1.  "Mike Zigomanis has played a lot of games in the league," Wilson said.

 

2. He is a solid fourth-line center, but does not score enough to be useful in fantasy leagues.

 

3. 2001/06/23: Re-entered NHL draft. Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2nd round (46th overall) in 2001.

4. 2006/01/30: St. Louis Blues traded Doug Weight and the rights to Erkki Rajamaki to the Carolina Hurricanes for Jesse Boulerice, Mike Zigomanis, the rights to Magnus Kahnberg, a 1 st and a 4th round selections in 2006 and a 4th round selection in 2007.

5. 2008/10/09: Phoenix Coyotes traded Mike Zigomanis to the Pittsburgh Penguins for future considerations.

6. Having terrific vision, soft hands and adept in a passing touch, and great skill on the faceoff, Zigomanis has molded his role as a third-line playmaker.

7.  Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Nazem Kadri was instead skating with the rest of the healthy scratches, running drills alongside minor-league veterans Mike Zigomanis, Danny Richmond and Jay Rosehill.

8. Outside Shot: Joey Crabb, Andrew Crescenzi, Jerry D'Amigo, Brayden Irwin, Marcel Mueller, Brad Ross,  Kenny Ryan, Mike Zigomanis, Keith Aulie, Jeff Finger (due to his contract not his playing ability), Simon Gysbers, Korbinian Holzer, Matt Lashoff

9. "I've been put on waivers a couple of times, probably been transferred more than the whole team has collectively," he said. "So it's nothing new to me."

10. Zigomanis provided faceoff and penalty killing expertise to Pittsburgh.

11. "The most memorable thing that comes to mind when I think of Zigomanis is how there was a glitch in one of the EA NHL games (2003 or something) that caused him to look absolutely huge."

12. The 1999-2000 saw the team as another team of destiny. With strong goaltending provided by Andrew Raycroft and returning forwards Mike Zigomanis and Sean Avery, the team early in the season was ranked as high as 5th in the entire Canadian Hockey League consisting of 54 teams. This time unfortunately injuries decimated the team

13. il rejoint les Blues de Saint-Louis mais encore une fois passe plus de temps avec l'équipe de la LAH affiliée, les Rivermen de Peoria, et il change une nouvelle fois d'équipe lors de la saison suivante et signe en tant qu'agent libre avec les Coyotes de Phoenix en juillet 2006

14. Mike has discovered that pilates has really increased his flexibility and conditioning. "And it doesn't hurt that the instructors are gorgeous," he smiles.

15 A Hummer limousine pulled up outside the Duchess and Zigomanis and his pals rolled in to head off for an evening of partying in Toronto. At a traffic light, the limo pulled up beside a car of young ladies. Mike held the Stanley Cup up through the sunroof of the Hummer and watched as the ladies nearly veered off the road. Through the windows, it was easy to read their lips: 'Oh my God!'

16. Zigomanis' agent, Kurt Overhardt, said this afternoon that "I think it's a fait accompli" that he will not have any additional discussions with the Penguins about them retaining his client.

17. Other than his NHL prospects, Michael leads a relatively normal life. Although he is known as "the hockey guy" at school, no one is seeking him out for autographs-yet. "I've been told that playing hockey makes me walk like a penguin," he laughs. While hockey is his main priority, Zigomanis, an OAC student at Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy in Markham, plans to major in business at Queens University at some point in his life.

16. He is of Greek descent.

17. "When the smoke cleared from quick-draw Mike Zigomanis going 5-for-5 on faceoffs this past Saturday night, there was a new sheriff in Dot City."

18. That above? That's beat writing. That's cranking it out. You read that from a folded over newspaper in an auto body parking lot, coffee steam and cigarette smoke mingling in the crystal morning air. That's thirty years of buying that same coffee, one day realizing that 30 years of your life went by like a goddamn freight train.Gone. A cup of coffee, six games in the show and down for life. 

19. ""I played my second NHL game here back in 2002 (for Carolina) and got 12 tickets," Zigomanis recalled. "That was a lot of money at the time and I didn't think about it until I got my Visa bill. But most people know they don't hand us a whole roll of free tickets"

20. But after his fifth game with the Marlies, it was relayed to Zigomanis through his agent that Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke would not be offering him a spot in the NHL this season.

21.He recalled taking the train to Kingston with his parents and then-team owner Wren Blair and seeing the Memorial Centre for the first time, "the biggest rink I'd played in up to that time," he pointed out.

At his first training camp, the 16-year-old rookie was wholly confident of sticking around for the long run. Either that or he was simply showcasing a keen fashion sense.

"[Teammate] Jason Sands watched me unpack and said, 'You've got enough clothes here for the next four years,' " Zigomanis said.

22. Zigomanis was credited with being on Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup team in 2009, but had suffered season-ending shoulder surgery and spent last year split between Sweden and the AHL Marlies.

23. Mike Zigomanis won the fourth-line centre job over John Mitchell, who will be a healthy scratch.

24. There's also a fourth unit that will start with journeyman centre Mike Zigomanis between Colton Orr and Mike Brown

25. A Scarborough, Ont., native who still remembers Gary Leeman scoring his 50th goal for the Maple Leafs back in 1989-90, Zigomanis is just happy to be back playing in the NHL.

26. Prospect. Good looking kid. Smart kid. Could help. Gotta add some muscle. Lacks pro size. Hands. Vision. Plugger. Could help. Yo-yo. On your top line you'd be in trouble. Knows how to play. Healthy scratch. Fourth liner. Healthy scratch. Energy. Fourth liner. I know why I'm here. Kelly told me once that you have stop letting them say what you are before what they say gets bad. If you wait till after it's too late. Is it too late? I know why I'm here.

26. Number 46, Mike Zigomanis. Number 18, Mike Zigomanis. Number 41, Mike Zigomanis. Number 15, Mike Zigomanis. Number 26, Mike Zigomanis.

Press Box Hero

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The tubes are abuzz today after Bruce Dowbiggin's broadside cautioning NHL teams thinking of cracking open the press box, that sanctum sanctorum of journalistic decorum to bloggers, with their cheesie-smeared mouths and their reptilian brains fixated on the Phil Kessel/Yo Gabba Gabba .gif they've left half-finished on the basement PC.

Some say Bruce has gone too far with his criticisms. And it's true, they are devastatingly argued. Check it out:

That might be a problem as "blogger" has come to be synonymous for bending the rules on sourcing or taking liberties with research.


Bloggers take liberties with research. Bruce Dowbiggin just doesn't do any. ARGUMENT BY ASSERTION. That's the kind of shit bloggers don't know, the kind where you really see the effects of Bruce's years of intense journalistic training at his alma mater.... the National Theatre School of Canada.

Their role model is baseball statistician Bill James, the original blogger.

I thought Martin Luther was the original blogger! Or God, with all those commandments. Moses on the mountain = Wordpress BC

Anyways, lots of people think Bruce has gone too far, especially with his suggestion that bloggers post a 10,000 bond to cover any possible libel or misconduct before they are allowed in. Those people are dangerous and wrong. These standards are especially necessary in the wake of all those recent scandals bloggers libeling people without evidence. Like... well, you remember them, right?

If anything, Bruce hasn't gone far enough. I told him as much over grilled steer and eggs at his favourite Calgary brunch nook (note: I have never spoken with Bruce Dowbiggin in my life; however he is more than welcome to get in touch for an discussion of these issues at my personal email, jmilloy at gmail dot com; hey, Damien Cox did it).

Bruce was nice enough and/or high enough (note: JUST KIDDING) to agree, and he shared with me the other requirements he feels should be in place before bloggers are able to have the mindblowing insider experience of watching a game in a room full of poorly dressed middle aged white men, as opposed to watching it from the stands or on TV.

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Here's the rest of Bruce's list:

1. Display willingness to learn from our betters in the press by ending every post with 'Was that right, Bruce?

2. Additionally, readers should comment on every post that does not mention Dowbiggin by writing, "Where's Bruce?"

3. Kill Bruce's enemies, get off on bulletproof "I'm a blogger" defence that apparently exempts one from all legal liability.

4. Instead of using media passes, bloggers should present copies of Dowbiggin's 2008 doorstop The Meaning of Puck. Maybe Chapters will stop calling about needing the space in the remainder bins.

5. Don't give your personal opinions and insults the veneer of objectivity and research by heading them with "some say" or "others say". That's weak and unprofessional. More importantly, that's Bruce's bit.

6.. Since bloggers need to "face their subjects from time to time", they can practice building that bravery and accountability that are a MSM hallmark by facing the music on Dowbiggin or Damien Cox's behalf the next time one of those two rips someone baselessly to boost their page views.
 
7. If bloggers are really and unavoidably going to be in the press box, they should at least have to take the bullet and sit beside Simmons.

Baldlongs

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I'M JUST SAYING

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Damien Cox sure has been writing a lot lately. Do you know who wrote a lot? Edgar Allan Poe. That dude was all kinds of fucked up on bourbon and laudanum... hell he would drink the formaldehyde that medical schools pickled hoboes in back then. Dude was PARTYING. I'm not saying Damien is able to stay up all night writing his eyeglazers because he's stuffed to the gills with Bolivian Marching Powder... (or maybe he saves time by not doing enough research to learn that Jose Bautista can't become a free agent after this year- you can save a whole 0.12 seconds not typing "Jose Bautista free agency" into Google!)... i'm just saying that since the scandals of Stephen Glass and Mitch Albom warn us that mainstream journalism may just be an elaborate front to ensure unelected sports columnists have an uninterrupted supply of PCP and chilled koala brains to serve at their Satanic orgies. WE JUST DON'T KNOW ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, DO WE, HMMMMMMM?

Courage.

Watchdog Wound Too Tight

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Like Willie Mays stumbling around in the OF for the Mets, or Killer clutching his knee in agony his first game back in the Blue and White, or Insane Clown Posse crediting a Juggalo God for making magnets work on their new single , it's always sad to see the greats go out in a queasy haze of embarrassment.  



The best fade into legendary status, their very presence a reminder of the heights they once scaled. The worst become bitter  and start ranting like Goose Gossage or Jim Rice about how much better things were in their day, that, dammit, they played the game the right way, and hell, if they got back on the mound today, they could still probably hit 90. One of the underappreciated aspects of sports is how well it facilitates this transition - no one puts Espo or Bernie Parent back on NHL ice at 65 to embarrass themselves, no matter how much people love them.

This meritocracy is mostly absent in the non-jock world. In music the Rolling Stones still suck up crowds and cash despite the fact they've now sucked shit for twice as long as they've been good. TNA has let Hogan remake their promotion around a bunch of guys (the nWo, the Nasty Boys) who have hemorrhoids older than 95% of the wrestling audience. In movies, Diane fucking Keaton.



Because journalists don't control their means of production, they have often been shuffled aside in the same fashion as sports stars, if you wait awhile. While a Frank Thomas plays for a couple years after he stops contributing, journalists of a certain stature (paging Allan Fotheringham or Peggy Wente) don't get pushed aside until about 25 years after their sell-by date.  But, eventually, they go away.

However, it seems that now instead of fading away and doing something more worthwhile with their lives, reporters are starting to move into their sons' basements and contributing bitter screeds about how much better things were back in the day before these young whippersnappers with their calculators and whatnot started ruining sports by forcing every single fan to learn calculus.

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I know, I know. Right now you're probably wondering "Why are they using the plural here? Why not just write "MURRAY CHASS"?? Well, Murray's got some competition, because Bill Houston - the Unblinking Watchdog, the Agamemnon of the Agate Type - has come back from vacation foaming at the mouth like Old Yeller in the final reel:

  The biggest joke of 2009-10, unfortunately, was the spectacle of James Mirtle attempting to function as a Globe and Mail hockey writer. A statistics wonk with limited journalistic skills, poor James struggled, to say the least.

Mirtle, of course, became Leafs beat writer at roughly the same time Wild Bill exited the Globe. Say it with me kids: CLASSY. Bill goes on to savage Mirtle for a few grafs. While he's right to criticize Mirtle's use of an anonymous source that had since moved on - a frequent and grating device of the Leafs media - it's something Houston utilized scores of times himself during his career.

Besides that, his criticisms are nothing more than baseless, bitter griping about a hack who - in his rookie season - was easily the cream of Leafs mittenstringers. Sure, that's kind of like saying someone is a better sniper than Rickard Wallin, but Mirtle's articles showed a refreshing desire to look at the Leafs and the game from new angles, often using the best of the new statistical work being developed, a welcome departure from the morality plays and retreads on "1967". "it's your fault for caring" and "draft schmaft" that make up the bulk of Leafs coverage.  But Houston didn't stop there. Oh no.

He also wrote this:

I enjoyed the work of Doug MacLean

One more time:

I enjoyed the work of Doug MacLean

A thousand Howard Bergers banging away on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years couldn't come up with something that ridiculous.

Now we know how Marty Jannetty felt.

-A Kim and Godd Joint; Art Direction by Phats Cockstrangla AKA Chemmy




Treatment Bound

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"No form of indignity is powerful enough to dissuade you from the uncontrollable love of your Blue & White. You bitch... and moan... and go insane over the always-accurate appraisals of the team in the media."
- Howard Berger, October 30, 2008, Most Valuable Losers Once Again

If any of you are still stopping by here every once in a while, you will have noticed that the site has been slowly withering away. We haven't posted since May 8. Between the two of us, we have only managed 30 posts in the first 172 days of 2009. This, friends, is how the Cox Bloc ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.

This wasn't how it was supposed to end. Last year at this time, when we were posting regularly and a few thousand people a day were stopping by to visit, we felt vindicated. Well, we never actually thought that more than a handful of people would be interested in our brand of unhinged media criticism, but it felt like we tapped into something. It turns out that we weren't the only ones offended by the quality of the local media coverage. Leafs fans - along with those of the Blue Jays and TFC, which we covered to a lesser extent on this site - are far from the mindless drones portrayed in the writings of Howard Berger and friends.

Turns out that the local sports fans are more than capable of analyzing and intelligently deconstructing the performance, history and future prospects of the teams they love. And, as proven time and time again, they are just as capable of seeing through the media bullshit like the quote above from Howard Berger. It has been a fun couple of years, refuting MSM nonsense with a steady stream of jokes, wrestling clips, Replacements songs, and, every once in a while, attempts at actual analysis. Still, two years later, we've lost our smile.

There are a few reasons for our decreased productivity over the past few months: family commitments, rapidly increasing workloads, health issues and digital cable. However, there is one overarching reason: We kinda don't care anymore. While we'd like to take responsibility for the higher quality of Steve Simmons' recent output, we know deep down that it has nothing to do with us. Highlighting the inaccuracies and logical inconsistencies of the local media has been cathartic, but the reality is, we`re not changing the way any of the columnists, bloggers and broadcasters that we`ve set our sights on really think. Not that we ever set out to change opinions, but after a while we realized that our talents, limited as they are, might be wasted on nitpicking every second sentence that Damien Cox and Howard Berger write.

We don`t read these guys anymore. Life is short, so why do we want to spend an incredible amount of time reading stuff that makes our heads explode, and then penning thousands of words in rebuttal? We've often wondered aloud how the same media market that publishes Stephen Brunt and Jeff Blair can be responsible for employing Howard Berger and Richard Griffin. Now, we realize, it doesn't matter.

In the last couple of years, dozens of excellent Leafs, Jays, and TFC blogs have sprouted up around the internet, quickly making traditional media irrelevant for us. There is no point complaining about the lack of originality, insight and balance in the mainstream media when a perfect alternative exists already.  Why visit the Star.com or Eklund's Magical World of Make-Believe for insight when we can visit Pension Plan Puppets or From The Rink for up-to-date news and analysis. To be honest, we haven't read a word written by Howard Berger in months.

Thanks to everyone who supported us along the way, those who linked to us and those who came by daily to agree and argue with whatever caught our fancy that particular day. A special thanks to everyone in the Barilkosphere and all the regulars who joined us in our little game of reversing the initials of first and last names, coming up with works of genius like Pike Malmateer, Varry Galk, and Dick RiPietro, and absurdist greatness such as Bllan Aester (Still, we'll always wonder how no one picked Kill Bitchen). The fact that so many of you read, pointed out when we were idiots, and posted funnier jokes than we could have come up with was the single best thing about writing Cox Bloc. That, or the time Howard Berger egged our house. (Editor's note: this did not actually happen)

This isn`t goodbye forever. We're currently working with another blogger on a new site which will go up shortly. We're hoping to be less reactive, and practice what we preach by providing what we think is missing from mainstream sports coverage. We really hope that you will join us over there once it launches.

We'll leave the archives online in case anyone ever wants to find out what a couple of paranoid and angry yahoos from Peterborough were thinking from 2007 to 2009. If you've just stumbled across this site: you`re late, but feel free to browse around. We've compiled a list of our five favourite posts for anyone who feels like remembering why the hell they're on this site in the first place.

THE FAMOUS FIVE

It's hardly Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond, but here are our five favourite Cox Bloc posts.

5. Notes From Siberia - This post, in which Jorn digs up a throwaway line in a column not about sports just to fire off a salvo of bile at  Edmonton's version of Linwood Barclay, perfectly captures the spirit of unhinged venom with which we started Cox Bloc. Bless.

4. See You Later Suckers! - Remember that time we pretended to be Habs fans? No amount of showers have made us feel clean again.

3. Exile on Main Street (And Pember, And Cambie, And Hastings...) - We started this blog soon after we had both moved to Vancouver. We were shocked to discover that the city was filled with Sens fans, except they called themselves Canucks fans and suffered from a crippling inferiority complex that put our friends in Ottawa to shame. This was Till's attempt to set the record straight. This post also beautifully illustrates the Cox Bloc Paradox: in demonstrating that there is no Leafs-Canucks rivalry, we bash the city and team a bunch of times and thus contribute to this non-existent rivalry. Great success!

2. Join the Conversation - We are probably going straight to hell for this one. It was worth it. Fortunately, we've been reading Blatch for years, so we have a pretty decent idea of what hell is going to be like.

1. Limo Driver on the Street - Pissed off a ton of Habs fans. Popularized the sobriquet "Working Class Howard", which along with Mittenstringer, OLAS and Jiri NSFW, are our main contributions to Barilkosphere vernacular. Generated a ton of comments. Spawned an incredible piece by HOF Blochead Varry Galk. If Cox Bloc was Appetite, this was "Rocket Queen".

Thanks Everyone.

Kim and Godd.

Be Afraid

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Quite the swerve by Damien Cox this week. You know, that column that confirms that Balsillie ranks somewhere between Cliff Fletcher, Darcy Tucker and you on the DC Talk Enemies List. This one. What to make of it? Was he simply carrying some water for Gary Bettman? Or in the most shocking heel turn since Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach, doing the J-O-B for MLSE???

These are strange times, sports fans. So I take comfort in these missives I received from down the QEW from longtime caller Uncle Nats Maslund, letting us know that Damien, like Churchill, may be the only man who understands the threat we face:

Cox today:

"The sensible approach, then, is for the NHL... to establish a blue-ribbon committee to examine the viability of a second team in Southern Ontario."

Oh fuck me sideways, Coxy.  That is too much.


"Yanking a struggling team out of one market to put it somewhere else that looks promising just isn't the way Bettman's NHL has done business."

No, a team has to be very popular locally in order for Bettman's NHL to yank it out of the market.  For example, the Winnipeg Jets.  Or the Quebec Nordiques.  Or the Hartford Whalers.

Seriously... have we fallen to the level where it's just OK to flat-out lie in the pages of a daily newspaper, and no repercussions can be expected? 

And Cox's article actually ran WITH A PICTURE OF BRUCE MCNALL ON IT.   And a comparison in the article to McNall and John Rigas.  Why not also speculate he might also be a child-molesting serial killer?  What if Jim Balsillie wants to move the Coyotes to Hamilton as part of a terrorist plot, huh?  *What then?????*  How long must we be subjected to this man's evil schemes before some good person, some brave Damien Cox of law enforcement, stands up to him and his nefarious schemes?!?  If you want your children to die in a ditch somewhere in Arizona, choking on their last breath of free air as Balsillie cackles his evil laugh, then go ahead and appease this monster.  Let him engage in his "free market" transaction.  But when this results in the death of hockey, don't come crying to me, because I WANTED A COMISSION.  AND NOT A FUCKEN WHITE RIBBON COMMISSION EITHER... I want a BROWN ribbon commission.  I mean BLUE, blue.

Yes truly Cox has done us the service of alerting to the terrifying threat of a man so evil, so deranged, he is trying to.... buy a business without doing the expected level of asskissing and bottlewashing of the other shady rich pricks first. It's just not done!

Thanks, Damien, for speaking out about  the greatest danger to hockey and our Canadian way of life since the metric system or flouridated water. I mean, Cox has even uncovered Balsillie's WMD, the Ultimate Terror Ray whose shadow we all cower under:

All these points are all dismissed or ignored by those who have drank deeply from Balsillie's Kool-Aid machine.

OH NOES! He has a Kool-Aid machine! Jim Balsillie is Jim Jones x 1000! DO YOU WANT TICKETS FOR THE JONESTOWN SIPPYCUPPERS? DO YOU???

Who said it's hard to get good help these days? This has a level of servility that would embarass Waylon Smithers. 

But there is no joy at Cox Bloc.... for has mighty Damien sold out???

Listen, the playoffs suck. To be more accurate, these playoffs suck. Just like the last three did. Now sure, a lot of you out there are watching every night, appreciating the higher standard of hockey, the passion, the beards, admiring the stars you never see cause you watch Matt Stajan and Vesa Toskala all year, trying your best to be into it; but deep down, you know it's really....shite. It's the potatoes and greens without the juicy steak in the middle of the plate.

So given that it could be another two or three years before we get any Leafs playoff hockey, and the NHL is apparently hell-bent on persisting with the farce of actually playing the playoffs without the Leafs in them (I mean come on, do it on NHL 09 and save us all the hassle), we can at least ask them to make it a little more compelling. And our Montreal correspondent (currently on an extended "hiatus" in Southeast Asia) Fred Isher has just the prescription for our springtime blues.

Instead of the boring format of 1 automatically playing off against 8, 2 squaring off with 7, why not let the coaches and GMs choose who they want to play? The #1 seed in the conference gets first pick as to who they want to play, all the way down till the four matchups are set. San Jose worked hard all year to get the #1 seed - you think they wanted to play the Ducks?

But this isn't about fairness, it's about entertainment. Specifically, sports entertainment. Who wouldn't love the show where the GMs call out their picks. Do you play it safe? Pick a higher seeded team that you've owned all season? Draft a top team missing some key players due to injury, hoping you can pick their carcass early? Then you get the bitterness from the teams picked to be whipping boys, the repercussions for making the wrong choice, a real incentive to to take #1 in the regular season. Plus, how great would it be to see Burke pick Ottawa every year? Whoops, got caught out in left field there. The Leafs and the Senators in the playoffs? Never happen.

Few bits to leave you with, Larry King style. First, imagine my horror when I read WCH's column on Gilroy and realized I had basically posted this:
History, however, proves that no guarantee comes with the Hobey Baker honour. In the 29 years it has been awarded [since 1981], only four recipients have developed into star players in the NHL - Neal Broten [the first winner]; Paul Kariya [1993]; Drury [1988] and Ryan Miller [2001].

verbatim at PPP the other day. I wondered why I'd woken up with a mustache.

Friend Of The Bloc Jeff Blair's new 'at-large' beat hasn't yet paid off as much as I'd hoped in the way of analysis or new horizons, but he's always willing to give a different take than the usual beat grunt. Still very much worth following. For example:

 Anyhow, it's off the Rogers Centre, with howls of protest from enraged New York Islanders fans ringing in my ears over the suggestion that John Tavares would be better served playing in a place where the game matters appears to have subsided (OK, howl's a bit over the top. By my count it was 12 enraged e-mails, all mentioning 1967 - which shows a serious lack of originality, since no columnist would ever want the Cup drought to end because of the endless source of material it provides - but I figure that with a couple more e-mails I'll have pretty much covered the Islanders season-ticket base.) Strange . . . the e-mails seem to subside during Grade school hours. These people. They take themselves WAY too seriously.

Good stuff, and it's nice to hear Dick Ripietro is really serious about getting his Grade 6 this year. We're pulling for ya buddy!

Finally, a first here at Cox Bloc. CAPTION CONTEST!!! Bonus points to those entries that eschew the standard jokes about Kyle's predilection for high-calorie foodstuffs.... we all know he is a trencherman, people. Witticisms, ho!

 
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Cheap Pop Dept.

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It's Friday, so let's have some quick and easy fun. Crossposted from Damien's mailbag:

Colaiacovo/Steen for Stempniak, what some apparently fail to understand (or won't) is that it was far less important what the two former first rounders were or were going to be, and more important that taking on an underachieving veteran with a huge contract wasn't a good idea.

Ah yes, grizzled veteran Lee Stempniak, who has been in the NHL since the sepia-toned days of 2005-2006. Someone should ask him what it was like to play against Howie Morenz. How could Fletch deal two young prospects who had barely been given a chance by the Leafs since their rookie seasons of 2002-03 and 2005-2006 for Unfrozen Caveman Winger?

And 'underachieving'? He had 13 points in 14 games when the trade was made.

"Finally, those of you who want to write and argue that Fletcher was going to be able to trade the Leafs first rounder in '09 and make it draft protected to Anaheim straight up for Bobby Ryan are living in a truly amazing dream world."

Wasn't it taking Schneider's contract and receiving Ryan? No matter, cause you hit the nail on the head here:

"Whether it still would have been a good deal we'll never know, but Anaheim didn't make it, so it only exists in the fantasy world."

So the trade was too speculative to defend what Fletcher may have acquired, but just real enough to bash Fletcher for discussing it. Fantasy World is confusing! Good thing you send us regular postcards from there.

And finally - I know it's his book cover, but how great is that "Spin Plus" has revealed that a gigantic "67" hangs over Damien's desk? It's getting hard to figure out where Cox Bloc ends and the Spin begins....

SEE YOU LATER, SUCKERS!

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Dearest Blocheads, we've come to a crossroads. A fork in the road. A time in our lives when we have to choose between the path we've followed since our youth - a path littered with the constant failure and shame of the last 42 years - or strike out in a new hopeful direction, crammed to the foodhole with prestige, pride and honour.

You may notice our output has dried up over the past few months. We've said that this is because we've grown tired of making the same jokes about the same writers over and over again, but there is another reason.  After years of denial, we've come to realize that supporting an inept collection of perennial losers makes us no better than rats. If we are going to care about trivialities like hockey while kids have cancer, at least we should be supporting a winner. If not we are no better rats awaiting another blue and white food pellet, unaware it will make us bloat up and croak.

Leafs Suck.jpgThat's right. We're Habs fans now, and we urge our former friends in Leafs Nation to join us. You don't have to forsake your disgraceful club entirely, but there is a tonne of room on the Habs bandwagon and your support can only help this plucky group of underdogs as they battle for a playoff spot.

You know us Habs fans would do it for you, right?

If this reasoning doesn't do it for you, maybe we can sway you with our top-ten list of reasons why we've emigrated from Leafs Nation and taken up residency in the Habs Universe.
 
1. Loads of room on the bandwagon

The Leafs have been an absolute disgrace for nearly 42 years, and this entirely the fault of fans who have flocked to the local hockey rink and handed over their hard-earned cash year after year to a succession of incompetent owners. While these sheep were rewarding their team for failure, Habs fans sent a message to their team by refusing to buy more than 97% of the tickets available to them. Management listened and this noble revolt resulted in a playoff appearance within the last five years. Now it is really time for the Habs loyal fans to be rewarded with what they deserve and we want to be part of it. You may call this frontrunning. We call it "being a Habs fan."

2. All-Stars. We've got All-Stars.
 
The NHL honoured the Habs this year by naming four Montreal players to start in this year's all-star game. While Bruins fans are stuck with non-starters like Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas, the Habs recent success can be attributed to all-stars like Alexei Kovalev, Mike Komisarek and Carey Price.

3. 6-5-2
 
That is the Habs record in November. They won nearly half of their games. When it mattered. Thanks to Gary Bettman's points-for-everyone scheme, that is a better-than-500 record.

4. Playing the game the right way
 
While the Make Me Laughs are content to let an 18 year old kid fight all their battles, the Habs have taken Conn Smythe's mantra (if you can't beat them on the street, beat them in the alley) to heart. Whether facing the boards, lying prone on the ice, or taking your purse to a nightclub, rest assured that a Hab will get you.

habs_arrested_ap_400.jpgAnd don't think this is limited to the players. While you Leaf fans laughably parade around town after winning game one of a conference final, us Habs fans are out setting your car on fire after a second round exit.

Riot.jpeg5. 24 Stanley Cups

As anyone who has spent more than five minutes near a Yankee fan can tell you, there is nothing more endearing than someone repeatedly telling you how many championships their team has won. As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, we are proud of our teams past success and aren't afraid to tell everyone about it every chance we get. As an added bonus, it is impossible for us to ever lose an argument. What's that you say? The Habs failed to address their major issues at the trade deadline and may miss the playoffs in their glorious 99th season? We've won 24 Stanley Cups. Their laughable coaching change has reduced a much anticipated anniversary to a remake of How To Self-Destruct, by the Ottawa Senators? Well, we've won 24 Stanley Cups! Huh? Carey Price is Andrew Raycroft with a worse glove hand? We've won 24 Stanley Cups? What? The Leafs, who are terrible, have owned the Habs this year? WE'VE WON 24 STANLEY CUPS!

6. 1993

 
Sure we're approaching two decades without a Stanley Cup victory and have won only four playoff rounds in the last 15 years. So what if the Habs have played to level of an expansion team for more than a decade (not counting Anaheim, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, obviously) and can't seem to be able find someone who wants to own hockey's most storied franchise. While we watched the Leafs rack up regular season points, consistently qualify for the playoffs and make three appearances in the conference final during a ten year span, we didn't care. We're Habs fans and we can count.  Fifteen is less than 42. As our most recent success drifts further and further into the rear-view mirror, we're still content knowing that yours has fallen out of view. This is the best part about being a Habs fan: dwelling on past success and feeling a smug sense of entitled superiority because, even though we haven't had much to cheer about for a long time and our prospects for future success are nearly non-existent, we'll always have the increasingly distant past to gloat about.

7. Media

This is going to be the hardest thing to deal with here at Cox Bloc. Since we're not so good with the French, we'll stick to savaging the local mittenstringers. The only problem is, how do we rip apart locals like Damien Cox? We're talking about a guy who can see the genius behind trading your veteran goaltender away weeks before the playoffs only to have your rookie keeper implode on the biggest stage in hockey? How can we be upset when we open up Sports Illustrated and see that their main hockey writer, Michael Farber, has penned another love letter to the Habs or another hatchet job on the Leafs? These guys get it. Looks like we're going to have to set our targets on places like Pension Plan Puppets, where they use cheap gimmicks like facts and analysis to rip apart our beloved Habs. We're on to you, and we're coming for you.

8. Daniel Briere
 
We've always wanted to boo Briere for no reason. Now it is our duty as Habs fans.

9. Laughing at the Laffs

One of the hardest things about being a Leafs fan was the constant struggle to make jokes about the Montreal Canadiens. I mean, how can you laugh at a team that has won 24 Stanley Cups? How can you poke fun at a group of fans as reasonable and classy as those who live and die for the Montreal Canadiens. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Make Me Laughs. Laffs. Leaves. That shit is hilarious. We look forward to sending out that Maple Leaf Meats email to all our Leaf fan friends every week. It is part of the deal. Also, we don't even have to work hard at this anymore since we can just make tired homophobic jokes that appeal to the lowest common denominator. Toller Cranston! Ha! Or how about this awesome photo:

Leafs fan.jpgGet it? He's totally a fruit and he's wearing Leafs gear. Because he is gay, he is totally less than a man. Just like Leafs fans.

10. Chemmy sent us $50 Zimbawean dollars.

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BONUS FEATURE

Smoking Hot - A Carey Price Photo Gallery

Goodbye Wendel, hello Carey Price. As newly-minted Habs fans, one of our first actions was to adopt a new favourite player. Here are few snaps we found of Carey on a recent night out in Montreal:

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Looking good Carey. We look forward to supporting you and your teammates in the day to come. Leafs fans, we'll see you at the parade.