Virgin America's in-flight wifi is, by far, the best way to spend $12.99 in the modern world. So, from 35,000 feet (and over Missouri, at the moment), here's a lot of crap for you to read.
Hockey coverage in June? Yup. The first round of the NHL draft saw the Kings select center Brayden Schenn with the fifth overall pick. Schenn is universally described as "gritty," whatever the hell that means, but has potential as a #2 line center in the NHL. He has an outside shot at making the team this upcoming season, but I'd suspect he's a player we won't see until 2011.
Congratulations to Luuuuc Robitaille, a first-ballot inductee into the hockey hall of fame. Luc is, for those of you who don't know, the highest scoring left winger in NHL history, and the second greatest King of all time, behind Gretzky.
Speaking of Gretzky, I just watched a 1989 Kings/Oilers game where Gretzky broke the scoring record, and the whole game was just fascinating. The Kings goalie was Mario Gosselin, a player who spent 12 years in the NHL without ever really distinguishing himself. Both goalies i nthe game, though, played stand-up, and it's really weird to watch with a modern timeframe. With my interest in goaltending in general, it's pretty funny to watch these goalies turn routine saves from a modern goalie into acrobatic dives across the crease. The sport was fundamentally different, particularly from the goalie position...today, saves are based on positioning. Then, it was all reflex. Gretzky's gamewinning overtime goal was a wraparound, a shot which has decreased in effectiveness to the point you almost never see them anymore. But with a stand up goalie, there's a shockingly large amount of five hole during the wraparound attempt.
Oh, and the game featured Craig Mactavish, the last player in the NHL to skate around without a helmet. It's borderline insane the way he blocks shots without something covering his head.
I don't mean to toot my own horn, here, but let's have a look at pitch counts. Jered Weaver threw 119 pitches in a complete game shutout against San Diego on June 14th. His next game was the worst of his season thus far, a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers where he gave up 10 hits, 3 walks, and 6 runs. Whoops.
Beyond that, the Angels are currently in progress against Arizona and trailing 1-0. They won 12-3, courtesy of an 8-run second inning. Let's hear it for unsustainable offense!
More Angels coverage once I can actually sit down and watch a whole game.
The United States plays Brazil for the Confederations Cup tomorrow at 2:05 Eastern (I think). A win would be the biggest win in US soccer history and an extremely tardy vindication of the sport in this country. Until players like LeBron James start choosing soccer, it will never be like it is elsewhere, but maybe that's not so bad.