Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Kings

I hit a deer, once. I was driving through Calabasas and ended up with a Volvo covered in deer dents. While the experience was unpleasant, the most memorable thing about that evening  was the noise I made as the deer was impacting the car. Not English, not a plain yell, the noise was alien. Primal. Frightening.

When Dustin Brown tipped the puck through Brodeur's five hole, I made the same noise. It's a noise that my body only emits during a tremendous expulsion of adrenaline and emotion. It's a noise that comes after years of watching the Kings underperform, after years of watching other teams win the Cup, after years of waiting my turn.

The funny thing is that this Cup really isn't mine. There are 40 blocks of seats in Staples Center that have been occupied by the same people since the inaugural 1967 season. What tremendous commitment, commitment bordering on insanity, to stay with a team for so long, particularly a team that has been mismanaged, unfortunate, and miserable for decades.

So tonight, as a kid from UMass wins the Conn Smythe and a city rejoices without rioting, congratulations to the Kings, the organization, and the fans. It's been a long time coming.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The diference between a soft goal and an easy save

About 2 inches.
I was 1.5' off center, but even then, less than 2 inches closer to my correct position and the save is easy. Of course, it doesn't help that the puck moves so fast.

1.5' off center is a slight lean to the right when falling into the butterfly instead of a straight push.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Obviously, I'm excited about the Angels again. Albert Pujols is a fantastic player, and his constipated batting stance has generated prodigious offense throughout his time in the league. There is little debate about his current status as an elite first baseman.

I've long railed against long term contracts for athletes. It doesn't make sense, financially or otherwise, to devote a large proportion of a limited resource to a single entity. Baseball, in particular, deemphasizes individuals and thus limits the value one can reasonably obtain from a single player. A quick trip to Fangraphs illustrates the obvious disparity between value and salary for most players under expensive, long term contracts.

Unfortunately, I can only think of a single modern case where an expensive, stupid contract has succeeded in hamstringing a franchise, and that case is Alex Rodriguez with Texas. And I don't think it's likely to happen again.

Pujols will be paid 25 million dollars a year for a decade. The last year of his contract, he'll be 42 and undoubtedly a mediocre, below replacement-level player. He'll still be responsible for 25 million dollars on the Angels payroll. I just don't think it matters.

The 2010 average salary for MLB players was, heavily rounded, $3.5 million. Inflation has been increasing by roughly 3% annually since 1913, but let's say the economy remains relatively weak and we see 2% inflation through the life of the Pujols contract. Assuming no increase in average player salaries outside inflation (yeah right), the average salary will be $4.25 million and the $25 million owed to Pujols will only represent roughly 80% of the cost it bears today.

Is it a huge discount? No. But considering the additional benefits Pujols brings to the franchise in increased ticket, merchandise, and in-stadium sales, plus the newly negotiated TV contract, I don't really believe it would be reasonable for the Angels to limit their spending based on this single contract. It just doesn't happen.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Penner 4 prez

While new Kings whipping boy Dustin Penner was having his best game in recent memory, the rest of the team decided to show up in time for the third period before carelessly losing in the closing seconds.

Fire Terry Murray. Promote Dustin Penner?

A quick three-save compilation from my game last night. One of my best games, so, naturally, we lost. I owe my teammates some additional video from both games, but goodness, editing video is time consuming.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Put THAT shit on YouTube."

So says the ref at my 4 on 4 game last night.

While I was safe from the unwashed masses and their pepper spray over the Thanksgiving holiday, I found myself struggling to avoid buying unnecessary electronics. After making it through Friday, I thought that I had succeeded and allowed myself to privately gloat about my self control. But a text from my dad informing me that Amazon was having a sale on GoPro Hero cameras cracked my resolve and, 3 hours before my game on Monday, I found myself unboxing the camera and ruthlessly deleting photos from my SD card.

Scheduled to play the hapless Honeybadgers, I figured it'd be as good of a game as any to try the camera out with minimal risk of seeing a slapshot ricochet off a newly shattered consumer electronic. I found the camera to be moderately uncomfortable when worn with the head strap as it compressed my mask into my forehead and increased its weight substantially. Regardless, I played for half the game with the camera on, facing about 5 shots, 3 on penalty shots, allowing no goals and acquiring 24 minutes of incredibly dull footage.

First, warmups (make sure to watch all of these in HD if you check them out on YouTube):

Here's a penalty shot that resulted in the ref making the remark noted in this entry's title:

During the intermission, I traded the camera with a teammate. The footage from his time on the ice is substantially more interesting, if slightly nauseating. Interestingly, the save highlighted in this video saw my blocker deflect the puck directly into the former location of the GoPro. Hooray for life's fortunate timing.

Some skater-view:

There's more interesting footage that I haven't yet found the time to edit. Hockey definitely dictates shooting in 720p at 60 fps to get cool, smooth slow-mo and a wider angle. I might try some 1080p for science.