As history goes, Franklin harnessed these celestial bolts to create what we commonly consider today as "electricity." But enough history; let's get to some sports.

Jeff Karstens Apparently Being Good at Pitching Unfiltered

Despite looking like a derelict added by the Pirates last minute to meet league roster demands, Jeff Karstens has somehow managed to put together a good season. His 2.55 E.R.A. ranks fifth overall in the NL, even though he is fourth in a rotation notorious for throwing strikes bout as often as Neil O'Donnell threw to his own team.

Chuck's Verdict: There's three distinct possibilities here for Karstens' turnaround. I gotta admit, they all sound pretty convincing. But read them, and decide for yourself.

1) Satan does in fact accept your soul as collateral for your feeble desires. This option would certainly explain the sudden change in Karstens' ability, considering he couldn't even keep his starting job just a year ago. If he was gonna sell his soul, though, you'd think he'd at least go all out and strike out, like, a dozen jagoffs per game and throw the ball 102 miles per hour. This would only prove either that Jeff Karstens is actually as fuckin boring as he looks or that his soul is absolutely fuckin worthless (both seem feasible).

2) Jeff Karstens is in reality Steve-O, famous for his work in Jackass, and now clean after years of constant substance abuse, he has taken time away from his stunt career and placing random, usually dangerous objects/substances in his orifices to hone his pitching skills and win some games.

3) Contrary to the above tale of overcoming addiction and obtaining redemption, Karstens actually spent the summer reviving and merging with former Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis. As one entity, they rely on a steady diet of acid, LSD, Robitussin, and Long John Silver's hush puppies. Due to the toxicity, Karstens now pitches games completely aloof to the gravity and pressure of pro baseball, hallucinating instead that he is giving a PowerPoint presentation to his own family on why they should buy CUTCO knives from him.


Pirates All-Star Selections Unfiltered

I, along with any upstanding, beer-swillin Pirates fan, was happy to see Joel Hanrahan get selected to the MLB All-Star game. We were equally disappointed then that Andrew McCutchen was not taken in the process, despite hitting .295, with 52 runs, 12 home runs, 46 RBI and 15 stolen bases, as well as being a solid defender. What a shocker, everyone around the sports nation not in Pittsburgh is a stupid jag.

Chuck's Verdict: The major leagues and Bud Selig should relish McCutchen not making the All-Star Game while they can... because he's going to be showing up there in a Buccos uniform the next 15 fuckin years, making a yearly tradition out of droppin a steamin pile of shit in Bud Selig's beverage and cleaning himself with Selig's tie and the face of his loved ones.

Yeah, stupid jags are gonna say that he'd be a pity selection for Pirates, but guess what -- those same Pirates are around a game out of first place in the division. I can't wait for the nation to regret not choosing McCutchen after watching him destroy in the first round of playoffs, which he will celebrate by going up to the press box and hurling Joe Buck into the stands below, subsequently becoming a national hero because nobody will have to hear him drone on about the same tired baseball storylines again and again.

Besides, Hanrahan will get everybody back when he strikes out the entire A.L. side with a single pitch and breaks everyone's hymen in the process, including the one in Bud Selig's asshole. Oh, and get this stupid fuckin jag from Yahoo! Sports who wrote an article about making the All-Star Game better. He said that they should "cut the fat" from the rosters, and pictured to the right (though not mentioned) was Joel Hanrahan. If he's insisting what I think he is, then I can't wait for the Hammer to dunk his sack into the guy's soup, then rip out the jag's eyes and bean his children with them during the softball game at their next family function. Fuck you, Yahoo! asshole, and let's go Bucs!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

NHL Free Agency -- A Test of My Patience, Record Purchases at My Local Distributor

NHL Free Agency Unfiltered

Each year, the passing of noon on July 1 tolls the beginning of NHL free agency and excessive binge drinking as I keep up with its usually frantic pace. 2010-2011's free agency began with a donnybrook of dishonor, as two highly-regarded players in this town -- seriously, though, you people put way too much stock into that walking venereal disease Talbot -- went to most despised of rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. These moves forced me to reach record beer consumption for any free agency year; my local beer distributor reaped the benefits.

Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr now get to take on the gap left by... Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Smooth move, but even those who can't stand them jags the most have to admit that Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk still have room to grow and fill those shoes. Danny Briere even seemed to take a break from playing catcher in male-on-male sexual rendezvous to score a few goals.

Regardless, G.M. Paul Holmgren apparently set the bar for managing stupidity that every team strove to match by giving out some ridiculously stupid fuckin contracts. Let's look at the winners and many losers of the first day of (and those leading up to) free agency.

Winners

Columbus Blue Jackets: Above all, they got an actual center with talent in Jeff Carter. Carter has scored 144 goals in the last four seasons -- I'm pretty sure that's more than the Penguins top two-line wings combined. And now that he is no longer a Flyer, I can mildly respect Carter for his talent rather than demeaning him as a no good, two-faced asshole. Yeah, they gave up a lot for him, but Voracek is never going to match those numbers, and G.M. Scott Howson is at the point where he makes this team better or they're going to tie him up and ship him off to Cleveland, whose only joy comes from leaving and in any way defacing LeBron James in a pathetic attempt to raise their own self-esteem.

They also locked up defenseman James Wisniewski who will give them some much-needed puck movement and work well on the power play with offensively-gifted defenseman Kris Russell. They may have overpaid him some, but he fits in on teams that aren't dreadfully fuckin awful (Islanders, I'm lookin at you). If Steve Mason can actually play like he deserves to be a Canadian this year, the Jackets will be a solid bet to make the top-8 out "West."

Pittsburgh Penguins: Am I an irrational homer? Of course, but fuck you anyway because the Penguins stood pat in a market that was as impulsive and short-sighted as the 18,500 people who yell, "Shoot!" every six fuckin seconds at a Pens game. They re-signed 20-goal scorer Tyler Kennedy at a reasonable $2 million clip and they brought in crafty, talented winger in Steve Sullivan for $1.5 million on a one year deal. For them, there's reduced risk and high reward -- yeah, he might bitch out like Comrie (Duff has Urlacher-like shoulders; I would be surprised to see him with consistent black eyes and bruises), but at the price and term, the Penguins can kick his ass to the curb if he don't still got it (*cough* Kovalev *cough*).

Best yet, Shero learned from dealing with that slimy fuck Hossa, and told "Dickhead Devastator," Jagr and agent Paul Svoboda (read previous posts to clear up any confusion there), to rot in hell for playing games with their contract.

Phoenix Coyotes: Hard to consider them overwhelming winners, given that they didn't do much, but much like the Pens, they made affordable, smart signings instead of awarding massive, inflated contracts to mid-tier players. Radim Vrbata, a solid and skilled two-way forward, was a strong signing at $3 million per year -- he had 19 goals last year, 17 points on the power play, and can work both ends of the ice. As a multiple 20-goal scorer, he could've made more; compare his contract to Brooks Laich's who is getting paid $4.5 million per year (granted for more recent goal production). With this signing, along with some grit and complete disregard for others' safety in Raffi Torres, the Coyotes stayed within their budget and are primed to reach a number of 1-0 shootout wins in frenetic, high-paced action that hasn't been seen since the Devils were the cure for insomnia.

Losers

Philadelphia Flyers: There has been nothing more satisfying about this free agency than the glorious three-day arc that saw the Flyers trade away two of their top point producers about to enter their prime and replace them with marginal, overpaid "talent." It was like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, without Peter Jackson taking seven hours to 'conveniently' tie up all the series' loose ends at the conclusion of the third film. (Look, we get it -- Aragorn becomes king; Sam penetrates Frodo in a wonderful release of homoerotic tension; just end the fuckin movie already.)

As I said above, yeah, they still got some talent, but these jags gave up the best player in each of their deals, so them getting some prospects and picks in return won't mean shit when they got another 36 years without a Stanley Cup. Bryzgalov also ain't gonna have as tight a defensive corps in front of him -- just Chris Pronger who will later attempt to sleep with Ilya's wife, kids, and anything else with an orifice to be filled -- so don't go thinkin that the Flyers' playoff goalie woes are going to suddenly evaporate. So, yeah, they were the biggest loser by default, but they're particularly fucked now.

Washington Capitals: Ok, so I'm pretty much just listing teams that I loathe anyway, but if you disagree with my picks, then consider this: go fuck yourself. Now, for further consideration, the Capitals honestly did better as the day(s) went on. They ditched that flaky jag Varlamov and got some picks in the process, and then signed a decent goalie in Thomas Vokoun, who -- for whatever reason -- the Pens can never seem to score a friggin goal against.

When it comes down to it, though, their defense still fuckin sucks at, you know, defense. They still have that moped-driving ass clown Mike Green, who couldn't take the body on my grandma without getting injured. Carlson's good, but he ain't gonna anchor the whole team defensively, and he still leans on the offensive side. So how do the Caps fix it? By signing Roman Hamrlik to a two-year $7 million deal. Yeah, pure brilliance -- sign a grumpy, slow, over-the-hill fuck to solve all your defensive shortcomings. He's not completely out of talent, but you don't need him to cover tons of minutes or handle the puck in the back -- for $1 million, you could sign a mean bastard in Jim Vandermeer or Mike Commodore to beat somebody's ass in front. That's an extra $2.5 million a year you could put into Iron City, frozen pizzas, or even another hockey player.

Then there's the Joel Ward signing. For fuck sake, the guy had a good playoff performance this year (7 goals, 13 points in 12 games), but really $12 million over four years for a 29-point, -1 player? Yeesh. Besides, how the hell is the jag going to even put up points when he's competing for minutes with that showboatin dick nugget Ovechkin, that pussy Semin, and that clutch moment no-show Backstrom, along with the rest of those Globetrotter assholes?

Alright, I need some more beer. Update in a little while, jags.