Look who's back. That's right, jags and jagettes: I've returned, revived by long fits of cursing at the television, insulting every individual fiber and sinew of opposing players, and downing the American-made ambrosia called beer. My tireless bouts of rage and empty bottles have only re-affirmed my stake to the throne of baddest sports jag in town, while likewise propelling me to the top of the list of feared monstrosities alongside King Kong, Tetsuo from Akira, and Brent Burns.
Now back in the game, there are two important updates today for yinz to sink your teeth into: first, a news update from my jag cousin Richard, who is always sleuthing around to break the biggest stories in sports and get you a good deal on some free HBO; then, sit tight and strap in for the debut of a new segment to Sports Unfiltered, a dissenting viewpoint piece simply known as Jag Talk. Grab your Iron and let's get to it.
NHL CONDONES HOMICIDE
League "totally cool" with murder, considering other crimes to assimilate into game
The National Hockey League confirmed today in a press conference that it had informed the Penguins and Sharks organization last week that all violent conduct was permissible for the duration of the Stanley Cup Finals, encouraging both sides to avoid playing hockey and instead bludgeon each other until the point of mercy.
"Shit's about to get real," said Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a prepared statement.
This open call for unmitigated bloodshed emerges from fear of another year of disappointing ratings for the Finals round. Through three games, the series has garnered an average rating of 1.7, the lowest viewership since an abysmal showing of 1.2 in 2007 for the Ottawa Senators and the Anaheim Ducks -- a series that had its first two games featured on the newly-minted Versus network, now known as NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). League officials insisted that they took a practical, cultural approach to get more people to tune in.
"I mean, The Purge was a pretty cool movie," stated league commissioner Gary Bettman. "It only got, like, five stars out of ten on [International Movie Database], but it's definitely been trending upward, and a glorification of meaningless loss of life is exactly the kind of progressive, forward-thinking mentality we need."
"Kill 'em all, I say," added Bettman with a grin.
Both sides appear to have heeded the league's call, as neither game has resulted in more than five goals, with referees ignoring potentially life-ending checks from behind and pretending to tie their skates while players take a half-dozen strides to catapult themselves into defenseless opponents. The Sharks, including seasoned veteran Joe Thornton, view the changes as beneficial to their overall style of play.
"I just don't got the legs that I used to," said Thornton following his team's Game 2 overtime loss. "And you think to yourself, 'Come on, keep moving; don't stop.' But then it's like, 'Why?' It's a lot easier to whip out the old battle axe and get to work orphaning a man's children."
|Sharks center Thornton: "It's a lot easier to whip out the old battle axe and get to work orphaning a man's children."|
"Definitely helps not having to worry about that whole 'play the puck,' 'don't hurt anybody' stuff," he told reporters following the Sharks' Game 4 loss to the Penguins at home. "Didn't work out for us tonight, but I'm pretty sure I can break somebody's spine in Game 5 and really get the guys going."
While murder and the slaughter of fellow humans are fresh additions to the playbook, league officials are still looking for other ways to integrate crime into the game.
"This train is moving and the possibilities are endless, really," said Bill Daly.
"Kill 'em all, I say," added Bettman -- again.
So far, the league has yet to decide which crimes they are most likely to push. Recent executive sessions have entailed hours of watching C.S.I., combing the internet for the latest controversy, and brainstorming sessions.
"Sexual assault is trending hard right now," noted Daly, forming a hashtag gesture with his hands. "So we think that's the next big move for the league. The way we see it, after skewering a player with his stick or any other sharp object he can find, one of the guys can go for some rough, unlubricated penetration -- should really have the people asking for more."
"Fuck 'em all, I say," quipped Bettman.
League officials say they intend to have more changes ready in time for Game 5, but the administrative body was forced to cancel today's brainstorming session to discuss an ongoing class action against the league for promoting behavior that led to concussions and long-term brain damage.
How about that hot piece of insight fresh off the proverbial presses? I've been telling yinz that Richard ain't messing around -- and if you call him now, he can get you free Netflix by hooking you up to his uncle Rob's account, so get to the phone or miss out on a great deal.
Now we move on to a new segment here at Sports Unfiltered -- an opposing op-ed section called Jag Talk, in which two jags duke it out via wits and words to claim argumentative superiority and bring pride to their families by winning a fight on the internet. Pop open the Ten High, and let's get rolling.
Today's topic: Joe Thornton
Jag #1: Chuck Kowalski
PositionJoe Thornton is a subhuman hobgoblin jagoff who deserves to rot in an alternative to hell because hell ain't shitty enough.
The old hound. The aging stallion. The graying giant. All terms you might use to show affection to long-time Sharks center Joe Thornton, if not for the overwhelming personal shortcoming that he is an intolerable spineless shithead who spends more time lining up his next victim, or his tee shot, than he does using the skill that got him a semi-favorable reputation in the first place.
The only saving grace for this bearded ogre may be that he is prepping for a role in the next Hobbit movie as its ruthless leader of the orcs or that he is collecting DNA from players around the league for the purposes of improving global medicine because there is otherwise no logical explanation for why his trademark moves of this series have been a vicious crosscheck to the neck or back, countless punches to face, and a few attempts at a public beheading -- short, of course, of his method-acting techniques for an orcish pit devil or collecting blood, sweat, and skin samples for the benefit of the world.
In fact, I don't know that the method-acting argument can even find its footing, as Thornton's apparent lack of empathy for the humans in his presence, along with his constant ploys to endanger them, indicates that he is already some raging beast who need not hone his craft to star in a fantasy blockbuster as the merciless overlord of underworld demons. The real miracle worker here, then, is Peter DeBoer and the Sharks staff who have somehow managed to direct his bloodlust onto opposing players and not at their own team and people in the stands. We can only hope that the magic potion that they created to lure him into eviscerating the opposing team can last long enough before they return him to his chains and cage.
Naturally, Thornton has simply corroborated this damning theory with his own actions. It's no surprise to anyone -- well, at least not the humans among us -- that every moment of the Stanley Cup Finals is being caught on film, and that the network has been more than happy to aid the world, or all seven people watching, in personally memorializing sights of the forced appendectomies and spinal readjustments he dishes out on a nightly basis.
The only thing needed at this point is somewhere -- real or imagined; it doesn't matter at this point -- for him to go to suffer eternally, which, after a few million millennia, would only repay an inkling of the misery he has inflicted during this series alone. I don't think even the able mind and pen of Dante could envision a place befitting of such a revolting display of genetics as Joe Thronton has proven himself to be, though Cleveland may suffice. Nevertheless, I'm still holding out hope that he will karate chop a few members of Metallica in half before the season's end.
Jag #2: Chuck Kowalski
I wholeheartedly agree with the prior position.
Listen, jags, this publication is despotic at its best, draconian at its worst, and there ain't a single damn nanometer of space to be defying its chief writer, editor, and resident asshole: me. Likewise, there is not a single shred of viable evidence to exonerate that old pasture-grazing assclown Joe Thornton from the video-captured, regularly occuring and readily witnessed acts of inhumanity he has committed against opposing players, their association to my team of choice being a factor only for those who wish to get into a proverbial fistfight with a scarecrow rather than a classic North Side jag.
Lest I be no less of a beast myself and adhere only to the name-calling and personal attacks that make me such an entertaining writer and orator, allow me to implore to the masses from here on out and spend less time fueling the attention paid to this general of the netherworld's finest demon soldiers.
Namely, could we please, just maybe, be able to watch some real fucking hockey? Before I have to endure a single throw of the hands in the air or angry shout at the screen -- yes, I know that pain, checking, physicality, and every other synonym you may dare to conjure are all part of the sport and meaningful participation in it. That doesn't mean, though, that the capstone of the league's season, what is intended to be its holy grail, should be held captive to a complete and irrefutable disintegration of the game's technique and purpose in favor of making it a poorly conducted carnival sideshow, in which its most valued assets, the players, get disfigured on live television.
The NHL was once called a 'garage league' for damned good reason, as it gladly catered to the lowest common denominator, both externally among the public and internally with its players, and these playoffs are no different. It's considered vile irreverence to question the merits of 'playoff hockey,' the yearly descent of the sport into something that more resembles Roman bloodbaths than modern competition. The term is a sacred monument meant to adore the occasional hotly contested battles between two teams actually trying to play hockey; of course, such sorties are much more commonly replaced with an open field charge of carbon-fiber bayonets applied to the skulls of its participants who don't strike first, whether out of circumstance or purely in dedication to the pursuit of good hockey. It's safe to say, then, if the NHL used to be garage league, at least it used to be a finished, attached two-vehicle garage, where as now the bricks are turned to dust one by one and all that is left is an uncovered gravel pit that provides no protection to its members from the blood raining down from the sky.